Sam Kirkland's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comics Bulletin Reviews: 24
6.9Avg. Review Rating

7
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #531

May 1, 2006

Kirkham's art has some major flaws, making him a bizarre choice for such a high-profile assignment. Still, Straczynski's characterization of both main characters is strong and well worth the price of admission. The writer proves just how far Tony Stark is willing to go to do what he believes is in the best interests of superheroes and the world at large, making Amazing Spider-Man #531 an essential piece of the ever-expanding Civil War puzzle.

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8
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #532

May 28, 2006

As expected, the issues end is left ambiguous, but I personally hope Straczynski makes the plunge and shakes up the Spider-Man titles like never before. No doubt, many fans consider the secret identity a sacred and untouchable element of the Spider-Man mythos and anything to the contrary blasphemous, but I say, bring it on! This has the makings of a storyline that I feel has been a long time coming. Spidey is supposedly the character most affected by the events of the next six months, so The War At Home should continue to be an essential part of the overall Civil War picture.

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4
Beyond #1

Jul 2, 2006

Beyond! acts as a bit of a throwback to the old days. If youre looking for a simple, inconsequential diversion to Civil War or if you perhaps happen to run a Medusa or Firebird fansite, youve come to the right place. If not, you can safely let Beyond! pass you by without missing a thing.

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8
Captain America (2004) #18

May 14, 2006

Brubakers Captain America is a staunch defender of justice, the embodiment of the American dream. But that doesnt keep him from having an attitude. Hes slightly bitter and jaded, a theme that has been evolving since issue #1. Brubaker makes Captain America extremely relevant to todays world without doing anything as overt as having the hero search for Osama bin Laden. If youre not reading Captain America, what superhero book are you reading?

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8
Civil War #2

Jun 18, 2006

Civil War delivers in ways other recent major events havent; its quicker than House of M, more accessible than Infinite Crisis, and less mind-numbingly pointless than Spider-Man: The Other. Mark Millar gets the characters hes writing about. The merits of Iron Man and Captain Americas actions could be debated indefinitely, but, that said, I dont believe either cause stands out as right or wrong from a purely objective viewpoint. As long as that continues to be the case, Civil War will continue to soar past my expectations.

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9
Civil War #3

Jul 23, 2006

What is war good for? Absolutely nothing! And as Civil War rages on, I wouldnt be surprised if an invasion by Kang or Galactus ends up being the catalyst forcing both sides to take a good, long look in the mirror.

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6
Civil War: Front Line #1

Jun 11, 2006

With so many important events taking place outside of Civil War proper (Iron Mans press conference here, as well as Spider-Mans identity crisis over in Amazing Spider-Man), I have to wonder whether the main series will be as self-explanatory as Marvel claims it will be. Already, the timeframe is utterly confusing; its impossible to have separate series enhance the larger picture when its so hard to make connections between the various pieces. Still, Front Line has the potential to be a nice companion piece to Civil War, and the variety of stories, adless format, and biweekly schedule should make it even more worth following once the story gets off the ground and finds its identity.

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5
Civil War: Young Avengers & Runaways #1

Jul 31, 2006

If you go into Civil War: Young Avengers & Runaways (or NAMBLA, for all the Daily Show fans) expecting the same level of quality found in Brian K. Vaughan and Allan Heinbergs respective series, youll be disappointed. But with the set-up out of the way, Wells now has the opportunity to explore the compelling similarities and differences between the two teams. Its just too bad their first team-up comes in such a downtrodden time in the midst of Civil War and immediately following the death of Gert. It may not seem fair to blame the book for what it isnt rather than what it is, but fans of both books will likely find issue #1 lacking the charm or excitement they might expect. Considering the subject matter and recent events in Runaways, Wells isnt at fault for the overwhelming sense of negativity; Im just not convinced that Civil War is a good setting for this crossover or for these teams.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #85

May 21, 2006

The parallels to last weeks Slugfest run deep in that Daredevil #85 is neither a monumental single issue nor a boring yawn-fest; its simply another fulfilling issue that advances the overarching storyline while continuing the trends we have all come to expect from the team of Lark and Brubaker.

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3
Fantastic Four (1998) #537

May 1, 2006

Doom wants his "precious," and JMS discards some recent continuity and character growth to allow the good doctor to continue his fruitless endeavor. Aside from a few lines about the Superhuman Registration Act in Fantastic Four #536, no apparent ties to Civil War ever present themselves in this two-parter, and the cover to #537 is deliberately misleading, resulting in an anti-climactic and thoroughly boring read.

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8
Iron Man (2004) #7

Apr 21, 2006

Iron Man #7 is a strong, if flawed, debut for the Knaufs on the series. The assassin subplot isn't anything special, but Daniel and Charles have clearly shown that they understand precisely what's going on in Tony Stark's head. I can't speak to whether it's a step up or down from the previous creative team's stint, but anyone can appreciate the fact that a quality Iron Man book is hitting the stands on a regular basis once again.

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6
New Avengers #18

Apr 24, 2006

At this point, every reader surely knows whether he falls into the "love it" or "hate it" category when it comes to New Avengers. Issue #18 has all the Bendis-isms that polarize the readership: strange dialogue tics that give every character the same voice, obvious plot developments, and entire issues that do little to advance the overall plot. These problems do not necessarily mean the book is unenjoyable; they simply make it less enjoyable than it should be.

