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ComiX Weekly: 9/19/12

Good god, there are no event books and a ton of #0 issues from DC Comics…thems spells a tricky time for you at the comic shop. Don’t worry, I’m here to read nearly everything and let you know which three or so books are worth your 10 dollar budget.

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison #5 (Dark Horse Comics)

The best looking Star Wars comic that I’ve ever seen concludes this week and once again the art doesn’t disappoint. I will say this though, the story picked up last issue after a few so-so endeavors on character building.

Darth Codpiece!

This issue takes a step backwards in the character development, as more time is spent on plot points and action. If that’s what you’re looking for you’re going to have a ton of fun. The action is spot-on and it shows how the team that has formed over this series is possibly the strongest in the Star Wars universe.

Yet another example of purple being the color of evil.

The way this issue shuts the lid on characters is shocking. In a lot of ways this is good, in that you know you’re getting your money’s worth, but it felt a little rushed in many ways. Another issue could have been spent going over the politics and changes in command, jealousies and the like, but instead it’s stuffed into the last few pages.

You might have more guns but there’s more of you to hit.

This issue also didn’t have too many moody shots that show just how epic and gloomy this universe is. Maybe I’m nitpicking, but I didn’t get the same emotional take away as I have from previous issues. Overall a good final issue, but not quite good enough to be purchased on a ten dollar budget.

Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00

Daredevil #18 (Marvel Comics)

Comic books don’t get much better than this and it’s only $2.99! This issue was the subject of our Is It Good review earlier this morning, which you can check out here.

Budget: $10.00 – $2.99 = $7.01

Avengers Vol. 4 #30 (Marvel Comics)

Writer Brian Michael Bendis loves himself the dialogue. He especially loves dialogue when it’s being uttered in a unique way, like during a battle that should require a hero’s utmost attention. Case in point, this issue is basically a fight between Spider-Woman and Hawkeye, recently on the dating scene, only you might forget considering that’s been pushed to the background as Avengers vs. X-Men has taken over.

Somebody shut her up.

Unfortunately for Bendis, in most cases this formula fails because it’s all rendered pointless by issue’s end. A reader might find some of the jibber jabber interesting, but essentially it’s boring because it’s Bendis trying to make the characters seem real for the fleeting moment the issue takes place. Usually it ends with a character saying, “oh nevermind,” or “I’m just being crazy right now.” A frustrating experience.

Periods are too cool for school!

I was a little shocked when Spider-Woman brings up her periods…you don’t see that everyday. She comes off as a whining girlfriend and I wouldn’t be surprised if women readers find this issue annoying. Bendis reduces her to a nagging girlfriend who can’t express her feelings and blames Hawkeye for her inner frustration. …A jealous b---h, essentially.

It’s so hard being a superhero.

Walt Simonson does an impeccable job this issue. At times he can be sketchy, but here each panel has a lot of life similar to Chris Samnee’s issue of Daredevil #18.

What lovely art you have.

This is an easily passable issue, but if you love the senseless Bendis dialogue, by all means take a peek.

Budget: $7.01 – $0.00 = $7.01

Godzilla Half Century War #2 (of 5) (IDW)

Writer and artist James Stokoe of Orc Stain continues to impress with his hyper detailed-art and psychedelic color in this issue, but how about the story? This issue takes place in 1967 Vietnam and while there aren’t too many references to the Vietnam War, the protagonists do come across some Viet Cong.

Keep rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ come on!

This issue builds up the tactical side of things as the army is trying to turn Godzilla back into the sea, but also develop a weapon that could actually kill it. Straight out of Michael Bay’s Armageddon a drill man is hired to develop a super drill missile to pierce Godzilla’s hide. Most of tactical stuff is boring. You keep turning the page thinking, “okay where’s the cool shots,” but you gotta commend Stokoe for trying to make the always simplistic Godzilla more interesting.

Mayday, mayday!

That’s where the monster battle comes in. Last issue was the quintessential “Godzilla destroys a city” issue and this issue brings on the monster battle. The monster is well designed and the battle is interesting enough to pass the time. I wouldn’t say it’s Earth shattering though.

Home run!

