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Posts Tagged ‘Joey Cavalieri’

The Monolith #2

June 5, 2012 Leave a comment

February 28, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Down in a Hole (Heart of Stone Part Two)

Princeton wants Alice and Tilt – and more secrets of the past are unearthed.

Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Art: Phil Winslade
Colors: Chris Chuckry
Letters: Phil Balsman
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover Art: Phil Winslade
Publisher: DC Comics

Last issue Alice Cohen inherited the dusty old home of her grandmother only to learn that a creature, a powerful Golem, was walled up in the basement. This issue, she reads more of her grandmother’s diary, unearthing more of this fantastic creature’s origin. What she doesn’t know is that her drug dealer Princeton is after her and her best friend, Tilt, and he’s not coming for a friendly visit.

This is a good issue, but not as good as last month’s premiere. We open up with some scenes from the early career of the Monolith, which lets us know how his life really began, but doesn’t give us a tremendous amount of insight. The same goes for the present-day sequences. Last issue the thugs from Alice’s past resolved to go after her, and this issue they do so. It advances the plot, but not as much as one would like, and it’s hard to resist the temptation to compare this to the “decompressed” storytelling we see in books like Ultimate Spider-Man.

The characters are very interesting — Alice is by no means a standard protagonist for a superhero title, and the existence of the creature has the potential to make the most original superhero comic book in a very long time. It just feels like it’s taking us quite some time to get there, and I hope that the book manages to hold its readers long enough to reach the payoff.

Phil Winslade is great for this book. Alice has a look unlike pretty much any other character in comics, although if she doesn’t change those distinctive clothes of hers pretty soon they’re going to get kind of ripe. Visually, every scene works well, from the Golem’s eyes glowing in the shadows to Alice getting sick in the kitchen as she suffers withdrawl symptoms.

It’s also a brave choice to make our star a junkie going through withdrawl. While that’s not even a little unique in fiction, or even in comic books, it gives this book a real feel of someone who’s at the end of her rope, struggling to pull things together, and finding a giant man made of clay inhabited by the soul of her dead grandmother’s lover walled up in her basement doesn’t make things easier on her.

This is really an unusual title for DC Comics, and it’s one I find I’m quite interested in. It’ll be interesting to see if it can keep its momentum going.

Rating: 7/10

[2012 Note: The book did, most certainly, find its stride, and although it only lasted 12 issues, it’s one of those books that has gone down as an under appreciated classic. Image Comics is producing a hardcover of the first four issues, currently available for preorder. Go. Preorder it.]

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

Blood of the Demon #2

December 6, 2011 Leave a comment

April 4, 2005

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Hunters

Jason and Etrigan strike an uneasy truce.

Plot: John Byrne
Script: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: John Byrne
Inks: Nekros
Colors: Alex Bleyaert
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover Art: John Byrne
Publisher: DC Comics

The new status quo for Jason Blood and the Demon is established this issue, and while it’s not what I expected, it’s an interesting take nonetheless. Last issue, Etrigan was fully unleashed in the midst of an arcane ritual to bring an “Elder God” to Earth. This issue the demon revels in his freedom as he does battle with the creature, only to find a new obstacle he didn’t expect.

I’m not entirely sure what I think of this new arrangement. It reminds me quite a bit of another DC hero (and I can’t say more without spoiling it) but it may be a bit more interesting in this case, as our two main characters have often been at odds – Jason’s heroic tendencies clashing with Etrigan’s basic evil nature. That part of the arrangement, at least, seems to have remained intact, and I think that’s important to keep. Although I’ve got to do on record as one of the people who misses the rhyming Etrigan – he never feels quite right if he’s not rhyming to me.

This is a heavy action issue, but we also get some development and some additions to our supporting cast, whom I suspect will be rather important to this series – some of them in a “support crew” kind of way and some in an adversarial “Jean Valjean” way. Both of these have a lot of potential for this series.

Byrne seems to have a lot of fun with the artwork in this issue, particularly with the rather Lovecraftian “Elder God” that gives us our Maguffin. He has an interesting take on Etrigan himself as well, making him look more beaten up, more weathered than most interpretations of the character.

