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The Punisher #1

6 Aug

The Punisher #1 written by Greg Rucka, art by Marco Checchetto, and colors by Matt Hollingworth.

The Punisher is the third #1 released by Marvel as a part of their “Big Shots” initiative releasing new ongoings for three of their characters (the other two being Moon Knight and Daredevil). The book is a return to the status quo for Frank Castle a.k.a. “The Punisher”, after Rick Remender’s excellent run on the character which saw him subsequently slashed apart by Daken and then pieced back together as the aptly named “Frankencastle”.

The book begins in the middle of a wedding which invariable gets hit up by the mob (anyone read Daredevil #1?). An investigation ensues headed by a pair of newly acquainted detectives named Bolt and Clemons. They investigate the crime surrounding this mob calling themselves “The Exchange” all the while, Frank is working on bringing them down himself. This all culminates in a final showdown to which Frank basically “punishes” these crooks.

Punisher #1 has a lot of great things going for it. The story is definitely a gritty and dark vigilante tale mixed in with some detective work. It is everything a punisher book should be. The only problem I had with the book was that for a first issue, the first couple of pages can be confusing and disorientating. The book opens with zero dialogue for the first couple of pages while incorporating characters that are new to the reader. Frank doesn’t even show up until about halfway through the book and honestly doesn’t really say much or give any insight into what is going on in his head. Although I realize this is a part of his Punisher persona and overall, just a plot device, I would hope that future issues form more of a connection between the lead character and his readers.

Checchetto’s art suits the book very well and if I had to bring up a comparison I would have to say the book reminds me of Alex Maleev’s tenure on Daredevil. There is a grittiness and dynamic flow that just pervades throughout the book and although Checchetto’s lines are more smooth and less sketchy, the overall mood cast by his art feels the same and that is most definitely a good thing.

Overall, the main story and its backup feature are both very well crafted stories. I say this because a lot of what happens in comics these days sums up to a lot of posturing and nonsensical talking. Well, Punisher #1 does anything but that, so go out there and pick it up.

Grade: 8.0

The Infinite #1

4 Aug

The Infinite is a story centralized around the idea that an antagonist named Imperius will one day use the technological advancements of a time machine and cloaking mechanisms to infiltrate the government and seize control. A rebel organization forms to which our main protagonist, Bowen, is affiliated. They develop a last ditch effort in which Bowen and his friend Case infiltrate Imperius’ stronghold using his own cloaking mechanisms and steal his time machine belt in order to travel back in time. During the course of this mission, Case is subsequently killed while Bowen travels back in time to recruit a younger Bowen and Case to his cause to stop Imperius before he rises to prominence.

Before I begin, Cable anyone?

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Okay the honest truth is that I didn’t really enjoy this book. Everything about it just seemed very amateurish. It’s actually surprising to see Kirkman’s name attached to this book. I didn’t really have a problem with too much of the writing actually. The plot and premise just seems kind of cliché and unimaginative. All the characters seem like one dimensional action heroes and villains especially the three main characters introduced so far (Bowen, Case, and Imperius). There are no surprises or even any real hooks that really draw you into the story and all of this definitely doesn’t get any help from the next topic of conversation.

The art is pretty horrible. Reminiscent of the 90’s; belts, shoulder pads and leg pouches galore. I’ll admit I never read anything with art that Liefeld drew, but his name seems to hold some weight. DC definitely thinks highly enough of him to have him draw their Hawk and Dove for the new 52. The truth is, a lot of the problem that arise from the book seeming very amateurish stems from Liefeld’s art. Everything from lazy character designs and ridiculous facial expressions to bare monotone backgrounds and lack of detail. And what is up with the feet? I guess it’s well known that Rob can’t draw feet seeing as though typing “Rob Liefeld” into google’s search engine prompts google to suggest “can’t draw feet”.

All in all, I don’t believe I will be picking up any future issue of this book. I might give it a look in trade format just to see how it panes out, but other than that, thanks, but no thanks.

Grade: 4.0

War of The Supermen #1

8 May


Battle for New Krypton

Continuing with our march to the “War of the Supermen”, issue number 1 kicks off with Kal-El fighting off Zod, Non, and Ursa in an attempt to intercept the invading Kryptonians that Zod has ordered against Earth. We find out that Lex had planted a bomb within Reactron and has set him to detonate, destroying New Krypton in the process. This was the plan which Luthor had instigated for General Lane in order to receive his presidential pardon for his crimes. Before detonating we witness Alura torturing Reactron and subsequently being chastised by Kara after she walks in on her doing her dirty deed. Kara and Alura have a mother-daughter moment in which Kara tells her mom that her father may have been warning Kara about her mother as opposed to warning Kara to watch out for her mother. Alura and Kara wise up to the bomb and Alura seals Kara into some sort of containment chamber (reminiscent of the blastoff from Old Krypton anyone?) and proceeds to try and stop the detonation, but fails as New Krypton is seen in the following pages completely destroyed. Kal and Kara then have a very touching embrace as Zod goes on to inform his forces of what has just transpired, rallying them against Earth. Oh and somewhere along the way Lois and Jimmy gather a few of Metropolis’ heroes to discuss her father’s true intentions while unknowingly being watched by Lucy Lane high up in the sky with diamonds. =)

