Saturday, May 28, 2011

Week in Review 5/28/11

American Vampire #15
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Company: Vertigo
A great issue to an all together great series.  American Vampire, certainly one of Vertigo's best, is constantly at the top of my read pile, as the level of quality in both the writing and the art is so high.  With this issue, one that sees a new breed of Vampire as the group of hunters make their way into a small town on the island in the South Pacific, that status quo hasn't changed one bit.  Snyder still provides a taut story, one that has action and suspense in copious amounts, and Albuquerque's art is breathtaking.  His designs for the new, feral vampire, are creepy with its Alien-like flavor.
 Seeing them slither and claw their way across the page has a skin crawling effect.  Overall, Skinner Sweet is my new favorite vampire to root for.  Making a bad guy that likable is a feat all on its own and only goes to show how good of a writer Scott Snyder has become.

FF #4
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Barry Kitson
Company: Marvel Comics
I remember when comics only came out monthly.  FF has somehow become a bi-weekly book.  It seems insane, but you won't hear me complaining one single bit, as Jonathan (Nightly News/Secret Warriors) has hit another one right out of the Universe.  It's not that every single issue is a barn burner in the way of action or truly, in the way of any one thing.  No, what's really great about FF is the way that Hickman has been building this story for his entire run.  That and the fact that he really gets these characters.  The opening with a conversation between Susan Richards and Peter Parker talking about sandwich crusts is indicative of the kind of stuff that I'm talking about.  Barry (The Order) Kitson steps in for Epting, and while I think Epting was doing a bang-up job, Kitson's stuff here seems better suited to FF.  The way he is able to capture the character's expressiveness in each panel just sells the drama and humor and adventure just a little bit more.  This continues to be the best run on FF that's happened in several years.

Green Lantern #66
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Company: DC Comics
The seventh part of the War of the Green Lanterns story, and probably one of the standouts for me.  Mahnke's art really takes top billing too.  It's not that Johns' script is bad, because it isn't.  In fact there are several great scenes that spotlight different characters along with scenes that are creepy and effective.  The scene with Sinestro as he travels through the pages of the Black Book topped it all though.  Johns has made Sinestro such an interesting character and he's come so far from being a simple bad guy to being someone like Magneto.  Still, Mahnke's art, everything from the ability to draw some bad ass looking Entity infused Guardians (love the designs and how they move on the page) to capturing Hal and Guy's emotions as they wrestle with their newly donned rings.  This is the kind of issue I've come to expect from Green Lantern.

Green Lantern Corps #60
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Tyler Kirkham
Company: DC Comics
Let me say this first...I miss Peter Tomasi on this book.  Tomasi was able to really capture the team feel of what this book should be while at the same time spotlighting Guy Gardner, Jon Stewart and Kyle Rayner.  Bedard's scripts however have felt uneven and have teetered back and forth between solid and mediocre.  This eight chapter of the War of the Green Lanterns falls into the mediocre category.  I actually like Kyle Rayner as a Blue Lantern, as it makes a certain amount of sense, but Jon Stewart as a member of the Indigo Tribe member is odd.  Not only is his indigo fatigues kind of silly, (though I know with him being in the Army, it makes sense) but this issue sees that character do something really out of character.  I see why it was done for story purposes, it just didn't make sense for Stewart to be the man behind the trigger.  I won't spoil what happens, as that's not what I do here, but the "event" has truly hurt the overall upswing that the battle with Krona has been taking.

Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #10
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Fernando Pasarin
Company: DC Comics
Character spotlight, that's what Tomasi does here as we see our Earth Clan Green Lanterns take advantage of the chaos from the last issue and bring the fight directly to Paralax.  Which character gets the limelight?  Hal Jordan?  Nope, that honor would go to Guy Gardner.  Tomasi gets Gardner and I love the way that he utilizes him.  Seeing him put through his paces, be a total jerk and still be the hero that he ultimately is just good story telling.  Pasarin's art is on the nose as well.  He gets to draw a ton of Lanterns, both alien and human, and does it quite well.  However, there is an unevenness to some of it, but I tend to think that was because there were about five different inkers for this issue.  It's tough to have a uniformed look with that many people on art duties.  Overall though, a good if not great issue.  This story arc has one more issue to go.  I'm curious to see where it goes.

The Mighty Thor #2
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Olivier Coipel
Company: Marvel Comics
Oh, if only there could be as much satisfaction in Fear Itself as there was in this second issue of Thor's new title.  Fraction is a fantastic writer, but sometimes his tales meander and take too long to find their footing.  With Mighty Thor, that is not a problem.  Right from the get go we have interesting ideas at work as we see Thor and Sif train a band of men to be a new "Brigade of Realms" by pitting them against a Stone Colossus.  From there we have solid character moments, Silver Surfer doing Silver Surfer-y type things and a threat from beyond that makes sense and holds great possibilities.  I kind of wish that Fraction wasn't in love with this jerk version of Odin, as he's always seemed to be good natured in the Thor stories that I've read over the years.  The art is damn impressive.  Period.  Coipel has continued to be a great artist and with people like Mark Morales and Laura Martin backing him up, his art only can look better.  An issue packed to the gills with all kinds of cool.

Ruse #3
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Minck Oosterveer
Company: Marvel Comics
The mystery continues!  Mark Waid constantly seems to be able to provide extremely satisfying entertainment, case in point this third issue of Ruse.  The pacing and the clever story points make the book a riot to read, as does the ever developing larger arc.  Quite a bit happens in this issue, but one of the main things was that it introduces Simon's arch nemesis, Lightbourne.  He's a mad genius and as evil as a snake, so I imagine the inevitable meeting of the minds will be well worth the wait.  Still, seeing Emma Bishop "box" here was a fantastic character moment, one of many, really.  Minck (The Unknown) Oosterveer takes over on the art duties, and while I think he is a little less polished than Mirco Pierfederici, the change up in artists is a fairly smooth transition.  I wish that his faces were a little more detailed, but he makes up for that with his backgrounds.  The addition of Laura Martin's sublime colors helps too.

Wolverine #9
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Daniel Acuña
Company: Marvel Comics
Wolverine's back from hell, his mind is semi-hole...What's he want to do?  Sit back and drink a few brews and take it easy?  Enjoy the company of friends?  Nah, that's stuff's for sissies.  What he wants is revenge, and he sets his sights directly on Mystique.  And that is pretty much what this issue entails, as Mystique is on the run from the word go from not just Wolverine but from a few other sources as well.  Aaron knows how to script extremely readable action sequences, so there's no lack of those.  The story seems a little less beefy than it should, though there is a shock or two and a subtle and fun ending.  Daniel (Black Widow/The Eternals) Acuña's artwork is solid, but there's something to it that leaves me cold.  The colors, for the seemingly dark affair and hardcore action, seem too bright and the line work doesn't "move" as well as I think it should.  Overall, Aaron's story is the main reason to seek this one out.

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