Single Combat 10/19/10

Posted on October 19, 2010. Filed under: Reviews |

By Erik Lewis, Lead Blogger
Warren Taylor, Feature Blogger

Well, folks, I still have some NYCC stuff to sift through and post yet, but I’m hoping to return to a normal posting schedule this week, and in that spirit, I’m bringing you a regular-length Single Combat this week.  As you may have noticed, there’s a second name under the author section, Warren Taylor.  Warren has been a friend of the blog and a major contributor of ideas for a while now, but this week marks the first time he’ll write something specifically for the blog.  Keep an eye out for Warren in the coming weeks, as we’ll be seeing more of him.  Now, 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:

Green Lantern #58
Thor #616
The Amazing Spider-Man #645
Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Outsiders #1
Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Batgirl #1
Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Batman and Robin #1
Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Red Robin #1
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5
Knight and Squire #1
Invaders Now! #2
Untold Tales of Blackest Night #1
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: New World #3
Superior #1
Irredeemable #18
Hellblazer: City of Demons #1
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #3
The Unwritten #18
Thor: The Mighty Avenger #5
Jonah Hex #60
The Invincible Iron Man #31
The Thanos Imperative #5
Shadowland: Blood on the Streets #3
Shadowland #4
I am an Avenger #2
The Incredible Hulks #614
Casanova #4
The New Avengers #5
Justice Society of America 80-Page Giant 2010 #1

Now, admittedly, I wasn’t able to read anything lower than Invincible Iron Man by the time this gets posted, but here’s what I thought of what I did read:

Green Lantern #58

DC Comics, $2.99

Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy, Eddie Berganza

Review by Erik Lewis

Johns does something in this title that hasn’t really been seen in recent Green Lantern comics; he gives us answers.  We see a divergent storyline, featuring first Atrocitus and Sinestro hot on the tail of the Butcher, the entity of Rage, who they have tracked to a prison breakout.  We get a decent character moment for Atrocitus in that scene, a moment that shows, even more than previous moments, that he’s about more than just spreading rage and killing Green Lanterns.  Next, we move on to Zamaron, where we see the aftermath of the last issue, which, if you remember, saw Carol Ferris being named the next queen of the Star Sapphires, and how Hal deals with that.  We also get to see the Predator entity without a host for a little while.  The main point of the issue, though, is Adara, the Hope entity, choosing a host in a kidnapped little girl from Earth, who we see on the cover.  Adara seems to be very powerful, and I’m actually looking forward to seeing what she can do in the issues to come.  Also present in the issue is the host that the Predator selected in the last issue, who talks with Larfleeze a little bit, where we learn that Larfleeze doesn’t have enough energy to construct his corps, and that he has a secret past that he doesn’t want revealed.  I think Larfleeze is entertaining as a character, but I am very interested in getting to know more about his past, so I can know why I care what happens to him, so I’m looking forward to that.  The tease at the end of the issue is also a pretty big reason for me to pick up the book.  Overall, I found this issue more satisfying than any of the recent Green Lantern issues, and I can see that we’re finally building towards something.  The art for this issue is pretty standard, much of what I’ve come to expect, which is to say that I enjoyed it.  If you’ve been following along with Green Lantern, this is an absolute must-buy, and if not, this is a fairly decent place to jump in

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

Superior #1

Marvel Icon, $2.99

Mark Millar, Leinil Yu, John Barber

Review by Erik Lewis

I’ve talked about Mark Millar and his recent titles before.  I wasn’t doing reviews when I read Kick-Ass, but that probably would have averaged a 3 or so, and we all know that I hate Nemesis, so I was starting to worry that, as a writer, Millar was slipping, and that his creator owned titles were just an excuse to showcase vulgarity and ultra-violence.  I was a little hesitant to pick this title up because of that assumption.  Mark Millar proved me wrong.  What we have here in Superior, is the tale of a young boy’s wish fulfillment, which is what the superhero comic genre as a whole is, wish fulfillment.  And yes, Millar does slip a few cusses into the book, so it’s not exactly family friendly, but he does make a story that’s more easily accessible than Nemesis is, at least for me.  I think the core story will prove to be a very interesting one, and I’ll be glad to pick up this title for the duration if it continues with the momentum set by the first issue.  I’ve seen Yu’s pencils before, and the guy does a great job with line art, so not only is this book fun to read, it’s also fun to look at.  One last thing that surprised me was the charitable causes that Millar supports with his previous books, like Nemesis and Kick-Ass, which I found to be very surprising given the content of the book, but not very surprising if you take into account the guy’s success.  It’s very noble to donate even a fraction of the profits of a highly successful book like that, so I applaud Millar and his efforts there.  But back to Superior, this was one of the most fun and engaging books I read all week, so snatch it up while you can still find it.

