Friday, April 20, 2012

Week in Review 4/20/12

Batman #8
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Company: DC Comics
The Night of Owls begins, and I have to say, bring on the Night! Snyder knows a thing or two about ratcheting up the tension of a story, something that he plainly shows here as the numerous Talons of our very own Secret Society of Psychopaths take to the streets in search of their various high value targets. Among them is Bruce Wayne. Seeing Wayne actually fight as Wayne, instead of as Batman, is
always a cool thing to see. It's a small way to add an almost disturbing sense to the frenetic energy that is being tossed about in this already overwhelming situation. Capullo continues to grow as an artist. There has always been a McFarlene influence to it, but now there's an almost Jim Lee like quality to his anatomy and storytelling. The way that he makes his backgrounds, in this case Wayne Manor, such a key element to the book is quickly becoming one of my favorite things. He utilizes it so well and creates such an integral sense of mood with it. He also has a stranglehold on the action portion of the book. Such a meaty, finger-nail biting issue that its easy to forget to mention the wonderful backup with Rafael (American Vampire) Albuquerque artwork. But that would be insane, considering it's beautiful and plays an important role in bridging the main story to the events that will happen in the various other titles being brought into this Event. Jump on board and enjoy the ride, folks!

Justice League #8
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Carlos D'Anda, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, & Gary Frank
Company: DC Comics
While opening strong, the enjoy-ability curve on Justice League has dropped steeply into the red with each subsequent issue. There have been a few spikes of fun, but for the most part it's a book that is treading water and focusing on this weird team dynamic that sees most of the team at each other's throats. Add to that the inclusion of the new version of Green Arrow, a character who's essentially a schmuck (but in a non traditional Green Arrow type way) who is vying for the acceptance of the team, and a few vignettes that tease Amazo and The Night of Owls stuff and you get a book that covers a lot of ground but is very unsatisfying. The one uptick is the strong work put out by artist Carlos D'Anda. I like the more angular structure to his characters. It feels a lot like Ed McGuiness taken to that next step in detail, and he's able to convey a great sense of action and energy through those lines. Reis' contribution is a few pages at the end, which reveal a crucial bit of backstory of the team. The second backup with Billy Batson continues, but I really wish it wouldn't. The snot-nosed child who hates everything is bland and while I love Gary Frank's artwork, this much darker approach to Shazam is less than stellar.

Uncanny X-Force #24
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Phil Noto
Company: Marvel Comics
First and foremost, the inclusion of artist Phil Noto continues the uncanny tradition of stellar artists who grace this title. His clean lined and poppy style, with Dean White's lush colors, meshes perfectly with this somewhat serious tale of revenge. His action is not as smooth as say, Opena's, but Noto's storytelling is so strong. Remender gets down and dirty with the story, as we see members of X-Force go after AoA Iceman, a guy who's just enjoying the finer things that this world has to offer. Remender still delivers that same coupling of humor, heart-ache, and violence that has been a constant throughout. He humanizes these characters, like I've said before, and it's amazing the level of depth that he's been able to go to with the whole Psylocke and Fantomex relationship. It keeps getting more and more twisted by the minute. I also have to be thankful that, while the majority of the tie-ins for AvX have been decent, that this book is set apart from that and is its own thing. 

Punisher #10
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Mark Checchetto
Company: Marvel Comics
And another one bites the dust. Another solid issue that is. The second part of The Omega Effect storyline, this time solely written by Rucka, proves to be just as entertaining and enjoyable as the previous. Rucka is able to find that quintessential Peter Parker quip while keeping the more sinister tone that he's been building in the Punisher book. I still find the notion of giving Frank a "side-kick" to be strange, but it works. So do the twists and turns that this story takes as our three heroes take on A.I.M., Hydra, The Hand, and various other organizations. Checchetto has found that comfortable niche, and he's really got his groove. There's still a slight amount of stiffness to be had, but the action is much more fluid and Marvel than it has been in the past. Can't wait to see how this one shakes out next week.

The Sixth Gun #21
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Brian Hurtt
Company: Oni Press
For those of you who grew up with the G.I. Joe comic, the issue number 21 should ring a bell fairly loudly in your head. If it doesn't or if you never have read the issue, take this opportunity. I'll wait. Have you done it? It shouldn't take you a ton of time, as it's a completely silent issue, but that doesn't dampen the badass-ness that was found within. In a move that can only be described as AMAZING, they decide to homage said issue here with a silent issue of their own as a temporarily deaf Becky invades an enemy stronghold to save Drake and put the kibosh on a group of dastardly individuals. The script is so tight and flows beautifully that while there are no words, the story plays out effortlessly and the gun battle which ensues looks spectacular. That is completely on the shoulders of artist Brian Hurtt. He blows the roof off of the place with a cover that not only homages another book, but it perfectly conveys what is happening inside. With that and a whole hell of a lot of slick lines that are as clear as day and as powerful as a bullet to the head, and you get a story that stands out among the pack.  

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