|By Andrew Raub||Friday, 4 Feb 2011|
After a long break from CO-M.A.C.Z., Andrew and Zach return with several top notch reviews for our eagerly awaiting readers. Stay viagra vs levitra tuned, for there are many changes in store for CO-M.A.C.Z.! What will we see? More focused articles? A timely schedule? Only time will tell!
Impressions: Confession time: This is my first foray into the world of Nick Spencer. I’ve heard that he is the next big thing but nothing he has done has ever really seemed interesting to me, including T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents which I will also be covering here. If it wasn’t for how beautiful this book looks, I probably wouldn’t even have bothered to pick it up. Everything is abstract with a hint of realism, it’s colorful, it’s wacky. There is exceptional work in traditional panel layouts as well as more flowing and open pages. One big mega-kudos to artist Christian Ward, because without him this issue would be sitting on a shelf. The story itself is engaging and sets up the series for hopefully a very cohesive tale. There is just enough told here to get an idea what is going on with this world of virtual vacations, but Spencer leaves out just enough to keep me wondering just what the hell is going on. After reading the first issue I am left drawing my own conclusions but I am prepared to have them shattered. The ending already made me question what I thought was going on, and I look forward to keeping up with Mark and his infinite vacations. The only part that fell flat for me was the photographed pages that are basically an advertisement for the Infinite levitra versus viagra Vacation service. I understand what they were going for, but for such a
surreal comic, this blast of realism was jarring and out of place. – Andrew Verdict: Before reading this comic I was a Nick Spencer newbie. Now I consider myself a fan.
Impressions: I wish I had known this was a “First Class” tie-in. All I really paid attention to was Howard Chaykin’s name as the writer and Magneto as the title. This one goes in the regrets pile. So in this first tie-in, Howard Chaykin is on double duty with the script and pencils. The story is enjoyable enough that I don’t regret reading it. There’s some cool moments that show Magnus with some attitudes that he usually doesn’t show. And this isn’t off-putting for him as a character. Even though he’s a kinder, gentler Magneto man in this book, it still fits him very well, like he is trying really hard to be a nice guy and it shows that underneath he isn’t. The art work throughout is hit-or-miss, usually miss. Chaykin must have been really lazy and just trying to collect a paycheck. Not all of it is terrible but it’s slightly juvenile (well, it is an all-ages book). And this has, by far, the worst mouths in any comic I’ve ever seen. The women in Howard Chaykin’s world must not know how to apply lipstick. Cassandra Michaels is introduced as a mutant who creates Magneto’s infamous suit, but also who he becomes enamored with. She constantly morphs from hot and hip city chick to bloated mouth-breather. – Andrew Verdict: The best thing about this issue is that there is an Ozma of Oz preview that makes me with I had been following the series. I guess since I own the Magneto #0 issue from years back, I can add this to that collection of dust.
Impressions: When these issues came out, I wanted to check them out but then ultimately decided that they seemed uninteresting. My apologies. Since I picked up Infinite Vacation this week, I decided to splurge and pick up the first three issues of this series as well. Boy am I glad I did (in a reading good comics sense, not in a crap my wallet sense). Right off the bat, the interesting thing about T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is that it twists the super hero team idea a bit. The masks are always the same, but the people behind them are not. The superheroes here are not people who feel some calling to help society, but rather they are given an out from their mundane, pathetic lives. Oh, and being an agent means you will die. The story starts off right when some members of the team are killed. Two characters, Toby and Colleen are charged with finding new agents to fill the now empty costumes. Throughout these first few issues, the dynamics between Toby and Colleen work quite well. Toby is the new guy, and Colleen seems to feel threatened (in a business sense) by his presence. But Toby and Colleen aren’t all that different. Their conversations and the way they are drawn throughout the issues reveals much about them. One memorable sequence is in #2 where Colleen is steadfastly attached to reading her file while Toby is trying to be coy and flirtatious. These pages and panels are what really drive the tension between these two characters. Issue #1 mainly deals with the death of the old team and sets up the need for finding a new team through the eyes of Toby and Colleen. Issues #2 and #3 however mostly deal with the new members of the team. Issue #2 introduces Henry Cosgei, aka Lightning. Issue #3 shows the history of Professor Dunn, aka NoMan, a scientist who figured out how to transfer his mind into clones. The history of these characters is told while intertwining with the present mission of extracting missing T.H.U.N.D.E.R. agent, Raven. The way their history controls the present keeps a nice flow. The art is pretty incredible throughout. It’s consistent, colorful, and gives a good sense of emotion with the characters. Issue #2 specifically has two 2-page spreads of Lightning that look astonishing. There is so much canadian pharmacy unsubscribe more I could say about this series so far, but I’d really have to delve into specifics. This comic jumps right into the middle of a conflict but doesn’t skip over any of the history. It instantly makes me care about the characters and what’s going on. – Andrew Verdict: If you are like me and passed this up, please give it a try.
