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Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

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Stephen Day
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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby Stephen Day » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:57 pm

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Quasar #25

The climax of two years worth of story lines on this title ends in the final issue of the Cosmos in Collision story arc. This issue had everything that a fan of Marvel Cosmic would need; the grandeur of a huge black hole on the verge of sucking in the entire universe, multiple cosmic entities guest starring as well as taking direct part in the final fight and a hero that the reader has come to love over the course of the series existence saves the day.

Reading this again was an absolute treat.

9 out of 10.
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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby BlueStreak » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:24 pm

Per Stephen Day, next week's pick is: Heroes for Hire #3

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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby Stephen Day » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:42 pm

BlueStreak wrote:Per Stephen Day, next week's pick is: Heroes for Hire #3

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Its not as strong a pick as I was hoping for my first go at choosing the issue to be reviewed, but this doesn't look like a particularly strong week. I am a little worried that I may have thrown out a dud as my first pick.
Last edited by Stephen Day on Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby BlueStreak » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:48 pm

Stephen Day wrote:
Its not as strong a pick as I was hoping for my first go at choosing the issue to be reviewed, but this doesn't look like a particularly strong week. I am a little worried that I mat have thrown out a dud as my first pick.


I've enjoyed the first two issues quite a bit.
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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby Stephen Day » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:51 pm

BlueStreak wrote:
I've enjoyed the first two issues quite a bit.


So have I and the fact that the first two issues were done-in-ones with an underlying plot thread and that this issue will probably be the same makes me think that its the best choice for me. Still, there's this little part of me that can't help but worry.
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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby Starlord » Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:52 am

BlueStreak wrote:Per Stephen Day, next week's pick is: Heroes for Hire #3

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:smt026
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Max Blyss wrote:Months and months and months and the whole thing is still just an intersection at Dipshit Lane & Chip on my Shoulder Ave.

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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby Starlord » Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:56 am

Stephen Day wrote:
So have I and the fact that the first two issues were done-in-ones with an underlying plot thread and that this issue will probably be the same makes me think that its the best choice for me. Still, there's this little part of me that can't help but worry.


about what? I think this is one of the best choices I've seen in a long time.
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Max Blyss wrote:Months and months and months and the whole thing is still just an intersection at Dipshit Lane & Chip on my Shoulder Ave.

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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby john lewis hawk » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:04 am

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Amazing Spider-Man #500

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: John Romita Jr. & Sr.

This is my oldest comic book. I have comics that were released before it and bought ones before this one but Amazing Spider-Man #500 is the comic that's been in my collection the longest. When I was younger, I was really into the X-Men and Spider-Man TV shows and action figures (more so the toys). I quit comics but got back into them due to the movies featuring the same characters leading to my time at Newsarama, this site, and this review.

On to the issue. #500 is a conclusion to a story where Dormammu fights a collection of superheroes (including Dr. Strange and Spider-Man) with Spider-Man being sent into the past and having to re-live every battle he's fought and other important moments of his life. With Strange's help, Spider-Man fights through and aids the other heroes defeat the villain. The issue ends with Spidey spending time with a couple of loved ones.

Despite it being a basic plot, Straczynski does a great job with Spider-Man's voice the story itself. At the time I originally read it, I didn't know Spidey's history so this CliffNotes version of it worked for me. Also, the John Romitas' art is excellent.

Overall, JMS and JRJR's ASM run is a classic to me as it was the first run I read and this issue is one of the highlights of it. While I've read better comics, this one's going to be a part of my collection for a long time more.

7/10

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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby Stephen Day » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:23 am

starlord wrote:
about what? I think this is one of the best choices I've seen in a long time.


Thanks for the reassurance. :)
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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby john lewis hawk » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:30 am

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Satan's $@#%* Baby
Writer & Artist: Eric Powell

Yeah, baby. If you didn't buy this issue and laugh, you're a goddamn commie. Really funny and outrageous comic book with Powell having fun flipping the bird to all the sensitive people out there.

9/10

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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby ****** » Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:51 pm

BlueStreak wrote:I'm sorely disappointed by the lack of Amlah and Squid this week. :cry:


It's an intimidating topic and I'm lazy.

