Single Combat 7/12/11

Posted on July 12, 2011. Filed under: Reviews |

By Erik Lewis, Lead Blogger

So it’s been a little while since I did this, but I’d like to thank you for coming back, and I’d like to give a big thanks to any and all of my readers who helped me recently, whether it was by buying some books, or simply hitting the retweet button.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

That said, this blog is, first and foremost, a comic review blog, so let’s get to 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:

Captain America & Thor: Avengers #1
Supreme Power #2
Jonah Hex #69
Flashpoint #3
Fear Itself #4
Heroes for Hire #9
Moon Knight #3
Red Skull: Incarnate #1
Thunderbolts #160

And here’s what I thought:

Red Skull: Incarnate

Marvel Comics, $2.99

Greg Pak, Mirko Colak, Matthew Wilson, Alejandro Arbona

Review by Erik Lewis

Bear with me while I get my head straight here, it’s been more than six months since I exercised my reviewing muscles, but I figured a Greg Pak book would be a good place to start.  Pak is definitely a favorite of mine, so it comes as no surprise that I was looking forward to the release of this book.  Red Skull: Incarnate stars, naturally, Johann Schmidt, better known for his super villainy as the Red Skull.  What someone could imagine or expect from the biography of a serial killer is what you can expect from this title.  In the first chapter, we’re introduced to a young Johann Schmidt and we follow him through more cruelty than any young boy deserves, but what’s interesting about it is seeing where the young Schmidt makes choices that start him down the road to becoming the foil to Captain America that we know him as.  The story is just the right amount of chilling and heartbreaking so far, and in fact, the only piece of criticism I can level at it is that I would have liked to see the book begin a little bit earlier in young Schmidt’s life, if only so we could feel a little more attachment to the character as he starts to make his choices, but I can understand why it starts and ends where it does.  As for the art, we’ll start with the cover.  David Aja knocks it out of the park with a cover that’s as eye-catching and shocking as the story between the folds, all by simply mimicking the somewhat minimalist style of Nazi propaganda.  For an interior artist, Mirko Colak is not a name that I’m familiar with, but after being introduced to his art work, I would gladly pick up another one of his books.  Each panel flows neatly into the next, and there’s never any questions of what the Colak is trying to get across.  His faces are expressive, his action is clean, he leaves really nothing to be desired.  I await the next installment in this series eagerly.

Odin’s Beard 5/5




Thunderbolts #160

Marvel Comics, $2.99

Jeff Parker, Declan Shalvey, Frank Martin Jr., Tom Brennan

Review by Erik Lewis

Alright, that last review felt good.  Got my reviewin’ muscles stretched, and I’m ready to tell you about some more comic books!  As is the case with so many other Marvel comics these days, Thunderbolts has been touched by Fear Itself, and it’s one of the most strongly affected by Fraction’s event, in that one of the core members has become “Worthy.”  I have a bit of a soft spot for Juggernaut, and I remember Parker doing pretty well with him before I stopped picking up comics, but let me tell you, coming back and seeing this issue was a pretty nice treat.  Apparently, while I was gone, Parker was busy building the Thunderbolts roster to double or more than double what I was used to, as well as giving the prisoners more dastardly schemes than before.  Seeing Satana in action was kind of cool, and I really like the way she works with Man-Thing, but the most interesting and fun part of the book comes when Satana inscribes runes on Ghost, allowing herself, Songbird, Ghost, Moonstone, and Mach V to all enter Juggernaut’s consciousness and psychically challenge Kuurth for dominance of Cain Marko.  A bit of a spoiler, Kuurth wins, but if it were that easy, this subplot would have been dealt with when he was introduced in Fear Itself.  What makes that part of the book so interesting is not the idea of challenging this possessing entity, but rather Shalvey’s artwork, which comes across as a nonstandard grouping of talking pictograms and somewhat jumbled backgrounds.  It’s every interesting, and eye-catching enough to get you looking and paying attention to every panel.  Heck, it had me go back and look over the sequence a couple extra times.  I love that Parker’s series can do that, introduce something new like that and have it seem natural.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5




Fear Itself #4

Marvel Comics, #3.99

Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, Laura Martin, Tom Brevoort

Review by Erik Lewis

During our interview with the fantastically fun-to-talk-to Matt Fraction, he let us know that he “(couldn’t) believe what (Marvel) let (him) get away with in Fear Itself,” and reading issue #3 and the setup at the end of this issue, it’s easy to understand.  That said, even though I love Bucky as Captain America, and *SPOILERS FOR ISSUE 3* didn’t really want to see him die, I’m loving Fear Itself so far.  It’s an intangible idea, really, what is fear itself, but I think that Fraction captures the idea perfectly, with all out terror, no one really being safe, and just the general frenetic pace of it all.  Not only that, but, as he promised, you can get the whole story just by reading the core title, but that doesn’t stop him from leaving open spots for other writers to take, and even making those tie-ins seem appealing.  Who doesn’t want to know what Alpha Flight(by Pak and Van Lente) have to do in this time of crisis?  Who doesn’t think the Juggernaut fighting his own team of Thunderbolts is interesting?  But, back to this book.  Fraction gives us something we rarely see these days in Marvel, the Big Three finally teaming up to accomplish some good, with Tony Stark making a huge sacrifice of the thing he holds most dear to attract Odin’s attention, Thor willing to give his life for the good of Midgard, and Steve Rogers, back in his Captain America duds, leading the Avengers.  I can see where this book will definitely change things in the Marvel Universe, I just hope Fraction doesn’t go so far as to take one of these big players out of the game.  I can see a vague outline of where this title is going, and I’m definitely in it for the rest, and I think you should be too, if only for the core title.  Excellent work!

