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Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 3/19/08: Thor, Ex Machina, Catwoman, Robin, Spider-Man and More!

Written by: The CinCitizens


Week after week, every Wednesday, there is a sudden influx of content in the comic book world. It's CC2K's job to sift through the garbage to find the gold. Every week we'll be bringing you reviews on the widest range of books possible. This week: Ex Machina, Countdown, Thor, Abe Sapien, Spidey and more!

Abe Sapien: The Drowning #2 Review by Joey Davidson
Writer – Mike Mignola
Pencils/Inks – Jason Shawn Alexander
Colors – Dave Stewart
Letters – Clem Robins
Cover – Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart

Coming an entire week late due to some mix-ups at the comic shop, I bring you my review of the second in a 5 part series. I don’t really know how to handle Abe Sapien. Is it just a distraction? Does it really offer any excuse to exist? So far… not really. That doesn’t mean that the book is approached poorly at all. In fact, the art and writing seem to be pretty good at the end of the second installment.

What is it then that’s holding the limited series back? I really couldn’t tell you. I know that sounds strange, but the feeling I get when I read the book is strange itself. Like I said… the writing is good. The story seems on pace to wind up being pretty fantastic by the fifth and final. This issue leaves us with a not-all-that-suspenseful cliffhanger that I could probably do without. I’m not really all that excited about getting the next book, so the cliffhanger fails on that front.

So, speaking strictly in terms of issue number 2 in 5, this one fits fine. It probably won’t stand out by the end of the arc, but it definitely moves the action along well enough to get me through the pages. Is it a rough read? Not at all. In fact, fans of Hellboy and good ol’ Abe will probably be into it. Maybe that’s the purpose of the series: To flesh out the Abe’s character. I’ll buy that. This book, though, mediocre.

3.0 out of 5.

ImageAmazing Spider-Man #554 Review by Tom Lynch
Writer – Bob Gale
Pencils – Phil Jimenez
Inks – Lanning, Miki, & Jimenez
Colors – Jeremy Cox
Letters – Cory Petit

three times a week and it’s all a coherent storyline, good times. I have to say I’ve been enjoying these new Spider-Man stories. They’re all very fun and lighthearted. It makes me feel like a kid again.

Bob Gale is doing a great job writing by giving each character a very distinct voice. Peter Parker sounds like Pete. The new villain of the month, Freak, definitely sounds like a freak. There’s a lot of story packed into the 22 pages that we get here. We start out continuing the action from last issue and it doesn’t let up. It also pushing the plot along without any of it feeling forced, though the concept of this new villain is already starting to wear on me. I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s been done before.

Phil Jimenez on art is pretty good. The only real problems come from Spider-Man’s eyes. They’re very large and sometimes distract from what’s happening on the page. Also, there’s one shot of Peter’s face that just looks off. Aside from that though, there is a really cool sequence in a burning building that was just great.

In all this is a very fun book and Spider-Man is back doing what he should be, fighting crazy villains and mouthing off while doing it. Any Spider-Fan should check it out.

4.0 out of 5

ImageBatman and the Outsiders #5 Review by Joey Davidson
Writer – Chuck Dixon
Pencils – Julian Lopez
Inks – Bit
Colors – Marta Martinez
Letters – Steve Wands
Cover – Dougie Braithwaite

This book seems like it’s finally picked up some steam in issue 5. We’re finally seeing some sense of teamwork along with the always predictable and always welcome presence of Batman as the organizer/leader. In the first few installments of this arc, readers were presented with a rather mixed bag of witty banter, anger and an overall sense of confusion amongst the new Outsiders.

Well, you can lay all of that awkwardness to rest as the team, most of the members in this issue anyways, are now getting along. What does that mean for us? Well, we get some pretty good dialogue by Dixon between Green Arrow and Metamorpho. We are also afforded a nice fighting sequence over several of the issues panels dedicated to merely showing us how much ass this these guys will eventually get to kicking.

Me? I hope this series continues to gain momentum through the coming months. Batman and the Outsiders has always been a great concept, and I’d like to see it fleshed out completely to the point where the team interacts more with the Justice team and such.

4.0 out of 5.

