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Monday, October 10, 2011

Latest Comic Book Reviews - 10.10.2011

Its been a busy week and a lot of fantastic comic books hit the shelves this week and the last. Here are some quick reviews from the ones that I've read so far:

X-Men Schism #5 - Nothing really new here, its just basically the culmination of all the pent up frustration and rivalry between Cyclops and Wolverine. Jason Aaron splits the X-Men into two after the savage 1 on 1 battle between general and soldier, masterfully illustrated by Adam Kubert. Its full of action, rage, and bittersweet emotion and its a fitting introduction to the newest development in everybody's favorite mutant universe. And I love the way Kubert draws that big fucking super Sentinel's hand. Now that the dust is finally settled, the question is: who was right? Are you Team Cyclops or Team Wolverine? Whichever team you are, be sure to read this before jumping into the two new X-titles by end of October.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Walking Dead #89 -  After a long and boring No Way Out arc, Robert Kirkman comes back with what maybe his best issue so far since this zombie-apocalypse epic started. The Community has never been this tense - factions are forming due to mistrust, assassination plots are being mapped out, and Rick is starting to think that his son Carl is never the same after waking up from the coma - and Kirkman delivers every bit of awesome writing and character development in this issue. I like Adlard's energetic pencils here, showing his talent in creating the drama, suspense, and tension necessary in a masterful fashion. Can't wait to see how this latest development turns out for Rick and his gang. 

Rating 4.5 out of 5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 - We pickup where we left off and my favorite turtle Raphel goes on to deliver some turtle-smackdown on an abusive father and saves his beat-up son (Casey Jones) in the process. It seems like Casey and Raph are going well together in this new found friendship, but things turn 180 degrees by the end of the issue. Can't spoil it here sorry, it was one of the best things in this book. Also, the story of how the turtles came you know... mutant ninja turtles is told, but I'm really not sold on it. Turtles can't become mutants and very skilled ninjas all of a sudden without training and some unexplained comics science. Another problem is the very lax art and the lack of detailed backgrounds hurts this otherwise dynamic and action packed issue. I will continue to read this anyway no matter what. Come on... its the Fucking Turtles.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Huntress #1 - Why does DC's mini-series are often better than a lot of their regular comic book titles? I'm bewildered. And that is such the case of Huntress. This is some great writing by Paul Levitz and puts a charming and feisty Helena Bertinelli in a trip to Italy to bust to what appears a drug smuggling operation. As usual with plotlines like this, Huntress quickly finds out that its not just an ordinary crime operation, and that there are far more powerful people running this whole shebang, which I guess will be the subject of next issue. 

Marcus To's pencils are good overall, but he's got a habit of illustrating movements that are impossible for a woman or a human being could do. On the upside, he was able to make Helena both sexy and kick-ass without showing panties and titties and leaves everything for the reader's imagination. Overall, this book is good and is something worth picking up especially for those who want to read more of DC's top-tier super heroines.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

More reviews after the cut...

Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #1 - Everybody has its origins, even the baddest of villains. And it is the case of Oswald Cobblepot aka Penguin. Right from his birth up to growing up years, poor Oswald has been a subject of jokes, a victim of unfair treatment, and is regarded as an abomination by most of his peers... even by his own father. And all of this because of his unusual appearance. This made Oswald hate the world and be the ruthless Gotham underground crime boss. 

Written to perfection by Gregg Hurwitz, this version of the Penguin is not sympathetic... but more of a cold-blooded human being who doesn't give a single damn about anybody else but himself. Kudranski's fantastic art is on display and makes this a great reading experience. His illustrations are filled with emotion and he captures the gritty world of Gotham just right. The colors and lighting is a sight to behold, and it gives off the exact feel necessary in every scene and Oswald's life. If you are the type who wants to move away from the ongoing DC reboot titles, then pick this up. You'll be surprised.  

Rating: 5 out of 5

Kick-Ass 2 #4 - Its been a long time coming just like Millar's other project Superior, but its worth it because Millar gives us his absolute best when it comes to delivering no-holds barred dialogues and over-the-top violence that would make conservative people throw up. The Red Mist and his gang strikes back and this time its personal. Dave Liezewski's loved ones are being victimized one by one and there's nothing he can do about it. On the other hand, Mindy is still confined and is still banned from being Hit Girl, through there are hints that she may come back to decapitate heads sooner than later. 

