Thursday, November 24, 2011

Action #2 & #3

Writer:  Grant Morrison
Pencillers: Rags Morales & Brent Anderson
Inkers:  Rick Bryant & Brent Anderson

Like the first issue, Morrison keeps the action coming.  Luthor captured Superman at the end of the first issue and spends half of this issue torturing him.  In addition to the Superman vs. Lex Luthor and the U.S. Army, we get to see Lois Lane in action.  And, in orbit around Earth, is an alien ship that is communicating with Lex.

This continues to be one of the top comics being published today.  The art by Morales, Anderson, and Bryant is fantastic.

Morrison continues to reveal more about the early life of Superman as the action is going on.  

Highly recommended.  This should be on everyone's pull list.

Writer:  Grant Morrison
Pencillers:  Rags Morales & Gene Ha
Inkers:  Rick Bryant & Gene Ha

The story takes a slightly unorthodox approach with the short story at the front of the book and the main story in the back.

Gene Ha does some of his best work on the "World of Krypton" short story.  Innovative designs, non-standard panel layout, and fantastic art combine to make this a beautiful story to look at.  Morrison's story fills in some of the background of what went on during the final days of Krypton.

The main continues the story from the previous issues.  Clark is trying to bring down Glen Glenmorgan down while the media is opening an all out assault to ruin Superman.  Meanwhile, Lex Luthor finally comes face to face with the alien he has been in contact with.

Morrison and the various artists continue to make this a must read title.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Uncanny X-Men #1

Uncanny X-Men #1

Writer:  Kieron Gillen
Penciler:  Carlos Pacheo
Inker:  Cam Smith

The first X-Men story I read was back in the days before the New X-Men were introduce by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum.  Being a big Cockrum fan from his days on Legion of Super-Heroes I followed him to X-Men.  It quickly became a favorite of mine.  Under Claremont and Byrne, Uncanny X-Men was at the top of my reading stack.  Over the years it fell to being a title I would pick up but never got around to reading.  So with the announcement that the books were re-starting with issue number ones, I thought it would be a good time to try the titles again.

I found that the art by Pacheo and Smith was excellent.  Combined with the coloring of Frank D'Armata, the special effects pop off the page.  At times the backgrounds would be non-existent but D'Armata's coloring fills the gap.  They are definitely a team that needs to be on a flagship book.  I hope this team will stay together and not have to have fill-ins.

Gillen has been receiving critical acclaim for his work on "Journey into Mystery".  This is my first time to read one of his stories.  He has the unenviable task of balancing introducing new readers and updating existing readers to the cast of this title.  The story was a little weak and unmemorable until the battle scene.  What happens to Emma Frost in the battle will be interesting to follow up.

While not a favorite, it did enough to keep me interested for a few more issues.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Action #1, Superman #1

Superman #1

Script & Breakdowns:  George Perez
Pencils & Inks:  Jesus Merino

The best way to describe this is it was a mixed bag.  As always, the layouts by George Perez are excellent.  He puts more panels on a page than any other artist.  Jesus Merino manages to add little touches that allow his art to show through the layouts.  The most notable example are the scenes with Superman’s cape.  The cape looks like the way Moreno drew it in the past.  Other panels are very much like Perez.  Perez’s script leaves much to be desired.  The plot bounces all over the place without much focus.  Keith Giffin and Dan Jurgens are already announced to take over the series.  I think they will be better suited for Superman.  

Action #1

Writer:  Grant Morrison
Penciller:  Rags Morales
Inker:  Rick Bryant

I cannot remember any other Grant Morrison title that is this fast paced.  Action is an appropriate title for this comic.  Something that Morrison has done in this issue is he fills the story with characterization while the action is going on.  It is definitely one of the most accessible Morrison stories ever.  He continues to be one of my favorite writers.  Action #1 is a look back at the early days of Superman.  He is still working on his costume, establishing a life in Metropolis, and meeting some of his first enemies.  The art by Rags Morales compliments the script.  Morales adds little touches to help flesh out the characters.  Highly recommended.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teen Titans #1, Demon Knights #1, and Stormwatch #1

Teen Titans #1

Writer:  Scott Lobdell
Penciller:  Brett Booth
Inker:  Norm Rapmund

The media is showcasing how the new teen heroes are out of control.  Many times they are causing massive damage due to their inexperience.  Now various super teens are starting to disappear.  Tim Drake decides it is up to him to gather, train, and protect the next generation of heroes.  Scott Lobdell has crafted an interesting beginning to the Titans series.  In this issue we find out that the group who is behind the creation of Superboy is the group that is doing the kidnapping.  The ending of the first issue of Superboy ties in to the end of this issue.  Lobdell is off to a good start with this one.  The art by Brett Booth is not my favorite but is good enough to get by.  I will continue following this series.

