Monday, August 31, 2015

Kat's Hiatus Week 8/26/15 Mini Reviews

This week I was on hiatus, but I still wanted to share my thoughts on this week's comics so I posted mini reviews on my Facebook and Twitter throughout the week. Here are my mini reviews for the comics I read this week. I start out with my worst pick of the week to my best pick of the week.


14. Shield #9 (Marvel)

Before the Agents of Shield TV show I was never a big fan of Shield. It was too much government stuff and I tended to get bored with the series.

This issue combines the old Shield with the new Shield that we are familiar with because of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the main story Coulsen wants to figure out the Secret Origins of Shield. In the second story it centers around the Howling Commandos. The last story is a reprint from a earlier Shield story.

I think you have to be more of an old school Shield fan to enjoy these stories. The issue is centered around the modern Shield members, but the tone felt more like the older Shield stories. For some reason I couldn't connect to either story. The book dragged for me, especially with the extra page count.

The artwork for the first story needed more detail and then action scenes were a bit stiff. Although I did like the older artwork style when they showed flashbacks. The second story had better artwork but the inking could have been better.

I am not a huge Shiled fan so this issue is skippable for me, but if you like Shield a lot then it may be worth picking up.

2.5 out of 5 stars. 

13. The Flash #43 (DC Comics)

I dropped Flash last month, but I had a chance to read this issue so I decided to give the title another shot.

This issue continues Barry's father escape from jail. Barry begins to worry about his father when he finds out what his father has been up to. As this chaos continues Barry is also trying to connect with Wally. Wally and Iris is one positive happening in Barry's life right now. Wally is really starting to open up to Barry.

This arc is a bit more interesting compared to earlier issues in Vendetti's run, but still not interesting enough for me to put this series on my pull list. This book is called The Flash and ironically the story moves way too slow. The plot line with Barry's father seems way too similar to the TV show. Instead I would rather see more focus on Wally and the West family. They only had 2 or 3 pages in this issue.

I am not a fan of the artwork in this series. The book feels very claustrophobic. There is too much going on in a page and the panel layout makes it feel even more claustrophobic.

Overall I think I am still going to avoid this series for a little while. The story needs to pick up a lot more.

2.5 out of 5 stars.  

12. Captain Marvel and The Carol Corps #3 (Marvel)
Captain Marvel has been a solid Marvel series and I enjoyed the first issue of Captain Marvel and The Carol Corps, but at this point this mini series has over stayed it's welcome.
This issue didn't progress the story that much and it was pretty predictable. Carol and corp run away, but in the end of the issue the Thors find them. We have seen this in many times in the other secret wars minis. A series that started out with a new angle for Secret Wars has now become too similar to the other titles.
The artwork was the best part about this issue. It has a similar style to the regular series, but the coloring has a darker shade.
Overall this was a pretty forgetable issue and skipable if you are saving cash.
3 out of 5 stars.

11. Deathstroke #9 (DC Comics)

Deathstroke is a series with a lot of potential, but I feel like recently the series has been focusing on the wrong things. I want the series to concentrate on Deathstroke himself, but every arc has been focusing on Deathstroke teaming up with a big DC hero.
This issue continues Deathstroke's team up with Wonder Woman. Superman joins the fight and mistakens Deathstroke as the villain.
The artwork is gorgeous for this series and is the main reason I am still picking up this book. But the pacing for this arc has been pretty slow. Wonder Woman and Deathstroke have been fighting this villain for an Annual and 2 issues.
I want this series to focus on Deathstroke and his family. That's when the series is at it's best.
3 out of 5 stars.

10. Drive #1 (IDW)
Drive is a movie I have always wanted to see, but for some reason I never got around to watching it. When I saw IDW was making a comic book adaptation I decided to pick up the first issue.

From the first few panels it sets the book's theme of isolation. Most of the book is interior monologue from the main character, our driver. The main character is a stunt driver, but also takes illegal driving jobs for extra cash. That's all we really know about the character. There isn't a lot of information revealed about him in the first issue. I don't even think the writer revealed his first name.

