Wednesday, May 25, 2011


BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM #14 ½ whiskers
A great beginning to what looks to be a fascinating investigation into one of the coolest fictional cities of all. I love that Snyder and Higgins will be building upon bits laid down by Grant Morrison and that we’ll be finding out more about the Wayne family tree. While the art here is hit-and-miss, it sometimes nails it right on the head. Again, a solid beginning and I know I’m going to be depressed when this miniseries comes to an end. Also bummed that I didn’t score the alternate cover.

AVENGERS #134 whiskers
Bendis gets things back on track this time with a clever little FEAR ITSELF tie-in; leave it to him to buck the trend and do things his way. “His way” this time is one of his patented “sitting around talking doing something next to nothing” issues, but if I must have one of those, I’d want it to be by Bendis. Nowhere else can you get these little character and personality insights, like Jarvis’ steadfast belief in the Avengers and Spider-Woman’s dating problems. This ties in neatly with FEAR ITSELF #1 and is quite ominous by the end. Not a big Bachalo fan but he’s got a certain odd charm on occasion.

BATMAN #7103 whiskers
This issue loses some points with me by a) not being drawn by Tony Daniel, and b) featuring Two-Face. Something really cemented itself in my mind with this story: I’m just not a Two-Face fan. I like almost all of Batman’s villains, but I can’t bring myself to care much if Harvey’s coin is lost or he gets shot or whatever. This title was really rolling along, but with that “Judgment” thing in the last two issues and now a Two-Face story with Daniel only on writing, well, its okay but it ain’t rising to the top.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #6613 whiskers
Another “okay” issue. Maybe I’d be more inclined to dig it if I was reading AVENGERS ACADEMY; as it is I can’t stand any of those super hero wannabe kids. I think the point here is to reinforce the fact that despite his new job and new girlfriend, Spidey’s still a loser. Reilly Brown’s art is like that of all the other books on this list: hit-and-miss. He draws Spidey and the Thing well, but his Peter Parker – hell, most of his civilians – look amateurish at times. I hope this title isn’t primed and ready to be flushed down the crapper.

I wasn’t planning on picking this up, but it called to me from the rack and I took it home with anticipation. Well, one good story does not a good comic make, sadly. Kurt Busiek and Michael Kaluta’s “Dear Betty” was very nice and I enjoyed it, but the other tow stories were empty fluff. What ever happened to the art of the short tale? The other two stories are so nothing, as if the creators thought they’d just throw together any ol’ story and it’d be good enough. Way to honor Dave Stevens, y’know? Cassady’s art is nice, but Allred’s really getting sloppy these days…at least Kaluta shows ‘em how to do it. Sigh. I wanted to really, really like this book…

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Still occupying the top spot on my stack is my gushy-gushy fave, Grant Morrison’s ode to all things Batman. I know it may sound odd, but this book is just about everything I want in a Batman comic and I look forward to each issue. This one provided action and adventure, but also information and a good look into what Bruce Wayne is trying to do with his new organization. It’s fairly radical; Morrison is fundamentally changing the status quo of the Batman universe, though retaining what is essential and taking it in a new direction. I totally get that some people don’t dig it, but I suspect those readers know nothing more than what we’ve been spoon-fed since THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. Word to yo momma: Batman can be fun. Morrison’s showing us how.

THE UNWRITTEN #254 ½ whiskers
Again, this is the only Vertigo title I read and I thank goodness I was smart enough to jump onboard at the very beginning. Our hero gets back to the real world and heads off into a new phase of his quest…and gets a bit of sugar for his troubles. Lizzie Hexam’s become quite an interesting character, but I haven’t full warmed yet to Richie. Maybe it’s the whole vampire thing. Anyway, I love when Carey and Gross throw in “artifacts” such as screen-grabs or documents or whatever, and this time we get an auction listing for Wilson Taylor’s effects – fun stuff. And that ending? Yow – I need the next issue, stat!

