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Hawkman (2002 Series) #26

July 24, 2012 Leave a comment

March 20, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Rest

A mistake from Hawkman’s past comes back to haunt him.

Writer: Josh Siegal
Pencils: John Byrne
Inks: Lary Stucker
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Cover Art: John Byrne
Publisher: DC Comics

Writer Josh Siegal is a new name to me, but after reading this issue of Hawkman I find myself asking why he’s only doing a fill-in until the new creative team comes on instead of handling writing chores full-time. This is a really smart issue, wherein Hawkman and Hawkgirl find themselves facing off the bloody menace of a vampire.

Siegal takes the fact that Hawkman has been around for thousands of years in hundreds of incarnations and runs with it, showing how an honest mistake can get magnified over the centuries, leading to the current predicament. He shows the flip side of that too, though, employing skills that may go unused for hundreds of years, but are never forgotten.

Siegal also employs a non-linear storytelling style, bouncing further and further into the past to show how the characters were brought to the point. The structure of the story (if not the content) reminds me very much of one of m favorite movies, “Memento,” which tells the story from the end to the beginning. It’s not an easy technique to pull off, and Siegal does a fantastic job.

John Byrne seems to be drawing a lot of vampires lately. He did it last week in JLA and he’s doing it here. They both look good, though, so I’m not going to complain. Lary Stucker’s inks compliment the pencils very well, and we have a comic book that manages to straddle the line between superhero storytelling and horror. Visually, this book could fit into either category, and that’s what it needs to do.

After the great run Geoff Johns had on this title, it’s going to be hard to follow up. This may be a done-in-one fill-in issue, but it’s a very good one. Hawkman fans will be highly satisfied.

Rating: 8/10

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My Faith in Frankie #4

June 7, 2012 Leave a comment

April 10, 2004

Review by: Blake M. Petit Blake@comixtreme.com
Quick Rating: Good

Frankie and Kay have to save the mortal form of the god Jeriven – even if it means going to Hell to get him out.

Writer: Mike Carey
Pencils: Sonny Liew
Inks: Marc Hempel
Colors: Hi-Fi Design
Letters: John Costanza
Editor: Shelly Bond
Cover Art: Marc Hempel
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

After Dean stole Frankie’s faith in Jeriven, his power was drained, leaving him the fodder for a demon. This issue Frankie and Kay set out to save him. I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy this issue as much as I have the previous issues in this miniseries. At the beginning the story was much more a quirky romantic comedy with elements of fantasy. By this finale, it has metamorphed into more of an adventure story, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it has lost some of the elements that made it stand out and made me love it so much in the first place.

There’s still a lot of good in this issue, though. Frankie Moxon is one of the best female protagonists in recent comics, and she steals the show in this issue, helping to set up a real slam-bang finale. In fact, the finale may be a little too slam-bang, because it ties up the stories of our three heroes very neatly and doesn’t leave much room for a sequel. I know, I know, not every story needs a sequel, but I’ve grown to really love these characters over the past for months, and it’s a shame that their tale is over while tired concepts like The Authority keep grinding out issues month after month.

Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel finish this miniseries with as much style and flair as they began it. The artwork is beautiful and distinct, unlike most comic books in any genre, although there are traces of Terry Moore and Sam Kieth throughout. They leap from comedic to horrific aspects and handle them both with skill and style. This art team could do anything from a slapstick comedy to a gory horror story, and they could handle it all well.

Even if this is the end of Frankie and Jeriven, I hope it’s not the end of the Mike Carey/Sonny Liew team. These guys made four issues of a great comic book together and they’re bound to have many more. As for My Faith in Frankie, it’s all done except for the hoping for a trade paperback collection where, if there’s any justice in the comic book world, it will find the audience it deserves.

Rating: 7/10

My Faith in Frankie #3

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment

February 28, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Chapters 21-30

Jeriven is human now – and just when Frankie needs him most.

