Comic Book Rankings And Weekly Awards

1. Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars #1

    Creative Team
    Writer: Warren Ellis
    Pencils: Steve Kurth
    Inks: Jeff Huet

    Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
    Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
    Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

    This was my favorite issue for this week. This title is a perfect match for Ellis. The drunken and hedonistic Tony Stark is exactly the kind of character that Ellis knows how to handle. Tony’s dialogue was absolutely fantastic. This issue was light in action, but it still moved at a steady pace and with a purpose.

    This was a set-up issue and Ellis built a solid foundation for this mini-series. All the various players were introduced and slid into place. Ellis presented the reader with a character in Justine Hammer who will serve as Tony’s love interest and sidekick. Think of her as a Bond Girl for this story. We also were introduced to the Ghost who will be matching his armor against Tony’s armor in this story.

    Ellis also teased the reader with two mysteries: “the ornament” that was stolen from Tony by the Ghost and the identity of the person that the Ghost is working for. This was a good start to what should be an action packed and entertaining mini-series.

    Kurth’s artwork makes this a nice issue to look at. Kurth has a clean style and is able to properly draw all the requisite armor and tech that is mandatory in any Iron Man title.

    As the number one title in The Revolution’s rankings, Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars #1 wins the Che Award for the best read of the week.

    2. Blackest Night #3

      Creative Team
      Writer: Geoff Johns
      Pencils: Ivan Reis
      Inks: Oclair Albert and Joe Prado

      Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
      Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
      Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

      I have already posted a review for this issue. This was the strongest effort so far by Johns. This issue gives me hope that Johns is getting on track and will deliver a strong read on Blackest Night from this point on.

      3. Brave and the Bold #27

        Creative Team
        Writer: JMS
        Artist: Jesus Saiz

        Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
        Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
        Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

        I really enjoyed this JMS’ debut on this title. The magic of this issue was that JMS delivered a nicely focused and condensed read. That’s right. In this era of extreme decompression where two issue story arcs are fluffed up in order to stretch over six issues, JMS actually delivered a nice one-and-done issue.

        You just don’t see one-shot issues that much anymore. It was fantastic being able to pick up a single issue and get a complete and well delivered self contained story.

        JMS demonstrated a nice feel for Batman’s personality. Even better than that was the fact that JMS clearly understands Batman’s reputation and the impact it has on the criminal underground. JMS has the various criminals talk about Batman as if he was superhuman and could be in more than one place at a time and can read minds like a human lie detector. JMS is able to properly show how half of Batman’s war on crime is the mental aspect of it where he tries to intimidate and scare criminals from pulling off crimes.

        I have always liked the Dial H For Hero character, so it was nice to see Robbie starring in this issue. JMS creates a nice little moral for the story in the final scene of this issue. Yeah, it was kind of corny, but it worked with this story.

        I would definitely recommend Brave and the Bold #27 to readers who love on-shot issues and long for the days when comic books were told in a much more condensed fashion.

        4. Batman and Robin #4

          Creative Team
          Writer: Grant Morrison
          Pencils: Philip Tan
          Inks: Jonathan Glapion

          Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
          Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
          Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

          This was a solid read. Yes, it was a slow issue. This issue was a set-up issue for the new story arc involving the Red Hood. The main purpose of Batman and Robin #4 was to introduce the new Red Hood and to establish his mission statement and to reveal his motivation.

          I dig this new Red Hood and liked Morrison’s take on his character. I definitely like the team of Red Hood and Scarlett. They are a bizarre team that is exactly what you would expect from Morrison.

          I continue to enjoy how Morrison handles Dick Grayson and Damien Wayne. Morrison does a nice job with the banter between these two heroes. It was nice to see Morrison taking his theme of Gotham City as a living breathing identity that he toyed with during RIP and touching on it once again in this issue. Morrison has Dick urge Damien to study Gotham City like a hunter does its prey. Dick talks about the flow of the city in a manner that shows that there is a spiritual connection between the Batman and Gotham City.

