Rafael Gaitan's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comics Bulletin Reviews: 42
8.5Avg. Review Rating

8
Action Comics (2011) #2

Oct 10, 2011

Asshole Superman is my favorite new DC character. More akin to the Bat-Man than Boy, Grant Morrison's Action Comics has featured a Superman rooted in his Golden Age representation -- a champion of justice, a crusader of idealism and a dick who likes fucking with authority. Not unlike a white Ice Cube, 1986-2000. Vintage stuff, really. Action #1 demonstrated that Morrison -- who wrote God's own Superman story in the form of All-Star -- had a grasp on every facet on the character, panting this new version as a brash and impulsive vigilante. This Superman's not afraid to hoist businessmen over balconies. That was all well and good as an introduction, but is it sustainable?

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6
Batgirl (2011) #1

Sep 11, 2011

Gail Simone has been tasked with perhaps the most difficult job in the DC reboot. While there are a few baffling titles, some that have all the pedigree in the world, and some that have to work a little harder for recognition, no character in the new universe has more eyes focused on her than the beloved Batgirl. Long a point of contention for arguments of feminism and the disabled in comics, when the news broke that Barbara Gordon would be returning to her mantle (stripped from her by a bullet from the Joker's gun in Batman: The Killing Joke ), the Internet set itself on fire with arguments. Simone, herself a writer who came to prominence through the blogosphere, has always been a vocal proponent of Barbara as both Batgirl and as Oracle. When she was announced as being the creative helm of this story, I was more excited than most, being a huge fucking fan of her work.

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9
Batman (2011) #1

Sep 25, 2011

From Page One, Snyder absolutely nails what the reader wants from a Batman title: Batman. While Tony Daniel's Detective seems to be focused on getting gritter than gravel above anything else, we find our Batman facing down his rogues' gallery and promptly dispatching them. Any doubts of what kind of Bruce Wayne we're looking at are quickly assuaged Snyder has the ability to craft some brutal fighting interspersed with arresting dialogue and captions.

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8
Batman: Gates of Gotham #1

May 23, 2011

Gates of Gotham is an adept and intriguing mystery, and Higgins and McCarthy have done a fine job of capturing the tone and presentation of what a comic book mystery should be. The actual history of Gotham has been mentioned in comics before, surely, but Snyder, Higgins and McCarthy seem to have concocted a potent lesson into how the city came to be where it is, as well as connecting it further into the mythos of the Wayne family. It promises to be an absorbing read.

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8
Burn The Orphanage: Born to Lose #2

Dec 10, 2013

Although it's a $5 cover price, Burn the Orphanage #2 is a surefire read- it's smart, scrappy and spunky as hell. Freedman and Grace have avoided the rose-colored pitfalls that come with writing a love letter to a genre and instead have left it a note indicating it knows where to find them if it ever wants to see its daughter again.

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9
Captain America (2012) #5

Mar 25, 2013

It can be difficult to write about the single issues of comics due to their overarching nature (as well as not wanting to give away the shenanigans!) and this book is no exception- out of context it contains beautiful art and heart-grabbing writing and plotting, but as a larger piece of the puzzle it is much more salient. There's more than enough action and intelligence to sustain the cover price, but where Captain America excels as the most unique vision in the Marvel NOW launch is its glorious unpredictability. Remender's putting the hurt on that heart and you just can't wait to see what he'll do to Cap and to you next.

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10
Daredevil (2011) #2

Aug 21, 2011

One of Waid's most impressive talents on this title is his descriptions of Daredevil's power. In both issues, Matt has used his sensitive hearing to listen for heartbeat spikes, but this one in particular also has him notice the blood sugar rising in a person he's talking to, which he recognizes as pheromones. Of all the writers who have graced the pages of Daredevil, Waid has to be the most in-tune since Frank Miller, and while Miller's run was more about Murdock as a redemptive soul, Waid focuses on what makes Matt Murdock, both in his personal and private life. Waid's back-up story from #1 delves into it a bit more, but issue 2 jumps right in without any additional explanation. Waid has a talent for economic writing, usually coaxing exceptionally vivid art from his collaborators, and with the Riveras there is no exception.

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9
Deadpool Team-Up #885

Feb 25, 2011

While this issue would certainly not be the best intro to what Deadpool's about, if you're a fan, then you'll definitely enjoy what Spears and Bond have done with the Merc with a Mouth. As Deadpool himself says, And now for the team-up no one's been waiting for! But wouldn't you know it -- it's worth the non-wait.

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9
Detective Comics #876

May 2, 2011

Hungry City is a great jumping-on point and a great insight into a writer whose work is sure to be counted among the definitive runs of this title and the character of Batman altogether.

