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Attack Of The New Comics Wednesday: 11-09-2011

My usual Wednesday trip to my local comic store is impossible this week as I’ve been on the couch recovering from a minor surgery to a very tender and major part of my body (guess what it is and win a prize!) So it’s off to the new and exciting world of same day digital comics for me!

I have downloaded digital comics in the past, picking up mass amounts of back issues when they have a sale, sitting in airports bored and looking to spend money or just wanting to buy comic books without having to bother with pants. Seeing as just about every electronic device I own can display digital comics (come on microwave and coffee maker, pick up your game) this should be easy, right?

Maybe not.

Just a couple of quick thoughts on the current state of comic industry going digital. The slew of Comixology apps are still rather clumsy and while I like how I buy a comic once and can read it on any device, why do I have to download it on each one? Is it not possible to just stream the data? As I sat on the couch with my new best friend, a bag of frozen peas (oh, a clue to what the surgery could have been) I got a little frustrated having to wait for each one of them to download. Add in the fact that while I like my iPad, call me old fashioned but it’s never going to replace the joy of reading a comic on paper or killing 20 minutes to an hour in a comic store.

So lets get to the books, up ahead its Marvels big tease for 2012, we check in with the new Spider-Man that had people who never read a comic all up in arms, the latest issue of Green Lantern and we’re off to Cuba for spies and espionage.

POINT ONE #1 MARVEL COMICS:Story by Brian Michael Bendis, Jeph Loeb, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, David Lapham, Fred Van Lente & Christopher YostArt by Ed McGuinness, Bryan Hitch, Terry Dodson, Roberto De La Torre, Ryan Stegman & Javier PulidoCover by Adam Kubert, Morry Hollowell, Nick Bradshaw
Billed as the teaser to the biggest change in the Marvel Universe in 35 years, Point One is a collection of 7 stories that hint as to what will happen for the company in 2012. Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, and the Avengers. B-listers like Nova and Hawkeye, as well as the returns of the Scarlet Spider and the Phoenix.I’ll be honest, I think I am missing something here. Other than a great and long over due Doc Strange solo story and a pair of new characters, very little here got me excited about what may happen in the Marvel U in the near future. Don’t get me wrong, teaming writers like Brian Michael Bendis, Jeph Loeb, Ed Brubaker, and Matt Fraction teaming up with artists like Ed McGuinness, Bryan Hitch, and Terry Dodson is a recipe for a great comic, maybe my expectations were to high? Yes I know these are just teasers and not suppose to tell the whole story, but aren’t teasers suppose to get you excited?

Here’s the basics. Some spacemen are tooling and touring around The Watcher’s head, Marvels all knowing everywhere giant headed McGuffin. As all seven stories unravel we see the players at hand. Phoenix, a whole army of Ultrons, the Age of Apocalypse, a new group of bad guys (X-Terminated, guess who they hate) and the mysterious Unseen.

I liked the Nova story, the art was crisp, the story was fast and tight. Nova drops in on the Planet Birj moments before it is toasted by the Phoenix. Up next was a tale from the Age of Apocalypse, it was good… but the dark mutant future thing has been done to death, hasn’t it? The Scarlet Spider story was another good one, nice to see a throw away character get a little love and be treated right. Same goes for the Doctor Strange tale that closed the book off. My favorite of the seven was the story of identical twins code named Dragonfire and Coldmoon (Bao and Wanxia), superweapons developed by the Taiji corporation, both convinced of the others death at birth, both really pissed off when they find out about the lie. For newbies, they could be good characters, however Northstar and Aurora might want to call thier agents.

My guess, (and apparently the guess of everyone else, which makes me question it) is that Marvel is, for the first time, about to realign and reset their continuity.

Verdict: I know I was look warm on this one, but if you are a Marvel reader, you should swallow the $6 price tag and pick it up, you don’t want to be left out when everything you’ve been reading gets kicked out of continuity.

GREEN LANTERN #3 DC COMICS: Written by GEOFF JOHNSArt by DOUG MAHNKE and CHRISTIAN ALAMYCover by DOUG MAHNKE
 

If you haven’t been keeping up on the latest volume of the Green Lantern (and by the looks of the sales figures, most of you are) Hal Jordon got the boot and Sinestro was reinstated as a Green Lantern. Now, Sinestro’s former corps of yellow lanterns have taken over his home world of Korugar, as Sinestro once did and is torturing and imprisoning the populace… as Sinestro once did. For some reason, Sinestro doesn’t like them doing this and is hell bent of freeing his world and kicking the asses of the ring slinger corps that bares his name. To do this, you guessed it, he enlists former Green Lantern, Hal Jordan.

