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Review Group Week 208 - 4th ANNIVERSARY FREE4ALL

Discuss the latest comic book news and front page articles, read or post your own reviews of comics, and talk about anything comic book related. Threads from the two subforums below will also show up here. News Stand topics can also be read and posted in from The Asylum.

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Postby Kerny » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:09 pm

thefourthman wrote:I generate a hotlist as well from my invoice and according to my invoice I should have gotten Choker this week, but it ain't there and Diamond tells me ain't no one getting it.


It's probably not to be then, since I'm not that far (about a hour) from where you operate.

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Postby MrBlack » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:30 pm

I guess I should get around to writing my reviews.

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Postby Victorian Squid » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:57 pm

thefourthman wrote:everything else that was on our invoice was in the box. I have physically touched all the books on Amlah's list.


Yeah, but did they like being touched like that? I don't think so. Maybe Hit Monkey, but the rest of the books are going to need intensive therapy.

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Postby MrBlack » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:27 pm

The Great Ten #4

I was intrigued when the Great Ten were first introduced in the pages of 52 a few years back. The concept of a Chinese superhero team raised some very interesting issues: Are they simply tools of the Chinese government? How would they react to their government’s treatment of its citizens? It helped that the team members themselves had fantastic names, and fascinating powers. Although DC promised to follow up on these characters after the completion of 52, it was only late last year that the promised miniseries actually surfaced. DC may not have struck while the iron was hot, but they have at least delivered an entertaining series for the handful of fans still interested in the heroes of China.

In this issue, we are introduced to the ironically named Immortal Man in Darkness, a fighter pilot symbiotically bound to the Dragonwing, a sentient aircraft of alien origin. Like the other issues in this miniseries, the Immortal Man’s story is told in the course of an invasion by ten beings claiming to be gods from Chinese mythology.

Like his commanding officer, August General in Iron, The Immortal Man is both a loyalist and the recipient of alien technology recovered by the Chinese government. Unlike the General, the tech is not entirely beneficial: each flight in the Dragonwing takes one year off the pilot’s life, and there is always a team of pilots at the ready to take over when the current pilot inevitably passes away. We learn all of this through the current pilot of the Dragonwing, Chen, as he takes on Feng Po, the God of Wind, in Shanghai. Chen knows the danger that he is in from piloting the Dragonwing, but is willing to give his life not only for his government, but for the chance to pilot the most amazing aircraft on Earth.

As in the preceding three issues, Tony Bedard does a more than able job pushing the overarching story along while giving us some insight into The Immortal Man as he battles Feng Po. While less time is given to the background of The Immortal Man than was given to the characters in prior issues, that is understandable given the nature of the hero. Chen, like the other pilots of the Dragonwing, was chosen because he has no family and no desires outside of fighting for his government. He knows that his end is coming, and soon, but will continue to fight so long as he goes out piloting the Dragonwing. The art team also does a fine job with this story. Scott McDaniel’s stylized art is a good fit for the subject matter, and the coloring team adds a nice rice paper effect to the flashback sequences in the story.

I am glad that DC finally got around to formally introducing us to the Great Ten, and thankful that the story so far has been a good one. This title comes highly recommended.

Story: 8
Art: 9
Overall: 8.5

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Postby MrBlack » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:28 pm

Superman: World of New Krypton #12

In this final issue, Superman tries to get to the bottom of the conspiracy which has been dogging him since he first became a member of the military guild of New Krypton.

James Robinson and Greg Rucka have been doing an excellent job with the Superman titles, and this, the flagship of the New Krypton storyline, has been no exception. With a planet full of superpowered beings to play with, Robinson and Rucka have shown that it is not his powers that make Superman a hero, but his strength of character. Indeed, Superman spends most of this story without his powers, instead relying on his mind and his friends to uncover the details of the conspiracy threatening New Krypton. Even General Zod seems to come around to Kal El’s methods by the end of the issue. Robinson and Rucka manage to wrap up the loose ends they have left scattered throughout the series by issues end, and give a big teaser for the upcoming War of the Supermen storyline on the last page. The art on this issue is solid. Pete Woods and Ron Randall really bring the flora and fauna of New Krypton to life, and Nei Ruffino’s colors lend a vibrancy to the locales.