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9
Detective Comics #877

May 30, 2011

Detective Comics has quickly risen from a book that piqued my interest to my most anticipated read of every single month. Snyder, Jock and Francavilla are collaborating on the most righteous run of this title in ages.

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10
Donald Duck #364

Mar 8, 2011

Barks and Pedrochhi have crafted some stories that are timeless, hilarious and exemplary. Stories like these are enjoyable by anyone with a pulse, and literal examples of the axiom They dont make em like they used to anymore.

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8
Fear Itself #1

Apr 10, 2011

At the risk of making a Gene Shalit-ism, don't be afraid to get Fear Itself.

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7
Flashpoint #1

May 15, 2011

Frankly, though, Johns has enough ideas in his head to make Flashpoint #1 a rewarding read. While not as connective to its audience as Fear Itself, this series seems well on its way to delivering a unique vision of what the DC world's come to. And really, any comic where the Bat-Man drops someone from a roof can't truly be bad, can it?

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7
G.I. Joe (2013) #2

Mar 25, 2013

Van Lente's G.I. Joe has all the makings of a great action flick -- it's heavy on humor but also finds a heart to the material which avoids it skirting into mindlessness- it's mildly reminiscent of The Dirty Dozen and naturally Red Dawn in how human these characters feel and think.

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9
Hawkeye Vol. 2 #14

Dec 3, 2013

This is the one-shot comic version of The Long Goodbye, and if you recall the previously all-capitalized letters tag, this is what I meant. You should watch the hell out of that movie too. Even if you don't care about ANY of this, HAWKEYE still a goddamned great comic- it's sharp, gorgeous and clever and literally unlike anything Marvel or any retailer is publishing. It's also a great jumping-on point for a series that knows no nadir.

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7
Iron Man 2.0 #2

Mar 18, 2011

I enjoyed issue #1, but the clear improvement in issue #2 guarantees that Iron Man 2.0 is going to be a must-read for a while. Whoever's idea it was to bring on Spencer as a Marver-exclusive: you should be proud as fuck of yourself.

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8
Iron Man 2.0 #3

Apr 15, 2011

While the Palmer Addley mystery is only mildly addressed, there's enough legitimate progress to be an engaging read and act as proper set-up for what's sure to be an exciting run. I want to know what's going with Palmer Addley just as badly as the people in the book do, and that's how you know you're reading something worthwhile. If you've been sleeping on Iron Man 2.0, power up and pick up what is one of the most tensely plotted and expertly handled books on the market. Suit up.

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10
Iron Man 2.0 #4

Apr 22, 2011

This issue came out only a week after #3, as Marvel heads its books towards the stream-crossing Fear Itself event, but you would be remiss to ignore it. If you've been reading the book, then this is the payoff you knew was coming. If you haven't, this is a great jumping-on point as it is a transition, but it does have enough information about the previous three to hopefully entice a new reader. Iron Man 2.0 #4 isn't just good -- it's firing on all cylinders.

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8
Iron Patriot #2

Apr 29, 2014

The nice thing about having a low-key superstar like Rhodey is that Kot and Brown can tell the stories they want without any presumed editorial cockblocking. Until people take notice, that is- it's too early to tell as Kot has just started with Marvel but with this and his run on Secret Avengers, we might be seeing another Fraction on the come-up, in terms of truly grasping how to marry the personality profiling of his characters with Cool, Rad Shit (TM). Take the (James) Rhode(s) less traveled!

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9
Jonah Hex #66

Apr 11, 2011

Artist Jordi Benet resumes his duties in #67, but Casket Canyon is a superlative piece of Western fiction, from Gray and Palmiotti's metered, visually oriented writing style to Fiona Staples' exemplary pencils. I look forward to seeing more of her work, preferably on this book, but as long as she's doing anything that'd be great. I regret not jumping onto Jonah Hex earlier, and I'm certain that readers of this issue will feel the same. When comics hit their mark, they hit it, and this issue nails it dead fucking center.

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10
Jonah Hex #69

Jul 11, 2011

Jonah Hex #69Posted: Monday, July 11, 2011By: Rafael Gaitan Justin Gray, Jimmy PalmiottiJeff Lemire, Dave McCaig (c)DC Surprise, surprise -- a Western comic gets full marks from ol' Raf "Expletive" Gaitan. Dear reader, I too am familiar with how much I love Western comics, especially Jonah Hex, so I say with little trepidation that this is the best issue I've read, and a contender for Best of the Year. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if this one numbers among the best Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have ever done. Incidentally, it's the least violent issue of Jonah Hex I've ever read -- Palmiotti and Gray let their writing take front and center this go-around.

