Archive for the 'alex ross' Category

21
Jan
09

Batman #684

If you were on the fence about buying this issue of Batman after two years of non-stop LSD-induced Grant Morrison fun, just take a look at the cover, enjoy it and buy something else. It’s not really worth reading this last part of a two part story trying to wrap things up while extending them at the same time.

Dennis O’Neil was the editor of Batman for something like 15 years through the eighties and nineties(in fact the batman trade I’m reading right now is edited by him) and did a good amount of work writing the book back in the 1970’s before Frank Miller showed up and turned everything on it’s head. I’ve found his 70’s work, which is being reprinted in full this winter in hardcover, to be okay. Not good, not bad, but just…that’ll do, pig. This time around it’s just a step down. Nothing horrible but certainly not really worth your 15 minutes either.

There’s apparently an alternative cover. I liked it more just for the great Nightwing thinks Batman is dead shot.

I can’t decide if it’s O’Neil’s fault or not. The basic idea is to make everyone real sad because post RIP batman might be dead or he might not be. But everyone is sad and lonely and kind of afraid of the future. So in this issue you get the cops being bummed out that they actually have to do their jobs and you get nightwing sulking around, which is a shame because lately I think I’m the only person who sees the amazing potential in Nightwing becoming an astounding interesting character. I think we have one issue of Batman left before all of the bat books go on hiatus until battle for the cowl(which I am very doubtful of) begins. Then we’ll get Andy Kubert and Neil Gaiman on a two part Batman story ripping the title off of an Alan Moore Superman story from the 80’s. I’ll keep buying Batman because I love the character and I’m excited about reading “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader” and seeing Gaiman write something that isn’t a derivative children’s book that’s actually for high school goth girls.

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20
Aug
08

Batman #679

Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Tony Daniel, Sandu Florea and cover by Alex Ross

Part four of Batman: R.I.P. really heats up and brings the reader in by not making any fucking sense.  I have to say, for an issue where I was thinking to myself, “have I ever read an issue of Batman before?”, it was pretty good.  Only Grant Morrison can make you think you don’t know what’s going on when you’ve been consecutively reading Batman for three years without missing a single issue.  It might be because there are so many references to Batman plot lines from 35 years ago, it might be because suddenly Batman is in a purple costume, criminals have taken over the batcave, Alfred might actually be Bruce’s father but probably not, Nightwing is in Arkham asylum, you know, the little things.  Morrison brings the WTF by making huge, impacting situations occur off screen and then mildly referencing them, like when the Bush administration pretends like dumping an olympic size swimming pool of water down a guy’s throat because he was guilty of being Arabic on a Thursday afternoon is something that just happens, like when you take a shit and forget to flush because that article in Variety about Angelina Jolie’s kid was THAT good.

I tend to get sidetracked.  And yes, I will still defend Morrison to every fuckwit von douche who thinks Paul Dini is doing a better job doing Batman stories that accomplish nothing new.  Dini is writing vanilla sex in Detective, Morrison is doing a reach around on PCP, mushrooms, a handful of MDMA with help from a guy in a Godzilla suit, three chimps, four employees of the Jim Rose Circus and Phyllis Diller blown out of her mind of illegal Japanese pain killers with a David Lynch movie blaring in the background.  Morrison is sometimes confusing and the situation is risky but you know Godzilla has that healing love touch.

08
Aug
07

Justice Society of America

Written by Geoff Johns

Art by Fernando Pasarin, Rooney Ramos and Alex Ross

DC Comics $2.99
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I’m fairly sure this is my favorite DC title. Alex Ross’ covers would be incentive enough to buy this, as would Pasarin’s great pencils that suit superheroes so well, but Geoff Johns is so good at writing conflicted characters and the trio is so incredibly pleasant. Thought I had never read a Justice League-oriented comic book before this new series started, I was lucky enough to catch it as it began. The past eight issues have felt like two years worth of story because Johns’ writing is so character driven while the art concentrates on high tension action. It works rather well.

I am really happy to see the focus of this book get back to Citizen Steel, because it’s not only an exploration of the bitterness that comes with a disability, showing how his youth was robbed by the loss of his leg, but it functions as the complete opposite of the common superhero story. I really like the idea of a superhero who doesn’t want to be a superhero but still feels responsible for doing his job. It really reminds me of the old Spider-Man stories I grew up on in the 1980’s.

The back story in this issue, as one would guess, is Liberty Bell, and how her childhood shaped who she has been at different points in her life. And they also kick the shit out of some Nazis.

