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ComiX Weekly: 10/3/12

If you love comics you’ll be in heaven this week. Marvel’s event is coming to a close (and I’m sure people are happy about this for multiple reasons), Animal Man and Swamp Thing are finally entering the next chapter and writer Dan Slott is getting one issue closer to Amazing Spider-Man #700. This is the weekly comic book review where I choose the best comics of the week worth the reader’s 10 dollars. Many will be read, but only a few will be purchased:

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Amazing Spider-Man #695 (Marvel Comics)

Love or hate writer Dan Slott the man knows his way around Spider-Man. The last two story arcs have brought Peter Parker’s inventions into play as the Lizard has taken over with lizard soldiers and his Parker Particles made a new superhero called Alpha. This issue begins a new arc which presumably will take us into issue #700; an issue Slott says will change everything and surprise everyone more than anything that came before it. We have some time to kill before that, so get ready to dig into some Hobgoblin this issue.

Love how he rips off the Joker with his madness!

Slott has done a good job (albiet if you read this column you’ll note I’m not always happy) with Spider-Man this year mostly due to inventive ideas paving the way for new stories. The story concerning Peter’s coworker making a time machine that can go one day into the future is one such story. In this issue the villains appear to have a contraption that can enhance Spider-Man’s spider-sense. So much that a paper cut sends warning signals.

Not corn Syrup!

Slott has been hit or miss when it comes to pacing. Some issues have all action and nothing clever or interesting concerning story. When he does do a good job with pacing the issue shines every time as it does here.

Spider-Man kicking out the go-to moves.

If there’s anything in this story that will most likely carry into issue #700 its the involvement of Madame Web. It appears something is messing up the time streams.

She’s either breaking out the chorus to Hey Jude or losing her s--t.

The only weakness to the story that I can see is the complete and utter pointlessness of Peter Parker’s identity. Hell a frame even sums up just how dumb it is for him to worry about it here:

Let’s face it. Peter’s identity has been dragged through the mud for so long it probably should be avoided at all costs. Maybe that’s the big reveal we’ll get in issue #700, because it’s very apparent when it’s brought up the validity of the story falls to the wayside.

This is a really fun issue, particularly due to the hyperactive spider-sense. Well worth the coin. It’s unfortunate it costs $3.99 for only 20 pages, but when it’s a recommended buy for such a steep price and so few pages — you know it’s good.

Budget: $10.00 – $3.99 = $6.01

Avengers vs. X-Men #12 (of 12) (Marvel Comics)

Based on how uneven this series has been I wasn’t very surprised just how disapointing this issue was. There’s a couple neat moments and truly the conclusion is more satisfying than many of the big events Marvel has had over the last decade, but this issue feels sloppy. This issue was the subject of our Is It Good review earlier this afternoon, which you can check out here.

Budget: $6.01 – $0.00 = $6.01

Robyn Hood #1 (of 5) (Zenescope Entertainment)

It’s no secret Pat Shand, the writer of Robyn Hood is a friend of AiPT’s, but don’t worry friends, this critic knows a dishonest review is bad news bears for everyone. So how’s the first issue?

You really fight in that thing?

By issue’s end you’re going to feel like you know Robyn, the protagonist, you’re going to understand what the story is trying to do and you’re going to feel for her. That’s a success if I ever saw one. Essentially she’s a foster kid who is an exceptional athlete, smart and looks out for her ailing mother the only way she knows how. By stealing of course. That doesn’t mean she can’t share some with the needy though.

Magic Cap or a regular Robin Hood?

I will take umbrage with the art here or there. It has a sketchiness that isn’t the most polished of work, but it does its job. The action sequence to open the book is exciting and it’s certainly not as sloppy as Avengers vs. X-Men #12.

I didn’t know you were an optometrist.

I was a little confused as to whether our protagonist was raped, or simply beaten to near death. It’s also a tad hard to believe she could actually walk away from the car wreck she’s in. These are nitpicks, for sure, but they took me out of the story either due to confusion or disbelief.

Nice use of blur.

This is also a straight up origin issue so don’t expect any badass action as the cover suggests. That’s okay though, as it does a great job introducing you to this new world Zenescope is building. I was hesitant to see if things would tie together, but I can safely say it works. One line I particularly loved read, “The school with the kind of class system that would inspire the French to start polishing their guillotines.”

For those of you who read Zenescope for the T&A settle down, there isn’t much here, but if you’re looking for a well written origin story I think you’ll like what you see.

Budget: $6.01 – $2.99 = $3.02

Thirteen comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a 10 dollar budget. Homage Bane will break them!

I keep reviewing Thief of Thieves #9 and I keep saying, “this’ll be great in the collected format.” If you’ve been reading this column I’m sure you’re sick of it. I probably won’t be reviewing this again, so heed my words, this book is fantastic. It’s cinematic, it’s interesting and the Ocean’s Eleven drama is exciting. It’s just too slow boil for its own good. Best to save the change and wait for the trade paperback.

