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Review Group Week 208 - 4th ANNIVERSARY FREE4ALL

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Postby Dragavon » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:41 am

Nova #34
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by Mahmud A. Asrar

This is part three of the Riddle of the Sphinx storyline. Fortunately D&A compress the back story into the first four pages so as not to confuse new readers.

The comic can get a little wordy, but the writers continue to do a good job with the cosmic side of Marvel. Although the main character Nova is only in about eight pages of the total story, the scenes with him show how much he has grown as a character and a fighter since he was first created. The majority of the story shows various fights between the ancillary characters. In fact, more emphasis is placed on Darkhawk and the story the writers are mapping out for him regarding the Fraternity of Raptors.

The art is by a fill-in artist who had previously done the Nova annual. His pencils are good but there seems to be a slight problem regarding the shapes of the faces. They are noticeably different from panel to panel. As this did not seem to be problem based on his previous work, it might be the inkers problem but it’s still affects the art.

Story 8
Art 6
Total Score 7
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Postby Punchy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:49 am

The Boys #39 - 'What I Know' - Ennis, McCrea and Robertson

Story - This issue does what the best Boys issues (and Ennis comics) do, which is a mixture of bizarre crudeness and humour, and honest human relationships. In this issue you've got Gay Aliens, massive dildos, and a truly mental scene with Mother's Milk. But it all comes together next to some honest and real scenes between Wee Hughie and Starlight. Their relationship is what grounds this series, which at times can be too farcical. I also really enjoyed the scene where Frenchie gives the Female his collection of 2000 AD to stop her being an assassin, It's both ridiculous and sweet, at least we know 2000 AD isn't a pawn of Vought-American! Speaking of VA, there are some interesting developments here too, as we see more of the mysterious nameless executive at his work. The Boys is a slow burn at times, but now that we've had origins for our heroes, and the events of the last few pages, where Butcher finds out a big secret, it looks like things are speeding up. This isn't the best issue of the series, but it's an important part of the ongoing chapter.

Art - The art is one of the reasons why #39 is not among the series' best, The Boys is never as good when co-creator Darick Robertson is away. John McCrea is good, and we know he works well with Ennis... but it's just not the same. Robertson is back with #40 thankfully.

Best Line - 'Nothin, absolutely nothin. That's what I fuckin' now'

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Postby Punchy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:55 am

Criminal: The Sinners #4 - 'Part Four' - Brubaker and Phillips

Story - What can I saw about Criminal that I haven't said before? Not much, it's pretty much comics perfection. I will say this, the endings to Criminal story arcs are always brutal, and this penultimate chapter of The Sinners is setting itself up to be the worst/best yet. Tracy Lawless just keeps getting in deeper and deeper shit, and it's almost painful to watch. He's got the Army, the Triad, Hyde's men and this weird gang of kids after him. I honestly can't see how he's going to get out of it. That gang of kids is a mystery, and one of the most interesting aspects of the story, Evan gets a glimmer of redemption here, but really, there's no redemption in Criminal.

Brubaker also begins to expand this world here, we see Gnarly again, in a great scene, and we see what Chinatown is like, and how it is run. The connectivity of these stories is one of my favourite aspects of this series, and even if Tracy Lawless doesn't survive, the world is getting more and more real, and that's wonderful to see.

This is another diamond-solid issue of Criminal, and has me salivating for Part 5, it's going to be brutal.

Art - Sean Phillips is amazing, not much else to say.

Best Line - 'More like wife-fucker...'

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Postby Punchy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:08 am

Doom Patrol #7 - 'While You Were Out...' and 'The End Of The Road!' - Giffen, Clark, Richards and Livesay

Story - Giffen's Doom Patrol is an odd book, it seems to be reaching for a particular tone, that it never quite reaches, at times it's a lot of wacky fun, and at others it's too serious. It can't decide wheter it's old-school Silver-Age DP, or Grant Morrison DP. Might I suggest Giffen do something entirely new?

