Posts Tagged ‘Matt Idelson’

Kinetic #2

July 19, 2012 Leave a comment

April 24, 2004

Quick Rating: Average
Title: Crash

Tom Morell is just instants away from death… or is he?

Writer: Kelley Puckett
Artist: Warren Pleece
Colors: Brian Haberlin
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Tomer Hanuka
Publisher: DC Focus

I’ll be up front with you guys, this is not going to be a very detailed review, because the things that happen in this issue are so bizarre that it’s almost impossible to talk about them without spoiling them. At the end of last issue, frail, sickly Tom Morrell was face-to-face with the grill of a speeding mack truck. He still is when this issue opens. In fact, he still is for the first seven pages, which gives us the classic “life flashing before his eyes” sequence that fills in the gaps of Tom’s life, illuminating his relationship with his mother more than anything else. What happens after that sequence though… I just can’t say because it gets too weird. By the end of the issue you are still left with absolutely no idea what’s going on.

Often, this is a good thing. Anything that makes you anxious to read the next issue of a comic book is generally a point in that comic’s favor. This comic gets a little frustrating, though. In terms of pacing, this issue makes Ultimate Spider-Man look like a car at Daytona, and by the time you get to the major cliffhanger at the end of issue two, you can’t help but feel that this would have been the perfect place to end issue number one.

Warren Pleece’s art is pretty good, even totally saving one sequence that otherwise would have been totally incomprehensible if Pleece wasn’t able to make his faces sufficiently distinctive. The same old problem with the DC Focus titles lingers on, though – the same color palette and same lettering style in each title continue to hurt.

That’s really all that can be said about this issue without blowing the totally bizarre, out of left field twist it takes ten pages in or so. If you guys enjoy it, come back Wednesday when it lands in stores and try to explain it to me.

Rating: 5/10


Breach #1

March 20, 2012 Leave a comment

January 3, 2005

Quick Rating: Dull. Typical. Seen it all before.
Title: Otherside

A strange experiment transforms a good soldier.

Writer: Bob Harras
Pencils: Marcos Martin
Inks: Alvaro Lopez
Colors: Javier Rodriguez
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Marcos Martin
Publisher: DC Comics

On the whole, DC Comics deserves a lot of credit for trying out new properties these last few years. While they may not be tearing up the sales charts, books like The Monolith and Bloodhound are intriguing, clever takes on “typical” comic book subjects, and have made for some of the best comics out there that people aren’t reading. Contrast that, if you will, to their newest offering. If there is an original idea anywhere in Breach, I’ve got to break out the magnifying glass and forensics team to find it.

We start off nearly a year in the future, after some undefined disaster somewhere in Siberia, where a mysterious man in white and red with strange, vague powers has given up on humanity. Flash back, then to 1983, where our story begins. While planning for his son’s birthday, Major Tim Zanetti is also working on one of those top-secret military experiments that happen in comic books all the time. This of course causes one of those horrible accidents that wouldn’t have happened if Only We Hadn’t Decided to Play God, as happens in comic books all the time. Zanetti undergoes a horrible transformation and is put under sedation by the government – as happens in comic books all the time. Oh yes, and in case we didn’t catch the message, conveniently-placed news media reports in three different time periods remind us that the military is evil.

To be honest, I really can’t remember if I’ve ever read anything written by Bob Harras before. I know he was a bigwig at Marvel Comics for several years, but he fell off the radar after that before landing this property with DC. Unfortunately, it’s not much of an idea. I felt like I’ve read this story time and again – and usually better.

On the art side, Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez serve up a very satisfying package. They get called upon to draw a lot of high-tech, sci-fi gadgets, and do a good job of it, and their design for the mysterious figure at the beginning/in the future is actually quite good.

Still, the art isn’t enough to elevate an incredibly tired and overdone storyline. I don’t see this book finding an audience.

Rating: 3/10

Catwoman (2002 Series) #34

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

August 22, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Cold Hard Facts (War Games Act One Part Seven)

The Gang War threatens to engulf Gotham’s East End… and Catwoman’s not going to let that happen.

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Paul Gulacy
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti
Colors: Laurie Kronenberg
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Paul Gulacy & Jimmy Palmiotti
Publisher: DC Comics

“War Games” continues to impress with this issue, a major one in the storyline that again succeeds in telling part of the overall whole without losing the individual feel of the title. When the Gang War spreads to Gotham City’s East End, Catwoman’s area of town, she takes it upon herself to put the soldiers down before any innocent people get hurt. You see a lot of Catwoman’s methods in this issue, including a more brutal handling of some of the mobsters than Batman would likely approve of, plus a rundown of the rules by which she runs her section of town.

