Single Combat 11/9/10

Posted on November 9, 2010. Filed under: Reviews |

By Erik Lewis, Lead Blogger
Jeff Monk, Feature Blogger

Hey everybody!  Welcome to this week’s reviews!  We have a special treat this week, as I’m joined by Jeff Monk, who cuts his teeth on his first written review.  If you’ve listened to Ragin’ Ravens this week, you may recognize Jeff as our special guest reviewer, who helped us discuss Batman and Robin #16 and Amazing Spider-Man #647.  I hope you enjoy Jeff’s review as much as I did.  Without anything further, though, let’s get into the comics!  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 #16
Superboy #1
Amazing Spider-Man #647
Captain America: Man out of Time #1
Red Hood: The Lost Days #6
Irredeemable #19
Baltimore: The Plague Ships #4
Invincible #76
Taskmaster #3
Women of Marvel #1
Scarlet #3
Iron Man/Thor #1
Warriors Three #1
Chaos War #3
Namor: The First Mutant #3
The Boys #48
Jonah Hex #61
Freedom Fighters #3
Brightest Day #13

And here’s what I thought:

Wolverine #3

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Jason Aaron, Renato Guedes, Jose Wilson Magalhaes, Matt Wilson, Jeanine Schaeffer

Review by Jeff Monk

I decided to pick up this newest volume of “Wolverine” based mostly on curiosity regarding the title of the first arc, “Wolverine Goes to Hell.” The name basically says it all, but just so everyone is up to speed, the gist of the story is that Logan’s soul is in Hell while his body is being possessed by a demon and has been running around killing the ol’ Canucklehead’s friends/loved ones. While in Hell, Wolverine has become the newest plaything of the Devil and has been forced to fight (without adamantium and a limited healing factor, mind you) many of his previous enemies.  Oh yeah, and Puck is in Hell too, but don’t worry – he’s here to help.
This issue opens in Hell with a short-lived brawl between Logan and Sabretooth, but with the Devil holding Victor Creed’s leash the fight quickly abates.  Wolverine’s will to somehow make it through this ordeal becomes an annoyance for the Devil and next the recently-deceased Silver Samurai is brought in to show Logan what terrible fate might ultimately be waiting for him.  Wolverine remains defiant (surprised, anyone?) and looks to maybe be inciting a rebellion amongst the denizens of the Pit. I’m looking forward to seeing where this part of the story goes, especially the apparent throw-down between the Devil and Logan in the next issue.
The other parts of the story presented here take place outside of Hell, as Wolverine’s girlfriend Melita gets some help from Mystique, two Ghost Riders and the Son of Satan as she struggles to find a way to bring back Logan’s soul. This is Wolverine’s own book, but I’m glad to see that Aaron decided to have the demon-possessed body of Wolverine go after the X-Men. This issue is really only a set-up for the next, but now that Demon-Wolverine has physically accosted Kitty Pryde, it looks like a slobberknocker between he and Colossus is an inevitability. I can’t wait.
One of the things I love the most about this book is the way Aaron writes the Devil. He truly speaks as if torture and torment are his specialities and he is the best at what he does. Beyond the first page we don’t get much insight into Logan’s thoughts, but in what we do get Aaron captures perfectly his brutality and stubbornness, even in the face of impossible odds. And finally, I am loving the art by Guedes in this book. His designs for the Devil and Hell are what you’d expect, but intimidating and terrifying nonetheless.  His work reminds me of Leinil Yu, but cleaner and with less prominent tear-ducts.  I think I prefer Guedes, to be honest, and I’m not sure how much it has to do with the whole team including the inker and colorists, but they are doing a killer job on this book right now.  If you’re a fan of Wolverine, you won’t be disappointed with this title.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