This issue brings back a couple of Morrison concepts, Crazy Jane and that painting that ate Paris. But it also brings back the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, a gloriously goofy character from the original run. Where are you taking this Giffen? I don't even know! The Patrol themselves are only in the issue for one page, and the best character is actually a Challenger Of The Unknown.

Giffen also brings back Oberon from the JLI here, as the owner of a Superhero moving business... it's as odd as you'd expect.

The Metal Men back-up is of course comedy genius of the highest order, and I worry for this book's survival without it, it seems to me that most people are buying this mainly for Metal Men, and not Doom Patrol. I hope Giffen finds a tone and goal and reaches it, because Doom Patrol is still a work in progess after 7 issues.

Art - The art here is adequate, Matthew Clark only does a few pages, with Cliff Richards doing the rest, his art is fine, but there's nothing to set it apart from anything else ever, he's close enough to Clark so the tone is consistent. Maguire is awesome, facial expressions, Giganta boobs, I'll miss him.

Best Line - 'If I had a libido - it would be incredibly stimulated right now'

7/10 Bumped up a whole point because of MM.
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S.F. Jude Terror


Postby S.F. Jude Terror » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:17 am

You fuckers! I've waited and waited to move up the list, and now you are all trying to bump me! :x

I am going to have to resort to underhanded methods to get comics this week. :x
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Postby Punchy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:20 am

Ghost Riders: Heaven's On Fire #6(of 6) - 'If You Can't Lower Heaven, Raise Hell' - Aaron, Boschi and Brown

Story - I'm a huge fan of what Jason Aaron has done with Ghost Rider, he's taken a character and concept I've never really been interested before, and just made it work. And now I'm both sad and pleased to see him conclude his run. This is overall a very satisfying conclusion, each of the main characters gets something to do, and Zadkiel gets his ass-kicked. There's a shit-ton of Vengeance here.

I particularly loved how Aaron brought back all the Ghost Riders of the past, including Phantom Rider and even Knuckles O'Shaughnessy!

But there's more here than just hilarious Grindhouse bad-assery, there's some real emotions when Johnny sees the ghost of Roxanne Simpson and his kids. Ghost Rider is a tragedy in some ways.

I'm sad to see Jason Aaron leave, but he's left some decent stuff for a new writer to pick up on, Blaze and Ketch are both still Riders, there's the new Caretaker, and Kid Blackheart is still out there. Jason Aaron left when the going was good, he burnt out and didn't fade away, but he's made sure that Ghost Rider is on my radar now, and I'll be sure to pick up his next series.

Art - This run has also made me a fan of Roland Boschi, his art reminds of of Romita Jnr, but with a more european tinge. I can't wait to see what he does next. Wolverine with Aaron would be good.

Best Line - Anything Knuckes O'Shaughnessy says.

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Postby Punchy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:29 am

House Of Mystery #22 - 'Management' and 'Fig And Strawberry's Adventure in Cloud Kingdom' - Sturges, Rossi, Dalrymple and Marzan'

Story - House Of Mystery is an odd book, it's a Vertigo book that's funny! You never know what to expect from this book, and this issue adds to that. You've got a Gay Goblin, a Pirate, and all sorts of weirdness.

This issue concerns itself with the never before revealed brother of Fig, the main character, who, although called Strawberry, is not exactly a nice dude. There is of course, a Mystery behind him, is he really Fig's brother? How come she forgot he existed? I'm sure Sturges will answer these questions in time, but not without adding 10 new mysteries!

Part of the fun of this book is 'the story within the story' which mean each issue has something different. This issue features a story related directly to the ongoing narrative, where we see how Strawberry got trapped in the Cloud Kingdom. It's an odd mix of children's story and fucked up Vertigo style, which is representative of the series as a whole, a mishmash of styles and tones that still works. Each month I am surprised by House Of Mystery, and that's a good thing.

