Thursday, April 20, 2006

Looking To The Stars - Looking To The Reviews.

Sign the “Remove Judd Winick From Green Arrow Right Now!” petition.

Action Philosophers #5
Company Name: Evil Twin Comics
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Ryan Dunalavey

The best Indie title I’ve seen in all the time that I’ve been reading comics. Not only is this more educational than the one philosophy class I ever took but it is also funnier – and I was taught by a Baptist preacher who only touched upon Nietzsche for five minutes to say that “everything this man said is a damn lie!” But it’s not a lie when I say that if you’ve got half a brain, you’ll love this book if you give it a chance. And given that there’s plentiful free previews on the AP website, there’s no reason why you can’t give it a shot.

Grade: A

Birds of Prey #93
Company Name: DC Comics
Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Paulo Siqueira & Robin Riggs

Some explanation as to why two prominent female characters seem to have switched places, a little Catholic girl trying to bum cigarettes and the return of a villain who hasn’t been used properly since his first appearance. All in all another solid issue from Simone & company.

Grade: A

Conan #27
Company Name: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Timothy Truman

I feel as bored as Conan sitting on the throne of Aquilonia writing reviews for this book at times. How many times can one pull out the A stamp, say that Busiek is a masterful writer and that whoever is doing the art is a wonder before the gilt loses its golden shine? Perhaps the book will lose its luster once Truman takes over as writer in a few issues, but I doubt it.

Grade: A

Conan: Book of Thoth #2
Company Name: Dark Horse Comics
Writers: Kurt Busiek and Len Wein
Artist: Kelly Jones

As far as I know, none of the pastiche writers building off Howard’s work ever wrote up a full background for the wicked wizard Thoth-Amon. But this story is as serviceable as any, though the Howard purist in me wonders if Thoth could really be singularly responsible for Set becoming the prominent god of the Stygian race when they are discussed as having always been a nation of evil snake worshippers in all I’ve read previously. Nevertheless, on its own merits it is an engaging read, though I think now that Kelly Jones the wrong artist for this book. The work is not bad, mind you – it just seems off somehow.

Grade: B

Daredevil #2
Company Name: Marvel Comics
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Michael Lark

It would take the transplant of a writer and artist from DC Comics to make me say nice things about a Marvel book right now, but damn me if the new Daredevil isn’t a hell of a good read. There’s a lot of “oh wow!” moments in this book, but the best comes in the last two pages. Give it a looksee and I think you’ll be surprised.

Grade: A

Ex Machina Special #1
Company Name: Wildstorm Comics
Writer: Brian Vaughn
Artists: Chris Sprouse & Carl Story

Fans have wanted a story focusing upon the superheroic days of Mitchell Hundred for quite some time now. This mini-series looks ready to deliver as The Great Machine fights an actual, honest to goodness super-villain. Vaughn’s writing is hot as ever and I didn’t even notice that Sprouse and Story were aping Tony Harris’s art style until I sat down to write this review and looked at the credits page.

Grade: A

Hellblazer #219
Company Name: Vertigo Comics
Writer: Denise Mina
Artist: Leonardo Manco

The problem with decompressed writing is that it leads to a lot of stories that, while well-written, read better in TP editions than in monthly titles. Such is the way with Hellblazer at this time. Don’t mistake me – the story is good and the art is as well. But it is a wee bit slow at the moment, with half the book being flashbacks and half of it standing around while looking at a painting or sitting around while talking in a car. Still, I trust there will be some appropriate pay-off soon.

Grade: C

Red Sonja #9
Company Name: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Michael Avon Oeming
Artists: Mel Rubi & Pablo Marcos

Funny how I start noticing the dialogue more now that Mike Oeming is the sole writer, given that Mike Carey is more famous for his dialogue. Still, Oeming is proving himself more than capable of flying solo as he tells the engaging double story of Sonja’s origin as well as her taking on a sidekick of sorts. And we get another explanation of the infamous chainmail bikini armor where Sonja admits to baiting those who would take advantage of a seemingly helpless woman.

Grade: A

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

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