Single Combat 8/31/10

Posted on August 31, 2010. Filed under: Reviews |

By Erik Lewis, Lead Blogger

Well, it’s Tuesday, so that means it’s a review day.  Sorry for missing the Asgardian Trade Commission on Sunday, but I was feeling under the weather.  It’s bound to happen from time to time.  So, without anything further, let’s get on with the reviews!  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:

Avengers #4
Shadowland: Moon Knight #1
Heroic Age: Prince of Power #4
Justice League of America #48
Invincible #74
Guardians of the Globe #1
Green Arrow #3
Fantastic Four #582
Secret Warriors #19
Captain America #609
Batman #702
Namor: The First Mutant #1
Thor #613
X-Factor #208

And here’s what I thought:

Invincible #74

Image Comics, $2.99

Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, Fco Plascencia, Sina Grace

Ok, first thing I want to say, and I feel very justified in saying it since it fits with the theme of the site, is that Viltrumites have awesome mustaches.  I don’t know much about the Invincible universe, but it seems to me that a lot of Viltrumites have them.  It could be a genetic thing explained in an earlier issue, it could be an aesthetic choice, it could just be a coincidence, but I sincerely want to believe that it has something to do with being a full-grown adult male in their society.  Ok, moving on.  Invincible has been on my radar for quite some time now.  Back when it started I wasn’t able to get comics as regularly as I would have liked, but I knew Kirkman from reading Battle Pope, and I knew the guy had what it took to write a good series.  When I was able to start buying regularly again, Invincible seemed like it was too far along to jump in, although that may have just been an excuse to stick with Marvel and DC.  With Guardians of the Globe coming out this week too, though, I figured it was as good a time as any to start buying this title.  Now, I’ve read the first trade, so I know who Invincible is, I know who Omni Man is, I’m familiar with Allen the Alien, and I have a general idea of the back story, but even with only the most rudimentary understanding, this book is so much fun.  I realize I cam in on the tail end of a story arc and and that may not be the best place to judge a book from, but it seems to me that there’s not a preponderance of plot, and the action seems to flow fairly well from one sequence to the next.  To top it all off, everything about the book just looks fantastic.  Pencils, inks, colors, I don’t think I’ve seen a better looking book recently.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

Batman #702

DC Comics, $2.99

Grant Morrison, Tony Daniel, Mike Marts

This is the conclusion to the missing chapter of Batman R.I.P.  I’ve said it before, I’ll probably say it again, but telling a story that you have to go back to more than a year after it’s published is probably not a good way to write that story.  The biggest problem that I have with this particular story is that it’s supposed to clean up the R.I.P. storyline and any problems that it might have had while touching on how it tied in to Final Crisis, but it doesn’t feel clarifying at all.  It feels disjointed, as if told by a mental patient, and it just muddies the waters even further.  At this point, I kind of feel as though Grant Morrison could write anything he wanted to, like, say, a garishly dressed, mostly crazy Bruce Wayne who’s really an alternate personality that Bruce created in case of emergency(wait a minute…) and he could get away with it.  In all honesty, I kind of want to like what he’s doing with Batman, but I guess it comes off seeming more like a story less suited to Batman and more suited to, say, Dr. Strange.  But, then again, I’m the guy who generally enjoys Kevin Smith’s Batman, so I’m not sure exactly what that says about me.  I will say that I do actually enjoy Morrison’s take on Batman and Robin in their book, so maybe I should give the guy credit and say that the story being told in R.I.P., Final Crisis, and the Missing Chapter is just a little out of what I look for in a book, and I guess that’s ok.  In spite of what I think of the story, the art is fantastic, so that’s one thing the book has going for it.  For Batman as a title, I’ll pick up one more issue, if it’s more of the same, I think I’m done with it for a while.

Batroc’s Beard 2/5

Namor: The First Mutant #1

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Stuart Moore, Ariel Olivetti, Jeanine Schaefer

Ok, so I’ve been excited for this for a little while because I really like Namor.  He’s always been a favorite of mine, and I also usually enjoy Olivetti’s art.  The book does look pretty good, although I’d say the look does feel a little bit off, and the story, well, I tried to take it seriously, but there’s so much ridiculous stuff.  First off, the whole “Curse of the Mutants plotline seems a bit contrived.  I mean, seriously, vampires?  Second, there’s the whole “first mutant” thing.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we decide that Apocalypse was the first mutant?  Wasn’t he around in Egypt?  The whole book is just covered with contrived dialogue, from the dying member of Namor’s royal guard who gives Namor a grim warning about the foes he’s about to face, to every single line he exchanges with the children of that very same guardsmen.  Maybe hackneyed dialogue is something  he passed down genetically?  If so, those kids better warn their kids, maybe get them checked for something.  I think the most laughable part, however, was when Namor, just after being attacked by a vampire squid(I’ll let that sink in.  Vampire…squid), he says “This volcano is dormant.  But something inside of it calls to me.  To my royal blood.”  I couldn’t type that without stopping for breath, I was laughing so hard.  I don’t think I’ve seen an attempt at natural dialogue go so far south before.  It’s like the writer was trying to convey Namor as having regal mannerisms, but the script just got away from him and ended up sounding ridiculous.  Anyway, I’d have to say that you should avoid this book like the plague, unless you like reading bad comics.

