David Wallace's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comics Bulletin Reviews: 461
6.9Avg. Review Rating

8.0
28 Days Later #1

Aug 24, 2009

My final reason for enjoying this book is the knowledge that it will apparently bridge the gap between the first movie 28 Days Later, and its sequel, 28 Months Later which is dramatic territory thats ripe for exploration. Were already given some hints as to where the story might lead (theres mention of the US-led operation to repopulate London that we saw in 28 Months Later), and there are also a few clues as to how Selena got from where she was at the end of the first movie to where she is at the start of this mini-series. Its a plot thread that I cant wait to see explored further in future issues, but I have to confess that Im just as interested in where the present day section of the story leads. This suggests that writer Michael Alan Nelson has done a good job in balancing the storys links to the original movies with the need to provide new, original content. And thats probably the best compliment that I can pay to a licensed comic like this one.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
28 Days Later #3

Oct 12, 2009

28 Days Later is turning out to be a surprisingly compelling adaptation, and one thats a cut above many other licensed books being produced today. If youre a fan of the 28 Days Later movies, or of zombie/horror comics in general, I can definitely recommend it.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Action Comics #844

Oct 27, 2006

Grant Morrison's Batman may appear to be ploughing a similar furrow with its father-and-son storyline, but Donner and Johns haven't tipped their hand on this story yet. This first issue provides enough groundwork for a whole series of stories, let alone just one arc, and with the boy's heritage still in question there are many more directions open for the story to take at this point. My minor complaints with the art excepted, this is a very strong start for what seems sure to be a well-received run from the fan-favourite director. In some ways, it seems a shame that comics are finding themselves more and more reliant on creators from other industries (be they filmmakers, television writers, or novelists) to breathe new life into them, but it seems clear that they're often better placed to find a new or interesting perspective on the stories than those comicbook creators who have got stuck in a rut and find it difficult to tell a story in more than one way. In Donner's case, this pe

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Action Comics #845

Nov 28, 2006

And if that unexpected yet perfectly fitting cliffhanger doesn't have Superman fans cheering in the aisles, then I don't know what will.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Action Comics #859

Nov 27, 2007

Whilst I think that this story is playing with some very interesting ideas, it ultimately feels like less than the sum of its parts. However, the artwork is very strong, and there's enough in the way of thought-provoking material here - particularly the subtle religious and historical elements - to keep me interested enough to read the next issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Action Comics #861

Feb 7, 2008

Yet for all that, there's still something about the story that I find lacking. In addition to the problems listed above - or perhaps as a result of all three of them - it might be as simple as the fact that I just don't feel invested enough in any of the characters to really care about what's happening to them. Maybe Johns can improve the story with the last couple of issues, but without any kind of emotional anchor to make me interested in the story, I'll be surprised if I'm blown away by its ending.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Action Comics #863

Apr 10, 2008

The issue's final pages comprise a trailer for another upcoming storyline by Johns, and whilst I won't spoil it here, I do think that it's perhaps a little too soon to be revisiting the same concepts that he's only just finished using in this story. Maybe the next Legion story will be a slightly different animal to this one, but since I don't think that this arc was the greatest Superman story I've read recently, I'm not in a rush to read more of the same in the coming months.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
After the Cape #2

Apr 20, 2007

Ultimately, the art makes the best of an already fairly decent story. I somehow feel that the plot has fallen into a slightly more derivative and predictable pattern with this issue, and there's less to mark Wong and Valentino's tale out as original or innovative here than there was in the first issue - especially by the time the "intervention" of Ethan's ex-colleagues has descended into an out-and-out superhero brawl in the book's closing pages. However, the marrying of traditional superhero archetypes to a more grounded examination of Ethan's self-destructive alcoholism is part of the book's core concept, so I perhaps shouldn't criticise it too much for making these elements feel a little overly familiar. It's also perfectly possible that next month's final issue will surprise me, and that there are more twists left in the story of Captain Gravity. Still, even if the story follows what looks to be a predictably downbeat path to its finale, it will have been an above-average minis

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Alan Moore's Neonomicon #4

Mar 27, 2011

After having finished this issue, I immediately felt inclined to dig out the previous three issues--as well as my copy of Burrows's adaptation of MooresThe Courtyard--to reread the story in full. That action suggests that it's a series I've enjoyed reading, and that I'll enjoy re-reading in future.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #4

May 19, 2006

Its true that the irritation caused by the intentionally drawn-out pacing of this story is exacerbated by the consistently late shipping of the book, and with only four issues produced in the space of almost a year, it seems as though it would be more upfront with the reader for DC to solicit this as a quarterly title if indeed Miller and Lee can even keep to that schedule. Im not entirely sure whats causing the problems here, as it would appear that much of the title was printed way ahead of its shipping date (the issues back page gives us a sample of what we can expect to read in March 2006 - All-Star Superman #2 is on the Hot list, for goodness sake), but it only makes me wish that the publisher had put more of the story in the can before they set about releasing the book. Whatever the reason behind the delays, they have made these first four issues seem like an eternity. Whats more, youd struggle to say that much has really happened between the end of the very first i

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #6

Aug 2, 2007

Oh, and before you ask: yes, the issue still earns 2 bullets. The artwork might be serving a dud story, but it's still very pretty, and there's still some amusement to be had from Miller's silliness - but you can't escape the feeling that a book with the creator pedigree of All-Star Batman should be aiming higher than this.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #7

Oct 4, 2007

So, whilst All-Star Batman still isn't the great book that everyone seems to think it is, it's at least showing signs of a possible semi-recovery. The book still feels like it has been conceived by somebody with stunted maturity (and even if that's Miller's commentary on the entire superhero genre, it's getting old), and it simply isn't focused enough to make for a really compelling read. Still, fans of Miller will still find nuggets of entertainment in his writing, and followers of Lee's artwork will probably be satisfied by his consistent level of artistic quality. I just wish it was all serving a better story.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #8

Nov 30, 2007

I couldn't help but notice that the issue's credits give "special thanks to Brian Azzarello", and I wonder how much of a hand he had in the book (could he have ghostwritten parts of the issue?). However it came about, though, this issue of All-Star Batman is a marked improvement on recent chapters which remains more focused on the story at hand than before, and I'm surprised to find myself eager to see how the book continues.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
All-Star Superman #4

Jun 26, 2006

That said, I dont want to sound completely down on the book, as its a solid comic and a very enjoyable read. Its not often that I bemoan that a book has too many ideas in it, and Id much rather have it be this way than see the story stretched out to six issues and constantly delayed for no other reason than to give Frank Quitely a chance to draw a six-page fold-out panel of the Fortress of Solitude (yes All-Star Batman, Im looking at you). Morrisons book is just so much shameless fun that I think it would be impossible to truly dislike. The running gag about Jimmy Olsens Gypsy curse, the scenes with Perry White at the Daily Planet, and the scenes which has Olsen take on the role of P.R.O.J.E.C.T. director with a goofy, wacky abandon are all light moments which could come off as cheesy or derivative if handled wrongly, but are crafted into genuinely funny and charming scenes under Morrisons pen (although I really dont think I needed to see Olsen in a bra and heels on the iss

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
All-Star Superman #5

Sep 14, 2006

On its own terms, though, this chapter of All-Star Superman has a charming elegance which hasnt been seen since issue #2, where none of Morrisons ideas exist simply as throwaway indulgences as with previous issues but all work in service of the story. Of course, the imaginative sci-fi concepts are still present, but theyre the icing on the cake: sure, icing on its own is tasty enough (and the last couple of issues are evidence of that) but issue #5 provides the best of both worlds with Morrisons stimulating ideas serving a solid, satisfying and only semi-serious done-in-one tale. Simply put, to make a Superman comic this consistently entertaining, fun and involving is no mean feat, and Im interested to see where the book takes us next.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
All-Star Superman #7

Apr 16, 2007

Despite my earlier complaints, this is still a very enjoyable comic, and I look forward to the next issue with great interest. Since many of Morrison's stories seem to read better when approached a second or third time (with scenes like this issue's early moment with the Sun-Eater making far more sense after their explanation further down the line), I'm confident that the writer's take on Bizarro will improve once we have the full story in our hands. All-Star Superman is arguably the pinnacle of DC's superhero line at the moment, and I'm confident that this single issue is merely a blip in what promises to be a thoroughly satisfying run from the most inspired creative team to have been applied to the character in a long time.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
All-Star Superman #8

Jul 6, 2007

Whilst not the most exciting or flashy issue of All-Star Superman, this is another straightforward story, elegantly told, which tips its hat to the conventions of Silver Age comics whilst still managing to be sophisticated enough to be enjoyed by a modern audience. Morrison's ideas are sufficiently simple that they can be easily understood on a first read, but further perusal reveals layers of depth and invention which will reward more perceptive readers, and Quitely's art is gorgeous stuff. If you're not reading this book, you should be.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
All-Star Superman #9

Nov 23, 2007

When I first read this issue, I enjoyed it a lot, but I thought that there were one or two flaws which prevented it from being as perfect as some of Morrison's previous issues. One of those complaints was that the manner in which Superman beats the Kryptonians was a little too convenient, and came out of nowhere. However, on reading the issue a second time, it became apparent that not only was Superman never trying to 'beat' the Kryptonians (in fact, he never attempts to fight them at all), but that Morrison also foreshadowed Bar-El and Lilo's Kryptonite-degeneration with some of their very first lines of dialogue. There are also a couple of strange Scottish idiosyncrasies which creep into Bar-El's speech which felt out of place. However, this was a minor distraction. The only other thing which prevents the issue from receiving full marks is that I feel that there aren't quite as many ideas packed into this issue as we've seen in the past - although it's still far more imaginative, ef

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Amazing Spider-Man #516

Feb 7, 2005

Im of two minds about the book: in one way, the victim-turned-bully story is always an interesting and globally relevant one, and is being handled in a fairly sensitive and even-handed way here, managing to convey a real connection between Weiderman and Parker and introducing a fairly interesting new villain character to boot. However, theres a sense that JMS is dragging his heels in providing any kind of real action or immediacy to the story, and as part two of a 4-part tale, there really should be more happening by now. Still, its worth a look for big Spidey-fans, and there might be enough on offer from the effective artwork to hook in casual readers. Its not the best Spidey comic Ive read this month, and certainly not JMSs best work on the title, but theres some promise to be found: lets hope the third and fourth chapters deliver something more than a standard formulaic conclusion.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Amazing Spider-Man #518

Mar 28, 2005

Also, the shock ending of the final page seems to have been shoehorned in for purely editorial reasons, instead of to provide any real dramatic impact. The destruction of Aunt Mays house is almost an academic issue for followers of Spidey anyway: in Millars "Marvel Knights" title shed already sold up and moved out to Pete and MJs flat in the city, and in the Amazing title shes been hanging around with the young couple more and more anyway. The whole things smacks of a need to pull various titles threads together and move Pete in with the New Avengers in order to serve the needs of that book. Whilst there may be laudable intentions continuity-wise, its a heavy-handed and incongruous cap to this story.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #522

Aug 1, 2005

The only major detraction to Amazing Spider-Man #522 which I havent yet mentioned is this issues ugly cover, which makes it look as though Spider-Man might be attempting to emulate real Spiders and shoot webs from somewhere other than his wrists.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #523

Sep 6, 2005

Unlike Bendiss New Avengers, which often relegates Spider-Man to a supporting role of comic relief, this book places Spidey centre stage, playing an active central role in a battle which is bigger than the sort of street-level villainy he usually takes on. As such, its a perfect plot to use to introduce the new status quo of Spider-Man as an Avenger, as well as giving Marvel the chance to cement its continuity and JMS the chance to redeem himself somewhat for his mixed record on the title over the last few years. This is unashamedly fun, exciting old-school superheroism, and anyone whos a fan of Silver Age comics or Spider-Man in general should check it out..., they wont be disappointed.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #524

Oct 11, 2005

The end of this issue makes me eager to see what The Other is all about, but theres still a sense that weve only really got half a good issue of ASM here, with an extended trailer tagged on at the end. Still, as I said at the top of this review, its half of a good story, executed by a creative team which has gone a long way to redeem itself since the lull of a year or so ago, and is a worthwhile segue between the Hydra arc and the next big life-changing event in Petes life.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #526

Nov 29, 2005

Above all though, this issue makes most of its impact due to a knockout cliffhanger, which in other hands could have amounted to little more than empty shock tactics. Luckily, the ending of this issue is lent a certain amount of finesse and infinitely more power through the grim and grisly detail that Mike Deodato adds to the scene. Combining his brutal visuals with Hudlins mercifully economic and surprisingly affecting writing was a smart move, as it enables the raw drama and emotional impact of the scene to really shine through. As jaded comics readers, we know that Spider-Man isnt going to be dead and gone in any meaningful way (hell, weve just read about his appearances in Marvels solicitations for February). However, its testament to Deodatos skill as an artist that he almost had me believing it. That final image of Spidey, bloodied, battered and possibly no longer alive is one of the most stunning, emotive and iconic Spider-Man visuals Ive seen in years, and it herald

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Amazing Spider-Man #530

Apr 4, 2006

Truth be told, this feels more like an Iron Man story with a Spider-Man guest-appearance than it does a book about Peter Parker, right down to the apparently arbitrary appearance of the Titanium Man as the issues villain du jour. To give him his dues, JMS does do his best to give us Spideys point of view whenever possible making the most of Peters voice during the committee hearing on the superhero registration act - but theres a definite feeling that his hands are somewhat tied by the (presumably) editorially-mandated plotting. This issue also provides a liberal sprinkling of Stracynski-brand humour, which can provoke wildly varying reactions in me dependent upon how well its integrated into his comics. Sadly, this time round its a misfire, and as his editors bicker away in caption boxes it only serves to detract from the real meat of the story and to cheapen what should be a fairly serious storyline, if the rumoured scale of the forthcoming Civil War is to be believed.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #534

Aug 7, 2006

Ultimately though, these positive points can't outweigh the feeling that nothing has really changed between the start of this issue and its final page. The growing uncertainty that Spider-Man is feeling regarding his choice of side suggests that major upheavals are on their way for the book - and not before time, as Spider's affiliation with the pro-registration heroes has never been destined to last - but a couple of adequate action scenes and some indecisive interior monologues do not a classic comic make. Stracynski has shown in the past few issues that he can write a great Spider-Man Civil War tie-in, even going so far as to improve Mark Millar's core title by association, but there's not enough meat here for Spidey fans to get their teeth into. Hopefully this issue of treading water will just be a small blip in an otherwise strong arc.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #535

Sep 29, 2006

The issue's final few pages should have Spider-Man fans cheering in the aisles, as whilst we've all known it was coming, it's nice to see it finally happen. Whether the aftermath of the cliffhanger will be explored in Civil War itself or the next issue of this title remains to be seen, but it opens Spidey's role in the event right up, and again puts him at the centre of proceedings. JMS is doing the best he can with the story he's been given here, and it's nice to see him retain a few light touches (even the bad jokes) for what is in danger of becoming a po-faced and dour event. That said, there's only so much he can do with the story when his pacing is dictated by Civil War's intersecting schedule, and this issue feels too stretched-out and predictable to make it a riveting read.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #540

May 14, 2007

JMS is in a tricky situation with this storyline, because he's got a limited framework within which to tell his story. If he pushes Spidey too far, it's out of character, and Marvel would be unlikely to ever let their flagship superhero kill an enemy in cold blood, no matter how angry he gets. On the other hand, if he eases off too much, it's going to undermine the idea that Peter has donned the black costume out of righteous anger with a view to severely punishing his aunt's would-be assassin. Luckily, Straczynski seems to have a strong sense of how far to push Spider-Man to make him more serious and ruthless than usual without ever making him unsympathetic or monstrous, and the cliffhanger makes me interested to see where the writer takes him next. Even if I can't help but feel that this story is going to be fairly inconsequential when all's said and done, it's making for some fairly compelling drama whilst it lasts, and it looks like JMS is planning to end his run on the title w

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #541

Jun 26, 2007

Don't get me wrong, there are still enough enjoyable moments that this book is worth your time if you're a fan of Spider-Man, but just don't expect "Back in Black" to be the tense, exciting, no-holds-barred story that Marvel keeps telling us it is. There are some fun over-the-top character moments with an imprisoned Kingpin who's still ruling the roost, and the scenes with Aunt May in hospital have a grim inevitability to them which almost has me convinced that Marvel is going to let JMS go through with her death. It's just that the story contained within this issue feels fairly surplus to requirements, and it feels like an unnecessary delay to a story that could have been far less flabby and far more compelling.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #542

Jul 27, 2007

Whilst I'm sure that we'll see the Kingpin again in the not-so-distant future, this story will serve as something of a minor milestone in the character's history, and hopefully will act as a full stop for the current Amazing Spider-Man storyline which will allow the book to move past an arc which has suffered from being drawn-out over the past few issues, but which could have made for a taut little thriller had the action and plot been a little more compressed. "Back in Black" hasn't been the strongest Spider-Man story ever, but neither is it a particularly egregious mis-step for Straczynski; maybe now that his tenure on the book is coming to a close we'll see him raise his game to the level of high quality that graced his earlier issues on the book, and come up with an impressive finale after a couple of years in which the book feels like it's been treading water.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #543

Aug 24, 2007

Ron Garney turns in the final issue of his run here, and he maintains the same standard of strong storytelling, dynamism and characterisation that has categorised his entire stint. Despite his fairly flat style (which is accentuated by Bill Reinhold's thick, chunky inks), he's become a firm favourite of mine when it comes to Spider-Man. His grasp of the character is evident - both in terms of his physicality and his personality - and he's got a great knack for conveying intensity through his facial expressions, which is especially important in a dramatic, emotional story like this one. His artwork definitely elevates the story that JMS is telling here - so much so that I can even forgive him the misleading cover that suggests that something really significant is actually going to happen in this issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #544

Sep 7, 2007

This extra-sized (and, at $3.99, extra-expensive) issue features a few bonus items in the form of a fairly extensive character biography for Spider-Man and a gallery of the many different costumes that he's worn over the years. We also get a look at some of Quesada's sketches, and a breakdown of pencils-to-inks-to-colors for one page of the Iron Man / Spidey fight. It's hardly material that anyone was crying out to see, and I don't really know why it's been included in this issue (other than to bump up the page count to justify the higher price), but some people may get a kick out of these extras.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #547

Jan 22, 2008

The first chapters of "Brand New Day" feel like a story from the Lee/Ditko/Romita era of Spider-Man but updated for the present-day. Whilst that might not suggest a hugely original or distinctive approach, it at least holds some hope that Marvel's promises of a return to Spidey's roots and to the essence of the character might not be just a load of hot air. On the strength of these first two issues, the Spidey revamp that has resulted out of 'One More Day' can be graded with a 'B' for 'better than expected'. Let's see if it holds.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #548

Jan 25, 2008

Interestingly, there's nothing about this story that couldn't have been done under the old Spider-Man status quo, which makes me continue to question the wisdom of the continuity-bending reset of "One More Day". However, if this is the status quo that we've got to work with, so be it. If this first story is any indication, Marvel are looking to concentrate on good old-fashioned Spidey stories which hearken back to the classic era of the character. Whilst that approach doesn't come without its share of problems, it has resulted in a better comic than Spider-Man fans have been used to for the last couple of years.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Amazing Spider-Man #551

Feb 26, 2008

Spider-Man are worth picking up or not, my advice would be to pick up a collection of issues from the Stan Lee, Tom DeFalco or Roger Stern eras instead. You'll likely get far more entertainment for your money there, you'll probably get a satisfying payoff every couple of issues, and you can enjoy these story ideas the way they were presented the first time around.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #552

Mar 7, 2008

My average score is as much a reflection of my reaction to the entire 'Brand New Day' relaunch as this particular issue. I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering what has happened to all of the great elements that had been promised for this relaunch: the supporting cast isn't being used particularly well (new characters continue to be introduced, but I'm not really getting a strong sense of any of them), Peter's character has barely changed as a result of his newly-retconned marital status, and all three of the new villains have failed to capture the imagination. I'd be hard pushed to choose my favourite of Mr. Negative, Menace, and the Amazing Vomit-Man, because I can only just remember the names of the first two, let alone any details about their characters. All in all, it feels like a step backwards for the book. I wouldn't mind if writers were using the book's new status quo to tell good stories, but these last couple of months' worth of stories haven't felt any better than the last cou

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #557

Apr 24, 2008

This is the first 'Brand New Day' arc of Amazing Spider-Man that I really feel has stood on its own two feet, away from the hoopla that has surrounded the 'One More Day' reboot/reset/retcon. There are no unnecessary extraneous elements that feel as though they've been included solely to set up subplots for the book's other writers, there's no forced exploration of Spidey's new status quo, and there are no sly references to Peter Parker's marital status (although that's possibly because it would draw attention to the fact that there's nothing about the story that couldn't have been achieved with a married, slightly older Spider-Man in the title role). This arc has demonstrated that it's possible to write a modern Amazing Spider-Man comic that fulfills all of the requirements for the title: it has been fun, exciting, imaginative, entertaining, and dramatic, without sacrificing the inherent lightness of the character and his world. If only all of the 'Brand New Day' arcs had been this goo

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #564

Jul 8, 2008

There's a lot to be said for a single-issue story that tells a fun tale with no aspirations of being anything more than an entertaining ride, and this book shows how enjoyable that can be when done well. Whilst the "Brand New Day" issues of Amazing Spider-Man have seen varying levels of success, this is certainly one of the better ones.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #567

Aug 19, 2008

If it sounds like I'm trying to keep thinking of reasons to justify purchasing the book, then maybe I am. Amazing Spider-Man is the first title that I started collecting when I got back into comics, and it's the only book that I've followed on a consistent basis for that long, so it's going to be pretty hard to break the habit. But I feel like I'm coming close.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #568

Aug 22, 2008

This extra-sized issue also features a backup story by Mark Waid and Adi Granov that focuses on Eddie Brock -- the former host of the Venom symbiote -- and his recent battle against cancer. Waid capture the character well, with a neat storytelling device that sees Venom appear in reflective surfaces as a manifestation of Eddie's dark side, despite the fact that he is no longer bonded with the symbiote. It's an interesting piece of foreshadowing that makes me wonder whether we may see the return of the original Venom before this storyline is over. Granov's art is less stiff and posed than usual, and his take on Venom is a satisfying one, skewing far closer to the original Todd McFarlane design than many other recent artists to have worked on the character. It's hardly an essential story, but it provides some interesting insights into the current state of Eddie Brock's character, and justifies the cover price of $3.99 slightly more convincingly than other titles that only seem to offer a

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #593

May 5, 2009

With secret-identity worries, supporting-character soap-opera, energetic action sequences, a fresh new take on a classic Spidey villain, genuinely funny dialogue and an upbeat vibe throughout (well, until the slightly disturbing final pages, anyway), this is pretty much a textbook example of what a Spider-Man comic should be. It's not the most inspired or original story in the world, and there isn't a huge amount of depth to the book, but the writing and artwork are both of an above-average standard, capturing the spirit of the character well. Since I haven't read any other issues of Amazing Spider-Man recently, I can't say whether this is indicative of the book's usual level of quality, but it's a decent issue that makes me wonder whether it might be time to start picking up the title again.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #594

May 19, 2009

As with the previous issue, I find myself in that strange position of saying that this is a fine example of a Spider-Man comic without really being able to rave about it. The writing and artwork are both of an above-average standard, but the core elements of the plot aren't quite strong enough to make this a particularly outstanding story. Maybe the next "tentpole" Spidey storyline will push the book into 4-bullet territory.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #595

May 26, 2009

Long-term readers may still find themselves a little jaded as far as current issues of Amazing Spider-Man are concerned. In fairness, we've seen the Peter Parker/Norman Osborn dynamic play out so many times in so many different ways that it's difficult to find it truly exciting or novel to see yet another storyline revolve around their endless conflict. However, taken on its own merits, this is an enjoyable and well-written issue that suggests that the "American Son" storyline is going to be an interesting one. Having decided to draw a line under my problems with the post-"One More Day" Amazing Spider-Man and enjoy it as a rebooted version of the 1970s continuity with a few modern elements thrown in, I'm actually starting to rediscover my love for the book again.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #596

Jun 2, 2009

This issue doesn't feel like a story so much as a series of moments that are necessary to set up later developments in "American Son". It pulls off those moments adequately enough, but there isn't nearly as much for readers to get their teeth into as there was in the previous chapter. That's not to say that the storyline doesn't still have potential -- just that this issue doesn't provide any payoffs, functioning instead as a necessary middle chapter that isn't a particularly compelling read in its own right.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #598

Jun 23, 2009

Whilst it's still very much a middle chapter of the larger "American Son" storyline (and one that seems more concerned with Harry and Norman Osborn than it does with Spidey himself), Amazing Spider-Man #598 contains at least one major revelation and several fairly compelling scenes that promise to drive the storyline towards an interesting conclusion. This might not be the greatest Spider-Man story ever told, but it's not something that's going to disappoint fans of the book either.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #600

Jul 21, 2009

This extra-large issue might also carry an extra-large price tag, but it's still great value for money. Slott and Romita's story alone is 61 pages, and that's almost three issues worth of content for the price of less than two. If you buy this issue, you're essentially getting an entire three-issue Amazing Spider-Man arc by two A-list creators -- along with a whole host of backup strips, all of which are brand-new (no reprints here) -- for less than five dollars, and that's not a bad deal at all.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #601

Aug 4, 2009

However, I didn't find myself particularly interested by the story itself, which sees Spider-Man teach Jessica Jones an important lesson about power and responsibility (can you guess which one?). It might make for some interesting future developments with Jessica in New Avengers, but as a story in its own right, there isn't much to it. Perhaps it would have worked better as part of the anniversary issue #600 anthology of stories -- which I believe is where it was originally due to appear.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #602

Aug 11, 2009

Surprisingly, given the title of the story, there's relatively little attention paid to Mary Jane Watson's return to New York. However, the rest of the story is compelling enough that this matters very little: indeed, I could happily do without this subplot altogether, which is the only part of the book that still carries the stigma of "One More Day." Having said that, the issue's excellent cliffhanger ending suggests that she's going to become a lot more important in the next chapter, and I look forward to seeing how the closing situation plays out.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #603

Aug 18, 2009

I continue to enjoy the "Red-Headed Stranger" arc far more than I expected, given that it had been advertised as dealing primarily with the return of Mary Jane Watson, but has in fact turned out to be an excellent Chameleon story with soap-opera subplots thrown in. This story has been a great blueprint for how the Chameleon could work in a Spider-Man movie, and this particular issue is an entertaining journey through the life of Peter Parker that's sure to have considerable repercussions for the character in future.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #604

Sep 8, 2009

Ultimately, though, this issue feels like it exists as much to set up elements of the upcoming "gauntlet" storyline as to bring a close to the current arc, and this unfortunately serves to rob an otherwise strong story of some of its power at the last moment.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #605

Sep 15, 2009

At $3.99, this book is a little pricier than a regular issue of Amazing Spider-Man--and given the anthology format, and the fact that not a huge amount of note occurs within its pages, that might be enough to dissuade many readers from buying it. Still, for those who like to measure the worth of a book by its page count, there are 48 story pages in this issue, which makes it a better value in terms of the price-per-page than most issues on the stands.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #606

Sep 22, 2009

However, this second element is a minor problem that can perhaps be overlooked in favour of the story's otherwise strong premise -- especially given that Felicia's attraction to Spider-Man plays an important part in setting up the knockout cliffhanger, a final moment that's so perfectly awkward that I can't wait to see how Kelly follows it up in the next issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #609

Oct 20, 2009

Having said that, it's also a fairly simple, straightforward and generic superhero comic that doesn't have any truly memorable scenes or clever hooks to make it stand out as something special or unique. And, if I'm absolutely honest, I'd rather see the book plough forwards with more original creations than spend time and effort trying to rehabilitate the Clone Saga.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Amazing Spider-Man #610

Nov 3, 2009

This isn't a terrible comic: there are a few funny pieces of dialogue, a fair bit of action, and a certain sense of jeopardy created for Spider-Man himself (even if it never really feels legitimate). However, it's nothing special either, and Amazing Spider-Man needs to be a lot better than this if it's going to be able to convince readers to part with their money three times a month to read it.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #611

Nov 10, 2009

This is one of the best issues of Amazing Spider-Man in quite a while, and one that's worth a look even if you're not a regular follower of the title. For regular readers, however, there's added interest here, as elements of this story play into the setup for "The Gauntlet," the latest big Spider-Man epic to be lined up by the Spidey braintrust. Whilst I still can't say that I'm hugely enthused for that story, I had a good time with this one.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36

Jul 7, 2009

Having taken the time to explain this reasonably complicated backstory, however, the issue doesn't really do anything with it, ending on a cliffhanger that leaves the story just as much of a mystery as it was at the start. I'm used to Annuals providing a reasonably self-contained story, but this one feels more like a missing issue of the regular title than a standalone issue. As such, it's a bit of a flat ending to an otherwise fairly enjoyable story, and one that demands that you buy future issues of Amazing Spider-Man if you want to make sense of it. Still, I imagine that most readers with more than a passing acquaintance with Spider-Man history will be back for more, as they'll no doubt be keen to see how Guggenheim reintegrates this much-derided piece of Spidey lore back into the modern-day continuity for the character.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Anna Mercury #3

Aug 28, 2008

In fact, my only major complaint about the issue is that its ending feels a little too final for its own good. Whilst I've enjoyed this story, the closing pages of this issue feel so conclusive that I don't feel hugely interested in whatever story will be offered by the next one. Although that's a very rare (and some might say welcome) problem to have with a comic, I can't help but feel that Ellis could have done a little more to entice us to come back for the next issue here.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Anna Mercury #5

Jan 9, 2009

Ultimately, whilst Anna Mercury #4 and #5 have been enjoyable enough comics, I haven't enjoyed them as much as the first three issues, as they've felt like inconsequential and unnecessary additions to the story. Still, there's enough to enjoy here in Ellis' punchy, energetic writing and Percio's dynamic artwork to justify purchase for fans of the book. Just don't expect it to stay with you for very long afterwards.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Ant #5

May 15, 2006

The only redeeming elements of the comic are the slightly original plotting and the obvious heart and soul that Gully has put into the creation of the book, but they wont keep the title going forever. I also find myself struggling to identify exactly what Gullys target audience might be, as more sophisticated adult readers would likely find the whole enterprise a little too simplistic and juvenile, whilst much younger fans might find the comic unsuitable for them due to the sexual content and language. I suppose that those teenage readers I mentioned earlier might find some shallow enjoyment in the book, but thats a pretty small section of the audience to limit yourself to, and Id be interested to know just how successful the past few issues of Ant have been in terms of sales as Id be hard pushed to really recommend it to anyone I know. Ultimately, Im not convinced that Ant is going to be able to run for a long time without a little more concentration on characterisation and d

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Archenemies #2

May 16, 2006

The comic is a decent enough purchase for the central story, but really won me over with its wealth of added value material at the back of the issue, where a letters page fights for space with a back-up strip entitled Worlds worst roommates, a column by Melbourne and some fun character profiles and interviews: an exemplary effort for a book with very few ads and a cover price of less than $3. The titles website, also provides loads of tie-in material, creator profiles, previews of upcoming issues and more in-character "interviews" (the latest features a fun exchange between the two leads about Marvels Civil War). All this extra effort just goes to show what a labour of love the book must be for Melbourne & co., and it makes it very difficult to get too hung up on the titles faults. Do I think its the greatest book on the stands? No, but Archenemies deserves to be given a chance as much for the sheer amount of effort and hard work which is evident throughout the book as for t

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Archenemies #3

Jun 26, 2006

Melbourne and Guichet are clearly trying to accomplish a lot with this book, and I can only applaud their ambition and innovation in crafting a distinctive title in an already overcrowded marketplace. The elements of the book which do work, work well, and Im looking forward to seeing the more character-based elements of the story come to a head in the concluding issue #4. However, its clear that the team still has some way to go if they want to pull off grand action sequences to go with their superlative superhero soap-opera.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Archenemies #4

Jul 4, 2006

Still, there are a lot of other reasons to recommend this book. If youve been reading since the first issue, youll be pleased to see a fair bit of payoff for all of the major characters even minor ones like Vincents sister make a welcome return and the character work remains a definite strength of Melbournes writing. Like any good showman, he leaves his readers wanting more, and his open-ended conclusion leaves the characters in a different place but still ripe for further exploration. Whether or not this will stand as their final outing remains to be seen, and if it does, Ill be a little disappointed, because the conclusion is one of the weak points that could have been strengthened to make this book great instead of merely very good. But with the extra material in the back making this book even more worth picking up (although my preview copy didnt contain any, its been great value for the last three issues), its still a good buy, and well worth a read for anyone who l

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Astonishing X-Men #17

Sep 22, 2006

Yet despite this slight sense of stalling, there are signs that Whedon is building towards a great final issue for his third arc on the book. The incapacitated X-Men are gradually coming back into the picture: Wolverine's regression to his James Howlett persona is finally done away with in a hilarious beer-related sequence which owes as much to the subtleties of Cassaday's artwork as it does Whedon's writing, and Cyclops re-enters the fray in a compelling cliffhanger which also sets up a possible new status quo for the character. Danger and Ord also arrive at the X-mansion ready to hunt down Colossus, and there's a general sense that all the pieces are coming together after a slightly stretched-out last couple of issues. Yes, there's still a lot of explaining to do (how is Scott now able to control his optic blasts? Is Colossus really fated to destroy the breakworld? And what's going on with Emma Frost and the White Queen?), but with one issue to go of this arc (and a whole 6-issu

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Astonishing X-Men #18

Nov 17, 2006

That said, if you're reading this book in its episodic format, you're unlikely to be too put off by another cliffhanger - and even a middling issue of Astonishing X-Men is a quality book by most standards. Whilst the resolution of the Hellfire Club's role in the story is a let-down, there's definitely still a sense of momentum that should keep the book moving, and the low-key final panels of this issue carry a mood of danger and foreboding in more than one respect. It looks as though Whedon is keeping all his major pieces in play in order to bring them together for a climactic final arc, and despite the slight wobble in finishing off "Torn," I'm still confident that he and Cassaday will be able to pull off a satisfying ending for their highly entertaining and always very readable run on the book. I just wish it came out more often!

