Friday, May 22, 2009

Comic Book Reviews 5/20/2009- Part 1

This was another really good week for comics. 6 books (7 counting the variant Battle for the Cowl #3 that I picked up) with 2 of them exceeding my expectations, 3 coming in at decent and only 1 disappointment. Part one this week has two reviews: the continually phenomenal Transformers : All Hail Megatron #11 and the disappointing Final Crisis Aftermath : Dance #1. Click below for more :

Transformers : All Hail Megatron #11
Story by Shane McCarthy
Art by Guido Guidi

Best book this year. No question. The only thing coming up on the horizon that I can think of that may dethrone it would have to be Blackest Night, but it’s going to have to work hard for that title, and it also has to work against its own hype. All Hail Megatron started with a bang, continued at a rapid pace, had maybe one issue that dragged on a bit, and is wrapping up at the end with an intelligent, brutal and devious look into the mind of Megatron.

The last few issues saw the return of Optimus Prime, and the remaining Autobots banding together to head for Earth. Also, the remaining Earth armies were grouping together for a nuclear strike on New York City in order to defeat the invading Decepticons. But guess what people...Megatron is a brilliant tactician and leader, and he ain’t gonna have that.

First let’s talk about art. Guido Guidi continues to throw down on the page with battle scenes out of epic movies and images that will not be easily forgotten. For example :

Pages 2-3: Double page splash of Devastator in a state of absolute rage as the human armies attack him. I just pictured him yelling “Devastator Smash!!!” as the puny humans scurry about like ants on the street.

Page 6: The cavalry arrives. As Omega Supreme, in spaceship form, hovers above a bombed out NYC, the Autobots now led by Prime descend on the Decepticons and start kicking ass.

Pages 8-9: Two pages that draw so much emotion from robotic characters. As Megatron lectures Starscream on how much of a genius he actually is, Starscream’s anger and hatred are visible clearly, but with a growing background of respect and admiration for his leader’s brilliance with a hint of jealousy.

Page 12-13: Two Pages. Omega Supreme VS Devastator. Manhattan. Enough said.

I mean, seriously, the whole book goes on like this until the end. The story is brilliantly crafted, with Megatron’s tactical planning and evil genius very evident by the end. Decepticons make themselves known that have been hiding among the humans, dealing a psychological blow to the already destroyed human armies. Finally, the human’s last hope, the bomber flying the nuke in to drop on NYC, is revelaed to actually be a Decepticon serving Megatron.

I can’t speak highly enough of the speech that Megatron gives Starscream in the middle of the issue. After last issues expected mutiny of Starscream, Megatron basically tells Starscream that he knows that ‘Scream will lead the Decepticons eventually and do so by killing Megatron. He also tells him that today will not be that day and he needs him to follow so that one day he CAN lead. Starscream thinks a minute, then falls 100% in line and backs Megatron’s plan.

Like I said, this is by far the best series that I’ve read this year, and unless Blackest Night can knock it off the pedestal, it will remain my pick for book of the year.

Final Crisis Aftermath : Dance #1
Story by Joe Casey
Art by Chriscross

I was really looking forward to this book because I wanted to know more about the Super Young Team. They were mentioned very briefly in the fantastic weekly series 52, then were featured in the confusing yet enjoyable Final Crisis event. After Final Crisis though, I wanted to know more about them. Unfortunately so far, this issue does not deliver.

First thing that annoys me is the cover. They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, and you are absolutely right in this case. It really annoys me when the cover art is FAR superior to the interior art. It’s not even close in style. From the solicits, I was looking forward to this book having sort of a photo realistic, almost Adi Granov feel to it. But no, the actual interior art is mediocre at best and kind of inconsistent.

The second annoyance is the fact that Most Excellent Super Bat (who was my favorite in Final Crisis) is “Twittering” throughout the issue. Twittering is one of those things in life that I find to be ridiculously unnecessary and annoying and I certainly find it annoying in my comics. He basically just posts little nuggets of wisdom and snarkiness throughout the issue.

Third, the story basically goes nowhere. They get a new headquarters that is basically a PR center, they have a party where people don’t really know who they are, and Ultimon shows up in ghost form to talk to Most Excellent Super Bat. I may give it one more issue to impress me because I really wanted this to be good, but right now I’m just disappointed.

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