Image Captain America
#36 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Ed Brubaker
Pencils/Inks – Butch Guice & Mike Perkins
Colors – Frank D’Armata
Letters – Joe Caramagna

The "Death of Captain America" is dragging and dragging. How it’s possible to make a fight in the Capitol Building with a mass of protesting Americans outside boring, I’m not sure, but it happens. Easily causing a reader to forget what’s been going on with those same protestors being drugged and why exactly Bucky is plowing through the bad guys he is, the book seems to have lost its’ interesting political undertones. Luckily, though, Black Widow flies in to save the day (and the issue) with…a flying car. Indeed, a car that flies. Far worse than a spaceship and less believable than even a Fantasticar or anything else to grace the pages of Marvel comics, a convertible with wheels straight out of Back to the Future II. Sorry, comic book science fiction or not, it’s not 2015 yet.

It is true, however, that at this point, the story picks up. After what seems like pages and pages of boring video game fighting, a senator with motives in question is rescued by the bad guys and taken to safety. Tony Stark’s tempers also flair as he’s questioned by the Vice President himself as to why there’s an unregistered and unknown Captain America running around. Of course, in denying knowledge of the identity of this “secret” Cap, one can only wonder what Tony’s thinking and what he plans in that iron brain of his.

And for the kicker that sends the book right back down, Sharon Carter of course finds what seems to be a suspended Steve Rogers in a container of red Jell-o as she walks around thinking out loud about her baby in utero. With her stomach and abs as tight as they are, one might wonder if she really is even pregnant, even though it hasn’t been long. Where’s that angry pregnant woman flab? Soon, we can only hope. The real issue is that Steve Rogers will most likely make another appearance, be it in a hallucination or an all out return. The chances are high that Marvel simply can’t leave characters dead, and to even toy with the notion as a call out of disbelievers like me is a poor choice. If in fact he will return to speak from beyond the grave, or come back all together, why is it that Marvel can’t simply kill off characters for good? Or leave Spider-Man unmasked for good, only making things worse than the change they feel they shouldn’t have made? I blame fan boys who can’t handle change. Screw you, fan boys. You ruin everything.

2.5 out of 5

ImageCatwoman #77 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – Will Pfeifer
Pencils – David Lopez
Inks – Alvaro Lopez
Colors – Jeromy Cox & Guy Major
Letters – Jared K. Fletcher
Cover – Adam Hughes

Any week that Catwoman comes out is usually a good week. I can always rely on Selina Kyle for cocky, snarky banter and plenty of gritty action. What I don't typically expect is alternate worlds and hell planets. I will say that Will Pfeifer has handled Catwoman's tie in to Salvation Run exceptionally, even sending her off to a Gotham City of her own creation in the past two issues. And while it was entertaining to see Selina knock out Superman, it's hard to feel as though this wasn't just a waste of story.

There is plenty underlying here; this world that Selina has created sees her as the world's most feared killer and completely invulnerable. If she has created this world, what kind of dark thoughts lay dormant inside of her? Time will tell if Pfeifer uses this kind of an angle in future issues, but for now it provides enough food for thought that makes this issue seem like less of a waste. As seems to be the trend with DC books as of late, this issue is a tagalong on a larger story that is yet to be told.

Delightful as always is the world of David and Alvaro Lopez, who are quickly beginning to define this book for me. Pfeifer's writing may be recognizable, but when I look back on these issues years from now, it's going to be their work that I remember. The panel structures are so simple yet the evoke a cinematic feel to them, that while it's completely different from the noir-like style that Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker had when this series first re-launched, it still fits the book in every way. Hopefully soon, the Lopez's can stop drawing hell planets and return to the mean streets of the East End of Gotham.

2.5 out of 5.

ImageCountdown to Final Crisis #6 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer(s) – Paul Dini with Adam Beechen
Pencils – Mike Norton
Inks – Jimmy Palmiotti
Colors – Tom Chu
Letters – Travis Lanham
Cover – Scott Kolins

The Great Disaster is upon us. 30+ years of anticipation. And it's here. And it…gives dogs human hands? Okay, so that's not really the whole of it, but it's still vastly underwhelming. We've known that it was a virus for many issues now, but to finally see it in action is a bit bland, considering that when Jack Kirby introduced the idea of a Great Disaster so many years ago, it could have been everything. And now, this is it. This is it, and there's no going back on it. I guess I was hoping for something a little more…unique. That aside, the issue in which should be the most devastating of the series, considering the world is on the threshold of oblivion, is anything but.