Like the first issue, I feel like this is a solid start to relaunch the character. It’s interesting – not so long ago I remember reading an interview with Byrne where he said he had no jobs lined up after he finished Superman/Batman: Generations 3. Between this, Doom Patrol and his return to Action Comics, he’s not hurting for work anytime soon.

Rating: 8/10

Shadowpact #5

September 16, 2011 Leave a comment

September 18, 2006

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: One Year Later

The Shadowpact return to the world – and see that it’s moved on without them.

Writer: Bill Willingham
Pencils: Steve Scott
Inks: Wayne Faucher
Colors: Mike Atiyeh
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover Art: Steve Scott
Publisher: DC Comics

With issue five, Shadowpact has caught up with the rest of the DC Universe in its “One Year Later” status. While I enjoyed the opening story arc, I think that synching the series up with the rest of the DCU will make it a better read for the public at large, and that’s quite a good thing.

After being trapped in the Blood Dome for a few days (by their perceptions) and a year (to the outside world), the Shadowpact emerges to find that they’ve become martyrs to the public at large, but many of their friends and associates abandoned them for dead. Apartments are filled with other occupants, jobs are lost, and (horror of horrors) there’s a new boss at Nightmaster’s Oblivion Bar and Inn.

We also meet a new villain this issue, one that (I’m pretty sure) hasn’t shown up in the DC Universe before, but that has very strong ties to the world. We also get hints about the real threat this incarnation of the team was assembled to thwart. The concept is good and I’m interested in seeing where Willingham is going to go with it. This issue is full of his trademark wit. The writing is as sharp as ever, and the way perceptions of the Shadowpact have changed really makes for an interesting story.

Steve Scott does this issue’s art, and he does a great job. I’m still sorry that Willingham’s run was so short, but Scott’s a fine choice to fill his shoes. He’s got a pretty big cast, much larger than just the team, and he makes each character strong and distinctive.

I can understand that the first arc may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but hopefully they’ll give it another chance, because this issue goes a long way towards making the story more accessible for regular DC readers.

Rating: 8/10

Animal Man (2011 Series) #1

September 14, 2011 Leave a comment

September 12, 2011

Title: The Hunt Part One: Warning From the Red

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Pencils:
Travel Foreman
Inks:
Travel Foreman & Dan Green
Colorist:
Lovern Kindzierski
Letterer:
Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artist:
Travel Foreman
Editor:
Joey Cavalieri
Publisher:
DC Comics

Animal Man is one of those characters that has a truly devoted, if very small, fan base. Not everybody knows him, but those that do love him. This issue will make it clear why. The sometimes-superhero is called to action when a man attacks a local hospital, grief-stricken over the loss of his daughter. Buddy Baker, Animal Man, feels sympathy for the man, but knows he has to stop him before he hurts an innocent person. The action is quick and very much keeping with the character… and as is often the case with books like this, it opens the door to real horror.

I couldn’t have thought of a better writer for this title than Jeff Lemire. Something about his other titles, the sort of blend of fear and sympathy that pervades Sweet Tooth for example, feels like the absolute perfect match for Buddy Baker. I also love the way he’s really making this book about Buddy’s daughter, Maxine. She’s clearly inherited abilities from her father, but what those abilities are remain to be seen. If the last page of this issue is any indication, they’re going to take us someplace truly bizarre.

I like Travel Foreman’s artwork here. He’s definitely not your standard superhero artist, and like Lemire his work brings a blend of horror into the book. The one thing I really don’t like for, though, is Animal Man’s costume. It looks terribly bland, and considering how quickly he takes off the headband thingie, I’m not sure why he even bothers (since it looks better without it anyway).

That’s hardly a reason to pass on a book as good as this one, though.

Rating: 8/10

The Flash (1987 Series) #211

September 11, 2011 Leave a comment

June 18, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Animal House

It’s Flash and Nightwing together against the might of Gorilla Grodd!

