Reviews for 1-02-05

Lunch Hour Comix #1

Publisher: Alternative Comics
Writer and Art: Robert K. Ullman

This is a book of strips that were conceived and drawn over the course of a year, the catch; each strip could only take an hour to complete. While this isn’t the slam bang action you get from your every day super heroes, you do get something special out of them, a celebration of the mundane. Nothing exciting happens in these pages (although there is a comic strip in Appendix B that I found highly amusing), but in a way it’s still an exciting little book. I’ll admit it’s not going to be the kind of thing that everyone will enjoy, but if you look at it from the standpoint that each one of these represents an hour of the creator’s life on the given day, it makes it interesting, at least to me. You get little hints to the creative process and glimpses into the creator himself. A nifty little book. -KEVIN-

Marvel Team-Up #3

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Scott Kolins
When this series started I thought it was going to run like the previous incarnation of the title and feature Spider-Man and a guest star each issue, I was looking forward to that, although hesitantly (due to Marvel’s latest pacing), since Spider-Man is one of my favorites. This issue features Dr. Strange and the Fantastic Four and is the third part of a running story line, which has surprised me, in that each issue has managed to give you a story but left dangling threads, but not so many that the story feels like is being slowed down. Briefly here are the things I really enjoy, Kirkman injecting humor into the title, nice little touches here and there, Kollins’ artwork, it’s growing on me, his Thing looks very expressive, who would have thought so much out of a bunch of rocks, and the little bit of story that is used to set up the next issue and tie it into the current one. This issue features the seeming return of Dr. Doom. Since he was left in Hell in the Fantastic Four, it’s not surprising that this figures return would catch the attention of Dr. Strange. The requisite battle ensues and the cliffhanger revelation that truly made me want to come back for the next issue. This is a fine example of a book that is done right, at least in my opinion; story and art inviting enough for new readers and the endings interesting enough to make the reader want more.

Astonishing X-Men #7

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Joss Whedon
Art: John Cassaday
Here is a brief rundown of the last six issues summarized from the first page of the book-The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning has reopened under the supervision of Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Emma Frost (the White Queen), a “cure” for the mutant gene has bee discovered and is first administered on one of the students of the school, causing him to loose his powers completely, Peter Rasputin (Colossus) returns from the dead (magnificently), aliens from the planet Breakworld are convinced that they will be destroyed by a mutant from earth- an X-Man, and want to eradicate the mutants to protect themselves, a division of S.H.I.E.L.D., S.W.O.R.D., seems willing to help them.
Six issues and a lot going on, but that “lot” went on in one of the best executions of a comic book I’ve seen in many years. I can’t compliment the art enough; Cassaday’s art is some of the best I’ve ever seen, the amount of realism displayed with the writing of Whedon, really draws the reader into the book. This issue reintroduces the student that lost his powers, and the difficulty he is having while dealing with now being a “mere” human. It also highlight’s the X-Men’s attempt to try and be a super hero team and features a run in with the Fantastic Four that, thankfully, does not result in the two teams fighting each other before defeating the common foe. There are some great moments when you get a little glimpse into each character as they are attempting to turn the monster back, Wolverine’s is the one I find the most entertaining. There is another great moment between Wolverine and the Thing. Whedon has a knack for entertaining little exchanges. This issue ends with a bit of heartbreak; apparently dealing with problems isn’t as easy as one would think. It also opens the door for a return to the Danger Room. While Whedon and Cassaday are slated for a 12 issue run on this title, with every issue I wish it would be more. This is turning out to be one of the best put together books in a long time. Hopefully Marvel will find a way to wrangle another year out of them, but if not, I’m still appreciative for giving us what they have so far, comics definitely done right.

Space Ghost #2

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Joe Kelly
Art: Ariel Olivetti
At first I was a bit skeptical about this series. A character that was created by Hanna-Barbera back in the 60s and later reinvented by Cartoon Network as a goofy talk show host was finally going to have his origin told, and it wasn’t going to be a happy story. When I first thought about that, I couldn’t wrap my head around Space Ghost being grim and gritty. I didn’t figure I could get post my preconceived notions about the character. That is the first success of this series, Joe Kelly’s story has managed to make me forget about how I originally envisioned Space Ghost. He does not, at least through issue 2, take anything away from what I know, but he definitely adds a dark layer, which actually kind of makes sense to me. The art by Olivetti, seems painted and kind of helps with the transition from the animated style to this story. I think it was a good choice to go this route since, I think, regular line art may have not been able to bridge the gap between the two incarnations. Last issue, Thaddeus Batch (soon to be Space Ghost) suffered the loss of his pregnant wife and the seeming loss of his life, betrayed by some of his comrades. This issue shows his seeming resurrection. While left for dead, often a mistake made by tormentors, Thaddeus is rescued by Salomon, an inhabitant of the planet he was left to die on. Over the months a “friendship” is formed between the two, there was some distance between them, always kept in place by Thaddeus. Eventually Salomon shows Thaddeus something that would take him home, but Thaddeus wanted to use it to exact his revenge, despite the pleas of Salomon. If the reader does not hold onto their preconceived notions, this turns out to be quite a good story.

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