Friday, March 16, 2012

Next Review Rewind?

So, which graphic novels/trades should I do for the next few months?

Here's the list of ideas:
Darkness, Batman: Knightfall, Superman: Godfall, Invincible: Ultimate Collection, Infinite Crisis, Batman & Son, Death In The Family, Kingdom Come, Empire, Hush, and any that you can think of from Marvel prior to 2005.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review Rewind: WildC.A.T.s #1-4

Review Rewind: WildC.A.T.s #1-4 
By: Andrew Hines

I want to introduce you to a comic that brought me into the medium as a huge fan of Jim Lee's work, WildC.A.T.s (Covert•Action•Teams). This 20-year old comic series, which is now defunct, has recently had its characters brought into current continuity with their own on-going series and guest spots in other series'. As the brainchild Jim Lee, an artist and co-publisher for DC Comics and writer Brandon Choi from their college days, the series debuted as a title for Image Comics, and later under the WildStorm imprint for DC Comics, where it's first run remained until 1998. It later came out in fits and jerks, until DC stopped WildStorm publications in 2010.

The first issue is fantastic in the way that introduces the main characters. Many team-based books, such as the new Justice League, never manage to have all of their main characters show up in the first issue. They also fail, most of the time, to introduce the main villain of the series. WildC.A.T.s is the only comic I've seen in the last 20+ years that has not failed in either regard. It is one of the few comics in which you can pick up a first issue and identify all of the principle characters.

Jim Lee's artwork is without equal in this, the master work of his 90s art. The amount of detail in this series is unprecedented. His pencils give more power and depth than 99% of the comics I have read. He does not pump up the muscles on his men more than is necessary, though admittedly the women have longer legs than should ever be anatomically possible. Because of the depth of the story and characters, I'll excuse that singular misstep. Since this is a world that doesn't have DC's Trinity, comprised of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, it is essentially our world. That is even more true, since the secondary villain in the premiere four issues, there is an alien possessing Dan Quayle (the Vice President from 1990-1994.) With just this seemingly small bit of realism, Choi and Lee brought a new idea and new era to mainstream comics.

With all of this in mind, I have to give a 9.8 out of 10 to the first story arc of WildC.A.T.s.

WildC.A.T.s Cover #1:

Cover #2:

Cover #3:

Cover #4:

Flash Freeze

Flash Freeze
Review of Flash #6
By: Andrew Hines

What happens when one of Barry Allen's oldest foes makes their fight personal? For that matter, what happens when that same founding member of the Scarlet Speedster's rogues gallery gains his own super powers?

Francis Manapul does a good job for the most part, including many "nerdgasm" moments such as including what will come to be known (again) as the Cosmic Treadmill 
. He also brings in people like Iris West and Barry's current girlfriend and coworker, Patty Spivot. Making the comic slightly more realistic or at least relatable, Manapul puts him in every straight man's worst nightmare, lunch with the girlfriend and the ex/alternate universe wife. The only downside to Manapul's writing in this one is his back and forth on the timeline. We see the present, then a day before and then back to the present. Once would be fine, but he does more bak and forth in time than an episode in the last season of LOST. Again, that really did seem to be the only thing wrong, unless you count Captain Cold never explaining how he got powers. I'll let that one slide and hope it's explained later on. Hopefully it'll only be a single issue wait.

Artist Brian Buccaletto takes what he's done right so far and just keeps on truckin'. I don't believe he's missed a beat so far. Though the style looks somewhat cartoony, it works for a character with a very simple costume and power set. In terms of style and consistency, he is better in this series than I ever expected him to be. The only downside to the artwork at first was Captain Cold's costume. It didn't make sense to give him a sleeveless top when he looks bluer than Sonic The Hedgehog. After careful consideration however, it does seem to be the best way to showcase his newfound powers.

These two have earned an 7.5 out of 10, mostly due to the LOST-like timeline.

Cover for Flash #6:
Page 2 of Flash #6: