Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Week in Review 8/9/11

Avengers Academy #17
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Sean Chen
Company: Marvel Comics
If you're seeking out a great companion piece to the Fear Itself title, and maybe a title that provides a bit more in the way of a cohesive and entertaining experience, might I direct you to a little book called Avengers Academy.  I hadn't been paying it much attention lately, but because of a friend, I went back to it and found that Gage was exploring the Fear Itself story in better ways and offering up character bits and action that felt ten times more expressive and interesting than any other book bearing the sub-title of the Event.  One of the major themes, as we see the members of this team
take on Nazi robots and Asgardian Gods,  are the repercussions of doing the right thing in battle, be they emotional or physical.  The characters feel very genuine and the story never feels preachy or corny.  It also is extremely well paced, layering action and character  over each other in very cool ways.  Sean Chen's art is gorgeous to boot.  It's expressive, the lines are perfect, especially with Andrew Hennessy's inks, and not a detail is ignored.  A great issue, from cover to cover.

Batman Arkham City #4
Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Carlos D'Anda
Company: DC Comics
The action packed issue of Arkham City is here, as Batman tries to wriggle out of the trap laid by his enemies in the confines of this city sized prison.  Really, this is one of the best comic/video game tie-ins that I've seen.  There's actual story to chew on that is engaging and entertainment, oh how it abounds!  Dini also cleverly covers a lot of cool tech stuff amidst the fighting and the explosions, stuff that we've both seen before and teasers for new gear.  On the art side of things, D'Anda has done some surprising things.  At first glance there really wasn't much too it, but as the story has gone on, the way that he sets up action is fairly notable.  It's clean and well defined, exciting and in your face.  I also think that his storytelling in general is a cut above the rest.  Overall, if you're getting the game in October, seek this series out.  Even if you aren't and are just in the mood for a great Batman story, seek this one out, as you're not going to go wrong.

Dungeons and Dragons #9
Writer: John Rogers
Artist: Andrea Di Vito
Company: IDW Publishing
Our noble (or not so noble) members of Fell's Five are stuck in the Feywild and are desperate for a way out back to their traditional plane of existence.  Will it be easy?  Come on, who're you kidding?  Dungeons and Dragons continues to be as enjoyable and fun as ever.  Rogers never disappoints on the character front, as he always drops tid-bits here and there that expands not only on the history of each individual, but the world around them as well.  Roger's depiction of Khal and the way that he is instrumental in escaping a rather sticky situation is insanely spot on and a perfect example as to the non hack and slash ideas that some D&D games really rely on.  Di Vito doesn't change up his game much.  Things still have a great look to them and he keeps knocking the scenery and character emotion sides of the equation out of the park.  The book, and this issue, keeps you on your toes with cool action and keeps your gut aching from the copious amounts of laughter that it elicits.  What more could you want?

Elric the Balance Lost #2
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Francesco Biagini
Company: Boom! Studios
With the first issue being a great intro point for the characters of Moorcock lore, and supplying some intriguing ideas and great art, I had high hopes for this second issue.  What we got was a little more of the same, with a few misses along the way.  I still like the Order/Chaos balance that the characters of the story are tying to preserve, not to mention Biagini's beautiful tapestry of insanity and the monsters who inhabit such a place.  The problem that this issue faces is that there is almost too much happening.  There are at least three, possibly four, stories going on at once, each one with their own sets of characters and nuances to remember.  It feels a bit scatter shot where it could have been more focused.  That said, there are many scenes that champion what true fantasy stories should.  All in all, there's a lot to like here, but I feel that reading it altogether instead of in single issue format may be the way to go.

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