Single Combat 12/14/10

Posted on December 14, 2010. Filed under: Reviews |

By Erik Lewis, Lead Blogger

So it’s Tuesday, and and on the eve of new comics, we like to do reviews here at By Odin’s Beard.  It’s been a relatively slow week for comics,  but even so there were some stand out issues, and I’d like to share that with you.  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:

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #7
The Incredible Hulks #618
Superboy #2
The New Avengers #7
I Am An Avenger #4
Chaos War: Ares #1
Red Robin #18
Hellblazer: City of Demons #5
Invaders Now! #4
The Flash #7
First Wave #5
Knight and Squire #3
B.P.R.D.: Hell On Earth: New World #5
DC Universe Holiday Special 2010 #1
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2
Captain America: The Korvac Saga #1
Shadowland: After the Fall #1
Thor #618

And here’s what I thought:

Knight and Squire #3

DC Comics, $2.99

Paul Cornell, Jimmy Broxton, Janelle Siegel

Review by Erik Lewis

Knight and Squire is about as fun as you can get reading Batman these days, as the British equivalents from the Club of Heroes.  Cornell manages to pack in a lot of nods to the culture, a lot of which he is fully aware will sail right over the heads of his American readers.  To make up for that, the last page of the issue is always a page that describes, in some detail, just about all of the little references he makes that we might not get.  It’s an incredible nice touch, even when the book will stand on it’s own without that, that he takes the time to mention all of that.  In this issue, Knight and Squire find themselves dealing with a revived Richard III and a collection of other former royalty, all brought back to life using recovered DNA samples and an insta-cloning process.  The former King, famously villainized by Shakespeare, turns out to be a true villain once brought back to life, but through a series of PR stunts he manages to get the people on his side.  The gang of other royalty that I mentioned includes Edward I, Charles I, John, and William II.  In a brilliant and completely relevant move, Knight and Squire use social media to expose the former kings for the bad apples that they are, and use that so that they can take them down without hurting their own public image.  While it’s hard to see any emerging picture for an overall story, spanning the title, it’s certainly a lot of fun to read every month, and in fact, I would love a Cornell-penned Knight and Squire monthly.  Broxton’s contribution to the book is also a great boon to the book, as a book without art this good would suffer, even through the phenomenal story.  Keep up the good work, guys!

Odin’s Beard 5/5




Thor: The Mighty Avenger #7

Marvel Comics, $2.99

Roger Langridge, Chris Samnee, Matt Wilson, Sana Amanat, Nathan Cosby

Review by Erik Lewis

The first thing you’re going to see when you open Thor: The Mighty Avenger #7(after the excellent recap page, first laid out like that by editor Nathan Cosby) is a pair of scientists who look remarkably like Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker.  As an All Ages title, that’s something that’s going to be inoffensive to younger readers, but something that’s put in specifically for older readers to catch and snicker at.  There are little touches like that all throughout the series that make it a shame that this title is scheduled to be canceled with the next issue.  All throughout the series, Langridge has told an excellent story, Samnee’s art has been outstanding in every page and panel, and Wilson’s coloring has been exactly what was necessary to each scene, and even this issue is no exception.  We have a title, largely unbound by continuity, and as such a very new-reader-friendly option to tell the origin story of Thor.  I think, if marketed properly, this was a title that had success written all over it, and it’s certainly been reviewed favorably, so I’m not sure what caused this title to fail, but I will certainly be sad to see it go.  If I thought it would make a lick of difference, I’d suggest marching on the Marvel offices to try and rescue this title, but I’m not sure what it would do.  I think the best we could do to let them know that we’re listening is to get out and buy the last issue, and any of the other issues you can find.  At $2.99 each, you’ll get a quality book that anyone, regardless of age, can read an enjoy, and maybe if sales of issue 8 are the highest ever someone will get the hint and reconsider.  It’s a long shot, but if you want good comics to stay around, you have to vote with your dollar.  Oh yeah, I was supposed to be doing a review here.  Umm…

Odin’s Beard 5/5




T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2

DC Comics, $3.99

Nick Spencer, Cafu, Bit, Chriscross

Review by Erik Lewis

THUNDER Agents(yes, still refusing to do the periods after the initial spelling) is continuing to be an interesting read, in that it’s able to keep my attention.  While it jumps around in its’ own timeline, which can get a little confusing at times, it does tell an interesting story, and this particular issue tells us about the identity of the man currently using the Lightning suit, a Kenyan named Henry Cosgei.  Cosgei was an Olympic athlete, rich and famous all because of the speed at which he could run.  Bad news comes for Cosgei when he tests positive for banned substances, however.  He is stripped of all of his medals, as well as all of his endorsements.  Since he loves running, however, he keeps training, even though he’s told he can’t compete any more.  It’s sad, but when given the option to wear the Lightning suit, when he’s told that he can run again, he takes the offer even though he’s made aware that using it will shorten his own life.  Spencer takes an interesting look as super speed when Cosgei uses the suit for the first time, showing several possible outcomes for Cosgei’s life, with each ending sooner and a little more tragically with each second that he runs.  It’s interesting to see it like that, as the power has never worked that way with Quicksilver, the Flash, or any other speedster before.  Also interesting is the role that an as yet unnamed THUNDER Agent will play in their extraction plan.  The art for this book continues to be good, and if the story progresses like this, I’ll be glad I started getting this title.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5




