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Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 6/4/2008: Cable, Iron Man, Secret Invasion and more!

Written by: The CinCitizens


ImageWeek 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: Nightwing, Secret Invasion, Cable, Kick-Ass and more!

Cable #4 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Duane Swierczynski
Artist – Ariel Olivetti
Letters – Joe Caramanga
Variant Cover – Marko Djurdjevic

Time is of the essence for Cable, both in his storyline and in terms of the existence of the book. With only one issue left, the situation has boiled over for Nathan Summers with the arrival of an old friend, Cannonball. After a quick chat, a recap of the situation at hand, and a ham sandwich, Cable takes off and Cannonball looks around for the resident time traveling psycho, Bishop.

A huge positive in reading this series has been the accessibility. The X-Men universe is an olive tree with hundreds and thousands of branches, and it’s not difficult to imagine that it can get terribly confusing. Having a basic knowledge of House of M and a basic knowledge of characters is all one really needs for this series, though, and it makes it entertaining. Swierczynski tries to bring these characters above their medium and in turn has created something consistently solid in its storytelling and depictions. This at times, however, seems for some reason like it’s just not enough. It’s difficult to pinpoint the reason for this, and all I can think of is the fact that so much has been introduced in terms of the life in this barren future that I want to care about it even more. I don’t seem to, at this point. An idea that Civil War introduced into some heads was that as cool or mind bending or exciting that massive fights can be, the life that is lost because of disregard for situation and surroundings is terrible. We have yet to see the angst or the difficulty conveyed by any of the people who have gone through one of these situations. To see a crew of futuristic policemen tossed aside like rag dolls has little to no effect for me.

Speaking of angst, there is no clear cut explanation of whose ‘future’ is the correct one yet. It’s a good situation, and makes the book worthwhile for all of its issues (hopefully.) Bishop’s glimpse into his Holocaust-esque future is the biggest indicator so far of whose will win out, but, it’s not Bishop’s book! So, readers will have to see what happens in the conclusion that will be a necessary purchase if you’ve read this far. Cable has been as solid as his human arm, not his cyborg one, which makes one wonder what it would have been like as an even stronger effort.

3.5 out of 5.

 

 

 

ImageGrimm Fairy Tales #27 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Dan Wickline
Pencils – Dean Juliette
Colors – Kieran Oats
Letters – Jim Reddington

Can anyone else recite Three Blind Mice? I know I used to be able to, but seeing the title of this issue and remembering I once knew all the words prompted me to see if I still did. No such luck, though, and most likely I am a fool. Anyway, irrelevance aside, Grimm Fairy Tales continues with another entertaining issue and doesn’t disappoint. It makes one wonder whether the three dollars are worth the purchase, or not, and issues like this are those ones where you’re not completely satisfied, but you don’t mind that you dropped three bucks.

Belinda is up to her old tricks as she always is and tosses a book to a no good swindler, trying to teach him a lesson in being a jerk. He, being the jerk that he is, of course doesn’t comply and tries to take advantage of a sweet old lady. All the while, the three mice with ‘tude are pretending to be blind to rob another similarly sweet old lady of her cheese. Fools always get what they have coming to them, and this story proves no different. The end result is nastily hilarious for the mice and of course downright gruesome for the swindler.

Formula aside, it’s basically take it or leave it in terms of how you feel about this story specifically. It works like a Bud Light to the Budweiser that is Tales From the Crypt. It’s not as over the top as one of those comics or shows may be, and that doesn’t necessarily work to its’ advantage nor its’ disadvantage. It seems almost as if it’s one of those stories from a parallel universe. A fan of the Three Blind Mice story might go crazy for this, or someone that hates Mouse Guard, but otherwise it’s basically an issue of taking or leaving. If it seems like one you could enjoy and you are a fan of the series, you may as well pick it up, and if it doesn’t, it’s better left skipped.

3.0 out of 5.
 

 

 

ImageHouse of Mystery #2 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer(s)- Matthew Sturgess & Bill Willingham
Artist(s) – Luca Rossi & Jill Thompson
Colors – Lee Loughridge
Letters – Todd Klein
Cover – Sam Weber

This book is really shaping up to be quite the unique experience. With an overarching story as well as back-up (but in the middle) stories every month, there is so much content and different artistry in this book that it makes it feel worth the money you spend.

Vertigo has an amazing track record, and thus far House of Mystery is doing nothing to blemish that. Only two issues in, and Sturgess has provided us with interesting characters, and a through point to the story that has literally limitless potential. The House in question gains new floors as needed, so what can’t be possible in a place like that? The beauty to something like that as a story telling device is that if someone or some place does not exist in your palette for a certain story you want to tell, you simply have to create it.

