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Quantum and Woody #5 [Review]

quantumandwoody005Writer: James Asmus
Art: Ming Doyle
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Pin-Up: Tom Fowler and Brian Reber
Cover Art: Andrew Robinson, Lee Garbett, David Lopez, Mike McKone
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Executive Editor: Warren Simons
Published by: Valiant
Cover Price: $3.99

Now that they’ve accepted they’re stuck together…Eric (Quantum) and Woody are sharing Eric’s apartment. Of course, Eric hadn’t counted on Woody ALSO bringing the goat (now named Vincent van Goat) and the “teenage” clone of the woman who murdered their father into the mix. As Eric goes to work and returns the weapons Woody snuck out, he tasks Woody with finding a job. Instead, Woody decides to house-hunt, and winds up losing Eric’s car in the process. Eric meanwhile finds that he’s come to the attention of his boss, who lays out an interesting proposal.

Though I’ve now read all of the original Q&W issues, I’ve never looked all that deeply into them…but at least on the surface, this continues to very much come off as being in the same spirit. The situations are modified, more modern…but this series fits right with the original to me.

I don’t know where the story’s actually going, though I recognize Eric’s boss’s name and so have a certain suspicion there. I do have a better sense of Eric’s annoyance (and Woody’s deservance of being the target of said annoyance) in this series so far. 

The art isn’t bad, though something seems a bit “off” and I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s a bit of a shift, but everyone’s still recognizable and it’s not hard to follow what’s going on.

As a bonus, we get a random pinup page in the back…which is rather amusing in itself, as well as refreshing: it’s a pin-up page, meaning full-page one-page art piece…but get this: it’s NOT A VARIANT COVER! Someone, somewhere, actually remembers that an artist can do a piece of art like this without it HAVING TO BE a VARIANT!

All in all, a good issue, and as billed on the cover, the start of a new arc and thus a better jumping-on point than the previous issue (especially when you consider the first TPB is due out soon at the “bargain” $9.99 price point of all the Valiant vol. 1s). If you’re already following the title, it’s worth continuing. If not, you might be better served grabbing the paperback to read the first/origin story and if you like it, continuing on.

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Superman #690 [Review]

The Setup

Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Pere Perez
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: John J. Hill
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Andrew Robinson
Publisher: DC Comics

While I really don’t have much of a problem at Superman himself being taking out of his own titled-book, I’m increasingly put-off by this title for its contents. This issue begins with a battle between Atlas and Steel in a sequence that flies by and is more than a little hard to follow, as Steel’s been duped into allowing Atlas into his home. We then get a 2-page sequence of Guardian naming team leaders within the science police…and a to-be-continued notice directing us to Superman: Secret Files 2009. Next up is a sequence with Zatara and a stage hand as we’re reminded of Zatara’s irresponsibility, and introduced to this stage hand who proves to be more than he appears, introducing a likely quest we’ll probably see unfold over the next few issues. After this is a one-page sequence between Guardian and Dr. Light in civilian guises, with a to-be-continued notice directing us to future issues of this title as well as Justice League of America. Finally, we get a 3-page sequence of Sodam Yat and an alien that explains away Yat and Mon-El’s lack of interaction…with a to-be-continued notice directing us to Superman Annual #14.

This issue as a whole felt like a lot of filler. We have a semi-pointless fight scene between Steel and Atlas (a character I still care nothing for, and have begun to actively dislike seeing appear in the Superman titles at all), followed by a bunch of seemingly unconnected “scenes” with no real transition from one to another, directing the reader to other titles and whatnot, rather than telling a thorough, consistent story to keep one interested in THIS title, in picking up the next issue. And perhaps this was filler, as I do suspect the Steel/Atlas scene to have at least some import on the Codename: Patriot story upcoming in the majority of the Superman titles for August; the rest of this issue would have been better served kicking off that story in some way.

I’m not much of a fan of the art–especially the depiction of Atlas. Other than that, not much problem with the visuals–my favorite probably being Sodam Yat and the alien, as both came across quite well overall…all things considered.

This issue seems entirely passable–all you need to know is that Atlas beats Steel, and you’re probably good to go for the next arc. Not recommended.

Story: 3/10
Art: 5/10
Whole: 4/10

Superman #689 [Review]

The Tourist

Writer: James Robinson
Penciler: Renato Guedes
Inker: Jose Wilson Magalhaes
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: John J. Hill
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Andrew Robinson
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue focuses primarily on Mon-El exploring the world and encountering trouble all across the globe. He tries to visit one place, and winds up in the middle of a metahuman conflict; he goes to help with a conflict and gets to visit something significant. Meanwhile, the Guardian deals with Morgan Edge calling out the public on Mon-El’s presence…something which Edge then spins back into his own favor once again. We also see General Lane interacting with the Prankster about getting another hero out of town…and preparing for yet another of Metropolis’ heroes to take the big dirt nap.

The art as usual isn’t much to my taste, not really enjoying Guedes’ style, nor that of the rest of the art team surrounding his pencils…though that’s personal taste, and is not to say that the art is horrible: it just doesn’t suit me, and thus detracts from my enjoyment of the book. It still gets across what it needs to–and does so effectively.

The story itself gives me mixed things: on the one hand, it’s doing a good job of keeping me interested in Mon-El’s development as well as the Guardian, especially as the two outright take the place of Superman in his own title for the fourth or fifth issue of at least a year’s worth. On the other hand, I find myself more and more skeptical of the General Lane subplot–whatever the character was depicted as prior to Our Worlds at War, now he seems like a derivitive rip-off of General Ross from the Hulk book(s)…and by his associations in this issue, begins to feel like he’s being shoehorned into the role of a new Lex Luthor quasi-archetype…the primary human enemy of Superman/Kryptonians, including having metahuman “lackeys.” We also get a return of a character at the very end that I didn’t care for the first time around.

