StuckInPanels Comic Reviews

StuckInPanels Comic Reviews

Back from the madness of work. two weeks worth of comics as well as two special Graphic Novel's I found in a comic shop in Philadelphia

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By StuckInPanels - 5/30/2012
StuckInPanels Comic Reviews

Month- May
Week- #4 & 5
Date- 5/23/12 and 5/30/12

Hello there friends, I decided to combine the last two weeks together into a single review article. Work has been keeping me overly busy so I haven’t gotten a chance to really sit down and get to my reviews. This week also introduces some graphic novel reviews. I tend to keep my purchases of GN’s down to a minimum however these were two from ONI PRESS and I was curious about them. Also the ANNUAL comics have arrived, these comics don’t make much sense to me, are they important to the story or just slightly more expensive filler comics?

Comics of the Week

DC
-Batman Annual #1
-Batman Inc. vol. 2 #1
-Justice League Dark #9

IDW
-Godzilla #1
-Rocketeer Adventures 2 #3
-Transformers: More than Meets the Eye #5

Marvel
-Amazing Spider-man #686
-Amazing Spider-man Annual #39

Oni Press
-Sharknife Double Z
-SideScrollers

First I like to make the Honorable mentions of the graphic novels first. These two comics I like to call Scott Pilgrim like, they are in the same reading format like Scott Pilgrim, in Black and White, anime drawing style, hipster characters, over the top comedy and action, however they do take the core basis of the Scott Pilgrim aesthetic.

Sharknife Double Z: Written and Artwork by Corey Lewis

-Story: A sequel to Sharknife, the story follows the busboy hero Caesar Hallelujah, who when he eats a mystical fortune cookie, he becomes a bad-ass Ninja called Sharknife, and battles forces from within the very walls of the restaurant he works in.

-Review: I want to leave the story short since any tiny mention of the real story at hand would be heavily filled with spoilers. This is one super awesome and super fun GN. It’s a very basic story but has a lot of heart and soul to it, it takes formulaic but takes the concepts and clichés to a whole new level. Luckily for those that have not read the first volume, this second volume doesn’t require you to read the first since it provides enough backstory in this volume that you need not worry, I read the first volume and enjoyed it, to me Double Z works far better.

-Writing: Corey Lewis, also known as the Rey, is an AMAZING Talent; this guy deserves a job at one of the bigger comic companies. I can see him taking some characters in Marvel or DC in fun and unique places. He takes the manga style of storytelling and makes it his own. He doesn’t fall into the random pop culture tropes like Bryan O’Malley did with Scott Pilgrim, there are some here and there but they are clever and fun.

-Artwork: Much like the writing, the artwork is AMAZING!!!!!! So much creativity is flowing through the pages. So many great designs and looks for all the characters and action scenes. Some of it can be subtle at times but there is so much being thrown at you its fun to slow down and look at everything on page. There is so many action moments and splash pages, it puts many action driven comics to shame.

-Character Dynamic: The characters are stock and play out cliché roles but they are taken to the next level of super fun to crazy awesome. Caesar has topped my list of favorite characters (an upcoming list I’m going to work on soon); he now out ranks Scott Pilgrim.

-Highlight of the issue: ___________________________(Insert any awesome moment)

-Grade: A+

SideScrollers: Written and Artwork by Matthew Loux

-Story: The story follows Matt, Brad, and Brian; three gamers from Connecticut and their wacky day of events, involving a female coworker, a Jock, and a demon cat.

-Review: Again there’s so much going in this story that I cannot give away any spoilers. What I can say is that this was one of the funniest GN’s I’ve ever read. I never laughed out loud when reading a comic that had a funny line or moment; this is full of many funny moments. The story has a perfect flow to it, its very cinematic in a sense, not in terms of style per say but in terms that this feels like a comedy movie that never got green lit and the writer just made it as a comic. Which in this case I would love to see a page to screen transition of this so much, I know it can and could be done, plus it wouldn’t feel like a comic book movie, in the same vain like Road to Perdition and A History of Violence.

-Writing: Matthew Loux “GETS” the slacker gamer youth style down to a T. The three main characters talk about esoteric things (one of which is cereal mascots). The three of them are so relatable, that you can see these three as friends of yours; they don’t fill the typical niches like many comedy comics do. Loux tells a great story all in the matter of a day, the story takes place over the course of a single day, something which I like seeing.

-Artwork: Loux also pulls double duty with the artwork in this; his style is less anime and more hipster (A better comparison is that it looks sorta like Clerks the Animated series). It’s more unique than Scott Pilgrim’s art but nowhere near Sharknife’s over the top and epic art. I truly like this simplistic style; it fits with the fun and light hearted tone of the story.

-Character Dynamic: despite taking place over the course of a day, we do see sight character development; the three main characters are extremely fun and funny. They are friends to the end and enjoy every crazy second of it. The interactions with all the other characters around them are fun and fantastic.
-Highlight of the issue :_____________________( Insert any funny moment)

-Grade: A+


WORTHY OF THE WEEK

Batman Inc #1: Written by Grant Morrison/Artwork by Chris Burnham

-Story: Taking place in the now new 52, Bruce and Damian track down the ever infesting Leviathan that wants to take full control over Gotham city. Also the Dynamic Duo is being pursued by a hit man, whose target is Damian.

