Posts Tagged ‘Andy Lanning’

Annihilators #4

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

October 8, 2011

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Tan Eng Huat & Timothy Green II
Victor Olazaba
June Chung & Nathan Fairbairn
Joe Caramagna & Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist:
Alex Garner
Bill Rosemann
Marvel Comics

So as it turns out, the rising of the Dire Wraiths has all been a ploy by their interstellar cousins, the Skrulls, to regain their lost dominance in the stars. Also, Immortus is attacking with an army of cross-time badasses. Fortunately, on the good guys’ side are the Annihilators, perhaps the most powerful superhero team in the Marvel Universe.

Abnett and Lanning wrap up this miniseries with a pretty impressive fight scene, and get surprisingly final about the whole thing. Even though we know there’s another Annihilators miniseries coming (there’s even an ad for it at the end) the book feels like it has a definite ending, not just a cliffhanger for the next miniseries, which I for one greatly appreciate. I’m glad they’re doing more, don’t get me wrong, but I do get tired of one miniseries after another that just feels like it exists to set up yet another miniseries. I also like how they manage to work in small character beats – Ikon’s obvious infatuation with Quasar, for example.

The artwork is only so-so. While the aliens look pretty good, the humans aren’t that great. Immortus’s giant head that appears on the splash page has truly weird proportions that make him look like a poorly-designed carnival float.

In the back-up story, the conclusion to the Rocket Raccoon/Groot tale, we finally learn the ultimate truth of Rocket Raccoon’s origins, and he and Groot have to work to free the strangest medical care facility in the universe. This story is really funny, which works for the characters, but does make it seem a little incongruous with the main story. Annihilators isn’t exactly a laugh riot, after all, and people who got this title only for the first story may find the back-up a little off-putting.

I got the book for both stories, though. And I enjoyed both stories. And I look forward to more.

Rating: 8/10


Nova (2007 Series) #5

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

August 7, 2007

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Together (An Annihilation: Conquest tie-in)
Rating: T+

Rich is down – can a new Nova fight off the Phalanx?

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Pencils: Sean Chen
Inks: Scott Hanna
Additional Art: Brian Denham
Colors: Guru EFX
Letters: Cory Petit
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Cover Art: Adi Granov
Publisher: Marvel Comics

His battle with the Phalanx has left Richard Rider near death. Now, to protect Nova Prime, the Xandarian Worldmind has chosen the stranded Kree medic named Ko-Rel to possess the power of Nova and fight off the Phalanx.

It’s getting so hard to review this book, because as much as I love it, I simply can’t ignore how much it feels like another science fiction superhero title out there. I’ve said it before, but this issue more than ever it feels like you may as well give Ko-Rel a power ring and have her recite an oath before she charges up. This isn’t necessarily a fault of the writers – the Nova Corps concept has always felt derivative of the Green Lantern Corps, but good grief and Sufferin’ Shad – this is about as blatant as you can get.

So it’s probably a testament to Abnett and Lanning that, despite feeling like I’m reading a comic from the wrong publisher, I still think this book is exciting, entertaining and his all the right buttons. Chen and Hanna’s artwork is fantastic, and the story is as fast-paced and energetic as anything else on the stands. The conclusion of this issue actually had me whistling and muttering, “man, how’re they gonna get out of this one?” under my breath.

But still.

Abnett. Lanning. Loving this book. But can you please find some sort of new twist to make this concept its own?

Rating: 8/10

Adventures of Superman #634

August 16, 2011 Leave a comment

November 15, 2004

Quick Rating: A qualified “Good”
Title: That Healing Touch (Narrative Interruptus Secondus)

When the Parasite twins attack Superman he gets help from a most unexpected quarter – Mr. Mxyzptlk!

Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Matthew Clark
Inks: Andy Lanning
Colors: Tanya & Richard Horie
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover Art: Gene Ha
Publisher: DC Comics

As he did in the “Battery” story arc, Greg Rucka does a half-sidebar issue when Mr. Mxyzptlk shows up in the midst of a major throwdown. This issue doesn’t work quite as well as that first one, though.

