Fables: 1,001 Nights of Snowfall

Review author: Mike Murray, owner/operator of MyComicStore.net

Fables: 1,001 Nights of Snowfall hardcover

Well it’s pretty obvious what the inspiration for this story was to anyone familiar with Arabian Nights. Written by Bill Willingham, I found this to be ingenious! As Snow White is held captive by a Sultan, she puts off her intended nuptials and execution by telling him a story every night for 1,001 nights.

The book, overall, was good. I wasn’t as pleased with it as I think I could have been but I wanted more of it at the same time I was worried that I would read so much of the Fables I would bore myself.

There are a series of stories here illustrated by some of the giants in the industry;

- Charles Vess

- Michael W. Kaluta

- John Bolton

- Mark Buckingham

- James Jean

- Mark Wheatley

- Derek Kirk Kim – Tara McPherson - Esao Andrews

- Brian Bolland - Jill Thompson – Todd Klein

The individual stories are fantastic Fables experiences! One is two pages long and the rest are longer. None of the stories seemed especially insightful or had ‘a moment’ but they were good fare that kept me turning the pages at a sleep losing pace. The different artistic interpretations were a joy to behold. I’m excited to read more of these Fables.

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Archer & Armstrong #7 and Star Wars #2

Review author: Mike Murray, owner/operator of MyComicStore.net

Archer & Armstrong #7

This was great! Not just great, but “So cool!” great. Fred Van Lente is having fun with this project and it shows. He also dropped a BIG bomb here that will set us up for some future payoff within the rest of the Valiant Universe.

Emanuela Lupacchino is a strong artist. She moved the story along and kept me engaged every step of the way. I don’t know who’s idea it was for this cover, but it’s now one of my favorite covers of all time.

These Valiant books may not be so much fun after 40 plus years of history behind them, but they sure are exciting and fun right now. Every month every one of these is right up on top of my ‘To be read’ list.

Star Wars #2

Star Wars #2 by Brian Wood and Carlos D’anda was better than the first issue. It’s still a “meaty” book, so there’s no doubt anyone would feel like they got their money’s worth here. I also felt like the story itself was less clunky than the last issue.

The art still had one or two weak spots but that wasn’t enough to detract from the overall enjoyment of the whole project. This has left me really looking forward to the subsequent issues.

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Secret Avengers #1, Uncanny X-Men #1, and Fantastic Four #4

Review author: Mike Murray, owner/operator of MyComicStore.net

Fantastic Four #4

Starting with the Fantastic Four: I thought this was still a good book although I wasn’t as overjoyed with it as I was the previous three issues. Matt Fraction started to lose me here with his whole re-writing of the history of the romance between Reed and Sue. It’s not enough that he can write adventures in time and space? That he has to go back to ‘fill in the gaps’ for us. I found the flashbacks to be boring and unnecessary. The little time loop Fraction created could have been fun, but instead just left me feeling like “I don’t get it”.

Mark Bagley’s art continues to shine. He’s absolutely beautiful on this book and it lifts up a lackluster script to an above average comic.

Secret Avengers #1

Secret Avengers written by Nick Spencer did a very good job of creating a “What just happened?” moment but I didn’t really enjoy it. Based on this first issue, I don’t see this book surviving as a series but just being a mini series, because when the Avengers figure out what’s going on it’s all over.

I never had a problem with the Ultimate Nick Fury being black and he certainly worked in the movies, but to see him walk into the panel in the Marvel U here, and they even discussed the character change.. I didn’t like that either. Characters are expected to grow and change but not this much. White World War II veterans don’t suddenly become Black Desert Storm veterans… Luke Ross produced some average comic art here. I found it a little bit stiff in some parts but it didn’t detract from the story. It just wasn’t good enough to elevate the story either.

Uncanny X-Men #1

Uncanny X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, and Al Vey was a good idea. This is promised to be the flip side book to Wolverine and the X-Men. Where Wolverine has his school and teaches his students in his own book, this one features Cyclops and his search for mutant students and redemption. Bendis also writes All New X-Men so we’re also promised a larger, richer, tapestry if we read both, as storylines will intertwine and weave between the two. That’s a tough marketing ploy for consumers on a budget.

I’ve never been a big fan of Bachalo’s art. It’s not bad, it’s just not a style that I enjoy. Cyclops being a character that I’m not so inclined towards makes this a book I won’t be reading. That’s the good thing about the huge amount of X-books pushed onto the market… I can feel better about spending my money getting my X-Fix elsewhere.

