Tag Archives: Comic Book Reviews

Fatale #2

Review: Fatale #2 Not Even God Can See You When You Sin.

Written by:  Ed Brubaker
Art by: Sean Phillips
Cover by: Sean Phillips
Publisher: Image 

Fatale #2Still white-hot from the hype-machine of the interweb, Fatale has once again sold out at the distribution level. Luckily I was able to snag a copy at my local shop this time around. From what I understand this comic is still flying off the stands. Check out my review of issue #1 if you missed out on all the action last time around. Layers of Lovecraftian-esque lore are woven around this mystery as we dive deeper in to the quest for some ancient heirloom. The McGuffin plot device set’s this one up for another round immersive cult drama.

Brubaker doesn’t beat around the bush and ditches some speculation baggage straight away for the sake of clarity. In the “Story Thus Far” opening section in Fatale #2 we are given some new information about the characters and a reveal about the back story. Josephine from present day is also the mystery girl from the 50′s in the lost manuscript (and from the what I gathered from the sub-text it is a true story). Apparently Josephine is some kind of succubus ala Hellraiser, because she hasn’t aged a day since the ’50′s (it was visually hinted, but now I definitely know). Also Nicolas’s god-father, Dominic Reign (also known as Hank Reign), is the main reporter character in this apparently autobiographical manuscript. Things that were clues are just straight up spelled out for you. Now I can just concentrate on the 1950′s back story at hand. Thank god, because it’s a tangled one.

 Josephine is searching for an heirloom that Detective Walter Brookes has hidden in his home somewhere. That triangular cult marking from the first issue is scratched on the floorboard, but it turns out o be a dead-end revealing military medals and old war photos. Meanwhile Brookes is investigating an occult murder/suicide that was discovered last issue. They’ve stumbled cult members who’ve sliced off their own eyelids so they can stare at the sun. A chase and a beat down later, the cult member tell’s Brooke’s cryptically that the “Bishop will meet with you”. The next thing you know Hank Reigns is being chewed out by someone in a bar about an article he wrote to stir-some shit up about police corruption. Then he’s deep in his affair with Josephine. She used to be Brookes’ lover and talks about what a bastard he is and how she has to make his life hell. There’s a juicy bit about the cult symbol and it’s meaning is revealed “no one, not even god, can see you when you sin”. It gets a bit convoluted after that. A slit throat, adultery discovered, and a guy with razor-sharp teeth.
With all this cross-cutting the web of this story seems like it is getting out of hand. Ed started us off with some clean-up in the summary, but muddied the rest of the chapter. Plots and subplots are not defined enough for me to really understand what is going on. I get the general character motivations but not much beyond that. Which is a shame because I really love the subject matter. Brubaker’s narrative writing style flows great and Sean Phillips gritty noir art is in top-form. Just explain some shit, because I’m stuck in quagmire of loose-ends and don’t know which way is up. I need a character to hang my hat on. Who’s the lead, Nicolas Lash or Dominic “Hank” Reign? Or are they supposed to be the same character and just not know it? Also Josephine or the cult need some details revealed to get this one back on track. Sadly I find myself not really caring about any or the characters because everything is so shrouded in mystery. It’s only issue 2 though, so I’m going to give Brubaker the benefit of the doubt. He’s rarely steers off-course for long.

The second installment of Fatale is a slow intricate burn of what the fuck. The plot is dense; much in the same way The Girl WIth a Dragon Tattoo is complicated: A shit-ton of characters, WWII back story, Nazi deviants and morally ambiguous behavior.There’s a lot going on, however there’s such a genuine draw to the writing style and subject that you can help but being sucked in. It’s obvious that more pieces of the puzzle need to be put in place order to appreciate the full picture here. I would say that this is exactly the kind of comic that you wait for the trade to come out, but then you wouldn’t get the awesome bonus features that Brubaker and Phillips give you at the end. Jess Nevin writes an essay on Edgar Allen Poe and Phillips illustrates a gorgeous 2-page portrait to accompany it. Never the less, I worry that the difficult and inaccessible nature of this tale will eventually scare off readers. That would suck, because despite my criticisms I really want this to do well

Story: 6.5/10
Art: 8/10

Jerry Nelson

Follow me on twitter and tell me what you think @the_hellhounds

Justice League #5

Justice League #5 Review “We got this!”

