M. Staples's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Weekly Comic Book Review Reviews: 39
8.2Avg. Review Rating

6
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #558

May 8, 2008

The last half of the issue is where Gale and Kitson finally deliver as Spider-Man once again faces The Freak, and his jokes become funny and smart. Likewise, Kitson is great at displaying the action in this scene as well as the humor (especially in the facial expressions). The Freak, is without a doubt, the best character to come out of Brand New Day. While is extreme addiction to drugs should be saddening and pity-worthy, Gale writes it so that it is humorous, while at the same time giveing another "Stay away from drugs" lesson without brow-beating the reader. So, to anyone not pleased with Brand New Day, the first half of this issue certainly won't make you feel any better, but the second half definitely entertains.

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5
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #564

Jul 3, 2008

Looking back, this review sounds a bit negative, but I did not intend it to sound that way. There is certainly nothing majorly wrong with this issue, but it feels like an average read to me. Even Spidey's humor, which is funny, isn't anything that I'll be remembering for a long time. So anyone who regularly reads Spider-Man will probably get this and get some run of the mill entertainment. But to those who choose not to pick this up, you won't be missing out on anything.

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8
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #565

Jul 10, 2008

While this issue itself may not have been faultless, it still sets up what looks to be the most exciting new Spidey story yet (until next month's New Ways to Die). I'm willing to overlook a few flaws and for once, I'm eagerly awaiting the next issue.

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9.6
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #569

Aug 26, 2008

Oh yeah, in between throwing out all kinds of mysteries, we only have some more appearances from guest stars The Thunderbolts, including Norman Osborn and Venom. Not to mention the birth of the new symbiote (or is it a symbiote?) Anti-Venom! Yes, those who've read the last issue very likely predicted the identity of this character; nonetheless, this long time cast member will be perfect for the part! Add in some great action and beautiful art by John Romita Jr. and what do you have? An extremely entertaining issue, that's what! New Ways to Die looks to be ranked among one of the great "Spider-Sagas," and we're only a third of the way in! I don't care how much you hated One More Day, nor if you intended to pick this up as a trade, stop waiting and get this now! Spider-Man doesn't get much better than this!

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9.6
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #571

Sep 10, 2008

Well, with only two chapters remaining, I can't wait to see how this will end and what will be left open for later. This is easily one of the most entertaining comic book reads of the year and if you're not reading New Ways to Die, you are seriously missing out.

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9.6
Avengers: The Initiative #12

Apr 29, 2008

One last thing of note from this issue is the introduction of a new doctor with transparent skin. I'm not sure if he's a mutant, or has some sort of powers, but I definitely want to know his story. It's the subtle storylines like these two which help make this series so enjoyable. While my favorite character from this series may have moved on to better things, I'm definitely looking forward to the next issue, and what the new batch of recruits will bring.

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4
Avengers: The Initiative #13

May 20, 2008

Perhaps the only thing I have enjoyed is Steve Uy's art, and believe me, I'm surprised to be saying that. Up until now, I haven't enjoyed anything he has done, but in this issue he has finally pulled away from his usual drab and presents us with several pieces of great work. I especially enjoyed the one (and only) fight scene toward the end. Just make no mistake: I still will be extremely glad when (and if) Caselli returns to the book.

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8.4
Avengers: The Initiative #14

Jun 25, 2008

When the main cast of A:TI graduated, I feared that this series would lose some of its momentum. Last issue seemed to confirm my fears, but as you can see, Avengers: The Initiative #14 has a solid story with a return to the usual level of entertainment and overall greatness. Furthering to assuage my fears is the return of Stefano Caselli as artist. While Steve Uy actually showed some improvement last time around, Caselli's work is a huge part of what makes the book such an enjoyable read. Like the authors, Caselli is all about characters, and in a book full of multiple leading and supporting cast members, Caselli manages to make them all distinct and realistic looking. Avengers: The Initiative remains one of my top three favorite monthly reads, and for anyone looking for a great jumping on point: this is it.

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9
Avengers: The Initiative #15

Jul 25, 2008

Avengers: The Initiative is on my monthly “Top 3 Must-Read” list, and this issue ensures that it maintains its place. Being a back story for a recent character, and a Secret Invasion tie-in, this serves as a great jumping on point for new readers. Anyone looking to start one of Marvel's best ongoing books should do themselves a favor and jump on ASAP.

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8.4
Avengers: The Initiative #17

Sep 27, 2008

Anyway, this was all around pretty good development of ongoing plot for those who have been reading. But if you haven't been reading Avengers: The Initiative, I'd still say this series is definitely worth looking into, but due to the large amount of story being juggled around, this probably is not a good starting point.

