Shaun Manning's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comics Bulletin Reviews: 159
7.1Avg. Review Rating

5.0
1602: New World #2

Sep 7, 2005

Moviegoers will quickly point out that sequels seldom surpass the original, particularly when a new director takes the helm. It must be said, though, that in the world of comics there occasionally arises a spin-off or continuation that challenges its source material in greatness. 1602: New World is not that sequel, but it is encouraging that Marvel is revisiting the concepts. Just as Sandman, another Neil Gaiman classic, took several mediocre Sandman Presents series to give birth to the dazzling Lucifer, Marvel will no doubt find some amazing talent to restore the 1602 franchise to glory. Until then, fans will have to choose whether to paddle through the dross or set sail for more exotic lands.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
52 #1

May 14, 2006

Promising start? Promising start. If the writers and artists can keep this train on track and deliver this exceptional level of excitement every week, 52 will be one of DCs greatest landmarks. Its no easy task, but the creative team is certainly capable of doing wonders. Im very keen to see how this one evolves.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
A1 Big Issue Zero #1

Aug 29, 2004

Scheduling is a bit of a tricky matter for this series, as it seems issue one isnt due out until January. Worth the wait, certainly, but a strange little project like this, in a market unkind to anthologies, might do better to take advantage of any momentum it can generate. The interim will see several other Atomeka projects, notably this weeks Bricktop by Glen Fabry, but continuity within a single series is nevertheless quite desirable. Still, the work is strong, there are some big-name creators attached and some classic characters returning the ether, so perhaps A1 has a chance after all. Have to say, though, that it deserves much more.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Action Comics #838

May 8, 2006

"Up, Up, and Away," spanning four months of Action Comics and Superman, entertains but thus far fails to dazzle. It's an intriguing concept, turned over and examined from some compelling angles, but loses its way in incidental conflicts. As a result, it feels as though very little is at stake. This is, after all, a story about Superman's loss and rediscovery of his powers, and as such, it never feels as though Clark is in any real danger from his nuclear-powered foes. Even Lex Luthor and his nefarious schemes feels dampened by the ridiculous Toyman. Further, Lex's machinations, while chock full of blunt-trauma scientific villainry, don't seem that evil. All said, though, the story of Clark Kent experiencing vulnerable humanity for one full year is a tale worth telling, and might yet still pick up steam in the second half.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Adventures of Bio Boy #1

Sep 25, 2005

Disclaimer: Readers of Silverbulletcomicbooks.com: this book is probably not for you. Its for your kids, or younger siblings, or anyone youd like to get started on comics that may not be ready for more "mature" titles (like All-Star Batman & Robin). Adventures of Bio Boy is kid-friendly without talking down; it is witty without giving the wink-wink to parents. Bio Boy contains just the right level of absurdity, more than most adults can handle but not quite enough for the rest, just the exact amount of foolishness to appeal to early teens who may be bored of action and funny animal cartoons but still eager to accept animation as a hip medium. But then, this is not animation (not yetsomebody get on this!), this is comics, and comics have to work a bit harder to reach their audience. If Speakeasy can place this comic in non-traditional outlets, like Hot Topic, this may be the next hit among the black t-shirt set.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Age of Bronze #21

Nov 3, 2005

This is perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Age of Bronze: the comic is a retelling of these stories for a new audience, in much the same way the original tales have been passed down through generations. The tradition continues; what form will Odysseus and Achilles take next?

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Age of Bronze #22

Feb 2, 2006

Shanower's adaptation of the Trojan War has a ring of authenticity about it, as much of the dialogue reads like a translation of Homer. Unlike Homer's epics, Age of Bronze proceeds chronologically, which should aide readers who want a good story but don't want to feel like they're in a classroom. Those already enamored of the Illiad and the Odyssey will find Shanower's take a worthy addition.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #2

Sep 22, 2005

As comics have begun to diversify and reach out to broader audiences, there has emerged a series to fit nearly every taste. There are comics to excite, comics to titillate, comics to ponder, comics as soap opera, comics as comedy, comics as social satire, and a million other bloody things. But, man, there arent many comics that are just fun-fun-fun, that leave you feeling just happy to have read them. All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder is shaping up to be such comic.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
All-Star Superman #1

Nov 20, 2005

It would be foolish not to trust Grant Morrison to deliver a momentous story, but this is far from his strongest start.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
American Virgin #1

Mar 13, 2006

Relevant and topical in ways you'd least expect, this is a book that will appeal to those who loved the movie Saved! for all the right reasons, and also inspire a meditative moment in anyone who regularly reads the newspaper. Thoughtful and poignant, Seagle and Cloonan's American Virgin is the next great success from Vertigo.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Annihilation: Prologue #1

Mar 12, 2006

As a prologue, this should do wonders to build anticipation for the four miniseries to follow. So long as the future installments remember to provide readers with a more solid point of empathy for the alien characters, Annihilation may well bring back the wonder of cosmic comics.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1

Apr 10, 2006

Cosmic threats work best when they are immense, almost beyond understanding; cosmic heroes work best when they can only just comprehend the evil they are fighting, and charge in anyway. Within the larger context of the Annihilation event, Silver Surfer is a powerful and compelling look at one hero's struggle against incomprehensible evil, and the struggle within his own soul. Giffen and Arlem turn in a top-notch first issue, a rock-solid foundation for the rest of the miniseries and Annihilation as a whole.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #2

May 12, 2006

Civil War or interstellar war, whichever side you're on, Marvel is currently running two phenomenal events. Annihilation continues to surprise with its diverse styles and engaging characters. It'll take just a slight increase in thrills to push Super-Skrull through the roof, and issue two's final page suggests Javi and Titus are about to really let loose.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Anthem #1

Feb 13, 2006

The history of the Anthemverse has been laid out in fine detail, so there's no further need for feature-length exposition. By now (we hope) someone has sorted what went wrong in production. I'm rooting for this book. Here's hoping issue #2 makes it work.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
ArmorX #1

Mar 6, 2005

Bravo to all involved for tackling such a daring subjectyouve given a gift to readers that have grown bored of edgy.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Astonishing X-Men #1

Jun 2, 2004

This weeks special Two Fingers Award goes out to retailers who thought it would be fun to charge $30 and up for the variant covers on Big Wednesday. At least a few Chicago shoppers will get the reference (you down with GCC? yeah you know me!). Free market and all that, theyre entitled to charge what they want, but asking $30 for a comic they ordered at $1.50 isnt likely to inspire customer loyalty.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Astonishing X-Men #6

Nov 7, 2004

Those still waiting for Whedon to turn up the pressure will likely be disappointed by the conclusion of his first arc. With a rich history and a huge stable of characters to work with, it is pretty astonishing that the writer hasnt been able to accomplish more with the tools hes been given. Still, its hard not to get excited at the possibilities to come, at the near certainty that this is merely the prelude. And if this is the best it gets, Astonishing X-Men will still be an incredibly solid X-book, with snappy dialogue unrivalled in its uncanny and adjectiveless contemporaries.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Astonishing X-Men #13

Feb 19, 2006

Astonishing X-Men has everything going for it; everything except plot. Its obvious Whedon knows these characters, how they think and speak and act; now hes just got to find something interesting to do with them.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Authority: Revolution #8

May 23, 2005

With the flak DC has taken over its handling of the Authority, its good to see Ed Brubaker and Dustin Nguyen bringing some dignity back to the series. Whether or not it will please fans of the Ellis and Millar runs is far from a sure bet, but Authority: Revolution does surpass JLA in superhero action and characterization, and because these characters fates are not set in stone the stakes are higher, engaging readers in a way the Justice League has not for some time.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Avengers (1998) #502

Sep 26, 2004

While fans are up in arms about the plight of Earths Mightiest Heroes, Brian Michael Bendis has done what no writer has been able to do priorget me to care about the Avengers. There have been other enormously talented writers on the series (Chuck Austen notwithstanding), writers that I really enjoy in other contexts, but as a team the Avengers just never did it for me. This is even more strange considering that usually I dont care for Bendiss work. Score one for Disassembled, but no promises for the Avengers relaunch.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Bad Planet #1

Dec 12, 2005

Fans of alien kink, big explosions, NASA, The Seduction of Innocents, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (in order of appearance or reference) will get a serious kick out of Bad Planet. And who among us doesnt fit into one of those categories?

