View Full Version : Comics Reviews 2/24/05 Part I

02-24-2005, 06:28 PM
Welcome, comic book lovers, to our first comics review! Many thanks, again, to our pal furie for suggesting this concept and the other forum-members who supported it. Sam Wilson and I hope this will be both informative and entertaining and are open to your suggestions to improve this feature.

Our plan is to review a select pick of comics Sam Wilson and I would normally buy. Time and costs being what they are, it would be impossible for us to crank out reviews of everything we read each week and cost-prohibitive (our weekly LCS spend is high enough right now!) to buy stuff we normally would not.

So, we’ll review: (1) a few new comic book releases, (2) new trade book releases, (3) “classic” trades or arcs we particularly like and think you guys should be reading if you’re not or haven’t. In this case, you’ll see both Sam and I reviewed separate takes of DC’s Challengers of the Unknown.

Because this site limits text to 1000 characters, this'll be in three posts.

Let’s get started!

WKTF’s Reviews:

Fantastic Four, issue 523, Marvel Comics
“Rising Storm” Part 4 of 4
Written by: Mark Waid
Drawn By: Mike “Ringo” Wieringo

This issue concludes one of the most innovative Galactus story arcs in FF history. For those unfamiliar with the plot, Reed attempted to protect Earth from Galactus who, he believed, was seeking out Sue to be his new herald, by switching Sue and Johnny’s powers. The result, though, was that the Big G imbued Johnny with the power cosmic, stole him away, and sent him out into the universe in search of sustenance. Inspired by the similarity of Galactus’ origin with the FF’s own, Johnny (yes, Johnny, not Reed) figured out how to stop Galactus by adapting the machine that Reed used on him and Sue to drain the cosmic power from Galactus. This left Galen, the being who became Galactus, stranded in Big G’s massive armor at the end of the prior issue.

I was very excited about this arc, as I have been throughout Waid and Wieringo’s entire run. They have put the fun and wonder back into the FF, turning them into “Imaginauts” who have ventured to Hell and back (literally) in their battle against Doom and, most remarkably, attacked the gates of Heaven to bring back the Thing’s soul. Their meeting with God, in the guise of Jack Kirby, was simply wonderful…a whole new level of wonder and adventure…and anyone who has not yet read the “Hereafter” trade paperback really should pick it up. The FF simply hasn’t been this good since John Byrne’s historic “visionary” run.

All this said, I was a bit let down with this issue. The FF seek to inspire Galen by exposing him to New York’s humanity so that he thinks twice about attacking planets once the Galactus energy finds him again. And, according to Quasar’s cosmic awareness, Galactus’ essence is, in fact, out there searching for Galen. Galen’s take on our culture, art, etc., is very cold and indifferent and his turnaround at the end (without giving away too much about the surprise ending) simply is too sudden to be believed. It felt rushed, something none of this creative team’s work on this title to-date has felt. If the teaser for next issue is to be believed, next month’s FF marks the last for this team before a creative changing of the guard. Like Lee/Kirby (cool tribute to them in this issue’s credits, by the way) and Byrne, this team will be sorely missed on this title.

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, issue 8 of 8, Marvel Comics
Written By: Joe Casey
Drawn By: Scott Kollins

This book is my pick-of-the-week. I’m a bit surprised at my own opening sentence because there’s absolutely no action in this book. None. All the action took place in the prior issues, and some of it was great (like Thor’s face-off against Kang). This is a very reflective issue that is even more poignant given the events from the Avengers Disassembled story. Either this is a function of really good editing or a fortunate coincidence but, regardless, this issue left me thinking even this morning after having read it late last night.

This title is a modern retelling of the Avengers earliest days. The modern-ness doesn’t sit right (like Rick Jones’ reference to email in this issue, post the Cap/Zemo show-down) but it’s a minor issue in a really great series and closing issue. The focus is on both Iron Man and Captain America: Iron Man’s leading the exodus of the former Avengers and Cap’s new leadership of what became known as “Cap’s Kookie Quartet” back in the 1960s. When Cap says, “I can’t imagine the Avengers not existing” it feels oddly prescient of the Disassembled arc as well as Cap’s motivation to create the New Avengers, and creates a sense of melancholy that the reader infers rather than its being directly implied by the writing. And, of course, to continue the continuity, the famous closing scene of the new quartet’s introduction to the press on the last page of this issue, immortalized by Lee/Kirby/Ayers in Avengers #16, also is how the Disassembled arc ends.

The art is great. The shot of Iron Man flying into the sky, toward the reader, as he leaves Avengers mansion is just beautiful. The glints of light of Cap’s chain mail are a great touch. The writing and characterization are spot-on as well. Rick’s look of pain and rejection to which Cap is oblivious, as Cap leaves Rick to meet his new partners is as real as Cap’s sense of duty and honor when he talks about carrying on the “tradition laid down by the founders.” Sure this issue’s a little heavy, but it’s a very satisfying read.

Nightwing, issue 104, DC Comics
“Year One,” part 4 of 6
Written By: Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon
Drawn By: Scott MacDaniel

This issue was more fun than the other installments of this arc combined. MacDaniel’s art, which felt a little rushed and sloppy in the prior issues, is much tighter which I’m glad to see. I loved what he did in the Daredevil “Fall From Grace” books, his work on Batman, and his prior work on this title character. The writing is fast paced and fun, as well.

Nightwing goes on a tear through Gotham’s underworld, culminating in a show down with a major Bat-villain, to announce his return Gotham in his new identity. I really liked the meeting with Commissioner Gordon who, at first, did not recognize the new crime fighter. Some great humor, here. Batgirl guest stars but feels a little superfluous, even though she’s drawn great. The book’s undercurrent is created when we discover Batman’s monitoring Nightwing’s activities and we learn of an assignment he’s scheduled for Jason Todd, the new Robin. I suppose this is a set up for the new vs. old Robin to meet next issue. This is a fun, fast read for the Batfans out there but lacking in any real substance.

New Trade:

Superman/Batman: Supergirl HC, DC Comics
Written By: Jeff Loeb
Drawn By: Michael Turner
Colored By: Peter Steigerwald

Turner fans rejoice. This book is beautiful, and I’m not even a Turner fan. The packaging, special features (nice intro by Loeb, concept sketch work by Sale), and overall experience of reading this storyline (again, for me) is first rate. I give reference, above, to who colored Turner’s art because the colors are amazingly striking and vibrant and create significant value in this volume.

There’s a lot that I like about this storyline. Kara Zor-El’s reconciliation with Batman at the end is poignant, given the Dark Knight’s origin. The art really is beautiful, detailed and powerful. Turner really poured his heart and soul into this one. Darkseid’s entry into this arc is supposed to create significance to this new character’s relaunch, and it does. Superman and Batman are beautifully depicted by a writer who has lots of experience with both and an artist who found a way to make them strikingly different and, yet, well suited as a team. My only complaint is that Wonder Woman looks emaciated, like she’s a stick of a woman. She really is very poorly imagined by Turner. The tall, stately, powerful, and full figured Amazon is nowhere to be found here.

I was more impressed reading this HC than I was reading this story in installments. The book is a great piece of work, both creatively and in terms of its packaging and production value.

OK...be on the lookout for Part II!