Friday, October 23, 2009

Weekly Crisis Comic Book Reviews for 10/21/09

After some time off due to my Thanksgiving vacation, the Weekly Crisis Comic Book Reviews are back for your comic book review reading pleasure.  I've been swamped with real life work since coming back, so apologies for the delay in getting these up this week.  I'll try to get this back to the Wednesday schedule moving forward.  For those looking for the Moments of the Week, they'll be up some time tomorrow.  With that said, hit the jump for the reviews!

Written by Brian Bendis
Art by Mike Deodoto

Dark Avengers #10 read extremely fast, especially for a typically wordy Bendis book, but I still came away satisfied after reading the issue for a variety of reasons.

The most significant reason was that this was probably the first instance of all the characters having unique voices.  Bendis typically excels in dialogue, but usually only on the street level or with a small cast of characters he has a firm grasp of.  However, outside of his work on Powers, this is easily the best team/ensemble cast work I've read from Bendis. 

Norman continued to be the character Bendis knows best on the Dark Avengers roster, but Venom, Bullseye, Moonstone and Ms Hand were all handled well in this issue.  Don't go in expecting character defining moments from every one I've mentioned though.  I'm mostly speaking in general terms of character voices and how they are breaking out of the typical 'Bendis-speak' that plagues much of Bendis's team books.  In fact, while I actually think he's taken Moonstone's character a bit too far beyond Warren Ellis's Thunderbolts iteration, which itself was a bit exaggerated of the Busiek/Fabian Moonstone, I'm just happy to see her and the others being written in a unique voice for once.

On the plot side of things, this was a pretty solid first issue to this arc.  We have some strange happenings in the small town of Dinosaur, Colorado that necessitates the Dark Avengers step in to find out what's wrong and things quickly go south from there as Sentry (ya, his wife killed him last issue, so what, he got better) leads the charge and promptly 'dies' again.  This is followed up by the full mobilization of HAMMER and the Dark Avengers, which leads to a great cliffhanger splashpage revealing the bad guy(s) behind all the craziness, which turns out to be the Molecule Man and an army of big bads, such as the Beyonder, Enchantress, Mephisto and so on.  I believe everyone but Molecule Man is an illusion or something he created, but I have nothing to back up that claim other than a gut feeling.

As I said earlier, the issue read a bit too briskly for my liking, but I couldn't really find any faults.  It's a really tightly paced story that hits every beat it needed to and adding dialogue or trying to stretch out the issue would have only hurt the story. 

Verdict - Buy It.  A very strong opening issue to this arc and one of Bendis's best from a character standpoint.  He's done a great job on the premise and setup of this story and it has me looking forward to seeing how he resolves the threat in future issues.

Quick Shot Reviews

Written by Marc Guggenheim
Art by Marco Chechetto and Luke Ross

+ I'm a big Kaine fan.  Of all the things ignored from the Clone Saga, Kaine is the one thing I was upset with Marvel for completely ignoring.  Glad to see him back here.
+ Enjoying the flashbacks to Ben Reilly and how Raptor's family were killed.  Guggenheim is revealing just enough information to keep the story moving and keep my interest in the subplot.  Curious as to the nature of the "accident".  Was it Kaine's fault?  Did Ben set off Raptor, leading to the fire? 
+ Despite there being a handful of artists working on this issue, the art has managed to stay consistent throughout, something previous arcs have been having a problem doing of late.  Breaking up the art duty between the flashbacks was a very good way of 'hiding' the different artists. 
- Raptor is a terrible villain.  I'm not seeing a reason for the dinosaur DNA and super powers.  He'd have been a much better antagonist if he had remained a civilian taking his revenge on "Ben Reilly" for the death of his family.  Looks like the ending to this will end up as your standard gratuitous violence.
- While I enjoyed the interaction between Kaine and Peter, the fight served no purpose.  Why did Kaine attack him?  What was he trying to accomplish?  Why does he simply throw a taxi and escape when Peter catches?  It was like they were required to have some fighting in the issue and just threw these two at each other for a few pages.  It accomplished nothing and only served to delay the actual story for several pages. 

Verdict - Check It.  Nothing ground breaking in this arc, but it's a solid effort from everyone involved. 

Written by Christopher Yost and Marc Andreyko
Art by Dustin Nguyen and Jeremy Haun

+ Yost does a commendable job here.  What could have been a rushed and sloppy short notice fill-in for Dini ended up being a very solid Huntress story.  The macro view of the Bat family format of Streets of Gotham seems well suited to "filler" stories featuring other random characters.
+ I'm a bit unfamiliar with Father Mark's past (not sure if he's new for this story or not), but I really enjoyed the juxtaposition between his and Huntress's stories and narrations and how it all came together at the end.
+ Manhunter backup was the best yet.  In fact, of all the backups I've read since DC implemented them a few months ago, this was the first one that I really enjoyed.  Despite being only 8 pages, it was the first time a backup felt like a complete story with a beginning, middle and end. 
- Not Yost's fault, but I'm still disappointed with the need for a fill-in.  Matt covered why Dini needed the time off, but I was just getting into the story Dini was telling and we get not just one, but two issues (counting next month's) in a row without any progress on the Hush/Bruce Wayne side of things. 
- Dustin Ngyuen, who's typically rock solid every month, seemed to have an off month this time around.  It's most noticable in the Huntress/Man-Bat scenes, which lack backgrounds in most cases and seem to be light on details all around, especially compared to the Father Mark sections.  The colouring seemed off in that section as well.

