Saturday, May 21, 2011

Week in Review 5/21/11

Avengers #13
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Chris Bachalo
Company: Marvel Comics
Let's first talk about Bachalo's art, as really, it was the only thing about this issue that popped.  It was interesting to see Bachalo work within the confines of Bendis' wordy script.  I tend to prefer him when he's allowed to run wild with his out of the box art, but I can understand where some people have a problem with his readability and focus.  That said, his depiction of the Avengers team is pretty good.  They look lean and tough and ready to take on the forces of evil.  Except, these Avengers happen to live in a Bendis comic, where for the most part, that action
has been supplanted by Sitcom.  I have a hard time wrapping my head around the notion that Avengers has become such a thing instead of an action extravaganza, but that's what we have: Spider-Woman using her spider-pheromones to seduce Hawkeye, Luke Cage crowing about opening a Mead Bar and Red Hulk pulling a Cool Hand Luke.  All in all a cringe worthy affair.  At least it looks pretty, I guess.

Batman and Robin #23
Writer: Judd Winick
Artists: Guillem March & Andrei Bressan
Company: DC Comics
First off, the cover for this one is pretty great.  A distinct and irreverent call back to the first issue of the series done in a very Frank Quitely style by the super talented Guillem (Gotham City Sirens) March.  What's on the inside?  That would be Winick's return to the character of Red Hood.  Pretty much the entire issue is devoted to him and what has been happening to him since Bruce Wayne's return.  In the hands of another writer, I would tend to say that such a concept would come off as being dull.  With Winick however, and his ability to really turn the knob to Eleven whilst writing anything associated with Batman, it's anything but.  Over the top, adrenaline and revenge fueled action is the name of the game.  My only complaint for the issue was that March couldn't pencil the entire thing.  Bressan is a fine artist, but March's expressiveness and quasi-abstract style gives things a bit more impact.  Solid enough all around to recommend though.

Booster Gold #44
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund
Company: DC Comics
Not the most exciting book on the stands, but one worth picking up, especially if you find yourself being pulled like Tony Montana into Flashpoint.  I will give points to Jurgens, of Superman fame, for stealthily filling people in on what's been going on with Booster Gold for the last year or so while at the same time providing a fish out of water tale.  The story certainly doesn't lay down all of the answers that you want to know about the new timestream/world, but there are nice teases and a cool cliffhanger ending that could certainly have some ramifications.  Skeets continues to be a standout character for me, and I like Jurgen's take on him.  The art is very traditional in its look and feel.  It's clean and crisp and easy on the eyes.  Again like the story, there's that whole nothing to write home about, nothing to complain about dynamic.

Heroes For Hire #7
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Tim Seeley
Company: Marvel Comics
I sometimes feel like a broken record when I talk about a Abnett and Lanning book, proclaiming their abilities and their uncanny knack for putting out a comic that reminds people what comics should strive to be. But a broken record I shall be as I can't stop from doing it.  This issue picks up right where the last one left off, with Spider-Man taking over for Paladin and infiltrating a warehouse where supposed evil is going down.  DnA's Spider-Man is perfect.  They get the witty banter portion of the character, which is all important, but they also take him seriously too.  The one thing I wasn't expecting was that this issue called back to every issue that proceeded it, tying loose ends together into a bigger mystery.  Tim (Hack/Slash) Seeley's artwork here is some of the best work he has done to date.  The anatomy is solid, the action is distinct and the details, both in backgrounds and in the characters themselves, help immerse the reader deeper into the story.  Heroes for Hire is simply one of Marvel's best books.  Seek it out.

Ultimate Comics Spider-man #158
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mark Bagley
Company: Marvel Comics
This is where things get strange.  For some ungodly reason, where Ultimate Spider-Man is concerned, Bendis can write a story that not only has equal parts of his trademark "witty" banter (that actually works for the most part) and fun ACTION.  It's so bizarre that he can do this here but not in the 616 Universe.  As issues go, it's a decent one.  It continues the "Death of Spider-Man" arc, sees an injured Parker still being a hero no matter what and has some clever plot points.  I kept thinking that something silly would happen that would punk Parker out, but it seems that Bendis is taking things fairly seriously and will follow the adage of a character not going down without a fight.  I respect that.  Bagley's art is Bagley's art, if that makes sense.  I will say that his pencils in this issue were a bit rougher than we've seen in awhile, almost as if he was rushing a bit too much.  The end result is a issue that works and I'm curious to see where things go from here.

Uncanny X-force #10
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Billy Tan
Company: Marvel Comics
With this issue, things seem to be back on track.  And by that I mean a track of murderous rampage and horror, as we see Angle succumb to his darker half.  Normally, seeing a hero do such things is an immediate turn off and makes me want to throw the book across the room.  Rememder's notion on why this is exactly happening though makes a lot of sense and saves it from my own variation on the "Fastball Special."  Tan is still chugging away here, providing strong pencils for the proceedings.  He really has improved exponentially over the years, gaining a stronger story telling ability and a cleaner layout of things.  All in all, after the misstep last issue, my constant need to know what happens next in this book has returned.


  1. Have you been reading the same Avengers series written by Bendis that started last year as me?
    The first twelve issue were chockful of action.

    I haven't read #13 yet, but a nice, slow, breather issue is something that sounds good for this series, before it steps in another actionpacked adventure.

  2. Honestly Médard, my track record with the Avengers is a little iffy, so beyond the time jumping craziness of the first few issues or so, I haven't been keeping up with it. It simply wasn't the Avengers that I wanted. I decided to check back in with this issue, and was sort of irritated by the lack of action and the jokes that seemed out of character or missed their mark.

    But now that you mention the action that's been going on, I'm curious to go back and check it out.

  3. And while those first few issues did have action in them, gorgeously drawn by Romita Jr (that scene where Thor slams Kang really stuck in my head) they also had quite a bit of angst and mis-characterization (the Wonder Man bits).

    I will always state that Bendis is a great writer. I own a ton of his stuff...Sometimes though, I think team books just aren't his strong point.

  4. I can agree with you, that team books aren't his strong point. Even tough his characters interact somewhat, most of the time it doesn't seem to get beyond the cracks and exposition. While in his Ultimate Spider-Man the characters really interact and show depth. Ultimate Spider-Man also has a small cast of characters which you could see as a team consisting of Spider-Man, Human Torch, Iceman, Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy.

    It would be nice to get the same level of depth in his Avengers titles like his Ultimate Spider-Man work. To me, it seems most of the characters are standing still, development wise. That count even a bit for his beloved Luke Cage and Jessica Jones.

  5. This is Médard by the way, somehow I can't reply anymore with my Google ID.