I liked that the main character didn't have any connections to anyone. His life is about the job, and issue 1 showcases that characteristic very well.

There was good characterization, but I thought his jobs could have been explored a bit more. The main character goes from job to job so quickly that the cliffhanger didn't mean much. This woman with a lot of money jumps in his car. So I guess they are going to be driving for the rest of the comic. This can work well in film, but I don't know how this will be executed in a comic book.

The artwork also pulled me out of the book. It was blocky and didn't fit the pulp tone of the story. I rather of had the artwork from the cover.

I don't know if I will get the next issue. Maybe if it's a small week, but I do think I will watch the movie instead.

3 out of 5 stars.   

9. Civil War #3 (Marvel)

I haven't been impressed with Civil War. There hasn't been a real hook for me to enjoy this world. Especially since there are so many other worlds to invest to in Secret Wars.

Both sides are looking for the assassin who killed their mutual friend in the first issue. Spider-Man, the new Black Panther, and Venom encounter Kingpin infused with Dr. Octopus' arms after Elektra's death. Spider-Man kills him in a really badass way. On the other side She Hulk is hunted by an older version of Speedball. She's kidnapped and goes face-to-face with the original Black Panther.

This issue was an improvement from issue 2. I thought it had somewhat of a direction and made interesting connections to the original Civil War event.

My favorite part of this issue was She Hulk in disguise as herself. We don't get to see Jennifer in her human form enough in my opinion. We always see her hulked out. She actually had a really interesting line comparing her disguise to being a lawyer. Lawyers never try to hunt for the truth because they have to believe what people say. That's how they are able to take a client they know are guilty.

There are a lot of little moments I liked in this issue, but I am still not really interested in the main plot.

The artwork also takes me out of the story because it's very dark. The action looks cool, but when there's more than one person in a panel they look like blobs. It's hard to tell characters apart.

3.5 out of 5 Stars. 

8. Ant Man Last Days #1 (Marvel)

I have a love/hate relationship with Ant Man. It's one of my favorite series from 2015, but as a Cassie Lang fan I hate that her character is shoved to the side. The reason I was drawn to the series in the first place was because of Cassie and Scott's adorable father/daughter relationship beautifully portrayed in the first issue.

Ant Man Last Days is a one shot issue that ties into Secret Wars. Scott meets a golden age superhero who makes her fellow senior citizen superheroes find youth for one more day. She tells Scott that the world is ending and with this news Scott goes to Peggy's house to say goodbye to Cassie. Cassie isn't home and Peggy tells Scott that Cassie is upset with him. He leaves and decides to spend his last moments at a club and finds the super villain Beatle. They have sex and now Scott really wants the world to end.

The issue began like any other Ant Man issue. It didn't really seem connected to Secret Wars until the Golden Age hero said she could tell the future and saw the world ending. I thought that was a weird transition. The last half of the story becomes a prologue for the new Ant Man series in October.

I wish this issue would have been used to explore Cassie and Scott's relationship after the events of last issue. This could have been a perfect issue to explore that story because Scott wants to say his last goodbyes to his daughter. They touched upon their relationship in this issue, but it really was only a reminder to how stupid it was that Scott left his daughter in the first place. I hate that comic book trope. "I can't be with you because you'll get hurt from my enemies." Cassie has her own powers she can protect herself.

Ant Man Last Days is not a bad issue, but it did feel uneven. The Secret Wars portion of the issue seems a bit forced.

3.5 out of 5 stars. 

7. Spider Woman #10 (Marvel)

If you miss Jessica Drew interacting with the Avengers then this will be your favorite issue from the new Spider Woman run. Black Widow recruits Jessica Drew to help with the Secret Wars' events. Jessica still wants to live her normal life so she instead helps her friends Ben Urich and Porcupine from Hulked out Cows. They save the day and the team start celebrating at their motel. Black Widow visits Jessica one more time. She convinces Jessica to leave this life and join the Avengers again.

