Thursday, February 19, 2009

Weekly Crisis Comic Book Reviews for 02/18/09

Meant to update yesterday with the reviews, but was off watching the Montreal / Washington hockey game until late. It was an amazing game, for those wondering. One of the best I've watched this year.

In other news, I managed to get an early viewing of the Wonder Woman animated feature and can confirm everything you've heard about it is true. This movie could be the comic book movie of the year for me and, as hard as it is for me to say this, I think it blew the JLA: New Frontier movie out of the water and I absolutely loved that movie. I'll see about doing up a review for the weekend, but go out and preorder this one right now if you haven't yet. You won't regret it.

Hit the jump for the reviews.

Written by Brian Bendis
Art by Mike Deodato

Bendis continue along with his Ellis impersonation in the second issue of Dark Avengers and I'm still very much enjoying this title. I know that opening line might sound condescending in regards to Bendis' abilities, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

In fact, I think this is some of Bendis' best work since his Daredevil days and it's easily his best non-street level work to date. He's managed to blend the dark humour of Ellis' Thunderbolts with the more mainstream appeal of the regular Avengers titles while still maintaining the dark humour and style that made Ellis' run such a great read.

Take this issue as an example. We have Bullseye picking up the Spider-Man-like joker role for the team, making quips like how, if he hadn't killed his mother, she'd be proud of his being an Avenger. Or when the Sentry, well, I'll just come right out and say it - when the Sentry rips the freaking head off of Morgana to "end" the threat in an instant. The book is filled with great moments like this and Mike Deodato's artwork only furthers the dark humour or intensity of these scenes.

However, this issue isn't without faults. Bendis reverts to his over dependance on narrative at times and I think the best example of this is the opening pages where Norman Osborn gives a speech to his first wave of HAMMER recruits. It's a two page spread and, I swear, there are more speech bubbles visible than actual artwork in the top two panels of the spread. I'm also not a fan of his Ares interpretation, who is little more than a meat headed Neanderthal, which, in some cases, can be, admittedly, funny. Also, what was up with Victoria Hand having a red stripe of hair and wearing some kind of Swordsman-like combat suit? She used to be black hair and office lady attire.

Verdict - Must Read. Despite some flaws, I'm still going to give this issue a Must Read verdict as I enjoyed it immensely and more than a few pages had me going, "OH SH--!". This isn't the most cerebral comic on the market, but it's definitely entertaining.

Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by Brad Walker

While I usually love Guardians of the Galaxy, I found this issue simply went through the motions as Abnett and Lanning wrapped up the Prison 42 arc, gave control to Blastaar and then had the GotG team save both Starlord and Jack Flag.

The story simply goes from point A to point B with no real deviation from what you could expect and I feel like this storyarc was wrapped up this way so we could move on to the War of Kings event. My brief two line description above is all you really need to know about what happened in this issue and having the dialogue and pictures to go along with the explanation wouldn't really add much to the experience.

Now, what I've written so far makes it sound like this comic is absolutely horrible. That's just not true. The issue is simply forgettable. I read it, put it down and nothing from the issue stands out in my mind or left me wanting more. I liked it and there wasn't anything inherently wrong with the issue, but, like I said, it was forgettable, which is probably not the best reaction a 22 page, $2.99 comic book should be and something typically unheard of for this title.

In fact, the only really noteworthy thing to happen is that Jack Flag looks to be joining the increasingly large cast, of which we didn't even see anything from Drax or Quasar this issue, and only those enamored by his recent Thunderbolts appearance will probably care for.

Verdict - Check It. I don't want to give the book an Avoid It because I do love this title and stuff does happen in this issue - it's just completely predictable and felt like the writers were finishing up their chores moreso than telling us some thrilling prison break adventure. Hopefully things pick up next month.

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Quantum said...

I for one AM enamored by Ellis' Jack Flag. Bring on War of Kings!

Deicide The Everliving said...

A few small things really bugged me in DA. I didn't like the magic duel being all about magic words, when Bendis could have used the very same panels with some dialog between Doom and Morgana.

