Click for the full size version, and about why the colors and the text (at post size, you can read the true full-sized version from there) are messed up this week. It’s actually not my fault this round. And yes, I decided to drop the title for the very reason Leon did. You can also check my review of the previous issue to see the other problems I had with the series. It wasn’t worth $4.00.
So this week there were four new comics, and an opportunity on my part to snag all the comics in my pull folder (except for the graphic novels and the Astro Boy adaptations–I wonder just when I get to see that movie?). And with the “skip week” coming up–I won’t be saving any money since I have the aforementioned GNs and adaptations to pick up. Still, I may actually have an empty folder by Springtime. There’s a bonus there anyway. At least I’ll have something to review, but first let’s see what’s new this week, shall we?
Spoiler-blocked reviews hopefully will actually get to ComiXology this week.
Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #11
DC Comics/Johnny DC (February 2010)
WRITERS: Art Baltazar & Franco
ARTIST: Byron Vaughns (wait, really? See “got wrong”)
COLORIST: David Tanguay
LETTERER: Travis Lanham
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Simona Martore
EDITOR: Dan Didio
Tawny and Mary take Billy to the Rock of Eternity, hoping that the Wizard can get rid of his new “nasty side”. He does so, creating a “mirror version” of himself, Niatpac Elvram, who immediately attacks Captain Marvel, trying to kill him while Marvel tries to reason with him. The Wizard learns a shocking secret about Elvram, and Mary Marvel rushes to warn her brother, only to be knocked out by the evil twin. Captain Marvel finds a way to defeat his foe, only to come face to face with the evil space worm Mr. Mind!
What they got right: The “evil mirror twin” story has been done to death, but Art and Franco find a way to make the story worth, even if most of it is just the two battling all over Fawcett City. They keep the suspense as to who “Niatpac Elvram” really is up to the end, and now I’m curious to see how Mr. Mind plays into all this, but we’ll have to wait until at least next issue to find out. The artwork shifts styles, and the result is beautiful. However…
What they got wrong: …ye, gods what a shift! Compare the cover with this panel:
That’s Tawny in human form (wait, isn’t he still supposed to be too weak to travel to the Rock? That’s what they said last issue.), Mary Marvel (who thankfully doesn’t look like a Kewpie doll like the last time the art went comic-realistic), the Wizard in the background, and the two Captains Marvel in a scene from the inside of the comic. Byron Vaugns is credited with both the cover and internal art separately, but while some artists can work in more than one style (I’m trying to do that myself), the end result here are so different between cover and internal that it looks like two different artists. I don’t know why Vaugns suddenly went to this style (I’m willing to blame the editor, but that may be knee-jerk anti-Didio bias), but while I do like the new look, it feels way off from the cartoony style this series has been using since Kunkel and even Jeff Smith’s original “Monster Society of Evil” mini-series that this series spun off of.
Recommendation: Art shock aside, this series continues to be fun, action-packed, and interesting, with some great characters. You should be reading this comic.
Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man #58
Marvel Comics (February 2010)
WRITER: Paul Tobin
PENCILER: Matteo Lolli
INKER: Terry Pallot
LETTERER: Dave Sharpe
COVER: Scottie Young
PRODUCTION: Damien Lucchese
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Michael Horwitz
EDITOR: Nathan Cosby
Spider-Man is approached by the Blonde Phantom, a super hero who employs other heroes and now wants to offer Spidey a job. With Aunt May having money troubles (what else is new?), Gwen acting like she and Peter are dating (while he’s using pigeons to talk with Chat, whom he’s still fighting with), and a disagreement with George, he could probably use the job. Oh, and he’s also got a price on his head from the mob. After talking his troubles over with the lady detective, however (and a few fights with mobsters), he decides joining the Agency might not be in his best interest. She does, however, show interest in the unknown girlfriend who can talk to animals. Later, George actually helps bail the Parkers from their (latest) fiscal disaster.