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Astonishing X-Men #20

Feb 16, 2007

As a regular Astonishing X-Men reader, I feel this issue is more of the same - and with Joss Whedon and John Cassaday at the helm, that's not a particularly bad thing - but there is a nagging sense that the book is becoming a little too formulaic to really offer a fresh reading experience with every issue. Still, the potential is definitely there for Whedon to bring every element of his and Cassaday's run together over the next few issues, and a strong sense of anticipation has been built up for the team's finale. Transitional issues like this one will sit more easily once we have the full story in our hands, but for now we can appreciate it more for the touches of character detail, the finesse of the artwork, and the sparks of winning humour than for its place in the greater scheme of Whedon's final arc. Ultimately, however, this issue is more a series of moments than a strong story in its own right. The players have now been moved into the position that Whedon wants them for his

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Astonishing X-Men #21

May 8, 2007

The issue's cliffhanger implies that one of the X-Men's core members might have been mortally wounded, but this unlikely occurrence seems like unnecessarily forced dressing for an issue which is very much a slow middle chapter of a larger, grander story. Pieces are moved around in preparation for the climax to Whedon's overarching story - and after enjoying his meticulously-constructed television work on Buffy and Firefly I have enough faith in his sense of long-term storytelling to trust that he's gearing up for an impressive, coherent finale - but this issue merely a single step on the route to that destination. On an issue-to-issue basis, the book still has enough going for it in terms of witty dialogue and sharp artwork to warrant an above-average bullet rating, but for a book on such an irregular schedule to turn in such a pedestrian instalment could risk turning off those readers who have stuck with the book despite the delays, as this is one of those books that is guaranteed t

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Astonishing X-Men #23

Nov 9, 2007

I almost feel that I shouldn't be heaping so much praise on this title, because my head tells me that I should be complaining about the lateness of its scheduling and Marvel's casual attitude to getting the book out on time. However, I'd be lying if I said that this issue wasn't one of the most enjoyable, exciting comics I've read in months, and in all honesty I'd much prefer to wait a while if it means that the Whedon/Cassaday/Martin creative team can handle every issue. If you've never read the title, this isn't the place to start, as the story won't make much sense to you at this late point. However, for those of us who have been waiting a long time for Whedon to put the cap on his entire run, this issue has me very excited, and the final page leaves me eager to read the next chapter. It's not often that you feel a palpable thrill from reading a comic book, but after putting this issue down, I couldn't wait to rave about it. Astonishing X-Men lives up to its name.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Astonishing X-Men #28

Jan 20, 2009

When you spend so much time waiting for each issue to appear (the last issue of Astonishing X-Men appeared over three months ago), it's inevitable that a spotty chapter like this one is going to feel a little disappointing. And regardless of the erratic shipping schedule, this issue doesn't quite measure up to the standards set by Ellis and Bianchi in their first three issues. It's still an above-average superhero comic, and is enjoyable to an extent, but it's a bit of a letdown compared to what has come before.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Astonishing X-Men #29

Apr 21, 2009

This isn't a terrible book, and there are reasons to recommend it. Ellis still manages to inject some cool ideas into the story, even if they aren't coming as thick and fast as they were in earlier issues. Also, the book ends on a cliffhanger (albeit a low-key one) that suggests that we might finally be getting to the bottom of the story soon. However, merely being an okay read doesn't really cut it when there are better books out there, especially for a "flagship" title like this (and especially for a book that ships so infrequently). On the strength of earlier issues, I was fully prepared for Ellis and Bianchi's Astonishing X-Men to blow Whedon and Cassaday's run out of the water. Now, I'm seriously considering whether it's even going to be worth following in future.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Astonishing X-Men #35

Aug 27, 2010

Its in these moments that we see Ellis recapture some of the subversive spirit and energy of his Authority work, as well as the more progressive and forward thinking side to the characters that we saw throughout Grant Morrisons New X-Men run. In doing so, Ellis turns what I had expected to be a run-of-the-mill superhero title into something a little more thought provoking and intelligent than most books on the shelves, but one thats still just as entertaining as far as the more basic building blocks of superhero comics are concerned.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #2

Jun 18, 2010

Although it might only sound like a minor thing, this mistreatment of Emma Frost ends up unbalancing the issue, sapping the story of much of the drama and tension that it might otherwise have had and giving the book a very uneven tone. Ill still keep reading the series for now because Im interested in the ideas that Ellis is playing with, and Im keen to see whether the story will tie into his very good Ghost Box arc more comprehensively, but I hope that the writer will be less tempted in future to indulge his broad comedic impulses with a character who requires a more delicate touch and that hell remain more focused on the serious elements of what has the potential to be a good X-Men story.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Avengers/Invaders #3

Jul 1, 2008

The lack of jeopardy and ultimately inconsequential nature of this story wouldn't normally be a problem, but at this point, I think it's asking a lot for readers to invest in 12 issues of a book that doesn't feel like it's even managing to do anything particularly interesting with its core concept.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Avengers: The Initiative #2

May 8, 2007

I'd also question whether the book should be building up its secondary characters (such Hank Pym, who ends up stealing the spotlight of the entire issue) before cementing its own personalities, as Slott's already fairly large cast risks being completely overwhelmed by these foreign elements. If anything, it feels like we get less time with the young recruits this issue than we did in the first, and that seems unforgivable now that the book has got the time-consuming scene-setting duties out of the way. If Slott wants to write a Hank Pym story, why not pitch a solo title or one-shot rather than making him the focus of this book? If Marvel wants the Initiative team to fill the gap left in their schedules by the absence of Young Avengers, why not allow Slott to concentrate on his book's own heroes rather than bringing in the Beast (or, heaven help us, George W. Bush) for extended cameo appearances that eat into the book's page count? I get the sense that this book doesn't know what it

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Batman #656

Sep 4, 2006

The main trouble with this issue is that the whole thing feels like it goes on about twice as long as it needs to. When Batman is finally captured at the issues close its a relief, and I cant be the only one who hopes that he gets unmasked pretty quickly next issue so that we can see more of Morrisons Bruce Wayne. The recycling of last issues cliffhanger for the issues final page is also pretty unforgivable, and its a shame that, instead of using a fight sequence to build tension and excitement for his story, Morrisons indulgent battle this issue has actually sapped much of the momentum of his story so far. Next issue promises to offer more interesting developments, but I just hope that theres more to it than this one. Fans of Kuberts admittedly sharp art or long fight scenes in general will get a lot out of Batman #656, but for everyone else this may feel too much like treading water a worry when were only two issues into Morrisons much-trumpeted run.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Batman #663

Feb 19, 2007

I fully expect those readers who value writing above art in their comics to rave about this issue, as it's very much a spotlight for Morrison as a writer (and anyone who can fit a Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band reference into a Batman story gains a certain amount of respect from me). I would completely agree with those who feel that the issue provides an excellent Batman/Joker story; my problem with the book is that I don't think it's an excellent Batman/Joker comic. As an illustrated short story, it works well enough on its own terms, even if the art isn't completely satisfying. However, I would question its inclusion in the monthly Batman title. In a lot of ways, it's reminiscent of another recent Morrison comic: the rebooted Authority #1. With both issues, I feel that Morrison is demonstrating a desire to push the boundaries of what is acceptable in a monthly comic book, and whilst this is obviously going to challenge many readers to some extent, it also seems likely to produce some di

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Batman #672

Jan 10, 2008

How this story will progress is anyone's guess, but unlike some obscure mystery cliffhangers, there's enough of a compelling story here to make me genuinely intrigued as to how the more unusual and as-yet-unexplained elements of the book are going to play out. Morrison's Batman is finally starting to come together, and readers who have kept the faith that the ideas introduced in earlier issues would receive some payoff later down the line will be glad that they stuck with it.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Batman #684

Jan 8, 2009

Ultimately, this story felt like filler at a time when the Bat-books are being heavily hyped by DC as being at their most exciting. Inevitably, it comes off as a disappointment, and suffers in comparison to whats come before in the title. Maybe it would have found a better home and a more receptive audience in the regular Nightwing title.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Batman #687

Jun 19, 2009

This issue is a more succinct and focused take on the recent changes in Batmans world than Battle For the Cowl turned out to be, and deserves a lot of credit for pulling off the transition from Bruce to Dick without the change feeling editorially mandated or contrived. It also functions as a great pre-credits sequence for the new era of Batman comics, giving us some early indications of how Dick might make for a quite different Caped Crusader to the one weve been reading about for so many years. It suffers from a slight feeling of repetitiveness (since a lot of the Batbooks seem to be covering similar ground at the moment), and the artwork doesnt feel particularly well-suited to the subject matter, but this is a solid effort that will encourage me to check out Winicks upcoming run on the book with artist Mark Bagley.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Batman and Robin #12

May 6, 2010

I dont doubt that Ill be extremely enthused about Bruce Waynes return once his own mini-series gets started, and we can see it run alongside Batman and Robin, with the story of each book informing the other. And Im on tenterhooks for the next issue after the final page of this one, as I cant wait to see where the chapters climactic story development leads. But somehow, as a single issue, theres too much going on here for any of the books concurrent plotlines to establish themselves as anything truly special. Despite being the final chapter of the final arc of Batman and Robins first year, theres a real sense that issue #12 is merely a prelude, and that the real meat of Morrisons overarching Bat-saga is yet to come.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Batman: The Man Who Laughs #1

Feb 14, 2005

Whilst never topping the quality of Year: One or Killing Joke, Man Who Laughs is a good Batman story on its own terms, and goes even further to establish the bond between the two major characters than Alan Moores classic story did. James Gordon is also given a fair bit of time as a hero of the piece, and even if hes written a lot more broadly than he was in Year: One he adds a grounded feel to the story which helps to tone down the more colourful elements. A fairly original insight into two characters that are constantly in danger of becoming stagnant makes this worth a look. Its the kind of project Id like to see attempted more often.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Batman: The Return #1

Nov 20, 2010

Still, I'll reserve judgment on those elements until I see how they're employed in future issues of Morrison's bat-saga. If nothing else, this issue provides a great setup for the Batman Incorporated title, as well as functioning as a neat epilogue to the previous phase of Morrison's Batman run. Now let's see what comes next.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Black Summer #0

Jun 15, 2007

Black Summer, then, is Civil War done properly: superheroes taking the law into their own hands, actively breaking it in the service of what they see as a morally superior position, and forcing the nation to respond as it sees fit. Many people will probably misconstrue this book, as it's far easier to interpret Ellis' story as a statement about George W Bush than it is to delve deeper into the psychology of the writer's central character: Horus is a flawed hero, condemning the President's illegal actions but finding no other solution than to commit several murders in order to remove a regime that he sees as corrupt. Don't let the heavily politicised premise distract you: this is a book which has as much to say about the superhero genre as it does about the Bush administration, and I look forward to seeing Ellis examine the moral grey areas that are inherent in the concept of a costumed hero who takes the law into his own hands at the same time as he explores contemporary US politics.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Black Summer #2

Aug 24, 2007

Ellis might risk being labelled as too overtly liberal by right-wing readers (comparisons of the Bush administration to Nazi Germany might press the point a little, but Ellis doesn't shy away from the parallels between Germany in 1939 and the current activities of the U.S. government), but to view the book as being simply a mouthpiece for a dissection of the current state of U.S. politics would seem to miss half the point; there's just as much debate over the extent to which the superhero model could ever be workable in law and in practice, whether it's more important for a government to be democratic or to be morally sound, and the importance of the public being accountable for their government just as much as the government must be accountable for its people. The fact that these subjects aren't always spelled out actually gives the reader a chance to engage more with the material and come to their own conclusions rather than being spoon-fed the arguments, making it provocative food

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Black Summer #3

Oct 16, 2007

If there's one criticism that I have of this story, it's that Ellis seems to have kicked things off with Black Summer's most dramatic event, before continually narrowing the focus of the series, undercutting the tense, high-stakes atmosphere of the first couple of issues. In fact, the book abandons a wider perspective on the conflict altogether with this chapter, concentrating almost exclusively on the rebel group of superheroes. This might be an advantage in terms of building up the individual characters of the Seven Guns, but it risks losing sight of the event which was the catalyst of the entire story in the first place. Whilst I'm not averse to Ellis spending time with his characters at the expense of big, hollow action sequences, I do think that the book would benefit from an occasional update of how the world's reaction to Horus' actions is playing out, even if it isn't the main focus of the series. However, this is obviously an intentional choice by Ellis rather than an accident

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Black Summer #6

May 15, 2008

To label Black Summer as a superhero comic would be to sell the concept short, because it's difficult to identify anyone as the hero of this book. For example, there are increasingly obvious parallels between Horus and the murdered President, and it's perfectly possible to understand why Frank Blacksmith is so keen to take the Seven Guns out of the picture given the carnage and destruction that they have caused over the last few issues. That's a testament to Ellis' skill in crafting a morally ambiguous and complex story that refuses to commit to a single point of view, and it makes the story far more engaging and involving than many superhero books manage to be. Black Summer is a comic that has intellectual depth without sacrificing the visual thrills that are a big part of the appeal of the superhero genre and from the looks of the last page, issue #7 is going to provide a big bang ending to go along with the meaty moral debate that the book has offered up for consumption here. I l

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Black Widow: Deadly Origin #1

Nov 3, 2009

When I first heard about this miniseries, I expected it to be more of a tie-in to the upcoming Iron Man 2 film as anything else: a slightly more in-depth version of the Black Widow's origin story for those who had enjoyed her appearance in the movie. Whilst it does appear that Deadly Origin might serve that function, it turns out that there's a lot more to it than that. In addition to shedding light on the Black Widow's early years, this first chapter creates a compelling mystery, adds some detail to a relatively unexplored corner of the Marvel Universe, and provides a little food for thought concerning the politics of World War II and the Cold War. Anyone looking for a good superhero-spy thriller could do a lot worse than to check this out.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Bullet Points #1

Nov 10, 2006

If the book's premise had been respected more strictly, this might have been an interesting rumination on how a Marvel Universe without the catalyst of Captain America might have turned out. If the modified Marvel characters had been changed in a way which was truly inspired or original, this might have been enough to excuse the leaps in story logic which undercut the book's po-faced, serious tone. However, readers have become increasingly sophisticated when it comes to stories like this, and - as some of the recent What If? issues have discovered - simply presenting an alternative version of events just isn't enough to entertain us any more. Whereas most stories like this are confined to one-shots, this just feels like a What If? idea which has been stretched out to five issues instead of playing out before the readers had the chance to get bored. I can't say I'm that eager to see how this story continues.

View Issue       View Full Review
3.0
Bullet Points #2

Dec 21, 2006

I don't really see the point of this book. It's a What if? without a decent hook, an Elseworlds story which isn't far enough removed from regular continuity to be interesting, and the fact that its thin concept has been stretched out to a five-issue miniseries is amazing - but it at least allows me to cut my losses now and bail out before the half-way point. It's very rare for me to give up on a story like this, but Bullet Points just doesn't seem to have any redeeming features that will encourage me to continue. I'm all for giving a book a chance, but there's a point at which that blind faith just isn't worth $3, and I'm sad to say that Straczynski has reached it with this issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Captain America: Reborn #3

Sep 15, 2009

Still, I can't shake the feeling that Captain America: Reborn doesn't seem to be as concerned with telling the story of how Steve Rogers will make his return to the Marvel Universe as much as it is with telling the story of how he became the Captain America that we know and love in the first place. And whilst that might be the story that Brubaker and Hitch set out to tell, it isn't what I was hoping to see.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Captain Britain and MI:13 #1

May 13, 2008

Many readers may be buying this book due to its ties to Marvel's big crossover event. However, whilst this first issue certainly plays up to some of the themes of Secret Invasion (there's more than one reference to the idea that the superheroes are "playing characters," and there's some subtle allegory for real-world events in the "War on Terror"), it's worth buying for many more reasons than that. Cornell's enjoyable and individual sense of humour has survived the transition from Wisdom wholly intact (what other Marvel title will give you references to Norman Wisdom, Abba and Frankie Goes To Hollywood?), the characters are distinctive and original, there's plenty of drama and large-scale action, and it's great to see a book take such pride in its sheer Britishness ("They want summat we've got." "What Britain has more of than anything else - magic!"). I get the sense that this book isn't going to be ashamed to be a fun, fast-paced and reasonably traditional superhero comic, with as

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Captain Britain and MI:13 #2

Jun 10, 2008

Finally, I appreciated the decision to include a web address for Marvel's encyclopedia entry on Captain Britain and the location of Paul Cornell's blog at the back of the issue. It's only a small thing, but it demonstrates that Marvel is making a concerted effort to make their books accessible for new readers who may have joined this series with no previous knowledge of Captain Britain, and that they're keen to point them towards background information that will enhance their enjoyment of the book. If the company is still trying to avoid footnotes wherever possible, this is a good substitute.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Captain Britain and MI:13 #5

Sep 16, 2008

Captain Britain and MI-13 is one of a handful of books that keep me buying monthly comics. In just a few issues, it's already established itself as one of Marvel's best current superhero titles, and probably the book that's truest to the Marvel spirit of colourful yet flawed heroes fighting fantastical villains in a realistic and imperfect modern world. Newcomers to the book's universe are well-served by succinct, elegant exposition and effective, immediate characterisation - especially impressive considering the size of the cast - and readers of Cornell's previous work with MI-13 in the pages of Wisdom will be pleased to see the concept find such a good home (and they'll be particularly overjoyed to see a certain Captain Midlands make a cameo appearance in these very pages). I simply can't imagine anyone not enjoying this series - and I can't wait to see what Cornell has planned for my home town of Birmingham over the course of the next few issues.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Captain Britain and MI:13 #6

Oct 14, 2008

When deciding on my rating for this issue, I couldn't decide whether to award it 3.5 or 4 bullets. In the end, I plumped for 4 bullets, because although it doesn't quite reach the giddy heights of some of the previous issues, it provides some compelling moments of characterisation, establishes a pretty strong basis for the arc as a whole, and features a high standard of art throughout. And the excitement of seeing Hodge Hill - an area of the city that's just a few miles away from my home - in the pages of a Marvel superhero title is enough to earn it a little extra goodwill for the moment.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Captain Britain and MI:13 #7

Nov 11, 2008

Even with these weaknesses, Captain Britain is still proving itself to be an above-average title with clear potential, with very solid artwork and a writer who clearly has a strong overall plan for the book in mind. This just happens to be one of the less engaging issues to be released so far.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Captain Britain and MI:13 #11

Mar 10, 2009

Unfortunately, there's a brief blip later in the issue as Kirk hands over to penciller Mike Collins for five pages. There's nothing wrong with Collins' work, and it's fairly similar in style to Kirk's pages, with layouts that feel similar, and identical character designs. However, it is noticeably different to Kirk's work (it's probably as much due to the heavier inking as anything else), and it does pull you out of the story a little. Thankfully, Kirk returns for the last couple of pages to illustrate the issue's climactic scene. Cornell has proved that he has a real knack for exciting cliffhangers, and I can't wait to see where this one leads.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Captain Marvel #5

Apr 22, 2008

Had Marvel made it clear that this miniseries was all just setup for a minor element of Secret Invasion, it might have made this reveal more palatable for readers who had bought into a Captain Marvel miniseries expecting a self-contained story about Captain Marvel (as crazy as that might sound). Of course, that would have spoiled the reveal of these last few issues--although to be honest, I'm not convinced that this was the plan to begin with. What could have been an interesting miniseries with the potential to explore Captain Marvel's reaction to his own death in Jim Starlin's classic graphic novel has instead fallen flat, reduced to little more than a footnote in the wider story of Marvel's Secret Invasion crossover. That's a shame, as I'm convinced that this creative team could have created a far more enjoyable book, if only they had stuck with that original premise. As it is, we're left with a Captain Marvel miniseries that provides an incomplete story about a Skrull that's imp

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Cars: Radiator Springs #1

Aug 31, 2009

Im not sure why these Cars mini-series have failed to capitalise on the potential of the cast of characters that we saw in the original Cars movie, restricting themselves to filling in elements of backstory that arent particularly exciting or integral to the characters or the world of the movie. I can only assume that, with a sequel in the works, the creators of the original movie are placing certain restrictions on the elements of the Cars universe that can be exploited in BOOM! Studios licensed comics. Its the only explanation that I can think of for the baffling approach taken by this mini-series and its predecessor, both of which have explored fairly uninteresting background elements rather than making the most of the opportunities offered by the rich cast of characters and the new status quo that we were left with at the end of the first movie.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Cars: The Rookie #1

Apr 2, 2009

Ultimately, this is a readable and pleasant comic that's particularly well-suited for younger readers. It might not provide much food for thought for adults and it might not win over any readers who aren't already fans of the original Cars movie, but the storytelling is clear, the artwork is attractive, and the writing serves the story perfectly well. If you have children, I can recommend this as a good title to offer them.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Cars: The Rookie #2

May 18, 2009

Again, I found this issue of Cars to be a readable enough comic, even though I didnt find it to be a particularly exciting one. The storytelling is clear, with accomplished artwork that suits the book well, but its still probably a series thats going to be best suited to fairly young readers and/or fans of the original movie.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Casanova #10

Oct 26, 2007

This book is a refreshing antidote to plodding and dull superhero comics, and even if this issue falls a little short of the book's usually extremely high standards, there's still more imagination and innovation here than you'll find in most mainstream comics. I'm grateful to Image for taking a chance on such an unusual off-the-wall book, and giving Casanova a home where it can thrive. I don't know what the sales are like on this book, but I'd heartily recommend taking a chance on the series for anyone who hasn't checked it out yet. The stories are always accessible, each issue is fairly self-contained, and the back-matter from Fraction and Moon adds a lot of charm, providing several pieces of concept art along with a commentary on the story which adds extra depth to its ideas. Even if this isn't the finest issue of the book so far, it's still a highly entertaining way to spend your $1.99.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Casanova #12

Mar 6, 2008

If this comic contained just the story on its own, I probably would have given it 3 bullets. However, the issue's final pages of backmatter are one of the most enjoyable that I've read, giving an inspiring account of Fraction's recent life as he prepared for the birth of his first child. It might not be as relevant to the content of the issue's story as it normally is, but it makes for a very enjoyable read, and gives readers a real sense that they are connecting with the creator as they gain insight into his creative process. This bumped up my score slightly - and the fact that this comic is a dollar cheaper than most other books on the stands feels like it should count for something, too.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Catwoman: When in Rome #4

Feb 21, 2005

Theres some fun writing here by Jeph Loeb, whose skills have already been demonstrated through his many pieces of work on the Batman characters, and he turns in some enjoyable scenes here. Selinas line about Mussolini was a particularly good gag, and its refreshing to see a writer be unafraid to add a liberal dose of silliness into characters which are normally portrayed as so dour and serious. However, theres not a lot to make this single comic stand out as really worthy of a read. Whilst not a bad issue (I dont think anything which features Tim Sales artwork can ever be less than good), there still feels like theres something lacking about this instalment of the story: it doesnt really add anything to the overall plot which we didnt know already. It doesnt introduce any new elements or really develop any old ones, and it ends on a confusing, slightly silly note. Im hoping things will pick up again next issue and that this is just a blip in an otherwise promising story

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Catwoman: When in Rome #6

Jul 19, 2005

If youve read the rest of this series, then this final chapter is worth picking up. However, even for fans of Loeb and Sale, the series as a whole is at best a footnote to their bigger and better work on Long Halloween and Dark Victory. If youve read those great stories and enjoyed them, youll probably like this just dont expect too much of the creators this time round.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Civil War Files #1

Sep 26, 2006

All in all, this is hardly an essential purchase, but provides a surprisingly comprehensive and all-encompassing breakdown of exactly what's going on in the Civil War for all those who haven't got the time, money or incilination to purchase the many tie-in issues. Whether it's worth the fairly steep price tag of $3.99 will depend entirely on your tolerance level for encylopedia projects like this: for me, it's a lot more readable than other such similar efforts (the last one I tried was the New Avengers Raft Breakout Files, and I only got halfway through that), but I can't really see anyone other than completists feeling that they'd got their money's worth.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Civil War: Choosing Sides #1

Oct 27, 2006

With a little more concentration on quality over quantity - and perhaps an expansion of the more successful stories - this could have been a worthy addition to the Civil War event. As it stands though, it comes off as Marvel's attempt to ape DC's Brave New World taster issue (but at full price!), and despite the title, which promises an exploration of the motivation of various characters in Civil War, there's little or no attention given to how any of the characters chose their stance in the Marvel Universe's latest conflict. A cynical marketing exercise which will only be worth checking out if you're a particular fan of any of the characters or creators who feature, and if you're got a spare $4 kicking around; everyone else will manage perfectly well without it.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Civil War: Front Line #2

Jul 6, 2006

Still, for readers like me who are still enjoying Millars core Civil War title, this book is a nice opportunity to see the ideas of that series explored on a wider canvas. If you look at Front Line as more of a Civil War supplement than a solid book in its own right, then its doing a fairly good job its just a shame that a writer of Jenkins calibre has been limited by editorial necessities which have got in the way of him simply telling a good story.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Civil War: Front Line #3

Jul 17, 2006

Front Line, then: still not a runaway success, but worth a look for those who need their Civil War fix between issues of the main title. And can we have some follow-up on last issues Norman Osborn plot strand, please?

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Civil War: Front Line #5

Aug 24, 2006

I suppose that the one saving grace of the recently-announced massive delays to the main Civil War book is that well be spared Front Line for a while. If this book were released without being tied in to a huge crossover event, there simply wouldnt be any audience for it. As the ties to the main Civil War title grow more tenuous and momentum slows for the event as a whole I could see readers leaving this book in droves: its just not providing enough entertainment or intrigue to justify its status as a stand-alone series and certainly isnt worth $3 a pop. I only feel sorry for Jenkins, as I know hes better than this.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Civil War: Front Line #7

Oct 19, 2006

I realise that I've said nothing about the art so far, but if you've seen any of Front Line has provided then you'll know what to expect. Steve Lieber's art on "The Accused" still stands out as the most effective given the tone that Front Line seems to be aiming for, and the sequences this issue which see Speedball slipping in and out of consciousness and remembering his past in flashback are carried off particularly well. Ramon Bachs still does well with his work on "Embedded," lending the characters more definition through his artwork that Jenkins' text manages to supply (his dishevelled Urich is a particular success, and Floyd looks suitably wrung-out but unrepenting in her holding cell), and both artists ensure that this Jenkins' stronger storytelling for these two sections of the book with this issue are matched with their best work so far. This being Front Line, though, there have got to be a couple of clangers in there, and the war poetry section continues to astound with its

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Civil War: The Confession #1

Mar 20, 2007

The section of the book which deals with Captain America is less substantial, and functions as more of a reprise of the core arguments of Civil War than an important continuation of the story. There's some of the usual Bendis banter, despite the seriousness of the subject matter, but the writer fails to really get inside the head of Rogers in the same way that he attempts to do with Stark. Alex Maleev's art manages to keep things interesting throughout, and his style seems to be becoming more refined, detailed and layered than ever (with suitably sophisticated colouring to boot), but other than the pretty visuals and a couple of interesting interactions between the two main characters, there's not a huge amount that's compelling here. This is a quiet moment of contemplation after the storm, which shows up the flaws in both sides' approach to the Civil War, but doesn't really contain enough substance to justify its special one-shot status.