Art - Rossi's art is strong as always, although I don't like Fig's new haircut (Jesus, how gay is this review now?). Farel Dalrymple provides art for the Fig and Strawberry story, and it's a good fit, looking a lot like a storybook. House Of Mystery gets some great artists, and Dalrymple is no exception.

Best Line - 'Do you like music of various kinds?'

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Postby Punchy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:41 am

Nova #34 - Untitled - Abnett, Lanning, Asrar, Hanna and Hang

Story - This issue of Nova was pure fanboy, who really cares about the two Sphinxes (Sphinxi?) and all the time-travel guff, when we get to see various characters fight eachother, Conquest Of Champions style? Nova Vs. Moonstone, Namorita, Vs. Manwolf, Black Bolt Vs. Basilisk. Sometimes you just want to see some fights, and this issue was full of it.

Every character gets something to do, Mister Fantastic is a bad-ass, Namorita shows why it sucks that she's dead, and Basilisk even kills Black Bolt.

The stuff with Darkhawk is also interesting, I can't wait to see where he's going in the future, his lide is even more fucked up than Nova's.

In all of this, DnA also manage to get in some set-up for the future, we see that Medusa will die in 'The Shadow War', which I assume is the next big Cosmic Event.

Nova has kind of fallen from grace in my eyes, as it doesn't have the humour and epic events of it's sister book, Guardians Of The Galaxy, but this was still a very fun, if slight issue. I just wish that Nova could be more heavily involved in Realm Of Kings, and not in the peripherary.

Art - This issue loses some points because Andrea DiVito is away, he's brilliant. Asrar is OK, his interpretation of Namorita is particularly solid, but I just think DiVito is better.

Best Line - 'Sorry, I already shaved today', and that's why they call him Mister Fantastic!

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Postby Punchy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:53 am

Siege #2(of 4) - 'The Siege Of Asgard - Phase 2' - Bendis, Coipel, Morales and Martin

Story - Holy Fucking Shitballs! Sentry killed Ares! WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT THE FUCK?

Hahahaha, this was awesome, this is how an event should be done, this is widescreen, epic, crazy events that you can't really believe are happening, that get you excited, that remind you why you're still reading superhero comics when you're probably a bit too old. This was just great.

You judge an event comic on moments, moments like Ares' death, like Maria Hill shooting the shit out of Osborn, like Cap's speech, like Thor owning Daken. This was a litany of awesome, and I loved it.

I have my same reservations about pacing here (see my review of #1), how Bendis still has a lot to accomplish in 2 more issues, but I can't really complain, this was bad-ass. All we need now is some Iron Man action, and I'm 12 years old again.

Art - Olivier Coipel is up near the pinnacle of modern mainstream artists, he's up there with McNiven. His layouts are brilliant, he never goes for what you'd expect, and he can tell a story without Bendis' words wonderfully. That last page, it's easy for Bendis to write it, but a lesser artist could and probably would have fucked it up, but Coipel nails it, the shield coming towards Osborn, super-sweet. And Ares' entrails were a thing of gory genius.

Best Line - 'Osborn'

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Review Grouper

Postby 48THRiLLS » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:59 am

Jude Terror wrote:You fuckers! I've waited and waited to move up the list, and now you are all trying to bump me! :x

I am going to have to resort to underhanded methods to get comics this week. :x

I only got 5 books this week! So I am barely treading water with guys who are gonna do 12 plus reviews... get a life jerks! :P
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Postby Punchy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:03 am

Superman: World Of New Krypton #12(of 12) - 'Finale' - Robinson, Rucka, Woods and Randall

Story - This is not the best ending really. I've enjoyed WoNK, but for the last few issues it's been pretty lacklustre, despite the involvement of Adam Strange, who is like, the best character ever.