I’m a fan of Mxyzptlk. I think he’s great for comic relief, and Rucka himself clearly has a great deal of affection for the character. This book is divided between goofy bits with Mxy interacting with the villains and the cast (and occasionally even with the DC Comics staff), and more serious bits of battle where the Parasites show more intelligent use of their powers than the previous keeper of the name ever seemed to do.

The problem is that this issue is trying to be two comic books – a comedy and a superhero action adventure. Both of these comics would work very well on their own, but the way Rucka intercuts between the two of them is extremely jarring and winds up hurting the story in the long run.

Matthew Clark’s artwork is always a treat. He has a very interesting take on Mxy, and his Superman is second-to-none. He handles the action and the comedy equally well, even humanizing the male Parasite to a degree. The script calls for him to have doubts about their little crusade – Clark does a fine job putting those doubts on the character’s face.

The issue ends with a very disturbing portent for the future, which is a nice touch. It’s a good issue overall, but not as strong as it would have been if Rucka had separated the two elements of the story instead of attempting to weave them together.

Rating: 7/10

Nova (2007 Series) #4

June 5, 2011 Leave a comment

July 10, 2007

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Alone (An Annihilation: Conquest crossover)
Rating: T+

As Nova heads into battle against the Phalanx, survivors of the Annihilation war make a startling discovery.

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art: Sean Chen, Scott Hanna & Brian Denham
Colors: Guru EFX
Letters: Cory Petit
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Cover Art: Adi Granov
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The latest distress call from Kree territory isn’t part of the Annihilation aftermath after all, but comes from an all-new threat. The techno-organic plague called the Phalanx has taken over the Kree Empire, and Nova is determined to rescue his allies from the plague. It may not be as easy as all that, though.

As I’ve come to expect from Abnett and Lanning, this story is put together really well. Nova’s desperation is palpable, and the threat not to himself, but to the Worldmind, is quite evident. The other Annihilation crossover from this week, Wraith, feels like a story using the Phalanx invasion as a backdrop. This issue feels much more like an actual continuation of the story that began in the prologue, and it’s all the stronger for it.

The B-plot this issue involves a few Kree survivors stranded on a dead world. The discovery here was probably inevitable, and actually works quite well, as it should help to progress Nova’s story in the next logical direction. (Although it doesn’t do much to help dispel perception of the Nova concept as being somewhat derivative of Green Lantern.)

Chen and Hanna handle most of the art this issue, with Brian Denham stepping in for a few pages. The transition is seamless – if the credits didn’t tell us which pages were Denahm’s, I never would have known the difference.

This series continues to impress the heck out of me. Abnett and Lanning are telling the best Nova stories ever.

Rating: 8/10

Annihilation Saga #1

June 1, 2011 Leave a comment

May 6, 2007

Quick Rating: Fair
Rating: A

Catch up on the Annihilation story before the Conquest begins!

Writer: Michael Hoskin
Based on stories by: Keith Giffen, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Simon Furman, Christos N. Gage & Stuart Moore
Art: Mitch Breitweiser, Scott Kolins, Ariel Olivetti, Kev Walker, Rick Magyar, Renato Arlem, Gregory Titus, Jorge Lucas, Andrea DiVito, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Mike McKone & Sean Chen
Book Desinger: Patrick McGrath
Editor: Jeff Youngquist
Cover Art: Andrea DiVito & Laura Villari
Publisher: Marvel Comics

In general, I think Marvel’s Saga specials are a really good idea – a quick primer on a series that’s about to relaunch or enter a new stage, providing new readers a chance to get up-to-speed before the new jumping-on point. In practice, this is rather weaker than most of the Saga titles.

Usually, these books contain some sort of framing sequence – Runaways was disguised as Molly’s diary, Spider-Girl as Mayday’s scrapbook and so on. The lack of a sequence actually makes the book a bit less readable, less conversational. This is a strict, by-the-numbers account of the various Annihilation-related series, beginning with the Drax miniseries that retroactively became something of a prologue, right up through the first issue of the new Nova ongoing. All the information is there, all of the story is available, it’s just not quite as much fun to read in this form as it could have been.

