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Author Topic: Reviews - This week in comics  (Read 3897 times)
Velorath
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Posts: 8288


on: February 17, 2005, 10:40:06 PM

First off, let me give you and idea of what to expect from these topics.  For the most part I'm going to be reviewing new series that pop up.  I could do a review of Astonishing X-Men #8 but if you're going to check it out you might as well just cave and buy the tpb and that's a whole separate review.  Plus, being a serial medium it's hard to review the middle part of a story without giving shit away to people who might actually be planning to read a series from the start where possible.  Most people here seem to be strictly tpb readers anyway so for many the reviews of the monthlies might just be a heads up to watch for the upcoming tpb.

Also of note, I don't have any sort of grading scale here.  With the talk of possible scorecards for MMORPG's I'll just say that should they ever do something similar with all their other reviews, than for the sake of simplicity that's what I'll use.  For the time being you're just going to have to decide if what I say about a comic makes it appealing enough to buy.  Ok, now onto the reviews.  For the ease of reading, each review will be it's own post.

Runaways Vol. 2 #1
Writer:  Brian K. Vaughan
Penciler:  Adrian Alphona

First up is our spotlight title, Runaways.  Now the typical trend these days is to drag out the opening storyline of a series for 6 issues and barely have anything happen.  Not so with this comic.  We're reintroduced to our central cast, get a fight scene against the Wrecking Crew, are introduced to the superhero equivalent of child stars in the Marvel Universe, and the basic plotline of who this "season's" villain is and why he needs to be stopped is set up.  As always I won't give much away, especially since most people here haven't read the first vol. of Runaways yet.  I will say that Excelsior, a support group of sorts for former teenage superheroes is particularly interesting and fans of third string characters like Darkhawk or Chamber will probably enjoy the concept even more.

If you're going to bother picking up anything from Marvel published in the past couple of years it should be this.  I'd even put this above Astonishing X-Men, and I love what Whedon is doing with that title.  Vaughan writes great dialogue, he keeps the story moving, and he's created Marvel's best new characters in recent memory.  The art is solid and the style distinctive.  For reference as to my taste in comic book art, I've always found one of the most important things is if you can look at the art without reading any of the dialogue and still get a good idea of what's happening.  The art in Runaways more than passes that test.

The biggest downside with this comic is that you really do need to read the first volume to get the most enjoyment out of this comic.  The don't explain nearly enough of the backstory of the characters, and new readers will walk away from the comic knowing more about the backstory of the members of Excelsior, the Wrecking Crew, or the villain, than they will about the Runaways themselves.
Velorath
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Posts: 8288


Reply #1 on: February 17, 2005, 11:01:54 PM

From the good to the cream of the crap:

Livewires (#1 of 6)

Writer:  Adam Warren
Penciler:  Rick Mays

Yes, I know Manga is a big market.  I know Marvel dreams of figuring out a way to penetrate that book store market and reach all the little kids buying the latest Japanese import comic.  Mimicking the art style isn't going to do it though if kids have to suffer through crap dialogue like "The who is, you can call me "Cornfed".  Something t'do with my husky midwestern probably-Lutheran cornhusker-ofensive-lineman extreme Caucasianness".  Fuck I realize these characters are all supposed to be robots (including the main character in a suprise "twist" you see coming from the first page), but there's still no excuse for this kind of writing.

Anyway this book is about a team of robots, each specialized to carry out various tasks who's mission is to... well fuck if I know really.  As far as I can tell their job is to is to spend an entire issue explaining what each of their specialties is while fighting flaming mechs made with technology from the original Human Torch.  There's something in there about destroying other top secret research programs but I can't be bothered to care.  I mean for fuck's sake, one of the robot's is codenamed Gothic Lolita.  Steer well clear of this comic
Velorath
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Posts: 8288


Reply #2 on: February 17, 2005, 11:24:33 PM

Damn Nation #1

Writer:  Andrew Cosby
Art:  J. Alexander

While Livewires is a comic book killed by crap writing, Damn Nation seems well written enough and the basic concept could work, but the art is so dark and blurry that it's like watching that last fight in that fucking Hulk movie in a smoke filled room, while wearing dirty glasses.  You'll never be able to tell who any of the characters are, and unless someone on panel is describing what is going on, good luck trying to figure it out.  Anyway the basic plot is that a Russian cargo ship has been found drifting about 5 miles off from Miami with about 300 dead crewmembers.  The cause of death is suspected to be some sort of bioweapon, but while the government is investigating, the bodies start to move and stand up.  The story then cuts to 5 years later, but not enough information is given after that to really get a good idea of what's happened in those years or what state the world is in.  We get some story about British Intelligence intercepting a transmission about a possible cure and sending a team to check it out, and we learn that the Americans have sent their own team in but as of yet there doesn't seem to be any central character and since I haven't heard anything about this book before reading it, I'm not sure what the overall idea behind it is.

