Professor Kyle’s New Comic Reviews 3-23-2011

Written on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 by Kyle posted by kyle

Warning: Spoilers Below

-Ultimate Spider Man #156

Things get hectic quickly in Ultimate Spider Man by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley. The original team that brought us Ultimate Spider Man takes it’s first steps to kill him when a surprisingly alive Norman Osborn escapes S.H.I.E.L.D. capture with five other former enemies of Spider Man’s. This and the Ultimates have to drop Peter Parker’s hero training to go fight a rogue Nick Fury and his black ops team in the crossover with the Ultimate Avengers vs the New Ultimates.

Bendis has carved out an excellent place for Peter Parker and the danger that surrounds his life in the Ultimate Universe. The opposite of that (in a good way) is the Life of Norman Osborn who seems to have lost even more of his grip on sanity and developed a God complex now that still allows him to fixate on killing Peter Parker and all of his other perceived enemies. It seems unlikely this will actually end with Peter Parker’s death, but time will tell.

Bagley shows why he is the definitive artist for Ultimate Spider Man, and not because of the amazing number of issues he’s done for it. In his page layouts and all out panic we see when something goes wrong for Spider Man despite his wearing a mask.

Grade A

-Batman: Streets of Gotham #21

Batman Streets of Gotham comes to a close with issue 21 by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen. In this issue we see Hush foiled not so much by the Batman but by seeds that Dini and others writing Batman have planted along the way. The villainous Jane Doe is actually the one to foil Hush in an attempt to steal ‘Bruce Wayne’s’ face and take advantage. This goes all the way back to earlier in the series when Hush used his disguise as Wayne to free her and make things tougher on Gotham. In the end Hush, Doe and all the other villains end up back behind bars, except Dr. Death, he makes a successful bleach-bomb escape.

Paul Dini’s best mark on the Batman comic universe has been his ability to create new or utilize old and forgotten villains. Here we have unpopular or unused villains like Dr. Death and Jane Doe working in the same story as Hush (who we will politely call a B level villain). In the end we get a series wrap up that also gives us a possible new face in the Gotham crime scene in Skel. Time will tell if anyone is clever enough to put this toys all back in play.

Nguyen’s art is always a welcome sight. The expressions and body language come through here amazingly well and the ending and changes everyone goes through are in great sync.

Grade A-

-Ultimate Doom #4
And the end of Ultimate Doom comes with issue four by Brian Michael Bendis and Rafa Sandoval. Here we see the now confirmed villainous Reed Richards taken on by the entire hero line up of the Ultimate Marve universe. The onslaught of the negative zone strong hold begins with Ben Grim confronting Richard followed by every standing hero available, and Dr. Octopus since he likes fighting science. In the end it comes down to Ocotopus, Spider Man and Rick Jones stealing a key part of Reed’s system that causes the fortress to break apart. In similar villainous fashion Reed refuses the good guys offer to save him and help him and disappears in the destruction.

The ending here is a good, if somewhat standard ending. For the three different series we had to go through things have definitely been changed but feels like a long journey for little outcome. In the end we have seen Reed now become a force of evil in the name of things going for the better, Ben Grim is now more human looking, Sue Storm and Ben are now a serious item, female spider clone Jessica Drew is now an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Dr. Octopus is in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, again. So maybe there has been changed sufficiently.

Sandoval’s art holds up really well in this issue with the large group fight scene’s. There are a few pages in here with a lot of people fighting a lot of other people and the detail are high quality. The detail there is on the same level of the more intense moments, which feels less common in some books. The darker scenes, with Spider Man and Dr. Octopus contain just as much intensity as Sue Storm hitting Reed with an invisible hammer while the Ultimates fight a horde of Negative Zone monsters.

Grade B

-DareDevil Reborn #3
We get the most action packed issue yet with DareDevil Reborn #3 by Andy Diggle and Davide Gianfelice. In this issue the main villain ‘Calavera’ finally comes on the scene, but not before another gun fight/ smoke filled brawl and a chase scene involving a shot up semi truck. The issue actually comes across far more interesting with the increased action of Matt Murdock fighting a bunch of normal men instead of super heroes or ninjas. The entrance of Calavera might actually take away from that since he seems to have a power to expose people to their guilt. After stunning Murdock with that he’s quick to shoot him in the head and dump him in the lake. This will balance in the next issue when we see Murdock rescued by the blind child he helped earlier and regains his confidence to stop Calavera and save the day. Or maybe I’m mistaken.