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9.6
Captain America (2004) #42

Sep 24, 2008

So was I disappointed by this issue? Slightly, I expected it to be the big "everything since issue one has come down to this" finale, but the promise that this story will continue seems to be even more satisfying. And like any good suspense artist, Brubaker plans to make us wait with a completely different storyline coming up. It will be nice to not only to see a non-Red Skull villain story, but to also see Bucky finally operating as Cap on his own. How long will it take till we get a true resolution? Who knows, but I'm sure whatever Brubaker has in store for us until then will be just as entertaining.

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8.4
Daredevil (1998) #107

May 30, 2008

The mystery boils down to this: A man named "Big Ben" Donovan (no relation to Milla) has been convicted of killing three children and has admitted to the crime. For this, he has been sentenced to the electric chair. Our mystery character is convinced that despite his confession, he is innocent and wants Foggy and Dakota to prove it. The catch is that his execution is in six days, so the true murderer must be discovered before then. Truthfully, this sounds like something from Matlock (which I shamelessly enjoy, despite being too young to have watched the show when it aired), and I am eager to see how they approach this case. Throw in the fact that superheroics will likely be involved (after all, we're talking about Daredevil here), and this looks to be the beginning of a great story arc. Bring on the next issue, I say!

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9
Daredevil: Blood of the Tarantula #1

May 1, 2008

This issue was a great crime fighting, butt kicking, violence-filled spectacle, and Chris Samnee's art is perfect in conveying the action. To anyone who was disappointed with the last issue of Daredevil, whether because of the lack of action, or the horrible art, this issue should appease your appetite. Matt Hollingsworth's colors also maintain the muted tone that has been present in the last several issues of Daredevil, so this feels completely within the core Daredevil storyline. I'm surprised this issue isn't simply numbered Daredevil #107.

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9
Fantastic Four (1998) #557

May 21, 2008

Perhaps the only complaint I have about this issue is the lack of resolution of the Nu-World plot. I was really hoping we would get to see why the Earth Trust thinks the Earth is doomed. I still think it's a sinister group with an "all-for-the-best" faade, but with twelve issues remaining in the Millar/Hitch run, I suppose there is still plenty of time for this plot to be dealt with. There is no way Millar can promise that the "Earth is doomed," and not follow up on this information. Surely the Marvel Universe will not have to transfer to Nu-World, so either the Earth Trust's true motive will be revealed, or Reed will find some way to save the world where all else have failed. Either way, I look forward to see where Millar will take this (not to mention the final page cliffhanger!)

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9.6
Fantastic Four (1998) #559

Aug 12, 2008

And speaking of a captured Doom, if you thought last issue's big reveal of who is leading this new team was shocking, wait until you see who else they have captured. While this ending surely has me wondering just what the crap is going on, I'm loving every minute of this confusion. Seriously, why are you still reading this review and not the actual issue already?

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10
Fantastic Four: The End #1

Jul 4, 2008

Perhaps the best element is the theme of family that runs throughout. Even a tragedy cannot keep the Fantastic Four from fully severing their ties with one another. When they need each other the most, they are able to overcome adversity and reunite once more. Themes such as responsibility, heroism, and combating prejudice, while all important, come second when placed with one of the most important benefits to society: the family. Not only does Alan Davis convey this in a very well told manner, he realizes that this theme is what drives a good Fantastic Four story, thus making Fantastic Four: The End a great read on several levels – as an FF story, as a piece of futuristic science-fiction, as a superhero tale, and as family-centered piece. Anyone who enjoys reading one of these categories needs to do him or herself a favor and pick this series up – either as individual issues or in trade paperback form.

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8.4
Fantastic Four: True Story #1

Aug 1, 2008

As for whether or not this is actually "canon," I'm not entirely sure. The FF's uniforms match Hitch's current design, and Valeria appears to be the same age as she is on Earth 616, which leads me to believe that it probably is canon. At the same time, this entire mini will probably be overlooked due to its slight absurdness which is shame, because after only one issue in I'm already thoroughly enjoying it. If you like the Fantastic Four and want to see them traveling through famous pieces of fiction, or if you're a fan of Paul Cornell's writing (you know, just one of the writers of Doctor Who and the guy who brought you the already critically acclaimed Captain Britain and the MI:13), you know where to turn.

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8.4
Fantastic Four: True Story #2

Aug 30, 2008

Yes, Fantastic Four: True Story is bizarre, crazy, goofy, unusual, and downright peculiar. But is it fun? Most definitely. If you're in the mood for something that is about as far away from normal as you can get, this is probably a great place to look.

