Saturday, December 31, 2011

Catwoman #3 and #4

Cover by Guillem March, Tomeu Morey

Catwoman #3 (November 16, 2011) Catwoman  #4 (December 21, 2011)
Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Guillem March
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Sal Cipriano

I was prepared to give up wholeheartedly on this Catwoman series after the debilitating awfulness of the previous two issues. Winick had managed to totally embarrass me and make me dislike one of my absolute favorite comic book characters. Perhaps because of my profound love for Selina Kyle, I found myself reluctantly picking up Catwoman #3 and Catwoman #4.

Now, these are still in no way really well written or even particularly gripping issues. The art is still rather slapdash and March’s Selina Kyle is becoming more and more cartoony. Nonetheless, they were improvements from the first two issues. By improvements, of course, I mean there weren’t any unnecessary nudity and no Batman-Catwoman sex. Other than that, the plot is thin and barely interesting.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Ultimates #4

Cover by Kaare Andrews, Christ Stevens

The Ultimates #4 (November 30, 2011)
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciller: Esad Ribic
Colorist: Dean White
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

I think something happened either to me or the creators of this series between the last issue and this one because The Ultimates #4 took a serous nosedive.

I’m just not feeling this one: the plot wasn’t terribly exciting, the pacing felt awkward and I especially did not care for the artwork. And I loved it in the last issue! Maybe I’m just easily bored, I don’t know.

I think the trouble lies in the fact that since series has segued from a Ragnarök-esque tale to a very angry, very bloated action comic with little heart. I enjoyed the earlier issues because the characters were dynamic and emotional against the backdrop of epic fight scenes, debilitating battles and creepy villains. Plus, I’m still mourning the loss of all my Norse gods. Now everyone just feels like caricatures: Nick Fury wasn’t very interesting, Hawkeye and Iron Man were thrown to the sidelines, the villains weren’t gripping and Thor was kind of silly.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Swamp Thing #4

Cover by Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn

Swamp Thing #4 (December 7, 2011)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Penciller: Marco Rudy
Colorist: David Baron
Inker: Sean Parsons, Michael Lacombe
Letterer: Travis Lanham

Swamp Thing #4 is mostly concerned with exposition: a brisk history of the Green, the Parliament of Trees and previous Swamp Thing incarnations was the focal point of this issue. And I loved every second of it.

Rather than feeling like dull filler, Swamp Thing #4 was still very gripping and disturbing. Again, I adore the eerie and mythological atmosphere so I’m content learning more about this universe than just having action scene after action scene.

Monday, December 5, 2011

House of Night #1

Cover by Jenny Frison, Steve Morris

House of Night #1 (November 9, 2011)
Writer: Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast, Kent Dalian
Penciller: Karl Kerschl, Joëlle Jones
Colorist: Ryan Hill
Letterer: Nate Piekos

So I know the House of Night series is a young adult series that I always assumed was about vampires or ghosts or something supernatural. It’s always in the Paranormal Romance section of the teen department in bookstores so it’s got to be at least vaguely vampire-related. I don’t know, I never read them.

I obviously picked up this comic not really expecting anything one way or another. I figured I’ve never read a comic that was based off of a real novel and this would be a really quick and easy way to find out just what this series are about. Turns out, it is vampires.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Ultimates #3

Cover by Kaare Andrews

The Ultimates #3 (October 26, 2011)
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciller: Esad Ribic
Colorist: Dean White
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

I’m still really enjoying this series though I am completely unfamiliar with the Ultimates universe. That is most likely a failing on my end but so far, Hickman hasn’t lost or totally confused me.

Rather, he has spun a very exciting story arc. The Ultimates #3, in particularly, feels very cinematic. It could easily be translated to the screen as an action-packed, epic, explosion-filled thriller; yet it still has a great storyline and well-drawn character depths. I cared about all the central figures in this issue, Thor, Hawkeye, Nick Fury and Iron Man, in particular. They were very dynamic and rather atypical. For example, Nick Fury had an intense moment of defeat and even Thor suffered from resigned, embittered vengeance. There was very much a sense of a team effort, which I greatly enjoyed, in the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier; based, however, on the frenetic assault on our agents and Europe, this isn’t always enough.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Daredevil #5

Cover by Marcos Martin

Daredevil #5 (October 26, 2011)
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Marcos Martin
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

So somehow I missed Daredevil #4 and didn’t even realize it right away. This should’ve upset me but instead, I shrugged and figured I would continue on from Daredevil #5.