Impressions: When I first started buying comics regularly again last year, I told myself to not get too sucked up in any franchise that I ended up buying everything related to it, even if it was total shit. Because I was totally that kid in the 90’s with X-books. I have boxes and boxes of X-Force, Excalibur, X-Factor, Generation X, and anything with an X in it, regardless of the quality. I don’t even remember liking half these books, but I have them. In particular, I never saw X-Force as an especially interesting title, aside from the brief, insane Milligan/Allred run that later turned into X-Statix. But it’s 2011 now, and I clearly can’t keep a promise to myself, because now I buy too many Batman books and I am reviewing a story arc in X-Force. The idea of X-Force as it exists now frankly didn’t interest me at all when it was released, nor did the previous title that was the genesis of the idea. A black ops team led by Wolverine that dress all in dark variations of their costumes and go do grim, gritty, violent missions? Sounds like a fantastic idea for the mid-90’s, but I couldn’t see it being remotely interesting. It took me about a month after it was released and a boring week of comics to even pick up the first issue of Uncanny. Well, Rick Remender and Jerome Opena have proven that even lame concepts can work if you present them well enough. First of all, this is one goofy black ops team. Wolverine, Archangel, Psylocke, Fantomex, and Deadpool…it’s a weird dynamic, but the inclusion of a well written (but bonkers) Deadpool and the witty and strange Fantomex is a great contrast to the serious-face drama that the former three provide. And to Remender’s credit, he shies away from overexposing characters most people are sick of (Wolverine and Deadpool) and instead focuses on the relationship between Angel and Psylocke, and also simply gives Fantomex some page time for all his weirdness, since he’s not been a big character since Morrison left the X-books. But more importantly, the story is
pretty cool. Apocalypse has been resurrected as a small child, who his handlers are trying to train to be the future ruler we all know and love. They’ve even provided him with new Horsemen, all of which are well designed and interesting, and even come with good back stories! X-Force, of course, is tasked to kill Apocalypse before he becomes the Big Blue asshole. It’s filled with great scenes, like Wolverine being destroyed by every disease ever, and Deadpool feeding Angel junk food to save him, in a moment of absurd comedy in a serious situation. The Horsemen really do tear the team apart and seem imposing, in addition to being well designed characters. Additionally, I really enjoyed adding some more to the Archangel/Apocalypse story here, where Warren is still irreparably scarred from what happened to him at Apocalypse’s hands in the 80’s. They’ve really made him a way more interesting character than he was in the 90’s where he was kind of floating through mutations and a general lack of personality. I think the one thing that was lingering in my head was that the ending was going to be a huge letdown, but I was pleasantly surprised. In the end, of course the Horsemen are defeated and the team has a showdown with Apocalypse, but this incarnation, as a young boy, is just a scared kid. He resists all the evil programming Ozymandias tries to instill in him, and aside from having creepy colored skin, he seem normal. Which of course seems like the perfect opportunity for the team to try to “save him from his fate” and have some sort of long running drama where they rehash the “will he be bad or good” shtick that they do with every villain turned hero. And it is certainly headed that way…until Archangel goes ballistic and loses his shit as Warren fights the demon within him, resulting in domperidone canada pharmacy a straining of his relationship with Psylocke. Even then, Wolverine begrudgingly says they need to bring him back and as I sigh at the expected…Fantomex shoots him in the head. No more Apocalypse. Cue the silent, stoic, miserable ride home as no one talks to each other and no one is happy. Awesome. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Opena’s art is excellent in this. Full of detail and possessing a certain “dirtiness” to it, it’s a terrific fit for the book. Additionally, the muted color scheme, heavy on the purple highlights give the book a great look that is very unique. Add in some very attractive covers that have a unique, almost too hard to explain style to them (strong solid colors, well designed team shots, lacking some detail to almost make them seem like outlines of the character in a way…very cool style) and you have what has been one of the best new books of the winter. Verdict: Your mileage may vary on a book like this, because it is certainly a gritty anti-hero type book with a tired premise on the surface, but it’s actually much more than that in practice. Well written, well drawn, uniquely colored, well paced, great action scenes, interesting cast, and not afraid to shock the reader a bit. I definitely recommend this book. – Zach