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Dark Horse FCBD 2012: Buffy Season 9/The Guild flip-book [Review]

BUFFY SEASON 9

A year ago, I would have probably been thrilled with the Buffy story. As-is, I’ve not followed the Season 9 comics (even dropped the title from my pull list once I realized I hadn’t READ an issue in several months), and have yet to get to finish Season 8. So I don’t know what the deal is with Spike, which really made this issue quite surreal.

Visually, Buffy doesn’t look unlike what I’ve come to expect for the comics, and the art for this story is not bad at all.

Story-wise, I was a bit lost…but certainly appreciated the nods to the Aliens franchise here.

I assume this one’ll be of interest to Buffy fans, who are relatively current, or at least know what the heck’s going on with Spike at this point in the characters’ continuity.

Rating: 6.5/10

THE GUILD

I’ve had a mixed sorta relationship with The Guild. Namely, I tend to go long periods of time without it in my life, followed by short periods of catching up on it. I’ve recently watched what I believe is the most recent season (fifth) in one go, so this story is a real treat.

Torn on where to have their in-person monthly meetup, the Guild has their avatars battle to the death for who gets to decide the location. Clara wins, and opts to have a beach day. The way each reacts to/handles the beach is the height of the story, and keeps quite true to the characters.

Like the Serenity cover (on the other Dark Horse FCBD 2012 issue), this one is really well-done, and really “gets” the characters and the actors. And the interior art is a lot more cartooney…but given the nature of The Guild, it works quite well here.

The story would make a great setting for a partial season of the web series. As-is as a comic, this has me suddenly quite interested in getting the collected edition of the mini-series from several years back.

…Which I suppose is ultimately the goal of something like this: provide an entertaining story, AND send the reader to other existing material.

Rating: 8/10

ALABASTER: SHELTER part 2

This is another 2-pager that really doesn’t do much for me. Story, art…just too short to really be meaningful.

Rating: 3/10

Dark Horse FCBD 2012: Buffy Season 9/The Guild Overall Rating: 8/10

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The Rest of the Stack: Week of September 21, 2011

The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

FEAR ITSELF: UNCANNY X-FORCE #3

fearitselfuncannyxforce003I’m of quite mixed feelings on this issue. On the one hand…it’s Uncanny X-Force, and it’s only $2.99. But then, this is a Fear Itself tie-in, that in some ways feels like it has zero bearing on the main story. Of course, it has a bit MORE meaning to me than the first two issues did, as I have now read God Loves, Man Kills…so have some basis for the Purifiers stuff. This issue primarily suffers from being the closing issue of an only-three-issues mini outside the main title’s continuity flow, and thus this story has nowhere to “go” at its end. Nothing to really explore coming out of this, no real ramifications. Its timeframe is also questionable given the ongoing Dark Angel Saga in the main title–does this take place before or after that story? Still…it’s this cast of characters, we see them doing exactly what the team’s supposedly been formed around, and so the story is fitting. I’m undecided on the art for the issue–it’s good in and of itself, I like it that way. But something about it seems a little bit “off” somehow. All in all, though…a good issue, even if it means YET ANOTHER issue of Uncanny X-Force in such a short period of time. I think I would’ve preferred this as some triple-sized $5-$6 single issue, though. Worthwhile if you’re a fan of UXF in general and want to see how the characters would deal with Fear Itself, or just to have an extra dose of them and their way of doing things. (7.5/10)

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #508

invincibleironman508I’ve meant to drop this book since #500, but never quite got around to it. Then I found myself figuring that I’m mid-arc, and didn’t want to get caught with a cliffhanger and having to separately track down an extra chapter of something. I’ve generally enjoyed the title…just not for the jacked-up $3.99 price point after being THRILLED to “discover” it was only $2.99 as of the dawn of the Heroic Age. I’ve been having a bit of trouble “following” all this Fear Itself stuff with Tony, and wondering where things are actually going and what it’s going to mean, long-term. The story’s ok in and of itself, though, I suppose…but between the price point and this being something that seems far better suited for collected volumes, I’m not thrilled with it. The art’s good in the way I’ve enjoyed on this title, so can’t really complain about that. I am thinking that I’ll probably get the next issue–what I hope is the conclusion of the title’s tie-in to Fear Itself–and then probably part ways with the title in favor of collected volumes, if at all. (5/10)