Written by: Geoff Johns
Pencils by: Jim Lee
Inks by: Scott Williams, Hope, Irwin and Weems
Colors by: Alex Sinclair with Gabe Eltaeb & Tony Avina
Lettering by: Patrick Brosseau
Cover by: Jim Lee & Scott Williams with Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC

 

Justice League #5Darkseid kicks ass. Half the Justice League got knocked-the-fuck out last issue, leaving Flash and Superman to deal with Darkseid. He sends them running for their lives as he fires target-seeking Omega beams from his friggin’ eyes to incinerate them. Flash fares well, but the same can’t be said for Superman. He get’s blasted, drops from the sky and get’s carried away by space demons. And that’s how this issue opens.

I’ve always been more a  Marvel zombie kind of guy, and until DC’s new 52, I never really gave Justice League a chance. So I’m not really familiar with its original history. But I can tell you from what I read of this opening arc it’s the new 52 JL origin story is awesome. I’ve read a lot of early criticisms that the story is too drawn out, not epic and short-changed some of the characters. I disagree. Look I didn’t care about JL at all when this started, I needed the clean slate to start with. Justice League always seemed unapproachable as a book for me, so being eased in to the origin was not so bad. The story may seem drawn-out to some but I like that it gave me a chance to like the characters and see how they interacted. And how is full-scale alien invasion led by Darkseid not epic? Yes some of the characters do get the background treatment, but mostly each one has gotten their moments as the arc has progressed. That being said, there is a couple of spots in this issue where I was left scratching my head.

The first one comes after the next round of attacks. Green Lanterns takes on Darkseid, thrashing him with a mega-construct of 40 medieval flails.  Darkseid brushes them off like it was freaking dandruff, then cracks Green Lantern in half. Well, not quite, but he does some serious damage and Hal is pretty jacked up. Then Darkseid takes off to do some more evil shit. Green Lantern wants to go after him but Batman stops him. He’s like “dude, you’re an idiot, you are all fucked up, you’ll get yourself killed.” Hal doesn’t care, he just want’s a piece of Darkseid and won’t listen to reason.  Batman has to slow him up and he takes off his mask and reveals his identity to Hal. “What? You are doing this now?” is Hal Jordan’s reaction. It mirrors my own. While I can sort of see Batman’s reasoning (trust and goodwill), it seems really out character for him to do something like that. Especially because he thinks Hal Jordan is a dick. He’s spent most of the arc telling him to cool his jets and pay attention. Insulting him at every chance he gets. I just don’t buy it. It threw me for a loop. However he manages to drive home his point. He and Green Lantern are the only two normal people on this team that don’t have inherent super powers. They have are alike in many ways and have to trust each other. Ultimately in this situation it’s not about them. They need to rally the troops and work as team instead of showboating as individuals. Or “Stop playing baseball and start playing football” as he put’s it. Since GL is jacked up he splits off to lead the rest of the team while Batman decides to get captured so he can get Superman back.

The next WTF comes when Green Lantern tries to be a leader. He gives an awkward kind of speech, but somehow everyone listens to him anyways and decided to band together. Then Hal lets loose the most embarrassing Saturday-morning-cartoon battle cry I’ve ever read in a comic, “We Got This!” Oh boy. You sure do. It was funny when Aquaman got called “Aquafresh” by Green Lantern but this battle cry was the worst. Flash immediately rips on him for it. Awkward banter ensues. Those kind of jokes just really fall flat for me. Maybe some younger kids will think it’s funny, but for the sake of future generations I hope not. This is the first time I’ve had some doubts about this series, so hopefully it’s a one-off and the playful exchanges can even out a bit.

This issue is not a total loss however. We do get a breathtaking glimpse of Apokolips in full hell-raising glory. Jim Lee and Scott Williams’ art is mostly rock-solid. Some of the panels in which Batman reveals his identity were a bit rushed, but other than that it was pretty much aces. I know there was some other inkers helping Scott out on this one, maybe that’s where they filled in. Alex Sinclair is the lead colorist and renders everything in a hyper modern style. There’s some really beautiful Kirby-dots on a the panel were Superman get’s blasted that have a rich depth you don’t normally see. Glow effects on GL’s constructs are done really well, you can see them pulse and radiate light. I’ve heard some people say it’s the coloring is a bit garish and the art feels like video game, and sometimes I cans see their point. There is a lot going on and I could maybe use a bit more separation in layers to push and pull some of the details. It does get busy and loud, but overall I wasn’t really distracted by it. The storytelling and panel work was clear, I didn’t get lost in the narrative and it looked good. Jim Lee and Scott Williams are a team that has been around the block a few times and they know how to get shit done. Sometimes that means getting some help with fill-in inkers and additional colorists.

