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Comic Book Rants & Raves This Week: 11/16/12

Marvel NOW! delivers, Thor makes a ridiculous face, Minimum Carnage looks stellar and Batman & Robin fails to impress.

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

Thor's attempt at Gangnam Style.

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

"Apologies, I was feasting on Taco Bell."

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

MY EYES CAN'T TAKE MUCH MORE, CAPTAIN!

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.

So. Much. Awesome.

.

Rant: Batman & Robin's drop in quality

I'm not crying... I just have something in my eye... DON'T JUDGE ME!

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.

38 Comments
Posted by guttridgeb

Thor's face amused me. So few artists can get the shocked faces correct...

Posted by SavageDragon

KRAKKK- KPHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

-Thor's farts

Posted by carnivalofsins00

Yup, Batman & Robin's quality has dropped, significantly, and I'm not the only one who noticed. If it keeps going this way, I'm dropping it, unfortunately.

Posted by MaxSchreck

I hope the next issues of Batman and Robin will be better ...

Posted by VictorVonDoom_1

@guttridgeb said:

Thor's face amused me. So few artists can get the shocked faces correct...

THIS.

Posted by k4tzm4n

@SavageDragon said:

KRAKKK- KPHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

-Thor's farts

Congratulations, you just won everything ever with that comment.

Online
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@k4tzm4n: Your reading Fractions FF but not Hickmans? Blasphemy =O

Posted by Necrotic_Lycanthrope

I haven't laughed this hard at Thor since when Natalie Portman ran him over 3 times with her car.

Posted by SynysterBear

I totally agree with you in respect to Minimum Carnage book. I did have some eye strain due to it's awesomeness.

Posted by HushoftheWind

Thor face is gonna be a meme real soon, quote me on that

Posted by Reignmaker

@MaxSchreck said:

I hope the next issues of Batman and Robin will be better ...

I really love Fabok's art in Detective. But I just can't take another $4 book.

Posted by Cavemold

i liked thor face and minum carnage kicked butt!

Posted by velvetmeds

Basically, Batman & Robin switched places with Detective Comics. Get the latter, 13 and 14 were great!

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@HushoftheWind said:

Thor face is gonna be a meme real soon, quote me on that

ok

Posted by SmashBrawler

Alas, poor Batman and Robin! I knew it, k4tz; a series of infinite jest, of most excellent adventure; it hath entertained me a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those pages that I have admired I know not how oft. Where be your action now? Your dialogue? Your ideas? Your flashes of genius, that were wont to set the table on a roar?

...

Well, looks like I'm getting Layman's 'Tec now.

Posted by GR2Blackout

What the heck?

Move aside Trollface and Rage Guy, here comes... DISTURBING THOR FACE!

Posted by insheepsclothes

you didn't get on board w/ Hickman's Fantastic Four (or FF) run?...wow man, i was never a FF fan , but he totally killed it...i hope you have time one day to read it bc it was a master class in storytelling....

Posted by Xanni15

@StMichalofWilson: Who are you talking to?

Posted by JamDamage

@MaxSchreck: that first 7 part arch with "Nobody" was outstanding. It didn't get the praise it deserved because of how good Snyder was on Batman, but after that, it's been pretty damn shitty. Hope it gets better too. Pretty much the whole New 52 has been garbage.

Posted by BatWatch

Absolutely right on everything as usual. (except perhaps for Thor and Fantastic Four. I did not read those)

I've just read the Nobody run of Batman and Robin, and I find it hard to believe that the current story even has the same writer.

@SavageDragon said:

KRAKKK- KPHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

-Thor's farts

(snorts)

I am really embarrassed that I found that funny.

Posted by Juandicimo_Magnifico45

Once again I loved this article! A little laugh with a rant is a good balance ;)

@SavageDragon said:

KRAKKK- KPHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

-Thor's farts

YES!! lol

My question is, will this be based only on this week's issues. or will you eventually cover new releases of TPBs or news from the week?

