Trying something new with the titles. I’ve also been considering going to post numbers rather than putting the article’s title in the post. Some of my article titles seem a bit too long for a URL name. At any rate, I still have comics waiting for me at the store. I forgot about Simpsons Comic #155, because it’s not one of my usual pulls, until after I had already made my purchases, but I still had it put in my folder at the store. I haven’t been getting movie adaptation for Revenge of the Fallen because I want to wait to read it, and I didn’t pick up the Wrath of Khan adaptations because I didn’t have the money at the time. They will be bought and they will be reviewed, but here’s the six comics I HAVE read this week.

Spoiler-blocked versions available at ComiXology.

Transformers Spotlight: CliffjumperTransformers Spotlight: Cliffjumper

IDW Publishing: June 2009

WRITER: Shane McCarthy

ARTIST: Robby Musso

COLORIST: Joana Lafuente

LETTERER: Chris Mowry

EDITORS: Denton J. Tipton & Andy Schmidt

COVER “A” ART (shown): Robby Musso (Colors: Priscilla Tramontano

COVER “B” ART: Don Figueroa (Colors: Josh Perez)–although Figueroa is one of my favorite Transformers artists, I found Musso’s cover the most interesting.

RETAILER INCENTIVE COVER: Casey Coller (Colorist: Joana LaFuente)

Cliffjumper’s ship has crashed on an alien planet, and while activating a distress signal, he is found by a couple locals, a young woman and her little brother. Their parents died of sickness, and while they get some help occasionally from neighbors, but they aren’t that close physically. Kita convinces Cliffjumper to stay with them until his comrades arrive, but it’s the Decepticons that arrive. In the ensuing battle, Kita is killed, but Cliffjumper is able to take down the Decepticons and steal their ship. Kita’s brother is left to be raised by a local family.

What they got right: Some very well done artwork for the story, and one that looks at the horrors of war on innocents. Cliffjumper’s Cybertronian design not only looks cool, but I can get some idea as to what he looks like in his alternate mode. It’s a shame we never see it. The locals (we never get a name for the planet) generic character model seems to be anime-based, with purple skin. It works, especially for Kita, who may actually be even more cuter (not that way, otaku-boy..well, maybe) because of it.

What they got wrong: Frankly, this story’s been done before, and always ends the same way. Lost solider ends up with a pacifist, usually a wide-eyed innocent young girl. (Frankly, I find it a little creepy how…interested…she is in Cliffjumper. For a planet that seems devoid of technology, I can understand how little she gets robots, but something still feels off there.) Solider almost starts to enjoy being free of the war, only to have the enemy soldiers come for him. Pacifist girl learns that her “new friend” is a soldier as well, and either hates him or doesn’t live long enough to realize he’s one of the good guys, and there is a difference. The only “extra” here is the cute kid who now loses all his family members. Also, Cliffjumper himself isn’t supposed to be a super-bad ass, as he’s portrayed here. One thing that’s been a constant through all continuities has been CJ’s hotheaded bad habit of going in blind and getting in over his head. Yet, McCarthy seems to like making everyone a super-solidertron, even Perceptor in All Hail Megatron. That messes with Autobot diversity of character.

Recommendation: It’s not a must-have for your collection, but not a bad entry.

The Brave and the Bold #24

The Brave and the Bold #24

DC Comics: August 2009

WRITER: Matt Wayne

ARTIST: Howard Porter

COLORIST: Tom Chu

LETTERER: Rob Leigh

ASSISTANT EDITOR: Chris Conroy

EDITOR: Joey Cavaleri

“STATIC” CREATORS: Dwayne McDuffie, Derek T. Dingle, Denys Cowan, and Michael Davis

“BLACK LIGHTNING” CREATORS: Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden

Jefferson Pierce, aka “Black Lightning”, is giving a commencement speech for the graduating class at Hemingway High in Dakota (the city, not one of the states), the same one attended by Virgil Hawkins (secretly the former Milestone hero Static, because now Milestone exists in the DC Universe) . Unfortunately the precedings are interrupted by Holocaust (another Milestone character, I believe), who is upset that Pierce blocked his riverboat casino plans while the hero was Luthor’s Education Secretary. Together, Black Lightning and Static are able to take the burning villain down.

What they got right: Matt Wayne pointed out the differences between Static and Black Lightning’s powers (BL is electric based, while Static’s is more electromagnetic). It was a good fight, thanks mostly to Porter’s exceptional art (although the hair could use some work–like I’m one to talk). Static felt like the Static I know from the cartoon, but I can’t say how he matches up to the comic version.