I also didn't like the sensation that the Dark Avengers crossed the Atlantic and Europe in the time it took for Morgana to walk towards Doom and pull that knife of hers. Change the order of a few pages and the magic duel would look like it took hours, giving the T-Bolts... I mean, the Avengers time to arrive.

Daken, Moonstone and Noh-var still need more screentime. Where's the evil bitch Moonstone? Bendis should give her a close-up with an evil angry look when Norman said that Victoria Hand would be his second-in-command.

And finally, the "explanation" of how Morgana survived the Sentry's attack was bizarre. It would be much simpler if she said something like "Foolish mortals! This body of mine is just a projection of my true self in the past. Destroy it and I can remake myself with little effort!"

But I guess I'm nitpicking. The rest of the issue was very good. I particularly loved the interaction of some characters (wow, Mac Gargan had *gasp* a conversation with someone else! And more than once!). I loved Bullseye as the team evil joker, Ares as Norman's councelor (and Norman showing him respect) and Sentry as Norman's little pet dog.

Now put Venom as Norman's loyal lackey reveling in his power but struggling with his monster within, Moonstone trying to gain trust and control over her teammates (specially Noh-var, Sentry and Daken), Noh-var as the rebelious badass youth who thinks he knows what's best and this team is perfect. I just don't know what role could Daken take besides "obligatory (fake) Wolverine appearance".

Tiago José "Deicide" Galvão Moreira

Kevin said...

GOTG was a good issue with some funny dialogue and good action scenes. Though the issue felt rushed to end due to War of Kings starting next month. I was disappointed we didn't see Blastaar take on the Guardians.

Andrenn said...

I agree that Dark Avengers was another good read.

I guess you where good to skip Invincible, but I really suggest you check out #60 next month, it's looking to be epic.

Nathan Aaron said...

A couple of things that bugged me about Dark Avengers. One, how does Norman know about Hydra being part of S.H.I.E.L.D.? (From his speech at the beginning of the issue.) Also, didn't Iron Man's costume do all that "separating apart and disappearing" because Tony had the Extremis virus? If so, how can Norman now do it with his "normal" costume, give that before Extremis, even Tony (to my knowledge) couldn't do it? Minor fan boy whining here. LOL

Deicide The Everliving said...

>A couple of things that bugged me about Dark
>Avengers. One, how does Norman know about
>Hydra being part of S.H.I.E.L.D.? (From his
>speech at the beginning of the issue.)

I don't think he knows. In other books, criminals like Man-Mountain Marko are being hired by Norman and put to good use. The way I see it, he probably just hired captured or imprisoned Hydra agents, giving them a second chance. Is that a smart or dumb move? Only time may tell.

>Also, didn't Iron Man's costume do all that
>"separating apart and disappearing" because
>Tony had the Extremis virus? If so, how can
>Norman now do it with his "normal" costume,
>give that before Extremis, even Tony (to my
>knowledge) couldn't do it? Minor fan boy
>whining here. LOL

No, Extremis allowed Tony to control his armor even with it detached from his body. It also allow him to hide the inner layer of the armor in the hollow of his bones.

That scene shows just the IP armor disassembling itself and becoming Norman's belt. It is probably just a pre-programed procedure, and Norman can't control the armor if it is not over his body. Also, he shows no inner layer of armor, so we can guess that the IP armor is based off or is a modified version of an older Iron Man model.

We will see more explanation of Iron Patriot in Invincible Iron Man, if Matt Fraction is to be believed. In a interview in the Marvel site, Fraction said that Osborn has put people in charge of disassembling and reverse-engineering the old Iron Man models, but he has not found the secret of repulsor tech yet, for example.

Particularly, I'd like to see the Iron Patriot armor having a few things borrowed from the Goblin, like throwing bombs or gas.

Tiago José "Deicide" Galvão Moreira

Chris said...

Check out X-Factor this week if you get a chance. It is really getting back to form of old. It is an amazing Madrox character piece and the reveal at the end is great.

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