I have been enjoying the lighter side of Jessica Drew for the most part. I do feel that the supporting characters could be fleshed out a bit more, but both Ben and Porcupine have potential. There is also another potential supporting character introduced in this issue. She is a nurse and may be helpful when Jessica gets pregnant.

I like that Jessica is trying to have a normal life, but her Avenger job always gets in the way.

The weaker part for this issue was the main story. I didn't really care about the hulk cows and the town becoming zombies. I just enjoyed how the characters reacted to these events.

The artwork was pretty good in this issue. You couldn't tell that it was a different artist for the most part. I just felt that the faces looked a little bit puffier in the beginning panels.

This is not so much a must read, but a fun addition if you have been enjoying Spider Woman.

3.5 out of 5 Stars.

6. Prez #3 (DC Comics)  

Prez has been a hugely underrated series from DC Comics. There is so many ways you can screw up a comic book about a teenage president, but Prez doesn't. This series is a perfect commentary on what America can turn into.

This issue shows Beth getting ready to be sworn into office. Most of the politicians in Washington believe she'll be killed before her term in over. The past two issues showed the corruption in Washington, nothing gets done because politics is all a game where people owe other people favors. This issue focuses more on the failure and corruption of capitalism. This smiley face company rules everything and track their employees' performances. If a employee gets hurt on the job or takes too long of a bathroom break they can get fired.

The little guy gets punished in this society. Beth doesn't know a lot about politics, but that's why she's the perfect choice for president. She can bring component members onto her team and she understands what it means to be the little guy.

My only negative towards the story was the scene where Beth is sitting on a lawn chair sunbathing while she talked to a random business man. She didn't seem humble in that position. It looked like she was a little full of herself, but the story recovers after that beginning scene.

The artwork is a bit hard to get use to, but by issue 3 I feel comfortable with the style. It shows technology in a cool way and it's cool to see the different abstract hairdos.

This is a great addition to an under the radar comic book series.

4 out of 5 stars.
5. Marvel Zombies #3 (Marvel)
Marvel Zombies is a series with a lot of potential and this issue finally focuses on the most interesting aspect of the series Elsa's relationship with her father.

The first two issues showed that Elsa was truly her father's daughter. Her father didn't allow her to be a kid, but instead trained her to be a killer. These lessons as a child helped shape into the person she is today and she finally realizes she doesn't want to be that person anymore. She opens up to her new young partner, and finally learns she had a screwed up a childhood. The issue ends on a major cliffhanger. Elsa Vs Daddy!

I was contemplating on dropping this series, but I am glad I didn't. Before the series was focusing too much on the zombie world, and not enough on Elsa. This issue changes that and the series becomes better for it.

My negative towards the issue was the beginning scene with Deadpool. I have been recently warming up to Deadpool, but I didn't find his humor entertaining in this issue. He was just a bother.

The artwork is pretty plain , which I guess is a good thing. It's not too dark and the action is portrayed pretty well in the series. But I do think the characters look a little blocky.

Overall this was the best issue of Marvel Zombies yet. Let's hope the series has a strong ending.

4 out of 5 stars.

4. We Can Never Go Home #4 (Black Mask)

This is one of my favorite new Indie titles and I am really happy to see the series getting more buzz. It was actually just announced that the series will be continuing in 2016. I am really excited to see where the series can go after the mini series ends.

Madison and Duncan are still on the run. They find out that there is more than one group trying to track them down, and these groups also have people with powers. So Duncan and Madison do not have the upper hand.

This issue of We Can Never Go Home proves that this is a book for mature readers. Our main characters are not superheroes they will do whatever it takes to save their own skins.

The beginning of the issue was a bit on the slower side, but the issue picks up when Duncan and Madison have to fight other super powered human beings. Even one with the same powers as Madison. This issue expands the universe of We Can Never Go Home.

My only negative towards the issue was that it was hard to keep track of the different villain groups. They both seemed pretty similar, but I think the writer did this on purpose. Showing the difficulty Madison and Duncan will have to trust people on the road.

