I only get to read comics at breakfast, and I can only afford maybe 3 comics a week. So what I’m going to do is review my comics at the end of the weekend, depending on what I pick up. I’ll put spoiler free reviews up at ComiXology, and post the links here, before going into potential spoiler-filled reviews for anyone who has read them. This week’s comics:
Doctor Who: The Forgotten #3
Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #30
Iron Man: The End
Ok, that last one was a couple weeks ago, but I just picked it up during my Thursday run, so it counts. 🙂 And now the shiny happy spoiler reviews:
Tom Baker prefers the cheap seats.
Doctor Who: The Forgotten #3
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
WRITER: Tony Lee
ARTIST: Stefano Martino (where’s Pia?)
COLORS: Liam Shalloo & Kris Carter
PRODUCTION: Neil Uyetake
EDITOR: Denton J. Tiptson
<-COVER A: Nick Roche & Charlie Kirchoff (colors)
So the Doctor and Martha are still trapped in the Doctor Who Museum. (Having never been to England I couldn’t tell you where it is–although I can find it in Second Life.) (Yes, I play Second Life.) (Occasionally.) Our mysterious bad guy (I’m betting it’s the Master, who the Doctor shouldn’t meet if continuity is to be maintained, or perhaps the Valeyard
, just to throw things off) sends giant spiders into the museum, but before that we get tales of Doctor’s three and four.
The Third Doctor and Romana chase a mime through a vortex and end up fighting a minotaur. (Must have been from the Douglas Adams years.:)) The Fourth Doctor, Tegan, and Turlough meet the Judoon when they seek something in the Doctor’s old UNIT-provided homestead.
What was done right:
I really felt like I was seeing and (in my head) hearing all parties involved. The characterisation definitely matches up with their show counterparts, at least for the little time they’re “on screen”. I really hope we get full length stories with the classic crews in the future. Perhaps a “The Many Lives of Doctor Who
” series or something. The best we have now is the Classic Doctor Who
series, which is just reprints from the old British magazine, many of which I already have from when Marvel US reprinted them or the Panini B&W (not to be confused with BW:)) compilations. The art is also good (outside of the Nick Roche cover, but the photo covers are just the Doctor and Martha), and I like the shot of the early TARDIS that places this story before “The Five Doctors
“, since the vector graphic monitors don’t seem to be present. I think it’s also the only inside showing we’ve had of the classic room, which I much prefer to the New Series ramshackle. Too bad it’s only one panel. Each issue of The Forgotten
is a major improvement over the last miniseries.
Having the Fourth Doctor and the crew meet the Judoon was a nice way to connect the old and new series, as both take place in the same universe.
What they did wrong: Where is K9? Not even a mention in the third Doctor’s story, or a mock-up in the museum. This saddens me. (And if Frobisher, an original character from the magazine comics, shows up in the Sixth Doctor story I will be sadder that my favorite companion was left out. I like him, but Frobisher wasn’t even the show!) I’m still not a fan of Roche’s art style when it comes to Doctor Who,but at least he has the featured Doctors having fun with the current one. The photo covers are just Doctor 10 and Martha. As much as Freema Agyeman inspires fantasy in my mind (and frustration, since I keep having to look her name up–I keep wanting to write Freeman Aguera, whoever that is), she and the Doctor are just the plot device to revisit the past lives. If the featured Doctors were in there somehow, I might choose that one, but the photo cover is just another art cover, which so many comics do these days instead of giving you an idea what’s inside.
Also, note the artist, Stephano Martino. I’m not complaining about the work; the art is rather good. However, one of the selling points IDW used in their promotions was artist Pia Guerra, most famous for her work in Y’s The Last Man. The change in artist, whether temporary or permanent, might be the reason this issue is a month late, but that’s just personal theory.
Recommend: I recommend you either hunt the previous issues down or get the trade and love it forever. A must for any Whovian. If an American writer takes on any future stories, this should be one of the guides for Who done right. Also, they should watch the shows. And so should everyone else, but I’m biased. 😀 Also, I want a poster of Freema for my bedroom. What’s that look for?
Hurry, before Quesada decides to "improve" us, too!
Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #30
WRITER: Paul Tobin
PENCILLER: Matteo Lolli
INKER: Christian Dalla Vecchia
COLORIST: Ulisses Arreola
LETTERER: Dave Sharpe
COVER: Nolan & Arreola
PRODUCTION: Tom Van Chase
CONSULTING: Mark Paniccia & Ralph “I’m not the Karate Kid!” Macchio
EDITOR: Nathan Crosby
A mysterious stranger hired private investigator Tigra to follow the Avengers around, but only to learn what they’re like in their off time, not to discover how to beat them. So the story has Tigra following the Avengers around, from Bruce Banner buying yogurt, to Storm and Giant Girl having lunch, to Cap reading to kids. It’s all warm fuzzies, until Cap’s chill time with Iron Man is interrupted by a super villain called the Griffin, and the Avengers have to kick his butt. How will Tigra herself respond?