Issue #6 instead contains zero dialogue, and is told entirely through the eyes, and monologue boxes, of Buddy Blank, Cadmus employee 769440580. I usually am instantly engaged by issues that break from the norm and take the view of an obscure, or relatively unimportant, side character, but it's a definite misstep in the long line of this series' mistakes to pull back from the Great Disaster actually finally happening and give us the opinions of a retired technician. The only interesting thing about this narrative is that it sort of brings Una to the forefront, who hasn't really gotten to deal on-panel with how the death of Karate Kid has affected her, as she is often brushed aside in the grand scheme of things. However, this issue was not the time to deal with it, unfortunately.

The issue does pick up in its closing moments, only for the realization of certain things about the virus, how unstoppable it is. Not to mention, a certain Green Lantern acting like a galactic honey bee pollinating all of existence with a Great Disaster. It's too bad that we never actually see any of it, only what Buddy Blank thinks he saw. Sigh.

1.5 out of 5.

ImageEverybody's Dead #1 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – Brian Lynch
Pencils/Inks – Dave Crosland
Colors – Leonard O'Grady
Letters – Chris Mowry
Cover – Dave Crosland

Holy sweet god damn, I hate frat boys. Thus, the tagline for this new series from IDW, "They're the last people on Earth who should be the last people on Earth", instantly drew me in. The premise isn't anything incredibly original: a group of people suddenly find themselves to be the last people on Earth after everyone else has turned into zombies. The catch: they are a bunch of frat boys (and two non sorority gal friends) that are, at least stereotypically, the comic book geek's mortal enemy. Obviously, putting our mortal enemy into a situation in which they almost can certainly not survive, will make a great comic. Maybe.

While I could write an essay on frat boys and their relation to comic books and how it's almost for sure that Wolverine is most definitely their favorite character, I'm going to shoot straight, and be honest. This book has potential. While this introductory issue is just that, the characters are amusing enough, for now. Ironically, many of the jokes in here are at a level that stereotypical frat boys wouldn't get, but most of these characters will get annoying real fast if the apocalypse doesn't bring about change real fast. And speaking of the apocalypse, if you are expecting some intense zombie action in this first issue, look elsewhere. This really is a debut issue that holds the sole purpose of introducing these characters.

That being said, the only real strength of this book is the art. Dave Crosland's work is cartooning at it's finest. It's simple but detailed, cartoony but reeks with insanity that is sure to coincide perfectly with the rest of the series. While this first issue should maybe be called Everybody's Not Dead Quite Yet, there are enough successes here that will bring me back for issue #2.

3.0 out of 5.

ImageEx Machina #35 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – Brian K. Vaughan
Pencils – Tony Harris
Inks – Jim Clark
Colors – JD Mettler
Letters – Jared K. Fletcher
Cover – Tony Harris

Ex Machina is known for its compelling one shots, usually breaking up the stream of arcs that comprise the majority of the series. Last issue we were treated to another spectacular done-in-one. This week, though, is less successful. Don't get me wrong – the worst issue of Ex Machina ever would be leaps and bounds above average, but the series has set such a high precedent that a misstep is a huge disappointment. I'm not saying issue #35 is bad, not by any means; it's just that it's not as good as the rest.

It starts promising enough, with Mayor Hundred gunslinging an old Great Machine weapon and talking to Deputy Mayor Wylie on his Bluetooth. Gold. Then, Hundred catches a glimpse of a ghost of an African man in chains, presumably a slave. What ensues for a bulk of the issue is basically a conversation on top of a rooftop about racial ethics and guilt. Though there is an interesting side note about the first meeting of Wylie and Hundred, Vaughan doesn't make his point quite as effectively as he has in the past, instead tossing in too many pop culture references that simply don't reverberate as well as past ones.

Because of the issue's limited scenery, Tony Harris doesn't have as much opportunity to shine here, as he's restricted to mostly close ups and hand gestures. The first few panels are priceless though, with Hundred playing cowboy like a 7 year old. The flashback is a nice change of scenery and color, but the issue soon reverts back to the dank blues and blacks of the rooftop scene. Again, the work in this series is so high quality that this is the only reason for gripes of this sort. Take comfort in knowing that, almost for sure, things will be back to five star awesomeness next month.

3.5 out of 5.

ImageThe Flash #238 Review by Joey Davidson
Writer – Peyer Writer
Pencils – Freddie E. Williams II
Colors – Tanya & Richard Horie
Letters – Travis Lanham
Cover – Freddie E. Williams II

Wally West is back as the Flash (has been for at least one arc already) and so far the story is rather, as weird as this sounds, charming. As the summary page describes, Wally’s got some problems with his kids: they’re aging too fast. They’ve gained some temporary abilities as well and, because of this, he’s recruited them to help him fight crime before they’re too old.