Verdict - Check It.  For a filler issue, I was actually satisfied with the effort and don't regret my purchase.  Would have been nice to see some nods to Dini's ongoing subplots, but otherwise happy with it.

Written by Mike Raicht and Brain Smith
Art by Charles P. Wilson III

Copping out on this one a bit, but, in all honesty, Matt summed up everything I could possibly say about this issue in his advance review earlier this week.  Instead of repeating everything he already went over, head over to his review and find out how great this issue was. 

Verdict - Must Read

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Matt Ampersand said...

Molecule Man, Molecule Man, does whatever a molecule can.

Daryll B. said...

Quick Hits on the Quick hits lol:

-Chris Yost is quickly turning into a solid storyteller. I may not like X-Force but his work on Streets, New X-Men, and Red Robin is proving his worth.

-Dark Avengers - Poor Man Thing and YAY! Ares getting a book again. But um how many time are we gonna see this villain? I not spoiling but isn't his child in Avengers The Initiative too? or are we doing a crossover? And ok where the heck is Marvel Boy? Annnnnd Sentry's face? HELLO? Talk about dangling storylines...

- I know you didn't review it but am I the only one that likes D.O.A. as a villain more than Emplate over at X-Men Legacy? And Bling? Really? That's her name?

-Mighty Avengers - So that's Hank's role in the universe? BWAHAHAHAHAHA *gasps*...OK..solid fun issue and I think I want a Hercules/Dark Avengers crossover. Osborn definitely delivers a line of the year after the meeting.

-Late to the party comment - JSA 31...O come on the continuity errors here are just arrrgh..frustrating. Although I love seeing icicle back in the book. And Will, I love ya work on Fables but he better not be dead man...he better not be dead. GRRR!

loran16's Met Stuff said...

Trangle man, Triangle Man,
Triangle Man hates Molecule Man.
They have a Fight
Triangle Wins
Triangle Man.

Flip The Page said...

quick reminder: MOLECULE MAN ISN'T A VILLAIN. seriously, has bendis read secret wars 2? i can only hope he sorts this out. or i've missed something and look a prick right now.

Radlum said...

So, can anyone tell me why Molecule Man is such a threat? I don't recall reading him in a comic before (haven't read Secret Wars either) so I don't know why he is so feared.
Anyway, Dark Avengers is actually quite good; I liked that McGargan is a wuss now, fits him better than the monster he was in Thunderbolts. Also, if the Gauntlet thing in ASM isn't good I might drop this book again, because recent issues haven't mantained my interest as American Son and Red Headed Stranger did.

Flip The Page said...

molecule man can control the entire universe basically. wiki and such can explain it in more detail but that's pretty much it. godly power.

Kirk Warren said...

@Flip the Page - True, but he's been controlled before. We also don't know if he's killing people or not. Could be off his rocker or fighting back against Norman's regime for all we know. But it is Bendis, he probably thought it woudl be cool and continuity be damned, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt for now.

@Radlum - he can manipulate molecules, either by creating or destroying on the molecular level. Can create energy shields andd other crap for durability, too. Has gone up against the Beyonder and is one of the most powerful beings in the universe when he wants to be (he's had his own mental blocks that stopped him from manipulating organic matter at times and even used a wand at one point to 'focus', despite not needing it). Not really a villain, though.

Steven said...

@loran16's Met Stuff - Actually its Particle Man who hates Triangle Man....Triangle does win though.

Molecule Man was a villain up until Secret Wars. He eventually destroyed the Beyonder in Secret Wars II. He has spent some time a bit unhinged due to his immense power, but doesn't usually act out of malice and has no real ambitions of power or status. I am sure Bendis will probably write him completely out of character.

He is pretty much the most powerful person in the Marvel Universe. He can't be killed because he controls all molecules and even if you disperse his own, he will eventually reform.

smkedtky said...

DARK AVENGERS: I loved this issue. It is the first issue where it felt like these guys were actually doing Avengers' work. It was nice to see them as a real team for a change.

And that spread of them flying in to Dinosaur on the flying bikes with the HAMMER Helicarrier was great.

I don't remember seeing Molecule Man since he became a part of a Cosmic Cube waayyy back in FANTASTIC FOUR "Secret Wars III" (I think Ms. Marvel/Sharon Ventura and Crystal were on the team then and The Thing looked like a pineapple). If he has been around since then, I can't remember when. Does anyone know?

STREETS OF GOTHAM: The MANHUNTER story was the best, so far. I think the fact that it had a couple of extra pages this month helped it a lot. My only real complaint with this issue was the coloring on the cover.

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