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Batman Strikes #20

Apr 24, 2006

The Batman Strikes! is a light, fast-paced story that should appeal to fans of the cartoon and young readers looking to get into comics for the first time. A marked difference between this comic and the main line Batman titles is that here the Dark Knight seems to be having a right good time of things. He grins regularly, banters with villains, and spryly leaps into action. This Batman is fun.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Black Harvest #4

Mar 23, 2006

Black Harvest is a fun blend of horror and sci-fi, whose sexy protagonist is a disturbing and violent enigma. One part X-Files, two parts Carrie, Black Harvest hits the markbut don't blink, or you'll miss it completely.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Black Panther (2005) #1

Jan 30, 2005

Given Marvels pride in decompression and cinematic storytelling, its actually refreshing how much Hudlin manages to get into this first issue. There are three extended flashbacks, two or three villainous interludes, and the amusing episode of the American diplomats. The only thing not in this issue, as has already been mentioned, is the titular hero. The series should still be approached with trepidation, however, since this is going to be a six-issue origin story, and most of these get really boring around issue three. Still, the first issue is solid, which is a lot more than can be said for many cinematic comics.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Blood & Water #1

Mar 15, 2003

Fans of Dave Eggers, or the aforementioned television epic, should find lots to smile about in Blood + Water. Its irreverent without being juvenile, and tragic without being overwrought. The dialogue is fluid and fresh, and the artwork is a kick. If only something could be done about that damn cover

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Blood & Water #2

Apr 15, 2003

Blood + Water is shaping up to be nice vampire tale, but altogether forgettable to all but the most diehard Anne Rice goth kids. Judd Winick has created some compelling characters with realistic dialogue but still has not transcended a genre that demands innovation to stay fresh. With three issues to go, he could very well turn the book around, but the slow start may already have cost him readership and, possibly, any hope of acclaim he might hoped to have gained from the series. As with many Vertigo titles, its entirely possible that the series will read better as a trade paperback than as a monthly, and the finished product could indeed rock the world. One has to ask, then, why DC would bother with the serialized story at all, when both readers and creators would be better served by drinking Blood + Water in through one rich vein.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Blue Beetle #1

Apr 3, 2006

A fun, lively story with a touch of high drama, Blue Beetle overcomes its faults to emerge as a valuable addition to DC's lineup. Beautifully illustrated by Cully Hamner, this series is definitely one to watch.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Books of Magick: Life During Wartime #1

Jul 15, 2004

Design criticism notwithstanding, this is a very exciting book. Si Spencer may not be a familiar name, but Neil Gaiman is, and Mr. Spencer gives evidence of carrying his own weight. Ormstons visuals are gruesome and foreboding, yet still beautifully convey the mixed up lives of young punks. Like recent successes Swamp Thing, Y: The Last Man, and The Losers, Life During Wartime continues the Vertigo resurgence, returning the line to its roots of sophisticated horror.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Captain Atom: Armageddon #1

Oct 24, 2005

The strength of this series is the concept of a familiar hero in a world that will be familiar to (some) readers but is not known to the hero himself. Its a good idea, and its been done well with Majestic coming to DC and, more recently, Superman and Batman visiting the Elseworlds of Batman Beyond and Mark Millars Red Son. If, however, the entire miniseries is going to be Captain Atom fighting a series of Wildstorms elite over mistaken identity, the novelty of the book will wear off well before the final, ninth issue hits shelves. Frankly, I dont expect thats what this series will be about; Pfeifer is a good enough writer to know better. Its only a shame we couldnt see more in the way of mysterious developments and less of two muscleheads pounding it out in the premiere.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Common Foe #1

Sep 5, 2005

Those expecting a good laugh from everything Keith Giffen touches will be disappointed; those who expect a good read will not. Giffen and Shannon Denton have started off their war tale exactly how it should begin: with wanton carnage, senseless death, and inimitable feats of courage. Add in a bit of mystery and the hint of ancient evil, and things start to swirl nicely. If Giffen, Denton, and Dzialowski can follow it up with some decent characterization over the next few issues, they can officially celebrate their success in two difficult genres.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Concrete: The Human Dilemma #1

Jan 3, 2005

Concrete is best read by those who enjoy big ideas, exploring and debating the merits of choosing one course or the other. Still, there is enough of the down-to-earth soap opera in The Human Dilemma to appeal to readers who might just be looking for a quirky story.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Cthulhu Tales #1

May 9, 2006

Boom!'s Cthulhu Tales does a fantastic job of blending the human with the monstrous in just the right proportions, because, after all, the scariest thing is not to see a demon but to not know a demon when you see one.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Day of Vengeance Infinite Crisis Special #1

Jan 13, 2006

Basically, this issue rocked, and now anything can happen.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
DC Comics Presents Superman #1

Aug 8, 2004

The second tale looks at the dangers of drug abuse, la the Adams-ONeal Speedy on Crack issue of Green Lantern. The tale is more modern in that it focuses on steroid abuse, a topic very much in the news with the Olympics coming up, but is told with all the nuance and subtlety of a D.A.R.E. giveaway comic. It has a Silver Age ring to it, but is somehow less effective in bridging the generation gap. Still, since this issue will probably be the most-read DCP by younger readers, its probably not a bad idea to squeeze in a wholesome message.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Dead Men Tell No Tales #1

Jun 12, 2005

Back when John Ostrander regularly spoke through Captain Boomerang in the pages of Suicide Squad, some kind soul eventually took the care to tell the writer that, yes, Australians do say things like corr, barbie, and strewthbut not all in the same sentence. There is a danger with any dialect scripting to lay things on a bit thick, but the temptation to write pirates using a five-phrase vocabulary is particularly pervasive, and Arcanas Dead Men Tell No Tales falls deeply into the trap. Still, bolstered by eye-catching art and a few story gems, DMTNT will prove amusing to those jonesing for some pirate hack-and-slash action.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Dead@17: Revolution #3

Feb 25, 2005

With a lively cast of characters, a youthful sensibility, and a unique take on Revelations, Josh Howards Dead@17: Revolution is one of the years best unexpected treats so far.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Defenders (2005) #1

Jul 24, 2005

Is this book funny? Well, sure. Is it BWA-HA-HA funny? Not yet, but its getting there. Its possible the dilution of the Giffen-DeMatteis brand comes from the fact that fans have come to expect a certain thing from this team, and the writers are trying to play into it, whereas with their original stint on Justice League it was just two guys writing the Justice League who were allowed to do whatever they wanted. Even revisiting the same characters in the recent DC miniseries, there was a large sense of self-tribute rather than freewheeling invention. Doesnt mean it wasnt damn funny, but it was a bit less true. Here, a new set of characters forcing them to set up new relationships and conflicts while still keeping the laughter alive, the gathering the troops issue of Defenders tries to pack a lot in and mostly succeeds. If these guys had more than five issues, they may work wonders on the friendships and rivalries of a team never meant to come together, and eventually mold t

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Desolation Jones #3

Sep 19, 2005

Fans introduced to the mind of Warren Ellis through the writer's work on JLA: Classified or Iron Man may be put off by the not only "adult" but in fact extremely disturbing themes tackled in Desolation Jones; readers of Transmetropolitan should have no trouble adapting. Jones isn't the best thing Ellis has ever produced, not even for this month (see: Fell), but it is good for an off-kilter smile.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Desolation Jones #5

Jan 24, 2006

Ellis has a way with dialogue, and dropping in details that will shock you with subtle horror (in case the Hitler porn thing isn't upsetting enough). Between Desolation Jones and Fell, Ellis is doing some terrific work, and has teamed with phenomenal artists. If Nextwave turns out to be any good, people might have to start taking the old codger seriously.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Dirtboy #1

Sep 2, 2005

But meditating even this deeply is missing the point of Dirt Boy. Its meant to be fun, and it is.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Dracula vs. King Arthur #1

Jul 1, 2005

It is always encouraging when an unknown creative team, publishing their own work, just gets it right. Dracula vs. King Arthur is a quality, compelling comic despite itself, melding two rich, historical legends that should never have anything to do with each other into a fresh yet familiar tale.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Empire #1

Aug 2, 2003

Again, hunt down number zero or the collector edition original printings. Theyre great fun, and provide the best primer on what this world is about and what its leaders are capable of. Imagine a second term for GWB and youll have a small insight into the horror of Empire.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Ex Machina #4

Sep 25, 2004

Brian K. Vaughn has dethroned himself, as Ex Machina now surpasses Y: The Last Man as the all-around best comic out there. In both books, the heroes get themselves into stupid situations, ignore the obvious solutions, and still save the day with style and heart. These are intensely likeable characters. The dialogue is smart, the art expressive, and the stories fantastic but literate. Most impressive is Vaughns skill at misdirection, or possibly mis-misdirection, which is the beauty of it: until the next issue hits the stands, you dont know where the story is goingbut your head works overtime trying out the possibilities.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Ex Machina #6