Writer: Mike Carey
Pencils: Sonny Liew
Inks: Marc Hempel
Colors: Hi-Fi Design
Letters: John Costanza
Editor: Shelly Bond
Cover Art: Marc Hempel
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

With just one issue to go, Mike Carey has placed his toys all out and has things set up for a spectacular conclusion. Last issue the demonic Dean convinced Jeriven, god of heart’s fires and personal patron of Frankie Moxon, to assume human form. The results, considering his altitude at the time, were predictably messy.

This issue we have a lot of moving around with the characters, things getting put in place for the finale. We get Kay trying to teach Jeriven to be human, we get Frankie torn between her feelings for Dean and her loyalty to the god who has watched over her for her entire life, and we get a glimpse into how Dean became the despicable creature he is – and of course, it comes back to Jeriven.

I’m so sorry that this is just a miniseries, because three issues in it’s one of the most entertaining comic books of the year. It’s often funny, sometimes frightening and always a treat to read. Carey has created some truly unique characters in this miniseries, and it would be a crying shame to see them disappear when this miniseries ends.

The artwork, by Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel, is still spot-on perfect. The style is unlike any other Vertigo title, it’s unique and light without losing a sense of menace when necessary. There’s a great two-page spread near the beginning of the book where we see the many faces of Jeriven towering over a dreaming Frankie. It’s a rough scene, because we see the angry god in the sky, showing his displeasure, yet at the same time we have a bunch of gleeful, goofy bunny rabbit smiling at our cast through the slats of a fence. It’s little touches like that which make this such a great visual treat. Someone should really be examining this comic book with the intention of making an animated movie, if only American audiences could escape the stupid prejudice that all animated films are for kids.

I’m really sad there’s only one issue left in this miniseries. Sad that more people aren’t buzzing about what a great comic book it is. Sad that even I wouldn’t know if DC hadn’t tossed it in the advance review pack a couple of months ago. But I’m glad that I can at least tell people how much fun it is. Read this comic, friends. You won’t regret it.

Rating: 8/10

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #2

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

October 31, 2011

Title: War of the Monsters Part 2: The Dissection of Nina Mazursky

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist:
Alberto Ponticelli
Colorist:
Jose Villarrubia
Letterer:
Pat Brosseau
Cover Artist:
J.G. Jones & Hi-Fi
Editor:
Joey Cavalieri
Publisher:
DC Comics

On the latest adventure of the agents of SHADE, gill-creature Nina Mazursky is forced to confront her own origins… and the ramifications of experiments she left behind a long time ago. This is one of the books from the New 52 that has turned out to be a total pleasure to read from the outset. Jeff Lemire has created a cast of characters that work perfectly together, a superhero team made up of the Universal Studios Monsters, fighting the sort of horrible creatures that only a monster can take down. I’m surprised at just how quickly Lemire is digging into the personal histories of the characters, though. Although he’s more than proven himself the sort of writer who loves character work, I was prepared for an all-action first arc, with the more personal stuff coming in later. The way he’s found to piece them together makes for an entertaining comic book that plays right into his strengths. The artwork isn’t bad – Alberto Ponticelli’s style feels very right for a monster-focused book such as this one, although I don’t think it would work as well on a more standard superhero title. But then, that’s kind of the point, I suppose. Regardless, it’s an exciting comic that makes me glad that DC has found room for different kinds of stories in the New 52.

Rating: 8/10

Justice League International (2011 Series) #2

November 1, 2011 Leave a comment

October 17, 2011

Title: The Signal Masters Part 2

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Pencils:
Aaron Lopresti
Inks:
Matt Ryan
Colorist:
Hi-Fi
Letterer:
Travis Lanham
Cover Artist:
Aaron Lopresti & Hi-Fi
Editor:
Rex Ogle
Publisher:
DC Comics

The new Justice League International is having a tough first mission. While they go toe-to-toe with a ginormous robot in Peru, back in Washington DC the Hall of Justice is firebombed, robbing them of a headquarters. With Booster’s leadership in question already, the team begins to choose sides, and the future of the League is in doubt. The character conflict is really nice here. Guy Gardner leading the anti-Booster contingent is perfectly in-character for him, and this issue gives us a little bit of info as to the status of his and Ice’s relationship in the New 52 as well. Meanwhile, we see Batman and Godiva on Booster’s side, both for very different reasons of course, but for equally legitimate reasons from a character standpoint. The book, while not as slapstick as this title was in its most popular incarnation, is still mostly lighthearted and entertaining, which makes for some good light reading in the midst of a comic book landscape that too often treats fun comics as though they have no value. I really like Aaron Lopresti’s artwork – his characters look great and the giant robot is nicely menacing. This isn’t my favorite of the New 52, but I like it plenty.

