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Old 04-14-2005, 11:35 AM   #1
wktf
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Comic Book Reviews 4/13/05

Sam Wilson’s Reviews
Hmm, slow week this week, but quality. Two Reggie Hudlin titles (Black Panther and Spider Man), two Ultimate titles (The Ultimates and X-men), more Warren Ellis (Iron Man), and Nightwing. I’m giving Nightwing a few more chances, and I don’t feel bad about it because today I decided to give up on District X (I did give it a pretty scathing review). My pick of the week this week is the Ultimates issue 5, which is reviewed by wktf. That being said, on to the reviews!

Marvel Knights Spider-Man issue #13
Marvel Comics
Written By: Reginald Hudlin
Drawn By: Billy Tan

Let me start of by saying I’m not a Spider-Man fan. I read him a little back in the day, some Web of Spider-Man, and briefly when McFarlane drew him, and I picked up Amazing recently because of JMS, but quit when he started with that Gwen Stacey garbage. Didn’t care for his movies, never had the underoos. I was always more of an X-men/Avengers/FF guy. Spidey never floated my cork. Anyway, after reading Mr. Hudlin’s first issue of Spidey I was pleased. I laughed out loud. I plan on sticking with it.

It’s no secret I’m a big Reginald Hudlin fan, but I truly think he’s got a good thing going with Spider-Man. It’s a totally new take, we see Petey moving into Stark Towers, Aunt May is making time with Jarvis, Wolvie is making time with Mary Jane (in a really great panel, we see a full body view of him and Peter squaring off, the height difference had me cracking up). The villain in this issue is good old Crusher Creel, aka the Absorbing Man. During his fight with Spidey we got some more laugh out loud moments (well, at least I laughed out loud). Reggie does note Crusher could potentially be one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel U, which may be a bit of foreshadowing of things to come (wasn’t he the dude who took out the Avengers in “Last Avengers Story”?).

Billy Tan’s art is fine. He does have a couple of really noteworthy panels. I think he’s a good compliment to Reggie’s writing on this book. I recommend this book for anyone, fans of Reggie, fans of Spidey, or non-fans of Spidey looking for something new and interesting. I’ll be sticking with this book for a while.

Ultimate X-Men issue #58
Marvel Comics
Written By: Brian K. Vaughn
Drawn By: Steve Dillon

I’m a fan of the Ultimate Universe. I know it takes its share of knocks from most fanboys, but I’ve been a Marvel Zombie for 20 years+ and I can honestly say I like the Ultimate Universe. It’s like the regular Marvel, just half the fat and calories, and a little spicier. That being said, Ultimate X-men is every bit as cool as the X-men was back during the original Claremont run (not that crap he is churning out now and calling gold). This issue only exemplifies my point.

In mainstream Marvel Continuity, Professor X is a pu#@y. No easy way of saying it. He’s always whining about the dream, refusing to change for the times, and falling in love with weird alien chicks with feathers on their heads. In Ultimate X-Men, Xavier is a BMF, and this issue shows us just how he’s the best at what he does (and yeah, it aint pretty).

Issue 58 is a stand-alone story which has Professor X doing the mundane; going to his bank to check out some problems with his account. Of course the mundane is never that for the X-men, and soon we are knee deep in a hostage situation involving conjoined twin mutant bank robbers (seriously). The only thing I can say is Xavier takes care of business, and scores one for his own cause all at the same time, in a truly bad a#@ take-no-prisoners pulling-no-punches manner. Steve Dillon’s really shines here as well. I loved his work on Hellblazer and Preacher, and here his talent to make any facial expression shine is used very well. I highly recommend this book. If you are not familiar with Ultimate X-men, check out one of the many tpbs or hardcovers, the standard of quality has been consistent from the series inception.


Wktf’s Reviews

Ultimates #5
Marvel Comics
Written by: Mark Millar
Drawn by: Bryan Hitch

What we have here is a no-holds-barred a@@ kicking fight scene issue that’s not missing its share of both mystery and irony at the same time. Sam’s right. This issue is my pick of the week. No doubt.

The Ultimate Universe has taken many of its stories, whether Spider-Man or Ultimates, from classic Marvel Universe stories and has put its own unique spin on them. Witness the birth of Venom or death of Gwen Stacy in Ultimate Spider-Man. In The Ultimates we have the return of Captain America, the pitched battle with the Hulk (a member of the team in both universes) and now the conflict with Loki, the story that kicked of the MU Avengers over 40 years ago.

The twist here, and it’s a really cool one, is we really don’t know what’s going on. Is Loki in this story or isn’t he? Is Thor the Asgardian thunder god or isn’t he? The premise for this issue is that The Ultimates learn that Thor is actually a paranoid, schizophrenic lunatic who’s been given these fantastic thunder god-like powers from a belt-and-hammer developed by his own scientist brother. They’re told by this new character, whom they’ve never met before, that Thor’s dangerous and must be taken down and brought to a hospital for treatment. The amazing thing is that, despite Thor’s prior heroism against the Hulk and “shape shifting aliens” (whom we’d call Skrulls), the team buys this completely and goes after Thor with a mad rage-on, partly driven by their assumption (and distrust of him as a result) that he is the one who leaked the Hulk’s identity. Thor’s trying to reason with them, yet Captain America attacks him in the very first panel with a flame thrower! After this the whole team converges on Thor who continues to try his best to calm them down only to resort, out of frustration and indignity, to fight back.