The Dynamic between these two always makes for a great read. Whether together or against each other a good writer can make this great. I guess we can call Johns are good writer because the interaction between the two, Sinestro’s arrogance played of Hal’s own slightly different arrogance, makes this story work. Without falling into the odd couple cliches.

I am loving Sinestro back as a Green Lantern. I know his time behind a green ring is limited again, but Johns is writing him as the ultimate bad ass of the corps. All the myth wrapped up around him shines through as he proves he knows more than anyone anywhere (including the Guardians) what power a Green Lantern wields.

So, the two set out to assault a couple hundred of the Sinestro Corps and free a whole planet, with mixed results let’s say. I’m not going to spoil the ending.

I will spoil this, however. The Guardians have a little pow-wow about the future of policing the galaxy. After the failure of the Manhunters and the recent problems they’ve had with the Lanterns… third times the charm? Interesting, Mr. Johns.

. Verdict: Mahnke’s art is as usual, fantastic. Out of DC’s New 52 all the various lantern books are strong, but this one is the strongest. I might even read it after Hal gets his ring back full time.

ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #4 MARVEL COMICS: Story by Brian Michael BendisArt by Sara PichelliCover by Kaare Andrews
 

For me, this is my first exposure to the newUltimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales (other than the butt load of hype and press that surrounded the whole *omg he’s not white* deal), hey four issues in is better than never, right?

Actually, number 4 turned out to be a good starting point as it seemed to deal more with the before. Actually that is all it dealt with. Young Morales was apparently also bitten by a radioactive spider (the crap, how many of those things are out there?) and he to feels guilt for not using his powers when he first got them. Rather than missing a chance save the life of an uncle, Miles laments hiding in the shadows while his spider-predessor Peter Park gets beaten to death.

Do we finally get to see him in the Spider-Man suit? Sorta.

Do we finally get to see him step into the light of his destiny? Kinda.

I’m still uncertain as to what to say about this book. It was good and it’s defiantly going somewhere. I just don’t see why it was needed. The character of Miles Morales, within a few pages is literally given the same motives and the same modus operandi as Peter Parker. Unsure of powers, check. Guilt over not using powers to save a life, check. “With great power comes great responsibility” speech, check. I’m going to call this as clearly intentional Bendis’ part, he is a better writer than to take such an easy route.

This is a slow walk but a good one to let us know who the new Spider-Man is, one I am guessing is well worth going on. Sure he is laced with some basic similarities. Just enough to make us feel familiar out of the gates, the last page is a harbinger of the new ground this new Spider-Man will have to tread.

Verdict: The Ultimates Universe is often hit or miss, my gut tells me this one will be a hit. Check it out.

PIGS #3 IMAGE COMICS: story NATE COSBY & BEN McCOOLart BRENO TEMURAcover AMANDA CONNER & PAUL MOUNTS
So… I’ll be honest. Pigs #3 makes the list purely on the fact that it was the only same day digital release I could find from a company that wasn’t the big two. We’ll cover that later.

PIGS is the story of a second generation Cold War era KGB Cuban sleeper cell being activated today. Tightly written as it flips between the past and the now, it reads like a good spy novel. Not a great one, but a good one. The art is great and very action orientated, when there is a fight Temura makes you feel the fists slap against flesh. The dialogue and character interaction is great, I just never really got into any of the characters. Sure, you learn a few slices here and there in the flashbacks about their parents, but when you seem them in the motel room, they roll off a little wooden.

The plot moves nicely, even though the main characters are out to topple the western world, its palatable due to the version of the hedonistic west we are shown. I just wish we got to know the characters a little better, the story is all about the mission, which, if you think about it, is probably a pretty accurate portrayal of how a sleeper cell would operate.

 

Verdict: With spy comics being a total rarity these days and the noir nature of this book, you know I think I am going to pick it up. I was intrigued enough by this issue to want to know more. If your comic diet is over saturated in tights and zombies, try this spy book.

So, the one thing I have to say is this. Now that DC has dumped all its eggs into the digital basket, with Marvel following closely behind. The rest of the industry needs to hop on the bandwagon of same day digital. I was a little frustrated digging around on the clumsy yet still evolving Comixology app for independents. Oh I know the smaller companies are probably ill-equipped to make the leap. Granted as I say this, I also realize I sound like a total hypocrite, since digital is never going to replace my weekly trips to the comic store, but other than the download times, it can be handy.

That’s it for this week on Attack of the New Comics Wednesday, see you next week.

Category: Comics, reviews

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