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Watchmensch [Review]

Writer: Rich Johnston
Illustrator/Letterer: Simon Rohrmuller
Cover Colors: Matthew Vega
Publisher: Brian Kirsten
Published By: Brain Scan Studios

I wasn’t sure what to expect of this going in, but found a rather amusing spoof of Watchmen–the second such spoof I’ve picked up in the last few weeks. Unlike Whatmen?! though, this one was more to my liking with less of the Family Guy flavor of spoof.

This take on Watchmen follows the spoof-versions of the characters as they deal with events unfolding as related to Watchmen being released as a movie despite the troubles between the author and the publisher of a lot of his work.

There are a number of fun sight-gags (I especially liked this take on the visual/reasoning of the Dr. Manhatten character’s appearance) “borrowed” from the source material. On the whole, the art works really well and I have nothing that jumped out as complaint-worthy to me.

The story was more engaging than in Whatmen?! and worked a lot better for me. While this is a take on Watchmen, it also has its own story to tell, issue to be brought to attention. Other than the writer’s weekly rumour/gossip column, I don’t believe I’ve read anything he’s written as far as actual comics go–having read this, I now plan to seek out some of his other work.

This issue felt rather thin, and so when I flipped through, I counted 23 story pages and 1 page of mid-story material. Normally I’d consider that unacceptable for a $3.99 book…however, having the pages in the 9-panel-grid made each page feel like it had loads more content than the average mainstream (DC/Marvel) comic and thus feels like a far better value despite the price. Additionally, I was rather disappointed that we only had that one page–I found myself reading it, and would have read another couple pages in its vein if they’d been included.

All in all, if you enjoy Watchmen, and know much of anything about the history of the DC/Alan Moore goings-on, this ought to be a fun issue for you…and certainly comes off as smarter than other spoofs I’ve seen.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

Tales of the TMNT #56 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Supergirl #39 [Review]

Who is Superwoman? part three: Ticking Clocks

Writer: Sterling Gates
Pencillers: Jamal Igle & Talent Caldwell
Inkers: John Sibal & Talent Caldwell
Colorists: Tom Chu & Nei Ruffino
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Joshua Middleton
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue picks up on and deals with the ramifications of the “reveal” regarding Superwoman’s point of origin last month. We see her retrieve Reactron (who was earlier menacing his ex), and leave a scene that shows Supergirl that the stakes are quite high in this conflict. Supergirl converses with her mother and with Lana as she ponders her current place in things, and we begin to see the reaction of those who expect Superman and “get” Supergirl instead. Finally, Agent Liberty’s killer seems to stand revealed, prompting Supergirl back into action.

I’m not a big fan of Reactron–newish character I’m not all that familiar with; I wasn’t reading this title when he was introduced. However, I am quite glad to see that we continue to have all parts of Kara’s series/continuity recognized and not simply discarded. Though not a fan of Reactron, I can see how this character can come to be quite the menace for Supergirl, perhaps even on an ongoing basis (depending on how all the New Krypton stuff shakes out, ultimately). It’s interesting to see the continuing relationship between Kara and Lana, as well as the development of Kara’s relationship with her mother of late. I have no real complaint in terms of the story itself.

The art for this issue comes from two sources, and while that’s often not a big deal with me, it was quite noticeable, which is something I’m not all that thrilled with. Neither batch of art is bad or anything; it’s just that each is different enough that it’s a bit of a distraction (especially in catching myself curiously looking to see how Caldwell draws characters’ ears, since ears are the only thing I’m not all that thrilled with from Igle’s art).

The issue’s story holds true to the characters involved, and continues to build on stuff not only from New Krypton but also from stuff going on in the other Superman books, and makes for a nice, satisfying read. You need not be following the other books to “get” this one as this series’ stories can work on their own. There’s a lot more to “get” and enjoy out of this with knowledge of the other books, and having this as just another part of the much larger ongoing story being told across all the Superman books.

Story: 7/10
Art: 6.5/10
Whole: 7/10

Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight #1 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Ender’s Game: Battle School #4 [Review]

Creative Director & Executive Director Orson Scott Card
Script: Christopher Yost
Art: Pasqual Ferry
Color Art: Frank D’Armata
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit
Story Consultant: Jake Black
Pasqual Ferry & Frank D’Armata:
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Beginning this issue, I feel like I’ve missed something. I’m not sure if I simply missed an issue…or if there was a story jump that’s alluded to in the opening text, or what–but I found myself wishing there was a bit of a recap page for this issue. I’ve read the novel this is based on, so know what’s happened…just no memory of seeing everything in this visual format.

We pick up with Ender having been transferred out of Bonzo’s army and into another army, which opens up different dynamics between Ender and the other kids. We move through the incident of the younger kids getting away from the larger bullies in the battle room, and finally to where Ender–in the computer simulation game–throws the snake through the mirror and is set upon by many smaller snakes.

On the whole, the art continues to be good and fairly stylistic. The visuals are different than what I have in my head for these events, but I can let that slide with no real trouble.

The story holds up as well–though again, I’ve read the novel and so can fill in any gaps that I’d otherwise find myself missing. This definitely continues to feel–both visually and the story–like an adaptation. Yost and Ferry do a good job of holding to the spirit of the source material, though, which is indeed a plus in that department.