Nov 21, 2004

This issue is an excellent jumping-on point for new readers, as very little background is required to understand these events. Indeed, those who have been reading since issue one will only have a bit more knowledge of the characters at this point. With a collected edition of #1-5 on the way, now is the time to start reading Ex Machina monthly. Its one of comics greatest treats.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Exiles #22

Feb 10, 2003

This one felt a bit like a futuristic space adventure film, which can be good but is not everybody's cup of tea. Like these space dramas, it contains (or may contain) roughly obscured social commentary and, like these odysseys, can only be resolved by a rather coarse deus ex machina. The nature of the series is that it has something for everyone, and different stories will strike chords with different readers. For those who read and enjoyed X-Men at the height of the Legacy Virus scare, perhaps this would be a more intriguing tale. Those with only spotty knowledge of X-Men lore won't be lost, as the pertinent details are nicely presented, but it will inevitably carry less weight. The introduction of a new member at the end of the issue offers excellent opportunity for a new team dynamic, and should restore some momentum to this excellent book.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Expatriate #4

Jan 26, 2006

Expatriate is strongest when it catches the reader off-guard, and it does so frequently. A fascinating mix of sci-fi and espionage, this series shows a lot of potential. Finding its human anchor could well make Expatriate a blockbuster.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Fables #28

Aug 15, 2004

After the crashing pace of the last few story arcs, it may be worth a flashback tale breather. In other issues focusing on the Fables history, however, an element of mystery and fantasy skittered through each tale, shedding light on who the characters are and how they came to be. Here, however, this magic is all but absent. Perhaps next issue will redeem all, but the issue on its own is the weakest of the series.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Fallen Angel #2

Jan 30, 2006

Issue 3 will be the make-or-break for Fallen Angel; plenty of Shocking Revelations have cropped up around the haunted woman, now it's time for her to command attention or be forever swept aside.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Fear Agent #1

Oct 23, 2005

Where will all this go? For all of this reviews pseudo-intellectual posturing, its unclear whether the universal food chain will play a large role in this series. As of the first issue, all thats really clear is that this is an space adventure comic, and since that sort of thing seems to be experiencing a revival of sorts, that may be enough. But if the creators let the true gem shine, there are some really great possibilities for Fear Agent. Stay tuned.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Fell #1

Sep 12, 2005

Part of Ellis's intention with this series was to create an affordable comic book in which each issue would be self-contained. Fell #1 passes both of these tests, $1.99 for a mystery opened and solved. Plus, it's a really fun read, so there's that going for it. Add to that a visual style that will appeal to just about everyone, and Fell becomes a very attractive little book.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Flash (1987) #200

Aug 2, 2003

Unlike some recent throwaway anniversary issues (Action #800 comes immediately to mind, and Green Lantern #150 left a bit to be desired), Flash #200 promises permanent changes that should resonate through his appearances in JLA and other titles. While creating a number of logistical problems, the new direction for Wally and the Flash ought to provide ample material for intriguing new conflict, perhaps even the classic Lois/Clark/Superman-esque love triangle. The next few issue will define more clearly the new boundaries and opportunities for storytelling, but with a writer whos proven he knows how to throw fans for a loop while keeping things believable, readers will be in for an excellent ride.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Flash (1987) #201

Sep 1, 2003

The Flash, month after month, is a book worth reading. This one is a bit sour in that theres none of the optimism, or energy, or love that transformed the Flash from being a guy who runs really fast into a character worth caring about. But this is something different. It is a prelude, and it is a prelude that ends with hope rather than fear. Perhaps, after a run that has invoked tragedy after tragedy, Geoff Johnss bleakest issue marks the beginning of great triumph.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Formerly Known As The Justice League #2

Aug 7, 2003

Who needs the Big Seven when you can have lechers from the future, conniving businessman cyborgs, and melodramatic space villains? While it would take more than six issues to capture the magic absurdity of the original JLI in its full magnitude, FKATJL is a satisfying taste for a community that has been without for far too long. And, heaping happiness upon fortune, a second mini is already planned. Support your local nonprofit superhero team! Looking at the exploits of the characters involved, they can really use your help.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Freshmen #3

Oct 10, 2005

Freshmen captures the fun, adventure, and rich characterization of Buffy the Vampire Slayer while offering a unique take on the superhero genre. If you've never read a comic with a talking beaver, an overweight seductress, an earthquake-inducing man of God, and a hero who can cause intoxication with his breath, you really ought to be reading Freshmen.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Generation M #1

Nov 27, 2005

The entertainment value of Generation M is a sum-of-its-parts kind of thing. Its got a couple strikes against it, but the story carries the day. The post-HoM Marvel universe has so much to explore and so many facets to examine. Generation M takes on the political and social ramifications of M Day, and cannot help but satisfy.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Green Arrow (2001) #23

Apr 15, 2003

Despite big names and high sales, the Green Arrow title has always felt a bit uneven since its resurrection at the hands of Kevin Smith and company. Its been as though the plot was solid, compelling, but something lacked in the delivery. When novelist Brad Meltzer took over the writing chores for six issues, he delivered a clean, continuity-rich tale, but one riddled with clunky dialogue and ugly plot holes. Looking ahead, the next writer, Judd Winick, has proven himself on titles like Barry Ween, Green Lantern, and Exiles, as well as the Pulitzer-nominated graphic novel, Pedro and Me. He will either follow the trend of scribes not living up to their talent, or break the flow and stun and amaze us all. Maybe well catch a little preview in next weeks Green Lantern #162, part two of Black Circle. For now, for the next six weeks and three issues of Green Arrow, there is Ben Raab, a relative newcomer to the industry, and his greenness shows. Its great to foster new talent, allow it t

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Green Arrow (2001) #44

Nov 26, 2004

Although Green Arrow has never been the most fascinating or compelling superhero, his series has maintained a certain edge, engaging the reader through solid characterization. When the current series began, screenwriter and director Kevin Smith brought Oliver Queen back to life and carried the book through over-the-top action; he was followed by mystery novelist Brad Meltzer, who added depth to the father-son dynamic between Ollie and former protg Roy Harper and Ollie's real son Conner Hawke. Under Judd Winick, however, the book has really flourished, with a depth of feeling and emotion unrivalled in other superhero books. Hester and Parks have been along for the whole ride, lending visual consistency and defining these characters for the current generation. This arc is a fitting finale for the art team, as it will certainly be their most important work to date. Good job, all, and thank you.

View Issue       View Full Review
2.0
Green Lantern (1990) #157

Dec 21, 2002

This issue ought to prove to any mainstream readers who picked up Green Lantern after all the media attention that, yes, comic books really are that silly. For those who read the book regularly, this issue gives many reasons to cherish the excellent characterization and dead-on relationship dialogue that monthly writer Judd Winick brings to the title. In a story that closely resembles Ben Raab's The Ring short from the GL Secret Files and Origins, Jay Faerber has managed to do less with more material. The situation could make for a great story, as chance meetings of past and present loves do happen. The idea that they should part as friends isn't so exceptional, but the story as presented should not get them to that point.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Green Lantern: Rebirth #2

Nov 28, 2004

No doubt there will be an eventual collected edition of this miniseries, but with DC the lag time is never certain. And since the publisher has gone out of its way to make sure you can get these early issues, the least you can do is buy them. Wouldnt want to be left behind once the ongoing starts, right?

