Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Pickups 2/16/11

[Announcer's Voice]Coming in at nine books, zero trades, this stack packs quite a wallop with its floppy stock and chiseled right angles. Hailing from the slightly slushy streets of Chicago's south suburbs, this cartel of comics contains books new and old, bright and dark, DC and other, THE COMICS OF FEBRRUUUUUUARY SIXTEENTH, TWENTY ELEVENNNNN![/Announcer's Voice]

We start things off this week with Green Lantern Corps #57, the conclusion of The Weaponer storyline. The small group of Green Lanterns stand with The Weaponer and Thunders of Quard against Sinestro and his corps, but will it be enough or will the truce be broken and ignite another War? Guest staring Firestorm (on loan from Brightest Day) we get an answer, and all too quickly. With the slow build the arc has been utilizing, this final issue seems out of place wrapping everything up too nicely and not really justifying one character's major choice. Tyler Kirkham's pencils, brilliantly assisted by BATT's ink and Nei Ruffino's colors, looked spectacular but Tony Bedard's story seems like it was rush to conclusion (possibly for the crossover starting next month, War of the Green Lanterns.) While I've really been digging the title lately I think this upcoming crossover gives me a nice opportunity take a break from the book, along with our next book.

Moving over to GLC's slightly older brother we have Green Lantern #62. Concluding The New Guardians arc, this issue finds Hal and his colorful buddies going toe to toe with Krona, the former guardian who accidentally created the anti-matter universe and is now after the Entities. Contrary to most of this arc, I really enjoyed this final issue. As usual, Doug Mahnke's art looks great and Geoff Johns writing showed some of the chops I first started liking him for, including an unexpected result for the battle and a tough choice for Hal Jordan. That said, the good here just doesn't out weight the "meh" I've been getting from the book lately. Going to take a break from this as well, both to check out some other stuff on the stands and to see if I really miss it that much.

Next up is one book that won't be leaving for the foreseeable future, Booster Gold #41 (now you can laugh at that bad future pun.) Rip decides it's time Booster pays his debt for stealing all the future tech that allowed him to be come a super hero but the Nazi he recently displaced from the forties has other plans. Really been enjoying this book and as previously mentioned, that shows no signs of stopping. Giffen, DeMatteis, Batista, and Perrotta make for wonderful writing and artistic duos that seem to bring new things to the table all the time. This issue illustrates exactly how far this character has come, as Booster treats the villain as a pest in the same manner major villains used to do to him. Maybe becoming a bit to big for his britches though, the ending comes as a bit of surprise to us and him, but trusting this creative team I known it has a purpose.

Rounding out the DC books this week is Brightest Day #20, the conclusion of Aquawar. Arthur and Jackson stand as the land's last defense from Black Manta, Siren, and her invading army of banished Atlantians; but they might not prove to be enough with out a helping hand from some friends. Art, as usual from Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, is great with the highlight being a two-page splash of Aquaman leading the local sea life on the charge. The story on the other hand, from Johns and Tomasi, might be showing the first signs of falling apart. Very similar to the end of Hawkman and Hawkgirl's story, Aquaman comes to a flat stopping point and seems to hint that every other character's will follow suit. It remains to be seen but if this is the case, the series end probably won't be up my alley.

Heading over to IDW, we have The Suicide Forest #3 of 4. Our two protagonists finally meet, and in the title location no less, as Ryoko and the other park rangers comes across Alan with forest spirits not far behind. Really enjoyed the pacing of this issue as it begins the final act of this supernatural horror comic in a rough and deadly fashion. Gabriel Hernandez art works perfectly with the setting, causing the reader to lose himself in the woods along with the characters and feel the cold darkness in the final panels. Can't wait to see how it all turns out next month, as in true to the medium we are left with quite the cliffhanger.

Moving along, to my favorite title from Archia, we have Cyclops #4 of 8. Pistoia and his soldiers are sent to the latest United Nations involved war theater. While on the surface Pistoia appears to be darker and less caring his internal conflict has reached a boiling point. This fantastic series keeps going with another great entry. While its been present all along, the most prominent feature of this issue is the strong use of panel structure. For the sex scene, it heightens the thrill while letting us in on a secret; when the men make a discovery in the forest, it simultaneously horrifies and provides the laugh track of the viewers at home; when Pistoia goes searching for answers; it illuminates the past with the flashlight beam while leaving the now in the dark. Definitely looking forward to the second half of the mini-series and where it goes.

Uptight #2, published by Fantagraphics and created by Jordan Crane, shows up with another set of short stories accompanied by a slick cover. In "Take Me Home" a young man is plagued by the memories of one fateful night, while "Before They Got Better" introduces us to a grandfather who's slowly losing his patience with family squabbles. Lastly, we get another installment of "Keeping Two" where the guy's imagination runs even wilder about the whereabouts of his girlfriend. Found myself enjoying this issue more than the first one. While the art retains the simple black and white style, especially the great use of shadow in "Take Me Home", I found the stories here more interesting and direct. Will make sure to grab #3 for next week.

Getting into Marvel's wares, we have Hawkeye: Blindspot #1 of 4. Since his trip to Russia, Hawkeye's aim has been a bit off, due to a nasty blow to the back of the head. Now the big brains have figured out his vision is deteriorating due to an inoperable pressure build up and if things weren't bad enough, villains from his past return looking for blood. Enjoying this story and re-telling of Clint's past so far. I think it definitley shows more focus than Widowmaker with just Jim McCann handling the writing, with the only questionable aspect being who he sets up as the major antagonist (however, I might be the only one that thinks that due to my lack of knowledge of the character.) The art holds its own as well, drawn by Paco Diaz and colored by Tomeu Morey, with little touches such as the faded newspaper look of the past or the enhanced vision goggles bright colors endearing it even more to me. If we can't have Hawkeye and Mockingbird back as a book, Blindspot is a pretty good replacement.

Pick of the week also comes from Marvel, Uncanny X-Force #5. Kicking off a new arc, Deathlok Nation, we get a bit more insight into the enigma that is Fantomex while the rest of team struggles over how their first mission ended. One of the best things about Rememder's writing on this book is he let's me enjoy every character, not just the ones I normally do. While I've never been a big fan of Deadpool, Rememder's Deadpool is a likable character and even more so for a great moment he has in this issue. That would be enough to keep me on the book but Esad Ribic's art rocks it just as much. From action packed battle scenes to the memorabilia filled Cavern-X (like a loving homage to the batcave), he keeps the viewer engaged and conveys just as much of the story as his writing partner. If every X-Book was as solid as this, Namor, and New Mutants I could easily see myself going back to the days of getting every one of them.

That's it for this week but if you like what you read make sure to stop by again, same time and place. As usual comments, critiques, and suggestions can be left below or sent to Now, I'm off to get started on reading next week's books. Psychic prediction- Crossed: Psychopath #1 nabs the top spot. ;)

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