Saturday, July 12, 2008

"Post No. 520"


"IT'S NEW TO ME DEPARTMENT" COMIC BOOK REVIEWS:

I've only read three issues of DC's current version of Infinity, Inc. (#'s 2, 4 & 6 / 2007-08 / $2.99), but what I've seen of it so far I really like! A LOT, in fact. The characters remind me much of Marvel's "X-Statix", and well they should since they have the same writer (Peter Milligan). The artwork is just fine with Max Fiumara in 2 & 4, and Matt Camp in #6. There's decent app.'s by Steel, Superman & Batman in various issues, and over-all I'd like to read a full run of this title. X^D

Marvel's "The Monster Hunters" in Marvel Universe #5 (Marvel Comics / 1998 / $2.95) was fun. It stars various esoteric Marvel characters such as "Bloodstone" and "Dr. Druid", plus a fantasy monster from the company's early fantasy title days called "Gorgilla". This particular issue re-tells Druid's origin, a re-written version of the story which first appeared in Amazing Adventures #1 (Atlas / 1961 ) when the Druid character was first introduced as "Dr. DROOM" (later changed to avoid confussion with the FF villian). It was nice to see writer Roger Stern pay homage to these great old charaters, and the Bret Blevins/Mike Manley artwork played well in a time when we were still plagued with too many "X" titles from this company. :^D

The Adominations #1 (Marvel / 1996 / $2.95), on the other hand, was something that should never have been published. Using characters from "The Incredible Hulk", Ivan Velez, Jr. scripted this mess, and Angel Medina's artwork looks like something he drew for laughs. The title is an apt description. X^(

Adventure Comics #462 (DC / 1979 / $1.00) was published at a time when DC Comics was trying to give their readers "more bang for the buck" by cramming as many different characters they could into a single title. This issue featured the story about the death of the Golden-Age Batman (from "Earth 2=The Justice Society member) and if this was written and published today it would no doubt be in a single full-length issue. But the scant fifteen pages used for this lead feature was much too short for writer Paul Levitz to utilize properly, and artist Joe Staton, over-used on many DC titles at the time, was still trapped in his "E-Man" style artwork brought over from "the house of Charlton". Although this story did have its moments (especially in the finale scene between The Huntress and the adult Robin), overall it disapointed me rereading this nearly 30 year old tale as it did when I was 28 years old. And the backup features of Wonder Woman, Deadman, The Flash and Aquaman was just as much "filler" stuff which could have been eliminated to add to and strengthen what should have been an important story and a key part of the history of the DSU. :^\

DC's latest title of The All New Atom seems pretty decent. I've read 4 misc. issues from 2007-08 (#'s 4, 16 thru 18 / $2.99). #4 was written by Gail Simone with Eddy Barrows artwork. Simone also wrote #'s 17 & 18, and #16 was by Roger Stern. The art in 16-18 is by Mike Norton, and Trevor Scott inked all of these issues. This really isn't a bad title at all. Sure, they've mixed it up with other characters from the DCU (like "Wonder Woman"), but just sitting there reading these I found myself looking forward to reading another issue just as soon as I finished the previous. Stern's story in #16 in particular was good with tons of 60's music references, many aimed towards "The Fab Four" (and thus noted over on my "Beatles & Bizarros" blog site), and found this newest version of the DC character's relationship with "Giganta" interesting. Yet another newer comic book title that I'd like to read more issues of in the run. :^D

The Punisher Meets Archie #1 (Marvel & Archie Comics / 1994 / $3.95) It was done. Let's never do it again, okay? This one-shot was sort'a fun, but... (ooo! And I got the nifty die-cut cover version! *heh*) :^)

Hawkman #1 (DC / 1993 / $2.50) at least had a pretty gold-foiled cover. Not a whole lot else going for "that" version of the old character as far as I could tell, save no one seemed to know who he was, or even IF he was one of the other incarnations of HM. It was intertaining enough by the team of John Ostrander, Jan Dursema and Rick Magyar, but if it was published today it wouldn't be anything I'd buy on a regular basis. Looks like they were trying to incorporate every previous version of him into one, then add a little "Wolverine" to the mix. "Interesting". Just didn't hit the bullseye, but worth the read. I always liked the versions of the Golden-Age AND the Silver-Age HM, at least up until about 1967 when all of the classic writers and artists had the title, but continuity (especially since the Post-Crisis Era) has left me pretty cold about how DC's currently handling this great hero. :^)

