Tag Archives: writing

Happy Mday, and an Announcement

I hope everyone had a good Mday (I’m proud, I came up with that by myself).  I myself went out to dinner with my mother at a nice snazzy restaurant.  Things are getting busy for myself right now, with five (5) days left until graduation, this year has been pretty crazy.  Not that I’ll be talking about that now, I may elaborate on it in Life of a Welshman, my fairly new personal blog to discuss all that, but suffice to say I’m excited.  In addition to a diploma, I will also have upwards of 200 new comics to read.  Why 200?  Well, possibly even more than that, you see, I’ve been busy recently.  So over the past 4-7 weeks (probably since midmarch) I have not found time in my schedule to read comics, yet I have continually gone out and purchased them every few weeks, thanks to the box I have at my local comic shop.  Assuming 5-7 comics a week, that’s already around 50 comics.  I picked up another huge haul from Free Comic Book Day on May 3rd.  Then on May 4th, a town near where I live hosted its semi-annual rummage sale, where I found comics going for 50 cents a pop.  Needless to say I think I spent around 30-40 dollars there, and they were all good deals, mostly from the late 70’s to the mid 90’s.  Plus the occasional ebay shipment over the past few weeks – Ebay is a HUGE weakness of mine.

It was with this realization that I decided that next week, or the week after depending on the feedback I get (either through comments or email to yourcomicreliefblog@gmail.com) will be Ebay week.  In which I will discuss the joys and possible pitfalls of Ebay, as well as elaborate for all of you my massive comic acquisitions, complete with full bodied reviews, and rapid fire review sections.  It is now that I come to ask something of you.  For this week long extravaganza, I would like to have one or two guest articles, comics, or reviews.  So, if you are interested, send me a message or an email, again my contact email is yourcomicreliefblog@gmail.com, or even just leave a comment.  Let me know if what you would like to do, and what topic you are planning on addressing.

One last thing, I have recently started using twitter.  I’d like to start using this as a feedback and discussion tool with my readers, as well as a notification system for when I post a new article.  So, go ahead and follow me, and I’ll do my best to follow each one of you.

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Review: Daredevil #105

Lead-up to the Story

This has been an eventful story in Daredevil, Hood and Mr. Fear have been at each other’s throats during a turf war. The hood has allied almost every B and C list villain, and the Fear has concocted a new drug that makes his thugs unstoppable, and unwaveringly loyal. To make matters worse, Fear got his hands on Milla, and drugged her. Milla then went crazy and pushed an innocent bystander into an oncoming train, killing her. She was then convicted and committed to a psych ward, as Matt Murdock struggles to keep Milla out of jail, and stop her from admitting to what she did (she’s still crazy), Daredevil has to focus on protecting Hell’s Kitchen.

 

Plot Synopsis

Ed Brubaker provides us with the final part of the six part story line, and with such a lot of buildup, he has to deliver or Daredevil will have just been a total flop. Daredevil, before this story arc, and even in the beginning of this one, was horrifically poor, as I referenced in a previous post of mine, when I claimed I was going to drop DD from my pull list, but gave it one last shot, and he delivered. In short, if this issue bombs, you can be sure that this series is going is lose some readership. Thankfully, it seems we can always count on Ed Brubaker to deliver the comic goods.

We discover, fairly early on in this issue than the turf war was really just a ploy by Mr. Fear to mess with Murdock, to try and push him over the edge, to mess with his wife, and to wreak havoc in Hell’s Kitchen, which Daredevil considers his personal responsibility. It seems to be working. As the previous five issues of this story arc consisted mostly of text, it was a breath of fresh air to have some serious action. Murdock squares off with Mr. Fear, who has seemingly drugged himself to make himself fearless. Despite this attempt at giving himself at an advantage, Daredevil still emerges victorious, and demands he cure Milla. But, much to his dismay, there is no cure, Milla is permanently doomed, good news for those who were not fans of Milla. Could Quesada be on a quest to kill off every romantic figure in the hero’s lives? Does he want all characters to be miserable like Peter Parker before MJ fell in love with him? We’ll have to wait and see, but the similarities are there.