What they did right: It’s always an interesting change of pace to see the heroes through another’s eyes. The only appearance of Tigra I have in Marvel Proper is a cameo in an Iron Man annual to help push West Coast Avengers, which Iron Man (then Jim Rhodes) had just signed up with. So this was my first real look at the character. I just fell in love with her. (Not that way. I’m lonely but…okay, if she were real, I might. Happy?) Watching her reactions to the Avenger’s activities, and when she gets caught, are as fascinating as what the Avengers are up to. I may not want every issue like this, but I do like this one. Certainly an improvement as to what’s happening in good ol’ 616. Also the art is beautiful. It’s everything Marvel Proper does right without all the stuff they do wrong. The art is supposed to be part of the story, not just look like something from an art book. The art should never supersede the story, nor the other way around. Here they’re working together in harmony, as it should be.
What they did wrong: I understand that Tigra is excited after watching the heroes in action (both in battle and at rest), and that was the point, after all, but why does she regress to a teenager when she’s gushing over the Avengers and falling apart when they tell her how she was caught spying on them? (Wolverine even gets pictures, which really should have been Spidey’s job.) Otherwise, it’s a very cute moment. However, I had to write something here, and that’s the best I could do.
Recommendation: I recommend you get this book..no, buy two copies. You will want to hug it and freak the hell out of collectors who are convinced every issue will be important to your retirement. Sadly, it’s the closest you’ll get to hugging Tigra, which even after my complaint you will still want to do after the final page.
+10 nerd points if you get the cover reference, -10 if you're an Iron Fan and don't.
Iron Man: The End (one-shot)
PLOT: David Micheline and Bob Layton
SCRIPT: David Michelinie
PENCILER: Dernard Chang
INKER: Bob Layton
COLORIST: Mike Cauallaro
LETTERS: Artmonkeys Studios
EDITORS: Alejandro Arbona & Molly Lazer
(Yes, I know this came out a couple weeks ago, but I only got it Thursday.)
Tony Stark has battled numerous enemies, but one finally has him by the gonads: Father Time! Finally feeling his age, Tony Stark, now owner of Stark Universal (did I mention this is a future story?) is working on his biggest project yet, his farewell gift to the world. However, being old and Iron Man is taking a toll on his body, saboteurs are trying to stop the creation of his space elevator
, and his marriage could be in trouble if he’s not careful. He’s falling apart to the point where even he decides to find a new Iron Man (again). But does he really want to give it up?
What they did right?
For starters, they brought back two of the most famous names in Iron Man’s creative team. David Michelinie and Bob Layton live up to their status, if only by ignoring 616’s current events. Tony’s identity as Iron Man is a secret, he’s not running the super hero community, he doesn’t sweat out parts of his armor and isn’t some freaky technomancer
, is running a Stark business and not SHIELD, and the world doesn’t suck. It’s Tony being Tony and Iron Man again, and I love it for that alone. This story shows what’s been missing in Iron Man for years. There’s also some continuity porn, with Beth Cabe as his wife, a reference to his alcoholism, and the appearance of an upgraded Crimson Dynamo, and all of it works.
I also love the armor they design for Tony. It’s the same psuedo-science one expects from Marvel, but it works. My favorite armor in function is the Modular Armor
This 80’s style and modern sensability, what both eras get right and missing some of what they get wrong. I also give Crimson/Ultra-Dynamo props for doing his homework on how to defeat this model, forcing Tony to upgrade to a higher level of psuedo-science. That’s Tony Stark, psuedo-scientist. Wait, is that a compliment?
What they got wrong: Sadly, I can’t compliment all the armors. Crimson Dynamo designers still haven’t learned that bulkier isn’t better. Plus some of the poses used by our armored characters are odd. There is this one scene when Tony first confronts the “Ultra-Dynamo” where he looks like he’s on the potty, bringing me flashback of some of the worst scenes from Dreamwave’s Transformers run. Bernard Chang may well come from Pat Lee’s school of art, and I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s too bad Layton doesn’t do all the drawing, but since the rest of the art is pretty good I can bypass it.
It's like it was designed for the Martian Manhunter
Then there’s the “next generation” armor, or what I’ll call the End Armor (in honor of the comic). They have the basics down, but I’m not a fan of the helmet, losing the infamous repulsors, if only for tradition, and while the “nano particles” give me some ideas about a character I’m designing (which had a similar method of summoning his super hero identity already), I can’t see how that would work. Besides, the previous armor was already cool. Still, I suppose that giving the new guy a brand new armor, which he customises to his own style, is a must for this story anyway, so I’ll let it go.
I mentioned the continuity porn before, but some of it I just don’t get. After all this time, why is Bethany Cabe, a woman Marvel readers haven’t heard from in eons (give or take a few years), suddenly brought in as Mrs. Tony Stark? I mean, it’s nice to see one of his former flames won, but…oh, wait, David and Bob created her. Ok, fine, I’m not going to challenge the masters. (I save it for not-quite-masters, like Simon Furman on Transformers, but that’s a whole other rant.) However, I do wonder why they decided to reform the Soviet Union. Nobody really wants it. Well, except Putin, and he seems to be working on it, so maybe they have a point.
Recommendation: The best Iron Man story since Marvel canceled the Marvel Adventures series, this is everything I’ve been missing from Shellhead’s adventures. Face Front, Quesada. This is the Iron Man that made the character famous. Don’t believe me? Watch the movie again. Everyone should watch the movie, it was awesome! It’s worth the extra money because for that and the extra pages, which I’m betting can’t be said for the other mark-ups to come.
Best panels of the week award:
Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #30
"This is for my bird bretheren, kitty!"
Ok, maybe you won’t wait for the final page. 🙂