Tuesday, August 26, 2014

PANEL BEATER: Random Thoughts From My Recent Comics Haul

It's been a wee while since I dove into my pull list and cheered what's working great, separating it from what needs a kick and what needs a shove. Pulling three books at random, and writing a bullet review on each, here's what caught my eye in the last few weeks.

RANDOM REVIEW: ARMOR HUNTERS #2: For a solo gun-toting, nearly indestructible bad ass, Bloodshot sure soars in team up situations.

While having H.A.R.D. Corps in his own title diluted the waters a bit, in Harbinger Wars he stole the show, and in Armor Hunters, he's doing the same. Not only does the issue's last page scream 'make me into a poster', pairing the woman who speaks to machines with a man made of nanites is one of the best ideas Valiant has had so far - and that's saying something.

Last month I cancelled the All-New Invaders (despite the team being one of my all-time favs), and now I have cancelled arguably my true all-time favourite team title, The Fantastic Four. Leonard Kirk's art has been stunning and combined with the inks of Karl Kesel - one of comics most underrated talents and workhorses - their pages are almost worth the price of admission. Sadly, the writing is not.

Like writer James Robinson's All-New Invaders, Fantastic Four's events drag or jump in bizarre ways. The Original Sin tie-ins star a 'revelation' that seems both blown out of proportion and more than a little been there done that for this book, while the Avengers taking on a solo Invisible Woman gets criminally glossed over despite the cover, so a court case against Reed Richards can rabbit on for ages. 

After all the hype I had for both books under James's run, I'm left hoping Namor and Thing get solo series soon as part of the Marvel onslaught, so I can still have a taste of each team, without reading the drag of the actual monthlies.

Neil Gaiman is like the liquid terminator at the end of T2, as it is dropped into liquid metal, and shifts through all the identities it assumed during the film in a short space of time. Throughout this book Neil is lyrical, metaphorical, cosmic, romantic, depressing and insightful. While trapped in the moment of either stage it can seem disjointed from the last, it still unites by the end page to form an amazing comic experience.

From Jack Kirby-ish galactic swarms of beetles to giants holding up bridges over time and space, from cat reflections of Daniel's inner-self to the truth behind the first love his heart ever burned for (Alianora for you Sandman: A Game Of You fans), what makes the reader writhe like the T-1000 is J.H. Williams III's art. He shifts style with every scene and yet makes it seem cohesive at the same time. His layouts are as crazy cool as always and the eye of his imagination knows no bounds.

Together, The Sandman: Overture is truly a dream state delivered by a dream team. Sure the wait between issues is a little large, but for quality like this, I seriously don't mind. In fact the longer the wait between issues, the longer we get to savour the unravelling being told.

What were your hits of the month?


  1. Valiant's just on fire this year and last. God I hope they maintain their presence in the comic market, if anything else to spite the big two. Someone needs to contribute something besides countless reboots and horrible re-imaginings of old childhood favorites.

    Ahh Sandman. Missed that one. And the third issue too? I didn't even know it came out already. Hot damn that panel you spotlighted is beautiful!

    I'll second your opinion on Robinson's run on FF. He's definitely not the same James Robinson who wrote JSA Golden Age, Starman, or even Earth 2. Although maybe the apathy for the FF is catching since it's supposed to be cancelled anyways....

  2. Thanks Dale - I hope Valiant stick around, the audience numbers on this site plummet everytime I talk non-Marvel or DC, but I'm enjoying the hell out of both Image and Valiant these days!

    Sandman is a book of beauty my friend. As for Robinson, yes, sadly I was thinking that same thing as I wrote this post. 'Starman' needs to get back to his solar flare best.

  3. that straight forward line art style in the Armor Hunters clip art is stellar. i can appreciate more stylized art work as well but more often then not i like to see something more along the lines of of basic art that observes well the principles of good figure composition. i tell ya if this Livewire chick was real she would be unbelievably hot. is she actually supposed to be a British character?

  4. sw man don't tell me youre binned the FF - my life-long loyalty to the book will never end, but I understand why youre peeved...after his intial flush on the book had died down, Robinson has been distinctly lacklustre...the Unoriginal Spin was turgid, and the deliberate mistake on the cover of Sue fighting the Avengers which didn't happen till the next issue was insulting to the fans.

  5. True fans like myself, will stay loyal and keep reading this blog no matter what Dan. A little diversity in the ranks goes a long way.

  6. Thanks Dale - that was great to read Mr!

    Thanks Karl - glad I'm not the only one that has felt Robinson fade. Poor FF, they really do deserve the best.

    Hey Dave - nope Livewire is American, she's just currently on loan to MI-6 after turning against her 'Magneto-mad-ish' boss Toyo Harada (of Harbinger fame), in the opening arc of Unity. It's great stuff! Speaking of Unity, the art is by Doug Braithwaite (who draws the Unity book), he's been with the new Valiant for a bit, but his style just keeps improving! Glad you dug it.

    1. well she'd be hot just the same. by the way speaking of art you outta have a look at my latest digital coloring job over at the Rom blog. and on a side note my dad showed me an article in the San Francisco Chronicle paper about how a near mint copy of Action Comics recently sold for 3.2 million dollars.