Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review # 156: "Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Vol. 3"

I'm almost at a loss when it comes to talking about the third volume of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's run on "Daredevil." Volume two is just so damn good that I feel like I have nothing left to say.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Review # 155: "Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Vol. 2"

The second part of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's epic "Daredevil" run is without a doubt its zenith. It is within these pages that the two really start to push the envelope artistically, relying a lot more on the images to tell a story. For a company that spent decades using words to over-describe its own action, it's a marvel - pun intended - that this art team was able to break that mold.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Review # 154: "Uncanny Avengers - 'The Apocalypse Twins' and 'Ragnarok Now'"

The first volume of "Uncanny Avengers" played at having a mix between "Avengers" and Remender's previous "Uncanny X-Force." Now that mix is pretty much out the door: this is "Uncanny X-Force" with a new title.

And I am not complaining one bit.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review # 153: "We3"

"We3" is like "Terminator" meets "Homeward Bound." If that alone doesn't make you curious about this story, I don't know what will.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Review # 152 - "Guardians of the Galaxy - 'Cosmic Avengers' and 'Angela'"

Who would have thought that "Guardians of the Galaxy" would become a new banner franchise for Marvel? Better yet, there isn't a comics series that stands to benefit from its newfound commercial success as much as this one.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review # 151: "Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Vol. 1"

I've gone at length before about how Frank Miller's work on "Daredevil" does not get enough recognition, mainly due to the name value of the title character. But it's worth saying again: he may have done his best work on that property, particularly when you consider that he was great from the start.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Review # 150: "X-Men by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee Omnibus Vol. 2"

The second "X-Men by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee" omnibus is a piece of history as it redefines the series and sets it on the path to its greatest era of commercial success. Most of what happens here is an extended, gradual reset as Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman and Archangel are brought back into the fold and the team returns to the X-Mansion.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Review # 149: "The Days Are Just Packed" and "Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat"

"The Days Are Just Packed" is a landmark book for "Calvin in Hobbes" as it's the first to be printed in a wide format to accommodate Bill Watterson's new, uncompromising Sunday style. Watterson pushed hard for years to be able to break away from the traditional panel numbering and format which allows for the removal of the top two frames. He disliked it, saying the method stifled creativity. When Watterson won the war, he made the most out of it and created the best Sunday strip of the latter half of the 20th Century.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Review # 148: "Deadpool vs. SHIELD" and "The Wedding of Deadpool"

Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan have been gradually pushing "Deadpool" back into Joe Kelly territory. Wade is still funny, but there's less emphasis on his humour for the sake of a corny joke and a lot more placed on his continued insanity.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Review # 147: "War of Kings"

"War of Kings" is a bit reminiscent of "Operation Galactic Storm" in that it's about a war between Marvel cosmic superpower races the Kree and the Shi'ar. However, there's a noted difference. While the classic Avengers tale was about manipulation and conquest, this piece written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning is more about ego. Ultimately, it's a clash between Inhuman King Black Bolt and Shi'ar Emperor Vulcan who who both appear willing to doom their species in the name of what they think is right. Neither man is.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review # 146: "Batman R.I.P." and "Time and the Batman"

"Batman R.I.P." is a blatant case of bait-and-switch. But it may also have the coolest moment in the history of the character, so it's a fair trade-off.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Review # 144: "Planetary"

"Planetary" is a love letter to pop fiction. From superheroes to monster movies to spy thrillers, it touches on so much. But instead of leaving things as they are, writer Warren Ellis and artist John Cassaday take to the project like master chefs. They offer a classic flavour with a bold new twist: What if all these wonders existed in society, yet were hidden from the public eye? Such is the heart of the Planetary organization: documenting the "true" history of the world.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review # 143: "Captain America LIVES!"

As much as I like Bucky Barnes as Captain America, he truly is better as Winter Soldier. Still, he was a great Cap and kudos to Ed Brubaker for not screwing him over when Steve Rogers was brought back to life.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review # 142: "X-Men - Road to Onslaught Vol. 2"

Another volume of X-Men from the Nicieza-Harras-Lobdell (NHL) era during a time I thought they were doing pretty well. It's strange, though, how a collection this thick barely seems to move anything forward.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Review # 141: "Y: The Last Man - 'Motherland' and 'Whys and Wherefores'"

The ending of "Y: The Last Man" can be emotionally devastating. Brian K. Vaughan does an A+ job at wrapping up his story, but that doesn't mean the result is happy.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review # 140: "She-Hulk by Dan Slott - The Complete Collection Vol. 2"

For such a lighthearted book, Dan Slott's "She-Hulk" sure does run the gamut of emotions. It's cheerful, it's sad and - in one case - pretty damn uncomfortable to read.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review # 139: "Batman and Son"

