Thursday, June 26, 2008

Book of the Week 6/25/08 X-Men Legacy #213

Written by Mike Carey
Pencils by Scott Eaton
Inks by Andrew Hennessy
Colors by Frank D'Armata
Letters by Cory Petit

This was a huge week for comics and I had the pleasure of reading a lot of quality books but in the end X-Men Legacy #213 was the title that struck me as the best thing that I read. I've been very lukewarm about this book because I didn't understand the motivation behind this book and why we needed it and while that still may be the case I think this is pretty much the best post messiah complex X-title out there and this is the only X-book that seems to have any read direction.

The current plot in this book revolves around the return of Mr. Sinister, who we saw die in Messiah Complex, and how his return is connected to Xavier. Carey is really doing some retconing but that's something that comics need to stay fresh and I'm really interested in the story that he's telling and where it's going. Something that engaged me within the first couple of pages is Sinister telling and showing Charles how much of a jerk he's been to the X-men and it's nice to see that addressed and to see Charles' reaction to his past mistakes.

I can't say that I am a huge fan of Eaton's pencils yet but I can say that I like him more and more as time goes on and I'm really glad that his Charles Xavier no longer mimics Patrick Stewart. His art does have a nice classic feel to it so I am digging that. I do think he could benefit from some better coloring though, the colors seem to be a little too wet and streaky.

All in all I'm happy that I am enjoying one of the X-books out there and, as I said before on the show, Sinister is one of my favorite villains and Carey is giving us a very interesting glimpse into his past and I like it.

Also, the very last page.......very cool.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Book of the Week 6/18/08 Y: the Last Man Book 10

Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Pencils by Pia Guerra
Inks by Jose Marzan Jr.
Colors by Zylonol
Letters by Clem Robins
Covers by Massimo Carnevale

My store was shorted some books this week and I was only left with about three regular comics. With such a light stack I walked over to the trade isle and remembered that this week...finally...after so much anticipation, Y the Last Man Book 10 was released. Being that it was by far the best thing I read, I'm switching things up this week to review this trade and the series on whole.

Admittedly I was late to the party. I'd heard about why but hadn't bought any of the series. After deciding to start some new books in trade format, I bought the first book and was instantly hooked. Vaughan and Guerra's basic idea of taking "the last man on earth" fantasy and turning it into a nightmare was excellently handled. As I picked up more books and watched situations progress and characters develop, the thing that stuck out to me most was how the gender role was so reversed in this book. With the men wiped out, women don't build utopia but militarize, hunt, and war with eachother. Meanwhile Yorick is not the most manly of males (which was great). Vaughan definitely plays on the darker side of humanity throughout most of the series which at times seemed to cast a shadow over the book but also always pushed the characters to grow and mature.

Apart from the overall themes, I fell in love with the characters. Yorick and 355 were the perfect odd couple comedy act. Every person had a specific dynamic with another character that no one else shared. Even Ampersand became endearing. With Book 10, which I won't spoil here, the goodbyes for each character were a mix of painful, bittersweet, and poetic.

Initially I thought that Pia Guerra's pencils were nothing special. The almost cartoony look I felt diminished the realism of the series world. Over time though, I changed my tune as I realized how much emotion Guerra's characters displayed and also how the somewhat "cartoony" look helped the book to not become too mired down with the previously mentioned dark storylines.

As much as I loved this story, every good story needs a good ending, Robin Hood shoots his last arrow, the Rebel Alliance defeats the Empire, Marty makes it back to 1985, and so it must be for Y. Book 10 utilizes a favorite concept of mine, the fast forward. After some fairly heavy story beats near the end, the last chapter zooms ahead 60 years. We see civilization somewhat rebuilt and it's revealed how the human race continued on. Throughout the flash forward, we go back in time at several points to say goodbye to key characters which is touching. In the last pages of the future, Yorick's fate as I stated earlier is a poetic fairwell that shows just how deep the scars of his journey are.

I truly loved this book. I believe that this is probably one of the best modern comics of recent times and will be held as an example of what the modern age of comics can be. Now, like all good comics, we wait for the movie.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Book of the Week 6/12/08 Booster Gold #10

Written by Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz
Art by Dan Jurgens

I've been saying recently how good this book has been and I'm glad to see that the momentum has never slowed during Johns' latest take on one of DCs classic characters. I've never been a huge Booster fan but I felt that so much depth was added during 52 that the character was really given a whole new start. This book has really given Booster a purpose and made him a viable character and not just a one-note joke. The fact that Johns was able to further explore his revised character with this 11 issue run has been great and provided a "sequel" to 52 and Omac Project.

This issue deals with the climax of the Blue and Gold story where Max Lord has succeeded with the OMAC Project and eliminated most of earth's heroes. The ultimate villain revealed in this issue was great but I felt that it almost relied too much on readers having read 52. Being that I did, I loved it. I also loved the realization for Beetle that how many lives had to be lost for him to live. More than anything, this issue finally provided not only an opportunity for Booster to say goodbye to his friend but for readers to do the same. There is a panel near the end of the book that tugs at the heartstrings.

Johns and Jurgens have done a great job on this book. I'm not sure how the next creative team will handle the book but this initial run will end up being a great trade. Jurgens art, while initially a little rough, has really sharpened and reminds us all why he is considered a great in his field. I never thought I'd enjoy this book as much as I have and with still one more issue to go in the story I eagerly await the finally to Johns' latest classic.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Book of the Week 6/4/08 Justice Society of America #16

Written by Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Pencils by fernando Pasarin
Inks by Rebecca Buchman
Colors by Hi-Fi
Letters by Rob Leigh

Well this one truly came out of nowhere this week. We talk about JSA constantly and it has become one of those books like Captain America or Ultimate Spider-Man, a book that is just constantly good, so much so that it may get lost in the pile. I admit that we're spoiled with some great stories in JSA so something pretty big has to happen to make it stand out as the book of the week and this was just a fun read!

Gog is on earth and like the JSA we readers have no idea what that means. Johns did a great job of letting you see this issue through the eyes of our heroes and I truly felt like I was there with them trying to figure out what to do about this so-called god that has suddenly shown up and appears to be a.....good guy?

The one thing that I was instantly excited about upon reading this issue was that it focused on Damage who is hands down my favorite member of the team and we're given a little more back story on his legacy in the JSA and there is a great turn for the character that I won't ruin here.

I just had so much fun with this book, I would assume that Gog is not going to turn out being the nice and gracious god that he is currently depicting himself to be but his actions would say otherwise so perhaps my feelings are wrong and Johns is going to throw us a curve ball.

The last thing I want to mention was the art by Fernando Pasarin which was just beautiful. Dale Eaglesham does a great job on this book but I think I may like Pasarin's art better. It really fit the feel of the story and the facial expression on the character on the last page. Perfect!

All this and Black Adam! How could this not be book of the week?

Weekly Review Podcast Episode 41- Final Crisis #1

Eric picked Final Crisis #1 as the book of the week because of the crafted set up by Grant Morrison and is intrigued to see what's going to happen. We also discuss Batman #677, X-Force #4, !985 #1, Giant Size Astonishing X-Men and more. We finish off the show with our reviews of Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and what I thought about the trade Eric gave me to read at the Seattle Con.

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