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Howard Porter
Inks: Livesay
Colors: James Sinclair
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover Art: Michael Turner & Peter Steigerwald
Publisher: DC Comics

Last issue the Flash and Nightwing walked straight into Grodd’s lair in the Flash Museum. This issue picks up a few seconds and a ton of rubble later, as Grodd lays into the two ex-Titans and best friends. Johns does one of his best fight scenes yet in the series, utilizing Flash’s powers to a degree he doesn’t normally attain, something that’s sure to stir up a new round of debate over in the Comixtreme Arena.

The aftermath of the fight may seem a little corny to some, but to me it felt like it fit perfectly. It’s very reverential, very much what this title is all about, the legacy of the Flash.

Johns uses the rest of the issue setting things up for what promises to be the next major storyline, which if this issue is any indication, will hearken back to one of the most memorable tales of Barry Allen’s career. It seems like every issue of Flash these days ends exactly the same way – leaving me in agony waiting for the next one.

Howard Porter does a great Grodd. It’s just not easy to draw a giant gorilla tearing apart a museum without it looking silly, but this is a deadly serious fight and a brutal, vicious Grodd. The entire art team, including Livesay and Sinclair, deserve credit for tackling the task of putting together the Flash, one of the brightest heroes of the DCU, with the much darker Nightwing. While not as dark as his mentor, Nightwing is still a character that usually keeps to the shadows, and continues to do so in this issue, while Flash still gets to be bright and colorful and symbolic, everything a hero should be.

Michael Turner and Peter Steigerwald, who are currently turning out some of the best looking DC covers every month, also do a fantastic job this issue, with a beautiful, iconic cover. I have to complain, though, that the logo obscures a bit too much of the art, and since the whole thing is against a black field I can’t help but think that the artwork could have been moved further down to get more of it in view. I also have to be consistent here and point out that it’s a cover that, like far too many covers these days, bears absolutely no significance to the story… but man, when the cover is that pretty, how can you make yourself complain?

I love this book. Every month, I love this book all over again. Geoff Johns has found a way to make this title one of the best DCU books of the 2000s just as Mark Waid made it one of the best of the 90s, and I keep waiting to see the sales of this book rise to the level they deserve.

Rating: 8/10

 

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #192

September 4, 2011 Leave a comment

June 7, 2005

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Drift (Snow Part One)

A young Victor Fries begins a frantic race to save his wife.

Writers: J.H. Williams III & Dan Curtis Johnson
Art: Seth Fisher
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Phil Balsman
Editor: Joey Cavalieri, Harvey Richards & Andy Helfer
Cover Art: Seth Fisher
Publisher: DC Comics

I’d heard somewhere that the focus of this title had shifted to contemporary in-continuity stories, but clearly that isn’t the case. This first issue of a new arc takes place in an early era for the Batman – there’s no Robin, Harvey Dent has not yet become Two-Face, and a brilliant scientist named Victor Fries has jus learned that his wife has a terminal disease.

It’s a bit too early to say for certain, but it seems clear that this storyline, “Snow,” is intended to be a retelling of the origin of Mr. Freeze. His wife is dying and he’s desperate to save her. Batman, meanwhile, is still taking the occasional beating, but is strong enough to keep searching for clues to take down a mobster with the unofficial help of Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent. With two allies bound by the law, however, Batman starts to realize that perhaps he needs operatives of a different sort.

This is a nice twist for an early Batman. It seems like every great detective and adventurer in fiction, from Sherlock Holmes to Doc Savage, has assembled a loose team of operatives to help in their personal quests, and while Batman will, of course, put together his “family” later, it seems inevitable that he’d want other operatives with their own specialties. It’s a logical idea and I’m rather surprised that no one has ever jumped into it before.

Seth Fisher, with Dave Stewart on the colors, does an impressive job with the artwork. He has a clean, light style that reminds me somewhat of Scott Kolins, which may be a little too sparse for a Batman story, but it’s helped a lot through the colors. The close-ups of the mask look very good as well. There is one panel, however, that totally wrenches me out of the story, where smoke literally starts pouring out of James Gordon’s ears like he was a Looney Tunes character. Fisher, man, what was that about?

Overall, it’s an interesting read, but not really an essential one.

Rating: 7/10