          Having said that, this was a slow issue on a title that really has not done much over the course of the first three issues. This issue will surely test the patience of some readers who have already been unhappy with the pacing on this title. We are now four issues into this title and it seems like Morrison is still performing set-up work and has not installed many plotlines at all.

          5. Dark Avengers #9

            Creative Team
            Writer: Brian Bendis
            Artist: Mike Deodato

            Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
            Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
            Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

            I loved the character work and dialogue that Bendis cranks out for Ares and Phobos in this issue. The scene between Ares and Phobos at their apartment and the dramatic scene between Ares and Nick Fury were exceptionally written. This was quite an emotional read that pulled me in from the start and kept me hooked until the very end.

            I continue to enjoy how Bendis writes Norman Osborn’s character. Bendis has made Norman into a complex and interesting character. Bendis has done the best job with Norman’s character out of all the various Marvel writers who have written Norman during Dark Reign. Bendis shows a weaker side of Norman as he locks himself into his vault. The reader sees a more unsure and vulnerable side of Norman where he appears to be struggling with his own sanity.

            On the other hand, the Sentry plotline does little to interest me. I do not believe that the Sentry is dead. I am also beginning to tire of the rest of the team doing nothing other than sit around and debate when the Sentry is going to go insane and kill them all. Bendis needs to resolve this plotline and do something interesting with the Sentry’s character in order to fashion him into a character that readers will actually care about.

            The pacing and plotting continue to be major defects on this title. This is a slow story. There is little to no actual plot progression. The Ares/Phobos plotline in this issue is more of a Secret Warriors plotline. Bendis continues to struggle with handling a large roster of characters. Therefore, he continually uses the format of spinning one character away from the team and only focusing on that one character for the duration of the issue.

            Dark Avengers really has done nothing over the course of nine issues. There is a serious lack of plotlines, direction and purpose to this title. This title seems like it has been treading water ever since the first story arc.

            What carried the day for Dark Avengers #6 was Deodato’s fantastic artwork. Deadato breathed life into Bendis’ story in quite a dramatic fashion. Deadato was able to convey the sadness, confusion and pain in Ares’ heart. All of the character expressions were well done.

            6. REBELS #8

            Creative Team
            Writer: Tony Bedard
            Artist: Andy Clarke

            Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
            Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
            Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

            This was a solid read. To be sure, this was not the best issue that we have gotten from Bedard on this title. This issue bogs down a bit as the pacing slows down and Bedard begins to lose a little focus with this story. This issue also does not have much action.

            However, the dialogue continues to be well written. Vril Dox continues to be the star of the show and is such an interesting character.

            The war with Starro’s forces was nicely done. Bedard is able to make this war seem like a truly grand galactic battle. I expect that this issue was merely the lull before the storm. Now that the Omega Men had received power upgrades and are infiltrating the ranks of Starro’s forces I expect a more exciting read with the next issue.

            7. X-Factor #48

              Creative Team
              Writer: Peter David
              Pencils: Valentine De Landro
              Inks: Pat Davidson

              Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
              Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
              Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

              X-Factor #48 was an average issue. David seems to be losing steam on this title. The story is slowing down to an absolute crawl. This issue barely moves the story along at all. We get a lot of fighting between Cortex versus Siryn and Monet. Plus, we get more of the same dialogue with Jamie, Cyclops and Layla in the future that we have been getting the past several issues.

              This issue felt like David was stalling for time. David appears to be losing his focus as he sometimes gets lost in his dialogue and character work and forgets to move the story along.

              Having said that, this issue does have plenty of dialogue and character work. Those have always been X-Factor’s two biggest strengths and that continues in this issue. Unfortunately, this story arc simply has not hooked my interest. This story arc is nowhere near as good as what David was delivering in X-Factor prior to the Messiah Complex story arc.