View Issue       View Full Review
3.0
Civil War: The Initiative #1

Mar 9, 2007

Sell this issue for $1 and you might get readers hooked on a few new titles. Give it away, and you'd be laughing. But charge $5 for the pleasure, and you're going to have quite a few readers feeling like they've been taken for a ride. Instead of getting me on board for The Initiative, this has soured me on the event considerably, and hasn't actually told me anything about it beyond the fact that there will be a few new books from Marvel coming out over the next couple of months. You'd think that the publisher would be keen to capitalise on the success of Civil War, but this isn't the way to go about it. Disappointing.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Claws #3

Oct 31, 2006

I don't mean to sound completely down on this style of comic; in fact, I could see it being a fun purchase for young readers (although I do wonder how they'd handle the sexual subtext), and Joe Linsner's artwork earns the book some credit for its strong, consistent and unashamedly cartoony style, but there's really very little else in this issue to make me recommend it to anyone beyond the die-hard Wolverine or Black Cat fans who will have already decided to buy it regardless. Sadly, that might just be enough people to make this comic a success.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Complete Dracula #1

May 22, 2009

There's such a thing as being too respectful when adapting a story into a completely different medium, and in the case of The Complete Dracula, there's a sense that not enough has been done to transform the text of Stoker's original novel into an enjoyable comic in its own right. The over reliance on narrative captions, the conflict between the epistolary nature of the text and the direct nature of the artwork, and the compressed nature of the story all combine to make this a less enjoyable adaptation than I was hoping for.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Criminal #2

Nov 9, 2006

As with the first issue, there's some added material in the back pages in the form of a brief issue commentary, some letters, and a short essay by Brubaker on one of his favourite noir films. It's nice to see that Warren Ellis' Fell has already influenced the way such comics are put together, and even if this book can't match Fell's criminally low price, it's still a very solid package for $2.99, especially given the lack of ads. Considering the strength of the marketing push that many comics websites have been giving Criminal, it's perhaps unsurprising that the book's first issue failed to completely blow me away. With the second, however, we're getting a clearer picture of the kind of stories Brubaker might be telling in his pet project, and I'm glad I stuck around to see how this heist played out. It's impossible to predict where the story will go next, and the revelations of the second half of the book set the stage for a far more twisty-turny and high-stakes story than the fir

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Criminal #6

May 25, 2007

This is a strong first issue of a new arc which already promises to be more involving than the previous five issues. Those readers who have enjoyed the series so far will find a lot more to enjoy here, but if you haven't tried Criminal yet, this is a good place to start.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Daredevil (1998) #70

Feb 22, 2005

Ultimately though, too little happened for this arc to be spread out into 5 issues, and so many little things were in motion at the same time that there wasn't really enough time to focus on the character of Matt (or even Daredevil!), which is always the strongest element of Bendiss take on the series. Bonts eventual fate was a little disappointing and anti-climactic, and the Gladiators fantastic melancholy and tortured characterisation in this arc was dispensed with a little too hurriedly for my tastes by simply throwing him back into prison. A shame for an arc which showed so much potential - but still a decent enough Daredevil story from the current team.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Daredevil (1998) #71

Mar 28, 2005

I like the issue, but theres a nagging feeling that the forward momentum that was built up so well for the character in the last couple of years is stalling: theres a slightly unsettling sense that the team may have passed their peak on this title, and are having to resort to constantly mining the same seam over and over to get any real drama out of their central character. To put it bluntly, Bendis skipped over this particular period in Matt Murdocks life for valid storytelling reasons the first time round. Unless he can put a different, more interesting spin on the "lost year" next issue, hes in danger of undermining some of the teams finest work on the title so far.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Daredevil (1998) #75

Jul 28, 2005

I cant help but feel that for all his brilliant work on Daredevil and Matt Murdock, the time might well be ripe for Bendis to end his run on the title, as it seems hes running out of ideas. I can only hope he brings his A-game to his final arc which begins next issue, because his last year on the title has despite some excellent moments been far more uneven and uninspiring than the rest of his stellar run on the book. It pains me to say it, but without Alex Maleevs undeniable talents (and its been a pleasure to watch him continue to evolve on the book, aided more recently by the greatness of Dave Stewarts constantly mood-enhancing colours), this book wouldnt have scored half as highly. And for Bendis and Maleevs Daredevil, once the high-water mark of Marvel superhero noir, thats particularly damning.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil (1998) #77

Oct 7, 2005

The cliffhanger in question is less of a knockout revelation or cheap shock and more of a thought-provoking image that makes me eager to read next issue, and its all the better for it. Bendis doesnt feel like hes artificially manufacturing conflict or drama here, but instead that the drive of the story is arising naturally out of the characters and situations that hes been playing around with ever since his run began. Only now, hes really bringing out the big guns. Case in point: even though he doesnt appear in person, the Kingpins shadow hangs over this issue. I like that Fisk has continued to exert an influence over Matts life despite his apparent dethronement back in issue #50, and its good to see that their latest conflict seems likely to be as much an intellectual battle as that issue was a physical confrontation. Bendis assertion some time ago that Fisk likes to play people chess is validated this issue, as the well-meaning but ultimately misguided FBI director e

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil (1998) #79

Nov 28, 2005

Bendis uses Bullseye here in much the same fashion as he did during his Hardcore arc a couple of years ago. Hes little more than a spanner to throw into the works of whatever Daredevil is trying to achieve, and whilst its a simplistic use of the character, it works very well to provide a visually thrilling and action-packed single issue. Bendis shows his skill as a writer in a more subtle way than usual here, as although its easy to get tired of the idiosyncratic sound effects and grunting and groaning that accompany many of his fights, theres some real imagination on display here too. I loved all the throwing and catching of various weapons, the attacks and the counter-attacks, the grand sense of spectacle and the originality with which one of our heroes is finally brought down. Whilst some comicbook fight sequences have the feeling of being left to the artist to provide a standard slugfest, theres clearly a lot of careful planning and effort which has gone into the writing

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Daredevil (1998) #81

Jan 27, 2006

Despite some of my reservations about this relatively inconclusive and low-key ending for such an epic run, Ill admit to being fairly intrigued by the situation Matt is left in at the issues end. It leaves Daredevil in an environment which holds a lot of storytelling promise, and would have come as a fairly groundbreaking and surprising move if it hadnt been spoiled by advance Marvel solicitations. Id like to say that its a ballsy move, but well only really see if its a worthy idea when Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark take over to title in a months time. It could be seen as canny marketing on Marvels part, as it makes any readers who have got into Daredevil through Bendis run more likely to stick around and see how Brubaker follows him. But that said, Im willing to give the publisher the benefit of the doubt on their decision to interlink the two teams stints on the book so integrally, as its nice to see a transition between two writers which is as smoothly-planned as thi

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil (1998) #84

May 4, 2006

Once of my concerns is that Ed Brubaker is going to have to be careful that hes not over-burdening himself with too many characters, as by the end of the issue weve already got the Kingpin, Turk, Hammerhead, the Owl and Bullseye under Rykers roof, along with all manner of minor gangsters and villains who have been interspersed between the bigger players. Hes also got to make sure that he doesnt neglect the many subplots which are furthered this issue, as Ben Urich and Dakota Norths search for the new Daredevil could run the risk of becoming a tiresome wild goose chase if not handled correctly, and little time is given to the ongoing thread which deals with the political machinations of the director of the FBI. The other side of the coin, however, is that Brubaker has handled all of these elements very well up to this point, and theres no reason to imagine that hell slip up now. All the pieces are in place for a barnstorming second half of the arc, and Im hoping that the wri

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Daredevil (1998) #88

Sep 1, 2006

The writer drops one or two hints about his long-running story into the mix, but for the most part this is a character study of an ordinary man in an extraordinary world who has started to realise just how precarious his position is. Caught between an impotent and corrupt FBI and a heroic friend who has been forced to abandon him as he flees the country, Foggys plight seems unlikely to affect the books core plot to a huge degree at the moment, but makes for a fairly illuminating character study for those of us who have been following the book for a while. Just give us some Daredevil in the pages of Daredevil next time, please.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil (1998) #90

Oct 31, 2006

Brubaker's first arc set a monumentally high standard for his run on the book, and it's no surprise to find that his second story has chosen to slow things down and mix things up a little more than the sleek opener did. Now that he's got the fans on-side, Brubaker is free to start telling the kind of stories he really wants to tell with the character, and I've got confidence in the writer to build the plot threads of this arc into something more than the wild goose chase it appears to be so far - and in the meantime the quality of the storytelling is good enough that regular readers won't feel short-changed.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil (1998) #91

Nov 28, 2006

Lark and Gaudiano's art continues to impress, and the secret weapon that is Matt Hollingsworth's colouring adds another dimension to their already pretty linework. As the sepia flashbacks segue into the cool blue of the Paris night, the sense of atmosphere is palpable, and the atmosphere of darkness and danger which is created by the artists during the fight sequence never sells the gritty, serious qualities of the story short. I think that when Brubaker announced that he would be returning to a more "swashbuckling" style of Daredevil story, I half expected him to lose the edge that the book had maintained under Bendis, but there's been no sacrifice in that department as far as I can see. Yes, the style of storytelling is different, and Daredevil under Brubaker definitely feels like more of a crime comic than it has done in the past few years, but the only apparent loss is the unending focus on Matt's character - and as the book has moved further away from the "outing" storyline whi

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Daredevil (1998) #93

Feb 2, 2007

If it seems unfair to criticise a comic because I don't like the direction of the story (rather than evaluating how well that story is told), then it's worth considering the extent to which Daredevil has been characterised over the last five years by the overarching story of his unmasking and the personal troubles that have ensued for him as a result. This issue all but undoes all of that development in a surprisingly short space of time, and whilst that will be a positive thing for some readers, others may feel that the golden era of Bendis' run has been definitively put to rest with this issue. Those of you who are reading this review and thinking that Im stuck in the past and that the book needs to move on should probably add an extra bullet to the rating, but for readers who see Bendis work on the title as defining, now might be a good time to end their ride, as most of the loose ends of that era are tied up very neatly indeed.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil (1998) #96

May 1, 2007

This issue is par for the course for Brubaker's Daredevil, as the opening issues of his arcs often ask more questions than they answer, laying detailed groundwork for a satisfying finale whilst dropping hints that allow attentive readers to begin to piece the mystery elements together for themselves; this issue sees an unusually frequent emphasis on the word "think," for example, and Matt Hollingsworth's colouring frequently employs various shades of purple, although this could be subtle misdirection. Gaudiano and Lark's consistently strong artwork is perfectly-suited to the dark, grounded tone of the story (and they execute yet another well-choreographed action sequence this issue), and Brubaker's steady hand as a writer makes this one of the most reliably satisfying monthly superhero comics being published today.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Daredevil (1998) #97

Jun 4, 2007

Quieter character moments provide some pause; Foggy Nelson provides a little comic relief as he muses on Matt's luck with the ladies. There is an interesting evolution of the subplot involving the irresistible Lily Lucca, and a classic noir vibe is evoked by Daredevil's rhetorical questioning of one of Melvin's victims as he lies dead in a bloody bathtub. Perhaps Brubaker's new Criminal project is building on his strengths as a straight crime writer even further? Brubaker combines all this with a familiarity and ease which would have you believe that he's been writing Daredevil for years. I love the logical, natural, almost casual use that Brubaker makes of his heightened senses, whether he's tracking down a murder victim by his scent, or predicting that "Lucca's about to walk in." It makes for a book which the usual overused superlatives don't do justice. Simply put, it's one of the best superhero books currently on the stands, and if issue #100 is going to be the landmark issue

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Daredevil (1998) #98

Jun 29, 2007

In many ways, this feels like the climax of one of the arc's major story threads - and we've still got a whole issue to go. I can't wait to see where Brubaker takes the story next, and this issue is bookended by two pages which hint at a larger plot involving the mystery mastermind of the past few issues which promises to make Matt's life even harder: just the way we like it. Publishers of superhero comics should look to Daredevil if they want to see how a monthly superhero title is done properly: no overly-complicated crossovers, no marketing gimmicks, just a straightforward and very compelling story, realised with intelligent and exciting writing and great-looking artwork which really brings the script to life.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Daredevil (1998) #101

Oct 30, 2007

"Without Fear" has all the elements of a classic Daredevil story arc without feeling too derivative or simply repeating what has gone before. It's a fun ride that I really can't fault, aside from the occasional sense that the pace is a little too considered. However, it's almost certain that Brubaker's careful, deliberate construction of the story will be worth waiting for, and my desire for the book to move a more quickly is probably just indicative of my wish to read the next chapter as soon as possible. Turk's portentous comment that "You don't push Murdock too far" hints at an even more tense and exciting developments to come, and I can't wait to see what Brubaker has in store for us next.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil (1998) #103

Dec 27, 2007

Readers of Daredevil will begin to appreciate how much they've been spoiled with quality stories lately when an issue that's as good as this one feels like a fairly run-of-the-mill instalment of the title. For most other superhero books, this would be a standout story - but for Daredevil, this is merely the appetiser for what I'm sure will be an even more satisfying finale to the arc in the next couple of issues. A couple of years ago, I was lamenting the fact that Bendis and Maleev were leaving the book; now, I'm hoping the Brubaker, Gaudiano and Lark stay on it as long as possible. "Without Fear" is a successfully continuation of a run that is bound to go down as a classic for the character alongside Bendis and Miller's defining interpretations.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Daredevil (1998) #105

Feb 26, 2008

It's very rare that I choose to award five-bullet ratings to serial superhero comics. The reason for that isn't that I think that the genre isn't worthy of such high praise - indeed, the majority of comics that I read are superhero titles - but on an issue-to-issue basis, things are normally so inconclusive and open-ended that I don't often feel that the issue is satisfying enough on its own terms to warrant the perfect score. With this issue, Brubaker has crafted a climax for his current arc which also acts as a point of punctuation for his entire run so far, whilst at the same time making for a thrilling read as a single issue. I couldn't ask for more from a superhero comic; therefore, I couldn't justify anything less than full marks for this book.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil (1998) #106

Mar 25, 2008

This issue provides a good recap of the current status quo of Daredevil, making it a good place for new readers to jump on board the book. It's a summary of where Matt's head is at the moment, and also functions as a decent exploration of how his actions and self-destructive attitude are affecting the people he holds most dear. Whilst I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping that things will brighten up for the character eventually, this is an affecting portrayal of a superhero at his lowest ebb, and punctuates the last year's worth of issues with a full stop which will allow Brubaker to move the book in a slightly different direction from the next issue onwards, should he choose to do so.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Daredevil (1998) #110

Aug 26, 2008

I don't review Daredevil as often as I used to, but I haven't missed an issue since I first started the book with Bendis' run many years ago, and I can't think of a book that has maintained such a consistently high quality of storytelling over such an extended period. This is the most mature, unpatronising superhero title that Marvel publishes, and with Gaudiano, Lark and Hollingsworth on art duties, it's one of the best-looking, too. Movie critics have recently lauded Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight for its adult approach to the genre, its realistic tone, its complex take on crime and how it affects society, and the difficult moral dilemmas that it addresses; someone should let them know that Bendis and Brubaker's Daredevil has been doing it for years.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil (1998) #111

Sep 23, 2008

Unsurprisingly, it looks like the latest arc of Daredevil is off to a strong start. Whilst this is very much an opening issue in that it sets up various elements of the story that will surely payoff later, there are still plenty of significant events here that will keep fans of the book entertained and eager to see where Brubaker takes them. I haven't talked very much about Lady Bullseye herself because I don't want to spoil the events of the issue too much, but suffice it to say that she's more complex than she first appeared, and Brubaker looks as though he's going to succeed in making what could have come off as a gimmicky Bullseye/Elektra knock-off into something far more interesting. I can't wait to see how the story progresses.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil (1998) #113

Nov 25, 2008

If you're a fan of street-level superhero comics that are rooted in the real world, with fully-realised characters and well thought-out plots, you really should be reading Daredevil. "Lady Bullseye" is shaping up to be a real crowd-pleaser, weaving classic superhero elements into a story that also benefits from Brubaker's knack for establishing mood and atmosphere, and setting it all against a satisfying noir backdrop. If and when DC Comics needs to re-invigorate their Batman franchise again, I'd love to see this team be given the reins for an extended period. However, that would mean them leaving Daredevil, and I think I'd rather see them continue to mine this satisfying and rich seam of stories for the time being.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil (1998) #114

Dec 23, 2008

If previous issues of "Lady Bullseye" have seen writer Ed Brubaker line up plot points like dominoes, this issue sees him begin to tip them over in expert fashion, bringing Matt's life crashing down around him and creating problems for both his civilian and superhero identities. Daredevil readers wouldn't have it any other way.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Daredevil (1998) #115

Jan 27, 2009

Even if it feels as though Brubaker has over-egged the pudding a little with regard to the surprise that he pulls on us here, he still manages to wrap up the loose ends of "Lady Bullseye" in a satisfying way, leaving one or two plot points dangling in order to set up the next arc, which sees the Kingpin return to the book. I look forward to it.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Daredevil (1998) #116

Mar 3, 2009

Daredevil might not have the finest rogues' gallery in the world: in fact, you can probably count his truly memorable adversaries on your fingers without running out of digits. However, with villains that are as complex and fully-realised as the Kingpin is here, there's really no need for any more. Ed Brubaker's reintroduction of Wilson Fisk is a great standalone story that also sets up the next phase of his work on the book, ranking as one of the best issues of Daredevil for a long time -- and considering the high quality of Brubaker's run so far, that's quite a compliment. This is inspiring storytelling that builds on the foundations of Daredevil continuity to tell a fresh story that touches on the universal themes of love, redemption and the challenge of overcoming our inherent human flaws and breaking out of cycles of self-destructive behaviour. If only all superhero comics were this good.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Daredevil (1998) #119

Jun 23, 2009

I feel ambivalent about giving this issue of Daredevil a middling bullet rating, because despite the fact that it doesn't live up to the high standards of previous issues, the book is still head-and-shoulders above most other superhero titles on the stands. Still, this is far from being the finest issue of Brubaker's run (or even of this particular story arc), and so can't help feeling like a necessary but only mildly diverting middle chapter that sets up a lot of elements that will doubtless pay off in Brubaker's big finale, but doesn't provide many payoffs in its own right.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Daredevil (1998) #501

Oct 6, 2009

Despite being painted into a corner by Brubaker's slightly contrived-feeling cliffhanger, this is a decent first issue from Andy Diggle. It feels as though he's easing himself into the book slowly rather than trying to make his mark immediately, and that's probably a good thing -- particularly since Brubaker's run felt as though it was so abruptly curtailed. It remains to be seen whether he'll be able to match the quality of his predecessors' work on the title, but this is a solid enough start. I'll be interested to see where things go from here.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil (1998) #502

Nov 10, 2009

Finally, I'm pleased to report that this issue sees the return of a letters page to the book. It's only a small thing (especially in an age of internet messageboards and instant contact via e-mail), but I always enjoy seeing a reader feedback forum in the book itself--and it was a nice surprise for me to see a couple of well-known contributors from the excellent manwithoutfear Daredevil fansite, Alice Lynch and Kuljit Mithra, pop up in this issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil Noir #4

Jun 30, 2009

As with the rest of the series, it's only the surface details of this issue that tie the book to Marvel's "Noir" line. In most other respects, the central characters are very similar to their regular-Marvel Universe counterparts -- and this combination of a novel setting with a strong sense of faithfulness to the original characters makes this one of the most satisfying of the "Noir" books yet. Andy Diggle hasn't even taken over the core Daredevil title yet, but when the time comes to find his replacement, let's hope that the creative team of Irvine and Coker is still fresh in the minds of Marvel's editors. In the meantime, I'm going to pre-order the TPB of Daredevil: Noir, because I have a feeling that the book will read even better in a collected edition than in single instalments.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Daredevil vs. Punisher #1

Jul 19, 2005

What's always frustrating about these kind of crossovers is that you know that however ruthless and destructive the Punisher might be able to be in his own title, once a shared Universe comes into play it becomes a lot more difficult to make any kind of lasting changes to the characters involved. Daredevil and Hammerhead (and to a lesser extent, Jackal) would seem to be on relatively safe ground so just for once, itd be nice to see Marvel editorial policy surprise us, and allow a mini like this to have some overall significance on the characters by the time the series is over. However, whats really piqued my interest in the title is not lasting effects or nothing will be the same again rather, its the promise of a clash of distinct crime-fighting ideologies which is bound to come to the fore when Daredevil learns of the events of this issue and returns to haunt the Punisher again. Just include a little more DD next time please!

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Daredevil vs. Punisher #5

Oct 24, 2005

A final exciting sequence shows the Punisher absconding from the hospital with Marys brother at the same time as Matt Murdock attempts to track him down to deal with things in his own way, yet again bringing the two heroes into conflict. Again, Lapham shows up the chinks in Punishers armour as his lack of self-discipline puts him in dangerous situations, and again its up to Daredevil to save his life. With two such strong personalities in conflict, it seems as though Lapham is building up to an exciting finale which pushes their relationship to the limit, and that final page holds a lot of promise for the concluding issue. Ive been down on this series for being overly complicated and a little too cartoony-looking over past issues, but this installment proves that Lapham is up to the task of shedding the excess detail, rendering grim and gritty visuals when the material demands it, and crafting a lean, accessible story about the legitimate conflict which is thrown up by the very

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Daredevil vs. Punisher #6

Nov 21, 2005

Despite Frank Castle hitting rock bottom in this issue, the final few pages indicate that he hasnt really learnt anything from the events of this miniseries, and its an important character moment for him which goes some way to explaining why the Punisher persists in his extreme methods. Lapham even implies with a couple of panels that Matt Murdock doesnt really believe that Frank deserves the level of punishment he receives this issue, and this along with the unresolved plot strands concerning the Jackals cushy imprisonment suggests that Lapham may have a sequel on his mind. Im not sure that the clash of the two characters could really support another series in the foreseeable future, as this mini already suffered from a slump in the middle which was only just made up for by the increase in quality of the last couple of issues. However, its fertile groud for future stories which might be interesting to revisit in future issues of Daredevil or the Punishers own titles.

View Issue       View Full Review
3.0
Daredevil: Father #3

Sep 30, 2005

The book so far seems like a somewhat muddled mess of ideas which hasnt yet threatened to coalesce into any kind of single story, and by the mid-point of a miniseries, the reader could be forgiven for expecting to have a little more idea where the plot is heading. There are ways of juggling multiple threads which still keep everything moving and manage to provide some essential motivation for the title character, whilst also providing a fun story along the way. Sadly, Quesada hasnt pulled off this tricky balancing act here, and Daredevil: Father is struggling as a result.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil: Father #4

Nov 30, 2005

Whilst this series still isnt a complete home run when taken as a whole, I like the fact that the story strands seem to be gradually coming together and providing at least some potential for a satisfying payoff, even if there are some strands which seem frustratingly unaddressed since issue one when others have been overplayed in quite a repetitive manner. Quesada acknowledges that its not yet easy to see how things are going to come together in the closing two issues of this series, but Im prepared to take him at his word and put some faith in him to provide a conclusion which is well thought-through and satisfying enough to justify the meandering early issues of this mini. Despite a couple of dodgy early issues, this installment is strong enough to encourage me to give Quesada the benefit of the doubt and see what he can come up with by way of a climax for this series. Unfortunately, hes being judged against the high standards of both the core title under Brian Bendis pen and

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Daredevil: Father #5

Jan 10, 2006

This is one of those issues which not only continues to tell its story in a compelling and exciting way, but also works to retrospectively improve previous installments through the strength of the resolution of many of the books dangling plot threads. Quesada has obviously planned this series very carefully, and its been a treat to see him intertwine the many and varied story threads and build them into a cohesive conclusion. He also shows a reverence for Daredevils continuity and character history, examining his relationship with his father from a fairly unexplored and yet perfectly logical point of view. Like Batmans parents, Spider-Mans Uncle Ben or Captain Americas Bucky, Matts dead father is predominantly used as an iconic motivation for Daredevils superhero activities, and its refreshing to see a writer use him as a character rather than a simple catalyst, taking a step back to examine how his actions in life might continue to affect Matts existence in the modern

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil: Father #6

Nov 17, 2006

Yes, I might quibble with the absence of Quesada's new super-group The Santerians and their leader NeRo - I was disappointed that neither were really given any attention here, and they turned out to be something of a red herring for the book - but they definitely added some colour (and much-needed action) to the series as a whole. I'll be interested to see whether other creators do anything with them in future, as they could definitely be used to tell some interesting stories. I also can't bring myself to assign any higher a rating to a book which has been so neglected with regard to deadlines and scheduling, as - despite the quality of the final product - Quesada has set a poor example to his creators with his own casual approach to what was originally sold as a very personal series for him. These complaints excepted, Daredevil: Father has turned out to be a much better miniseries than I expected, and the high quality of this final issue should hopefully be enough to quiet all the

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daredevil: Redemption #3

Apr 11, 2005

There are some elements that don't particularly work for me - I'm not sure of Matt's relationship with his intern, and whether or not she knows he's Daredevil, and I'm not sure where this fits into the DD timeframe (did I read somewhere that future issues of this miniseries will jump forwards in time quite considerably?), but these tiny nitpicks aren't detracting from my enjoyment of a great mystery story, told in a mature manner, with some good character work and suitably dark and moody art thrown in. A great example of what great work you can do with a miniseries outside of current continuity.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Daredevil: Redemption #6

Aug 8, 2005

Whilst there might be a couple of plot elements which seem a little too conveniently massaged into place to suit the story (especially when you consider the seven-year gap between the events of the first five issues and the majority of this final instalment), these nitpicks are minor at best. This is an excellent finale to a miniseries which has showed a very different take on Daredevil to the current direction of his core title, making the most of Matt Murdock the lawyer and restraining his presence as Daredevil to great effect. Daredevil: Redemption dares to show us a story about what happens when the system doesnt work as it should, and even questions whether Matts actions as a vigilante really go far enough to make a difference this time. The series true villain may meet some sort of justice by the time events in this issue play out, but the justice that is delivered by Daredevil is after the event, and is ultimately too little too late. Theres a bittersweet quality to this

View Issue       View Full Review
3.0
Dark Avengers #4

Apr 28, 2009

Over the last few years, the company has certainly grown beyond Stan Lee's "no change - just the illusion of change" mantra, but I'm not sure that their apparent new credo of "change for change's sake" serves their shared universe any better. In the end, reading another issue of Dark Avengers only encourages the same rhetorical questions to rear their ugly heads. They created a new Avengers title for this? They turned the Marvel Universe upside-down for this? They're expecting readers to pay $4 a pop for this?

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Dark Avengers #5

Jun 2, 2009

The result of this issue's mixture of solid characterisation for Norman Osborn and unentertaining silliness with the rest of the Avengers is a book that's as schizophrenic as the Green Goblin himself. Bendis mixes some canny and surprisingly sophisticated insights into Osborn's new position with some decidedly childish antics that take some of the edge off an otherwise entertaining issue. Still, this is the best that the book has been since the first issue, so I'm sure that existing fans of the title will love it.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Dark Avengers #6

Jun 23, 2009

This is an entertaining book that got off to a rocky start with an ill-advised time-travelling jaunt to Latveria that made issues #2-4 painful to read. However, the last couple of issues have seen the title begin to come into its own, with a mixture of cynical politics and interesting dysfunctional personalities that combine to make it perversely enjoyable. My only concern is that the next few issues are going to see the title thrown into a crossover with the X-Men, just as it seemed to be finding its feet. Let's hope that it manages to recapture its current mojo once that story is over.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Dark Avengers #8

Aug 25, 2009

Finally, I would question why this story has been serialised in the pages of Dark Avengers, when it's far more of an X-Men-centric story (with Norman Osborn's cronies as guest-stars). It only serves to dilute the brand of what was launched as the flagship "Dark Reign" title -- and given that the next issue of the book appears to be a Secret Warriors crossover, it looks like a trend that's going to continue.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Dark Avengers #9

Sep 15, 2009

Still, the closing pages of the issue see Bendis throw in a surprising and unexpected cliffhanger involving one member of his team that should really get people talking. Hopefully the next issue of the book will explore the ramifications of this development in full, and we'll see Bendis and Deodato make a real return to a story that was just starting to get good before the "Utopia" crossover got in the way.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Dark Reign: Elektra #4

Jun 23, 2009

The rest of the issue is slightly less interesting: the Skrull subplot doesn't seem to be going anywhere (although there is a hint that Wells might pin down the moment of Elektra's replacement by a Skrull with a little more accuracy than Bendis did), and the final page guest-appearance feels a little gratuitous and unnecessary. However, aside from these small weaknesses, this is a very enjoyable issue of a story that has succeeded in telling an Elektra story that feels true to Frank Miller's original conception of the character, whilst also incorporating the messy history of recent months in a relatively streamlined and unobtrusive manner.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Dark Reign: Hawkeye #2

May 12, 2009

This is an enjoyable enough read if you're a fan of Bullseye -- or of Norman Osborn and the current "Dark Reign" status quo in general -- but there's nothing to really make it stand out as worthy of recommendation for anybody who isn't following Marvel's latest event in any great detail. As a story, it doesn't really feel as though it's headed anywhere interesting, but the decent artwork and well-executed action sequences should keep fans of Daredevil's arch-nemesis happy.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Dark Reign: Hawkeye #4

Jul 28, 2009

As with previous issues of this series, you'll probably get a lot more out of this book if you're a die-hard fan of Bullseye as a character. Having said that, Diggle does provide a decent story for more casual readers to get their teeth into (with Ben Urich's role in the plot gradually becoming more significant as the series progresses), and the decent artwork ensures that there are usually some well-executed visual elements to hold your attention.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Dark Reign: Sinister Spider-Man #1

Jun 23, 2009

Those people who don't appreciate Bachalo's exaggerated angular style will probably find little to win them over here, but for everybody else this is a great-looking book that tells an intriguing story, plunging the love-to-hate anti-hero that is Venom into the sandbox of the current status quo of Amazing Spider-Man, with entertaining results.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Dark Reign: The Cabal #1

Apr 28, 2009

As with all anthologies, this issue is something of a mixed bag. However, in this case the good outweighs the bad, and I can't help but feel that that's the result of the amount of latitude given to the creators to tell whatever type of story they want within the confines of this anthology format, rather than being forced to write something directly relevant to a given plotline or event. It's more "Free Rein" than "Dark Reign", and all the better for it.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Dark Reign: The List - Punisher #1

Oct 27, 2009

This issue is that rare thing: a crossover comic that doesn't feel forced or unwieldy, doesn't feel like it compromises its lead character in order to serve the needs of the larger "event", and actually has some major ramifications for the hero's ongoing solo title. In fact, the climax of this story is so integral to the larger story that Remender is telling in the regular Punisher book that I'm surprised that it wasn't included there instead. Still, as the preview pages at the back of this issue show, the next issue of Punisher is going to be picking up at the exact point that this issue leaves off, and I'm sure that anyone who reads this book is going to find it very difficult to resist the opportunity to pick up that issue and see what happens to Frank Castle next.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Dark Reign: The List: Avengers #1

Sep 8, 2009

Yes, his characterisation of the rest of the team continues to make them look a little ineffectual in the face of Osborn's villainy, but that seems to be the point that Bendis is trying to make: that Norman has risen to such a position of power that it's going to be very difficult for the heroes to take him down whilst still playing by the rules. This, in conjunction with the hints that Norman is preparing to make his move on many of the MU's biggest superheroes, has me quite interested to see how the overarching story of The List plays out.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Dark Reign: The List: Daredevil #1

Sep 15, 2009

Conversely, more casual readers may feel a little cheated by a "stand-alone" issue that sets up many different plot points without resolving many of them. Then again, Daredevil has consistently been one of Marvel's strongest titles for many years now, so perhaps it wouldn't hurt to lure followers of "Dark Reign" into reading a superhero book that really isn't afraid to approach the genre in a truly mature, sophisticated--and, yes, "dark"--manner.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Dark Reign: The List: X-Men #1

Sep 22, 2009

As with the previous Dark Reign--The List specials, I get the feeling that this issue will be appreciated most by regular followers of the headline characters, rather than by "Dark Reign" enthusiasts in general, as it seems that the series of one-shots isn't going to have quite as coherent an inter-connected storyline as I expected. Still, X-Men fans and lovers of Alan Davis's artwork probably won't be disappointed.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Dark Tower: Sorcerer #1

Apr 14, 2009

Far from being the inconsequential one-shot that I expected, this issue is one of the most enjoyable Dark Tower comics in quite a while, and one that proves that both Robin Furth and Richard Isanove are more than capable of writing and illustrating the book in the absence of their usual collaborators. I'd be happy to see more of these one-shot stories produced in future to fill the gap between minis and flesh out the world of the Dark Tower books more fully.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Dark Tower: The Fall of Gilead #1

May 12, 2009

The extras also include some illustrations by Dennis Calero (including one of Furth herself) and some page breakdowns and black-and-white pages from Isanove (which are even more impressive-looking in this monochrome form).

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #4

Jun 10, 2008

The Dark Tower comics have never wowed me exactly, and I've never been motivated to rave about how good they are on internet messageboards or to evangelistically encourage other readers to try them. However, I've always found them to be solid, enjoyable reads, and I think that they deserve credit for their consistent quality of storytelling and for their creation of such a convincing and fully-formed fantasy world. The Long Road Home is providing a regular dose of original, well-written and well-illustrated escapism, and I think that that's certainly worthy of praise.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Dark Tower: Treachery #6

Feb 27, 2009

The issue closes with some extra material in the form of a text piece by Robin Furth that explains the significance of the riddle competition in Gilead's cultural calendar. It's one of the more interesting pieces to have been published in the series. I have to admit that, as someone who isn't particularly interested in the wider universe of the Dark Tower books, I often skim these text pieces rather than reading them closely. However, this one adds some interesting background to the issue's riddle-solving contest without feeling like and excess of detailed backstory for its own sake, and even includes a set of riddles for readers to try and solve themselves. In addition to the usual sketch material and uncolored pencils, it makes for a decent package of extras that goes some way to justifying the series' $3.99 price tag.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Daytripper #1

Dec 21, 2009

This isnt a book with a snappy concept or an easily marketable premise. Instead, it looks like its going to be a relatively quiet, contemplative series that muses on the smaller details and greater meaning of life, with the story of this opening issue given extra impetus by the knowledge that death might be just around the corner. I look forward to seeing where Fbio Moon and Gabriel B take the series in issue #2 (will look at other scenes from Brss life, or will the book concentrate on other characters?), and what ideas they choose to explore next.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Daytripper #3

Mar 1, 2010

Daytripper is a book thats very difficult to categorize and I wont do it the disservice of attempting to compare it to any other books being released at the moment, because theres really nothing else like it on the stands. If you feel like reading a book thats more concerned with thoughts, feelings, and emotions than it is with action and spectacle, and which is more likely to spend its pages exploring philosophical ideas about the real world than coining new fantastical concepts, then I can highly recommend Moon and Bs series. I cant help but feel that its only going to get better as it continues to explore the many possible lives of its protagonist.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Detective Comics #822

Sep 1, 2006

DC is being very canny in offering its Bat-fans a choice of stories in this book and Batman, and between the two takes, theres bound to be something thats to your taste. If your penchant is for more cerebral, nourish crime thrillers instead of a supervillain-of-the-month joyrider, then Detective Comics is definitely the batbook for you.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Detective Comics #823

Sep 26, 2006

Not the worst comic I've ever read, but certainly not the jewel in DC's Batman crown that everybody praises Dini's work as. Between this and Grant Morrison's latest issue of Batman, things seem to be going off the boil rather quickly for the Dark Knight's new high-profile creative teams.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Detective Comics #856

Aug 31, 2009

Still, considering the fact that Im having to pay an extra dollar per month for a backup story that still isnt really doing anything for me, Im starting to wonder whether Detective Comics is worth following in the more expensive monthly format, or whether Id be better served by waiting for the collected edition.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
DMZ #1

Dec 9, 2005

The set-up of this first issue bodes very well for the future of the series, providing a very three-dimensional and sympathetic protagonist, a cast of interesting characters, and an opportunity for the story to go in all kinds of directions after that final page. It also opens our eyes to a different side of war which might not be as palatable as the black-and-white politics which are presented through the media, but which deserves just as much examination. Im keen to see this series proceed, and Im hoping to be equally as challenged and entertained by future issues as I was by this impressive debut.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
DMZ #3

Jan 24, 2006

Brian Wood has made his exploration of life in the DMZ come alive through the creation of interesting and three-dimensional characters. Matt and Zee are both great examples of complex and fully-formed personalities even at this early stage, and I hope that that element of the book isnt ignored in favour of a bigger-picture approach in future issues. A larger canvas may be useful when depicting the scale of urban degradation in New York or the impact of shock-and-awe military activity in the DMZ, but the heart of the book remains its characters and the very human outlook on war with which they provide the reader. That said, I dont want to sound like Im being overly hard on the title, as this issue only suffers due to comparison with the very high standard established by the series opening two issues. This is still a very worthwhile read with a very distinctive voice and crucially, something to say - and Im looking forward to seeing Matts story continue in future issues.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ex Machina #8

Feb 21, 2005

All in all, its another gripping issue from the Ex Machina team, who is crafting a great twisting story here, melding the political and character-based elements of the book with a real paranoid-thriller feel an atmosphere which is reinforced by this months Hitchcock-esque cover. It might not be the most accessible place to start reading the book, but this issue throws up some interesting new revelations for longtime readers and continues to push the plot on to new, interesting places. Definitely worth checking out.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Ex Machina #15

Oct 19, 2005

Vaughn and Harris have told a far more compelling story here than the solicitations would suggest, exploring the central characters past and family history in a way which also builds upon his presence in the series present. Heres to many more issues of this excellent and mature series.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ex Machina #16

Dec 8, 2005

That said, a middling issue of Ex Machina is still a far better comic than a good issue of many other titles, and the consistency of tone, visual style and characterisation that Vaughn and Harris have been able to maintain throughout this series is only matched by the consistently high quality of writing and multi-layered plotting which has been the hallmark of the series so far. This is not the best jumping-on point for new readers and neither is it the best showcase of the winning mix of politics and superheroics which has served the book so well in the past, but it is at least a solid enough conclusion to a fairly interesting short story that gives us a brief respite before the teams next big arc - which apparently deals with domestic reaction to the Iraq conflict in 2003. I cant wait.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Ex Machina #19

Apr 10, 2006

After a mildly faltering last issue, Vaughn and Harris are back to the top of their game here. Real-world relevance, a mature take on the complexities of politics (both global and personal) and a great mystery all add up to make this arc one of the most essential reads since Ex Machina began. Vaughn even finds time to lay tiny clues for the hard-core fans to keep them guessing as to exactly how and why Hundred got his powers, with another reference to The Stars are Down this issue providing fodder for those who are following the series ongoing thread. Yet somehow, its no longer those parts of the story which keep me coming back to the book its the essentially relevant subject matter of the politics, and the way in which Hundred deals with it which is the cornerstone of the books appeal for me. Vaughn and Harris did a smart thing in originally selling this book as a superhero comic with occasional political elements, because it hooked enough readers in that they could take t

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Ex Machina #20

May 12, 2006

Some readers may continue to bemoan the lack of action in this series, but theres a reason why Vaughn is playing things the way he is, and choosing to release details about Mitchs history as The Great Machine a little at a time. Each gradual reveal of Hundreds past life peels back yet another layer of what we know about the man, and this issue is a particular biggie, as we see more of Mitchs actions on 9-11 than weve been privy to in the past. Vaughn links this to his current storyline in a way which definitively sets the Ex Machina universe apart from our own, implying that The Great Machines actions on that day only served to temporarily stem anti-American terrorism rather than eradicate it completely. Its a sophisticated view of the conflict of ideologies which is the nominal basis for the U.S.A.s current War on Terrorism, albeit one which may not be as palatable as a more straightforward approach, owing to the fact that it refuses to paint the two sides clearly (or eve

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Ex Machina #21

Jun 29, 2006

This issue falls foul of some of the weaknesses which tend to afflict a lot of first issues of multi-part stories these days: namely, too much set-up and not enough meat to get our teeth into. Still, Ill definitely be interested to see how Vaughan does tie all the disparate plot points together, and with the ever-reliable art team still putting together a quality package, this is still a book which is very much worth your time.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ex Machina #22

Aug 4, 2006

I'm in danger of sounding like a broken record in my constant recommendation of Ex Machina, and truth be told this isn't the most accessible jumping-on point for new readers, but with the series only just approaching its halfway mark it's not too late to get on board. Although this arc has brought us less of the political complexity which makes the book so appealing, it's still turning in a strong, character-based story with enough plot developments to keep things intellectually stimulating as well as visually exciting. In a year which has seen multiple titles dropping off my pull list, this book is one of the few that I wouldn't even consider getting rid of - and that should give you some idea of the confidence I've got in Vaughan and Harris to provide a quality read every month.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ex Machina #24

Nov 10, 2006

Having said that, the fact that this issue made me want to dig out my back issues of Ex Machina and read the whole thing through again up to this point must mean that the book is doing something right. The 24 issues that the title now has under its belt seem at once too many and too few: you can't quite believe that Vaughan has packed so many good stories, so much character growth and so much development of the overall plot into just 24 months, but there's also a freshness and sharpness to the writing which most titles lose once they get this far into their groove. Seeing as the book is only just reaching its halfway mark (Vaughan has apparently planned around 50 issues), it's too early to say whether Vaughan and Harris will be able to keep the standard so high for the entire run, but there's no sign of either of them flagging yet. If the next 24 issues are going to be as good as the first 24 were, then this is going to go down as one of the all-time great comic series, and I'm not

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ex Machina #25

Dec 26, 2006

The combination of smart writing and attractive, expressive art keeps people coming back to this book. The bigger moments are carried off perfectly by penciller Tony Harris, but he manages equally well with the more subtle stuff too; a good example is the panel in which Mitch complains that the city is losing all its best old architecture, set against the silhouetted background of the World Trade Centre prior to its semi-destruction (despite Hundred's best efforts). Touches like these mark the book out as sophisticated, even when it's not dealing with more overtly intellectual themes, and issues like this one reinforce the importance of complex human interaction to Ex Machina - an element which is often overlooked when people pigeonhole it as a "political" book. Despite the growing sense that Bradbury is troubled and unhappy in his relationship with Hundred, we see some tender moments of friendship between the pair, too - including a great line about why Mitch would ever want to be

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ex Machina #26

Feb 5, 2007

Ex Machina is always a thought-provoking read, offering up as much political content as it does traditional superhero material (a good example is the extensive conversation this issue about what would constitute a fitting replacement for the destroyed sections of the World Trade Center - how many other comics would devote pages of dialogue to that?). Gradually, we're coming closer to learning the truth about Mitch's powers, and the other mysteries that Vaughan is adding to the mix provide added spice to a story which would be compelling enough as a simple political drama, but gains extra dimensions thanks to the more fantastical elements of the Great Machine's story. The villains are three-dimensional (Kremlin's wish to return Mitch to a more active superhero role is very easy to symapthise with, even if he is going about it in an underhand manner), the character conflicts are meaningful, and the many new story threads which begin this issue are instantly attention-grabbing. Of cour

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Ex Machina #28

May 25, 2007

Despite all this good work, however, there's somehow a nagging sense that not a lot really happens this issue, and that things are very much ticking along in anticipation of the book's next chapter. Whilst it's never anywhere close to being a bad comic, Ex Machina does have occasional lapses where an individual issue fails to live up to the high standard of the rest of the series, and this is one of those times. In juggling a few disparate plot strands which each demand resolution in the arc's final issue next month, Vaughan hasn't given us anything really meaty to get our teeth into in this penultimate instalment - and the result is a transitional chapter with a fair few good scenes, but which doesn't make for the most thrilling read in its own right. Having said that, a middling issue of Ex Machina is still a lot better than most other comics out there, and I'm happy to continue on this ride to see where the story goes next.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Ex Machina #29

Jun 26, 2007

Although I'm still enjoying this book more than most of the superhero titles I pick up on a monthly basis, I'm hoping that it will soon start to make some more purposeful steps towards the conclusion that Vaughan has planned for the series, and give us something to really get our teeth into.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ex Machina #30

Sep 27, 2007

Whilst not a perfect issue, this is a solid opener for a new arc. It's an unusual move for Vaughan to show his hand so early in the course of an Ex Machina story, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I've recently started to grow a little tired of the lack of resolution (or, indeed, explanation) that has been provided for many of the book's dangling plot points, so for the writer to set out his stall so clearly in this arc's first chapter comes as a refreshing surprise. That said, this is a Brian K. Vaughan story, so there's still plenty of potential for me to be surprised later down the line. The preview image for issue #31, featuring The Great Machine's supposedly-dead nemesis Pherson, has me quite excited to see where the writer is taking this story next.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ex Machina #31

Oct 19, 2007

However, this issue isn't perfect: I was a little confused by Bradbury's remarks that a nun was saying "something about going to the stars", because anyone with a working knowledge of Italian (or access to an online translation service) can see that the character is saying nothing of the sort. It's clearly another reference to "the stars are down" (a mysterious motif which has cropped up several times in the series), but it feels clunkier than usual. I'm also not buying the threat posed by the Russian villain who is plotting to remote-control Hundred into killing the pope, as he seems to be a far more cartoonish enemy than we've been used to in the series so far, and the book struggles to make him credible. I'd rather see more of the political conflict that used to be the bread and butter of the series, because Ex Machina is far better suited to those elements than it is to more standard superhero fare.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Ex Machina #46

Oct 29, 2009

Ex Machina is definitely not a book that Id recommend to new readers at this point. So much of the series now revolves around providing payoffs to long-running mysteries from previous arcs and making explicit ideas that were only hinted at in earlier issues that Im not sure that somebody who comes to the series cold would really get a huge amount out of issues like this one. For longtime readers, however, theres a certain satisfaction in seeing all of the pieces fall into place. Even if Id like to see a little more tension and excitement in the story, I cant deny that Im still very keen to see how these final issues play out.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ex Machina Special #1

May 8, 2006

This isnt necessarily the best place for a new reader to get on board the title (Ex Machina is one of those series that really rewards those who have been reading it from the start), but its not an inaccessible comic book either. In fact, the shift in focus from politics to more traditional superheroics will likely make this a far more exciting book for casual readers, whilst hardcore fans will lap up the opportunity to get better-acquainted with the adventures of The Great Machine. Its a different enough style of story that I can see why its been released in a special self-contained format, but I really think that regular readers of the series would be foolish if they chose to miss out on this just because it wasnt a part of the regular title, and to be honest, I cant really see why the story couldnt have been included in the ongoing book. However, theres no way Im going to complain about getting more than one issue of Ex Machina in a month, and on the strength of this firs

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ex Machina Special #2

Jun 22, 2006

Whilst the final page of the book might suggest that Phersons story isnt over yet, I hope that this more traditional super-hero nemesis remains a very minor part of the overall story that Vaughan is telling with his book. For a short story though, it provides a welcome breather from the heavy issues which dominate the core title and I wouldnt be surprised if the character did eventually make a reappearance somewhere down the line. Id be happy to see Ex Machina do more specials like this which deal with Mitchs past without slowing the present-day timeline of the regular book down to a snails pace, and I welcome any chance to get more than one issue of the title in a month, but personally, nothing can top Vaughan and Harris work on the regular title. Regular readers will find the decision whether or not to pick this up a complete no-brainer (and will likely get a lot of enjoyment out of it I know I did), and new readers might find it an easy introduction to Hundred and his

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #1

May 25, 2007

The book isn't without its flaws: the overall story still seems rather piecemeal, and there's a lack of the kind of gravitas that one might expect from a book that deals with the death of one of the Marvel Universe's most iconic heroes. It's also still a little confusing as to where this story fits into the timeline, especially with regard to current issues of New Avengers; does Hawkeye's appearance in this book predate that one? If so, why did the New Avengers go back to the raft to find Cap's body in the current arc of their own book, after Wolverine confirmed his death in the first issue of this one? Either way, there are some gaps to fill in, but it doesn't detract from the story too much. I only hope that Loeb is building to something more poignant with the miniseries' final couple of issues, as this is a storyline which warrants something a little bit special, and it would be a shame to see Marvel miss the opportunity to pay tribute to one of their most important superheroes.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #2

Apr 27, 2007

Crucially, for a book which is all about the feelings that are connected with death and the grieving process, there's barely any exploration of the effect of Captain America's sudden death, and very little depth to the various characters' reactions to his passing, all of which are painted in fairly broad strokes. Considering the supposed importance of the event in the Marvel Universe, readers might be forgiven for expecting this limited series to provide something a little more profound and more closely tied to Cap and his legacy, whereas these two stories read like a couple of back-up features that have been shunted together to fill space. Whilst the issue might have worked slightly better as two completely separate short stories ( la The Confession), even then it would probably struggle to stand as worthwhile.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America: Iron Man #1

Jul 6, 2007

Loeb does redeem the story slightly with the final few pages, which show a more low-key burial-at-sea of the body of the real Captain America in the spot where his body was first recovered from the ice. The presence of original Avengers Hank and Janet Pym shows some reverence for the origins of Cap's rebirth in the Marvel Universe, and Namor's reappearance (in conjunction with an earlier cameo from the outlaw New Avengers) reinforces the idea that this is a tragedy which has affected the entire Marvel Universe, no matter what their political affiliation in the post-Civil War climate. Indeed, the issue is far more of an ensemble piece than it is a story about Iron Man - Stark is featured about as much here as he was in the third issue of the limited series - but this isn't a criticism: the book may have been more successful if it had been allowed more freedom to break away from the rigid structure of centering each issue around a particular character and a particular stage of grief, r

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Fallen Son: The Death Of Captain America: Spider-Man #1

Jun 26, 2007

However, one element that will always make these Fallen Son issues readable is the high-calibre roster of artists that Marvel has assembled for the project: this time, it's David Finch. I've enjoyed Finch's work on New Avengers and Moon Knight, and he's the perfect fit for a darker story like this, bringing a shadowy, moody feel to every scene without losing the high level of detail that he manages to fit into each panel. One particularly smart touch is the subtly disguised appearance of Wolverine in the book's opening pages, crouching among the gargoyles and headstones of the graveyard as he watches over Spidey. I didn't even notice him until my second read. However, even the great art can't save this issue from feeling pretty superfluous. It's a hollow read, which purports to be deep and meaningful but sadly doesn't really have anything going on beneath the surface.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Fantastic Four #555

Mar 11, 2008

All things considered, this is a very solid Fantastic Four comic. There are big ideas, exciting visuals, and enough family-based soap-opera to keep the characters grounded (with the possible threat to the family dynamic that's posed by the "other woman" reinforced by the fact that we don't even see Sue in this issue). The story flows smoothly from one scene to the next, with the exception of a scene featuring Johnny Storm, which is a fun enough moment that it warrants inclusion even if it does break up the flow of the main story slightly. Combine this with Hitch's great artwork, and you're onto a winner. Whilst the book might not be Fantastic just yet, this improvement on the first issue shows that Millar and Hitch are certainly moving in the right direction.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Fantastic Four #556

Apr 8, 2008

I don't want to sound too down on this issue, because it does have some enjoyable story moments - I'm enjoying the continuing characterisation of Johnny Storm as a dumb reality-TV himbo who cops off with a supervillainess despite his better judgment - and the artwork is still impressive, despite the indistinct quality of some of the images due to the snow effect. However, compared to the first two issues, this issue feels thinner on ideas and far more predictable, and often doesn't succeed in conveying the inherent drama of the story to the reader. Whilst I'm sure it'll feel quite at home in the first collected edition of Millar and Hitch's Fantastic Four as the first storyline's big action setpiece, it just doesn't do it for me as a single issue in its own right.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Fantastic Four #557

May 20, 2008

All things considered, I've enjoyed this first arc of Millar and Hitch's Fantastic Four a little less than I expected. Whilst the big outlandish ideas and great visuals that I had hoped to see have been present, I feel as though these four issues have lacked a sufficiently dramatic and engaging core premise to really make me care about the outcome of the story. I don't want to labour the comparisons to Millar and Hitch's Ultimates too much because their Fantastic Four deserves to stand as a separate piece of work without being constantly compared to the team's previous big success, but the last couple of issues' fight between the FF and the CAP robot just hasn't given readers the same kind of dramatic hook that the personal conflicts and well-developed relationships of that book provided. This issue's final-page teaser for the next storyline has me slightly more excited, promising a far more characterful and enjoyable villainous presence that should give the team someone a little mo

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Fantastic Four #558

Jun 24, 2008

I still can't get away from the fact that I'm finding Millar and Hitch's Fantastic Four more uneven than much of their other work has been. There are flashes of greatness, but there are also sections that fail to come together for me. Again, it's the more character-focused segments that are most interesting, with this issue providing another satisfying character beat as Johnny finally comes to his senses about his new girlfriend and her criminal activities. However, the fact that this opening chapter feels like it's mostly setup for the arc, combined with a slightly underwhelming cliffhanger, means that the issue falls slightly short of greatness for me.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Fantastic Four #559

Aug 12, 2008

Since we're still halfway through a story arc at this point, there are some elements of the story that require a little faith on the part of the reader to enjoy (for example, the impressive reveal at the issue's end is going to require a pretty convincing explanation if readers are really going to buy it). Still, that doesn't stop it from being a fun read, with the same big ideas and solid characterisation that made Millar's Ultimate Fantastic Four run such an enjoyable experience for me. A lot will depend on how the story plays out, but it's looking like this second arc might be a better showcase for both writer and artist than their patchy first story proved to be.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Fantastic Four #560

Sep 27, 2008

I'm starting to get the feeling that Millar and Hitch's Fantastic Four is eventually going to stand as more than the sum of its parts. The entire overarching storyline seems better-planned than I first gave it credit for, and I'm enjoying the manner in which all of the different characters and plot points established since the beginning of the team's run have weaved in and out of one another to create the larger tapestry of the book. If Millar makes good on his promise of tying his work on this book in with his "Old Man Logan" arc in Wolverine (and the mysterious "hooded man" of this arc is certainly starting to look like he could be the Best There Is At What He Does) then "The Death of the Invisible Woman" could prove to be quite a satisfying and multi-faceted story arc.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Fantastic Four #561

Nov 18, 2008

By now, readers know what they're getting with Millar and Hitch's Fantastic Four: this is the FF as a high-concept action/sci-fi summer blockbuster, and it works well, playing to the strengths of both creators. The two arcs that we've seen so far have combined to form one single story that's more coherent and well-planned than I initially gave it credit for, with a solid take on Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben from both the writer and the art team. I look forward to seeing where the second half of Millar and Hitch's run on the book takes us.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Fantastic Four #562

Dec 30, 2008

The book isn't completely flawless. There's a certain amount of hubris in having the Watcher turn up to Sue's funeral to show just how important Millar and Hitch's story is, when in all honesty the grandeur of the occasion had already been conveyed perfectly well through the writing and the artwork. There's also the question of how Doom was recaptured between the end of the previous issue and the start of this one, but I guess that's one of those story points that just has to be taken for granted. However, these tiny niggles don't take anything away from the rest of the issue or from Millar and Hitch's run as a whole, which is already shaping up to be far better than I expected from the earlier issues, and an equal to Millar's winning run on Ultimate Fantastic Four in terms of creativity, imagination and faithful characterisation.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Fantastic Four #564

Feb 24, 2009

More than anything else, this issue reminded me of the film The Wicker Man. Not only is the remote Scottish setting similar, but the parochial nature of the townsfolk and the manner in which religion is implicitly tied to a grisly sacrificial tradition all evoke elements of that classic British horror movie. It's not the first type of story that might spring to mind when you think of the Fantastic Four, but that only suggests that Millar and Hitch deserve even more credit for showing that the book doesn't have to restrict itself to the usual FF formula to tell an enjoyable story. The result is a good superhero horror yarn that succeeds in building suspense and intrigue that will surely be paid off in the concluding chapter.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Fantastic Four #565

Mar 24, 2009

This is a simple story that perhaps relies a little too much on coincidence in order to make the monster feel like a truly serious threat to the team (for example, Johnny's attacks are useless, as the water-based monster just happens to be flameproof). In the end, though, it's a fun enough romp that's reminiscent of the early issues of the Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four, which often felt as much like monster comics as they were superhero stories. An enjoyable way to spend an issue, even if it does feel like an appetiser for the really good stuff that's yet to come.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Fantastic Four #566

May 19, 2009

Elsewhere, there's a twist in the relationship between The Thing and his fiance which feels a little forced at this point, yet may well turn out to be more complex and calculated than it currently appears. We also see Reed and Sue conduct an autopsy on Uatu's body -- but to be honest, this scene feels more like an excuse to work the characters into the story than anything else. For a book called Fantastic Four, the team themselves do very little this issue, with most of the pages devoted to setting up the villains of this final arc. Still, that task is accomplished well, and this is an effective opening chapter for the creative team's final arc, even if it isn't the most rewarding single issue in its own right.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Fantastic Four #567

Jun 9, 2009

The knowledge that we now only have one more issue of Millar and Hitch left gives this issue a bittersweet feeling (the final issue of their originally planned run, #569, is being co-written by Joe Ahearne and illustrated in its entirety by Stuart Immonen), and I can't help but wonder if the creators have left themselves enough time to come up with a finale that will do the story justice. However, on its own terms this is a very enjoyable issue that will confound most readers' expectations of where the story was headed, with Millar making this as much a Doctor Doom story as a Fantastic Four comic. Happily, for fans of the character, it's a very good one.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Fantastic Four #568

Jun 30, 2009

This issue is very much a mixed bag, with several well-executed moments that sit side-by-side with some less-than-great scenes. For every clever concept or well-written exchange, there's a moment of slightly fumbled storytelling that pulls you out of the book. For every impressive image or well-visualised idea, there's a jarring visual transition that disrupts the flow of the artwork. Whilst I'm sure that fans of Millar and Hitch's run on Fantastic Four will still enjoy this issue, it's not quite up to the standard of previous chapters, and so feels slightly disappointing in comparison to whats come before.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Fantastic Four: House Of M #1

Jul 11, 2005

This is worth a look for fans of good supervillain stories, and is thoroughly accessible even for FF novices such as myself. However, true fans might be disappointed to learn that the connection to the original FF team is weak, and the plotting slightly derivative. Nonetheless, the series holds potential, and at only 3 issues long, doesnt look as though its likely to outstay its welcome.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Fantastic Four: House Of M #2

Aug 15, 2005

This issue is a neat bridge between the envious Dr. Doom from last issue, and the eventual confrontation between Doom and Magneto in the series finale next month. It might be a simplistic story idea to set up the confrontation between these two super-villains, but its a battle which will appeal to many fans, and makes a nice change from a more predictable House of M spinoff which would simply reinvent the classic Fantastic Four. Whats more, Layman has dropped enough subtle hints to suggest that there may be more to next months finale than meets the eye. Ill certainly be picking up next months issue, as Im eager to see Eatons rendering of the climactic battle, and Im keen to see what twists Layman pulls in the final issue of that rare thing: a House of M tie-in which doesnt feel like its overstaying its welcome.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Fantastic Four: House Of M #3

Sep 9, 2005

This book is fairly simple fun, and Laymans writing somehow doesnt quite reach the heights of intrigue or character insight that the first two issues managed. However, Fantastic Four: House of M #3 does exactly what it says on the tin, and if you pick up this book looking for some undemanding entertainment from two of Marvels big hitters, then you wont be disappointed.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Fell #5

Aug 15, 2006

In issue #1 of the series, Ellis spoke of his desire to make every issue of Fell an affordable slab of popular culture which didnt require any outside reading or even previous knowledge of the series to enjoy on its own terms. Well, hes succeeded and as this issue shows, theres a lot that can be done with a comic when youre willing to be as disciplined and focussed on story above all things as Ellis and Templesmith clearly are here. I look forward to tracking down issues #2 and #3 to complete my Fell run so far, and Im already eagerly anticipating the next issue. Readers with an interest in crime comics, fresh and original artwork or simply the craft of comics storytelling should check this book out they wont be disappointed.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Fell #6

Sep 7, 2006

Ellis gruesome yet gripping storytelling, Templesmiths distinctive art, and the allure of the writers ever-present Back Matter text column at the end of the issue all serve to set this book apart as something unique in an industry which thrives on the recycled and the derivative, and that alone should make this comic worth your time and money. Take a chance on Fell if you consider yourself at all open-minded or jaded about the current state of comics storytelling: at just $1.99 it wont break the bank, and it just might expand your horizons of what can be done with a mainstream comic book.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Fell #7

Feb 9, 2007

In truth, though, there's something about this story which feels a little thinner than usual. It's a fairly simple plot which is spelled out for the reader without much in the way of twists and turns, and which doesn't contain quite as much human drama as previous episodes. In a sense, Fell is a victim of its own success, as the consistent quality of each issue combines with the long wait between instalments to create expectations for the next which are unreasonably high; as such, it almost feels like a disappointment when an issue like this one is merely good, not great. However, the book still provides a unique reading experience thanks to Ellis' distinctive voice and Templesmith's deceptively simple art, and at $1.99 it's great value for money - even when the always-enjoyable "Back Matter" section (which regularly features readers' letters, photos and Ellis' own insightful ramblings) is curiously absent as it is here.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Fell #8

Apr 20, 2007

This issue also sees the return of the "backmatter" to the pages of Fell after its disappointing absence last issue, and it's interesting to see Ellis make some surprisingly candid acknowledgements of the previous issue's weaknesses as a story. It's always nice to get some insight into the creative process of a book, and for a $1.99 comic to offer several pages of notes from the author as well as readers' letters, in addition to a satisfying, self-contained and well-illustrated story, definitely elevates it above the norm.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Finding Nemo #4

Nov 9, 2009

This is a perfectly serviceable final issue, and one that brings the story of the Reef Rescue mini-series to a satisfying end. There isnt as much humor here as weve seen in previous issues, and the sense of adventure of the earlier chapters seems to have been replaced by a slightly more adversarial mentality in order to engineer the climactic conflict, but anyone who has been following the book this far will be unlikely to be too disappointed by this solid finale.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Finding Nemo: Reef Rescue #1

Jul 2, 2009

Whilst it probably isnt going to blow readers away, this is a good start to another all-ages friendly Pixar adaptation from BOOM! Studios, and one that captures the spirit of the movie well, whilst also forging some new ground in terms of subject matter. I look forward to seeing the story develop in future issues.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Finding Nemo: Reef Rescue #2

Aug 6, 2009

All in all, this is a very well-crafted book, and one that I wouldnt hesitate to recommend to parents of young children who might be looking for a suitable comic to share with them.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1

Oct 19, 2005

This is an interesting beginning to "The Other," and one which suggests a lot of promise for the crossover as a whole even if we dont really have any idea of where this is all going yet. Peter David seems to be a competent pair of hands to craft the initial chapters of the larger story, and even if his Spidey plays a little young for me, Ill be interested to see how the next two issues of his story (in upcoming issues of MK Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man) pan out. I would also give one final piece of praise to this issues cover, as what looked like a garish and over-simplified piece of art on internet previews actually proves to be a real attention grabbing and kinetic piece of artwork on the finished page, especially with that arresting red colour wash. I also like the Rian Hughes-designed The Other strap which runs down the left-hand side of the cover, as it will at least give some coherent look to a story which is spread over three different Spider-Man titles per month.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #2

Nov 11, 2005

This issue does shake things up a little bit for the crossover, taking better advantage of the Marvel Universe as a backdrop to Spideys tragedy, and exploring at least some of the logical avenues of investigation that a hero like Spider-Man has open to him when faced with such a fundamental threat to his health. However, if something doesnt happen soon, fans are going to tire of the vaguaries of the crossovers plot, because theres just not anything substantial enough for readers to get their teeth into and care about yet. From what weve been told, Spider-Man has cellular degeneration, a dangerous blood condition, radiation sickness and some kind of supernatural curse on his head: the catalyst for all these things still hasnt been made clear, and Spideys ultimate fate never discussed in sufficient depth to really make readers buy the idea that such a significant characters time is really up. With the best will in the world, it feels like its time to get over the early stages

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #3

Dec 13, 2005

This issue isnt a bad read, but its a continuation of an overlong story which is only just beginning to go somewhere and has suffered from the uneven mix of creators who have had a hand in the story so far. I do think that JMS Spider-Totem angle has merit and Ive been one of the minority of readers who welcome the fresh take on the character, but Im still not certain if Spider-Man can suffer quite such an extreme and nasty reinvention whilst staying true to the essence of his character. Still, Im sure JMS has plans to rein "The Other" back to end up with a Peter Parker who isnt that dissimilar to the one we started with... I just dread to think what Pat Lee will make of such a delicate story next issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #4

Jan 20, 2006

Its frustrating that its the marketing-driven format of this story which has hampered it the most, as the various conflicts between Spidey and Tracer, Spidey and Morlun, and Spideys death and rebirth would have all made interesting smaller arcs in their own right, and could have taken place throughout the Spider titles over the same period of time; strung together into a 12-part epic, however, they make for an unbalanced and flabby crossover, which is likely to frustrate fans who bought into the whole deal expecting a cohesive and focused story. And if I was Peter David, I dont know if Id be happy that the strong opening issues of my brand new title were being overshadowed by such a middling event.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24

Oct 12, 2007

Much of the negative reaction that some fans have had to "One More Day" seems to be based around an assumption that they know how this is all going to play out, but I'm hoping that Straczynski will surprise us with some unexpected twists before his Spider-Man tenure is over. Of course, much of this premature criticism has been instigated by Marvel's heavy promotion of the arc, trailing the story as the "final word" on the Spider-marriage and a key reshaping of Spidey's status quo. My advice in reading this story, however, would be to ignore the hype, and stop trying to second-guess whatever revelations and ret-cons are coming at its end. JMS and Joe Quesada are telling a tale which is enjoyable enough on its own terms that it doesn't need all this extra marketing to make it worthwhile. Overshadowing "One More Day" with a Marvel hype machine in overdrive is doing the story a real disservice.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Girls #20

Dec 26, 2006

With only a few issues to go (Girls ends with #24), this book probably was never going to be geared towards attracting new readers at this late stage, but anyone who hasn't followed the title this far would definitely do well to check out the first couple of collected editions before trying to catch up with the monthly issues. I can't honestly say that the book feels like it's progressed since issue #10 or #11 when I last picked it up, but regular readers may feel otherwise, as they'll have a better handle on the web of relationships between the inhabitants of Pennystown than me. Girls is a reliable read, especially if you're into books that are geared towards horror and violence with an element of mystery thrown in, but many may feel that there just isn't enough substance to the book to keep them hooked.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Girls #24

Apr 26, 2007

Girls has dealt with some interesting themes: gender politics, sexual attitudes and double-standards, the conflict between human morality and our animal nature, and the fear of the unknown. The final issue also manages to carry some fairly interesting subtexts, most notably in a final coda which muses on the violence of creation and the destruction which is necessary for life to exist. However, in all honesty, there's not enough here to elevate the book much beyond a standard pulp horror/sci fi comic, albeit one which will probably be easy to enjoy for fans of the genre. Seeing as I haven't been an avid follower of the book, it's quite possible that I've missed some of the nuances of the Luna bros. larger story, and I'm sure I won't appreciate this final as much as a longtime fan. 38 pages of story for $2.99 isn't bad value for money, and I'm sure those readers who have eagerly awaited this conclusion won't be disappointed. However, newcomers might do better to check out some of t

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #10

Feb 17, 2009

That I can jump into this series halfway through a story and still be entertained, get a strong sense of the characters, and feel compelled to read the next issue suggests that Abnett and Lanning are definitely doing something right with the book. As Jack Flag opines in this very issue, maybe this cosmic stuff isn't so bad after all.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #12

Mar 24, 2009

Maybe I just joined the series at a bad time, but I'm starting to think that issue #10 was the exception rather than the rule for this book. After reading these last couple of issues, I'm not sure that I'm going to have any interest in following the series any further -- and the fact that the book is gearing up to play a part in the big "War of Kings" crossover means that I'm even less likely to continue following it, since I'm not following any of the other titles that tie into that story.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Harker #11

Mar 22, 2010

For more information on Harker, check out Ariel Press.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
House Of M #3

Jul 11, 2005

All in all, this is a solid third issue which improves on the previous issues dramatically, moving the plot along in leaps and bounds, introducing all manner of new House of M concepts (Im particularly excited to see where Luke Cages gang of Sapiens fit into the overall plot) whilst keeping the central plotline chugging along happily. Whilst it would have been nice to get a glimpse of Magneto, Quicksilver or the Scarlet Witch in this new reality by now, it may be the case that Bendis is planning to pull some twists on us and as such, I wont complain too much about their absence yet. Either way, Im looking forward to seeing where this goes.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
House Of M #4