Where this book picks up, however, he won’t be using his kids’ help. Peyer has managed to, with one issue, make this opening point a great inner-struggle for the Flash. He has to juggle saving the world with raising his kids, which, oddly enough, makes for a great dynamic. This book is written with plenty of personality and there’s plenty of time with Wally. Flash fans will be happy that there’s so much panel time for the hero and, believe it or not, he isn’t a snarky ass-hat with every sentence.

The art is sharp and the writing works well. Oh, and the cover art is sweet. This is the first issue of an arc, so don’t be surprised when it comes time to introduce the villain and you have no idea what the hell’s happening. The pacing of this one’s good as well, so you’ll finish the first issue feeling both satisfied and excited for the next bout. I’m looking forward to next month. Never has The Flash been so human.

4.5 out of 5.

ImageGrendel: Behold the Devil #5 Review by Tom Lynch
Writer/Pencils/Inks – Matt Wagner
Letters – Tom Orzechowski

Grendel is a black and white book with one exception: Red. That means the blood that is spilled really jumps off the page, as well as anything else that just happens to be red. Grendel continues his quest to find what is following him, and the cops continue their quest to find out who exactly Grendel is.

Just like in previous issues, the art is fantastic. Each panel is filled with more detail and beauty than the last. Matt Wagner truly needs to draw more comics. It’s very clear what is happening, unless he doesn’t want you to know. It’s hard to find a book that’s more masterfully put together. The black on the white provides a nice contrast for the art and his use of negative space, while sparse, really gives the book a nice feel. The red in this issue is less for blood and more for story.

Speaking of story, we get nice interludes of an interview tape asking about Hunter Rose (Grendel’s alter ego), while an investigator tries to put the pieces together. Grendel, the cop, and the investigator all get mostly equal screen time, but none of it is wasted. You get the feeling that every piece in this book is there for a reason and will have some affect later down the line. A great break comes with an excerpt from a book about Grendel’s “Lost Days” and gives a bit of a ‘down on the street’ view of things.

All of this comes together into a great package and it’s easy to recommend this book to everyone that loves a good story, good art, and an awesome protagonist.

5 out of 5!

ImageGrimm Fairy Tales #25 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Linda Ly & Raven Gregory
Pencils/Inks – Claudio Sepulveda
Colors – Nei Ruffino
Letters – Alphabet Studios
Cover – Eric Basaldua

As promised, this week’s (or months?) special issue gives Little Mermaid a Grimm Fairy Tales turn. There’s surprisingly less cleavage than usual, as needs to be mentioned with such a book almost right away. It’s not without its share, though, just less than usual, so any perverts or issue by issue boob-hounds needn’t fret. The lack of female anatomy does, however, showcase what talent the artistic team really has. Interestingly drawn underwater folk make it seem natural, almost normal to be a mermaid. Choosing a shark over a singing crab isn’t a bad idea, either.

Belinda’s up to her old tricks, seducing a white trash mother into using a story to supernaturally improve her life. She in turn, pimps out her daughter and tries to get her to hook up with a star football player. All the while, Ariel (I think?) gives herself up to be with the one she loves, the prince. In the beginning of the book, as he’s being poked and prodded by other hottie mermaids, Ariel steals him away and takes him for her own. From here on, the bizarre, stalker-like attitude for our own little mermaid goes into full swing. It only worsens as she comes on land, not coming from singing wonderful songs. She can’t speak and she seems creepier, following the prince and sharing a bizarre date with him.

From a couple thirds on, the women and the men of the book blend in together as one. This is the first real issue I’ve been exposed to with a man as a main character, and he’s terribly, terribly feminine. Intentional or not, it’s bizarre and helps nothing. It’s difficult to accept a prince with a womanizing problem when the women he sleeps with, including his main mermaid squeeze, look like they could be sisters. Well enough, however, is that this series has short and sweet arcs, and this quick and painless take will be wrapped up next issue. Not a hit issue, but by no means is it a miss.

3 out of 5

ImageGrimm Fairy Tales Presents: The Piper #1 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Mike Kalvoda, Joe Brusha & Ralph Tedesco
Pencils/Inks – Alex Medellin Machain
Colors– Christin Pogoda, Nei Ruffino & Garry Henderson
Letters – Thomas Mauer

Finally, a spin-off from Grimm Fairy Tales that seems to be a little more masculine than its predecessors is released. Still under the impression that the main book is mostly for girls, and in that case having to go through a girls’ book for 3 weeks straight now, my excitement for The Piper is unbridled at this point. Having been advertised in past issues as a “horror comic,” with books like Locke & Key floating around, that’s a strong claim to make. Not unfortunately, but also not surprisingly, it’s not at this point, all too much of a horror book.