This implies that Waid’s Daredevil series can be read at random and individual issues are weak. That is not true. If anything, my complete engrossment in Daredevil #5 without even knowing I had missed #4 signifies Waid’s strength as a writer. He gave me a coherent, gripping new storyline that could’ve been enjoyable to a completely new reader but still drew just the right amount from its immediate predecessors for those who have been with the series from the beginning.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Legion of Monsters #1

Cover by Juan Doe

Legion of Monsters #1 (October 12, 2011)
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Penciller: Juan Doe
Colorist: Wil Quintana
Letterer: Dave Lanphear

I’m always on the lookout for unfamiliar and new series, especially ones that I can start fresh with as a reader. So I was excited to see Legion of Monsters #1 on the newsstand and, as a big classic monster movie fan, was terribly intrigued. Once again, I have no background with these characters but I assumed that this Legion of Monsters is a sort of contemporary throwback to the pulpy horror comics of the 1950s and 1960s. It definitely had the feel of those comics but with some very modern concepts, as well.

Legion of Monsters #1 starts rather forebodingly, with an unnamed narrator explaining that a serial killer is targeting teenage girls in suburban England. The police are baffled, however, because they are erroneously looking for a human serial killer rather than a supernatural one. Luckily, Elsa Bloodstone, our teenage monster hunter and narrator, is on to this villain and decides to lure him her own way.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Red Skull: Incarnate #4

Cover by David Aja

Red Skull: Incarnate #4 (October 27, 2011)
Writer: Greg Pak
Penciller: Mirko Colak
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Inker: Mirko Colak
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

This has been the weakest thus far in the Red Skull: Incarnate series. That is particularly disappointing as this is the penultimate issue and should’ve whetted my appetite for the insane upcoming conclusion.

Don’t get me wrong; the last panel promised an exciting last issue with a crazy-sounding plan that I shan’t give away here. I only wish that the build-up to this final panel had been more exciting and had more plot to it than simply waiting around for Johann Schmidt to drop the crazy-plan-bomb.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Ultimates #2

Cover by Kaare Andrews

The Ultimates #2 (September 28, 2011)
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciller: Esad Ribic
Colorist: Dean White
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

In another review of this comic, it was called “high concept.” That was exactly the term I was looking for after reading The Ultimates #2. It was bothering me for a while.

“High concept” can be analogous with “gimmicky” which in turn, can be viewed as “weak.” The Ultimates #2 was definitely out there with its gimmick but Hickman managed to craft a thoroughly strong and compelling storyline. I was confused by some of the backstory and just where within this universe the totally neutral villains spring from and what they plan to do; however, I was intrigued by these villains, the Tomorrow People, simply because they are some of the most unique and compelling bad guys I’ve encountered in a long time.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Swamp Thing #3

Cover by Victor Ibanez, Yanick Paquette

Swamp Thing #3 (November 2, 2011)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Penciller: Victor Ibanez, Yanick Paquette
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: John J. Hill

Remember how I said that Swamp Thing #2 was actually pretty scary?

Well, Swamp Thing #3 upped the ante from scary to straight up disturbing. I am pretty sure that I was making a hardcore cringing face while reading this issue. Things have gotten pretty grim really quickly.

The reader has been introduced to the main villain, though Snyder successfully introduced this character as sympathetic and most likely unaware of his evil powers. Snyder also further established the dichotomy between the Green and the Rot, the two forces at play here in the Swamp Thing universe. Again, we’re dealing with classic narrative tropes: good/bad, light/dark, alive/dead, green/rot. Snyder, however, managed to make this tension feel new and intriguing by placing it within the context of the natural world.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Ultimates #1

Cover by Kaare Andrews, Esad Ribic

The Ultimates #1 (August 24, 2011)
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciller: Esad Ribic
Colorist: Dean White
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Whoa, this was a busy comic.

Every page was action-packed, full of surprise attacks, explosions, and Nick Fury yelling a lot. It was intense.

While I love me some Avengers and basically adore each character in this series, the writing in this introductory issue sorely disappointed me. When it ended, I was dizzy and trying to figure out just where the conflict was coming from and who were the bad guys. Then I remembered that each Avenger is dealing with an apparently different conflict and there’s a ton of bad guys spread out all over the globe. It’s shaping up to be a pretty bad week for the Avengers.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Punisher #4

Cover by Paul Neary

The Punisher #4 (October 12, 2011)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Penciller: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

I’m having trouble deciding which is my favorite Marvel discovery upon beginning this blog.

At first, it was definitely Avengers Academy but now I’m all about Thor and those crazy Asgardians but everytime I read Rucka’s Punisher, I love it more and more. So right now, it’s a toss-up between Thor and the Punisher. They couldn’t be more different but that’s fine since I am a very complicated person.