Superman’s Beard 1/5

Guardians of the Globe #1

Image Comics, $3.50

Robert Kirkman, Benito Cereno, Ransom Getty, Sina Grace

Again, I went into this book knowing very little, other than I really liked Robert Kirkman.  This is the other side of the Invincible universe, while Invincible is in space fighting Viltrumites, the Guardians of the Globe are back on Earth, guarding things.  Kinda.  Ok, not really.  So, while I didn’t really know hardly anything about the cast of this book, some things are made easily apparent, like Brit is the leader, his wife has a problem with him being a hero, and his power is invulnerability and nothing else.  There are some great sequences that show him trying to adjust to his new rocket gloves and boots, those add some humor.  I also like the interactions between Black Samson, the Shapesmith, and…the other guy, too.  Which is a great spot to interject my next point.  I know I sometimes complain about things that are put in to benefit new readers, like introducing the characters, or recap pages, or things like that, and while I think it’s not necessary for characters that have been around for a long time like Superman, Spider-Man, and Batman, it couldn’t hurt to introduce some of the character in Guardians of the Globe, especially since they were created in the last decade.  While I greatly enjoyed reading this, and I will definitely be picking up subsequent issues, it would have been more enjoyable more me if I could have gone into it knowing more about the team than just Robot and Invincible as members.  I absolutely hate it when Marvel does something like this, but…maybe a Guardians of the Globe guidebook would be helpful too?

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

Green Arrow #3

DC Comics, $2.99

J.T. Krul, Diogenes Neves, Vicente Cifuentes, Adam Schlagman

Green Arrow, in the last issue, was shot in the head by a black arrow, which generally means Merlyn.  I really like that they use the events of Year One as part of the canon for Green Arrow.  In this issue, we meet what I assume will be the first of Ollie’s Merry Men, sir Galahad.  Yes, like the knight.  He even fights with a sword, although he looks less like a knight and more like a Dungeons and Dragons-style ranger.  After saving him from dying, Galahad and Ollie have a little chat about Galahad, and it does me good to know that the writer is willing to acknowledge that the whole Galahad thing is a little crazy.  Also, for some reason(for the benefit of new readers, I suppose) we get brief flashbacks of the events of Rise and Fall, as well as an Ollie vs Shadow Ollie segment, and a flashback to Ollie’s troubled childhood as the son of a wealthy industrialist, which drove him to a life of philandering.  Ugh.  I used to like this character too, but the more I read of him, the less I like him.  Can’t we just go back to the days when Oliver Queen would shoot a bad guy with a boxing glove arrow while Roy, Connor, Dinah, and Mia helped him clean up henchmen?  I don’t think I like the idea of him having Merry Men and being an outlaw in a forest in the heart of his city.  It all seems…needlessly complex to me, although I suppose it’s a fairly simple return to the character’s initial design.  A few more things: I also hate the new head of the Queen company, and I mean everything about the character, from the origin to the mannerisms to the mask that she wears for no apparent reason, and also, Namor isn’t the only one capable of terrible dialogue, as Ollie proves with “Is this forest trying to SAVE me, or KILL ME?!” which just might be the worst cliffhanger ending I’ve ever read.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5

Heroic Age: Prince of Power #4

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Reilly Brown, Adam Archer, Terry Pallot, Mark Paniccia

And so, one of my favorite books in the past few months comes to an end.  It’s a good end, though, I especially love how Cho takes care of Thor, and Vali when the time comes.  This book is action packed, effectively manages action on two fronts, and manages to wrap up several stories very neatly.  Thor explains to Cho that he’s not going to allow him to succeed because he cannot handle the power of the gods, and I love that after besting Thor and Vali and succeeding in getting the godly power he needed to bring back Hercules, Cho realizes that Thor was right and give up that godly power to a being much more suited to it.  The ending is bittersweet, because I know that even with this somewhat happy end to the this story, I know it’s another month or so until I can get more Pak and Van Lente Herc and Cho stories, which seems to me to be too long to wait.  Seriously, if you haven’t read Pak and Van Lente’s Incredible Hercules or their Prince of Power, you’re missing what is certainly an essential Hercules story, what could be considered an essential Marvel Universe story, and what is easily one of my top 3 books of the year, if not of my comic collection.  The recap page, as always, is inspired and funny, the story manages a decent amount of humor while not ruining the tension or seeming out of place, and the characters evolve beyond where they were before.  I think my favorite sound effect in this issue was probably “MATHHIT,” although sadly, there were only a few entertaining sound effects this issue.  So, as always, I’m going to tell you to go search your comic shop’s back issue bins for this and also to put Chaos War on your pull lists.  So good…

Odin’s Beard 5/5

And that’s it for this week!  Be sure to check back tomorrow for some special news, as well as throughout the week for more of my opinions on comics!

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3 Responses to “Single Combat 8/31/10”

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I’d been wondering about that “first mutant” thing with Namor, as well. Apparently, it’s because Marvel decided that he’s a mutant as well as a human/Atlantean hybrid and he was published before any other mutant character, so it has to do with publication history and a desire to tie him into the popularity of X-Men and other mutant characters. That’s pretty weak in my opinion.

Ok, I can get that, but why “The First Mutant,” why not “The First Published Mutant?” Their way is just confusing.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Erik Lewis, Erik Lewis. Erik Lewis said: Green Arrow, Namor, Prince of Power and more in this week's Single Combat: […]

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