Graceland Comic Reviews: Comic Round-Up 7/25

Ziah Grace, comic shop employee, takes on a bunch of comic reviews in his new feature! Check it out after the jump!

Axe Cop: President of the World #1. Written by Malachai Nicolle. Drawn by Ethan Nicolle. Colored by Dirk Erik Schulz:.

“ First it gave me robotic gun fists.” -Junior Cobb, Talking Gorilla

Captain America and Iron Man #634. Written by Cullen Bunn. Drawn by Barry Kitson and Jay Leisten. Colored by Javier Tartaglia:

“But for now this is— Au Revoir!” –Batroc

The Flash #11. Written by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato. Drawn by Marcus To and Ray McCarthy. Colored by Brian Buccellatto:

“You wanna know what’s up with all those fires… Ask Captain Cold!” -Heatwave

Thankfully, this title has recovered from the complete mess that was issue #10, a comic that completely and utterly wasted the gorgeous art of Manapul and Buccellato by summarizing every single action and character motivation in speech bubbles so large they actually covered the action they described. But I digress; this is a nice return to form, there’s some nice layouts, even with fill-in artist Marcus To, who does a fine job (his only flaw is that he isn’t Francis Manapul, which can’t exactly be helped), and Buccellato goes back to the coloring basics with some nice blue and red contrast. Moreover, it feels like Manapul and Buccellato are actually trying to give Barry Allen some actual character development by taking him away from the two “character traits” he had before Geoff Johns brought him back: that he was a cop, and that he was really well liked. By getting away from that, they might be able to make something good out of the relentlessly boring blank slate Barry Allen normally is. Regardless, the art is consistently nice, and it’s doing a whole hell of a lot better than that other artist-written Nu52 book is.

 

Godzilla #3. Written by Duane Swierczynski. Drawn by Simon Gane. Colored by Rona Pattison:

“Eh, that’s only a buck for every living person on Earth. A bargain, really.” –Jason Statham Boxer

More and more since the first issue, Swierczynski has gotten away from the “Jason Statham fights Godzilla”, which is… troubling. It’s still a solid comic, and really enjoyable for a Godzilla fan; Simon Gane has a nice blocky art style that works well for the destruction, debris,  and monsters. And while it hasn’t been exactly what I thought it would be from the first issue, Swierczynski’s scripts have been pretty good; nice action movie dialogue and big set-pieces. If you need a Godzilla fix to keep you going until Stokoe’s , you could do a lot worse than this comic.

The Goon #40. Written and Drawn by Eric Powell:

“Didst thou not expect that I, the Fallen One, would be summoned forth when thou dost dance the Forbidden Charleston, the most erotic of dances?” -The Devil

One of the best things about Eric Powell’s violent masterpiece is the way he’s able to mix really tragic story arcs with absolutely hilarious one-off stories where the titular badass fights all manner of crooks and creeps. This is one of the latter, and involves souped-up automobiles, Prohibition, and the Devil. Through it all, though, Powell draws everything brilliantly; he even started coloring himself, something I didn’t even realize until this issue, which, considering his former colorist was Dave Stewart, is pretty damn impressive.

The Incredible Hulk #11. Written by Jason Aaron. Drawn by Balibor Talajic. Colored by Frank Martin:

“The Bear-Trap Bazooka is just to get his attention.” -Kraven the Hunter

SPACE JAM OF THE WEEK

The Manhatten Projects #5. Written by Jonathan Hickman. Drawn by Nick Pitarra. Colored by Jordie Bellaire:

“Anything good in this world is forged by discipline and correction”. – Mr. Feynman

I can’t imagine a comic book more suited to my tastes than this comic unless it involves both bears and Batman. A bunch of crazy science, sprinkled with weird true history, actual scientists that were already crazy interesting before adding space portals, and plots that are reminiscent of, without actually being rehashes of, 1940’s and 1950’s Sci-Fi dime novels? Yes. This is something I want to read for years. Nick Pitarra’s art is phenomenal, and Jordie Bellaire is doing some really incredible things with color schemes and how they relate to the characters’ past and present.

National Comics: Eternity #1. Written by Jeff Lemire. Drawn by Cully Hamner and Derec Donovan. Colored by Val Staples:

“That’s her, all right! Just look at the little slut!” -Derby Quinn, Pawnstore Ghost

(In case you thought this was going to be all positive…) This is a mediocre comic, there’s no getting around it. It presents a mystery that, regardless of whether the problem was the space given or the actual idea itself, is simple, flawed, and disappointing. There’s a character introduced, or reintroduced, as that’s supposed to be the point of this series of one-shots DC is doing, reintroducing old characters for a new audience, but he’s boring and not exactly someone I want to spend any more time reading. Even as a one-shot, (the entire point of the comic, need I remind you), it fails. It tries to hint at strange happenings and a more interesting status quo on the horizon; hell, the story even ends with a cliffhanger to what seems like a much better story. The problem is that there’s almost a 100% chance that this character (a guy who can talk to the dead for 24 hours, and died one time) won’t be revisited, and certainly not with the same idea and pitch behind it. What, then, is Lemire doing? Setting up something for his other DC work? I honestly have no idea. Anyway, a swing and a miss from a usually trustworthy writer isn’t the worst thing in the world, and the art by Cully Hamner, when he actually draws it, isn’t bad.