This issue specifically raises many interesting questions about both the House and the people inside; why can certain people leave, but others are trapped? And how long have they been there? Consider then all of their specific backstories and past relationships, hinted at in this issue, and you have dozens of issues to enjoy in the future. This issue is the second in hopefully a long line of strong, well thought out issues.

4.5 out of 5.

 

 

ImageInvincible Iron Man #2 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – Matt Fraction
Artist – Salvador Larroca
Colors – Frank D’Armata
Letters – Chris Eliopoulos

What started last month as essentially a platform to tie into the Iron Man movie and give new readers brought to comics from the film an anchoring point, featuring familiar characters from the movie to guide them through, has slowly branched out into something more, as expected. Issue #2 continues everything that the first issue started. Thus far, it is thankfully free of the main Marvel Universe (aside from a scene involving Thor), hopefully allowing for a damn good Iron Man tale to take place.

This issue sees Tony tracking down the genocidal maniacs that are causing the world trouble, and perhaps finding something more than he bargained for. In all, this book is everything a comic should be – full of exciting fight scenes, witty character quips, and moments of heroism. What sets it apart is that it’s done well, and doesn’t feel as though it’s only going through the motions.

The other thing that sets it apart, of course, is Larroca’s beautiful artwork. Human faces look like photographs and everything is insanely detailed. One has to wonder if this book will start to see its share of delay problems, only because Marvel can’t seem to get its best books out on time. Regardless, with a book so full of great artwork, soft coloring and pitch perfect characterization, a book like this would be worth waiting for.

4.0 out of 5.

 

 

ImageKICK-ASS #3 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Mark Millar
Pencils – John Romita Jr.
Colors – Dean White
Letters – Chris Eliopoulos
Inks – Tom Palmer

My jaw has seldom dropped from shock in film, literature, or anything else that may qualify in terms of receptive pop culture. Kick-Ass can add itself to the list of things that have done that to me. Dave Lizewski is responsible for it, in a way, but he was shown up in a book that continues to showcase one of the most true to life superheroes ever.

Living in a world where his recent heroics are spreading across the internet on YouTube, Lizewski is strutting, feeling better, and gaining the attention of a hot girl in class. Score, it would seem, but Lizewski’s excitement turns out to be misguided, much to his dismay. All of these aspects work incredibly to the books advantage, making its’ realistic tone so entertaining to read that it’s a must to purchase not only in the world of comics, but in the world of pop culture. This should be what’s adapted into a film with a hundred and fifty million dollar budget, not Iron Man. The problem is, it would probably only cost less than fifty million to make. We can only hope.

In the last issue, I cited while reading and reviewing this book the escalation it was presenting. The step from being massacred in a fight to being faced with a certain type of weapon, real life adversaries like the police, and things like that, have all crossed my mind and I’m sure the minds of many other readers. Expecting it to follow suit in that order, I was thrown a complete curveball in reading this issue. If this is the way I’m going to be surprised throughout, if the day ever comes that I stop reading comics (which is basically when it’s no longer my job) I will most definitely continue with Kick-Ass. The idea of seeing this character grow and change from a teenager to a man is going to be amazing. There is no way such comic story poison as agelessness or resurrecting characters can exist within such a realistically built masterpiece of a book.

I can’t speak much of what has taken place this issue, is it’s too amazing and actually kind of terrifying to spoil. You will see a pair of eyes with a psychosis behind them you have seldom seen before when reading, and it is terribly necessary to experience it for yourself. I cannot stress enough what a must it is to read this book.

5.0 out of 5!
 

 

 

ImageNightwing #144 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Peter J. Tomasi
Pencils – Rags Morales & Don Kramer
Inks – Michael Bair, Christian Alamy, & Sandu Florea
Colors – Nathan Eyring
Letters – Sal Cipriano
Cover – Doug Mahnke

Smooth, suave Dick Grayson is back and doing exactly what he’s been doing for a while. Wait, didn’t I just mention that last issue? Yeah, I did. It’s becoming difficult to tell one issue apart to the point that I almost miss the WB-style dialogue that I so revered the last few issues. How this book began with such an exciting blast while gaining a new writer and has become so formulaically lame so fast is a massive wonder, a disappointment, and doesn’t leave much hope for the future.

