Single Combat 7/14/11

Posted on July 14, 2011. Filed under: Reviews, Single Issues |

By Erik Lewis, Lead Blogger

What’s this?  Two single issue review columns in one week?  Yes.  Hell yes!  Starting this week, and continuing until something else comes up, single issues will be reviewed the day after they come out!  This is in an effort to give you either a warning about bad comics(God forbid), or let you know about awesome comics.  So, without anything further, let’s begin!  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:

Alpha Flight #2
Amazing Spider-Man #665
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: Monsters #1
Captain America #1
FF #6
Ghost Rider #1
Hellboy: The Fury #2
Incredible Hulks #632
Mystery Men #3
Red Wing #1
THe Unwritten #27

And here’s what I thought:

Amazing Spider-Man #665

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Michael Babinski, John Rauch, Tom Brevoort

Review by Erik Lewis

I think this is my favorite comic of the week, which is a little surprising when you take a look at this week’s pull list, but also not surprising due to the expected level of quality you get from Dan Slott.  The only thing that could lead someone to believe that this book could possibly be anything short of completely amazing(no pun intended) is that this is a one-off issue between the end of the last arc and the start of Spider Island.  If you thought you could skip this book because of that, you’re sorely mistaken.  While avoiding spoilers, Dan Slott’s story takes us into one of Peter Parker’s oldest relationships with Peter’s longtime friend Betty Brant and shows how Peter’s double life has begun affecting that particular relationship.  There’s a lot happening in this issue, which is packed with cameos from every person involved with Spider-Man’s life on the other side of the mask.  Slott takes us on a journey that parallels the events that made Spider-Man into what he is today, the events that made “With great power comes great responsibility” into his mantra, something that Slott himself is not afraid to call attention to, using Aunt May as a mouthpiece  The end of the main story is so touching that I teared up a little bit, and I’m not afraid to admit it.  Then, there’s the backup story, which revolves around Aunt May and her husband Jameson Sr. announcing that they’re moving to Boston.  It’s a nice farewell to Aunt May(I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of her) that also calls attention to Spider-Man’s published history and the experiences he’s had living with and around his Aunt.  Again, I teared up a little.  Slott’s artists don’t slouch either, and it’s only fitting that I give Stegman and Camuncoli a mention for the solid, steady, easy to follow and clear art that they provide.  If not for them, Slott’s stories wouldn’t have the same emotional impact on this longtime Spidey reader.  Do not miss this book!

Odin’s Beard 5/5




Hellboy: The Fury #2

Dark Horse Comics, $2.99

Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo, Scott Allie

Review by Erik Lewis

Hellboy has been very interesting lately, and it’s very interesting to see that Mignola has definitely been going somewhere as far back as Seed of Destruction.  The Fury seems to be the culmination(or very near to the culmination) of the massive Hellboy story he’s been telling.  Recently, Hellboy found out that he’s descended from King Arthur,  and therefore is worthy to wield Excalibur and command Britain’s noble dead.  In a move that really shocks no one, he chooses not to accept that responsibility and leaves the sword with a woman who he saved from death as a child.  I think that brings us up to speed.We have Hellboy, who gave one of his eyes to Baba Yaga, using the Russian witch’s powers to sneak past Nimue’s army, which includes the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse, so that he can face her one-on-one.  Through her constant monologuing(seriously, even Hellboy tells her to shut up), the creature essentially reveals that she’s the dragon that will end all life, the serpent responsible for Ragnarok.  What Mignola does so well here is he blends so many different myths and legends, and it’s not just his knowledgeability that’s astounding, it’s the fact that he’s able to blend them and make them feel seamless.  It’s a work of art, and that’s for sure, though I do wonder how all the Hellboy stories, read end-to-end, would follow the thread laid out so far in this story.  As always, Fegredo’s art is peerless, almost matching Mignola’s style, but adding his own flair to it as well.  As a fan of Hellboy in any capacity, live action, animated, or comic book, you would be wise to put this issue in your pull list, along with the next one.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5




Mystery Men #3

Marvel Comics, $2.99

David Liss, Patrick Zircher, Andy Troy, Bill Rosemann

Review by Erik Lewis

When it was first introduced, David Liss’ Mystery Men seemed like an awesome concept to me.  As far as we’ve been told, there have been a scattering of Marvel heroes around before World War II, and then a gigantic explosion of them since then, and while I can understand the practical reason for that(there really were no superhero comics before that era), it always bothers me a little bit  that in this medium where revisionism is common, no one’s gone back further to add history to these worlds.  Everyone seems to be ok with time travel stories where someone finds a mutant in Egypt, or wizards in England, but no one really wants to say that there were more than a few powered individuals before the “Age of Marvels,” and yes, Liss only goes back a few years before World War II, but it’s a start at least.  In this series, we’ve been introduced to The Operative, The Revenant, and Aviatrix so far, but this issue introduces us to our last two mystery men, The Surgeon and Achilles, as well as giving us a glimpse at a more evolved form of our true bad guy.  I like where Liss is heading with this, and I’d definitely like to see more of these characters after this series is over, if it’s possible to fit a continuation point at the end of the last issue.  Zircher is a capable artist, to say the least.  He can tell a good story, and his figures are clean, and his action is appropriately lead, but what I like best about him is that he plays with things like panel layout and panel structure.  He plays with them to the point of making things interesting, but not to the point of distraction, which is nice.  If you’re looking for a decent story with good art, Mystery Men just might pique your interest.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5




