Daredevil #8 Review

by Nick Walden, CMRO Contributing Writer

Daredevil

Issue #8

Written by Mark Waid, Art by Kano

Published: March 2012

Crossovers can be good or bad. One thing that annoys me is when I don’t know it is happening and pick  up the 2nd half of a two part series; like I did with this month’s Daredevil book. But buying another book it not something I shy away from so I grabbed the Amazing Spider-Man #677 to get on board with the whole story. That was a good move on my part. The crossover is called ‘The Devil and the Details’ and the first part in Spider-man was excellent. I highly recommend picking up that book. But, Waid did a really good job with this Daredevil book that after the first few pages you can start to figure out what is going on. It is not a pure stand-alone but still does well in that aspect.

So for the two-part we switch to Matt’s perspective after being upfront in Spidey’s during his book. Now in this book Spidey is more of DD’s flunky which is pretty appropriate since it is his book. But it was nice to have someone for some good banter moments. I tried to ignore any storyline inconsistencies tied to older books and arcs and just accept this story as a fresh start for these two working together.

The only downside was another new artist on the books with Kano doing the pencils. Honestly Kano’s work is very similar to Rivera and Martin. It keeps a nice level of consistency but at the same time I just like artists to stay put. A pet peeve of mine. But overall this is another great story and having Spider- Man and Black Cat making a strange love triangle offers fun options for the future. Just like the first seven books in this series, this issue is another must by for the comic fan.

New Mutants #35 Review (Regenesis)

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

New Mutants

Issue #35

Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, Art by David Lopez

Published: February 2012

Not only are the New Mutants like the teenage X-Men, but the series seems written to appeal to a younger audience as well. In issue #35, the team is still on the hunt for the missing mutant Blink, following a trail of “natural” disasters. The team catches up with her just in time to join her on her mission to root out the cause of the disasters. The suspects? A rock band named Diskhord.

I should preface this by saying that I’m not the biggest fan of the series. I have a deep love for the X-Men, which more or less extends throughout the entire universe, but New Mutants is far from one of my favorite titles. That isn’t to say I don’t have fun with it.

This issue moves a little too quickly for its own good, proven by the fact that they just up and skipped an entire fight scene. It’s more than a little ridiculous. The New Mutants start to throw down, we get an exciting four pages, and then it literally flashes forward to the aftermath. It’s such an odd choice that I’m not even willing to call it lazy. It feels deliberate, but to what end, I have no idea. But it definitely takes what was already a mediocre issue and completely ruins it, cheating us out of a third act and fast forwarding straight to the cliffhanger. Building up to a climax and then skipping over it entirely is kind of a big deal.

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning definitely get points in the creative department for thinking up a rock band with weather-controlling powers. But this issue is just ill-conceived. I can understand that maybe the writers wanted to save the big showdown for later on in the arc, but then why not avoid it entirely rather than having it happen off screen? New Mutants #35 was a bad execution of a bad idea.

Wolverine / Gambit: Victims #1 Review

by Andrew Hurst, CMRO Contributing Writer

Wolverine / Gamgit: Victims

Issue #1

Written by Jeph Loeb, Art by Tim Sale

Published: September 1995

In the mid-1990s few comic book characters were more popular than Wolverine and Gambit and even fewer of the industries blossoming creators were as hot as Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. Though, regardless of the decade, Loeb and Sale offer a timeless gem that has been shadowed by the now legendary duo’s resume.

Set in modern day London, a Jack the Ripper copycat is loose, reprising the ancient murderer’s original modus operandi. When Gambit discovers the latest victim to be an old friend, he wastes little time tracking down a suspect: Wolverine.

The classic murder mystery would go on to be Loeb and Sale’s bread and butter with Loeb’s cleverly crafted tales and Sale’s noir-like stylized art, but Victims isn’t exactly the “who done it” that you might expect after reading the duo’s Batman: The Long Halloween. These three issues are more like a fun action romp across London, complete with sarcastic quips and banter between the two main characters. I actually really appreciated how humorous the script was given the very dark tone over the three issues.

The Jake the Ripper theme kicks off right from the first page, but, thankfully, the story isn’t over saturated by a cheap 19th century metaphor. Loeb never attempts to make Holmes and Watson out of LeBeau and Logan, sticking closely to the great personalities that make these X-Men favorites. And the elevated amount of narration — which I’m personally not a fan of usually — adds a mystery novel taste that is very welcome.

Tim Sale shines as bright as ever with his adrenaline and attitude injected character designs and odd panel structures. The way he invokes a specific emotion with only a blank page and a single panel off in the corner has not gone unstudied by today’s generation of artists.

Though Wolverine & Gambit: Victims is not Loeb and Sale’s most brilliant mystery, it’s certainly a great three issues of X-Men. The book offers plenty of well-placed exposition for readers new to either of these characters, and is a great go-to comic for new or old fans. This is a comic that has a place for any reader’s collection.