              The artwork was serviceable. De Landro is capable of creating some great panels. Unfortunately, he has trouble with consistency and is equally likely to deliver some awkward and poor looking panels. At times, De Landro’s art looks way too stiff.

              8. Captain America: Reborn #3

                Creative Team
                Writer: Ed Brubaker
                Pencils: Brian Hitch
                Inks: Butch Guice

                Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
                Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
                Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

                Captain America: Reborn #3 was another slow and plodding issue. This story is inching along at a dull pace. It is becoming evident that Brubaker simply did not have enough material to warrant a five issue mini-series. It would have been a better idea to make this story the main plotline in a three of four issue story arc over on Captain America’s regular title.

                This issue had a small amount of plot progression in that Steve’s body disappeared, Bucky escaped from the Thunderbolts and Sharon turned herself into HAMMER. But, for the most part, the main part of this story has failed to move at all.

                This story is nowhere near as original, creative or as exciting as what I have come to expect from Brubaker. Captain America: Reborn fails to live up to my high expectations due to Brubaker’s exceptional work during his run on Captain America.

                9. Outsiders #22

                  Creative Team
                  Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
                  Pencils: Fernando Pasarin
                  Inks: Jay Leister

                  Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
                  Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
                  Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

                  Outsiders #22 was nice in the fact that it offered a relatively condensed story with Geo-Force and Metamorpho teaming up to take down Clayface. I appreciate that the story moved along at a good pace and with a clear purpose.

                  However, the problem is that, in general, this title lacks any real mission statement. The Outsiders lacks an identity and a clear vision for the future for this title. It seems that DC is simply going off in random directions with this title and constantly starting and re-starting the general purpose of this title.

                  I have little interest in the main plotline of the Outsiders having to track down the various criminals who escaped from Arkham Asylum during the events of Battle for the Cowl. This issue read too much like a generic super hero story and lacked anything out of the ordinary that would make me recommend this title to another reader. Unless the Outsiders experiences a dramatic turn around, this title may find itself getting cut from The Revolution’s pull list.

                  10. Agents of Atlas #11

                    Creative Team
                    Writer: Jeff Parker
                    Pencils: Dan Panosian
                    Inks: Gabriel Hardman

                    Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
                    Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
                    Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

                    Agents of Atlas #11 was crammed full of action. This issue certainly moved with a fast pace. Perhaps too fast as some of the scenes felt rushed.

                    As always, the dialogue was well done. Parker has a good feel for the various characters and knows how to whip up some entertaining dialogue. My favorite part of this issue was watching M-11 getting a chance to strut his stuff and lay waste to M-21.

                    Parker conveniently wraps up the Jade Claw story arc and in doing so creates a brand new look for the Atlas Foundation as it takes in the Great Wall as their Asian subsidiary. I liked that Temugin was placed in charge of running the Great Wall and making sure that it is properly assimilated into the Atlas Foundation. Parker has done a good job growing Temugin’s character. We see Temugin finally gaining respect and admiration for Jimmy Woo.

                    My only real complaint with the writing was the flow of this issue. The scene transitions were clumsy and awkward. It was jarring how the reader was thrown hastily from scene to scene.

                    The artwork was a total miss with me. The art looked very rushed and sloppy at times. The faces of the characters were just to cartoony looking for my tastes. All in all, this was a rather dull looking issue. That is too bad since there was plenty of action and potential for spectacular looking panels.

                    11. JSA vs Kobra #4

                      Creative Team
                      Writer: Eric Trautman
                      Pencils: Don Kramer
                      Inks: Michael Babinski

                      Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
                      Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
                      Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

                      This issue was a serviceable read. The dialogue was well done. Despite the slower pacing, there was enough action to keep this issue from dragging.

                      What I like the most about this issue is that Mr. Terrific continues to be the star of this story. Technically, this is a JSA story. However, in reality, this is a Mr. Terrific story as he is the centerpiece of this story. I dig Mr. Terrific so I like this opportunity for him to take center stage.