Following in the footsteps of the usual book, Belinda shows up to lure a depressed average nobody into using a story’s magic to their advantage. The story this time around is a twisted, ghostly Pied Piper. He seems built with much more testosterone than the male’s who’ve appeared in the usual book, albeit having only a short appearance in the first issue. The main character is a poor, high school “loser” named Sean who has a talent for playing the violin. A walking stereotype, he’s not quite as weird as the writing attempts to lead us to believe, and neither are his friends. The jocks that pick on him don’t look all that different from Sean, either. Of course, they say the things that most jocks or freaks in the history of pop culture have ever said, trading verbal jabs throughout.

Sean’s attraction of the attention of the new girl while being strangely unnatural upsets the self proclaimed hot, boss jock. He shouldn’t care, as the new girl is weird, and any normal guy wouldn’t want her following him around, but he seems to desire it anyway.

The writers seem unable to cross a sexuality barrier, that is, on how to write realistic male and female characters. Each issue has been either one or the other, and both fall into boring stereotypes. However, the Piper’s half of the story seems interesting enough and certainly has promise. That being the case, I suppose the high school side of the story carries that chance as well, with this book, despite the stereotypes, being a valiant attempt at trying to build a story that’s more than just a retelling of a fairy tale with huge boobs. Fair enough.

3.5 out of 5

ImageThe Immortal Iron Fist #13 Review by Erik Norris
Writer(s) – Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker
Pencils/ Inks – Tonci Zonjic, David Aja, and Kano
Colors – Matt Hollingsworth
Letters – Artmonkeys Studios

Superhero comics that build on mythologies are freakin' fantastic. Its extremely rare when this happens as most cape books rely on staying as close to their respective status-quo as possible in order to please the widest fan base. However, with the launch of Immortal Iron Fist, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction have build up Danny Rand into a mythical god far surpassing his original buddy cop roll in the 1970s. Much like Geoff Johns' Green Lantern over at DC, Marvel's Immortal Iron Fist is one of the few superhero books that builds on its own past to forge into new territory that is both exciting and fresh, making the series a "capes and tights" book worth investing in every issue. There never seems to be a page wasted as the series' staple, flashing back and forth through time to different eras of Iron Fist mythology, fills in all the gaps to make the narrative's scope insanely epic, literally lasting generations.

With issue #13 we have part 6 of the "Seven Capital Cities of Heaven" arc. What started as a standard Mortal Kombat tournament has since turned into the overthrowing of a tyrant and a revolution being fought on the steps of K'un L'un, both inside the capital city, and outside on Earth. This issue also finally reveals Danny's "plan" for saving both the city and his friends, showcasing how good a strategist he can be for such a "punch first, ask questions later" type of guy. The only short coming of the issue is the art. David Aja is a badass artist. For being the regular penciler on the title (besides all the flashbacks), he is only drawing 3 pages worth of story in issue #13. This is a real let down because the mood he sets with every panels fits this book much better than the fill-ins that have plagued this particular arc in the last few issues. However, the plot and writing is so strong, its a mute argument, because I guarantee next month I will be picking up this title again and tearing into it as soon as possible.

And can you say amazing cliffhanger? Hot damn, bring on issue #14.

4.5 out of 5.

ImageJustice League of America #19 Review by Tom Lynch
Writer – Alan Burnett
Pencils – Ed Benes
Inks – Sandra Hope, Mariah Benes, Ruy Jose
Colors – Peter Pantazis
Letters – Rob Leigh
Cover – Ed Benes

I was buying this book solely on the fact that Dwayne McDuffie was writing it. Imagine my disdain when I realized he had nothing to do with this issue. While Alan Burnett does a serviceable job writing, it’s not as good as a top tier book at DC should be.

The pacing of this issue is all over the place. Everyone’s amped up, then it calms down, then it amps up again, then drops to nothing…then it’s over and I’m left wondering why it cost 2.99 to read this. The "Sanctuary" storyline finishes up with this issue, I think. There’s no real conclusion to this book, just a JLA logo at the end that says “The End.” Interactions between the characters are all over the place, first Batman and Superman are fighting, then at the end, they agree. Nothing has changed about the plan, nothing is fixed, they just suddenly agree. I guess that goes towards the weakness of the story. I’m not really sure what happened or what the conclusion was. Not good.