The interesting and surprising thing is that he is taken down at the end. Wanda and Quicksilver’s relationship, bizarre and creepy already, takes on a whole new level of perversion both in their dialogue as well as with Pietro’s renewed energy for battle as a result of it. The mystery I mentioned before still is whether Thor, Volstagg and Loki are what they appear to be or is a figment of Thor’s delusions. Also, is Thor truly deluded or not? I was hoping this would be resolved in this issue, but it wasn’t. That’s okay as I’ll be back to find out. The irony I mentioned is that the last page makes real Thor’s very fear about which Tony Stark so callously mocked him during the battle, when he called Thor a paranoid schizophrenic. I wonder if Stark will even realize how stupid he now looks.

Gotham Central #30
DC Comics
Written by: Greg Rucka
Drawn by: Stephano Gaudiano and Kano

This issue marks the third part in the “Keystone Cops” story line. As usual, this is a solid, well written and drawn, compelling story. Gotham Central just doesn’t disappoint and anyone who’s not been reading this title since the beginning has just been missing out on one of the most satisfying comics experiences out there today.

Poor Officer Kelly is afflicted by the chemical bath trap Dr. Alchemy planted in the Gotham sewers and has mutated into a huge, ugly purple creature. He’s retained his mind, to a degree, but appears to be so much in pain and confused by his transformation that even this vestige of humanity seems to be slipping away as well. Detective Montoya and Allen have ventured to Keystone, home of the Flash, to visit with the imprisoned villain to try to get him to cure their fallen comrade. Alchemy, though, is doing his best Hannibal Lecter mind-gaming and they are forced to bring him to Gotham in response to his request view his “experiment.” All of this, as we saw last issue, is being scrutinized by the Batman whose presence again is felt during this story and comes on strong at the end. Unfortunately, the best part of this series is the peripheral role the Batman has played, even when he’s been actively involved. His last panel entrance with his over-used “This ends now” statement was a little too predictable and a bit underwhelming.

Still, this has been a riveting story line with the focus staying on the role of the Gotham cops. There’s more super villain abilities displayed here than typical for this title, but it works. There’s also a nice moment between Montoya’s father and her l_esbian lover that signals a potential reconciliation in the offing. I, for one, would like to see this happen for Montoya who deserves more than her share of happiness.

Black Panther #3
Marvel Comics
Written by: Reginald Hudlin
Drawn by: John Romita, Jr. and Klaus Janson

This title is continuing with a slow but interesting build, with some new surprises thrown in for good measure. We still have not seen today’s Black Panther in full costume and Reggie’s coyness in giving him to us is quite a tease.

This issue introduces some classic Marvel mainstay villains, the Rhino and Batroc the Leaper. I’m delighted that JR chose to draw the Rhino the way his father created him back in the sixties. I never had any use for the high tech battle armor he’s worn lately. We also are treated to the continued retelling of the Lee/Kirby Panther origin, with Klaw’s murder of T’Chaka, the villain’s own origin, T’Challa’s heroism even as a young boy, and a fuller understanding of his obsession to hunt down Klaw and why these two characters’ lives are so linked. I’m never fully happy when these classic Lee/Kirby/Ditko characters are re-imagined and rebooted, but this story’s really very intriguing as is Wakanda’s more global presence and identity in the world. Romita’s depiction of Klaw’s new tech, however, is awkward and I hope this gets fixed.

There are some lighter moments, as well, even though they, too, are shrouded in mystery. We are shown the apparent reboot of Dane Whitman, as well, as the new Catholic Church sponsored Black Knight. And ladies wearing white suites should learn a valuable lesson, as well, about the risks of standing under a flying winged horse.

For our reviews of the new Baman: Year One Deluxe Hardcover, please go to http://www.statueforum.com/showthread.php?t=8707
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Last edited by wktf; 04-14-2005 at 01:17 PM. Reason: Caught some typos.
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Old 04-14-2005, 11:53 AM   #2
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Great job guys. Keep up the good work. I look forward to these every week!!
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Old 04-14-2005, 12:03 PM   #3
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Me too. U guys are honest and smart w/ your reviews. I actually read them before going out and buying the books.
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Old 04-14-2005, 01:11 PM   #4
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You lasted longer than I did on District X. What a POS!

I've liked Black Panther so far, but I hope Reg's tease does not lose readers. I bought this title because it was called "Black Panther". If it was called "Tales of Wakanda" or "T'Challa: The Early Years" I would have passed. So far it reads like the "Tales of Wakanda" and while interesting background, the story would be better as a series of flashbacks while the Black Panther is engaged in a modern story. We'll see how long my patience lasts.
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Old 04-14-2005, 02:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furie
Me too. U guys are honest and smart w/ your reviews. I actually read them before going out and buying the books.
Wow. Thanks brother, that's the best compliment we've ever gotten.

I gotta say, every time I see a hot chick now, I ask myself, would I wear her as a hat?
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Old 04-14-2005, 03:08 PM   #6
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I'm glad to see other fans of the Ultimate Universe. I think their great. I've been a steady reader of Ultimate X-Men, Ultimates, Ultimate FF, and Ultimate Elektra. Looking forward to Ultimate Iron Man. Great to get a fresh concept and not having the baggage of years of bad writing and terrible stories. I also like the art to go with the stories!

Keep up the good work with your reviews. I read them religiously even if they are for books I don't read.
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Old 04-15-2005, 06:06 PM   #7
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I bought the marvel knights spider-0man yesterday an as allways I read the spiderman comics first, I have to say I was totally dissapionted in the spideys knights story, as in the review above the best part of the whole comic was the panel with Spidey and wolv toe to toe, This was my favorite spidey title but if they continue like this it will be going strait to the box
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