Robert Murray's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comics Bulletin Reviews: 167
7.0Avg. Review Rating

9.0
100 Bullets #100

Apr 20, 2009

A well-deserved "Bravo" is necessary for this talented team in their final foray into the world of the Minutemen and the Trust. It's a series that has traveled as far back as the beginnings of the U.S., yet maintained the integrity of a hard-boiled series that would make any wannabe tough guy proud. Now, my dumb ass needs to go back and purchase all of the issues and storylines I missed because of my obsession with 'sexier' options than this tried-and-true Vertigo mainstay. Well, mainstay no longer, and here's to hoping that Vertigo has another great series up their sleeves.

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7.0
Abe Sapien: The Drowning #1

Feb 9, 2008

Basically, if youre a fan of anything Mignola, you'll pick up this series anyway, and you won't be disappointed in the least. For readers unfamiliar with the Hellboy phenomenon outside of the movies, you'll enjoy the action and the intrigue, as well as the fantastic artwork. The Drowning #1 is not going to wow any comic book reader, but it is a solid tale told by one of the great storytellers in graphic fiction today.

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4.0
Amazing Spider-Man #529

Feb 26, 2006

To credit Straczynski, he has constructively added onto Peter Parkers character throughout his run on ASM, and I do believe that he is a talented writer with a great sense of symbolism and humor. But I feel that he needs to stop compromising the title for the sake of general fandom. Yes, I know that editorial interference has a lot to do with these decisions, but I also know that Straczynski is a strong enough writer to overcome these restrictions and create a product worthy of discerning Marvel readers. Marvel is trying to keep up with DC in the race to shake up their respective universes, which is great for selling comic books, but terrible for creating storylines that capture imaginations and create thought. Major-label comics have made such great strides lately in literary quality that I hope this issue is not leading Marvel down the road to predictability and inanity.

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7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #532

May 28, 2006

Also very good is the art team of Ron Garney and Bill Reinhold, who have come together for another great job in this issue. Where were they for the last two issues? Tyler Kirkham and Sal Regla did a capable job filling in, particularly with action scenes, but their dramatic scenes just didnt cut the mustard. However, with Garney and Reinhold, we have some beautiful, heartbreaking close-ups that really capture the emotions that are surrounding Peters huge decision. Aunt May and Mary Jane both have tearful moments that are visually effective, even though I would have liked to have seen a close-up of Peters face before the end of the issue (For instance, in front of the mirror before he puts on his mask and...). The artwork here is another definite plus for this issue even without any action at all. All in all, this is a much better JMS Amazing Spider-Man story than I have seen in at least a few months, if not the year so far, and it looks like this kind of story will continue fo

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9.0
Amazing Spider-Man #533

Jun 27, 2006

Well, the scene described above is very indicative of the entire issue, which is a finely constructed and illustrated drama depicting one of the hardest days in Spider-Mans history. I say "Spider-Man," but Peter is only in costume at the very end of the issue. For some fans, that may be a reason to dislike this, but I for one thought that this was Stracyznski emphasizing what is most important currently and emphasizing it well. Plus, getting the reactions of J. Jonah Jameson, the Vulture, and the Fantastic Four (well, two of four) really produced a greater richness and weight to the entire unmasking. I didnt think this issue could have possibly been better than the last issue, due to JMSs recent track record, but his work and Garneys in Issue #533 should be commended and recognized within the mainstream comic community. Oh, and by the way, the Google scene near the beginning was very funny! Youll see!

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9.0
American Splendor #1

Sep 11, 2006

All of the artists who contributed to Pekars stories in this issue have done an excellent job in rendering realistic complexity to Harvey and all of the characters throughout. Dean Haspiel continues his outstanding over-the-top emotional work from The Quitter, the aforementioned Ty Templeton astonishes with his realism, Hilary Barta does a Mad Magazine-clone for Delicacy, and longtime Pekar collaborators Greg Budgett and Gary Dumm bring back the classic American Splendor in Northwest Airlines Goes Socialist. Both Delicacy and Northwest Airlines are great social commentaries about airlines, Americans, and the state of the world today. Basically, theyre the same stories that Pekar has always told, and comic fans should be grateful that hes still around to tell it like it is. Yeah, American Splendor doesnt have fairy tale characters, a futuristic war-zone, or feuding gods, but it does have real-life sensibility you dont see from the Big Two anymore. Check out Vertigos f

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7.0
Annihilation #1

Aug 6, 2006

All in all, this first issue of Annihilation is a thrill-ride that you dont want to miss, even if you didnt read the Prologue or the four mini-series preceding this. In all honesty, you dont need that much background to get into the proceedings here. All you need is a general knowledge of the Marvel Universe and a love for the kind of all-out action that only super-hero comic books can provide. Sorry, Paul Verhoeven!

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7.0
Annihilation: Nova #1

May 8, 2006

Negatively, the dialogue between Nova and the Worldmind wasnt as tight as it could have been. Yes, I know that this is dialogue between man and machine, but since this is the meat of Issue #1, I have to address it! Abnett and Lanning were looking to fit a little of the tongue-in-cheek in the conversations between a human and an utterly rational construct of immense power. Yet, a lot of the potential humor falls flat. When Richard mockingly refers to the Worldmind as "Dad" and it responds, "You referred to me as Dad. Why?," I verbally groaned. He already said that the Worldmind sounded like his father. For an entity of unbelievable intelligence and rationality, shouldnt he have figured out that this was sarcasm, which Richard wields liberally throughout this entire issue? Now that thats off my chest, theres also the disturbing similarities to stories I have read in Green Lantern. Is Richard Rider a mixture of Kyle Rayner and Hal Jordan? Seems that way to me, but maybe its

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6.0
Annihilation: Prologue #1

Mar 12, 2006

I couldnt find much fault with the art in this issue. I loved Kolins work on Flash, and I really like what hes done here with the galactic battles and the close ups on characters. Also, the colors work well in this prologue, making the whole issue a visual feast. All of the artwork is clean and bright, which is how an interstellar saga should look, without a lot of stray lines and exaggerations to reduce the beauty of the strange objects we are witnessing. However, the fact remains that I wasnt terribly engaged by the story or the characters participating in the story, meaning I will probably not be returning for Annihilation. This issues like a John Woo film: pretty to look at, but overall not too engaging in the story department.

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5.0
Ant #6

Jul 7, 2006

Well, for attempting to be positive in this review, I think Ive done a lousy job. Ant is not a title I go out of my way to buy, and if this hadnt been given to me, I wouldnt have bought it at my local shop. But, dont take my cynicism as meaning Ant is not for anyone. Believe me, theres a reason that there was such a boom in comic books during the late 80s/early 90s, and a lot of those fans are still out there. For them, this is right up their alley, with plenty of those comic book conventions intact as well as a few new tricks to whet your appetite. For me, I have seen the light for too many years to return to this kind of series. Give me an emotionally complex fable any day, but dont try to sell me on "old fashioned super-hero" tales. These kinds of comics deserve to reside in the past, if you ask me, so I really hope that Gully has some intriguing plans for the future of Ant. At least he doesnt offer multiple covers...

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6.0
Army@Love #9

Nov 30, 2007

Veitchs artwork, with Gary Erskine on the inks, is very solid and organized brilliantly for a predominantly dramatic work, even if the drama is farcical. The slightest eye twitches or mouth curls make the intended impact, and every panel makes full us of the available space. Theres no action to speak of in this issue, but, as my description illuminates, that doesnt mean there isnt a lot going on. In fact, its sensory overload for readers, as we see everything from lust to innocence to revenge and more. If only Veitch would take the time to concentrate on one storyline at a time, he might get a more receptive reaction from readers. I know that the frenetic pace and ludicrous situations are part of his plan, but this kind of writing doesnt lend itself to a reader-friendly comic.

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8.0
Astonishing X-Men #13

Feb 19, 2006

By the way, is it just me or does Cassaday make Wolverine and Sebastian Shaw look identical in the face? Hmm...

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9.0
B.P.R.D.: The Universal Machine #4

Jul 27, 2006

Barring these complaints, this is a wonderful issue that every comic fan should be reading. If you havent followed this mini-series or Hellboy/BPRD in a while, not to worry: you can pick up on just about everything in this story without much prior knowledge. Every element of a great comic book are here, and you are missing out if you dont check out Universal Machine.

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4.0
Batgirl (2009) #1

Aug 23, 2009

The problem with the art is the same as the downtime scenes: It's boring. There's no flair or artistic virtuosity to Batgirl #1--though I wasn't expecting flair and virtuosity coming into the issue. Still, a bone thrown to the faithful Batman fans who are following everything related to Batman: Reborn would have been appreciated.

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8.0
Batman: Streets of Gotham #1

Jun 21, 2009

Mike Marts and Company have put together a fine first issue of this newest Batman ongoing that will, hopefully, have more great issues to come.

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5.0
Battle Pope #7

May 4, 2006

All I can say about this series and this issue is that it is pure dumb fun, and if you open the cover knowing this then you should enjoy the contents within. The art is very good and accessible, even though Moore has done better work since in the pages of The Walking Dead. Also, Kirkmans writing is fast-paced and full of fanboy humor that should please fans of his current writing, even though the maturity is nowhere near that of Invincible and Ultimate X-Men. This is an episode of Family Guy in comic book form, with the same need for shocking offensiveness. For example, issue #7 contains: the Pope at a bar, the same Pope propositioning six women for sex, Jesus depositing an enormous "bowel movement" in a toilet, and the Pope using an old lady as a bludgeon. If any of these aforementioned occurrences offends you, dont buy this issue. Otherwise, remember that Kirkman and Moore have another series out right now, The Walking Dead, that is a much better read and is fifty cents less

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6.0
Beyond the Wall #1

Oct 19, 2009

I hope Venne and Purcell are able to craft some compelling stories down the road, as this series definitely has potential. Unfortunately, like Kwame Brown, were only seeing the average to mediocre right now.

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10
Big Questions #10

Oct 29, 2007

This is a complex tale hidden within the apparent minimalism of each page. But, dont let the simple lines and settings fool you: the panel constructions are well thought out and superbly executed, and the moments of quiet tension will have you clenching in anticipation. If youre up for it, it is an intensely rewarding piece of fiction that will make you ponder long after you have read it. Actually, I had one question that I was never able to figure out, and it may have something to do with my earlier reading of Nilsens Dont Go Where I Cant Follow, his excellent and heartbreaking tale of his girlfriends losing battle with cancer. The shaved man never reveals any of his body features, as his upper body is always covered. With Nilsens style, you cant really tell if the face is that of a man or a woman. Also, early in the story, the crows are guarding something that looks like a wig, and one of the crows says, It tastes like you smell. Could this character be some sort o

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7.0
Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1

Dec 6, 2009

If you enjoy an action-packed comic that features just a touch of emotional upheaval, then this is the comic for you this week. For entertainment value alone, its worth your three bucks.

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8.0
Bone Rest #8

Feb 16, 2006

All of this being said, the only gripes I have about this issue are the overall editing of it and the lack of previous issue synopsis. Some of the dialogue balloons are poorly edited and really take away from the flow of the story. Was this comic originally published in Italian? I dont know, but it might explain some of the unfinished sentences in this issue. Also, I think this series would appeal to more casual fans if a comic book reader could pick up any issue and get filled in with a short synopsis at the front, just so he or she has a vague idea of where the story is so far. Still, these minor quips aside, this is an excellent, challenging comic book series that I will continue to follow into the second season, right after I read issues 1-7 of "Season One"!

