Single Combat 10/26/10

Posted on October 26, 2010. Filed under: Reviews |

By Erik Lewis, Lead Blogger
Warren Taylor, Feature Blogger

So it’s Tuesday, and new comics come out tomorrow, so what better time to talk about last week’s releases?  We’ve all had tome to read them over, and now I’m going to let you know what I think, with a little help from Melnick.  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:

Batman and Robin #15
Hellblazer #272
Brightest Day #12
Green Lantern Corps #53
Justice League of America #50
Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Catwoman #1
Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Commissioner Gordon #1
Azrael #13
Batman Beyond #5
DC Universe Legacies #6
DCU Halloween special 2010 #1
Ragman: Suit of Souls #1
Highland Laddie #3
Guarding the Globe #2
Skullkickers #2
Carnage #1
Chaos War #2
Daredevil #511
Shadowland: Power Man #3
Hulk #26
Steve Rogers Super Soldier #4
Thor: First Thunder #2
Loki #1
X-Factor #210
Kick-Ass 2 #1

And here’s what I thought:

Haunt #10

Image Comics, $2.99

Robert Kirkman, Greg Capullo, Todd McFarlane, Jonathan Glapion, Jen Cassidy

Review by Warren Taylor

A lot more happens within the pages of Haunt 10 then I would have imagined. We open with his capture at the hands of the book’s villain, Mr. Hurg. While it’s always good to give your hero some adversity to overcome, no one wants to see them get the living snot beaten out of them forever. We want to see our good guys in trouble, but not broken. So, it’s relieving to find out that after only a few pages and what appears to be quite a few interrogation sessions, in complete role reversal, Haunt not only frees himself, but captures Hurg in the process and brings him back to the government. We also see a little bit more characterization for some of the side characters in the series. Cobra continues his transformation into a monstrous comic book villain and Daniel agrees to live with Steph, the cute redhead at work who is just one of a number of the abundant hot women in Daniel Kilgore’s new life. Another great feature issue 10 gives us is more scenes with Hurg. For a comic about a violent paranormal secret agent, the villain is surprisingly down to Earth. He’s smart, charismatic and charming. In the beginning of the issue, we see Daniel’s capture. He’s bruised and bloody and hanging from chains in a darkened room. At the end of the book, we see Hurg captured and it’s a completely different story. He’s tied to a chair for interrogation and he’s smiling. Now some of this is probably due to clichés that a villain would treat a prisoner worse than the forces of good would, but it serves as a create juxtaposition of the two situations, but it also shows just how similar the hero and the villain actually are. Hurg, while a man of violent actions, is otherwise calm and composed to the outside world. Daniel used to be a priest; he’s easy going and friendly until he becomes Haunt. Then he doesn’t seem to have any problems about ripping an enemy in half. While they have different goals, both men have similar characteristics, but that’s what makes a great hero/villain dynamic. That’s why so many arch nemeses come from spurned family members or close friends. We want our heroes to be walking on that edge of darkness without falling off the ledge like their acquaintances have. Issue 10, with its quick pacing, does a great job of progressing the story. Haunt frees himself, Hurg is captured, and at the end of the comic, we find out the results of what he’s been doing with Shillinger’s research. So much happens and yet there’s still an action packed cliff hanger ending.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5




Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Commissioner Gordon #1

DC Comics, $2.99

Adam Beechen, Szymon Kudranski, Mike Marts

Review by Erik Lewis

So I’ve been reading all of the Road Home books so far, and this is the first one that I felt deserved mention.  So far, it’s been a case of Bruce, as the mysterious Insider, testing the Bat-Family to see how they’ve changed while he was away, and for the most part they’ve been entertaining.  I do enjoy that they all connect, but I don’t like how there’s no reading chronology to them that’s evidently apparent.  I mean, once you jump in, at the end of the book it will tell you which one to read next in most cases, but not all.  That also makes it a little difficult to figure out where to jump on, especially if you’re not fortunate enough to buy your comics weekly and end up with a big stack of books.  That aside, the Commissioner Gordon story is less about Bruce testing Jim than it is about Jim trying to survive a villain attack in Gotham on his own.  It feels a lot like the Battle for the Cowl Commissioner Gordon one-shot in that respect, but what you get is a nice story showing just how competent Jim Gordon is as a cop, but at the same time showing his human faults.  There’s also some musing from Bruce Wayne about his relationship with Gordon, and how he needs him to be able to continue his quest, which definitely acknowledges an important part of the Batman mythos and I’d say also showcases some character development for Bruce as well.  I really enjoyed reading this story, even if I didn’t recognize the two Calvin City goons that Gordon has to deal with.  The art is pretty solid, as far as these things go, except I feel that it might have relied a little too heavily on shadows and strong blacks.  I understand that there’s going to be little that you can do to showcase color in a blackout scenario as depicted in the comics, but I could have done with a more innovative approach.  Altogether, though, this is a solid issue and a break from form for The Road Home’s story thus far.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5




