Spoiler alert: we comic fans are an outspoken crowd and rightfully so. Every week we empty our wallets in hopes of seeing our favorite fictional characters in exceptionally good stories. Sometimes we're fortunate and the $2.99-$4.99 is worth every penny. Other times... not so much.
Assuming you think this feature is worth your time, Comic Book Rants & Raves will be a weekly segment on Fridays (pending traffic results, of course). I'll dive back into my stack of new comics and narrow down my emotions to 2 raves and 2 rants. Keep in mind, a rant doesn't necessarily mean a book is terrible or the problem I'm discussing severely takes away from the quality of the issue. It could be something relatively minor but still managed to leave an impression on me (such as facial expressions... see below).
Reading every new comic would be cool, but truth be told, I don't have the bank account or the attention span for such a thing. So, this means there could be a fantastic or "wait...what?!" moment I missed. If you believe something is worthy of a rant or rave, please feel free to speak your mind below!
Rave: Marvel NOW! FTW
By Galactus's helmet! THOR: GOD OF THUNDER and FANTASTIC FOUR are spectacular! I'll be blunt; these are two titles that haven't caught my interest in years. Not to insult the previous teams on each respective title, but I've never felt inspired or particularly motivated to give either a focused shot. Naturally, Marvel NOW! is supposed to create the perfect jumping on point, so I figured there was no harm in welcoming each title with open arms. I purposely avoided the early reviews just so I could go in with a clear head and wow, I can honestly say I was quite impressed.
Jason Aaron's juggling of three different time lines all focusing on one seemingly long term event is brilliant. Handling such a story is certainly no easy obstacle, but Aaron absolutely succeeded in tackling each aspect and giving it a unique feel. The stage has been set and THOR: GOD OF THUNDER has my complete attention.
The classic Marvel family has rarely lured me into their books. I've tried time and time to get into them, but my focus never stayed. That said, writer Matt Fraction has managed to reel me in. Just like over in HAWKEYE, Fraction is delivering a steady stream of laughs. Be it a lighthearted joke surrounding delicious dumplings or the Human Torch's way of showing he truly cares, this issue kept a smile on my face ("HOW DO YOU DELETE THINGS OFFA DA INTERNET?") The unexpected amount of humor was a pleasant surprise, but the deeper hook is what really caught my curiosity. There's plenty of adventure and laughs around the corner, but it looks some well constructed drama could deliver the most intrigue.== TEASER ==
Rant: Exaggerated expressions
For the most part, THOR: GOD OF THUNDER was easy on the eyes -- and no, it's not just because of Thor's flowing hair. Artist Esad Ribic and colorist Dean White did a more than able job and this first issue has more than its fair share of superb panels. Although, two panels early on gave me a solid (and unintentional) laugh.
A severed head is discovered and much to Thor's surprise, it was the head of a God. I understand how this can be shocking to him and especially the villagers. In this chapter, he's young and thinks of himself as invincible, so to see a God defeated in such a violent manner can be jolting and scary. But man oh man, these facial expressions were so over the top in my opinion.
Call me crazy, but to me this scene looks like Thor passed gas, hoped no one would notice, and then the group responds accordingly upon smelling the God's foul scent. The bulging eyes from the upper half of the elderly woman's head (yes, that's a woman) was hysterical to me... and unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that's not the reaction the creative team was going for.
Rave: Declan Shalvey's overwhelming art
The latest chapter in 'Minimum Carnage' is overflowing with symbiotes and artist Declan Shalvey completely nailed it. My eyes were exhausted after reading VENOM #27 -- and that's a good thing, I swear! The rough and twisted illustrations are a beyond perfect fit for the story and there were plenty of delicious panels for your eyes to feast on. So, instead of babbling about it, I'll just share one more awesome picture from the book. Enjoy.
Rant: Batman & Robin's drop in quality
BATMAN & ROBIN is without question my second favorite Batman book (first naturally goes to Snyder & Capullo's BATMAN), so it pains me to say that this latest story arc was really lackluster. Writer Peter Tomasi set the bar amazingly high with his initial story surrounding Nobody and Bruce's complex relationship with his son. Sadly, the stories have taken a steady drop in quality since then.
I understand the Terminus story was forced to end abruptly because they needed to tie the book into 'Death of the Family,' but unfortunately that rushed element is more than transparent. Simply put, the core plot in this latest story made little to no sense. I asked myself, "What was the point?" when I put down the issue. While the book wasn't terrible by any means, it was a serious disappointment in my eyes.
The key selling point for this title is the relationship between Damian and his father. As seen above, this issue did have a nice moment between the two in the end, but aside from that this element hasn't been as strong as it could be. Also, it seemed a bit out-of-character for Bruce to go from zero to mad like that in the Batmobile... but hey, I guess it's somewhat understandable since he's dealing with the Joker and, after all, this is his son potentially in danger. I have faith in Tomasi's capabilities and I'm sticking around because I want to see this book succeed. However, if it keeps at this current level, I'm afraid I'll have to drop it after the next few stories. The first story won me over and I love how Tomasi writes Damian, so I sincerely hope that does't happen.
Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. He hopes Kraven is behind the mask in Superior Spider-Man, but he's knows there's a 0.01% chance of that happening.