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4.0
Brodies Law #7

Jun 30, 2006

Ill halt with the negatives and say that Bircham and Osiyemi have a great concept with Brodies Law, but they need to find a better way to execute the actual comic book. From what I understand, Brodies Law is being made into a movie under the direction of Renny Harlin (by the way, Renny: I want my eight dollars back from Deep Blue Sea!). This is a great opportunity for Bircham and Osiyemi, and I wish them all the best with the film. However, I am a comic book reviewer, and what I see between the covers of Brodies Law #7 is a sub-standard comic book that will not attract the same critical acclaim that the first six issues did. But seeing as Bircham and Osiyemi are the creators of this enterprise, I am optimistic that they can make something of the next five issues or so of this current run. To do this, they need to take some cues from an old dog like Alan Grant and bring some much needed energy and visual appeal to this title.

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3.0
Brother Bedlam #1

Aug 17, 2006

The story also feels thrown together, as Shannon Eric Denton gives a crash course on how to write a comic with full-speed-ahead stupidity. Wanna save 5 bucks? Heres the story: A priest is violently attacked, which reveals his true role as bodyguard for Gods timetable, which is being interrupted by Lazarus and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. A big, bloody fight occurs between the Priest and Lazarus, with Lazarus being undone by the Horses of Apocalypse. There, that was painless! Trust me, youll thank me when you hear from other fans who bought this debacle. The only thing I could find that I slightly liked (Yay, there is something) was the full-page panel featuring a discussion by the Horsemen in captions. No, I didnt care for the art, but the captions were pretty witty. As Horsemen, we are compelled to ride. Ride what? We have no idea where our steeds are... This is not a proper Apocalypse. If Denton had thrown more of this kind of humor into the entire issue,

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7.0
Cable & Deadpool #28

May 16, 2006

Guilty Pleasure Time! I love the intro to this issue, as Deadpool has his own mock late-night show with Domino as the guest. This nice postmodern recap by Nicieza really cracks me up. Its a fourth wall thing!

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3.0
Calanrock #1

Jun 8, 2006

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8.0
Casanova #1

Jun 20, 2006

As for the art, Gabriel Bas work is not only influenced by spy movie culture, but it is also reminiscent of Peter Chungs work on Aeon Flux and Reign. Many of the characters, especially Casanova, are almost anorexic in appearance, with big eyes that are filled with emotion. Ba makes sure everything in the issue is stylized to the maximum extent, which fits nicely with Fractions plot. Plus, the action is very exaggerated, with hyper-extended limbs and perceived motion that makes every fight scene race at turbo speed. The speed of the art mirrors the pacing of this issue, which is a fast read. Yet, there is so much within Casanova #1 that the pacing doesnt feel that fast. I found myself going back to try and find more cultural jabs or references that I may have missed. And, for a $1.99 comic, thats really saying something! I did think that the time travel elements of this issue slowed it down unnecessarily (and confused me somewhat, which I think was necessary for sympathizin

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8.0
Casanova #2

Jul 25, 2006

What more can I say? This is a hilarious pop culture blast that you cant afford to miss for a measly $1.99 per issue. There are certain elements that require you to read and follow this series from the beginning (Believe me, Im aboard!). But, I dont think you have to be an avid reader to appreciate and enjoy each single issue, which is the strength of cheap titles such as this and Warren Ellis Fell. You dont have to worry about another expensive commitment in your tight comic book budget. Plus, for those who missed the first issue, there is a synopsis at the beginning of Issue #2, though youll likely think its crazy gibberish if youre unfamiliar with Fractions direction. Anybody (except the kiddies) can and should take advantage of the cheap thrills that Fraction, Ba, and Image Comics are offering each and every month with Casanova.

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8.0
Conan and the Songs of the Dead #1

Jul 13, 2006

Verdict? Well, even though I remain firmly on the Busiek bandwagon due to his intelligent writing, this is a fun ride for three bucks. Issue #1 is fantasy havoc in finest and most beautiful form, though this is definitely an issue to keep away from the kiddies. I really dont think this will ruffle the feathers of the sensitive types out there, because Lansdale blatantly has his tongue in cheek with Songs of the Dead. Still, if you like your barbarian comics free of blood and sex, Id look for a more wholesome option, such as Groo. But, in my opinion, blood and sex is necessary to adapt Howards original vision of Conan, and I think Lansdale and Truman are dead on in this mini-series, so Ill be back for Issue #2. Plus, I really want to see whats up with the Stygian who hired Alvazar to steal the demon root. The pervert!

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7.0
Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now #2

Nov 5, 2007

Regardless of my bitching, this was a solid, original story that will definitely have me hunting for Mr. Doctorows musings at my local library. Technospeak aside, Futuristic Tales #2 is a gritty, sometimes funny, ode to survival in a world that is all too real, making the speculation all that more shocking.

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5.0
Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood #2

Dec 6, 2007

The next lesson we will read in Crime Bible is greed, so I hope that the powerful emotions that would usually go hand in hand with greed are present. Plus, we have a Batwoman appearance, which should offer some interesting scenes with Montoya.

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9.0
Cross Bronx #1

Sep 8, 2006

Just as powerful as the character of Detective Aponte is the remarkable artwork by Oeming, which takes some cues from his Powers work. Though they may be too gruesome to be described here, there is a spectacular full and two page spread mingled in with the normal panels. The two-pager, which is a singularly disturbing image, really made me sympathize with the disgust and despair that Aponte must feel in this city full of crime and death. Plus, the expressions of every character are truly telling, with more emotion than youre likely to find in any comic on the shelves right now. Yes, Oeming is a master of facial animation as well as rendering crime drama! But, lets not forget Brandon and his obvious contribution to dialogue (Thats Miss Jackson if youre nasty) and New York City realism. Together, these two creators have made Cross Bronx the current must-read from Image Comics. Its almost like a double dose of Powers! Hope I dont OD!

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7.0
Crossing Midnight #12

Nov 8, 2007

Being a words guy myself, the artwork is not enough to convince me to drop this title. Ive always been a fan of Careys work, and the mixture of themes (supernatural, mythological, and societal) that he presents in Crossing Midnight is compelling enough to keep me hooked for the foreseeable future. Plus, with the cliffhanger at the end of this issue, fans of the series know that we are about to reach a crossroads that will define all future events to come. Alas, its a shame I have so few fellow readers to share my excitement with.

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6.0
Cryptics #1

Aug 7, 2006

One element that bumps up the quality of this comic is the great artwork by Benjamin Roman, who has a style that riffs a little on what guys like Jhonen Vasquez and Roman Dirge have started. His lines are clean, his characters are wonderfully distorted, the action moves along fairly smoothly, and the hilarious facial expressions are priceless. The panels that he illustrates display his cartoonists sensibilities rather than sequential art priorities, which might explain why each panel is so full of detail. Plus, his style doesnt show any realism, making this a unique looking comic that youre sure to enjoy leafing through. In fact, the panel showing Wolfy as a big blue-eyed baby was one of my favorite moments, as the disguise looked like something from John Ks nightmares (like a younger version of George Liquor). But, the final word on Cryptics #1 has to be that it is slight quirky fun that youll swear youve seen somewhere before, all for a pricey $3.50. Image, time for a pri

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7.0
Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #1

Feb 4, 2007

Regardless of any gripes I may have, this was an entertaining comic book that will surely wow the occasional or novice comic readers out there, thereby causing a positive stir with many mainstream media outlets. Its the kind of publicity comic books invariably needs, and Im glad this publicity will be connected to a literary juggernaut rather than a mild controversy or the death of iconic superhero.

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2.0
Deadman #13

Oct 8, 2007

I am not a news hound in any sense of the word, whether its world, local, or comic-related news. I dont know how sudden the cancellation of Deadman came about, but all I can tell you is that this was an ignoble, speedy resolution for a story that, albeit confusing and convoluted, deserved an ending that wasnt neatly packaged and scented. Vertigo, Bruce Jones, and John Watkiss should be ashamed of themselves for putting together this final issue in a fashion that insults devoted Vertigo fans like myself. Though the sales say otherwise, I know there are more of you out there who feel the same way!

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9.0
DMZ #4

Feb 28, 2006

It would be an understatement to say that I have loved this series so far, and I have to give Wood and Burchielli major kudos for a job well done. The only element of this issue I could have done without was the clichd ending, which seemed a little too neat to sum up this stand-alone story. However, if youre a fan of Vertigo or a comic book reader who loves a compelling, thoughtful story, you need to jump on this series NOW, before you cant find the first few issues.

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8.0
DMZ #23

Sep 24, 2007

As I said in the beginning, this is an issue of DMZ that will entertain old and new readers alike. Oh, and if youre a Vertigo-phile like me, check out the free preview for The Vinyl Underground at the end of the issue. Looks good...

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7.0
DMZ #24

Oct 23, 2007

Notice I said just about. The biggest problem with completing a story filled with hopelessness is instilling some sense that hope is on the horizon. Wood definitely doesnt accomplish that here and, knowing what I know about the near future of this series, it doesnt look like well see Amina for a good while. This story really should have spread into two issues. At the very least, Wood and Burchielli could have found some cause for hope in Aminas world, in the form of The Kings assassination, a double or triple-cross of everyone, or (which is probably in DMZs future) an amicable reunion with Matty. I could be scrabbling for gold at the end of the rainbow, but I feel this issue falls short because of this lack of anything positive in a thoroughly negative setting.

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6.0
DMZ #25

Nov 23, 2007

Fortunately for regular readers of DMZ, we know that Wood will deliver the goods in future issues, so theres no reason to panic about this lackluster one-shot.

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8.0
Doll and Creature #1

May 15, 2006

In reference to the artwork, this represents an excellent collaboration between Heebink and Manley, giving life to this strange world full of monsters through the action sequences and the doom-and-gloom images that pervade everything. Also, it doesnt hurt that this new printing has been colored by Nick Filardi, who adds even more vividness and welcome contrast to the story. I could be mistaken, but many of the drawings and character expressions resembled images I have seen in the old EC horror comics such as Tales from the Crypt. Again, could Team Doll and Creature be so deft with their material that they would draw another 1950s comparison by styling their comic book after those classic EC tales? I dont know, but it seems to me that these stylistic choices cant be some kind of coincidence or accident. This is quality work that should be more prevalent in the comic book medium. In execution, Doll and Creature reminds me of another great modern horror comic, The Goon. Both tit

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7.0
Done to Death #1

Sep 5, 2006

In closing, Done to Death #1 is a great example of parody that will still entertain those who dont read or watch horror fiction. My only concerns are the seemingly fractured nature of the first issue (do these two tales relate?) and the impression that this might be a one-trick-pony. Heres to hoping Issue #2 is as entertaining as the first.

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6.0
Done to Death #3

Oct 3, 2006

I know that in my review for the first issue of Done to Death, I lightly complained about the apparent joke-with-punchline construction of the issue and whether the series would suffer for it. Well, I definitely put my foot in my mouth on that one. I miss the goofiness of the first issue. Though there are definite plotlines and directions that the series is headed now, I have lost a lot of my interest simply because the satire is not that intriguing or hilarious. Yeah, its a good comic, but I think that Done to Death could be so much more if only Foley would take it strong to the hoop: feature more of the genre-busting exploits of Shannon and Andy rather than the apparent deconstruction of literary horror culture. It would fit the tone of Foleys scripting and Staples art much better.