Stokoe’s art continues to impress and maybe it’s the quality of this book giving me this thought but, I can’t help but salivate over what he could do with a book from Marvel or DC. Just imagine his pencils and color on Spider-Man! Maybe it wouldn’t suit his style as much as Godzilla, but it’d be something else, that’s for sure.

Awesome use of sound effects.

This issue meanders a bit in the story department, but the art continues to shine.

Budget: $7.01 – $0.00 = $7.01

Twelve comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a 10 dollar budget. The mother box shall slurp them!

I really enjoyed the first issue in this miniseries, but Vampirella: Red Room #3 continues the wonky plotting and deteriorating art. The first issue looked great and seemed to be about some kind of monster cage fight, AKA “super badass”. It has since degenerated into a weird horror show where there are giant bugs that feed off of the screams of its victims. It’s a cool premise, but the writing reads as if it’s being made up page by page and the art is equally sloppy.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol. 2 #15 shows Bendis can make the most trivial moments fun. Miles and his roomie discuss a superhero idea that’s fun (come up with weird line every time you punch a bad guy!) and Miles gets some confirmation about his uncle’s death. Oh and this book finally is starting to admit the USA is going into the crapper rather than live in its own lala land. Still, the balance between dialogue, action and story leaves you wanting more.

I really marvel at Peter David’s writing ability, especially in how he can capture the voices from multiple characters in a single scene. It’s no different in X-Factor #244 but it’s so infatuated with one characters issue with her daddy that you’ll snooze through this one. Also, Polaris has completely lost it. Somebody get her an exorcist.

The art has lost some of the sharpness it had last issue (blame Marvel for double shipping this book) and Venom Vol. 2 #25 has Venom beat the “Monsters of Evil” in a very stupid way. Essentially this book wanted to get the whole Hellstrom villain out of the way and confirm for us Venom’s little issue with the demon. It does so in such a sweeping and boring way you’ll want to skip this.

Batwoman #0 isn’t a comic book, it’s a flipping novel. Panels show us what Batwoman went through as a child as she delivers a monologue throughout the issue. You could probably skip the reading and still get something out of this issue, but it’s a little annoying how it doesn’t show more than it tells. Like a movie with heavy handed narration this one gets bogged down in exposition.

Fans are going to be livid with Catwoman #0 as we discover Catwoman has the Batman Returns origin, i.e. she gets pushed off a building and cats lap her back to life. Oh…she’s also a Black Widow ripoff now as we learn she’s Russian and her real name isn’t Selina Kyle. Way to go New 52. Make us hate all your characters.

This is another great issue in the many great issues of the series and I can’t wait to see what happens after The Walking Dead #102. Rick convinces everyone he wants to make peace with the bastards that killed his best friend two issues ago…or does he? It’s tough to recommend this book on a 10 dollar budget and it’s more than worth it to wait for the trade paperback.

The concluding issue is here with Spider-Men #5 (of 5) and it ends as if the last issue, where Peter talks with Gwen Stacy, was actually the main point of all this. Peter and Miles basically high-five and kick Mysterio’s butt and the day is saved! The art still kicks ass, and there’s a doozy of a cliffhanger that could have resounding effects on the 616 universe. It is neat to see Iron Man in the Ultimate universe and how much different he is, but this feels a lot like the #0 issues DC is putting out: short and pointless.

If you don’t read Nightwing #0 it’s okay because it’s pretty much exactly how the original Robin’s origin story plays out as we know it. Oh, except for the fact that Dick does parkour for fun. Yeah, that’s not annoying. Another slight change is how Dick goes out in his street clothes and fights crime with Batman before Batman even speaks a word to him. They have an unspoken team up going on, I guess. It’s also interesting to point out that Alfred has a panel here where he appears to be from the Earth 0 Batman back story book, you know without the suit and looking like a normal person, but then he devolves into the cliche Alfred we all know and love.