For the point of the story we’re at 4 issues in out of 5, I can only assume that we are indeed going to hve a series of mini-series adapting the entirety of Ender’s Game. However, I wonder at the same time if we might get a longer series combining both Ender and Bean for the next segment, as it seems likely that this mini will end not long after the two are introduced.

If you’re not already familiar with Ender’s Game or interested in beginning with something that is an “adaptation of” the work, this probably isn’t for you–especially for the price. Otherwise, this isn’t bad, and one could do much worse than revisit the story in this format.

Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7/10

Action Comics #875 [Review]

The Sleepers Part I

Writer: Greg Rucka
Penciller: Eddy Barrows
Inkers: Ruy Jose & Julio Ferreira
Colorist: Rod Reis
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Andrew Robinson
Publisher: DC Comics

As indicated at the top of the cover, this issue is part of “World Without Superman,” the general (apparent) over-arching premise of the next year or so in the Superman family of books. We’ve had New Krypton, we’ve had a couple months of after-effects and fallout, and finally we now have a story taking place after Superman has left Earth for New Krypton to live there, apparently (to the people of Earth) turning his back on them to live among his own kind. This title looks to be starring the new Nightwing and Flamebird characters that cropped up early in the New Krypton arc.

This issue picks up on Nightwing and Flamebird in new costumes designed to give the appearance of being super-powered armor augmenting humans (to cover the fact that these two are Kryptonians…as all Kryptonians except Superman have been officially banned from Earth). They take down a threat, though things do not go as smoothly as they planned, which leads to some questions developing on multiple fronts as different parties harbor their own suspicions and motivations regarding what to do with these two. We also get to see the unfolding of some background and motivation of Nightwing and Flamebird themselves–what role they played in Kandor, and so on. We are also (after several months of not doing so) treated to a revelation as to WHO Nightwing really is. After this revelation, another twist is thrown in that explains how Nightwing can exist in his present condition, as well as suggest some potential of stories to come. The end of the issue shows that this book and World of New Krypton will not be operating as if the other doesn’t exist, but will continue to share in continuity.

The cover art seems kinda different from what I’m used to seeing, and has a sort of almost watercolored look to it…not quite surreal, but something close to that. And with the way the colors are used, and the logo and even the World Without Superman banner…I really, really like this cover.

The interior art’s pretty good overall as well, if a bit “basic.” By that, it’s not art that would in and of itself inspire me to purchase the book, but it is art that I really can’t complain about, as it does what art’s supposed to do in a comic. It conveys the visuals of the story in a clear, understandable way, and doesn’t leave me confused…it works well right alongside the written aspect of the story.

The writing’s by Rucka, whose work I’ve generally been a fan of. I’ve lost track of who all has handled what characters the last few months, but it seems just from this issue that he’s got a plan for some of these characters in context of the Superman corner of the DCU. That we’ve been given Nightwing’s identity allows I think for much more story potential than keeping it a mystery, and I’ll be interested to see where Rucka takes these characters. Having read his work on Adventures of Superman a few years back, I have confidence in his handling/developing the supporting cast with respect and believability.

On the whole, this is essentially a “First issue,” and does its job well. A new arc is begun; new characters introduced, old characters appear (showing no lack of continuity placement). We see our heroes in action, get some background on them and what’s likely to drive them; some conflict and a mission, plus a classic sorta cliffhanger.

While you’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of this if you’re familiar with Superman continuity of the last couple years–and the last few months in particular–this is a decent point to hop onboard for a Rucka-written story involving characters associated with Superman operating in a world without Superman actually present. Well worth checking out.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 8/10

Green Lantern Corps #34 [Review]

Emerald Eclipse part two

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman, Christian Alamy
Colorist: Randy Mayor
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Cover: Pat Gleason (variant by Rodolfo Migliari)
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue deals with a number of points in the ongoing story: Sodom Yat’s mother has arrived to try to bring him home to save his people. Meanwhile, back on Daxam, Mongul and Arkillo are having it out for control of the Sinestro Corps. Their battle ends with one a decisive victor. At the same time, Kyle and Soranu continue their relationship, discussing how it’ll play into their roles as GLs; and we check in on the Sapphires and Kryb, as well as Guy, Kilowog, Salaak & co. who are dealing with their new Red Lantern prisoner.

The story’s pretty good, really…keeps everything moving along, and we see all the characters being lined up for where they’ll (need to) be for Blackest Night. No real complaints there…this’d be an interesting story just as prose, without visuals to go along with it/as part of it.

However, I’m just not digging the art. There’s something about it that for the most part comes across as too cartoony or stylistic or SOMEthing…and actually detracts a bit from my enjoyment of the book…it distracts me a bit from the story. I much prefer books where I find that the art is either unobtrusive, or is so good that the entire story just pops and I enjoy looking at the visuals as much as reading along.

This probably isn’t the best point for jumping-on, but longer time readers probably shouldn’t pass this up, as there are things unfolding that are certain to be quite germane to Blackest Night (as if the banner on the cover wasn’t already clue enough).

Story: 7/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 6.5/10

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