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6.0
Eleison: Conception #1

May 23, 2006

As for the particulars of this issue, the title Eleison must refer to Kyrie Eleison, which means "Lord have mercy" in Roman Catholicism (no, not the Mr. Mister song, you 80s dolts!). Inside, our hero, Father Jean-Marithe Baptiste (or Waabooz), is a missionary among the Fish Clan, a tribe of Indians. He has a dream about a mosquito- woman which comes to fruition when a young priest named Peck seeks Baptistes help in exorcizing a woman who suffers from some sort of vampirism. Also introduced is Decimus Quintilius, who I can only describe as a mixture of Sauron, Spartacus, and a creature from Army of Darkness (groovy!). Basically, this is all the reader learns so far about this series. Elena Carrillos writing is good, but nothing extraordinary in the realm of fantasy short fiction. And, due to the fact that this issue is not written in comic book form, I dont know how Ms. Carrillos writing will translate into a fully sequential series. As for Mr. Carrillo, the artwork he displa

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7.0
Elephantmen #1

Jul 20, 2006

Oh, and for the giant walking elephants and hippos...

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7.0
Elsinore #5

Jun 30, 2006

Am I recommending Elsinore? I would say yes, barring those with weak stomachs, hero fetishes, or strong religious beliefs. All others should apply. One final note, though: Murchisons narration, which appears as hand-written notes, is insanely (no pun intended) hard to read. I found I had to put the issue under direct light at times just to see what a particular word said. I know Marshall Dillon is looking to further the mood of this creepy issue with this lettering, but there needs to be some practicality in his approach as well. I thing I need: a new eyeglass prescription after reading Issue #5!

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9.0
Emissary #1

May 30, 2006

Emissary #1 is a must buy this Thursday. This series is among the best Image has to offer and is definitely on my pull list from now on. Make sure Emissary goes home with you!

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9.0
Exterminators #8

Aug 28, 2006

As for Samnees artwork, it doesnt quite measure up to Tony Moores excellent work, but the panels work for the dramatic scenes in the issue. The facial expressions are appropriate, and there is a certain griminess to the lines, making for art steeped in realism, as it should be. Issue #8 is Oliver showing just how strong his female characters are, setting both of them up for juicier roles in future issues. Similar to the discussion of Gone With the Wind, Laura and Page are not caught in some kind of love triangle with Henry. This short story is a tale of womens empowerment utilizing the opportunities available to them in post-9/11 America. Henry is cast as the catalyst for these examinations, but is relegated to the sidelines until issue #9 (even though he has a discussion with his mother as well). Women are the name of the game in issue #8 and, whether its Laura smashing her own cars headlight for character or Page telling her mothers dinner guests off, there is a great am

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8.0
Exterminators #23

Nov 13, 2007

If you havent tried Exterminators yet, give next months installment a try, as it is a one-shot with the return of Tony Moore on the art chores. However, for readers who have followed the series, issue #23 is an outrageously fun ride that you would expect from Olivers absurd pen.

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5.0
Famous Fighters #1

Sep 28, 2006

Overall, this was an entertaining way to pass fifteen to twenty minutes of free time. Theres plenty of various material here (52 pages of sequential stories), but not a lot of derring-do. I think Famous Fighters would have been more appropriate as a web comic, which may sound like an insult, but is not meant to be malicious in the least. With its pricetag of $5, most fans either wont take the chance on this or, if they do, theyll probably feel that they paid too much. But, if you have some excess comic money burning a hole in your pocket, you could do a lot worse than Famous Fighters.

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8.0
Fantastic Four #549

Sep 3, 2007

My only complaint about this issue would have to be the ending, which isnt nearly exciting enough. Yeah, the space-time fabric is being ripped apart by some weapon of mass destruction and the FFs ship is about to be torn apart by a race called the Contrasepsis. But hey, this is the Fantastic Four...theyll get over the hump! What I wont get over, though, is the impending end of this fine creative teams run. Still, Millar and Hitch are on the horizon, which is encouraging.

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8.0
Fantastic Four #551

Nov 13, 2007

In the final analysis, this is the best Fantastic Four creative team I have seen since Waid and Weiringo, and I really hope that there is some reprieve for McDuffie and Pelletier at the zero hour. Alas, I know it wont happen, but heres to hoping. Now, let me get my hands on some of those new JLA issues.

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7.0
Fear Agent #4

Jun 13, 2006

Regardless of my gripes, there is one constant with this series: the outstanding art by Tony Moore and Mike Manley. Even with a penciling assist by future-Fear Agent artist Jerome Opena, Manleys inks created a consistency to the look and a smooth flow for the panels and the action within the panels. Manley has to rank as one of my favorite inkers in the business, as his work here and in Doll and Creature strongly attest. Also, I cant forget about Lee Loughridges coloring, which shaded the entire issue with the appropriate tone for each page. Once again, we have a Remender book that is beautiful to behold and a pleasure to peruse (How bout that alliteration!). If Remender can maintain the uneasy balance of fun, action, and drama in upcoming issues, then I see this series being a fan-favorite for years to come. Think modern Forbidden Planet rather than 1950s Matrix!

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8.0
Fear Agent #7

Sep 4, 2006

In closing, Fear Agent doesnt reinvent the wheel; its just a darn entertaining comic book series. Jerome Opena doesnt wow me with any of his artwork, but keeps everything flowing consistently and looking appropriate. Michelle Madsens colors are, as always, dead solid perfect. And, Remender once again gives us a cliffhanger to chew on until the next chapter (which is hopefully out in a month). Fun nostalgia, uncomfortable moments of human pain, and attention-grabbing shocks. Thats Fear Agent in a nutshell. Now, Ill set it free...

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6.0
Femme Noir #1

Apr 27, 2008

I'm definitely going to give Femme Noir another shot, since this is the kind of classy old-school comic book that's impossible not to love. I know where Mills was heading with the Dahlia Blue (by the way, great noir name), the club singer with a possible crime fighting fetish. She doesn't think the system works as well as it should. But Mills needs to flesh out her character a little more, which will prevent the kind of punch-less tale that was generated in issue #1. Oh, and get rid of toughs that are stupider than a normal person could possibly be.

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9.0
Final Crisis: Resist #1

Nov 9, 2008

This comic has restored my faith in Ruckas comic-scripting skills, and it has made me wonder why Sook doesnt pencil more DC issues.

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8.0
Foundation #1

Jan 6, 2008

All in all, The Foundation is a multilayered first issue that will definitely hook you for the next installment. Thank you, Boom!, for a comic book that has a substantial quality equal to your fine presentation.

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9.0
Girls #13

May 11, 2006

The only real issue I have with this comic book, and the previous entries in this series, is an element of the artwork by Jonathan Luna. Granted, his art is very pretty to look at, enhancing the overall effect of a comic book series that wants to blur the line between beauty and ugliness. But, every character looks almost identical in the face, barring the killer girls who are supposed to appear very attractive. Take any panel in Issue #13 where multiple characters are looking straight toward you. Once youve done that, try to convince me that the characters looking back at you dont look almost identical. Its hard for me to discern whos who sometimes, which really detracts from the flow of my reading. However, Lunas facial emotions are pretty decent, as well as his scenes of scale and action, so I can definitely forgive this transgression. Believe me, this problem is not enough to sway me from continuing to buy this title, which will hopefully last longer than the Luna Broth

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8.0
Girls #16

Aug 15, 2006

I dont think theres anything else to say except buy this issue and any other issues or collections you can find readily. Girls is an examination of the human condition under the most extreme of circumstances, involving the biggest sexual taboos of our culture. I just wish I knew what Nancy has in store for the men she captured. It involves a shovel...

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8.0
Girls #17

Sep 22, 2006

Speaking of Wes, one of the final scenes in issue #17 has a confrontation between him and the group of rogue men following the bear attack. The men accuse Wes of being controlled by the women from day one, which causes Wes to assert his authority over the group. As he points a gun at the men, urging them to follow him back to the house where the women are stationed, Ted approaches Wes with steeled eyes and punches him in the face. A fight ensues between the two, but eventually Ted bests Wes, beating him repeatedly and savagely until Wes is nearly unconscious. Obviously, Ted has not learned how to reign in his temper, but more importantly is the realization that he is resorting to the same brutality the girls employ. As a visual cue to the reader, as Ted is beating Wes senseless, the girls look on with emotionless faces, as if this is nothing new to their way of life. The group of Teds men leave the scene, now in harmony with savage nature rather than the female-led civilization.

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7.0
Graveslinger #1

Oct 9, 2007

Bottom line? Im not crazy about spending 50 cents more for 22 pages of story and art, but this first issue is a fun ride that will surely entertain most fans of either the western or zombie genres. Heck, it might even make a curmudgeon or two crack a smile! Speaking of fun, be sure to check out the inmate trading cards at the end of this first issue. Its a rogues gallery worthy of Dawn of the Dead or some 19th century Book of the Dead! The writers even give them names like Dainty Dave, Choppin Chutter, and Arizona Slim.

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9.0
Green Lantern (2005) #43

Jul 12, 2009

Yes, this may be the darkest comic that Johns has ever produced, but it is also the perfect introduction to an event that may be the high-water mark for DC over this past decade.

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6.0
Halloween: The First Death of Laurie Strode #1

Oct 17, 2008

As I mentioned, Zornow and Filardi do a fantastic job with the visuals in this issue. True, some of the quieter moments are a little cruder than I normally like, but everything works effectively in regard to storytelling. The gory scenes are properly gory, and the character building conversations are handled with a light touch. When this series gets rolling into the true hack 'n' slash portion of the tale, this art team is going to really knock it out of the park, I promise. However, for a first issue, this doesnt carry much emotional power, and plotlines which are beginning here are barely fleshed out. So, what youre left with is a fairly boring first issue. But, dont let this scare you away from this series (no pun intended)! Huge fans of slasher films should start their subscriptions now. However, if youre like me (a fan of the series, but not into psycho movies as a whole), wait six months or so for the collection, which will probably come out cheaper. Hey, we are in a

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4.0
Haunt #1

Oct 4, 2009

In a nutshell (Help, I'm in a nutshell!), this first issue was a huge disappointment for me as a fan of Kirkman's work. I can't help thinking that this is all some joke that will make itself known in the coming issues.

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7.0
Hector Plasm: De Mortuis #1

Jun 12, 2006

Some organization issues aside, this is an issue that is worth the 6 dollar cover price simply because of the total entertainment value within. Hector Plasm may seem like a poor mans Goon, but there are a lot of storylines for development introduced in this issue, so there seems to be a long life ahead for a character that hunts the deceased.