Invincible #75

Image Comics, $5.99

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

Review by Erik Lewis

Invincible is a title that I know a lot about, and have heard a lot said about it’s quality, and it really does come through in this issue.  I’ve read(and reviewed) the first trade and read the title for the last few months, so I was a little wary of spending a full $5.99 on this single issue as I might not be able to follow it.  All in all, though, Kirkman does a very good job of making the whole thing very accessible to new readers.  Sure, we may not know exactly who everyone is, but there are very clear lines drawn between good guys and bad guys.  The issue is a very thick book, as it should be for a title that costs $5.99, and only about half of it is actually the cover story.  We get a Science Dog backup story and the continuing Tek Jacket story in the back, which are both perfectly serviceable on their own.  The art is superb, with Ottley knocking it out of the park on the main story.  Everything is clearly depicted, and though there’s a lot of gore on each individual page(even spilling into the margins), it’s handled in a way that makes it feel like it’s worth something.  In fact, my only complaint about the book is that it only took me around 20 minutes to get through, mostly because a lot of it was taken up by splash pages and very fast-paced action.  That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, but it does mean that a book that cost me $5.99 to buy took less time to read than a book that I spent $2.99 on, so there’s a loss of value as it pertains to time spent per page.  It’s a natural progression, though, and I understand that.  The time for exposition and dialogue would have been a few issues prior to this.  This is the issue that handles the throw down, and there’s nothing bad about that.  This book is a must-have for Invincible fans, and for non-Invincible fans, the next book should be a good starting point.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5


Warriors Three #1

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Bill Willingham, Neil Edwards, Scott Hanna, Frank Martin, Ralph Macchio

Review by Erik Lewis

Bill Willingham is a writer that I’ve had some contact with in the past, as the writer of a set of Justice Society stories that almost had me drop the book, and the writer of the absolutely fantastic Fables series, of which I’ve only read the first few issues.  Given that his track record with me is fairly spotty at best, I was a little hesitant to pick up the Warriors Three, but ultimately, it was the idea of a book featuring Volstagg, Fandral, and Hogun that swayed me to get it.  The story is set up in kind of a roundabout way, with caption boxes leading it to first introducing the Warriors Three, for those in the audience who may be unfamiliar with them.  It does so in a fairly humorous way, talking about fidelity as it shows Fandral being kicked out of a married woman’s apartment(they leave it up to the reader’s imagination to fill in the blanks, but they’re fairly obvious about it), mentioning grace and refinement while the scene switches to an all-you-can-eat buffet that Volstagg has cleaned out, and talking about compassion and humility as it shows the aftermath of a barroom brawl that Hogun started over comments made about his hat.  From there, we’re finally introduced to our narrator(who we’ve been led to believe is an Asgardian from the lettering used on the caption boxes) who turns out to be an A.I.M. agent instead.  Apparently, A.I.M. got the brilliant idea to release the Fenris wolf from captivity, and now Asgard calls all of their mightiest warriors to recapture the beast.  It’s this task that sees the Warriors Three in their own book, and the end sees the reveal of a classic Thor villain who is used in a different Thor book this week as well.  The art in the Warriors Three is perfectly serviceable, but honestly, nothing too noteworthy.  While I enjoyed reading this book, and it’s definitely a step up from Willingham’s work on JSA, it’s only an ok title.  You could do worse, but you could definitely do worse.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5

Red Hood: The Lost Days #6

DC Comics, $2.99

Judd Winick, Jeremy Haun, Michael Marts

Review by Erik Lewis

One of the first issues of Batman I read in the recent years of the title was the Red Hood storyline, and I got it specifically because I had heard that they were bringing back Jason Todd.  This was back in the day when it was a rule in comics that there were some people who should stay dead, and those people were Uncle Ben, Jason Todd, Bucky Barnes, and Donna Troy.  Since then, all but one of those names are back, and while I liked the way that Ed Brubaker brought back Bucky and I was indifferent about Donna Troy, I thought that Jason Todd as the Red Hood was a bad decision.  Since then, I haven’t really liked the character at all.  I missed his turn in the Search for Ray Palmer, and I absolutely hated him in the Battle for the Cowl, and equally disliked his appearance in the pages of Batman and Robin, but Red Hood: The Lost Days has turned that around for me.  This particular issue is a nice end for the title, in that it completes Jason’s turn into the Red Hood very nicely, tying into the Hush storyline and even the first real appearance of the character.  It gives closure to Jason’s quest, which is very Batman-like in nature, to become a crime fighter, but without Bruce’s morals and values.  It makes it easy to see things through his eyes, and to identify with the character, if not sympathize.  The art for the book is absolutely perfect, and goes along with the story very well.  The biggest boon, I think, is that the cover is not misleading at all, and the confrontation with the Joker actually happens as it’s shown, for the most part.  If this story is collected, I highly recommend it, especially if you have any sort of predilection towards the Bat Family.