Minimum Carnage: Alpha #1 is every bit as bad as the stupid premise explaining cover suggests. Only Carnage isn’t little, oh no, he has little friends who are seeking the “Prometheus Pit.” I was too bored and annoyed with this issue to even Google what that is (heck maybe it’s part of the Marvel mythos and it’s fascinating) but this issue is bad bad bad. It spends way too much time setting up the fact that Carnage escaped even though you know its happened from the first panel. Scarlet Spider and Venom teaming up is a sweet thing and I’m looking forward to reading the crossover in their respective books, but this issue was very much unnecessary. The points described here could have been left on the summary page…as it most assuredly will be anyway.

The end is coming for Rick Remender’s latest arc in Uncanny X-Force #32 and it’s issues like this that remind us comic books are a business first. It’s always tiring to read an issue that’s more of a filler issue than anything. There are double crosses, the team gets put down, but there isn’t anything here that justifies a purchase. Deadpool doesn’t even get a good quip in. Instead it’s half hearted attempts at humor. Hell, when the book opens with the reader learning Daken is being a dick simply to get his father’s attention…please. Make it stop. That said I’m looking forward to this story arc wrapping up.

This issue reads more like a side story than anything. Action Comics #13 is an explanation for how Krypto could possibly be alive. There’s a bunch of time and energy spent tying the Phantom Zone into Halloween but it’s not very clear why. The first 3 pages do a good job setting up the Phantom Zone and it’s an intriguing concept as far as connecting Clark with his past, but it’s at times confusing. The fact that the entire issue appears to exist only to introduce Superman’s dog doesn’t help. There’s a booster story that suggests Krypto hung out with Clark from day one, floating around him like some kind of ghost. It’s sort of touching, but is it worth reading an entire issue about?

Swamp Thing #13 is good, but yet another victim of the 20 page comic book. It’s not necessarily Scott Snyder’s fault that this issue flys by too quickly or that it feels like a rehash of Animal Man (Note: when reading either book I get the impression they’re so closely tied now that whichever you read first will be more entertaining as it was for me here). There’s some incredibly disgusting visuals like this here, but it doesn’t quite capture the doom and gloom that’s hit the Earth. Also I really don’t buy the fact that Poison Ivy is this heavy hitting hero now. I suppose I need to take my lumps when it comes to New 52 stuff, but she seems more of a brat who shouldn’t be kicking ass. Hey, at least we get to see some undead Teen Titans. Am I right?! Up top!

I know Geoff Johns is Muslim but Green Lantern (2011-) #13 feels so darn racist to me. Okay, that aside, this Third Army crap needs to end already. Clearly DC wanted some zombies for heroes to fight during the Halloween season. Once this gets wrapped up and Hal and Sinestro get saved wake me up.

Dial H #5 is like a fruit cake. It looks good, hell it might even taste good, but do you really want to spend all that energy for such a publicly disgusted treat? If you put the time in and pick this comic apart it’s enjoyable, but it also requires a ton of energy to read be it the overly complicated plotting or the odd ways characters speak. There’s a chicken themed hoola hoop superhero in the issue too. There’s a nice reveal at the end that’ll get folks perked up for the next issue, but overall a bit of a mess.

Yep, this series is officially a mess. Earth 2 #5 is all kinds of bad. It’s a big fight, Green Lantern does stuff…oh hey look it’s that Atom guy. So far this hasn’t even touched the incredible first issue.

Before Watchmen: Rorschach #2 will be known as the comic that Lee Barmejo crushed with incredibly pretty pictures. Nobody will care about the story. Either because they’ll try to forget or they haven’t had read it.

I have to hand it to writer Matt Fraction, the man knows how to spin a science fiction action story. Defenders #11 is winding down the arc, there’s a death celestial, I mean s--t is about to get crazy. The art is very messy to look at (at least from this perspective) and the issue reads like a swan song rather than an exciting slug of the good stuff.

This book is going to be great once it’s collected, but Harvest #3 doesn’t quite cut it as far as a single issue buy. New readers are going to be slightly lost and the art isn’t taking as many risks as the impeccable first issue did. The art still astounds, I mean look at Chicago, but there isn’t enough here to warrant a purchase. Maybe it’s an inherent part of detective/mystery comics, but even with the surprising turn of events in this issue, it doesn’t feel like an exciting worthwhile time if you’re new to the story. Instead it’s like you walked in on any scene in Transformers. It’s shiny, it grabs your interest, but you don’t know why and you don’t want to keep looking or you’ll have to watch the whole damn thing.

Uncanny X-Men #19 is quite a good read. Similar to the last issue you get an insider look at being a god. Cyclops expresses what he’s thinking and feeling during the prior moments before killing Xavier and the moments after. It’s too bad Marvel couldn’t infuse the internal monologue of Cyclops into the main event, although that might be confusing. The ending also helps explain Cyclops’ state of mind at the end fo Avengers vs. X-Men #12. Read: slightly insane. Worth at the very least of a flip through. Hell it’s for more entertaining page for page than the main event.