The artwork really fits the tone of the book. I loved the action in this issue. Especially the electricity from Madison's eyes when she was punching the bad guys. It makes her power set really unique.

We Can Never Go Home #4 is another solid issue for the mini series and I am excited to see the story continue.

4 out of 5 stars.

3. Zodiac Starforce #1 (Dark Horse)

Zodiac Starforce is a new anime inspired comic book from Dark Horse. I found out about this series a couple of months ago and was pretty excited to read the first issue. Growing up I use to love Sailor Moon and in high school I refound my interest in the anime. Zodiac Starforce obviously takes inspiration from magical girl animes like Sailor Moon. Five friends have necklaces that help them transform into superheroes, sound familiar.
But this book is not a carbon copy of Sailor Moon. The series starts out with an interesting twist. The members of the team have been on a hiatus and they haven't used their powers for a few months. The girls all went on their different paths trying to live normal lives. Many magical girl animes begin with an origin story. This series makes the reader jump into their world right away.
Zodiac Starforce is a hybrid of an american comic book and a Japanese anime, which allows this comic book to be really unique. American audiences can relate to this book because of the high school/superhero elements of the story, but they can also recognize the Japanese influences because of the animes they may have watched as kids. (Many kids watched anime growing up even if they didn't know it.)
The issue introduces the main characters well and makes you care about this anime/superhero infused world. I will be picking up the next issue.
4 out of 5 stars!

2. Batgirl #43 (DC Comics)

After some daddy-daughter drama Batgirl focuses on Babs' college life again. Babs is helping her ex-roommate with wedding plans as she also helps her fellow bat family member, Luke Fox, figure out why a tiger killed his new employee. To make matters worse Batgirl's friend from school is being framed for the murder. Frankie wants to help in the field but Babs pushes her away.
This issue of Batgirl is filled with a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the smalldetails like Batgirl keeping her motorcycle on the roof of the parking garage, which is something different and cool. I also really like Frankie's involvement in this issue. She wants to wear the cowl but I have a feeling she will learn how much responsibility it takes to be a superhero.
I am also curious about the main mystery for this arc. We found out who is behind the Tigers but we don't know who is framing Batgirl's tech friend. I have a gut feeling it may be his sister who Babs works with in the college.
Even though I had a lot of fun with this issue I do think Babs' continuity is catching up with her. I like Alyssa but it's kind of weird to see her in Babs' new life. Alyssa in Simone's run always wanted to know what was going on with Babs with her late nights. Now that Frankie knows why doesn't she tell Alyssa?
Luke feels like a weird love interest now also because not too long ago in Batman Eternal Barbara and Jason Todd kind of had a thing, which was completely dropped in the middle of Eternal because of this series' new creative direction. This is another example of continuity catching up with this series.
I liked the Batman arc a bit more so far but I do like Bab's supporting cast in the college and I am glad they are getting a spotlight here.
4 out of 5 stars
1. Hank Johnson Agent of Hyrdra #1 (Marvel)
I wasn't originally going to pick up Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra, but my good friend and fellow Comic Frontliner Mike Spider Slayer/ ComicBookCorner 2.0 recommended me to pick this up, and I am glad that I did.
This issue is about the daily life of a Hydra minion. Hank is married, a father, and deals with the same relatable problems of every family man. He wants to make his family happy and make a prosperous life for them. There are of course a lot of fun antics along the way because he works for Hydra. Including Madame Hydra flirting with him and finding out that she is married to MODOK.
Another fun plot line was Hank being friends with a Shield agent. When they are on the job they are enemies, but outside of the job they hangout with each other. They even have a softball league together. Shield Vs Hydra!
The artwork fits perfectly with the grounded storytelling. My favorite scene being the hail hydra moments. Hank and his co-worker are having a normal conversation and every other panel they said Hail Hydra.
This comic made a punching bag minion likable. I want to see more with Hank Johnson in All New All Different Marvel! I am really glad I read this issue and it's an easy comic to miss. So pick this issue up!
4.5 out of 5 Stars!

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