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5




Flashpoint #3

DC Comics, $3.99

Geoff Johns, Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope, Eddie Berganza

Review by Erik Lewis

And now I’ll weigh in on the summer event from DC!  Flashpoint was a little more involved than Fear Itself, I will admit.  When I went to the comic store, I decided I wanted to see what Flashpoint was all about, so I picked up some stuff I thought I would need to get into it, and when I got home around 3 o’clock that day, I started digging into the pile.  I didn’t hit this issue until after 6.  There’s been a lot of build to Flashpoint, and while I’m sure that I didn’t need to read it all the get the whole story, it sure didn’t hurt.  I find that Johns’ revisionist DC Universe is very interesting, but this doesn’t surprise me.  I’ve been a fan of Elseworlds for a while now, and while this isn’t technically an Elseworld, it certainly has that feel to it.  On top of that, I generally think that Geoff Johns does no wrong in comics.  Flashpoint, while being a way to usher in the DC Universe’s New 52 lineup, also seems to me like just plain fun comics.  As you can tell by the cover, this issue introduces Project Superman, and I love the direction they took with that.  I think the disjointed way that Barry remembers things is pretty cool, putting Cyborg in what is essentially Superman’s spot as America’s #1 metahuman is an inspired choice, as is the warping of Batman.  It all makes sense in it’s own little world, and luckily that’s what it is.  I’m not prepared to say which is better between this title and Fear Itself yet, and likely won’t be prepared to make that decision until they hit issue numbers 7 and 5 respectively, but I can say that Flashpoint, just like Fear Itself, will do you no wrong in you put it(or already have it) on your pull list.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5




Captain America & Thor: Avengers #1

Marvel Comics, $4.99

Fred Van Lente, Ron Lim, Miki, Jon Rauch, Ralph Macchio

Review by Erik Lewis

Where to start with this one?  I love it, I’ll say that, but I also think it’s a brilliant tie-in piece by Marvel.  Sure, looking as a comic fan, I’m sure some of you think that the 5 dollar price tag is a bit steep, but what you get here is a book that’s heavy on content(Van Lente content, at that, and the artists are no slouches either), with 2 full stories featuring the two Avengers who have movies out this summer, at a price that’s just slightly less than buying a single Captain America issue and a single Thor issue would be.  Try to imagine that you’re a parent and you’ve just taken your child to see Captain America, and earlier this summer they saw Thor.  Now your kid is interested, and you just need to find the right book to give them more of what they want.  Boom, two things taken care of with one book.  Sold.  Now, about the content; Van Lente works with a Captain America story that showcases the idealism that is characteristic to Captain America perfectly, and a Thor story that shows the dynamic and the entire viewpoint of pre-Midgard Thor perfectly, but the real beauty in Van Lente’s stories is in their simplicity.  Through the course of this 44 page book(two 22 page stories, they’re really full comics!) never once do you feel cheated out of a complete story for either character.  Never once do you feel you need to buy another book to get more details.  It’s all here, they’re fantastic once-and-done stories, and quite frankly, they’re what the comic industry needs.  An inexpensive book for the content given, with compellingly written all-ages content.  It’s something that, sadly, we don’t see too much of, and even if it is a movie tie-in, it’s still worth it for what it represents.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5




Moon Knight #3

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, Matthew Wilson, Tom Brevoort

Review by Erik Lewis

Moon Knight was a book I had heard a lot of buzz about, and I figured I would track down the first two issues and this one to see how it was.  First off, I’d like to say that the change of scenery from New York to L.A. was refreshing.  The premise for the book is very interesting, in that Marc Spector, a character who has always experienced multiple personalities(or if not always, for as long as I’ve been familiar with the character) is now hearing the voices of Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine in his head.  I’m not sure what interactions Marc has had with Cap or Wolverine, but I know he has worked with Spider-Man in the past.  I think one of the most interesting things is how he lets one of their personalities take over, as it adds a level of unpredictability to the character.  Now, this issue is a little misleading, what with the cover and all.  I was hoping that either Bullseye would make an appearance, or that Bullseye was another voice in Marc’s head that we hadn’t heard from yet.  That would have been an interesting dynamic to add in, Marc hearing from supervillains as well as heroes, but instead, what we get is a story about Marc’s L.A. help, told in flashbacks.  Honestly, I can understand the diversion, but I feel like this story, this far in to a new title and story arc, kind of breaks the momentum that Bendis was building with issues 1 and 2.  That said, though, it’s not terrible, and it’s not a waste of money, even if it does break things up just a bit.  Maleev’s art, really, is worth the price of admission alone, as every page is something wonderful and kinetic to look at, but you can pass on this one safely if you’re not a fan of Bendis.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5





And that’s it for the week.  It feels good to be back, and I’d like to thank you all for reading!  Keep your eyes peeled for updates, as we’re looking to change our reviewing schedule, as well as podcasting habits, and maybe even the site itself!  See you next week!

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2 Responses to “Single Combat 7/12/11”

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I didn’t realize that was the premise behind the new Moon Knight book – now he is hearing the voices of these heroes in his head. I think it’s interesting because that’s what Bendis has been doing to us, the readers, for years! A bunch of talking heads that can show up and start the jibber jabber at any moment? Sounds like Bendis’ dream come true to me. And because it is Bendis, I’m sure the snark is turned all the way up to 11, correct?

Well, not.really up to 11. Spider-Man is a little snarky, but that’s to be expected, really. Wolverine is kind of savage, and Cap is…well, he’s Cap. So it’s not bad. And the talking head factor is dialed waaaay down.


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