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Geek Readers: 10/19/11 Comic Review

Written by Geek Readers on Friday, October 21 2011 and posted in Reviews

Geek Readers reviews: Wonder Woman #2, Batman #2, , Ultimate Spider-Man #3, Justice League #2, Key of Z #1 and as the mini Fear Itself wraps up with #7 they look at the mini as a whole.

Writer: Scott Snyder
Pencils: Greg Capullo

Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: FCO

Letters: Starkings & Betancourt

I'm a somewhat new reader for DC.  Although I've read some DC stuff from time to time, their "new 52" relaunch got me to try several books resulting in a few new pulls for me.  Batman by Scott Snyder has been one of the better books from their line.
I feel like Snyder puts on a workshop in how to write stories that stretch through several issues but still give you a filling amount of action and plot in each issue.   The characters all seem spot-on from the differences between Bruce Wayne and Batman each in their own 'zone' to Batman's relations with those around him.  The scene I posted was an interaction between him and Nightwing that I thought was perfect and really shows Snyder's understanding of the "batworld". I've also enjoyed seeing Batman squeeze in some detective work here and there, and also expand his line-up of gadgets.  When the present day catches up to the future-tech we see in books like this I think they need to take it to the next level without getting ridiculous, and they manage that here.

The art is superb, though Bruce Wayne and Lincoln look quite a bit alike; it made me have to look a bit harder on a couple of panels.  The design of the new villain is great, I would have never thought an 'owl' villain could look so menacing.  I'm hoping this is as it seems and it is a new villain and not an old one rehashed in a new outfit.  After the last two issues though, I have faith in Snyder.  This is probably the first time outside of mini's that I've really enjoyed a Bat-book. If you are a fan of Batman, now is the time to jump on this book.  #2 just hit shelves today and 2nd printings of #1 are still out there as well.

Writer: Brian Azzarello

 Artist: Cliff Chiang
Colorist: Mathew Wilson

Letters: Jared Fletcher

Published by: DC

There was a little bit of fan rumbling last week due to the rumor that Wonder Woman was not made of clay and was actually a bastard daughter of Zeus.  I didn't really get see the problem here, granted I had never heard of the origin until then; but even if I had it just doesn't seem like something that should matter.
It was actually addressed in this issue and worked perfectly with the story, in my opinion.  Diana returns home and we get to see her mother: Hippolyta (I don't know why you wold call a large woman that can beat you up "hippo") and the Amazon island.   Here we learn the legend of how Wonder Woman was crafted from clay because Hippolyta was barren but so wanted a child.  We are also introduced to the next layer of villain gods that will confront Diana.

The art, as I said with my review of issue one, is great.  It fits perfectly with this super-hero/fantasy mixture that Wonder Woman has now.  Even if you have never tried Wonder Woman before, it's worth checking out and picking it up now while it's just getting going.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Sara Pichelli
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letters: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

So we have a new Spider-Man in the Ultimate universe.  We've seen Peter Parker die already in the event this summer, but this book starts out before that point and we see Miles Morales pretty much living his life right after he is bit by a genetically modified spider.  So far we've noticed his powers seem to be a little bit different, but whether they are completely different or just additional is yet to be seen.  Does he have spidey-sense?  We know he can climb walls and has all the agility, but we've seen him go invisible as well. So far really all he has done is experiment with his powers and freak out a bit.

I've seen some readers complain that Bendis' writing is over-filled with teen-talk, where they just jabber back and forth, and to a degree they have a point.  But, it has worked for the story so far in my opinion.  Bendis has squeezed in a little action (though not quite enough issue to issue to satisfy all) to this point in the story, but mostly we are watching a teen drama as it turns into a Spider-Man comic... it's just not quite a Spider-Man comic yet.
But for Bendis fans and fans of the original Ultimate Spider-Man run this all feels very familiar.  Instead of Peter freaking out and trying to decide what to do with this newfound power, now we have Miles freaking out and trying to make that decision.  The biggest difference is the artwork, which I actually enjoy more than Bagley to be honest.  Not that Bagley was bad, but he was never a favorite of mine and Pichelli's art just seems a bit more natural.  The covers by Kaare Andrews have been absolutely beautiful as well (as you can see above).

All in all I'm enjoying this book.  Part of me is still sad that Peter is gone (even though we can read about him in the 616 still) but I am really liking Miles as a character.  Even though he seems to be coming from a similar place as Peter, his personality seems to be his own.  I'm really curious to see once all is said and done if we will be able to tell them apart in costume (aside from being in a different costume, that is).  It's a tricky place that I wouldn't want to be in: you want your Spider-Man to still be Spider-Man, but at the same time if Miles is too much like Peter then it all will come off as a gimmicky stunt by the publisher to stir things up. It will have no deeper meaning.  I have faith in Bendis though, I've enjoyed most of his work and he's always had such a good grip on Ultimate Spider-Man.

Written by Chondra Echert, Claudio Sanchez
Art by Aaron Kuder

Publisher: Boom! Studios

It seems zombies are all the rage now, but I can't quite get enough of them so I'm okay with it.  With Key of Z we have another zombie tale, this time set in New York City.  It looks like most of the city has been turned into a zombie town, with the humans held up in various stadiums trying to plan how to best take the city back.
Although it jumps to several narratives in different stadiums, the main character seems to feel like the guy the book starts with in the opening.  I actually got a bit confused when it first jumped from what feels like the prologue to the present day and shows a similar looking character rescuing some people on the street.  I did not realize that the other guy was a new character until later in the book when he shows up fully bearded and talking about his family.