Hulk #26

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Jeff Parker, Gabriel Hardman, Mark Paniccia

Review by Erik Lewis

I find it amazing that I could be so full of vitriol for a title, so ready to drop it once it tells me what I need to know, only to give it the benefit of the doubt during a change of creative team, where it makes a complete 180 to become a book I look forward to reading.  Jeff Parker takes the Red Hulk(also known as Rulk, or CherryHulk) and turns him from a character I absolutely despise, and in the span of 2 issues, actually makes me excited to see him in more comics, including the upcoming Avengers #7.  There’s such an economy of storytelling here that Parker gets through the second half of his Iron Man/CherryHulk team up that he started last issue, and has time for a full battle and team up between Thor and CherryHulk, not to mention the next part of the A-Bomb backup story.  Seriously, there’s so much story here, and so many little character moments, that I feel like $3.99 is exactly the right price to pay.  I feel like I’m getting the level of story that I would get out of an 80-Page Giant, only it takes a lot less time to read.  Not to mention that, but Parker manages to sneak in a few dangling plot threads for things that almost certainly will come back in future issues, and he also manages to tie the two stories together fairly seamlessly, letting us know that they take place roughly at the same time.  The icing on the cake for the issue is the art work.  Never before has CherryHulk looked better, and the fight scenes between him and Thor are so dynamic and action-packed, I had to go back and look over them a second time.  Front to back, this book is worth every penny, and definitely should be on your radar with the new creative team.  I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but Hulk #26 earned every beard.

Odin’s Beard 5/5




The Walking Dead #78

Image Comics, $2.99

Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn, Sina Grace

Review by Warren Taylor

We finally get to see more of the new antagonists in this issue as they try and assault the community. As they’ve only shown up within the last couple of issues, there isn’t much back story and we don’t really know them very well as characters. Instead, they work to fill the void of yet another thing that must be overcome in the series. However, with that being said, the friction between the two groups doesn’t seem lazy or forced. As we learned early on in The Walking Dead, the thing to fear most in this desolate world are other groups of humans, as humanity has dwindled into small groups with different levels of depravity. So running into another band of would be conquerors not only make sense, but it is expected. They’re promptly dealt with in this issue and we see that it’s not the action of their attack that has the most meaning, but the effects of it that will matter the most in the issues to come. Their appearance breaks up the monotony of the community life style and sets further events into motion. What Kirkman does well in The Walking Dead is to create realistic characters. These new enemies are a perfect example. We don’t know anything about them, but from their actions and mannerisms we know that they’ve been together for awhile and have survived against impossible odds which makes them feel as badass as the next group so they don’t feel the need to compromise. Instead, they demand to be let in with threats of violence. If fate had been different, we could have been reading about them instead. The only difference is their motto of shooting first and asking questions later. Unlike our characters, this new band doesn’t care about who dies in the cross fire as long as they make it out on top. Kirkman establishes all of this in only a few short pages and even though we’ve seemingly seen the last of these characters, enough time and energy has been put into their creation to make them believable. It’s this kind of standout characterization that continues to make The Walking Dead a great book.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5




DC Universe Halloween Special 2010 #1

DC Comics, $4.99

Billy Tucci, Joe Harris, Lee Garbett, Alex Segura, Kenneth Loh, Vinton Hueck, Dean Zachary, Bryan Q. Miller, Trevor McCarthy, Brian Keene, Stephen Thompson, Jack Purcell, Mike Marts