Anyway, The Punisher #4 totally kicks ass and for a long time after reading it, that was my only coherent reaction. Though this issue is not as action-packed as the previous one, it dealt with the fallout of the Punisher’s actions as a crazed vigilante and did a solid job illustrating the way in which the Punisher affects not only the bad guys, but the local community, the police and, in this case, the would-be victim of a wedding massacre several issues back. I’ve always really loved comics that portrayed even the lone heroes’ connection to their community; like how Batman is so connected to Gotham and vice versa.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Swamp Thing #2

Cover by Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn

Swamp Thing #2 (October 5, 2011)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Penciller: Yanick Paquette
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: John J. Hill

Thus far, in my admittedly limited exploration of the New 52, my favorite find has definitely been Swamp Thing. I was not expecting it but the latest issue has thoroughly impressed me and made me a genuine fan. I plan on picking up on some of the older Alan Moore Swamp Things soon but right now, I’m really happy with Snyder’s rendition of this character.

For one thing, this issue is very mythic. And if there is one thing I love, it’s myths (mostly Greek and Norse but I’m not one to discriminate). I adore how Snyder managed to bring these very vast, mythic ideas into this comic and make Swamp Thing so much more than simply a dude who turned into a swampy, toxic monster thing. That’s what he used to be right? Toxic? Comic books have taught me to assume that all once-human-now-monster creatures are created because of a toxic spill or radiation.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Batgirl #2

Cover by Adam Hughes

Batgirl #2 (October 12, 2011)
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Ardian Syaf
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Inker: Vincente Cifuentes

Finally, a step in the right direction.

In order to celebrate Halloween as Batgirl, I’ve decided to read and review Batgirl #2 and I am very happy to say, it is a vast improvement over both my previous DC comic experience and Batgirl #1

This is my first Halloween in a store-bought costume. I feel weird.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Catwoman #2

Cover by Guillem March

Catwoman #2 (October 19, 2011)
Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Guillem March
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Sal Cipriano

Even after reading the offensive, insulting, embarrassing and just plain poorly done Catwoman #1, I was willing to give this series another shot. I am always reluctant to give up on a series after one issue (I’m willing to be painfully disappointed after at least five issues) so when I saw the cover for Catwoman #2, I took a deep breath, tried not to cringe and picked it up.

Then I read it.

I am just so, so very disappointed in this re-launch. It’s everything I could possibly hate in a comic book wrapped up in issues starring one of my absolute favorite characters. It hurts; it honestly hurts.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #1

Cover by Kaare Andrews, Neal Adams, Adam Kubert

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #1 (August 31, 2011)
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciller: Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Inker: Jordi Tarragona

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but I first became interested in Hawkeye after I saw the film Thor this summer and Jeremy Renner popped up in his awesome Hawkeye cameo. I like Jeremy Renner. Like the 15-year-old girls who spent the Avengers panel Q & A gushing to Tom Hiddleston over how much they love Loki, I like Hawkeye because I like Jeremy Renner. I’m not saying it’s a smart reason to like a character but at least he got me interested in this guy.

I picked up Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #1 with no knowledge of the Ultimates universe and without realizing this was from the end of August. I guess I’m late.

I was therefore unaware of the fact that this Clint Barton is different than regular Clint Barton but that did not detract from my enjoyment of this issue.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Punisher #3

Cover by Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary, Paul Mounts

The Punisher #3 (September 7, 2011)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Penciller: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Inker: Paul Neary

Until now, I haven’t seen a knife fight in free fall. I also have never seen a half-human, half-vulture acid-spewing creature claw at a vigilante like a piece of carrion.

So points to The Punisher #3 for showing me something new. I am warming up to this series quite a lot, actually.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Mighty Thor #6

Cover by Olivier Coipel
The Mighty Thor #6 (September 28, 2011)
Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciller: Olivier Coipel
Colorist: Laura Martin
Inker: Mark Morales, Dexter Vines, Cam Smith
Letterer: Joe Sabino

Am I just a hypocrite to say that Thor is one of my favorite Marvel characters?

I mean, take a look at my reaction to my first Thor comic back in July. I was not having it.

But Fraction and Coipel won me over and impressed me, so much so, that I really love this universe and the characters within it. Perhaps I’m growing; or just willing to overlook certain things. Or maybe my middle school Led Zeppelin phase is rearing its head again. Valhalla, I am coming!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nightwing #1

Cover by Eddy Barrows, JP Mayer, Rod Reis
Nightwing #1 (September 21, 2011)
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Penciller: Eddy Barrows, JP Mayer
Colorist: Rod Reis
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual

Even though I am a fully converted Marvel fan, I still hold a special place in my heart for Nightwing.

And by “hold a special place in my heart”, I mean I have a stupid crush on him.

So I was very excited to get a hold of Nightwing #1 because I will read literally anything with Nightwing in the title. After being disappointed by the majority of the New 52 that I have encountered, however, I didn’t have high hopes. While Nightwing #1 was not spectacular, it was a fun time and ended with a thoroughly interesting cliffhanger. I know I’ll read in the next issue.