Justice League #5 is  battle-heavy issue that is a much about learning to work together and being a team than it is kicking ass (or in this case taking a beating). It’s a fresh and exciting story with a few missteps. The tone of this book could really use a strong identity right about now to manage readers expectations. Is this a light-heart team book for teens and kids? Is it a PG-13 movie? Or is it going to be an aggressive team book with bickering and more adult interactions like Uncanny X-men or JSA used to be? It’s great that the story is unpredictable, but eventually, a lack of identity will bring this ship down. My vote is more drama less jokes. What do you guys think?

Story: 6.5
Art: 8

Jerry Nelson

Follow me on twitter and tell me what you think @the_hellhounds

Animal Man3

Review : Animal Man #3 & Swamp Thing #3

Its Week one of the new month and that means its time again for me to review two of DC’s best titles of the relaunch , Animal Man and Swamp Thing. If you read my last  article on these two books you already know that they are both establishing a link between one another that involves bringing back Alan Moore’s concept of Totems  into the DC Universe proper. This is going to be huge for DC , even better writers Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder have built up a fun rivalry trying to top one another with their respective books. Which I have the awesome opportunity to review . Lets get started shall we…

Swamp Thing #3

Written by: Scott Snyder

Art by: Yanick Paquette and Victor Ibanez

Review Score: 8 / 10

Scott Snyder eases us into this issue by showing us a boy by the name of William who is having trouble adjusting to his unique condition ,  he has a terminal allergy to Chlorophyll . It causes him to live out his young life in a bubble . His doctor tries to urge him to make friends and tells him how he caught all the fish on his wall. William is more concerned with the fact that those same dead fish are talking to him. Scott Snyder again is able to tell a strong story using both his amazing skill of dialogue and his ability to contrast that with something very dreadful in the background.

We are then taken back to the scene of our Cliffhanger from last issue. The lady in white has her gun pointed at Alec Holland and demands to see him use his powers to control the green. After his short display she then fills him in on why she saved hi to begin with . She has a history with the Other . She lets Alec know that Swamp Thing helped her get rid of the Others influence in her life and she needs him to become the big Green Guy to save little William.

Unfortunately for William and the three kids who came to terrorize him the Other gets to him first.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing next, Scott Snyder definitely isn’t pulling punches and what happens to those three teenage kids and Doctor in the next few pages is nothing short of macabre.The whole book has a strong horror movie quality to it .  Yanick Paquette and Victor Ibanez alternate pages in this issue but it never feels jarring. They complement each other well enough to keep things cohesive. They each have a few pages to flex their muscles with just enough gore and violence in this issue to continue to make me squeamish page after page. Swamp Thing is a Mature book and one that takes chances with its art and story direction. This was another issue of setup and more of a slow burn to what should ultimately lead to an amazing next issue full of perfectly rendered moments of terror   excellent storytelling by Scott Snyder.

Animal Man #3

Written By: Jeff Lemire

Art By: Travel Foreman

Review Score: 9/10

Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man continues to shock and amaze me with how much he gets out of his characters and plot each issue. Buddy Baker and his daughter Maxine continue further into The Red and we finally get to meet the totems of the Red this issue. Right off the bat the amount of creativity and imagination on the page is astounding . The totems of the Red and visual look of the world created would make Benicio Del Toro jealous, in fact I bet  hes reading this comic in hopes of one day giving us an Animal man movie. Yes this book is that good only after a few pages . The Animal Men shed some light on the origin of Buddy’s powers and explain to him why Maxine is the most important piece to the puzzle this issue.

We also get to see Buddy’s wife and son back at home waiting for their family to return to them. Again, the quality of Jeff’s writing between siblings is pitch perfect . I truly care about this family and their well-being . Which is why the middle of this issue works so well. The Hunters Three from last issue are tracking the Baker Family to their home residence at the request of The Other . Two of the three head into The Red to go after Maxine and Buddy and the last Hunter decides to go after his wife and Son.  Buddy manages to tap into the true potential of his power as Animal man with mixed results and his wife and Son make a run from the Hunter only to unknowingly allow him back into their lives at the end of the issue . The art once again is great and well thought out . Travel Foreman renders some truly amazing visuals in the first half of the book and manages to capture each characters facial expressions with ease. There is a fairy tale like quality to his work that suits this book perfectly.  He continues to push the boundaries with his character designs . My only issue is that his backgrounds seem a little rushed this issue .

Animal Man continues to be a stand out title for DC’s New 52 . One that shows nothing but promise and creativity in its future. Everyone owes it to themselves to check out this book , it’s really that easy for me to recommend to you.