I'm downloading torrents of a couple of old things that I think I want to include in my "review" now so maybe I'll actually do something other than watch stuff on Netflix streaming.

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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby Eli Katz » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:32 pm

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Over the last 40-plus issues of SCALPED, Jason Aaron has been building a fascinating and complex story, filled with an ever-growing cast of characters. What started out as a book about Dash, an undercover FBI agent, has turned into a multilayered narrative that’s as much about history and sociology as it is about crime and suspense. Aaron, in other words, has taken SCALPED well beyond the confines of the crime genre. His book is epic without being pretentious, emotional without being cheesy, and disturbing without being gratuitous. This book just won the 2010 Outhouse Award for Best Crime/Action Series. It certainly deserves the accolade.

What impresses me most is that Aaron is able to make every character, even minor supporting characters, three-dimensional. This is no small task given that there are at least a dozen rotating characters that play a pivotal role at any one point in the story. To give them greater substance, Aaron routinely writes standalone issues that focus almost exclusively on these secondary characters. In SCALPED #44, he decides to focus on Dash’s boss, Special Agent in Charge Earl Bayliss Nitz, a man driven by a 35-year hunger for revenge.

Back in the mid-1970s, two of Nitz’s FBI pals were gunned down and scalped on the Prairie Rose rez dominated by Chief Red Crow. The killer was never brought to justice. But Nitz has always been convinced that Red Crow is responsible, and he's been driving himself to near-suicidal lengths to get his target. The only problem is that Red Crow’s a tough, cagey crime boss who makes Machiavelli seem lightweight. Nitz’s investigation, consequently, has been going nowhere. And after 35 years of failed arrests and directionless investigations, he melts down.

SCALPED #44 is about this melt down. Nitz is a wild man in this issue, a guy who has abandoned all hope and decides the only way to complete his mission--to take down the most protected man on the rez--is to go out in a blaze of glory. We see him stumbling in madness, his gun drawn. We see him rush into Red Crow’s casino, ready for a massacre. We expect a wild exchange of bullets, blood spraying in all directions. We expect Aaron to give us the decisive violence that Nitz so desperately wants.

But Aaron plays a trick on us--and Nitz. He postpones the violence and sends the story in an unpredictable, almost comical direction. I won’t spoil what happens next because I know that many SCALPED readers are trade-waiters. What I will say is that the story starts out as a portrait of personal and professional defeat and somehow turns into an examination of the FBI’s comedy of errors. It’s a wonderful twist. And in the end what we learn (beyond the fact that the FBI is a dysfunctional agency) is that Nitz has both a much weaker and a much stronger personality than we first knew. He was bizarre and frightening before this issue; he is even more so now.

This issue reinforces why SCALPED is a masterpiece. It’s a crime book that is as much concerned about character as it is about story. And the characters that Aaron develops are always as interesting and weird as the sins they commit.

OVERALL: 9.5

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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby john lewis hawk » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:37 am

That's probably the best issue of Scalped but the series is just too good to have any other great issues. It's a story where the parts (issues) are greater together than they are seperate. Anyways, review time:

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SOLO #5
Writer & Artist: Darwyn Cooke

SOLO is one of my favorite comic book series ever and this issue is great and the best example of what the series accomplished. What you have with this series is a chance for various talented artists to create and write their own stories with no limits on what they can and can't do. In Darwyn Cooke's very capable hands, the issue transforms from a collection of short stories to a journey through the imagination of, in this writer's opinion, the best writer/artist out there today. With old school detective Slam Bradley serving as tour guide, you truely get a sense of the stories Cooke wants to tell and himself as well.

Darwyn Cooke changes art styles with ease in the stories in SOLO #5 but they are all uniquely his. While SOLO is definitely a series I would reccommend to anyone, this issue in particular is nothing short of greatness.

10/10

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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby Punchy » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:23 am

Criminal Volume 2 #2 - 'A Wolf Among Wolves' - Brubaker, Phillips and Staples

Story - Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Criminal is quite rightly seen as one of the best comics of the last decade, and every issue of the series is excellent, but there is one issue that for me, stands above all the others, and exemplifies every thing that is great about not only this particular series, but the genre of crime comics, and heck, even the medium of comics itself. This issue is the 12th issue of the series as a whole, and is the story of Teeg Lawless and his messed-up world.

