Tuesday, August 25, 2015

TRADING POST: Reviewing Excalibur #14, Witchblade Silver Surfer: Devils Reign, and Justice League Europe #8

In honour of the Justice League, my pull-list has a 'Floating Chair'. However, rather than being a chance for the world's greatest to call in a specialist ally, I use it to play a little game. Jump online, and see how many comics I can win in online auctions, bidding no more than the cost of a modern comic in total, then review them online.

For last month that resulted in Excalibur #14, Witchblade / Silver Surfer: Devils Reign, and Justice League Europe #8. To read the bullet reviews of each, click through to the next page here.

JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE #8 Even though I only gained this, the final chapter of The Teasdale Imperative now, the other chapters already had the tale sitting as one of my favourite Justice League adventures.

It had everything - a foriegn location, swarms of crazy zombie-ish people, the Spectre, a new Doctor Fate, and the great line-ups and interactions of the American and European League's, written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis. What's more the J.L.E. chapters had the added bonus of Bart Sears' art - especially with his STILL unbeaten takes on Martian Manhunter and Captain Atom. Art like this:

The downside is, after owning all the other chapters for over a decade, I had already pictured the final conclusion. An epic battle royale with the likes of Power Girl and Fire pushed to their limits. What stands in its place (without spoilers), is he JLA version of those Fantastic Four issues where Reed Richards creates a last minute invention to save the day, while his teammates look on. Cool? Moderately. Worthy of the dream? Moderatly not. Rating: *****

SILVER SURFER WITCHBLADE WIZARD 1/2 Can any Silver Surfer fan turn down a chance to see Norrin Radd illustrated by the crew at Top Cow Studios? Answer, you can't. As the splashie above shows, it's a pretty unbeatable thing.

The catch with this comic (like all 1/2 issues), is that you have to entice the readers into picking up the rest of the crossover, without giving away any plot pieces that readers of the main series won't miss if they don't stumble across the limited edition ashcan. That means the action is pretty light.

Bored of the modern ages, Mephisto discovers a new dimension upon which he aims to create his biggest masterpiece in evil, that of the Witchblade. To power his dimensional jump, he needs to trick his arch-rival, the Silver Surfer into unleashing his 'power cosmic'. While his sidekick is a bit to camp and the dialouge swings from greatness to cheese at a moments notice, it and the Surfer does the job it's intended to do. Rating: *****

EXCALIBUR #14 In contrast to the Justice League Europe review above, the final chapter of Excalibur's Cross Time Caper has everything a good comic needs. On top of this, while it is a conclusion, it reads perfectly as a stand-alone issue. Funny that.

Trying to get back to their earth, Excalibur crashland in an alternate Spy vs Spy -ish reality, created by the Impossible Man. Captain America and Deathlok are one, bowlhead Mysterio gives Meggan and Nightcrawler fashion advice, and just when it seems everyone is intent on killing each other, Galactus shows up to eat the planet. Mmm tasty.

The riches of this issue are endless. Rick Jones is desperate to be a sidekick again, the que for Mr Fantastic's help is around the block and the best Giant Man scene you'll read outside of Marvels, ends with Namor. Best of all, writer Chris Claremont and artist Alan Davis still keep the development of Captain Britain, Shadowcat and co. moving forward, reminding me with every page why I loved this team - in both senses of the word. Rating: *****

 What do you think? 


  1. Oh man, Excalibur#14 is one of my personal favorites, if not my favorite issue of Excalibur. All the inside jokes, and just all-around entertaining comic from page to page. That era of excalibur was at its best then.

    I feel like I should have those teasdale issues, as the later Extremists arc is a fav of mine as well.

    I vaguely remember that 1/2 offer in Wizard. Never got it, but a got a nice number of 1/2's over the years.Do you have the SS/Weapon Zero team up issue? I think it wraps the whole Mephisto invading the Top Cowverse event, which i have the GH/Ballistic and Ballistic/Wolverine issues from that one.

    Damn good finds Mate. Keep sharing....

  2. Thanks Dale - It's odd - I'm watching Fight Club as I typed this, and I can't stop seeing it as a Top Cow comic to. I know the sequel went to Dark Horse, but it sure seems to match.

    No I see the ad for SS/Weapon Zero in this issue but never read that yet. Would be keen on getting them all - especially if Ghost Rider wasn't in the crazy uniform he was in at that point in time.

    Excalibur had me laughing out loud. It literally felt like those old 'What the' Marvel specials, but serious at the same time. Very, very talented stuff!

  3. It definitely was wasn't it? I know there's a comic book legend or two involving a good bit of meta-ficition/humor by Davis and Claremont joking on certain comic creators and the industry as a whole.

    My god how horrible wa that color scheme for GH? Why they just didn't let this be an obvious out-of-continiuty story, and retain hos orignal or at least Danny Ketch look,is beyond me. Big mistake here, but decent story for the time. The art caught and kept my visual attention(as it often did as I was bigger on art than story back then)

    What's really messed up is that they basically ignored the whole thing and allowed Heatwave to to turn face again during the last year or so of Cyberforce.
    And while I'm thinkingh about it, how fucking random and out of place was that heelturn by Heatwave anyways? He just had a mental breakdown one day, and decided to become a bad guy so he could have some peace again? Weak Sauce son, weak sauce.

  4. Yeah Top Cow was crazy like that in some points. I just brought Cyber Force #1 (still with coupon even) and it's amazing to see how much has changed.

    Hopefully we will still see a Top Cow universe again at some point. It really does have a lot of decent concepts; The Darkness especially.