Posted by ccraft

I think people are taken Batman and Robin Terminus and Z-Club out of proportion... Sure Nobody arc was amazing, but because a story isnt as good as the last doesnt mean its horrible... Terminus was really good, I would have liked it to last to #13 & #14 but I did like the zombie run as a "intermission" for DOTF.. You shouldnt drop this title, this title has potential! So dont give up guys!

Posted by saoakden

Interesting.

Posted by TDK_1997

I love Esad Ribic.His style is awesome and it fits perfectly the nature of Thor.

Posted by polcatt

great feature, keep this one going every week, but has to be longer in my opinion!! :)

Posted by Queso6p4

I love things like this. I too was taken aback by Thor's exaggerated expression and was off-put by Batman & Robin's quality drop. As far as the latter goes, I'm glad it's taking a more emotional route and this helped to boost the book's overall relatively low score for me. I mean, "zombies", really?

Posted by Zeeguy91

@k4tzm4n:

these are two titles that haven't caught my interest in years

How could Hickman's Fantastic Four and FF not have caught your interest???

Either way, I don't know if I'm gonna try Thor or Fantastic Four from Marvel NOW! but I will get Indestructible Hulk when it comes out next week.

Posted by Zeeguy91

Hmm, while I haven't been reading Batman & Robin regularly, I'm shocked that some people felt this last issue was so bad as to go on a rant about it. Meanwhile, I actually really liked this latest issue of of Tomasi's Green Lantern Corps.

Posted by k4tzm4n

@polcatt: @Juandicimo_Magnifico45: Very happy to hear it. Thanks :)

As for your question, at the moment this is limited to new issues and not collections.

@SmashBrawler said:

Alas, poor Batman and Robin! I knew it, k4tz; a series of infinite jest, of most excellent adventure; it hath entertained me a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those pages that I have admired I know not how oft. Where be your action now? Your dialogue? Your ideas? Your flashes of genius, that were wont to set the table on a roar?

...

Well, looks like I'm getting Layman's 'Tec now.

/applaud

@insheepsclothes said:

you didn't get on board w/ Hickman's Fantastic Four (or FF) run?...wow man, i was never a FF fan , but he totally killed it...i hope you have time one day to read it bc it was a master class in storytelling....

By the time it was recommended to me, I had far too much on my pull list and had no motivation to check it out. I plan to down the road, though.

@ccraft: @Zeeguy91: It wasn't terrible, but the difference in quality is pretty large. As I said, I'm sticking around for at least another story or two, so I really hope it picks up.

Online
Posted by TheCerealKillz

Thor's face is definitely gonna be a new meme.

Posted by YourNeighborhoodComicGeek

@TheCerealKillz said:

Thor's face is definitely gonna be a new meme.

I know right.

Posted by tomtomiii

Once again another Great column! I totally agree on the both Rants! Granted I might have to start reading Thor for the gas humor! I'm not currently collecting any Marvel books, but the crazy faces and Skottie Young Variants might bring me back on board,

As far as Batman & Robin, I'm hoping that the "Death of the Family" cross-over will put B&R back on track. I think the biggest issue is that we 2 books (1 too many) exploring the Bruce and Damian (and Talia) relationship. I'm not sure we need both Batman Inc and Batman & Robin doing the same thing. I might might need to drop one of them if they don't start getting better.

Posted by TheHeat
@Necrotic_Lycanthrope said:

I haven't laughed this hard at Thor since when Natalie Portman ran him over 3 times with her car.

Haha!
Posted by k4tzm4n

@tomtomiii: Thank you very much!

Online
Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Those Thor bits totally make me smile...home run man, lol

Posted by derf_jenkins

I haven't read all of the B&R; issues, but most that I did read were pretty good. I really just am not a fan of the Damian Wayne character at all and that's why the book isn't on my list.

Posted by Green ankh

the fantastic four is fantastic. It is the best issue i have read in years. I really like the art too, i wish i could say the same for thor's art. Just cant get into it.

Posted by jeanroygrant

LOL