What they got right: I love the way Tobin writes the characters, and yay for finally using Aunt May again, even if she is just a cameo plot device. (More on that in a moment.) As much as I want to see Peter and Chat get back together, the fact that they are still fighting not only gives the title the continuity it has been lacking for so very long, but feels a lot more natural. Lolli and Pallot do a fantastic job on the fight scenes in this comic.
What they got wrong: I wonder who Tobin likes to use the least, Aunt May or Bruce Banner? (Note how the Hulk seemed to be Hulk 24/7 during his MA: Avengers and early Super Heroes runs.) This is only the second time I recall seeing her in a Tobin comic and she’s just a plot device here. Also, why would he spill his guts like that to a woman he’s barely had any contact with, and yet he’s still arguing with Chat about all the secrets they’ve kept from each other? It seems a tad off, but doesn’t otherwise interfere with the story, which is mostly filler to show us what we already know.
Recommendation: It might be a “here’s what’s happened” filler story, but it’s still interesting, and you should still be getting this comic. I’d rather read Tobin’s Spidey than the mainline version.
Sonic Universe #11
(how many times have I used that number lately?)
Archie Comics (February 2010)
WRITER: Ian Flynn
PENCILER: Tracy Yardley
INKER: Jim Amash
COLORIST: Jason Jensen
LETTERER: Teresa Davidson
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Paul Kaminski
EDITOR: Mike Pellerito
EDITOR IN CHIEF: Victor Gorelick
Knuckles and Dr. Finitevus forge an uneasy alliance when the group is attacked by the same winged dingo robots that attacked the island at the beginning of the arc as well as the Floating Island (aka Angel Island) being held fast. The Chaotix are aided by the arriving Ray and Vector, as well as the Downunda Freedom Fighters. One of their members, Bill, decided to join Robotnik and took his platypus friends to form a new group of “Dark Legionaries”. Walt also informs Knuckles that he’s seen Finitevus hanging around that same group, and the two leaders cook up a plan to foil whatever the duo are planning, while Knuckles sends Ray and Julie-Su back to guard the Chaos Emerald. However, the bad guys get the drop on our heroes, and take them prisoner.
What they got right: The artists do a fair job at drawing the action scenes, and the DFF seem the same as when I last saw them (except for Platypus Bill, who seems to have turned evil). There are a number of questions, like how things are now for the new Legion with Robotnik no longer in charge, why Bill switched sides what Vector’s history is with Barby Koala and his reason for leaving Downunda, and a few things I probably missed when I took so much time away from the Sonic series. However, I’m dieing to find out.
What they got wrong: With only one issue left to this arc, a lot of these sub-plots are going to be hard to resolve in time, and if they’ve already been brought up in other issues, a few captions letting us know would have been nice.
Recommendation: I still hope Knuckles and the Chaotix get their own title again, and I’m going to miss them when they go back into the background of the main title, but I’m enjoying this story very much indeed.
Boom! Kids (December 2009)
WRITER: J. Torres
ARTIST: Morgan Luthi
COLORS: Digikore Studios
LETTERER: Deron Bennett
EDITOR: Aaron Sparrow
Once again, I can’t really review what’s going on. I mean, things happen and I could probably say more than I did about #0, but it’s still Wall-E exploring the world, watching things run out of power, and trying to get out of a jam. The art is good, but while I enjoyed reading the comic at the time, it took me a few read-throughs to figure out just what was happening, and it’s kind of short. I do like the Easter eggs like the Pixar lamp and the RC Car from Toy Story.
Recommendation: Sorry, you’re going to have to read it for yourself and decide.
Best Scene of the Week
Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man #58
So next week is a “skip week”. What that means is that with Christmas and New Years playing havoc with delivery schedules, Diamond won’t be shipping any new comics next week. I think some companies actually have some comics that were sent this week but the stores were asked not to put them out until next week. Anyway, this is a good time to look through your old comics again, pick up some new back-issues, or perhaps work to clean out your pull folder (me), so it’s all good. I was able to get most of my regular titles out that I missed while I was out sick last month, and so I’ll be reviewing those next week, so there will still be something to post on Sunday. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas.
And so does Wall-E.🙂