There are two more major sequences in the book – Catwoman speaks to Leslie Thompkins, the doctor who took Bruce Wayne in after his parents were murdered, and is astonished to find she blames herself for the violence engulfing the city. Leslie isn’t the only one carrying around culpability, though, and the end of this issue answers some of the major questions that have been shadowing this storyline since day one.

Gulacy’s artwork is in top form this issue, including a great car chase/shootout scene at the very beginning that works very well to show how tough a contender Catwoman really is. He does have some problems with scenes of Catwoman and an unexpected companion at the end once the two of them are out of their masks – he does a very good job of them in costume, posing, choreographing, but once the masks are off the faces are a bit too angular, too pointed, and don’t look quite natural.

Overall, a fine issue, and an important one. If you’re getting all of the War Games chapters, this issue will be waiting for you anyway. If you’re only planning to get some of the crossovers, though, rest assured, you need this issue. With the exception of last week’s Robin, it’s the biggest one yet.

Rating: 8/10

Batman: Gotham Knights #54

December 1, 2011 Leave a comment

May 12, 1004

Quick Rating: Fair
Title: Pushback Book Five

Green Arrow joins the hunt for Prometheus.

Writer: A.J. Lieberman
Pencils: Al Barrionuevo & Javier Pina
Inks: Francis Portela & Jimmy Palmiotti
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Lee Bermejo
Publisher: DC Comics

It’s interesting that the most frequent criticism of Lieberman’s writing on this title is that he doesn’t have a very good handle on The Joker, then he turns out an issue like this, which is basically a retelling of the Joker’s origin according to Alan Moore. The Joker has spent 12 years trying to find the man who murdered his wife, and now that the information is at his fingertips, he pauses to reflect on how he got where he is.

Which is really where the problem comes in – the Joker is simply not a reflective character. He’s never been the sort to pontificate about the past – he’s about the now, the chaos, the turmoil he can create in the present. Past and future have never help much import for him. If finding his wife’s murderer is so important to him, why has he spent the past twelve years creating smiling fish and trapping Batman in enormous jack-in-the-boxes? Reading the issue the way it’s written paints the Joker’s entire career up to this point is the comic book equivalent of O.J. looking for the real killers.

Again, I really like Barrionuevo’s artwork on this title – he does a great Batman and Robin and has a good handle on the villains, who are really the stars of the piece. He shares penciling duties with Javier Pina this issue, but their styles are either very similar or Pina has adapted his style to mesh with Barrionuevo’s, because the transitions are seamless. I really can’t tell where one artist departs and the other comes in.

Lieberman’s initial Gotham Knights arc has been pretty much average throughout. He’s got skill at certain things, but has chosen to focus this storyline on things he’s just not as good at. Hopefully after “Pushback” concludes next issue, he’ll shift the focus of the book back to the Batman family, because I think that will be his best chance to really shine.

Rating: 6/10

Batman: Death and the Maidens #9

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

June 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Great

The Demon’s Head is dead! Long live the Demon’s Head!

Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Klaus Janson
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Klaus Janson
Publisher: DC Comics

If you passed up on this title, thinking it was just another irrelevant Batman miniseries, you made a grave mistake. This is one of those rare miniseries events that actually makes a major, lasting change to the mythos of an iconic superhero. This title makes an enormous change to the world of Batman. Last issue, Ra’s Al Ghul engaged his daughter, Nyssa in a brutal fight to the death. This issue, the victor becomes clear, and although Rucka pretty much choreographed the ending of this issue before this miniseries even hit the stands, I won’t spoil it here.

Rucka is one of the best Batman writers in years, and it is only fitting that he cap off his tenure with the character with a serious shakeup and a chilling new threat. This is the sort of comic book that doesn’t come around every day, especially with long-running and well-established characters. It’s a comic that means something and changes things. He keeps his fine characterization of our heroes, like Batman and Alfred, and makes vast, logical changes to some other characters. Even Batman himself is changed by this miniseries, with the perspective of his relationship with his late parents altered. It’s a good, logical step, but unfortunately, I’m afraid it’s the sort of step that will be wiped out the next time someone wants to write a good “Batman brooding over his mother” issue.

