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Posts posted by drqshadow

  1. I'm going to give this a shot but I haven't been particularly moved by any of the previews. Just seems like more of the same old crap, storyline-wise, with another confusing, convoluted battle system. I thought the same thing of FFXII and loved it, so it's not like this would be the first time I'm surprised by the series, but man... right now I'm not impressed.

  2. Giant Size Wolverine: Old Man Logan - The finale you had to expect within the first six pages of the story's first chapter. It's unabashedly violent, occasionally over the top and often shamefully self-indulgent, but it's also cool to finally get a straightforward payoff, rather than an open-ended invitation for the follow-up or a vague swerve at the last minute. Old Man Logan was always going to be a revenge story, a quest to put off Logan's berserker rage as long as possible before setting it off in a sudden gooey fireball of wetworks. Well, that wait's over and now it's time to pay the piper. It's not Millar's smartest work, nor his most respectful, but it's still an entertaining read if you don't mind getting your hands dirty and browsing thirty pages' worth of disemboweled bad guys and stacks severed green limbs. The non-stop mayhem is a great opportunity for Steve McNiven to really cut loose and impress with his visuals, which he does without hesitation. This wouldn't work all that well if the artwork weren't so gorgeous, but it's still a far cry from perfection. Millar's experiment was fun, but I'm glad it's over.


    MK Daredevil, Volume 4: Underboss - I'm catching up on the few issues of DD I missed over the years, and this was a pretty important arc to have skipped out on. In their first baby steps with the character, Bendis and Maleev wasted no time in making a big impact; in the first issue alone they've upset the balance of power within the Kingpin's inner circle, introduced a new challenger to that throne, set a bounty on Matt's head and bombed the scene of his latest case. Although I really grew to love Ed Brubaker's take on Daredevil, I'd forgotten how gripping and simplistic Bendis's plots really were. His writing is easily approachable, direct and moving. It's easy to read but also much deeper than it appears at first glance. The real focus of this arc, aspiring crime boss Mr. Silke, is charismatic, scheming and motivated. His dialog comes straight from the streets, but his aspirations are much loftier. That Silke's fate plays out without so much as a face-to-face with the red-garbed guardian of Hell's Kitchen speaks to both the immense depth of this book's supporting cast and Bendis's sharp, immediate understanding of it. At this point he was managing a fantastic balance of superheroics and dark, seedy noir, and while later arcs would dabble a bit more deeply in one direction or the other, right here they're working in perfect harmony. Maleev's artwork is also something I didn't realize I'd missed so sorely. His compositions throughout this arc are gorgeous, especially when he's playing with the masking effects of deep shadow and sharp contrast. Daredevil has never looked so sinister and menacing as he does in Maleev's hands, stalking through the shadows and striking fear into the hearts of villains (and readers) across the city. The ultimate repercussions of this arc are still playing out in the ongoing series, five years and ninety issues later. If that isn't the mark of an impressive debut, I don't know what is. It's great material that really set the mood and the direction of a series on the verge of a genuine renaissance. Fantastic on its own, in retrospect it's become even more impressive.


    Comics: 135, TPB: 11, Graphic Novel: 5

  3. Hey, I'll give it a shot. I loved the first one and thought the second one was good, if not great. But then, I've got a soft spot for old kung fu movies, and Kill Bill was pretty much a lengthy, modernized love letter to that entire genre.

  4. Ojo - As a longtime Sam Kieth admirer, this is really tough for me to say but Ojo reeks. While this isn't the first time he's dealt with a very young protagonist, going through emotions more complicated than they deserve, it's the only time he's lost me along the way. Nearly all of Kieth's earlier creator-owned work is densely layered with a twinge of sadly genuine introspection, and by comparison this just feels like a shallow retread of ground he's already covered. Annie really isn't that fascinating a lead character, and the only other faces in the story - her bullish sister and spaced out grandfather - are one-dimensional and don't bring anything extra to the story. Usually I could fall back on Sam's artwork and shut off my brain in that kind of situation, but even that escape doesn't exist here, since he only provides about half of the illustrations. The rest are contributed by a small squad of imposters and fill-ins who don't even come close. I've always loved Kieth's character-driven stories to death, but it's time for something different already, and Ojo seems all too familiar.


    Dark Avengers #9 - Very little going on this month, but after the total information overload of the past three issues that's a welcome change. Bendis spends most of this edition examining and progressing the motivations of Ares, his son Phobos and Nick Fury's band of merry men. I don't care all that much for Fury's generic Secret Warriors or their motives, but the extra focus on Ares is nice, especially since he's using his big boy voice and keeping the axe swings to an absolute minimum. Deodato's artwork is solid if not spectacular, and the sudden change in Sentry's life at the end of the story is, er, interesting. Really this is a ho-hum issue that less dedicated readers could get away with skipping, but the characterization is good to see and god knows I'm glad the X-Men have finally gone home.


