Thursday, June 28, 2012

Batman Inc. #2

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Company: DC Comics

An important issue not only for the story that Grant Morrison has been telling from the moment he took over the Batman franchise, this issue also proves that the single issue story is alive and well. I'm seeing that somewhat forgotten style more and more often these days and I'm quite pleased by it. That's not to say that this doesn't continue the story of Leviathan versus Batman and his team of dead soldiers, because it does so in a big way. What it means is that this has a blast coming from both barrels. From cover to cover there is a story, and interesting one at that, being told.

The story in question is the all important roller coaster ride of Talia Al Ghul's life.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Rundown: Previews July 2012

Every month, Previews is published. The book usually solicits material that will appear either two or three months from the time the book hits shelves. This is by no means a complete listing of what's found in it, as every issue of every comic that's coming out is put into its pages, this is merely a list of titles that caught my eye or made my buy pile. Please tell me the books that you are looking forward to, as my brain is often feeble and there's no way that I can cover all of them. Anyways, enough of this blabber...Onto the List.

Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #1 of 4

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: Andy Kubert & Joe Kubert
Company: DC Comics

Well, disappointment was bound to happen at some point, right? In all fairness, Nite Owl isn't a bad book. It is in fact a decent book. The problem with it is that it doesn't shine in the way that the previous titles for this prequel event have, therefore it feels slightly lackluster and not as satisfying. JMS, known for about a billion things in comics and television, has a record skipping track record in my opinion. There have been great things such as his runs on Thor and Rising Stars, but there have been countless other series that have fallen apart as well. Here he gives us the life and evolution of Dan Dreiberg from teen to man to hero.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blast From the Past: Lucifer Vol 1 Devil in the Gateway

Writer: Mike Carey
Artists: Scott Hampton, Chris Weston, Warren Pleece, & Dean Ormston
Company: Vertigo

Horror is one of those multi-tiered genres. Think of it as an immense dark obelisk or tower that looms over all the land, each section devoted to a different type of beast or baddie. The majority of the time, when a person hears the word horror, their mind instantly goes to monster. Monsters are great. Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Stephen King, Scott Snyder and a host of others have breathed life into creatures that have given countless people nightmares and spiked adrenalines everywhere. Horror has also brought in things from the serial killer realm, the suspense and tenseness that comes with watching someone be hunted and killed. Hannibal Lecter, Dexter, and The

Friday, June 22, 2012

Week in Review 6/22/12

Saga #4
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Company: Image Comics
The Naughty has been released! Sex, relationships, and humanity, those are the items that are on the docket for this fourth issue of BKV's new series. Each one, approached and expressed in his keen and conversational style, shines in its own way. Staples' vision of the Sextillion, a place of business where, "Whatever and whoever you desire," is probably a catchphrase that gets thrown around alot, runs the gamut between sexy and creepy. Her colors are beautiful and evocative and the cover, with its sunshine-y yellow brightness just begs to be picked up. The alien-ness of the place in

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Daredevil #14

Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Chris Samnee
Company: Marvel Comics

A lot has said about Paolo Rivera bowing graciously out of being the lead artist on Daredevil. It's true, it sucks. Really sucks. The piece of information that seems to be overlooked however is that Chris Samnee, the artist tackling this issue, is taking over. This is a great thing. Samnee, who's been around for quite some time and proved his unbelievable skill on books like Thor: Mighty Avenger and Agents of Atlas, is a perfect fit for what Daredevil has become. Much has also been said, by me and the rest of the internet, as to the brilliance of this run. I feel like I've said it countless times, but Waid and Co. are like magicians and continue to come up with new ways of pushing the boundaries of the term: Brilliant Comic.

Skullkickers Vol 1: 1000 Opas and a Dead Body

Writer: Jim Zub
Artists: Edwin Haung & Chris Stevens
Company: Image Comics

Call me late to the party with this one. Part of that has to do with the tons and tons of comics that come out every week that seem to pile up on each other. Another part of it was that I never heard what the story in Skullkickers was actually about. No one came out and said, "Hey, this is Dungeons & Dragons distilled in a Hyperdrive and served with a chilled dose of sarcasm." If someone had done that, I don't think I'd be coming late to the game. Still, I'm glad that I came. From the foreword written by popular games designer Robin Laws, who does a solid job of summing up role-playing games and the themes that this book tackles, to the book's ability to cut through all of the bullshit and start with the words, "Who ever

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mars Attacks #1

Writer: John Layman
Artist: John McCrea
Company: IDW Publishing

I remember sitting in the theater with my Dad watching the Mars Attacks movie back in 1996 and scratching my head a bit. I went in, not quite knowing what to expect back then. I was only beginning to take note of different actors and directors and the styles that they utilized in their various movies. Still, the odd blend of Sci-Fi action and off the wall zaniness that went so far as to use Slim Whitman's Indian Love Call as the vehicle for the downfall of the Martian invasion, certainly struck a chord for me. For a new take on such an odd property, it only makes sense to call on the talented and Purveyor of the Bizarre, John Layman. His work on Chew has been humorous, ingenious, and straight up strange. Can we say, "Perfect Fit?"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Before Watchmen: Comedian #1 of 6

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: J.G. Jones
Company: DC Comics

Three out of three so far, that’s how I feel the Before Watchmen score card reads right now. Before Watchmen: Comedian is probably the first one of this series that I had any real cause for alarm with, as even though Azzarello is one of those writers that seems to be on a hot streak with the various titles that he is in charge of right now, he can be a very obtuse writer. Still, his specific style does seem to jibe with the Comedian’s outlook on life, so there was always the possibility of it being one of those match made in heaven/hell kind of things.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Avengers vs X-Men #6

