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.