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Transformers: Infestation #1 [Review]

Written by: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by: Nick Roche
Colors by: Joana Lafuente
Lettered by: Robbie Robbins
Edited by: Andy Schmidt
Assistant Editor: Bobby Curnow
Published by: IDW

Galvatron and his Decepticons battle the zombies that have infested the world. Partway into the battle, Optimus Prime and the Autobots arrive. Galvatron insists they stop fighting each other and focus on saving the world…but by way of the Autobots surrendering to him. Once Galvatron is neutralized, we find out that he’s encountered this threat before. As the Autobots consider their next step, they’re ambushed by someone ready, willing, and capable of giving them all a Really Bad Day.

The story seems really simple–robots vs. zombies. Except these robots are the Transformers…familiar figures likely far more familiar to readers than those that kicked off this “event.” It’s quite amusing–and more than fitting–that the leader of the Decepticons would want the Autobots to surrender to him, rather than throwing himself and his followers at mercy of “the good guys” as would be typical for a story like this.

I’m not familiar with this version of the characters–and I can’t help but wonder if Megatron is to Transformers comics what Shredder is to the original Mirage TMNT run. But as with the Infestation issue that kicked off this event…I don’t feel too lost jumping into this issue. Best of all, I still enjoyed this, even not paying much attention to which characters are which. At only 2 issues…we’re only going to get a glimpse into this world of the Transformers.

The art is strong, and seems to capture a bit of the feel of a cartoon as well as being a sort of adaptation of the “angular” take on the characters that doesn’t seem quite as “boxy” as I would expect. Still, no real complaint here, except that Optimus Prime put me in mind of something from Gundam (though in some ways, one humanoid-shaped robot is gonna remind one of another).

I’d sorta expected to see the CVR in this issue, rather than finding the Transformers in the midst of battle with the zombies. Of course, it actually makes sense that they’re not in this issue–they didn’t discover until after it’d been initiated that the Infestation had made it to other worlds, so they’re bound to show up in the next issue to explain things and deal with the threat to this world.

I enjoyed this issue overall, though I think I’ll enjoy it a lot more once the Infestation event is out in its entirety.

I’m quite pleased that this is its own two-issue mini-series: I can follow Infestation into what I assume is current Transformers continuity, but I’m not having to buy random issues of an ongoing series, tossed into the middle of an already-started story. Similarly, I think it’s probably good that being its own series, readers of the ongoing Transformers series are not forced to read the Infestation event or have the ongoing story interrupted for two issues.

Recommended reading. (For readers of the ongoing Transformers, though, I certainly recommend reading Infestation #1 before reading this.)

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

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Invincible Iron Man #500.1 [Review]

“What it was like, What happened, and What it’s like now”

Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Senior Editor: Stephen Wacker
Cover:
Salvador Larroca
Published by:
Marvel Comics

Tony Stark attends an AA meeting, and shares his story, recounting in the vaguest of terms his history as an alcoholic and how it’s affected him throughout his career. After the meeting, we see how actually talking about things affects Tony.

The story of this issue is really that simple. I had my doubts about the accessibility of this issue, of what would make it such a good jumping-on point. And really, for this character…I can’t think of anything better. Telling his story at an AA meeting is a perfect vehicle for touching on some of the major points of the character’s history and if not exactly explaining everything to new readers, it provides a glimpse of what’s come before, as well as insight into the character–stuff that provides a bit of foundation for new readers, or reminds longer-time readers of where things have come in recent years in particular.

This sort of issue–a “breather” of sorts, a “slice of life” or whatever–where characters have a chance to reflect, to have “down time” and just be themselves without an actively-moving high-action story–this is the sort of issue I am extremely fond of. And yet, while do enjoy this type of issue, it’s not terribly deep nor overly insightful…and really is pretty formulaic.

The art is the usual style and quality–which is a very strong positive in my book. No real complaints from me on the visuals.

The issue ends with a double-page series of panels “previewing” what is to come in the next year in this title…reminding me very much of Booster Gold #1, an issue (or issues?) of JSA, and generally the way DC‘s done things. So it’s nothing fresh or new…and unfortunately, it does all of nothing for me. I don’t even know what it is we’re seeing, and it doesn’t do a thing to hook me or have me particularly interested/excited to see context/details of how the situation(s) come about.