                      I probably would only recommend JSA v. Kobra to Mr. Terrific fans. As far as a JSA story is concerned, this title is rather pedestrian. This is a relatively standard issue super hero story. Outside of Mr. Terrific fans, I am not too sure who else would be drawn to this story. Kobra makes for a relatively one-dimensional villain that does little to capture my interest. There is nothing out of the ordinary with this title that would cause me to recommend JSA vs Kobra to other readers.

                      12. Vengeance of the Moon Knight #1

                        Creative Team
                        Writer: Gregg Hurwitz
                        Artist: Jerome Opena

                        Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
                        Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
                        Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

                        This issue was a total miss with me. I found this issue to be incredibly unoriginal. We got some cheesy lines and standard issue super hero action scenes. Moon Knight’s edginess and insanity have been washed away as Moon Knight is now “healed” and looking forward to be a true super hero who no longer hurts criminals and does things the right way. Basically, Moon Knight is now nothing more than Batman Lite.

                        Moon Knight was always a Batman rip-off character, but he was interesting because he was Batman with serious mental problems and taken to the max. I liked that Moon Knight suffered from schizophrenia. I liked his addiction to pain killers and alcohol. I liked the ultra violence that he brought to the table.

                        Charlie Huston did such a fantastic job with Moon Knight just a couple of years ago. It is sad to see what Huston had built on Moon Knight being totally watered down into the incredibly bland version of Moon Knight that we get in this issue.

                        The main plotline of having Moon Knight return to New York to clear his name and battle Norman Osborn does absolutely nothing for me. It is so uncreative. What hero is not currently feuding with Norman Osborn? I am so over that incredibly overused plotline. I found Moon Knight much more fascinating when he was handled like Daredevil and allowed to operate largely independent from the rest of the 616 universe.

                        The ending with the arrival of the Sentry to talk to Moon Knight about what he is up to did nothing for me. The Sentry is just not that interesting. And you know that they are not going to fight since that would last one second as the Sentry would reduce Moon Knight into a grease spot. I have little interest in seeing Marvel’s version of Superman and Batman trying to work things out between the two of them.

                        13. Mighty Avengers #29

                          Creative Team
                          Writers: Dan Slott and Christos Gage
                          Pencils: Khoi Pham
                          Inks: Allen Martinez

                          Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
                          Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
                          Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

                          I want to like this title so much. I like the roster for this team. I love the setting of the Infinite Avengers Mansion. I firmly believe that this title has tons of potential.

                          Unfortunately, the execution is totally off. I just cannot get into this current story arc at all. Slott has really lost his focus on this title. This was a slowly paced issue that barely pushed the story forward.

                          Slott does not appear to know exactly what he wants to do with this title. The Unspoken is not that interesting of a villain. I have no idea what Hank Pym is up to or why I should care.

                          Pham’s artwork does nothing for me. The art looks sketchy and sloppy at times. The anatomy for the characters looks odd. Pham gives this issue a decidedly unappealing mid 1990’s Image Comics look to it.

                          14. Invincible Iron Man #18

                            Creative Team
                            Writer: Matt Fraction
                            Artist: Salvador Larroca

                            Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
                            Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
                            Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

                            This issue was another unimpressive read. The story is dragging along at such a slow pace. Seriously, this ten issue story arc is incredibly thin and unoriginal. This story arc could have easily been delivered as a four issue story arc. That would have made this story much more focused and interesting than this shallow read that has been puffed up with so much fluff in order to stretch it out over ten issues.

                            Fraction continues to crank out some poor dialogue. The dialogue is generic at best and incredibly ham handed at worst. Particularly poor was Norman Osborn’s dialogue. It was just too over the top and goofy. While other writers like Bendis have made Norman into an intriguing and complex character, Fraction has only given us an extremely one-dimensional and maniacal Norman Osborn. I’m surprised that Fraction didn’t have Norman evilly twist his handlebar moustache in this issue.

