Saturday, August 1, 2009

Originally posted on my myspace blog on 3/15 & 3/26/2009

Collects The Astounding Wolf-Man Nos. 1-7 (cover dates May, 2007- July, 2008)
Outstanding! Equal parts old-school superhero comic and ironic wink and nod, this series appeals to Silver Age comic lovers as well as the too-cool-for-superhero hipster crowd, and it works! It actually frickin' works. Great writing by Robert Kirkman and great art by Jason Howard which falls somewhere between old school superhero and cartoon-y, Gen Y friendly. it can be read as a serious superhero comic or a silly nod to it. (I choose the former) This series has real potential, and I am chomping on the bit for Volume 2 (which I own but haven't got to yet in the backlog).

Collects selections from Spider-Man Family Nos. 1-6 (cover dates April, 2007- February, 2008)
Oohhh, and then there's this. Note to self: always read Previews solicitation copy before placing your order! I used to pre-order everything Spider-Man and X-Men, but no more! This craptastic shitfest reprints and adapts Japanese Manga Spider-Man, and it totally sucks. So much so that I couldn't even read more than a few pages before I closed and the book and decided to get rid of it. No, this was not a true review since I couldn't stomach the vomit-inducing mangacrap artwork, but it's as close as I will ever get to reading this! Needless to say, I did not order Volume 2.

Collects Frank Frazetta’s Creatures, Frank Frazetta’s Dark Kingdom, Frank Frazetta’s Dracula Meets The Wolfman and Frank Frazetta’s Swamp Demon (cover dates April- August, 2008)
These were decent one-shots with good artwork. Lots of extras in the back of the book with the same high quality presentation of the Death Dealer Hardcover (minus the slipcase and built-in bookmark...also minus $20 off of the MSRP!).

THE WALKING DEAD BOOK 1 (Image, Hardcover Second Printing 2008)
Collects The Walking Dead Nos. 1-12 (cover dates October, 2003- September, 2004)
This was a X-Mas gift, and was an okay read. I am neither running out to buy the rest of the series, nor did I throw the book against the wall in disgust when I was done reading it. Or for you netspeakers out there...meh .

Collects Avengers No. 402, Cable No. 35, Incredible Hulk No. 445, Iron Man No. 332, Thor No. 502, Wolverine (Vol. 2) No. 105, X-Force (Vol. 1) No. 58, Uncanny X-Men No. 336, X-Man No. 19 and X-Men No. 55 (cover dates August- September, 1996).
Marvel sucked during the '90s. Not only did they suck, but they tried really hard at it! You cannot tell me that these guys were not trying to outdo each other in trying to make crappy comic books. The dialogue is overly written, littered with those annoying* boxes that serve as footnotes, as if you are supposed to stop where you're at, sift through dozens of long boxes, and peruse the point of reference. Just awful. The artwork is a train wreck of Liefeld influenced dreck. The Richard Strakings/ ComiCraft computerized fonts look gimmicky, as does the severely dated computer coloring enhancements by Malibu Studios. I guess that these were breakthroughs at the time and precursors to modern day techniques, but they have not aged well. The artwork by Andy Kubert, Joe Madureira, and Angela Medina are all varying degrees of suckiness. Every single costume is changed except for Captain America. Thor's enchanted Uru Hammer now has a chain attached to the handle instead of the stirrup that used to be at the end. Every hero has long hair that seems to "float" in the air like it's underwater...thanks for pioneering that look, Liefeld. Thor's hair is past his ass, and even the Sub-Mariner has long hair. Why? He never did before. The devolved Wolverine was a horrendous idea. What were comic book creators on in the '90s? The dialogue by Mark Waid, Scott Lobodell, and Peter David are all laughable, being unintentionally funny. Actually, all of the writing is bad, but I am too lazy to list everyone's name, ditto all of the terrible "artists". Anthony Castrillo's pencils in X-Force #58 were so Byrne-esque that I had to do dome research online to see if this was some Byrne pseudonym. He really has the look and feel down, almost coming off as a tracing of Byrne's pencils at times. He was the only bright spot, aside from the teaming of a neophyte Mike Deodato, Jr. and veteran Tom Palmer. Deodato's early style was very much of the era, and he was also busy drawing every single hero as an overly musclebound, long hair floating in the air like it were underwater, character as the rest of these hacks. I feel sorry for you kids who grew up on this decade's comics, and I am glad that I sat it out.

Collects Fantastic Four No. 416, Cable No. 36, Onslaught: Marvel Universe, Uncanny X-Men No. 337, X-Men: Road To Onslaught and X-Men No. 57 (cover dates September- October, 1996).
What's that smell? Oh wait, it's the writing in these issues! I like my comics as serious as the next guy, but when the characters are this serious, this dramatic, without any trace of humor whatsoever then it's totally laughable. If I were buying monthlies back then I would have quit!

THE TWELVE VOL. 1 (Marvel, 2008; Hardcover)
Collects The Twelve Nos. 1-6 (cover dates March- August, 2008)
…and here we have Marvel’s answer to Dynamite's Project Superpowers, and Marvel wins hands down. This is superior in every way, shape and form, thanks to J. Michael Straczynski's excellent writing and the team of Chris Weston and Gary Leach turning in finely detailed artwork that is absolutely beautiful. I really enjoyed seeing characters that were cheesy back-up features from various Golden Age Masterworks dusted off and brought back to life. I think that perhaps that is one of the reasons that this trumped PS; the characters weren't just some ad-hoc conglomerate, but they all retroactively existed in the Marvel Universe. I don't mind ret-cons in this respect. Unfortunately, this series has been put on hiatus for science knows how long, as JMS is busy doing some movie or whatever. This is one of the Marvel Premiere Edition Hardcovers, and I gotta say that I love the format. Sure it has glued and not sewn binding, but these are usually on the skinny side so it is not an issue to me.

CLANDESTINE: BLOOD RELATIVE (Marvel, 2008; Hardcover)
Collects Clandestine (Vol. 2) Nos. 1-5 (cover dates April- August, 2008)
Another solid batch of tales of the Destine family and their adventures. Alan Davis' warm writing and artwork make this an enjoyable read. I dislike how the covers are collected in a gallery in the back of the book rather than their proper location as chapter markers. This whole thing reads like one giant story, so maybe that was the point. Who knows?

Collects Marvel Two-In-One Nos. 26-52 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual Nos. 2, 3 (cover dates April, 1977- June, 1979).
Nearly every single Bronze Age journeyman handled this title, and it didn't miss a beat. The Thing is entertaining as the star of his own series, and I hope that they keep the phone books coming all of the way through his solo series in the '80s.

Collects Marvel Adventures Spider-Man Nos. 37-40 (cover dates May- August, 2008)
This series remains a satisfying, if continuity challenged, read. It's a treat to see Swarm again!

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