THE GUILD: CLARA #1

guildclara001The first thing I noticed about this issue is the HORRENDOUS cover. I don’t really remember the last time I so disliked a cover. If I wasn’t already interested in the issue for the content, I would avoid this entirely just based on the cover! I also didn’t much care for the art on the interior as well. It certainly captures the essence of the character, sure…but it’s a bit too stylized for my taste, particularly given that I’m buying this because of enjoying the live-action web series, and not for this to look like something so different. The story was very good, though, offering plenty of insight into the character and filling in where she’s come from and her relationship with her husband–and kids. I missed the original Guild mini-series, though I’ve been picking up these one-shots and enjoying them. As such, I do plan to pick up what I believe will be the final one-shot of this run in a couple months. I’d recommend this for Guild fans, though I don’t see there being much here for non-Guild fans. (7/10)

STAR TREK #1

startrek001The 2009 Star Trek film is easily my favorite film of the last couple years–and certainly my favorite of 2009. It’s the ONLY film I’ve ever seen 5 times in its first run in the theatre. I think what really hooked me was that with a couple of quick scenes this was established not as a replacement but as an alternate timeline, thus keeping all original continuity intact, and setting this continuity as TECHNICALLY taking place after Nemesis. All that said: I didn’t know what this comic series was going to do, except it features the “new” versions of the characters as established in the 2009 film. That it looks like this series is going to adapt episodes of The Original Series fitting it to this version of the characters was what sold me on this. I hate the $3.99 price point, but I am sufficiently hooked as to at least give this a shot for a few issues. The art’s good–I like how it treads a fine line: the characters look like the actors/actress while also looking like the characters regardless of the live-action actor behind ’em. The story’s good, and a solid read overall. I’ll definitely be getting the next issue. (8.5/10)

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #2

teenagemutantninjaturtles002This issue goes a long way to explaining some questions I had from the first issue, both overt and back of the mind. Seeing the background of the animosity between the Turtles, Splinter, and Hob, as well as the way Raph was taken from them leaves me with a significantly different impression of how the story’s gonna shape up. Additionally, it seems that a significant piece of the puzzle that was missing from the first issue’s hints at the characters’ origin has been introduced, and on the whole I think I’m quite fine with this. The story itself has me totally interested and chomping at the bit for the next issue. That’s also a drawback, though–this feels much more drawn-out as a singular story than I can think of for any TMNT story I’ve read in more than a decade. Laird‘s series seemed to just be one ongoing story without clear-cut arcs, and the Tales title was full of one and two-issue arcs. This feels like it’s going to be a 6-issue arc that’ll make for an awesome read in collected format, but any given issue is going to be lacking structurally. The art is sort of sketchy and at points seems minimalistic…and yet, it works for this title, and so long as Duncan is maintained as a consistent artist, I think the style will grow on me and be as definitive for me as Lawson or Eastman. I do have to comment on the variant covers–I hate variants. The TMNT are my exception to the purchase rule, at least with the first issue. This issue, I actually (thankfully) mostly preferred the “standard”/most-common cover. My comic shop first offered me the Simonson 1:4 variant, but I already thought it was atrocious before seeing it in person, and opted to pass instead for the Duncan cover. I would love to see Eastman’s covers as the “main” cover, despite the drastic difference with the interior art. But I refuse–even with TMNT–to pay the far higher price for the Eastman variants for every single issue. This is by far my favorite issue of the week, and even if it meant different stories and different writers and artists, I’d absolutely love a weekly TMNT book. (9.5/10)

X-MEN #18

x-men018I keep saying it, but it keeps coming to mind: For only buying a couple X-titles, they sure seem to be out every week lately. And for $3.99 it’s getting a bit annoying in its way. Still, though part of me has meant to drop this title since the end of the first arc, due to the $3.99 price point primarily…I still find myself just simply enjoying the title with each issue I read. Gischler‘s stile works well for me, and I enjoy his take on these characters. I’m not as thrilled with the art–there’s something to this issue that felt visually “off,” though that may primarily have been Magneto’s depiction. Overall, though…another solid issue. That this is part 3 of a 4-part story (with a “to be concluded” rather than “to be continued” blurb at its end) is all the better, to me–it fits the story, and it’s great that it’s not simply yet another 6-issue arc for a standard collected volume. I will be dropping this title eventually, given the price point…but I’m in for at least one more issue. (8/10)

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