Friday, September 16, 2011

Week in Review 9/16/11

Fear Itself #6
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Company: Marvel Comics
Summer Event. These two words usually are synonymous with stories that feature action, adventure, grand ideas, all mixed up with a bit of sashaying fun that gets your noggin in the game. For all of the problems that I ended up having with things like Civil War, Secret Invasion, and World War Hulk, they had those crucial things. That and they got people talking about comics on a very positive note. Fear Itself feels like the awkward step child that is standing alone in a crowded room that no one wants to talk to. Why? It's boring. Plain and simple. It's drawn out, features strange characterizations (Angry Odin, Milita Making Steve Rogers, and the Sad Sack Avengers), and for the most part this is an issue where people yell at each other.  There is no action. Let me repeat that...There no action to speak of. Now, Stuart Immonen still gets to draw some interesting things. We visit the forges of Svaatalfheim, see Thor get some new duds that actually look swanky and shiny at the same time, and overall, his style is just nice and engaging to look at. And while that is good, visuals alone can't sustain interest without a compelling tale to go along with it. Fear Itself misses the mark entirely.

Daredevil #3
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Paolo Rivera
Company: Marvel Comics
Okay, let's just chain Mark Waid to a desk and tell him that he has to continue to write Daredevil for the rest of his days. I know it sounds mean and all, but it's just how it has to be. That's how good this book is and how quickly it's gone from being a depressing, look how far Daredevil has fallen into the depths of emotional Hell this week tale to a off the wall, fun, riotous tale of swashbuckling adventure that spans from cover to cover. This issue, which pits Ol' Hornhead against the dastardly villain Klaw, is clever. It's a fight that's happened before, but Waid brings the unexpected and plays up the hero that Matt Murdock is, both in his superhero life and in the life as a lawyer who wants nothing more than to help an innocent man. On top of that we have Rivera's extraordinary artwork. It's lithe, sexy, experimental, and so easy on the eyes. I still say that his portrayal of how Daredevil's extrasensory perceptions function is perhaps the best I've ever seen. We know Daredevil has these powers, and have seen them in action before, but there's something more visceral in the portrayals here.  So yes, Daredevil is a comic that demands to be taken notice of. It is a powerhouse of entertainment.

Fear Itself Hulk versus Dracula #1
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Company: Marvel Comics
One of the odder things to come out of the whole Fear Itself tomfoolery, and really, this one may end up being one of the more enjoyable ones. Gischler, who was the man behind the whole X-Men/Vampire affair that occurred a few months back, again delves into the political structure of the Vampire world, this time throwing in a super powered Hulk who happens to be tearing through their domain, inch by inch. It's a fun concept and the execution, while standard, covers all of the right bases. He also creates a new vampire hit squad, which feels a little Blade 2 in a lot of ways, but I still found the notion to be neat. Gischler's Dracula is definitely a strategist, and seeing that going head to head with a powerhouse like Hulk just makes for some interesting story telling. Stegman's art brings quite a bit to the table. There's an almost Ed McGuiness feel to it. There's some solid anatomy, dynamic action (as we see Hulk smash vamps head's off and pulverize tanks), and an extremely fun nature to the proceedings. All in all, a fun tale that I can get behind. Wish there were more Fear Itself titles like this.

Amazing Spider-Man #669
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Company: Marvel Comics
Classic case of good ideas mixed with bad, never ending, Energizer Bunny ones. Slott again crams a whole hell of a lot into this issue. That's not necessarily a bad idea, but it's extending this sort of hokey storyline, a story that really should have only lasted an issue or two, to lengths that make you shake your fist at the comic book gods and scream, "Why?" I am still enjoying Peter's relationship with Carlie, seen here as they fight crime together (such a cool scene), but the story beats that include Anti-Venom, The Jackal, and the "shock" reveal at the end (which included a character that I have no recollection of ever having seen), leave a Clone Saga taste in my mouth that has an immediate backlash. Still, Ramos is getting to have a lot of fun with this story. His eccentric and more exaggerated line work really gives Spider-Man an edge and a greater sense of movement than a lot of artists give him. It's also just kind of neat to see Peter Parker, sans costume, leaping around with web shooters, fighting crime.  Not the worst book by any means, but it's got issues...some debilitating, some not.


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