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6
Men of War #1

Sep 12, 2011

Who reads war comics anymore? More popular in the '50s and '60s and times of turmoil, modern publishing seems to have no place for them amid the cape and tights crowd. Imagine the surprise when DC announces one of its big 52 relaunch titles is going to be a new Men of War, starring Sgt. Rock no less?! Granted, for modernitys sake, its his nephew and yeah... but your boy loves some Sgt. Rock. No Easy Company in sight yet, but issue #1 of Men of War is a promising start to a series that I originally assumed had no connection to the DC New 52.

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7
Men of War #2

Oct 10, 2011

Okay, so maybe I was wrong. While I liked Men of War #1, I lamented the necessity for its ties to the DC Universe, but in Issue #2 it has become enough of a plot point to justify the setup. While I wished that it had been a more straightforward war comic, the introduction of the mysterious Circe and metahuman influence is a solid counter-balance to the unavoidable grittiness that a book with this subject matter would have.

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8
Mickey Mouse #308

May 17, 2011

Mickey Mouse #308 is simultaneously an awe-inspiring historical lesson and an exciting vision of things to come -- these comics have remained timeless for a reason, and as theyre reprinted now, I can only hope they spark as many imaginations as they did the first time around -- a testament that good comics stay good comics, no matter how long theyve been away.

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10
Mickey Mouse Vol. 2: Trapped on Treasure Island #1

Feb 8, 2012

Floyd Gottfredson is one of the most truly talented individuals that is finally getting his day in the sun. His contributions to the character and development of Mickey Mouse and newspaper storytelling are nothing short of revolutionary. Mickey Mouse Volume 2: Trapped on Treasure Island stands as second and essential tome in one of the most richly visionary and creative outputs in modern sequential art. We as lovers of comics owe Gottfredson, Osborne, De Manis, Tallafierro and Thwaites a huge debt of gratitude for these treasures, these wonderful, richly rewarding stories, and fuck you if you don't think so.

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9
Moon Knight (2011) #1

May 8, 2011

The BIG SHOTS campaign is a re-launch of some of Marvel's heaviest hitters, and this issue is a potent volley.

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8
Morning Glories #10

Jun 12, 2011

Morning Glories is a series that greatly benefits from being collected, as individual issues feed into one another and inform future twists and events, but each one also serves well as a highlight for the individual characters. In particular, Jade might be the most fascinating student at Morning Glory Academy, and this issue does a remarkable job of giving us personal insight while flirting with the more ethereal elements, and making the emotional exploration the most arresting part. It's never to early to spot true talent, and Morning Glories is a series that has not only bloomed and blossomed, but will deeply root itself in you.

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7
One Model Nation #1

May 3, 2012

Jim Rugg's art is excellent as usual with his unique kinetic expressiveness giving each frame a burst of life and motion, while colorist Jon Fell uses deep reds and grays almost exclusively, engendering the feel of the blood and concrete that seems to be covering Germany in the late '70s. Visually the book is 110% solid and nothing is ever questionable, likely due to Rugg's experience with sequential art. Perhaps it suffers mostly from the translation from one medium to the next, but One Model Nation is a flawed if entertaining read. Taylor-Taylor hit on a rather brilliant idea, but he couldn't quite pull it out in the long run. Comics are a limitless medium when done right, but there really must've been too much to contain. This could have worked better as a maxi-series, given room to grow, but ultimately I refuse to fault someone for trying to do something different. One Model Nation doesn't always fire on all cylinders, but when it hits the right notes it kills.

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10
Rocketeer Adventures #1

May 22, 2011

Rocketeer Adventures is jam-packed with enough creativity and sincerity that it's a loving testament to the genre as well as to the character--much like Dave Stevens intended. The second issue promises some more giants of the industry (Geof Darrow, Darwyn Cooke, and Mark Waid), and it's safe to say Stevens would be proud of how high Cliff Secord can still soar.

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10
Rocketeer Adventures #2

Jun 26, 2011

Grodd help me, I love the Rocketeer. It's no coincidence I rented Joe Johnston's flawed classic the week that we were graced with another issue of Rocketeer Adventures. While the film does indeed excite and captivate, it's more concerned with the rest of the cast, which would be fine if I didn't want to see the dude with the rocket on his back do stuff -- it's not called The Nazi Spy Actor Who Went Up a Zeppelin and Came Down a Fireball. I'm not hating, just saying, but I digress.

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9
Satellite Sam #3

Sep 9, 2013

It's a hard sell, although it shouldn't be. A black-and-white comic with risque themes and content aimed at adults published outside of Big Two should be the biggest thing poppin', but the important thing is that for those of us who read it, it's what we wanted and hoped and more. Satellite Sam shimmies and pops off the page with all the danger and the excitement of the live TV (and the shitty signal to match) it emulates.

