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Posts Tagged ‘Nathan Fairbairn’

Batman Incorporated (2012) #1

July 31, 2012 Leave a comment

June 10, 2012

Title: Leviathan Part One: Demon Star

Writer: Grant Morrison
Art:
Chris Burnham
Letters:
Patrick Brosseau
Colors:
Nathan Fairbairn
Cover Art:
Chris Burnham
Editor:
Mike Marts
Publisher:
DC Comics

Returning for what promises to be the finale of his Batman run, Grant Morrison kicks off the second volume of Batman Incorporated with a pretty startling story. Talia Head’s Leviathan is growing in power, attacking on several fronts, targeting members of Batman, Inc. and bringing the conflict straight to the doorstep of the Dark Knight.

This issue is surprising on several fronts. Morrison has wasted absolutely no time getting into the heat of the moment, starting us in the midst of the action with several attacks already executed and several battles already over and done. The energy here is about as high as it’s ever been during Morrison’s tenure with the Bat.

This is a New 52 title, but aside from a few cosmetic changes it doesn’t appear that Morrison has been forced to make too many concessions for the sake of setting it in the changed world. Bruce and Damian are still Batman and Robin, Dick was Batman for a time in the not-too-distant past, and the assorted members of Batman, Inc. are virtually untouched… even Batwing, who now stars in his own solo title. This is basically a good thing. Morrison had quite a momentum built up, and the lapse since the previous Leviathan Strikes one-shot may actually have served to help keep the pace brisk. The differences in the New 52 have all been suitably explored in the other titles and there’s no pressure to do so here.

Chris Burnham came into the previous series rather late in the game, but he’s making it is how. His style is influenced somewhat by frequent Morrison collaborator Frank Quitely, but not so much as to deem him a copycat. He’s drawing a classic Batman and a strong Damian, with the more monstrous characters depicted in a fashion that feels very consistent with what’s been done in the past.

The end of this issue, of course, is the real shocker, and if it were anybody but Morrison behind the wheel I’d be virtually certain there’s a stunt in the works to reverse what we seem to see on the last page. There still could be, of course, Morrison could be playing his own game, but from him it does feel more organic and less forced than it would be in many titles.

All in all, this issue stands as a fine beginning to a final act.

Rating: 8/10

Annihilators #4

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

October 8, 2011

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Pencils:
Tan Eng Huat & Timothy Green II
Inks:
Victor Olazaba
Colorist:
June Chung & Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer:
Joe Caramagna & Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist:
Alex Garner
Editor:
Bill Rosemann
Publisher:
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

Mystic (2011 Series) #2

October 7, 2011 Leave a comment

October 6, 2011

Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Pencils:
David Lopez
Inks:
Alvaro Lopez
Colorist:
Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer:
Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artist:
Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts
Editor:
Jeanine Schaefer
Publisher:
Marvel Comics/CrossGen

Sucks to be Genevive right now. She’s always wanted to move up from her humble status as a maid and join the ranks of the apprentice magicians. But not only was Genevive not chosen, her friend Giselle was. As Giselle tries to deal with snooty, uptight apprentices that don’t think she belongs in the academy, Genevive finds herself falling in with a group that is firmly opposed to the magical academy, planning a resistance movement. Both girls are in places they never wanted to be, neither of them are happy, and Wilson is doing a fine job of milking the drama out of the situation. This book really has left the original Mystic series far behind, staking a claim as its own entity and making a damn strong case for anybody who wants to follow it. This is a clever world, one that has a similar flavor to many other fantasy realms, but at the same time, presents us with a unique set of circumstances. David Lopez and Albaro Lopez are doing wonderful work on the artwork, with pages that almost look like still animation frames captured for the comic book. And as always, an Amanda Conner cover is one of the best enhancements any comic could have. Out of the resurrected CrossGen titles, I think this is probably the best one so far.

Rating: 8/10

Annihilation: Conquest-Starlord #1

July 6, 2011 Leave a comment

July 23, 2007

Quick Rating: Very Good
Rating: T+

Starlord is sent to fight the Phalanx – but he isn’t alone.

Writer: Keith Giffen
Pencils: Timothy Green II
Inks: Victor Olazaba
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: Rus Wooton
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Cover Art: Nic Klein
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Held in Kree custody, the man once called Starlord is offered a second chance to save the universe. The Phalanx – the living technological virus that is conquering the Kree Emire – is constructing a series of viral bombs to help expedite their conquest of the galaxy. Starlord is being outfitted with a crew for one express purpose – get down-and-dirty, without any electronics for the Phalanx to infiltrate – and take out the bomb system before it goes online.

One of the best things about Annihilation has been the way the writers have been allowed to revitalize defunct or stagnant cosmic characters. Although Starlord may be the star, this book is giving Giffen the chance to jumpstart an entire team of defunct cosmic (and semi-cosmic) characters. By the time we get to the last page, the team of C- and D-listers assembled… well, it’s almost like looking at the Great Lakes Initiative, except this book isn’t quite as tongue-in-cheek. There’s still a degree of humor to it, a few chances for the creators to wink at the camera and say, “Can you believe these are the bozos who are going to save the universe?”, but somehow, it works. Giffen is amazing that way.

The art team, including Green, Olazaba and Fairbairn, is pretty new to me, but for the most part they do a good job. The look of the issue reminds me of some of the European sci-fi comics I’ve seen — it doesn’t exactly have the look of a superhero title, but it does do a good job of telling the story in a science fiction context, and that’s more important to this book.

So with this, the final Conquest lead-in, underway, I think it’s safe to say this next cosmic event is off to a pretty good start.