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Olivier Coipel
Company: Marvel Comics

With issue five of this twelve issue series being more of the lighter fare than previous outings, it was nice to be able to sit down with a comic, an event comic no less, that felt BIG in both scope and size. Hickman, who's recently been rumored to be one of the guys taking over one of the Avengers titles when Bendis leaves, is definitely a big idea guy. More importantly though, he has the chops to deliver said idea, an ability easily seen in the confines of this issue.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Week in Review 6/15/12

Batman #10
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Company: DC Comics
I'm willing to give Snyder the benefit of the doubt, but the twist ending that occurs at the end of this issue, if true, might sour the rest of his otherwise great run. It just doesn't gel with what we know Batman to be. Now, this might end up being just a tease, hence me giving him the benefit of the doubt. With his current track record though of adding things to the Bat-Mythos, it seems like the kind of thing he'd do. Other

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dracula World Order

Writer: Ian Brill
Artists: Rashan Ekedal, Declan Shalvey, Gabriel Hardman, & Tonci Zonjic
Company: Self Published

Vampires. Out of the many monsters of cult fame, your zombies and creatures from the Black Lagoon, vampires are and always will be, my favorite. Chalk it up to watching things like Lost Boys and reading John Steakley's Vampires and Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire, I guess. It's been shown over the years that you can do so much with them, place them in any genre, and get a result that works. I'm partial to the, "I'm gonna rip out your throat and suck you dry 'till the cows come home," type of vampires, but like I said, there's a vampire out there for everyone. Ian (Darkwing Duck) Brill's take on the fanged femoral feeders is both classic and served up with a twist.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Planetoid #1

Writer: Ken Garing
Artist: Ken Garing
Company: Image Comics

Space: Ominous, harsh, foreboding, horrific, and huge. These are all words that accurately describe such a place, and more often than not, the movies and books and comics that use it as a setting. Planetoid does the genre of Sci-Fi justice. Not only that though, it puts forth a first issue that begs you further and further into the tale. It is seductive and layered, fun and uninhibited.

And let's not forget cool.

In the same vein as Prophet, Garing smacks us upside the cranium with a tale of survival in a harsh and new world. He plays with concepts that, for fans of Sci-Fi,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Massive #1

Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Kristian Donaldson
Company: Dark Horse Comics

Brian Wood doesn't shy away from big concepts with his books. Neither does he back away from books that tackle controversial subjects that ask questions with complex answers that aren't exactly easy to find. The Massive is one of those kinds of books wrapped up in the shiny hull of a Post Apocalyptic meets Sci-Fi thrill ride. The first issue is a bit of a slow burn. There are numerous information dumps spread throughout the issue. The term infodump usually has a bad connotation that comes along with it, but the kind that are found here aren't of that genus. The ideas that Wood gets down on the page have that make you think quality to them and quickly and succinctly build an ominous world with hundreds of dark shadows to poke at.

Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #1 of 4

Writers: Darwyn Cooke & Amanda Conner
Artist: Amanda Conner
Company: DC Comics

Let there not be talk of controversy or bad contracts or anything of the sort. Let us instead speak on comics and whether they are good or whether they aren't so good. I'll be completely honest out front and say that among all of the characters of Watchmen, Silk Spectre was never my favorite. I understand her and her story. It's needed and genuine. But I always felt that while there was some character depth to her, like there was with just about everyone, she still felt superficial and bland. So, while the creative talent on this drew me in like a heat seeking missile, and really, Amanda Conner and Darwyn Cooke could collaborate on a Mr. Ed comic and I'd gladly pay the money with a smile. Still, I wasn't sure what could be done that brought something else to the table.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Number Ones 6/6/12

Wednesday Number Ones is a weekly feature here at Top 5 Comics. We take the books that are premiering a first issue from that week and give a quick opinion on them. From time to time we may also include more than issue number ones in this feature. If a noteworthy one-shot or the first issue of a new story arc is released, we may talk about it in this feature as well.

This week, we will cover:  Creator Owned Heroes #1, Extermination #1, and Harbinger #1.

Earth 2 #2

Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Nicola Scott
Company: DC Comics

To get it out of the way, as this cover, when it was first solicited, bugged me. The design for the new Jay Garrick felt overdone and not as sleek as a speedster should. I will now travel back in time to 3 months ago and smack myself with a Iron Gauntlet, as in practice, the design works. The helmet still throws me a bit, as the Mercury Helmet has been the one defining attribute for the character for so many years, but Scott's look gets put through its paces and doesn't flinch.

Now that that is out of the way, let's talk story. Robinson amps up the fun and cool factors with this second issue, which in many ways one-ups the first. Serious and clever, the story here focuses mainly on

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 of 6

Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Artist: Darwyn Cooke
Company: DC Comics

As I'm typing this I'm imagining Alan Moore sitting in a pub somewhere in England, his eyes little slits, his lips curled up in a snarl, filed teeth gnashing, his mane (and beard) furling and unfurling, and a magic infused cannon ready to fire Glycon tipped bullets at everyone. Why am I imagining this. It's fairly simple: Because Before Watchmen is good. DAMN GOOD, in fact. It's not an accident that they have Darwyn Cooke, a man who's track record for comics is one of the best that we have in the business, be the first out of the gate. His name is synonymous with a certain level of craft and skill. The Parker adaptations alone are bound pages of amazing and astonishing and many other adjectives that mean great, and then there are other things like New Frontier and Catwoman. Wow seems like the proper response for Cooke's talent.