This issue sort of ties the series back in to events on Earth, as we see how General Lane has been attempting to manipulate New Krypton. It's OK, but I don't really care about Kryptonian Politics. I guess I'm ready for Superman to get back to Earth now. This may be the end of this mini, but Superman fights the Neverending Battle, and this story will continue in a new mini, as Superman fights Brainiac again. I'm not a Brainiac fan, but it should be interesting.

I will say this, Rucka and Robinson have made General Zod a fascinating character, he's not really a villain anymore, he's a soldier, and one with more honour than most other Kryptonians. I'm sure he'll revert to form eventually, but compared to the Human villains in the Superman books, he's a hero.

WoNK has kind of limped over the finish line, but I have high hopes for Last Stand and the books going forward, they are the best thing in the DCU these days, and even one duff issue doesn't mean the end.

Art - Ron Randall does most of the art here, and it's mainly a Pete Woods impersonation, he's OK, but when the real Woods is on, you notice the difference.

Best Line - When Adam Strange calls Superman Clark, that's his name people!

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Postby Punchy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:04 am

48THRiLLS wrote:I only got 5 books this week! So I am barely treading water with guys who are gonna do 12 plus reviews... get a life jerks! :P

I'm doing 11, my store didn't get any copies of Iron Man #23


Postby 3MJ » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:07 am

I've got Siege, Siege Embedded, Iron Man, Mass Effect, Weapon X coming from this week. I'm not sure if the rest of my comics are from this week or last.
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Postby Punchy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:16 am

Sweet Tooth #6 - 'In Captivity Part One' - Lemire

Story - Sweet Tooth has quietly but confidently become one of my favourite books of the last few months, it just hits me on an emotional level, it's got a strange melancholy tone, and I really connect with it.

This issue gives us more information of the mysterious Jepperd, who betrayed Gus in #5. Jepperd used to be an Ice Hockey player, and this connects the series to Lemire's previous opus, Tales Of Essex County, a bit of auteur theory for you there. But this is genuinely an auteurist book, Lemire does everything really, and it gives the book something extra.

We also learn more about how the world got so messed up and how the plague happened. In the first arc, Jepperd was simply a tough old man, but he's really been Fleshed out here, can't wait to see how he develops.

As for Gus, it still makes me sad, he's in a Research facility with a bunch of other hybrid kids, and it's depressing as hell. Oh well.

Art - I remain surprised and delighted by how well Lemire is telling this violent post-apocalyptic tale, his style at first doesn't seem suited, but he really kicks ass. Hard to fault him.

Best Line - 'I promised, no matter what... I'd bring you home, Louise'

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Postby Punchy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:25 am

Ultimate Comics X #1 - 'Chapter One: His Father's Son' - Loeb, Adams and Steigerwald

Story - I wasn't sure what to expect from Ultimate X, but it definitely wasn't a sort of Superman homage. I can't have been the only one reminded of Superman here can I? Small-town kid finds out his parents aren't his parents, but that his dad was from a different race, and he has extraordinary abilities. Jimmy even sees his dad in a hologram!

The story here is basically that Wolverine had a kid, and now that he's dead, he wants the kid to become a hero like him. I actually liked this a lot, Jeph Loeb really fucked up the Ultimate X-Men in Ultimatum, but he seems to be using that to actually do something new here, and form a team of all-new characters. I liked Kitty Pryde's appearance, and the fact that Jimmy's adopted parents are Ultimate non-superhero versions of The Guardian and Vindicator.

The voiceover was pretty over the top at points, and a drag race in the 21st century? Come on! But this is the kind of thing the Ultimate Universe should be doing, something totally new, I'm actually interested in seeing where Loeb is going with this. Has he got his mojo back? The preview for New Ultimates doesn't look half-bad either.

Art - Art Adams is brilliant, you forgot becuase he doesn't draw that much, but he really is good, and with a unique style. I'm glad to see him back doing a regular book, and he does work well with Loeb. A lot of the time we have to stomach shitty Loeb writing to get good art, but it's all good here.

Best Line - 'Jimmy Hudson is his father's son'


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