Rating: 8/10

Batman, Incorporated #6

June 9, 2011 Leave a comment

May 31, 2011

Title: Nyktomorph                                                                                            

Writer: Grant Morrison
Art:
Chris Burnham
Colorist:
Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer:
Pat Brosseau
Cover:
Chris Burnham
Editor:
Mike Marts                           
Publisher:
DC Comics

Ever since his return from the “dead,” Bruce Wayne has had a new mission: recruiting operatives from all over the world to be part of his new Batman, Inc. In this issue, as the search continues, Bruce assembles his most trusted operatives to tell the truth about his new mission. Batman Incorporated isn’t just a peacekeeping force – it’s an army, and he’s preparing them to fight a very specific threat. This issue is a lot of fun. It brings together the entire extended Batman family, it introduces still more of these new international Batmen, and fans of the Cassandra Cain Batgirl have cause to rejoice – she’s back, she’s part of the team again, and she’s got a brand-new name (since Stephanie Brown is using “Batgirl” these days). There’s a ton of stuff to like here. The inclusion of unlikely (but highly deserving) operatives like Catwoman and Commissioner Gordon  as legitimate members of Batman, Inc. is surprising, and makes for a nice nod to the importance of these characters to Bruce. There’s a really nice bit with Bruce throwing the conspiracy theorists off his trail (a gentle poke at the internet, I suppose) and it’s always fun to see Bruce with his sons again. Chris Burnham is a very good choice to take over the art chores for this arc. His style is similar enough to Frank Quitely’s to feel appropriate but has a different sort of energy to it. He mimics the form, but the feel is more classic, and that’s really cool. This issue was one of the most entertaining Batman books I’ve read in quite a while.

Rating: 8/10

Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #1

January 25, 2011 Leave a comment

May 13, 2008

Quick Rating: Great
Title: Somebody’s Got To Do It
Rating: T+

In the wake of Annihilation, Star Lord decides it’s time for a new team of heroes!

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Pencils: Paul Pelletier
Inks: Rick Magyar
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Cover Art: Clint Langley
Publisher: Marvel Comics

In the wake of the first Annihilation, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning took Nova, a concept from the 70s that enjoyed brief popularity in the early 90s but has since stagnated, and made it one of the best books in Marvel’s stable. Now, following Annihilation: Conquest, lightning has struck twice.

Having saved the universe from the Annihilation Wave, then again from the Phalanx, Star Lord decides that perhaps what is needed is a group to head off that sort of disaster before it can happen. Rounding up many of the heroes involved in the destruction of Ultron, Nova leads the new team to the place called Knowhere, and their first mission.

In most team books these days, it seems like it takes six issues – or more – just to get the entire cast to show up. When you’ve got two major crossover events behind you, though, you don’t need to muck about like that. Not only do we get the entire team formation in this issue (complete with the decision to create the team, invitations, locating a headquarters and even one rejection), we get their entire first mission (spaceships, mondo explosions, and lots of funny dialogue), the promise of a link to the team’s legacy, and even a nasty little portent of things to come. I feel like I’ve read ten months of a comic book all in 22 action-packed pages.

And if some of the best storytelling in comics isn’t enough to entice you, how about some of the best art? Paul Pelletier does sci-fi superheroes better than just about anyone in the business. His style is deliciously old-school (by which I mean “straightforward, clean and energetic”), and combined with modern coloring techniques, it has never looked better.

After just one issue, I’m ready to ask Nova and Incredible Hercules to make over and room for this one on the “Marvel’s Best” list. I absolutely loved this comic.

Rating: 9/10

Knight and Squire #1

November 4, 2010 Leave a comment

November 4, 2010

Title: For Six Part One
Writer:
Paul Cornell
Art:
Jimmy Broxton
Colorist:
Guy Major
Letterer:
Steve Wands
Cover:
Yanick Paquette, Michael Lacombe & Nathan Fairbairn
Editor:
Janelle Siegel
Publisher:
DC Comics

With Batman about to go international, this seems like the perfect time for England’s own dynamic duo to get their own limited series. However, if you’re looking for any sort of hardcore crime drama or intense detective work in a British setting, look elsewhere. In this series by Paul Cornell, the emphasis is on the fun.

This first issue issue is set in the world-famous “The Time in a Bottle,” a little pub that plays host for both the heroes and villains of Britain (plus any international heroes who happen to pop in, such as the Justice Society’s Wildcat). As Knight throws back a few with the likes of the Milkman, Death Dinosaur, and Jarvis Poker (the British Joker), Squire takes a young man called the Shrike on a tour of the place, where he gets to see both the heroes and villains of the British Empire, giving him something to think about when it comes to choosing sides.

Cornell really loads this issue down with new characters, which isn’t surprising, as one of his stated goals with this series is to really expand the roster of DC Universe characters based in the United Kingdom. The only weakness here is that a few pages tend to drift into the roll call territory, where we’re summarily introduced to lots of characters who don’t really factor into the plot of this first issue. That’s a danger any time you’re attempting to fill up on new characters in a big dump. A few of them get some nice exposition, but most are just quick one or two panel introductions, then they’re gone.

Fortunately, that one flaw does play into the book’s strength, which is that Cornell is obviously having a great time writing it. He really gives the book an authentically British feel, with the comedy stemming from that dry place most great British comedy comes from. He even gives us a page at the end helping we American readers understand some of the more quintessentially British references throughout the book. Jimmy Broxton has a ton of character designs to handle here, and he successfully evokes a number of different time periods and superhero types. (We don’t get any backstory about Faceoff, but if he’s not a product of the 90s I’ll eat my hat. As soon as I start wearing a hat.)

I’ve become quite a fan of Cornell’s this year, and I have no doubt his work will make me a bigger fan in the future.

Rating: 8/10