Tiny Titans! New Avengers! Garrison?! 1 Month 2 Live! In this installment of the Review Group's front page thing, John Snow plays catch-up.
The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.
Sometimes, even a Review Group Tyrant needs a break too so I've been a bit remiss in my Review Grouping duties of late. Don't for a second though think that means the rest of the our loyal Review Groupers haven't been busy during that time pounding away on their keyboards! Many a comic has been read (okay, just one more than usual), much drama has been had (oh, has there been drama!) and the reviews have been piling up as I lutzed my merry self away on the forums. That all ends today though (the slacking, not the lutzing - Captain American movie helmet bad!) as it's time for the front page thing to catch up, starting with our Old Man inspired Versus week!
Tiny Titans Review by Eli Katz
TINY TITANS is unreadable. It is like the superhero version of Caillou, that unwatchable children's cartoon that PBS plays all morning, every morning, in an attempt to lobotomize preschoolers. I tried very hard to enjoy this comic for what it is. I really did. But I couldn't. The story about Lex and Superman both showing up to a birthday party with gift-wrapped t-shirts is so dull I considered flipping on the TV and watching Caillou instead. I can't imagine TINY TITANS being entertaining even to four-year-olds.
Tiny Titans Review by Victorian Squid
Tiny Titans has a lot more DC in-jokes referencing the past couple decades of comics than any kid will ever catch, where last week's all-ages book seemed dumbed down too much, this week's all-ages book is really a comic for old men disguised as a kid's book. Although there is a level of humor in the book younger readers would relate to, it's about on par with your average Bazooka Joe offering. How many younger readers will recognize the various iterations of the Brainiac character over the years, or the Superman II references? Hell, not knowing who or what the heck Match was almost made the first story impenetrable to me as well.
It's definitely a book for a long-time DC fan to enjoy, and just maybe one his or her kids might like too. I would be surprised, though, if there weren't a lot more old men reading this than new readers. It's a bit bizarre that your typical mainstream Marvel or DC comic book seems to be what many kids are reading, while a book like Tiny Titans seems skewed toward an older market. I think DC and Baltazar have pitched this book to the "Dad & kid" market, something to have a multi-generational appeal but still make it on many adults' pull lists. I just don't think it succeeds on more than one level the way, say, an old Warner Bros cartoon or Roald Dahl story does or even some of the early comic strips. I don't think it would take long for a child of any age to outgrow this book, unless they are at least in their thirties.
New Avengers Review by Jude Terror
THE GREAT ONE DOES IT AGAIN! Who saw that twist coming?!
THE ANCIENT ONE?!?!
Fucking awesome! The Great One really shows why He is the Great One in this issue. The dialog between Spiderman, The Thing, and Wolverine is fantastic and really fits their characters. I love how The Great One is able to give a real, three dimensional voice to these characters.
The Great One has redefined Marvel magic in a good way. The handling of the magic characters is excellent. Dr. Strange is really going to have his work cut out for him, and he will need the help of Black Dr. Strange and Hworang from Tekken to defeat the super cool Big Bad revealed in this issue.
I can't wait to read more of this, and I hope Marvel let's The Great One write ten Avengers books.
New Avengers Review by Eli Katz
THE OVERRATED ONE DOES IT AGAIN! Who saw that lame twist coming?! No one, of course. Because the story doesn't make any sense.
Fucking horrible! The Overrated One really shows why He is the Overrated One in this issue. The dialogue between Spiderman, The Thing, and Wolverine is terrible and sounds like a parody of Bendis-speak. It's stunning how The Overrated One is unable to give real, three dimensional voices to any of these characters.
The Overrated One has left Marvel magic completely arbitrary and undefined. The handling of the magic characters is illogical. Dr. Strange is made to look like a sniveling wimp, who will need the help of Black Dr. Strange and Hworang from Tekken to defeat the lame Big Bad revealed in this issue.
I will avoid all Avengers books for the foreseeable future, and I hope Marvel stops The Overrated One from writing anymore team books.
New Avengers Review by Kerny
This book continues to be not very good.
Not very funny back and fourth between Thing and Spidey. Jason Aaron did it better in the Dethlok arc in Wolverine Weapon X.
Jessica Jones is not very good at punching spirit-y things.
What was the point of Voodoo being the new SS if he just crys and gets fucked up all the time. Strange admitting he kinda sucks now is lame
Iron Fist being protected because of his er Iron Fist is also non-sense making. Bendis magic rules everyone.
I did like the reveal at the end. IDK why, but I did.
And at least it was very very pretty
Immonen really helped this negative review out a lot. It should probably be like a 4
New Avengers Review by john lewis hawk
Meh, meh, and more meh. I don't give a shit about what was happening in the issue except for the reveal at the end. As for that, I'm sure it will lose it's potential next issue.
As for Immonen's art, it was good but it was hurt by the parts where there's just Iron Fist.
I would give it a 4 but since it's the third issue, 3's a better rating.
New Avengers Review by BlueStreak
Instead of presenting a formal review, I've decided to share a note that I'm sending Mr. Bendis after reading this issue.
Here's the text in case you can't read the photo.
From the Desk of BlueStreak, Textbook Manager at Law
Dear Mr. Bendis,
Enclosed is a copy of Essential Dr. Strange Vol. 1. Obviously, you need it more than me.
I suggest that you read up on it and take notes as how to not make Dr. Strange and Brother Voodoo seem like worthless little bitches.
Note that Dr. Strange even at reduced power levels, still managed to win the day without the help of your man-crush Luke Cage.
If you have any questions, get in touch with Stan Lee or one of the countless other writers who succeeded in not making Doctor Strange look like he needs the Avengers to help him get dressed in the morning.