The only thing that saves this issue from being a complete failure is Ed Benes’ art. His page layouts, while not groundbreaking, are easy to follow. It’s a shame that he had to draw this story. Hopefully McDuffie will be back soon.

2.0 out of 5

ImageRobin #172 Review by Erik Norris
Writer – Chuck Dixon
Pencils – David Baldeon
Inks – Steve Bird
Colors – Guy Major
Letters – Sal Cipriano

Tim Drake is a pretty awesome character. I can whole-heartedly name him the best Robin there has ever been. While Dick Grayson is the original "Boy Wonder", he has always seemed a better fit for the Nightwing persona to me. Maybe its the lack of a green speedo and elf boots, but Tim Drake is just a much more fascinating teenager when wearing a cape. Its also strange that I never really got into his ongoing series for liking the character so much. Recently picking up the Robin issues taking place during the "Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul" crossover was a complete mess. My main problem with them was the craptastic monologue boxes that seemed overly soap opera-ish, completely taking me out of the action I was reading. However, picking up issue #172 was a breathe of fresh air. Chuck Dixon has got a master handle on Tim's personality and it shows through the plot and actions of the character in the issue. Since I haven't been following Robin, I missed the beginning of Dixon's tenure on the title but this issue is pretty well contained. Through the dialogue of our characters, and Tim's monologue boxes, the plot is laid out for the action to ensue.

Robin is apparently chasing someone named "Violet", a female super that has a love for the green stuff, so what better place to hit up than a casino in Gotham. However, Robin is hot on her heels, though he has some trouble juggling this "side project" and this girlfriend 's, in total PMS mode. What I liked so much about the issue is the overall tone of it. Tim Drake is a teenager, struggling with teenager situations, and its nice that his book isn't overly dark and disturbing. The book has a great light hearted feel, as all the characters display some sort of soft side to their hardened exterior. My personal favorite was Maxi Zeus, a character I have never seen outside Batman: The Animated Series, as he was absolutely hilarious in this issue. The lighter tone of the book is also helped by artist David Baldeon, who draws some great, dynamic superhero action. His cartoony character models work with this book, and his framing of action makes for perfect transitions between panels.

The issue climaxes with two pretty cool cliffhangers. Like I said before, I never got into the Robin series, so to see a certain character show up at the end has me rather intrigued, coupled with the fact I was introduced to her through her swan song story, "War Games". Secondly we have our favorite bird enthusiast looking to grab control of Gotham once again. Overall Robin #172 was a solid comic. Looks like the character is in a pretty good place as I am now questioning picking up his title regularly instead of just getting my Tim Drake fix through the pages of Batman's books.

3.0 out of 5.

Image Thor #7 Review by Joey Davidson
Writer – J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils – Marko Djurdjevic
Inks – Danny Miki
Colors – Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic
Letters – Chris Elipoulos
Cover – Marko Djurdjevic

I didn’t read the first arc of this new volume of Thor. I didn’t read it, and I regret it. Critically acclaimed by some to have breathed fresh life into the hammer-wielding hero of Asgard, this new Thor volume ain’t nothing to f*** with (just like the Wu and their so called “killer bees”). But where the first arc ended by dominating the Marvel line of comics, this new two-issue arc begins. How does it fare in the first half?

Pretty damn well. The arc is called “Father Issues,” and as such it deals with Thor and his father Odin (and subsequently Odin’s father Bor). This book is filled with exposition. Almost every page is littered with paragraph-long speech bubbles, which, thanks to Straczynski, isn’t really a downside. The one comment I will make in regards to the overabundance of exposition is that there is so much talking going on that the scene jumps are a little confusing. We switch in and out of flashbacks and purgatory constantly, all accompanied by those handy voice-over boxes. Back and forth we go with almost no warning. While not impossible, reading the book does get tricky at times.

But who cares? It’s Thor! My guess is that this two issue arc is going to be the fuel that drives the mythos of Thor for several arcs to come. Here we learn, and will continue to learn, more about Thor’s beginnings, Thor’s flaws and Thor’s goals. Overall, if you’ve been hoping for a time to jump into the series, this issue would be it. Although light on action, this one’s heavy on volume.

4.0 out of 5.

That's all for this week, folks!

Author: The CinCitizens

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