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ComiX Weekly: 11/7/12 – Iron Ivy and the Shadow Angel

You can’t possibly read every comic that is released each week, so why not narrow your list down by reading ComiX Weekly? This is the only comic book review column that not only looks for quality comics worth your dime but comics that add a bang to your buck. Ten bucks to be exact! You’ll be more than certain the books we suggest on purchasing are going to be the most worthwhile reads of the week. Enjoy!

Be sure to check for links in the small-review section as I sample key imagery here and there.

Iron Man Vol. 5 #1 (Marvel)

Kieron Gillen takes over writing duties in the new and improved Marvel Now! Iron Man this issue, and frankly, I couldn’t be more excited. Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca have done an impeccable job on the series, but they’ve been doing it for so long it’ll be nice to see some new blood. Love or hate Greg Land (because he does seem to use photo references and recycle a lot of his own stuff) he does a nice job shining up the joint.

He’s a hero because he’s an optimist.

For all the Marvel Now! chatter about changing things this issue begins anew an older story, specifically Extremis. It seems a rich dude (how many of these guys exist for Iron Man to defeat? Sheesh) has gotten a hold of the Extremis tech and is selling it to everyone.

That smirk angers even me!

Pepper is still filling in for Tony Stark’s guardian angel and doubling as the CEO for Resilient. The dialogue between them this issue clearly lays out their roles and also foreshadows some surprises in store.

Maybe he’s got an idea for a giant transformer robot that’ll kill the Phoenix. Oh…wait…

I’m sure everyone is interested in the new suit, and there’s a panel that briefly explains it, suggesting it’s not Extremis but something new.

So we get the cool liquid suit but not the negative side to it. I can’t help but think this story is going to lead into the movie (rumors suggest Iron Man 3 will deal with Extremis) and it might surprise folks considering it’s not a new story but a recycled one. It’s also extremely heavy in the monologue department, but it’s a great way to get inside Tony’s head. Land’s work is also a little stilted at times (and Tony has some beady eyes!), but the backgrounds are gorgeous no matter how you cut it.

Photo-realistic. Probably because it’s a photo painted.

There isn’t enough here to warrant the purchase for someone on a budget. It’s pretty to look at, but I’m sure Land haters are going to cry foul (there’s a panel or two that forced a double-take), and the story is going in an interesting direction (albeit it reads like water we’ve treaded before).

Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00

Deadpool Vol. 4 #1 (Marvel)

Deadpool gets a transfusion with new writers and artists and it shows. Good humor and an over-the-top plot that’ll keep you guessing. Plus it’s still only $2.99! This issue was the subject of our Is It Good review earlier this afternoon, which you can check out here.

Budget: $10.00 – $2.99 = $7.01

Shadowman (2012-) #1 (Valiant Entertainment)

I sure do love what Valiant is doing and honestly the other publishers might want to take some notes. Tip number 1: When you do a reboot, introduce only a few series at a time and let them build before introducing additional series. Tip number 2: Make sure the books are about the characters first, then plot. Tip number 3: Ensure the art is top notch when it comes to every page, panel and line.

Aunt Martha?

This issue came out a week too late because there is some horrific stuff in here. It’s actually reminiscent of what Pugh is doing on Animal Man. It’s gross, organic and truly frightening.

The cast of characters include “cool ethnic chick with tattoo,” and Colonel Sanders.

This issue is all about the characters. They read clearly, they sound real and they even look real. There’s layer upon layer of quality in the story here and the readers benefit from it. There’s a mythos being written not only in this new series but at Valiant in general and I love it. This series appears to be tapping into the southern voodoo stuff, but it’s not done in a cliched or offensive way.

One complaint: If you’ve seen the movie Slither you’ve seen this done before.

Most comics don’t spend the time required to let the reader get to know the character before dumping them into the hero’s journey. How can we root for a guy unless we can see him before he becomes the hero? If you don’t see that they read like cookie cutter characters. This issue will set you back four clams, but it’s worth the admission. Plus you get five more pages than Marvel or DC will give you.

Budget: $7.01 – $0.00 = $3.02

Twelve comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a 10 dollar budget. Sinister will NOT tolerate them!

(Don’t forget to click any links as they direct you to more pictures!)

It’s Cyclops’ coming out party in AVX: Consequences #5 (of 5), and while the plot advances, there isn’t much in the way of character development or story. Cyclops is rescued, enacts revenge on those that hurt him and mutants in the prison and otherwise proclaims he’s a freedom fighter. Essentially Magneto, Magik and Danger are a team of mutants who will burn X’s into their enemies’ faces. Sort of like a guerilla tactical group. This new direction for Cyclops is at least different from the norm so it’ll interesting to see how this pans out. It is, however, a little silly to see Magneto following Cyclops. It’s also interesting, based on the burned X in the warden’s face and sending the mutant killers to Magik’s Hell, that their methods aren’t very heroic.

