Single Combat 8/24/10

Posted on August 24, 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:

Marvel Universe Vs. The Punisher #2
DC Universe Legacies # 4
Justice Society of America #42
New Avengers #3
Secret Avengers #4
Batman Beyond #3
Thunderbolts #147
Brightest Day #8
Shadowland: Power Man #1
Hellblazer #270
Age of Heroes #4
Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow #1
Amazing Spider-Man #640
Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet #1
Hulk #24
Highland Laddie #1
Azrael #11

And here’s what I thought:

DC Universe Legacies #4

DC Comics, $3.99

Len Wein, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Dave Gibbons, Scott Kolins, Mike Carlin

DC Universe Legacies continues to present an interesting story.  I can see where it would be particularly fascinating for a new comic reader(personally, I would have ate this series up when I was first getting started in comics,) but as a long-time reader, I know a lot of the events that happen in the series.  It’s still nice to see a new take on them and to hear them told chronologically, I suppose, and I can’t wait to hear an outsider’s take on some of the more recent DC happenings, like Final Crisis, or Blackest Night, if they get that far.  The pace that things seem to be going at seems to indicate that they’re going to get there fairly quickly.  Still, the most interesting aspect still seems to be the human story of Paul Lincoln and his family, and how they deal with a life surrounded by metahumans.  There’s a fantastic sequence that showcases the kind of guy that Paul is, where one of his fellow police officers is complaining about having to clean up Superman’s messes, to which Paul responds by saying it’s their part to do, showing that he really does just want to make the world better in any way that he can.  The art duties are handled by a few different artists, and the difference is readily apparent.  The first two pages are a painted style, and while it looks nice on first glace, there are some things that I don’t really like about it, namely the details on the Batman and Robin on the first page(Robin’s face is weird, Batman’s ear points seem off to me), it achieves a level of detail that the rest of the book doesn’t get.  That’s not to say the rest of the book doesn’t look good, because it does, it’s just different.  Capping off the issue is an awesome backup story about Sgt. Rock.  DC Universe Legacies is a solid read almost halfway through, which is something a lot of minis can’t claim.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5

Shadowland: Power Man #1

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Fred Van Lente, Mahmud Asrar, Scott Hanna, Bruno Hang, Bill Rosemann

More Daredevil stuff, it really shouldn’t surprise you by now.  For months, since this title was announced and solicited, there’s been a kind of air of mystery surrounding the title character.  I think the idea of a new Power Man in the Marvel universe is a great one, as I think the Marvel Universe could do with some legacy heroes.  This first issue does a great job of answering the who of the new Power Man, and I love that the way he conducts business is through Craigslist, but doesn’t touch any of the other questions, like how did he become Power Man, what besides money motivates him to fight crime, how did he learn Iron Fist’s martial arts if he didn’t study with him, what problem does he have with Luke Cage, and where did Luke Cage get that sweet belt buckle?  I have faith in Van Lente, though.  Since reading some of his other works, his talent has become clear, and I’m sure he brought it all to this project and will leave no stone unturned and no question unanswered by the end of the story.  The only problem I have with the book is the recap stuff at the back.  I understand that it’s there for a few reasons, namely to help justify the $3.99 price tag and to help new readers understand who the characters in the book are, but honestly?  Most people who read this book are either going to be looking for more insight into Shadowland, or already familiar with the old Power Man.  We don’t really need 8 pages chronically his adventures since his creation.  Luckily, the main story is more than enough to justify the $3.99 price tag, and the story really does make a good entry point for new readers, looking to get into a new character, even if the story really only interacts with Shadowland in a fairly indirect way.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5

Batman Beyond #3

DC Comics, $2.99

Adam Beechen, Ryan Benjamin, John Stanisci, Chris Conroy

Batman Beyond was a cartoon that made it’s debut when I was growing up.  Back then, I thought that the show was a lame premise since it had Batman flying around with boot jets and someone other than Bruce Wayne in the costume, but reading these issues and going back to watch a few episodes, I can see that the concept really does have legs.  I like the idea of Terry McGinnis as the new Batman and Bruce Wayne serving as his perpetually grumpy Oracle-type mentor figure.  The story so far is that Hush is back and is targeting old Batman villains, using the MO’s of other Batman villains.  The comic opens with McGinnis fighting him to try and save the life of Julian Day, also known as The Calendar Man.  This issue also sees the reveal of the new Bat-gadget that Bruce has been working on since the beginning of the story, and it’s something that I didn’t expect, although with the way the DCU has been going lately, I really should have.  Still, it’s nice to see, and will be a surprise for some readers nonetheless.  A running thread throughout the whole story thus far has been the new Catwoman, and it continues in this issue.  The next issue kind of promises a resolution to the Catwoman/Batman thing in this story, so I can’t wait to read that, which makes it an intriguing and effective cliffhanger.  The art for the book is well suited to the story.  It makes the action easy to follow, and the attention given to backgrounds is nice too.  There are only a few moments or characters that seem out of place to me.  The only piece of criticism I can level at this book is in reference to the lettering.  There were a few times while reading this that I skipped over entire sections of dialogue, simply because the lettering(and word bubbles) blended in to the background, which makes for a fairly frustrating reading experience.  Other than that, great work.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5