04
Aug
07

New comics for August 03, 2007

I’m a week and a half behind, so this week I ended up picking up quite the pile. I was glad to see so many great issues in my pile this go around. I was particularly excited about walking dead, which is already reviewed, batman, dark tower and JLA. I’ll be putting up several reviews per day and working my way through my pile over the next several days.

Action Comics #853 – Kurt Busiek(w), Brand Walker, Livesay, Lee Loughridge(a)
Batman #666 – Grant Morrison(w), Andy Kubert, Jesse Delperdang(a)
Black Panther #29 – Reginald Hudlin(w), Francias Portela and Val Staples(a) Arthur Suydam(c)
Black Summer #1 of 7 – Warren Ellis(w), Juan Jose Ryp(a)
Chronicles of Wormwood #6 of 6 – Garth Ennis(w), Jacen Burrows(a)
Countdown #39 & 40 – Paul Dini, McKeever(w), Jim Calafiore and Jay Leigten(a)
Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #7 of 7 – Peter David and Robin Furth(w), Jae Lee and Richard Isanove(a)
Deathblow #6 – Brian Azzarello(w), Carlos D’Anda, Henry Flint(a)
Fallen Angel #18 – Peter David(w) and J.K. Woodward(a)
Futurama # 32 – Ian Boothby(w), Mike Kazaleh and Andrew Pepoy(a)
Grimm Fairy Tales #16 – Ralph Tedesco and Joe Tyler(w), Andrew Magnum and Roland Salvidor(a)
Justice Society of America #8 – Geoff Johns(w), Fernando Pasarin and Rodney Ramos(a)
Metal Men #1 of 8 – Duncan Roleau(a & w)
Midnighter #10 – Keith Giffen(w), Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Randy Mayor(a)
Raise the Dead #4 of 4 – Leah Moore and John Reppion(w), Hugo Petrus, Marc Rueda and Ivan Nunes(a)
Speak of the Devil #1 of 6 – Gilbert Hernandez(Spider-Man Fairy Tales #3 of 4 – C.B. Cebulski(w), Kei Kobayashi, Christina Strain(a)
Star Trek: Klingons Blood Will Tell #4 – Scott and David Tipton(w), David Messina and Elaina Casagrande(a)
Star Trek: Year Four #1 – David Tischman(w), Steve Conley, Leonard O’Grady(a)
Uncanny X-Men #489 – Ed Brubaker(w), Mike Perkins and Andrew Hennessey(a)
Unholy Union #1 – Ron Marz(w), Michael Broussard(a)
Walking Dead #39 – Robert Kirkman(w), Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn(a)
Welcome to Tranquility #9 – Gail Simone(w), Neil Googe(a)
Wetworks #11 – J.M. Dematteis(w), Joel Gomez and Trevor Scott(a)
World War Hulk #3 – Greg Pak(w), John Romita Jr, Janson, Strain(a)
World War Hulk: Ironman #20 – Christos Gage(w), Butch Guice, Dean White and Gerald Parel(a)
World War Hulk: The Incredible Hulk #108 – Greg Pak(w), Leonard Kirk, Scott Hanna and Chris Sotomayor(a)
World War Hulk: The Irredeemable Ant-Man #10 – Robert Kirkman(w), Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Bill Crabtree and Val Staples(a)
X-Men #201 – Mike Cary(w), Humberto Ramos, Carlos Cuevas and Edgar Delgado(a)

21
Jun
07

Justice #12 of 12

DC Comics – $3.99

Alex Ross and Jim Krueger – Writers

Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite – Artists

I can honestly say that this was worth two years of following, without a doubt.  The perils of a bi-monthly twelve issue limited series are vast, almost limitless, but it was handled so flawlessly that it was worth waiting two months in between issues.

Going into an Alex Ross series focusing on the Justice League, perhaps the most well known classic superheroes of all time, I knew it was going to look great, but I thought this looked even better than Marvels did.  It’s incredibly beautiful, every single page of it.  Ross’ realistic hand painted panels work beautifully with Doug Braithwaite’s pencils, creating a sense of realism that feels more like fantasy photographs than anything one would consider comic book art.

This was obviously plotted out rather carefully, a team-up of Brainiac and Lex Luthor that turns into a double plot/double crossover while endangering the entire planet and making all of humanity believe that all the super villains on earth have provided them with cures to all of the diseases doctors couldn’t cure, freeing them of all the pains and problems the superheroes could never fully handle.