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8.0
Hellblazer #219

Apr 25, 2006

As for Mancos art, I can describe it as wonderfully dark and twisted, with elements of the macabre floating throughout, interacting with the story elements in a fantastic conjunction. All of the characters are drawn with an emphasis on the realistic (except for the Praexis) and given a wide range of emotional depth in their faces and body language. Manco has a style here that is both dreamlike and gritty, bringing together the two elements naturally without forcing matters. In addition, kudos should be handed out to Lee Loughridge, the colorist for this run, who has done a great job keeping everything shaded in darkness and earthy tones. In this issue, he handles the flashbacks with grayish-blue colors to transport the reader to 19th Century Glasgow without jarring the overall feel of the issue. Nothing in this issue is bright, sunny, or positive, and all of the artists involved in this project understand this and maintain the feeling of dread throughout. Something wicked is com

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8.0
Hellblazer #222

Jul 20, 2006

Since this is the conclusion of her first comic storyline, I want to conclude my review with thoughts on Minas work so far. In issue #222, we are bombarded by finely worded proclamations from all of the characters involved, giving the entire issue a powerful effectiveness while maintaining its grounding in the real world. Evans sounds off his rhetoric like any other blinded soul: Compassion is a universal absolute. Park Circusll generate enough empathy to create a heaven on earth. All I want is peace. Just as slyly or innocently as Marshall Applewhite, he talks Constantine into killing himself for the greater good, a world that feels and, therefore, heals. Yet, because of the big twist in this issue, good intentions dont always generate positive results, and a land is ravaged by empathy that is too strong. Humans shouldnt meddle in things outside of their control (How many times can you use that adage for a Hellblazer comic?). Sure, it would be great if everyone was

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6.0
Hellblazer #223

Aug 29, 2006

Cristiano Cucinas art is well done and able, but is definitely a letdown from Mancos fine art over the last seven issues, though Lee Loughridge once again does a great job with the colors. The conventional artwork makes this look and feel like a filler issue, which it is. Add Minas rush to wrap things up in the end, and you really wonder why she didnt wait for Manco and make this issue into a two issue mini before the longer storyline. In the space of five pages near the end of issue #223, Mina resurrects Map into a much more powerful being, disposes of the zealot in a blue sea of mystical energy, and shows a smiling Constantine leaving London to take care of itself. I felt that the ending didnt equal the buildup before it, making this three-quarters of a great issue followed by an amateurish wrap-up. Believe me, I love Minas writing on this series, and I think the tons of ideas she wants to explore with Hellblazer during her brief run sometimes hamper her ability to write e

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6.0
Hellblazer #251

Jan 23, 2009

Speaking of light, is it just me or does Constantine look about ten years younger in this issue than he normally does? Also, does anyone think he resembles Aaron Eckhart in this issue (I dont mean after his face is burned in the Dark Knight)? I thought it was hilarious, particularly when I had to recheck the dialogue to make sure that this was indeed Constantine. He looked a lot cleaner than Leonardo Manco has portrayed him, and I dont know if I like it. Dont get me wrong, I love Camuncolis artwork (his work on Bonerest was terrific.) and I think Landinis finishes are superb. But, the light tone of the layouts and the bright colors by Jamie Grant are not the vibe usually associated with Hellblazer. Hey, wait a minute! Maybe this is the new and unique element I was looking for! Well see.

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7.0
Hellboy: Makoma #2

Mar 10, 2006

All in all, this is a good issue of Hellboy that is sure to please some fans while upsetting others. For me, its a quality comic book that doesnt offer many of the thrills I look forward to month in and month out.

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7.0
Hysteria: One Man Gang #1

Apr 13, 2006

Dont get me wrong, though. Fun is the name of the game here. The influences and references are many within this issue: Samurai Jack, the Man with No Name, Matrix, NYC Mech, Wolverine, and even a little of Dark Knight Returns (tell me the Egg Gang doesnt remind anyone a little of the punks in Millers masterpiece!). Yet, instead of being cheesy, these elements add to the overall accessibility of this issue. The reader literally dives straight into the action without worrying about the story so far, yielding to the unceasing action throughout. Saving an innocent life is a constant throughout hero fiction, and to use this element as the start of a gang war is a way to involve readers immediately. The tempo of the action reminds me of the film Run, Lola, Run. I could easily see Hawthorne emulating that movie by halting the action in an issue and starting the proceedings from the beginning, like resetting a video game. The depth of the story is not as important as moving things fr

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6.0
Infinite Crisis #5

Mar 5, 2006

From my fanboy perspective, its good to see that Wonder Woman might start acting less like a homicidal maniac, due to the visit by her Earth-2 version. I really havent been into her antics lately. Its cheesy that her Earth-2 self tells her to simply act human and she does (like she hasnt thought of this already), but hopefully it leads to her acting more like a hero. I guess heroes acting like heroes is the purpose of this series (besides overall housecleaning), but I cant get past a lot of the stale story elements that have haunted the first five issues. One of the only elements I have truly enjoyed is Alex Luthors depiction as a major league villain. He truly is a single-minded man who doesnt care about the people involved in his plan, but rather where they are on his giant chessboard. Very Luthor-like! One problem, though: Alex has figured out this elaborate plan and all the workings of the universe, yet he cant figure out why everything comes from Superman. I don

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4.0
Innocents #1

Aug 3, 2006

At one point in issue #1, Grace comments that, I feel like I just landed in a really bad movie. Grace, I couldnt have said it any better myself. Its the comic equivalent of Hard Ticket to Hawaii (Look, I told you I havent seen this...).

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8.0
Jack Staff Special #1

Jan 27, 2008

In the final analysis, this is the perfect starting point for readers who have never touched Jack Staff previously, since it is a nice introduction to the fractured fairy tale that Grist constructs on a regular basis. Trust me, fellow uninitiated: once you finish this Special, youll want to pick up more issues of this fun series. I certainly will!

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6.0
Jeremiah Harm #4

Jul 28, 2006

While this comic definitely has flaws, there is enough going on to make this a rewarding read for most science fiction action fans out there. Like I said, the quality is apparent in the presentation of this issue, so readers wont feel like theyre being cheated out of four bucks, though it is pricey for 22 pages of story. And the enormity of the plot, concerning the implementation of the last remnant of the Big Bang as a universe-destroying weapon, is big and crazy enough to attract a lot of attention from eccentric readers. Its an issue thats designed to be violent entertainment, but it just isnt as fun as Giffen and Grant intended.

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7.0
Justice League of America (2006) #0

Jul 23, 2006

I hope with all my heart that Justice League of America doesnt become bloated and out of touch with the characters, which is unlikely due to Meltzers skill. However, some of the clues presented in this issue as well as the Magnificent Seven plot we are about to embark on has me wondering: Can Meltzer handle a sustained super-hero team series? I guess well see. My advice to him is to not cave into the pressures of Justice League fans, but rather stay within his strengths. Whos in? Hopefully some characters with room to grow and emotional complexity, as this plays into Meltzers wheelhouse.

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5.0
Last Christmas #2

Jul 6, 2006

As for the artwork, the illustrations are pretty effective, as Rick Remender puts away his typewriter and picks up his pencil for this limited series. His drawings of snowmen and walking dead are equally solid, and the inking by Hilary Barta is smoothly incorporated into some of the frightening close-ups of Santa. The art is not spectacular, but it does give the issue a feeling of quality which is exacerbated by the wonderful coloring of Michelle Madsen, whose work I have always enjoyed. Yes, believe it or not, there are elements of Last Christmas I did like! Why else would I give it a moderate grade? I also liked Gary the Snowman and his grammatically-incorrect narration, which should have highlighted the fairy tale nature of the story. Instead, his appearances were a stark reminder of what could have been with the first two issues of Last Christmas, illustrating the need for atmosphere instead of simple bathroom humor and undead guts.

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7.0
Liberty Girl #1

Aug 1, 2006

My verdict? There are a lot of questions here, but not a lot of answers. What is with Colonel Daniels? How does she know about the chronal lightning before it strikes? Where has Liberty Girl been and why is she still so young? This would normally be okay, but knowing that any answers will be a while in coming is discouraging. But, as long as Mallonee continues the dichotomy of old and new and Sparacio keeps on wowing us with his magnificent style, this will be a title I will keep an eye out for at my local comic shop. My only hope is that it will one day become a monthly.

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7.0
Magician: Apprentice #2

Jul 14, 2006

Still, I would recommend picking up this issue if you are a fan of fantasy fiction, both in comic book or novel form. Im sure fans of the original Feist novels will have something to say about the pacing of this work, but they have to realize that this is a comic book and, just like a film, certain things must be removed or added to create an entertaining result. Believe me, Riftwar is in good hands with Oeming and Glass!

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4.0
Magog #1

Sep 6, 2009

Still, there are going to be some readers who will love the violence and Magog's edgy attitude, but I'm not one of those readers, and I can't possibly recommend this issue to any comic book consumer.

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8.0
Marshal #1

May 19, 2006

As for the art, I think Abdul Rashid does a fantastic job displaying the action throughout, adding some unique style to this sci-fi tale. The world he has visualized resembles Yasuhiro Nightows Trigun in some ways, including the main character, who could be confused for a dark-haired Vash the Stampede. The characters throughout are very expressive in the face, and the entire issue flows well from panel to panel. All in all, this is a fine display of artwork by Mr. Rashid, and I was very impressed by his overall work. This, combined with the effective story by Tortolini and LoVuolo, makes this a quality comic book that you shouldnt miss. This is the second title I have read produced by Dabel Brothers (the first being Orson Scott Cards Red Prophet), and I have been impressed by both books. DB looks like a company interested in the quality of their titles, and I hope that this focus will lead to great successes in their future.

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6.0
Martian Manhunter #1

Aug 11, 2006

Yes, like I mentioned earlier, the plot is so familiar that it reeks of a cliched television show. First of all, we have the shadowy government agency that has been hiding the alien fugitive, but now wants the Martian dead before he can cause too much trouble. How many times must we be subjected to this plot device? Cripes, youd think that theres a government agency to control every aspect of life on Earth (Is there one for SBC regulation? I know too much!)! The issue has a lot of similarities to the anime series Elfen Lied, which features a strange creature with telepathic powers who is being hunted by a murderous organization, among other things. Theres nothing in this issue that you havent seen already done better. You might think that the good-looking art by Al Barrionuevo and Bit might save the day, but their work is remarkably ineffective. The sequential storytelling just doesnt flow very well, and there are some instances where the constant monologue by Jonn and the

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6.0
Marvel Comics Presents #8

Apr 29, 2008

All in all, this was a hit-or-miss anthology that really could be much better. I think Marvel should put less effort into making this series about all the things that make the current Marvel Universe great and instead turn their focus toward unique ways of presenting the Universe through the eyes of creators with original visions.

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10
Meltdown #1

Sep 19, 2006

Hopefully, people will take heed when I say that this is a must buy once this series hits the comic stands. You cant ask for more from a 48 page super-hero comic, even though you will feel kinda bummed about Cals situation at the end of the issue. But when you think about it, being depressed about Cal is a great thing. It means that Schwartz and Wang have made us care about a character we didnt know 48 pages ago, and for a super-hero comic in this day and age, that is a tremendous achievement.

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8.0
Meltdown #2

Jan 15, 2007

Yes, even with all of my griping about the lackluster melodrama, this issue still rates highly on my personal scale, making it one of the highlights early on this year. Its definitely worth the six dollar cover price for the artwork alone. If you loved the first issue of Meltdown, chances are youre going to dig this second issue, though without the overall enthusiasm from issue #1.