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Green Lantern: Rebirth #3

Dec 26, 2004

This miniseries is Green Lantern at its finest, full of devastating battles, ancient menaces, and the raw power of human potential. Rebirth works on every level, and should please fans of Green Lanterns past and present.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Green Lantern: Rebirth #6

May 15, 2005

For fans of Hal Jordan, this is vindication. For enthusiasts of the Green Lantern Corps, this is a resurrection. Whichever Lantern a reader favors, Green Lantern: Rebirth has featured enough action and assortment of heroes to satisfy all tastes. While some may regret that Kyle will no longer star in the regular title, he seems to be keeping busy in this weeks Rann/Thanagar War and the forthcoming Corps mini.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Harry Johnson #1

Oct 3, 2004

All that said, this is an incredibly well-produced comic book for an indy. Very good paper, quality artists (even if a good deal of the art is cheesecake), and even lettering and color done by pros. Mr. Fulp has also done a phenomenal job marketing his product, taking out ads in Wizard and distributing full-color flyers to retailers. And it should sell. If Comedy Centrals The Man Show and the recent X-Box/PS2 release The Guy Game have taught us anything, its that theres an audience for everything, and Harry Johnson in particular.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars #1

Oct 30, 2005

A simple but amusing book, Hatter M: Looking Glass Wars should appeal to fans of all things Alice and devotees of Ben Templesmiths art.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars #2

Mar 14, 2006

As a nineteenth-century globetrotter, Hatter Madigan is a fascinating lead, as his obliquely-mentioned adventures in Looking Glass Wars give him an enormous depth of stories. The first two issues have been grand, and I am very much looking forward to seeing to where he lands next.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Hellblazer #217

Feb 20, 2006

Hellblazer has long benefited from top-shelf writers taking four or five years to leave their mark on the character. With Denise Mina, who has cast her fortune as a novelist but is new to comics, Vertigo is taking a chance with one of its prize characters. The comic-book medium has recently received an influx of prose and film writers taking on high-profile projects, and many of these have shown that skill in writing can transcend structure of delivery. But not always. Here, Mina crafts an eerie tale of ancient curses and modern hubris, a worthy addition to the Legend of Constantine. If she can smooth out the rough patches in the panel-to-panel storytelling, this could be a fantastic run.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Hellblazer #218

Mar 27, 2006

When John Constantine made his debut all those years ago in the pages of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, the tag line for that title was "Sophisticated Suspense." Under novelist Denise Mina's pen and complimented by Manco's moody illustrations, Hellblazer may again live up to that promise.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Hellblazer Special: Lady Constantine #1

Dec 24, 2002

Fans of Hellblazer, or even of Sandman, could do worse than to pick up this miniseries. It's an intriguing, if not quite compelling, look into the history of the Constantine lineage, and includes a few treats for anyone versed in the Vertigo mythology.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
House Of M #1

Jun 6, 2005

Those Marvel fans who absolutely must know what's going on with the Avengers and X-Men (which could well cover a large percentage of readership) won't be able to pass up House of M. And if the miniseries delivers on its promises of longstanding changes to core characters, most fans will want to know how those changes came about. So, sales success is built in, regardless of content. And, if other Bendis titles are any indication, it's possible M will pick up momentum next issue or the following. But a first issue should hook, and this one doesn't. For those too eager to wait for the trade, it may at least pay off to wait for issue one's second print: it will have the same weak story and mediocre art, but at least it will sport a more impressive gatefold cover.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
How to Self-Publish Comics: Vol. 1 #1

Feb 20, 2006

Comics are a strange medium in that a disproportionate number of readers would also like to be creators. Josh Blaylock's How to Self Publish Comics... Not Just Create Them #1 offers a very solid primer on industry basics, succinct enough to allow quick and easy reference. The guide is by no means comprehensive, but it provides enough info for the serious creator to learn what she still needs to learn.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Identity Crisis #1

Jun 9, 2004

While the victims death is unlikely to set the comic book world afire, Identity Crisis has become in just one issue the most compelling mainstream superhero book of 2004.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Identity Crisis #2

Jul 18, 2004

While there are five issues left to prove that this was not frivolous after all, the writers haste to expose the big secret has caused a potentially stirring revelation to instead reek of cheap sensationalism.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Identity Crisis #4

Sep 19, 2004

That said, Identity Crisis is bloody hard to put down, and not many readers will be dropping out halfway into the story. It is a good story, even if the execution isnt dead-on. Further, the mystery is compelling, and, morbid souls that comic readers are, weve got to see who gets it next. And if Meltzer gets away with offing the prize he promises on the last page of this issue (heres a hint: he wont), Crisis will propel itself far beyond its promises. Heres hoping.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Identity Crisis #7

Dec 19, 2004

For all this, the final issue of Identity Crisis is effective in establishing the new status quo of the DC superhero community. It is clear how the events of this series will reverberate through these heroes lives, as fundamental relationships are tested to the point of breaking. There were no big deaths, as some fans had predicted and clamored for, but the victims of this series have the potential to disrupt things to a far greater degree than the death of, say, a Green Lantern or Wonder Woman. Because Sue Dibny and Jack Drake will not return in any six-part miniseries, because they did not put their lives on the line fighting crime, because there was no sidekick waiting to fill their boots. The power of Identity Crisis was the very human sense of loss, permanent loss, in a world of gods where nothing is forever.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Infinite Crisis #1

Oct 16, 2005

DC has described Infinite Crisis as its universess darkest day, and they werent exaggerating. But the publisher has just as loudly proclaimed that a good day is coming, and there are moments in this issue to inspire hope. With stakes set so high in only the first issue, Infinite Crisis is that rare event that cannot help but live up to its hype.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Infinite Crisis #6

Apr 9, 2006

For the first time in recent memory, a mega-event lives up to the hype, and the cascading effects generate new excitement. Infinite Crisis succeeds on every level.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Jeremiah Harm #1

Feb 16, 2006

As advertised on the cover of this ish, Keith Giffen is quite the busy guy, right in the thick of both DC's 52 and Marvel's Annihilation. But that's not all. Just at Boom! Studios, he's got 10, Planetary Brigade, the upcoming Hero Squared ongoing, and stories in Zombie Tales and Cthulhu Tales. Plus, he's co-writing Blue Beetle at DC with John Rogers and penning the Silver Surfer miniseries at Marvel. The man's got a lot on his plate. And so far, he seems to be holding up quite well. With old compatriot Alan Grant on the assist, Giffen's banged out another fun book, and another success for Boom!

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
JLA #78

Feb 27, 2003

Joe Kellys JLA has been hit or miss, although readers are not always in agreement as to which issues succeed and which fail. This issue, to venture an opinion, is a disaster, about as far from the target of a strong Justice League adventure as one could get. Uninspired concept, wasted potential, and missed opportunities for character development render this issue utterly forgettable. The theme of the issue echoes Supermans truth, justice, and the American way, but for many readers will come across as been there, done that. Repeatedly.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
JLA #109

Dec 12, 2004

A brief list of ingredients: JLA. Crime Syndicate. Qward. Krona. Reality-warping. Busiek. Garney. So why isnt this more fun to read? Perhaps the spices were not added in proper proportions. Maybe the meat is over-cooked. While there are some savory bits in the current Justice League story, for the most part readers will find this arc alternately spongy and dry.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
JLA #123

Dec 18, 2005

From a fans perspective, there are myriad reasons for a JLAbut not everyone wants the same thing from DCs flagship team title. From a heros perspective, though, the Justice League must serve each members established goals of creating a better world. Even if such a goal would justify the existence of the alliance, however, this does not necessarily mean that the requisite teamwork is possible to make the League work. After Identity Crisis, that is the status quo, and that is the issue the first few installments of World Without a Justice League set out to address. While it is not desirable to have just a bunch of costumed do-gooders talking about their problems for five issues, it would be nice if the B-plot more directly represented the conflicts within the JLA. With the arc more than half way over, the Keys rampage does not appear to fulfill that role. Tying everything in at the end is not the same as having an underlying theme present throughout, and its really looki

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
JLA Classified #4

Feb 20, 2005

This league needs its own series. Seriously. The world is ready for it, again. Giffen and JMD are getting other projects, like the Hero Squared special at Atomeka and Marvels Defenders miniseries, but they shine best with this set of characters. Who knows why. The jokes are stronger, the timing is more precise, and the interaction is more natural. Its unfortunate that miniseries often cant get multiple plots rolling, which in turn stunts character development. Yes, characters should develop, even when theyre funny, and this team did grow throughout their glorious run in the 1980s. With the success of Formerly Known As and now this follow-up in JLA: Classified, it looks as though DCs powers-that-be are considering a revival. Make it happen.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
JLA Classified #7

May 23, 2005

No one quite knows whats in Guys pot

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
JLA Classified #9

Jul 3, 2005

Well, that was fun. Even with the distraction of these characters' appearances in DC's "event" books, Giffen and DeMatteis have plowed out a story that forces a smile onto our grim faces. Be warned, though: following this up by reading OMAC #3 will send a chill down your spine.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
JLA Classified #10

Aug 1, 2005

For a project that the writer has described as a grudging obligation, JLA: Classified #10 is a remarkably fun read. No, it's not as innovative (at least so far) as Ellis's creator-owned work, but the man can tell a story, and having the anchor of familiar characters allows for a quicker pace since Ellis does not have to spend an issue explaining the situation and who the players are. The art style, too, is reminiscent of the best in animation, with vibrant colors and heavy inks playing off each other to set a mood "just so." This is one of those rare comics that hits its mark on every level.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
JLA/Spectre: Soul War #1

