Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Comic Book Reviews 1/11/12

Batman and Robin #5 - I haven't been paying much attention to this book, Batman, Detective, and Nightwing have been my Bat universe books since the relaunch but after this issue I think this may get added to that list. The son of Bruce Wayne, (who is also the Robin in this book) Damian Wayne has always been a bit let us say difficult. He was raised by his mother who is in charge of an international group of assassins and is the grand son of one of the most brilliant villains in the world Ra's Al Ghul, so to say he is egotistical, malicious, and over confident is an understatement. He has literally been bred and raised to inherit the world. This issue sees Damian starting training with a new villain who is a ruthless killer and has been trained as such since he was a child. This man also has ties to Bruce Wayne which we discover in a very long flashback narrated by Bruce. While the reverse dynamic of parents to child of the villain is interesting, as is Bruce's first meeting with him and his father it does go on a bit too long. Damian's first night of proving himself to his new mentor as well as Bruce's frantic search for his son are the meat of the story for me and what I want to see more of. Will the newest Robin go down the path of evil? Will Batman find them in time? Can father and son ever have a real bond with each other when they are still new in each other's lives and well they are Batman and Robin? Finally can Batman take down this new threat? Sure he knows the guy but he is still pretty bad ass and it has been years since they last met... I will be there next month to see if any of these questions are answered, that is for sure. 4/5

Frankenstein Agent of SHADE #5 - This is part two of a crossover with OMAC #5 that came out last week but thankfully you don't have to read that issue to understand this one. We start off with the end of another adventure of Frankenstein's where he is fighting off cannibalistic dwarfs in Tibet. This is apparently part of his vacation which is then interrupted by getting assigned to take down OMAC. We then get the big monster match up from OMAC last week as here but from the point of view of Frankenstein and the other agents of SHADE. The duel sided battle is again a lot of fun and we do get a few parts of the fight we didn't get before, like the involvement of Ray Palmer. I like that even though the middle chunk of the story is the same plot wise (and in some points in dialogue) as OMAC, it is told in such a way it doesn't exactly feel the same. After the monsters battle we get a great character moment between Frankenstein and the creature from Black Lagoon esque doctor. While this issue loses a bit after reading OMAC last week, it completely restores my faith in this series after a shaky first arc. If you are interested in OMAC or Frankenstein I would say this was the better issue to introduce them both while OMAC #5 had the better fight sequence. 4.5/5

Incredible Hulk #4 - Let's get to the meat of this issue, Doctor Bruce Banner goes on a psycho mad scientist rant in this issue, and that alone would make me love this issue. But there was more to this issue then that. The Hulk and his new friends finally make it to Bruce Banner's island of big hulkish creatures and we get some great Hulk fighting scenes because of it. We also get the confrontation between Hulk and Bruce Banner which is where Banner's mad scientist rant happens. The two talking is the heart of the issue and really who hasn't wanted to see the two talk? We still haven't gotten the how and why the two are seperate from one another but that's what next issue is for! Beautiful art, great action, and compelling dialogue make for a great issue of Hulk. 5/5

Scarlet Spider #1- Hey kids, remember the clone saga? The story where we find out our favorite neighborhood web crawler may actually be a clone of the real Peter Parker which was later retconned that OUR Spider-Man was the real one alllllllll along? Yeah, so do I, and I mostly wish I hadn't. But this being comics it has returned to being a nostalgic idea and must be brought back, so we make our way to Scarlet Spider, the identity the clone of Peter Parker, Ben Reiley took up for a while. This time the main character is Kaine, ANOTHER clone of Peter Parker, the first one in fact who was a villain/anti-hero involved in the clone saga who died during it, but came back during the last Spider-Man crossover, Spider Island where random people of New York gained the powers of Spider-Man. Phew that was a lot to try and explain. Which is all part of this comic, we get every detail of past stories and continuity, filling in plot holes as we go and everything, which slows down this book so much. But we also get to meet Kaine as he is now, a man wanting to escape America and not be stuck with the responsibilities of being a super hero. He use to be an assassin, a villain, but he still has all of the memories of a young Spider-Man, part of him must fight for the innocent. So these two sides interact in great ways. Like the opening where he takes down an apparent drug or arms deal just for the money they were using. When he discovers it was actually human trafficking and there is a sole survivor we see the heroic side of him appear. Later he saves an old lady who is about to be hit by a car then yells at her for being oblivious of the vehicle in the first place! These are the good parts of the issue, they fulfill the tag line of the book, "all the power, none of the responsibility" and if the book spends a year or so with such conflicts and interactions we can have a great book on our hands. Assuming we are done with the pages and pages of boring back story regurgitation, at least Batman and Robin had the decency to give us new material to force feed us, this is crap that came out in the 90's! And it really detracts from a book that holds some promise too, maybe #2 will be back story free, who knows. 2.5/5

X-Factor #230 - A lot has happened in this book as many people were likely paying attention to the other X books. Multiple Man is now dead, Strong Guy has no soul, and Layla can bring back the dead! The only catch? When they do they have no soul. This issue is all fall out and characters trying to figure out what to do next. Do they bring Multiple Man back? He has been frozen, so there is time to decide. Is Strong Guy evil? Should they be apart from him? What are the moral implications of all of this? Who will lead X-Factor now? Also, why is Wolverine here? All of these questions and more are discussed by the large cast and it makes for perfect character moments that are true to each one and allows them all to have a unique voice. Longshot doesn't sound like Shatterstar, and neither of them sound like Sireyn or Monet, etc etc. That is impressive from a book with a cast of 9 plus characters, plus Wolverine who is in the book without taking over. This book is all talk and little action but is never boring. So if you love X books but haven't given X-Factor a chance you should fix that and try it out as this sets up the new status quo and fills you in on everything without force feeding it. 5/5

1 comment:

  1. You rate Scarlet Spider so low, I guess I won't get it now. lol