FF #34 whiskers
I can’t believe I’m actually enjoying the book that replaced FANTASTIC FOUR, but I know full well it’s simply another chapter in the over-arcing story. I appreciate all the cool nods to Lee and Kirby here, as well as Hickman’s ability to infuse this title with that “big” feeling it should have. As to Spider-Man’s involvement – ehh. I thought it’d be totally cool at first as I was never a Human Torch fan, but overall there hasn’t been much too really cement his placement on the team. Regardless, I loved all the guest-appearances in this issue, am in awe of Epting’s art and I want to know what’s going to happen next, so all is good.

JOHN BYRNE’S NEXT MEN #63 ½ whiskers
Sometimes I have to chuckle at the thought of someone not familiar with this book wandering into it and becoming baffled as hell over what is going on. Sometimes I feel like that person, too. But hey, this is Byrne at his best, or what passes for his best here in 2011, and I think he’s firing on almost all cylinders. I feel like this issue’s Civil War-era action was solid and authentic, and I especially marveled at the “security” surrounding the White House in Lincoln’s time – I figure if Byrne is telling me that’s the way it was, then by golly, that must be the way it was. I wish others could join in my appreciation for this title, but I suspect it’s too dense and too far down the line for someone to easily jump on its train.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #6603 whiskers
Sigh. This isn’t bad and it’s not exactly great; its just there, for the most part. I guess I’m looking forward to this FF storyline being over and the book getting back to Spidey as the focus. I’m really not digging all the lead-in to “Spider-Island” – what I know of it at this point leaves me cold. And I didn’t really dig the Ghost Rider back-up story, either. I think they need to simplify this title again and get back to basics; it’s beginning to feel cramped and overloaded. Glad to that Peter and Carlie actually had a scene that showed they are dating or whatever. I was beginning to think I just imagined they were.

NEW AVENGERS #122 whiskers
Ouch. What happened to this book? Used to be one of my favorites, but this current storyline is killing it. I am not moved at all about Mockingbird’s peril or Superia’s villainy and especially not by the 1950s Nick Fury flashback. I mean, so what? At this juncture, Bendis is not being very coherent and the two storylines seem wholly unconnected. Damn, I hate to drop this title, but the next arc better kick it back in gear.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


3 ½ whiskers
Marvel’s big event for 2011 has gotten off to a pretty good start and I’m enjoying it, but overall there isn’t so much here yet that’s risen above the norm of these sorts of things. Fraction’s a competent writer but he lacks the unique voice of a Bendis or a Morrison. Fortunately, the art here is very much to my liking; I realize now how long I’ve been a fan of Immonen. The first few of the Worthy are cool, but I’m dreading the coming transformation of my most favorite Marvel character, Ben Grimm…

ADVENTURE COMICS #5262 ½ whiskers
Sigh. I’ve given this book a chance, four issues of a chance, and I’m sad to say I’m probably dropping it. I wanted very badly to like it and its sister book, LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, but, frankly, it’s fairly boring. I really liked the first issue with Levitz and Jimenez, but Phil’s gone apparently and the whole thing smacks of bait-and-switch. Borges’ art is tepid and Moy’s is no better…and the writing is just not cooking with gas.

3 ½ whiskers
This one surprised me. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this sneak-preview, but I’m a big Adam West fan so to pick it up was a must. Incredibly, there’s nothing really jokey here or even light-hearted – it’s quite solemn, in fact. An aging Adam putting up with a bunch of younger shitheads and they’re condescending modern attitudes…did not expect that. There are some statements here about growing older and the place of heroes in the world today and in all, this has made me luck even more forward to the ongoing series. Too bad the art kinda sucked. (Side-note: I could find absolutely no copyright indicia in this book – I think that means that I can own everything in it?)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


At the top of the mondo heap of books this week sits my fave Bat-title, Grant Morrison’s wacky and wonderful ode to all things Batman. I’m going to have to read this a few more times to really get everything that’s going on, but I love it nonetheless. The new hero, The Hood, is very cool and I totally dig that Morrison’s Batwoman fits neatly with Rucka’s version – I’d seriously like to see another team-up between those two. Also, huge props for Morrison’s inclusion of the black Batman from waayyy back: BATMAN #250 (1973), “The Batman Nobody Knows!”