Rating: 7/10

Birds of Prey (1999 Series) #70

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

July 18, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Huntress/Prey (Between Dark and Dawn Part Two)

On her first mission, Huntress faces a crazed former Justice Leaguer – and stumbles onto a nasty secret.

Writer: Gail Simone
Art: Ed Benes
Colors: Hi-Fi Design
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Joan Hilty
Cover Art: Greg Land
Publisher: DC Comics

Now a full member of the team, Huntress’s first mission sends her undercover, investigating a cult that is somehow tied into the deaths of three teenagers who were found wearing the costumes of dead superheroes. The cult turns out to have some protection, however – the crazed former JLA member named Vixen. Even for someone with Huntress’s training, Vixen is a formidable opponent, and when you add in the fact that she’s totally bloodcrazed, the newest Bird of Prey is in for a serious fight.

Meanwhile, Oracle is working with Savant, giving him a second chance by giving him a tiny, dirty section of Gotham to clean up. As you can imagine, Black Canary isn’t crazy about this idea, but she’s willing to go along with it out of trust for Oracle. It’s an interesting idea – certainly not the first time a villain is given a chance to get on the side of the angels, but I feel like Simone has found a new angle to put to it.

Huntress’s storyline, the “A Plot,” as it were, is even more interesting. Generally speaking, this is a pretty “street level” book, but Simone has tapped into a plot that really has much wider implications. There are a lot of places this story could go, and they aren’t all restricted to Birds of Prey.

Ed Benes returns on the art chores this issue, and he hasn’t missed a beat. He draws some tough-looking women, and although he tends to lapse into cheesecake artwork at times, he has strong, dynamic poses. Vixen and Huntress each get suitable ferocious looks on their faces when necessary. There’s also your standard fight scene in the rain, which he handles well, and the whole thing wraps up with a tidy little cliffhanger.

As one of the few bat-universe titles to escape the upcoming “War Crimes” crossover, Simone is instead going bi-weekly for this story arc, dishing up twice the Birds of Prey every month. It’s one of the few books out there that’s really worth it, although it’ll be easier on the pocketbook when it goes back to a regular schedule. This storyline is shaping up nicely, though, and it’ll be fun to see where it goes.

Rating: 8/10

Adventure Comics #527

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

August 22, 2011

Title: A Comet’s Tale

Writer: Paul Levitz
Pencils:
Geraldo Borges
Inks:
Marlo Alquiza
Colorist:
Hi-Fi
Letterer:
John J. Hill
Cover Artist:
Eduardo Pansica, Eber Ferreira
Editor:
Brian Cunningham
Publisher:
DC Comics

As the Legion Academy continues its training, Comet Queen shares her origin with Glorith. Where did she come from? Why isn’t this her first time at the Academy? And what’s her strange connection to Bouncing Boy?

Paul Levitz, once again, shows a real knack for coming up with intriguing characters. Comet Queen isn’t your usual Legionnaire by any stretch of the imagination. She’s one of these superheroes who comes from a culture that grew up with superheroes – the Legionnaires (particularly Bouncing Boy) were her childhood heroes, and the events that led up to her gaining her powers aren’t at all the sort of thing we see from most Legionnaires. Her motivations set her apart immediately, and what happened to put her back into the Academy immediately spins the story from somewhat comic to somewhat tragic in just a few panels.

Geraldo Borges does good work here on the future, running with the designs Phil Jimenez whipped up for these characters. I think he may be the first artist to really get across just how alien Comet Queen is – a non-human facial structure, a slightly different body type… other artists made it look like she was simply a human whose powers made her look the way she did. This issue makes it clear she was never human to begin with.

Very nice spotlight on a character who just got a lot more interesting.

Rating: 7/10