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9
Secret Six Vol. 2 #31

Mar 3, 2011

As grim as the plot threads are in this issue, it retains the aforementioned levity that makes this book such a unique read. Even though the squad is going to Hell, it's located in a mall with such terrible stores as Exclusively Boy Bands! and a food court that specializes in British cuisine. The opening promo video is also a cute joke, and it features Deadshot's innate inner diva (which we all saw coming, I'm sure). Simone's characterization of the group is also one of the more poignant parts of this title -- her writing of a fight between Ragdoll and Scandal Savage is interlaced with telling dialogue and brutal bladeplay, their words wounding almost as much as their weapons.

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10
Secret Six Vol. 2 #32

Apr 11, 2011

Simone and Califiore have an awe-inspiring understanding of each other, and it shows with the way that this book has consistently become bolder, daring and a must-read every single month. If you're not following Secret Six, you should start, or face eternal damnation.

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10
Secret Six Vol. 2 #33

May 9, 2011

Secret Six is a book that needs no further adulation, but will continue to get it.

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4
Suicide Squad (2011) #2

Oct 24, 2011

You've had your six, Suicide Squad. I was willing to give this book a chance based on my love of team-ups, anti-heroes, and describing things in hyphenates, but it has proved a fruitless endeavor. It could never hope to replace Secret Six, and in all likelihood didn't intend to, but losing Gail Simone's series to a dry, witless and mean-spirited comic is almost insulting.

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10
The Crow Special Edition #1

Mar 22, 2012

The story of Eric and Shelley has entered the lexicon of comics, and Gallery Books has made sure that the edition they've put out is proper tribute to this. O'Barr's cooperation acts as an official co-sign, indicating he's as enthused to see this book return for an entirely new generation as readers of age are. The Crow: Special Edition is likely not flying off shelves, but that means those who seek its brilliance should have no trouble acquiring it. Heartbreak eventually heals, but not without time, and it's about time for The Crow to return to this plane again.

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8
The James Bond Omnibus Volume 003 #1

Apr 11, 2012

This edition is a great value at $25 -- the seven strips compromise roughly three years' worth of stories, not a weak one in the bunch, but considering the word omnibus is printed up front, some additional material would be nice and not too unexpected.

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10
The Tooth #1

May 29, 2011

Bunn, Lee and Kindt have made a fictional forgotten classic come alive with their expansive attention and dedication. The writing appears elegant and effortless, and the art follows suit. Kindt's arrangements and layouts are razor-precise, as there's never a question of what is being read. The novel doesn't ever feel knowing or smarmy. The material it relies on is admonished with just enough meter to avoid accusations of slavish devotion. This book is a jaw-dropping masterpiece, and not just because its title character is a giant fucking tooth.

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9
Uncanny X-Force (2010) #10

May 20, 2011

Now's your chance, Person of the Internet -- the last few issues have been one-and-dones leading up to the next major story arc, The Dark Angel Saga, so this is the opportunity to sign on for X- Force! They have a track record of killin' it, and this issue is another victim in their wake. Mainstream comics rarely get to be so grim and versatile.

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8
Uncle Scrooge #403

May 3, 2011

Included as a bonus is a first-time U.S. printing of Daan Jippes Scrap Mettle. Scrooge McDuck decides hes not perceived as tough enough, so he goes bear hunting in the Klondike. I could go on about the beautiful pencils or the delightful colors or about how Jippes captures Scrooges voice humorously, but nobody wants to hear that when Scrooge is going wing-to-paw with a bear. Theres a reason these comics have lasted as long as they have: theyre funny, pretty to look at and enjoyable on the page -- just the way comics should be.

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7
Velvet #2

Dec 10, 2013

Velvet is one of the tightest and rightest (and brilliant) books coming out today, so do not be deterred- it's definitely a series that will gel beautifully when read back-to-back, but month-to-month it is still delivering some of the finest work from two of comics' greatest creators.

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10
Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: Race to Death Valley #1

Oct 19, 2011

If you love Mickey Mouse, you love Floyd Gottfredson. The fact that that name is esoteric, only known by the most meticulous of fans, is a shame that is thankfully being remedied. Gottfredson got his start as an animator at Walt Disney Studios, and in 1930 was tasked with writing and penciling the daily Mickey Mouse strip that would be syndicated in newspapers nationwide. Gottfredson scripted until 1934, but he would continue to plot and draw the series until 1975 -- a milestone of cartooning and continuing creativity. Gottfredson is as influential and important to the formation of Mickey Mouse's personality as the God Cartoonist himself, Carl Barks, is to Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge.

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