Before this issue, Teeg was a background figure in the series, the father of Tracy Lawless, the main character of the 'Lawless' and 'The Sinners' storylines, and his brother Ricky. At the same time as telling compelling noir stories, Brubaker had been painting a rich world with a mysterious past, and the 3-part storyline this issue forms a part of is the first time he had really delved into that past, taking us way back into 1972.

But this isn't a goofy Austin Powers in Goldmember style 70s, there are no flares here, it's all to real. Teeg Lawless has recently come back Stateside from tours in Vietnam, but that doesn't mean his gambling debts have gone away, he has to find 15 million dollars in 2 weeks or his family are dead, so desperate, he gets involved with the wrong kind of person, and the wrong kind of woman. This is grim stuff, and it is typically noir, but the way this story is told raises this story to the next level.

Brubaker's narration is third person, and this detached style really works, you're inside Teeg's head, but not quite. This style has become rare in comics recently, with most preferring first-persion inner monologues, but it helps set Criminal apart, and evokes those classic novels to which the series owes so much.

I think what sets this issue apart is how it uses the comics format to it's fullest, doing things that even movies can't do, the juxtaposition of panels with dialogue, when Teeg sees a dismembered head from the War speaking with his wife's voice is a great example, and the black panels showing Teeg's blackouts whilst on a wild bender are another, just so effective in how some nights can go. I especially love it when in amongst the scenes of partying, we get a single panel of the Vietnam War. It goes uncommented, but a picture speaks a thousand words here, and it really does illustrate why Teeg has this reckless streak, and is a powerful expression of the impact of War, I don't think any other medium could have done that and had it be so impactful. There was a scene in an episode of HBO's excellent Boardwalk Empire, where the character of Jimmy Darmody is on a train, and the sounds of the tracks subtly shift to the sounds of World War 1 that is similar to this, but not quite the same. Comics in action.

Even when the storytelling is a little more linear, this issue is still nigh-perfect, the dialogue is razor sharp, and there are several amazing scenes of violence. It's a testament to Brubaker that he fits so much into one (admittedly longer than the standard) issue of a comic, unlike so many other 'done-in-one' stories, this really does feel worth it.

But of course, this issue isn't really 'done-in-one', it forms a triumvirate with the previous issue and the next, with each issue giving us a different perspective on the events within. It's brilliantly done, each issue stands alone, but when you read all 3 chapters it becomes something more, you learn who exactly the 'Femme Fatale' Danica is, and why she sets up the robbery of Hyde, you learn about Hyde himself. This is a popular technique, with Jason Aaron (who provides an excellent article in this issue) using it several times in Scalped, and Ed Brubaker excels at it.

Overall, this is just a fantastic comic, it does things with the mechanics of comics that couldn't be done in any other medium, but it doesn't feel too experimental or pretentious with it, it's a rock-solid crime story all at the same time, and while it stands alone, it also proves not only a great part of a three-part story, but a crucial building block in the world of Criminal, providing insight into the recurring character of Tracy Lawless and what makes him who he is. It's an example of continuity in comics working well. It's the best issue of the best comic on the market. What more can I say?

Art - Well, I suppose I can say more about Sean Phillips, who is just awesome in every which way, It's hard to even express how perfectly his art fits with this story, so think I'll just list some of my favourite moments of his art here; the panel on page 3 of Teeg's face looking haunted as his wife interrupts him, that's post-traumatic stress disorder right there, in one panel. The panel of Teeg's face when he overhears his son talking about soldiers going 'boom boom boom' is more of that same PTS. The panel of Danica biting Teeg's lip as they have sex. The cutaway panel of the car when Teeg slashes Danica's neck, somehow not clearly seeing the violence makes it worse. The last page of Teeg walking into the Undertow bar is iconic stuff. It's rare that any single story has so many stand-out moments for an artist, but Phillips is integral to this book.

Best Line - 'When Teeg Lawless came home in 1972, he brought the war home with him' It's the first line, and it perfectly encapsulates the story into one sentence.

10/10 Yeah, that's right, 10!

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Re: Review Group #260: Five Year Anniversary!!!!

Postby doombug » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:49 pm

I'll try to post a review soon, been sick all weekend.
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