Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rant Review: Action Comics #2, Animal Man #2, Swamp Thing #2, OMAC #2, Stormwatch #2, Red Lanterns #2

As always, if there is anything you might want to discuss more in-depth, just leave a comment and it'll happen.

Action Comics #2 
Written by Grant Morrison, Pencilled by Rags Morales & Brent Anderson, Inked by Rick Bryant & Brent Anderson
Another excellent issue! Most of this issue sees Superman imprisoned, as Luthor and his cronies attempt various methods of torture to test his limits. Two characters make their new 52 debut in this issue who are sure to loom large in Superman's future: John Henry Irons and Richard Corben. The final page reveal is not entirely unexpected, but still is likely to knock your socks off.
There is a supplemental section in the back with some snippets from Morrison & Morales about the creation of these first two issues, and it also shows off some great conceptual art like this:

There's also a peek at some of the Kryptonian designs by Gene Ha that we'll be seeing more of in upcoming issues. This remains one of the best and most exciting comics out there right now. I can't wait to see what comes next!
My score:  

Animal Man #2
Written by Jeff Lemire, Art by Travel Foreman
Animal Man wowed us all last month, even those of us who were expecting it to be quite good. This issue maintains that momentum, and advances the story nicely as Buddy and Maxine move forward in their journey to the Red. This is a very good issue that you'll love if you enjoyed the first one.
My score:

Swamp Thing #2
Written by Scott Snyder, Art by Yanick Paquette
The link between this series and Animal Man gets a bit more clear with this issue, as the swamp Thing we met at the end of last moth's issue lays it all out for Alec Holland, and for us. (Incidentally, the beginning of the issue seemed familiar enough to me that I'm almost positive it was a reference to an old issue of Hellblazer, but I'll need to dig that issue out to make sure. Could just be a coincidence.) Paquette's art seems somehow even more amazing this issue, and it stands out among some absolutely gorgeous books this week. This is a great series that looks to only be improving with each issue.
My score:

Writing & Pencils by Dan Didio & Keith Giffen, Inks by Scott Koblish
Between Giffen's masteful channeling of Jack Kirby and the straightforward plot that never fails to make time for explosive battle scenes, this title continues to feel rather like a throwback. That's not a bad thing at all, however, as the nostalgic feeling longtime readers are likely to get from this book can go a long way toward ensuring its continued existence. This issue gives us a bit of a breather in the the beginning, then quickly explodes into large-scale action once again. OMAC may be among the most shallow of the New 52, but it's also one of the most fun.
My score: 

Stormwatch #1
Written by Paul Cornell, Art by Miguel Sepulveda & Al Barrionuevo
There is a lot going on in this issue, maybe a little too much. It's a bit tough to follow some of the action for a reader who is unfamiliar with most of these characters. It's certainly not bad though, the large cast just requires a bit more work on the reader's part. Like last issue, this is decent and certainly ambitious, but it still feels like it's not quite hitting its stride just yet.
My score:

Red Lanterns #2
Written by Peter Milligan, Pencilled by Ed Benes, Inked by Rob Hunter
This issue continues Atrocitus's crisis of faith as he intervenes in an ugly situation on another world to examine the nature of rage an injustice. The story itself is nothing special, but the characterization of the Red Lantern Corps leader is excellent, and turns what could have been a h-hum issue into something better. This series is still moving a bit slow, but it has a definite sense of purpose that makes it feel worthwhile to stick around and watch it unfold.
My score:

That's all for today, but come back by tomorrow for the rest of this week's books! Just a reminder, I'm not getting Green Arrow or Hawk and Dove anymore, so we won't be looking at those.


  1. So from this batch of reviews, I grabbed Action Comics, Swamp Thing, and Animal Man. All three were fantastic. Any problems I had were very minor; all three were amazing.

    While I'm not 100% positive what a 5 star single issue of a comic looks like, I'd say Swamp Thing #2 comes pretty damn close. Snyder's writing is subtle and complex without being pretentious. He walks that line so well. I'm new to the character of Swamp Thing, though I recently was able to catch up with his reintroduction through Brightest Day. Snyder's Swamp Thing is just fantastic. An excellent character study mixed with intriguing mythology and truly chilling bits of horror. The little vignette in the diner reminded me of Frank Darabont's The Mist film. And Paquette's pencils and layouts... easily my pick of the week.

    Animal Man continues to be solid. Lemire makes the Baker family seem normal and relatable even amongst all this craziness. He's also managed to write a super-powered child without making me hate her - a feat in and of itself. And Travel Foreman's sparse pencils give this book such a unique look that it continues to stand out for all the right reasons.

    Action Comics... so wait, are the Kents DEAD now? Did I miss this? I honestly had heard nothing about this ridiculous Superman lawsuit until I went in to buy Action Comics today and my local store guy filled me in on everything that could be going out the window. Yeah, apparently I've been living under a rock. It's a shame that such an unfortunate suit has forced creative changes rather than organically integrating them into the character and universe.

    That said, Morrison's comic continues to be both intelligent and entertaining, and on the whole I quite enjoy Rags Morales' artwork (though his pencils for Lois in particular are wildly inconsistent). I was never a big Superman fan before, but I can honestly say I'm enjoying this iteration. However, while the behind-the-scenes stuff was fun, I hope that doesn't become the reason for the higher price every week.

    I also grabbed Detective Comics and Huntress this week. I was talked into both of these, but you know what? No regrets.

  2. I don't give out perfect ratings very freely, but I have thought about it with a few of the relaunch books. Action and ST were close, for instance. A good example of a book that would get a perfect score from me is any given issue of Morrison's All Star Superman.

    Brightest Day was pretty good overall, but just in case you were thinking of Picking up the Brightest Day Aftermath: Search for Swamp Thing series which serves as a bridge between Bd and the current series: Do yourself a favor, and steer clear! It was terrible, and totally unnecessary to follow the new series. I'm not sure what ST stuff you've read in the past, but the Alan Moore stuff is great. The Wein/Wrightson stuff is good too, but from what I've read of the other runs, nothing was really notable to me either way.

    I haven't followed the deatils of the Superman lawsuit, but I think having the Kents dead now is part of Morrison and DC wanting Superman's status quo to be more like the Golden Age version; the Kents were always dead up until the post-Crisis relaunch in the mid-80s. It's kinda sad because I grew up reading comics in which the Kents were alive, but as long as the comics are this good, no biggie.
    I feel the same way about this use of the extra pages. Fortunately, there are supposed to be backup stories using those extra pages in upcoming issues. There are some really good guest artists lined up for those backups.

    I made myself do the ongoings before the miniseries, so the reviews of the minis won't be up until Friday. Huntress was pretty good, but I REALLY liked the Penguin: Pain & Prejudice issue. I'd recommend it highly if you can get a copy.