Archive for December, 2012

[Comic Review] The Amazing Spider-Man #700

Posted in Comic Review with tags , on December 28, 2012 by Casey Hutton

So, the time has come and Marvel Comics has to end an era and begin anew.

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!

TheAmazingSpiderMan700In the latest, and last release, in The Amazing Spider-Man series, #700, we see a culmination of the last story arc involving Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus.

I have had plenty of thoughts and theories about how the creative team behind the title was going to wrap things up, and honestly, I wasn’t overly disappointed.

For those that have kept up, in previous issues (The Amazing Spider-Man #698-699), Doctor Octopus and Peter Parker have exchanged bodies through the Doctor’s ingenuity and manipulation of technology that Parker installed into his suit. Cheezy? Maybe, but I thought it made for a damn good read.

In this final issue, we see how things play out and what is in store for us, the readers, when Superior Spider-Man kicks off in January 2013.

Peter Parker, in the body of Doctor Octopus, broke out of prison and has been attempting to hunt down his imposter in hopes of once again taking over his own body, all the while fighting both the authorities and the dying body that has become his prison.

In the end, Parker comes up short.

However, before time runs out, Doctor Octopus (in the body of Peter Parker) got a glimpse of just who and what both Spider-Man was, and the man behind the mask. He finds out that his views of his arch-nemesis isn’t quite what he thought, as Parker pulled punches, showed mercy and committed plenty of self-sacrifice in order to stay a masked hero protecting the people of his city. As Parker’s life flashed before his eyes, so too were these thoughts seen by the Doctor.

All in all, I’m not disappointed or even upset at this newfound direction like many seem to be out there in the comic world. It isn’t the first time Peter Parker has been replaced as Spider-Man, and most likely, it won’t be the last. I think having a former villain become a hero, even in the form of one already established, is a nice change of events, particularly when its one that was on a totally opposite end of the spectrum of the hero they are replacing.

My only real gripe about all of this is that the climax and that whole integration bit at the end was a little lack luck luster. I know that comics are a medium that sometimes isn’t the best at construing emotion, but, in a case like that it needs to be at least attempted. You have a villain that for YEARS has been vile, corrupt and just plain twisted. Simply seeing himself in Parker’s shoes during some flashbacks doesn’t really convey the kind of transformation (mentally) that is required to simply give up one’s old way, throw on your enemy’s mask and vow to carry on his name. ((This is better explained in Avenging Spider-Man #12.1, but we’ll get to that later.))

That aside, I’m excited to see what the new vision of Spider-Man will bring. Whether or not Dan Slott will cave to the death threats (seriously people?!?) and the pressure has yet to be seen, but I feel that this new installment will be entertaining to say the least.

Now, the artwork here I enjoy. It’s crisp, it’s clean and although not my usual preference, it holds up well and won me over by the end.

The story is good (see above), and although there are some places where it wears a little thin I feel it does a fine job bringing an end to an era that is Peter Parker as Spider-Man…again.

Rating: 8/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Artwork (1.5/2), Character Development (1.5/2), Climax (1/2), Plot Development (2/2), Story (2/2).

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[Comic Review] The Whistling Skull #1

Posted in Comic Review with tags , on December 20, 2012 by Casey Hutton

TheWhistlingSkull001When I saw an advertisement for DC ComicsThe Whistling Skull, I was more than a little interested. Something a little bit horror and a little bit steam punk, toss in 1940s era Europe and Nazi’s…and you have a winner!

Being a #1, this issue was an introduction to both the story, the world and the main characters, William and Nigel and their alter-egos.

The story is interesting enough, as the duo is asked to come to a small swish village to investigate a series of disappearances. Insert some backstory with flashbacks (which flow well, might I add) and there you have the gist of issue #1.

The artwork, I think, is great. There’s a lot going on and it has a certain feel that I can’t help but find appealing. This is only a six-part series, but, if things keep going this way I hope DC keeps it around.