Now here is a pointless #0 issue. Red Hood and the Outlaws #0 tells us the harrowing life of Jason Todd before he became Robin. His dad was a wife beater drug dealer, his mom a drug addict and his life crummy. Then Batman takes him under his wing, but this Robin isn’t anything like Dick. Instead he beats dudes bloody and gets put on probation. Yada yada, he dies, yada yada and this issue ends with Joker revealing he influenced Jason from the very beginning to become Batman. He wanted to make him Robin so he could kill him and then resurrect him. There is nothing here that states how he resurrected him…but I guess Joker can do that without a problem in the New 52. Stupid.

Cliff Chiang is a master artist with a very unique style I love, but he can’t make me like Wonder Woman #0. The story is a cute little adventure as we learn Wonder Woman was trained by War because he liked the cut of her jib. Or something. Then we’re lead to believe she fought the minotaur from Greek Myth. Somebody hit snooze.

I love anthology series, Flight being one of the best in the last decade, but Womanthology Space #1 doesn’t offer quite enough bang for your buck in this first issue. The art is nice, and there is some definite humor, but half the stories don’t entertain too much. But, maybe it’s more your speed. Flip through and take a gander as a few of the stories are winners.

The Mother Box is not happy.

The Mighty Thor #20 (Marvel Comics)

To think last week I said this series wasn’t my speed. This issue delivers tons of epic action, some interesting story elements and some great character development.

It’s like War of the Worlds meets swords.

It appears Loki is just as conniving as ever, only maybe he’s using it for good. The problem with that is, what if the good guys don’t realize your manipulation is for the greater good? There are some surprises in this issue I won’t spoil, but let’s just say Loki hasn’t been this interesting in a while.

The definition of “being a little b---h”.

It’s interesting that a story this epic could be playing out in the background of Marvel Comics, but that’s probably more to do with this occurring off Earth than anything. More than likely the events in this miniseries is going to explain why Thor is wielding swords in the Marvel NOW! promotional material.

Now that’s epic.

This issue should have opened the miniseries. It’s action packed, Loki’s plan is starting to make sense, and I can’t’ wait to see how it plays out next issue.

Budget: $7.01 – $3.99 = $3.02

Justice League #0 (DC Comics)

Don’t be alarmed, but this has nothing to do with the Justice League. It has everything to do with Shazam and there’s also a booster story showing Pandora. We get the full story on how Shazam got his powers and some interesting teases of where the power comes from, but not a whole lot to chew on.

What a brat.

Gary Frank does a great job with this issue, but the crux of it is this doesn’t go too deeply into anything beyond a wizard giving Shazam powers. In fact, it’s a little dumb. The wizard tests him and realizes he’s not all good, but the boy explains nobody is all good again. The wizard has second thoughts and says, “hey kid I never thought of that, oh well here go you.” Sure, he’s pressed to get a new Shazam out there due to Black Adam running amok, but it’s debases the wisdom of the wizard that a boy can convince him in a heartbeat.

It’s like Big with superheroes.

The only information really given as far as the Pandora back story is that she has some connection to Shazam. Really, it leaves the reader wondering why they couldn’t wrap that up in 2 pages.

Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02

Lobster Johnson: Caput Mortuum (Dark Horse Comics)

I’ve never read a Lobster Johnson book in my life, but if they are this good I’ll definitely give another issue a spin. This is a one shot following Johnson’s fight against Nazis in a blimp. There are shades of the Rocketeer here that you don’t want to miss.

Now that’s a smear campaign! Get it?!

The story opens with some 1932 and the Germans want revenge for World War I. There’s something fishy going on when a man bothers some smalltown yokels and turns into goo. Lobster Johnson follows the trail and doesn’t like what he sees.

This guy is nuts and I love it.

The art has a faint hint of Mike Mignola that I love and the color does a good job exhibiting the times.

You won’t like a wet Lobster.

Essentially, Lobster Johnson is like an Indiana Jones who also fights monsters and wears a cool costume. Oh, and he has some powers. I can’t quite figure out what they are from reading this issue, but they do some kind of hypnotism thing.

This is how you’ll feel while reading this issue. Specifically the guys cheering.

The book is $3.99, but it’s well worth your dime.

Budget: $3.02 – $3.99 = -$0.97

So we went over this week, but hell at least there was some good reads! I do have to say the books that did stink really stunk it up. Here’s hoping the remaining #0 issues from DC aren’t complete wastes of time like most were this week.


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