                            The story itself is so basic. This is comic book writing by numbers. There is nothing creative or interesting in “deconstructing” a character in this well worn style. Every step Fraction takes is predictable. As we all knew, Pepper was not dead. Instead, she was posing as Madam Masque. How Pepper Potts, who has been a secretary her entire life, was able to defeat Madame Masque in hand-to-hand combat lacks any and all logic.

                            The artwork is solid. The Larroca is better at drawing the suits of armor than he is people. His people continue to look way too shiny as if they are made of plastic.

                            15. Action Comics #881

                              Creative Team
                              Writers: Greg Rucka and Sterling Gates; Co-Feature: James Robinson and Greg Rucka
                              Artists: Pere Perez; Co-Feature: Cafu

                              Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10; Co-Feature: 6
                              Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10; Co-Feature: 5
                              Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10; Co-Feature: 5.5

                              Action Comics #881 was a dull read. All the main story consisted of was Supergirl and Flamebird fighting each other a couple of times and then getting into a verbal argument. That was it.

                              This issue read like filler as it seems the writers are in full stall mode in order to stretch this story across as many issues and titles as possible. I would only recommend this issue to Supergirl fans.

                              The dialogue was average at best. The character work is relatively non-existent. Any drama in this issue is completely artificial and forced. The artwork was the best part of this issue. Pere Perez did a solid job with the artwork to the main story.

                              The back-up story did little for me. I have no idea what in the hell Robinson and Rucka are doing with this Captain Atom Co-Feature. Seriously, I have no clue what is going on with this story. It makes little to no sense and comes across as a garbled mess. I am sure that it does not help that Robinson and Rucka are limited to only a few pages an issue in order to tell this back-up story.

                              Cafu’s artwork on the Captain Atom back-up was inconsistent. Some panels were great, while others looked stiff and lifeless.

                              16. Amazing Spider-Man #605

                                Creative Team
                                Writer: Fred Van Lente and Brian Reed
                                Artists: Javier Pulido, Luke Ross, Yanick Paquette and Mark Farmer

                                Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
                                Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
                                Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

                                This issue sported three stories all rolled into one oversized issue. The first two stories centered on Mary Jane. The third story centered on Peter and his lack of a love life.

                                All in all, this oversized issue was nothing more than pure filler. No plotlines were advanced. Spider-Man barely appears in the first two stories.

                                This issue was about as uninteresting and boring as a comic can get. The stories were generic. There felt like little to no effort was put into this issue. The stories drug on at a slow pace and never once grabbed my interest.

                                This title has seriously regressed since the end of the American Son story arc. This was as bland of a story that we have gotten since the dull and one-dimensional Brand New Day issues. This issue was just an over-sized waste of paper. Nothing of importance happens at all in this issue. I would only recommend this issue to hardcore Spider-Man fans and Mary Jane fans.

                                As the lowest rated title in The Revolution’s rankings, Amazing Spider-Man #605 wins the Sequential Methadone Award for the worst read of the week.

                                2 Comments

                                1. Bendis should be kept away from any and all titles with the word "Avengers" in them. He just can't seem to handle a team-oriented title. He's completely destroyed "New Avengers," and now he's dragging what was a pretty interesting title in "Dark Avengers" down the toilet, too.

                                  I totally agree with you about Moon Knight. The Huston run was incredible and really separated Moon Knight from the other "vigilante" heroes in a weird but totally believable way. After that, I don't really know how to relate to a "normal" Moon Knight.

                                  And, finally, somebody needs to figure out what to do with the Sentry. I had high hopes at the beginning of "Dark Avengers" that he was finally going to do something worthwhile, but those hopes are quickly evaporating.

                                2. Hey! Good to see that two of my current favs are in the list. Rebels is my No 1 read at the moment – great story, interesting characters and beautiful artwork.

                                  I also love a one-issue story and Brave & Bold has been a must-read for some time. Loved this story, it take me back to when most comics were one story issues – but that probably just dates me so I won't go on about it. Ha!

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