Rating: 9/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Artwork (1.5/2), Character Development (2/2), Climax (2/2), Plot Development (2/2), Story (1.5/2).

[Comic Review] Dan the Unharmable #7-8

Posted in Comic Review with tags , on December 19, 2012 by Casey Hutton

DanTheUnharmable007“I’ve lost something very valuable to me…”

I’m glad to see that my favorite comic book character, Dan, is still around after his initial six-part stint in Avatar Press’ Dan the Unharmable series. I thought the initial run was awesome and am glad the company decided to keep it around. The geniuses behind it, David Lapham and Rafael Ortiz, make quite the team.

With Dan the Unharmable #7, we find the shift slightly away from Dan himself and more on his past and the oldest “daughter” trying to ferret out the information as to her existence and Dan’s role in it. Figuring out what exactly the relationship between her now deceased mother and Dan remains a challenge. Talking to previous family friends and even going undercover into Dan’s old profession is a bit more than she can handle. Throw in a teenage pregnancy as a result of the outcome of previous issues and things get a little tense. And a cliffhanger that is part intrigue and part awe. The only negative thing I can really say about the issue is that there are times where it jumps from one thing to another with no real or definite progression, simply one minute your reading about

The artwork here continues to be done well. It’s a great mix of contrasting colors. It’s a style I instantly became a fan of, and in places where the story doesn’t quite hold up the artistic effort behind it is enough to give this title solid legs to stand on.

Rating: 9/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Artwork (2/2), Character Development (2/2), Climax (2/2), Plot Development (2/2), Story (1/2).

DanTheUnharmable008With Dan the Unharmable#8, Dan is once again back into the spotlight.

We veer off slightly from Lizzy’s hunt for the truth behind Dan being the father (although, the results of the previous issues party does come back to bite her) and focus more on him. More bullets and unnecessary roughness ensues, but, there’s a bonding moment between him and one of the younger children that I felt was a nice touch. Throw in more “lost parts” searching, and the story is wrapped up. This story is a bit more loose than previous issues and other than a handful of panels, not much in the way of a continuation of the story, but rather character tidbits are found here.

There is never a dull ending to these issues yet, each one ending in a bang that makes you want to read the next as soon as it hits the shelves.

As always, the artwork is great and keeps me picking up releases from this series time and time again.

Rating: 9.5 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Artwork (2/2), Character Development (2/2), Climax (2/2), Plot Development (2/2), Story (1.5/2).

[Comic Review] Hellblazer #298

Posted in Comic Review with tags , on December 19, 2012 by Casey Hutton

The John Constantine character in Vertigo ComicsHellblazer line has always had a little spot in my heart. I enjoy the dark-sided heroes, and that mentality usually gets about any character a spot on my pull list, even if only for a little while.

But, like all good things, corporate entities hold sway and titles change hands. Unfortunately, this will be the case for Hellblazer. Soon, John Constantine will be moved over into DC Comics’ “New 52,” and although I have high hopes…I’m not entirely sure what this means for the character and the stability of the series as a whole.

But, whatever will happen, will happen.

Hellblazer298It’s because of this I decided to write a bit about the last few issues, beginning with Hellblazer #298.

Here, the beginning of the ‘Death and Cigarettes´ story begins.

Constantine appears aware of his soon-to-be demise, even proving his point home with Epiphany by testing what she thinks is merely a fanciful notion. The story here is pretty solid. Not much in terms of action, and instead is a bit of a testament to his last days, beginning the count down with five days to go. The cliffhanger is also a little jaw dropping and one that has me actually excited for the next two issues. Whether the character is simply going to be shuffled quickly over to DC Comics with story intact, or started completely fresh (the character also moonlights in DC’s Justice League Dark, which has grown on me, mostly due to this particular character).

The artwork is also good and is much darker than the DC counterpart thus far. The cover is also intriguing. Although not the best one I’ve seen, it is definitely interesting and lends to the issues’ theme of a ‘shell of a man’ concept and the internal clock that has been ticking away at Constantine now for years.