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Batgirl Vol. 2 (Hardcover): Knightfall Descends

Review author: Mike Murray, owner/operator of MyComicStore.net

Batgirl Vol. 2 (Hardcover): Knightfall Descends

This collects Batgirl #7 – 13 and #0 written by Gail Simone with art by Ardian Syaf, Ed Benes, Alitha Martinez, and Vincent Cifuentes. Colors are done by Ulises Arreola.

I like Barbara Gordon as Batgirl and I’ve never had any qualms about saying so. I’ve never collected Batgirl comics and don’t have a particularly solid grasp on her history, but Barbara’s always seemed more accessible to me than Bruce. Batgirl’s not one of my favorite characters but she’s one of the most comfortable.

This volume started much like the first one; it was good and I was happy to read it. I became very excited when I saw that for one particular little jaunt, Gail was tying it directly to the classic The Killing Joke story. Ultimately that ended up letting me down. Without any spoiler alerts I was just very unhappy with how that turned out. The story arc in the second half of this collection, however, really grabbed me by the lapels and pulled me in. That story kept me awake as the pages continued to turn and I’m just so happy to be reading this book right now. I’m eagerly looking forward to volume 3.

The art is very accomplished comic book art. Not necessarily the best but well above average and for the most part it’s a pleasure to take in. Some nice art and a great story make for a thoroughly enjoyable book.

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Fearless Defenders #1

Review author: Mike Murray, owner/operator of MyComicStore.net

Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Will Sliney this was better than I expected. It was what I would have liked from Uncanny X-Force. This is a team book and as you see two characters on the cover.. That’s the team. Sure you can see there’s more coming, but it’s a slow build and Cullen didn’t feel the need to jam a whole bunch of little digression panels into the story so you could see other characters. This book focused on the story.

Fearless Defenders #1

There was a panel in the beginning of the book that I looked at and thought “Oh man! That’s just awful” but by the end of the book I was really enjoying both the art and the story and looking forward to what comes next. It’s not one of my favorite books but it was good.

Maybe even a little better than that.

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Saga, Vol. 1

Review author: Mike Murray, owner/operator of MyComicStore.net

Saga trade paperback volume 1

Without googling it I’m trying to remember what else I’ve read by Brian K. Vaughan. I’ve got nothing. This was a pretty cool story that completely embraced both the science fiction and fantasy genres. Ultimately though, while I do want to read more, I just didn’t quite get it. I found the characters to be uninteresting and unmemorable.

Fiona Staples’ art was much better than I expected because for some reason that I can’t begin to fathom, I thought she drew Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. I was wrong. Her art was very good and the alien bounty hunter she drew will stay with me for a long time as she did a great job of visualizing a nightmare of a character.

I guess in the end, while it’s a book I could read more of, with the size of the pile I still want to read, I just don’t care enough about this to keep going.

And for anyone interested:

The February previews are up!!!

I have to place the orders by February 21st, so get them in, please, if you want something!

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Harbinger #0, Shadowman #4, All-New X-Men #7, and Hawkeye # 1 – 7

Review author: Mike Murray, owner/operator of MyComicStore.net

Harbinger #0

I don’t need to do this every week. If you’ve read any of my posts, reviews, or articles anywhere then you know of my absolute love for all things Valiant. It’s not just Valiant, though, as every week I read the same comic book series. I don’t need to review every book every week. So I’ll do it quickly…

Harbinger Zero. Great book! It’s an introduction to the man we know will be the main protagonist to Peter Stanchek. His history is told as a story, not to us, but to someone else in the story and I liked the way it was done.

Shadowman #4

Shadowman #4 is freaking fantastic! Turns out the monkey was real, though…

All-New X-Men is still one of the best Marvel books out there right now. This issue features some great character moments between young Cyclops and Wolverine and young Cyclops and Mystique. Very engaging book. Somebody actually asked me last night if I was reading this one and that conversation turned into a love fest.

All New X-Men #7

Hawkeye #1 – 7 is something I finally got around to and I knew I wanted to read it. Because it’s getting a ton of mileage I chose to read the individual issues now rather than read it as a collection. Marvel’s not releasing this one as a HC, but only giving it the trade paperback treatment. I hope I didn’t order it! It was good enough for what it was, but this would have been better served to have been treated like a re-invention such as any of the Ultimate Universe or Marvel Knights comics. As a Marvel U book I found it to be a little bit of a letdown. I like the idea that it’s series of non events and out of costume minutia but the downside is that it definitely has a lack of depth.

