crazy colored glasses

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Pull List: 4/20

It was a smaller week than the last, but that doesn't mean there weren't any gems to review. Just like last week, I'll start with my top 5.

Top of the Stack
1. Green Lantern #65 - This was the 4th part of the War of the Green Lanterns, and it did not disappoint. I worship Geoff Johns exactly for stories like this. Big, over-the-top superhero stories. Simply put, no one does them better. This chapter saw the ringless earth lanterns (Hal, Guy, Jon and Kyle) choose new colored rings to go into battle against Krona. I love this story arc. Plus everything looks gorgeous drawn by Doug Mahnke. Great issue.

2. Avengers Academy #12 - I love the work Christos Gage has done on this book. He created a new group of heroes (save for Reptil) who I've grown to care about in just barely a years worth of stories. This issue has the kids up against big-time Avengers villain Korvac. It's a lover's quarrel between Korvac and his all-powerful wife, where she goes into the timestream and gets alternate full-powered versions of each of the kids. The issue ends with a great moment between Hazmat and Mettle.

3. Hulk #32 - I love Jeff Parker's Red Hulk storyline. Absolute brilliance. General Ross is great and has hit his hero stride now that he has a foil in General Fortean. Their interplay harkens back to the old Ross/Banner confrontations. The Black Fog subplot was great as well, as he looks to be another great adversary to Red Hulk. Kudos to Gabriel Hardmann as well. His pencils have been ferocious.

4. Supergirl #63 - This arc started by the since departed Nick Spencer has been phenomenal. Bernard Chang draws a great Supergirl as well. Plus the big reveal of long-forgotten Dubbilex as the villain was surprising. I was skeptical over where this book was headed, as I really liked Sterling Gates (where did he go?) run, but I like this arc even more.

5. Powergirl #23 - I usually hate magical stories, but I'm totally digging this issue. Winnick and Basri put together a great story guest starring both Superman and Zatanna. Really well-paced throwdown between Zatanna and the new magician. Great acceptance of the new Karen Starr identity at the end of the story. Clark looked so proud.

Rest of the Pull
6. Superman/Batman #83
- Another magic book I really liked. Loved the redesigns by ChrisCross. Very strong arc, after some recent mishits for this once great title.

7. Invincible Iron Man #503 - Stark versus Doc Ock round 3. Strong issue, but wrongly billed as a Fear Itself tie-in. Besides a few panels at the very end, it didn't tie-in at all,

8. Dark Horse Presents #1 - Very strong reintroduction of a classic Dark Horse title. Concrete story was strong, the first loosk at Xerxes and Crimson Empire III were intriguing. The highlight of the book wasn't a comic story at all, but a short piece written by Harlan Ellison. It makes you feel for a tiny man.

9. Justice League of America #56 - The 2nd part of the Eclipso saga. Not a great issue, but Brett Booth's pencils are amazing. Glad to see him on a major title.

10. Avengers #12 - The last part of the Red Hood Infinity Gems story. The story was fine, but JRJR's pencils seemed rushed. I didn't think they matched the weight of the words Bendis wrote. I like the story, a lot, but the visuals I had a hard time embracing. Is a team book (plus Kick-Ass 2) too much for Romita Jr to handle?

11. X-Factor #218 - The near death of Guido (wait, he's saved by Layla lurking in the bathroom) was flat. Not weighty or emotional at all. The very loose pencils had something to do with it. Usually X-Factor has a much darker, moodier tone to the art, but this was a lot brighter and cheerier. Didn't match the tone of the book.

12. Batman #709 - I still hate the new Azrael. The super-powered Crusader is even worse. I'm happy this cross-over is over with. I did like Guillem March's pencils. He's a rising star at DC.

13. Legion of Superheroes #56 - This title just isn't doing it for me right now. I usually like Levitz and Cinar, and thought they were delightful at NYCC, but they both need to step it up on this title.

Till next week...


Monday, April 25, 2011

Punisher & Batman

It's been forever since I posted some art. In fact this piece is so old, it's a piece I created for my brother for Christmas.

I wanted to try a new process for this piece. I was going to forego the pencils, and draw straight with inks. If there ever were two characters were this could work, gritty urban vigilantes like the Punisher and Batman would be perfect subjects.

I wanted to create them in the style of Gary Frank. While his pencil work is intricate and fluid, I wanted to try and capture his style while forgoing pencils entirely. I originally also wanted to add in a brick wall behind the two of them, but ran out of time and had to frame it without the brick wall. After the illustration was done, I went in and added some extra grays for some shading and depth.

While the face work on the Punisher was a little rough (I still thought it worked, because Franks face should be a bit weathered), I loved the detailing on Batman's costume. At the end of the day it was a piece I was happy with. Plus, I feel more comfortable drawing with straight inks as opposed to having to pencil everything first. When I'm a famous comic artist, and doing the convention circuit, this marker art will come in handy.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Zombie Question

If zombies and Frankenstein were incorporating the same universe, would zombies try to attack Frankenstein because he has a brain, or would they look to him as some sort of undead but thinking leader?


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Pull List: 4/13

I've decided I'm going to try and review the comics I buy on a weekly basis. I'll give you my Top 5 (Top of the Stack) with a longer review, and then quickly recap the rest of the week's issues. Here we go.