Jan 23, 2003

Overall, Soul War was a pleasant surprise, not flawless by any means but quite enjoyable. There remains the possibility, however, that issue two could tank the whole enterprise, but the first half of the story gives strong reasons for optimism.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
JLA/Spectre: Soul War #2

Mar 4, 2003

And so on. The Spectre is a terrific device to examine spirituality and metaphysics in the DCU, but, as written, more often than not simply reeks of pretension and false intellectualism. If the above excerpt sounds at all intriguing (and it may, for those not familiar with the offal that surrounds it), dont doubt that it wont when repeated about a thousand times in various permutations without ever examining on a deeper level what exactly its trying to say. Its easy to sound profound (oh, how easy it is!), but if DeMatteis indeed has a grasp of the concepts he wishes to explore, he fails in conveying this understanding to the reader. This implies that either he does not trust his audience with more than a shallow lecture in his divine philosophy or, worse, the prophet himself doesnt know what hes preaching.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Jovas Harvest #1

Sep 18, 2005

Jova's Harvest will likely resonate with fans of apocalyptic anime, Star Wars, and the Bible. In the midst of a worlds-spanning adventure between good and evil, the true intrigue begins when those labels lose meaning and the characters must choose their own paths. Creator Steve Uy has the foundations here for a grand epic.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
JSA: Classified #2

Aug 28, 2005

There are seeds, here, of a good story. Heroes from the future, who may or may not have sent one of their own to protect our era; covert government agents vying to find the truth only to suppress it; Superman and his extended dysfunctional family; a villain whose presence means a very certain brand of trouble. But nearly every punch here is blocked, and the roundhouse blow misses by a mile. Readers want to know Power Girls origin, and they want it to be a blockbuster. Here, though, what is meant as plot-thickening mystery and misdirection instead comes across as jerking the reader around. At some point, fans may just decide to cut their losses and choose to believe in the Silver Age story that PG is Supermans cousin from Krypton, or even (God forbid) the more current version that shes the granddaughter of an Atlantean sorcerer. Of course, a more compelling origin is much desired, and it should not be beyond the talents of this creative team to deliver. And if Johns and Conner

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Kabuki: The Alchemy #1

Jul 23, 2004

Alchemy is not an easy read; it requires the reader to make an active effort to see whats going on. That said, its very straightforward to those willing to put forth the effort. David Mack is not Grant Morrison, making an effort to line every word and image with skull-shattering subtext and fever-dream paranoia. There are layers of allegory to Kabuki, but they are optional. Most importantly, Kabuki is rewarding. Its a beautiful book, with a touching story based in a fascinating culture. With a brand new beginning in The Alchemy, this is a perfect opportunity for new readers to experience a truly unique comic.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Lucifer #33

Dec 25, 2002

This issue of Lucifer can be enjoyed even by those who know nothing of what has gone before. It is an excellent bridge into Vertigo for the casual or non-comics reader, and should inspire more than a few people to pick up the Lucifer collected editions. For those who have been following the adventures of the Morningstar, the issue should provide much to look forward to down the line, when Carey begins to wrap up the universe he has created.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Lucifer #60

Mar 20, 2005

Like Sandman before it, Lucifer is an intensely cerebral, intricately woven novel in comic book form. When John Miltons Paradise Lost first saw print, the poet fell under damning accusations that hed taken the devils side; its not hard to imagine what those critics (or their less omniscient but equally tenacious modern counterparts) would have to say about Mr. Careys epic. When read, however, with an impartial eye, it is clear that Lucifer is not the hero, but merely the protagonist. Or, rather, he may be considered a hero in the tradition of Odysseusa strong, noble character imbued with a code of honor, though not necessarily a true sense of morality. Hes inarguably intriguing, with complex motivations and a supporting cast ranging from obscure demons and forgotten gods to modern-day humans trying to cope with the end of the world. And as Lucifer, once again taking a cue from Sandman, has a planned ending, there is a sense of purpose to the story, everything building to a p

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Lucifer #68

Nov 28, 2005

Throughout its six-year run, the subtle architecture of Lucifer has woven mythology with poetry to create this incredible contest of wits staged on the largest possible playing field. Removed from the traditional context of Good vs. Evil, Lucifer is a compelling protagonist, completely self-interested without the slightest interest in anything superfluous. He has his own perspective, and a pretty convincing rationale for establishing his own creation. Every last thing action has consequences, and the Morningstar survives by outwitting his deadly opponents-and if God is in that number, well then, he'll outsmart Him, too. Next issue appears to be the climax for the entire series, with the following six issues marking a denouement. This series is a must-read for fans of gothic or biblical fiction, and this is the most exciting moment in Lucifer's long history.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Manhunter #20

Mar 28, 2006

Manhunter makes the most of the one-year leap, providing an excellent point of entry for those who may have overlooked the series before. A standout in every way, this is one title that everyone should add to their lists.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Marvel Romance Redux: But I Thought He Loved Me! #1

Feb 3, 2006

A brightly-lit world of pastels and heartthrobs burlesqued into an absurd sequence of non-sequitur and grotesquerie, MRRBUTHL will satisfy the cynical comic reader, as well as fans of improv and sketch comedy. This is the comic that will make you laugh out loud on the subway, and make fellow commuters wonder what the hell is wrong with you.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Middle Man #1

Aug 8, 2005

After the success of Josh Howards Dead@17 series, it looks like Viper Comics has another hit with The Middle Man. Javier Grillo-Marxuach has created in Wendy a perfectly likeable disaffected young woman without dropping her into the trap of the slacker stereotype. Wendy is someone youd like to hang out with, talk about nonsense as if it were important and dire news as if it were trivial. And now, your friend Wendy runs into a monster at work and winds up rescued by a man who could be just as dangerous. Its not so much that The Middle Man contains any revolutionary new concepts, but the unexpected juxtaposition and true-to-life humor carry this comic beyond the sum of its parts and into the realm of truly inspired.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Middle Man #2

Apr 3, 2006

Full of smart slapstick and ridiculously specific cultural references, Middleman is a James Bond meets Seinfeld adventure riot. Worth every penny-295 of them, plus tax.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Moon Knight #1

Apr 2, 2006

The brilliance of this issues setup is that the story can go anywhere from here: the reader knows Moon Knight will don the cowl again, but how he gets there, and what challenges await, are a complete mystery. Moon Knight #1 is a solid introduction to the character, and more importantly, leaves a reader begging to learn what happens next.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
New X-Men #139

Apr 25, 2003

Murder at the Mansion requires quite a lot of background information to appreciate fully, but luckily Marvel has been collecting Morrisons New X-Men run with commendable regularity. A large of camp of readers will no doubt be furious at the latest turn in the Phoenix-Cyclops relationship, and this is good. Kill one, kill the other, it gets old. Break a taboo, with one of the most respected and longstanding couples in comics, thats bold. It makes for good reading. And, ironically, this latest twist will likely have longer-lasting ramifications than the death of either paramour.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
New X-Men Academy X #3

Jul 23, 2004

Still, New X-Men: Academy X is a book with potential, and one with an all-ages appeal. Finding both of these qualities in one comic is rare. The characters are worth knowing, and once established could well involve themselves in some harrowing exploits. Nurture this book, meet the New Mutants and the Hellions in their youth, and see what happens.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Nextwave: Agents Of HATE #1

Jan 22, 2006

Ellis is on a roll lately, and Nextwave should satisfy fans looking for an offbeat superhero book.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Nitrogen #1

Aug 12, 2005

If Nitrogen lives up to its promise and potential, it could well turn out to be one of the most innovative superhero books on the stands. But with the first issue wasted and the publishers infamy regarding #2s, Im not holding my breath.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
OMAC Project #1

Apr 22, 2005

Tying in to Infinite Crisis, which in turn ties in to nearly every DC book for the rest of the year, OMAC Project is bound to attract a good number of readers. But who will enjoy it? Written by Greg Rucka of Gotham Central fame, this reads like a Batman comic. Certainly, Batman will play a significant role, as will his ex-lady friend Sasha Bordeaux. But with the prominence of characters like Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, and Maxwell Lord, fans of the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Justice League also have reason to take an interest, and they might not be happy with what they find. Beetle dead, Max a monster, and Booster just a loser, there just arent a lot of laughs to be had. The characters, though, are well-written and in-character, so the readers who might be most angered also have the most to gain by reading. All this makes The OMAC Project a tough book to pin, but it should be a wild summer.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
OMAC Project #6