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8.0
Mouse Guard #3

Jun 15, 2006

However, jumping from fanboy to reviewer mode, Mouse Guard #3 just isnt meaty enough for a higher bullet rating. Petersons care and attention to quality is obvious and evident in this issue and throughout the series, but I care so much about the tale being told in each issue that the story here is too slight for the $3.50 price tag. Yes, there is a solid revelation and a great battle between Kenzie and Saxon, but thats really all there is here. Basically, Mouse Guard is a childrens book for adults, no matter how you look at it, which brings up another interesting topic: Who is the audience for this book? A lot of people refer to this as an all-ages title, but there is certainly enough violence, death, and mature concepts to bar youngsters from reading this. In some ways, Mouse Guard reminds me of an old-school kids book such as Sounder or Where the Red Fern Grows, books that stuck with me because of their power and insight, but also books that didnt worry about a politically

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9.0
Ms. Marvel #1

Mar 10, 2006

Needless to say, I am going to stay with this series as long as Reed and De La Torre are a part of it. The dialogue is great and quirky, particularly the cell phone conversation between Ms. Marvel and a battling Captain America. I guarantee youll at least giggle during those two pages! Plus, the interspersing of story elements during a lunch between Carol and Jessica Drew is deftly handled, especially when Carol misquotes a defeated Stilt-Man. This is great stuff and makes for an entertaining time. Great art, engaging characters, and a high level of fun and action. This issue has it all!

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6.0
Negative Burn #1

May 30, 2006

Well, that about wraps it up. For six bucks, Negative Burn #1 is a little pricey to entertain as a stand-alone work, simply because of the fractured nature of each story and of the whole. As inspirational material, this collection rates , because six dollars is a small price to pay for inspiration.

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8.0
New Tales of Old Palomar #3

Nov 29, 2007

Like I said before, this is some of the best artwork I have ever seen by Gilbert Hernandez, and is one of the main reasons independent comic lovers should pick up this work. Expressions and panel constructions (though extremely people-centric) are top-notch, displaying a wealth of knowledge concerning graphic fiction. However, if youre unfamiliar with the Palomar storylines, you may feel lost in the proceedings, even though you can pick up the general gist. Obviously, this issue of New Tales of Old Palomar is just as much for the invested fans as the casual comic shopper, but the true richness of the world will only be appreciated by the long-time readers. For a 32 page comic with a $7.95 cover price, these are probably the only readers who should buy this third issue anyway.

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6.0
Nightwolf: The Price #1

Sep 1, 2006

In closing, this is a good comic if you dont mind hanging your brain up at the door. Nightwolf #1 is all about appearance, atmosphere, and attitude, which equals a fun and frivolous ride for those of you looking for a werewolf fix.

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8.0
Noble Causes #20

Jun 16, 2006

By the way, this is the second issue featuring the art of Jon Bosco, and so far I think his art-work is well done. His style is reminiscent of older Brandon Choi art, which seems to work in presenting these larger-than-life characters as beautiful people. Like the series, there is nothing outstanding in Boscos art that will make you ooh and aah. It is solid like every issue of Noble Causes, and I hope this kind of consistency continues during its hopefully long run. Now, whens the next Dawsons Creek marathon?

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7.0
Northlanders #1

Dec 4, 2007

Look, anyone who reads DMZ, Local, or any of Woods other comic works wont need convincing to pick up this title. So this plea is to convince all of those readers who still havent picked up one of his books: Northlanders #1 is a great opening to a potentially fantastic series, mixing action, suspense, and realistic drama in the gritty setting of Viking-era Scotland. Dont miss it!

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8.0
Okko: The Cycle of Water #1

Jan 26, 2007

Regardless of any gripes I may have about Okko, Archaia is batting 1.000 with titles that are entertaining and beautiful. I have not yet come away from one of their comics with a completely negative opinion. They choose their creators and titles with care, and it shows. Okko is a wonderful addition to their library, though I hope the story picks up some personal steam and leaves its many influential crutches in the dust.

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8.0
Phonogram #1

Aug 15, 2006

Like I stated earlier though, there are a few instances when Gillen gets a little off-track in this first issue. The instance that pops to mind is the flashback scene when David is trying to seduce the girl he met at the club. What exactly is he trying to do with his music magic? I understand that Scout/Goddess is probably one of the keys to his power, and that his main goal is to get into a girls pants, but what exactly can he accomplish with his abilities? Also, what does Scout/Goddess want David to do for this Britannia, who Im guessing is his former teacher? I might be getting ahead of myself, but I just felt like I was in the dark on a couple of issues. Still, these gripes aside, this was an immensely entertaining first issue full of snappy dialogue, musical enthusiasm, and unique moments. I have all the confidence in the world that this will turn into a great series with a large underground following, which I am now a part of. You might not be able to dance to it, but y

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9.0
Portent #1

Mar 2, 2006

Truth be told, the dialogue could be a little crisper and a little more imaginative, but these are minor complaints in comparison to the whole product. How have I not heard of Peter Bergting up until now? The atmosphere Bergting has created in Portent #1 captured me completely, leaving me wanting issue #2 right away. A compelling story with great art will always win over comic book fans everywhere, and I think everyone should check out this first issue. You won't be disappointed.

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9.0
Portent #2

Apr 17, 2006

I only have two minor gripes. First, the beginning of this issue is a little bit of a shock, as I was looking forward to some sort of battle with an army of the dead, which is instead wrapped up with some meteors hitting in the right place at the right time. Second, the Mokkurkalve is not nearly the worthy adversary I thought he would be. However, Bergting smooths over both of these matters by fitting everything seamlessly within the tone and direction of his tale. He has created a world here that I love to get lost in, and all comic book fans should be checking out this mini-series. Sniff! Only a mini-series!

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8.0
Portent #3

Jun 30, 2006

Unfortunately, the overall effect of the issue didnt generate as much excitement or as many thrills as the two previous installments. Besides the scene above and the resurrection of Alkuin (which I knew was going to occur due to the cover), there was less expansion on the themes of the tale, and with only one issue remaining, that disappointed me a lot. Yet, my disappointment will not make me late for my date with Issue #4. Bergting knows endings like Bo knows baseball, and the ending to this issue is just as effective a cliffhanger as the last two. A Saturday matinees got nothing on Portent!

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8.0
Portent #4

Aug 24, 2006

However, these gripes aside, I once again say that this was a great ending to the series, as well as a superb character study of Milo, who is a character I wont soon forget. I implore Peter Bergting and Image Comics to bring us further tales showcasing the unique world of The Portent.

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5.0
Potter's Field #2

Oct 25, 2007

Why didnt BOOM! decide to make Potters Field into a graphic novel versus a short, infuriating series of three periodicals? My theory is that BOOM! and Mark Waid are pandering to the multitude of TV-addled comic book readers out there who would prefer a wam-bam quick series versus an smoothly-paced extended tale that might eat up as much as $25 or $30. As despicable as this sounds, I dont know if its true. Remember, its a theory! Im sure the same decision-making goes into many of the series I enjoy. I really think my earlier tirade is due to my disappointment in another BOOM! issue, especially after enjoying a lot of their earlier works such as Talent and Second Wave. But, there is no room for character development and plot examination within the speedy confines of Potters Field. As a comic book reader looking for quality in his purchases, this is really frustrating to me.

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8.0
Powers Vol. 2 #16

Feb 13, 2006

I dont know how I really feel about both Walker and Pilgrim currently possessing powers. Will this take away from the gritty realism that has always come to be a trademark of this series? I really dont think so, but I would be lying if I didnt say I was a little nervous about where future issues will be going. Still, I have stuck with Bendis and Oeming from the very beginning, and Im willing to feed them a lot of line in the hopes of catching much greater thrills and revelations down the road.

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7.0
Proof #1

Oct 29, 2007

Still, its nice to see two creators really excited about a new project, so I will definitely look for Proof again at my comic shop. The comic, not proof that the Jersey Devil lives in the back...

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9.0
PS238 #16

May 26, 2006

If its not enough that the story in this issue rocks, then the art by Mr. Williams is sure to be the selling point for readers. This is artwork without pretension: nice and clean with an effortless ability to portray action and character emotions clearly. True, I think this art could be much better if it were rendered in color, but Williams does something unheard of in this day and age of comics to make up for this lack: he gives us MORE. He fills out this issue with Doctor Positrons Science Corner (which always gives more insight into the main story), a "Nodwick" strip, and a "Full Frontal Nerdity" strip. This comic book is truly a fans delight and something that everyone should be checking out. PS238 isnt the corny comedy of "Nodwick" or the muscle-bound frivolity of many Marvel and DC comics. It takes the best elements of our hobby, combining it into a wonderfully entertaining product that young or old readers can enjoy.

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9.0
PS238 #26

Oct 15, 2007

There are two more points to complete my analysis of this excellent issue. One, Aaron Williams art continues to work impressively well, creating a maximum effect from what appears to be a simplistic style of artwork. I still think this series would benefit greatly from a color presentation, but Im sure the budget is probably pretty tight. Speaking of which, my second point has to do with the value of each issue of PS238. Williams packs so much into a $2.99 comic (a 25-page feature, plus five extra strips) that it actually makes me angry at DC and Marvel for the amount of advertising they fill their issues with. PS238 is cover-to-cover enchantment that delivers each and every time I receive it, and creates a void in my reading activities when I finish an issue.

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4.0
Rampaging Wolverine #1

Apr 14, 2009

As you can see, readers aren't missing too much if they don't pick up this one-shot. However, Wolverine fanatics and comic readers with some waiting time at the airport are sure to love this packed issue of short story goodness.

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7.0
Red Prophet: The Tales of Alvin Maker #2

Jun 22, 2006

As for the art, this is very solid work presented by Renato Arlem & Klebs Moura. Nothing fancy or innovative here, but a pleasing overall result, giving a realistic look to the overall proceedings. The lines are clean, facial expressions are evocative, and landscapes are expansive. Like the writing, there are not many risks taken with panel construction or placement, and the coloring is effectively rendered by David Curiel. However, the footnote I will attach with any recommendation of this series is that the action moves at a snails pace. For readers of Card or other sci-fi novel junkies, this kind of format may not be that off-putting. However, I guarantee that those same readers would rather dive into a new, fascinating novel for eight bucks than plunk down three dollars for a very tiny slice of a storys pie. If youre a comic reader who is in for a detailed story (and I do mean detailed), you could do a lot worse than Red Prophet, even with the slow pacing. Just remember

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6.0
Red Robin #1

Jun 14, 2009

This isn't the worst first issue I've ever seen, and being a fan of the current storylines filling the Batman books, I know that the mediocrity of the first issue won't drive me away from further issues. If nothing else, it will remind me how much I love my neighborhood Red Robin's delicious cheeseburgers. Yes, I'm writing this before dinner.

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5.0
Retro Rocket #1

Mar 23, 2006

this is an entertaining comic book that is cotton candy for the comic book lovers soul. Its not the worst three bucks you will ever spend, but you could probably do a lot better if youre looking for a substantial story. Put another way, its a heckuva lot cheaper than buying manga volumes!