There are some good super short form comics in Creator Owned Heroes #6 but there isn’t anything meaty enough to make this a worthy purchase. Darwyn Cooke has a spectacularly beautiful designers dream short form story about an architect, the Black Sparrow western story concludes but is too short, and Killswitch went from cool to a fine line between ridiculous and awesome. He fights Luchadores in this issue and the twist ending reveals he’ll be fighting Yakuza. I’m not sure if that’s cool or just silly, but it’s a pretty cool idea to pit a super spy against different targets each issue.

Comic books like Avenging Spider-Man #14 come down to one thing: Do you want to see a superhero fight dinosaurs or not? This two page spread is beautiful, but is it worth your coin? Devil Dinosaur shows up and there’s some Dinoriders shenanigans going on, but really it’s all silly fun. Not really worth your dime in the writing department, but Gabriele Dell’Otto definitely pulls his weight. He makes this worth a flip through at the very least.

About a year ago the first issue in this series (and its story arc) came out and the final issue, Defenders #12 wraps up that story nicely. There’s some cosmic time travel stuff (and some time travel headaches) that are discussed this issue. Essentially this is a loose end wrapping story. There’s some good dialogue between Silver Surfer and Dr. Strange, but nothing to write home about.

Attack of the Blob-Shark in Uncanny X-Force #33! Remender has slowed this book down to a crawl the last few issues and this issue is no different. Kid Apocalypse appears to finally be understanding he needs to power up or everyone dies, but Remender is doing too much with the inside of the heroes’ heads. You could say he’s testing them, but it’s all so futile and it’s done in a meandering, overdone way. I don’t know if it’s bad writing, but when the this issue and the last few issues have read like all they intend is to close plot threads and nothing more, I find them lacking.

I wanted to like 47 Ronin #1 but it’s just not my cup of tea. An adaptation of the classic Japanese tale, the story is mostly dialogue and plot development and nothing more. There’s a bit of action (although this is about it), but for the most part it’s not the best comic book. It reads more like a novel, but comics need to be something between a movie and a novel. This is leaning a bit too far in the novel direction.

Daredevil: End of Days #2 continues to impress me with its incredible composition on every page. Unfortunately, the story gets a case of the “#2’s” and things slow down to molasses. Ben Ulrich is trying to figure out a final word Matt Murdoch said when he was dying…but nobody seems to know what it means. The entire issue is a wait-and-see sort of affair, with a few threads revealed, but not enough to chew on.

Artist Colin Lorimer has his strongest issue yet in Harvest #4 (of 5). Atmosphere is off the charts with plenty of great uses of color, composition and style. The guy is a maestro it appears and I can’t wait to see what he does next. The issue is good too, but it suffers the fate of most comics these days as it’s written for the collected format more so than others. It’s still darn good, but not purchasable on a budget. Unless of course you have been reading it, in which case pick this issue up!

What do you do if you’re a superhero new to the scene? Why, you sit around watching the news until something pops up, that’s what! Dial H (2012-) #6 shows a day in the life of two new superheroes who share the power of a magic dial that gives them powers. It’s not a bad read, and it’s a great issue to jump on if you’re a new reader, but as they wait you wait too. There’s a hilarious scene where Wingy, a horse sidekick, saves the day before the protagonist can lift a finger, but it’s a flip through at the very most.

The Manhattan Projects #7 is replete with ideas and political posturing. So why is it so surprising that it’s boring? There’s a back and forth between now and “then” in this issue which reads as if this flashback stuff was instilled because the story isn’t as interesting as it should be. Told linearly I can’t help but think it would have played out better. The yammering about threats and the like and the issue reminds me of Dr. Strangelove but I can’t help but think 95% of its readers will be confused by it. Action is also minimal, aside from a kick and an orgy. I’m hoping this issue can turn the ship around as it’s only had a few glimmers of quality over its seven issues so far.

The plot thickens in Animal Man (2011-) #14 with plenty of splashing entrails and bloody good fun. The biggest revelation might be this, but it’s tucked inside the overarching plot of the issue which basically creates a fight and a call to action for our hero. It’s a nice issue, but it’s all about plot and not really about character.

And then we have Swamp Thing #12. I’m starting to wonder if these books have gotten too complicated for new readers. They clearly need to be read together to get the full story, but they can be read to get the single journey of both. When they do overlap you certainly won’t feel bored when things are repeated (if you’re reading one or the other) and it’s interesting to see how they are plotted to fit together. I’d love to see the outline that must have come from this. This issue resonates more than Animal Man but can’t break into our budget this week. When the stories do climax, though, it should be quite epic.


X-Men Vol. 3 #38 (Marvel)

Dear Seth Peck,

Honestly. I mean please. Really? The title is X-Men, yet Daredevil is the lead. Didn’t we already read this issue a few months ago when Mark Waid wrote the Black Cat/Daredevil/Spider-Man team up?

