Graceland Comic Reviews – 09/19/12

And I’m back with some more comics reviews of the stuff that I read.

Because Ziah is the best at what he does and what he does is comic reviews.

Daredevil #18 written by Mark Waid, drawn by Chris Samnee, colored by Javier Rodriguez:

“This is why it’s dumb to surround a man who can “see” 360 degrees. No matter which way I move, I’ve got something to hit.”

What’s really brilliant about this series, besides the incredible artistic talent on the book, is how Waid is playing with Daredevil’s continuity in a way that’s almost a textbook example of how to write new and exciting stories using shared-universe continuity. This is a Daredevil story that’s somehow both a call back to the original happy-go-lucky Daredevil stories, and builds off of the depressing swan-dive that Matt’s life has been since those stories. This is a story that just fundamentally works, a comic that feels like it came from creators that put in their time and effort to make something great.

Dark Avengers #181: written by Jeff Parker, drawn by Neil Edwards and Terry Pallot, colored by Chris Sotomayor:

“This cacophony is hardly conducive to the mental state I must achieve. For serious, you players need to chill!” –Man-Thing

Speaking of great comics, this is a comic where the Thunderbolts are having a crossover with Judge Dredd Boss Cage in Mega City One Mondo City One. And that is just fantastic. Throw in Parker’s great ear for dialogue, some nice art by Edwards, and the character work that Parker’s spent years on building in the Thunderbolts, and you’ve got a heck of a comic. The only concern I have is that, according to the solicitations, the Thunderbolts are actually being fully replaced by the Dark Avengers, which is a bummer. I trust Parker to make me like these new characters, even if I hate most of them now, but it just feels like the old team was more interesting. Ah well, C’est la Marvel.

Fables #121 written by Bill Willingham, drawn by Mark Buckingham, Shawn McManus and Steve Leialoha, colored by Lee Loughridge:

“Murderers don’t get forgiven just because we promise to be good from now on.”

Fables is probably one of the most consistent titles I buy; it hasn’t been outstandingly good since the 70’s/80’s, but I never regret buying the issues. At the least, there’s always some line of dialogue, or a plot turn, or (most often) some really beautiful art from Buckingham. There’s something kind of nice about a title that’s just been quietly consistent over the years, especially considering the consistent art team; considering the state of artist rotations in just about any other comic being published these days, a dependable creative team buys a lot of good will from me.

SPACE JAM OF THE DECADE (OR UNTIL THE NEXT ISSUE COMES OUT)

Godzilla: Half Century War #2 by James Stokoe:

“…He’s a radiation-breathing lizard.”

This comic is just the best. See, when I was a kid, I watched all the Godzilla movies, every single one. I watched them nigh-religiously. In point of fact, standing right on my desk as I type this is a Godzilla toy, the only consistent feature I’ve had on my desk for 10 years. The point I’m trying to make is that I’m a fan of Godzilla. Unfortunately, when I watch the movies now, I can’t help but see the seams (both figurative and literal), and it makes me nostalgic for when the movies blew my mind. This comic is like a kid watching those movies for the first time. It’s incredible, and gigantic, and the scale is stunning, and it’s as perfect an adaptation of Godzilla as we’re ever likely to get in our lives.

Haunt #26: written by Joe Casey, drawn by Nathan Fox, colored by Ivan Plascencia:

“Tubman! You just messed with the wrong operative! I don’t abide some ol’ fossil pissin’ in my wheaties! And now—I’m gonna take it outta your ass!”

So, this comic is kind of starting to bug me; normally, I’ll happily buy just about anything Nathan Fox draws, but something about this comic just isn’t clicking with me. It might be Casey’s script, which, with the exception of the addition of a martial-artist/exorcist version of “The Dude” from the Big Lebowski to the cast, hasn’t quite clicked with me, or it might be that Fox’s art feels a little unclear in places. I’m not sure if it’s just him making an artistic shift, or if Plascencia’s coloring that’s making the action set-pieces a little confusing. Either way, I’ll give it a few more issues before I make up my mind; I like both Casey and Fox, so hopefully the comic’ll click with me soon.

The Shadow #5: written by Garth Ennis, drawn by Aaron Campbell, colored by Carlos Lopez:

“They’ll talk to me. Dead or alive, they’ll tell me everything.”

Boy, the Shadow’s really the only pulp character to make any real headway in the modern market, huh? I mean, I know there’s a Dynamite-published The Spider series, and a Lone Ranger, but as far as actual recognition by a wide audience, the Shadow’s about it, right? As far as urban vigilante pulp heroes, anyway; I guess the Lone Ranger has his own qualifiers. Wonder if it’s because of that terrible Alec Baldwin movie… Anyway, this is a good issue of a good series, mostly because Ennis is great on his own, but fantastic if an editor actually forces him not to use “Fuck” every other word and show graphic violence. This is the latter, which means it’s pretty damn good.

Spider-Men #5: written by Brian Michael Bendis, drawn by Sara Pichelli, colored by Justin Ponsor:

“Don’t lend anyone named Wolverine or Mockingbird money. You’ll never see it again.”

Bendis seems to really delight in picking a character out of a hat, and then twisting them to fit whatever story he wants to tell. Here, he’s chosen Mysterio, now equipped with fear gas (Mr. Fear), a machine that can cross dimensions (jeez, like half of the Marvel bad guys), and a total obsession with… something? I don’t know. The writing of this comic is just shoddy. If he just wanted to get to the crossover, make the Watcher do it or something. Don’t waste pages on “Oh, Mysterio’s upped his game, and dumb bullshit bullshit bullshit”. This issue has two things going for it: Sara Pichelli’s great art, and a Prowler appearance for one panel.

Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-Man #15 written by Brian Michael Bendis, drawn by David Marquez, colored by Justin Ponsor:

“He will respect the blank out of you.”

I don’t know why every other Bendis comic bugs me, but this one still strikes me as charming. It can’t be the art, since Spider-Men was largely mediocre despite the great art; maybe it’s just that this is the only title Bendis feels like writing. Maybe I’m wrong, but this is definitely the only one I can continue to justify spending money on, so who really knows. The Ultimate crossover’s a waste of time, but Miles is still likable, and Marquez’s art is nice. Prowler Sightings: 0.

Unwritten #41 written by Mike Carey, drawn by Peter Gross, colored by Chris Chuckry:

“We died as extras in his story. So we’re overdue some payback.”

What’s always interested me in fiction, and it’s something I’m glad Carey is bringing to the forefront of this issue, is what makes someone the protagonist, as opposed to the side-character. What, exactly, differentiates the characters, if not an author’s opinion? How would it feel to know, intrinsically, that you don’t matter, that you’re a side note in someone else’s story? And that’s really one of the nice things about this comic, is that Carey can bring those kinds of meta-fictional ideas to the forefront in a way that feels organic and justified in the story, rather than reading like some grad student’s term paper. This was a comic that took a while to hit its stride, but it’s been one of my favorites for a good 10 or 15 issues now.

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