Friday, December 29, 2006

Smashy, smashy!

I've pretty much decided to only review new comics if I feel like it, and concentrate on other stuff I feel like talking about. That said, here's some reviews of new comics!

(As always, click to enlarge pictures)

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #11
Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Stuart Immonen

And here's the "smashy, smashy" of this post's title. There's not much to talk about in this book, other than that it's incredibly enjoyable. The team is attacking the headquarters of the Beyond Corporation, and after they crash land in the bowels of the (flying) complex, they spend six full double-page spreads fighting an avalanche of wacky monsters. It's awesome. So I figured I would try to put up a picture of everything they fight. This might take a while. Here we go!:

Purple Communist gorillas!

Giant rock men!

Some kind of trolls (maybe Mole Man monsters?)!

Ball-jointed robots!

Laser-vision equipped Stephen Hawkings in Roman chariot wheelchairs!

Naked ninjas!

Midget Iron Men!

Rice farmers? I can't figure out what that disc is that the one on the left is crashing face-first into.

Elvis MODOKs!!!!!!!! That shoot hamburgers!

Blue (ghost?) pirates!

Cyclops dinosaurs!

Two-headed, four-armed samurai!

Demonic chimney sweeps! (I actually thought they were train engineers at first. Silly me!)


Wolverine monkeys! With foot-claws!

Including a giant Wolverine gorilla!

With some sort of banana bomb! Is this a reference that I'm missing? It seems familiar...

A Sentinel-style giant robot!

Sabretooth tigers with jet packs!

Red devil/luchadore-helmeted guys!

An unconscious Black Bolt clone! (or something; it's hard to tell)

Old-school googly-eyed aliens!

More aliens!

And finally...evil purple trees!

Whew, that's a lot of bad guys. Next issue is the big finale!

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #13
Written by Sean McKeever
Art by Takeshi Miyazawa and Rick Mays

I was wrong about this being Takeshi Miyazawa's last issue; the lettercolumn in this issue says he'll leave after #15. That's great; he'll be cherished as long as he's around. He's as good as always this issue, although the highlight is probably the Rick Mays-illustrated section in which Gwen Stacy relates to MJ what happened when she and Peter Parker were on a date. She's upset because lately, Peter has been making up lame excuses and running off suddenly. Huh, I wonder why he would be doing that? Anyway, as she tells Mary Jane, he did it again, and suddenly a fight broke out between Spider-Man and Sandman outside the window of the coffee shop. Since Gwen is the one telling the story, their dialogue goes like this:

Spider-Man: Hey, look at me! I'm Spider-Man! I'm cool!
Sandman: Yeah, whatever, loser.
Spider-Man: I'm gonna jump right through you, even though it's gross, 'cause I'm all awesome and stuff!
Spider-Man: Hey, Sandman, why do we keep fighting each other all the time?
Sandman: Endangering the lives of innocent people is funner than anything, duh!
Spidey: That's right! I forgot! LOL!

That was the highlight of the issue for me, but the rest of it was as good as always, with the typical teen romance and feelings and stuff. It's a great comic.

The Boys #6
Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Darick Robertson

Also a very enjoyable comic. The first storyline comes to a close, as The Boys (is that an official team name?) take on the Teenage Kix. It starts with a large brawl, when the Kix confront The Boys after being blackmailed last issue. The predictable mayhem ensues, but something bad happens, and we get some commentary on superheroes death, touching on how the comics community deals with superhero death, and also about how the real-world media goes nuts covering celebrity deaths. At least, that's what I took from it. We'll see where the story goes from here. Oh, and I had no idea what the cover was supposed to be at first, but it turns out to be pretty funny after reading the book.

Jack of Fables #6
Written by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges
Art by Steve Lialoha

Another good issue, although Lialoha's fill-in art is not quite up to the quality of the regular artist, Andrew Pepoy. Jack and some other escapees from the Fable retirement home (Pecos Bill, John Henry, and Alice (out of Wonderland)) are in hiding, and he tells the story of how he became Jack Frost. It's a pretty funny story, containing Jack's usual trickery and assholery (by the way, is the "snow queen" Jack meets in this story the same one who was allied with the Adversary in the "Homelands" story arc? I'll have to look it up). Who knows how "accurate" Jack's telling of the story actually is. There's also a couple funny bits where Priscilla Page and Mr. Revise (the bad guys from the retirement home) break into the story to comment on it directly to the reader. A good comic. This is part one of the story, and I've read that it will be interrupted by the "Jack of Hearts/Jack goes to Las Vegas" story, which will last four issues before we get the conclusion of this story. That sounds kind of annoying, but we'll see what happens.

Astonishing X-Men #19
Written by Joss Whedon
Art by John Cassaday

So, this is the beginning of Whedon and Cassaday's final X-Men arc, and it seems to be shaping up very well. After the disappointingly drawn-out "Danger" storyline (#7-12), the last six issues have been excellent. Great art, and some very good writing. Exciting stuff that feels like the book is doing more than just spinning its wheels. And this issue keeps the energy going, with some great character moments, and some good forward movement on the plot. I'm very excited to see where this is going. However, the real highlight for me on this issue is Cassaday's amazing art. He's really one of the very best artists in comics right now. Here's some good samples from the issue:

This is a sickbay of some kind on the Breakworld, which is wracked with war. An incredible level of detail.

Here's Agent Brand of S.W.O.R.D., looking tired. I wanted to point out the shadows under her eyes. That detail really sells her character; rather than just being a hardass, she's actually working her ass off trying to save the world.

This is a great little exchange between Beast and Brand. Whedon writes very funny dialogue. But Cassaday's facial expressions really sell it. I love Beast's expressions in the upper right and lower left panels. And Scott's smirk in the lower right.

And here's another great Beast expression from later in the issue. I'm amazed at how well Cassaday can express emotion on his feline features. It's all in the eyes, with a little bit of eyebrows. Wow.

This is a great scene between Kitty and Colossus. Again with the facial expressions, and the dialogue is really good, drawing on the history between the characters, and also what Kitty's been through in the last few issues.

And finally, a good gag from when Colossus tries to tell a joke. I didn't include the final scene, which looks awesome; I didn't want to spoil the cliffhanger. Needless to say, I'm waiting eagerly for the next issue(s).
I also bought Wolfskin #2 and Crossing Midnight #2 this week, but didn't feel like commenting on them. Wolfskin ends next issue, and it's an enjoyably violent barbarian story. Crossing Midnight continued to be interesting; I was going to use this issue to decide if I want to continue getting the series, but it looks like I'll be doing the same thing next issue. In other words, it was interesting enough to get another issue and finish the first storyline, but not so great that I'm sure I want to subscribe to the series.
Huh, I guess I ended up commenting on those last two after all. Well, that's it for now!