Invaders Now! #4

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Alex Ross, Christos Gage, Caio Reis, Vinicius Andrade, Bill Rosemann

Review by Erik Lewis

If Invaders Now! has shown me one thing, it’s that I really love golden age superheroes.  I guess I probably should have known that, between this title and the Justice Society of America books I get on a regular basis.  Back on Thursday, I guessed that the bad guy shown here on the cover of the book was Shuma Gorath, and as it turns out, I was right.  The series, so far, has been The Invaders revisiting a particularly terrible thing that they had to do for the greater good during World War II, involving burning a town to the ground to stop the spread of a contagion created by Arnim Zola.  As it turns out, the contagion has magical roots and links back the Shuma Gorath, who is also the entity that the mage behind all of this is trying to summon.  The Invaders are given 24 hours to try and find a cure for the disease, after which they will willingly surrender their lives to save the world.  It’s nice that Gage and Ross, to the extent that Ross was involved, realize that the Invaders would rather sacrifice themselves than see the world come to harm.  Anyway, gaining help from low-level magic users and the greatest scientific minds of the Marvel Universe(Tony Stark, Hank Pym, Reed Richards, and Beast), they are able to come up with a cure, and seeing how they work towards that goal inspires the mage to stop his ceremony and save their lives.  Seeing as how this is only issue 4, however, we are treated to a reveal of the real bad guy, with a last few pages that promises a heck of an ending.  Seriously good stuff at work here, especially if you like older heroes.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5




The Flash #7

DC Comics, $2.99

Geoff Johns, Scott Kolins, Adam Schlagman, Eddie Berganza

Review by Erik Lewis

This book, as you can tell from the cover, is about Captain Boomerang.  Absolutely everything you could possibly wish to know about Captain Boomerang.  Seriously, it’s the A to Z of Captain Boomerang.  One thing that Geoff Johns does really well is take characters that everyone assumes are a joke, like Boomerang here, and tell interesting stories with them.  Heck, he got us to consider Black Hand one of the biggest bad guys in the DC Universe for the better part of a year with Blackest Night.  You could say he’s even more successful with Captain Boomerang, in that he takes a jokey Flash villain and shows you what drives him, and unlike William Hand, it’s not really any kind of mental sickness.  No, Captain Boomerang has a pretty sympathetic backstory, one that seems like it could happen to anyone, if they grew up under similar circumstances.  What he also does nicely is reference already established history for the characters and rather than change that completely he’s able to update it and give it meaning, and at the same time take the character through a story that has ramifications on the current DC Universe.  The issue sees Boomerang breaking into prison to speak to the Reverse Flash about his involvement with Brightest Day and what he knows about him from history.  Now, the Rogues hate the Reverse Flash as much as they hate the Flash, so this is a big thing, and basically Thawne taunts Boomerang before escaping, leaving Boomerang to deal with the Rogues.  For an issue without the Flash, this is a very good read, and for making Captain Boomerang interesting, Geoff Johns deserves kudos.  This issue is also notable as the start of a new story arc, so it serves as a perfect starting point for new readers.  Give it a shot.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5




Chaos War: Ares #1

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Michael Avon Oeming, Segovia, Rodriguez, Mark Paniccia

Review by Erik Lewis

As a story that’s only really loosely based on Chaos War, Oeming does a great job crafting an original story to explain the link between Mikaboshi, Ares, and Nightmare that makes the events of Chaos War seem more personal, at least for those three characters.  Of course, we know that Ares fought for Pluto against Mikaboshi at the start of the Chaos War and now serves Mikaboshi as the general for his godly army during the battle at large, but Oeming goes into deeper detail, explaining that these characters once faced each other, with Mikaboshi holding Ares’ son Alexander captive.  Before beating Mikaboshi to a pulp in that meeting, Nightmare comes to the three of them and offers a sort of bargain: the three of them could work together, fostering eternal war, benefiting Ares, which would spread chaos to benefit Mikaboshi, which would, in turn, spread fear throughout the mortal population, which would benefit Nightmare.  Now, I happen to think that Ares’ mythological counterpart would have been more than happy with that arrangement, but Marvel Ares is much different, as evidenced by his moral stance and sacrifice during the Siege of Asgard, so Oeming gets points in my book for recognizing that and having the character act appropriately.  We also get to see what exactly happened to Ares after he was killed during Siege, which I thought would be an interesting thing to see, and Oeming doesn’t disappoint there either.  Over all, for fans of Ares, this is a great read, and Oeming does as fantastic a job using his pencils to write as he normally does to draw.  Even if you’re not picking up Chaos War as an event, this one-shot could be a lot of fun if you know anything about the character.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5




And that’s it for this week!  Be sure to come back all throughout the week and next week for more of our regular features!

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