The Incredible Hulk (Marvel) #472 (01/99 / $2.95) was a lot better than I figured. It had him teaming up with an old foe from the 1960's named: "Qnax", who first appeared waaayyyy back in Tales to Astonish #'s 73 & 74. According to this tale after Qnax lost his battle with The Hulk back then, "The Watcher" transported him back to his homeworld, where, as punishment for defeat, the leaders there sent him into permanent exile. During this time he learns humility, and starts the quest to find The Watcher's ultimate machine, which contains great knowledge and would help to save his dying race. Hulk agrees to help Qnax and is transported supposingly to The Watcher's planet to retrieve this device, but accidently gets stranded on a world of benign creatures (where he raises his usual havoc), until Qnax gets there as well and straightens that all out to continue their journey. At the end of this issue we see a cameo of the much over-used "Abomination", but, that's for another issue. Good writing by Joe Casey and suitable artwork by Javier Pulido & Sean Parsons. :^D

HULK Annual '99 (Marvel / 1999 / no number / $3.50 / was another of those Marvel "Chapter One" stories which deals with the origins of the character, and, as usual, they're re-written by someone who wants to re-create an iconic hero into their own image. John Byrne is most notable to think he can accomplish this, and, in fact, this story is written by the same. For some reason he simply can't get it into his head that one cannot improve on a legendary origin, but he keeps on trying all the same. And in this annual we see now that The Hulk's origin is all tied-up with "The Skrulls", which is yet another favorite ploy of this particular writer. It's not that this wasn't a fairly decent readable story. Even with my critisism of Byrne's writing (he's a much better artist) I'll admit to enjoying this tale, and Byrne was sure to include all aspects of the first Hulk story from The Incredible Hulk #1 (Marvel/1962) into it. Plus the Lee Weeks/Dan Green/Klaus Janson artwork was pretty good. However, the best part of this annual was the five page back-up by Fred Hembeck, in which the great jaded one whips a bully's ass on a beach. "You Go, Fred!" X^D

Ion #9 (DC / 02/07 / $2.99) In the 9th. issue of this 12 issue limited series by the team of Marz, Pasarin & Glapion, Kyle Rayner (aka: "Ion, Guardian of the Universe") finds himself in a hospital room with his sick mother who is ailing from unknown causes, only to be torn away by one of The Guardians to take care of business, which is/are two of the Tangent DC versions of their heroes: "The Flash" and "The Atom", and we even have an app. of thie Tangent version of GL at the end. This is a pretty decent series of which I plan on obtaining a full run just to see where it "all goes" and recommended for its acceptable writing & artwork. X^D

Outsiders: Five of A Kind/Katana and Shazam! #1 (DC/ 2007/ $2.99). It's hard for me to review this limited series having only seen the first issue, but from what I can understand of it, "Katana" (formerly from "The Outsiders" ) commits suicide with her own sword so that she can go on this mind trip to a land of pirates (or, some such things), aided occasionally by the Spirit of Shazam!, and it's all a test of The Batman to see if she's good enough to join his new team, and at the end of the story, she's all healed and okay again. No opinion one way or the other until I've read other issues in this series (which may, or may NOT happen).

Showcase '96 #'s 5 & 7 (DC/ 1996 / $2.95) These two issues of that last of the Showcase limited series of the 1990's features various stories about such characters as "Thorn", "The New Gods", "Mary Marvel", "The Shade", "Dr. Fate", "Fire", "Firestorm", and (the then current version of) "Green Arrow". I wasn't impressed much by any of these stories; even the Ordway "Mary Marvel" one, save for a single strip with artwork by Matt Smith in issue #5, and written by James Robinson which featured "Dr. Fate". Smith drew this tale in a style that had no one told me otherwise I would have sworn was Jeff Jones at first glance. The story's titled "Day & Night, Dark & Bright", and that made the issue worth the cover price. The other was worth about 1/2 for the "Shazam!" stuff.

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