Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Comic Haul - 02/04/09

Back with another week of The Comic Haul. Let's get to it, shall we?

Agents of Atlas #1: Here's my pick of the litter for this week. AoA #1 is a long time in coming and worth every minute of the wait. Parker does a great job of bringing you into the Agents' world and, as he did in Mysterius before this, gives us a lot of exposition without making a single moment of it boring. Case in point, in this issue we get introduced to Norman Osborn and his interest in the Atlas Foundation, the hidden headquarters of the Agents, a bait and switch plot that introduces you to the powers and motivations of our principle characters and a Dragon eats Man Mountain Marko. How much more could you possibly want? Could it be a back-up story featuring the Agents and Wolverine in 1950s Cuba contending with brain controlling bugs? Yeah, I thought it might. The only negative thing I can say about the book is that Leonard Kirk isn't drawing it but 1)I never want him to leave Captain Britain (unless it is to return to AoA), and 2)Carlo Pagulayan is doing a phenomenal job in his place and looks to be quickly making this book his own. I can only hope that Marvel keeps putting out books like Agents of Atlas. I'll be spending more of the hard-earned cash in the Marvel U if they do, that's for certain.

Witchblade #124: I'll state my bias right off and say that I've never loved this concept or title much in the past. The gothic softcore stuff that Top Cow has been producing for 10+ years just doesn't catch my interest much. It should come as no surprise to anyone, then, when I say that I did not enjoy Witchblade #124 very much and have very few good things to say about it overall. Seeing Ron Marz' name on the cover had me hoping for at least a readable story. I mean, I bought a number of Wetworks issues when JM DeMatteis worked on it, so anything was possible, right? I have my doubts as to whether or not Marz even dialogued this one, to be perfectly honest. I've read his stuff before and it's never been quite this stiff and meandering. There was nothing to draw me in, here. The artwork by Stjepan Sejic had a couple of brief moments of coolness, but just don't think his stuff works well in sequential form. I suppose if you're a devotee of Greg Horn, you may find some appeal in Sejic's work, but I can't come back for another issue after this one. My Witchblade days are done.

Invincible Iron Man #10: I'm not at all happy with the artwork of Salvador Larroca in this issue, which disappoints me a bit. Salva is one of the reasons I still maintain any interest in this book despite slowing down, somewhat, since its initial storyline. Part of the ennui could be a result of how interweaved into the Marvel U Tony's story has become and I've never been a big cross-over summer event kind of guy. I do, however, really like Fraction's portrayal of Pepper and I'll admit that the Tony on the run does have some charm to it. Watching him dismantle his empire in order to keep it out of the hands of Norman Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R. has its moments. And the 'surprise' direction for Pepper has me kind of enthused for where things may be going. Still worth keeping up with if the cover price doesn't kill me in the end.

Dead Irons #1: It seems to be all the rage for popular artists to 'art direct' but not actually do anything more than the covers and that remains true of Dead Irons, the new horror/western out from Dynamite Entertainment. I really liked the artwork of Jason Shawn Alexander and, I'll admit, he is the primary reason for why I picked this book up. Still, the story by James Kuhoric feels very draggy and, for the most part, fails to even convey what it is you're reading. If you haven't read the solicitation text you may never know it's about a group of brothers and sisters-the Irons-who are all creatures of the night. Three have become bounty hunters and work both sides of the law, while one has dedicated himself to stopping his siblings. I think that's what it is about, anyway. Like I said, it was never entirely clear. The plot, such as it is, moves achingly slow and I almost put the book down twice before deciding to soldier on in order to finish it for this review. As always, I'll keep an eye on the series, maybe try another issue or two in the store and see if it develops its legs, otherwise this one is hitting the pass pile

Amazing Spider-Man #584: This issue was an improvement over the last which surprises me since so much of it is taken up by a slugfest. Normally I criticize books when they forego good dialogue and characterization to have a 22 page smack down, but I'm willing to entertain the idea that I not-so-secretly enjoy seeing Spidey giving or taking a whuppin' because I really enjoyed reading this one. And the way Romita, Jr. draws the whole affair is just sublime. I should also give props to Marc Guggenheim who managed to keep my interest this time around. As evidenced in my last review something about last issue just didn't click with me. It felt like there was too much exposition, too much plot with too little of anything else for someone just tuning in to latch on to and, as a result, I almost passed this one up. I'm glad I stuck with it, though, because the second part of "Character Assassination" was much better balanced and could be shaping up to be a fun ride.

Comments, as always, are welcome. Until next week.



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