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
than that, this issue, which sees a few resolutions with the Court of Owls, is a fun enough book and ties the entire run so far together. Capullo's art continues to get better and better as time goes on. His characters seem to have more life in them and their faces, once muddled, seem to have a more discernible edge to them. The rage that he's able to convey in our villain towards the end was especially nice. Batman is a book that constantly exceeds expectations. Here's hoping that the next issue does just that.

Uncanny X-Force #26
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Phil Noto
Company: Marvel Comics
While Uncanny X-Force continues to be the best X Book to be published, lately its sort of hit a plateau in the way of quality. That isn't a bad thing. Every story that Remender cooks up works to one degree or another, but he hit a high with the Dark Angel Saga and since then, we haven't hit that sort of note again. This second issue of the Omega Effect felt more like a vehicle for Deadpool jokes than anything else, even though there are some neat ideas being played out in the Fantomex and Psylocke stories as they run for their lives against past foes that have pissed them off. I can see the tethers and groundwork that's being laid, but there no real payoff here. Phil Noto's run on the title is a different story though. He's knocking excellence down left and right with his high impact, highly detailed work. Everything is shining a little bit brighter because of him.

Batman & Robin #10
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Company: DC Comics
The soap opera Batman title, that's what Batman & Robin has become and truthfully, I'm loving every minute of it. The complaint could be made that the pacing of this book is wonky or stretched like a piece of unbreakable taffy, but it's nice to have a book that deals not only with action, but the familial relationships of the Waynes. Having that at the forefront gives this title something to differentiate it from all of the others. The scenes here with Damian Wayne and Tim Drake, as the family gathers for a family painting, ring so true and the two of them eat up the scenery so well as they verbally spar. Tomasi has found great voices for everyone involved. Gleason's artwork chews it all up and makes everything all pretty. His steady lines and keen ability to form a panel that is both dynamic and pleasing to the eye is fabulous. This title continues to be as strong as ever.

Spider-Men #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Company: Marvel Comics
Say what you will about Brian Benids, and I could say plenty, he brings his A game when he works on a book that features Spider-Man. That goes double for when he works on a book that stars the character exclusively. Spider-Men, which sees our world's Peter Parker cross over into the Ultimate Universe and meet melons with Miles Morales, starts off decently. The pace is slightly sluggish, as it takes a bit too long to get to the punchline, but the whys and how of the crossover make sense and there are some really cool avenues to explore between these characters. The art here is more of the focal point for me. Sara Pichelli's work is such an explosion of motion and power. You can see the thought that is put into the work and the way that everything has that BIG feel to it like the comics of old. She's the perfect artist for Spider-Man. Right there along Emma Rios. So yes, a solid enough issue that brings both story and Peter Parker's patented humor to the masses. 

Saucer Country #4
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Company: Vertigo
I'll say it for a third time. Or possibly the fourth. Actually, I don't know how many times I've said it at this point, but I'll say it again for posterity's sake: Saucer Country is the best New Series from Vertigo. The reasons behind this statement are clearly recognizable in this issue, this further exploration of the world of UFO abductions. The humor that Cornell is able to meld with his conspiracies, mental breakdowns, alien rabbits, and political backstabbing, gels the entire thing. As does the fact that his characters, everyone from the Governor to her ex to her staff, all feel human. The scenes that tell Michael's (her ex-husband) story of being abducted have a really interesting sheen to them. I also like how Cornell's is peppering things with classic Alien ideas like Roswell and well...Probing. Ryan Kelly's work is a great vehicle for the story. He personalizes everything and brings the realism when he needs to, and when he needs to cut loose and provide things that seem to come from the mind of a mental patient, well he can handle that too. This book keeps getting better.

AvX: VS #3
Writers: Jeph Loeb & Christopher Yost
Artists: Ed McGuinness & Terry Dodson
Company: Marvel Comics
While the main series of Avengers vs X-Men is laying phat beats and being suave, its little step-sister AvX: VS seems to be circling the drain, its body devoid of fun. The Pop Up Video aspect of the book, fun facts that are displayed throughout each battle, are more corny and distracting than they are helpful. Loeb's take on the Thing versus Colossus fight is about what you would expect. Gone are the more nuanced ideas used in the Magneto/Iron Man fight, and back are the punch against punch, more mundane battles. Yost has a few ideas that are cool enough during the Ilyanna and Black Widow battle, but even it feels superficial and not as fun as it could have been. And really with a book like this, which is supposed to be all about the grandness and the badass moments, you need to bring the fun. The art for both is nice enough. I'm always a sucker for Ed McGuinness, but his work seems a little more scattered than usual. Less polished. Dodson's is of course all slick feme-fetales and smooth colors by Rachel Dodson. Still though, the fun seems to be missing from the book, which is disconcerting. 

American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Company: Vertigo
Who knew having a simple conversation in a cafe in England could be so tense? I'm a little behind in my reading of all things American Vampire, but I was told that I would't find myself too lost if I checked this one out, and thankfully, that is the case with Lord of Nightmares. Snyder does a nice job of allowing people to simply jump into the water and get the, "All clear!" And while that all clear shout is in fact an all clear for all out mayhem, that doesn't mean it isn't awesome. This war between the Vassals of the Morning Star and a fairly popular vampire begins in spectacular fashion. Dustin (Batgirl) Nguyen's more ethereal style is a perfect fit for the book. The painted aspect is used to great effect and his ability to control light and shadow certainly puts a fine point on the sinister edge that this book needs and does have. Snyder's continued exploration of his supporting characters, which these side-stories are great for, and the possible ramifications that this book could have on the story of Skinner Sweet keeps the heart and blood racing. Superb as always.

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