Reviews September 28th, 2005

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Here is the key for what you are seeing:

= Not worth the paper it's printed on
= It is an OK book, not the greatest
= It is a decent book- Worth picking up
= Better than most books out there- Worth a second read
= This is what all books should aspire to be

All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #2
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer by Frank Miller
Art: Jim Lee and Scott Williams

Well two issues in and I can't really say that I'm overwhelmed with what is going on here. Not that I don't think that these two creators are capable of good stuff, but for me it just doesn't quite work. I think part of it is that I feel that the tone that Frank Miller set up for Batman's early days in Year One, don't seem to carry over into this book. Which would seem like it should be a sort of follow up a few years down the road. It seems as if his grittier work has once again overly influenced this title. Maybe that was what he was going for, but for me it really doesn't work. If this book is supposed to tie into any kind of continuity, then for me it fails, if not then it just really doesn't thrill me. I understand that Robin was supposed to be the one who lightened up Batman a bit, but with this sort of introduction between the two, I picture this robin growing up to be a chain smoking rebellious ward of Bruce Wayne, possibly digging out the nipple suits that Joel Schumacher has in moth balls after he drove a steak in the Batman movie franchises heart. The art is typical Jim Lee, but nothing inspiring.

Daredevil vs. Punisher: Means and Ends #4
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Dave Lapham
Art: Dave Lapham

I didn't order this book, since I am still kind of burned out on the Punisher from the over saturation of the 90's (I know I should let it go, but it's hard). The punisher to me is kind of the one trick pony of the Marvel Universe. But I will say that I did enjoy the Garth Ennis mini series when it first came out, and I am sure he is doing wonderful things over in the regular series, it's just not the kind of thing I look for. That being said, I think the Punisher in the right hands (like Ennis) can be enjoyable, and with Lapham on the scripting and art chores, I decided to give it a try (based on what I have read of his Stray Bullets series). For an antagonist, I don't think there is a better choice than Daredevil since they both work towards the same goals, but use decidedly different methods, it is good to see someone with a handle on things put the two of them together. This is a decent enough book that can bridge the gap between the folks who read Daredevil and Punisher, and possibly create some crossover readers.

Desolation Jones #3
Publisher: DC Comics-Wildstorm
Writer by Warren Ellis
Art: J.H. Williams III

After the first two issues, I couldn't wait for this one. I wanted to find out where Jones' investigation of the missing Hitler films would take him next, I can honestly say that I did not expect this. A talking head issue with Jones having a conversation with a adult film actress going through the trials and tribulation of making it in the business. Not the kind of thing I expected from my funny books, but to Ellis' credit, he totally makes it work. And while this conversation is going on, something strange is happening with the art. Williams' style changes from time to time and through that you get the feeling that something more is going on with this Jones character. So even though you have the chatter boxes going back and forth, you still get forward progression of the story. Another good issue put out by this team. By the way if you haven't already check out Ellis' "Fell", first of all it only costs $1.99, and it's 16 pages of story in 9 panel grids that move, at the end there are text pages that expand on the story and give the reader a little glimpse into what Ellis it trying to do with this book.

Green Arrow #54
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Judd Winick
Art: Tom Fowler and Rodney Ramos; Cover by James Jean

I think I am getting tired of this book. It's not that it isn't a decent book or anything but with everything that I have to read each month, this one never really seems to stand out. If you couple that with the art which itself is not bad, but every time I see Ollie's moustache, I want to call him "Frenchie". The book has turned in to something I classify as just one more book to read. I may stick around to see what happens when Dr. Light shows up, but I don't know. This one is ripe for my chopping block, and again not because it isn't a good book, just one that each month when I see it in my pull, I go "Oh, I forgot I ordered that".






JLA #118
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns and Allan Heinberg
Art: Chris Batista and Mark Farmer; Cover by Rags Morales and Mark Farmer

Setting themselves up to make the same mistakes they made in the flashback sequences of "Identity Crisis", the League after capturing their foes, who by the way know their identities now thanks to Despero, are arguing about what course to take. Should they do a mind wipe like before or just turn them in and face the consequences? Again it is put up to a vote and again it comes down to one final vote to decide what to do, but that vote isn't going to be cast by who you think and the outcome is not going to be as simple as it was before. I dropped off of this title for a while and came back when Johns and Heineberg were set to write the follow up of the fallout coming from the revelations in Identity Crisis. I had the utmost faith in the two of them being able to craft a story that would grab and hold my attention and provide a satisfying bridge to the upcoming "crisis", and they have succeeded. The story is taking us in a direction that makes one think that the League that comes out of all of this will be nothing like they once were. The "big guns" are fighting amongst themselves and who knows how they will work together once this all settles, who knows if they will even want to.

