Single Combat 8/17/10

Posted on August 17, 2010. Filed under: Reviews |

By Erik Lewis, Lead Blogger

It’s another Tuesday, and with new comics being released tomorrow, it’s the perfect time to review my purchases from last week!  As always, I pick up my comics at Comics and Paperbacks Plus in Palmyra, PA.  You can find them on Facebook here or here, or you can stop in if you find yourself in Central Pennsylvania. You can also follow me on Twitter, just to see what I think of my books as I read them!  Here’s what I got:

The Thanos Imperative #3
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1
The Unwritten #16
Shadowland: Blood on the Streets #1
The Invincible Iron Man #29
Incredible Hulk #611
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: New World #1
Steve Rogers Super Soldier #2
Thor: The Mighty Avenger #3
Zatanna #4
Daredevil #509

And here’s what I thought:

Shadowland: Blood on the Streets #1

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Antony Johnston, Wellinton Alves, Nelson Pereira, Frank Martin, Bill Rosemann

Like I said in last week’s Mortals, Take Cover, I bought this one specifically for the Heroes for Hire that are featured on the cover.  While that was enough to draw me into the book, what I found inside was an intensely interesting story.  The book follows The Shroud(who I had never heard of before Shadowland, but he seems cool), Misty Knight, Silver Sable, and Paladin as they all investigate things that are connected to the main story of Shadowland, but only loosely.  There are references to Misty’s appearance in the main title, and characters notice some big things that happen in the main title from there perspectives, so that’s nice to see.  What’s really interesting here is that there seems to be a hidden story behind Daredevil and the Hand that Johnston is unraveling for us.  I’ve seen it done a million times, using seemingly unrelated plot points to bring a group of heroes together, but here it seems different to me somehow.  Not to mention that it’s nice to see a team that doesn’t feature Spider-Man or Wolverine on it, it’s nice to see someone putting third-string Marvel characters to use telling an interesting story(not to say that third string is a bad thing, but honestly, when’s the last time you saw Silver Sable in anything?).  The story is backed by a fantastic artist, as well.  His figures look realistic, and his art doesn’t rely too heavily on shadows, but uses them fairly nicely.  The line work is solid, and each panel is clearly defined, with all the action being easy to follow.  All in all, this comic is well worth your time and money.  If Shadowland caught your eye, you can’t afford to miss this.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1

DC Comics, $3.99

Peter J. Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin, Cam Smith, Adam Schlagman

Coming straight from a scene in Blackest Night that some of us might have forgotten about(I kinda did…), this is the first in a series that will show some secret project that Guy Gardner, Ganthet, and Atrocitus are working on, and how it will relate to Brightest Day.  The first part of the issue is a lot of Guy Gardner, who I’ve never really been partial to, but Tomasi does a good job making you understand Gardner, if not making him relatable.  The story promises to give us the fate of Ion in the coming issues, and also promises to show us Guy Gardner charting uncharted space sectors with Red Lantern Bleez, which should be interesting.  The issue raises a lot more questions than it answers, though, which is probably for the best to boost the sales of the next issue.  Why is Guy exhibiting some outward characteristics of a Red Lantern?  What’s going on with the Green Lanterns that already patrol the Unknown Sector?  What exactly are Ganthet, Atrocitus, and Guy working towards?  What kind of agenda do the Guardians have to allow Guy to go about his business?  All interesting questions, to say the least, and I hope they all get addressed before too long, but something tells me I’m going to have to buy a lot of comics first.  About the art: the artist on this book does a great job with his use of distinct Green Lantern models for the alien Lanterns he shows, and that’s always a mark of a good artist on Green Lantern.  The action scenes can be a little tough to follow, but for the most part things are well defined and imaginative when it comes to constructs.  I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of this book.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #3

Marvel Comics, $2.99

Roger Landgridge, Chris Samnee, Matt Wilson, Nathan Cosby

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before or not, but I thought that this title was a miniseries when I first picked it up, only to find out after buying issue #2 that it was an ongoing title.  I had some real reservations about picking up another ongoing, especially when I know enough about Thor’s background to make the all ages approach(simplified back story, starting pretty much from the beginning) fairly useless to me.  The thing that got me to buy the second and third issues so far has been a combination of excellent writing, stellar art, and honestly, the recap pages.  I’ve seen recap pages tackled with art before, but it’s usually oversimplified like the recap pages in recent Hulk issues, while the Thor: TMA recap pages are very simple, they way they are laid out to give the reader a huge bite of plot and art in a small dose is brilliant.  The stories are, as I said, excellent, uncomplicated, but not oversimplified.  Thor bests Mr. Hyde in two issues, and while it could stop there and start a brand new story in the third issue, Thor has to deal with the ramifications instead(as well as a new threat), which would ideally show younger readers that there are always consequences to our actions.  Lastly, Chris Samnee’s art is great, especially when coupled with Matt Wilson’s colors.  Everything seems so crisp and clear in the issue, that it’s as much a joy to look at as it is to read for the story.  I think my favorite thing in the story is how seamlessly they introduce the guest star for the issue.  Yes, that hand on the cover belongs to him, no, just seeing the hand does not really give away who it is.  When it comes to Thor: The Mighty Avenger, they have me hooked, and honestly, there’s little else on the stands that’s more deserving of the purchase price.

