No Cthulhu here despite the title but I liked what I found way better. Gabe Rodriguez' art is gorgeous. The style is both cartoony and vibrant while aNo Cthulhu here despite the title but I liked what I found way better. Gabe Rodriguez' art is gorgeous. The style is both cartoony and vibrant while at the same time capturing the somber feel the story calls for. Lines and shadows are used effectively rather than filling the pages so that you know you are in a dark world, but everything is still vividly colored and detailed. Panels and page layouts are also really good. Joe Hill's story is great for being a complete horror tale in this volume, yet leaving enough of the right things unanswered to make me want to come back for more. I have a feeling this will be a bloody good time! ...more
Fantastic straight-forward super-heroism. Astro City Vol 2 offers not even a touch of cynicism or irony about the guys and gals in spandex, but neitheFantastic straight-forward super-heroism. Astro City Vol 2 offers not even a touch of cynicism or irony about the guys and gals in spandex, but neither does it venture into the realms of cornball-ery or kitsch. As in the first volume the magic is in the viewpoint characters Busiek chooses to flesh out Astro City for us. While Vol 1 rotated through a number of narrators this volume follows a faithful sidekick type for most of the ride. Busiek nails it, and this tale illuminates both the motivations of super-heroism and the partnership aspect of many a superhero's story.
Astro City is populated by gobs of heroes and teams that, while clear analogues to Marvel/DC heroes, are unladen with continuities or crystallized essences that can keep a longtime reader from enjoying those characters sometimes. This creates that wondrous feeling of discovery most of us felt when we were really new to Marvel or DC universes, and when our youth allowed us to welcome clunky exposition laying out who new characters were and their roles in the universe. But nothing here is clunky. Busiek simply knocks it out of the park and the artists, while not spectacular, are solid craftsmen at capturing that same straight-forward comic feel.
I'm not sure this would convert anyone who isn't already a fan of the super-hero genre, but it will remind anyone of why, once upon a time, they so gleefully plunked down their meager allowances to follow the exploits of masked avengers.
Fraction's dialogue is great. Aja's panels and art are masterful. Aja at once draws on some very classic comic book sensibilities but adds a hefty dosFraction's dialogue is great. Aja's panels and art are masterful. Aja at once draws on some very classic comic book sensibilities but adds a hefty dose of creative modern design. Francavilla drops in and flawlessly catches the pass from Aja for an issue. The colors tie everything together excellently. The bonus tale relating to Hurricane Sandy is the cherry on top; clearly rushed, but for a nice cause and excellently written by Fraction.
I'm not sure how old these creators are. The work feels like something from the fingers of seasoned masters, but still clearly of today. Among the best comics has to offer right now.
Dusted this off after letting it sit on my shelf for many years. I had forgotten how good it was. This was why I loved Mark Waid! I am not often captiDusted this off after letting it sit on my shelf for many years. I had forgotten how good it was. This was why I loved Mark Waid! I am not often captivated by photo referenced art, but Ross delivers a painted masterpiece here. Characters look good, expressive and convey as much emotion and information as you need them too alongsie the dialogue. Despite the commercial imperatives of the comic form they made a wise decision to tell this tale in four efficient parts. No deviations to explain the hordes of super-beings or wasted exposition detailing the history that gets us between the 'now' in comics to this potential finale for the DC Universe. As a good comic should it leaves plenty to yoru imagination while Waid fleshes out the characters and the story at hand. Just impeccably executed on all fronts. A real high mark for super-hero comics....more
From reading the short summary on the back of the book you can probably predict all the beats of this story before reading page one. The five stars arFrom reading the short summary on the back of the book you can probably predict all the beats of this story before reading page one. The five stars are for flawless execution. Niko Henrichon pulls off the task of humanizing these animals with a lot of grace, and without resorting to a cute or cartoon style you would expect with a cast of lions. Vaughan's contribution is felt as much in his dialogue as in his own grace in knowing when to get out of Henrichon's way. This can be handed to any reader with even the slightest aesthetic sensitivity and they will prize it's simplicity and beauty....more
Opeña returns to draw the saga he began in volume 1 in epic style. Although all the replacement art teams did great work this return was fitting. OpeñOpeña returns to draw the saga he began in volume 1 in epic style. Although all the replacement art teams did great work this return was fitting. Opeña's dark toned yet crisp visuals and action are exactly what this X-Force run has been all about. Remender delivers the bang up epic finale we expect. The man can write teams. Opeña and the art team are the real star however; Remender knew to just get out of the way and bring the tale home. This is faint praise as I am not well read in the x-verse, but this volume and the three preceding are the best X-books I have ever encountered. ...more
Creativity and fun fly off every page straight at your face. Fiona Staples is doing everything right visually; from the book design, to the colors, toCreativity and fun fly off every page straight at your face. Fiona Staples is doing everything right visually; from the book design, to the colors, to the lettering. Nothing is wasted, imagination is crammed into every facet of the visuals. Vaughan seals the deal with great dialogue. The total package is strange, intriguing, delightful, and momentarily gross, crass and ridiculous. Read it....more
Engrossing, and masterfully crafted with regards to both the writing and the cartooning. Characterization is where I think this book is an accomplishmEngrossing, and masterfully crafted with regards to both the writing and the cartooning. Characterization is where I think this book is an accomplishment. There is nothing in particular that is intriguing or unique about the titular protagonist, but Mazzuchelli's cartooning gives him a depth atypical of the medium. I'm not sure I'd say you end up pulling for Asterios as much as you've become involved and have to see his story out. The panelling and layout work are particularly creative and really demonstrate Mazzuchelli's grasp of sequential storytelling. The artfulness if nothing else will draw you in. Not for everyone and not mindblowing, but even after just one reading I have warm feelings about this book and I'm sure I will revisit it many times....more
I picked this up based on Lee Bermejo's astonishing artwork on the more recent Before Watchmen: Rorschach miniseries. Bermejo's material is excellentI picked this up based on Lee Bermejo's astonishing artwork on the more recent Before Watchmen: Rorschach miniseries. Bermejo's material is excellent visually, but it seems in the time between the two minis he grew significantly. Here Bermejo goes back and forth between 2 or 3 line and color styles, and does not always go to the same lengths to get that painterly yet still tight feel I loved in Rorschach. It's almost like he had less time to get these in? I can't tell but nonetheless the pages of Luthor stand out above most typical comic styles.