The action is a nice distraction, and Calavera’s power is a slight twist but this is still a very much told story from Diggle. While this is supposed to be about Murdock finding himself and trying to get away there is really no reason this story couldn’t also have happened in New York or anywhere else. Diversion’s aside, this story isn’t very new.

Gianfelice’s style is a little rougher than other artists, but it feels right for this story and setting. With scenes like gun fights in a smoky warehouse and an erratic car chase it ads a sense of danger and faster movement that helped add emphasis on the better scenes.

Grade C

-Osborn #4

Osborn #4 by Kelley Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios reminds us all that a glider and pumpkin bombs aren’t what makes Norman Osborn such an amazing threat. Osborn proves again why he shouldn’t be exposed to crowds of people as he rallies the remaining prisoner population and deals his way into an escape with those who he’s being used against.

DeConnick has shown that she can play Osborn in some of his most dangerous roles. Here he is able to manipulate a crowd of dangerous criminals and play politics with the Senator he is being used against. As he says “I intensely dislike being a pawn. Anyone’s pawn.” Norman has proven before that he’ll flip a board before being used in someone’s game. The writing for his demented and genius here is easily on par with what Matt Fraction and Warren Ellis did with him.

Rios’ art continues to show almost too much movement but excellent facial work. The smirks and sneers we see come through wonderfully but the movement lines seem almost to frequent when we see them every couple of pages.

Grade A-

-Invincible #78

Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley lay out the new status quo in Invincible #78. With the end of the Viltrumite War we see things wind down for all sides. Mark and Eve are reunited after Mark’s ten month absence they have both been through a lot. Now with his return Eve seems unable to tell him that she was pregnant when he left. Meanwhile Marks parent are reunited, both single and hurt in their own ways. There are hints of a reunion, but uncertainly definitely lays ahead. Finally Allen as the new Galactic leader take possessionĀ  of the virus that can exterminate the Viltrumites, with not sign of what he will do with it.

Kirkman’s greatest strength has always been to plant seeds early. Here we’ve seen the addition of Viltrumites into earths population, Allen become an Alien President and that Cecil has amassed an army that is designed to stop an Viltrumite invasion. The implications with that alone can give use plenty of entertaining stories, all of which are sure to come.

Ottley shows exactly why he’s the right artist for Invincible. The subtle moments like Eve’s weight gain and Cecil’s disappointed body language that he won’t be able to have his super war are some of the best moments here. Even better are the looks of relief and anger shown by Eve and Debbie Grayson, the emotion comes across as realistically as it should.

Grade B+

-Justice League: Generation Lost #22

Max Lord’s plans are finally uncovered in Justice League Generation Lost #22 by Judd Winick and Joe Bennett. Now that they know what is happening the JLI is joined by Batman and Power Girl. While we saw what happened to jog Power Girl’s memory we are informed a White Lantern somewhere fixed Batman’s memories, including Wonder Woman’s existence. It’s a little surprising that Max’s plan is to recreate his OMAC army to target Wonder Woman. Revenge is a strong motivator, but the fixation there seems a little surprising.

Winick’s writing continues to be at its best with little character moments. The new Rocket Red has been a great example of this, even here when he slips back into speaking Russian as everyone gets excited at Blue Beetle’s recovery. The overall plan and story her ties tighter in the aspect of seeing that the JLI’s pursuit was expected and planned all along, but Max Lords final move still hasn’t been made.

Bennett’s art is some of the better straight super hero art I’ve come across recently. The coloring and strength of the character’s comes through in the right moments, as opposed to the quieter and humorous moments like a two panel joke with Captain Atom putting the Blue Beetle back down after lifting him up in joy.

Grade B

-Batman Inc. #4
Written by Grant Morrison with art by Chris Burnham. The story of Batman and Gaucho continues as the plot deepens. Here we see Batwoman involved along with a twist on the history of Batman and the first Batwoman.

As is often the case with Morrison, it may be difficult to see this entire picture until the end. Batman is able to rescue the children in danger and escape the death trap for he and Gaucho, but things are hardly over. It’s easy to be confused by things now, but Morrison’s run has certainly shown in the past he knows where he is going.

Burham’s art work i able to reflect a few different moods here. The difference in art when we are seeing Batman fight Gaucho, the flash backs with the history of the first Batwoman and the present with the current Batwoman pursuing Johnny Valentine is nicely pulled off.

Grade B+

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