Kubert's art is as powerful as ever and he keeps up with the level of violence required by Millar and he does it in the most bloody way possible. Now that this is starting to get good again, let's hope that Millar will be able to work on schedule and give us more kick-ass right on time.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Action Comics #2 - After an impressive debut, Grant Morrison continues his marvelous writing by putting our young Superman in a precarious situation that we haven't seen in so many years. Tortured Superman? Bleeding Superman? Possible new powers? Yes. Yes. and YES. Morrison gives us tons of reasons to like this new version of the young hero and he keeps the old-school action going by having Clark bust open metal doors and destroying brick walls. But the most intriguing part of this issue is Lex Luthor and his dialogue. This is not the same character we have known in recent years and is more of a jealous prick who knows that Superman is an alien and that he should be killed in any way possible... even if it means conspiring with an odd-looking, outside-of-this-world life form. 

Rags Morales' art is the same just like the first issue and he's still having troubles with specific facial definitions like noses, jaws etc and thus the same characters look like a different person every panel. Other than that his art is cool and he was able to illustrate the action and brutality in good fashion. Now its time to release the jellyfish and pit it against Supes.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Moon Knight #6 -  Now we're getting somewhere. Bendis continues to highlight Marc Spector and Echo's strange but fitting romance, the REAL Avengers show up (yeah this time its not Marc hallucinating/pretending), and we are getting closer to knowing the kingpin of California and his plans that involves an artificial intelligence with the capability to destroy the world. Since issue one, we have been following MK's pursuit of the whole truth and now he is really getting somewhere for the first time and it looks like he's not going to need the help of his more popular buddies. 

As usual, Maleev continues his beautiful sketchy art style that mixes the lines of superhero fantasy and photorealism. I really like his style and even though there's not much action going on here, his ability to draw subtle facial twitches is fantastic and tells the whole story by itself. Solid issue overall and if you're not giving his series a shot, please do because its awesome. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Superior #5 - Fuck I almost forgot this comic book. But just like Kick-Ass, this penultimate issue to this dreams-do-come-true story is as good as it could possibly get. Simon Pooni aka Superior is doing all the things that a superhero does - saving lives, eliminating/preventing terrorism, and the whole shebang - but at the same time his inner child shows and he goes on to request to the President things that a young boy like him likes to do: playing bass for his favorite band, trashing the Miami Heat (as if the Mavericks didn't do that a year ago), and batting for the Mets against the Yankees. It makes for a really inspiring and feel-good story... but Millar cuts that off when Ormon shows up. This scene is as heartbreaking as you could imagine. Dammit. But that's what the writer wants, who am I to complain?

The art in this book is as cool as ever courtesy of Leinil Yu, who actually included a tribute to his inker Gerry Alanguilan and his graphic novel "Elmer" in one of the panels. That's classy stuff.

So, one more issue remains and we will see what will happen to Simon when he faces a fricking giant robot without powers. Or at least that's what the next cover teases. I'm still hoping that Mark Millar will end this in a happy note. Anything less will be frustrating.

 Rating: 4 out of 5

American Vampire #19 - Just as I thought that I will see nothing new after the fabulous #18 issue, Scott Snyder surprises me once again by telling us a part of Skinner Sweet's unknown childhood history  with James Book set in the Wild West 1800s that involves old-fashioned Indians vs army. But what seems to be a battle of guns and numbers became somewhat mystical and horrific with the reveal of a certain cave Goddess. Talk about shock factor. Snyder hits the pot of gold again with that one. 

But more than the vampires involved in this, Snyder shows that even before Sweet became a fanged being, that he is already a reckless person, filled with rage and impulsiveness and somebody who embraces chaos. Right from his childhood up to the point where he and James are working for the army, the manifestations of a cruel man is evident and its  great character examination.

The art I didn't like so much because its a bit cartoony and old-school, but Bernett shows that he can tell his own story and more importantly, re-create the aura and classic feel of America's rich Wild West history. American Vampire has always been about exploring America's early history and culture asides from the vampire lore, and this series continues to use that formula that has made it one of the best comic book series in the stands today.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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