And here's the book I'm sending him.
It'll be going in the mail first thing Monday morning.
Review Score: 0/10
New Avengers Review by starlord
The only thing new about this title is the numbering; same old garbage just a different month. Let's ignore the fact that Bendis only wants Luke Cage, Spider-Man, and Wolverine to be the competant heroes. Let's ignore the fact that the banter between Spider-Man and Thing sounds exactly the same as the disembodied voices of the villains. Let's even ignore the fact that the entire concept of New Avengers is just a poor man's take off on Giffon's Justice League. Even if you strip all of that away you are still left with..............
My Score: 3
Tiny Titans Review by starlord
Sorry Old Man, as much as I love this book, this issue just didn't do it for me. The "in" jokes seem to be a bit too far in on this one. The stuff with Jor-El and the monkey at the end fell horribly flat, as did most of this issue. I still like this book and it did put a small smile on my face a couple of times, but I've read better from these guys. I wish I could give it a higher score, but I just can't.
My Score: 5
Tiny Titans Review by john lewis hawk
Like New Avengers, I didn't care for this either. The jokes fell flat and the story was boring even for a children's book. Art-wise, it was okay.
In the interest of fairness, I'm giving it a 3 too.
New Avengers Review by Jubilee
New Avengers was fine. Funny dialogue. Good twist ending no-one expected and nice art.
Easily the best book the review group has done in a long time. No wonder other books just aren't anywhere near it.
8 out of 10
New Avengers Review by Victorian Squid
I'm going with a 4.
Hopefully, before this storyline is over it will be settled once and for all who is the most magic--white guys, black guys, or old Asian men.
Tiny Titans Review by Mr_Batman
I've read few of the issues in the past and they were enjoyable. This wasn't exactly tolerable, but I could see a child liking it, so it passes in that sense. I smirked a few times but it definitely wasn't what I expected. The snow cone joke or whatever was pretty funny, but the monkey part at the end didn't do it for me.
As for the art, it's cartoonish like it should be. Meh. I like it
New Avengers Review by SilverPhoenix
What happens when the best plans go awry? What happens when the Dream Team doesn't deliver? What happens when something you thought was going to be awesome, goes wrong in the spot that matters most?
After reading New Avengers #3 for the second time, I've been asking myself those 3 questions as I put my thoughts to print. When this team roster for this book was being announced, I decided to put my cynicism for Bendis away, and give Issue 1 at least a read. My initial read of said issue was favorable, as it seemed like (at first glance), that Bendis was trying to get better.
Then I read Avengers #2, and I began to realize that Bendis doesn't really have any incentive to get better. Despite the mangling of continuity (How do you not cross check with Matt Fraction to see what's going in Invincible Iron Man?), and the non-distinctive voices of his characters, his Super Hero books sell in the Top 25 automatically. Why mess with a "good formula" that wins at the box office? What does this have to with New Avengers #3, well lets just say that bottom fell out during this issue.
In this reviewers opinion, this book possesses two major problems, with the first one being dialogue. And no, the big issue is not with Ms. Marvel saying "dude", that would've been a funny deviation if the dialogue didn't come off as redundant, wooden and forced. I'm sorry, but if banter between Spider-Man and The Thing doesn't at least produce a smile, then you need to go back to the drawing board.
The second major problem I see with this book is the overall story, which is bogged down by the fact that not only is the writer not really suited for a story involving Magic (which needs a rule set), but the fact that this makes the umpteenth time that the New Avengers are involved with Magic. For the past 3 years, The New Avengers have been involved with the long term 'Sorcerer Supreme' storyline, which has involved characters that Bendis seemingly doesn't have any idea how to handle. Even Doctor Voodoo, who he spent 4 months putting over in 2009 comes off an ineffectual cry baby. Not every character can be at their best in every storyline, but there should at least be an effort to write them respectfully. I just hope he can give a good explanation as to why 'The Ancient One' is seemingly the one behind all of this.
With all of that said, this doesn't mean the there wasn't some good with this issue. The Art is some of the best in Comic Books today as Stuart Immonen drawings are a dream come true, and helps you to forget that the story and dialogue are not really up to snuff. Not only to mention that Victoria Hand has the be the best liaison of the 3 main combat teams, due to the contrast that she presents against the team she's helping to coordinate. However, those two things aren't enough in this reviewer's opinion to make this book worth it. If only Bendis would deliver like he did with New Avengers #50 and The Finale Special.
Story *1/2 (3 out of 10): What does bad dialogue, redundant story and an overall poorly written cast equal: It equals that score, for this aspect of the comic book
Art ****1/2 (9 out of 10): Wow is this book is damn pretty. However, it's not pretty enough to save this book once you begin to ask simple questions about what's being written.
Accessibility **3/4 (5.5 out of 10): Almost nobody here is written in a way that could be accepted as a good characterization, it's a shame that this is the main picture most readers are getting of this characters. It also doesn't help that the story falls apart when you begin to ask questions and reference past material
Final Breakdown (All three categories plus Intangibles): ** (4 out of 10)
Tiny Titans Review by SilverPhoenix
There is no such thing as 100%, and even the "best of the best" have days when very little goes right. Does Tiny Titans #31 sadly fall in that category?
I've heard a lot of good things about Tiny Titans, and whenever I decide to look at in the LCS, it doesn't fail to bring a smile to my face. Not only to mention that 9 times out of 10, people have said this is THE BOOK for kids. Hell, it even won an Eisner in that category. With such positive press behind it, I thought this would at least be another winner for the kiddies. However, after reading it, it felt like I had just watched a bad episode of what's supposed to be an awesome TV Series, except in comic book form.