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8.0
Rex Mundi #1

Aug 31, 2006

Another way to entice readers is to open up the comic to any page, so that they can see the wonderfully realistic artwork by Juan Ferreyra. I am a big fan of his artwork (Emissary, Small Gods), and I think he is the perfect choice for Rex Mundi, since this title stresses realism throughout. The expressions of every character are appropriate and add so much to the emotion of the story. Even the coloring is exceptional, as Ferreyra pays special attention to period-appropriate lighting and shading to further envelope the reader in this alternate world. Combined with Nelsons learned details (youve got to check out "Le Journal de la Liberte" at the back... I sound like a broken record!), this is a complete comic book that showcases two talented creators collaborating on a unique comic. Sure, some the details will probably elude the new readers, but those that stick with this issue will find an entertaining tale with lots of potential for the future. And, who know? You might not eve

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9.0
Robotika #1

Dec 28, 2007

This newest edition of Robotika is an issue you dont want to miss, particularly if you are into pseudo-Westerns such as Firefly or Kill Bill. Oh, and one more note to sweeten the deal; the four dollar cover price includes 32 complete pages of original material, with the classy printing job that has become Archaias stock in trade. This is a completely entertaining graphic experience, and I cant wait for the next three issues.

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6.0
Robotika #2

May 2, 2006

The subject of choice leads me to my final complaint about this issue, and this complaint is directed squarely at the publisher, Archaia Studios Press (or ASP for short). How in the world do you justify selling this issue at a $3.95 cover price? There are a total of 27 pages of comic story in this issue, 6 of which are a back story that readers will probably not find interesting until later in the series, meaning that 21 pages of this issue are the newest chapter of Robotika. How do you ever expect to compete with the big boys, not to mention Dark Horse or Image, when you are charging $4.00 for this issue? With money tighter today than ever before (Have you checked out gas prices lately?), fans would rather have a familiar product for $3 or less than something new for at least a dollar more. Just something to keep in mind...

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8.0
Robotika #4

Jun 15, 2006

Unfortunately, there are still some elements of the final issue that mirror problems from the first three issues. Of course, there are Cherokees dialogue balloons, which I will simply say are infuriating (except for an amusing instance late in the issue when Cherokee and her dialogue go horizontal, clearly showing Sheikmans listening to his fans). And theres the price of Robotika: at 4 bucks a pop, it seems a trifle expensive for the amount of story inside. I only hope the collected edition is less than 16 dollars! However, barring these relatively minor problems, this issue is very entertaining and a must for fans of non-traditional sci-fi. I feel I have finally connected with all of the protagonists in this tale, as Issue #4 goes a long way to flesh out Niko, Cherokee, and Bronski. Plus, like all ASP books I have read so far, this books artwork is some of the best being produced by any publisher right now, and clearly gives Archaia high marks for quality within the business

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5.0
Salvation Run #1

Nov 19, 2007

Ive heard from other readers who have kept up with Countdown that most of the spin-offs have been less than exciting. I think you have to add Salvation Run to that growing list, as a normally reliable writer like Willingham has taken a dream assignment for most writers and created a first issue that is hardly appealing enough.

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8.0
Samurai: Heaven and Earth Vol. 2 #2

Jan 21, 2007

Much of this consistency and entertainment comes from the outstanding artwork by Luke Ross and the nice coloring by Rob Schwager. The images we see throughout this issue hold realism as the main goal, creating characters that are true to life in this 18th Century world. The emotions that Ross conveys are moving, similar to the work Greg Land produced for Sojourn (Yes, another Crossgen comic! I really miss those comics). From the fight scenes midway through the issue to the realistic expressions by Yoshiko in the final scenes of the issue, everything about the artwork is top-notch, producing a comic that looks amazing and lends the story even more quality. Like I said earlier, this is Marz at the top of his game. With Ross providing ample support, this is another quality addition to Dark Horses terrific library, and a worthy addition to your subscription list for the next few months.

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6.0
Savage Brothers #1

Aug 13, 2006

Verdict? If youre looking for a fun, straight-forward thrill ride, you cant do much worse than Savage Brothers, though the $4 cover price kinda frustrates me. The zombie and redneck cliches are fast and furious, but they are written with a light tone, showing that Cosby and Stokes are just having fun here. And the funs pretty contagious, so youre sure to have a pretty good time. However, the final page of the issue had me scratching my head: is Dale really trying to play hero, or is he just horny? I dont know, but Im probably taking this ending more seriously than the writers intended.

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7.0
Savage Brothers #2

Oct 5, 2006

Once again, I say that this issue of Savage Brothers is a fun, action-packed, and sexy way to entertain yourself for four bucks. If disciples of Dale and Otis have their say, its a heck of a lot cheaper than going to a strip club!

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9.0
Scalped #11

Nov 19, 2007

This continues to be one of my favorite comics to read month in and month out, as each issue is consistently engrossing. Now, with the events of this issue clearly in readers minds, the future looks very bright for this series, so long as it can stave off cancellation due to the low sales. Next months a stand-alone about Dash, so if you havent read this series yet, December is the right time!

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6.0
Scatterbrain #3

Aug 1, 2006

Like I stated in the beginning, this is a well-constructed comic with a script that dots all the is and crosses all the ts. But in a day and age where readers are looking for more meat out of story than a gamma-irradiated episode of The Shield, Scatterbrain doesnt quite cut the mustard. Deneen and Kudranski are both talented creators that Im sure will do great things in their career, and Scatterbrain does entertain at a basic level. But if the first three issues are any indication, the revelations that are sure to come in Issue #4 cant possibly be interesting enough to elicit a "wow" from readers.

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6.0
Sea of Red #10

Jun 16, 2006

My final complaint, and why I rated this issue lower than I intended, is that readers who do not follow Sea of Red will probably think Issue #10 is a convoluted mess. Sea of Red should always have a "previous issue" description in each and every issue. I tried to think of Issue #10 from an outsiders perspective, and there is little chance I would know what the heck is going on. Like TV shows such as MI-5 or Battlestar Galactica, you really have to begin at the beginning to understand all the dire consequences that occur in this issue. Pick up the excellent Volume 1 collection No Grave But the Sea, and see if this title is for you, oh un-experienced cabin boys out there!

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4.0
ShadowHawk #12

Jun 16, 2006

From the preview following this story, Issue #13 is going to be written by three writers other than Valentino, telling three different stories of the Shadowhawk legacy. Lets hope that one or more of these stories creates enough of buzz for an offshoot of Shadowhawk, which might give the franchise something it hasnt had recently: originality.

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9.0
Shazam The Monster Society Of Evil #1

Feb 11, 2007

This was a fun issue to read not only because of my love for Bone (did I mention that already?). I think anyone who picks up this issue, whether you know Smith or Cap Marvel already, will love the energy and the artwork in this first issue and will probably be hooked for the remainder of the series.

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4.0
Shon C. Bury's Nox #1

May 12, 2006

Unfortunately for the reader, the art is just as boring as the story itself. Allan Goldman and Ed Waysek provide nothing new, exciting, or unique here. Ths poses are standard, the faces are commonplace, and the use of panels as a pacing device is not very effective. I will say the voyeuristic spy-cam view was entertaining and the blurring effects used in certain places were effective, but these positives are not enough to keep the artwork afloat. If I flipped through this issue at my local comic shop, I wouldnt pick it up, mainly because there is nothing that really flies out at you or catches your attention. Really, the only thing to say about Nox #1 is that there is nothing new or exciting within the covers. And, for an independent comic book series trying to make a name in a great big sea of comics, that is a very bad way to start.

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7.0
Sidekicked! #1

Sep 28, 2006

On the negative side, Blumenthals artwork is a little wooden feeling throughout the issue, coordinating little with the scripted lunacy. I think a more cartoon-ish style would have worked better with the story and the dialogue. Also, some of the faces are distorted severely, which brought me back down to earth and the realization that this is an amateur production. But when deciding on my rating for this issue, the overall impression in my head was, This is a darn funny little comic book. Need more examples? A sidekick named Cub-Scout who is a furry, long-haired gentleman; a super-speedster sidekick who wins a charity relay, even though its not really a race; a headline that reads, "Sidekicks the Shizzle." This is a hilarious comic that you should seek out, especially if Civil Wars got you down or frustrated.

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5.0
Sinnamon: Grrl vs. World #1

May 24, 2006

These are some serious gripes, and I havent even touched on the lackluster art by M. Gerald Delaney. I really cant see how the art in this issue can be any more boring than the work that Mr. Delaney has done here. There is no daring with lines, no spectacular explosions of images, nor any meaningful expressions by the characters. Delaneys art is standard fare, and I dont see any reader picking up this title from an initial flip-through. All in all, the art definitely brought the entire story down, which already had enough flaws as it was. There is potential value in the story moving forward, but the first issue doesnt make much of this potential, so I probably wont be giving Sinnamon another shot.

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7.0
Solomon Kane #1

Sep 28, 2008

However, this is another example of a quality Dark Horse comic product, with solid writing and artwork leading the way, as well as another great coloring job by Dave Stewart. Mario Guevera's artwork has the right style and jaggedness to convey the harsh world of Kane, and Allie uses his vast comics senses to craft a fine example of an adaptation comic. But the sticking point for me--and probably for other readers--is the rigidness of the tale and the lack of excitement in both words and pictures. I think back to the first issue of Marvel's Red Prophet, and I think my reaction to both is exactly the same. In adapting a prose work to a graphic form, both Scott Allie and Roland Brown have forgotten to make the comic their own, establishing a style that will endear both old and new fans alike. I will be back to read Solomon Kane #2 because I think this will become a good series, but I think I'll also grab the prose version of this story from my local library, just to see how I would p

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8.0
Solomon Kane #4

Jan 19, 2009

Id definitely recommend this issue to anyone who hasnt picked up this series yet, even though the initial storyline reaches its conclusion next month. This is the kind of sword and monsters tale that will have you craving more. Solomon Kane is a welcome addition to the other excellent Howard properties produced by Dark Horse and will hopefully be around for a while with the same terrific creative team.

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6.0
Space Doubles #1

Oct 25, 2007

Space Doubles is the creation of Scott Closter, who writes two introductions for this first issue due to the flip style of the presentation (two covers, two different short comics on either side), both of which illustrate his love for science-fiction and the deeper meanings of speculative literature. For my money, Issue #1 is a fine start to this series of Twilight Zone/Amazing Stories-type tales that have some sort of zinger in the concluding page, though the deeper meanings that Closter alludes to arent apparent in these first two yarns. Its a showcase for seasoned writers and fine raw illustrators who have just started getting their feet wet in the comic book world. Even though the execution of words and art are not in the upper echelon, the enthusiasm is here, which is what caused most of us to start reading comics in the first place.

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7.0
Spawn #155

May 15, 2006

The main complaint I had about this issue, and it is a large complaint, is the lack of inventiveness concerning the art of Philip Tan. I realize that Todd McFarlane probably still has a lot of say in how Spawn looks from issue to issue, but there has to be some element of individual style and personal interpretation from each artist. I was shocked at how nothing has really changed artistically in the 14 years this comic book has been in shops. Spawn still has the cape and chains flowing in every direction and filling every panel, creating an impression of extreme busyness in every single frame of the issue, which actually distracts from the story being told. Also, all of the human characters here have the same McFarlane feel we have always seen, particularly the little kids at the very end of the issue. They look like something straight out of the early days of the title. I am not the biggest fan of Tans previous work in Uncanny X-Men, but he still had a unique style, a style th

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8.0
Spawn #157

Jul 21, 2006

This brings me to Philip Tans art, which still hasnt resonated positively with me as of yet. It still reeks of McFarlane in all ways, with the distorted characters and the overall business of each panel. There were few bright spots in issue #157 other than the opening and closing splash-pages. Otherwise, this was yet another exercise in how to draw an over-the-top superhero/horror tale that in no way connects with its readers. It fits with Hines story in mood, which is the only saving grace for this highly detailed yet unoriginal artwork. However, this is one case where a single comics story is so mind-blowing and enthralling that the artwork is almost secondary. Therefore, I would recommend issue #157 highly to any mainstream comic fan, though you definitely want to pick up at least a few previous issues beforehand, simply so you can appreciate the great twist at the end of this issue.