Review
-Story: Right off the bat the story gets right into the craziness of it all. The story continues from the prior continuity and yet still manages to fit in the now 5 year timeline that has been established. The first issue doesn’t set up the scope like the first volume did, so far we are following Batman and Robin, and hopefully we see more of the other members in Batman Incorporated.

-Writing: Grant Morrison is amazing; he continues to take Batman and his universe of characters into great over the top scenarios. While he is no Scott Snyder, he does manage to tell a fun story

-Artwork: Burnham’s artwork is awesome and fits perfectly with the tone of the book. It’s a bit ultraviolent, especially seeing cows getting killed on panel.

-Character Dynamic: Bruce and Damian’s banter is great, not only are the teammates but Bruce continues to treat Damian like a child, even in the midst of battle.

-Grade: A+

Godzilla #1: Written by Duane Swierczynski/Artwork by Simon Gane

-Story: The world is ravaged by giant monsters attacking various areas around the world, one of which is Godzilla attacking DC. Meanwhile a former solider/commando named Boxer, is helping an heiress escape from a hotel that is being destroyed slowly by the big G. They try and escape but are stopped by red necks that open fire on, one of the bullets killing Boxer’s client. Guilt ridden he accepts death but lives on to fight against Godzilla with the help of a friend who lost someone as well

Review
-Story: It’s a slight reboot from the prior comic seires, Kingdom of Monsters, which to me had its ups and downs along its 12 issue run, and the problem is was heavily burdened with human characters had little to no concern over. This introduces a cool character with a gripping backstory and hopefully plays out further in the upcoming issues. Godzilla is used perfectly, he returns to his force of nature and destruction self and he is not being controlled by some unknown force or angry at the world.

-Writing: Swiesrczynksi who also writes the New 52 Birds of Prey does a good job with this issue. He establishes the world and the small cast of characters pretty well, even narrating that the world is still infested with these giant monsters but have created means of protecting themselves.

-Artwork: Gane’s art style is back after his prior work in the Godzilla Legends mini-series, he worked on the issue with Rodan. His art is well done and has a nice tone to the look of the world and the monsters. He does show the size and scope of the monsters, making Godzilla look truly menacing. The looks are also consistent; the Kingdom of Monster run made the monsters look odd here and there.

-Character Dynamic: Not much established in the first issue, but we do get some interesting background of who Boxer is.

-Grade: A-

Justice League Dark #9: Written by Jeff Lemire/Artwork by Mikel Janin

-Story: John Constantine’s rest is interrupted by Steve Trevor who wants the JLD to reteam up and stop Felix Faust from gaining a special mystical power. He convinces his team along with some new members introduced; they head out and take out Felix’s cult followers with ease. Constantine comes across what Faust was looking for, a map to the most powerful magical artifacts.

Review
-Story: Wow, simply wow. This from start to finish is a fantastic read. The story does a basic set-up of bringing the team back together, plus two new members, both of which are awesome and used really well. I like the concept of the Black room, it reminds of the giant room from the end of Raiders. We do get some slight backstory with Zatanna’s father and how his hat is very important to both sides. The story also does introduce a far better mystical villain, Felix Faust, a man who has been seen in other media as opposed to the Sorceress. The use of the new characters were nicely done, Andrew Bennet from I, Vampire works since he is of paranormal and Black Orchid is just super strong and can shape shift herself and others.

-Writing: Jeff Lemire, fresh off of Animal Man, does a fantastic job with the writing duty. He continues where the prior writer left off and manages to pull off a great first issue. The way he writes Constantine is great; he’s the most reluctant person in the comic and does things only to meet his own ends. I’m sort of glad that Shade is gone and we missed out on a great character like Mind warp.

-Artwork: Janin returns to art duty and he continues to do a fantastic job. The character designs are top notch and extremely well done. The actions beats are well done, some great use of showing off the team in action.

-Character Dynamic: The relationship between Constantine and Zatanna has truly evolved, their past seems to hint and reference a former romantic relationship from the prior universe of history but now being fitted into the modern new 52.

-Grade: A-

Super Crooks #3: Written by Mark Millar/Artwork by Leinil Yu

-Story: The team plans an infiltration on The Bastards mansion, getting the layout of the place and plans to steal 800 million dollars from him, even knowing that The Bastard is the most crazy villain and most powerful of them all, even retired. Johnny’s former flame leaves the team but gets caught as the team leads a huge attack on the mansion.

Review
-Story: This is truly Ocean’s 11 meets the Thunderbolts, I really like this idea. I like the mixture of crime thriller and super villain craziness. I’m surprised at how quick the issue is, we have the team planning their attack and heading out for their attack. It was super fun and the story keeps getting better.