Since it's established that Tiny Titans is meant for kids, this means that almost everything written should be written in such a way that very little goes over a child's head. Well, this issue has a few moments where kids are totally left out of loop, especially in the first story where we see Bizzaro Super Boy (Match) having to choose between a Superman and Luthor T-Shirt. Something that could go over easily goes over a Child's head. When you take this, and add two other stories that are not really that entertaining (with the final story totally missing the mark), you have a book that just falls flat, even with the nice art.
There really isn't anything else to say about this book. Much like this book didn't really have anything special about it. There's only so many in jokes you can put in a comic book aimed for an audience that might not get any of them.
Story ** (4 out of 10): With the first story being serviceable, the second story being boringly average, and the third story coasting on the beach of terrible, I can't possibly give this any higher.
Art **** (8 out of 10): Vibrant Colors, well expressed characters, and just a fun atmosphere make the art a Winner in spades.
Accessibility **1/2 (5 out of 10): The in jokes don't really help the situation, and the book itself falls really flat. Most kids will be happy with a new issue, but I'll be surprise if this is a favorite.
Final Breakdown (All three categories plus Intangibles): ** (4 out of 10)
Tiny Titans Review by thefourthman
Come on... Been there Done That!
Psimon is a snow cone!
The Braniac Club!
Aw Yeah Kryptonian Technology!
How could you not like this comic? It is clearly the best comic since Wathcmen; then to top it all off - it has Art Baltazar art!?
Score: Eleventy Million (It would have been twelvety million but the crappy monkey story brought it down to tenity million, but then the awesome maze reestablished it to eleventy million!)
New Avengers Review by thefourthman
So I have mixed feelings about this book.
First off, I think Immonen is coming around with this book. His art is pretty and it's not Nextwave, but it's getting there.
The big fight scenes with Luke, Ben, Spidey, Logan and the gang are awesome. Bendis even manages to make the characters sound different. If this book were nothing but that, this review would end right here with a perfect ten, but it isn't so it doesn't.
I know it's not just me but Strange and Voodoo seem to be getting the shaft here. Also, I am not a knowledge person when it comes to Hellstorm, but is he supposed to look and act like John Cena? This stuff is all magic mumbo jumbo that seems to have the characters that are supposed to understand this stuff just making crap up.
But the biggest problem is every scene involving Iron Fist. Is Bendis doing some kind of thing where Danny acts like a moron when he is with Cage and then becomes the bad ass from Bru and Fraction and that guy with the funny name's book? If so, isn't that demeaning to both Luke and the character those others made into one of my favorites? If not, then why does it read that way?
Then there is the reveal of the big bad. Whatever happened to the days when there were flashbacks in comics that told you the importance of a character? Sure, it might have been seen as foreshadowing and may have taken away some of the thrust of the reveal, but it wouldn't just thud for a reader like me. I readily admit that magic mumbo jumbo might as well be cosmic bullshit to me. They are both less interesting to me than more grounded comics. That being said, I think Strange is pretty cool and seems like a guy I might want to read about in the future (and I really liked that Marvel animated movie, too), but the almost slight way who the Ancient One is is handled makes it less cool to me then it would be to someone who has read fifty million Marvel Comics. I still want Bendis to take the time to make his stories important to not just the long term fan, but the possible new fan as well.
Overall, this is a fun issue with really nice art. I can't hate on it, but I can't love it either.
New Avengers Review by guitarsmashley
I wish ashley sucked as much as this comic. I'd be a lot happier in life if she did. Art was nice but dammit I want more nextwave.
New Avengers Review by Punchy
Story - As an unabashed 'Bendis on Avengers' fan, I of course unabashedly enjoyed this issue. When picking up an issue of New Avengers, I expect 3 things. Those 3 things are; 1) Big-ass threats that no single hero could withstand. 2) Witty dialogue between the Avengers. And 3) Beautiful art.
New Avengers #3 delivers on all of these fronts. You've got a big threat, hell, it's tearing rips in the entire universe, and has both Doctor Strange and Doctor Voodoo flummoxed. That's a big deal, and I'm very interested to see how the New Avengers will stop this. And the last page reveal of who exactly is behind these magical events is a doozy for sure.
Then you have the witty dialogue, which is of course, a divisive issue, you either love Bendis' dialogue or you don't, and know review is going to change your mind, but for me, there are few pleasures greater to be had in the world of super-hero comics than reading his back and forth, and this issue had some great stuff, particularly between Spider-Man and The Thing, who've always had a great relationship, and Bendis just nails it here. Also brilliant was Ms. Marvel's admission that she'd never seen Ghostbusters, which was very fun. Some people may not like seeing super-heroes actually act like real people, but I love it, everyone watches movies, even Spider-Man. But crucially, Bendis doesn't skimp on the characterisation and character growth. We get more Iron Fist here than I think we've ever had in New Avengers, and that's a great thing, he's been under-utilised. I also enjoyed seeing the growth of Victoria Hand, and I really love how short-tempered and how much of a dick Daimon Hellstrom is here. He may be a great hero, but come on, he's the Son Of Satan, he's a dick.
New Avengers #3 is another enjoyable chapter in Bendis' long run of Avengers books, the fact that it's remained so consistently strong after 6? 7? years, is pretty remarkable. I couldn't care less about the rules of magic (see my review of #1) or whether Doctor Strange isn't powerful enough, this issue hits all my marks for quality Avengers comics. It's not likely to change your mind if you're a staunch Bendis-hater, but if you're a fan? You won't be disappointed.
The Oral History back-up feature continues to be surprisingly hilarious too.
