The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 7/10/2008: Action Comics, Eternals, Young X-Men 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: Eternals, Green Arrow/Black Canary,Action Comics and more! Oh, and Geoff Johns is Santa Claus.

Action Comics #867 Review by Gary M. Kenny
Writer –Geoff Johns
Artist – Gary Frank
Inks – Jon Sibal
Colors – Brad Anderson
Letters – Rob Leigh
Cover – Frank G. Anderson

“You’ve told me Lex Luthor is everything bad about humanity. Well, Brainiac is everything bad about aliens.” “You’ve never really met Brainiac.” “You’ve only met his programming.” The above quotes are told to Superman by Supergirl, they serve as the basis for the entire “Brainiac” arc. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s run on Action Comics, especially this arc, will be legendary. Pick this comic book up; even if you are not a Superman fan, you will thank me.

Last time I reviewed Action Comics I stated that I never want Gary Frank off the title. I asked if DC Comics could hear me. I mentioned: “I mean the guy draws Superman to look like Christopher Reeve.” I seriously hope they are listening cause I still mean everything I said. From start to finish, besides reading this comic, the mere act of holding and grasping each page feels as if I’m in the directors chair of the next Superman film. Frank is a wizard when it comes to art direction and story telling. In the middle of the issue, Clark returns to the Smallville and tells his parents about Brainiac and Supergirl. You see Christopher Reeve’s face (sorta) and his mannerisms take shape. Each box depicts a different character Clark is talking to directly. The way Johns approaches it and the way Frank conveys it, you actually feel as if the Kents are a real family, dependant on each other, giving each other strength. Johns and Frank really do make Superman come alive.

The real thrill though is the mystery and the scary vibe Johns has been giving towards his new Brainiac. Johns isn’t recreating the Brainiac character, instead he’s promising us something horrific and different. Just by the way he’s had Supergirl describe the monstrous Brainiac feels almost like he’s from a horror film like Nightmare on Elm Street. I mean, so far Brainiac has been in a coma flying a giant skull through space, which is all together different from the traditional Brainiac. I am excited about where this is all leading. In the next issue, we get to finally meet Johns’s revamped Brainiac and I can’t wait.

5.0 out of 5.



ImageAmazing Spider-Man # 565 Review by Gary M. Kenny
Writer – Marc Guggenheim
Pencils – Phil Jimenez
Inks – Andy Lanning
Colors – Chris Chuckry
Letters – VC’s Cory Petit

Here we go! Guggenheim has now started a new Kraven arc. This one is about Kraven’s (rumored) daughter hunting old Webhead.  Seriously, do we really need a new Kraven story? Though I like Jimenez art direction in this issue, I really think they did a shitty job on Kravenette’s costume and layout. Maybe it’s the colorist Chris Chuckry’s area but Kravenette looks like an WWE reject. She’s pale and bleached blonde (which makes her look like that dude from the movie Powser but with hair and she’s wearing way too much blue and pink mascara (is she a drag queen?). I mean she’s supposed to be a hunter. When you think “hunter” ideas like biker bar tough guy or tribesman come to mind not high school punk rocker. Kravenette is the mysterious person hunting Spider-Man throughout the issue and she doesn’t seem that impressive or professional, it gives me yet another reason to ask “why another Kraven related character?”

Thankfully, Guggenheim and Jimenez decided to put a ton of small battle scenes throughout the issue and that helped keep the excitement. Especially adding a Daredevil cameo really did the trick. It was action packed and Jimenez has a real knack for drawing “whoa, watch out!” like moments. While Guggenheim makes you laugh with plenty of good Spidey one liners. These little scenes made the comic.

Going back to the plot, it sucks when things don’t work out so well. You have Guggenheim, who I feel is one of the better "Brand New Day" writers, who writes great dialogue and I feel can captivate who Spider-Man really is. Yet, his story ideas feel like they were ripped off from the 1970s or recycled Stan Lee plots. The only reason I’m bashing Amazing is because I know Marvel and Guggenheim are capable of producing a better comic. The story is weak, plain and simple. I called it mid-issue that Vin would be confused with Peter and mistaken for Spider-Man; I mean, how many times did the same thing happen to Flash Thompson? Why go that route? Try something new. Kravenette finds Spider-Man’s costume in Vin and Peters apartment, so there are two bedrooms, if she was really a hunter she would know that two people live there and she would have taken both hostage not just Vin. Do not dumb down a character for the sake of the story. This is either poor writing or poor plot and the comic suffers because of it.

