Welcome to Adventures in Poor Taste’s weekly comic review. A typical week might see over 50 book releases, and that’s just the big two over at DC and Marvel. This column serves as a buyer’s guide to those of us holding a single Hamilton and can’t afford to read every single issue.
Each week I’ll read a glut of the good and the bad and post enough reviews to reach the budget of $X. Yes, that’s $10.00 for those of you not Roman. I’ll also post comics to steer clear from. Sadly a quality comic is few and far between these days, but using this column a diligent reader can still get their comic on.
Danger Girl: Revolver #1 of 4 (IDW)
I was a big fan of the original Danger Girl series written and drawn by J. Scott Campbell with help on the writing end by Andy Hartnell. Both are back, only this time Campbell is just drawing the covers (seriously this guy is lazy. He hasn’t drawn an entire book in ages) and Hartnell is given all of the writing credits. The book I loved was action-packed, had lots of neat little twists, had a sense of humor and of course the women were practically nude. Give me credit, it was the late 90s and I was a teenage boy at the time. It also played with the action movie genre, making jokes at its own expense which was refreshing and interesting. That being said, this book fails to deliver on all those things.
To start, the art is very cartoony, which isn’t very sexy. Cartoony can sometimes be good, but in a book that’s supposed to show off all a woman’s assets, this book doesn’t do the female body justice. Instead of appearing sexy the imagery comes across as a Disney cartoon or so obviously slutty it’s trying too hard. Many of the panels don’t look finished either and seem to have been thrown together in seconds with a few slapdash lines thrown together.
Come to think of it, I’m more interested in how Princess Pony made it into this story.
The story also leaves one wishing the book was never written. For a title that hasn’t been around in a long time it sure doesn’t raise the stakes at all. You’d think it would set up some reason the Danger Girl team gets back together, but instead it presumes they’ve been continuing their exploits for years. This is just another adventure in a long line of adventures. The twist at the end couldn’t be more boring. “What?! You were engaged?!” What the hell?
The book opens with the male member of the team lounging around and forgetting to do his job. He rushes to get in position and the story devolves into a chase scene. Once all the characters are boringly reintroduced for new readers the exposition is laid out in a boring room with nothing going on. For an action book, this book fails to deliver much action.
Why is she standing like that? Can she not read the giant map? Does she need four inch thick glasses? Oh wait, she’s being sexy…I guess.
Due to the cartoony art and weak writing I get the impression this book was written for little girls. Unfortunately the art displays slutty postures for no apparent reason, so I’m really not sure who this could be written for. Maybe for slutty lesbian middle schoolers? Yeah…that doesn’t work.
Budget: $10.00-$0.00 = $10.00
Daredevil Vol. 3 #8 (Marvel)
This story continues from my favorite book last week in Amazing Spider-Man #677. The review can be read here.
This issue is nearly equally good, although the story does move at a slightly slower clip, mostly because there’s a bunch of exposition on what exactly they are chasing. This issue is written by Mark Waid as well, and while there are fewer superhero witticisms and pop culture references, the book has more exciting moments and some pretty sexy drawings.
Illustrated by an artist I’m unfamiliar with named Kano, the art isn’t hyper-detailed or sketchy by any means, but it gives everything a weight that is very appealing. Black Cat isn’t drawn as normal looking as she was in Amazing Spider-Man #677, but she still has that ferocity she requires.
Those breasts are circles. Your argument is invalid.
Action in most cases sells comics, and I don’t think the paying customer will complain with this issue.
Daredevil uses an inventive way to knock out bad guys using a helicopter:
And Black Cat gets her kick on:
Probably the most exciting development, though, is Daredevil becoming Black Cat’s love interest. I can only see this working wonders on Spidey’s relationship with Daredevil in the coming months. It also gives Mark Waid a chance to add some humor to the pages.
Chameleon clones his parents and made them monsters, Mephisto erased his memory…but seeing a friend move in on a girl who always pushes you away is going to make you a villain?!
Mark Waid adds a layer of reality to the pages as well, playing around with Daredevil’s and Black Cat’s powers, showing how if teamed up they’d actually make a good pair. Daredevil can scope with his heightened senses and Black Cat can scope with her burglary knowledge and luck powers. Overall it’s a great read, good art and some interesting developments. That’s an A+ hands down.
Budget: $10.00-$2.99 = $7.01
Three different comics this week had a lot of potential, and I think they might make the budget another week, but ended up not making the cut. Lets deliver them to Darkseid in quick succession:
There’s a lot to like about Uncanny X-Force #20. Rick Remender always does a great job taking complicated time/inter-dimensional travel science fiction and have it make sense and he does so again here. He also consistently brings in great science fiction elements that are quite rare these days. If you’re unfamiliar with this book or are a casual reader this is a great jumping on point as most of the story is recap and plotting to set up the story hence forth. The book spends a lot of time in the trial of Fantomex for killing a child that was to become Apocalypse. It’s the classic, “would you kill Hitler as a child if you could go back in time?” but the dialogue here is very boring and inconclusive. With the rest being exposition I couldn’t get into this book.
Scott Snyder has given Batman new life in the last year, not only due to his writing prowess but also his ability to incorporate interesting ways to tell a story. I’m sure the artist has a hand in this, but everything generates from the story. Batman #5 isn’t bad, but feels very condensed. Batman is trapped by the Court of Owls in a giant maze under Gotham. This issue sees him slowly lose his mind and wander the halls. Not a lot in this issue, and probably will do better as a chapter in the trade. As a single-issue buy? I don’t think so!