It's hard to talk story with only one issue down, but the little elements are there.  I really like the tie-in from the 'Key of Z' harmonica artwork on the cover, to his boy giving him a harmonica for Christmas, to him playing it later to call the zombies to fight.  But mostly this story was about introducing us to the characters and the world.

As far as the artwork, it's outstanding.  I love all the detail and line work in this book, and it is one of the things that helps set this book apart from other zombie comics we've seen.  In fact, I often found it interesting as to how colorful the world still was.  Instead of gray and bleak, the world looked more overgrown (just with dead people walking around).

If you are a zombie fan like me or just looking for a good comic I'd recommend picking this up.  It's the first issue of a four issue mini-series and just came out this past Wednesday.

Writer: Geoff Johns

Penciller: Jim Lee

Inker: Scott Williams
Colors: Alex Sinclair

Letters: Patrick Brosseau
Publisher: DC

This is one of the few DC books that I enjoyed quite a bit more than the first issue.  I realize this is all a multi-part story, but sometimes it's frustrating feeling like you only got half an issue when you put down three or four bucks for it.  Instead of feeling like an issue of The Brave and The Bold where Batman was teamed up with Green Lantern, we start this issue by seeing more of the team members. The count is up to Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash and a glimpse at the beginning of Cyborg by the end.
Although I'm still a little bit thrown off by the personalities of the heroes that I'm not used to (outside of Batman), I can't say I'm not enjoying it so far.  I still remain curious as to how Superman will ultimately be portrayed once he's settled into the new DCU.  It's still a little odd to see Hal more cocky than he is intelligent, but I suppose they are getting it more in line with the movie version. 

Maybe it's the geek in me, but mostly I enjoyed getting to watch them all fight each other.  It was truly a demonstration of how powerful Superman can be as he is able to surprise both Green Lantern and Flash with what he can do.  Batman as usual doesn't seemed phased (maybe because everyone is more powerful than he is) but spends most of his time trying to calm everyone down so they can work together.

As for the art, well, I love it.  I know Jim Lee has his haters, but I've always enjoyed his work, and for a big team book like this it works great.  There are some great scenes during the fighting that he just does an outstanding job with. I'm much less concerned about Justice League after this issue than I was after the first.  It's still early to tell, but I'm looking forward to issue three a lot more now.

Fear Itself #1-7 event from Marvel comics

Writer: Matt Fraction

Art: Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger & Laura Martin

Spoilers in the synopsis, beware:
The event is kicked off by the Red Skull's daughter, Sin, traveling to Antarctica to claim the mystical fallen Hammer of Skadi that the Red Skull summoned to earth in World War II, but was unable to lift.  Sin takes the hammer, becoming Skadi, herald of the Serpent, and frees the Serpent from its underwater prison.

Meanwhile the Avengers are attempting to rebuild Broxton, Oklahoma where Asgard has fallen, and deal with the citizens there as they make sense of what is happening to their town.  The Serpent summons more weapons for his heralds and they rain down as meteors from the heavens to land where the chosen wielders will find them.  This transforms some of the heavy hitters of Marvel into enemies as the Thing, Hulk, Juggernaught, Titania and Attuma become transformed to serve the will of the Serpent.

Odin has sensed the return of the Serpent and fled Earth with all the Asgardians, leaving behind the Avengers and the rest of the planet as cannon fodder for the Serpent as he prepares his own army in Asgard.  Thor leaves Asgard to return to Earth and tells them of the Serpent, as well as the prophecy that Thor will lose his own life killing it.  Though Odin seems content to let Earth perish, Iron Man convinces him to at least aid them with crafting weapons so they can defend themselves against the Serpent.  Custom Odin-blessed weapons are made for all the heroes for their final battle.

I'll leave off there to avoid totally spoiling the story (and there are still plenty of story details not spoiled to enjoy even if you read this far), but needless to say this sets up all the pieces for an epic battle as the forces of the Serpent and the heroes clash.  I really enjoyed this series, even though I've only read the core series and none of the tie-in books (of which there were several).  It all flowed and made sense to me without reading the others, though I am sure some of the events like Hulk becoming Nul: Breaker of Worlds when he found his weapon was played out more in his own book.  Here we mostly saw those side characters discovering their power and then participating in some battle scenes.

There is actually a great column at The Outhouse called Super-Reads where they read giant crossover events like this and give you the synopsis of them so you don't have to buy every comic to get the whole story.  The most recent half dozen or more columns are all about Fear Itself, check it out if you want to know more.

All-in-all, the first six issues of this series were outstanding, building the story well, but it felt like they spent too much time building and didn't leave enough time for the finale.  The final issue felt rushed and then ending with four different epilogues to set up different stories seemed a bit much for me.  All in all I enjoyed the event, but as I often find with these Marvel events the ending brings the entire story down a notch for me as they can never really equal the build up to it.

Written or Contributed by: Geek Readers

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About the Author - Jeremy Shane

Jeremy was born in a small mountain village of a strange foreign land called Weystvurginea.  Banishment for liberal views saw him spend years wondering the east coast until he decided to bike to California.  When he saw how long a trip it was, he drove instead.  Now he's living it up in a low humidity climate, sometimes working on his photography and when not, he writes for us covering books (by way of his blog: Reading Realms), gaming, tv, movies, comics, conventions in the SoCal area, and creates a weekly webcomic: A Journey Through Skyrim.  If you look for him offline, start in the L.A. area; online start at: for his profile and all the social networks he's on... or just follow him on twitter, he seems to be on there a lot: @jeremyshane.


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