Tuesday, July 13, 2010

First Impressions Quick Reviews – 7/8/2010

Quite a stack of comics this past week as the 4th of July holiday pushed New Comic Book Day to Thursday. I’m playing with some new formats for reviews so here is my, now combined, First Impressions and Quick Reviews for this week, with a record 3 Marvel books! It would have been four but my shop was out of the Fantastic Four Annual. Check back later for a full review of Batman & Robin #13, but here is the breakdown of the rest.

What happened? Well….

Dick Grayson and Tim Drake make some Brady Bunch jokes, the GI Joe team finds a huge (literally) lead in their hunt for the elusive COBRA organization, Daredevil gets a new bad-ass costume along with some bad-ass ninja and a bad-ass attitude, Aquaman finds out a secret about Mera, Steve Rogers re-enacts a scene from True Lies, the X-Men get ready to face off against the undead, Neal Adams disappoints in a huge way, Robin turns the crowbar on the Joker and the Plutonian finally catches up with his old pals in Irredeemable.


Red Robin #14
Story by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Marcus To

Tim Drake continues to show why he is the true protégé of Bruce Wayne. Yes, Dick is in the cape and cowl right now but he’s a different sort of Batman. Tim, in his Red Robin persona, is a master detective as well as a master strategist and combatant. Fabian Nicieza and Marcus To do a fabulous job of portraying Tim as his own hero, but one that is built on the training of a greater hero. One other quick thing: Marcus To is one of the only artists that draws Tim as the actual age he should be. Not sure what was going on with Hulk-Red Robin in the last Return of Bruce Wayne issue.

A pleasant surprise in this book is how Damien is actually building towards being an enjoyable character. The brotherly in-fighting between Damien and Tim, the real son and the adopted son, make for some great conflict and shows us a side of Damien that we don’t usually get to see.

This title has become the most fun of the Bat-Books for me. Batman and Robin is probably the best written, but this title is just a lot of fun all around.

Brightest Day #5
Story by Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Ivan Reis, Ardian Syaf & Joe Prado

I’m extending my 3-issue trial period just a bit for Brightest Day since, being a bi-weekly comic, it needs some more time to really get going. On one hand, Brightest Day is very much like 52. By that I mean that you get a little bit of each story every week, which is both interesting and frustrating because just when you get into a particular character…it’s time to move on. The Aquaman story here is the most interesting to me, followed by Deadman’s quest to find out why he has the White Ring. I couldn’t possibly care less about Hawkman and Hawkgirl on Hawkworld. I’m thinking that if Brightest Day doesn’t thoroughly impress me in the next 2 issues, it’s getting dropped from the list.

Steve Rogers : Super-Soldier #1
Story by Ed Brubaker
Art by Dale Eaglesham

Interesting start to this much-anticipated (by me anyway) mini-series. Brubaker writing Steve Rogers is always awesome and Dale Eaglesham’s art is just perfect for this book. Not much to say yet as this issue is mostly setup, but cool things are coming.

Story by Victor Gischler
Art by Paco Medina

It’s been ages since I’ve been interested in an X-Men comic but this vampire story grabbed me for some reason. I read a preview online and the idea of the vampire suicide bomber infecting everyone in a public place was pretty clever. This first issue is definitely worth a read but I would recommend picking up The Death of Dracula for some setup and background as to what is going on. The art is really well done and the story moves along at a good pace. I never really thought I’d say this, but I’m really looking forward to this X-Men story :-)

Shadowland #1
Story by Andy Diggle
Art by Billy Tan

This was a completely random purchase on my part since it’s been literally a decade or more since I’ve read a Daredevil comic. I caught a small preview of it online and it really grabbed me. It grabbed me so much that after reading the full issue, I went back and read the last 10 issues of Daredevil just so I could catch up. The Marvel “what happened before” pages at the beginning of their comics are very helpful because it helps those like me who are new to a book.

Daredevil, new costume and all, takes over Hell’s Kitchen completely backed up by his new buddies….the Hand ninja clan. In this fist issue he takes on his old enemy Bullseye and it does not go well for one of them…..at all. I really think the last page is a mislead and it didn’t go as far as we think but if it did, that’s major. If not, it’s still fairly intense. This issue definitely earned Shadowland a spot on my pull list and also renewed my long-dormant interest in The Man Without Fear.

Irredeemable #15
Story by Mark Waid
Art by Diego Barreto

In a book full of betrayal and deception, Mark Waid keeps everything tight and fast. This is the issue that Irredeemable fans have been waiting for as the unhinged Plutonian finally catches up to his old pals in the Paradigm. As the super-powered fight rages on, Waid shows us how conflicted some of the team members are with their plan to take down the former hero. A few twists later and now everything is really messed up.

….and now, for the worst book of the week :

Batman : Odyssey #1 (of 12!)
Story and Art by Neal Adams

It’s pretty sad when a diehard Bat-fan like myself has to pick up a Neal Adams Batman comic a total of 6 times to attempt to complete it, but I still couldn’t finish the issue. The art is decent but the panel layouts and flow are terrible, and the dialog is ridiculously bad. The only single word I can come up with to describe this was from fellow Bat-fanatic Jeffrey who used the term “painful”. I’m honestly going to forget that this issue (the first of 12, by the way) came out, slip it quietly into my collection and keep remembering Neal Adams for being an iconic artist for Batman and Green Lantern. There is no way that I’m investing 4 bucks a month for the next year in this.

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