Andrenn's Comic Stack Review - Image 6/20/12
- Published on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 01:00
- Written by Andrenn
When there are too many comics to review in a week week, who do you call? Andrenn's Comic Stack Reviews! With all the interviews I have been up to lately I have really slipped on doing reviews. So let's make up for it by seeing what my favorite publisher, Image, has been up to the past couple of weeks.
Writer: Todd McFarlane and Jon Goff
Artist: Szymon Kudranski
Colors: FCO Plascencia
Story Rating: 7 Anniversaries out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Anniversaries out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Anniversaries out of 10
After the strong conclusion last issue, I went into Spawn #220 with high hopes. For a long time Spawn fan, this issue did not disappoint. It has a couple of flaws that keep it up from being amazing but the final product is a really enjoyable read. It is essentially the epilogue to the Endgame storyline and leads us into what Jim will be doing next as Spawn.
If you are now or have ever been a Spawn fan, you need to pick this issue up. Both for its main story, which is Kudranski's art over the original lay-out of Spawn #1 which is just too awesome, and the bonus features. This issue is a loving treat for Spawn readers. There is a great afterward by Todd, a nice interview with him about Spawn #1 and a really cool, if somewhat inaccurate, time line of the Spawn series. If you are a Spawn fan, this is $3.99 well spent.
The main story is really simple. It is mostly just Jim narrating to himself about the recent revelations, and how he wants to protect his loved ones. It is a nice read when you see how much Jim has grown as a character just in the past twenty issues since Goff and Kudranski came on board. There are also some great little action moments and teases of what is to come for the series.
Kudranski has been on a huge winning streak shortly after he took over on Spawn. With this being his 20th issue, he has sold me not only as a great new artist for the series but as the best Spawn artist since the legendary Greg Capullo. His take on McFarlane's lay-outs show what a perfect fit he is for the title both taking some classic images and adding his own spin on it and the way he adds new life and energy to these familiar images like never before. As always, Plascencia deserves praise for doing a fantastic job on the colors.
If you've wanted to check out Spawn, I'd say this issue is a solid place to start. There's plenty of exposition without spelling out every single thing we've been told so far. Long time Spawn readers should definitely buy this issue for being such a great celebration of the title's 20th anniversary. Spawn is 20 years old and this issue is a reminder that it is still going strong.
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artists: Ryan Ottley and Cory Walker
Colors: John Rauch
Story Rating: 8 Dimensional Aliens out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Dimensional Aliens out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Dimensional Aliens out of 10
Invincible starts a new arc this issue explaining what happened to Robot and Monster Girl when in the Flaxxan Dimension, along with continuing to develop Zandale, formerly Bulletproof, as being the new Invincible. Kirkman has been doing killer things on Invincible and has yet to misstep since shortly after the end of the Viltrumite War. It should not be any surprise that this new story arc continues the high streak and keeps Invincible the best super hero ongoing each month.
The best part of this issue has got to be the development of Zandale as the new Invincible. I was skeptical when Kirkman revealed a different face was under the mask. Even more skeptical when the rather uninteresting Bulletproof was revealed to be that face. But Kirkman recognizes that Bulletproof has been a small side-character at best in the series and has been doing a great job of building his character up from what little he had before.
After three issues of Zandale as Invincible I'm really happy to have him taking the spot light. Kirkman is doing a really interesting personal story for him with his girlfriend and teasing a deeper history the character has than we ever knew. While I know Mark will eventually take the spotlight back from Zandale, for now I am more than happy to see more of his character grow and see where Kirkman takes him.
The relationship between Robot and Monster Girl had a huge shift after they came back. Once a great couple, the two are now on less than friendly terms. We are now seeing what happened in the Flaxxan Dimension and while it is only the half the comic it is definitely just as interesting as the current happenings. Plus, the reveal at the end of how they aged slower in the Flaxxan Dimension, their time spent there 700 years, was a great twist.
Both Ottley and Walker share the stage for art in this arc. It is wonderful seeing both their styles side-by-side as both have grown so much since the early days of Invincible. Neither fail to deliver a great looking comic with plenty of emotional hits and action that is full of energy. Rauch's colors also do a great job making it so that the two styles do not clash too much and avoid making the issue look jarring.
Overall, a new arc for Invincible gives me yet another chance to tell you that you need to be buying this book. I consider Invincible to be the best super hero comic being published right now. It has got a cast full of likable and memorable characters, all of which Kirkman continues to add to every new story. This story is another accessible start to this great series you should not be missing out on. So next time you are at the comic shop correct the mistake of not reading Invincible.
Writer: Richard Starkings
Artist: Tony Parker
Story Rating: 6 Flying Restaurants out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Flying Restaurants out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Flying Restaurants out of 10
Elephantmen is one of the most consistent series I have ever read. Almost every issue is a guaranteed worthwhile read. Which is why I am sad to have my first disappointing read with this series. While not a bad issue, Elephantmen #40 evens out to an above average read. It has still got enough good that I do not regret my purchase, but this issue is jarring when following The Killing Season, possibly the book's best arc yet.
The major problem is that this issue is very light on the real meaty character work that has made this series so interesting. Starkings really knows how to craft a big and interesting cast of characters. This issue is mostly action, and most of the character work we do get is not that interesting. If the action were at least exciting that could have helped, but the action itself is mediocre.