Jul 28, 2005

As the middle issue of an event comic, theres perhaps nothing more disparaging than to say than that I was disinterested in and slightly bored with the events of this issue of House of M. But in fairness, when you view the series as a whole, its clear that this fourth issue carries the burden of necessary exposition as much for the benefit of the characters involved as for that of the reader and as such, did well to occasionally escape the shackles of storytelling by raising some fairly interesting plot points and giving us some more telling glimpses into the twisted reality of House of M than weve been allowed so far. Whilst this issue doesnt exactly build on my enthusiasm for the series, its a functional piece of storytelling which is bound to find its place as part of the whole - which has averaged a fairly good story overall, despite having to pick through several uneven instalments to find it. Roll on the next issue, and lets hope it has more oomph than issue #4.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
House Of M #5

Aug 16, 2005

A lot will rest on the conclusion of this miniseries, and there are certainly enough elements in motion for Bendis to construct a barnstorming finale. Theres just a nagging feeling that things are dragging slightly, as after five issues weve only just gotten to a stage where the heroes know whats going on and are ready to begin to set things right. Im enjoying House of M a lot more than I expected to, but it still has some way to go before it really delivers on the promise of its core concept.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
House Of M #6

Sep 9, 2005

All in all, its a mixed issue, and one which has not gone to any great lengths to win me over on the whole House of M event. Whilst I admire the way Marvel has handled such a large crossover (I admire the way the core title subtly references events from tie-in issues without ever making them feel like essential reads), my simple reaction is that the House of M concept just isnt enough to justify such a huge ballyhoo. What might have made for a neat Avengers or X-Men story has been ill-served by the amount of hype and marketing which has gone into its creation, and perhaps this has made a certain degree of disappointment in the series inevitable.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
House Of M #7

Oct 19, 2005

Yes, finally something significant has happened in House of M, but it has somehow produced one of the series weakest issues. It only goes to show that big twist endings and universe altering cliffhangers are no substitute for a decent, well-paced and well-written story, or for an artist who can gel with his material well enough that we can follow the densely-populated narrative without having to repeatedly study certain panels for clarification of what exactly is happening. Its no coincidence that all the buzz around House of M is now focused on how this cliffhanger is going to affect other titles and properties in the Marvel Universe, rather than how the story Bendis is telling is eventually going to resolve itself..., and that alone should clue you in as to the worthiness of the tale which is being spun here. For once, the writing seems stronger than the visuals in House of M, and Coipel couldnt have picked a worse time to have an off-day. A missed opportunity art-wise, and

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Hulk (2008) #12

May 19, 2009

I stress that my bullet rating for this review only reflects my personal reaction to the issue -- and since this book obviously isn't aimed at readers like me, that perhaps makes it somewhat irrelevant as a barometer of how successful the book has been in achieving its goals. For young readers (or adult readers with small children of their own) the mindless action and vibrant, colourful artwork of this book will probably provide a fun diversion. However, I can't help but feel that it's a shame that this has become the only regular Hulk title to be published by Marvel, because I'm sure there's a market for an ongoing Hulk book for more sophisticated readers, too.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Immortal Iron Fist #6

Jul 2, 2007

Immortal Iron Fist has succeeded in resurrecting the martial arts superhero genre from its 1970s heydey without ever succumbing to the temptation to make itself camp or self-referential, giving the character of Danny Rand a new lease of life in the Marvel Universe and proving that it's possible to make kung-fu chopsocky seriously fun for a modern audience. The teasers for the next arc that we get at the end of this issue make me eager to see if Brubaker, Fraction and Aja can take the book to the next level, with an epic martial arts tournament which promises to pay homage to classic movies like Enter The Dragon, with a twist of superheroics and historical fantasy. I'll be there.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Immortal Iron Fist #7

Jul 30, 2007

Some people were concerned that turning Iron Fist into a "legacy" hero would undermine Danny Rand's uniqueness and distract focus from the book's central character, but this issue should go a long way to convince them that that isn't necessarily a bad thing; and if retconning a whole legion of sixty-five previous Iron Fists means that we'll get more issues like this one, I'm very happy with the idea. Frankly, I could read a whole separate anthology title of these kinds of stories - but in the absence of that book, hopefully we'll at least continue to get some regular glimpses of the past Iron Fists between arcs on the regular title. I'm as keen as anyone to get back to Danny and the epic martial arts tournament that was set up by the end of the book's last issue, but these done-in-one stories make for the perfect breather in-between arcs, adding a real sense of history to the concept of Iron Fist and allowing Brubaker and Fraction to have some fun with superhero conventions and swash

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Immortal Iron Fist #9

Oct 4, 2007

In Marvel's stable of books, Immortal Iron Fist seems to be rivaled only by Daredevil and Captain America for being such a reliably satisfying read, month in and month out. The only real criticism of this particular issue that I have is that I'm not a huge fan of Koblish and Martinez's work during the flashback sequences, but it's a minor complaint, and I'm actually finding myself warming to their style a little more each time I see it. The best thing I can say about this book is that I simply can't imagine anyone not enjoying it, so I'd recommend anyone who hasn't tried it yet to give it a shot. Excellent stuff.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Immortal Iron Fist #10

Nov 9, 2007

If you aren't reading this book, I urge you to try it; if you are reading it, expect to enjoy another highly entertaining issue. Immortal Iron Fist is the sleeper hit that deserves a bigger audience, and hopefully it will find one.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Immortal Iron Fist #12

Jan 15, 2008

Every great series has to have the occasional less-than-great issue, and Immortal Iron Fist #12 is just that: it's not a bad comic by any means, but there doesn't seem to be as much concern for story or unbridled imagination present in this issue as usual. The spark that has been apparent in other issues of the book doesn't seem to be burning as brightly here, and the result is a more predictable and less dazzling comic than we've come to expect from this creative team.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Incredible Hulk (2009) #600

Jul 21, 2009

Elsewhere, there's a sense that the bumper-sized issue has been a little padded out. A reprint of the full first issue of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's Hulk: Gray is followed by an extensive Hulk cover gallery, and a ton of advertisements that seem to have been included because there wasn't anything else to fill up the required page count. Compared to this week's exemplary Amazing Spider-Man #600, it's a slight disappointment -- but in its own right, this isn't a bad anniversary issue, even if there's probably not a lot here that will appeal to readers who aren't already enjoying Loeb's Hulk run.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Incredibles #1

Mar 26, 2009

If it sounds like I'm constantly comparing this book to the movie, that's probably accurate. A lot of my affection for the characters comes from my enjoyment of the original film, and I'm not sure that a newcomer would enjoy this issue as much without having got to know the Incredibles from their movie incarnation first. However, the fact that Waid and Takara have managed to create a comic book continuation that bears favorable comparison to the movie is an impressive achievement. The result is a fun, unpretentious and unashamedly straightforward superhero book that can be recommended to readers both young and old.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Infinite Crisis #4

Feb 27, 2006

Im fully aware that its my own lack of familiarity with the DCU which has hampered my enjoyment of this latest issue, and if an event of the same magnitude and scope were to happen in the Marvel Universe, Id likely be far more forgiving of any lack of concessions to new readers. Indeed, Im looking forward to Marvels Civil War crossover later this year, and Ill likely find it far easier to follow as a whole due to my affinity for Marvel comics. All I would say is that if any readers have been unsure of whether to try this Crisis out for themselves (and there must be, what, three of you) then be warned: either read up on the lead-up to this series extensively or give it a miss, as Johns isnt writing a new-reader-friendly book here. Theres simply no concession made here to anyone foolish enough to have not picked up the four tie-in miniseries (recent Crisis specials, et al) and Countdown one-shot, let alone anyone who might only be casually interested in the series anyway.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Invincible Iron Man #5

Sep 2, 2008

There are one or two omissions from the story - Pepper doesn't really get much attention despite the revelation of her new powers last issue, and the simultaneous terrorist attacks on the various different Stark facilities seem to grind to a halt once the big fight starts - but for the most part, this is a very solid, satisfying read that also shows just how strong a character Iron Man is as a result of the changes that his character has gone through over the last few years.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Invincible Iron Man #9

Jan 6, 2009

Aside from that minor niggle, this is a highly compelling Iron Man story that goes a long way to redeem the character after the last few years, and is also firmly rooted in the new "Dark Reign" status quo. I can only hope Fraction stays on this book for a long time, because he hasn't made a wrong move yet.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Invincible Iron Man #12

Mar 31, 2009

I don't want to sound too down on this issue, because I'm sure that it's just a blip in an otherwise excellent run. And even though this is one of the weaker issues of the book so far, it's still an enjoyable read, with art that elevates it above the average. Hopefully things will pick up again next issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Invincible Iron Man #15

Jun 30, 2009

An attack of H.A.M.M.E.R. agents provides a brief moment of exciting action, but it's over too quickly to leave much of a mark in the memory. Even the confrontation with Madame Masque feels like more of a tease than anything, setting up the next phase of the story more than adequately but not providing any real meat to get our teeth into here -- and that's quite a good description of the issue as a whole. Whilst I'm definitely still interested to see where Fraction's story leads, and I'm still enjoying the interactions of his characters, it's difficult to point to anything in this issue that really makes the most of the book's potential.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Invincible Iron Man #16

Aug 4, 2009

I found it difficult to decide whether to give this issue a rating of 3 or 3.5 bullets. In the end, I went for the slightly higher rating, because whilst I've been finding recent issues of the "World's Most Wanted" storyline to be a little slow and stretched-out, Invincible Iron Man is still an above-average superhero book that I look forward to reading each month. Hopefully the story will regain a little momentum as it approaches its closing chapters, because there are still some very interesting ideas in play here, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Fraction brings them all to a head.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Invincible Iron Man #17

Sep 1, 2009

It remains to be seen how bad things will get for our hero, but it feels like we're starting to get to the stage at which Fraction is going to begin to provide some payoffs for his extensive setup. I just hope that they manage to deliver on the potential of the storyline, and ultimately, that they justify its length.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Invincible Iron Man #19

Oct 20, 2009

Finally, I'd like to give Fraction and Larroca some extra credit for the book's consistent shipping schedule. That might seem like an odd thing to praise the book for, but readers are always quick to complain about late comics, so why not give special mention to a title that has maintained such a solid release pattern for the last year? This story started in Invincible Iron Man #8, which was released on December 17th 2009--and this final issue will be released tomorrow, the 20th October. That means that Invincible Iron Man has provided a high-quality, 12-issue storyline with a consistent art team in the space of just 10 months--and that's definitely something to be proud of.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Invincible Iron Man #29

Aug 20, 2010

This is very much a middle chapter of a fairly talky story that hasnt been as action-packed or thought-provoking as the books previous arcs. Nevertheless, its still rendered enjoyable by all the little touches of detail that the writer and artist graft onto the bare bones of the plot, and theres still a sense that the books characters are in good hands with Fraction and Larroca at the helm. I just hope that the final destination of this arc justifies some extended conversational sequences and uninteresting plotting that are hardly typical of the books usually high standards.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #2

Aug 9, 2008

There's not a lot here to make me recommend the book to anyone other than Iron Man fans. The pace is fairly slow considering that Favreau only has four issues to play with, and the ending of this particular installment is flat and anticlimactic (with some of the most clich dialogue you'll read this side of a Stan Lee comic). There's simply nothing special about this story, and whilst that isn't a good enough reason to lambast the series, it isn't a good enough reason to praise it either.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Irredeemable #3

Jun 1, 2009

This is still a diverting and readable series, but its getting to the stage where Id like to see a slightly more meat on the bones of the story, and a more thoroughly fleshed-out cast of characters. Hopefully things will start moving next issue. Otherwise, Waid might risk turning readers off with his leisurely pacing and lack of interesting personalities.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Irredeemable #5

Aug 6, 2009

Even if the story still isnt exactly moving at a breakneck pace, there is at least a sense that things are starting to come together by the end of this issue, which provides some strong hints as to the reason for the Plutonians eventual breakdown, and which cast some of the series earlier scenes in a new light. Whilst Im still not bowled over by Irredeemables story, this is possibly the best issue so far.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Joe The Barbarian #2

Mar 1, 2010

I seem to remember that this series was originally mooted as a 3 issue mini-series, which makes me wonder whether the creators will be able to sustain their tale for the full 8 issues that are now promised by the cover. For the moment, however, Im finding Joe The Barbarian to be imaginative, entertaining and very well illustrated, and I look forward to seeing how Joes quest progresses.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Joe The Barbarian #3

Mar 29, 2010

After reading the first couple of issues of this book, I was impressed, but I wondered whether the relatively simplistic nature of the storyline could sustain an entire eight-issue series. Having read this third issue, however, I can see that the world of Joe the Barbarian might well prove to be less straightforward as I had imagined. Combined with the interesting wrinkles that Morrison throws into the story regarding Joes condition in the real world, theres definitely plenty of potential here for the rest of the books story. Lets just hope that the next five issues are as good as the first three have been.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Kick-Ass #4

Sep 2, 2008

Every reader has a few guilty pleasures in their comics diet, and Kick-Ass continues to be one of mine. Yes, there are some flaws in the book's logic (the fact that Big Daddy and Hit Girl appear to be far more experienced and polished crime-fighters than Kick-Ass doesn't quite jibe with the idea that Dave is meant to have inspired the costumed crime-fighter trend), and the world of the book is becoming further and further removed from reality as the story goes on, but this title is still providing a fairly fun and original take on familiar superhero conventions, and Romita's artwork is always worth a read. I just hope that there's a little less of a reliance on blood and guts to make the book feel exciting and "adult" over the course of the next few issues.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Kick-Ass #5

Dec 30, 2008

Whilst Kick-Ass isn't my favourite superhero title, I'm still finding it to be amusing enough that it's worth a read - even if the central premise is starting to wear a little thin. Despite this repetitiveness, and the distraction of the possible changes made to the characters due to the movie adaptation, Millar still manages to include a couple of fun setpieces that allow the story to balance out its shortcomings. And if nothing else, the artwork will keep me coming back for more.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Kick-Ass #7

Sep 8, 2009

With only one more issue to go, I'm not holding out much hope that Kick-Ass is going to turn out to be anything more than it originally appeared: a heady mixture of comics geekery, swearing, and pre-pubescent ultra-violence in ridiculous colourful costumes. On all of those fronts, Millar delivers -- but after six issues of similar content, I'm not sure that that's quite enough. Still, as storyboards for teen-oriented Generation-Y superhero movies go, you probably couldn't ask for better.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Last Days of Animal Man #2

Jul 2, 2009

Whilst The Last Days of Animal Man might not have the strongest hook in the world for casual readers, Im enjoying it as an exploration of how an aging superhero might react to his changing role in the world. Conways apparent use of the Kbler-Ross model as a loose model for Animal Mans emotional journey ensures that the series will continue to put Buddy Baker through the wringer as the story continues. I look forward to it.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Last Days of Animal Man #3

Aug 6, 2009

Even these weaker scenes dont stop The Last Days Of Animal Man from being an interesting and fairly original read. The cliffhanger to this issue suggests that we may be in for even more soap opera next issue and, to be honest, its a development that doesnt interest me as much as the ongoing saga of Buddy losing his powers. Still, Id much rather see the book concentrate on its characters than on its more derivative superhero/villain conflicts, so Im not unhappy that Conway also seems to be more interested in that side of the story too.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Last Days of Animal Man #6

Nov 5, 2009

For some readers, it might all seem a little clich, but for me, the message of the book felt surprisingly heartfelt and relevant, treading a fine line between rejecting the notion of fatalism and inescapable destiny while also accepting the fact that some elements of your life are out of your control, and that its up to each of us to simply make the best of our situation. In stark contrast to the downbeat cover image of Animal Mans empty costume flopping over his gravestone, and the portentous title of the mini-series, this final issue of The Last Days of Animal Man ends on a resolutely positive and optimistic note. And is all the better for it.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Logan #1

Mar 4, 2008

This is a book which appears to have some substance to go along with its style, with some disciplined storytelling and a keen eye for historical detail to go along with the more traditional Wolverine elements, and in this way it's perhaps most reminiscent of Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's original Wolverine solo series. That's good company for Vaughan and Risso to be in, and whilst this isn't the most dazzling opening issue I've ever read (there's a strong sense of this being a setup issue, with many elements moved into place in order that more interesting things can happen further down the line), I look forward to seeing whether they can present us with a story which is as memorable and well-crafted as Miller and Claremont's four issues were. The potential certainly seems to be there, and on the strength of this first issue, this may well end up as one of the better Wolverine series of recent years.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Marvel 1985 #6

Oct 28, 2008

Marvel 1985 #6 is a surprisingly strong final chapter for a series that has felt at times a little padded and insubstantial, but which is brought to a close here with a certain amount of style and class. It's perhaps still not as coherent a story as it set out to be (I still can't work out where that anachronistic H.E.R.B.I.E. toy from issue #1 came from, or why the Hulk appeared in the "real" world to fight the villains when the other heroes didn't), but it has provided a nostalgic, optimistic yarn that accurately captures the joy of superheroes as viewed from a child's perspective, and which has been infused with a charming fairy-tale quality that has helped to compensate for its shortcomings.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Marvel Assistant-Sized Spectacular #2

Apr 28, 2009

As with the first Assistant-Sized Spectacular, this is a fun read that probably won't stick in your head for very long, but which gives lesser-known creators a chance to have some fun with established Marvel concepts. It's nice to see that books like this are still given the chance to exist in a market that seems to be dominated by big events and a heavy emphasis on continuity-driven books, and I can certainly see some of the creators featured here going on to bigger and better things in future.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Marvel Comics Presents #1

Sep 25, 2007

Ultimately, considering the high price tag and the variable levels of quality, it looks like it's going to be difficult to entice readers to stick with this title. Whilst I might like the idea behind Marvel Comics Presents, the execution isn't everything that I would have hoped for, and there's far too much flab for a format which should be all about conciseness and efficiency. Perhaps my particular expectations are as much to blame as anything else for my disappointment in this first issue, but I can't help but feel that a new anthology title could have been launched more effectively than this. I'll be interested to see if it's the kind of book that the market will stand. Personally, I'm only likely to check out another issue of the book if I'm a particular fan of one the creators involved.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Marvel Comics Presents #2

Oct 19, 2007

There's still no denying the uneven quality of this series, but those are the risks that come with the format, and the sense that there's more good than bad in this second issue definitely counts in the book's favor. Marvel Comics Presents may still fall short of being a great anthology title, but it has at least convinced me that the concept can work in the modern market, and that it might be worth following for a while longer.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Marvel Comics Presents #3

Nov 19, 2007

Anthology titles are hit-and-miss by their very nature, but unless there's more good than bad, people are going to start wondering whether their money could be better spent elsewhere. With a 50:50 hit rate (at best), Marvel Comics Presents really isn't worth the $3.99 cover price that Marvel are asking for it - especially when some of their competitors' best comics are being sold at half that amount. So, unless things dramatically improve with the next issue, I have a feeling that it's going to be my last.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #11

Feb 14, 2005

However, the issue does redeem itself to a certain extent through the Dodsons art, which continues to be impressive, with some hard-hitting action sequences and a suitably grisly final shot which conveys the unstoppably evil side of the character perfectly. Without their contribution, Im not sure Id have hung on to the end of this frustratingly up-and-down story.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #12

Apr 8, 2005

The way to capture creative lightning in a bottle isnt to retread old storylines until weve seen so much of them that we lose any sense of the impact they might once have had. It isnt to trot out classic villain after classic villain in the hope that the sheer volume of bad guys will amount to some kind of palpable, tangible, and epic threat to our hero. What Spider-Man fans want to see is new ground being forged, new ideas explored, and old relationships given new life through examination from a fresh point of view. Sadly, Millars Spider-Man is pure Spidey-by-numbers, with nothing remotely novel or interesting to offer the longtime Spider-Man fan. Perhaps the writer has been constrained by his own sense of awe for the character and misplaced wish to be overly loyal to Spideys roots: as he admits in his afterword, Millar just wanted to get all his love and enthusiasm for the character down on the page apparently with little regard for creating a decent story around it. The r

View Issue       View Full Review
3.0
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #20

Nov 22, 2005

This entire crossover feels incredibly shoe-horned into Spider-Mans world for little purpose other than to create buzz around an event which exists solely to increase readership of the Spidey titles. At the same time, Marvel have unfathomably chosen to portray the character in a very unfaithful way; I dont think Ive ever seen the ever-tenacious Spider-Man display such a lay-down-and-die attitude before, and his apparent resignation to his fate makes for dull reading in an already directionless story. Id be interested to know just how much of this story is from Hudlin and how much has been influenced by whatever editorial diktat is co-ordinating "The Other," as I suspect itll only be with the advent of JMS issues that we really find out where all this is meant to be heading. However, six issues is a long time to string out a tale which effectively amounts to little more than a prologue for Stracynskis real story, and by the time those issues arrive next month I wouldnt be s

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #22

Jan 20, 2006

However, my major worry is that the pacing of "The Other" just hasnt allowed for this conclusion to have the necessary time to breathe. Just as the story seems to be getting interesting and actually going somewhere, were left with only one issue to go to provide the major conflict that all of the mystic Spider-Totem threads seem to have been building up to, as well as some resolution to the story as a whole. Frankly, despite Amazing Spider-Mans JMS and Mike Deodato being my favourite current creative team to be working on a Spider-title, I cant see how they can pull this all together in the space of an issue without some element of the story being compromised. Its a shame, because with less emphasis on the drawn out build-up and more attention paid to this freaky finale, we could have seen another mystic Spider-Man story on the same level as the Ezekiel arcs, which were some of the characters strongest of recent years. Sadly, however, this story isnt as well-conceived or wel

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Marvel Team Up #14

Dec 5, 2005

All-in-all, this is a great one-shot which is as effortlessly entertaining as it is exuberantly colourful. Kirkman is obviously having a great time writing this story (and his enthusiasm for the unusual crossover team-up shines through on the letters page) and its a positive energy which is keenly felt throughout the book. There are no distracting continuity ties to other issues, despite the inter-company crossover, and non-readers of MTU wont find themselves lost in any way. This could have easily been published as an unrelated one-shot outside of the Team-Up title and might even have garnered more readers and praise as a result. So spread the word: get enough people to pick up this issue and we might see more of the same from Marvel. Its one of the most refreshing books Ive read this year.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Marvel Zombies: The Return #1

Sep 1, 2009

For other readers, however, this might feel like the final flogging of an undead horse.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Marvels: Eye of the Camera #1

Dec 2, 2008

My main concern about this book is that it isn't really offering anything new. Since the release of the original Marvels, there have been numerous attempts to ape its success, and as such the "street-level view of the Marvel Universe" gimmick doesn't seem quite as fresh as it once did. I also can't help but feel that the creators or editors of the book have been so respectful to the original series that they don't want to try anything new for fear of undermining the first mini. As a result, we're left with a book that isn't bad, and features some very pleasing artwork, but can't help but feel like a dilution of the original series, as it doesn't really bring anything new to the table. That said, Marvels fans will probably be pleased with the book as another opportunity to enter the world of Phil Sheldon, and appreciate just how amazing the larger-than-life characters of the Marvel Universe are when viewed from his perspective.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Marvels: Eye of the Camera #3

Jan 27, 2009

Finally, it's interesting to see Roger Stern credited as a co-writer for this issue. I wonder whether he was brought in to assist Busiek in his use of this past continuity, or simply to help him to capture the flavour of the 1970s era of Marvel comics more convincingly. Either way, it's a team-up that produces enjoyable results, telling a compelling story about Phil Sheldon that also functions as a meditation on the changing nature of Marvel Comics after the end of the Silver Age.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Marvels: Eye of the Camera #4

Feb 24, 2009

Marvels: Eye of the Camera continues to deliver a compelling story that also functions as a smart commentary on the changing nature of Marvel comics in the 1970s and '80s. The only complaint that I have with this particular issue is that it doesn't really move any of the major plot points of the story forwards a great deal. However, the clever handling of the cancer metaphor and Jay Anacleto's impressively detailed artwork (which I haven't talked about here, but which is just as good as it was in previous issues) still make this book well worth a read.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Marvels: Eye of the Camera #5

Apr 28, 2009

The book also continues to make some interesting points about the nature of superhero comics and the Marvel Universe, although these elements have gradually moved from the foreground of the series to the background. In this issue, the writers seem to be commenting on the ultimately cyclical and repetitive nature of superhero storytelling, but this commentary is starting to feel like little more than dressing for the story of Sheldon's cancer (when at the start of the series, I would have said that the opposite was true). At this point, I'm far more engaged by Sheldon's story than by the larger story of the Marvel Universe, and the final page cameo of a character from the original Marvels miniseries suggests that Busiek and Stern have a few more twists in store for us yet. If the final issue is brave enough to bring us the conclusion that the book seems to have been leading up to for so long, it should pack a real emotional punch, and that's due to the very strong character work that

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Mighty Avengers #3

May 25, 2007

This is the Avengers written as half popcorn-action-movie, half sex-comedy, and although it's fun in a silly sort of way, it just doesn't make for anywhere near as compelling a story as it might have done if Bendis was taking it seriously. Indeed, the crass and simplistic nature of the book leads me to believe that Bendis is letting his id do all the work here, throwing the most basic elements of his story together without any consideration for the kind of refinement or sophistication that can be found in some of his other work. My enthusiasm for this title has slowly waned over the course of these three issues to the point at which I really don't feel at all motivated to pick up the next, and considering the second wind that New Avengers seems to be experiencing as a result of the Civil War fallout and the roster rotation, I'm surprised to see that the same level of energy isn't being found here. Although action junkies and those who view superheroes through a filter of ironic deta

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Mighty Avengers #5

Oct 19, 2007

Frankly, I'll be happy when this arc is over. The delays in shipping caused by Cho's late art would be harmful enough on their own, but the fact that this book has recently become more important in the wider scheme of Bendis' Avengers plans makes them particularly keenly felt. This, compounded by the uneventful nature of the current storyline, has created a sense of impatience to see how it all connects together - and the fact that we've already seen the Mighty Avengers (including the "dead" Iron Man) alive and well in the pages of their sister title has robbed this arc of much of its drama. I only hope that Cho can finish issue #6 this side of Christmas, and that Mark Bagley has got enough issues in the can that the book can catch up with its shipping schedule in time for next summer's big Secret Invasion crossover.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Mighty Avengers #7

Jan 15, 2008

This issue of Mighty Avengers, then, is a fresh start for the book, and one which immediately shows a marked improvement. After a needlessly drawn-out first arc (with delays caused by Frank Cho's late artwork, which only exacerbated the situation), this second arc moves the Skrull storyline forwards, establishing a compelling atmosphere of paranoia and secrecy against which the symbiote-invasion storyline can play out, and which will also lay groundwork for this summer's Secret Invasion event. After considering dropping the book after the disappointing first six issues, I'm glad I hung around for this second arc.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Mighty Avengers #8

Jan 29, 2008

With this issue, Mighty Avengers easily overtakes New Avengers as the better of Bendis' two Avengers titles at the moment. This issue offers a severe, global-level threat; some large-scale action; logical plot development; cameos from the other Avengers team-members; some solid character moments (including a great scene which explores Tony Stark's internal reaction to the Skrull-instigated paranoia); and a cliffhanger which is intriguing enough to make me excited to read the next issue. I'd go so far as to say that Mighty Avengers #8 is a stronger Avengers book than any other issue written by Bendis so far, and whilst it might not blow you away with its originality or character insight, it's a very enjoyable superhero team book of the type that old-school Avengers fans thought had been lost since Avengers: Disassembled.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Mighty Avengers #12

Apr 22, 2008

The most recent issues of Bendis' Avengers books have demonstrated that the writer does seem to have a solid grasp of how to channel the ideas behind Secret Invasion into entertaining comics (even if they're not great Avengers comics, exactly) and it's nice to see the titles finally make good on the promise of the Skrull invasion plotline that was first made explicit way back in New Avengers #31. If these kinds of stories had been told in the immediate aftermath of the Skrull-Elektra revelation, it might have made for a truly compelling build-up to what has been billed as the climax to Bendis' entire run on the Avengers books. As it is, there's still a sense that the books are struggling to rebuild momentum now that Secret Invasion has kicked off in earnest, and has given them the green light to really start get to the meat of the storyline. That said, if Bendis keeps on turning out issues like this one, it should encourage readers to fully invest in the crossover, as this is a soli

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Mighty Avengers #14

May 20, 2008

Unfortunately, though, it hasn't been possible to make all of these issues stand alone on their own terms, and this issue feels more like a footnote or appendix to the main event than it does a story in its own right.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Mighty Avengers #20

Dec 16, 2008

Ultimately, your enjoyment of the issue will probably depend on your investment in Janet and Hank's relationship, and the extent to which you care about the Wasp's death. Considering how little Bendis has used the characters in his Avengers books, readers might be forgiven for not really caring about the characters, and the writer doesn't do much to encourage such a connection here. To his credit, Bendis avoids the obvious route of dwelling on Hank's best-known moments (such as his incident of spousal abuse, or the creation of Ultron). However, he doesn't really provide much of a compelling alternative, and the whole thing ends up feeling like little more than a footnote to the main Secret Invasion event - with an obligatory tie-in to "Dark Reign" at the end of the issue that tails off to nothing.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Mnemovore #5

Aug 22, 2005

Whilst there are occasional problems with the artwork (one dark haired male is sometimes easily confused with another, especially at a distance), Huddleston excels himself for the most part, crafting an atmosphere of gloomy dark horror which perfectly suits the tone of the script. The sinister, otherworldly nature of the Mnemovore is well rendered, with tentacles which threaten to slither right off the page and cold, unfeeling eyes which seem to hypnotise the reader as much as the characters with their unflinching gaze. The climax of the issue, in which Kaley discovers the lair of the bizarre creature, is treated to an excellent two page spread which is only made more effective by the dank, claustrophobic feel of the scenes which have preceded it. Huddleston complements the script well to create a pitch-perfect horror-movie feel here, and it plays to the issues strengths. The final page cliffhanger also carries a tension and dramatic weight which owes a lot to Huddlestons visuals

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Mnemovore #6

Sep 28, 2005

One small complaint I would raise is that this story hasnt been served well by a monthly shipping schedule, as the various story elements dont always spring back into your mind when youve waited a month between issues, and theres no concession made to a recap or any summary of the story so far. However, itd be a hard task for anyone to sum up such a shifting and ambiguous series, and I have to commend the creators for choosing such an unconventional ending for a story which has already shown that it isnt afraid to experiment with weirdness and unusual storytelling methods to communicate a surprisingly original and disturbing mystery horror tale.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Monsters Inc. #1

Aug 24, 2009

All things considered, this is a fun and suitably light-hearted return to the world of Monsters Inc. that will probably appeal more to children than to adults, but is still well worth a look for Pixar fans.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Moon Knight #4

Aug 4, 2006

If nothing else, Huston and Finch have used this book to succesfully reclaim the character of Moon Knight from near-obscurity, providing a rebuttal to those who have unfairly pegged him as little more than Marvel's rip-off of Batman, and giving him a compelling backstory which promises to add some much-needed depth to a book which needs such a streak of originality if it's to succeed in an already overcrowded marketplace. If you can stomach the relentless seriousness of the writer's take on the character (the recap page is almost laughably po-faced and "gritty"), this is quite a decent dark superhero book. I just can't help but feel that it's time we saw a little more of Moon Knight in action.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Moon Knight #5

Sep 25, 2006

This is a book which doesn't quite seem to be getting the amount of attention that Marvel wanted, and I'm not really sure why. It's definitely adult-oriented (this gory, graphic book isn't for young kids), and it's definitely something which is at least a little bit different in a marketplace full of the generic and derivative, so you'd think it would appeal to the core comics audience pretty easily. However, as I stated at the top of the review, this is a story that won't really feel complete until the end of this first arc, so it's perhaps more likely to succeed in a collected edition. Whatever the reason, Huston & Finch's Moon Knight is worth a punt if you're on the fence about whether to invest in yet another superhero series - but most will probably wait for the TPB to check it out.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
New Avengers #3

Feb 7, 2005

If it was more than a little disappointing that Bendis chose to cut the Raft fight short and renege on last issue's cliffhanger through a cheeky plot twist, there was still enough interesting material in this issue to keep me hooked. A slow, talky issue with no action sequences sits a little strangely after last issue's mass breakout, and undercuts the apparent urgency with which these New Avengers have been brought together to find a city full of super-criminals. However, giving the character this issue to breathe a little was probably a worthwhile step, as I found the recruitment-of-the-team sequence to be a nice nod to superhero and espionage conventions (reminding me personally of old episodes of MASK, the 80s cartoon), giving us justification for all the characters to be involved and getting us used to their individual personalities. And as a fan, I particularly enjoyed the Daredevil scene, which took particular care to integrate itself with current continuity in his own title.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
New Avengers #7

Jul 15, 2005

Indeed, this final coda is perhaps the most exciting part of the issue, and left me feeling an odd mixture of thrilled and challenged when I put the book down. Bendis makes a complete departure from how I imagined the Sentry would be dealt with in this series, and as he does so, he opens up a huge can of worms which I cant wait to see explored next issue. Its a daring, postmodern concept, and without wanting to give too much away it reminded me very much of a Charlie Kaufman (he of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation fame) -esque script idea. A lot will rest on how well Bendis follows up this highly unexpected approach to the Sentrys character and history, but Im really keen to see how he plays it. If nothing else, it adds a real jeopardy and uncertainty to the godlike status of the character, making him much more interesting as a result. In a manner similar to Mark Millars recent is-he-or-isnt-he treatment of Thor in The Ultimates, Bendis has turned the Sentry concept on it

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
New Avengers #9

Sep 8, 2005

It may seem that Im dwelling on one part of an issue which definitely has other things going for it namely Steve McNivens fantastic art, which shines in all departments, especially his well-judged page composition and great, inventive character designs for the Void (check out that final page splash). However, Ive been very excited to see how Bendis was going to handle having such a powerful and complex character on the team, and Im disappointed with the results. Ultimately, it feels like the Sentrys introduction to the team is being dragged out far too long, and this would seem to be confirmed by the extra issue which has been added to this arc at late notice. Readers would be forgiven for getting frustrated by the lack of answers to questions which were posed months ago, and even explicitly stated in the awesome issue #7, which suggested so much potential for this story. I can only hope that any retcon which is followed through is minor, and that the writer leaves the Sentr

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
New Avengers #10

Sep 26, 2005

But more than anything else, this story has an air of functionality about it, as it has to set up a new status quo for the Sentrys character whilst integrating his old miniseries (which Marvel is looking to pimp again in a collected format in the near future), as well as modifying the character to make him work in a team book and a new miniseries of his own which begins next week. Its no surprise that, in trying to keep all these plates spinning, Bendis hasnt managed to produce a classic story here. Its a shame, as I do think the idea of a misfit Avengers has some merit and a lot of potential for future stories, but it looks as though its going to take over a years worth of comics before the team really pulls itself together - Next Issue: Ronin! And with better New Avengers stories being told elsewhere (*cough* Amazing Spider-Man *cough*), this series is going to have to live up to its own title pretty soon or its readers are going to end up frustrated and bored, waiting f

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
New Avengers #12

Nov 3, 2005

(Although, praise be this is the only Marvel book I bought this week that doesnt feature a massive two-page car ad directly after the recap page. Small mercies, I guess.)

