Thursday, July 30, 2009

Originally posted on my myspace blog on 2/8 & 2/22/2009

DEAD, SHE SAID (IDW, 2008; Hardcover)
Collects Dead, She Said Nos. 1-3 (cover dates May-September, 2008) and selections from Badtime Stories (1972) and The Monsters Color-the-Creatures Book (1974).
This mini-series(?) by Steve Niles and Berne Wrightson is a combination of crime/noir and Horror that works. The bonus material in the back of the book is worth the price of admission alone! Fanzine covers from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, unpublished pencils, and the aforementioned Badtime Stories and The Monsters Color-The-Creature Book pin-ups are amazing. Wrightson is one of those artists whose linework often gets buried in color, and this series is no exception. Still, a nice hardcover package with no gloss paper stock, sewn binding (which is a bit stiff and does not lay flat), and a slew of extras make this well worth picking up for Horror comic fans and crime comic fans alike.


THE AVENGERS: FIRST TO LAST (Marvel, 2008; Hardcover)
Collects The Last Avengers Story Nos. 1-2 (cover dates November- December, 1995) and selections from Avengers Classic Nos. 1-12 (cover dates August, 2007- July, 2008).
This was a complete waste of time and money. From here on out, all ‘the end’ type events and ret-cons are out. Even Peter David can't make an 'end' series interesting. The all-new back-up stories from the short-lived Avengers Classic reprint series were awful. There were maybe one or two decent ones, but the writing and the artwork sucked. I hate kiddie-ish, overly cartoon-y artwork to begin with, and when you combine that with superheroes, it's even worse. This flavor seems to be replacing manga as the crappy flavor of the month.







THE AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE VOL. 2: KILLED IN ACTION (Marvel, 2008; Hardcover)
Collects Avengers: The Initiative Nos. 7-13 and Avengers: The Initiative Annual No. 1 (cover dates January- July, 2008).
This series completely sucks. Unfortunately, I have already pre-ordered Vol. 3. D’OH! Times like this make me wish that I stayed more current with my reading. I can't believe that this is written by Dan Slott. I love everything else that he has done, but this title leaves me cold. Stefano Caselli's artwork sucks, and so does Daniele Rudoni's color art.













VERTIGO: FIRST TASTE (DC, 2005)
Collects 100 Bullets No. 1, Books of Magic: Life During Wartime No. 1, Death: The High Cost of Living No. 1, Saga of the Swamp Thing No. 21, Transmetropolitan No. 1 and Y: The Last Man No. 1 (cover dates February, 1984- September, 2004).
100 Bullets, Books of Magic: Life During Wartime, and Transmetropolitan all sucked. I have decided to make my own "mature reader" comic book. The first ingredient in the formula is to have the main character smoke cigarettes, at least once every other page. Next, mix in tons of swearing, especially f-bombs, as that is a surefire sign of intelligent writing. Once you have those ingredients in place, set a boring talking head scenario to simmer for the first issue, followed by a feeble set-up and voila! You have your own indie comic book! Which one of these titles am I poking fun of? All of them, as they all seem to follow the same formula. Y: The Last Man and Swamp Thing are great, but I have already read those before. Death: The High Cost of Living was very good, and I picked up the trade of that and enjoyed it.






RUNAWAYS: DEAD END KIDS (Marvel, 2008; Hardcover)
Collects Runaways (Vol. 2) Nos. 25-30 (cover dates June, 2007- August, 2008)
Joss Whedon and Michael Ryan have delivered an outstanding but unfortunately short-lived run on the title. Ryan's artwork is gorgeous, and I must give props to Christina Strain's coloring. Computer color separations are mind-blowing when done right, and it most certainly is here. Runaways is such a great title. Whedon borrows from the best, riffing on Somewhere In Time and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen while delivering something of value and merit.











SPIDER-MAN: BRAND NEW DAY VOL. 2 (Marvel, 2008)
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 552-558 (cover dates May- July, 2008)
SPIDER-MAN: BRAND NEW DAY VOL. 3 (Marvel, 2008; Hardcover)
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 559-563 (cover dates July-August, 2008)
SPIDER-MAN: KRAVEN'S FIRST HUNT (Marvel, 2008; Hardcover)
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 564-567 and a selection from Spider-Man: Brand New Day-Extra! No. 1 (cover dates September- October, 2008).
SPIDER-MAN: NEW WAYS TO DIE (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 568-573 (cover dates October- December, 2008).
Brand New Day is amazing! These feel like authentic Spider-Man stories in the tradition of Stan Lee, Gerry Conway, Roger Stern, and Tom DeFalco. The Spidey “brain trust” of Gale, Guggenheim, Slott and Wells really seem to get what Spider-Man is all about. All of the ingredients are here: The Parker luck, web-shooters malfunctioning, a real supporting cast, personal life in shambles, money problems. Everything that fans both old and new could possibly want out of the title is here, making these the best stories since DeFalco’s ‘80s run. Phil Jemenez , Marcos Martin, Mike McCone, Paulo Siquera, Pat Olliffe, and Barry Kitson’s artwork is solid, and Dan Slott and Bob Gale’s writing is fantastic. Zeb Wells’ solid writing on 555-557 is marred by Chris Bachalo’s manga-crap “artwork”. Seriously, how does this guy continue to get work? He sucks! His artwork really slowed down the momentum and was a total buzzkill. New Ways To Die was great, although Klaus Janson is not the guy to ink John Romita, Jr.’s pencils. JRJr’s pencils have gotten “blockier” over the years, and Janson’s loose inking style does not help out any. Still, the pairing of Dan Slott and John Romita, Jr. is not one to be missed. These issues take more than 10 minutes to read and offer a lot of story in comparison to many modern comics. Stuff actually happens in every single issue! Things can be part of a larger tapestry and yet other things can be resolved in one or two issues. All in all I am loving the new direction for Amazing Spider-Man and hope that it continues!








































CREEPY ARCHIVES VOL. 2 (Dark Horse, 2008; Hardcover)
Collects Creepy Nos. 6-10 (cover dates December, 1965- August, 1966)
Another gorgeous hardcover printed on heavy duty paper with stunning artwork by the EC gang and many Silver Age greats. Fan art that was sent in was featured on the fan club page each month, including one piece by a fan who you may know: a then unknown Bernie Wrightson.







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