The artwork is all plucked from the related titles, and as such, it varies wildly. Some of it is fantastic, some of it is just so-so. The same pretty much goes for the text. If you want to read Annihilation: Conquest and haven’t read the preceding comics, this book will get you up to speed. It just won’t be quite as much fun as it could have been.

Rating: 6/10

52 #8

May 7, 2011 Leave a comment

June 29, 2006

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Thief

A new hero appears, old heroes reunite and John Henry Irons begins a chilling transformation.

Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid & Dan Jurgens
Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Pencils: Eddy Barrows & Dan Jurgens
Inks: Rob Stull & Andy Lanning
Colors: Alex Sinclair, Jeromy Cox & Guy Major
Letters: Travis Lanham & Nick J. Napolitano
Editors: Stephen Wacker, Eddie Berganza, Ivan Cohen & Jeanine Schaefer
Cover Art: J.G. Jones & Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics

Review: There’s an awful lot going on in this week’s issue of 52, and as much of it involves Steel, that makes me a very happy camper. John Henry Irons is beginning to exhibit symptoms of a very bizarre transformation, and a checkup at S.T.A.R. Labs proves his worst fears realized. At the same time his niece, Natasha, fed up with trying to build her own armor to replace the one John Henry took from her, begins to ponder Lex Luthor’s metagene project.

Meanwhile, Ralph Dibney recruits an old friend to help his investigation into the Cult of Conner, Booster Gold defends himself to the media, a new superhero appears in Metropolis and the space trio of Adam Strange, Animal Man and Starfire run across a new threat. It’s hard to imagine how any comic could pack more story into such a relatively short page length.

The Steel stuff continues to be my favorite aspect of 52. John Henry is one of my favorite DC characters, and seeing him face off against Lex Luthor in Superman’s absence is immensely satisfying. Natasha’s “teenage rebellion” story arc is working as well, and between the two of them it seems like Steel’s corner of Superman’s universe is in for some major changes.

Ralph’s storyline this issue also gives us a lot to go on, as we see the planting of some of one of the best “One Year Later” storylines so far. The new hero that arrives this issue only makes a quick, mysterious appearance that helps build up the drama surrounding him.

Eddy Barrows’s pencils this issue are quite an improvement over the last couple of issues – while Keith Giffen’s layouts help this book maintain a consistent look no matter who the penciller is, some will invariably be better than others, and I like what Barrows does here.

As for Dan Jurgens’s “History of the DC Universe” segment… well… I’m a Jurgens fan from way back, but I just can’t wring any enjoyment out of this feature. It’s just treading water, going over stuff that long-time readers already know and new readers will just be confused by. It’s wasted potential all around. I’m just glad there are only three weeks left before we finish it off and move on to the origin stories that will make up the rest of this title’s run.

Rating: 8/10

Infestation #2

May 1, 2011 Leave a comment

April 29, 2011

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
David Messina
Art Assist:
Claudia Balboni
Gaetano Carlucci
Robbie Robbins
David Messina
Chris Ryall & Tom Waltz
Publisher: IDW Publishing

The Infestation has come back home. The Undermind back in the world of Covert Vampire Operations is calling back the aspects of itself that infested the worlds of TransFormers, Star Trek, G.I. Joe and the Ghostbusters, building its power for one more bid to take over this world. But at least one member of CVO is willing to go to any lengths to stop that from happening. I’m a little disappointed with the end of this crossover, to be honest with you. The four different worlds into which the zombies reached don’t really have any impact on the conclusion to the storyline. I didn’t really expect to see Optimus Prime and Peter Venkman leaping through the dimensional portal and kicking ass alongside one another, but it seems like there should have been something gained by the Undermind through its contact with the other worlds. Instead, the four crossovers feel simply superfluous, without having any real impact on the world of the CVO. I am glad to see lasting implications for CVO itself, as the new series spinning out of this crossover seems like it will have been very heavily influenced by the crossover. If you’re not really a fan of the CVO franchise, though, it doesn’t give you much to cling to. Messina’s artwork isn’t bad at all, fortunately. The final confrontation looks really cool, with great color effects to help with the whole interdimensional doomsday thing. In the long run, the crossover was fun, but it doesn’t feel… significant. And that’s a shame.

Rating: 7/10