3.0 out of 5.0.





ImageEternals # 2 Review by Gary M. Kenny
Writer – Charles and Daniel Knauf
Artist – Daniel Acuna
Letters – Todd Klein

Light some incense and turn on your black light because The Eternals is one far out ride. Besides the normal Kirby-esque out of this world godly characters you expect to find in an Eternals comic, you get San Francisco cults, meditation addicts, Iron Man, and some really trippy space scenes courtesy of Daniel Acuna. Oh, and my pick for cover of the week.

If you have been reading Thor lately, you would find how he’s been searching for his fallen Asgardians across the globe. A very similar plot is in The Eternals where two different groups have been searching for the fallen comrades in order to awaken them from their human state and into their immortal state. Both groups (Ikaris, Thena, Makkari, and Sersi vs. Druig and Legba) need to awaken them before the evil group, the Horde, arrives to take over Earth. In this issue, we learn that Makkari has been meditating (he’ll mediate for weeks and will even stop his heart for hours) so much that it has become an addiction and his beloved Sersi cannot talk him out of it. She makes a stop to see Iron Man for some advice, which plays off very comical thanks to the Knauf brothers. While Ikaris and Thena try to figure out how Druig can find so many more Eternals before they do.

The art feels painted and it works wonderfully with the theme of this comic. Even though most of the action takes place on Earth, the space tone is beautiful and I feel like I should be playing some Pink Floyd as I read each issue. There is plenty of mystery in this comic, and with this being issue # 2 everything is still very fresh. I feel this comic is going to start picking up and will be something magnificent once all the characters are in place. So far, I am enjoying it.

3.5 out of 5.



ImageGreen Arrow/Black Canary #10 Review by Tom Lynch
Writer – Judd Winick
Pencils – Mike Norton
Inks – Wayne Faucher
Colors – David Baron
Letters – Sal Cipriano
Cover – Cliff Chiang

If there’s one thing I’m getting tired of, it’s the obligatory issue long fight with witty banter throughout.  Yes, the banter works, and yes, the fight is well done, but it’s just hard to stay interested when we pretty much know the outcome.  “Team Arrow,” as they’re called, are on the heels of a new League of Assassins and they fight.  I won’t spoil who won, but come on, do you really not know?  The writing and dialogue is pretty good, nothing stands out as hilarious or shocking, but there are a few good side moments that make the issue worthwhile.  Though most surprising, neither Green Arrow nor Black Canary get much screen time.  In what is billed as a team up book, to have Batman pretty much be the front runner hurts it a bit.

Mike Norton turns in another great issue as you can tell he’s getting the hang of these characters.  The action is fluid and the storytelling, while not amazing, is competent and I had not trouble telling what was happening on the page.  For the most part, the faces are good, but there are a few scenes that some characters just look off.  The colors are good as well, but it feels a bit flat at times. 

This was a good issue in all, but the way too long fight scene kind of killed it for me.  I’ll be glad when this book gets back to the usual witty banter outside of the fights and the action scenes that don’t last 20 pages.  Oh yeah, and the cover freaking rocks!

3.0 out of 5.



ImageJoker's Asylum: The Penguin #1 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – Jason Aaron
Artist – Jason Pearson
Colors – Dave McCaig
Letters – Rob Leigh
Cover – Jason Pearson

Remember in my Gotham Underground #9 review when I said how that one splash panel in the beginning show the entire miserable existence of the Penguin? Well, Joker's Asylum: The Penguin is essentially that panel stretched into an entire book – and it's awesome.

Everything about this book screams quintessential Penguin – it's a shame that Aaron's gone Marvel exclusive and it's likely we won't be seeing him write this character again for a very long time, if ever. He presents Oswald Cobblepot in a manner that's quite typical, but manages to make the reader understand his point of view. It's truly heart wrenching seeing him rejected at the prom, but does it make acceptable his evils later in life?