-Writing: It’s Mark Millar, nuff said

-Artwork: Leinil Yu does a fantastic job with the art; he gives the villains iconic looks to them.

-Character Dynamic: The team is very diverse and has great characteristics that set them apart from one another.

-Grade: A-


Middle Ground

Amazing Spider-man #686: Written by Dan Slott/Artwork by Stefano Caselli

-Story: Spider-man and his sexy sidekicks battle Chameleon and get to Mysterio to join them on their side. They head for the real hideout of Doc Oct, who now has a new members of the Sinister Six, robotically controlled Avengers.
Review
-Story: The end of the earth story has been done well so far and continues to be an impressive story, going all out with the concept. I liked how quickly it took Spider-man to figure out what really was going on, that it’s all a trick thanks to Mysterio. Also the way Spider-man is able to talk Mysterio into joining his side was done amazingly well, playing off the fact he loves money more than anything else.

-Writing: Dan Slott makes these events fun and action packed. This issue doesn’t slow down and continues to work well with all of the characters.

-Artwork: Caselli has been on the Spider-man title before and does a good job with the look and style.

-Character Dynamic: Spider-man and Silver Sable do continue their slight friendship more, with a slight hint that she has feelings for him despite him being in love with MJ.

-Grade: B+

Batman Annual #1: Written by Scott Snyder/Artwork by James Tynion IV

-Story: Mr. Freeze enters the world of the new 52 (except he was in Red Hood), as he goes on vengeance against Batman for taking away Nora. AKA you’re typical Mr. Freeze story.

Review
-Story: It kind of fits into the event of the Court of Owls but is a slight detour around the bigger and better story. The backstory with Freeze was actually kind of touching and sad.

-Writing: Scott Snyder does a fairly good job with writing the annual; I wasn’t blown away or amazed by it like his main works.

-Artwork: While it’s not Capullo’s art which fits well with the Batman, this artist Tyison IV does a good job with the character designs and does some unique moments with the character of Mr. Freeze

-Character Dynamic: Mr. Freeze takes center stage in this issue, one of the best uses of him, even going on par with the 90s animated episode.

-Grade: B-

Rocketeer 2 #3

-Story: Three short stories involving the jetpack wearing 30s/40s superhero. Story 1 involves Cliff and Betty thinking of a life together, Second story has Butchy flying the jetpack, and the third story has a great twist at the end.

Review
-Story: The three short story structure is fun, fitting the pulp style it is aiming for, the first and third I would like to see fleshed out and given their own mini-series. This is one of my favorite anthology books but it hasn’t lived up to what the first volume did.

-Writing: The three stories are nicely and written and are given a lot of creativity to let things go at their own pace. It can be a bit difficult at times trying to piece together the continuity since all the stories bounce between the 30s and 40s.

-Artwork: The three styles are unique and well fitting for their stories.

-Character Dynamic: Cliff and Betty are full of great chemistry in each story.

-Grade: B-

Transformers #9: Written by James Roberts/Artwork by Alex Milne

-Story: Fortress Maximus attacks after being in a seven year sleep and attacks two decpticons. The medical team continues to search for of a cure against the rapid rusting plaque that they fell into. Ultra Magnus teaches and forces tailgate to learn the real difference between what Autobots and Decepticons. Ratchet battles Pharma for the only known cure.

Review
-Story: I like this series but it is one that is a bit hard to follow at times since this series is heavy in dialogue and mixes in action beats here and there. I like it far better than the other series that was being more about the politics and prejudices the two sides had to deal with. This series has a great premise and idea blending the two sides into searching for a cause that will bring them together but most likely with other ulterior motives for both sides. The disease factor in the series was nicely done, something I always like to see done to showcase that the Transformers are more than just robots; they are living creatures that can die and can have something other than war and battle to kill them.

-Writing: Roberts does a great job with the writing duty, he implements the characters well, keeping them well diverse and truly unique from one another. The battle between Ratchet and Pharma is well done, both men of science and medicine but using them in two different means.

-Artwork: Roberts does a fantastic job with the artwork. He blends the various eras of the Transformers and they all fit in well. The diseased look of the transformers looks great, showcasing the effects of oil and rust as blood.

-Character Dynamic: Ultra Magnus and Tailgate get a great moment together. Ratchet and Pharma was done well also.

-Grade: B-

Weakest of the Week

Amazing Spider-man Annual #39: Written by Brian Reed/Artwork by Lee Garbett

-Story: Spider-man is tossed into a world where he doesn’t exist, he causes temporal quakes as the world corrects itself.

Review
-Story: A well thought out story but it was quickly rushed to fit into a single issue rather than being spread through at least 4 or 5.

-Writing: Reed does a nice job with the story and makes some fun ideas but not as strong as they could have been.

-Artwork: The art does a clever nod to being his old school retro for a few pages, other than that the art fits well with the characters

-Character Dynamic: Not much really here, nothing is gained and nothing is lost

-Grade: D+

Well that’s all for this week friends, next week another Mark Millar story arrives and much more to come. Catch you all later.
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