Thursday, August 4, 2011

Comic Reviews For Release Date 13/7/11

Wow, what is this, 3 weeks late? Closer to 4? Anyway, a few weeks ago I bought a bunch of comics, and put off reading them, but now I have, and this what I thought of them.

American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #2 of 5 – While I can’t remember exactly who the lead female character is in this story, I’m finding that doesn’t really matter. She wants to kill vampires, and she along with Cash are going behind Nazi lines to find a scientist who might have the cure, which Cash wants for his son, and maybe Dolly wants for herself. But things do not go well, they’re shot down, and it seems the Nazi’s don’t really trust them, and oh yeah, a whole battalion of Nazi vampires turn up at the end. Good times. Scott Snyder continues to expand the world he’s created with this mini-series, and just like the original series, it’s all good. Art chores are done by Sean Murphy, who has a really nice style. It’s like a mixture of cartoony and something else. There’s a slight cartoonish element to the faces of his characters, but the rest of his work seems more realistic, though obviously not going for a photo-realism. Whatever he’s doing, it’s pretty nice, and his storytelling and panel layout and stuff is pretty good too.

Batgirl #23 – So this series is drawing towards a conclusion, with DC’s new relaunch a month or so away, so this is the penultimate issue. That’s right, isn’t it? Penultimate is next to last? I’ll have to check that later. Anyway, this story continues, and the main appeal is the character to of Batgirl herself, she’s just a really likeable character. The story was fun, with a bunch of young super-heroines showing up to lend a hand, and the revelation that this has all been leading to someone else. The art isn’t by Dustin Ngyuen, but Pere Perez, and it’s pretty solid, with the cast of super-heroines looking pretty good. It’s been a fun series, and I hope the relaunch can keep the same fun tone.

Batman The Dark Knight #3 – Right, David Finch’s vanity project. How long has I been since last issue? Beats me, but it feels like ages. Anyway, it’s pretty good, still, and if it actually had the momentum of a monthly comic, it’d actually be quite enjoyable, I think. But as it is, I feel like I’m playing catch-up with my memory, and none of it really seems to matter. But there’s much to like in his art, and the story’s ok, so hopefully the next one won’t be so long in coming.

Flashpoint- Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #2 – While I don’t really know any of these characters, as I’ve never read anything with them in before, I’m finding that doesn’t really matter, as this part of the whole new different Flashpoint alternative reality, and the characters are basic horror archetypes, so it’s all pretty easy to follow. In this issue they are trying to track down the lab of the Professor who is the father of the fish-girl, and someone is sent after them to stop them. Pretty straightforward, but I guess my question is, why? I don’t remember what they’re hoping to find, or why someone else wants to stop them. Anyway, only another issue or two till Flashpoint is over, so I’ll keep getting it, I’m enjoying it.

Black Panther: Man Without Fear- 3521 (Fear Itself tie-in) – I thought Black Panther got some new threads from the cover, but that’s not Black Panther, that’s American Panther, who we don’t know who it is yet. This issue is set in the larger event of Fear Itself at Marvel, and frankly, I think it suffers for it. It felt shoe-horned, having all these people keep talking about how they’re afraid, or someone is always mentioning fear. Ok, I get it. Anyway, I still like what’s happening story-wise, it just feels like it’s trying to hard to matter in Fear Itself. Francesco Francavilla’s art continues to impress.

Hellraiser #3 - I think this was the surprise of the week, for me. I kind of had the licensed property doubts, and I’m not sure issue 1 blew me away, but I thought this was pretty solid. Visually, it was excellent, with Stephen Thompson, who I don’t know, doing an excellent job. In fact, even though I don’t usually do this, I’m giving this comic my Panel of the Week.

In case you can’t tell, that’s a crucifix crushing a cenobite, or some other kind of hell spawn. The story is good, no doubt in part due to the involvement of Clive Barker, who wrote the original story and film. I like how involved it is, covering many peoples lives and spanning decades. I’ll have to try remember next time that I’m actually enjoying this series.

Lady Mechanica Collected Edition – This collects the first issue, which I bought, and the zero issue, which I missed; which is why I bought this one. This steampunk tale tells the tale of Lady Mechanica, a bit of an adventurer who happens to have mechanical body parts, and no memory of how she got them or where she comes from. Joe Benitez writes and draws, and it sure is pretty. I like the world he’s creating, I like the character of Lady Mechanica and I like the villains he’s introducing. I also like the moments of violence sprinkled throughout like a well flavoured spice. It was helpful to get this, as I now know who the figure in the first issue is now, and why he has a grudge against Lady Mechanica. Something about her kicking him in the head, and basically ripping of his lower jaw. Ah, there’s that spice I was talking about. Yummy.

Lady Mechanica #2 – How convenient that this was released on the same day as the collected edition. And what a pretty cover, If I had to pick, I’d say this was my Cover of the Week. I’m thinking of blowing it up and sticking it up on my wall. Joe Benitez sure has a pretty line. Anyway, I really quite enjoyed this issue, with an appearance from the flame-haired villainess from last issue, and Lady Mechanica visiting a circus with midget clowns and a monkey and a dude who throws knives. And more of that spice I talked about with the Collected Edition. Lady Mechanica shoots someone’s fingers off. Yeah boy, that’s what I’m talking about. Spicy.

The Red Wing #1 – So this is the first issue of a 4 part mini-series, which no doubt has plans to be an ongoing, written by Jonathon Hickman and illustrated by Nick Pitarra. Hickman I know from his work on S.H.I.E.L.D. and his reputation, but Pitarra I don’t know. He seems to come from a similar school as Frank Quietly, or Chris Burnham, a nice clean line, reasonable level of detail, and let the colourist do the shading. It’s decent enough, though not in Frank Quietly’s level yet. The story seems to be going down two paths. In the first path, there are two pilots who fly their planes in a war that seems to take place throughout time. Their planes are actually equipped to travel through time, so the war seems to be fought anywhere as they slip in and out of different times. Though it does not end well for them, and they are shot down. The second path seems to be following their sons as they sign up for the war, and are beginning their training to follow in their fathers’ footsteps, though one of them is obsessed with the idea that his father is alive. I think I’ll enjoy this series, though so far I have no idea who we’re fighting or what the war is about. The flipping between times is done nicely, as the plane crosses the panel borders from one time to another, a nice use of the medium. Hickman is known for his design sense, and there’s some really nice design going on here, with panel layouts and good use of white blank pages, except for some small, illustrated detail. Didn’t blow me away, but I’m looking forward to the series as a whole, as I think Hickman is someone who tends to build to something, not just try blow your socks off with each issue.

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