As I said before, I had high expectations for Alex Ross, which were met fairly early, as far as art and general plotting goes, by the fourth issue.  What really made this series fantastic was Jim Krueger’s excellent scripts though, they absolutely caught me off guard.  His narrations were exceptionally strong and I loved the fact that, during a narration via a character, the background of the text box would be that person’s logo(so if Hal Jordan was narrating, the box would be green with the lantern ring in the background), which made it really easy to know when the narration was switching characters, which it did frequently and flawlessly, without confusion.

Krueger’s portrayal of the Joker as a jealous, pissed off character who is left out of the armageddeon plan was really enjoyable even though he was probably only in a dozen or so panels.  Ross’ paints created the hands down creepiest Joker I’ve ever seen in comics.

In the end, Brainiac betrays Luthor, who has already made plans to betray brainiac, leading to Luthor giving the League information and assistance that leads to them capturing Brainiac.   What was really done in this issue was the illustration of Luthor’s personality – how he really thinks- and how, in his mind, he’s never been the bad guy.  His personality encapsulates all truly dangerous men throughout history, he has a constant unquestioning belief that he knows what’s best for the human race, for the survival of the species, and he believes he is best suited to be their savior.  He’s cunningly brilliant, willfully egotistical and always seems to have a back up plan.  After all, if you can’t have preservation of the species, you might as well try for self-preservation.

There are currently two hard covers collecting the first eight issues, as well as a third hardcover collecting the final four issues on its way, but I’ve been too impatient to wait for the collections.  And what I’m really hoping for is that this series has sold well enough, generated enough critical acclaim and attained enough buzz through the blogs to establish itself a good enough name to get it into an Absolute printing in the coming years.  I know that none of the current absolute books are from any comics newer than a decade, but seeing those amazing Alex Ross panels in super sized thick pages will be worth it.  Until then, I have my twelve issues to continually enjoy.

21
Jun
07

Justice Society of America #6

DC Comis – $2.99

Geoff Johns – Writer

Dale Eaglesman & Roy Jose – Artists

To be honest, I really only started reading JSA and JLA because I wanted to see Alex Ross’ velvet elvis covers, I love his work and he’s been doing an amazing job on these covers, I always look forward to them showing up in the shop each month.

This is chapter four of the Lighting Bolt Saga, which is a story involving some time displaced, amnesia-stricken teenage superheroes from the future. It’s been pretty interesting, not because this miniseries crossover with JLA has been incredible in it’s execution, but virtually JSA’s entire run has been leading up to this and it has been executed in a way that makes all the revious issues so much more relevant to the greater storyline that has been unfolding for the past year.

Remarkably, I just noticed that, throughout this crossover, there has been a rush to save the planet from some kind of imminent villainous threat that everyone seems to think they can surely stop, but that threat has never actually been revealed. I like the idea that they aren’t actually going to tell you what the real fight is about until the end, when it just might be too late.

The more of these uber-planned crossovers I see from DC, the higher regard I have for them over Marvel, who’s books I spent my entire childhood reading nad noticing the lack of sensible continuity. DC has such an amazing amount of organization and planning in their stories, reading new issues makes me go back and read old issues. Countdown and the Justice series have been like watching new episodes of Lost(which I sadly am not watching right now), where a new scene gives you a key to several old scenes. Upon finishing the new issue, I go back to see what I missed back when I didn’t know what to look for.

And it’s Geoff Johns, you can’t go wrong.

19
Jun
07

Deathblow #5

Wildstorm – $2.99

Brian Azzarello – Writer

Carlos D’Anda & Henry Flint – Artists

I really like how Deathblow is moving along. While it’s not one of the funnest books like Gen13, it is one of the more thought-provoking books in the Worldstorm event.

Deathblow is a government-sponsored assassin who is rescued from the middle-east and tries to readjust to normal citizen life, but things just don’t go his way. He is constantly compelled to act out in intense displays of violence against even the smallest crimes. He also discovers his dog can talk, his wife isn’t really his wife but a woman hired by the government to act like his wife and infiltrate his life and, in this issue, it turns out his kids aren’t actually kids, but they’re ex-soviet spies put in place to eventually assassinate Deathblow is he begins to question the government.

The last few pages end with the kids, who are armed with semi-automatic weapons, go to war with Deathblow in his home and he ends up killing them and thoroughly pissing off the government in the process. I hate when that happens.