Having no idea what this series is about I was a little let down by Creepy #10. I guess it’s all things Lovecraftian, so if you dig the author you’re going to love this. It’s 49 pages of short stories dealing with Lovecraft’s stories, or the man himself. There’s one story that made me giggle, but most go for the gruesome stuff. None of it made me too scared though, which is what I was hoping for.

100% breakage.

Animal Man #13 (DC Comics)

Well I guess the world is over. Or something? It’s one year from the day Animal Man and Swamp Thing went into the other side and it appears the Rot has taken over. Things aren’t looking good, heroes have died and the world seems flattened. New heroes have even sprouted up.

Steel is looking rather robotic.

This issue brings the gross stuff, which is what we’ve come to expect from this series. It’s fitting we’re finally reading it during the Halloween season.

Ew…I mean…ew…

As I mentioned in the Swamp Thing review above, I read this issue first, so many of the revelations were new as I was reading them. That said the explanation of the heroes being offed by the Rot was done a bit better. I mean who doesn’t want to see Batwoman get ripped open?

So Supergirl’s like…neck is eating her?

Of all the books that have been hurt most by this 20 page curse it’s Animal Man and Swamp Thing. It’s most likely due to the pacing as each book likes to use double page splashes and a cinematic style that leaves a page with only 3 panels. This is why they don’t appear as recommended in this column for the most part. It has to be an exceptionally well written story to make the cut. Sadly this issue can’t do it. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, but for a guy with 10 bucks there are better books on the shelf.

Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02

AVX: VS. #6 (Marvel Comics)

You’re going to open this comic book and go, “Why didn’t Marvel do all of these “vs.” issues like this?” This comic is a whole lot of fun, sure it’s 20 pages of fun, but it’s got something to please everyone. It’s a bunch of battles, some of which completely comical, with a whole lot more creators at the helm. Typically this series has had two teams of artists and writers dolling out the battle. Here there’s a whole bunch and they do this by having a few battles that only take up one page. And that page is a single splash!

Now that is pretty.

The serious battle is between Hope and Scarlet Witch. You’re going to want to at least skim this one whether you want to buy it or not, since it actually has a place in the overall event. It’s too bad Marvel couldn’t stick this fight into the main event (you do get a panel or two of it in the flashbacks) because it gives the reader a bit of an idea of why they are a Ying/Yang and also it shows their powers at work.

Seriously this is pretty stuff.

Some other battles include Hawkeye’s (wet?) daydream imagining his girlfriend Spider Woman wrapping her legs around some hot chicks:

Oh mama!

And Iron Fist taking on Iceman:

Since when was Iceman the T-1000?

It’s too bad the Iceman/Iron Fist battle had to end so cheaply (Iceman uses the rain to pelt Iron Fist into submission) as this is a very close purchase. Maybe if Marvel threw in another 10 pages of the hilarious stuff, but at 4 dollars it’s not worth your time…especially when you can probably sneak a read in the comic shop anyway.

Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02

Daredevil: End of Days #1 (Marvel Comics)

I haven’t read a single preview or review for this new series and I’m starting to think I should have. The book opens with absolutely no explanation for when it takes place. Considering Daredevil straight up gets murdered in the first few pages I’m thinking it’s either an elseworlds tale or far into the future.

Dems a lot of panels.

It’s going to become very apparent Klaus Janson is one hell of an artist. There are pages that look a lot like Erik Larsen’s, and others like the old Todd McFarlane; either way you’re going to love it. The composition of panels, narration boxes and fighting are all impeccably done.

Kingpin is owning that sweater.

Once you settle down and actually read the thing you’ll find it’s very well done. Ben Urich is the protagonist and this issue follows him as he mulls over writing a story on Daredevil’s death. The use of thinking boxes and how they interact with writing boxes is clever and it’ll make you smirk here or there.

Think dammit think!

Bendis sure can get wordy, which is probably why he does a nice job here getting into the mind of a newspaper man. I got a strong hint of Marvel’s journalist centric Front Line series that followed Civil War and Secret Invasion which is a good thing. Love or hate those comics they were a cool take on the big events.

Love the bone crunching feel to these panels.

Bendis doesn’t get all the credit though, as David Mack gets a writing credit here. Maybe Bendis needs a cowriter more often, because I wasn’t remotely annoyed with the writing this go around. This probably has a lot to do with the composition of the pages and the pacing of the issue. It never gets too wordy, or leaves you without action for too long.

Is that even possible?

Good art, unannoying Bendis writing and great pacing? Oh and it’s flipping $3.99 for 34 pages! It’s sad to think that’s a plus these days but it is. A very good amount of comic for the cash.

Budget: $3.02 – $3.99 = -$.97

Once again we’ve gone over, but don’t blame me, blame the 4 dollar comics. I certainly am not going to leave you standing there with 3 dollars. Go steal from your mother. Go ahead. I’ll allow it.


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