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CC2K Comics Corner 9/24/08: All Star Batman, Fantastic Four, Teen Titans and more!

Written by: The CinCitizens

ImageCC2K 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: New Avengers, Teen Titans, Fantastic Four, Superman/Batmani and more!

Fantastic Four #560 Review by Joey Esposito

Writer – Mark Millar
Artist – Bryan Hitch
Inks – Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie & Matt Banning
Colors – Paul Mounts
Letters – Chris Eliopoulos
Words cannot express to you how delighted I am that I decided to start picking up Fantastic Four at the start of Millar & Hitch's run. For once, the comic book gods have rewarded my spontaneity with a captivating story that makes me run home, leap onto my bed, and open up. Ok, so maybe this is the first issue that I've literally done that with, but nonetheless Millar and Hitch have crafted a tale that will excite even the most jaded FF fans. 
Issue #560 kicks off with an explanation for just what in the hell Galactus is doing knocked unconscious and powering a machine for the New Defenders. I'm not going to spoil anything, but I can guarantee you that the plot thickens, to be cliche. And, up until this point, it has been a mystery to me why this arc was titled "The Death of the Invisible Woman". In fact as I cracked the issue open, I could hardly recall any truly significant scenes involving Sue Storm since the arc began. Alas, this is where Millar displays his genius. In a swift stroke of artistry, Millar brings things full circle and leaves this hanging with another massive cliffhanger ending that has left me, yet again, begging for the next issue.
Hitch delivers as expected, getting to have fun with numerous panels featuring an obliterated Earth and casualties abound. Many artists struggle in stories like this that require epic-scale battle scenes and backgrounds as well as slightly acted character moments and introspection, yet Hitch thrives. His storytelling is classic in a sense; his panel layouts are simple, 4-8 panels on a page, no crazy shapes or ADD-fueled layouts, just basic. Then he hits you with a beautiful splash page, and you realize that the book you are reading is amazingly awesome. I guess it's classic for a reason. 
If you were never a fan of the Fantastic Four before, read this book. You will be.
4.5 out of 5.  CC2K's BOOK OF THE WEEK!
ImageAll Star Batman & Robin #10 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – Frank Miller
Pencils – Jim Lee
Inks – Scott Williams
Colors – Alex Sinclair
Letters – Jared K. Fletcher
There is a lot of people that hate this book, and I have no idea why. What Frank Miller has given us is a noir-Batman book, complete with overly long and curse-ridden monologues that are deliciously over dramatic and well written, femme fatales up to wazoo, and a nice spin on classic good cop Jim Gordon, complete with chain smoking! In what other book will we ever hear Batman call Robin an "intrepid little bastard"? In what other book are we treated to Batman making it known just exactly how he feels for Catwoman without ever blatantly stating so? This book is so well written it's absurd, and I suppose that is the problem that people have with it. In the beginning, yes, it was jarring. But with this issue, particularly the Catwoman scene, I found myself becoming wickedly fond of these versions of the characters and their story.
And Jim Lee? Come on! Every damn panel the man draws may as well be a poster on the wall. Yes, that doesn't always mean it leads to good storytelling (cough, Simone Bianchi), but he can do that too! He takes Miller's verbose monologue boxes and still keeps the reader in the panel to observe his beautiful work. Very few artists have the ability to make me willing to wait months and months between issues to see their work, but Lee is one of them.
Sure, it may seem like an Elseworlds tale, but I assure you – if you are not enjoying this book, then you must be reading it upside down. 
4.0 out of 5.


New Avengers # 45 Review by Gary M. Kenny

Writer – Brian Michael Bendis

Artist – Jim Cheung

Inks – John Dell & Jay Leisten

Colors – Justin Ponsor

Letters – RS & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne

Cover – Aleski Briclot

Jim Cheung’s pencils are fantastic and they fit really well in this series. Cheung gives this book giant splash pages and tons of action shots, which is exactly how an Avenger book should look. Without question, his artwork should be the main reason why you’d pick up this month’s issue. The story by Bendis, though written quite well, is nothing but filler. For a “shit load” (I believe that is the correct collective noun) of issues, Bendis has been using both Mighty and New Avengers to fill in the gaps and plot holes of his older tales. This one in particular covers what happened to the Skrull Spider-Woman during the whole “House of M” story arc. Not to say it isn’t interesting, which it is, but I’m not too interested in the past, I just want to get back to secret invasion battles.

I’m still trying to really figure out why Marvel and Bendis have been giving us so many unrevealing stories. Lately, a Mighty or New Avengers issue might in fact have one or two new plot hints or revealing secrets, but nothing amazing. I want this series to go back to fighting the Hood, having Spidey and Wolverine on the run from Iron Man, and talk about Luke Cage’s marriage problems again.

