Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Comic Reviews - Week of 6/13

Taking a page from one of my favorite sites, Evil Avatar, I've decided to start doing Comic Book reviews along with my regular posts on all things comics. I will attempt to not duplicate the books that EA covers, but for this week we'll cover pretty much the same stuff. I will be rating each book into 5 categories: Must Own, Buy It, Read It, Skim It or Skip It.

World War Hulk #1 (of 5)
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: John Romita, Jr.

Opinion: Must Own (Comic of the Week)

To say I was a bit apprehensive about this event is an understatement. I loved the Planet Hulk story by Pak where the Illuminati sent the Hulk to what they thought was a peaceful world, but the ship went off its course and ended up on a warring planet. I am apprehensive because I just don't think a lot can change to the status quo. I don't see Iron Man, Reed Richards, Dr. Strange or Black Bolt actually dying, do you? I see a lot of destruction happening, but I don't see any major deaths or major upheaval in the Marvel Universe.

The Hulk is returning to Earth with his Warbound pals in tow. He's about to exact revenge on the 4 people responsible for putting him on the warring planet he spent Planet Hulk on and also for (supposedly) blowing up the ship and killing a lot of people, including Hulk's wife: Iron Man, Reed Richards, Dr. Strange and Black Bolt. In the latter's case we see the result of the Hulk battling him on the moon, but we don't see the actual fight go down.

The other really interesting thing to come out of this issue is that Iron Man allows the New Avengers to help them stop the Hulk from destroying everything with the promise that everything will be forgiven if they register after the whole event is done. Tony's a smart man, he realizes why the Hulk is back and needs all the help he can get to stop him.

This issue was far more action than I thought there would be. This could be more exciting than Civil War was, although that series also started off really well and then slid as it continued on. I can only guess that there will be a lot of destruction left by this event, but in the end I'm sure we'll find out the Hulk's Warbound friends are the ones that set off the bomb that destroyed Planet Hulk just so they could continue fighting and not be bored to death by the peace the Hulk initiated. It's the only logical ending, but Marvel has been known to take chances lately, so who knows.

New Avengers #31
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Leniel Yu

Opinion: Skim It

Marvel has touted this issue for months as "No hype! No BS! The most important last page of any Marvel comic this year! Do not miss it!" Well, I got to the last page (actually last pages because there are 2 reveals) and was not moved by it. The Elektra that was running the Hand was a Skrull and on the very last pane of the comic we see that Luke and Jessica's baby has green eyes, making it seem like there is another Skrull. To me it was a "meh" ending and really fell short of what Marvel and especially Joe Quesada had been hyping it up to be. Yes, there are obviously characters out there in the Marvel Universe that are Skrulls and now Marvel is into the whole, "Who do you Trust?" thing.

I hate to say it, but maybe Marvel is really pushing too many major storylines in tandem or sequential order and there may be some burnout from comic buyers out there. There's WWH, the new Annihilation, the upcoming X-Men blockbuster and now the Skrull story that supposedly will intertwine with all of the Marvel Universe. Yeah, that sounds like a bit of overload even though Quesada swears up and down that sales are showing that this is what people want. Eventually a wall will be hit, it's just logical.

My other problem with this overall arc is that it lasted too long. Bendis has been accused of decompression before and usually I blow it off, but when there is such a delay between issues it becomes that much more pronounced. I mean it's great that we finally know that the new Ronin is Clint Barton and even I would say that was more of a shocker even though it was the worst kept secret in comics. The Skrull ending will have greater implications as we move through this year and into next, but at the moment it just wasn't even close to what was hyped.

Green Arrow #75
Writer: Judd Winnick
Artist: Scott McDaniel

Opinion: Skim It

The final issue of this series is an example of schizophrenia and parallels a lot with the last issue of Nightwing before the One Year Later jump when Dick proposed to Barbara. The parallels are that the majority of the issue is really good, but the last part feels so jarring and forced that it makes you feel dirty inside.

Here Deathstroke is back to top form (look at Identity Crisis for the last time he acted like this when he took out the assembled JLA members). An all-out fight with Ollie and Dinah, although I question Dinah just standing there with Slade's sword in her throat on two occasions. Slade is good and all, but how exactly can he perfectly get the sword in there without damaging anything...twice. The fights are wonderful, but then at the end Ollie proposes to Dinah and that's how the series ends. Soon we will have Green Arrow: Year One and the Black Canary/Green Arrow series. It is cool if they do end up getting married, but there is still a lot of baggage in Ollie's past and I can't believe Dinah has forgiven him for all of that. In the end this was a good issue, but just a weak ending for a series that started off with a bang (Kevin Smith writing Ollie's return to life) and coasted for the rest of the run.