Written by: The CinCitizens
CC2K Comic Gurus take a head first dive into the most hyped up books of the week, and let you know if they're worth a damn. This week: Scalped, All-Star Superman, Amazing Spider-Man and more!
All Star Superman #12 Review by Gary M. Kenny
Writer – Grant Morrison
Artist – Frank Quitely
Inks & Colors – Jamie Grant
Lettering – Travis Lanham
What an ending! Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s epic All Star Superman series can easily be considered one of the greatest comic book stories for this century. Each issue flowed like a movie. Grant Morrison used his bizarre imagination and gave a fresh take on the character, while Frank Quitely’s exquisite art (which appeared to be highly influenced by the silver age) gave the readers a Superman last seen in the late 50’s portrayed by George Reeves.
Quitely, his art direction is perfectly shot, each scene contains emotion, his two dimensional characters are so real, so human, so much so, that in Superman’s goodbye to Lois, the reader can almost taste the tear drops. When you see Luthor’s facial expressions go from laughing to angry to tearfully blessed, you can’t help but look over to your weekly pile of comics and know that no other book holds this much emotion, this much spell binding talent. It’s worth a reread just for the art alone. Look at Quitely’s last splash page of Superman, DC should release it as a poster or at the very least, make it the cover of the All Star collective trade.
The finale pinned super Luthor against Supes in not just a battle royal but a match of wits. Superman knows he has to fear Luthor, that he needs to not only match his strength but out think the world’s smartest man. Supes knows himself and when a man knows that and is true to himself, he can overcome any obstacle. Supes uses everything; his trust in humanity, his inability to see through led, etc. all his own weaknesses and strengths, and that information is what is used to defeat Luthor. Each character’s action and consequence was perfectly fine tuned from issue one to twelve, that in a way, Morrison definitely had each issue’s start and finishing point perfectly timed so that where Superman began, that place would also be where he finished. In addition, in all Supes’s glory, in the final scenes where he shoots to the sky, Morrison takes this icon and turns him into a human pacemaker for the sun. This might sound a tad ridiculous, but it’s the perfect end for Morrison’s man of steel, for the sun looks protects the earth and builds life, just like Superman. This series will be missed.
5.0 out of 5.0 – CC2K's Book of the Week!!
Action Comics # 869 Review by Gary M. Kenny
Writer – Goeff Johns
Artist – Gary Frank
Inks – Jon Sibal
Colors – Brad Anderson
Letters – Rob Leigh
Cover – Frank G. Anderson
If you haven’t picked this up yet, well then you haven’t seen (Christopher Reeve) Superman chew an umbilical chord from a steroid Brainiac’s head. So, if that sounds like something you’d like to see, pick it up. Goeff Johns and Gary Frank, well, if you read any of my reviews you would understand that I have a serious man-crush on this team. They bring me back to my childhood with every scary moment, plot twist, and fight scene. I’m seven years old wearing a red towel and jumping on the bed with every page.
This issue has Supes fighting Brainiac while Supergirl and Lois Lane take on his drones. Metropolis starts to crumple under Brainiac’s triumphed city stealing heist. The real joy is within Frank’s scenes of Supergirl fighting the Brainiac drones, they are horrific (in a good way). Frank stays really true to her character in his display of her facial features and stance. She’s a stranger in a strange world and though she’s more powerful than a locomotive, she’s more terrified then a teenage whore in a horror movie and Frank makes sure he draws this. She punches through an alien robot with her mouth wide open and her eyes almost in tears. She’s petrified and the only reason she doesn’t run is out of respect for her cousin’s morals. The art is outstanding and Gary Frank needs to recognized for it.
It was obvious that Metropolis would be captured and placed in a jar by Brainiac from issue # 866 (obvious yet still really cool). But, what I didn’t expect was the return of Supergirl’s parents and Jor-El’s brother Zor-El. I do not know where this story is headed but it sounds like a surprise I’m really going to enjoy. Johns has been writing top-notch stuff in this series and I’m thinking how smart DC is for letting Johns take control of this series indefinately . It sucks that I have to wait another month for issue # 870, but I can only imagine what John’s will have Supes chew on next.
4.5 out of 5.0.
Amazing Spider-Man # 572 Review by Gary M. Kenny
Writer – Dan Slott
Penciller – John Romita JR.
Inker – Klaus Janson
Colorist – Dean White
Letterer – VC’s Cory Petit
Cover A – John Romita JR.
Cover B – David Finch
Dark, just the way I like it. Many people believe Spidey to be a kid friendly comic, the way it was intended. Sorry I can’t relate, I grew up with the black costume, Venom, the clones, and Hobgoblin. Monthly, our favorite smartass web head got his butt kicked, his life destroyed, and he endured it. It wasn’t always sunny and most of the time the only ray of hope Spider-Man received came from (especially McFarlanes issues) a lingerie shot of Mary Jane. This is what I’m use to, this is the Spidey I love. So, when "Brand New Day" came out, I was kind of stuck with the Marvel Adventures Spidey in my Amazing. Alas, Romita Jr. has once again saved this series and Dan Slott incorporates the Thunderbolts with the mastermind of Norman Osborn plus the talents of some new villains to make one terrific arc.