Secret Avengers #4

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Ed Brubaker, Mike Deodato Jr., Rain Beredo, Tom Brevoort

The action inside issue 4 of Secret Avengers certainly delivers on the promise of the cover, we do, in fact, see Steve Rogers as a Nova Centurion, and it’s just as awesome as you would hope it would be.  As a quick recap, Steve and his team of Secret Avengers have traveled to the moon to rescue Nova, who’s fallen under the control of a mysterious artifact.  Somehow Nick Fury seems to be evil, and by this issue, Ant Man is separated from the rest of the team as they try to stop the possessed Nova from releasing a cosmic entity who could destroy the galaxy.  I think that about covers it.  Now, is it just me, or does it seem that between New, Secret, and adjective-less, the Avengers seem to be doing nothing but saving the world, universe, or entirety of existence from giant threats?  Not to say that this book isn’t great, because it is a lot of fun to read(and may, in fact, be my favorite Avengers book of the new titles), it just seems to be that with the coming of the Heroic Age, there’s less character driven moments in Marvel’s big team books, at least so far.  I’m not trying to be unfair, though, so I will take the time to mention that in this book Ant Man does had a fairly cool character-driven and defining moment, so that’s something.  It just seems to me that the approach to team books should be something a little bit more nuanced than “GIANT THREAT!  Throw 8 or 9 big name heroes at it!”  Still, like I said, this book is pretty much my favorite of the current Avengers books, so it certainly does come highly recommended, and I’m sure that Brubaker will address my concerns in the next few issues, giving us some great character moments, and probably something other than reality-ending events.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

Hellblazer #270

DC/Vertigo, $2.99

Peter Milligan, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Landini, Shelly Bond

The conclusion of Milligan’s arc featuring Shade the Changing Man.  It’s been a lot of fun, and in true Hellblazer fashion a lot of messed up things have happened, like character being made to resemble Freddy Krueger(I wonder if the resemblance was intentional…) and Constantine cutting off his own thumb and torturing a guy to death.  It’s nice to see Constantine interacting with someone from the DC Universe, although Shade the Changing man is not the level of character one would expect.  Constantine started in the pages of Swamp Thing, and has been featured in Sandman, both characters that are definitely a part of the larger DC Universe, and while it’s kind of nice to see that this character can go off on his own adventures without having to call Batman every panel, or run into Green Arrow every other issue, it does make him seem alienated that he never comes across any of those characters.  Does DC not have a single British character aside from Constantine?  Seriously, America has Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, about 5 Flashes, the Teen Titans, the Justice League, the Justice Society, and countless other powered beings, and the UK only gets Constantine?  Wouldn’t it make sense to include him in the current Dark Things crossover between the JLA and JSA, due to the magic he uses and the overall chaotic nature of his powers?  But I digress.  This issue is a fantastic read and looks just as good as any earlier issue by the same artist, so you can’t go wrong reading it, and the next issue, being the start of a new arc, will be a good place for a new reader to jump in, too.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5

Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet #1

Marvel Comics, $2.99

Brian Clevinger, Brian Churilla, Michelle Madsen, Nathan Cosby

I’ve been waiting to review this title since I read it yesterday.  As you may know if you’ve been reading, every time I get a new issue of Atomic Robo, it inevitably gets reviewed and I gush with my man-crush for Brian Clevinger.  Naturally, when I heard he’d be tackling a Marvel project I decided to pick it up, a decision only made easier when I heard it was going to be a retelling of the Infinity Gauntlet(one of my favorite Marvel stories).  Immediately upon opening the book, the first thing that hit me was how fantastic looking it was.  The artist’s take on Thanos and all of the rest of the Marvel universe is simply stunning.  The second thing to hit me was the writing.  As per usual, Clevinger manages to inject his own brand of humor into a lot of appropriate places and gives a certain sense of over-acted drama to the first sequence of Thanos, which is not a bad thing.  I always imagined Thanos as a bit over the top, and that’s what I get here.  Of course, being an all-ages book, the story is a little tamed, but even so, it loses nothing of the original.  Clevinger even wowed me by tossing in a reference to such an obscure Marvel character that I had to rely on Google to tell me who he was, so he gets major points in my book for sneaking that past me.  A few of my favorite parts of the book are: Wolverine included on the team because “he’s on every super hero team,” as well as the assertion that Doom busted through the wall exclaiming “behold the grim visage of Doctor Doom” because only commoners use doors.  The only way I can think of to adequately describe what this book means to me is to say that it’s the Marvel comic I didn’t know I wanted to read until I had it in my hands.  If I could give it a higher rating than Odin’s Beard, I would, but nothing is higher than the All-Father, so I’ll make it a…

Double Odin’s Beard 10/5

And that’s it for this week.  Thanks for reading, I’ll see you next week(and later this one)!

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2 Responses to “Single Combat 8/24/10”

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In total agreement with your assessment of Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet #1. Brilliant, witty work by Clevinger.


[…] Single Combat 8/24/10 August 2010 1 comment 3 […]

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