If you’ve been following the title, may as well stick on with it–this shows Mon-El experiencing the world he’s sworn to protect as he avoids facing the fact of his mortality. If you’ve not been following things…well, you may not really care for this.

Story: 5/10
Art: 4/10
Whole: 4.5/10

Action Comics #878 [Review]

The Sleepers Part 4

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Diego Olmos
Colorist: Rod Reis
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Andrew Robinson
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue finds a couple of the “Sleepers” (the ones Nightwing and Flamebird are after) house-jacking (cuz hey, they’re Kryptonian and powerful…so let’s go that step above and beyond car-jacking). Lois and Thara talk a bit as Thara explains a bit about her relationship with Chris (K’riss to her). General Lane reacts to recent goings-on and continues to show questionable judgement. Nightwing and Flamebird find themselves back in action (no pun intended) and before long come across an ambush that may or may not pose a significant threat to them.

This issue continues to hold plenty of promise, though the execution is definitely flawed. I’m not all that engaged with the characters, nor do I particularly like them. The abnormally-fast-aging thing with Chris isn’t all that original to me (and I enjoyed the dynamic of him being a much younger child in Clark/Lois’ life, but as a semi-adult super-being…he’s just not that interesting). The story is decent, but not wonderful.

The art’s also in the good-but-not-spectacular sorta category. It fits the story and conveys what needs to be gotten across.

This remains an ok title, and mostly lives up to its name. It’s just not the most engaging, enjoyable thing you’ll find out there these days.

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

Superman #688 [Review]

The Fall and Rise of Jonathan Kent

Writer: James Robinson
Penciler: Renato Guedes
Inker: Jose Wilson Magalhaes
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: John J. Hill
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Andrew Robinson
Publisher: DC Comics

The first thing to note is this issue’s story title, which is a reversal of the “traditional” phrasing, as one would usually expect to read of the Rise and THEN Fall of someone, rather than the fall and then rise. It also puts me in mind of The Death and Life of Superman for the same reason–the title reversing the order. In the case of this issue, the title is quite literal, as we begin with Mon-El sans powers in free-fall. Though he survives, he is not sure what caused his powers to cut out. Joined by the Guardian, answers are sought, and in a typical comics sorta fashion, an answer is found that is not to the liking of the protagonists.

I’m not a fan of the art style in this issue. It’s just not to my liking, so much so that it does actually take me out of the story as I notice panel after panel the visual style I’m not thrilled with. That’s not to say the art’s bad or anything–for one thing, it’s far better than anything I myself could accomplish–but it is such that I don’t engage with the story as I would one with art I enjoyed a good deal more.

The story itself feels rather cliched here. The revelation of what’s affecting Mon-El’s powers goes a good way toward explaining recent events and accounting for his current status quo. But it’s also not all that original, and left me mentally groaning at just how cliche it feels, whatever original elements are yet present.

I have no problem with this book essentially starring a couple of characters who are NOT Superman himself, with stories that show a world that does not have Superman present, but rather others trying to fill the man’s role while he’s off-planet. It’s just that the story itself here just feels rather weak…especially when held against something like Starman, also by this writer.

Aside from simply being one chapter in an ongoing narrative….this is not an issue I’d recommend in general.

Story: 5/10
Art: 4/10
Whole: 4.5/10

Action Comics #877 [Review]

The Sleepers Part 3

Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencillers: Sidney Teles
Inkers: Sandro Ribeiro
Colorist: Rod Reis
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Andrew Robinson
Publisher: DC Comics

Chris Kent is reunited with Lois, but their joy is short-lived as they must attend to securing medical attention for Thara, who has been badly injured from the battle with Ursa. Dr. Light (the good one) is called in, and she doesn’t care about the planet-wide ban on Kryptonians. While Thara is cared for, Chris races back to the site of the battle and confronts his mother…while also providing cause for General Lane & Co. to learn more than they should about Nightwing and Flamebird.

The story is decent….it’s not anything hyper-wonderful, but as the story is just beginning to build, it works well enough. I enjoyed the Chris Kent character much more as a roughly-6-years-old kid…as a character spontaneously aged to mid/late-teens, he feels too derivative…I’d enjoy that role being filled by Connor Kent. Still, I can’t deny that it provides for some interesting enough character interactions.

The art actually comes across as far more enjoyable for me this issue than I remember the previous issue or wo being. The visuals definitely work well for this issue, and combined with the story itself, makes for a good issue of the “new” “World Without Superman” Action Comics.

If you’re digging the stories being crafted in the Superman corner of the DCU of late, and/or enjoy the new Nightwing & Flamebird, this issue’s well worthwhile.

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

Action Comics #876 [Review]

The Sleepers Part 2

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

This issue is largely one big fight scene as Ursa deals a lot of damage to the new Flamebird, while also showing no hesitation at dealing harm to Nightwing as well. We also get a little bit of Lois tring to get into contact with her sister about their dad while this is going on.

The art for this issue is pretty good–while it’s not my favorite, it certainly serves the story quite well, and fits on the whole.

The writing isn’t bad, but doesn’t really blow me away. Rucka’s no stranger to the Superman universe-and the supporting cast–but I’m not giving an automatic pass for history. There’s still a huge amount of potential to the overall story–especially the meta-arc touching into all of the Superman books.

As a whole, this issue’s not much to recommend in and of itself. But if you’re following the title, writer, artist, or just the overall Superman-universe story right now, this is a worthwhile pickup.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 7.5/10
Whole: 7.5/10

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