As I said, if things keep up, the series will end on a high note in Vertigo’s hands. I just hope that DC won’t kid-ify it or the character when the changing of the guard happens after Hellblazer #700.

Rating: 9/10 Gingered Digits.

Artwork (1.5/2), Character Development (2/2), Climax (2/2), Plot Development (2/2), Story (1.5/2).

[Comic Review] The Flash #13-14

Posted in Comic Review with tags , on December 19, 2012 by Casey Hutton

The Flash #13-14

Sometimes, there’s comics that I want so bad to start picking up and reading. The problem I seem to encounter is where to do so? Do I just pick up a random issue as it comes and start from there? Do I need to start from #1 and get caught up? Often, I simply get flabbergasted at the thought of trying to pick up an already established series, which is why when I see new titles hitting the shelf in a series trying to make a name for itself, I’m so quick to pick them up and give them a chance.

But, I’ve decided to delve a bit into my want list and see what other titles have to offer.

One such title is DC ComicsThe Flash. Being a day late and a dollar short on the initial release of the ‘New 52,’ I didn’t get into the titles right away. Instead, I started picking newer titles up here in there as previous series were being replaced. But, with The Flash, it’s been around since the first wave and will most likely continue to be around for year to come. And, waiting around for the Hardcover/Trade to be release can often lead to a backlog of other issues (in this case, the HC consists of #1-6, leaving #7-14 still to be caught up on). So, seeing Gorilla Grodd making an appearance, I couldn’t resist and had to start picking up the title. And, although it’s obvious I’ve missed some happenings, The Flash #13 wasn’t a bust, and in fast, left me feeling sated and at least in the loop on The Flash storyline at this date and time.

TheFlash013In The Flash #13, we find Flash out cold and at the mercy of the Rogues just in time for a large-scale invading “gorilla” attack. Conveniently, it forces two opposite sides to work together to protect their home. Although some a bit hesitant, the Rogues see the necessity and come around proving to work well with Flash to help hinder the invaders. As it turns out, Grodd is behind the attack and as this is the first part of a three-part story arc, not much is given away. It’s obvious Grodd is on Earth for a reason, but is it to get the Flash (which he doesn’t seem to show much interest in in this issue) or something else?

The artwork in this title is amazing, and from what I can tell picking up an issue here and there just to flip through it at the local store, has been since the beginning. The coloring and inking work well together and seem to pop off the screen. The full page panels, and sometimes full two-page panels, can be breathtaking!

The story in this particular issue is alright. Again, it’s worth noting I have not picked up any issues previous in this series to read, so it’s obvious I’ve missed out some of the backstory. However, that being said, it’s well put together (with introduction of WHAM, attacking gorillas aside). I was able to pick this issue up and take off from the beginning without feeling too lost as to what was going on. That says a lot about the writer Francis Manapul. It’s engaging with decent pace and enough oomph to make me want to continue reading not only the story arc, but also to keep up with the series as a whole.

Rating: 7.5/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Artwork (2), Character Development (1), Climax (1.5), Plot Development (1.5), Story (1.5).

TheFlash014I’m still impressed with DC Comics’ The Flash. As the story arc continues, the art also is on par. It’s visually appealing and has plenty for the eye to take in.

In The Flash #14, we see the continuation of the “Gorilla Warfare” storyline, and what can go wrong with not only apes wreaking havoc, but apes wreaking havoc while being led by Gorilla Grodd! In this issue, Grodd and the Flash face off, and this time the ape seems to be quite the match for our hero in red spandex.

Fight scene aside, the story in this issue is a little meh. It has some flashbacking, and bit of alternate reality merging (I think), with others crossing over in the nick of time (NO SPOILERS). But, what it does lack the eye candy more than makes up for. Although, with this one not quite as up to snuff as the first (see The Flash issue #13 above) I’m interested to see how they wrap things up in issue #15.

Rating: 6.5/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Artwork (2/2), Character Development (.5/2), Climax (2/2), Plot Development (1/2), Story (1/2).