    Batman & Robin #4 - The first issue sans-Quitely didn't do much to quell my fears about the series in his absence. Phil Tan was wise to just start fresh without attempting to mimic his predecessor's style, and for the first few pages I was willing to believe he could actually get the job done. But as the issue bore on and the pace slowed down, he seemed to lose interest and my enthusiasm went right along with him. I'm mildly interested in the identity of the Red Hood, and I like the contrast of his message and methods against those of Dick and Damien, but this is quickly becoming just another mainstream DC book and not the continuous blast of fresh air it's been for the first three issues. Grant Morrison can write some fantastic material at times, but he can also get terribly self-absorbed. At around the two-thirds point I realized that I was just pressing toward the last page out of personal obligation and not because I was really all that interested in seeing where the story is going. That's a major change from last month.


    Ex Machina #45 - Kind of loopy at some points, completely overboard at others, with a parting shot that's pretty much ensured I'll hang around for the rest of the series. The timing of Ex Machina has always been a bit suspect in my eyes, since author Brian K. Vaughan likes to jump from the middle of a finance meeting to the heat of an awkward super-powered fight without so much as a word of warning, but that's grown to be part of this book's charm over the years. To tell the truth, I'm actually enjoying the twists and turns of Mitchell's political career much more than I am the central plot point of the origin and intentions of his incredible powers. We get equal doses of both this month. Good but not great.


    The Walking Dead #65 - I still haven't read an issue of Walking Dead I dislike. The current storyline is moving at an agonizingly slow pace, but that's only allowed me more time to savor and appreciate it from month to month. After playing the hunted for much of their time together, whether from the zombies or wandering groups of ill-intentioned survivors, Rick and company finally reach their breaking point this month and fight back. I was ready to jump off my couch and cheer when they caught the hunters unprepared and played their hand. Great pacing, fantastic characterization, unlimited potential for disaster and a sinister willingness to convince the readers that no single character is ever really safe. Most titles are lucky to count just one or two of those attributes in their stat sheet, but Kirman and Adlard's horror-tinged monthly digest enjoys a clean sweep.


    Also, a few contributions to IIWY? since my last post: Dark Wolverine #77, The Red Circle: The Shield #1, Northlanders #20, Strange Tales #1 and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #2

    Comics: 134, TPB: 10, Graphic Novel: 5

  5. Shaolin Cowboy #6,7-I would buy this for the art alone 10 times over but the story is still amazing. Issue 6 has the SC fighting a great white shark piloted by severed head with a katana through its eye from inside the shark's mouth. The whole thing. And he fights it with a chainsaw on the end of a stick. Geof Darrow is a different race of creature. I'm sure he lived under the earth's crust for millenia until he awoke and began to draw comics. Issue 7 focuses on his donkey and a baby fighting two amphibian demons. CRazy shit. 10/10

    How the hell have I gone this long without reading these?

    Everyone should be reading Shaolin Cowboy. It's just a damn shame Darrow can't bring himself to release more than one issue every sixteen months. One of my favorites.

  6. I'm a major slacker, so this might get a bit long. Sorry!

    DMZ Volume 3: Public Works - Another fine volume, if lacking the sharp direction and focus of the first two trades. With such a tremendous supporting cast already established, Brian Wood may have been overextending himself by introducing a whole new roster for Matty to interact within this arc, because the new faces really pale in comparison. Amina, the only one I could imagine making a return visit, is so shallow and indecisive, it's hard to comprehend how she manages to survive at all. It probably sounds like I'm coming down on this really hard, but that really isn't my intention. It's just a more generic, straightforward arc than those that came before. Books one and two were moving a thousand miles an hour in a million different directions, and I came to adore that frenetic personality. Public Works, by comparison, is wearing a small pair of horse blinders and charging straight ahead. DMZ's constant parallels to the current political climate may date it in the coming years, but it still feels relevant today, two years after publication. Riccardo Burchelli's artwork remains gritty, flavorful and delicious. I'd buy the rest of the trades for his work alone.