Art - You thought I'd forgot about my 3rd criteria for Bendis Avengers greatness didn't you? No such luck pedant! What more can really be said about Stuart Immonen that hasn't already been said? The dude's a legend, there's no better artist at Marvel today. I hope he never leaves New Avengers. Unless we can get more Nextwave. But only then.
Best Line - 'I mean, if ever there was a time that I would designate as an actual time to clobber ... this would be that time'
New Avengers Review by Amoebas
Tried reading it in the lcs today, founding myself thumbing through it instead just get it over with.
My incomplete review...
Art - 8
Words - 1
Wolverine - demerit 1
Overall - 3.5
Tiny Titans Review by Amoebas
I think I finished it in less than 2 minutes. Quirky fun and wonderfully cartooned.
Art - 6
Writing - 4
Brainiac 5 - bonus 1
Overall - 6
New Avengers Review by John Snow
Wow, Hand with her giant Cableseque gun is the only thing I like in this issue.
Story 2, Art 8
Tiny Titans Review by John Snow
Hmm, okay. I loved the art. I have kind of a tough time believing this delivers enough entertainment for a toddler in correlation to the price. All it really delivers is 5 minutes of cute.
Story 2, Art 9
That concludes the Review Group's first ever versus week! And the winner is... TINY TITANS OF COURSE!!! YAYS!!! The final scores were 5.17 and 4.81 respectively. To check out all the in-thread hilarity Week 236 had to offer, click here.
Back when I PM requested the father of the Outhouse, john lewis hawk, to tell him it was time to make his first ever Review Group pick, I made one small request. "Please try to pick something everyone can find". Hawk's response? "I pick Garrison #5." Ummm, wut?
Garrison Review by Victorian Squid
The writer of a whole mess of Buffy, Angel, and Charmed books and comics (as well as Presidential Material: Barack Obama BTW), Jeff Mariotte, steals scenes from various movies appropriately enough to craft Garrison #5. I'm going to be as nice as I can, when I say this issue is a patchwork of cliches you'll say you've seen before and be right--from the cloned army of fighters the artist just barely draws to resemble each other, to the "pull up on the stick, the trees!" scene in a jenky old aeroplane that barely starts. Did I mention the "teach the clone who's somehow more human than the rest how to kiss" scene?
Jumping in at issue #5, this issue is perfectly accessible to new readers because we've seen it all before. Which reminds me, I've seen some of artist Francesco Francavilla's illustrations before and liked them much better than this. While colorist Wes Hartman didn't help with all the pink and green "sky and grass" panels, I had to check twice to make sure Francavilla actually drew this, or that there wasn't some inker I could blame this on.
Garrison Review by john lewis hawk
So..... I thought it would be bad if I didn't go out and buy the comic myself. Plus, if I am going to kick out of the group due to the Hawk Rule (Fuck Amber Atoms, that bitch deserves nothing!!), I'd rather be kicked out for holding the thread hostage during Jude's week.
As for the comic itself, it really wasn't that hard to follow suprising but that's mostly because the plot's thinner than toilet paper at a public restroom. Except for the reveal of who Garrison actually is, everything is incredibly cliched. Hell, the issue is nothing more than a little fighting, that forced dialogue you see in movies where the two leads are about to fuck, and fucking. As for Francavilla's art, I've seen better from him.
Garrison Review by BlueStreak
Garrison Review by starlord
I knew nothing about this going into it and obviously it's right in the middle of a story which is always hard to review but I will say this. I'm going to end up getting the trades because what I read interested the hell out of me. It was easy to pick up and figure out and the art was great. Nothing about this I didn't enjoy. What I would like to know is why while I'm typing this my words go from red to black and then back to red again. What the hell is going on around here?!
My Score: 8
Garrison Review by thefourthman
What a very strange book.
Having read all five issues, this is one of the most uneven books I have ever read.
What's really a shame, is that there is almost nothing worse than when a book goes exactly where you think it is going and instead of you being like hell yeah, you roll your eyes and go, whatever. That's the last two pages in a nutshell.
The opening pages are okay, with whats her name showing up on Lester as he is pulling the switch back into his clothes after stealing a guard's clothes last episode. Straight out of Star Wars, except it is a heck of a lot easier when you look like the storm trooper you are replacing. But then this is just the origin of Jango Fett and the clone troopers except set now instead of in a galaxy far far away.
But then there is the plane sequence, which stinks of a Harrison Ford Anne Heche movie, but works inspite of itself. You can even imagine Garrison being played by a Raiders of the Lost Ark era Ford.
Then there is the art. Francavilla is a great artist. He really is. Check out Zorro or Black Coat. They are great looking books. That shines through in some of the quieter moments here, but the rest feel and look horribly rushed. It is like he had a hard time keeping a deadline and his attention span.
This is the kind of book that deserves a middle of the road score. It is a neat enough concept and story and when it works it works, but when it doesn't it doesn't.
Garrison Review by SilverPhoenix
What happens when you have a book that tries so hard to defeat its tropes, but ends up falling a little bit short? You get a book that just might be a contender.
The perfect soldier without a past, the beautiful girl who can kick ass, the omniscient national security agency that she works for, and a conspiracy that could not only destroy the fragile fabric of world peace, but result in coupling based on a foundation of surviving danger and hot sex. Put those together, and you get a good amount of action stories that are neither refreshing, or innovative in some fashion. In this case, however, you get Garrison #5, which ends up unable to decide whether it wants to be excellent, or just mediocre.