Grant Morrison is a mad genius. You're talking about a comic book writer who develops insane, complex backstories for characters who appear in only one panel. A writer known for dropping subtle hints outlining what is to come, and tiny elements that play a big part later.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review # 136: "The Mighty Thor by Walter Simonson Vol. 5"

With Walt Simonson's deep respect of Thor's mythological history, there really is only one way to conclude his time with the title: by adapting the prophecy of Thor's own destruction.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review # 135: "X-Men: Fall of the Mutants"

Regarded as the second major X-Men crossover, "Fall of the Mutants" takes a much better approach for its titles at the time than what had been done in its predecessor "Mutant Massacre." In essence, it's not a crossover at all - each series was slated to go through a significant change at exactly the same time under the same banner headline. This allowed the creators to do whatever they wanted and fail or succeed on their own merits.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review # 134: "Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman Omnibus Vol. 1"

Reed Richards has gone through the ringer lately, with several writers suggesting that Mr. Fantastic is not so fantastic after all. From the horrific zombie Reed Richards in "Marvel Zombies" to the fate of Ultimate Universe Reed to nefarious "Planetary" analogue Randall Dowling, there is potential for great evil in the leader of the Fantastic Four.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Review # 133: "Age of Ultron"

"Age of Ultron" is a poorly-executed, confusing mess of an event comic with a misleading title that - for whatever reason - I found to be incredibly gripping from start to finish.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Review # 132: "X-Men: Mutant Massacre"

"Mutant Massacre" made X-Men history by being the first crossover between three X-family titles and is regarded by many as one of the greatest X-Men stories of all time. But while it has its share of memorable moments, I really can't say I agree.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Review # 131: "Batman: Hush"

"Hush" is the dream comic story for any fan who was introduced to the medium in the early 90's through TV cartoons. It's a perfect first book for anyone who enjoyed "Batman: The Animated Series" or "X-Men" back in the day with major creative ties to both.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Giant Size Review # 2: The State of the X-Men ("Amazing X-Men," "No More Humans," and more)

Another Giant Size review! This time, the central topic is the current state of the X-Men where the question of the day is: Why does Brian Michael Bendis have to be in charge? Come to think of it: who is in charge at all?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Giant Size Review # 1: "Avengers" by Roger Stern ("Under Siege," "Assault on Olympus" and more)

Trying something new here. I have a lot of Roger Stern "Avengers" work to go through and thought it would be simpler to bunch everything together instead of spreading it out over time.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review # 130: "X-Men - Days of Future Past"

"Days of Future Past" is one of the greatest X-Men stories ever. The concept of a time-traveler from a bleak future venturing to the past was a fresh idea at the time, as beaten into the ground as it's become now. Still, there's a reason why pop culture keeps going back to it: when done correctly, it works. Look no further than the X-Men film based on this very title.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review # 128: "The Dark Phoenix Saga"

This is a write-up I have been looking forward to since I started this blog. With no reservations I can tell you that "The Dark Phoenix Saga" is my favourite comic book story of all time, one of my favourite stories of all time and my pick as the greatest in the history of its medium.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review # 127: "Annihilation"

Written from 2005 to 2007 and overshadowed completely by the likes of what was happening with the X-Men, the New Avengers and Captain America at the time (including "Civil War,") "Annihilation" has quietly gone on to have a surprising influence on Marvel's pop culture properties. To put it simply, you can't have a "Guardians of the Galaxy" film without "Annihilation."

Friday, July 25, 2014

Review # 126: "Squadron Supreme"

Before there was "Watchmen" and its more realistic depiction of superheroes in the public eye and before there was "Kingdom Come" and its story showing what might happen if superheroes tried to police the world, there was "Squadron Supreme" and its attempt to do both.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review # 125: "Avengers West Coast - 'Vision Quest' and 'Darker Than Scarlet'"

Talk about a great Comiccon find: the out-of-print "Avengers West Coast" run with John Byrne as writer/artist for 30 bucks. I like ordering online, but there's something to be said about shelf-diving.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review # 124: "Captain America - Red Menace"

One of the more underrated performances in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" comes from Frank Grillo as he takes on the role of Brock Rumlow. But it wasn't a performance I noticed at first. Despite my knowledge of comics, I had no idea that Brock Rumlow is the real name of the assassin Crossbones. It was only after seeing the film that I put two and two together.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review # 123: "Y: The Last Man - 'Paper Dolls' and 'Kimono Dragons'"

"Y: The Last Man" started to lose some of its momentum in in its sixth volume and - unfortunately - by the end of the seventh it doesn't have it back.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review # 122: "Avengers Assemble by Kurt Busiek Vol. 3"

These days if a comic book writer wants to explore a character in a team book, it seems like most of the time they get added to a team without subtractions. It raises the question of what the point is of having some characters around if they're no longer serving any purpose.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review # 121: "Y: The Last Man - 'Ring of Truth' and 'Girl on Girl'"