Odin’s Beard 5/5

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5

DC Comics, $3.99

Grant Morrison, Ryan Sook, Pere Perez, Mick Gray, Mike Marts

Review by Erik Lewis

This issue of the Return of Bruce Wayne was something I was looking forward to a lot, simply because of the cover.  I love the look of Batman as a noir-style private detective, and Morrison writes that fairly well, too.  There are some noir cliches present, like “it always starts with a dame,” but as with previous issues, specifically the Pirate issue and the Cowboy issue, it’s something that you can tell he’s just having fun with.  It’s great to see the story unfold as the mystery passes by, and it’s great to see Bruce almost get it until the end, but Morrison is also sure to end on a twist, like many classic noir stories do.  Of course, Morrison ties into both his run on Batman, and naturally, Batman’s origins as a character in Crime Alley, and although it will make his run on Batman a little more complicated, it’s definitely more straightforward than Batman R.I.P., or Final Crisis for that matter, and those are definitely not required reading to understand The Return of Bruce Wayne.  The tease for the next issue has me very excited for the conclusion, so I’ll definitely be looking forward for that to come out, but I think DC made the same mistake with this title as Marvel did with Captain America: Reborn, which is releasing the Road Home one-shots before this story wraps up.  Obviously we know how this story is going to end just from the title, but I think there would be a more complete picture for those titles is we had the conclusion of this title to go from.  Overall, though, this title was a lot of fun to read, so it comes with a stamp of approval.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #5

Marvel Comics, $2.99

Roger Langridge, Chris Samnee, Matt Wilson, Nathan Cosby

Review by Erik Lewis

I’ve reviewed this title a number of times before, and I can’t stop talking about how good it is, especially for an all-ages title, but before I go any further, I’d like to take a moment to thank editor Nathan Cosby for all of the hard work he’s put into making the all-ages titles that he’s worked on recently into good titles that are truly for all-ages, and not just for children.  This will be one of the last titles he edits, as he stepping down from the editor position, but reading the books he’s worked on recently has been a joy, and while a lot of that rests with the rest of the creative team, the editor certainly has a lot of say in what goes into a book.  What I really like about Thor: The Mighty Avenger so far is how organically it moves from issue to issue and guest star to guest star.  It never really feels like it’s an attempt to shoehorn in a character that doesn’t fit, and it never feels like it moves too fast.  Each issue is fairly self-contained, which is probably intentional, in an attempt to try and keep readers interested while simultaneously providing easy access to new readers.  While trying to keep things self-contained, the book also does carry over some threads to keep long-term readers hooked, like pretty much any scene with Loki, but it feels less like an arc and more like just a natural series of events.  Couple all of that with Samnee’s terrific art, Langridge’s great script, and a team of finishers that’s second to none, and this is also one of my favorite books any week that it comes out.  Buy it for the kids and get them hooked on comics early!

Odin’s Beard 5/5

Knight and Squire #1

DC Comics, $2.99

Paul Cornell, Jimmy Broxton, Janelle Siegel

Review By Erik Lewis

Knight and Squire is a very fun read.  It follows the British Batman and Robin through the start of an adventure on their side of the pond, where we get to see what the British superhero scene is like.  I like the ideas put forth, and I like that British versions of American heroes and villains are called “cover” versions, and I like the thought put into developing their own flavors, too.  I like that they left a lot of slang untouched, and I like that they acknowledge that while it’s written about British characters and it references British culture heavily, that not all of it’s readers will get it.  The book takes care of that by providing a little cheat sheet explaining some of the more subtle elements of the story, as well as an original ad for Hexo Magic seasoning.  I specifically love the idea behind the pub where heroes and villains alike can go to drink and not be disturbed by rivalries and the like, and I really like that the British Joker is inspired by his American counterpart, but doesn’t sport a similar style or flair for crime.  It’s like all the characters are their own, which is more than can be said for other similar creations, and it really speaks to the writing ability of Paul Cornell.  As for the art, the interiors, and the cover for that matter, are beautifully rendered, making this book wonderful to look at, as well.  The action flows fairly seamlessly, and never once was I confused by what was going on.  Altogether, I’d have to say this mini is going to be a must-read for anyone who considers themselves a fan of Batman as a character, or for anyone who wants to see a different take on a new-ish character.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

