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Sunday, August 10, 2008

My Week in Comics: August 10, 2008

My Week in Comics is a weekly look into my…uh…buying habits. Keep in mind that the reviews to be read here are not coming from a jaded, old comic book enthusiast but more of a wide-eyed fan of these monthly installments of yum or mush.


A pretty okay week for comics for me, with two Iron Man tales, a great Fathom relaunch, and a crisis finally unfolding as it should.

FATHOM #1

Writer: J.T. Krul
Artist: Ale Garza, Sal Regla
Colors: John Starr
Covers by: Ale Garza, J. Scott Campbell, Michael Turner
$2.99 / P150.00

Fathom relaunches with a new number 1 issue, as we go back to our heroine Aspen now chilling in some beach across the border, hoping to live in peace. Unfortunately for her, she now has to deal with the return of not-so-welcome family members and an invasion of oceanic proportions. What’s a bikini-clad girl to do?

Even with the untimely passing of Fathom’s creator Michael Turner, the title is in undoubtedly good hands with J.T. Krul, who handles the writing chores here. Krul manages to keep the story engaging while being newbie-friendly, explaining the world of Fathom and what’s happened so far in dialogue here and there, so you spend more time enjoying the story and not stumbling over stuff like who the “Blue” or Killian is and why he wants to destroy us surface-dwellers.

Art-wise, Ale Garza’s work is gorgeous, and is reminiscent of Turner’s art style. That’s not a bad thing though. Garza’s art is curvier and more fluid, and he draws some pretty women. But it maintains just enough familiarity for Fathom’s current fans to enjoy.

All in all it works like any good #1 issue: it introduces the characters, sets up the current storyline, and hooks the reader to keep buying and reading the rest of the story. Fathom #1 does that and more, which makes it one of the ‘better’ #1’s out there.

My Rating: 9/10


IRON MAN: VIVA LAS VEGAS #2

Writer: Jon Favreau
Artist: Adi Granov
Colors: Adi Granov
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
$3.99 / P200.00

It’s been months since I’ve seen the first issue of this series that it came to a point that I almost forgot I was pulling this. Anyway, Iron Man is enlisted by Elsa Bloodstone into researching some more about the giant dragon statue she discovered somewhere in China, as she didn’t check the statue’s label in the first place like any good tomb raider would. Mayhem ensues when they find out that the ‘statue’ is actually an old friend of Iron Man’s that goes by the name of Fin Fang Foom. Oops.

Jon Favreau, the director of the Iron Man movie, is writing this mini-series, and his styling shows through the way the entire thing is set up. The snappy one-liners, the build-up of suspense, to the climax and the action…there’s a definite ‘movie feel’ in this issue, which to me feels a tad formulaic. Favreau’s puppet ‘strings’ are definitely showing here, which is a shame considering Adi Granov’s art style serves his story well. The nod to Foom's first appearance in the first words he uttered upon awakening here was a nice touch, though.

Granov has a sense of scale and detail that works well with the story, and no one draws a more kick-ass Iron Man than him. The only thing that prevents me from enjoying Granov’s work here is the way he draws the characters in ‘paper doll’ poses and expressionless faces. I have to concede that his art is more suited for pin ups and covers, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Foom’s redesign, though, is one of the coolest I’ve ever seen, and one that has to be seen to be believed.

My Rating: 7/10


INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #4

Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larocca
Colors: Frank D'Armata
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
$2.99 / P150.00


Zeke Stane is pulling all the stops on his plan to destroy Tony Stark, and he plans on hitting him where it hurts the godawful most (not exactly where you think). Meanwhile, Stark cooks up a plan to make Stane reveal himself, while Pepper has second thoughts on the big metal thingy sticking out of her chest that’s keeping her alive.

An okay issue from Matt Fraction. More of a breather than showing anything exciting happening (that’s a lot of –ings!), let’s just say that this is probably the issue before Stane and Stark’s possible dust-up with each other and their respective weapons. The Triumph Division, the Philippines’ very own superhero team, is shown again in this issue, but with apparent relatives or descendants of the old team that stepped up and took over the mantles of their unlucky predecessors. It was okay until Iron Man spouted some cheesy lines in favor of the team. “The Philippines is in great hands. Long live the Triumph Division”. Seriously, that’s enough ham and cheese to make a sandwich, and I’m Filipino!

The art takes a dip in this issue, though. Salvador Larocca’s pencils are inconsistent throughout, from crisp lines in some pages to muddy and light in the others. And once again, colorist Frank D’Armata’s work is really distracting. Everyone, even Maria Hill, is hitting the tanning booths a little too much. And the aforementioned Hill is sporting a brownish colored ‘do, even when all the other Marvel books currently show her having black hair. Heck, everything is just too damn brown!

Hopefully they all find some middle ground in all of this before it’s all too late.

My Rating: 7/10


FINAL CRISIS #3

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: J.G. Jones
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Rob Leigh
$3.99 / P200.00

Now everything is starting to make sense! When you’ve got super powered beings falling like flies and major players getting neutralized in ways you wouldn’t imagine, you just know some big shit is going down. Thankfully the remaining heroes (and a few returning ones) are starting to step up and take arms to prepare for the coming Apocalypse. But will that be enough?

I’ve said in some comics forums that writer Grant Morrison makes you feel that you just missed out on some great party so he’s going to keep telling the story to everyone else like you’re not even there. But I take it back a little with this issue, which reads like how a straight up story should. You finally get a sense of how big this event is, from Libra unleashing the one equation that could bring the world to its knees (finally cementing his status as a foe to be feared, instead of being just a self-centered lunatic.) to Wonder Woman’s smack down with a newly costumed Mary Marvel. The disjointed scenes and panels, however, are still here, which makes it look like all the good stuff is happening in other books. But while it may still be confusing, it's not as bad as the first two were.

The story is complemented by J.G. Jones’ pencil work, and his style adds a somewhat cinematic feel to it, similar to Bryan Hitch’s work in Marvel’s Ultimates. This is probably Jones’ best work so far in Final Crisis…minimal mistakes, just great art.

This issue gave me some of my faith back in DC’s major event, and now I can’t wait to see what happens next.

My Rating: 8/10


Well, 2 out of 4 ain’t so bad, so it was a pretty good week in comics for me. Let’s just hope Invincible Iron Man and Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas steps up its game and Fathom and Final Crisis continues to be as good as it is right now, if not better. Which I’m really hoping they will be.

Got any questions, comments or violent reactions? Leave a comment and let’s discuss! My Week in Comics is up every Sunday. Thanks for reading!

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