Monthly Archives: November 2007

Quick Critiques – Nov. 23, 2007

Annihilation: Conquest #1 (Marvel Comics)
by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Tom Raney & Scott Hanna

The first Annihilation event was an entertaining and well-crafted one, and I’ve enjoyed all four limited series leading up to this Conquest series. Not surprisingly, I enjoyed this comic book as well, but not quite as much as I’d hoped. I think writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have included a few too many saviors in this story. Adam Warlock is back from the dead (which is getting a bit old for longtime readers, no doubt), but the Wraith has been established as a powerful figure that can hurt the Phalanx like no other as well. Still, this is early on in the story, so it’s not hard to get past that seeming redundancy. What I did find odd was the villain who stands revealed at the end of this issue. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I found the choice to be a bit puzzling. The villain fits in quite well with the Phalanx, but the character is also the main antagonist in a storyline still underway in another Marvel title. I realize that thanks to the character’s unique traits, he can be in two places (or comics) at once, but it just seems redundant to have so many Marvel heroes fighting the same threat in different ways. I was delighted to see Blastarr included among the generals in the war against the Phalanx, and the depiction of the Kree as a race and culture has been interesting throughout the various Conquest titles. I’ve never been one for the Warlock character, but that stemmed from his stoic and distant characterization in the past. This incarnation of the character seems much more grounded and relatable. Tom Raney’s art brings real power and presence to these alien warriors, and the detail he and inker Scott Hanna bring to bear really convey the ugliness of the war that’s at the heart of the plot. 6/10

Continue reading… →

Zip Discussion

Zipper #1
Writer: Tom Waltz
Pencils: Casey Maloney
Inks: Stacie Ponder
Colors: Dusty Yee
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Cover artist: Adriano Loyola
Editor: Andrew Steven Harris
Publisher: IDW Publishing/Simmons Comics Group
Price: $3.99 US

My girlfriend and I are fans of A&E’s Gene Simmons Family Jewels, so I have to admit to some mild curiosity about the Simmons Comics Group line of titles from IDW, but this is the first one I’ve thumbed through. Simmons is credited with creating the core concept, and it’s a rather familiar one. We’ve seen the seemingly innocent alien becoming a hero before, but this time, there’s an intensity to the manifestation of his abilities and methods. That edgier side of the property is clearly a part of an effort to bring a Simmons, rock-‘n’-roll element to the story, but it doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the premise. Still, the artwork is effective and eye-catching across the board, and I have to admit I was generally entertained from start to finish. I think what I most appreciated about the comic was the chance to sample the work of some new creators… or at least some creators who are new to me.

Continue reading… →

You Can’t Go Home Again

Action Comics #858
“Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes, Chapter 1: Alien World”
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils/Cover artist: Gary Frank
Inks: Jon Sibal
Colors: Dave McCaig
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.50 US/$4.25 CAN

Geoff Johns delivers an unusual but ultimately charming story that manages to balance an appreciation of the lighter, more innocent tone of Silver Age super-hero stories and a slightly darker, more modern edge. The plot — about Superman visiting his super-hero pals in a harsh future he no longer recognizes — is hardly the most innovative premise; we’ve seen this sort of fare time and time again (no pun intended). Furthermore, introducing another altered version of the Legion of Super-Heroes seems like an odd choice, given how many permutations of property seem to exist simultaneously in DC lore. However, Johns’s story works quite well, and even the inconsistent continuity is easy to ignore given the more iconic, nostalgic approach he takes with the characters. Also adding strength is the introduction of Gary Frank’s pencils to the title. His realistic art not only brings a sense of grandeur to the superhuman characters but reinforces the dire and intense tone of the plot elements that turn up in the latter part of this issue.

Continue reading… →