    Ultimate Spider-Man #1 - I guess the huge, world-shaking ramifications of Ultimatum have resulted in... a return to the status quo, more or less. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing since Ultimate Spider-Man has consistently been one of my favorite monthly books. It's just a little weird to step in expecting white to be black and up to be down, and be confronted with an almost-direct continuation of the storyline virtually right where we left it. Bendis is good for a few really fun bits of dialog, as always, and he has actually changed a few minor details (like Parker's choice in lady friends) but this didn't really sell me on the need to relaunch the series with a new number one. I didn't care for David LaFuente's take on the famous webbed threads, but the rest of the issue looked decent enough. I'll give him some time to grow on me.


    Ultimate Avengers #1 - This read like even parts Ultimates 2 and Ultimates 3, which is perplexing since I didn't really imagine Millar would want anything to do with the latter. The team is amazingly thin, basically just Cap and Hawkeye with Fury and Stark making brief cameos, but they didn't need much more for the purposes of this issue. Remember when the Widow and Hawkeye were leaping between skyscrapers, shooting down helicopters and KOing terrorists? The majority of this chapter is an extended rehash of that scene, with good ol' Captain A taking the lady's place and a super cheesy, overthought rendition of the Red Skull standing in as the evil mastermind. If it were a movie, this would be a popcorn chomper, if not an especially deep one. Color me disappointed.


    The Walking Dead #64 - The requisite bi-monthly storm between calms. Holy crap, every time this series seems like it's slowing down or heading in a remotely predictable direction, it jukes ferociously and leaves me wondering where my center of gravity went. I'm running out of adjectives for Kirkman and Adlard's masterpiece, and issues like this one are the reason why. Constant action, relentless suspense, fantastic characterization and fundamentally perfect artwork. Who could ask for anything more? Keep 'em coming, boys, and I'll keep buying.


    Ex Machina #44 - The secret origin of the Great Machine was honestly pretty surprising, so as it turns out Brian K. Vaughan actually does know how to follow through on a good premise from time to time. As usual, though, the big reveal asked more questions than it answered, and still found the time to completely wig the fuck out on me once or twice. So... there's just a giant gleaming cube underneath the helmet of the Big Daddy that's been wandering the NYC sewers for the last six months? What?! And what's with Bradbury going nutso and playing teeball with a reporter's noggin in the middle of a conversation? I mean, in retrospect I've got a few ideas about how the two might be related, but at the time I thought somebody had snuck some LSD into my toothpaste or something. An interesting twist surrounded by a nice big glob of WTF.


    Batman and Robin #3 - I'm still having a hard time deciding what I think of this series. Well, scratch that, I'm having a hard time figuring out what to make of the writing, because Quitely's artwork is freaking phenomenal. Every month he's exploring new territory in creative storytelling, inventive integration of sound effects and unsettling characterization. He's a master of his craft, and Morrison, believe it or not, is mostly just along for the ride. I can't imagine this storyline working with another artist, but work it does. This tour of the deranged inner workings of the local sideshow was lots of fun, although it was also quite a bit more skewed than I'm used to seeing from one of DC's big guns. I guess the time's right to try out a few new ideas with these characters, what with the change in protagonists and accompanying editorial leniency. All right, the jury's in, I've decided to like it.


    Dark Avengers #8 - Complete garbage. I should've known better than to buy it after last month's sneak preview, but like a good little reader I had to go and give it another chance. It was nice of them to shrink the "Dark Avengers" typeset on the cover, because the team itself enjoys maybe four panels of attention from front to god-forsaken back this month. The rest of the time we're celebrating Emma Frost's public speaking in the middle of a flashy, hyperactive mutant throwdown. Listen, Marvel, if I want to buy an X-Men book, I'll grab one of the sixty X-Men books on the shelf. Please stop using one of the few genuinely interesting titles in your roster to sell me the same old jumbled, convoluted mutant BS that chased me shrieking from Xavier's dream years ago. Sorry to say it, Fraction, because I usually enjoy your work, but this is pure drivel. Thanks for taking the time to let me know it'd continuing into next month's issue, though. Now I know to just keep on walking.


    Also, quite a few contributions to IIWY? since my last post: Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5, Fantastic Four #569, Ultimatum: X-Men Requiem #1, Exiles #5, Blackest Night: Batman #1, Incredible Hercules #132, Daredevil #500 and Witchblade #129 (whew)

    Comics: 125, TPB: 9, Graphic Novel: 5

  7. I saw it yesterday, thought it was good but not great. It had a mild personality crisis, like it couldn't decide if it wanted to do the full-on The Office style faux documentary or a more straightforward Hollywood blockbuster filled with ninja camerawork, so it just randomly jumped between the two. It was a great premise, but I felt like most of the elaborations from the original short film were unnecessary. Fun and thoughtful but not exactly game changing.