Brian Azzarello's story is an interesting take on Luthor. Luthor's internal dialogues reveal all the self-justification and faux concern you might imagine from a megalomaniacal genius. The story doesn't focus on Luthor's intellect or too much on his guile (although he does carry out quite an intricate plot). Really it's about the nature of his arrogance and how very little the people around him and even his city really matter to him despite professed ideals. Luthor is the protagonist and we get only as much Superman as is absolutely necessary to tell the tale. However although the spotlight remains on Luthor throughout his madness and moral bankruptcy are always right there on the surface. Azzarello succeeded in keeping him from being sympathetic as almost every statement and emotion Luthor claims is quickly betrayed by his increasingly monstrous actions. From cold blooded murder of business associates, to bankrolling pedophiles, to carrying out a 9/11 analogue; we are given little room to 'like' Luthor. We read Luthor's twisted perceptions of these events, but you don't have to read between the lines here to deduce he is a severely flawed narrator. Luthor himself poses the question for you; perception or reality?
Like some other reviewers I was completely thrown by the Batman sequence. Was this a dream or fantasy? Neither Bermejo nor Azzarello delivered clear enough cues for me to know. Other than the Batman scene misstep it is a solid character tale accompanying stellar, if slightly inconsistent, art....more
A nice quick read executed with stunning craft in the art department. The dialogue and exposition are rough and very much of their time (late eightiesA nice quick read executed with stunning craft in the art department. The dialogue and exposition are rough and very much of their time (late eighties). This flaw is very easy to look past, however, because the story comes across vividly from the visuals alone. Grell does a beautiful job with the characters and action. Lines and shadows are put to use by a real master here, so well that you could see this working just fine absent color. However we are very fortunate they matched Grell's craft with very fine coloring that looks like painting without the static feel that painted comic work can have. Grell's layouts and panelling are also very creative. I'm not a new hand with comics and yet I have to admit being lost quite a few times in regards to where I should be reading next. Then I figured out it worked best to just take in the entire spreads, see the story, and then bother with the dialogue. These are not the flashy "wide angle" two page spreads so common today, but dense, well composed series of panels, often developing two plotlines at once enmeshed in one balanced design.
Between Grell's detail and the coloring the visuals in places become more akin to a storybook than a comic book. Usually that is not a compliment, but in this case the art was not less dynamic for it. And that storybook feel went really well with the Robin Hood motif of the character. This is a very rare art style to get these days, and when you seek it out in older work you will not see it employed so lavishly and lovingly in collections of monthlies. It feels like this team was given the time and space to aim for something special and they delivered. Don't pick this up if you are a reader looking for a strong story, however if you appreciate the art of comics this will reward thoughtful reading....more
This isn't post-apocalyptic, it's post the next aeon. Dormant genetic remnants of a wholly unrecognizable human race's imperial war machine revive acrThis isn't post-apocalyptic, it's post the next aeon. Dormant genetic remnants of a wholly unrecognizable human race's imperial war machine revive across the stars and carry out programmed missions with the aim of resurrecting humanity. Only it's much weirder than even that sounds. As evident from other reviews this is very dense sci-fi. Brandon Graham does not stop along the way to explain much of anything. The visuals are alien, and often disturbing and Graham actually seems to make it a point to confuse matters even further with exotic names & pulpy sci-fi speak in the narration. However the cast of artists renders these bizarre lands and beings in a lively, cartoonishly detailed manner. Not for everybody but genuinely exciting if you can deal with the unexplained strangeness. ...more