Honestly, I thought the issue was good. I mean, flipping through it now, there really wasn’t much that I have to complain about. There was action, there was drama, and there were a couple interesting plot dynamics which developed. We now know what Luthor was up to and how he got his pardon. We also see a HUGE upswing in Zod’s manipulation of the Kryptonians. Earth is basically responsible for the destruction of their planet for goodness’ sakes. That’s ultimately going to pay huge dividends for Zod and Supes knows this. We can only imagine what Kal must be thinking, simultaneously grieving for the destruction of New Krypton while also having to muster up the strength necessary to stop a very united group of his own people that all have his abilities. Throughout the years, Superman has always been a superhero who more or less reluctantly fights his battles at times. He would rather will his opposition to the “good” side so to speak. Think of how many times Luthor has proved himself to be an ass yet Superman still tries to bring out the good in Lex. Or even when Superman tried to use compassion with Superboy Prime during Final Crisis after he slaughtered so many people. In this issue, after Earth and General Lane are clearly responsible for New Krypton’s destruction, how will Kal be able to defend Earth this time? Does he even have a good reason to?

Rating 7.5/10

Brightest Day #1

8 May

98......99........100!

“Second Chances”

My Face!

Just reread Brightest Day’s first issue. Gotta say, it’s good to see Aquaman, J’onn J’onzz, and the others back alive and well…or are they…? Very interesting circumstances arise within this issue. The resurrected heroes seem to have lingering side effects, most noticeable was Arthur’s summoning of dead sea life and subsequent loss of control over them. A risen giant squid and shark carcass basically ripped through a bunch of Somali child sex trafficking bastards.

In J’onn J’onzz’s case, it almost seemed like he nearly lapsed back into his black lantern form…maybe more of a telepathic lapse than anything else. Sinestro leads Hal and Carol Ferris to the White Lantern in the beginning of the issue in order to try to lift it, but to no avail and the comic shifts directly to Boston Brand’s warping adventure. We also got a look at the Hawk’s and their continuing journey led by the “Claw of Horus” which is incidentally leading them to their original bodies which have been unearthed by mercenaries hired by the Hawk’s longtime nemesis, Hath-Set. Hath is then shown with the bodies in an undisclosed region in the Peruvian Amazon. There’s also scenes involving Black Manta and his totally INSANE self. Literally just gutting and filleting some innocents and then subsequently revealing his little known arsonist side.

Aquaman!

Last page with him on it was pretty awesome, definitely excited to see more of him and his ridiculous testosterone levels when he gets a chance to try and skewer the Sea King.

The one portion of the comic I didn’t find very interesting was the part involving the new/old firestorm combo. Maybe it’s just me, never really had much exposure to the first or second incarnations of the character and the truth is, at this point, it’s hard to care. Come on Johns, make me care about this guy! For now, the both of these babies just seem like whiners. One whines about his dead girlfriend and the other whines about not being able to hang out with his buddies. Okay, the dead GF is kind of a tough thing to go through, so I’ll let that slide, but still, less complaining and more substance please! Show me what kind of powers this guy has, show me his potential and keep the jibber jabber to a minimum if it’s gonna be so centered on this “I hate you/No I hate YOU!” mess. Oh, and did I mention the new plot element behind this dull duo is that since they combined to form firestorm, they can’t seem to uncombine…..Mmmm two people who don’t get along are forced to be stuck with one another? I smell a comedy sitcom, Odd Couple part deux anyone?

Anyway, overall the comic was worth the read. Probably rate it at about an 8/10 give or take. And yeah, don’t take my firestorm bashing too personally or let it affect whether or not you read the book, it really is more of a pet peeve than anything else.

Til next time comic book aficionados,
Sayonara.

Astonishing Spidey & Wolvey #1

6 May

Another Fine Mess Part One

What can I say? Spider-Man and Wolverine together in a brand new continuity light book? Sign me up. After reading the previews I thought the book would be pretty awesome. I imagined Spidey and Logan basically getting themselves into all kinds of trouble romping through the streets of New York defending an onslaught by the sinister six, teaming up to stop a runaway Juggernaut, or stopping the Kingpin’s weekly plan to take the city for himself.

