James Leask's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: cxPulp Reviews: 22
8.0Avg. Review Rating

9
Batgirl (2009) #13

Aug 13, 2010

Bryan Q. Miller deserves all the credit in the world for taking a former supporting character like Stephanie and turning her into a fantastic star of my favourite series currently being published. What should be singled out is the way in which he takes action movie or comic clichs, like swinging from the rooftop to save another character or a hero fighting their doppelganger as they both implore, Shoot her! to a bystander, while simultaneously reversing the traditional gender roles of those scenes. Miller has made a strong, smart heroine who can rescue her male accomplice without it being out of place or emasculating. Few writers actually succeed with this, let alone make it look effortless. Like the rest of this terrific series, it just feels right.

View Issue       View Full Review
7
Batman #702

Aug 31, 2010

Now, I think we can all agree that its not generally surprising to say that Batman is one of the most impressive figures in the DC Universe, especially in the love letters to the character Grant Morrison writes, but Ill say this: I was distinctly taken aback by the sheer intellectual determination and capacities of a character Ive loved and followed since I was a kid. Despite a slow start, Batman R.I.P., The Missing Chapter has a great payoff that should please fans of Morrisons treatment of the character. I know it pleased me.

View Issue       View Full Review
6
Batman and Robin #13

Jul 8, 2010

Luckily, Frazer Irvings art is top-notch. Whereas previous arcs have featured more nimble, lighter scripts that played to the strengths of artists like Frank Quitely or Andy Clarke, the dark subject matter here benefits from Irvings murky, swirling colours and thick inks. He plays with perspective and jutting, crisscrossing shadows to disorient the reader, giving an almost Edward Hopper-eque feeling of dread. While this playing with perspective results in the occasional distorted face, the overall effect is by and large spectacular. If Morrisons writing doesnt improve over the remaining issues of the Batman and Robin must die! storyline, at least there will be some great art to look at.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Batman and Robin #15

Oct 22, 2010

Call that another gear falling into place in Morrisons grand scheme. The issue absolutely blew me away and Ive reread it several times since. Each time, I find something new to enjoy. I swore out of disbelieving delight several times when I read it the first time. For a Batman comic that doesnt actually have Bruce in it, its about as close to perfect a comic as I could have wanted.

View Issue       View Full Review
3
Batman Beyond (2010) #2

Jul 22, 2010

If the second issue is any indication of how Batman Beyond will continue, Im tempted to stop picking up the issues. Paul Levitzs take on the character with Superman/Batman Annual #4 and David Finchs art in the characters short episode in Batman #700 were both strong representations of the character and his world, and its disappointing that Beechen and Benjamin havent produced an issue of the same caliber. Pick it up at your own risk.

View Issue       View Full Review
9
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3

Jun 24, 2010

Art issues aside, however, Morrison has delivered an incredibly strong third issue that shines light on the previous two issues while building up momentum towards the final half of the series. It's fun to see him weave the culturally iconic symbols of Batman, like his cowl and utility belt, as well as the logos of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, into the literal mythology of the DC Universe. It would be harder to return Bruce Wayne to his role as Batman in a better fashion than this. I can't wait for the next issue.

View Issue       View Full Review
9
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #4

Jul 30, 2010

Make no mistake, this isnt just the story of how Bruce Wayne fought through time to return to his rightful place. This is Grant Morrisons love letter to the character and his place in our hearts and collective imagination. It doesnt matter if hes a caveman, pilgrim, pirate, or cowboy. Hes Batman. Hes always been there, and he never left.

View Issue       View Full Review
8
Birds Of Prey (2010) #3

Jul 19, 2010

All in all, Birds of Prey #3 is a fun, engaging read. Simone has a great skill for writing the characters, and her ability to embrace the sexuality of the art without making it overtly crass is a great strength, further helped by talented artists. She even sneaks in a little commentary. Im looking forward to Endruns conclusion.

View Issue       View Full Review
8
Flash (2010) #3

Jul 1, 2010

A special note of appreciation to colorist Brian Buccellato, whose vivid colors make the issue come to life. He brings out the best in Manapuls art. Between this series and their brief run on Adventure Comics, the trio comprise one of the best teams in comics today. Theyve made a fun, gorgeous, accessible comic where it would have been exceptionally easy to fail. Theyve made the Flash a series that longtime fans can enjoy but that can also be handed to new fans, adults and kids alike, without sacrificing any of the pleasure.

View Issue       View Full Review
9
Generation Hope #1

Nov 7, 2010

Generation Hope is very much a series in the vein of the original New Mutants, and if its later issues are as strong as this first one, it deserves to have every bit of the success that series had. With Zeb Wells new incarnation of the New Mutants trending in quite a dark direction, Gillen and Espin have created a worthy spiritual successor to the original series.

View Issue       View Full Review
8
Heralds #5

Jul 1, 2010

All in all, Im glad for Kathryn Immonens increased output for Marvel, and Heralds is no exception. With her, Kieron Gillen and Matt Fraction, Marvel is assembling quite a stable of talented, hilarious writers. Ill definitely be rereading Heralds, if only to maybe finally understand why Novas back in the first place.