"Ring of Truth" is a pivotal volume of "Y: The Last Man." It adds two important characters to the mix, neutralizes a major villain, introduces another and answers a major question about Yorick's survival of whatever wiped out every other man on earth save him and his pet monkey.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review # 120: "Scientific Progress Goes 'Boink!'" and "Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons"

"Scientific Progress Goes 'Boink!'" was the first Calvin and Hobbes collection I ever owned. I got it through a Scholastic book order (remember those?) at the age of 10 and read the hell out of it. It shows in the condition of some of the pages, which look very much like they were handled by a kid. As I go through these collections in order as an adult, I can't help but think I made a great pick. This is the best of the bunch so far and will be hard to top.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review # 119: "Cable and X-Force - 'This Won't End Well' and 'Vendettas'"

When I bought the first collection of "Cable and X-Force" I noted that the series had potential with its character choices and was worth getting on the ground floor with. As Dennis Hopeless' run comes to a close, I feel like the elevator broke down.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Review # 118: "Daredevil - End of Days"

An unfortunate truth about superheroes is that their stories never end. They can't even die. With every passing comes the anticipation of resurrection. As long as popular heroes continue to sell, their return is necessary.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review # 117: "Avengers: Absolute Vision Book 2"

At its heart, "Absolute Vision" is a pretty darn good - if basic - story. It has a slow burn that keeps you guessing, and paints Vision - a major character - in a way that makes him difficult to figure out. One moment he's stoic and robotic, the next he's smiling and speaking like a first-class politician. The synthezoid is clearly up to something, and while it's pretty easy to figure out on your own, reading as the Avengers clue in is entertaining.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Review # 116: "New Avengers - Everything Dies" and "Uncanny Avengers - The Red Shadow"

It's interesting that the most highly-recommended Avengers series in the "Marvel NOW!" relaunch don't have the traditional feel of the title they represent. In one case, it feels like it's in name only.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Review # 115: "The Mighty Thor by Walter Simonson Vol. 4"

Why is Walt Simonson the greatest writer in the history of "Thor?" Easy: he took a story about turning Thor into a frog, and made it a compelling drama.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review # 114: "Fantastic Four - Doomed" and "FF - Family Freakout"

The fate of Matt Fraction's dual run on "Fantastic Four" and "FF" turns out to be an interesting case study on creative team changes. Yanked from the title to write "Inhumanity," his plots are handed to new scripters. One switch works well. The other does not.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review # 113: "Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 - Revolution"

I was disappointed when Kieron Gillen's "Uncanny X-Men" got the axe. I felt that his version of the team - centered around Cyclops' new "mutant force" - was only just getting started. I was glad to learn that Brian Michael Bendis - in addition to writing to "All-New X-Men" - would be relaunching "Uncanny" with key proponents of Gillen's cast. Namely: Cyke, Magneto, Emma Frost and Magik.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Review # 112: "Infinity"

One of the great things about the first Avengers film is that there were only six of them: Cap, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Hulk, Thor and Black Widow. Throughout most if its history, the core roster of Marvel's premier superteam was kept small, rotating as needed.

Times have changed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review # 111: "Calvin and Hobbes - 'Weirdos from Another Planet!' and 'The Revenge of the Baby-Sat'"

It's unfair to call Bill Watterson's work on Calvin and Hobbes complacent in "Weirdos From Another Planet!" and "The Revenge of the Baby-Sat" because the quality of work is still very high. However, the strip is clearly in a holding pattern. The family goes camping... again; Rosalyn babysits Calvin... again; Calvin decides to be a tiger... again. Don't get me wrong: these stories are still funny, but a recurring premise only has so much mileage before it starts to go stale.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Review # 110: "She-Hulk by Dan Slott - The Complete Collection Vol. 1"

Dan Slott isn't afraid to take risks at Marvel. He's taken Peter Parker out of Spider-Man's driver's seat for 30-plus issues, written more than one "Avengers" series anchored by Hank Pym (or a reasonable facsimile) and mocked his own audience. He definitely enjoys exploring the quirky corners of the Marvel U, so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that his work on She-Hulk is very good. Very good, indeed.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Review # 109: "Marvel Masterworks - The X-Men Vol. 6"

Before Len Wein, Dave Cockrum and Chris Claremont came along the X-Men sucked. Flat out sucked. Issue after issue of one-note characters taking on terrible villains in forgettable stories. Given how memorable the work of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby was in the early 60s, it's stunning to find a book so empty outside of some very rare exceptions. As a result, I was 100 percent certain for years that I would never pick up another pre-"Giant Size X-Men" collection again. I wasn't interested in seeing more pale shadows of these characters that I love - Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast, Angel, Charles Xavier, Magneto, etc. - ever again.