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4
New Avengers #20

Jun 23, 2006

The big reveal of New Avengers #20 is unexpected to be sure, but not in a particularly good way. No one who has never heard of Xorn will understand what happens here, and I find it highly unlikely that anyone who has heard of Xorn will understand what happens here. The mess needed to be cleaned up, and the issue certainly accomplished the two goals of restoring Magneto's status quo and obliterating Xorn for good; it's just too bad Bendis had to play janitor for the X-titles in this final story arc before the New Avengers get disassembled.

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10
New Avengers #22

Aug 1, 2006

New Avengers #22 may lack the fanfare of other issues in the series, but it works beautifully as a single-issue story with a quiet, poignant ending. Strong efforts by both the writer and artist provide a personal glimpse into the bigger Civil War picture. Nothing groundbreaking or New York Times-worthy occurs within these pages, but that doesnt make them any less important.

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10
The Walking Dead #28

Jun 16, 2006

The Walking Dead #28 is completely unlike any other issue of the series, and that's what makes it so great. I am literally afraid for the characters, and anytime a reader feels that strongly you know the writer is doing something right. Things have never been worse for the survivors, and things have never been better for readers of The Walking Dead.

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7
Thunderbolts (2006) #103

Jun 19, 2006

The Civil War tie-in is worth recommending for no other reason than the intriguing possibility of seeing Zemo make some major noise following Iron Man's proposal as the war rages on. The cliffhanger, in typical T-Bolts style, ups the ante and adds another layer to the conflict. Thunderbolts fans should find a lot to enjoy in issue #103, and readers just stopping in for the Civil War tie-in might be surprised by the quality of what they read.

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3
Ultimate Fantastic Four #30

Jun 5, 2006

UFF breaks what I call the "Ultimate mold" by implementing short, explosive arcs that allow character development to fall by the wayside. It's so un-decompressed that there's no breathing room. The story is so over-the-top that nothing can be taken seriously. Millar has some fascinating ideas, but the frantic pace doesn't allow any of them to be fully explored before he moves on to the next BIG thing. Ultimate Fantastic Four #30 is a mess of an issue of a severely overrated title, and could very well prompt me to drop an Ultimate title from my pull list for the first time.

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8
Ultimate Spider-Man #95

Jun 8, 2006

Ultimate Spider-Man #95 is another well-balanced issue that covers all bases and themes of the title; it's a day in the life of the man behind the mask, with just the right amount of webslinging on the side.

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8
Ultimate Spider-Man #97

Jul 17, 2006

Ultimate Spider-Man #97, part one of "Clone Saga," contains a strong, tight plot, and although the art is a slight disappointment, Bendis and Bagley are nevertheless on pace to hit the landmark 100th and 103rd issues with the highest level of excitement and drama seen thus far in the series. A clone might just turn out to be Spidey's heaviest boulder yet.

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9
Ultimate Spider-Man #98

Aug 4, 2006

It remains to be seen what bringing Gwen Stacy back will mean for the series, but it could certainly help rejuvenate interest in USM. The frenetic pace of issue #98 combined with the plethora of cameos, including a hilarious exchange between Reed Richards and Nick Fury, makes Clone Saga out to be the most epic Ultimate Spider-Man storyline yet. Its almost like the season finale of a television show; everything has been building up to this moment, and if the last page is any indication, things will only get worse for the wall-crawler in the next few months.

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7
Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #2

Aug 15, 2006

In the end, Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #2 is a rather by-the-books action story. Its still perfectly enjoyable, but pales in comparison to the novelty of last years edition. However, its worth mentioning that the conclusion is much more intriguing and open-ended than I expected. Daredevils final words could very well be the launching bad for a story possibility that has me frothing at the mouth. After a somewhat predictable and ho-hum wrap-up to the action, its a real treat to hear the genesis of what will hopefully be the upcoming Bendis/Marc Silvestri project Marvel has been teasing.

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8
Wolverine (2003) #43

Jul 7, 2006

Two issues in, Guggenheim and Ramos have convinced me that they "get" the character of Wolverine. The script and art mesh well, and the storyline sheds some light on a darker, forgotten side of the conflict. A few factors keep the book from being truly great, but Wolverine #43 is nonetheless an enjoyable read and worth checking out.

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7
Wolverine Origins #2

May 22, 2006

"Clean-cut" is a perfect description of the entire presentation, actually. Everything from the glossy cover design to the simple panel arrangements to the recap pages makes the title very aesthetically pleasing. Overall, it's a great looking comic book. It's got a tight, exciting script, clean, expressive art, and it's all wrapped up in a shiny, glossy cover. A lack of focus was definitely a problem with the first issue, but Origins #2 begins to add some depth to Wolverine's troubled past and his current struggle to come to terms with it.

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4
X-Men: Phoenix - Warsong #1

Sep 10, 2006

If you loved Grant Morrisons New X-Men and want to see if his lingering ideas and subplots can become even more convoluted, look no further. If you need help falling asleep, look no further. Otherwise, you shouldnt feel bad about passing on Phoenix: Warsong #1.

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