With that being said, the comic was still enjoyable and it’s fascinating to see how emotional these Skrulls truly are. I love how Bendis can take any boring characters (in this case a race of Skrulls) and turn them into something compelling. Still, I’m worried if I’m getting to be Skrulled out.

3.0 out of 5.0




ImageRunaways #2 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – Terry Moore
Pencils – Humberto Ramos
Inks – Dave Meikis
Colors – Christina Strain
Letters – VC's Joe Caramagna
As many of you know, I touted the new relaunch of Runaways as what I see now was basically the second coming. And yes, I was wrong to do so, and yes, issue #1 severely disappointed me. However, with the release of this week's issue #2, I'm happy to say that there has been some improvement, both on characterization and in the way of general enjoyment. While much of the dialogue is still trite, there is a decent plot emerging and plenty of jokes that don't miss their mark this time around. 
I've got to say that I am torn on the art of Humberto Ramos. He is talented, there is no denying that. It's just that there is this odd dynamic between him and Moore. Certain scenes that Moore writes that Ramos seems gleefully suited to in relation to these characters, and others that are just not meshing well. There are times of very subtle introspection dispersed throughout this issue, mostly involving Karolina coming to terms with what is happening around here, and they are drawn beautifully with great body language and emotional faces. Then there are the more relaxed, goofy times where the characters become jarringly manga-ized and it's a true killer to the mood. I know this book originally started from manga influence, but the teeter-totter way that Ramos displays it is offensive to the story. 
That said, I am also a person who is not a fan of the particular manga style and would like to see the Runaways as I once knew them. But, what this issue lacks in my taste of art direction it sort of makes up for in improvement in storytelling and characterization. As I said, there are still some flat lines of dialogue, but there are some genuine moments that come through, most courtesy of the two younger members of the team. Moore has yet to really dive into these characters in his own fashion, instead portraying them as their most stripped down attributes: Nico as the 'Mom', Chase as the goofy sex-crazed macho man, Victor the tekkie geek. It may serve as a good introduction for new readers, but I can't wait until Moore digs in with his personality claws that I know he has.
Overall, issue #2 is a significant jump in enjoyment from the debut issue.
3.0 out of 5.




ImageSuperman/Batman # 52 Review by Gary M. Kenny

Writer – Michael Green & Mike Johnson

Artist – Rafael Albuquerque

Colors – Cris Peter

Letters – Rob Leigh

Cover – Ryan Sook

“Cute” might be the right term for this two issue arc. Mxyzptlk and Bat-mite have sent a slew of baby superheroes and villains into the adult world in order to settle a bet. The bet being: is the social environment of the adult world fundamentally good or evil? They figured the 'lil people could help answer it. The story starts out as cute and fun, which it should have stayed. Yet, the writers made it turn serious when the baby villains learn how to kill (baby Supes eats it, by the way). It was a very strange arc and I missed the point of this story (which apparently is about hope?).

I really liked Ryan Sook’s cover. I wanted to pick this comic up right away from my weekly pile. He drew it so well and it just looked fun. Sook’s detailed faces portray a terrific vintage vibe that I really like. DC is smart with using Sook; his knack for drawing out lavish covers is amazing.

Green and Johnson wrote an all right story, but I think they chose the wrong moral in this arc. They wanted something big in the end but they couldn’t achieve it. All they got was a lil-dead Superman and an unemotional ending. They should have just kept it fun; the death of lil Supes really killed this story (the pun is terrible I know). In Hollywood, they give the audience what they want. This is what Green and Johnson should have done. I really like how things were going back in the last issue; I guess I’ll never know why they strayed away from the working formula. It sucks to be disappointed.

2.5 out of 5.0



ImageTeen Titans # 63 Review by Gary M. Kenny

Writer – Sean McKeever

Pencils– Eddy Barrows with Allan Goldman

Inks – Ruy Jose & Julio Ferreira

Colors – Rod Reis

Letters – Travis Lanham

Further proving that superheroes can never be killed, B-team Titan, Bombshell has returned to the living. Last seen in issue #43 with her neck slit, Bombshell miraculously arose from the dead (apparently her metal shell can not be destroyed, so she in turn will live forever). Have to say, I’m not really feeling this character. All Bombshell is is a recycled Captain Atom, and though she is a loud mouth, that doesn’t mean she is an interesting character. Issue #62 was so gruesome and bloody and I thought that’s where Teen Titans was heading, which would have been really unique for this book. Maybe DC felt it was a tad too much.

Eddy Barrows and Allan Goldman are great on this title. They aren’t mind blowing artists or anything but they keep Titans looking fun and familiar (ala George Perez). That’s all you can really ask for this book to be. I’m not to sure how I feel about this month’s issue. I’m not a Bombshell fan however McKeever’s writing is quite enticing and I think he’s hinting at unveiling a big surprise in the next few issues. So, I’ll stick with the Teen’s current team and let this ball roll. Just wish I hadn’t spent $2.99 on a Bombshell story.

3.0 out of 5.0