I don’t know what to write.
Yes, for the opening of this week’s comic haul review, I’m having a major case of writer’s block. Any gimmick I have tends to be in the reviews, with a best scene to finish it off. So I don’t always know how to start this. I don’t really have an anecdote for this week’s pick-up, so….let’s just get to the reviews then.
(Man, I suck)
Spoiler-blocked versions maybe showing up at ComiXology–actually got them in last week!
Doctor Who Classics Series 2 #11
IDW Publishing (October 2009)
originally published in Doctor Who #79-81
WRITER: Steve Parkhouse
ARTIST: Mick Austin
LETTERER: Jerry Paris
EDITOR: Alan McKenzie
IDW COLORS: Charlie Kirchoff
IDW COVER ART: Robert Hack
EDITOR: Denton J. Tipton
DESIGNER: Amauri Osorio
The Doctor and Gus bypass a “time field” to reach the Time Lord’s proper Earth. Materializing in Antarctica, the TARDIS is shot at by an Ice Warrior tank, provided to him by the “Time Meddler” (otherwise known as the Meddling Monk from the first Doctor’s adventures). The Doctor and Gus try to disrupt the operation, but while the Doctor is able to foil their ultimate scheme, the Ice Warriors are able to capture him. Gus escapes, and comes across a group opposing the Ice Warriors.
What they got right: I can’t say I can figure out how the whole “parallel worlds” thing works, or why it was needed at any point, but that’s been true for many of the comic stories, and this one at least makes some sense to me. Gus is a decent companion, but I think he would be a lot smarter given his military background than to give up their location when spying on the Ice Warriors’ operations. Still, it will be interesting to see what he adds to the ship. The best part, however, is Steve bringing back the Monk (now going by “Time Meddler”, the name of the episode that introduced him). On the show, it was usually Doctor vs. Master or the Rani or a few other Time Lords that would never be back. Having the first “Renegade” Time Lord the Doctor ever faced show up again is a good thing. Steve even remembered that the Monk’s TARDIS should also be trapped in Police Box form.
What they got wrong: Outside of Gus’s stupid move mentioned above, the art is still a little too detailed at time, but at least he gets the look of the Ice Warriors down rather well.
Recommendation: Parkhouse continues to write my favorite Who comic stories this side of Tony Lee. Fifth Doctor fans should be picking this up.
The Incredibles #1
Boom! Kids (August? 2009)
WRITERS: Mark Waid & Landry Walker
ARTIST: Ramanda Kamarga
COLORIST: Andrew Dalhouse
LETTERER: Troy Peteri
EDITOR: Aaron Sparrow
COVER: Matt Wagner
COVER COLORIST: Dave Stewart
The Parrs head for the mall waiting to hear the results of Jack-Jack’s medical report from Dr. Sunbright. (It’s odd for a super to have a cold, apparently.) After saving the mall from the Ungorilla, one of the henchmen kidnaps the baby after Jack-Jack sneezes on him and gives him fire powers (think Human Torch). He hopes to use Jack-Jack to give the rest of the Henchmen’s Association of Treachery and Evil (or H.A.T.E.) super powers of their own so they might get more respect from their super villain employers. It appears that the virus Jack-Jack was exposed to in #0 is the culprit, so both the Incredibles and the government want to get the kid. However, both are too late, as Larry is successful in his goals–and now the HATErs have super powers! (pun very much intended)
What they got right: Everything
What they g..OK, you probably want more than that. Fine. The concept of a baby that grants superpowers by sneezing on you. A super villain primate who calls himself “Ungorilla” and tries to destroy malls as a symbol of “urban decay and gross consumerism”. The Henchmen’s Association of Treachery and Evil (H.A.T.E.). “Should you be handling a baby when your on fire?” Do you really need any more than that? Honestly? Good, then let’s get to…
What they got wrong: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and apparently I’m not the only one saying it! STOP WITH THE CONSECUTIVE VARIANT COVERS–ESPECIALLY IN A KID-TARGETED COMIC! Seriously, the variant covers are bad enough. The variant covers in a kids comic is worse. Variant covers that have to be put together…is 50/50, actually, because while variant covers are annoying, consecutive covers are pretty cool (for the 15 of us who actually put them on the wall or something like in that My Secret Identity series…wait, does anyone actually do that? I don’t.). But when you put them on the same issue, rather than two separate issues, something is horribly wrong. Remember back to the first issues of the “Family Matters” mini-series, when they did that over FOUR SEPARATE COVERS of the same first issue…IN A FOUR ISSUE MINI-SERIES? Are you trying to trick kids into buying more of the same comic, only for them to be disappointed that it’s the same one, just with different covers? Seriously, Boom!, if we can’t get you to drop the useless variant nonsense that was bad in the 90’s when it was created to screw over the booming collectors market (before it all crashed and burned), at least don’t make our kids suffer like we did. Please.