JSA #77
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer by Geoff Johns
Art: Don Kramer and Keith Champagne; Cover by Alex Ross

While I am enjoying most of what is going on with the "Crisis" tie-ins, this is the one book that I think really gets messed up by it. I've always enjoyed the cohesiveness of this title. When it first came out, I picked it up hoping to gain some insight of what the JSA used to be, but this wasn't about the past so much as it was bringing the past into the future and mixing them together. The old heroes mixing it up with some new ones, yet keeping a sense of "family" is what has kept me with this title. While this one is a cross over it still has a bit of the old mixed with "new" feel. Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern is going to head off into space with Donna Troy and looks to the newly resurrected Hal Jordan for assistance. While this is not one of this titles strongest issues, it still retains the consistency that has been integral in keeping this title as one of my favorites.




Legion of Super-Heroes #9
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer by Mark Waid
Art: Georges Jeanty and Art Thibert; Cover by Barry Kitson

This is moving into third place for my favorite team book. JSA, then Young Avengers, and then these guys. Waid and Kitson have done a good job with retooling the Legion and making them accessible for today. Granted they've probably been retooled more than any other book, this one seems like a winner. The team struggles to find their identity, the struggle to work together, the struggle to stay together. Granted they are able to almost work side by side when a threat shows up, but not without difficulties, which is realistic for a group of teenagers trying to make their place in an adult world that is not ready to accept them. The team divided between their loyalty to Cosmic Boy or Brainiac 5, Cos decided to make it easy for the team and leaves, little does he know that this is just going to make things worse and further support the fact that the team as a whole needs to try harder to work together. An added plus is the letters page in each issue, that kind of makes the book a lot more personal and inviting.

Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #18
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Art: Billy Tan and Jonathan Sibal

I dropped this title at the beginning of this story line and figured I would pick up another issue to see if I was right in doing so. I was, this is another one of those Spider titles that turned into an Avengers title, granted I know he is on that team and all, but they are showing up everywhere. Yes I know the Fantastic Four show up as well, but to me, it doesn't seem as blatant, as the Avengers always showing up in a Spider title.







The Pulse #11
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Michael Gaydos; Cover Mike Mayhew

After all the waiting and the tie-ins and what not the promise on this trade paperback's cover is the final delivery of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage's baby. After waiting through the tail end of the Alias series and the first issues of this one, Jessica will finally be a mommy. But wait you got to the end on no baby. Oh and it's not a trade paperback. That's exactly the point I'm trying to make, the cover is misleading, Marvel wanting to have the iconic image for the covers (I'm sure when you think iconic, you'll think of Wolverine's facial expression on the cover of this gem), gives you sort of a promise of a baby at the end and that's not what we get. Granted we get closer to that result, but knowing Bendis, it's at least 3 issues off, and with this being a bi-monthly title that's another 6 months. That's not really a complaint (outside of the cover), it's more of a compliment, and the fact that I am anticipating the end result of all of this is a good thing. The better thing, the return of Gaydos on the art; reuniting him with Jessica is reminds me so much of what I enjoyed of her former series. But darn it, on Mayhew's cover, Wolverine looks positively goofy.

Rann-Thangar War #5
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dave Gibbons
Art: Ivan Reis and Marc Campos

You know quite honestly, I still can't figure out what is going on in this book. These guys are mad at those guys and those guys are kind of OK whit them dudes but not really. Not that it's any kind of indictment from me though. I have a hard time keeping up with all of this especially since I didn't have any background to begin with. Maybe after all the issues are out and I reread them, they'll make sense. I hope so.










Ultimate X-Men #63
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Brian Vaughan
Art: Stuart Immonen and Wade von Grawbadger

Part three of the Magnetic North story line finds Polaris, whose powers seemed to go out of control causing her to kill several people, is now being held in the same cell as the X-Men's foe Magneto, while Cyclops deals with past feelings about her and his brother who he will come face to face with before the issue is over. With two teams racing to either help or prevent her escape from the Triskilion, how long will it be before they run into some of the other folks that take up residence there? While the story is easily followed, giving new readers enough information to latch onto in order to enjoy the story, I do have a little problem with the art, Immonen who used to be one of the artists I enjoyed; his style has changed dramatically since I first started following him. It is interesting to watch him evolve and his art does fit the title, it's just a little jarring to see the rough edges.

Coming Next- My 500th Review

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