What they got wrong: Outside of the “costume change you can believe in” line (bleh), nothing really. It’s not a case of “wrong” as it is nothing. Really, it’s just a standard hero team-up. While Wayne tries to fit in a bit about Virgil not trusting the former Luthor exec (back when Lex was President–another bleh), it get resolved a bit quick, although not completely unsatisfactory. The only real crime is that if you don’t know what’s going on with these characters going in, you won’t get anything out of the story.

Recommendation: Worth a look over if you know the characters, but frankly not anything to scramble to get.

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #2

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #2

Marvel Comics: August 2009 (held over from last week)

WRITER: Chris Eliopoulos

ARTIST: Ig Guara

COLORIST: Chris Sotomayor

LETTERER: Nate Piekos

COVER “A” (shown): Karl Kerschl

COVER “B”: Niko Henrichon

EDITOR: Nathan Cosby

PUBLISHER: Dan Buckley

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Alan Fine

PRODUCTION: Irene Lee

The “Pet Avengers” are joined by Sabu the Saber tooth Tiger, and journey to the past where they find another Infinity Gem. However, so has Devil Dinosaur, so the crew have to try and take it from him. Later, our heroes try and warp to the next gem, and end up over the ocean, with the non-flying animals about to take a dip they’d probably rather not.

What they got right: Hey, a cover that has something to do with the story and doesn’t look like some stock pin-up! (Well, not the main cover, anyway. Stupid variants.) Appearances by Sabu and Devil Dinosaur are most welcome. The art is good, per usual from Guara, the colors stand out nicely, and Chris continues to make most of the characters interesting.

What they got wrong: He’s still not being fair to Ms. Lion (who he’s already make a cross-dressing moron).

Recommendation: Outside of Ms. Lion, everyone’s working a good book here. Definitely a good read. (Don’t make me a liar, next half.)

Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #12

Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #12

FEATURING CAPTAIN AMERICA

Marvel Comics: August 2009 (held over from last week)

WRITERS: Scott Gray (main); Rodger Langridge (back-up)

PENCILER (main): Matteo Lolli

INKER (main): Christian Vecchia

ARTIST (back-up): Craig Rousseau

COLORS: Sotocolor

LETTERER: Dave Sharpe

COVER: Henry & Guru

PRODUCTION: Joe Sabino

CONSULTING: Ralph Macchio

EDITOR: Nathan Cosby

PUBLISHER: Dan Buckley

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Alan Fine

What is with this “Executive Producer” bit all of a sudden? That’s a movie maker title, not a comic maker title.

In the main story, Rick takes Steve to an internet cafe, where they learn Hydra has their own website. That website is also a death trap created to trap Captain America in a cyberspace world. Luckily, between Cap’s fighting skill and Rick’s net savvy, they manage to escape. However, the website’s icon taunted Cap with the possibility of Rick going the way of Bucky (who I assume is still dead in the Adventureverse), and it seems Hydra was able to get something they wanted. (Dun dun dun? In a Marvel Adventures title?)

In the back-up story, Steve and Bucky’s unit gets some R and R stateside, when they’re attacked by PRODOK, who is actually after that same reporter from the movie theater. After Cap and Bucky defeats it, one of the soldiers learns that parts of the machine came from a Ford, and the target may have been Roz, whose father is a weapons manufacturer.

What they got right: At least someone understands that one-shot stories targeting kids can still have continuity. This story takes place soon after the last Captain America tale, and the back-up story remembers last Cap’s back-up story. Also, you get the feeling that events this issue will affect a future Captain America story. It’s nice to see a modern comic not afraid to do the whole “trapped in an internet world” story. The main Marvel universe wouldn’t do something fun like that.

What they got wrong: Since a few issues have passed since the last Cap-featured Super Heroes issue (#8), would younger readers remember that far back? Or maybe Gray (and possibly Langridge) is giving kids the credit they deserve. Still, I wonder if they’re pushing to give Cap his own MA title. With all the games going on in the main title, and the upcoming movie, that might not be a bad idea.

Recommendation: If you liked the first issue, you’ll like this one. This title, or at least this part of this title, may well be getting right the only thing MA total has been missing out on: continuity.

Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #37

Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #37

Marvel Comics: August 2009

WRITER: Paul Tobin

PENCILER: Dario Brizuela

INKER: Landro Corral

COLOR: Sotocolor

LETTERER: Dave Sharpe

COVER: Williams & Galloway

PRODUCTION: Paul Acerios

CONSULTING: Ralph Macchio

EDITOR: Nathan Cosby

PUBLISHER: Dan Buckley

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Alan Fine

While Captain America and Bucky are on their “fatal” mission, The rest of the Invaders are disappearing, with only Miss America, Golden Girl, and the Whizzer left. Then the Whizzer disappears right in front of the girls, who follow through the fading time portal to find themselves in the present, with the Puppet Master in control of the Whizzer. Lucky for them, the now unfrozen Captain America and Wolverine happen to be walking by (how convenient) and rescue the girls. They learn that the Puppet Master aided an alien called the Gray Guest, and was rewarded with dark matter. Added to the Puppet Master’s special clay, he can now transport the Invaders to the modern era, take control of them, and return to the past to take over the world. Joined by Spider-Man, the heroes track down the Puppet Master and destroy the puppets, which sends the heroes back to their own time. Cap considers activating his puppet, which could possibly take him home, but is torn by his new responsibilities in the present. Wolverine destroys the unactivated puppet, making the decision for him.

What they got right: A time travel team-up with the Invaders sounds like a good idea in theory. Were it not the second one in so few issues (just replace “Invaders” with “Howling Commandos”). It certainly could have been a good idea under Tobin. Wolverine laughing every time someone says Whizzer’s name you kind of expected. Also, it’s a nice cover for an MA title.

What they got wrong: Sadly, Tobin seems to have phoned this one in. Cap agonizing over whether or not to go home should be a given, but it actually ends up forced in. One scene change happens too fast. It really isn’t up to par with Tobin’s usual work in this title. But worse than the story is the art. It’s terrible! I’m not sure who gets the worst of it: Wolverine and Spider-Man look like an off-model version of their “Spider-Man and Friends” figures (I believe one of the artists does work on the comic based on DC’s clone, “DC Super Friends”.) The girls look overweight. The Whizzer’s costume looks bad. Sub Mariner looks like an unused model for “Spider-Man and Friends”. Seriously, I wish they had used the art team from the cover, because that looked good, which makes the inside art look even worse.

Recommendation: If you’ve been loving this title as much as I have and want to hook your friends on it, do NOT use this issue. It is not the best this title has ever offered by a long shot.

Power Girl #2

Power Girl #2

DC Comics: August 2009

WRITERS: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray

ARTIST: Amanda Conner (and Adam Hughes, cover)

COLORIST: Paul Mounts

LETTERER: John J. Hill

ASSISTANT: Rex Ogle

EDITOR: Brian Cunningham

After a beat down fight with Ultra-Humanite (which she loses), Power Girl finds herself strapped to a device that will pluck out her brain so UH can replace it with his. Then he stops long enough to tell his life story, about how his body was dieing but his genius was expanding. After some rather inhumane experimenting, he was forced to put his brain into the body of a gorilla, which was supposed to be temporary. Then some soldiers attacked (they were in the middle of an African war zone at the time), but the man-minded gorilla killed them all. (This got his lady friend arroused, and yes, I mean THAT way! Dear God, WHY!) Back to the present, as the machine beings it’s work, while the JSA fights the emotion-messing robots and the folks in Starrware try to decide if they should help, and how they could.

What they got right: Um…the art is nice? The reactions of the people in Starrware Industries is fully believable, from the one lady worried about her baby to the horror of watching people throw themselves off the building.

What they got wrong: EVERYTHING ELSE!!!!! Seriously, it’s bad enough that Ultra-Humanite stops to tell the dark secret of his origin (something the Fanfic Brigade at DC seem to be doing on a regular basis lately–I refer you to Wednesday’s post), but something that vile? Honestly? Satanna is turned on by a white gorilla drenched in the blood of his victims? Did we have to see that poor chimp with the brain removed? Dammit, I was eating breakfast while reading this! That will go down as a bad idea!

Recommendation: Admittedly, I’m curious to see how Power Girl will get out of this, but beyond that I don’t see me getting this comic on a regular basis. I consider this a pilot, like the web show I posted yesterday. But while that made want to download another episode, this makes we want to avoid further arcs. The saddest part is seeing Conner’s art talent wasted on this sick nightmare of a story.

Best Scene of the Week

Transformers Spotlight: Cliffjumper

best_3rdjune2009

Pilot doesn't pick the ship. Ship picks the pilot.

Here’s a little insight into my mindset. Best Scene of the Week is awarded to a moment that really grabs me. It would look great on a poster, but still works in the comics. It’s one of those moments that makes me say “this is why I read comics”, whether it’s touching, funny, or just bloody awesome. Up there was the best I can do this week, although with the word bubble airbrushed out it might make a good poster. It’s really been a poor showing, between if it wasn’t for the horror of Power Girl (thanks for letting me down, guys), and the surprisingly lackluster job at Marvel Adventures: The Avengers, and the rest of my snags being fair at best. Nothing really stood out this week, and with six titles to choose from, that’s pretty sad. I hope next week gives me a better showing.

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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