I'll give this book another issue or two since I'm curious where the plot's going and what the basic concept is, but it's going to have to be pretty damn interesting in order for me to look past the art.  I understand trying to set a mood but damn...  Not recommended, but not terrible either.



Continued tomorrow with a review of the first three issues of Garth Ennis' 303.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2005, 10:22:13 AM by Velorath »
HaemishM
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Posts: 41230

Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you and other troops you control.


WWW
Reply #3 on: February 18, 2005, 09:13:45 AM

one of the robot's is codenamed Gothic Lolita.

That in conjunction with being a managa copy attempt was more than enough to keep me from ever wanting to read this book.

Velorath
Contributor
Posts: 8288


Reply #4 on: February 18, 2005, 09:22:05 AM

one of the robot's is codenamed Gothic Lolita.

That in conjunction with being a managa copy attempt was more than enough to keep me from ever wanting to read this book.

Yeah but you watched Catwoman for us so I figured it was my turn to suffer for the greater good.
HaemishM
Staff Emeritus
Posts: 41230

Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you and other troops you control.


WWW
Reply #5 on: February 18, 2005, 09:38:18 AM

FOR GREAT JUSTICE!

Velorath
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Posts: 8288


Reply #6 on: February 18, 2005, 11:17:30 AM

303 #1-3

Writer:  Garth Ennis
Art:  Jacen Burrows


Pretty much anyone who has read Preacher knows that Garth Ennis is a pretty fucking talented writer.  Not all his comics have been great (Just a Pilgrim stands out to me as one of his lesser efforts), but for the most part you can pick up one of his comics and even if the subject isn't something you're particularly interested in, you'll probably still enjoy reading it.  Take 303 for example.  Here we have Russians, Brits, and Americans all fighting in present day Afghanistan over a downed American aircraft possibly carrying sensative materials.  As far as plots go it's not all that stellar, nor something I would have gone out of my way to read if just about anyone else had written.  The real strength of this book though is Ennis' obvious love of military history and the cat and mouse game between the British S.A.S. team.

Our main character (we aren't given his name) is an aging Russian soldier leading his team in to try to make it to the aircraft first, and get out before the Americans show up.  He's a strong leader, but for all the combat he's seen in his lifetime he's starting to have doubts that any of it has meant anything in the long run.  After all, for all of Russia's great military victories in the past, present-day Russia isn't doing all that well.  The events of the first three issues (which apparently comprise part 1 of the overall story) seem to be a set-up for a change in his character, but what exactly that change is and what direction the series is going in next isn't obvious yet.  Taken on their own though, we get a decent story made better by the historical details Ennis throws in, and the interaction between the various characters.

Some people might not like the anti-US stuff thrown in though.  For instance, the government seems only too willing to wipe out a whole village near the crash site and kill their allies to protect what was on the plane.  Personally I'm not offended by that kind of thing, but I just think it's too easy these days to use the corrupt American government as villains.  It's like back in the old days when it was always the communists that were the bad guys.  That's my only real complaint with the story though, and it's a minor one for me.

I recommend checking this one out of you like Ennis.  This is coming from a smaller publisher though (Avatar) so I'm not sure if tpb's are planned for this one yet.  You might want to pick up the issues now while they're still fairly easily available.
stray
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Posts: 16818

has an iMac.


Reply #7 on: February 18, 2005, 11:28:02 AM

Quote from: Garth Ennis
This is the strangest damn thing I've written in a long, long time.

Heh, I think I'll be picking it up then..
Llava
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Posts: 4602

Rrava roves you rong time


Reply #8 on: February 18, 2005, 12:00:30 PM

Thanks for the tips.  I'll yell at my brother to pick up Runaways.  Shouldn't take too much effort.  He's a Vaughan fan, and we both read the initial run.  Looking forward to seeing Chamber again.

That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell. -Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
Velorath
Contributor
Posts: 8288


Reply #9 on: February 25, 2005, 07:59:56 PM

Due to lackluster new releases this week I won't be doing any reviews for single issues.  Next week we get the final issue of Rising Stars, the start of Marvel's Age of Apocalypse sequel, and the first issue of Ultimate Iron Man, written by Orson Scott Card (author of Ender's Game).
Ironwood
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Posts: 28240


Reply #10 on: February 27, 2005, 12:04:19 PM

the first issue of Ultimate Iron Man, written by Orson Scott Card (author of Ender's Game).


You're kidding ?  How cool would that be - Unless he lets his obvious religous bias of his last couple of novels seep through and fucking ruin it all again.

(Sorry, still pissed about the way the Maker Books turned out.  Big ole' bucket o shite.)

"Mr Soft Owl has Seen Some Shit." - Sun Tzu
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