Now, before I begin to analyze my thoughts on this book, let me just say that I am coming into this pretty cold, so there are still some questions I really don't have the answers to, so I will do this to best of my ability. However, I will say that I am looking forward to finding the answers, so it'll probably reflect my final score in a positive light, which is always a good thing.
As for the issue itself, Issue #5 drops you into an already precarious situation, where our main female character (Jillian) breaks rank in her organization to save the main male character (Garrison) from what seems like a situation (not really) he won't survive without help, and the story unfolds from there. Which parts work, and what parts don't in this reviewer's eyes? Lets take a look, shall we?
Garrison does quite a few things right, to be honest. For starters, the characters aren't completely infallible, which would make them completely boring. Even Garrison, with all of his skills, and the dozens of Martial Arts that he's mastered, don't hide the fact that he would rather end fights quickly, or not even really fight at all if its not necessary. As for Jillian, she's beyond not totally useless, as we find out that she has her own mind about things, and is quite capable as she thought ahead in a way that would usually be reserved for the male character. Also, the overlaying storyline seems quite riveting in its mystery. From what this reviewer saw, it seems like the War on Terror has had its worst case scenario come completely true, and now America is stuck fighting wars without end, with seemingly little benefit. I had a bit of fun speculating what the world make up looks like. However, this book is not without its flaws, especially when it decides to play to its genre conventions. Jillian comes off as extremely annoying when she tries to lecture Garrison for his cold-blooded attitude, which makes the last two pages seem out of place, especially with the "twist" ending. Maybe the twist ending was necessary, but the condescending attitude was not.
In the end, this book is also hindered by the relative inaccessibility to those who decided to jump-in from this issue. Even though I was curious to finding out the answers to those questions, it still won't make it any easier for those people to understand it, and there isn't enough good (like in say Fables), to ignore this issue. Also, the art does work for the setting, but it seems like there could be a lot more effort put into the panels. Then again, it could be following the pattern of this book, where you find things to like and despise all in one issue. And yet, I still look forward to the release of the trade (especially if the price is right), and to at least seeing what happens next. I guess this means that book did something right.
Story ***1/4 (6.5 out of 10): The characters are quite compelling, and the world draws you into its potentially Distopian outlook, but some of the jarring moments make something that could've been excellent just above average.
Art **1/2 (5 out of 10): The art hovers from good to bad, which makes this book look quite uneven and average overall
Accessibility ** (4 out of 10): This book isn't totally un-followable for new readers, but it comes close to it. You'd be much better off waiting for the trade, as this book is so written for the format.
Final Breakdown (All three categories plus Intangibles): *** (6 out of 10)
Garrison Review by John Snow
Jumping into the middle of a series like this, you really have to rely on the characters to build some connection to the material, but the characters here were a pretty sad mix of bland and cliche. I dig Francavilla usually, but here the art feels a bit too understated for this type of book.
That gives Garrison #5 a big fat score of 4.71. Maybe I should rename Reviewapalooza! The Hate Parade has a nice ring to it. To see hawk thwart my every attempt to exile him from the group, check out our Week 237 thread here.
1 Month 2 Live, the Marvel event comic no one knew was coming until Victorian Squid picked it. What people probably did know was coming though was the massive blow-up in the Review Group thread that might just have forever labled the Review Group the Outhouse's bitchiest thread. Granted, the some of the loudest people saying that are the bitchiest bitchers on the Outhouse, but we'll look past that and try to grow from it as a result. Welcome to Week 238's background noise...
1 Month 2 Live Review by thefourthman
What would you do with a month left to live? It's a philosophical hypothetical that has led to many a saccharine story, song, poem. Think Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw. It'll please the masses, but there's not a lot of substance there.
Here is much the same. It's a neat enough idea, this guy finds out he is going to die and around the same time he has powers manifest. What's he going to do with them?
In the end, this is a comic book equivalent to the McGraw song. It does what you expect. Our lead, Dennis, is a bank lackey who hates his job. He has a loving wife and is taking care of his deceased sister's daughter. There's not a whole lot that inspires him. He wants to do the right thing but is unable to at his job and with his niece he might as well be a villain.
When he steps up to some apparently confused crooks, an act of unconscionable punishment is enacted and after a trip to see the Fantastic Four, he finds that he has cancer which has now mutated and is attacking pretty much his whole body. Reed tells him he only has a month to live, he goes home and fins out he also has powers. Then the guy goes and robs a bank to take care of a mistake he had made earlier that day. IS he going to be a hero or a villain, I guess that is the point of this first issue.
Problem is, it reads like the script to a daytime drama with Ben Grimm, Reed Richards and Spider-man thrown in. It is melodramatic and clichéd. Overwrought in its dialogue. With Remender being the writer, one might think that there are big ideas to back it up, but there aren't instead we get some crap origin that Stan Lee would have thought up if he had grown up in the post Tarantino era. The only real interesting bit is a cliff hanger that will only be a wow moment to those familiar with a minor new character.
The art isn't bad. At first, it is as off putting as the writing, but eventually it just seems normal. It is a bit stiff, but then this is a stiff read.
In the end, it is again, an average book. Unlike last week's book it is just starting out and only has the sky to reach for and given that we have the talents like Ostrander and McKelvie in the batter's box makes me want to check out the next issue. Problem is when are Marvel and DC going to stop giving us average books and start knocking them out of the park?
1 Month 2 Live Review by BlueStreak
One Month to Live is the latest fifth week event introduced by the House of Ideas. The sad thing about these fifth week events is that they are often doomed to obscurity due to the mediocre ideas, writers and artists that are involved. I've often wondered if these sort of "events" were simply a way for Marvel and DC to scout talent out in a low risk setting. However, One Month to Live is unusual in that it features a host of established writers writing individual issues in a story arc. With Rick Remender, Stuart Moore and John Ostrander on the writing duties, it was conceivable that the story wouldn't end up being a forgettable one.