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on twitter @pandasandrobots

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ultimate_comics_spiderman_1

Megan’s Madness: Ultimate’s Squared Review

Ultimate Avengers Vs. New Ultimates #3
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Leinil Yu
Ultimate Spider-Man #157
Written by Brian Micheal Bendis
Art by Mark Bagley

For fans interested in getting the full “Death of Spider-Man” reading experience, I highly recommend picking up both of these issues. This simultaneous review will contain slight spoilers (with warning!).

The much touted death of Spider-Man has finally arrived in the Ultimate Marvel U, and in a truly grand fashion, this monumental occasion can be seen from the perspective of both the executioner (as seen in Avengers Vs. New Ultimates) and the executed’s viewpoint (Ultimate Spider-Man). I recommend reading Ultimate Spider-Man first. This may sound like overkill (pun definitely intended) and sure it’s a bit sensational, but it’s also the chance to experience the same story and have two completely different emotional reactions. Both will make you want to read more.

If you have not been regularly following both titles, or either in my case, each does a fantastic job of catching up new readers. Nearly all of Spider-Man’s foes, including Norman Osborn, have escaped from prison, and Peter fears that the Green Goblin will go after his friends and family. Meanwhile, the Ultimates are in a massive battle with the Ultimate Avengers, a black ops team created by Nick Fury. New director of S.H.I.E.L.D Carol Danvers sends her team of Ultimates to take Nick Fury into custody at all costs after he is accused of selling weapons to the enemy. Spider-Man has recently been training with Captain America who tells Peter to sit out this fight. Fate has other plans for Peter as he ends up in the thick of the battle and finds that he has little choice but to intervene. SPOILERS Peter Parker can’t ignore his sense of duty, and when he sees that Punisher has Captain America in his sights, the webslinger shows no hesitation before jumping in front of the bullet. It’s a tense final moment in Ultimate Spider-Man, but what is revealed in Ultimate Avengers Vs. New Ultimates makes it a heartbreaking scene.

Reading these issues back to back shows how drastically different Mark Millar and Brian Bendis approach the Ultimate Marvel U. Bendis originally used the Ultimate universe to re-tell classic Spider-Man tales with a modern spin, but as the book has evolved it has still retained the wholesome feel of the original series. Bagley’s artwork is fittingly PG-13; there are two deaths in this one issue, and both are noticeably bloodless. Meanwhile Millar uses the Marvel characters as tools to present his own political views and the stories tend to be grittier than what you would see in regular Marvel Universe continuity. I occasionally found my interest waning while reading Ultimate Avengers Vs. New Ultimates, as it felt more like C-span than superheroes, but once the action picks up it is riveting. Leinil Yu is in his element during the epic brawls, with every punch and crash resulting in crushed bones and bloody fists. Ultimate Spider-Man feels more cohesive as an issue, but ironically the Death of Spider-Man is more epically portrayed in Avengers Vs. New Ultimates. Like peanut butter and jelly, why settle for one when you can have both? Pick up these issues and sate your appetite for larger-than-life superheroics with two varied yet complimentary tastes.

-Megan Bryd

New This Week! Episode: 20 Old Man Logan


WARNING! An accidental F-BOMB gets dropped. This is probably not the best show for kids or at work.
Matt and Tim discuss Giant-Size Old Man Logan. Matt gets a little worked up about the price and rips the books. Hulk and Wolverine fight at the end of this video!

New This Week! Episode: 19


Tim went to the Cubs game this week. Producer Kevin is the guest star. This week Kevin and I talk about Blackest Night #2, Captain America: Reborn #3, Batman & Robin #4 and Jill Thompson’s Beast of Burden #1.

New Comics for the week of Aug. 5, 2009

Here is all the great stuff coming out the week of August 5, 2009

DC
AUTHORITY #13
BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #32
DEAD ROMEO #5 (OF 6)
DOOM PATROL #1
FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH RUN #4 (OF 6)
GREEK STREET #2 (MR)
HOUSE OF MYSTERY #16 (MR)
JONAH HEX #46
JUSTICE LEAGUE CRY FOR JUSTICE #2 (OF 7)
MIGHTY #7
NORTH 40 #2 (OF 6)
RED CIRCLE THE HANGMAN #1
SECRET SIX #12
SOLOMON GRUNDY #6 (OF 7)
SPIRIT #32
STRANGE ADVENTURES #6 (OF 8)
SUPERMAN WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON #6 (OF 12)
WARLORD #5
WEDNESDAY COMICS #5 (OF 12)

