Monday, August 2, 2004

Looking To The Stars: Mass O' Reviews

I got a lot of comics this past week and I’ve got a hankering to talk about them all. Since the exercise in brevity a few months ago was such a big hit, I’m trotting it out again. The rules are simple. I can use one paragraph with no more than four sentences to sum the book up completely.

Amazing Spider-Man #510

Oh My God, is the only way I can describe this issue. The good news is that it looks like Straczynski was serious about this story not involving clones. The bad news is that this could be JUST as bad if he can’t pull off the MAJOR revelation put forth in this issue. Do not reveal the stunning secret of the last page!

Final Score: 9 out of 10.

Army of Darkness: Ashes 2 Ashes #1

This book starts up right at the end of Army of Darkness (the original ending, not the alternate one), with Ash discovering that the potion that took him back to his time was off by a day. Now, with a chance to save the life of his girlfriend Linda, he is hauling Ash to the cabin from Evil Dead hoping he can get to her before the Deadites do. Cartoony as it should be in art and writing, this is a must-have for all fans of comedic horror. Hail to the King, baby!

Final Score: 8 out of 10.

Conan #6

I’ve always had a soft spot for the barbarian, no matter how goofy his adventures may have been towards the end of his Marvel Comics run or in the Conan The Adventurer Cartoon. But this new book is anything but goofy, treating Robert E. Howard’s greatest creation with a seriousness and single-mindedness worthy of Conan himself. Busiek’s writing is as top-notch as ever and Nord’s art sizzles on every page. Forget Ah-nold: the real hero is on the printed page.

Final Score: 9 out of 10.

Dork Tower #28

Slowly but surely we stumble towards resolution of the love triangle that has defined the plot of this book since its’ third year. Goth Gamer Grrl Gilly is moving to England and Matt, the ideal man for her, is miserable in his relationship with his gamer-hating girlfriend from Hell Kayleigh. To make matters worse, Igor just sent Kayleigh a copy of the comic Matt has been working on, whose heroine bears an amazing resemblance to a certain goth grrrrl. All this, and reasons why Call of Cthulhu Dark Ages is a totally different game from the modern-age Call of Cthulhu.

Final Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Fantastic Four #516

The least incarnation of the Frightful Four is defeated, as we knew any team featuring Hydro-Man as a prominent member would. And yet another one of Johnny Storm’s romances crashes and burns, no pun intended. A shame really, as The Wizard’s daughter Cole was quite an interesting character. Hopefully Mark Waid will see fit to return her in a later story.

Final Score: 7 out of 10.

Futurama #18

Time runs amok as this series based on the hit cartoon enters the second part of it’s first multi-issue storyline. Professor Farnsworth accidentally sent the entire population of Earth back to the days of the dinosaurs. The rescue effort isn’t going well, with a time vortex sending Fry to an issue of Weird War Tales, Leela to the days of Greek Mythology and Bender to a world where Robots, not witches, were the object of ire at the Salem Witch Trials. If you’re watching the endless reruns on Adult Swim and pining for the show’s cancellation, you should beam up a copy of this immediately.

Final Score: 7 out of 10.

Green Lantern #179

Ah, the cliché “two heroes fight over a misunderstanding” issue. It might seem like padding if Ron Marz didn’t write it so well. Beautifully illustrated by Luke Ross, the whole issue is filled with amazing images. In fact, I want a poster of the splash page with Kyle recharging his ring while standing on the Statue of Liberty.

Final Score: 8 out of 10.

Justice League: Another Nail #3

This book was a confusing mess, even for a guy like me who has a degree in DC Comics History. Everything DOES come together in the end of this issue, though the JLA really doesn’t DO much except stand around reacting to the works of about six other groups of people. This isn’t a book for the casual reader. It is a book for those of us who smile at the idea of Oliver Queen’s brain in the body of an Amazo Robot, using a makeshift bow to put down a giant space amoeba that is eating reality instead of saying “What the hell?”.

Final Score: 4.5 out of 10.

Small Gods #1

John Young is a cop who can see crimes before they happen but in a world where psychic powers are as heavily regulated as cars that power doesn’t really make his job any easier. Even after getting a telepath to verify and notarize his visions as real, they still have to catch the crook in the act to have any hope of putting them away. That’s the concept behind the world of Small Gods, where super powers are real and the lawyers have made everyone’s lives even more difficult. A great concept with wonderful writing and amazing photo-realistic art, this one is going on my pull list.

Final Score: 10 out of 10.

Spider-Man Unlimited #4

It seems like this title always has one really good story and one so-so or worse story. The so-so is “Love Withdrawal”, a ho-hum story of romance during a bank robbery. The good story, “The Old Ways”, centers upon a Native American doctor, who is inspired to change his life by a vision of Iktomi, the trickster spider, in the form of our favorite wall-crawler. I’m a sucker for any tale of trickster gods, but this one seems a worthy companion piece to JMS’s writings about Anansi in “Amazing Spider-Man”.

Final Score: 7 out of 10 overall, with “The Old Ways” getting 10 out of 10.

Tune in next week. Same Matt time. Same Matt website.

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