Finally the current arc is coming to its’ conclusion. The idea of creating clone soldiers like Stormtroopers with rapid growth seemed like a good idea when it was given a realist’s tone of actually birthing those babies has gone to laughable ridiculousness. Seeing the massive woman spread out as an assembly line moves babies out is just too hilarious to look at and take seriously. Not even Talia using the word “vaginal” can add seriousness to the scene. It shouldn’t matter, though, right? Because Dick Grayson is too excellently cool to make something boring, and his speech and crime fighting and demeanor up the quality. Unfortunately not, and in this case, they become old, very fast. Even the inclusion of Bruce and Tim is wasted, as they all run to their specific vehicles like an episode of the ‘60’s TV show.

 So, we are treated to a climax that’s full of long winded conversation that’s full of exposition and recap of events passed, all the while seeing the characters run through the night in their outfits looking ridiculous. It’s funny how the outfits can be perceived depending on the tone of the book. If it’s silly, they’re going to look silly no matter what. We know the depth these characters have and how entertaining they can be, but it’s become a lost cause.

The pluses, I suppose, are the fact that Talia’s still the sexiest comic character, ever. Not that she was wasted or used correctly, it’s just nice to see her, but that thought goes so sparingly far that it seems almost pointless to mention. She is still the best, though, so it’s only almost. The final and biggest plus is that R.I.P. will soon factor into this book, and the current arc will be over.

2.0 out of 5.
 

 

 

ImageSecret Invasion #3 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils – Leinil Yu
Inks – Mark Morales
Colors – Laura Martin
Letters – Chris Eliopoulos

Secret Invasion #3 marks the second issue in a row that is not nearly as exciting as it needs to be. I’m not talking about blood pumping action – there’s plenty – but rather emotional excitement. Yes, I’m well aware that the majority of you comic book geeks don’t really give a shit about anything but “sweet” fights, but I personally need a bit more than that. This entire issue is essentially one big fight scene – drawn gracefully, I might add – but there is only one short scene involving Tony Stark that produces anything noteworthy, in terms of character progression.

Yes, the ending cliffhanger is also a treat, but really, in a big event book like this, we deserve more. Especially considering that this book is such a fast read and really no longer than your average book, but costs a dollar more.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say, that even if you have been following this event pretty seriously, you could probably skip this issue and not miss anything but a bunch of B and C list characters getting the crap kicked out of them. And again, I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just not what it should be for a book of this magnitude. Something tells me that this series didn’t honestly need to be eight issues long, it probably could have sufficed at six and skipped this and the last issue.

2.5 out 5.

 

 

LAST WEEK'S LEFTOVERS:

 

 

ImageBatman #677 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Grant Morrison
Pencils – Tony Daniel
Inks – Sandu Florea
Colors – Guy Major
Letters – Jared K. Fletcher

There’s a woman named Jezebel Jet, and she’s about to ruin everything. I’ve only been following Nightwing, and I’m not a regular Batman reader, but I have been onboard, like many, as visitors for R.I.P. Suddenly, I have been introduced to a buxom redhead who is opening a proverbial can of worms in the mind of Bruce Wayne, all in Batman #677. She has, in a way that strangely, no one else has been able to, pointed out to Bruce himself that he’s possibly batshit insane. Jet points out that maybe he’s schizophrenic, delusional, psychotic, and dealing with repressed emotions beyond what he’s been dishing out on crooks and Arkham Asylum residents since becoming the Dark Knight. It seems as if it couldn’t come at a worse time, too, as he is getting angrier and angrier at being unable to find out who the mysterious Black Glove is. Not to mention while all this is happening, the mayor is feeding Jim Gordon all sorts of nonsense about a darker, scarier side to Bruce’s parents, and a massive bombshell about Alfred that may or may not be true. What does all this mean, to readers?

Excellence. It means that Grant Morrison is treating Batman in a fairly masterful way, as he should be treated. He has set up threads and mystery that can go in all sorts of directions, and isn’t easily solved. No one knows, at this point, what anything means, and it’s great to be along for such a thing that is slowly unfolding itself as one reads. It’s essentially what comic books are all about, and we have Morrison to thank for that. I have not read other works of his, but I see now what is so exciting when he brings life to a character and their universe. Hopefully this story will be able to rival the likes of Long Halloween and Year One when it is finished, and so far it seems that way.  It carries a gigantic plus in its’ accessibility as well. As I mentioned, I am not a regular reader, and I’ve had no trouble entering into this series and knowing what’s going on, other than having to find out who Jezebel Jet is.