Avenging Spider-Man #3 is nearly good enough to be bought, but on a budget it’s a hard bargain. Writer Zeb Wells adds a lot of fun Spidey witticisms into the fray, showing how even Spidey can best Red Hulk, and the fantasy elements are all very cool. Joe Madureira is an amazing talent, as many learned from his stint with the beautiful Battle Chasers, and each panel is put together very well. It’s a tad sketchy and you can tell it’s quick work, but each panel still sings. If the budget could stretch outside of ten dollars this book would easily make my pull list, but at the end of the day it’s a fun read and doesn’t do a lot as stories go.
Now with laser bath action!
Venom #12 (Marvel)
Rick Remender is a busy guy, plotting two consistently well written books that hit the stands each month. The schedule might explain this issue, which is jam-packed with action and not a ton of story. Luckily the art is awesome and Remender gives the reader just enough emotion from Flash Thompson’s internal monologue to make the issue a fun and exiting read.
Monologueing by a madman.
The pencils by Lan Medina are just awesome. Venom is drawn big, strong and is an insane powerhouse. In the 90s, Todd McFarlane drew Venom to be all teeth with huge muscles, but he was drawn with flicks of the symbiote flying every which way. Here Venom is just enormous, like one giant muscle. It works well in the book considering that when Flash has the symbiote under control, he’s a tightly bundled soldier in straight-laced fatigues, but when he fully hulks-out it’s similar only huge and powerful.
“Lord” is right.
Remender does a good job plotting out the action and keeps the reader guessing on what could possibly happen next. Really, reading this book you can’t help but want these powers.
You want to say “Hulk Smash” so bad right now, don’t you?
This issue ends with some emotional twists and Red Hulk is on his way to bash some Venom brains in. I can’t wait for the next issue.
Budget: $10.00-$2.99 = $7.01-$2.99 = $4.02
Wonder Woman #5 (DC Comics)
If you read this column you’ll know I love what Brian Azzarello is doing on Wonder Woman. The character finally feels fresh, effectively humanizing omnipotent Gods and keeping everything grounded. Wonder Woman is still an 8 foot tall Amazonian, but she’s been cast out of Paradise Island and is trying to make a new home on Earth; your typical fish out of water story.
Unfortunately, this issue is a transition between stories so things sort of float around. Everything feels muddled, a new character’s introduction, complete with backstory, is rather odd and isn’t explained very clearly. We’re reminded of the baby inside Wonder Woman’s friend and nothing new is really said on the issue. Oh, and giant sea horses are dying in the River Thames in London. I also found this DC version of Poseidon to be incredibly boring to look at:
A child’s rendition of Poseidon; AKA “Just combine a ton of different sea creatures”.
On top of that, artist Cliff Chiang is taking a break on this issue, replaced by Tony Akins. He doesn’t do a terrible job, but things just seem so flat and without energy.
This Posiedon guy has seen too many tentacle pornos. Am I right?
Azzarello is typically really good with the dialogue and plotting, but here everything seems one dimensional and boring. I’d wager this script was rushed, because at the end of the day it’s going through the paces and not doing anything worth reading. Hopefully next month Cliff Chiang will be back and Azzarello will get back to making the exciting book we’ve come to expect.
Budget: $10.00-$2.99 = $7.01-$2.99 = $4.02-$0.0 = $4.02
Amazing Spider-Man #878 (Marvel)
Dan Slott is back on Amazing Spider-Man and he’s bringing a ton of energy, science fiction know-how and a neat arc to the table. This is a great jumping-on point as Spider-Man’s life is quickly outlined. Peter Parker is now working as a research engineer coming up with inventions to improve the world each week. It’s a neat idea to spin new stories into the Spider-Man mythos. If he’s not inventing a contraption that kicks off a story he’ll probably interact with one of his coworkers gizmos.
Where other books fail at setting up the story this one should be studied. Basically put, the reader has no time to worry about how nothing is happening because the character interaction and story elements are done in quick succession. The art helps too, as Humberto Ramos does a great job adding fluidity even to Peter Parker standing statically.
Spidey’s lovable chubby coworker presents a time machine that can send you exactly one day into the future. The technology is more of a neat trick than a super powerful device, but the catch is, if you step into it, the door presumes you were not on the planet the day before.
Peter steps through and all of New York is rubble. Putting two and two together, a day without Spider-Man means…you guessed it, nuclear holocaust for New York City. Jeez, bad timing Peter. Luckly they pulled out a newspaper before Spider-Man destroyed the future, so working with his buddy Spider-Man must try to do everything the newspaper reported on Spider-Man doing in order to prevent the end of NYC.
Slott and Ramos use a neat 24-esque trick of a stop watch to show the passing of time in a montage of Spider-Man doing his daily routine. It makes the typically purse-snatch stopping Spider-Man that much more interesting.
Adding time gives the imagery more energy, which is something a lot of comics could use.
This issue is a fun little ride. It might not add a whole lot to the mythos, but sometimes tinkering with a new toy can be an enjoyable thing.
Budget: $10.00-$2.99 = $7.01-$2.99 = $4.02-$3.99 = $.03
A solid week, with many potentially awesome books and even the bad books being enjoyable. Two weeks in a row of decent books can mean only one thing. Next week is going to be brutal!