The Superman books have been really excellent over the past year, and this book has led the way. I am sorry to see it go, but I look forward to where Rucka, Robinson, and Sterling Gates will take us in the next year.

Story: 8
Art: 8
Overall: 8

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Postby MrBlack » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:28 pm

Blackest Night Wonder Woman #3

This has been an odd mini. Unlike other Blackest Night minis, this is not its own self-contained story. Each issue takes place during a different portion of Blackest Night, and they read like three independent one-shots rather than a single story. Still, Gail Simone, along with John Ostrander and Greg Rucka, have managed to write three tales which enhance Wonder Woman’s role within Blackest Night.

This issue explores Wonder Woman’s role as a Star Sapphire, and shows why she was chosen above others to receive the violet ring. Diana finally neutralizes Maxwell Lord, tying this to the first issue in the mini, and then takes on an enraged, and red ring powered, Mera. Like last issue, we are shown that Diana has some unrequited feelings for Bruce Wayne, which is an interesting story detail that I hope will be explored when Bruce returns this year. My only complaint regarding the story is that it is somewhat unclear what Mera’s deeply buried secret was that she kept from Arthur. Based on the most recent issue of Blackest Night, it could be the fact that Mera never actually wanted to have children, but Gail could have made that connection more apparent.

Nicola Scott does a brilliant job on art, as always. All of the female characters have a distinct face (often a weakness among male artists), and Wonder Woman’s Greek features shine through.

While the other Blackest Night minis have been somewhat forgettable, this one stands out for its strong emphasis on characterization and close ties to the main event book. Recommended if you are a Wonder Woman fan, or if you want a fuller exploration of the events of Blackest Night.

Story: 7
Art: 9
Overall: 8

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Postby MrBlack » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:28 pm

The Question #37

The books resurrected for Blackest Night have been hit or miss so far. None of them has failed to tell an interesting story, but so far only the Starman book has truly come across as a true sequel to a long ended series, rather than modern tie-in. The Question #37, however, also manages to nail the feel of the series which bears its title.

Dennis O’Neil, with help from Greg Rucka, pretty much nails the feel of his long since cancelled series. All of the characters feel right, and Renee Montoya’s solution regarding how to deal with the returned Vic Sage is straight out of the old series. On top of all that, it is an excellent read as well, and unlike some of the other stories dealing with the events of Blackest Night, you can really feel the emotional conflict the characters feel when confronted with a seemingly resurrected friend.

Denys Cowan does a great job on art, managing a nice synthesis between classic and modern layouts and flow. The inks are gritty, but are nonetheless a good fit to the story.

I really enjoyed this. It serves as a nice bookend to the story of Vic Sage, and a worthy addition to O’Neil’s prior series. Recommended.

Story: 9
Art: 7.5
Overall: 8.5

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Postby MrBlack » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:29 pm

Justice Society of America Annual #2

Ever since the end of Infinite Crisis, the JSA have been struggling. The Geoff Johns-helmed relaunch was plagued by delays and a general lack of focus, although the actual story was very entertaining. Once Johns left, DC wisely decided to split the overgrown team into two books, but the story leading up to the split was again awkwardly handled. There has been some light at the end of the tunnel though, as the recent issues of Justice Society of America and JSA All-Stars, by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges, respectively, have been quite good.

