Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Review: FF #18 - The field trip from Hell (or to it more like)

With such a small buy pile this week, it was a fairly simple decision to make as to what to read first, and FF #18 has certainly gotten my reading session off to a great start. In the aftermath of the Kree/Inhuman war and the end of the world and everything storyline, FF's premise seems simple: Tell small, self contained stories about the younger members of the First family as well as humourous little side stories about the main members that wouldn't normally fit into the main book.
This issue sees, Johnny Storm, the least academic character in the group to take the class (because, it seems there was no one more qualified available in the WHOLE Marvel Universe.....Oh right, Avengers vs. X-Men) which results, after a couple of....technical questions, in a field trip to the Negative Zone, which Johnny just so happens to run.
This issue is written just to be one long laugh. It's a book that isn't attempting to be too serious (although Hickman does seem to sowing seeds for one final big story), but instead takes an idea that is just crazy and plays it for full comedic effect from start to finish. It's amplified by the fact that this issue contains very little traditional kick ass action, a notion which is indeed questioned by the characters. Few books these days seems to get away with no hero vs villain fighting, but this story has more than managed it.
If there was any minor issue with this book (and it is only minor) it's the art. Nick Dragotta's art has a simplicity to it that seems to mesh well with this book. The only notable flaw is when the story moves away from the class to the sub-plot, his style appears to change. However this is a minor quibble and overall Dragotta's prescence on this book is a welcome one.
Overall, if the desired book is a dark and gritty affair that is part of an ongoing narrative, this isn't the one for you. However, what this book is is a light-hearted tale that lets you just sit back, enjoy and not think to heavily about it, which is what a comic book should be at the end of the day.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Review: Worlds' Finest #1

Having had to wait two weeks for my local store to get in some new stock, I was finally able to pick up the first issue of Worlds' Finest, one of DC's second wave in the new 52 focusing on Power Girl and Huntress, two heroes who are trapped on Earth 1 after an accident stranded them from Earth 2 (Doesn't make sense, but don't worry, just think alternate dimension and you have it).
The story picks up in present day Tokyo with Huntress (who is the same Huntress from the Penguin: Pain and Prejudice mini-series apparently) and Power Girl (real name Karen Starr, the same Karen Starr who guest appeared in Mr Terrific) discussing their current predicament (and dumping a huge chunk of disposition in the process). Moving on to check out a nearby lab Power girl has bought (She's mega rich in this), our intrepid heroines find the lab on fire and the valuable technology inside (which "could" send them home) under threat of destruction by possible deliberate means.
This book is a very information heavy first issue, but fortunately veteran writer Paul Levitz still manages to bring together an intriguing yarn. While intercutting between the past and present, Levitz manages to give us just enough knowledge to allow everyone to know what's going on while at the same time moving the story along at a good pace to keep the reader invested. The art by legend George Perez is equally engaging, with Perez's pencils bringing out the beauty of the characters and their surroundings. Perez's recent writing turn on Superman wasn't something I really enjoyed, but here it's good to know that his art is still as strong as ever.
While this book is indeed very strong in storytelling, it does have one major flaw: It's too dependent on the goings on in other books. During the 20 pages of this book, sister book Earth Two is referenced directly twice while, as stated earlier, Mr Terrific and the Penguin mini-series are mentioned in passing. While I have no problem with interconnecting books, making this book so reliant on others so early on makes it a little daunting to read as it has so much history to it.
Despite this, Worlds' Finest has had a good start out of the gate and, despite some faltering, has the potential to go the distance. I'm intrigued to see what happens next.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Review: Demon Knights #9

Having finally gotten sat down to write something, I felt I'd write about the only comic I was actually able to pick up on time this week. This, to be honest, is more a highlight than a chore because Demon Knights is finally starting to show off the potential I always thought it had.
The issue opens with the arrival of the Knights (although describing them as this might be a bit of a disservice to the term "Knights") at the city of Alba Sarum after their stand in the previous arc and after a brief (re)introduction to the main cast it's on to their next adventure: one which connects to about half the cast and and ends in this issue setting up the Demon Etrigan as a possible danger this time round.
I've been reading most of what Paul Cornell has been writing since Captain Britain and MI13 and I have to admit, this is the most realistic option that can be called a spiritual successor to that series. Cornell essentially builds a jumping on point for new readers, briefly focusing on each character and who they are as well as giving them each a moment to provide their current thoughts and learn interesting things throughout the story (of which the best has to be the scene of Etrigan giving his word). If there is one downside to this issue, it's the standard first issue problem of most arcs; too much exposition and not enough action.
As for the art though, it is near faultless. I saw Diogenes Neves' work on the previous Green Arrow series and felt it wasn't right. But as soon as I saw his name on this series I knew it would be something special and I'm glad to have been proven right. His style is a perfect fit for this series and is only enhanced by the coloring of Robson Rocha. As long they keep providing this quality art, I'll certainly be sticking around.
All in all, while not perfect, Demon Knights is moving in the right direction to being a fun and deeply interesting title, something I've certainly come to expect of it's writer.