Obviously this is just the first issue so I totally understand the draw of setting up the comic with a bizarre plot twist, but right from the get go, opening the comic up, I was caught holding my breathe for a bit longer than I’d hoped.

So what’s the deal?

Spidey and Wolverine get thrown back in time? Really? Is getting lost in time the new thing to do in comic books? I mean, the first few panels with a seemingly caveman Spider-Man and Wolverine really had me wondering…I really thought for a second that it was meant as more of a joke. Almost a satire if you will, but then it sunk in and well I’d have to say that I’m pretty glad they were able to get back to present day by the end of the comic, albeit with a few consequences due to their tampering with the past.

So…Storywise I wasn’t very impressed. It wasn’t just the whole trapped in time bit that I’m worried about. It was just the story itself. It wasn’t that engaging or exciting. For a first issue I expected some ridiculousness especially considering the two protagonists. I expected Wolverine doing what he does (kicking ass and taking names) and Spidey to provide the comical wise cracking atmosphere we’ve all grown accustomed to. Maybe that’s my problem, maybe I had already expected this comic to be something it isn’t? Either way, I’ll be picking up the second issue just to see where all of this goes and hopefully it picks up.

Oh, and the art by Adam was definitely great, very clean and stylized. Definitely liked that. So tell me what all of you thought of the book! Liked it? Didn’t like it? Agree/Disagree??

 


War of The Supermen

5 May

 

War of The Supermen Issue #0 June ’10
Free Comic Book Day Edition

Let me start out by saying that I hadn’t followed the World of New Krypton storyline. Its story and issues with pacing are pretty well documented among comic book fans, so I won’t really get into that. I did, however keep up with the Last Stand storyline in an attempt to gear up for this upcoming “war” that DC has been touting for some time.

For those of you that didn’t know, this past Saturday (May 1st) was free comic book day in which local comic book shops would distribute specially designated comics they get from companies across the board such as Marvel, DC, etc. for free. One of those issues also happened to be the start of the new Superman arc currently set for release this week. Yes, the War of The Supermen is finally upon us, and we can finally begin to see the ramifications and consequences of the recently enlarged bottled city of Kandor’s conflict with planet Earth.

Now I’m not gonna waste any time getting into the issues surrounding the creation of New Krypton or how General Zod recently wrestled away control of planet. If you want some back story on it, you can pick up the “World of New Krypton” and “Last Stand of New Krypton” from your LCS or just wiki it if you must.

For a free comic book, this issue has been getting fairly good reviews and there seems to be a buzz growing around this upcoming arc which has been absent from the recent Superman family of comics. Besides Supergirl and the early issues of the recently relaunched Adventure Comics under Geoff Johns, the Superman comics have been on the low end of sales and ratings.  It would thus make sense as to why the Big Wigs up at DC would want to distribute this particular issue as a “free” comic.

*Spoilers*

Now on to the review.  Gates and Robinson craft a very short, albeit riveting encounter between Kal-El and his long-time foe, short-time commanding officer General Zod.  The events of this comic take place shortly after Zod has united New Krypton after defending an assault by Brainiac and rallying the planet with a declaration of war against Earth.  The opening sequence is of Supes busting through Zod’s command center in an attempt to thwart his advances. It is during this scene that Zod’s manipulation of Kal-El and the entire planet of New Krypton really begins to reveal itself.   It’s after Supes is subdued by Non and Ursa (wielding a Kryponite knife of all things…) that we get to see Clark seething with teeth clenched as he realizes that he was just a pawn used by Zod to train his military. Clark’s years of experience wielding the powers of a yellow sun proved invaluable in Zod’s mind and recruiting him to train the newly imbued citizens and military of New Krypton was exactly what an evil mastermind would dream of. It isn’t just the physical breakdown Zod strives to accomplish, it’s the manipulation and psychological aspects of this war which is evidenced by his remark to Clark that he didn’t receive New Krypton’s love through trickery and guile, but that he earned it. He also reminds Clark of the personal relevance of this War on earth, of the revenge he swore on Jor-El (Kal-El’s father) and the house of El. It all ends with Zod’s revelation that Superman is too late to stop him anyway and a splash page showing the “Supermen” of New Krypton descending upon Earth.

The art by Eddy Barrows was pretty good, I was really impressed with his ability to portray the scenes and translate the writing. Everything from the anger on Clark’s face to the maniacal grin on Zod’s was all pretty fantastic. Ursa licking Clark’s blood off the Kryptonite knife was especially deviant and made her look completely insane! All in all the artwork was above and beyond what you would expect from a free comic book.

If nothing else, this issue serves its purpose to drive up interest in the Superman story lines. A lot of you probably have been avoiding the Superman family comics, but with this issue, the upcoming War of The Supermen seems poised to get things rolling. One can only hope right? Either way, JMS is right on the horizon. =)