Hawkeye #1

Hawkeye #7

The re-invention of Clint Barton has him up on the roof of his apartment building having a cookout with his neighbors. That’s brilliant! It also has him stealing money and that’s asinine! The dog he adopts is just way too cliche for me. I told a couple of people that I’m trying hard to enjoy this and that should be the lead indicator there. Matt Fraction’s just not getting it done for me.

David Aja for the most part looked good when he provided the art. There’s no doubt it’s got that Frank Miller Sin City feel, but David seems more of an artist than Miller so I found it to be lacking in that gritty realism that so defines Sin City. Javier Pulido is a replacement artist for issues #4 and #5, a story entitled The Tape, and it looks like they’re trying very hard to make it look like an Aja impersonator. That just left me feeling the art was bad.

This is a series that there may be a lot of people talking about, but it won’t be me. I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t like it.

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Green Lantern Corps. Vol. 1: Fearsome

Review author: Mike Murray, owner/operator of MyComicStore.net

Green Lantern Corps hardcover vol 1 Fearsome

I Loved It! This was a good, fun, quirky little tale, highlighting what’s best of the Green Lantern Corps, standing on it’s own merits but not completely alienated from the bigger picture of what’s going on in the Green Lantern mythos right now.

Peter J. Tomasi continues to do a good job of scripting John Stewart and Guy Gardner, not just as Lanterns, but people. The story was very good and I’m glad to be a part of this experience.

Fernando Pasarin, as the primary penciler did a very good job. From characters doing nothing but sitting and sharing a conversation to the explosive battles on foriegn worlds with many different types of life. He did receive additional pencil assists from Geraldo Borges and Claude St. Aubin and for his part, inker Scott Hanna shines in this effort as he seamlessly ties the pencils together making it virtually impossible to determine where the pencil assists occurred. The splash page of issue #2 in this collection is a breath taking representation of good, very good, comic art. I hope to own that original page.

The only complaint I can muster is that I wish Guy had done more with the Yellow Lanterns but that would probably have made it more of a New Guardians book. This was another example of why the Green Lantern books are so good.

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Fables, Deluxe Hardcover Volume 1

Review author: Mike Murray, owner/operator of MyComicStore.net

Now this is what I’m talking about! Written and created by Bill Willingham, illustrated by Lan Medina, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, and Craig Hamilton.

This is everything that I was looking for in Alan Moore’s Lost Girls. Where that was a wholly depressing, awfully wrought, unreadable book this is engaging and interesting. Much like I said when I was reviewing Fairest, this book is fun! It takes fables and fairy tales characters that we all know and gives them further life. Sometimes that life is so frustratingly obvious that it’s something we as readers may have never even considered. Well I’m certainly thinking more about some of that stuff now.

Fables deluxe hardcover volume 1

I’m mostly just enjoying the series and really don’t know why it took me so long to take note of it. The art is good but it’s easy to see, at least to this point, that it’s mostly an untried book. I have to blame the inking in the case of some of the scenes that were rough and just kind of looked ‘blobbed on’. That’s unfortunate as sometimes those images detract from the enjoyment of the book. Fortunately, the story by Willingham is so engrossing that I found myself really feeling for some of the minor characters that were only previously seen in say just a panel or two. I felt compelled right into the story and just really enjoyed it.

This is one of my new favorite books and I eagerly look forward to reading the subsequent volumes. I have a lot to catch up on. I know I’ll enjoy every minute of it as it can only get better from here.

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Savage Wolverine #1

Review author: Mike Murray, owner/operator of MyComicStore.net

Savage Wolverine #1

Frank Cho is the writer and artist while Jason Keith provides colors, and it took me a minute and a half to realize this isn’t Cho’s first effort to write. I’ve got his Liberty Meadows collection and still laugh when I read it.

Savage Wolverine was better than I expected. Not good enough that it leaps to the top of my read list or becomes one of my flagged favorites but solid good, none the less. The story takes place in the Savage Land catering to Cho’s strengths as an artist and features Shanna, a beautiful woman in a bikini and dinosaurs. There’s one story point that I wonder.. is it just a missed opportunity as a convenient story tool or supposed to be part of a mystery meant to suck us in. I do have to wonder because the focus of the story kept us away from any mystery and worked towards a different, specific, goal.

I’ll read issue two. It won’t be an excited wait like some other books but I’ll still enjoy it for what it is.

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