The story idea is a simple one. A good man is given terminal cancer after committing a good deed. However, the cancer comes with a surprising side effect, namely the power to manipulate matter. With one month left, Dennis Sykes is determined to make a difference in the world, even if he has to go through the entire Marvel Universe to do it! The concept is an interesting one, but Rick Remender doesn't really do anything interesting with it. All we're given is a mundane origin story of a character who by the end of the month will probably never be heard from again.
The art is neither spectacular or terrible. It really only helps propagate the idea that this comic is totally forgettable.
All in all, this is a totally forgettable and mundane issue. With promises of the Fantastic Four and the Savage Land in the future, it looks as if Dennis Sykes, the Terminal Cancer Man, will be making his way through the Marvel Universe in coming weeks. However, chances are no one's really going to bother to read about him.
1 Month 2 Live Review by Eli Katz
I read very few Marvel books these days. After reading HEROIC AGE: ONE MONTH TO LIVE #1, I'm reminded why. The stories that Marvel puts out are just not worth the price that Marvel is charging for them, even when it's charging only 3 bucks and not 4. ONE MONTH isn't a terrible book. In fact, it's somewhat fresh and original by Marvel standards, telling a superhero story about an unlikely hero -- an average guy who's doomed to die within a month after he tries to be a good Samaritan and is endowed with superpowers in the process. But both the story and the art are, well, kind of boring. I would neither encourage nor discourage someone from reading ONE MONTH. I guess I would just say to him, "Why buy minor Marvel stuff when you can check out something new and interesting from a different company?" So I'm giving this book a big "meh."
1 Month 2 Live Review by Punchy
Story - What would you do if you only had one month left to live? That's the question raised in this new weekly Marvel mini-series, and on it's own it's a doozy, but when you give someone superpowers and plonk them dead-centre in the Marvel Universe, it complicates it even further, with pleasing results.
I didn't really have high expectations for '1 Month 2 Live' before I picked it up, hell I didn't really have any expectations at all, I hadn't heard of it, and it's rare that a Big Two comic can slip under my radar, but I was surprised by how much I liked this. The central character of Dennis is a strong one initially, and I liked seeing a story from the perspective of an ordinary person in the Marvel Universe. If you like Kurt Busiek's work on Marvels and Astro City, I think you'll find a lot to like in this book, it's a superhero story, but with that same muted tone. Guest-appearances from Spider-Man, The Thing and Mister Fantastic place this firmly in the Marvel Universe, but Remender is more concerned with the human emotions of Dennis and his wife and niece, and that's a good sign. Not that Remender can't write the superheroes, he does a good line in Spider-Man quips. Often superhero stories can forget the fundamentals of human emotions, and I hope this story can continue to deal with the real ramifications of both illness, and superpowers.
But I do have concerns about the rest of this mini, I am concerned that it might end up as just another superhero slugfest, rather than a story about this particular man, and I'm concerned about how the different writers will take on the story, as after this issue, Remender passes the baton on to Rob Williams, Stuart Moore and John Ostrander, before taking over again for #5. I hope all 4 writers can manage to achieve a cohesive tone and story, and not make this feel uneven. I am excited to see Jamie McKelvie's work in #5 however.
Overall, this was a good comic, and one I'm surprised to see come from Marvel, many people (members of this group included) complain about them not being experimental enough, or not trying something different, and in my books, 1 Month 2 Live is that something different. Of course, those same people will probably hate this. As I said, if you like Astro City, this might be worth your while, it's a different kind of superhero book, and worth checking out.
Art - Despite the story's unconventional tone, the art here is pretty standard superhero stuff, it's got clear lines and bright colours. Mutti's art at times looks like Ramon Bachs, and at others, Leonard Kirk's. It's nothing amazing, but it does it's job. Bring on McKelvie though!
Best Line - 'Man, you are killing my quarterly bank robber quota here'
1 Month 2 Live Review by Royal Nonesuch
This is a solid, well-paced entry in the "regular guy gets sucked up into the world of superheroes" story type. I like the characters and the premise is a pretty great one. I like the natural progression and consequences of the main character's actions. I do enjoy it when superhero publishers get into the game of telling smaller, more intimate character-driven stories. Some of the exposition and dialogue were pretty clunky, but the writing overall worked.
The art is serviceable and solid. It isn't flashy, but gets the job done. It's pretty middle of the road, but there's nothing outright wrong with it.
Overall, I'll give it a 7.5
1 Month 2 Live Review by SuperginraiX
The main character of 1 Month 2 Live, Denis Sykes, is immediately a likeable character. He's about the only one in this book that is. From his crap job right on down to everyone he talks to, everyone is much more of a jerk than he is.
Now, you don't title your comic 1 Month 2 Live and expect fuzzy teddy bears and rainbows (even though you kind of get them at the end of this story) but even the way this guy gets his powers is depressing. These two wannabe gangster drug addicts do one of the most angering things I've read in a comic in quite some time. It adds to the pent up frustration that pretty much sums up this comic. Finding out they're working with Mr. Negative doesn't really amp their cred in my book. They're still moronic characters that should have been killed or at least locked up before this issue ends.
Having a new character facing down super cancer is an interesting concept that I'm sure many comic fans would be able to relate to. I don't think there are many people in this world who don't know someone facing a life and death battle with cancer. I just wish there were more likeable characters in the story so the main character's last days could at least have some good moments. His wife seems nice enough but she isn't fleshed out nearly as well as her daughter/ niece. That girl has more than enough reason to be angsty and I'm sure we'll get a traditional payoff at the end where she opens up and the two have a good father/ daughter moment... it would just have helped to have some of that pay off in the first issue to hook us.