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
New Avengers #14

Jan 9, 2006

There are a couple of strange continuity flaws here which suggest either that this issue had to be kept back until Bendis Secret War project was finally complete, or that the preceding Ronin arc was deliberately shoehorned in between the climax of the Sentrys story which saw the golden beacon of his Watchtower headquarters laid over Starks skyscraper and the beginning of this tale, which opens with the startled reaction of the New York press to the attention-grabbing revelation of the New Avengers existence. Tony Starks aside that We should have taken care of this before Japan seems like a conscious effort to paper over this slightly jarring three-issue gap, but its a weak attempt to try and make the two ends meet. Sentry himself also pops up here again after being absent for the last three issues, and its still not clear exactly how hes going to fit in with the team, or whether his own solo series is meant to gel with his New Avengers incarnation in any way. That sa

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
New Avengers #16

Mar 2, 2006

(Oh, and the weird and wacky NewUniverse backup strip doesnt do the book any favours either.)

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
New Avengers #19

Jun 20, 2006

Ultimately, the story feels like less than the sum of its parts, and even penciller Mike Deodato cant seem to summon the enthusiasm to provide any truly outstanding work. All the action with Iron Man and the Sentry out in space feels fairly flat and one-note, and except for the few interesting S.H.I.E.L.D. sequences in which the artist gets to play with atmosphere and body language a little more, theres very little here that rises above the usual and that goes for the book as a whole.

View Issue       View Full Review
3.0
New Avengers #20

Jun 26, 2006

If this had been an X-Men book, I could just about have handled the direction the storyline has taken. If this had been billed as a true sequel to House of M, I would have been more prepared for its inconclusive nature and meandering plot. If Spider-Woman, the Vision, Wolverine and Luke Cage had actually done anything of any consequence for the entirety of the storyline, I might have understood why this story was even being printed in New Avengers. Sadly, this issue just lets the reader down on so many levels that its difficult to see how the book is going to recover. But wait: the next four issues of the title will apparently deal with the ramifications of Marvels Civil War event on the New Avengers, effectively disassembling the team after only twenty issues! Maybe the book will be transformed afterwards too, but on the strength of this mess, I dont imagine Ill be around to find out.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
New Avengers #21

Jul 18, 2006

If all four parts of this arc are as self-contained as this, then were in for a less coherent disassembling (disassemblage?) of the team than Id hoped for. However, the concentration on a single character gives Bendis the chance to flex his characterisation muscles a lot more effectively, and as such, these issues might be some of the most significant yet for that exact reason. Non-Civil War followers will be likely to be left cold by the storyline, which assumes a lot of prior knowledge on the part of the reader, but such complaints will surely only affect a minority of the titles readership. Like Civil War: Front Line, this is another solid satellite title to the core Civil War book. Just dont expect a fantastic story in its own right.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
New Avengers #22

Aug 3, 2006

Essentially, this is the story of two people who refuse to be told what to do by a law that they think is wrong, and thanks to Bendis skills as a writer as well as the general bias of the rest of the Civil War event its difficult to come away from this issue without feeling uplifted by their anti-authority stance. By the time Cage has made his stand against S.H.I.E.L.D. and Iron Man and escaped his would-be captors, I cant imagine any reader still feeling their loyalties split between the two factions which have torn the New Avengers apart. I cant wait to see what part Cage will play in the Civil War, but Im equally keen to see how big a part of the team Bendis can make him after this summers crossover event has played out especially when Leinil Yu is waiting in the wings to render him again. Simply put, I wish every issue of New Avengers was this good and with such a radical shake-up in the offing, Bendis could finally have the chance to fulfil his potential with the

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
New Avengers #23

Sep 1, 2006

Of course, Bendis three successful Civil War tie-ins so far have only dealt with anti-registration heroes, and Ill be interested to see whether he can replicate that success without an underdog character to garner readers sympathies. S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to be painted as the bad guy here (with Iron Man the constant, faceless and amoral enforcer), and I cant help but feel that its going to be difficult to get readers on-side when Bendis has to concentrate on one of the pro-reg heroes. Next issue should provide the writers take on the psychologically complex Sentry, and I think that thatll be a true test of his abilities. For the moment though, Bendis is providing one of the few must-read Civil War tie-ins on the shelves, and if he continues to be paired with artists of the calibre of Coipel (or indeed last issues Leinil Yu), then things really will be looking up for New Avengers.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
New Avengers #24

Oct 27, 2006

The artwork is also quite pretty, and Dean White's delicate colouring really enhances Pasqual Ferry's pencils, particularly in the tender scene which deals with how the Sentry's memory-wipe has affected his personal relationships (such as a now-forgotten fling with Crystal) and in the Iron Man/Sentry conversation, in which Ferry employs a reflections-within-reflections device which really helps to draw the reader in. Yes, it would have been nice if Adi Granov had been able to illustrate the whole issue, but since he's tied up with the Iron Man movie - and could have delayed the issue by months at his usual schedule - Ferry proves a solid replacement. Only the cover remains of Granov's work on the issue (although whoever horizontally flipped the image without remembering to correct the Sentry's symbol will be feeling pretty embarrassed by the "Z" that the character now appears to sport on his belt. Then again, maybe that's a comment on the soporific effects of the bulk of the issue's

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
New Avengers #25

Nov 17, 2006

The one major drawback with the issue is that Bendis doesn't really explore Iron Man's pro-registration stance in any depth. With Stark incapacitated for most of the issue, it's all he can do to listen to the complaints of his adversary, who is aggrieved that Stark would use his technology to fight Captain America and his "Secret Avengers." I can only conclude that Bendis finds it a lot harder to capture the voice of the pro-registration faction of heroes than he does the anti-registration crew, and it's a little disappointing that - after four strong issues in which his chosen Avenger remains at best undecided - he can't add some balance to the Civil War event by giving Stark some truly convincing arguments. Despite all this, though, it's probably the final pages of the issue that will really get people talking. The likely change to the status quo of both Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Hill holds a lot of promise for future storylines, and it would certainly up the stakes in t

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
New Avengers #26

Dec 25, 2006

Perhaps it's the Civil War scheduling gaps that are to blame for this issue, as it seems likely that they've forced the writer to come up with a story that he never really wanted to write: there's definitely nothing earth-shatteringly important that arises out of this story to necessitate its telling, and it isn't presented with the kind of verve or energy that you can usually sense when a writer has a burning desire to share his ideas. Bendis is a good - if not great - writer when he's at his best, and it's sad to see Marvel continue to apply him to books which don't make the best of his strengths. I don't begrudge him the success he's enjoyed with this title; he certainly deserves it based on his past body of work, but I hope that he'll soon rediscover his writing mojo with a book he really cares about. Maybe his future collaboration with Maleev on Spider-Woman will be it, as there's definitely something special about their relationship that shines through, even in a below-average

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
New Avengers #27

Feb 9, 2007

Those of us who have been following New Avengers for a while will be happy to see the book back to a regular schedule, but it's a shame that the book couldn't bring a little more to the table with this first post-Civil-War arc. The guessing games about Ronin are likely to prove worthless exercises when you consider how illogical and unpredictable the big reveal was last time, and Bendis still can't resist over-writing the book in places. That said, this is a stronger out-and-out superhero story than most issues of New Avengers have managed to provide, and it hints at a rougher edge for the team which seems sure to tie into the fallout of the still-unreleased Civil War #7: Luke Cage makes for a formidable Avengers leader, and his handling of Elektra this issue brings a tear to the eye (and not the emotional kind). It may be that future issues of this book will make more sense after the post-Civil War Marvel Universe has sorted itself out, and with that in mind, many of the shortcomin

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
New Avengers #29

Apr 17, 2007

All in all, this is another strong issue of a storyline which has revitalised a book that was struggling to maintain reader interest before Civil War kicked in. The twin plotlines in the U.S. and Japan are compelling, the backstory of how the New New Avengers formed is interesting, and even the subplot concerning the Ronin "mystery" seems more substantial and well thought-out this time around (the latest online theory is Orson Randall from Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction's Immortal Iron Fist series, but it's thankfully less important in the scheme of things than it was in the initial "Ronin" arc). I also hope that Yu and McCaig stick around for a longer tenure than many of this book's art teams so far, as they're bringing a very important quality to the story too.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
New Avengers #30

May 14, 2007

Whilst the reveal of the identity of the new Ronin is unlikely to really wow anyone, it'll be interesting to see what Bendis does with the character in future issues, and Luke Cage's talk of a conspiracy which ties together "Avengers Disassembled," Secret War, Civil War and House of M also bodes well for the writer finally tying up some of the mystery plot strands that were begun in the very first issue of this title. Even if the cliffhanger seems a little artificial (and any sense of surprise is completely blown by the cover image), I'm still interested to see how this arc plays out. However, there's a growing sense that the time for talking is over, and I hope the book kicks into a higher gear soon.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
New Avengers #32

Jul 13, 2007

New Avengers #32 is par for the course for an early chapter of a Bendis Avengers story in that things move slowly, there's a lot of talk, and not a huge amount happens. Considering the supposedly earth-shattering implications of last issue's big reveal, it's surprising to see the writer put the brakes on so soon, and the decision to eke out the issue's story beyond its natural life feels like decompression for no good reason. In terms of the overall plot, this is the very definition of a story that will keep readers guessing - but that's not enough to make it hugely enjoyable in and of itself. Still, with Yu's admittedly uneven artwork providing a (mostly) attractive visual element, and a storyline which still has the potential to produce interesting results if the payoff lives up to the setup, I won't write off this arc of New Avengers just yet - I just hope things pick up soon.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
New Avengers #34

Sep 18, 2007

Unfortunately, the final pages of the book are more of a head-scratcher than they are an effective cliffhanger, introducing a crossover with Mighty Avengers which is hampered by the fact that the plot points featured in this book haven't yet happened in that one. It's one of the dangers of organising tight crossovers which involve titles that have an unreliable schedule, and although I'm sure things will improve after Mark Bagley takes over art duties from Frank Cho on the Mighty title, it makes this particular development fall a little flat. Ignoring those final pages, though, this isn't a bad issue at all. It's very much a transitional chapter, and one which is bound to be re-examined in the light of future developments in the overarching Skrull storyline, but it keeps things interesting for now with some good character work, fun dialogue, and a few neat developments of the team's current paranoid mindset. It's not enough for me to outright recommend the issue, but regular readers wo

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
New Avengers #37

Dec 21, 2007

In the end, the issue draws to a close with a limp finale to the fight (two pages of disconnected knockout punches, and the fight is over) and a closing coda which sees the Hood break the Wrecker out of prison. Again. This doesn't feel like the end of a storyline, and that feeling is supported by the caption of the final page which promises that the story is "To be continued in Avengers Annual #2". However, after reading this issue, I can't imagine readers wanting to come back for more. New Avengers doesn't feel like a book which is gearing up for a major crossover storyline - it feels like it's waiting to be put out of its misery. For the first time, I'm seriously considering dropping the title, because it has failed to deliver on its potential and to resolve its dangling plot strands for so long that I've run out of goodwill and second chances.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
New Avengers #38

Feb 12, 2008

Whilst this issue might provide a welcome opportunity for Michael Gaydos to revisit Luke and Jessica again (and his take on both characters is definitive, in my view) and for Bendis to write some convincing back-and-forths and amusing one-liners, it doesn't do enough to maintain the momentum of the overall New Avengers story at a time when we're meant to be gearing up for a major crossover event. As such, it feels like yet more treading water, and at this point, Secret Invasion can't get here quickly enough.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
New Avengers #39

Mar 25, 2008

However, the issue is not without its weaknesses: yet again, Bendis proves that he's better at writing stories that deal with just one or two characters than he is at providing a decent team book, and as such, this issue might serve as yet more proof for his detractors that he's just not well-suited to write an Avengers title (let alone two). There's also the nagging feeling that Bendis is still unable to tip his hand too much before his crossover begins in full next week, and many of the elements of his story are reliant on Secret Invasion to give them a satisfying resolution. Still, as a precursor to the big Skrull event, this isn't a bad issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
New Avengers #40

Apr 29, 2008

There's a nagging suspicion at the back of my mind which tells me that I might be enjoying these recent Avengers issues more than they deserve, simply because they're justifying my having stuck with the book through some fairly mediocre stories on the promise of an eventual payoff. However, even if that is the case, I still find it pretty hard to find any major flaws in the way Bendis has handled Secret Invasion so far. Let's hope that the storyline continues to be entertaining, and that the writer has planned a conclusion that is strong enough to deliver on the potential of its premise.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
New Avengers #44

Aug 26, 2008

The manner in which the Skrulls eventually extract their required information from their clone of Reed's brain is suitably cynical and manipulative, showing an increasing understanding of human nature on the part of the Skrulls and reinforcing the concept of the Secret Invasion event by reflecting the idea that stealth and infiltration can make for a far more effective way to undermine human society than an all-out attack. All in all, this is the kind of tie-in story that I would have like to have seen a lot more of throughout the Secret Invasion event, as it binds emotional character beats to an intelligent, logical premise that plays an important part in the storyline's bigger picture, but probably wouldn't be worthy of an in-depth examination in the core title. Definitely one of the best Avengers tie-in issues yet.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
New Avengers #45

Sep 23, 2008

Those fans of Bendis' Avengers work who enjoyed House of M and are enjoying Secret Invasion will probably find much to enjoy here. It's certainly not all bad, with a couple of decent character moments for the Hank Pym and Spider-Woman Skrulls, and an effective closing sequence that also ties into the Annihilation event and reminds us that the Skrulls' religious fervour is driven by the great losses that they sustained during that very recent storyline. However, the problems that I've already described undermined the issue for me - and I was also slightly disappointed by a scene which all but erases the possibility that the real Spider-Woman may have taken her doppelganger's place as a mole within the Skrull organisation (but it wasn't looking likely that Bendis was going to employ that twist anyway). This is one of the weaker Secret Invasion tie-in issues: a return to a storyline that probably should have been left well alone by the latest big event, and one of the first issues in a

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
New Avengers #46

Oct 21, 2008

Those complaints aside, this is a decent enough Secret Invasion tie-in that provides a good showcase for the artist who will be handling New Avengers for the foreseeable future, and provides a reasonably entertaining story with a couple of well-handled moments of Skrull-exposure (and that sounds a lot dirtier than I meant it to). Of course, you could question whether this kind of story belongs in an Avengers title at all (again, no Avengers actually appear here - maybe the book really should be retitled Not Avengers?) but the time for griping about that is long past. If you're still reading this book, you're presumably happy with the format - which I personally think is a decent way of handling big event comics and their tie-ins. It's just a shame that they have been so choppy and inconsistent in terms of quality.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
New Avengers #52

Apr 21, 2009

The cliffhanger introduction of another magic-based character (seemingly unrelated to the story so far) makes me wonder whether this arc is going to amount to little more than a tour of the magical corners of the Marvel Universe, with an arbitrary character chosen as the new Sorceror Supreme at the end. Even if that's the case, these most recent couple of issues have been more entertaining than the last year of New Avengers has been, and with Chris Bachalo on art I'll definitely be back for more next issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
New Avengers #56

Aug 25, 2009

Yep, sounds like an issue of New Avengers to me.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
New Avengers #57

Sep 22, 2009

Despite the issue's flaws (for example, I'm still not clear on how the villains' power-dampener device is meant to work, since the characters' powers seem to switch off-and-on almost at random throughout the issue), this is an entertaining read from a creative team that seems to be genuinely having fun with their creation of a straightforward superhero romp. Whilst it's still not an outstanding comic book, and still isn't quite delivering on the promise of its A-list cast, this is the best issue of New Avengers to have come along in quite some time.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
New Avengers Annual #2

Jan 29, 2008

This Annual, then, is disposable in the sense that it's a fairly straightforward, throwaway story - but regular readers will still want to take a look at this issue due to the developments of the final few pages, which I won't spoil here, but which will have a direct bearing on the following issues of the main title. Decent enough artwork makes the fight fairly visually interesting, and there are enough individual moments of drama and tension that it's quite a fun read, but you probably won't remember much about it once you've closed the final page.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
New Avengers: Illuminati #3

Jun 4, 2007

I'd enjoy the issue more if it had actually had the bottle to commit to its main idea, but the conclusion leaves everything so vague that I'm not really sure why the story exists in the first place. Are Bendis and Reed saying that the Beyonder is really a mutant inhuman? From Black Bolt's reaction, it seems unlikely. Is there an implication that some of the events of the second Secret Wars didn't happen? It's not clear. Yes, the art is pretty - the majority of my enjoyment of the issue is down to Jim Cheung's consistently solid linework - but the lack of conviction that the book seems to have about any of its ideas is ultimately so harmful that it strips the story of any meaning, making it difficult to enjoy on any logical or emotional level. Maybe this story is setting up a plot point which will be explored further in future issues, but as a stand-alone story in its own right, it simply doesn't work.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
New Avengers: Illuminati #5

Nov 9, 2007

Here's hoping that the next chapter of Bendis' "Secret Invasion" setup (wherever it appears) takes the plot to a new level, because this issue alone doesn't seem like a solid enough basis for an entire crossover event. Maybe future issues of the storyline will improve upon the idea, but there's only so much goodwill that you can give a story before you get tired of waiting for it to grab you. Since we've still got a while until Secret Invasion begins in earnest, I'm slightly concerned that the story is going to feel so drawn-out by then that I will have lost interest in it altogether. Whilst I've more or less enjoyed the Illuminati miniseries, this is far from being a strong final issue - but readers of New Avengers will probably want to pick it up anyway, since that book doesn't seem too concerned with pushing the storyline forwards.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
New Avengers: Reunion #4

Jun 2, 2009

If the goal of this book was to reintroduce Mockingbird to readers and give some meaning to her relationship with Hawkeye in the present-day Marvel Universe, then it's achieved what it set out to do. I'll be interested to see whether the characters' new status quo at the end of the series will be reprised for further adventures, either in the pages of New Avengers or in another dedicated miniseries or one-shot. There's certainly a lot of potential here either way.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
newuniversal #4

Mar 9, 2007

If you're looking for short-term payoff from this book, you won't find it, and I can't deny that I'm tempted to stop buying the series and wait for the collected edition so that I can enjoy the entire story at my leisure. Still, Ellis and Larocca manage to make these chapters readable in their own right, and it's testament to the strength of the writer's characterisation that I'm interested enough to keep buying the individual issues which follow their gradual development. I have faith in Ellis to provide a strong enough payoff to make the slow-burn storytelling worth it, and there are still a few plot strands that I'm keen to see play out (in particular, the thread which deals with the HEX robot), but despite the high quality of the work from both creators, I can't say that this is the most compelling monthly comic book that I'm reading at the moment.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
newuniversal #6

May 25, 2007

In some ways, newuniversal seems more suited to the weekly television medium than it does to that of the monthly comic, as the scale of the story that Ellis seems to be attempting to tell is so great that it could take literally years for everything to start coming together with only one 22-page chapter released per month. Compounding this problem is the news that the book will go on hiatus before issue #7 hits the stands, for reasons unknown. Whether it's Ellis or Larocca who is the cause for the delays is irrelevant; either way, it's going to harm a story which is being told as gradually as this one is, and that's a shame, because the quality of the work being accomplished here is well above-par for a superhero comic from the Big Two.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
No Hero #0

Jun 27, 2008

Despite being a fairly slim volume, No Hero #0 has me interested enough in the series that I'll definitely be picking up the first full issue. The ideas that Ellis is playing with are interesting and socially relevant, there's a decent hook ("How badly do you want to be a superhero?"), and the story of this issue already hints at some compelling yet subtle mysteries (the date of the formation of the Levellers is 6th June 1966 (6/6/66) and The Front Line form on 7th July 1977 (7/7/77) - could they be significant?). The back matter also provides a wealth of background information on the series from Ellis ("Much more than you needed to know, right?") that drops some hints as to the sort of direction that he'll be taking with the book. As long as Ryp can work quickly enough to produce issues on something approaching a regular basis (we're still waiting for the oft-delayed Black Summer to wrap up), this looks like it could be another strong offering from the team.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
No Hero #2

Nov 3, 2008

As with Black Summer, Ellis is using this book to explore issues of control and social responsibility through a superhero lens. Here, however, those notions look as though they might be taken to even more fascistic extremes, with the superhero elements given a far more sinister veneer than regular readers of superhero comics might be used to. Its still very much in the early stages, but No Hero is already shaping up to be a highly enjoyable and thought provoking read with interesting characters and a strong central concept. I look forward to seeing where it goes.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
No Hero #3

Jan 9, 2009

This isn't the best issue of No Hero so far, and judged purely on its own merits, it's not actually that compelling a read. However, as a part of the larger whole that is Ellis and Ryp's "Serialised Graphic Novel" it works well, moving a couple of plot points forwards and developing some of the characters a little more fully.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
No Hero #5

Apr 30, 2009

My only real criticism of the issue (and of the series overall) is quite a general one: Im not sure if I have any real desire to read it a second time. Whilst the breadth of ideas being discussed is impressive, I dont sense a huge amount of depth in Elliss treatment of them, and unless the writer is saving a major twist for the closing chapters, I dont know that Ill feel motivated to revisit the book in future. As such, I may never experience it as the graphic novel that it purports to be on the cover of each serialized chapter. Still, thats hardly the most damning indictment in the world and the fact that the series is providing an entertaining and thought-provoking read every month that it appears makes it a lot more worthy of its audiences time and attention than many other publications.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
No Hero #7

Sep 25, 2009

It seems inevitable that No Hero is going to be held up to the high standard of Ellis and Ryps previous mini-series, Black Summer and the series cant help but suffer in comparison. The characters of No Hero havent been as memorable or as well established, the ideas havent been quite as revolutionary, original, or thought-provoking, and the plot hasnt lent itself to exciting visual storytelling to quite the same degree that the central premise of Black Summer did. In its own right, however, this has been an enjoyable enough cynical superhero miniseries that might have neglected a deep exploration of its central ideas in favour of action and intrigue, but has remained very readable nonetheless.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Punisher X-Mas Special #1

Dec 1, 2006

There's a lot packed into this issue, wtih Moore's story taking in mafia goons, scientologist crooks, a bereaved mother and a thread about the murder of a cop and an eight-year-old-boy that links them all together. I won't spoil the issue by hinting at the twists and turns that the plot eventually takes, but it's an original enough story that the writer doesn't feel like he's simply rehashing tired clichs, and it gains a subtle element of warmth from the Christmassy elements that even hardcore Punisher fans should be able to stomach. A creative team which has already shown how well they gel together in their Wolverine issue, Moore and Smith have provided another elegantly written and suitably well-illustrated one-shot here, and I can only hope that Marvel lets them loose on other characters in future. There just aren't enough of these self-contained stories around, and I'd definitely be convinced to take a chance on an issue if it had these two creators' names on the cover.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Punisher: Force of Nature #1

Feb 12, 2008

Nevertheless, despite the weaknesses of the plot, this book was a pleasant surprise, if only because I never expected to get this much entertainment out of a fairly simple story about Frank Castle taking some criminals apart in a cold and calculated manner. Maybe I need to check out Ennis' run after all, because if it's as enjoyable as this, I could well start to become a convert to the Punisher after all.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Robotika: For A Few Rubles More #1

Jan 15, 2009

Considering my lack of familiarity with the world of Robotika, this issue was a pleasant surprise. Whilst there's still some room for improvement in certain areas, I found it to be an enjoyable and imaginative read with a high standard of artwork. However, for uninitiated readers like me it may be worth seeking out the TPB of the original Robotika series in order to get the most out of this sequel.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye #2

May 14, 2009

If Seaguy has a message, it's perhaps that we should question the day-to-day realities of our own lives more often and be less accepting of the authorities that govern our existence. Then again, perhaps I'm over thinking things, and its foolish to even try to examine this series in so much depth. It's certainly enjoyable enough when taken at face value, with plenty of crazy ideas and a fast moving and unpredictable plot that feels like a paranoid superhero thriller as envisioned by David Lynch. Even if I cant shake the sense that the full meaning of the series continues to elude me, I'm still very much enjoying the ride.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Secret Invasion #1

Apr 1, 2008

I'm surprised that I enjoyed this issue as much as I did, as I haven't always been the greatest advocate of Bendis' Avengers work, especially lately. That said, I've stuck with the books over the last year on the promise that Secret Invasion will retroactively enrich them, and that Bendis really does have a plan for where this is all going. Whilst this issue hasn't completely convinced me just yet - it's a lot easier to write a strong opening issue than it is to craft an equally satisfying complete story, after all - it's a good start, and has allowed me to hope that this series could make good on its promise to tie together the New and Mighty Avengers series into a more cohesive whole than I expected. Much depends on how the story plays out, of course, but this is a solid first issue that delivers enough in the way of twists and big reveals that those who have been looking forward to the series for months shouldn't be disappointed. Just don't expect anything more than a bombastic,

View Issue       View Full Review
3.0
Secret Invasion: Dark Reign #1

Dec 13, 2008

One of the dangers of making sweeping changes to a shared comics universe is that if the changes arent executed well, publishers can risk turning readers away from a whole line of books. After the letdown of Secret Invasion encouraged me to drop the Avengers titles, what weve seen of Dark Reign has prompted me to go even further, and to cut my Marvel reading list down to a few choice titles (most of which either avoid the wider continuity of the Marvel Universe as far as possible or are published as completely separate stories from the main Marvel Universe continuity). There comes a point at which even the most forgiving readers decide that their investment in continuity-based stories just isnt rewarded by the quality of the comics that are being produced in that framework, and I think that Dark Reign is going to mark that point for me.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1

May 13, 2008

This book feels like a fairly inconsequential tie-in to Secret Invasion, albeit one that will probably keep Fantastic Four fans happy enough. You can't blame Marvel for trying, and it's far from being an offensively bad comic--but neither is it a particularly good one. It's difficult to escape the feeling that this is a title that has been created for the sake of having a Secret Invasion/FF tie-in, rather than because anyone had a particularly good story to tell, and I doubt that I'll be interested enough to pick up the next issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Secret War #4

Apr 8, 2005

As more and more books from other titles get released which tip the hand of this storyline (the crossover in The Pulse takes place chronologically after this issue, and foreshadows the result of the fight considerably; and the New Avengers team are already asking questions about Nick Furys apparent disappearance from S.H.I.E.L.D. before it happens in this title), it is becoming obvious that this book is stalling. Regardless of the shipping delays, with only one issue to go in this miniseries, the plot still isnt clear and the characters motivations are still muddy and unexplained. Maybe if Bendis had chosen to tell this fractured story in a more linear way, the readers would have understood and enjoyed it a lot more. As Alfred Hitchcock reportedly advised: never confuse an audience; a confused audience is not emoting. Those who conceived the latest of Marvels Secret Wars might do well to heed this advice in future.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Sensational Spider-Man #41

Nov 30, 2007

In many ways, this story is starting to remind me of that other much-maligned story from JMS' run, "Sins Past". Like "Sins Past", "One More Day" isn't badly written, and the artwork is solid, serving the story well. However, it's built around an idea which is so ill-conceived and badly plotted that even a talented writer like Straczynski can't polish it into something that feels like it makes sense as a story. It reeks of the substitution of editorial imperatives for logical, organic storytelling, and it's that approach to the character which has run Spider-Man into the ground so consistently over the last few years. If Marvel would prefer to think that all of Spidey's problems can be solved by erasing his marriage, I guess that's what they're going to go ahead and do. The best that I can hope for is that "One More Day" clears the slate for a fresh new wave of talent to actually take the character somewhere interesting once Amazing Spider-Man relaunches as a thrice-monthly title next y

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Sentry #1

Oct 11, 2005

Whilst Im pleased to see the Sentry character rising to greater prominence in the Marvel Universe, Im just not sure this is the way to do it. On one hand, Im happy to see this issue series begin with a one-shot which is an accessible read for any newcomer to the character, whilst also laying the groundwork for complex relationships and character traits which will likely become more and more important as the series progresses. Ill be interested to see if this single-issue approach continues, as theres definitely room for more than one angle on the complex character of the Sentry, and I think that Jenkins definitely has the writing chops to explore them. However, theres just as much which doesnt work here in the fusion of art and script that I cant see any quick fix which will make the combination easier to swallow. Maybe the book will settle into itself a little more and the next issue wont seem so jarring, and maybe Jenkins and Romita will develop a relationship which allo

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Sentry #2

Nov 11, 2005

Maybe theres an element of me getting used to this creative team taking on the Sentry after being so in love with Jae Lees visual take on the character, but theres a definite improvement noticeable this issue. Im now keen to see where this miniseries goes as, despite a slow start, the momentum which is gradually building up suggests that greater things may be yet to come. Theres certainly a lot of groundwork laid for future issues, whether in the form of the Sentrys canine companion Watchdog, his relationship with his psychiatrist of the constant taunting of the Void. It seems like this might be a slow burn series, which much like the last Sentry mini will take on new levels once all eight issues are out in the open. For now, Im finding myself more and more well-disposed towards the title, and look forward to the next issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Sentry #4

Jan 5, 2006

Fans of the Sentry will enjoy this book more than usual and be relieved that Paul Jenkins looks to be building on old story threads towards something big, but to be honest, theres probably not much here to pull any casual readers into the title. Whats more, Jenkins seems to be beginning more of an over-arching story with this issue, as it doesnt provide the kind of self-contained tale which made the first three issues more accessible to new readers. That said, its a solid installment which gives me some confidence for the second half of the mini and - as a fan of the character - Im eager to see where Jenkins takes this.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Sentry #6