Odin’s Beard 5/5

Incredible Hulk #611

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Greg Pak, Paul Pelletier, Danny Miki, Frank D’Armata, Mark Paniccia

If this creative team gets one distinction other than being the first in a while to set off my spellchecker with their last names, it’s the distinction of being able to produce a comic so good that it makes me forget how much I didn’t like the other parts of the same story.  For those of you keeping score at home, we’ve been without the big green guy for a long time now, and just last issue, Bruce Banner solved the hulked-out heroes  problem, bringing back The Hulk as a result.  Also, General Ross and Betty Ross Banner are the Red Hulks, which we all really should have seen coming a mile away.  What Pak manages to do in this issue is make the Hulk’s return mean something, to connect it to Bruce Banner’s character in a meaningful way, something he manages to do with a series of flashbacks.  Flashbacks can be hackneyed and tired when done incorrectly or relied on too heavily, but Pak puts them to use perfectly, allowing the reader to draw the necessary parallels.  It’s also really powerful to see Skaar work out for himself exactly what Bruce had been planning all throughout the recent issues, and to decide for himself where he stands.  Also, among all of these nice character moments, there’s also an insane fight and immensely entertaining action, including some great heroic acts by the Hulk himself, and a good part where Red She-Hulk tries to help Big Green out with his fight, and a scene showing the recently de-hulked heroes trying to stop Skaar from inadvertently destroying the planet with the Old Power.  All of this crammed into one issue with great art and a really strong backup story, what’s not to like?

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

The Unwritten #16

DC/Vertigo, $2.99

Mike Carey, Peter Gross, Pornsak Pichetshote

I believe it’s been some time since I talked about The Unwritten, but rest assured that that doesn’t mean the series has stopped being good.  We’ve come 16 issues in so far, and it’s still as good as the first, which is a great indicator of a strong creative team.  With this issue, there are a lot of surprises, and a lot of questions answered.  So many, in fact, that it feels like the true end of the first story arc in the series.  But while it answers a lot, it’s still not entirely clear what the overarching goal is going to be with this series.  I mean, I guess Winston Taylor kind of lets Tom know that he’s going to be working towards saving the world, so we have that, but what’s the organization he’s saving it from?  Why does it need saving, exactly?  We know the next issue, at least, is going to deal with the loose thread of Lizzie(unless it’s an unrelated issue like the Kipling one or the Winnie the Pooh one, both of which were fantastic), so at least we have that, but what’s going to come after that?  I think I may have been spoiled as a predominantly superhero comic reader, in that superhero comics generally work in a structured format with clearly defined arcs, and clearly defined goals.  I think that’s what I like about The Unwritten, though.  The fact that it’s not cookie-cutter, that it leave threads to pick up at a later point, and also that it’s not afraid to try the new things, that it’s not afraid to pick up from something that happened 13 issues previously.  That, and the art is great, as is to be expected.  If you’re not reading The Unwritten, I’d strongly urge you to either pick up the trades or track down the single issues to get caught up.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

The Thanos Imperative #3

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Miguel Sepulveda, Jay David Ramos, Bill Rosemann

I think it’s kind of funny that Marvel said they were trying to get away from event comics, and while I’m not purchasing any Universe-wide events, in the past few months I’ve purchased a few character- or location-driven events.  In fact, I’d probably be a little bit mad, or a little bit event-fatigued about it if the events weren’t for the most part very fun.  Shadowland is great, World War Hulks was passable, and The Thanos Imperative is one of the best cosmic comics I’ve read in quite some time.  This issue sees Abnett and Lanning explaining where the Cancerverse(no, the name has not grown on me yet) and the core Marvel Universe differentiated.  It hinges on the death of Captain Marvel, which is really no surprise, given Thanos’ role in the story and how prominent of a part Lord Mar-Vell plays in the whole scheme.  I’m sure they’ll get to it, but I’m really curious what the Revengers are looking for with prisoners they’re collecting, but it’s going to be great to see what the heroes manage to do now that Drax has kind of screwed them as far as firepower’s concerned.  Another interesting touch is the aid that the Guardians of the Galaxy receive from the Cancerverse’s sentient mechanical beings, mostly in the fact that, under the circumstances, the side they choose makes perfect sense.    The book also manages to juggle three separate plots flawlessly, bouncing between the Guardians in the Cancerverse, the Revengers in the 616, and Nova and his group of commandos in the 616(speaking of Nova, I would totally buy a print of Nova and his strike team of  Beta Ray Bill, Silver Surfer, Gladiator, Ronan the Accuser, and Quasar)  Another point in this book’s favor is that it looks absolutely amazing on every page.  Another one you should be reading.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

Well, that’s it for reviews for this week.  I’m either feeling very generous, or there weren’t any bad books released this week.  What do you think?  Drop me a line in the comments!

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Erik Lewis, Erik Lewis. Erik Lewis said: Green Lantern, Shadowland tie-in, Thanos Imperative, and more in this week's Single Combat: […]

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