Demon Knights #1

Writer:  Paul Cornell
Penciller:  Diogenes Neves
Inker:  Oclair Albert 

I will confess up front that Paul Cornell is one of my favorite writers.  I enjoyed his work on Doctor Who, Captain Britain, and his recent stint on Action Comics.  Demon Knights takes place following the fall of Camelot.  Cornell pulls together Madame Xanadu, The Demon, The Shining Knight, and others to form a team to battle Morgan le Fay and Mordru.  This issue sets the stage for things to come.  I liked the way he is starting the series.  The art by Diogennes Nieves is amazing.  Nieves looked good on the previous run of Green Arrow but he has stepped it up with this title.  Nieves classic art influences combined with super hero storytelling is perfect for this series.  Join up now for this interesting series.

Stormwatch #1

Writer:  Paul Cornell
Artist:  Miguel Sepulveda

I have heard complaints about the art of Sepulvida on this title.  Personally, I liked the art.  I have no problem with his work.  The complaint I heard about the writing is that Paul Cornell put too many characters in the first issue.  This is the opposite of the complaints critics have of Justice League #1.  Cornell filled this issue with at least cameos of a large cast and more ideas than many titles have in their first arc.  So even though you might not get attached to the characters in this issue, the ideas are worth the price of admission.  I have a feeling that this series will only get better as Cornell takes the time to focus on the various characters.

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Format-The New Justice Leagues

I am finding out that I read more than I can review.  So, at least for now, I will be posting short reviews in an attempt to keep up with my reading.

Justice League #1 and #2

Writer:  Geoff Johns
Penciller:  Jim Lee
Inker:  Scott Williams

I am one of the readers who loves Jim Lee’s art.  Some of the pages in these 2 issues are stunning.  Any book with Jim Lee pencils inked by Scott Williams Is a well-drawn book in my opinion.  Various reviewers have criticized Geoff Johns for not bringing the team together in the first issue.  I am enjoying seeing how they go from individuals to the Justice League we know and love.  The continued high sales show that I am not the only reader who is enjoying this title.  Highly recommended.

 Justice League International #1 and #2

Writer:  Dan Jurgens
Penciller:  Aaron Lopresti
Inker:  Matt Ryan

Aaron Lopresti is doing a fantastic job drawing this title in the classic comic book style.  Jurgens wastes no time in bringing the team together although there will be growing pains involved.  The plot comes off as a combination of a silver age story with a post-Giffin Justice League.  It might not appeal to modern readers.  I thought Jurgens’ work on the Booster Gold series was much better.  Still, it is a fun story that I will continue to follow.

Justice League Dark #1 and #2

Writer:  Peter Milligan
Artist:  Mikel Janin

The high points of this series is the combination of characters and the art of Mikel Janin.  Janin’s art is very good with some spectacular imagery.  The teaming of Deadman, Madame Xanadu, Zatanna, John Constantine, Shade the Changing Man, and Dove should make for an interesting team.  Unfortunately Peter Milligan’s story is somewhat lacking.  He is attempting to write like Alan Moore but is missing out on the plotting side.  Hopefully the story will come together in future issues.  I do like his characterization of Shade.  The theme of “broken people” is evident through the first 2 issues.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Aquaman #2

Writer:  Geoff Johns

Penciller:  Ivan Reis

Inker:  Joe Prado

DC Comics

Cover Date:  December 2011

Aquaman #1 was one of my favorites of the DC relaunch.  #2 did nothing to disappoint me.

Johns continues the story by showing us some scenes from Aquaman's youth.  Mera wants to try the different things that she sees in the pictures.  