The super-hero bits seemed thrown in. I know that there are tons of super-heroes in New York City but actually MEETING one is said to be rare. Sykes doesn't even seem all that excited about meeting a guy made out of rock. Yes, he's got other things he's dealing with but still: guy made out of rock. I think you can fit in a few lines about how amazing that is for an average citizen. And to have two Marvel character meetings in two days with more to come? Stretching believability.
Yes, I know. We're talking about a guy who just got super powers and super death by basically eating toxic waste. I guess we're already in stretched territory. The appearances just seem forced to me.
And I haven't even gotten started on the art! It's mostly serviceable which isn't high praise. When you can't even draw a convincing Thing, you've got some troubles on your hands. It's not terrible. It's just not... great. As a comic dealing with mostly average, everyday people, it does a good job being average.
There are good bits. Dennis Sykes is genuinely likeable even when he's doing exactly the wrong thing. You feel for the character. You hate his boss. You want him and his daughter to bond before he dies. You're creeped out with the giant sculptures he makes at the end of the book. It's all a little predictable but that's not a crime in itself. Hopefully some other writers will take us into less predictable territory.
As a first issue to a very finite story, I give Heroic Age: 1 Month 2 Live a 6. Here's a tip: if you're going to call your book Heroic Age: 1 Month 2 Live, maybe put "Heroic Age" somewhere on the cover. It'll make your comic more easy to find for us looking for a banner.
1 Month 2 Live Review by Zero
So apparently this comic's title was texted to the printers, because otherwise there's no excuse for it. This five issue weekly comic came from an idea the editor had while a relative was dying, and there's a reason most editors aren't writers. Steve Wacker handed it off to a group of Marvel's least busy writers and our story starts (and will end) with Rick Remender.
Dennis has a job he hates, is raising a niece who's having some very mild issues, and lacks the courage to do what he thinks is right. Then he grows a pair and the story takes a very familiar path. Remender tries to make us relate to and like our hero, but ultimately the comic is too short and the story too bland to really hook anyone. It's not badly written, it's just that the clichés outnumber the new ideas pretty badly.
The art here is by Andrea Mutti I think, and it doesn't do much for me. Dennis' powers don't have much visual pop to them and while he draws a nice Thing (something that I'm sure is harder than some pros make it look) not much about his style is terribly memorable.
I like the concept here, but the execution is fairly pedestrian and feels very much like a comic I've read before. A missed opportunity I think.
1 Month 2 Live Review by Victorian Squid
This is a book that would be easy to miss--in fact even the design of the modern comics racks I see weekly seemed to conspire with the relative obscurity of the title to keep it out of view and under the radar. Which is kind of funny, since it's actually a weekly event comic from Marvel showcasing several different writers and possibly introducing at least a couple new characters into the 616 mix, as well as featuring appearances from Spider-man and the FF with more to come (Ego the Living Planet?!?).
I still choose to see the incident with the thugs and the hazardous waste as a sort of homage to those early Marvel origin stories like Daredevil's and many others', where contact with some radioactive whatever gives an average Joe special powers, along with the usual special responsibility and, something Marvel was especially good at, some "Monkey's Paw" angle that makes it as much a curse as a blessing. DD's blindness, Ben Grimm's appearance, etc. etc. The ridiculous depiction of the waste truck with bags of hazardous stews all sloshing around in the back is offset by the horrible panels of the thugs pouring waste down poor Dennis Sykes' throat and thereby giving him his unknown powers, as well as a short death sentence to come.
Speaking of origin stories, a flash-back to Spider-Man's own makes Peter decide to give Dennis a second chance to do the right thing and use his powers not to steal but to create, and as Dennis shows his family his handiwork, the same thugs who he saved the driver from in the first place are there too (and he doesn't even see them a few feet away wearing the same clothes--WTF?), and we learn they are working for Mr Negative. And Mr Negative hates public art, apparently. Besides the problem that the easily recognizable thugs who gave him the cancer are shown in his field of vision right behind his niece, the plot point of destroying a children's hospital sculpture garden is not even garden-variety villainy--plus it was built with no permits or inspections, all they have to do is wait for the city to tear it down anyway which would be even more demoralizing for the community.
The artwork has been called average by other reviewers, I'm surprised not to see more appreciation for Andrea Mutti. I thought there should be a little more subtle articulation in some of mainly Dennis' facial expressions, but thought Mutti did well here.
There are some interesting writer/artist combinations coming up, and some early teasers that guarantee this story is going to leave NYC behind for some intriguing locations as well. The covers in the back-matter and the rare opportunity to follow a Marvel mini for $2.99 SRP each are enough to follow this story a little further and see where it goes.
1 Month 2 Live Review by SilverPhoenix
What if you had only one month to live? What if you had the ability to make things better for others? Would you step up, or falter to the challenge?
No one is immortal, and as much as this reviewer wishes that he were sometimes (and I'm sure I'm not the only one), he like everyone else will meet the end of their time on this mortal coil. The most inescapable thing about life is that it will someday end, and while it is not something the majority of us think about often, death is still something that's waiting for us at the end of life's road, which can be at any point. It very rarely fails to be a shock when you get the news that you have a terminal disease. Usually regrets and Bucket Lists come into play, but what if you got powers that could make a real difference? What could someone do then?