Top of the Stack
1. Punisher Max #12 - Easily one of the best books Marvel Max puts out. Jason Aaron's dialogue is pitch perfect and beautifully meshes with the understated art of Steve Dillon. I wish this book came out on a more regular basis. This particular issue is told through the eyes of the prisoners incarcerated with Frank while he recovers from his battle with Bullseye. Some nice flashbacks draw more insight to the history of this conflicted vigilante.

2. Superman #710 - While I haven't always loved the JMS/Chris Roberson "Grounded" storyline (would Superman find himself and just punch someone already), this issue was right on. A great tale of the first meeting between a young Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent where they square off against Vandal Savage. The art by Eddy Barrows (present) and J.P. Mayer (past) fits nicely as well. A very nice read, with some great dialogue in the desert between Bruce and Clark. A must read for fans of both characters.

3. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #157 - Reuniting Brian Michael Bendis with Mark Bagley has seemed to reinvigorate both creators. This issue is just about perfect. Great fight between The Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus which end in the death of Doc. Spidey at the same time is on his way to deal with the big battle between the Ultimates and the Avengers. This book has all of the things that make Ultimate Spidey so amazing. Big battles, big consequences, and also small touching moments. Peter saying goodbye to Gwen and May, his phone call to Mary Jane (will Marvel proper take notice and realize how great the two of them are together). The ending was great, with Peter diving into a bullets path and saving the life of Steve Rogers. I can't wait to see how this plays out.

4. Black Panther #517 - I must admit I was on the fence with this title when it was announced the Panther would take Hell's Kitchen over for Daredevil. I loved the runs of Bendis and Brubaker so much that DD had made it to the top of the stack. The Panther though was a character I never really cared for. David Liss has crafted a dark and beautiful modern noir where there are no clear good or bad guys, just various shades of gray. These shades are incredibly rendered by Francesco Francavilla. His pencils are amazing and give a weight to the words Liss writes. Vlad the Romanian has turned into a great modern kingpin as well. One of the best and most consistent books on the market right now.

5. Birds of Prey #11 - This was a book that was on the endangered list. I didn't like the relaunch. Then the "Death of Oracle" story took place and I was hooked again. I'm glad I stuck around. This issue featured great stand alone story of the blossoming relationship between Catman and Huntress. The book takes great twist and turns until its revealed that the hostage situation they've been trying to solve the whole issue was set up by Catman himself. We think he's a cock, when we later find out he's not a cock at all, he was just trying to push Huntress away because he felt he wasn't good enough for her. He wasn't. Great single issue.

Rest of the Pull
6. Superboy #6 - The same way the Superman issue had great dialogue between Bruce and Clark, There is a similar scene between Conner and Tim. A big battle with Doomsday breaks out. Another good issue by Lemire.

7. X-Men Legacy #247 - The Age of X continues and I like it. While I've though (and still think) Legion is behind it all, I'm enjoying this story immensely. I love the redesigns and every reveal that has come. Can't wait for the resolution of the series.

8. Flash #10 - This Flashpoint prelude had some nice Barry, Barry and Bart moments. Yes, I said Barry twice, as an alternate-Earth Barry emerged to warn our Earth's Barry. In the hands of most writers this would be confusing, but with Geoff Johns, it works. Plus Francis J. Manapul continues to produce one of the best looking books on the stands today.

9. Batman and Robin #22 - The last chapter of the Tomasi and Gleason storyline. The action all seemed rushed, but I loved the way it looked. Damian Wayne continues to be one of my favorite characters. I would love for Tomasi and Gleason to have more time with this title.

10. Uncanny X-Men #535 - I wasn't sure how I felt about Kieron Gillen jumping back to Breakworld (um... that belong to Joss Whedon), but I though this was a strong issue. A nice first chapter to what I think can be a strong arc. Plus Terry Dodson is amazing. Can Kitty and Peter please be together for real.

11. Ultimate Comics Avengers vs. Ultimates #3 - This issue tied directly into Ultimate Spider-Man. Completely action-packed, with very little story, until the final moments which are also played out in the USM title. Yu's work impresses again.

12. G.I. Joe Cobra Civil War #0 - I thought it was a good issue, but it seems like nothin more than a teaser to get you to buy 3 other IDW Joe mini-series. Not a lot happened in these pages besides teasing.

13. New Avengers #11 - Not a great issue, as Mockingbird lies on deaths door (didn't she just come back from the dead?) and the team feels betrayed by Victoria Hand. I'd rank it lower but I like the seeds of doubt being planted in the readers mind as Hand confides in Steve Rogers. Could be an interesting development.

14. Batgirl #20 - This has been a consistently good read, that I'm hoping simply had an off-issue. Plus where the hell is Dustin Nguyen. He was supposed to be the regular artist but has only done covers of late. WTF. Simply not a lot went on.

15. Amazing Spider-Man #658 - I'd rank this higher, but I was annoyed by the opening few pages where Spider swings over to the Baxter Building in a new FF costume of his creation only to get his new Future Foundation togs. The only problem with that, is that it already happened differently in FF# 1. Way to be consistent Marvel. The issue itself was fine, but I was annoyed by that opening.

16. Red Robin #22 - I hate Azrael. I hate all the religious overtones in Red Robin. I can't wait for this storyline to be over and go back to typical Red Robin stories... please. Freddie Williams guest pencils looked great on this putrid story.

17. Adventure Comcs #525 - I don't care enough about the new Legion Academy members to care about what they're doing. I'm hoping this storyline gets better (or is abandoned completely) soon. Shouldn't Phil Jimenez be pencilling mjor characters as opposed to these kids. Just a thought.