Thankfully, the technical aspects are still solid. The dialogue is its usual quality and that is probably what saves this issue from being a bore. The villain is somewhat interesting and Casbah Joe is a character I have always liked and wished we see more of. Though Panya is not too interesting and the Silencer does nothing other than shoot robot orbs.
The biggest weakness is Parker's artwork. It is a muddy and uneven mess. With characters that often look stiffly posed and there being an overall muddy quality look to the art. I am not sure if that is Parker's fault or perhaps the colorist. Either way, it is poorly done. There are some well done pages here and there that keep it from getting a below average score at least.
Overall, I would say if you are interested in Elephantmen then I say skip this issue. Go read the Killing Season, a brilliant storyline, or wait until the next issue. Only long time readers of the series should pick up to keep up with what's going on.
Writer: Joe Keatinge
Artist: Ross Campbell
Colors: Joseph Bergin III
Story Rating: 8 Demon Babies out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Demon Babies out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Demon Babies out of 10
It is impressive how Glory just seems to get better. After such a strong debut issue and then a great first arc, you never know how a comic will go. Sometimes it keeps flying high, other times it runs into bumps. Glory has yet to hit a bad spot and continues to be one of the most exciting reads each month thanks to a story that only picks up the pace and never loses a step.
Keatinge has established the world of Glory nicely. Now he is already starting to tear it up. This issue shows us Glory's darker side. That she is not simply a warrior and hero, she has got her own monstrous inner demons. Seeing more of Glory's dark nature hints at the possibility of her becoming the villain of the series, or maybe even doing something incredibly terrible that she'd have to redeem herself for later down the line. I love that kind of stuff and Keatinge is pulling off Glory's slipping into the darkness very well.
Riley at first seemed like the introductory character. Just here to show us the world and establish who's who. She's quickly growing into her own interesting character alongside Glory and I have a feeling she may end up becoming the hero of this series eventually. Seeing Riley's reactions to the insanity as the town is under attack shows she is brave but still had to adjust to Glory's world of violence.
This story is really taking everything Keatinge established in that first great arc and tearing it up in exciting ways. This series is not holding punches and it is not afraid to make you like a character only to kill them off five minutes later, or change what you think you know about them just as quick. Keatinge has built a story that twists and turns and is not afraid to twist a little harder than last time.
Campbell also outdoes what he has previously done on the series. The sheer amount of creativity that goes into the demon horde (Giant Demon Baby) was amazing. There is so much detail to the big battle and it never feels cluttered or like too much. Also the gore just continues to look amazing. Every time something gets shot, stabbed or...face bitten you are going to cringe at how well Campbell draws it.
Overall, Glory is one of those comics you definitely need to check out and once you do, you will be getting excited for it every month. Keatinge and Campbell are going places no other comics are right now with Glory and the quality matches the daring of the story. Glory is a new favorite of mine and I have no doubt it will become a new favorite of yours as well when you check it out.
The Darkness #104
Writer: David Hine
Artist: Jeremy Haun
Colors: John Rauch
Story Rating: 9 Evil Kittens out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Evil Kittens out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Evil Kittens out of 10
David Hine's run on the Darkness did not take long to go from 0 to Holy Shit. The second the Doppelganger was introduced, it was clear that Hine had something totally new in mind for Jackie Estacado and his family. While I was a little nervous at first to see how he would take Jackie having an evil twin, it is clear that Hine has much more sinister plans in mind for Jackie and it is making for a fantastic read so far.
This issue really downplays the Doppelganger, which works great. It is more about Jackie's family, especially Jenny. Hine has been quick to build up Jackie's mob life. We are seeing more of Jackie's inner circle of people and we are seeing how this group is handling the new threat with others moving into their territory. Hine really sold me on this shift in focus with this issue.
A mild spoiler, but the Doppelganger shows up at the end and the way he does shows that he is clearly not so tightly held under Jackie's thumb. This moment would not have been so affective if he had been in most of the issue. We see him once in the opening and then again at the very end. Making it clear that even if he is not always around, he is still a powerful new force in Jackie's life.
It was great to finally focus on this situation from Jenny's point of view. She has been somewhat of an unlikable character so far. Hounding Jackie for reasons that seems pettier than they are. We're finally seeing how much stress she's under and how this strange situation is taking its toll on her. Making us invest much more in her character.
Every issue of the Darkness shows how Haun is growing and improving as an artist. I felt his one weakness was that while he makes some great looking monsters, the way he draws people has been a mixed bag. He has improved a lot on that in such short time. The only complaint is that while up close, people look fine, when from a distance they look a bit weird and there have been a couple of stiff poses. Still Haun is improving fast and his style has been a great fit for Hine's story.
Overall, if you're a fan of The Darkness you absolutely should be reading what Hine is doing. If you are not a fan but interested, I highly recommend you pick it up from the start. Hine is really making his mark on the character and building up Jackie's world just to make it all crumble around him. It is an excellent read that balances characters, violence and drama just right.
Andrenn got back into comics years ago with a random issue of Spawn. From there he was hooked and a couple years later he had to share his thoughts with the world at his old blog New Age Comics with Andrenn. Now a huge Image fan and a horror geek, Andrenn writes for the Comic Book Revolution. He also hosts the Comic Book Revolution Podcast: Image Revolution with Jordan as co-host. You can follow Andrenn's ramblings and thoughts from the links below.