Uncanny X-Force #1

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Rick Remender, Jerome Opena, Dean White, Axel Alonso

Review by Warren Taylor

In order to get into X-Force #1, I had to look past two glaring questions: 1.Do we really need another X Book? and 2. Does Wolverine need to be on yet another team? I decided to give the comic the benefit of the doubt and pick it up anyway. The plot is pretty generic, as seemingly random individuals are forced to come together to fight a greater evil. This time, that evil is the rebirth of Apocalypse who comes back as a blue-lipped, red-eyed rip off of Damien from “The Omen” movies.  Our new team consists of Wolverine (of course), Psylocke, Angel/Archangel who’s going through his own version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Fantomex and Deadpool. If Wolverine wasn’t enough, the addition of Deadpool to the team would normally be a good reason to drop the book outright as he has successfully weaseled himself into yet another Marvel title. However, the only true surprise and outright delight, is the inclusion of Fantomex in the roster. For those of you who don’t know, Fantomex first appeared back in the New X-Men comics during Grant Morrison’s run and is another result of the Weapon Plus program. He’s brilliant, quick witted, stealthy, can read body language and imprint powerful mental suggestions, proficient with weapons and his nervous system exists outside of his body in the form of a spaceship … that he flies! What’s not to like? As far as a first issue goes, this relaunch hits all of the necessary bullet points: new roster, new bad guy, reason to fight etc. but it doesn’t provide much excitement. The last line of the comic is Archangel declaring that this time he’s going to “kill Apocalypse.” Now before you start screaming spoiler alert, I’ll tell you right now that that’s not going to happen in these pages. Defeat? Probably. But certainly not kill this classic enemy once and for all, or else this story would be told in the primary X-Men comic instead. What the series lacks is creativity. Case in point, the new War from Apocalypse’ four horsemen is a giant, mute Minotaur statue that has the ability to infect your mind by pushing it toward violent actions. That’s a great power, but the creative team behind the book missed the mark because they could have given it to a brand new villain to reappear for future endeavors instead of a walking statue. If you want a lot of stabbing and explosions done by adrenaline junkies wearing monochromatic costumes, then this series is for you. If you want more of a substantial story, then maybe wait until the next relaunch.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5

And that’s all we have for this week.  We’re working on something special for the coming weeks, so keep your eyes on my twitter feed, or you can subscribe for email alerts for new updates on the blog!  Thanks for reading, see you next time!

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2 Responses to “Single Combat 10/19/10”

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I wasn’t going to pick up Superior, but now based on your review (and if it’s still available at the comic shop this week), I think I will.

Sweet! I can actually comment on half of the reviews this week.

I agree with your comments on Green Lantern. Johns has the habit of writing a few issues that don’t seem to do much and are just fun reads before putting out an issue like this where we get some great characterization beyond jokes and banter and the plot actually advances a bit with some good hooks to get me to come back. Knowing how much he loves writing Larfleeze, I’m not surprised we’re going to get a big back story for the character. I’ll give Johns credit for making sure that the New Guardians have a lot more depth to them than just the emotion each one represents.

I told myself I was going to wait for the trade collection to read Knight & Squire, but I lied to myself and I’m glad I did. The issue was a lot of fun. While the glossary in the back was helpful, I’m glad Bleeding Cool did a more thorough one. Hopefully now that the introductions are out of the way and the basic rules are laid out, the action can really pick up next issue.

Return of Bruce Wayne was a lot of fun with the bits of noir thrown in. I’m looking forward to the end of this series and Morrison’s Batman & Robin run so I can go back and piece everything together. I feel like Morrison is playing with a major part of the Batman mythos with the doubt he’s placed on the murders of Bruce’s parents. I can’t believe how much I hope Thomas and Martha’s names get cleared. While R.I.P. and Final Crisis aren’t essential to following Return of Bruce Wayne, things make a lot more sense if you’ve read them. If not, a rocket being recovered from the stone age seems strange even for this series. It’s too bad the deadline wasn’t met for the last few issues, since it’s kind of hurt all of the Road Home titles as well as the new on-goings.

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