Everything seems to be coming together, and as one reads they can see the offshoots, directions, and to put it bluntly, the possible ways that Batman will “die.” It can come from any number of things at this point, and it’s terribly exciting. Not to mention the fact that the arc will carry over into other books, which will serve them well, breathing life into books that are now getting boring, like Nightwing. If you’ve been wary of entering, or want something new in terms of Batman, now is the chance, as this is a must have.

4.5 out of 5.
 

 

 

ImageBatman: Gotham After Midnight #1 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Steve Niles
Artist – Kelley Jones
Colors – Michelle Madsen
Letters – Pat Brosseau

How does Batman die? Look no further than this book! Not true, of course, but I had to begin with a joke in the vein of the silliness that is Gotham After Midnight. Mind you, this is not a bad silly, but an enjoyable one. If the 1989 Burton Batman and the 1960’s television extravaganza were molded into one massive Bat-fest, it would be this book. Beginning with a fight with Scarecrow in which he and Batman take jabs at each other, the camp runs high. It takes a very, very slow turn however, as the police show up and Batman speaks with Commissioner Gordon in a slow and boring few pages, but it gets better as Bruce looks less ridiculous and more like a normal man in a costume, which he is. A highlighting moment is Alfred trying to convince him to eat a sandwich before going out and crime fighting like he’s a ten year old.

This is the book as a whole, which is to last for twelve issues. It’s humorous, over the top, and boring at times, and it gives no indicators that it will be any different for the entirety of its’ run. It’s a book for the Batman fan who is in no way interested in what R.I.P. has to offer. The problem is, in that same regard, someone who is completely interested in the regular Batman book will most likely be bored with this. It seems simpler, not as exciting, and isn’t drawn as well as that book. That isn’t to say that it is drawn badly, because it isn’t. It’s a specific style, and is entertainingly bizarre, but it’s not well compared to Batman. The story itself has done what RIP claims to do, and finishes with “killing” Batman. Old fashioned and fun, it embodies everything that everyone bitches about when it comes to Batman on film, working firmly and well, albeit a bit boring, on the page. A showcase of psychosis and scary heroes and villains, this book is for anyone who loves the goofier side of Batman. If not, you’re hard pressed to find something you would hate more.

3.0 out of 5.
 

 

 

 

 

ImageKing-Size Hulk #1 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Jeph Loeb
Pencils – Frank Cho
Inks – Frank Cho
Colors – Jason Keith & Guru EFX
Letters – Comicraft

King-Size Hulk? Or King-Size commercial? I fail to see the reason for this book, at all. It looks neat at times, there’s an interesting fight with the Wendigo in it, but it’s useless. Anyone following the Hulk series will remember in the first issue when someone was yanked out of the giant ship by the mysterious Red Hulk. Forgetting who that someone was, I was confused by it happening to She-Hulk in this issue. Wasn’t it someone else? Apparently not, as I went back to recheck and realize it was She-Hulk who was wrecked and I had simply forgotten. Showcasing the complete lack of heart in the character of Hulk right now, a recap is given of just what She-Hulk was thinking when she was pulled from the ship. Jeph Loeb apparently didn’t realize that not only did it not really matter, readers most likely don’t really care. That not withstanding, she gives a bit of inner monologue and recalls how scared she was with Red Hulk’s hands around her throat, and the issue shifts to General Ross explaining Abomination and his relationship to the other characters as if he’s a harshly spoken, grizzled school teacher.

Once this very brief retelling is finished, those who purchase this book are treated to a few extra issues of some throwback Hulk. No extra issues of the Hulk that’s happening right now, but instead the furrow browed, third person speaking Hulk of ‘70’s yore is reprinted with huge, full text boxes and all. Of course, those issues are linked to the current one, showcasing the first meeting with Wendigo and a run in with Wolverine. However, something seems forced, and maybe, kind of stupid.

The only explanation is that Marvel must think they are going to get an influx of Hulk fans when their catered-to-the-fanbase Incredible Hulk comes out this summer, so they are giving those people something else to sink their teeth in to. This is at the expense, of course, of the fans, who are handed the equivalent of not something to sink their teeth into, but getting those teeth ripped out and given a piece of wood with spikes in it to sink their gums into. Not only is this comic book useless, it’s terribly boring. And it costs five dollars. Something costing so much money should simply not be only a different look at what has passed. Hopefully, you won’t be roped in after reading this and possibly other reviews. Those readers who are aware that comics have some literary depth will get nothing out of this book, which serves as a commercial for the movie. Marvel can’t seem to realize the intelligence of their readers, and from this, it seems as if they don’t care.

1.0 out of 5.
 

Author: The CinCitizens

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