Friday, March 16, 2012

Week in Review 3/16/12

Green Lantern #7
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Company: DC Comics
After the less than stellar outing last month, with art that did more to drive interest down than anything, Green Lantern gets back to what it does best: Make you care about Sinestro. It's a strange truth, but Sinestro is the better character compared to the somewhat bland Hal, and with the focus shifting more in his favor the story definitely sees an uptick. This issue also begins to hint at what and who exactly Indigo-1 is and what the Indigo Tribe's reason for being ultimately is. It's been a long time coming and hopefully, like the other back stories for the Rainbow Corps, it delivers. Having Mahnke on the art makes a huge difference as well. His style is slick and smooth and sensational, like a wake up call of cosmic cool. The action, even if it is simply Sinestro and Hal going at each other's throats for the thousandth time, is lively and couldn't look better. Back on track and though it is a brief issue, it is satisfying.

Batman & Robin #7
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Company: DC Comics
Seven issues for your opening story arc is long. It just is and its asking a lot from your audience to keep invested and remember every little thing that's happening. I could easily see how this could have been chopped down into four or five issues, tightened up and made much more of a smoother experience. That said, Tomasi and Gleason's character driven tale of past history coming back to bite Batman and Son in the ass was quite strong. The crux of the entire story was the emotion, and in that respect, Tomasi more than held up the end of the bargain with his complex examination of the Bruce and Damian relationship. Of course, being Batman there is still an abundance of action to sink your teeth into as well. Gleason, who's art has that certain flash about it, makes this final onslaught on NoBody look tremendous. The battle is punchy and stabby and full of vengeance. A solid outing and more than that, a good ending, one that asks even more questions about what's to come.

Thief of Thieves #2
Writers: Robert Kirkman & Nick Spencer
Artist: Shawn Martinbrough
Company: Image Comics
Where I thought the first issue of Thief of Thieves to be a fun crime book that fans of Criminal could curl up and find homey, this second issue is much more interesting and entertaining. A few more plot threads and complications are introduced into Conrad Paulson's life, most notably the resurgence of the family that he left behind. Conflict, no matter in what form, often makes a story seem to tick with a life of its own and the scenes that involve our main character's ex-wife, both in the past and present, bristle with chomp worthy conflict. Martinbrough's artwork continues to impress, invoking the realism in this slightly larger than life story. Light and shadow and the ability to crack heads with the portrayal of emotion keep the pages turning. All in all, if you're a fan of Michael Mann, Thief of Thieves is a book you need to check out.

Conan the Barbarian #2
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Becky Cloonan
Company: Dark Horse Comics
Easily the most exciting Conan comic book in quite some time, Brain Wood and Becky Cloonan continue to exceed expectations. The grit and fantasy aspects, the things that you know should be there, are readily identifiable but what is more impressive is the depth of character. The Conan on display here as we see him go head to head with Belit is vivid and unwavering and the other characters that surround him, both villain and pirate and friend, are taken that next step as well. Cloonan's artistic take on the proceedings is a great example of the term eye candy. I don't mean that in the traditional sense, instead I mean it in the sense that everything in every panel is worth taking in and devouring. The action, the character bits, the bloodshed, the seduction...All of it is drawn with such an intensity and beauty that while it looks so different from what we're used to, underneath it all it still beats with the heart of a Cimmerian.

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode #6
Writer: Justin Jordan
Artist: Tradd Moore
Company: Image Comics
That is how you end a book. Endings, for whatever medium you happen to be writing for, are one of the most difficult things to get right and there's always going to be people who are unhappy. Luther Strode gets an ending, one that feels natural and right for a book that has constantly shown us darkness and violence are what makes Luther's world go round. It's a battle to end all battles, one filled with neck snapping and entrails dangling. It's highly satisfying work from Jordan. Likewise for Moore with the art. It is neck and neck with the story, taking the insanity that lies in Jordan's words and paints a bloody and visceral and heartfelt picture with them. Truly, a mini-series that delivered the necessary goods. Buy it. 

Avengers Assemble #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mark Bagley
Company: Marvel Comics
With the Avengers movie coming out in a few short months, it makes sense to try and capitalize on it by throwing out a new Avengers comic with a new number one attached to it. What doesn't make sense is the fact that the book is disappointing and dull. The basis for this first story is setting up a new super villain organization, their names based on the Zodiac, and how awesome and powerful they are. So awesome that they can pretty much wipe the floor with any Avenger that gets in their way. Yeah, that's a great way to start things off and isn't a trope that has been played to death at this point, right? Bagley, who has turned in great things time and time again with Ultimate Spider-Man and Thunderbolts, turns in some fairly mediocre work here. The pencils look rough and choppy at times, giving the whole book an almost unfinished like quality to it. Not the best first issue, I'm afraid. 

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