Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 4-5-06

Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1 (of 4)
Keith Giffen, Writer
Renato Arlem, Art

Well, here we are at the first Annihilation issue that is not a prologue and quite frankly the book did not really engender feelings one way or the other. So far I am definitely not passionate about the Annihilation event one way or the other. I did enjoy the exchange in which Silver Surfer and Gabriel Air Walker are trying to convince both themselves and the servants of Lord Annihilus that what they did as Heralds of Galactus was a necessary part of the natural processes of the Universe. This is, of course, to put them into contrast with the actions of Lord Annihilus, who they view as an infection from another plane or reality. As long as Giffen keeps me mildly interested in this story and they keep throwing some hot buttered Dell’Otto on the covers, I will continue to follow this event.

Archenemies #1 (of 4)
Drew Melbourne, Creator and Writer
Yvel Guichet, Penciller
Joe Rubestein, Inker

Initially I was not going to pick up this book until I read about the high-concept behind the comic and decided to give it a shot. Sadly I do not think this first issue lives up to the potential of the super-hero and super-villain end up as roommates concept. I don’t know if I am jaded or what, but the setups in this issue veer from the slightly confusing to far too pat and contrived. We shall see how this pans out, but I was expecting something along the lines of “Amercian Pie,” and I feel like I got served a bit of Rob Schneider.

Infinite Crisis Special: The OMAC Project #1
Greg Rucka, Writer
Jesus Saiz, Artist

Welcome to Checkmate #0! And if this is any indication of what Rucka is going to offer up in the upcoming series, then sign me up, because this one-shot really got me excited. My only problem with the story is that Dr. Waller acts like a thirteen year-old as she asserts herself over the remnants of Checkmate. The most interesting thing to come out of this issue, besides the hints about Fire’s background (a character that I only know from the recent Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League series), is the indication that Checkmate was more than just an American operation. I do not know if this has been hinted at before and I just missed it, but the fact that there is a motion before the U.N. Security Council regarding the organization is fascinating to me and makes me wonder how much Checkmate is going to play into the events in 52. I am pumped about the series and this is adding to my desire to see some 52 action already.

Moon Knight #1
Charlie Huston, Writer
David Finch, Penciller
Danny Miki, Inker


Even before I read the first issue this comic was causing problems for me. I picked up the Essential Moon Knight trade that came out some time ago and had not gotten around to reading past the first few pages. This is not due to any deficiencies in the stories or anything but more a function of my ever-shrinking free time. I could not decide whether I should go into the new series without any preconceptions about the Moon Knight character or get a good “historical” grounding of Doug Moench’s character in my head before I proceeded. I have had no previous experience with him in books that I can remember except for his appearance in the Marvel Knights series several years ago. I almost put off reading this book until I could get through the trade, however this weekend I finally decided to take the plunge and read the book. At first I was a little put off by the story. I wanted to jump right in and get going on the action. The first half of the book was promising. And then came the reveal that everything we were seeing was a memory and MK was actually a wheelchair-bound failure. What a frackin’ bummer. I finished the issue and was disappointed in it and decided it would only get three issues instead of my standard six to either sink or swim. Then I started flipping through the book again and I really got into it, in no small part because of Finch’s art. I started to come around and like the setup Huston gave us and now I am really eager to see what happens next.

Outsiders #35
Judd Winick, Writer
Matthew Clark, Penciller
Art Thibert, Inker

Month two of OYL and I am beginning to think that Judd may be serious about the Outsiders being the DCU’s resident bastards. They torture some no-good boot-licking lackey for information that they could have had had Anissa stuck to the game plan. Grace literally crushes this dude’s nuts! Like grapes! YOWCH! As ecstatic as I have been about the new Batman is not actually a dick zeitgeist that fills the other OYL books, I like that Dick, at least in this issue, is willing to do whatever it takes to get results.

Teen Titans #34
Geoff Johns, Writer
Tony Daniel, Penciller
Kevin Conrad and Art Thibert, Inkers

The first OYL Teen Titans, or rather The New Teen Titans, opens with a series of scenes rather reminiscent of Robocop. Not that this is a bad thing, I just find it amusing, much like Kid Devil’s exchange with Cyborg where they discuss the nomenclature of the team:
“We’re the Teen Titans.”
“No, you’re not.”
“We’re the “New” Teen Titans.”
I was a New Teen Titan.”
“The New, New Teen Titans?”
Even if you’re not a comic fans that little bit of dialogue has to warm the cockles of your heart. Of course this happens at the end of a fight which falls squarely into the realm of bad comic clich├ęs. After waking up Cyborg finds Ravager and Kid Devil in the kitchen and proceeds to whup-up on them before investigating the situation. What is it about superheroes always going off half-cocked? No wonder there is a treaty controlling their actions put in place during the 52 year. I like what this issue sets up and have high hopes for the series as OYL continues to unfold.