Though this issue–as part of the Marvel.1 “initiative”–is designed to be a jumping-on point, and I’d intended to bail after #500, this also serves as a bit of an epilogue to Fraction‘s run on the character thus far…and if there’s a 2nd omnibus-style hardcover for his run, I would be quite satisfied if it ended with this issue.

Whether looking for a jumping-on or jumping-off point, if you’ve enjoyed any of Fraction/Larroca‘s run or have been curious about the title, I definitely recommend this issue.

Story: 7/10
Art:
8/10
Whole: 7.5/10

DC Universe Online Legends #1 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

 

Story: 3/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

On the Comic-Con 2011 sellout

Comic-Con 2011 Four-Day Passes Sell Out in Under 3 Hours | TheHDRoom.

I’ve seen a number of stories about this yesterday and this morning. It continues to affirm my personal feelings of NOT wanting to go to San Diego/Comic Con.

Sure, it’s the pinnacle of conventions for people like me…or at least, it WAS.

SDCC has become SUCH a pop culture event that it seems to me like comics are almost secondary, or some “quaint” holdover from years past.

Plus…while I can handle crowds to a certain degree…I just cannot begin to fathom how it can be fun to have tightly pressed crowds where one would have to basically fight their way through a crowd everywhere they go, spend hours and hours in line, maybe sit through (a) panel(s) one’s not even interested in, just to be able to attend that ONE panel that everyone’s clamoring to get into. And on the convention floor, if there’s no room to be out of the flow of foot-traffic…I’d imagine it’d make it hard to simply stop at random booths to see stuff or even consider buying stuff, without it being some “frenzy” of activity.

When the four-day passes sell out nearly instantly, 5+ MONTHS before the show…there’s obviously a huge demand. It also means–for someone like me, in Ohio–a ridiculous amount of planning and finances would have to go into planning for such a trip.

Continue reading

Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: The Man who Murdered Prometheus

The true Prometheus finds himself free, and seeks revenge on the man who has used his name during his imprisonment.

facesofevilprometheus001Writer: Sterling Gates
Art & Color: Federico Dallocchio
Letterer: Swands
Editors: Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza
Cover: Mauro Cascioli
Publisher: DC Comics

Opening with a fairly "classic" "one punch takeout" by Batman, we see the original Prometheus dealt with by Batman and Martian Manhunter in a flashback. Moving to the present, we find that Prometheus has been imprisoned for a couple years (comic time), and isn’t seen as much of a threat by the guards assigned him. Prometheus recalls his own origin (a simple story device/excuse to fill readers in on it). When he finds himself let loose of the Martian Manhunter’s control (J’onn’s death in Final Crisis #1 / Final Crisis: Requiem), he sets out to continue his mission of revenge against agents of justice as well as against the imposter using his name of late.

I was interested in this issue by its title alone: I vaguely recalled Prometheus from a couple of issues fairly early in the Morrison JLA run over a decade back, and thought it’d be interesting to see where the character is–or would be brought–in the present. Story wise, I was not disappointed. The plot is a bit cliched, but works for me as a one-shot though I doubt it’d work for me as a longer story. We have a reconciliation of sorts of the character (I never knew that someone other than one character has used the name "Prometheus" in DC’s continuity) that sets him up to be a big player in future issues.

Offhand I am not at all familiar with the artist’s name, but with art like that in this issue, I certainly hope to become familiar. There’s a gritty realism to the art that fits quite well with the story. I’m not a huge fan of the Prometheus costume–can’t quite put my finger on it, except it just looks…weird. I don’t have any old issues to reference to see how similar or different it is to the original, but hey…whatever.

I haven’t found the Faces of Evil bit all that engaging in most of the other DC titles (particularly Booster Gold, Green Lantern Corps, and Action Comics) so far. However, this issue seems to be exactly what Faces of Evil is all about, giving a solid, full story about a villain with insight into the villain him/herself. With quality like this, I’d even be somewhat interested in a regular series of spotlights on various villains if it kept to this price point.

This is a good one-shot–though it’s not an entirely new character, one can certainly see how this’ll be a launching point for a dangerous DC villain that hasn’t had much play time the last few years. If you can find it for cover price, this is well worth a look-see.

Ratings:

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

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