Prophet #27. Written by Brandon Graham. Drawn by Fiannis Milonogiannis. Colored by Joseph Bergin III:

“Living orbs along a fragile river of atmosphere held in place by an estuary of solar winds”. -Brandon Graham

What makes this comic, and Brandon Graham in particular, so damn good is that he’s able to imply, in very few words, the complexity and depth of the world he’s built. You don’t need to understand each descriptive sentence of the alien live forms that Graham gives you, and in fact, you almost certainly won’t. It’s there to let you know that someone understands the world, and the creatures, and the life-cycle, and maybe after a dozen issues it might be you, or maybe Graham will have moved on, which would be fine because you’re swept up in the grand opera of empires, rising and falling, of histories hinted at, of the small impact each human being has on the universe.

Secret Avengers #29. Written by Rick Remender. Drawn by Matteo Scalera. Colored by Matt Wilson:

“I been huffin’ model glue fer added challenge”. -Grumpy the Clown

DID YOU KNOW: The Enforcers AND the Circus of Crime AND Batroc AND Arcade appear in this issue. In a better world, that would be all you need to know. Elaboration: Rick Remender is still having a blast making all these crazy underground secret villain societies, which has resulted in the best comic involving the above characters since the first 50 issues of Amazing Spider-Man. Matteo Scalera has a nice sketchy, almost seedy art style that works well for showing the supervillian super hideout,

Amazing Spider-Man #690. Written by Dan Slott. Drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli. “Colored” by Frank D’Armata:

“Couple months ago I almost turned into a giant spider. This place is insane”. – Sajani

I am a proven sucker for putting a numbered group of eccentric people in an area, and having a wild card character interact with each of them in a single issue. When you make them all scientists, one of which is building tech to become a techno monster hunter, and, well, you can have my $3.99, Dan Slott. Giuseppe Camuncoli has a great sense of action and movement, and once in a while, his layouts get really clever; if the coloring didn’t seem absolutely determined to wreck all that by drowning it in metals and grays, this would be a really great looking comic.

Uncanny X-Force #28. Written by Rick Remender. Drawn by Julian Totino Tedesco:

“You should fight that hippie fungus growin’ about your hacky sack”. -Deadpool

You know, from Fear Agent to Secret Avengers to this comic, Rick Remender is really good at putting his characters through the ringer. He’s able to really make you think, despite years of comics to the contrary, that the characters are actually going to lose and die. It’s pretty impressive. That general tempo is something that he really does well, which keeps his comics consistently good through artist changes and delays. On the art side of things, Totino Tedesco does a decent job, but gosh do I miss Jerome Opeña. He really did great on this comic.

Wolverine and the X-Men #14. Written by Jason Aaron. Drawn by Alfred Molina. Colored by Morry Hallowell:

“Cyclops and the others… They’re not the people we knew anymore. They think they’re Gods now”. -Kitty Pryde

If you take out all the stupid Phoenix Five AvX stuff in this comic (which would leave you approximately 4 pages), this is pretty good. There’s some funny dialogue, and some nice sight gags. With those other 16 pages, however… Sigh. Hey! Turns out, those X-Men who got possessed by the Spirit of Destruction? They went evil. Fucking shocker. The only worse thing about that is that it took them this goddamn long to get around to that. The sooner this event bullshit is done, the sooner we can get back to good character interaction, and Quentin Quire being a world class dick.

 

Back Issue Brou-ha-ha

Every week, I go by the dollar rack at my LCS, and pick up an issue of something that looks interesting.

Great Lakes Avengers: Misassembled #1. Written by Dan Slott. Drawn by Paul Pelletier. Colored by Wil Quintana:

“Aw, man! I stepped in some of his head” -Bank Robber

Dan Slott has always done a really great job at handling the mundane aspects of the Superhero universe in a fun way that Mark Millar, to name one example, fails at (this is not the only thing Mark Millar fails at). In his She-Hulk run, he wrote about how laws and lawyers have to deal with superhero resurrections and ghost witnesses; in his Batman: Arkham Asylum: Living Hell miniseries, he wrote about a guy who would cop an insanity plea to avoid prison. In this series, he’s focusing on the idea of superpowers, and how the possession of them doesn’t exactly make you a superhero, or more accurately, doesn’t make you an Avenger. Or a Defender. Or even a Champion. It’s a fun issue about a bunch of Z-lister “superheroes”, and their pretty miserable lives, filtered through a nice darkly humorous lens. And hey! Squirrel Girl is in it; and the Dread Master of Nerdcenaries is a fan of Squirrel Girl, which means we’re all a fan of Squirrel Girl. Paul Pelletier has a really nice Superhero-y style, which makes the complete incompetence of the characters even better. I sure would like to see this collected as a trade, since I couldn’t find any of the other issues. Hint, hint, Marvel.

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