Volstagg’s Beard, 4/5

Taskmaster #3

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Fred Van Lente, Jefte Palo, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Lauren Sankovitch

Review by Erik Lewis

Fred Van Lente’s Taskmaster series, up to this point, has been an absolute joy to read.  It’s got funny moments, great character moments for Taskmaster and even his supporting cast, The Don of the Dead, great mystery and action, and even over the top parts, like the title for this particular issue, “The Town That Was Hitler.”  Van Lente does a great job of taking that ridiculous tagline and making it into something that makes a little bit of sense, though, and that’s another thing to his credit as a writer.  My favorite thing about the title so far, though, is how Van Lente is able to take a fairly mysterious character like the Taskmaster and give him a background that not only makes sense, but actually makes the character even more interesting.  It’s a potential pitfall with a character like that, explaining his background.  I’ve seen it go awry in a few other characters, like Boba Fett and Wolverine, but here it works.  I’m not going to spoil it for you, it’s a story that deserves to be read.  Van Lente sets everything up for the conclusion, which should hopefully see all the threads, or at least the important ones, wrapped up.  I’d like to see the Red Shirt and M.I.L.F. dealt with in an appropriate manor in the next issue, and I’m sure we’ll get that.  The art is a different style, somewhat experimental, but it fits the book well, and it’s not hard to follow at all, as I believe I’ve said in past reviews about this title.  All in all, this is a very fun book to read, for all that it gives you and for all that it leaves out.  Go out and get it, if you can find it.

Odin’s Beard, 5/5

Superboy #1

DC Comics, $2.99

Jeff Lemire, Pier Gallo, Matt Idelson

Review by Erik Lewis

Superboy is a title I picked up on a whim.  It had an interesting cover, and I recognized the writer’s name from Sweet Tooth, which is a book I haven’t actually read, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about.  Reading through Superboy, I’m hit with all sorts of comic cliches.  From the visit with the Phantom Stranger, who’s there to warn Superboy of a coming darkness, to Connor’s secret identity being discovered by one of the people in Smallville, to an attack by Parasite, it’s all stuff I’ve seen before.  My biggest complaint, though, is with the secret identity thing.  I mean, honestly, do these people not think that people are going to put two and two together to figure out that Connor Kent, who’s only attempt to disguise his identity is that he puts on a different t-shirt and a pair of glasses, is also the town’s newest superhero, Superboy?  How is this news?  I can kind of understand the cover of Metropolis for Superman.  It’s a big city, he could be any one, but Smallville, even in name, is small.  Anyway, Superboy takes down the big bad and saved the day, only to have to confront another familiar face at the end of the book, which is naturally, to be continued.  All in all, it’s fairly standard superhero stuff, and while the upcoming adventure teases look to be somewhat interesting, it’s going to take more to get me to continue reading this book than the distant promise of a Superboy and Kid Flash race, or the New Titans.  The art is the only thing that saves this book from a bad rating, and even that’s just ok.  It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not spectacular either, especially when it takes me several looks to get everything that’s happening straight.  Overall, it’s not a bad comic, I have read worse, but if it were a little bit of a longer read, and certainly more interesting, it would be better as a whole.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5

And that’s going to do it for this week.  Feel free to drop us a line in the comics and let us know what you thought of any of this weeks choices, or of anything we didn’t talk about.  Keep in mind that this week’s podcast is available, and free too!  Be sure to come back throughout the week for all of our regular feature, Mortals, Take Cover and The Asgardian Trade Commission!

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