Amazing Spider-Man #676 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Amazing Spider-Man

Issue #676

Written by Dan Slott, Art by Humberto Ramos

Published: February 2012

From what little I’ve read of Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man, I like it, I really do. Which is why issue #676, an apparent one-off titled The Sinister Six in Tomorrow the World, is so disappointing. The first mistake? No Spider-Man. Now, I do think it’s possible to write an issue in which the titular character doesn’t appear. It’s been done before and it can work. But it’s a gamble, and here, it just didn’t pay off. Spider-Man’s presence is sorely missed. Mysterio makes plenty of wisecracks in his absence, but it’s just not the same.

There’s a real pulp-horror vibe to a lot of it, especially with Doc Ock and the dialogue, but at some point it just becomes too much. It would have worked better if Slott had made the pulp-ish content exclusive to one or two of the villains – of which there are a lot in this issue –  but instead you get a bunch of different characters speaking the same way and it just doesn’t work.

Humberto Ramos’s pencils are top notch, and even though I dislike Doc Ock’s new design, Ramos still makes everything a lot of fun to look at. His work on M.O.D.O.K. in particular is fantastic. He took a character with a very far-fetched design and makes him look incredibly menacing. I don’t know if I’ve ever taken M.O.D.O.K. seriously before now.

At the risk of sound naive, I don’t know if one-off issues really work in comics – at least in standard 22-ish page issues. It’s just not enough space to tell a complete story of any real significance, and they’re often relegated to this light, fun, and ultimate fluff tales. I don’t doubt that Amazing Spider-Man #676 is setting up something down the road, but that something is probably just the resurgence of the Sinister Six, something that could’ve benefited more from an actual story arc than a supervillain battle royale.

Huntress #4 Review

by Lindsay Young, CMRO Contributing Writer

Huntress

Issue #4

Written by Paul Levitz, Art by Marcus To

Published: March 2012

Things are really starting to pick up in Huntress. Not that the series was slow or even uneventful before, but the time has come at last for Helena to well and truly demolish one of the scumbags we actually care about. This week, our titular heroine infiltrates the ship belonging to Moretti (the aforementioned scumbag), deftly taking out a host of goons and delivering swift (and unexpected) justice in cool, confident style.

As usual, Huntress has a great mix of action and suspense, developed mostly through Helena scouting out the territory, going over strategies in her head, and sneaking around before striking. This week, not only do we get the payoff of a confrontation between one of the major villains – The Chairman, our recently introduced Main Baddie, escapes unscathed for now – but we also get some fun character moments with Helena and her contacts, Christina and Alessandro, whose friendships continue to develop. They make a good support system for our heroine, and it’s nice to have some more positive characters around so that the utter villainy of the human traffickers doesn’t make the reader want to give up on all humanity.

My major – and only, really – issue with the series is just how boring the villains are. They’re pure evil, plain and simple, and every word out of their mouths only serves to re-establish their supreme lack of souls. The issue tries to pass it off as a result of their oppressive culture (with them as the uncaring oppressors of women) but it comes off as rather one-note. They’re just not very interesting. The irony of a lady hero swooping in to hand their asses to them is some fun irony, but that’s about where it ends.

Still, I can live without an interesting villain if the hero makes up for it, and Huntress continues to be absolutely worth the read.

CMRO Update (01/25/2012)

Added

Magneto: Not a Hero #2 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Magneto: Not a Hero

Issue #2

Written by Skottie Young, Art by Clay Mann

Published: February 2012

I’m just going to come right out and say it: Magneto is one of the best comic book characters of all time. Granted, I’m a big X-Men fan, so I’m biased, but I think a lot of comic fans would agree with me. He’s somehow been portrayed as a villain, hero, and antihero, all while maintaining the same morals and goals. He’s just that smart of a character. To my knowledge, Magneto has never headlined an ongoing series, just a smattering of miniseries, which is practically a crime against humanity. Magneto: Not a Hero is further proof that the character has what it takes to carry his own title.

Magneto, now working with the X-Men, is having trouble being accepted by the public. It certainly doesn’t help matters when someone masquerading as him attacks an anti-mutant rally, murdering forty people. Magneto sets off to find the truth and clear his name. At the end of issue #1, he finds his doppleganger – his formerly-dead clone, Joseph.

Issue #2 explains Joseph’s reemergence with a quick flashback and promptly returns us to Magneto, who fearlessly walks into the hornets’ nest. Skottie Young’s writing on Not a Hero has been fantastic and razor sharp. He handles both the serious and the funny expertly. I’ve chuckled more than a few times over the past two issues and Magneto’s confrontation with Joseph is gripping. I love rooting for the guy, which is something I don’t get to do often. Having Joseph in their is a stroke of genius. At first I was very skeptical. After all, Joseph is a product of the ridiculously convoluted X-Men of the nineties. But in Not a Hero, he’s used wonderfully, as he’s literally a clone of the Magneto of old; we get to see Erik come face to face with his former self.

As much as I don’t want this four-issues miniseries to end, I’m excited to see how it concludes. For X-Men fans – especially those who have been around for a while and are familiar with Magneto – this series is a must-read.