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7
Ghost Rider (2006) #26

Aug 25, 2008

This issue by itself may not have been the most exciting, but it marks the first part of a new arc in the ongoing Zadkiel story. Besides, the ending looks to set up a very interesting reunion. Ghost Rider may not rank among Marvel's top monthly books, but for those who enjoy the creepy factor and even some religious intrigue should find themselves pleased with what this has to offer.

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8
Invincible Iron Man #1

May 7, 2008

Finally, is it a good comic? Well, it is fairly well written, there was one part where I had to turn back a page to figure out what was going on, but other than that it flowed smoothly and the characters maintained unique voices. Likewise, the art was very well done. It wasn't perfect, as there were three minor things that bugged me, but being minor, they weren't anything to take away from the enjoyment of the storytelling. So overall, not the best of the best when it comes to comics, but certainly very good. As someone fairly new to Iron Man, will I be back? Yes, I will definitely finish out the story arc, but I'll have to be really impressed to stick with it after it's over.

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9
Invincible Iron Man #3

Jul 11, 2008

I've said it before and I'll say it again, anyone who loved the Iron Man movie half as much as I did needs to pick this series up immediately. The transition from movie to comic is uncannily smooth (especially when taken into account that Fraction had no knowledge of what the movie or its tone would be like). The differences between the two are explained in the context of the story, while all the best elements from the film are still present. Invincible Iron Man is the must read new series of 2008.

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9
Invincible Iron Man #4

Aug 8, 2008

I'm pretty sure I've said this in every review of this series, but if you even slightly enjoyed the Iron Man movie, Invincible Iron Man is mandatory. It maintains the same tone of the film and is written specifically with new readers in mind, but also contains a story engrossing enough to capture even the most seasoned comic book fan. It may be a bit early to say this yet, but if Fraction can maintain this level of promise, he may just be able to write an Iron Man series as groundbreaking as Ed Brubaker's current Captain America run. If you haven't jumped on board this yet, you'll never know what you are missing.

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6
Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four (2005) #37

Jun 29, 2008

In summary: Amazing art, and a story that isn't spectacular, but at least fun. Now the big question: Is it worth buying? Well, if you need an extra Fantastic Four fix and want to see some great art, (and a rather humorous "Mini-Marvels" strip, almost forgot that!), sure go ahead. But if not, you're not missing out on too much.

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9.6
New Avengers #44

Aug 29, 2008

With the story's status quo changed a second time, we progress into the second half, in which a mystery that arose in Secret Invasion #5 is answered (at least we didn't have to wait too long!). I'd love to get more in depth about what exactly occurred here, but it would spoil the first half. Suffice to say, this is an extremely essential chapter in the Secret Invasion saga and, more importantly, it conveys this important information with a rather suspenseful tale. Don't miss this issue.

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8.4
Nova (2007) #13

May 8, 2008

The art in this issue is spectacular, and helps to convey the epic scope of the story. I especially enjoyed the double splash page of Galactus. Wellington Alves also does a wonderful job of giving “human” facial expressions to non-human characters. Overall, an entertaining read. I'll definitely be back next month to see where this goes. I recommend this to anyone interested in the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe, especially if they're Silver Surfer fans.

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9
Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1

May 12, 2008

Overall, this was very well put together. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's writing is the perfect match for the Fantastic Four, and I would not be disappointed if he took up the helm when Mark Millar eventually leaves (which I'm not looking forward to). Likewise, Kitson's art was definitely modern, but he throws in plenty of nods to older art (i.e. the "Kirby dots" are present throughout). I'd love to see more of his work in FF as well. Kitson gets major kudos for being one of the few artists that is continuity-friendly – the FF's uniforms here perfectly match the new uniforms that Hitch has given in the main FF title – something that is often overlooked by other artists. All together, the plot, writing and art is everything I'd hoped it would be. I'll definitely be back for the next issue.

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7
Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #2

Jun 17, 2008

So overall, this was a mostly character driven story. So far, this series hasn't proven itself to be an essential Secret Invasion read, but if you enjoy these characters as much as I do, you could do worse than pick it up. Besides, we are given a very interesting tease for the next time around. I don't want to reveal too much, but Franklin's plan at the end certainly has me looking forward to the last installment. With any luck, it will be a good, solid conclusion.

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6
Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #3

Aug 3, 2008

Lastly, a quick word about the interior art: while Barry Kitson continues to at excel all the oddities of the Negative Zone and does a stellar job drawing the Thing, he still has yet to master his human faces. Occasionally they look normal, but on the very next page, all the features seem too small (this is especially apparent in Johnny's case). The only exception to this is the mystery villain, whose face flawlessly matches his original design. Kitson's rendition of this guy brought a smile to my face. Oh, and the faux-childish drawing opening page? Hilarious. The sad thing is I don't think my own drawing skills could even match up to that.