Recommendation: Whichever cover you get, just make sure this comic is in there. It’s great! (But seriously, enough with the consecutive variants in the same issue.)
Iron Man & the Armor Wars #3
WRITER: Joe Carmagna
ARTIST: Craig Rousseau
COLORIST: Val Staples
LETTERER: Dave Sharpe
COVER: Francis Tsai
PRODUCTION: Damien Lucchese
EDITOR: Nathan Cosby
Red Barbarian, leader of the Neo-Soviets, has awakened Omega Red, a human killing machine created by the old Soviets, at the cost of two of his own men. That last part doesn’t sit well with Darkstar, but there is little she can do about it. Meanwhile, the US military isn’t happy about their plane being stolen, but the FBI has evidence that will clear Tony of wrong-doing–but they’re waiting to confirm it. Still, the agent in charge of the investigation tries to warn the military away from Tony and Rhodey. Iron Man finds the location of this other armors, but it’s an obvious trap and Tony is low on power with outdated armor. He is attacked by Omega Red and two other Neo-Soviets, but is saved by Rhodey in the stolen armor prototype from the first issue–who sends a blast right into his chest. (Yeah, I think we all know it’s going to turn out to be a recharge job, or a shapeshifter, but I think we all doubt it.)
At this point I usually do the whole “what they got right/wrong” thing, but to be honest, there isn’t enough to say in either category. Sure, it’s still nice to see the real Tony Stark and classic Iron Man scenario. I need to check, but from the cartoons I had the impression that Omega Red was an X-Men threat, so it’s odd that the writer went with him, but the Neo-Soviets seem out of place since we already have a current foreign threat. (Although count me among those who think Putin is trying to bring the old Soviet Union back.) But really, the story is just average. There’s nothing really bad about it, but there’s nothing excessively good or awesome. It’s just…serviceable. At least we get some decent (if not stock-looking) art for the cover this time, even if it is still boring and says nothing about the story within (a common curse in comics in this era).
Recommendation: It’s still worth checking out, if only to get classic Tony stories again (not possible since the cancellation of both the Iron Man and Avengers MA titles.
The Mangalicious Tick: Rise of the Setting Sun #3
New England Comic Press (November 2009)
CREATOR: Ben Edlund
ARTISTS/WRITERS: Robbins Studios (Liz Robbins, Benn Robbins, Brother Mac)
PUBLISHER: George Suarez
While Arthur tries to form a super hero army (where even the not-so-nice guys are signing up) to oppose the Setting Sun in The City, the villain is using magic to grow his own army. Back in the Japany dimension, the Tick arrives at a temple with the rest of the group waiting. The Tick has to go through a rather grueling test to prove that he is indeed worthy of obtaining the Scroll of Light, which may counter the Setting Sun’s powers. (Luckily, it isn’t multiple choice and he didn’t have to study.) However, the Sun’s forces arrive at the temple. Our heroes escape through a secret tunnel and find the Scroll of Light’s location, only to be stopped by…some old guy?
What they got right: Everything
What they got wrong: Nothing
Recommendation: This time I’m going with that. I’m used to the art style, the fun never stops, the characters are great, and the story is totally The Tick. You really should be reading this book already!
Sonic the Hedgehog #205
Archie Comics (December 2009)
PENCILER (MAIN STORY): Steven Butler
PENCILER (BACK-UP): Jamal Peppers
INKER: Terry Austin
COLORIST: Matt Herms
LETTERER: John Workman
COVER: Pat “Spaz” Spaziante
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Paul Kaminski
MANAGING EDITOR: Mike Pellerito
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Victor Gorelick
Eggman has escaped his prison, but he’s still insane. Snagging a turtle mecha, he’s off to take down Sonic, but Sonic and Tails have no trouble taking it down. Now can they do the same to the Iron King’s forces when they arrive?
In the back-up story, we get a look into Lien-Da’s days back in the interdimensional prison the Dark Legion used to be trapped in, and how she was betrayed by her brother.
What they got right: On the one hand, things seem to be hopping here. Eggman is back (more or less), the characters and art are up to their usual levels of greatness, and I even like the villain focus back-stories lately. It’s nice to see how far beyond the video games this comic is.
What they got wrong: On the other hand, it still feels like more setting up. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m expecting something, but I don’t know what. Every time I think all the players are in place, Flynn starts messing with the board again. If that’s what he’s going for, he is still maintaining my interest, so he has that going for him.
Recommendation: I’m still calling this a great time to return to the series. I just wish the battle lines would get drawn already.
Best Scene of the Week
The Tick: Rise of the Setting Sun #3
So comes the end of a most satisfying week in comic reading. Seriously, outside of the variant cover nonsense, every comic I got this week was either so good I couldn’t say anything bad about them without trying, or decent despite its flaws. I think things went rather well. If only every week could be like that…even if it would make reviews that much more difficult. I’m willing to make that sacrifice. What about you?