If you don’t drool from this then you’re not a David Aja fan.

Dear Paul Azaceta,

Since when did you draw like David Aja? I’m sure some folks will assume this is an attack, but seriously, how do you do it? Maybe it’s the color or your use of thick lines (is that the inker who did that?) but it looks amazing. Your composition of each page isn’t as stunning, but it’s quite good.

I count two smacks, a click and a clok.

Overall a good issue and a great use of Domino. She’s an underused character who is a mutant with luck powers. Overall, some nice banter, some nice wisecracks, and great art. The story isn’t too compelling, because too often these team-up books read like Mad Libs, but overall a nice foray.

I can’t help but think many X-Men readers are going to be boggled by what goes on inside this issue. There’s really no connection to X-Men in the slightest. Domino mentions Cable, but that’s about it.

Hardy har har.

I’ll be tuning in next month to check out where this leads, but it’s not quite good enough to make our budget.

Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02

Action Comics (2011-) #14 (DC Comics)

Grant Morrison introduces a neat science fiction element with the multitudes, but there’s a whole lot of “WTF” to sift through here. Maybe it’s due to my not having an encyclopedic understanding of the Superman mtyhos, but much of the stuff that transpires in this issue is head scratching.

Superman versus living demolition.

Supes fights three different “aliens” but they aren’t so alien to humanity. One alien force, named Metalek, wants to demolish the planet.

Angels with teeth.

Some aliens that look like angels who are compared to a fork, as in they appear to be many things, but they are really one thing. Then he faces another alien I won’t reveal as it’s sort of a twist, but it all ends in a mediocre to be continued.

What the…

The booster story involves NASA and Superman hanging out with science celebrity Neil deGrasse Tyson. The main strength of this issue is the amount of good nature and cheer Grant Morrison instills into Supes. He’s a boyscout through and through; who knows as long as we try the human spirit will prevail.

Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02

Before Watchmen: Moloch #1 (of 2) (DC Comics)

If you’re familiar with 100 Bullets then you’ll be happy to note the artist on this book is Eduardo Risso. The man knows what he’s doing and it’s not your run of the mill super detailed comic art either. The man is the master of mood and shadow and it’s on full display here.

What a fun game for all children!

Moloch lived your typical misunderstood child life. He was born a freak and nobody liked him. Then he found magic when the carnival came to town. He learned magic to make friends and when a girl finally ended up liking him he was so very happy. Then the girl turned out to be lying to his face. So what does he do? He used magic to get revenge and it was all downhill from here.

Presto chango!

The book is a bit redundantly written. It reads as if the author wasn’t sure we’d get it from the imagery alone and has way too much monologue. This might also be due to the fact that the art, while amazing, tells the story much too slowly. A single panel here or there and we get it. Instead it goes on and on and on.

And on and on.

Risso’s art is worth a flip through, but much like all the other Before Watchmen books it’s rendered pointless for a variety of reasons. One is because really, do we need a prequel on Moloch? And two, it’s told in such a way that leaves you feeling cold.

Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02

Detective Comics (2011-) #14 (DC Comics)

When I opened this issue I was expecting to hate it from the very first panel on. Boy was I surprised. First and foremost John Layman (writer of Image Comics Chew) writes some spectacular dialogue. Even when characters speak at great length it reads quite well. Usually I get impatient with lengthy dialogue, but here it’s melodic enough to keep it interesting.

You were saying?

One scene in particular, between Damien and Bruce (hey, didn’t Damien get sent away in Incorporated?) is great. The characters shine through in their dialogue as their different approach to crime fighting is clear and concise.

My hero.

It seems Penguin is going to be attacked by Poison Ivy. Damien thinks let her do her damage, as Penguin has insulted Bruce’s mother. Of course Batman won’t allow that. Ivy uses her powers to control him; it appears the New 52 Ivy is a lot more powerful.

The Batmobile has seen better days.

Layman then introduces a neat technology Batman uses to not be controlled by Ivy. It’s a complicated and faulty system simply so he can make her think he’s being controlled, but it’s neat nonetheless.

So it’s all to sway Ivy…but it gives you such bad headaches you can’t think straight. Stupid, no?

The booster story genuinely ties into the story too and exists more as a flashback than anything. It’s a nice way to take a break from the main story but also add to it.

Well if there are only a few ways…

Quite frankly I can’t believe Ivy hasn’t teamed up with Clayface before. Aren’t they sort of on the same side? One is plants and the other is soil right?

Aww aint that cute.

This all adds up to a surprisingly good and well balanced read. Counting the booster story you get 28 pages too! Good deal!

Budget: $3.02 – $3.99 = $-.97

Check out our Comic Book Preview every Monday to see what’s in store for our ComiX Weekly Column. Next week sees some new Conan, Batman and Fantastic Four #1. Oh my!


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