MARVEL

AGENTS OF ATLAS #9
ALL WINNERS COMICS #1 70TH ANNIV SPECIAL
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #601
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #601 70TH FRAME VAR
BLACK PANTHER 2 #7
BLACK PANTHER 2 #7 70TH FRAME VAR
CAPTAIN AMERICA REBORN #2 (OF 5)
CAPTAIN AMERICA REBORN #2 (OF 5) 70TH FRAME VAR (NET)
CAPTAIN AMERICA REBORN #2 (OF 5) CASSADAY VAR (PP #875)
CAPTAIN AMERICA REBORN #2 (OF 5) TIM SALE VAR (PP #875)
DARK REIGN ZODIAC #2 (OF 3) DKR
DEADPOOL MERC WITH A MOUTH #2
DEADPOOL MERC WITH A MOUTH #2 70TH FRAME VAR
DESTROYER #5 (OF 5) (MR)
EXILES #5
GHOST RIDERS HEAVENS ON FIRE #1 (OF 6)
HOUSE OF M MASTERS OF EVIL #1 (OF 4)
HULK #13 70TH FRAME GOLDEN VAR DKR
HULK #13 DKR
HULK #13 VAR DKR
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #16 70TH FRAME VAR DKR
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #16 DKR
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #8 VILLAIN VAR DKR
IRON MAN ARMOR WARS #1 (OF 4)
LUKE CAGE NOIR #1 (OF 4)
LUKE CAGE NOIR #1 (OF 4) CALERO VAR
TROJAN WAR #4 (OF 5)
ULTIMATUM FANTASTIC FOUR REQUIEM #1
ULTIMATUM X-MEN REQUIEM #1
WAR MACHINE #8
WAR OF KINGS #6 (OF 6)
WAR OF KINGS #6 (OF 6) GRANOV VAR
WAR OF KINGS WARRIORS #2 (OF 2)

INDY
ABSOLUTION #1 (OF 6) WRAP CVR (MR)
ANGEL #24
ANGEL #24 10 COPY PHOTO VAR INCV (NET)
ASTRO CITY THE DARK AGE BOOK THREE #4 (OF 4)
BOYS #33 (MR)
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #27 CHEN CVR
CHEW #1 3RD PTG (MR)
CHEW #2 2ND PTG (MR)
CHEW #3 (MR)
DEAD RUN #3
DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP #2 (OF 24)
DYNAMO 5 #23
HACK SLASH SERIES #24 A CVR SEELEY (MR)
HACK SLASH SERIES #24 B CVR MERHOFF (MR)
INCARNATE #1 (OF 3) (MR)
IRREDEEMABLE #5
IRREDEEMABLE #5 INCV CVR
JERSEY GODS #6
SAVAGE DRAGON #151
STAR TREK ALIEN SPOTLIGHT Q
STAR WARS DARK TIMES BLUE HARVEST #0 (C: 1-0-0)
STAR WARS INVASION #2 (OF 5) (C: 1-0-0)
STREET FIGHTER IV #3 (OF 4) A CVR TSANG
STREET FIGHTER IV #3 (OF 4) B CVR NG
TERRY MOORES ECHO #14
THE GOOD THE BAD & THE UGLY #2
TYRESE GIBSONS MAYHEM #1 (OF 3)
VEIL #2
VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS #11
WILLIAM SHATNER PRESENTS TEK WAR #2 (MR)
WITCHFINDER IN THE SERVICE OF ANGELS #2 (OF 5)

TRADES
ANGEL AFTER THE FALL TP VOL 01
DRAGON BALL CHAPTER BOOK VOL 02 DRAGON BALLS IN DANGER (C: 1
HEROES REBORN THE RETURN TP
IRREDEEMABLE TP VOL 01
LOCKE & KEY TP VOL 01 WELCOME TO LOVECRAFT
X-MEN ORIGINAL SIN TP

KIDS

ASTRO BOY MOVIE PREQUEL UNDERGROUND #4
MUPPET ROBIN HOOD #3 (OF 4) (C: 0-0-1)

TOYS

DC HEROES WAVE 7 BLUE BEETLE AF (C: 1-1-3)
DC HEROES WAVE 7 BOOSTER GOLD MODERN AF (C: 1-1-3)
DC HEROES WAVE 7 BOOSTER GOLD RETRO AF (C: 1-1-3)
DC HEROES WAVE 7 KID FLASH AF (C: 1-1-3)