 

Art Critique

Michael Lark, Paul Azaceta, and Stefano Gaudiano do a good job with the art. One might think that having three different colorist, and then an inker, Matt Hollingsworth, on top of that would lead to a very mismatched art style, but it doesn’t. It is done in a fairly bland, and simplistic style that fits the Daredevil franchise very well. Of course it is art, but I’m going to call it a very artistic style, using a very limited colour palate, and because of the limited palate, a strong and confident use of shading. All of these features give this comic a very powerful visage. The other day, when I did my review of The Incredible Hercules, I noted how almost every panel seemed to be filled with motion. Well, here the art style is almost the exact opposite, and was part of my decision to review this one; in Daredevil each panel seems to be entirely static, that is to say, frozen in time. Not just frozen in time, but frozen in high speed action. The fact that this issue is more action orientated really gives the artists the chance they have needed to be able to show off their abilities. Almost every panel is filled with a sense of urgency, and combining this with the more Spartan art style gives the impression that the action had paused for only a second, and the artist had to draw it that instant. It is done very well.

 

Is it Worth Buying?

If you have not been following Daredevil, I would say no, but start up with the next issue, and the new story arc. If you had been thinking about possibly dropping Daredevil from your pull list, I would very strongly urge you to read this issue and reconsider, because it really looks like things will be picking up in Hell’s Kitchen in the coming months.

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Filed under Comics, Marvel, Reviews

The Incredible Hercules, formerly known as the Incredible Hulk, #114

            Hercules continues in his own title, not the first time he has had his own comic, he appeared in his own right for the first time in 1982, in a series that ran for a total of four issues, and again in 1984, again for a stunning four issues.  The last time, we, as the collective comic book community saw the son of Zues (this one at least), was in 2005, after a fairly lengthy hiatus, he appeared in an unprecedented five part mini-series, entitled ‘The New Labors.’  If you don’t understand the title, go buy a book on Greek mythology, I’m not just being annoying about it, you’ll get more out of these comics if you do.  Given this somewhat lackluster series for Herc, I found it fitting to do a write up on his latest series that looks like it COULD reach a grand six episodes.

 

Lead-up to the Story

            Written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, and penciled by Paul Neary, this has been an issue I’ve been excited to see in my box each month so far.  Partially because of my love for Greek myth, as well as math, which manifests itself in the form of Amadeus Cho.  I have declared my somewhat controversial adoration of Cho in the past, and I understand that he can be an unloved feature in the Marvel universe.  Bully to all of you I say, I like him, and his coyote.  In the previous issues, we have seen Cho become steadily darker and more bent on revenging his idol, the Hulk.  Hercules has also started questioning Cho’s decisions with increased regularity, although he has been forced to go along with him, generally to avoid capture by his Ares, the god of war.

 

Plot Synopsys

            The story begins with another mythological reference, but don’t worry, its explained in a few pages.  In short, Herc is kicking major SHIELD ass, and thinks he is being denied magical horses.  Most Greek myth was created while people were drunk, true story.  While this is entertaining, the more important parts off the issue have to do with Amadeus Cho, and with Ares.  While attempting to take over a SHIELD helicarrier, Cho is thwarted by Black Widow, but his pup is caught underneath him in his fall, and we’re left in the dark about the fate of his coyote, although, on the last page of the comic, we see requests for names for it, so I’m fairly sure we won’t be seeing the of it, and it’ll have a name, so I won’t have to keep on coming up with novel pronouns for the animal.  Wonder Man figures out that Ares is trying to use both him and SHIELD to take down his rival Hercules, and we should wait in eager anticipation to see how this plays out.  Wonder Man vs Ares anyone?

 

Art Critique

            Paul Neary does a good job of giving the action a sense of action and movement in almost every panel.  Also, he really tried to give Hercules a crazed expression during his hydra blood induced state, but it doesn’t seem to work all too well all of the time.  Drawing can be like writing, similar to how an author does not want to use the same adjective all the time, an artist will not want to use the same expression to depict a certain emotion, however, this results in Herc just having near perfectly circular, round, red eyes.   Also, sometimes Amadeus Cho looks either pudgy, not so much because he has an animal in his jacket, but more so in his face.  Overall however, I must say I am pleased with the artwork as it is provided.  Also, I wonder if Neary himself did the oldschool arts featured in the middle of the book, also, oldschool Ares reminds me of Mr. T.  Mention should be made of the cover art, provided by Arthur Adams, Herc’s arms have extra muscle mass, and this isn’t usually something that bugs me, when I draw I tend to add extra as well, but this is kind of ridiculous. 

 

Is it Worth Buying?

            If you have an interest in Greek mythology, I would say absolutely.  Also, it looks like this story arc with Herc vs Ares, and with Cho attempting to mess up SHIELD may prove important to the overall Marvel storyline, especially with Tony Stark having so many problems in his storyline.  So overall, it is well written, and entertaining to read, definitely earning its spot on my pull list.