Oct 4, 2005

Much like Day of Vengeance, The OMAC Project ends on a question rather than an answer. This has the effect of heightening excitement for Infinite Crisis (being, as it will, the next issue), but there is something less than satisfying about a miniseries ending without its own distinct conclusion. OMAC does better than Vengeance did: here each side wins a battle and old allies are reunited, whereas in DoV, not much of anything was resolved. As these miniseries were always meant to lead up to Infinite Crisis, all might be forgiven if that series is the incredible epic its shaping up to be. But if the central event does not have some serious, definite, concrete endings, even the most enthusiastic fans may throw their hands up in frustration.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
One Plus One #3

Dec 12, 2002

If you've read the first two issues of One Plus One, it's pretty sure you'll want to see how it ends. It's a compelling story, and quite skilful for a mystery. Shaffer maintains a strong barrier between what each player knows, what the reader knows, and what Coulson has planned for them all. When it's over, all of the clues will have been introduced, such that a careful reader could predict the outcome, yet likely will not.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Outsiders #24

May 29, 2005

Because its Summer Crossover Madness time, it should be noted that Insiders almost certainly ties in to at least one of Infinite Crisis miniseries. While the quality of the minis themselves has been hit or miss thus far, many ongoing series have grown more exciting by association. With chief architect Geoff Johns ramping things up in Teen Titans and JSA, other creators seem eager to get in on the fun. Here, Winick produces the most action-packed issue of Outsiders to date, cashing in the weight of high drama hes been building for two years.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Paper Museum #3

Aug 31, 2006

With neanderthals flipping through quarter-box comics on the cover, a full-length swashbuckling adventure, a short morality play, and evil anthropomorphic animals to close things out, Paper Museum #3 is a fun all-ages anthology. But seriously, watch out for the owls...

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Phantom #8

Aug 12, 2005

With the series set up as a stream of two-issue arcs with alternating writers, The Phantom looks to maintain its quick-paced adventure while serving fans of all-ages thrills yearning for a new Silver Age.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Phoenix: Endsong #2

Feb 4, 2005

Phoenix: Endsong is much better than it has any right to be. Its a story that shouldnt exist, but here it is, and its a ride.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Planetary Brigade #1

Feb 16, 2006

In recent years, the return of the Giffen/DeMatteis team has brought us two Justice League where-are-they-nows, a Defenders mini, and a couple of portions of Hero Squared. All have been fun, each a nice little sample of the wit and lunacy of the Justice League series that made the pair famous (to use the term loosely). But this, this is the thing itself. Planetary Brigade is a glorious resurrection of all that made JLI so much fun, with the rapid-fire series of jokes bolstered by nonstop superhero action. It's ridiculous. Finally.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Planetary Brigade #2

Mar 13, 2006

For a book as good as Planetary Brigade, two issues are not enough. Full of witty satire and obscure pop culture references, Planetary Brigade is the Gilmore Girls of superhero comics. Write your congressman to support PB as an ongoing series!

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Rann-Thanagar War #6

Oct 10, 2005

While the two previously concluding Infinite Crisis minis had open-ended finales, OMAC Project and Day of Vengeance both had many key moments, moving the status quo of the DC Universe from point A to point B. Rann/Thanagar War not only lacks a proper end, but also wants for a middle, with the result that we finish up not far from where we started. This water-treading makes this series the weak link of the IC tie-ins, and the stiff characterization from an A-list writer makes Rann/Thanagar War a severe disappointment.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Rann-Thanagar War: Infinite Crisis Special #1

Feb 7, 2006

Rann/Thanagar War Special has some honest-to-God surprises, something quite difficult to pull off these days. Worlds live, worlds die, but who pays the price? In the main Infinite Crisis series, readers have been treated to the return of legends, a heros betrayal, and third-string characters getting their heads punched off. But out here, away from the main narrative thrust of the event, there are wonders to behold, harrowing battles against unbeatable forces, and a good measure of tragedy. Excellent wrap-up to the miniseries and an intriguing segue to upcoming events.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Red Sonja: She-Devil With a Sword #0

May 1, 2005

Red Sonja #0 serves its function well, providing an introduction to the character and universe of the upcoming series, at a price that ensures anyone with the slightest interest will pick it up. It is slightly disappointing that this series did not kick off with as much energy as some of the authors previous books, but with such a strong team in place the world of Red Sonja should grow exponentially as her tale unfolds.

View Issue       View Full Review
2.0
Reign of the Zodiac #1

Sep 1, 2003

After a long, long spell without any new work by the enigmatic Keith Giffen, this seems to be his year. Luckily, with titles like Lobo Unbound, Formerly Known as the Justice League, adaptations of the manga Battle Royale and the sporadically-published Dominion, it is safe to take a pass on some of his works, knowing that there will be more. Unfortunately, more of these seem to be worth avoiding than picking up, and it looks like Zodiac is going to fall into this trend.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Revelations #4

Dec 5, 2005

That said, I like Detective Northern. I enjoy his story and his denunciation of Italian smokes. I like that he throws out British slang that his Roman colleagues don't understand, and corrects Lucy's malapropisms. Would this be enough to sustain this book if the art not so damned beautiful? It's hard to say.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Runaways #1

Apr 25, 2003

No doubt many readers will follow writer Brian K. Vaughn from his DC/Vertigo hit Y: The Last Man to his latest projects. Runaways, however, is not for the same audience. As part of Marvels Tsunami initiative aimed at teens and younger readers, this book has a lot going for it. Its fun, its topical, its dialogue isnt a gross parody of circa 1988 surfer slang. What it doesnt have (so far) is the degree of sophistication and multifaceted conflict of Y. Thats ok. It isnt meant to be Y. The comparison only becomes detrimental when one realizes that Y can be enjoyed by pretty much anybody (so long as your mum doesnt mind the occasional naughty word or scarred naked breast) while Runaways does hit a very tangible age threshold at around fifteen or sixteen years old. The book is great for what it is, targeting a group of readers that has been much ignored since Dark Knight Returns. Older readers, however (those decrepit old farts in their twenties and up), may be less than engrossed wi

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Bulleteer #1

Nov 6, 2005

A Soldier Must Die Considering Alix Harrowers luck so far, her silvery lifeline looks about four issues long. As with the other Seven Soldiers minis, however, those four issues will be sparkling with grand ideas and unexpected twists.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Frankenstein #3

Mar 13, 2006

It seems that each issue of Frankenstein ends with a significant number of dead civilians, which ought to justify villagers' weariness at his presence. Like Angela Lansbury in Murder, She Wrote, Frankenstein coming to call is always bad news. Yet the well-meaning monster is a fascinating read, all the more so since Morrison has placed him within a context he's really got no business inhabiting. Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein is a clash-of-context for the ages, and a gruesome satirical romp through modern society's fears and vices.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Guardian #1

Mar 27, 2005

This first issue packs it all in: excellent characterization, all-out action, and continuity hints for those few who remember another Guardian playing a regular extra in the Superman books. Mr. Stargard is a bit cartoonish, but hes meant to be, and as a foil to the imminently well-grounded Jordan should prove a fascinating contrast. Also, Grant Morrison offers a bit of a different spin on the cop who made a mistake trope, portraying Jordan as an officer who killed an innocent more or less in cold blood. This makes Manhattan Guardian a story of redemption, a mode Morrison has proven his skill with in books like The Invisibles and his run on JLA.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Klarion The Witch Boy #4

Oct 27, 2005

Assuming he survives Seven Soldiers #1, where Klarion might fit in the DC Universe is uncertain at best. But that is perhaps the characters greatest strength: DC has nothing else like him. Sure, there are a few goth characters, like Raven in Teen Titans, but not really, and not with such an intricate and inspired background as Klarion. Perhaps his place is not important; theres no reason Klarion should need to interact with Superman every few months to be a viable character. If played correctly, Klarion the Witchboy could join Sandman as DCs pop culture property.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Mister Miracle #1

Sep 26, 2005

Serving as the first volley of Seven Soldierss second set of miniseries, Mister Miracle could not do a better job of sustaining the momentum established by forerunners Shining Knight, Guardian, Klarion, and Zatanna. DCs promotional copy for Seven Soldiers proclaims, a Soldier must die-will it be Mister Miracle? As DCs strongest debut of a new hero in years, it damn well better not.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Shining Knight #1

Mar 13, 2005

If Shining Knight is an indicator of the other Seven Soldiers titles, Morrisons ambitious project is golden. With two to three issues shipping every month, the quality of each series will have to be superb to justify the expensebut, with Seven Soldiers #0 and now Shining Knight #1 , Grant is two-for-two so far.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #1

