Sunday, 19 February 2012

New Comics - 15th February 2012

Apologies for the late post. Since picking up my books on Wednesday morning, I then went away for a few days on a mini holiday so I didn't really have time to review them. Nonetheless, there are five books for me this week, and the reviews are better late than never, right? Let's get to them then...

The Amazing Spider-Man 679.1

So apparently Marvel's Point 1 books are all about getting new readers onto their books. A single issue which is supposed to be the perfect jumping on point for somebody who hasn't read the character before. Well I didn't get that feeling with ASM 679.1. The story by Dan Slott and Chris Yost was fine, but I'd hardly say this was a great story for new readers to fall in love with Spidey.

First of all, right from the start there was a huge reference to Spider-Island, the epic story from last summer. Are new readers supposed to know what that is? It's kind of explained here but still, is that really the best way to start an issue aimed at newcomers? In my opinion, no. Second of all I'm not really a fan of Morbius, the big baddie featured in this issue. Finally, why are some of the characters wearing huge hoodies and baggy cargo pants? This isn't the late nineties/ early noughties anymore, so I don't expect Peter Parker to look like my 12 year-old self when I used to hang out at the skatepark. It looked pretty bad and the art suffered as a result.

Overall this was a pretty mediocre issue and failed in it's mission to appeal to new readers. If this was the first issue of ASM I picked up, I wouldn't be jumping on for the long haul. This issue had 'filler' written all over it and I doubt it'll have much effect on the upcoming issues and storyline Dan Slott has cooked up for ASM #680.

Rating: 2/5

Nightwing #6

I've got mixed feelings about issue 6 of Nightwing. Despite the story progressing and Dick finally finding out who Saiko is, it felt like something was missing. I can't exactly put my finger on it but I'm not loving Nightwing anymore. Why is that? Well I'm a little tired of the whole circus thing now. I'm hoping Kyle Higgins can wrap this up pretty soon and move on because I'm getting a little bit bored of Haly's Circus.

I also have some problems with the story in issue 6. When the Haly's Circus team reveal that they're hosting a special anniversary show in Gotham to remember Dick's parent's deaths, Dick protests and rightfully so. But then the team say: "You may "own" Haly's, Dick, but that doesn't mean we're going to let you drive us into the ground. Hire whatever extra security you want, but this tribute is happening -- whether you show up in Gotham or not". So instead of Dick laying down the law and saying 'no means no', the show goes ahead as planned. Nightwing's parents were murdered in Gotham and the idiotic crew want to "remember" them with a show in the same place they died? Not very sensitive to Dick's feelings are they?

There's not much more to say here, apart from I can't wait for this arc to finish up so the Court of Owls crossover can bring a bit more spark into Nightwing's life. Eddy Barrow's pencils are still fantastic but this book needs a bit of a kick in the backside to make it shine.

Rating: 2/5

Daredevil #9

It's becoming increasingly difficult to come up with new ways to praise this book. I'm running out of superlatives and adjectives to describe how amazing the duo of Mark Waid and Paulo Rivera are when it comes to Daredevil. Issue 9 marks the beginning of a new story, where our hero has to delve underneath New York City to find out why coffins are going missing, including the casket of Matt Murdock's father. Matt quickly discovers who's responsible for thieving so many corpses and can't stand back and watch the desecration. Naturally this lands DD in a bit of a pickle...

It's safe to say by now that Mark Waid really gets Daredevil. It didn't take 9 issues either, you could tell Waid was born to write Daredevil from issue 1. He understands the character completely and his script is always a joy to read. It's so much fun to find out how DD turns his blindness into an advantage and how he uses his powers. Coupled with Rivera's unique way of depicting Matt's radar sense, you really get a sense of knowing exactly what Daredevil is going through, bringing you closer to the character. Issue 9 is another fantastic example of the comic-book medium firing on all cylinders. This is Daredevil at his best and long may Waid and Rivera stay on this book. Flawless.

Rating: 5/5

Batman #6

Batman is easily my most anticipated book every month. After the fantastic issue 5 last month, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this month's issue, and Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo definitely didn't disappoint. After issue 5 saw Batman begin to lose his grip on reality, as well as the Talon finally getting to him, things didn't look to good for the Caped Crusader. The first page of issue 6 re-enforced this:

As Batman takes a serious beating and is on the verge of death, we see Bruce finally give up and give in to the pain and suffering. Capullo's art during the first few pages is horrifying, especially when the 'Owls' descend from above to pick apart Batman piece by piece. It isn't until Bruce spots a photo of his great-great-grandfather Alan Wayne, and realises that he went through exactly the same brutal experience, that Batman begins to fight back. And in some style too, as he goes toe to toe with the Talon, unleashing all his fury on the masked assassin. Again, Capullo's art excels here as we see the pent-up rage explode from Bruce. Batman just about escapes from the Owls (but not completely it seems) and it's going to be interesting to see the fallout from this issue. How will Alfred, Nightwing and the rest of the gang react to Bruce's reappearance? Surely Bruce must admit he was wrong before about there being no such thing as 'The Court of Owls'? And what of the final page, where we discover there was more than one Talon - that there is in fact a whole room full of them, ready to be unleashed upon Gotham. Things are about to get really interesting from here...

The highest praise I can give this book is that it always leaves me wanting more. The Court of Owls is about to explode across the entire line of Bat books and I can't wait to see how it unravels. Gotham is in store for some action, that's for sure.

Rating: 5/5 Pick of the Week

There was a bonus book this week too...

Secret Avengers #22

Secret Avengers #22 was a book I wanted last week but unfortunately I wasn't quick-minded enough to contact my local store and get one put by for me. Well I wanted to give it a try anyway and thankfully Nick at American Dream ordered a copy in for me.

Now let me make this clear; I have never read an Avengers book before. To be quite honest, I don't really like the Avengers very much. If somebody asked me to choose between Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League or Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Avengers, it's no competition for me. My DC allegiance shines through and I'll take the Justice League every day of the week.  But in the build-up to the Secret Avengers #22 release, I'd heard that this is the book for people who don't really like the Avengers, the anti-Avengers if you will. This interested me and the fact Captain Britain makes an appearance (a character I've wanted to read about for a while) was an added bonus.

Unfortunately, for me, this issue didn't live up to the hype. The story was ok but didn't really get me excited or interested enough to make sure I pick up the next issue (which I probably won't). I really liked the concept of having a covert team of heroes, out to prevent disasters before they happen, but it was all downhill from then on. The first few pages where we see Captain Britain being recruited into the team were decent enough and I didn't even mind the silly moment when Hawkeye shot a sticky arrow into Captain Britain's mouth. What annoyed me most was a major problem I had with Rick Remember's plot. The scene where mini Avengers sprouted from that woman's back was ridiculous and I felt it was unnecessary and stupid. It completely killed any good vibes I was having whilst reading this issue, and the situation wasn't improved by Gabriel Hardman's confusing art.

For the majority of the issue I enjoyed Hardman's artwork, particularly the panels when the team first came together. This is the first time I've ever read anything pencilled by Hardman, and I know he has many fans, but to me his work has the look of a poor man's Michael Lark. The scene I mentioned previously about the mini Avengers was only made worse by Hardman's scrappy pencils, which by that stage in the issue were looking very messy indeed.

To top it off the issue felt like it finished rather abruptly and that was the final nail in the coffin for me. I enjoyed certain parts of Secret Avengers #22 but overall it didn't live up to the hype and I don't think Marvel will be getting my $3.99 when the next issue is released. It's sad because I really wanted to like this book a lot, but it fell short of the mark.

Rating: 2/5

Thanks for reading.

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