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Review: Thor #5

            Big issue of the week for me is Thor.  As many of you know (or could guess from the banner at the top of the page, or my avatar), I am a big Thor fan.  Thor #5 was released this week, and I actually had a request to post my thoughts about it.  So for the first time I can say “by request” I have reviewed Thor #5.  No big spoilers here even though I do go through the plot in depth, but be warned, in order to really review this comic, I gotta give away the ending.  If you have doubts, as always, feel free to skip to the Is it Worth Buying section.

 

Lead up to story

            It is official, Thor is back.  I’m going to give you some background info on what has happened in the previous three issues, but if you haven’t read them, stop whatever you are doing and go read them by whatever means necessary, I’m serious, they’re that good, especially issue #3.  Essentially, Thor has returned, and he is seeking out his fellow Asgardians that are trapped in mortal bodies.

 

Plot Synopsis and Evaluation

           Thor is written by Joseph Michael Straczynski, and this issue opens with a man putting in a mailbox in front of the floating Asgard, and he makes it look way easier than it really is, anyone who’s had to install a mailbox themselves will know what I’m talking about.  Inside the mailbox, he puts a letter to the local town meeting, promising cakes and ice cream, entirely nonessential, but very humorous.  Moving on to the main plot; so far, Thor has found few of his fellow deities, and Heimdall informs him that the trapped Asgardians are disappearing, and these disappearances are related to a growing darkness to the west.  Fearing that his lady Sif may be among those disappearing, for Heimdall has not yet found her, Thor flies off to investigate. 
Upon arrival, Thor finds someplace underground that is ambiguously undescribed and must be assumed to be some sort of jail (that’s what it looks like at least).  Before Thor can even get down to freeing the prisoners, one of whom has the potential to be Sif, the destroyer appears, and does battle with the mighty Thor.  Thor is victorious (are we really surprised?), and the destroyer was manned by, of all people, Balder, the one who triggered Ragnarok and ended Asgard.  Returning to the jail-thing, Thor finds that the beautiful woman that waits there is not Sif, but Loki!  Loki is now female, but Thor offers him/her solace, and a second chance, he/she vows to repent, and we, the reader, do not believe him/her at all.  The issue ends with Loki making deals with Dr. Doom.
            On the whole, I am a little disappointed in this issue, but then again, one can not appreciate Thor’s greatness without some mediocre issues.  It isn’t bad by any means, but I did not find myself in love with the issue.  My main problem with this issue is that not much happens, and frankly, as I will elaborate on in the art section, the fight scene was boring.  I am not so sure how I feel about Loki being female either, I have enough faith is Starcynski that I will wait it out and see how it goes.  I will say though that at least they are bringing in the villains.  I do very much appreciate the mini subplot about the town meeting, with the Asgardian gods showing up looking for cake.

 

Art Critique

            Thor is drawn by Oliver Coipel, and I am generally pleased with his work.  He draws Thor to be an outrageously huge.  I’m ok with this, he’s an Asgardian god, and he can be as big as he wants to be.  Coipel has also given Thor a much blockier face than we were used to, but this also seems to suit him.  Overall, I would say that I am very impressed not only by the overall quality of the art that Oliver is putting out, but also by his representations of the characters.  He really seems to be able to capture their essence, and picture them just as I would imagine them, especially Thor.  Broad shoulders, freaking huge arms, and a huge cape, topped off with shining armor.  The only critique I would have is that he seems to be puzzled with how to draw faces, but even this is some of the time.  I think it may be the eyes that throw him off, as Thor is often depicted as having his eyes shadowed by his helmet.  In theory, I’m ok with this, but in one panel Thor is drawn with one eye shown, and one eye shadowed, and it gives a very odd look to the panel, and draws away from the flow of the comic, as I was distracted by the eye (singular), it made be exceptionally uncomfortable.

 

Is it Worth Buying?

            I would say yes, Thor #5 is worth buying especially if you own the first four, and given that you should own those, logically, it follows that you should buy this one too.  Yes, by Thor standards this was mediocre, but by current standards, it’s still a great comic.  Also, it is important to note that this comic is to set up for the coming series, the story could not have continued much longer with Thor wandering the world seeking out his fellow Asgardians, bringing in the villains is a very good way of bringing some additional plot into the story.  Also, why does Microsoft Word not have Asgard or Ragnarok in the dictionary?  Closest thing it’s giving me to Ragnarok is Kangaroo, and that can’t be right…  

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Filed under Comics, Marvel, Reviews