Jan 27, 2006

Fans of DC's classic war comics, particularly those actually created by Joe Kubert, should be immensely pleased with Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy. Newer readers may also get a thrill out of Easy Company's new adventures, especially as the revitalization of the genre continues slowly apace.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Solo #7

Nov 4, 2005

Solo is a strange series in that one shouldn't expect to love every issue, since each volume is entirely different. Allred has a devoted following, however, which should not need any coaxing to buy this comic. For those less sure in their enthusiasm for the artist: yes, this is worth reading. From the dancing Wonder Girl cover to 1960s-inspired image gracing the back, Solo: Michael Allred keeps the groove going strong.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Somnia: Daydreams & Nightscapes #1

Aug 26, 2005

Very strong anthology, here. Very strong. Those drawn to dreams and all the symbolism contained therein will meditate on each page of Somnia: Daydreams & Nightscapes.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Spider-Man: India #1

Nov 21, 2004

Spider-man: India is valuable for its cross-cultural appeal, bringing a young-reader-friendly introduction to Indian culture through one of the worlds most recognizable icons. In future volumes, maybe X-Men: Egypt or Incredible Hulk: Cahokia, perhaps Marvel will see fit to skip over the origin story, which shows only how the hero adapts himself to the world, and instead showcase how familiar yet foreign characters can change the world.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Strangers in Paradise #68

Oct 4, 2004

For longtime readers, this issue is all payoff. The water that SiP had been treading turns instead to crashing waves, forcing the characters to fight for survival as they had at the outset. Terry Moore accomplishes this without sacrificing characterization, with the result that this issue is also new-reader friendly. Most of the major players appear (except David, but he recently had three issues all to himself), and with each there is a good foundation to get a feel for personality. There are details, of course (even important details!), that would need to be either researched through back issues or picked up in the course of future stories, but there is more than enough to spark interest, making the rest a joy.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Supergirl (2005) #1

Aug 14, 2005

For all its flaws, though, Supergirl #1 remains a fun read and reestablishes one of DCs premiere female characters. Although Linda Danvers, star of the previous Supergirl series, had her share of fans, the blue-skirted Girl of Steel is the iconic image and most likely to appeal to a wider audience. Now, though, the challenge will be appealing to that audience. Ultimately, new readers arent going to care about Power Girls drama, or how many voyeurs spied the nubile Supergirl in the buff; theyre going to want a good, self-contained story every month. With Loebs fondness for continuity and history, its unlikely that he will be able to reach the underrepresented audience most likely to pick up a Supergirl comicnamely, girls. Right now, this series serves fans of the DC pantheon, and serves them well. But theyve got enough comics to read. Since Jeph Loeb has just signed an exclusive contract with Marvel that will shortly take him off this title, perhaps his successor will rec

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Superman #213

Feb 6, 2005

For Tomorrow speeds toward its conclusion, gaining the strength of momentum as one mystery after another comes to light. Also, strangely, part ten of the story is the first issue a person who hadnt read the previous chapters could pick up and understand. With an epic battle and stirring conclusion still to come, the Azzarello and Lee run looks to end with a bang.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Supreme Power #1

Aug 7, 2003

By Marvels reckoning, Supreme Power #1 has already sold 100,000 copies, so its unlikely one sour review in a whirlwind of hype will influence the legions of fans who will be snapping this up. Yes, JMS is a good writer. Yes, there is some interesting stuff going on here. Yes, any comic, particularly one with the Mature Readers label, selling 100 K is good news for the industry. But Supreme Power is not revolutionary. It is not JMSs best work. And it does not deserve the attention that its getting.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Teen Titans (2003) #16

Sep 26, 2004

Teen Titans is one of the most consistently exciting superhero books on the market. The characters are fresh and vibrant, and have their own little crises without someone getting killed every issue. The most recent incarnation of the Legion also matched this description. While the cover fibs a little in promising Superboys Destiny Revealed!, a little hyperbole never hurt anybody, and two-part crossovers are a healthy way to launch a new series. Next weeks Titans/Legion special should be a ride.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Teen Titans (2003) #25

Jun 30, 2005

As much as crossovers are meant to generate excitement (and this particular crossover to generate excitement for Infinite Crisis), the "Insiders" arc has represented some of the least-engaging issues of both Teen Titans and Outsiders. Sure, Winick's title has hit lower lows (the John Walsh guest appearance springing immediately to mind), but after the shock of Indigo's duplicity and Superboy dancing on Luthor's puppet strings, the team-up has plodded along from one uninspired fight scene to another. Between the battles, a few inspired scenes emerge, but most issues of a book penned by Johns or Winick would be bursting with this meaty goodness. Here, their powers combined serve up only a few dry, tiny morsels.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Teen Titans (2003) #30

Dec 19, 2005

After slogging through a few dreary issues, Teen Titans has regained its stride, returning to the storytelling that made the title great when it premiered. Geoff Johns gives us stunning characterization, snappy banter, a nasty and powerful villain, and... the unexpected return of classic concepts. Captain Carrot isnt the only long-absent hero to grace this issue; the last page is a shocker.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Teen Titans (2003) #34

Apr 10, 2006

The team as presented in this first "OYL" issue of Teen Titans feels very much in flux: the group hasn't quite settled, there are players that the reader has yet to discover, and nobody involved seems entirely happy with the situation. While it will be interesting to see where the story goes, if the Titans lack any bigger guns than Robin for too long the creative team may struggle to maintain reader interest.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Teen Titans (2003) Annual #1

Mar 20, 2006

The highlight of this issue is definitely the relationship between Superboy and Wonder Girl, certain aspects of which could well lead to interesting developments "One Year Later"particularly if, as is widely speculated and palpably foreshadowed, Superboy does not survive Infinite Crisis.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Teen Titans/Legion Special #1

Oct 10, 2004

Regular readers of Teen Titans and the recently-defunct Legion would do well to pick this issue up to see how everything shakes out; in the case of the Titans, events in this book lead directly in to upcoming events, while Legion fans may simply be curious. This will, of course, be of extra interest for those who plan to buy the new Legion ongoing, or who may be undecided and would like a taste of whats to come.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Testament #1

Dec 26, 2005

Testament #1 is a solid foundation, and it will be interesting to watch what Rushkoff and Sharp build upon it.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
The Hire #2

May 6, 2005

The Hire is aimed primarily at people with an interest in cars, and provides an opportunity for BMW to show off their concept vehicles that would not be available for use in the films. Drawing in big-name (or audience-based) talent should boost their efforts, and Bruce Campbell is a terrific choice. Still, The Hire stands fairly well as an action comic, with self-contained stories about the adventures of a professional driver and the dubious characters he must escort out of danger. Optimistically, BMW fans and auto shop enthusiasts will pick this up and be inspired to check out what else comics have to offer; realistically, comic book readers will pick this up and read a decent story that may or may not inspire them to buy a Beemer.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Thunderbolt Jaxon #1

Feb 6, 2006

"The weyrd sisters, hand in hand / Posters of the Sea and Land / Thrice to go, about about / Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine, and thrice again to make up nine. / Peace! The charm's wound up!" These are not lines from the first pages of Thunderbolt Jaxon, but the fact that Gibbons and Higgins created a similar atmosphere in their opening scene should be reason enough to give this series a look.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Trigun: Wolfwood #1

May 2, 2005

Fans of Trigun and anime or manga in general cant go wrong plunking down a quarter for Trigun: Wolfwood, which leads into the second volume of the regular series. But even as manga continues to represent the greatest growth in comic book sales, this one-shot is unlikely to bolster those numbers.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Ultimate Nightmare #1

Aug 8, 2004

If this sounds like the first ten minutes of a film, thats exactly how it feels to read. It doesnt get far enough for the reader to work out whether its a good movie or not. It looks like it probably is, but theres not enough of the human heart yet to see if all the action will have any punch behind it.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #2

Feb 28, 2006

Expecting much more than light entertainment from a comic with vs. in the title is probably self-defeating. Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk delivers a solid dose of good-time action and clever dialogue, which is just what a pairing of the two characters ought to produce.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Villains United #1

May 8, 2005

Yes, thats a different song. Appropriate though, as the only motivation strong enough to bring together a team of backstabbers is having their own wicked ways turned against them by the moral majority. With Dr. Lights mindwiping as a rallying cry, the Secret Society hopes to protect their own interests and gain revenge through the victory over the heroes they could never achieve alone. This may not be enough to keep them together, but the mafia-like structure of the new organization should prevent any second thoughts. All in all, the first issue of Villains United provides both a solid introduction to the main conflicts, a useful summary of what has gone before, and a promise of danger and betrayal in the months ahead. Oh, and a Hero. This last bit is vital, since even in a story about villains a reader needs someone to root for. Ultimately, the success or failure of this story will fall on how well Simone develops this character into a compelling protagonist. Shes off to a g