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6.0
Spawn #185

Nov 2, 2008

Don't get me wrong: a lot of people are going to love this issue, and I'll probably be back for "Endgame: Part Two." My complaint is that this was meant to be the Image equivalent of climbing into a warm bed on a cold night, but what we get are a whole lot of fireworks without any real substance.

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10
Special Forces #1

Nov 2, 2007

Baker understands the insanity of the all-too-realistic world he has created for Special Forces, so the cartoon-style art which is equal parts cheesecake and Sgt. Rock works extremely well in creating a surrealist landscape for this satire. In fact, almost none of the panels show an overview or landscape of a scene. Most of the panels are very close up and personal, giving us not only the emotions (or lack of) for each character, but also allowing the reader to feel the claustrophobic intensity that is warfare. Every decision is a life-or-death one, and the combination of the hands-on reading experience and the steady body count among the group leads to a tone similar to the movie MASH. Baker combines absurdity, wit, violence, and social standing into a comic experience unlike anything youll read this year. If you pick up this first issue of Special Forces, be prepared to commit yourself to the next five installments. Its that good!

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10
Stardust Kid #4

Jun 20, 2006

Needless to say, I strongly recommend this issue and this series to anyone. Some may complain that Issue #4 is too wordy for a comic book, but I believe that the creators pace the whole issue smoothly, combining long exposition sections with action-packed visual scenes. Also, others might say that the conversation concerning Codys "dumping" of Alana may have glossed over some potential moving panels that could show the pain and delight of their respective faces. However, I think that potential scene would have slowed things down too much for the issue at hand, even though Ill admit I would have liked to have seen it. One thing every reader can agree on is the wonderful narration in this series, which serves to inform as well as entertain with some very funny asides and footnotes (I think Ive made it abundantly clear that I think Times about as real as the Easter Bunny). Really, my only wish for this issue is that DeMatteis and Ploog come together for another series after thi

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5.0
Strange Adventures #1

Mar 8, 2009

To say I was disappointed with this first issue would be an understatement, but I still love the DC cosmic universe enough to continue with this miniseries. Hopefully, either the cover price comes down to a regular 2.99 or the story picks up on galactic scale. Otherwise, I might be discussing Strange Adventures as a bust that may keep me from investing in further interstellar fare.

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6.0
Strongarm #1

Jan 28, 2007

If youre looking for all out, non-stop action in the vein of the movie Crank, youll probably really enjoy Strongarm #1. However, if youre like me and after an involving story with clever plot developments, you might want to look elsewhere. I think if Horton gets his act together and enlightens his story with more details and revelations in future issues, this could be a very good series. All the pieces are here: its just a matter of putting them in the right places at the right speed.

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8.0
Superman #654

Jul 16, 2006

This is a great issue that completes Supermans return to the mainstream DC universe, and I am very excited about the near future of the series. While Superman comics are never at the top of my buy list, Busiek usually presents a quality product for any super-hero he tackles, so I might tag along for as long as hes aboard.

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7.0
Talent #1

May 15, 2006

Despite my moaning and complaining, this was a very entertaining issue to read, and I will probably continue with this series. This is a slam-dunk concept that couldnt possibly fail in the first three issues of this series, but very well could be a let-down in the end if the writers dont keep their eyes on the ball. Still, my analytical comic reviewer persona aside, this is a title you should probably check out, because Issue #1 is a fun ride, and Im sure the excitement will continue into Issue #2. Not exactly bargain priced at $3.99, but thats an argument for another time.

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8.0
Talent #3

Sep 12, 2006

The only aesthetic problem with Talent #3 is the same problem I pointed out in my previous review: Golden and Sniegoski occasionally write some stiff, formalized dialogue. The climactic scene of the issue with Dane/Marcus, the mob boss, and Marcuss wife was limited in emotionally complexity because of some stereotypical and unnecessary dialogue, such as You know who I am?, You cant do this to me, or Now its over. But, overall, Golden and Sniegoskis dialogue has improved from issue #1, particularly in the opening scene (teens really do talk like that) and some of the scenes with Krause and his cronies. And, similar to the dialogue, this issue of Talent is stronger than the two preceding it, which would be even better if I didnt know that the mini-series ends with issue #4. How are they going to tie up these loose ends? Well see, I guess.

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7.0
The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury #295

Feb 11, 2008

As I said earlier, the work by Ferguson yields an old-fashioned feel that catches the reader off guard later in the issue, but in a good way. As I flipped through the fast-paced first half, I thought I knew what was going to come next, which had me slightly disappointed (though the art is definitely lively, colorful, and filled with kinetic energy). However, by the time I finished the issue, I knew that Ferguson had played a little hide-and-seek with the reader, along with Thomas. The juvenile conventions all sci-fi fans are overly familiar with are given a shot of adult situations, creating a comic book that works well. My only complaint would be the abrupt change of pace, which changes from speed of light to Ingmar Bergman. Still, I think that most readers will find a lot of entertainment in this first issue of Miranda Mercury, and ASP has another winner on its hands.

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7.0
The Scream #1

Oct 29, 2007

The bottom line is that readers have a choice every time they go to the comic shop, and flipping through this first issue of The Scream will not send shockwaves through most of the buying public. Still, this is a safe way to spend three bucks of your comics budget, since this is the same kind of fun comic that culls up memories of when you didnt complain about everything you read. Oh, wait, that may just be me!

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7.0
The War that Time Forgot #1

May 11, 2008

While WTTF isn't perfect by a long shot, it's a breath of fresh air, particularly with DC's current fare. It's a 1950s tale updated for present audiences, and it's the kind of read that many fans look forward too. I think we found Jones' niche for the future...

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8.0
The Warlord #1

Mar 6, 2006

Warlord #1 is Bruce Jones doing what he does best: relating the story of a man displaced either by inner demons or, in the case of Travis Morgan, physical rupture. He enjoys telling tales of solitary men up against great odds and how these men struggle to persevere under these adverse conditions. Plus, Jones really gets his readers emotionally involved in any of his stories. In this first issue, we are confronted with the sneering, gigantic presence of Brovis, who we all know Travis will encounter very shortly in battle. As I saw this character and read the comments he made, bile built up in my throat, and I wanted more than anything for the Warlord of old to take this guy out. And I know that Jones wont leave me disappointed! However, my favorite element of his writing is his lack of predictability, and I really hope he uses that skill to approach or exceed his previous work on the Hulk and Vigilante. Long live the Warlord!

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7.0
Thor (2007) #601

Apr 21, 2009

This is a great issue for fans and a fun start to a new arc. Oh, and for all of you who think that duct tape can fix anything, see the last scene featuring Blake and his "walking stick." Ha!

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7.0
Truth, Justin and the American Way #4

Sep 18, 2006

The other big draw for this series is the terrific art by Giuseppe Ferrario, whose style is perfect for this kind of humor comic. Everything about the main characters presentation is cartoon-like and animated, complete with bugged-out eyes, distorted lip movements, and over-the-top expressions. Happiness comes with huge grins that lift the face completely, and sadness is shown in the sagging action of the body. Its artwork thats not too far away from an animated show, which in some ways is what this comic book is. The beginning has a theme song (which you can hear on the website), and the ending has credits that duplicate still scenes from the show. But, unlike 80s shows which are now unintentionally funny, Kurtz and Williams look to strike your funny bone at every turn. For good belly laughs with nostalgia as the driving force, you cant do much better than Truth, Justin, and the American Way.

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8.0
U.T.F. #1

Jun 15, 2006

The overall verdict? Buy this issue if you enjoy your comic book action and excitement with a heaping tablespoon of humor mixed in. But, be warned: the first issue contained numerous instances of racially derogatory dialogue which may be disturbing for sensitive readers. Also, dont let this issue get into the hands of kids: the scary, bloody imagery and foul language may be a little too intense for them. But, if youre an adult seeking a fun ride for 3 bucks (No, thats not a proposition!), then you cant go wrong with U.T.F. #1.

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7.0
Ultimate X-Men #69

May 8, 2006

Yes, satisfying drama usually indicates that there was a lack of action in the issue, which is true of Issue #69. However, next issue looks like a humdinger, with a battle between the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, including the first action for Mr. Boggs (I hope he shows me something!). Honestly, Kirkman is doing a fine job following Brian K. Vaughan on this series, which is a hard act to follow considering the awesome conclusion to Vaughans run. But, we are talking about the writer of Invincible and The Walking Dead, two of my favorite titles on the stands right now, and it looks like he is bringing the same level of quality to Ultimate X-Men. Oh, and by the way, Mr. Kirkman: nice connection in this issue to Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk!

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3.0
Ultimatum #2

Dec 28, 2008

Im currently subscribed to this mini at my local shop, but after this issue Ive decided to stand up for my rights and cancel the remaining issues. The $3.99 can be better spent on a Marvel Universe ongoing and a soda.

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9.0
Umbra #1

Jul 4, 2006

So, what doesnt work? Well, a little bit of the filler dialogue is weak, as if Murphy is translating an Icelandic film rather than writing his own dialogue. When Askja mutters under her breath, Youre so beautiful, in response to Freyjas female form (hubba, hubba), I thought it was unnecessary and cheesy, and actually made me chuckle a little. However, the main scenes are written with aplomb, making the dialogue much more effective in these scenes. Also, the cover price of $5.99 may be a little too pricey for many comic book buyers. My opinion: the cover price is steep, but this is a series that will definitely be more pleasurable if read in the proper serial context than in a collected trade paperback. Having to wait for the next installment of this mini-series is going to be a chore for me, especially with these thoughts running through my head: Who is the neanderthal woman? How was she shot? Why is she covered in a jacket made by Benetton? Cripes, didnt I say this was

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8.0
Un-Men #4

Nov 20, 2007

Each of the four issues of Un-Men have been a trip to read, and I hope this string continues. This is a comic that doesnt take itself too seriously, like a movie that is poking fun at the B-movies that try oh-so-hard to be meaningful. The vibrant characters are the meat of this series, and hopefully well meet a lot more of these freaks before this series ends.

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9.0
Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #1

Jul 18, 2006

Is it obvious Im into Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters? I hope so, because this is one Brave New World title that you cant afford to miss, particularly if you like your super-hero drama filled with political intrigue. Its like 24 without the timer!

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6.0
Underworld #1

Feb 23, 2006

Concerning the art, I dont think that Staz Johnson and Tom Palmer are the right artists for this particular series. The facial expressions for the variety of characters dont change much, leaving a very static look for many of the scenes. Plus, the art is not particularly gritty for a comic book with this kind of subject matter. This is art that is suited for Amazing Spider-Man rather than an urban saga. Still, Im willing to stick with this series just to see if it heads in a direction that will ultimately be satisfying; namely, pitting an extraordinary, albeit powerless, street tough against some of the second-string super baddies of the Marvel Universe and proving that powers do not make the criminal. If nothing else, its great bathroom reading!