Thunderbolt Jaxon #3 (of 5)
Dave Gibbons, Writer
John Higgins, Artist

I am really digging this series and wish Wildstorm would spin off the entire Albion universe into a monthly series. Even if it was just an anthology series, I am really enjoying the re-invention that is going on here. My favorite moment of this issue is when Billy says, “I’ve been trying to tell you what I found out. That belt belonged to Thor. No, not that blond hippie out of comics. The real Thor. The Norse God.” I love it when there are not-so-subtle shots taken at other comics in a funny book. Above and beyond Gibbons’ having a little fun with Marvel, I am intrigued by the world he is creating for us and I hope to get to see more.

The Winter Men #4 (of 6)
Brett Lewis, Writer
John Paul Leon, Artist

Well, it has been so long since the last issue of this series came out, I forgot what I was reading about. Of course this might have been the perfect issue to come out with after a hiatus since the events of this issue do not seemed to be directly tied to the events of the previous issues, in fact this issue could just as easily have been a one-shot as it is basically a done-in-one buddy story featuring two former Soviet soldiers. They muck through a day in the life which involves far more Big Maks than can be healthy, a little extortion, and finally an execution that feels more like an after-thought than anything else. I enjoyed the issue, but I have to admit that this series is not panning out to be what I hoped it would be. Perhaps there is room for Lewis to go back and do a prequel series about the Soviet super-soldier program during the height of the Cold War.

X-Men Unlimited #14
“Dying Inside”
C.B. Cebulski, Writer
David Aja, Artist

“How to be an Artist”
Neil Kled, Writer
Mike Oeming, Artist

Before I get sidetracked, I really enjoyed this issue. I am sure that some of it comes from the fact that Colossus is my favorite X-Man and the first story also features Illyana, who very well may have been my first comic crush. What’s not to like there? Long blonde hair, sexy Russian accent, big-ass sword, and demonic legions at her command? Anyways, the reason I chose to review this issue to spend a little time kvetching about an opportunity which I think Marvel needs to seriously think about embracing. I am a big fan of the anthology series and wish more companies did then (hint, hint DC). I feel that these anthology series are excellent places to give untried talent a spin, particularly if you make them semimonthly and pump up the page count on them. What I would like to see Marvel do with this series is add another eleven pages and then use these additional eleven pages to have new writers take a spin with some of the characters.

The Rest:

  • Batman & the Monster Men #6 (of 6)
    • Matt Wagner, Story & Art
  • Batman: Secrets #2 (of 5)
    • Sam Keith, Writer & Artist
  • Detective Comics #818
    • James Robinson, Writer
    • Leonard Kirk, Layouts
    • Andy Clarke & Wayne Faucher, Finishes
  • Ex Machina #19
    • Brian K. Vaughn, Writer
    • Tony Harris, Penciller
    • Tom Feister, Inker
  • Infinite Crisis #6 (of 7)
    • Geoff Johns, Writer
    • Phil Jimenez, Jerry Ordway, George Perez & Ivan Reis, Pencillers
    • Andy Lanning, Jerry Ordway, George Perez, Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert, Marc Campos, Drew Geraci, Sean Parsons, Norm Rapmund & Art Thibert, Inks/Finishes
  • JSA #84
    • Paul Levitz, Writer
    • Rags Morales & Luke Ross, Pencillers
    • Dave Meikis, Inker
  • Team Zero #5 (of 6)
    • Chuck Dixon, Writer
    • Doug Mahnke, Penciller
    • Sandra Hope with Drew Geraci & Jerome Moore, Inks
  • X-Men: The End Book 3 – Men & X-Men #4
    • Chris Claremont, Writer
    • Sean Chen, Penciller
    • Sandu Florea, Inker


V for Vendetta
Alan Moore, Writer
David Lloyd, Artist

After having seen the movie this week, I felt it was finally time for me to pick up this collection and see what it was all about. I loved the movie and I am expecting to love the series even more. Oh yeah, and Natalie, it’s okay to admit you love me.

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