Okay, I liked this issue. JSA’s been on the fence for a while now, and I’ve actually considered dropping it more than once, but Guggenheim kicked it into gear for the big #50 and along with a coterie of top-notch artists delivered an issue worthy of the landmark. Although I really enjoyed his new take on the classic JSA Vs HUAC scene, I think his more-ambiguous ending – which lacks the famous “Our identities, our lives, are our own…” disappearing act – soured it a bit, so I took off some points. And, admittedly, I like the idea of Jay Garrick as the mayor of a city…but oh does that suck-ass Alan Scott costume have to go. This issue only proved how clunky it is.

BRIGHTEST DAY #244 whiskers
Isn’t a half-year 26 issues? Oh, well, regardless, here’s the big wrap-up and it delivered. There was a whiff of by-the-numbers-get-everything-in here, but overall it was a solid ending and I think overall the book was worthwhile. I think I’ve become an even bigger Ivan Reis fan because of this title, if that’s possible. So glad Deadman’s back to being, y’know, dead, and I might even consider trying Aquaman’s upcoming series.

FF #24 whiskers
Marvel enters the ring with the second issue of their experimental book, FF. I say “experimental” because, face it, this is dicey territory. Thankfully, I think Hickman’s doing a good job and he knows how to write a good Doom scene, something not every writer can claim. This is a good balance of humor and drama and I like the art, just wish it was a bit more compressed – too often his stuff seems too airy.

PLANET OF THE APES #13 ½ whiskers
I wanted, really wanted to like this book – and I did. Whew! Too often, these licensed titles just fall flat and fail to deliver, but I’m happy to say that writer Daryl Gregory held my interest throughout this first issue, despite the fact that I’m not too thrilled with the time period they chose to set the story in – much rather have seen something closer to the time of one of the films. But, it is in original movie continuity and it does feel that way, so that’s a plus. I can’t totally dig Carlos Magno’s art – hated it on COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS – but at least it appears as if he’s grown a bit since then. Just needs to work on his monkey faces and move them closer to the classic makeup of the films.

RUSE #23 ½ whiskers
Okay, true confession: I never did any Crossgen back in the day. But, that said, RUSE is totally something I thought I’d enjoy and, lo and behold, it is. Mark Waid’s dialogue is crisp and witty and I really enjoy the interaction between Archard and Bishop. I just wish they’d get a different artist on this book; Mirco Pierfederici’s just bringing me out of the fiction way too many times. I see we get a “special guest artist” next issue, which is weird considering this is just a miniseries…good thing we have wonderful Butch Guice covers.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #6593 whiskers
I’m still here and I still enjoy this book, but Mr. Dan Slott needs to do two things: simmer down with Spidey’s constant-constant-constant wiseacre comments and tighten up the continuity between this and FF. I’ve never truly felt as if the two books jibe, seeing as how they are now so closely related. I dig all the Lee-Kirby homage, but I’m left a little nonplussed by the whole pirate zombies thing…and Dan totally ruined Carlie Cooper for me this time out. Why sabotage something like that? I just don’t get it. Ah, well.

AVENGERS #12.12 ½ whiskers
Top of the heap last week, almost at the bottom this week: total letdown. Oh, Bendis; wha’ happen? Lackluster overall and this is an “insertion point” issue for new readers? And what’s with that art? Worst Hitch Art Ever. Disappointed.

GODZILLA #22 whiskers
The tallest star in this week’s pantheon resides at the list’s lowest point. I want, want, want to LOVE this book, but I just can’t. Really bummed out by the first issue, but I gave it another try and it once again tasted like stale soup. This thing is all over the map and doesn’t know what it wants to be – it introduces even more monsters when the star, Godzilla, is barely doing anything. Add to that a total lack of developing human characters and more stupid, inane scenes with President “Ogden” – what, you draw him as Obama but you can’t say his name??? – and you get this mishmash of political rhetoric. I didn’t feel a damn thing for the guy who gets fried at the end because instead of growing him throughout the two issues and making me CARE about his demise, Powell and Marsh run around hither an thither adding a bunch of pointless ingredients into the mix. Maybe, just maybe, Godzilla truly cannot be translated well into comics. Yeah, maybe that’s the truth.