FF #6

Marvel Comics, $2.99

Jonathan Hickman, Greg Tocchini, Paul Mounts, Tom Brevoort

Review by Warren Taylor

FF just continues to impress! A new ark started a couple of issues ago that not only included multiple Reed Richards from other dimensions, but multiple EVIL Reed Richards from other dimensions! Issue 5 left us with quite the cliff hanger, but issue 6 doesn’t continue that thread … yet. In a great move, we get an entire issue about the Kree and what happened to Black Bolt (for those of us who didn’t read War of Kings). The opening monologue is very Lord of The Rings-esque and just piles on hype the whole way through. The previous story is so engaging that one might think that this is a throwaway issue, but that one is most definitely wrong. It’s easy to tell that this is the start of something larger and we’re only getting a glimpse at the tip of the iceberg. That’s right, a glimpse at the tip. You get the feeling that there’s so much more to discover. But that’s what makes the new FF series so great, it never gets stale. There are a lot of characters and a lot of things going on, but it still reads like a Fantastic Four comic, a SMART Fantastic Four comic. For those of you who miss the Human Torch and your favorite foursome, have no fear, the same feeling is alive and well within the pages of FF. Hickman is doing a wonderful job providing some great stories time and again. The issue count may only say “6” but the world created here feels a lot more mature than that. For a great read and a great jumping on point, issue 6 is the one for you.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5




The Red Wing #1

Image Comics, $3.50

Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra, Rachelle Rosenberg

Review by Erik Lewis

To be perfectly honest, I think I would have missed this book if not for meeting with Nick Pitarra at a comic convention.  You see, I like to walk through Artist Alley and take a look at all the up and coming artists, so I can remember names to look out for(and I occasionally like to look for artists and writers I already know, to see what they’re up to and get autographs).  I walked past Pitarra’s table, took a look at his stuff and stopped in my tracks.  See, his art looks like it was drawn by a friend of mine, at least before it’s been colored.  The thickness of his lines, the neatness of his backgrounds, everything.  It looked so much like this friend’s work, that I had to do a double take to make sure I hadn’t just bumped into him.  I talked with Pitarra for a moment, and he let me know that the art was for, well, this book, and gave me the premise, which essentially boils down to a war though time, but what really sold me on the art was the sequence on page 7 of the finished copy.  There was just so much going on through those panels, and each one was interesting enough to occupy me for a few minutes.  The rest of the issue and the story do not disappoint.  Hickman, as always, is cooking up something big here, even if he does fall into an old trope that if something is mentioned as “impossible,” it will probably be done.  It may be a bit of a cliche, but it’s also a little necessary.  I’m not saying that the overall premise can’t stand on it’s own, because it absolutely can, it’s just that with this added in, there’s another layer of depth to the story, and it gives Hickman the ability to bounce back and forth in time and keep the reader occupied in more exciting ways.  At any rate, if you’ve been a fan of any of Hickman’s stuff, you should give this book a try, and between the story and the art, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5




Captain America #1

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Ed Brubaker, Steve McNiven, Tom Brevoort

Review by Erik Lewis

As much as I hate to see Bucky go as Captain America, I have to admit, it’s nice to have Steve Rogers back in his old costume again, and with all that’s going on for Steve, it’s a little hard to figure out where this story fits in the timeline, but it’s something easily overlooked in the name of a good Captain America story.  As always, Brubaker puts in a good setup, and I’m not even sure where he’s going to go with it.  We start at the funeral of Peggy Carter, Sharon Carter’s  aunt and Steve’s old flame from World War II.  I’ll admit, I was pretty sure that it was going to be Bucky’s funeral, but I suppose he’ll get his own title for that, or it will be dealt with in Fear Itself, and I’m ok with that.  Actually, now that I think about it, if the Sentry got his own funeral book, Bucky better get one too.  Anyway, as if often the case with Captain America stories, Brubaker focuses on the “man out of time” aspect of the character, which is fine when it’s done right, and Brubaker does it right.  There’s just the right amount of mystery in the characters from Cap’s past, there’s character conflict and not just from allied soldiers and Hydra agents.  Brubaker gives us a lead in Cap’s present that comes from his past, 2 generations of super villains, and makes suere to include Cap’s all-star supporting cast, with the only notable absence being Falcon. McNiven does a fantastic job on the art, to boot, making everything about this story flow.  Together, Brubaker and McNiven give us a Captain America book that feels like a #1 should feel, and that will serve as a perfect jumping on point for new readers gaining interest from the Captain America movie.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5




And that’s all there is for the second half of this week!  Be sure to come back next week for more single issues, as well as the return of both “The Asgardian Trade Commission” and “Mortals, Take Cover!”

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