Mar 3, 2006

Ultimately, the basic premise that the Void and the Sentry are two sides of the same coin is such a simple concept to exploit that Im surprised that it can be fluffed like this. Im interested to see what kind of conclusion the book is leading up to - and whether Jenkins can make the Sentry work as an ongoing character in the Marvel Universe - but the final page of this issue is so inconclusive and open to interpretation that its difficult to know exactly whats really going on any more, to the extent that its unclear just how much of the series has even been real." I hope that the Sentry and the Void dont remain separate entities for long, as the duality of Reynolds dark and light sides is one of the most compelling and unique traits that the character has going for him. However, the complicated revelations of the characters origins and the overwritten psychobabble of this issue is so overplayed that its debatable whether Id really want to see this internal conflict played

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Sentry #7

Mar 31, 2006

Im of the opinion that Jenkins isnt presenting us with a story which is intended to be understood completely literally here. Since so many of the story elements are metaphorical or imaginary, the series actually works a lot better if you try to enjoy it more for the atmosphere of confusion and ambiguity that is created by every issue than for the plot itself, as its through this element that Jenkins has most effectively conveyed the feelings of his central character. As a linear superhero book, however, its likely to frustrate readers as much as entertain them. If this series had been the more usual six issues, I think it would have been a perfect length for the kind of story Jenkins is trying to tell, as - in retrospect - too much of the earlier issues felt like padding. The result is that a lot of the books revelations have been pulled on us in the second half of the series, with each issue undermining the ones which have come before it as we struggle to work out exactly wha

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Silver Surfer: Requiem #3

Jul 27, 2007

I didn't really know what to expect from this title, but it has proved to be a surprisingly enjoyable read which honours the original characterisation of the Silver Surfer and provides some thought-provoking subject matter for readers to digest. Straczynski might not be examining the issues of death and rebirth quite as much as I expected after the first issue (although surely we'll see some of that in the fourth and final issue), and there might not be much of a story to speak of, but the universally relevant subject matter provides an interesting platform for some well-conceived modern parables, and the lush artwork makes this book irresistible.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Silver Surfer: Requiem #4

Sep 4, 2007

I'm sure some people will write this off as self-indulgent twaddle which has only its pretty visuals going for it. Truth be told, I'm surprised that I've enjoyed the series as much as I have. However, if you're happy to read a simple story which makes good use of its central characters but which is more about emotions and ideas than it is about plot or action then it might be worth giving Silver Surfer: Requiem a try.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil the Man Do #5

Jan 12, 2006

Despite some fairly thin story logic which pushes the suspension of disbelief to the limit in places Nightcrawlers awareness (via Emma Frost and Cerebra) of an enquiry that the Black Cat made via an internet search engine the night before she gets kidnapped is one example; Garrisons convenient invulnerability to Francis powers is another Smith has somehow pulled things together a little since last issue to make this a reasonably satisfying story on its own terms. Even if it never really rises above the average, at least it isnt the train wreck that a brief synopsis of the issues themes connected with Kevin Smiths name might suggest. Heres hoping the last issue doesnt throw it away with yet another ill-advised retconned rape, because without a very good reason for his final plot development this issue, Smith could find himself doing more harm than good to one of the strongest female characters in Spider-Mans supporting cast. And weve only just got over what JMS did to G

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Spider-Man/Human Torch: !Bahia De Los Muertos! #1

Mar 3, 2009

As with Isla De La Muerte, this issue also makes use of an old-school FF baddie in addition to Beland's own villanous creation. I won't say any more for fear of spoiling the issue -- but if you read this book, you're probably not reading it for amazing plot revelations or story twists as much as you're reading it for the sheer sense of fun and enjoyment that the story revels in.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Spider-Man: House of M #5

Nov 11, 2005

However, I cant finish this review without a word or two of praise for the back-up strip which is to be found in this issues closing pages, as Franklin Richards Son of a Genius appears in Weather or not by writer Marc Sumerak and artist Chris Eliopoulos. The strip seems tailor-made to attract new and younger readers to the comics medium, but its a fun and effortlessly entertaining four pages no matter what your age. The ever-present sense of mishief and boundless childish imagination which characterised the classic Calvin and Hobbes can also be found here, and that strips artistic style has clearly influenced Eliopoulos in his renderings of Reed Richards sons crazy adventures with his fathers weather-generator device. However, the colours and thick lines here are far more striking and exciting, replacing C&Hs tint of nostalgia with an energy and verve which ties it strongly to the Marvel Universe and makes such a simple strip really pop off the page. This is a great li

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Spider-Man: Reign #1

Dec 12, 2006

I'm a little confused by the lack of any real indication of where this book is going, and I think that Andrews' opening is too long-winded and emotionally detached from its central character to really have Spider-Man fans interested. There's no hint of what we can expect from the next issue, and no story threads are established strongly enough to make you want to read on - so anyone who buys issue #2 is going to be doing so out of a blind faith that Andrews is going to take the book somewhere interesting. At $3.99 a pop, that's quite a gamble, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a massive drop-off in sales after this first instalment; personally, I'm enough of a fan of Spider-Man and of Andrews' art that I'll look in again next month, but if the story doesn't start moving and get interesting any time soon, Reign is going to go down as quite a disappointment.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Spider-Man: The Short Halloween #1

May 26, 2009

Despite the high price tag ($3.99 might be too much to ask for some readers, considering that this is little more than a fun romp -- albeit an extra-sized one) and the question of why the issue wasn't released at Halloween, this is an enjoyable one-shot that might risk being overlooked in favour of the big "Dark Reign" tie-in storyline ("American Son") that's starting in this week's issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Anyone looking for an antidote to such seriousness could do a lot worse than check out this fun offering.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. #1

Sep 8, 2009

Ultimately, I get the impression that this story will work a lot better as a traditional comic, and I look forward to being able to read issue #1 of the new Spider-Woman series in that format rather than as a limited 10-minute animation. I just hope that the weaknesses of this motion comic don't actively dissuade people from reading that book.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Spider-Woman: The Motion Comic #1

Sep 8, 2009

Ultimately, I get the impression that this story will work a lot better as a traditional comic, and I look forward to being able to read issue #1 of the new Spider-Woman series in that format rather than as a limited 10-minute animation. I just hope that the weaknesses of this motion comic don't actively dissuade people from reading that book.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Squadron Supreme Vol. 2 #2

Aug 19, 2008

I'm not really sure where this series is going or what the point of it is, and at the moment, I'm not finding the characters particularly interesting or appealing either. The slow pace of Straczynski's Squadron Supreme was justified by the in-depth character work and detailed storytelling that was being accomplished, and the fact that it was an ongoing series allowed JMS the time to develop his world at a slow and steady pace. Chaykin's Squadron Supreme doesn't appear to share that sophistication, and doesn't even share the novelty of featuring DC analogues in a Marvel book, with the company opting instead to cannibalise its own characters with remixed versions that are less interesting than the originals. I don't like being negative about comics, and I believe in giving projects a fair chance, but two issues into this six-issue story, I haven't seen anything that'll encourage me to pick up the third.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Stan Lee Meets Dr. Doom #1

Dec 1, 2006

I can't help but feel that $3.99 is a lot to ask for this uneven mix of stories, none of which are particularly awful, but none of which will make you really cherish the issue either. The finest testament to Lee's importance as a creator, though, can probably be found in the reprint of Fantastic Four #87 which nestles at the back of the book. Chock-full of the kind of rampant imagination and crazy antics that made Fantastic Four such a success (even if it was never quite my cup of tea), the issue shows off the undiminished energy of Lee and Kirby's collaboration, even seven or eight years into their run on the book. In keeping with the Doctor Doom theme, this issue sees the FF go up against their arch-villain yet again, with Victor playing his traditionally regal and intelligent yet also slightly deranged villain role to a tee. In fact, Doom appears to be off his trolley throughout, playing a grim concerto on a hyper-sound keyboard, and welcoming Sue Storm and Crystal of the Inhuma

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Stan Lee meets Dr. Strange #1

Oct 19, 2006

Better than all that though, and sandwiched between Bendis and Bagley's short and the reprint of an old Barry Windsor-Smith/Stan Lee story featuring Strange (which revels in its psychedelic oddness) is a two-page strip which provides the funniest punchline in the issue. It's a Marvel mini-mates story from Chris Giarusso's much-loved pocket universe, in which Stan Lee is cast as the school principal who has to listen to his students woes, and Spidey has more than most. Despite its simplicity - or perhaps because of it - it's the most charming, expressive and original story in the book, and the way in which Giarusso pulls a twist on the approachable, understanding personality of "Uncle Stan" in the final panel is the best use of Lee as a character that has been seen over the course of the two special issues so far. This book wouldnt work as an ongoing, but as a series of one-shots its been a lot of fun so far.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Supergod #2

Dec 21, 2009

Nevertheless, Supergod continues to be an enjoyable enough series with some interesting ideas and great artwork and Ill continue to buy it in order to see what Ellis has in store next.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Superman #702

Aug 17, 2010

At this point, after two-and-a-bit issues of slight disappointment in the quality of JMSs storytelling, Im not sure whether Im willing to give his run on Superman another shot or not. Im half tempted to stick around just to see how the writer handles the reaction of the next issues guest star to Supermans unusual antics. But frankly, there are many other comics out there that deserve my money far more than this one does and at this point it doesnt look like Grounded is ever going to really take off.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Superman Confidential #2

Dec 15, 2006

The only real drawbacks arise out of the story's publication in monthly instalments rather than as one contiguous whole. The Kryptonite narration feels a little disjointed from issue to issue, and the book's plot doesn't move particularly quickly, but I have a feeling it will hang together better in the inevitable collected edition. This issue also sports an uncharacteristically dull cover: a static shot of Lois and Jimmy Olsen that doesn't exactly make the book leap off the shelf. Despite these small flaws, however, Superman Confidential is a quality package that evokes a certain nostalgia for the character as well as doing something which feels fairly new with him. It's more firmly rooted in character than All-Star Superman or Action Comics, so anyone looking for an action-packed blockbuster of a story might feel slightly disappointed, but for my money, this is far more interesting and artfully told than your average Superman story.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Superman: Secret Origin #1

Oct 2, 2009

But perhaps this is what Johns thought that Superman needed: a contemporary update that emphasised the characters personality over his powers or his outlandish alien roots. Perhaps the secret of Johnss Secret Origin is simply that Superman used to be a gawky, inept, awkward teenager just like the rest of us. And, whilst that might seem at odds with the flawless presentation of the character in many of his past stories, I cant help but admire Johns for taking the core Superman origin story and trying to fashion it into something that might be more appealing, attractive and sympathetic to modern day audiences, without losing sight of the key attributes of the story.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
The Amazing Spider-Girl #30

Mar 17, 2009

Having said that, the central concept is strong enough that I could envisage yet another revival at some point -- and indeed, Spider-Girl is already slated to make an appearance in the Amazing Spider-Man Family anthology title in the near future. The character has come a long way since her debut appearance in a What If? story over 10 years ago, and somehow I can't believe that this is going to be the end of her story.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
The Authority Vol. 3 #2

Mar 9, 2007

One final noteworthy occurrence is the placement of all of the book's adverts at the back of the issue. I didn't notice their absence as I was reading the main story, but was heartened once I realised that the ads had all been collected in one place. Advertisers take note: it didn't stop me flipping through all the ads anyway - the All-Star Superman hardcover is a must-buy, and I'm going to have to restrain myself from purchasing the Absolute edition of Long Hallowe'en. I wonder if the publisher was only able to get away with this because all of the adverts were in-house, but it's definitely an approach that I'd like to see taken again in future if it's feasible.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
The Authority: The Lost Year #4

Dec 21, 2009

However, aside from this minor problem, this issue (as with the one that preceded it) has been a pleasant surprise: a deft continuation of Grant Morrisons story by a writer who clearly understands the themes that Morrison seemed to be exploring with his first two issues, and who has used the plot of those first chapters to make some interesting points about the nature of power and the definition of heroism, whilst also providing an interesting exploration of depression and its effects on the human collective consciousness.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
The Authority: The Lost Year #6

Mar 1, 2010

Whilst Im slightly disappointed that theres no follow-up to the plot thread involving the Carrier from the previous issue and theres little here in the way of crazy ideas to match what we saw in the first arc, this is still an enjoyable alternate Earth story with some fun touches (I loved the fact that this worlds Doctor uses a magic 8-ball to make his predictions), and one that seems to have been written by people who have a strong grasp of what makes the Authority interesting and unique among their superhero peers. I just hope that we get a more consistent approach to the books artwork in future issues.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
The Boys #3

Oct 19, 2006

In its attempt to take a more mature and cynical approach to superheroes, The Boys seems unable to escape its juvenile roots or provide us with characters that are any better-defined or more realistic than the over-simplistic archetypes it lampoons, and whilst I'm sure it'll be popular with a certain segment of the audience for whom a bunch of heavies in black leather pounding on superheroes seems novel or cool, many other readers will likely find themselves turned off by the book's self-satisfied tone. I appreciate that Ennis isn't going for subtlety here, but the "extreme" elements that he injects into the book actually take away from what could be a far more compelling story if these indulgences were reigned in a little (does our graphic restroom view of the immediate aftermath of Annie's distasteful encounter with her heroes really add anything to the book? Wouldn't the strong language employed by the Butcher and his crew have more impact if it wasn't peppered throughout every se

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
The Boys #4

Nov 21, 2006

The Boys stands as a fairly novel (if still a little unsophisticated) concept, and there's definitely a fair bit of enjoyment to be gleaned from its pages, whether through the cheeky writing or the strong art. However, it's already in danger of becoming repetitive and over-familiar, and if the story isn't given a kick in the pants by the time the next issue rolls around, the book is going to find it increasingly difficult to maintain reader interest in the long-term. That said, I was probably wrong to dismiss it as completely puerile and adolescent with the previous issue, as this instalment proves a little more unpredictable and morally complex than I first suspected. Yes, those lowest-common-denominator elements are still in evidence, but this issue suggests that there's going to be more to this book than hardman posturing and willfully iconoclastic parodies of superhero comics.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
The Boys #7

Jun 4, 2007

This is very much a quiet issue, but it's one which sets up the current story arc well and also provides a great jumping-on point for those who missed out on the book in its previous incarnation. Less graphically violent or sexual than the issues which preceded it, this installment of The Boys is slightly more subtle in its mockery of the superhero genre, but it's no less effective. It also introduces a couple of characters who look like they will be enjoyable additions to the book's cast. The Boys has gone from being a one-note parody book to an involving story in a genuinely fleshed-out superhero universe in the space of just a few issues. I'm glad I stuck around to see where Ennis is taking it.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
The Boys #8

Jul 2, 2007

Whilst I definitely prefer the more subtle "less is more" approach that we've seen over the last couple of issues of The Boys to the empty shock tactics of the first few, there's a sense that not a huge amount happens this issue. However, it lays some important groundwork for the arc, giving us lots of new character information (I particularly appreciated the extended focus on Mother's Milk, who looks to be one of The Boys' most complex and interesting members) and setting up a fun confrontation between Hughie, The Butcher and Tek-Knight next issue. The last few issues of this book have done a lot to convince me that it's capable of more than just a one-note joke about the ridiculousness of superhero comics, and as Ennis has continued to add texture to the initially two-dimensional characters, I've found myself becoming more invested in where their story goes next.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
The Boys #10

Sep 11, 2007

The book's only saving grace is Darick Robertson's artwork. His characters are consistent, his storytelling is clear and dramatic, and he creates a convincingly grubby and dirty world for the book's characters to inhabit. However, some of this issue's finishes leave the pages feeling a little rougher around the edges than usual, although this is perhaps an intentional stylistic choice given the brutality of some of the violent scenes. Still, the reasonably solid visuals aren't enough to convince me that it's worth following the series any longer, as it appears that The Boys isn't going to have the depth or sophistication that it requires to offset its broader, juvenile elements.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
The Incredibles: Family Matters #3

Jun 26, 2009

The final pages bring a twist that I didnt see coming, cleverly making use of Jack-Jacks unpredictable and erratic manifestations of power and changing the familys relationship with one of their supporting cast members in a way thats bound to be explored further in the next issue. I look forward to it.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
The Last Fantastic Four Story #1

Sep 4, 2007

A fun bonus is Stan Lee's original treatment for the story, complete with notes from editor Tom Breevort. It's interesting to see how much of Breevort's input made it to the page, and how much freedom Romita is given to play about with the story to suit his artistic desires. It's the epitome of "Marvel style" scripting, and it gives readers some insight into just how fluid the distinction between writer, artist and editor can be in such a collaborative process, with all of them contributing to the story to some extent.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
The Order #3

Oct 2, 2007

Despite my praise for the book, I still feel somewhat ambivalent towards The Order. Whilst I admire its ability to provide large-scale superhero action as well as more low-key character-based drama, the two elements don't always integrate well. I'm enjoying the focus on a different character in each issue, and I find the general concept of the book to be fairly original and entertaining, but the package as a whole doesn't gel perfectly. I'm also a little disappointed that there doesn't seem to be a particularly strong story from issue to issue, as whilst some subplots are gradually gathering momentum, others are left hanging, with last issue's potentially scandalous cliffhanger going completely unaddressed this month. That said, as I gradually get used to the various characters and the team dynamic I find myself warming to the book more and more, and I get the impression that these early chapters will warrant rereading in the light of whatever we learn in the next few issues, as Fracti

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
The Order #5

Dec 11, 2007

The Order isn't a book that fits neatly into one category, and the lack of buzz around the title makes me suspect that many readers don't really know how to react to it. It's a book that isn't straightforward and predictable, it doesn't star the same old familiar character types, there's always more than one thing going on at once, and each issue takes more than just five minutes to read. These qualities should all be reasons to recommend a book, but something tells me that readers could be seeing them as barriers instead. That would be a shame, as The Order is one of the few books to have spun out of Civil War that feels like more than just an arbitrary transplant of standard superhero conventions to a post-Registration landscape. Matt Fraction is using this book to craft an original and compelling story about a dysfunctional super-team of truly three-dimensional characters, and it deserves to find a wider audience.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
The Order #7

Jan 25, 2008

So, a lacklustre plot (which resolves itself a little too conveniently), a lack of focus on its core cast, and a less visually interesting subject than usual all contribute to a below-par issue for a book which now has the shadow of cancellation hanging over it. Whilst it won't prevent me from buying the last three issues, this installment couldn't have come at a worse time for The Order, and has sadly compounded the disappointment that I've been feeling due to the knowledge that the book only has a few months left to run.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
The Order #9

Mar 18, 2008

Whilst it doesn't feel like it's hitting the same heights that it did during the first half of its ten-issue run, The Order is still a better-than-average superhero book - but in a saturated marketplace, that just might not be good enough.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
The Pulse #12

Dec 2, 2005

Bendis excels in the usual places, with his stylised realistic dialogue and entertaining characterisation both present and correct. He also manages to squeeze a fair few guest appearances of Marvel Universe characters into the story, but none of them feels forced or out-of-place. Whether its Ben Urich talking to J. Jonah Jameson about his case, Warbird giving Jessica a lift to the hospital or Janet Pym putting out the Avengers Assemble call, the inclusion of these faces seems very natural and they serve the story well without ever feeling as though theyre indulgently outstaying their welcome. A good thing too, because the writer has enough on his plate juggling a couple of unrelated story strands here - and since theres no crossover of the subplots to speak of, Bendis has to be very careful with his pacing in order that the reader feels that both stories are advancing sufficiently to keep him entertained on a bi-monthly schedule. Whilst I would have liked to see Ben Urichs in

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
The Pulse #13

Feb 6, 2006

Its with mixed feelings that I view these last Bendis-penned issues of The Pulse as, whilst its undeniably an impressive return to form for the creative team, I cant help but feel that their departure is going to spell the end for a book which has never really had the chance to explore the full potential of its core concept. Of course, Brian Bendis has every right to further his career by taking on a diverse range of projects, and I would never presume to dictate the direction he should be taking in comics but as a reader, its a great loss to see his tenure on the titles which produce his best work come to an end, and his energies instead channelled into projects which sadly seem less well-suited to his particular talents. That said, this final arc under Bendis looks like its going to provide a fitting swansong, and the pairing of the writer with original Alias artist Michael Gaydos really emphasises the idea that this book is a true sequel to that series. Whilst it would h

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
The Pulse #14

Mar 24, 2006

Id pay to read more Alias, but from what Bendis says at the end of this issue, he feels that Jessicas story is over (bar her inevitable guest appearances in New Avengers, Spider-Woman, and whatever else hes writing). This is a shame, as I felt that The Pulse diluted her character somewhat, and I was looking forward to seeing whether shed get her own solo title in the future. Maybe Bendis will return to her at some point, but for now, this is the closest thing to an Alias sequel were going to get. Enjoy it as much as you can.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
The Stand: American Nightmares #1

Mar 10, 2009

Since I haven't read Stephen King's original novel, I can't comment on how faithful an adaptation this is -- but in its own right, this is a well-written series with fully-realised characters and an interesting concept, even if it is taking a while to come together. It just feels as though it hasn't been conceived with the medium of comics in mind. I'm not very familiar with the story of The Stand, so it could be that I'll be surprised, and the story will suddenly become a lot more visually exciting at some point soon. However, after the similarly muted visuals of the first miniseries, I'm not getting my hopes up. I'll probably still continue to read this series, but more for the writing than for the artwork. Maybe I should just check out the original novel instead.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
The Stand: American Nightmares #2

Apr 14, 2009

I get the feeling that those readers who follow this story from beginning to end will be treated to an enjoyable story with three-dimensional characters, a compelling core plot, and a high standard of artwork. The only question is whether The Stand can provide enough enjoyment on an issue-to-issue basis to encourage readers to stick with it until its climax. This is a story that feels like it will stand as more than the sum of its parts once complete. With that in mind, it's perhaps a comic that will read better in a collected edition than in monthly instalments.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
The Stand: American Nightmares #3

May 26, 2009

This is one of the most focused, chilling issues of The Stand yet. Much of the credit must be due to Stephen King for his original concept, but Aguirre-Sacasa and Perkins bring King's story to life wonderfully, capturing the atmosphere of the story perfectly. What's more, it's very accessible as a jumping-on point: you could give this book to someone who had never read an issue of The Stand, and they would still be able to understand and enjoy it. However, for established readers of the book, it's a high point of the story so far, and one that perfectly encapsulates the grim horror and unpleasantness that has permeated the rest of the series.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
The Stand: American Nightmares #4

Jul 7, 2009

My only real complaint with the book continues to be the relaxed pacing that will probably be more effective in the collected editions than in individual monthly chapters. However, the final page's closing suggestion that "Things are going to begin moving very, very fast" implies that the creators may be aware of this. I look forward to seeing them make good on this promise as they continue to weave their intricate tapestry of individual character-based stories.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Thor (2007) #2

Aug 3, 2007

Although these first two issues have set up Thor's new status quo solidly enough, I don't really see any reason why they couldn't have been condensed into one single opener, as the decision to spread the thin story over 44 pages makes both issues feel bloated and over-extended, and risks turning readers off before the series has really begun. That said, there's a definite sense that Straczynski has now accomplished the groundwork necessary in order to re-establish his hero in the modern Marvel Universe, and that the stage is now set for the writer to tell the stories that he really wants to tell. Thor's mission to seek out his godly brethren in a modern-day setting is a good basis for an ongoing story (if a little reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's recent take on the Eternals), and even if I've hardly been overwhelmed by these first two issues, I can still sense that the potential is there for Thor to be a compelling title. Let's hope my faith in JMS isn't misplaced, because if the book d

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Thor (2007) #3

Sep 17, 2007

After a couple of issues of fairly dull and overly decompressed set-up, this issue proves to be a pleasant surprise. There's more action than we've seen so far, there's a cementing of the reborn Thor's position in the Marvel Universe, and Straczynski demonstrates a strong grasp of his hero's character as he shows himself to be above such mortal concerns as a superhero "Civil War". Its a move which is not only perfectly in-keeping with Thors personality, but which also gives the writer a way to sidestep current continuity concerns and continue telling the story he wants to tell, rather than becoming preoccupied with the Thunder God's status as a registered hero. Now that the book's groundwork is out of the way and the dangling plot strands of Civil War have been addressed, JMS can get on with telling the story that he wants to tell. Even if it still doesn't quite feel like we've got to the meat of his Thor yet, this new series is providing a fresh, accessible and entertaining take on

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Thor (2007) #4

Nov 16, 2007

After a fairly exciting third issue, this fourth installment feels like a return to the slow-moving storytelling that characterized the first couple of issues of the book. I feel as though this new Thor series hasn't taken the time to establish its characters status quo before jumping into the kind of stories that J. Michael Straczynski wants to tell with the book, when stories such as this one might actually have more resonance if readers had more investment in the people involved. Thankfully, the final scene of this issue acknowledges the slow pace of these first four issues, and justifies Thor's reticence to seek out his Asgardian brethren with fairly plausible reasoning. The revelation of three more Asgardians in this issue, combined with Thor's decision to put aside his fears, promises a more focused concentration on Thor's mission from issue #5 onwards. However, I'm growing tired of reading another dull issue of Thor only for its final pages to promise a faster-moving and more in

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Thor: Ages of Thunder #1

Apr 29, 2008

It's taken me a while to come round to J. Michael Straczynski's core Thor title, as despite some great art and some moments of great storytelling, it feels as though there have been sections that have been a chore to wade through before we can get to the good stuff. Ages of Thunder, however, couldn't be more different: the writing is direct, simple, straightforward and uncompromising, the artwork is excellent, and the strong mythical quality that Fraction brings to his storytelling makes the book instantly attractive. This is definitely worth picking up, both for Thor fans and newcomers to the character alike.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Thor: Man of War #1

Nov 25, 2008

I'd like to see more books like this from Marvel - whether they feature Thor or other characters. Free from the shackles of continuity and regular monthly scheduling, Fraction and his artists have created a compelling and unique take on one of Marvel's core heroes, and I'd love to see other creators given a similar opportunity to provide their own distinctive takes on the company's superhero characters. These three issues have demonstrated that it's possible to imbue Thor with a mythological quality that's far removed from regular Marvel continuity without losing the essence of the character. In fact, I think I enjoy this take on the thunder god more than any other that I've read. If and when J. Michael Straczynski decides to leave the core Thor title, this series has already given Marvel a prime candidate to replace him. Let's hope that Fraction returns to the character soon either way.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Thunderbolts #111

Feb 16, 2007

Thunderbolts #111 proves to be a bit of a let-down, especially considering the potential that was shown by the first issue. Whilst some room is made for social commentary in the book thanks to Ellis' subversive use of the team as a focus of media spin and government propaganda, it's presented inconsistently here (Bullseye is unsalvageable in PR terms, but the public is ok with Venom screaming "Kiiillll" at every available opportunity?), and this issue sidelines those elements to present a relatively shallow story about a superhero being hunted down and captured by villains in the employ of his own government. If this is indicative of the status of the post-Civil War Marvel landscape, then I can see myself tiring of the new status quo pretty quickly, and I can only hope Ellis manages to add some further depth to the book with his next issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Toy Story #0

Dec 24, 2009

Still, these minor grumbles dont detract from an otherwise enjoyable story that sets up a great adventure plot for future issues (and one that enables the issues title to stand as an amusing pun) and ends on a surprisingly compelling cliffhanger thats sure to bring readers back for more in issue #1.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Toy Story: Mysterious Stranger #1

Jun 8, 2009

This isnt a bad idea for a story, and probably would have worked well a short story of fewer pages, but as a full-length issue it feels as though its been stretched out beyond its natural lifespan. Perhaps a more enjoyable Toy Story comic could be produced by shortening stories like this one to 10 pages or so, and running two stories per issue. If the series continues to provide padded and thin full-length stories like this one, I cant see myself continuing to be interested in it, despite my love of the original movies.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Toy Story: Mysterious Stranger #2

Jul 2, 2009

Admittedly, this is the only part of the story that really stuck with me after Id finished reading it. But it adds some color to an otherwise fairly straightforward and bland issue that will probably entertain young readers and die-hard fans of the movie, but which will be fairly forgettable for anyone else.