This issue is bloody, not bloody like Kick-Ass, but look at Spidey’s mask in his fight with Bullseye, that’s pretty wicked. The fight scenes scream Miller’s Daredevil: Born Again trade, but I don’t care. For a weekly series, Marvel is really delivering. We get the return of (classic costume) Green Goblin, Anti-Venom is a treat, Slott gives us a Freak torture session at Oscorp, and we get another mash-up character with Scorpion Venom.
The story isn’t that impressive, I’m not enchanted and holding on the edge of my chair, but man, oh man, am I getting fan service like no other. Yes, it’s Romita’s fight scenes that keep me picking up this issue, the matchup of Bulls vs. Spidey, the anticipation that I’ll get to see multiple Goblins, Venoms, and whatevers take on Webhead. Marvel’s weekly Amazing is all “hit em up,” but I don’t mind. I’m getting my much needed sinister fix of action and humor, so make mine Marvel.
4.0 out of 5.0
Moon Knight #22 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – Mike Benson
Artist – Mark Texeira
Layouts – Javier Saltares
Colors – Dan Brown
Letters – VC's Joe Caramagna
Cover – Arthur Suydam
Well, it's taken 22 issues, but I think that Moon Knight is finally headed in a direction that I feel confident in. In this latest arc, "The Death of Marc Spector", Benson seems to be heading in a direction that I can't help but recall Bendis' phenomenal Daredevil run. Marc Spector, though not beginning the series with much of a bright side, is truly becoming a shell of a man. It's amazing how low Benson is pitting this character, and yet he still leaves me wanting to see more. It's a difficult read, as the Moon Knight in this series isn't really a tormented anti-hero like The Punisher, in fact, I'm not sure he's any kind of hero. Most of the time, he's just a complete asshole.
Issue #22 sees his old associate Crowley making the rounds to Moonies' usual crew, whom Spector has all but flat out told to bugger off since the series began. Now what we find is a man alone, chased by S.H.I.E.L.D. and Tony Stark, feared by his city, and hunted by the Thunderbolts. All the while, Spector continues his vigilante ways in an attempt to clean up his town. Benson paints a portrait of a tragically delusional man that is ignorant of his own faults and trying to justify his alienation by beating down bad guys. And although this book has started to interact with the main Marvel Universe more than it ever has previously, Moon Knight still remains a darkly psychological corner of the Marvel U that few books (again, aside from Bendis' Daredevil) have traveled in willingly.
Many issues back, when Mark Texeira started his Moon Knight work, I think that I was considerably unfair. Granted, it took some getting used to after the super-cool (yes, that's a technical term) work of David Finch on the book, but Texeira's heavy lines in conjuction with Brown's washed-out color palette really give the book a look of despair that go down smoothly with Benson's buffet of misery. It's like an all you can eat buffet of hopelessness at the Sizzler, except only $2.99 and no food poisoning.
That's a good thing.
Also, it's nice to see some more Suydam covers that DON'T involve zombies.
4.0 out of 5.
Scalped #21 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – Jason Aaron
Artist – RM Guera
Colors – Giulia Brusco
Letters – Steve Wands
Cover – Jock
I live comfortably in the fact that I am guaranteed an enjoyable reading experience when I open up an issue of Scalped. And as such, this issue is no different. Kicking off the new story arc entitled "The Gravel in Your Guts", this issue starts ominously and ends even more so. In the early days of its existence, Scalped was often compared to The Sopranos. This still holds true, but it's hard to recall a Sopranos episode that didn't feature Tony. While the main subject in issue #21 is essentially Tony's counterpart, our general protagonist up to this point has been Dash Bad Horse, and he's nowhere to be found in this issue. I'm not saying this as a criticism, in fact any issue of any book that can successfully immerse a reader without the use of the main character is a testament to the creator's world building and characterization skills. Stories always have more than one point of view, and the most talented writers take advantage of this.
That being said, this issue is still essentially set-up for the story to come. There are some great moments, and plenty of mysteries that are sure to unfold in coming issues. Setups can be tricky, as they need to be eventful enough not to seem like a waste but also paced correctly to give it the impact it needs. As expected, Aaron delivers on both fronts. The last few pages of this issue are really truly eerie in their presentation, both in characterization and in Guera's art. The last panel in particular, when read in conjunction with the opening pages, is almost haunting, in a way. This issue truly exemplifies many of the themes that Aaron and Guera have been toying with about these character's halted lives on this reservation, and there are no better examples that are as so subtley masterful as the closing panels in this issue.
This book isn't fun. It's not an 'exciting' read. It's not thrilling, or 'action-packed' in any popcorn sense of the word. It's a bland, bleak world full of characters with unfulfilled potential and dim futures. Why, then, is it such a God damn good read? Perhaps it's because of the strength of these characters that we genuinely want things to turn out good for them, even if there is no glimmer of hope anywhere in sight.
4.0 out of 5.