Janson isn’t on top of his form this issue. The fight scenes work well and the cover is lovely, but he has some problems with anatomy, particularly a scene with Talia displaying proportions that would make a Barbie doll tip over laughing.

This has been a really great miniseries that hasn’t gotten very much attention since the initial push to launch it. People should have flocked to this one, because it has been a solid story and it’s one that leaves the playing field of Batman’s life very different than it was when it began. If you didn’t read this, getting the last issue won’t convey how powerful a story it was. Get the trade paperback.

Rating: 9/10

Catwoman (2002 Series) #30

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment

April 24, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: End of the Line

No more teasing – Catwoman and Zeiss go for blood!

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Paul Gulacy
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti
Colors: Laurie Kronenberg
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Paul Gulacy & Jimmy Palmiotti
Publisher: DC Comics

It’s been some time since Zeiss carved up Catwoman’s pal Slam Bradley, and Ed Brubaker has been dancing around the inevitable confrontation between the two characters ever since. Things finally come to a head in this issue in what amounts to almost a full-length fight scene, with the two of them tearing through Gotham City as they try to tear each other apart.

The book isn’t 100 percent action, though, as the fight scenes are punctuated by flashback sequences to the origin of the brutal killer Zeiss. Brubaker deserves credit here for recognizing something that not enough writers understand – if you need to give us some background information, a flashback sequence is always preferable to stilted expository dialogue that lurches us out of the scene.

Interestingly, last issue I was starting to get the feeling that this story arc was dragging on too long and hoping that this would be the conclusion. Instead, Brubaker sends us on a roller coaster to a last-page cliffhanger that has me anxious for the next issue.

While I can understand that Paul Gulacy’s artwork isn’t everyone’s favorite, I think he does a solid job on this title. There’s a lot of action in this issue, and more than a little blood. Gulacy does a fine job portraying each panel in mid-punch or halfway through a backflip. Close-ups of Zeiss with his freaky goggles are nice and creepy. The art isn’t perfect – the faces of some of the supporting characters look a little tacked-on and it took me a few panels to recognize Joe, one of Catwoman’s “agents,” in the nighttime colors of the scene. Overall, though, it’s a good looking comic.

This book walks a thin edge – part superhero, part action, part crime drama. Fortunately, these are all genres that Ed Brubaker handles very well. I didn’t jump onto the book at the same time he did, I’ve only been with it for six months or so, but they’ve been six solidly entertaining months. This is the most this title has had me anticipating the next issue yet, and that’s saying something.

Rating: 7/10

Demon Knights #1

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

September 23, 2011

Title: Seven Against the Dark

Writer: Paul Cornell
Diogenes Neves
Oclair Albert
Marcelo Maiolo
Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artist:
Tony Daniel & Tomeu Morey
Matt Idelson
DC Comics

In the days after the fall of Camelot, the mystical denizens of what would later become the DC Universe were scattered to the four winds. A woman calling herself the Questing Queen, with her ally Mordru by her side, is marching north conquering kingdom after kingdom. In the first issue of this New 52 series, a group of classic mystical characters are assembled in a really classic fashion to take a stand against her.

It’s funny, that word “classic.” There seems to be a very thin line between “classic” and “cliché,” and the biggest difference is whether or not the thing you’re talking about is cool. This book is cool enough to escape that “cliché” label, as writer Paul Cornell takes a page from every Dungeons and Dragons module ever written and has his tea assemble for the first time in a tavern, just in time to bond over a mission. And it’s quite the group he’s assembled here as well. We don’t realy get to see much of the mysterious Horsewoman yet, but old friends and foes like Jason Blood, Madame Xanadu, the Shining Knight (based, it seems on the Grant Morrison/Seven Soldiers redux version) and – in a surprise – Vandal Savage all make for an intriguing blend of hero and presumptive villain. It’s hard to imagine Vandal Savage truly being a hero, but in these centuries before he’s established his long-running rivalries with the DCU’s champions, he may accidentally wind up doing some good if he’s not careful.

Neves and Albert manage to draw a book with a very strong, very effective fantasy bent, while still mixing in plenty of the visuals and action we’ve come to expect from supeheroes. This is a title that can sit in either camp, but will definitely have some cross-genre appeal. Fans of fantasy who may not be so interested in the modern DCU will find something to like here, and fans of the New 52 looking for its origins will want to see how the universe started to come together.

Rating: 8/10