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8.0
Unknown Soldier #1

Oct 26, 2008

In short, this is a comic book series you should jump on at the very beginning because, like all things Vertigo, you really don't know how long it will last. Plus, if the first issue's any indication, this is a tale that will contain a lot of emotional power that will reward those readers looking for something more in their Wednesday pile.

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9.0
Uptight #1

Jun 30, 2006

Is Uptight #1 for everyone? Heck no, especially for those looking for a light, fun experience in their comic book reading. Believe me, Im not one of those snobs who thinks that all forms of entertainment should be personally rewarding. Aqua Teen Hunger Force is probably my favorite show! However, there are some instances when I read something that has such a powerful effect on me that I have to tell others about it. Uptight is one of those instances, and I challenge all comic fans to read this first issue and take time in exploring all of the little nuances which I havent mentioned here. If nothing else, it is well worth the $2.50 cover price.

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10
Usagi Yojimbo #94

Jun 30, 2006

Jeez, I havent even touched on the other layers of this particular issue that made it great! There is a hostage stand-off that ends in tragedy (though not in the way you may think), a new villain is introduced to Usagi lore, and a shocking ending occurs that has the reader both cheering for Sakais ingenuity and despairing for the potential implications of the final scene. All in a days work for Mr. Sakai! These various elements are flawlessly blended to produce a one-shot story that builds on past Usagi history while maintaining the integrity of the tale. I cannot say enough about this title, and I recommend it highly to any comic book reader. Stan Sakai, after 20 years of writing Usagi Yojimbo tales, continues to keep things fresh and entertaining, adding more mythos to this very likable character. More importantly for building a fan base, Usagi Yojimbo is extremely accessible, and this is the perfect issue for fans to jump on to the series. If you are not pulled in by the s

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8.0
Usagi Yojimbo #100

Feb 5, 2007

Besides these highlights, there is a also a fantastic Usagi dream sequence drawn by Davis, as well as interpretations of the character by Miller and Wagner. I think Sakai should take an illustration break for an issue and have one of these guys pencil an issue! However, from the work ethic that is marveled about in this issue, that possibility is highly unlikely. This is a man who has made his creative ideas a fictional reality, with few editorial interferences or company agendas getting in the way. Usagi Yojimbo is a pure, unsullied comic book with influences ranging from Carl Barks to Jack Kirby, and we should all appreciate the contribution Mr. Sakai has made to our comic book canon.

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9.0
Usagi Yojimbo #106

Sep 28, 2007

What else amazes me most about Usagi Yojimbo is the seemingly effortless artwork that conveys so much facial emotion and action simply and effectively. Dont believe me? Check out either of the scenes that I have mentioned in this review for an example. And while youre checking out the artwork, notice the various subplots that fill these 24 slight pages. The return of Orphanmaker, the weird retreat of Inazuma/Jei and Keiko, the smelly fertilizer hauler who is about to turn in the retreating pair: This is all here as well as (oh yeah) our hero, Usagi. This is a comic book series done right, and everyone should be reading this.

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9.0
Usagi Yojimbo #109

Jan 26, 2008

As for the artwork, Sakai can really do no wrong when it comes to illustrating his vast array of characters. Each creature has distinctive emotional nuances and ticks that point to a creator with a mastery of cartoon arts. Plus, many of Sakai's style choices are dead solid perfect, such as the expressionistic look he achieves when Jei takes his final vengeance on Senzo, or the fine ending of the issue which looks ahead to the next story arc. As a minion kills a crime boss to "take his place," the panel shows the killer slicing the boss with a knife. However, the illustration looks like this man is cutting his way out of the larger mobster, giving the visual impression that he is being reborn as the new crime boss with this murder. Needless to say, it's this kind of artistic excellence that will always keep me coming back to Usagi Yojimbo month after month. Buy it, already!

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6.0
Vinyl Underground #1

Oct 7, 2007

Gane, Stewart, and colorist Guy Major make sure that everyone looks beautiful and cool throughout this first issue, as trendy clothes, haircuts, and poses abound (check out the tan on Leah! No lines!). Even the police detective has an aura of trendiness about her thats sure to come up at a later time. For a comic detailing the nefarious workings of Londons occult underworld, nothing looks very gritty or disgusting. A headless boy with diamonds stuck into his eyes should have had more of a gross-out factor than it has here. I think the smoothness and cheekiness of the entire presentation is the reason why I had such a lackluster feeling about the whole issue. One panel that sticks in my mind is Leah burning some drug pushers face to a crisp. Even though the panel includes a burning face, blood spurting and vomiting, the focus of the panel is on the loveliness of Leah and her flowing blond locks. If this is for some story effect, I havent gotten figured it out yet. Also, plea

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5.0
Vinyl Underground #2

Nov 15, 2007

Like the first issue, this installment has a pretty paint job, but hardly anything under the hood. Once again, Gane and Stewart construct a fight scene with Leah that displays a lot of carnage, yet still has the lovely vixen posing without a scratch. Fortunately for us, Morrison does get the crap kicked out of him by the neo-Nazis, giving his handsome mug some much needed tarnish. However, even bandaged up with a black eye, he still manages to bring his hip aura to his encounter with Kim. Spencer and his artists are definitely in sync as to the overall look of Vinyl Underground, yet I dont think it works well for comics storytelling. All of the flowing locks, iconic poses, and trendy clothing show us that the main focus of this series lies in the readers prying eyes, just like the eyes of the British tabloids in the comic. We are supposed to see a side to these four people that the world has never seen, yet the side we see is not all that different from what weve come to expec

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7.0
War of the Worlds: Second Wave #2

May 4, 2006

In closing, after reading this issue, I think this series has a lot of potential moving forward, particularly with insinuations late in issue #2 that Miles might have some direct connection with this second wave of alien invaders. My only hope is that this connection has little to do with studying humans, which we have heard of in too many tales of alien abduction. Hopefully, Nelsons story has more depth than this. Additionally, I think the change to black and white for this issue is very effective, particularly in the flashback scenes. Maybe they should have thought of keeping the present scenes in color, but thats nitpicking on my part. All in all, this is a solid comic book and worth a try for any fan looking for a little intrigue with his or her dose of monster action.

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7.0
War of the Worlds: Second Wave #4

Jul 4, 2006

Ive always thought that Nelson and Chees strengths lie in their presentation of the quiet, personal scenes, and Issue #4 is full of these kind of scenes. It might not be Blankets, but their character-driven areas are strong. So I would definitely recommend this issue to fans of dramatic comic tales, though it might be a trifle slow-moving for those looking for sci-fi survival action. War of the Worlds: Second Wave is solid entertainment from a publisher that is quickly earning a reputation (at least with me) for quality within the field.

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7.0
Witchblade #99

Jul 18, 2006

Still, this is an issue to check out, particularly if youve never picked up an issue of Witchblade before. For all new readers, I envy you. You were never subjected to the lackluster 70+ issues that preceded Ron Marzs masterful reworking of the series. But, you did miss out on great cheesecake...

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5.0
Witchblade #100

Sep 5, 2006

Verdict? I think if Marz had stayed on the same track he had been building over the last 25 issues or so, this would have been a nice transition into the next phase of Witchblade. Instead, issue #100 read a lot like the hackneyed stories that were produced prior to Marzs tenure, and that is where my disappointment lies. Let the river run, Mr. Marz! No, that doesnt mean rent Working Girl.

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4.0
Witchblade: Manga #1

Mar 2, 2007

In closing, I would definitely not recommend this comic to any comic reader looking for an engaging story. However, if youre looking for some sexy Japanese cheesecake and want a deal for three bucks, Witchblade: Takeru is for you.

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5.0
World War Hulk #5

Nov 18, 2007

I subscribe to The Incredible Hulk, so I have enjoyed Greg Paks writing throughout his run on the title. However, this conclusion to Planet Hulk was a cop-out in so many ways for those fans who still look for intelligent entertainment in the mainstream Marvel Comics. Plus, on a personal note, I dont know how I feel about the current Hulk series being transformed into the Incredible Herc next month. Does this guy, and Amadeus, deserve a series?

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6.0
World War Hulk: Aftersmash #1

Dec 2, 2007

But, there were a lot of positives to take from the story itself, as Pak takes a melange of different elements from this mini-series and boils it down into a conclusion that gels particularly well. I was particularly intrigued by Elloes motivations. Being one of the Warbound and having lost family in the explosion on Sakaar, her admission of guilt was a surprisingly moving example of human nature and bold self-analysis. On the other hand, I was turned off by Tom Fosters role in Aftersmash, since he does what most people expect him to do. By the way, if the world is missing a Goliath, do they need to replace him? Sorry for the digression! Fosters tale is one of simple revenge, but the ending gives hope to all four of the principle players in this 35 page drama as well as painting them as traditional heroes, concerned with the greater good over their personal ambitions. The better to lead their own series... While I know the Marvel machine is pulling to make all of these playe

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7.0
Worry Doll #1

Feb 18, 2007

Short is the operable word, considering you will plunk down 18 bucks for this graphic novel. Is it worth it? That depends on your passion for detailed sketch-work, because if youre looking for an entire graphic novel for the cover price, you will be woefully disappointed. The prose in this book is ineffective in keeping the readers attention focused on the developing story, despite some enlightening moments at the beginning and end of the tale that explain some of the narrators behaviors. In fact, using the same technique I used with the artwork, I gleaned that reading the prose without looking at the art yields a totally different experience. Instead of the horrific imagery, we are privy to a conversation in a mental hospital, between our disturbed narrator and a doctor of some sort (or it could be a rational manifestation of his mind). Interesting and enlightening, but ultimately fractured from the images, page titles, and reactions that coincide with each other on the faci

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8.0
X Isle #1

Jun 20, 2006

Art-wise, X Isle represents a very effective presentation by artist Greg Scott and colorist Sunder Raj. The art reminded me in many ways of the animation used by Richard Linklater in the movies Waking Life and the upcoming A Scanner Darkly. On certain pages, it looks as if photographs were taken of real people, then Scott and Raj penciled and colored over those images. Their artwork creates a realistic tone to the issue that is very fitting with the story being told. I could imagine what the survivors were going through when the ship was destroyed and as they encountered the strange island in the middle of nowhere. This issue looks almost like an episode of a TV show, which Andrew Cosby knows something about. Cosbys work in television has definitely helped with some of his comic book sensibilities, as his dialogue and his shock timing are very effective throughout the issue. Plus, I loved his Survivor reference late in the issue (I am curious about whos gonna get kicked off t

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8.0
Y: The Last Man #59

Nov 15, 2007

Im going to desperately miss this series after its gone, especially since Ill only be able to get my Vaughan fix in the pages of Ex Machina (which is very good, but not in the same class). I only hope that issue #60 concludes the series with the same grace that has preceded it, giving the strongest written characters in comics a fine send-off.

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10
Y: The Last Man #60

Feb 3, 2008

How do I end my last review for Y: The Last Man? I guess Ill do it in the same manner with which Vaughan, Guerra, Marzan, Loughbridge, and company ended Issue #60. Im so sad that this series had to come to an end, but I am happy that it concluded in the finest fashion possible, with class and an ending that was truly the last chapter of the tale. Y is among the finest series ever produced by Vertigo, and I think it will be a long time until this excellence is seen again.

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5.0
Zombie Tales: Death Valley #2

Mar 16, 2006

Final analysis? If your comic book budget is 50 dollars a week, buy it. Less? Skip it.

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