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9
Secret Invasion: Inhumans #2

Sep 11, 2008

Perhaps even more surprising than discovering that I could like the Inhumans, is the fact that the person to make me do so would be someone I've never heard of. I can't recall ever reading anything written by Joe Pokaski before, but he maintains a great balance of action, story, and including elements to introduce new readers. Before this, I had very little familiarity with the Inhumans, but his writing has not even once confused me. If you are even slightly interested in the age-old race of the Inhumans, and you want a great Secret Invasion tie-in, this gets my highest recommendation.

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9
Secret Invasion: Thor #1

Aug 16, 2008

As for the art, the Doug Braithwaite's penciling is fairly well done; at least there is certainly nothing to complain about. No, the art complaints in this issue come from the inks and colors. The complaint about inks is simple: there are none. Granted, Braithwaite does some great work, he is in severe need of inks – almost everything looks way too sketchy. Likewise, most of Paul Mounts' colors are way too muted. The colors don't necessarily need to be eye-poppingly vibrant (indeed, that may have harmed the issue), but they needn't be so dull either. So while this may have a great story, the art could use a bit of improvement. Nonetheless, I definitely think this deserves a buy, especially if you are reading Secret Invasion or Thor.

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8
Secret Invasion: Thor #2

Sep 19, 2008

However, despite these flaws, this issue really wasn't that bad. With the story entertaining enough, the issue just seemed a little too stretched out, with too much going on and not enough focus on the moments that matter. Despite all that, I'm still left excited, as the final page really looks to set up a great conclusion. If this is true, the strong first and last parts will certainly make up for a little weakness for this middle.

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9
Sub-Mariner: The Depths #2

Oct 3, 2008

I never thought I'd really enjoy a Sub-Mariner story, but because this concerns the mystery more than the man, I'm truly engrossed.

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9.6
Thor (2007) #9

May 27, 2008

This series is slowly becoming one of my favorite stories of all time. If someone were to ask me right now which one ongoing they needed to read, Thor would most assuredly get my vote.

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8.4
Thor (2007) #10

Aug 6, 2008

On the mortal side of things, we see that Bill is still struggling over his feelings for Kelda. While this may seem like a "soap opera" element for the moment, I'm sure Bill's connection as well as Asgard, may play a significant role in the future. The citizens of Broxton also provide us with the obligatory humor of the issue as they are "startled" by the noises of the Asgardian celebration. (Poor Ms. Sooner, that's all I gotta say.) So while Thor #10 may have been a slight bit slower than usual, Straczynski maintains his mastery of storytelling and I've been provided my "Thor fix" for now. That said, I already can't wait for the next issue.

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9.6
Thor: Reign of Blood #1

Jun 26, 2008

Khari Evans' and Patrick Zircher's work is beautiful, frightening, and epic in all the right places. Perhaps even more amazing is their similarity in style. Evans pencils the entire first half, and Zircher the second, but unless you are specifically looking for the transition, it is hard to tell the difference. There is absolutely nothing to complain about in this issue. Anyone who loves stories like Lord of the Rings or Beowulf needs to do themselves a favor and pick this up.

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6
Ultimate Fantastic Four #55

Jun 21, 2008

Touching on the art, it gave me mixed feelings. Much of it was well done, but the lack of an inker made it look sloppy at several points. Likewise, I can't say I like Tyler Kirkham's rendition of Sue – she looks way too much like a "glamour girl" for my tastes. I've got nothing against her being attractive, but she should look less like a model and more like, well, Sue.

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8.4
Ultimate X-Men/Fantastic Four Annual #1

Sep 14, 2008

Overall, this was an extremely entertaining plot, and I can't wait for part two in two weeks! If you are a fan of the "regular" X-Men or the Fantastic Four these two issues would be a great thing to pick up to give you a taste of their "Ultimate" counterparts.

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8
Uncanny X-Men (1963) #497

Apr 23, 2008

So in conclusion, this issue wasn't too bad, and the story finally did progress to something really interesting, but I would have enjoyed it more if the larger portion was devoted to the Russia storyline instead of the hippy storyline. Although, the hippy story does deserve this defense: call me crazy, but seems like something that would have happened in the 90s X-Men cartoon, so it does earn a few bonus points for nostalgia.

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6
Uncanny X-Men (1963) #498

May 29, 2008

So while this issue may be nothing spectacular, if you have picked up the rest of this arc you might want to get this one just to keep the story complete. I've got a good feeling Brubaker will give us a satisfying conclusion next month. Also, I'm quite interested to see what he does with the baddie that has returned.

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