The action ramps up this issue with the assault on the surface by the denizens of "The Trench" (seen on the cover).  The action is all out as Mera and Aquaman show their powers as they are attacked by the masses of "The Trench" creatures.  It appears that the creatures are searching for food.  Unfortunately for the inhabitants of this small sea side community, humans are on their menu.  The next issue blurb says that we will learn the secrets of the Trench.  I can't wait to see what Johns has planned.

Reis and Prado turn in another great art job.  Hopefully they can keep pace with the monthly publication level.  

Aquaman continues to be high on my reading list.

Aquaman #1

Writer:  Geoff Johns

Penciller:  Ivan Reis

Inker:  Joe Prado

DC Comics

Cover Date:  November 2011

In the new DC Universe, Aquaman and Mera decide to move into a lighthouse and live on the surface.  It is the lighthouse that he grew up in.  Meanwhile, under the surface of the ocean, a menace rises from "The Trench" and starts to invade the surface.

Johns stresses how powerful Aquaman can be.  His actions show that he can be very intimidating.  Many of the people he interacts with comment on what a joke he is based on "Saturday Night Live" skits.  I could have done with a little less of this and hope that it is played down in future stories.  Johns has crafted a solid beginning for the new adventures of Aquaman.

Reis and Prado make a great team.  Some times I thought the art looked like the early Marvel work of John Byrne.  At others, I was reminded of the work of Neal Adams.  Then it hit me.  The art in this issue reminds me of a classic "Hulk Annual" that featured John Byrne inked by Bob Layton.  This is high praise.

The combination of Johns' script with the great art of Reis and Prado made this one of my favorite books in the New DC.

Highly recommended.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Drax the Destroyer #1

Writer:  Keith Giffin

Artist:  Mitch Breitweiser

Marvel Comics

Cover Date:  November 2005

Drax the Destroyer was a character that I first encountered in the original Captain Marvel series.  He was brought in during the early days of Jim Starlin's epic battle between Captain Marvel and Thanos.

Drax was created as an unstoppable killing machine designed to take out Thanos.  In this issue, the first chapter of the Annihilation crossover, Drax is on board a prison ship.  Other inmates on the ship include Lunatik, Super Skrull and the Blood Brothers.  The ship crashes on Earth and the inmates escape.

The other storyline involves a young boy and girl who go to investigate the crash site.  The two stories meet at the end of this issue.

Giffin's story is light weight entertainment.  At this point, we are introduced to the various players but are not sure what this has to do with "Annihilation".  Every time I read a Marvel cosmic story, I end up comparing it to Starlin's magnum opus.  This story does not have the depth of the old classic.  Giffin does okay but it is very action oriented with little characterization.

The art by Mitch Breitweiser is another story.  Mitch does a great job with the kids.  The scenery is fantastic whether it is in space or on Earth.  I thought the     
inmates' faces were non-descript.  Overall I liked the artwork.  He does a solid, all around good job with the book.

I will be reading more issues in "Annihilation".  Keep an eye out for more work by this artist.

Friday, November 11, 2011

All Star Western #1

To read my review of All Star Western #1 over at my Pulp Times site, click here.

Reviews of comics that have more of a pulp theme will appear at Pulp Times.

Avengers Origins: Vision #1

Writers:  Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel

Artist:  Stephane Perger

Cover Date:  January 2012

The Avengers was one of the first series I read regularly.  At the time, it was written by Steve Englehart with various artists.  It did not take me long to start buying the various Marvel reprint titles and get up to date on the Stan Lee and Roy Thomas   runs on this title.  Through it's ups and downs with creative team changes, it remained one of my personal favorites.  When Brian Michael Bendis did his first arc "Avengers Disassembled", I knew it was going a direction that did not appeal to me.  I tried to keep reading it but the "Bendis approach" was not the style I liked on Avengers.  The only Avengers title I am currently reading is Christos Gage's "Avengers Academy".  It is more in the spirit of the old school series.  And that leads me to "Avengers Origins".

Higgins and Siegel have written a slightly different take on the origin of the Vision.  Roy Thomas did it originally.  This version stays true to the spirit of the original story.  This is what I would consider to be part of my Avengers.  If you are a fan of the old Avengers stories and are looking for something different from the current Bendis series, I strongly recommend picking this up.  

The art by Perger is in the painted style of Alex Ross.  Perger does an excellent job illustrating the story.  I will be looking for more of his work in the future.