Aaron chooses to leave these judgments up to us and provides no real defining thought on the character's morals. We see what he does and why he does them, but who are we to judge? This installment of Joker's Asylum goes above and beyond what the last issue did – it makes me like this character more and want to see more of him written this well. Granted, Joker is hard to top when it comes to villains and thus his issue couldn't really build towards anything other than indulgement, but here Aaron will successfully turn those on the fence about Cobblepot over to his side.

And of course, Pearson's art should not be ignored, it's a perfect match for the tale that Aaron tells. He is able to make readers draw sympathy from Penguin's gruesome features when the story calls for it and then use those same features to draw absolute horror, with the help of some ominous inks and Leigh's great color jobs.

Overall, it's hard to see how any other installment of this short series is going to live up to this issue; it's truly a must read.

5.0 out 5!




ImageJustice Society of America #17 Review by Gary M. Kenny
Writer – Geoff Johns
Pencils – Fernando Pasarin
Inks – Prentis Rolllins & John Stanisci
Colors – Hi-Fi
Letters – Rob Leigh
Cover – Alex Ross

Geoff Johns really loves to put his characters through the ringer. Almost every JSA member gets their wishes granted in this issue. Damage has his pretty boy face back which in turn turns Cyclone on, Doctor Mid-Nite gets his eyesight back, Stargirl is applauded by a god, Starman isn’t crazy anymore and Power Girl gets sent back to her own universe. So basically, Geoff Johns is Santa Clause. I can’t wait till he turns into Satan and takes away all the gifts he has given the JSA. That’s the issue I want to read. The issue where he totally mind warps these characters. Believe me, it will happen.

Fernando Pasarin needs to be acknowledged as one of the best JSA artists this comic has ever seen. The way he captures simple mannerisms and gives each character their own stance and form that coincides with their personality is amazing. In the opening of this book, Cyclone is chasing after her pet monkey when she bumps into the pretty faced Damage. From the part when she’s being a silly little girl before she meets Damage to the embarrassed shy girl after the meeting, Parasarin’s realistic approach to the characters is a joy to watch.

My favorite part of this comic is how they approached Gog as a god and how the world sees him compared to the one true God. “This giant, who walks the earth (Gog), who has saved hundreds and transformed diseased and barren lands into places of wonder, he is a welcome presence, but he is not our creator. We reserve our faith for him, our lord.” For Johns to give faith and Christianity to his characters and have them discuss the difference between Gog and God was really interesting and something you don’t normally see in a superhero comic. I have really enjoyed the “one world, under Gog” arc and I am psyched for issue # 18.

4.0 out of 5.0



ImageYoung X-Men #4 Review by Gary M. Kenny
Writer – Marc Guggenheim
Pencils – Yanick Paquette
Inks – Ray Snyder
Colors – Rob Schwager with Protobunker
Letters – Dave Sharpe
Cover – Terry and Rachel Dodson

I have been reluctant to keep reading this series. The first issue was terrific, a cool plot of heroes gone rogue and the debut of Marvel’s version of Green Lantern’s Tattooed Man. However, after issue #1 the comic greatly descended. I felt that the series was turning into a boring revamp of New X-Men and something with how the characters interacted didn’t feel right. I would like to say that I was wrong and that Guggenheim delivered one hell of an issue in issue #4.

Action packed? Yes it is. Does this issue deliver a pretty cool twist? You betcha! No one is who they seem. Going back to issue # 1, team leader Cyclops decides he needs a new New X-Men team and this time he hand picks them. In this issue, we learn that Cyclops was never Cyclops but Donald Pierce of the old Hellfire Club. So this new hand picked team (and comic) was a fraud. All these kids who look to Cyclops for guidance and training have been scammed. Therefore, it’s really interesting to see what’s going to happen to these young characters now.

Paquette really amped it up in this issue. We get a monstrous fight scene at the Hellfire club: New Mutants vs. Young X-Men and its intense. It even comes with Cannonball saying “Ah’m gonna kill every last &%#@ing one of ya…” Pretty cool. I’m really happy to say I’ll keep with this title. For a comic that I was going to stop reading, it really captivated me.

3.5 out of 5.