View Issue       View Full Review
9
Invincible Iron Man #30

Sep 13, 2010

While some have criticized the sheen of Frank D'Armata's characters' skins, I think it works with the tone of the series and the rest of the art. These aren't real people, they're archetypes, our dolls to play with and pose as we want. We make them dance and fight and screw, but they're still a little bit bigger than all that. Fraction's a writer who's very self-aware, with a keen grasp of the metatextuality of genre stories like this. Tony Stark might be his doll, but goddamnit, he's having the time of his life. I am too.

View Issue       View Full Review
9
Morning Glories #2

Sep 21, 2010

Eventually, any mystery series has to confront the need to create a balance between retaining the intrigue and providing payoff for the audience. A lot of artists fail when it comes to this, but Im optimistic about Morning Glories; the beginning has been so strong, it would be a shame to spoil the tremendous potential. Time will tell how successful Spencer is, but for the time being hes produced two fantastic issues.

View Issue       View Full Review
9
Red Robin #15

Aug 7, 2010

This is the kind of comic I would have loved to read as a kid. Had it existed, I might have actually read comics consistently instead of having to come back to the medium later as an adult, something for which Im very, very grateful as I discover the comics I should have been reading in the 90s. Theres no grittiness or rape or hookers in capes, just good, honest, fun. Im having the time of my life with Red Robin.

View Issue       View Full Review
9
S.H.I.E.L.D. #4

Oct 12, 2010

This is a comic that requires a lot of extra effort, but that is also worth the requirement, at least for me. It encourages me to dig deeper and reread, which excites me. It might not for you; it might just not grab you enough that youre willing to follow it where it goes. Thats OK. But if you want to have a fun challenge, pick up the issues of the series that have been published so far. I hope you enjoy it.

View Issue       View Full Review
8
Scarlet #2

Sep 7, 2010

As strong as the script is, Maleevs art pulls the issue together. Besides his aforementioned skill in drawing out small moments and pulling together the passage of time through repetition, Maleevs dreamlike visuals give a vaguely disorienting atmosphere to match Scarlets shifting worldview. His real victory, however, is in the humanization of a character that could have very easily been a one-dimensional sexpot badass riot grrl to make me cringe. Instead, he imbues her with a genuine fragility; shes just a goddamned kid, and the shift from her child-like, innocent paeans to the reader for help, gradually changing as shes tempered into a determined revolutionary, is as heartbreaking and tragic as Ive seen in a long while. Scarlet might be the hero of the story, but shes a victim of a profoundly ruined world. Theres no winning here, just desperately treading water to break even. This issue is the story of how she lost.

View Issue       View Full Review
9
Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark #1

Jun 25, 2010

Then again, this entire issue had me in almost constant laughter from the second page splash and onwards. Its an unbelievably fun comic, and one thats definitely worth picking up and reading on a bad day. If theres one thing missing from Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark, its more issues; it could have easily stretched into a limited series and still maintained its rapid-fire pacing. Imagine sequels or Sea Bear VS Grizzly Shark. Now try to stop smiling.

View Issue       View Full Review
7
Supergirl (2005) #55

Aug 21, 2010

All in all, its a fun issue and an engaging read. This is Gates telling a Supergirl story without the net of the other Metropolis heroes to catch him, and he succeeded in making something that I hungrily want to read more of. Ill take that any day.

View Issue       View Full Review
7
Superman (2006) #704

Nov 1, 2010

All in all, however, I liked the issue. It was an initial shock to see an insecure Lois, considering the last time I recall seeing her was as she posted minute by minute updates from a warzone where three gods were fighting, but the issue felt like a tonal match with Grounded overall. I wouldnt want to see Lois constantly asking Superman if he needs her, but considering the events of the last few years and his near-constant absence, it was a question that could be considered appropriate just this once. This is the story of one really bad day, not the other 364 where Lois smacks around villains and lends Superman her strength when he needs it. I give Wilson credit for doing it in such a tactful and rewarding way.

View Issue       View Full Review
8
The Walking Dead #74

Jul 9, 2010

If youd asked me a few issues ago about this series, Id likely have shrugged and said it was in one of its rough patches in between conflicts. It was definitely building up to something, but at times it felt a little aimless. With this latest issue, however, hes turning this into perhaps one of his best storylines yet, especially when collected together and the structure can benefit from not being serialized.

View Issue       View Full Review
8
Thor (2007) #615

Sep 27, 2010

This is a special creative team getting set to do hopefully special work. This first issue of the arc is an expository one, and its setting the scene for the battle to come. Luckily, it looks like its going to be one hell of a battle and one hell of an arc too.

View Issue       View Full Review
8
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #13

Aug 14, 2010

Plus, the cover has Spider-Man with a gun on a field of fifty dollar bills! Just try telling me that didnt make your day better.

View Issue       View Full Review

Reviews for the Week of...

December

7th

November

More