Unfortunately, as soon as the two teams join together for an annual, things fall apart again. This story is the continuation of a plot in the Magog ongoing, as well as the beginning of the end of Magog’s membership in the Justice Society. The fact that the story focuses heavily on Magog, one of the worst characters in modern comics, should be a huge warning sign. The story largely hinges on the drastically overused “hero v. hero” cliche, as the larger JSA blames Magog for a prison breakout, and Magog, being the worst character in comics, does not bother to explain his actions. By the end of a huge fight, Magog has confirmed his overall douchiness: his inability to cooperate with anyone leads to the destruction of Haven, and he unrepentently blasts Cyclone when she gets in his way. Oh, there are some bright points to the story: the characterization is strong, and some of the dialogue is clever (I loved Mind Czar), but I just cannot get over the general crappiness of the central character in the story. The art is serviceable, but not spectacular. Tom Derenick’s layouts are good enough, but there are few facial expressions besides general scowling, and many of the character poses were somewhat pedestrian.

I have been enjoying Matt Sturges’ work on JSA All-Stars, but I cannot give this a recommendation. The story is nothing special, and it is ultimately inconsequential to both the JSA books and the Magog ongoing. Truly, the sooner Magog is gone from the DCU, the better.

Story: 5
Art: 6
Overall: 5.5

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Postby MrBlack » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:29 pm

Invincible Iron Man #23

Heh. I’m glad that the return of Tony Stark as a true hero in the Marvel universe doesn’t mean that he’s still not a bit of an asshole. The conversation between Maria Hill and Pepper Potts is enough to sell this issue alone. It doesn’t hurt that we also get a fuller explanation of the problems plaguing the comatose Tony Stark, as well as the continuing threat to his life by the Ghost (watch out Rhodey!). This definitely feels like a bit of a setup issue before the big climax in #24, but Matt Fraction ably tosses in a few character moments and makes it more than just another rung in the ladder.

Salvador Larroca and Frank D’Armata turned in some fantastic pages on this one. Each character has a distinct and detailed look, the panel layouts are perfect, and the colors really pop. Some of the shading looks a little bit rough, and Maria Hill looks like she has greying hair early in the issue, but these are pretty minor complaints. After reviewing the wildly inconsistent art on some of the DC books this week, it’s more clear than ever that one of Marvel’s strongpoints is making sure to get top-notch art talent on their flagship books.

I have never been much of an Iron Man fan, but Faction and co. have sucked me in. Great book, and I would highly recommend it. Extra points for a fantastic cover.

Story: 8.5
Art: 9.5
Overall: 9

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Postby MrBlack » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:29 pm

Siege #2

I really have to hand it to Marvel for making Dark Reign such an entertaining event. It is everything that I wanted the lead-up to Secret Invasion to be: a long term meta-event touching every corner of the Marvel universe. With Siege, we are finally seeing the climax to the year-long reordering of the Marvel U, as well as the culmination of an Avengers story Brian Michael Bendis began telling with Avengers: Disassembled.

Things really ramp up in issue #2 of Siege. The heroes begin to mobilize, and we see just how far the villains are willing to go to achieve victory. Norman truly views this as a war, and he is not willing to put on the kid gloves even for his supposed allies. There has been some controversy over the big death in this issue, but I feel that it serves the story. It establishes just how far gone Norman is, and how dangerous his secret weapon can be. It also serves as ample motivation for another character in the story to step up and fulfill his role as a hero. On a technical point, the first two issues of this series have shown that Bendis is not just about decompression. Both of these issues have been packed with story, and it may be some of the best superhero work of his career. Bendis has done a great job of making this feel like a big event comic.

Although I complained a bit about Olivier Coipel’s layouts last issue, none of those problems are present here. His panels are dynamic and his storytelling is strong. The big splashes and fight scenes all look fantastic, and although his anatomy could use some work in places (see Captain America’s giant thighs and Ms. Marvel’s magic hips), it does not take away from the story.

This was a great issue in an event that has been very entertaining so far. I eagerly await issue #3.

Story: 10
Art: 10
Overall: 10

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Postby thefourthman » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:15 pm

Rooster Illusion wrote:Yeah, but did they like being touched like that? I don't think so. Maybe Hit Monkey, but the rest of the books are going to need intensive therapy.

well then turnabout is fairplay, cause I need therapy after reading Hit Monkey.