View Issue       View Full Review
3.0
Ultimate Civil War: Spider-Ham #1

Feb 2, 2007

There's barely a joke in sight, and for a comic which is meant to be a light bit of fluff to go for panels (or even pages) at a time without laughs is pretty unforgivable. It's as though someone came up with the idea of doing a Spider-Ham comic but couldn't be bothered to actually make something interesting out of it. It's a painful misfire of an issue, and the fact that almost all of the pin-up art which comprises half of the book has already been previewed online should remove any reason to buy it, even for die-hard Spider-Ham fans (if such a thing exists). If Straczynski wanted to write a humorous comic, maybe he should have tried to come up with some original or wacky concepts to make it fun (or hey, even some good jokes?) as a story about a bewildered soul suffering from a drought of good ideas seems to be a bit too close to the truth.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Ultimate Comics Avengers #3

Oct 27, 2009

I also wonder whether Millar might be misjudging the mood of his audience. Over the last ten years, he's made a success of infusing his superhero stories with a certain nastiness and an extreme quality that has made for some very original and challenging comics in a genre that is always at risk of stagnating. However, I'm starting to get the sense that the zeitgeist might be ready to move on. After a decade of the kinds of "realistic" takes on superhero teams that we saw ushered in by The Authority (and after the none-more-bleak Ultimatum) I feel as though the readership might be ready for a lighter, brighter, more optimistic approach to superheroes--and this is anything but.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3

Oct 6, 2009

If there's any real criticism of the story, it's that it feels a little brief, fluffy and insubstantial, but that's probably just a side-effect of the light and airy tone with which Bendis and Lafuente are managing to imbue this book. It's a world away from the dour grimness of Ultimatum, and I get the impression that the creators of this title are just as happy as the readers to have moved past that crossover, and to be able to get on with telling their stories in the way that they do best.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #4

Nov 3, 2009

There's no question that Ultimate Spider-Man is one of the better superhero books currently being produced. The book isn't trying to reinvent the wheel of the genre, but is putting together the traditional elements of classic superhero stories in an unashamedly straightforward, gimmick-free manner. There's none of the popular cynicism that's present in so many other superhero titles, and there are no "shocking" moments other than the surprises and plot twists that grow naturally and organically out of Bendis's setup. As I said in my recent review of Ultimate Comics Avengers #3, I think that, after being exposed to so much darkness and gritty realism in recent years, the readership of superhero comics might again be ready for a lighter, brighter, more optimistic approach to the genre--and Ultimate Spider-Man fits the bill perfectly.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimate Fantastic Four #15

Feb 7, 2005

Whilst you could find fault with the fact that, as another slow-build issue, nothing really happens here but that would be overlooking the strong groundwork done in terms of plot, the constant development of character, and the well-judged if leisurely pace which allows artist Kubert to convey a sense of wonder at the contents of the N-Zone. Ultimate Fantastic Four has moved on from the dull, predictable superheroics of its early issues to become a great little sci-fi adventure book, with an emphasis on character and an appreciation of the fact that big, impressive moments dont always have to take the form of a fight, a death or a secret identity being revealed. If you enjoy a hefty amount of intelligent science in your fiction then this is definitely worth a look and even if you were turned off by earlier issues of the title, this title is worth checking out for a second time.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimate Fantastic Four #16

Mar 28, 2005

This brings me to the skills of Adam Kubert. Im really enjoying his work on the book here, which is at least as impressive as his first run on the title. Here, Kubert is given more than just standard sci-fi comic work to do: he has alien worlds to create, complex theoretical science theories to depict visually, and strong emotional moments (like the horrific transformation of the Human Torchs skin) to convey. All of it is handled well, and theres an attention to detail which goes far beyond the range expected of even a high-profile Marvel comic like this one. Swirling smokey atmospheres are painstakingly rendered, facial expressions are subtle but effective, and distinctive textures are given to the surroundings of the characters, both in the organically alien space station and in the clinical, NASA-style space shuttle. Its a triumph for the artist, and a great match to the subject matter and Warren Ellis writing style. And that final page makes me so eager to read the next

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimate Fantastic Four #17

Apr 11, 2005

Also, I quite like that bright red retro-psychedelic cover (its a break from blue) even if I cant for the life of me find any link between the cover image and the contents of this issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimate Fantastic Four #21

Jul 15, 2005

However, its the closing pages of the book that will likely spark most debate, as it becomes clear that this definitely isnt the simple crossover between the Ultimate and Regular Marvel Universes that was rumoured for so long. Rather, the book suddenly takes a turn for the horrific, with Greg Land excelling himself as he provides imagery which recalls classic zombie movies or chilling horror flicks in its creation of a feeling of cold terror. Millars twist on the expectations of his Crossover story is a smart one, and one worth misleading the fans about in order to preserve the impact of this issues closing cliffhanger. One things for sure: as soon as you put down Ultimate Fantastic Four #21, youll be clamouring to see where Millar and Lands story goes from there. And theres perhaps no better tribute to a brand new creative team than that.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimate Fantastic Four #22

Aug 15, 2005

One slight criticism could be that this is very much a "Reed" story, with the other team members relegated to virtual cameos in their own book. However, this looks to be remedied in the near future, as the closing pages of this issue begin to show the further ramifications of Reeds hasty, impulsive construction of his alternate-reality transporter, and set up an excellent cliffhanger for next months concluding issue. Its worth noting here that this arc has commendably been kept to only three issues, when other writers (or, more likely, editors) would pad it out to five or six in order to make it saleable in a collected format. Whats more, this shorter story format allows Millar to skip any unnecessary decompressive storytelling and, as a result, the story skips along at an excellent pace. Millar has shown with his first two issues that hes got a real aptitude for writing this team, as each installment features a winning mixture of mind-bending ideas, larger-than-life action,

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Ultimate Fantastic Four #23

Sep 26, 2005

Whilst theres a nagging flatness to the second half of this issue, theres certainly more good than bad here - both in terms of Millars writing and Lands art - and Im keen to see where they take the story next.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Ultimate Fantastic Four #24

Oct 24, 2005

This is the great Mark Millar we know from Ultimates, and not the uneven writer that we saw during his runs on MK Spider-Man and Wolverine. Whilst some may nitpick the pseudo-science Millar employs in places (its not emphasised or explained in any depth exactly how the FFs powers are helping them to reach the places that other divers cant reach I guess we have to take it on faith that Sues forcefields are doing the work), its impossible to deny that hes a master of pacing, and the cliffhanger which closes the issue is built up to in a masterful style. Theres some subtle work in the closing pages which implies an as-yet-unseen effect of Namors tomb on Reed, and the issues letters page suggests that Ultimate Namors origin may not be as similar to that of his regular MU cousin, so Im hoping that Millar again strives for an unexpected and original approach in his Ultimization of another classic character. If Crossover saw Millar taking inspiration from zombie flicks, th

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimate Fantastic Four #25

Dec 8, 2005

This issue also features a back-up strip in the form of "Ultimate Vision" #3, the third in a series of six four-page strips which build up to the Ultimate Extinction miniseries next year. I havent been buying the other Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men issues which also feature the story, and this installment didnt do anything to change my mind on that front. The brief story provides an interesting preview of what we might see in Extinction, but its definitely not worth buying any titles outside of your usual haul in order to follow it. John Romita Jr.s artwork seems less detailed than usual, flatly coloured, and hurriedly-inked - and the story of the female Visions origin isnt particularly compelling (although we do get out first glimpse of Gah Lak Tus, albeit via nothing more than a rehash of Ultimate Extinction #1s cover). Ill be interested to see whether the character finds her way into the Ultimates title proper, but for now, this is just filler which exists solel

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Ultimate Fantastic Four #27

Feb 17, 2006

Telling smaller, self-contained stories whilst still making each issue part of a larger whole seems to have come easier to Millar here than it did on his similar 12-issue runs on Spider-Man or Wolverine, as it seems as though his entire years worth of UFF issues has been planned far more intricately: for example, the Zombie FF from Millars first arc show up again this issue, foreshadowing their escape in future issues without dominating the main story that is being told in this mini-arc. Reeds time-travel device was also introduced in a previous story and so doesnt require a hefty chunk of exposition for the reader to accept it at face value. Im very keen to see how this tale progresses next issue, as even though the "President Thor" concept is less gripping to me than the parts of the story that deal with Ben and the FFs opportunity to reverse his condition theres so much potential displayed by this first issue that I cant imagine Millar losing the plot on this one. This

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimate Fantastic Four #32

Aug 29, 2006

If you havent enjoyed Millars run so far, theres nothing new to convert you here, but those who have been awaiting this issue with a mixture of expectation and regret at the loss of such a strong writing and art partnership should be satisfied by this final issue. Millars twelve issues with Land will make a lovely hardcover once theyre collected, and even if I cant help but feel that Ultimate Fantastic Four is going to suffer from the creative teams absence in future issues, at least weve been gifted with a solid years worth of comics for a book which after a rocky start is now really holding its own in the Ultimate Universe.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Ultimate Fantastic Four #60

Feb 17, 2009

There was a time when the Ultimate line was hailed as a fresh, continuity-light version of the Marvel Universe, with books that didn't require any outside reading or prior knowledge to enjoy. This issue is the opposite, with a plot that makes little sense if you haven't read Ultimatum (and only slightly more if you have), and a lack of any real originality or inspiration in the storytelling. I'm not quite sure how we got from there to here, but if this is the best that the Ultimate imprint can offer, perhaps it's for the best that Marvel is winding it up. Ultimate Fantastic Four has never been the jewel in the crown of the Ultimate line, but this is a mediocre way for it to end.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #2

Aug 24, 2006

The combination of simplistic plotting and flatter, more simple art makes this feel more like a regular Marvel book than an Ultimate title, but that isnt necessarily to disparage the issue. Indeed, longtime FF fans will probably enjoy the more out-there elements which dont get as bogged down by sci-fi explanations and real-world concerns as a lot of the Ultimate FFs previous outings. The trouble is, its not really offering anything new or interesting, and theres nothing hugely inventive or innovative about this annuals story. Its certainly not an unentertaining comic book, but it feels very superficial and inconsequential compared to the well-constructed, fast-paced stories weve been used to in the regular UFF book, especially over the past year. Im not convinced that Carey and his artist Pasqual Ferry (who turned in the dismal Ultimate X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover last year) are going to be able to keep up the standard of the main title, and although they deserve to be

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Ultimate Human #1

Jan 15, 2008

At a time when I've become a little disillusioned with many of Marvel's superhero books (and the Ultimate line specifically), this is a welcome slice of quality storytelling, and one which makes me even more excited to see what Ellis does when he takes over Marvel's Astonishing X-Men later in the year.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Ultimate Human #3

Mar 25, 2008

This issue is Ultimate Human's equivalent of the supervillain monologue: a long piece of exposition which adds some welcome depth and dimension to the story's antagonist, but which doesn't make for a particularly compelling story on its own. Still, it's an issue which is well-executed by both writer and artist, and I'm sure it will feel far more natural and satisfying once the series is collected, and it can be read as part of one contiguous story.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimate Iron Man #1

Apr 1, 2005

Whilst its early days for the series, there are enough interesting characters and relationships laid out in this first issue to ensure that Ill be back to read more and see how the tragic story of Tony Starks early existence continues to unfold. I love the art, and if Cards writing of Stark can live up to the quality of his writing of his parents, then I think Ill enjoy his miniseries immensely.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Ultimate Iron Man #3

Aug 15, 2005

Im now going to have to explain my relatively low rating for this book, which is difficult because essentially theres nothing really bad about it. Indeed, the art is first rate, impressively detailed and consistent and richly coloured. Even the writing, whilst occasionally resorting to clich situations, is at times quite original and challenging, foreshadowing some of Tonys future character tics in quite an interesting way. The problem is, it doesnt feel like a book about Iron Man. Three issues in, and the title superhero has yet to make an appearance, bar the prototype full-body suit shown in the last few pages which certainly bears no resemblance to the Iron Man weve seen in Ultimates so far. Someone who came to this book looking for some backstory on the Tony Stark weve seen in that series might be surprised to find a mixture of teen drama and low-grade sci-fi dominating the pages, with no real connection apparent between the young Tony Starks character and that of hi

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Ultimate Power #5

May 11, 2007

Yes, there are a couple of fun moments a handwritten exchange between Spidey and Captain America raised a smile, and the intrigue of Nick Furys secret machinations promises some revelations later on in the series but there just isnt enough here to be able to recommend it as a particularly worthwhile or entertaining comic to read. Ill continue to enjoy the series for the shallow, large-scale fun it provides, but the inherent drama of the books concept and the strength of the all-star cast promises far more than this issue delivers.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Ultimate Power #7

Sep 20, 2007

I shouldn't neglect Greg Land's artwork in this review, as it has been the one reasonably consistent element over the course of the entire series. His figures are solid, his action is suitably grand and bombastic, and his facial work shows a real improvement over previous issues, with fewer of the distracting variations in character models from panel to panel than we've been used to so far. However, the slickness of the art (in all of its photo-referenced, multiple splash-page glory) coupled with the lacklustre script only serves to reinforce the sense that Ultimate Power has turned out to be an empty spectacle, written by three distinct writers who have simply failed to gel in such a way as is necessary to provide a consistent, cohesive story. Disappointing.

View Issue       View Full Review
2.0
Ultimate Power #8

Nov 6, 2007

After a reasonably promising (if unremarkable) start, Ultimate Power has degenerated into a complete mess of a story, with no focus, no coherence, and apparently no plot. If this is a taste of things to come in the Ultimate Universe, I'd rather see the entire imprint swiftly wound up than it suffer a painful, drawn-out death at the hands of the writer responsible for running this series into the ground. Anyone who reads my reviews regularly will know how little I enjoy being completely negative about a comic, and I'll always try and find the smallest nuggets of potential in even the most mediocre books that I read. However, there's literally nothing about this issue of Ultimate Power that would lead me to recommend it to anyone, barring readers who get a thrill out of gigantic space-wasting visuals, readers who will blindly follow Jeph Loeb's work no matter how bad his writing gets, and readers with masochistic tendencies.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Ultimate Secret #4

Nov 3, 2005

(And dont get me started on that final ad for the 24-page Ultimate Vision backup story beginning in the oh-so-irrelevant Ultimate Spider-Man title. Marvel could have made this story available to followers of the Ultimate Galactus trilogy in a single book format, but their decision to publish six different installments of four pages each throughout various Ultimate titles has left me cold. Dont buy into it.)

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimate Spider-Man #132

May 12, 2009

The past few issues of Ultimate Spider-Man have been a great example of a writer taking an idea that he has been asked to incorporate for editorial reasons and turning it into something that not only feels as though it belongs in his book, but works better there than it does anywhere else. My advice? Ignore the main Ultimatum series and its tie-ins, and treat this book as the main event instead.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3

Oct 28, 2008

I follow Ultimate Spider-Man in HCs rather than monthly, but I'll still be looking out for this annual. This is a stand-alone issue that's well worth picking up immediately for anyone who enjoys the series - and it's accessible enough that you won't be lost even if this is the first issue of the book that you've ever read. My score may seem a little high, especially given the flaws I've outlined, but they really don't detract very much from the story at all. On the whole, this is an excellent Spider-Man comic that reminds you how good Bendis can be (and why he's a perfect fit for this title), and also introduces a new artist to the book who will hopefully return to its pages before too long.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Ultimate Vision #0

Dec 5, 2006

This is hardly must-read stuff, but if you can put the disappointing conclusion to the "Ultimate Galactus" trilogy out of your mind, there's definitely some enjoyment to be gleaned from this book. Even though it's essentially just a glorified trailer for a miniseries which has already been and gone, the reason for its re-release is the forthcoming Ultimate Vision book, and on the strength of the character's appearance here, it could make for a fairly successful ultimisation. However, I'm still not 100% convinced that the Vision can carry a miniseries of her own (especially now that Gah-Lak-Tus is out of the way), and writer Mike Carey is going to have to work pretty hard to make her interesting enough to carry a solo title. It's only Brandon Peterson's art that has really got me hooked to buy the series at the moment, as there have been some pretty impressive previews floating around the 'net; still, I'll give the book a shot and hope that the story is strong enough to win me over,

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Ultimate Vision #1

Dec 15, 2006

Although I wasn't bowled over by this opener, there's definitely still some potential in Carey's plot. The cliffhanger hints at a more action-based overall story than this first issue provided, an unscrupulous villain with the power of a god at his disposal should make for good drama, and the sci-fi concepts that have grown out of the "Ultimate Galactus" trilogy are certainly ripe for further exploration, given the anticlimax of Extinction's finale. The main obstacles that the series is going to have to overcome are the dull, bland nature of the protagonist and the slightly derivative bad guy cardboard cutouts, as these elements undermine what could be a strong story. The artwork will probably keep me reading, and I'll be interested to see if Carey can bring in any other players in the Ultimate Universe to make things more interesting, but this definitely isn't the "Gold Standard" that Marvel seems insistent on branding its Ultimate line.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1

Feb 3, 2009

**** Of course, Ultimate Origin has now muddied the waters even more by showing the very first appearance of the Hulk as grey. Hmmmmm.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #2

Feb 17, 2009

**** I didn't know back then just what an understatement that would turn out to be. Here's hoping that issue #3 (due to arrive in the first week of March 2009) is worth the wait.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Ultimate X-Men/Fantastic Four Annual #1

Sep 9, 2008

* The last time this idea was put into practice resulted in the abysmal Ultimate X4 two-parter - so if nothing else, this book can at least this can be considered as an improvement over than effort.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Ultimates Annual #2

Aug 31, 2006

Hustons disjointed, jumpy storytelling might work well for a hero like Moon Knight who is still piecing himself back together, but it serves the slick, militaristic world of the Ultimates less well. Thankfully, the middling story is somewhat redeemed by the art and Hustons evident understanding of his characters, but this Annual is by no means required reading, even for regular readers of the regular Ultimates book.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Ultimates 2 #5

Apr 22, 2005

Having said that, the issue is still a strong example of an all-out fight scene in a modern superhero title, and people who are enjoying The Ultimates so far will get a lot out of this latest installment. The soap-opera elements continue (with a couple of nice twists on Natasha and Tonys relationship, and the continuing saga of Thors possible insanity), the politics begins to intrude more overtly towards the issues end, with a definite sense of who the real villain in the team could be, and Loki continues to play an interesting, ambiguous role in proceedings (although Millar is painting himself into a bit of a corner regarding Thors delusions: if hes the real deal, Id be surprised if the Hulks cell could contain him and if hes not, how on Earth did he get rid of that solar-system-destroying alien bomb in Ultimates #13?). I enjoyed the issue a lot, but not as much as previous episodes of this series. However, its a high standard to live up to, and Ultimates 2 #5 is a long

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Ultimates 2 #7

Jul 28, 2005

As such, we begin to sympathise with the motives of whoever the mystery traitor may be, even if his or her actions in the issues quietly shocking closing moments go beyond the pale. One things for sure, it sets up an awesome cliffhanger which is as intellectually challenging as it is viscerally thrilling. The Ultimates is truly the Marvel book which has everything, and is - in my opinion, of course - the strongest of Marvels Ultimate line: gripping action, thought-proviking writing, and a fantastic modern take on classic characters make this a must-read. If youve never read The Ultimates before, theres no better time to start reading than the present (or better yet, go back and buy the trades of volume 1). If youve tried them before, then give it another shot, as I cant imagine not enjoying this book.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimates 2 #8

Sep 26, 2005

For the most part, this is a Captain America issue, with most of the other Ultimates relegated to mere cameo appearances - although Millar does manage to slip in a bit of foreshadowing of the Black Widows wedding next issue, as well as a nice nod to the regular MU Avengers Quinjet as Tony Stark is questioned about his new secret plane designs. As a stand-alone issue, it never quite reaches the heights of some of the other single Ultimates issues, but instead moves lots of continuing story elements along and thickens the plot around just who or what might be manipulating the Ultimates into the sort of internal bickering which seems ever more likely to lead the team into self-destruction. Regular readers will enjoy seeing these threads advanced towards their eventual conclusion (hell, every issue of the Ultimates feels like an event thanks to its unpredictable shipping schedule) but newcomers may not find that the scenes carry the same emotional weight as they do for those that have

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimates 2 #9

Dec 9, 2005

That said, with this issue everything that Mark Millar has been working hard to build over the last 8 issues of the title seems to really be coming together. Theres some resolution to the Ultimate Traitor thread, a peek at the fate of Hawkeye since the attack on his home and family in issue #7, and even a long-overdue explanation of the Scarlet Witchs powers. There are still some mysteries to be resolved and plot holes to be tied up I wouldnt put it past Millar to pull another twist on the Traitor front, for example, and itd be nice to explore just how Thor and Cap were so comprehensively set-up earlier in the title but this issue serves its purpose well: to introduce the most credible threat yet seen to world security in Ultimates, and one which is surely going to necessitate a similarly grandiose response. This is a fine representation of the Ultimate Universes darkest hour before the Ultimates come in to save the day for the final time in Millar and Hitchs blockbust

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimates 2 #12

Sep 29, 2006

More than anything else, this issue of Ultimates feels like the last stages of a video game, with a bunch of big, bad guys showing up, being fought off in quite a straightforward manner, before the cackling ber-baddie shows up at the end for a final showdown. Whilst that's not necessarily a bad thing, some of the appeal of the Ultimates is lost by reducing them to a shallow team of muscle rather than the more complicated personalities that Millar has shown them to be over the past few years. Whilst my appetite has definitely been whetted for the final issue by that final splashpage (even if I don't think we'll see it this side of Christmas), there's something vaguely unsatisfying about this as a swansong for Millar and Hitch's title. Let's just hope next issue really delivers the goods.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ultimates 2 Annual #1

Aug 15, 2005

This is an interesting one-shot for those who arent familiar with the core title, and an absolute must-buy for Ultimates fans.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Ultimatum #4

Jun 2, 2009

This is an issue that will probably appeal most to those readers who like their superhero comics to provide shocking surprises and unexpected deaths at every turn, and/or those who enjoy action-packed and highly detailed artwork. It's a dumb but intricately-drawn book that feels like a throwback to the bad old days of the 1990s, and whilst I'm sure there are readers out there who still enjoy that kind of thing, I'm personally sad to see the Ultimate Universe go out in so undignified a fashion.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #1

Jun 16, 2009

However, it's during the framing sequence at the beginning and end of the issue that things get really interesting. Having J. Jonah Jameson finally realise that Spider-Man is a hero, despite all his months of animosity towards him, is a masterstroke. It's an inspired move for the character, and one that feels like it takes full advantage of exactly what the Ultimate Universe was set up to do: explore familiar characters from new angles, taking them to places that their regular incarnations have never been or would never be taken. The idea that Jameson is the person who ends up writing the tribute to Spider-Man's heroism gives the issue an emotional weight that no number of cheap character deaths could match, and the surprise that Jonah gets at the end of the issue promises to make the concluding chapter of Ultimate Spider-Man: Requiem even more compelling.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Uncanny X-Men #506

Feb 17, 2009

This is a fairly typical issue of a book that has been bubbling just above average ever since the new direction that was launched in issue #500. It still isn't the best X-book being published by Marvel -- that honour still belongs to Astonishing X-Men for now -- but neither is it the convoluted and complicated mess of superhero action that I would usually expect from a book with an "X" in the title.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Uncanny X-Men #510

May 19, 2009

This is a fairly forgettable issue that virtually ignores the only part of the book that I was still interested in -- the attempts of Beast and his team of scientists to research the original catalyst for mutation -- in favour of a bland fight sequence that doesn't carry any emotional weight for me due to my lack of history with the characters involved. I'm hoping that Fraction wraps up this particular storyline soon, because it's starting to turn me off an otherwise enjoyable run on the book.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Uncanny X-Men #514

Aug 11, 2009

Whilst this issue provides some decent enough action sequences and a couple of nice character moments, it's difficult to escape the sense that this is an editorially-mandated and hollow crossover that doesn't quite fit in with the direction that Fraction was taking Uncanny X-Men in previous issues. Perhaps it would have been more compelling as a more focused, streamlined story, but the presence of so many different players (check out all the headshots on that recap page!) makes it feel as though the book is simply cramming as many characters in as possible, and the book struggles to really convey the high stakes of the conflict, preferring to substitute endless fight scenes and repetitive action for any real depth of storytelling.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Uncanny X-Men #515

Sep 22, 2009

The only thing that prevents me from awarding this issue a higher bullet-rating is the sense that it's very much an issue of setup for a new story arc, in which not a huge amount actually happens. That said, Fraction covers some pretty interesting topics, retrospectively reinforcing the "Utopia" crossover with his in-depth discussion of the book's new status quo -- and that final page is sure to make X-Men fans keen to read the next issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Unthinkable #4

Aug 24, 2009

The final pages of this issue bring a neat twist that casts previous plot points in a new light, reconnecting these closing issues with a story strand from the very beginning of the miniseries and suggesting that there may be at least one sinister plot that even the creative minds of the thinktank couldnt have predicted. Its another solid development in a miniseries that has provided a consistent stream of intelligent sci-fi and thoughtful action and I look forward to seeing how Sable weaves it into the final issues conclusion.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Venom: Dark Origin #1

Aug 5, 2008

Fans of Venom will likely be pleased with the way this first issue fleshes out Eddie Brock's character without ever contradicting his established history in any major way. Wells deserves credit for the brave decision to use this first issue to concentrate exclusively on Brock rather than on his symbiotic counterpart, and whilst that still doesn't guarantee a great story, I can't deny that I'm interested in seeing how he continues to flesh out Eddie's character in order to make his origin story worthy of a dedicated miniseries. Those readers who aren't particularly interested in the character of Venom can probably subtract at least half a bullet from my rating of this issue, and those who actively dislike the character will probably find little to win them over here. However, as someone who has always enjoyed the concept of the character, I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and I'll look forward to seeing how it progresses.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Venom: Dark Origin #5

Dec 30, 2008

Ultimately, this series has turned out to be a reasonably interesting (if overlong) retelling of Venom's origin story. The most compelling material was probably that found in the first couple of issues, which dealt with Eddie Brock's childhood and offered some convincing reasons for his later psychological problems. Issues #3 and #4 felt padded, with too little in the way of any real character or plot development. This final issue does pull things back slightly, offering an alternative perspective on Amazing Spider-Man #300 and fleshing out the character a little more fully than David Michelinie did at the time. However, it's hardly essential reading, and you can subtract at least half a bullet from my rating if you're not a fan of Venom as a character.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Wall-E #0

Nov 9, 2009

As with many of the other Pixar adaptations, your enjoyment of this book will probably depend largely on how much you enjoyed the original movie. If youre a fan of the original Wall-E (as I am), then youll probably enjoy his antics here. However, if youre not already a Wall-E lover, you might find this book to be a little light and a little too thin in terms of story to really hold your interest, despite the great artwork.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
War Heroes #1

Jul 21, 2008

Millar seems to be a very busy man these days. In addition to his other creator-owned project, Kick-Ass, he also has his work on 1985, Fantastic Four and Wolverine to contend with, but anyone who was worried that this final project might be a weak link in the chain will be reassured by this opener. The ideas may be a little familiar, and the plot might not advance beyond the basic setup in this first issue, but this is a solid debut that sets up the book's premise quickly and efficiently, and shows a lot of potential for the future. One to watch.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
What if? Featuring The Avengers Disassembled #1

Nov 6, 2006

This is a thought-provoking but ultimately disposable "What-If?" story, when it could have been one that took a recent event, changed it, and really did something interesting with its repercussions. It's worth a look for regular Avengers readers if only for the elements which imply a secret backstory for the Scarlet Witch's accomplice (although fans of the character will probably reject Parker's modification of their motives as completely baseless and unfounded in the original continuity), and fans who get a kick out of debating what is and isn't "real" as far as Marvel continuity goes will likely get a lot of mileage out of the writer's new interpretation of events. Parker also gets some fun jibes in at the expense of Bendis' more "celebrated" plot points from "Disassembled" (such as Hawkeye's death and Dr. Strange's denial of the existence of Chaos magic), but it's all stuff which is really only going to appeal to those who are already interested in Bendis' Avengers and their place

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
What If? Featuring Wolverine - Enemy of the State #1

Dec 1, 2006

"Enemy of the State" was hardly a highbrow, sophisticated adventure itself, but John Romita Jr.'s art gave it an energy which made the most of Mark Millar's Hollywood blockbuster of a script. This one-shot doesn't really live up to that story in writing or in art terms, but might be worth a look for Wolverine die-hards or anyone else who'd be excited by the concept of Logan being set on even more superheroes for the amusement of readers. If it sounds like a thin concept, it is, and most people will probably find better things to spend their money on this week.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
What If? Spider-Man versus Wolverine #1

Feb 7, 2008

The most damning thing I can say about the book is that I picked it up to reread it before writing this review, only to realize that I'd already given it a second read half an hour beforehand - and it had completely gone out of my mind. So, whilst it's not a completely awful story, and the art is nice, it's obviously not a particularly memorable or distinctive tale either. I'd love to see Clayton Henry get another chance to draw the web-slinger as he has an evident gift for depicting the character, and I'm sure that the writers of this issue have it in them do something interesting with both Spider-Man and Wolverine, but this book isn't it.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
White Tiger #4

Feb 12, 2007

Lovers of a more traditional approach to superhero comics may welcome this book as an enjoyable blast of straightforward, old-school Marvel adventuring, and those readers who can interpret the crime-fighting antics of a pretty female ex-FBI agent in tight-fitting white lycra as some kind of profound statement about female empowerment will probably love it. However, for everyone else this will likely register as little more than a competently-written and well-illustrated but ultimately forgettable relaunch of one of Marvel's third-tier characters.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
White Tiger #5

Apr 20, 2007

Ultimately, though, there just isn't enough here to be able to recommend it as a good superhero book. The writers attempt to create tension with a final-page cliffhanger involving a Spider-Man villain who has no link to the story bar a cameo a couple of issues ago, but it's no substitute for a compelling core plot or a real sense of climax to the overall story of the arc. Readers may enjoy the relative novelty of a solo female superhero book which has such strong ties to the street-level Marvel characters, and Daredevil fans may enjoy seeing these loose ends from Bendis' run get cleared up, but it's unlikely that anyone else will get a huge amount out of this series.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Wisdom #1

Nov 23, 2006

Funnily enough, a new series called Torchwood has recently started on British TV with a similar premise to this book, and one episode has already attempted to deal with the problem of malevolent fairies. However, whilst that show gets bogged down in tying the supernatural into real-life with a heavy dollop of "kitchen sink drama" and concessions to an audience which is used to a more grounded subject matter, this series seems unashamed to revel in its fantastical elements, taking the existence of the fairy world as real and ploughing onwards to see what fun can be had with it. It's not a perfect first issue, and I'm still going to have to be convinced by the larger story that Cornell is telling here, but Wisdom successfully fuses a slick, secret service feel with the more out-there world of fantasy and fairies to give us a solid opener that gets a lot of elements in place without skimping on character development or action. This was an impulse purchase for me, but I'll definitely ke

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Wisdom #5

Apr 27, 2007

By the end of the issue, things are looking traditionally bleak for our heroes, and the stakes are higher than ever, but I'm confident that Cornell and Garcia will provide a fittingly irreverent and fun conclusion to what has been an under-appreciated series. I look forward to seeing where the story goes, and I can only encourage readers who enjoy escapist fantasy and dry humour to check it out, as it's one of Marvel's more unashamedly entertaining books of recent months and is deserving of a wider audience.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Wisdom #6

May 25, 2007

The sadness of the story's outcome and the knowledge that this title is coming to an end makes this final issue a bittersweet read, but it's a great send-off for a series which feels like it's come to a natural conclusion. Whilst some fans might clamour for a sequel, I'm more interested to see whether Cornell can bring his individual and enjoyable touch to a different sector of the Marvel Universe. After all, if the writer can take a silly sci-fi/fantasy concept and a bunch of minor characters like these and turn it into an attractive and enjoyable book, then I can't wait to see what he does next. The MAX imprint has allowed the series greater freedom with regard to sex and language, but these relaxed boundaries have never been exploited for gratuitous purposes; rather, they have allowed Cornell & co. to tell a mature fantasy story which treats its readers like adults and doesn't pretend that comics are aimed at kids any more. Wisdom has been a well above-average series, and one wh

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Wolverine (2003) #26

Apr 1, 2005

All things considered, the first part of Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a fairly average instalment which feels like it wants to be the build up to something epic and profound, but just doesnt hang together well enough, or make enough impact with its big final scene to really generate any excitement for next issue. A shame, as I had hoped for something better after the guilty, simple fun that Millars first arc provided.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Wolverine (2003) #32

Sep 26, 2005

I also enjoyed the final afterword by Millar which describes the direct influence that recently-deceased comics legend Will Eisner had on the story. Its a fun little anecdote which relates directly to the storytelling process, and one that helps the reader see exactly how the tale they have just read was so effectively told. Id like to see similar such pieces in future comics, as Im sure more readers would enjoy gaining more insight into their favourite creators creative processes.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1

Sep 22, 2009

Lovers of Millar's work in general -- and in particular, those who have followed "Old Man Logan" this far -- probably won't be able to resist buying this final issue to see how the writer wraps up his tale. However, for more casual readers, an extra $2.00 for 10 extra story pages and a gallery of images (most of which have already been seen elsewhere) might be a price-hike too far, especially when Marvel's recent big anniversary issues have provided more than a hundred pages of content for the same price.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Wonder Woman (2006) #2

Sep 14, 2006

This high-profile series is already suffering from scheduling problems, but it isnt helping itself by providing a derivative story that people arent going to care enough about to pick up every other month. Despite her iconic status Wonder Woman has always seemed to be a problem for DC, but even this high-pedigree creative team doesnt look like theyve got the goods to save her from the perennial indifference of comicbook fans. Who Is Wonder Woman? Two issues in, the answer still isnt anywhere near clear, and theres only so much goodwill you can give a comic before you cut your losses and drop it. Suffice it to say that, despite one or two occasional promising signs (mainly in the artwork), I wont be buying the next issue... whenever it eventually comes out.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
World War Hulk #4

Sep 27, 2007

I've found myself gradually becoming a little less invested in World War Hulk as the series has gone on. The thrills of the first couple of issues have given way to a fairly formulaic and hollow story, albeit one which is fast-moving and visually exciting. The cliffhanger of this issue might promise the conflict between the Sentry and the Hulk that we've been waiting all series to see, but at this point, it's hard to get excited about yet another issue of fighting between the Hulk and one of his old friends. Still, I will commend Marvel for releasing an unpretentious action-fest of an event which lives up to its simple premise, providing enough spectacle to satisfy action junkies and never pulling its punches as far as the fight sequences are concerned. It's just a shame that there isn't more substance to go with it.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
X-Men Origins: Beast #1

Sep 2, 2008

Some readers might be disappointed by the fact that the more recognisable blue version of the Beast is almost entirely absent here: aside from a couple of images of the modern-day Beast that can be seen in a visual montage, the book deals exclusively with the pink-skinned, human-looking incarnation of the character. That said, Woodward does capture some facial expressions that evoke the modern-day Beast, and at least the cover accurately reflects that it's the original Lee/Kirby version of the character that is going to form the basis of this story, not the evolved version that is around today. This is hardly an essential comic, even for X-fans, but Carey's enjoyable script and Woodward's art combine to execute the series' concept very well, adding just enough to Beast's origin to make the issue worth picking up - even for those who are familiar with the story already.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
X-Men Origins: Wolverine #1

Apr 28, 2009

Addendum: Since writing this review, it has been brought to my attention that one of Marvel's "Free Comic Book Day" offerings this year is to be an issue entitled Wolverine: Origin Of An X-Man, making this regularly priced issue feel even more redundant.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
X-Men/Spider-Man #1

Nov 4, 2008

This is the comics equivalent of candy floss: it's fluffy, pretty, and will probably remind you of being a kid, but it ultimately isn't going to provide you with any real sustenance - and after half an hour, you'll probably have forgotten about it altogether. Still, that's not necessarily a bad thing, and if you're used to a diet of grim 'n' gritty modern superhero books, this could prove to be the perfect palate-cleanser that reminds you how fun superhero comics can be.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
X-Men/Spider-Man #4

Mar 3, 2009

Then again, maybe that's exactly who this series is aimed at, and with this in mind perhaps it shouldn't be taken too seriously. If Marvel were looking to release a timeless, straightforward and old-fashioned crossover story that pays lip service to continuity but is more about getting the two franchises together and having a bit of simple fun with them, then this is a pretty successful attempt.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Young Avengers Presents #4

Apr 22, 2008

In the end, though, despite this being a fairly enjoyable story with decent artwork, there's a sense that it's weakened by the limitations of the miniseries' concept. Story ideas that might have made for satisfying character-based subplots of an ongoing Young Avengers series have been divided up into separate character-oriented one-shot issues, which add some reasonably interesting extra dimensions to the characters involved, but which simply aren't very successful in terms of providing a compelling story. Yet again, the bad guys of this issue are generic goons who only exist to give the characters somebody to punch, and there isn't any strong superhero conflict or crime-fighting drama to go along with the solid character work that Cornell provides here. The impression is that Young Avengers Presents is simply treading water whilst readers wait for the main series to return, and that's a shame, because I think that Marvel are going to risk a loss of interest in the characters if the

View Issue       View Full Review

Reviews for
the Week of...

November

October

More