That's the question that comes into play in Marvel's "One Month to Live", which is second of their 5-week long projects (The first one was "Heralds"), which are released every comic book day this month. "One Month to Live" is also different, because it's a collaborative effort, which will combine 10 different writers and artists on a project, which gives someone who has had to live as an average and ordinary person in a Universe that is anything but. Something that is very ambitious once you understand why this story was made. However, ambtion alone doesn't make a comic worth reading, and as I read this book, I wondered if that ambition and promise would come together? And for the most part, it definitely does.
The story itself is quite compelling, as our protagonist starts out as a banker who lives in a situation where he can provide for his wife and family, however the price he pays for that opportunity makes him little more than a cog in the system, a tool which his bosses use to dispense their will upon others. Even though he wishes to do and be better, those wishes are supresses by the fact that he needs to make sure where his next meal and mortage payment are coming from. This all changes by the end of the story, where he is finally in a position to impact the world the way he wants to impact it. It's all very well set up, as we get a good clue as to why we should care about the situation, and what he wants to do, and it makes you hope that he succeeds.
The art is also quite good, as we do get to see each of these characters emotions through the art, and the name characters that do appear are also drawn very well. Andrea Mutti definitely gives a good first impression of herself, even if her art is not as eye grabbing as Ivan Reis' might be, it'll still be nice to see where she goes from here, and what she learns from this stand up effort.
"One Month to Live #1" is definitely an impressive start to this second weekly series' of Marvel's, I just hope it continues to live up to the promise that the first issue showed.
Story: ***3/4 (7.5): The story of a man who has to make some difficult choices, is definitely well told, and is more than enough to draw almost anyone in.
Art: ***1/2 (7): The Artist gives a dashing effort as she draws her subjects emotions very well, and gives a good showing the name characters
Acessibilty: ***** (10): This is as accessible as it gets ladies and gentlemen. Everything you need to know is right in that book. No one should have any problem getting into this.
Final Judgment: ***3/4 Stars (7.5)
1 Month 2 Live Review by Jude Terror
I was on the fence about whether or not to pick up this book when I placed my monthly order from DCBS. I actually had this on my list originally, but then removed it. The problem wasn't my expectations for the book, but instead a desire to stop supporting meaningless filler from comics publishers and only get minis in hardcover form if they turn out to have been good. It looks like that's what I'll be doing with 1 Month 2 Live.
At first, while reading this first issue, I was a little annoyed with the protagonist's inner monologue. The whole story was feeling just a little bit too Fight Club meets It's a Wonderful Life, and I found that combination distasteful... at first. However, appearances by The Thing, Reed Richards, and Spider-Man turned this book around for me.
The typical comic snob might wonder why, as superheroes are passe while by-the-numbers melodramas (I'm looking at you I Kill Giants) are all the rage, but to me, the addition of the Marvel heroes is what really pulled this book together. I recognized the Stan Lee-esque origin story, but it didn't feel right at first... until I was hit with a dose of goold, old fashioned Marvel shared universe.
The Thing, just happening to be walking buy, gets involved in the scuffle between the protagonist and some thugs. Reed Richards tells him he has powers. Spider-Man gives him a second chance, knowing he never got one. For some reason, these petty additions turned this from your standard "realization of a wasted life with one last chance to make a difference" story to your standard "realization of a wasted life story with one last chance to make a difference" story... if it was written by Stan Lee. And this made all the difference, for me at least.
Count me in for the rest of this series.
1 Month 2 Live Review by guitarsmashley
I'm really torn on this comic. It's written by one of my favorite writers but it's such a piss poor idea and it's not executed all that well wither. The art is reminiscent of the J Scott Campbell school which isn't bad but it doesn't really fit all that well here. The girl being a little cunt doesn't really make you feel anything for any of the characters either...all in all the comic feel hastily put together. The inclusion of the Thing and Spiderman were pretty tacked on without actual feeling or purpose and who I assume is purple man...also pretty forced and stupid. The lead character is not identifiable or even relatable. The poor banker gots cancer and super powers...but he still has a job and pulls funding from people...not really a character you don't want to die in a month in real life.
1 Month 2 Live Review by frag it
Really enjoyed the first issue, if not the art.
1 Month 2 Live Review by John Snow
Not that this was good, but it could have been worse. The execution of this feels a bit ham-fisted, but that's kind of like Rick Remender's calling card.
That gives 1 Month 2 Live #1 a group score of 6.02. Hard to imagine how the Week 238 thread ended with a 44 to 1 post to review ratio. To see the thread that broke the Outhouse, click here . Note that it really didn't hit it's stride until almost 150 posts in.
This week everyone's favorite punk rock poser Jude Terror had the pick and with the help of a Victorian Squid mind bullet or two selected Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities and the Ghastly Fiend of London #1 from Dark Horse Comics. To join in on a kinder, gentler Review Group experience check out our most recent thread in The News Stand forum!
Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities and the Ghastly Fiend of London #1
Writer: Eric Powell
Artist: Eric Powell, Kyle Hotz
The world believes the notorious outlaw Billy the Kid was killed by Pat Garrett, but in reality the Kid is very much alive, the hired gun of Fineas Sproule's traveling spectacle of biological curiosities--or "freaks," as Billy calls them. In their latest adventure, Billy and crew confront their most vicious challenge yet: Jack the Ripper!
In London to visit a true Elephant Man, Billy, Sproule, and the company learn about the Whitechapel murders and the fact that disfigured people are being blamed for the killings and targeted for mob justice. As the group applies themselves to the case, Sproule looks for information at every bar in the city, while Billy tags along to drink whisky and flirt with prostitutes at each one-which might be a better way to find the Ripper than he realizes. Includes Goon backups by Eric Powell! $3.99
Written or Contributed by: John Martin
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