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Postby SuperginraiX » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:18 pm

Takin' a break.

It's sad that I wasn't able to contribute this week. Maybe only sad for me but you'd think in a week where we're able to review ANY comic I'd get something in!

Anyway, as I mentioned in another thread and financials being what they are, it looks like my comic budget is being cut back immensely. Because of this, I haven't picked up any comics for last week and I'm not planning on going in this week either (maybe on friday when I get paid but then it might be just be to pick up Siege #2 and any related titles so that I can still try to get some Super Reads written.

So, yeah. Another break from the Review Group! It's happened before, it'll probably happen again. :)

I've been a member of this group on and off from pretty near the beginning. I'm glad to see this group still going strong and look forward to another four years of fun, excitement, and laughing at everyone picking on Punchy. ;)
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Postby ****** » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:36 pm

SuperginraiX wrote:Takin' a break.

It's sad that I wasn't able to contribute this week. Maybe only sad for me but you'd think in a week where we're able to review ANY comic I'd get something in!

Anyway, as I mentioned in another thread and financials being what they are, it looks like my comic budget is being cut back immensely. Because of this, I haven't picked up any comics for last week and I'm not planning on going in this week either (maybe on friday when I get paid but then it might be just be to pick up Siege #2 and any related titles so that I can still try to get some Super Reads written.

So, yeah. Another break from the Review Group! It's happened before, it'll probably happen again. :)

I've been a member of this group on and off from pretty near the beginning. I'm glad to see this group still going strong and look forward to another four years of fun, excitement, and laughing at everyone picking on Punchy. ;)


:(

Hope everything works out and you can come back soon.

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Postby Victorian Squid » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:38 pm

Scalped #34

by Jason Aaron & R.M Guera

Ok, I am going to get the easy part of this over with first:

9

There. And why the hell should I bother writing anything else, since you trade-waiting bastards won't read it anyway for fear I might spoil something for you. Little babies.

Well don't worry, I won't give away anything that might ruin your precious enjoyment. I won't, for example, mention that Diesel is now in a wheelchair after a mysterious shadowy figure in an orange Plymouth Duster runs him down as he's walking along the side of the highway after he and Bad Horse part company. Or I won't give away, for example, anything major like the fact that Carol Ellroy is a twin. Or that her twin is male and breeds alpaca for drug money. After the raindance, Chief Red Crow learns that Dino Poor Bear has broken Lawrence Belcourt out of prison, and the two of them are on the run after hitching a ride with Carol Ellroy's estranged twin.

It was a great read, I love crime fiction that is set on Native American Rezzes because there are so many assorted criminals, drunks, addicts, and slappers there to use in the stories. Needs more teepees, though.

The artwork here is good stuff, very gritty and realistic, which was never more apparent than in the Granny Poor Bear shower scene.

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Postby ****** » Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:06 pm

Unless there are any reviews posted between now and when I get back to it in the morning, here are the current counts for reviews posted this week that will be applied to the ladder climbing stuff.

Kerny 3
Dragavon 1
48THRiLLS 5
starlord 6
Jude Terror 2
prozacman 0
Mr_Batman 0
GLX 1
MrBlack 7
SuperginraiX 0
Twigglet 6
doombug 17
Chubbles 4
guitarsmashley 2
amlah6 22
john lewis hawk 0
Old Man 12
thefourthman 20
Chris 0
Fieldy Snuts 1
Frag It 0
Punchy 11
MistaT 0
Daringd 2
Eli Katz 1
Hnutz 0
Rooster Illusion 23
GHERU 0
Greg 1

4thy has given his full 20 to Jude

I'm giving 10 of mine to Kerny since he's getting shafted on his pick this week.

I'm giving my remaining 12 to starlord. Anyone who can spend 4 days in the hospital and still come back and review 6 books the same week deserves a bonus.

Are there any other jumps being given away? Speak now or I ignore you later.

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