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Vimanarama #1

Feb 13, 2005

Coming off the high of We3, Morrisons work in Vmanarama is considerably more grounded. Still, this first issue is funny and emotional enough to satisfy readers of Strangers in Paradise, all swirled in with the writers odd sensibilities and unrestrained inventiveness. While sharing some thematic and structural similarities to Mike Careys wonderful My Faith in Frankie, Vmanarama looks to unwind into a different kind of story entirely. This is just a good, fun comic.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Wanted #6

Jan 22, 2005

This is my face reading Watchmen instead.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
What Were They Thinking/Some People Never Learn #1

Apr 25, 2006

Rescripting seems to be coming back in vogue, as Marvel's semi-regular series of Romance Redux is catching on and Boom!'s What Were They Thinking makes its second appearance. When these things work, they work very well; when they tank, they tank indeed. It is also strange to observe that, despite employing several writers per issue, most of these things are either uniformly excellent or flesh-crawlingly terrible throughout. Luckily, Some People Never Learn soars, standing out as an example of just how clever the genre can be.

View Issue       View Full Review
4.0
Wolverine Origins #1

Apr 16, 2006

Mostly, though, the flaw of this issue is the failure to tackle the rich, intriguing premise with any sort of depthor at all. With a series promising big-time revelations about Wolverines past, it would be nice to get at least a taste from the outset. Over the course of the series, hes meant to be traveling the world, reconnecting with old friends and lovers, and sticking it to the bastards who stuck it to him. But in the first issue, all we really discover is that Logans history is intertwined with the governmenthigh up in the government. Which we already knew. And while there arent going to be many people picking this up who dont have at least a passing knowledge of who Wolverine is and what he does, hes still got to be character within his own book. Theres really only so far a taciturn Hurricane Wolvie presence can carry a storyand apparently that distance is less than 24 pages.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Wonder Woman (1987) #219

Aug 1, 2005

That said, OMAC Project is now left with a bit of a quandary for its final few issues: it is without a star. Killer robots that can be anywhere at any time, controlled by a maleficent satellite that can see into the most hidden places on Earth, is pretty terrifying, but it doesn't give the reader the visceral sensation of just hating a bad guy. Max Lord was a terrific character. He was entertaining as the wisecracking businessman behind the Justice League, he was sinister as the cyborg Lord Havok (anybody remember this?), and he was a pure bastard as Checkmate's Black King. OMAC #4 deals with the aftermath of Lord's demise and the Brother Eye satellite's rise to power, and in a lot of ways this is still an exploration of Lord's influence: without him, Checkmate cannot exist. The pieces are swept off the board, game over. Brutal, powerful stuff. But what happens next? It's got to be more than killer robots.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
X-Factor Vol. 3 #1

Dec 11, 2005

A great cliffhanger is becoming a forgotten art, and Peter David should be commended for restoring the tradition here in X-Factor. But while the major players are introduced and the ramifications of M Day are explored, there is not much original action to this book so far. Readers have seen the effects of House of M in the other X-titles, and Rictors drama is not a particularly special take on the dilemma. While the dialogue with Madrox is essential to set up the fantastic ending, it may have benefited the issue as a whole to give less time to their dialogue and shine a bit more light on the other characters. It would be nice to be able to give an unconditional recommendation to read issue #1, because having read it you will want to pick up #2.

View Issue       View Full Review
2.0
X-Men #166

Jan 23, 2005

The Verdict: Well, one must admit that X-Men has a certain built-in readership. That unwavering loyalty is to be at times admired, at others, pitied. As the series debut of a fan-favorite writer, though, this issue of X-Men enjoys even more attention. And, unfortunately, it utterly disappoints.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
X-Men #179

Dec 18, 2005

With the Decimation story arcs following up on House of M, the necessary shake up in status quo is bound to provoke some unexpected developments. Such is the case with X-Men, and this title is a must for followers of the mutant crusade. But X-Men is still underperformingit is outpaced by the several Decimation miniseries and also by the surprisingly clever New X-Men. In a Marvel Universe turned on its ear, there is no excuse for a comic that is merely good. X-Men should be Astonishing. It should be Uncanny. But it seems without the hyperbole of its sister titles, the adjectiveless X-Men aspires only to mediocrity.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #1

Mar 6, 2005

While Marvel's presentation of this event has numerous problems, the excitement engendering the project is well-earned. The original Age of Apocalypse was one of the most dramatic episodes in the post-Claremont X-Men, a story undeniably fresh that no fan could ignore (since there was no X-Alternative!). In the intervening ten years, some developments that were originally shocking have been rendered less soMagneto and Rogues marriage is less jarring now that shes no longer so intimately associated with Gambit, and Scott Summerss moral ambiguity has been explored in both the regular and Ultimate Marvel universes. The appeal, however, remains, and it is to be hoped that newer X-Men will receive the same freshening up that those lucky enough to exist ten years back experienced. There is some indication that they will: Beak has been mentioned, though as yet has not appeared in the flesh. So long as the new stable of creators can maintain the action and mystery of the original whi

View Issue       View Full Review
10
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1

Jan 15, 2006

Fans of X-Statix, you are vindicated. This is some amazing stuff.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Y: The Last Man #6

Dec 25, 2002

Well, certainly don't miss this issue. Despite the a bit of developmental downtime, this is, after all, the first part of a story arc that promises to be pretty intriguing. Yorick is a wholly likable character coping with an impossible situation, with an excellent supporting cast and a creative team that delivers month after month. If this compares unfavorably to past issues of Y, it is only in that it is a step from phenomenal to merely excellent. Seeds have been placed, momentum has shifted, and Yorick's days will only get more interesting.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Y: The Last Man #26

Sep 5, 2004

As Y: The Last Man approaches the half-way mark, there will be fewer and fewer chances for new readers to jump in and still get the full effect of the drama. This issue is one of them. The creators have promised to reveal the mystery of Yoricks survival in the next arc, so this is the time to sample and, after sampling, go back and pick up the TPBs. DCs been keeping up pretty regularly with this series, so one should be able to fill in most of whats gone before in the collected editions.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Y: The Last Man #29

Dec 5, 2004

Waiting for the trade?: Although Y is written in multi-issue arcs, it actually reads better as a monthly due to the maintained level of high suspense and regular cliffhangers. One doesnt want to wait a whole month to discover what Dr. Mann has found, but the delayed gratification makes it sweeter. Plus, there will certainly be rampant spoilers before the paperback arrives, and missing the full impact of this revelation would be most unfortunate. For those whove been reading the series in TPB up to now, it would be a good idea to break the habit just this once and get this arc in serial form. Dont worry about how your bookshelf will look; according to the Zen principle of wabi-sabi an imperfect collection is more perfect for its flaws. And who can argue with Zen.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Y: The Last Man #30

Jan 31, 2005

Vaughn has kept interest in this series high through strong characterization, regular hints and new mysteries, and, of course, embarrass-yourself-laughing humor. With Wildstorm's Ex Machina, Mr. Vaughn has two of the most engaging and entertaining comics on the shelves today. Anyone who loves social satire or science fiction in its most proper form should be reading these books.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Y: The Last Man #41

Jan 9, 2006

Stand-alone issues have been used to great effect in Y: The Last Man and other Vertigo series like Lucifer to provide background stories and to catch up with supporting characters. Here, though, 355's origin feels like a bit of a lull, contributing little to the ongoing adventure and not compelling enough to warrant a break in the action. It's a good read, but fails to leave a strong impression, one of the few issues in the entire series to miss that mark. The main impact of this issue is that it leaves the reader impatient, rather than eager, for the next installment.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Zero Girl: Full Circle #2

Dec 10, 2002

Linear thinkers probably aren't going to like this comic. That much should be evident from the front cover. It's not that the story is difficult to follow, but if the phrase “too weird” has ever passed your teeth then Zero Girl could lead to real discomfort. For the person who doesn't know why his friends can't appreciate David Lynch movies, Full Circle is a perfect fit. It's a clever look at life, and, with three remaining, promises another understated yet strikingly poignant finish.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Zombie Tales: Death Valley #2

Feb 16, 2006

Zombie Tales: Death Valley is a fun little popcorn-comic, and will appeal to fans of lighthearted horror and cute girls.

View Issue       View Full Review

Reviews for
the Week of...

November

October

More