Review by Erik Lewis

As fine a collection of Halloween stories as I’ve ever seen assembled, the DCU Halloween Special 2010 is a joy to read.  We start with a story about the Scarecrow, who is in some trouble.  Having been captured by two children who he apparently stole candy from, he has to be rescued by Batman.  The real joy of this story is the artwork, specifically the way Tucci captures several different incarnations of Batman throughout the years in his fear-vision art from the perspective of a Scarecrow under the influence of fear toxins.  We move on to a story of Dick and Damian as Batman and Robin, teaming up to take out a group of vampires withe the help of I, Vampire, a character I had never heard of before, but who gives off a Morbius vibe.  Up next is a classic tale of mistaken identity as the Flash and Frankenstein team up(kinda) to take on another vampire, although the Flash and everyone else in the story think they’re fighting Frankenstein instead.  We move on to a team-up of Deadman and Wonder Woman who try to stop Felix Faust and Cheetah from bringing an elder god into our universe.  This story has some good moments of Deadman trying to explain who he is, only to be blasted out of the body he’s possessing.  Klarion and Teekl cause some mischief in Texas and have to be stopped by Miss Martian and the Blue Beetle in a story that teaches a little bit of a lesson.  Lastly, Superman and the Demon tackle fear as Superman is plagued by a lesser demon who forces the Man of Steel to face his fears.  Altogether, it’s a very good collection of short stories featuring some big names in the DCU and some lesser known characters, and every page is a joy to look at.  This book is a very good value for the price.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5




Kick-Ass 2 #1

Marvel/Icon, $2.99

Mark Millar, John Romita Jr., John Barber

Review by Erik Lewis

Mark Millar continues to remind me that I shouldn’t judge someone based on one work that they’ve done recently with this title.  As you know, I’m not liking Nemesis, but I did enjoy Superior and I also find that I liked Kick-Ass 2.  The story picks up a little after the first story ended, with Kick-Ass and Hit Girl training in a gym, then snaps back to almost immediately after the second story ended.  Millar follows a natural progression for the characters, and it’s nice to see.  Mindy(Hit Girl) is settling into a somewhat regular life with her mother and step-father, trying to be a normal girl.  Dave(Kick-Ass) is still doing the costumed adventurer thing, and trying to get Mindy to come back.  Throughout the course of the book, we find that Kick-Ass is still a target for supervillains and thugs, while he’s still trying to make a difference in the world and inspire a new batch of superheroes.  We get to find out that there are enough heroes in his town to form a supergroup, and some of the character designs look familiar enough to get an idea about them, but they also look different enough that I’m intrigued to find out more.  There’s no torture, no excessive gore, no over-the-top fight scenes, just a book that’s more about character than anything, and that’s nice to see from Millar, especially after being soured on him by Nemesis.  Even Romita Jr., who’s art I tend to think looks the same, all the time, seems to have stepped it up a notch for this title.  Cover to cover, this book is fun to read and fun to look at, and I couldn’t ask for more from a sequel.  Pick it up if you can find it.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5




And that does it for this week!  Be sure to check back throughout the week for more stuff, plus a little extra!

A lot more happens within the pages of Haunt 10 then I would have imagined. We open with his capture at the hands of the book’s villain, Mr. Hurg. While it’s always good to give your hero some adversity to overcome, no one wants to see them get the living snot beaten out of them forever. We want to see our good guys in trouble, but not broken. So, it’s relieving to find out that after only a few pages and what appears to be quite a few interrogation sessions, in complete role reversal, Haunt not only frees himself, but captures Hurg in the process and brings him back to the government. We also see a little bit more characterization for some of the side characters in the series. Cobra continues his transformation into a monstrous comic book villain and Daniel agrees to live with Steph, the cute redhead at work who is just one of a number of the abundant hot women in Daniel Kilgore’s new life. Another great feature issue 10 gives us is more scenes with Hurg. For a comic about a violent paranormal secret agent, the villain is surprisingly down to Earth. He’s smart, charismatic and charming. In the beginning of the issue, we see Daniel’s capture. He’s bruised and bloody and hanging from chains in a darkened room. At the end of the book, we see Hurg captured and it’s a completely different story. He’s tied to a chair for interrogation and he’s smiling. Now some of this is probably due to clichés that a villain would treat a prisoner worse than the forces of good would, but it serves as a create juxtaposition of the two situations, but it also shows just how similar the hero and the villain actually are. Hurg, while a man of violent actions, is otherwise calm and composed to the outside world. Daniel used to be a priest; he’s easy going and friendly until he becomes Haunt. Then he doesn’t seem to have any problems about ripping an enemy in half. While they have different goals, both men have similar characteristics, but that’s what makes a great hero/villain dynamic. That’s why so many arch nemeses come from spurned family members or close friends. We want our heroes to be walking on that edge of darkness without falling off the ledge like their acquaintances have. Issue 10, with its quick pacing, does a great job of progressing the story. Haunt frees himself, Hurg is captured, and at the end of the comic, we find out the results of what he’s been doing with Shillinger’s research. So much happens and yet there’s still an action packed cliff hanger ending.

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