Rokk’s Ranking For Comics From June 9, 2011

This is the debut column of my weekly round-up of the comic books that populate my pull-list.  I will rank them in descending order and give you my final verdict for each issue.  This past week was a rather average week with very few issues actually garnering high scores.

  1. Booster Gold #33

Creative Team

Writer: Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis

Artist: Chris Batista

Inks: Rich Perrotta and Prentis Rollins

Colors: Hi-Fi

Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Booster Gold #33 was a pedestrian read.  Giffen and Dematteis wasted the first half of the issue on a mindless fight between Booster Gold and a walking ethnic stereotype.  Of course, we got plenty of pointless and blathering dialogue peppered full of “jokes” to compliment the pointless fight scene.

The writers do not actually get to the story of this issue until the halfway point where Booster decides to travel to the era of the Justice League International and try to find something in the past that can prove the existence of Maxwell Lord in the present.  At this point, I thought we would at least get half an issue of content.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Instead, the second half of the issue was nothing more than more “witty” jokes and banter and an insane amount of dialogue.  This second half was mostly just a walk down Amnesia Lane for people who want to wax nostalgia over the JLI.  This issue ends with Booster being unsuccessful in finding anything that he could use to prove the existence of Maxwell Lord.

Booster Gold #33 is the very definition of death by exposition.  The dialogue is rather uninteresting and pointless for most of the issue.  The rambling dialogue serves no other reader purpose other than to set up the next set of jokes.

The “jokes” come at the reader one after the other.  Each one staler than the previous one.  After a while, the reader stops taking anything that happens in this issue seriously, since it becomes obvious that the writers themselves are not taking anything serious, either.  I appreciate humor in a comic book.  I particularly appreciate well crafted humor that is properly times.

However, what we get in Booster Gold#33 is more Bwa-ha-ha humor where a few themed jokes are absolutely rammed into the ground.  The reader feels bludgeoned by the heavy handed humor by the time they stagger their way to the end of this issue.

The dialogue is dull and generic.  Nobody has a unique or well developed voice.  It is much like a Bendis penned issue starring more than a few characters.  Inevitably, all the characters sound the same with them all employing Bendis speak.  That is certainly the case in Booster Gold #33 as everyone has the same “wacky” humor styled dialogue.

Booster Gold #33 is a poorly plotted issue.  This issue is completely pointless.  Nothing at all happens in this issue.  There is zero plot progression.  Readers can easily skip this issue and pick up Booster Gold #34 and not miss anything at all of importance.  The pacing is slow.  The story plods its way to the ending with no sense of urgency or purpose.

Unfortunately, Giffen and DeMatties revert Booster Gold back to his old unconfident self.  Booster spends the entire issue second guessing himself and lacking confidence in himself.  This version of Booster Gold was put to bed after 52.  Johns and Katz did an excellent job on their run on Booster Gold at showing the reader how the self-doubting Booster Gold was a thing of the past.  Evidently, Giffen and DeMatties did not get the memo.

What also made Booster Gold #33 a poor read was the constant showing and not telling that took place in this issue.  Giffen and DeMatties use the endless narration from Booster to show the reader that our current Booster is much different from the Booster Gold from the JLI.  This is weak writing.  Good writing is when the writer shows the reader instead of telling the reader.  Johns, Katz and Jurgens all did an excellent job showing the reader how Booster is a true hero instead of telling us.

The artwork is average.  Some panels look nice while others look rather stiff and odd.

Verdict: I would only recommend getting Booster Gold #33 if you are either a die-hard JLI fan or a die-hard Booster Gold fan.  For everyone else, save your money.

  1. Invincible Iron Man #27

Creative Team

Writer: Matt Fraction

Artist: Salvador Larroca

Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10

Invincible Iron Man #27 was another painfully slow and boring issue.  Seriously, if Fraction moved this story at any slower of a pace he would achieve the perfect state of stasis.  Invincible Iron Man is decompression at its worst.

The story continues to lack originality as Fraction keeps on his path of taking bits from the Iron Man movies and combining them with recycled plotlines from old Iron Man stories in order to create the tepid soup that he is serving on this title.

The only thing that Fraction has done that might remotely be considered original is being fixated with cramming Rescue down the reader’s throat.  Now, to be clear, Rescue in and of herself is most certainly not an original idea.  Rescue is just another shallow derivative character that one would expect from a journeyman writer looking to cash in on the success of a much more popular established character.  This is a tired and well worn practice in the world of comics.  And one that I have never enjoyed.

Pepper Potts is a wonderful character.  Potts and Happy Hogan are two of my favorite Iron Man supporting characters.  They come just behind my all-time favorite supporting character in Bethany Cabe.

So, while I adore Pepper Potts, I absolutely despise Rescue.  And I hate the way that Fraction is morphing a cool character like Potts into a rip-off version of Iron Man.  One derivative character in War Machine is more than enough.  By forcing Rescue on the reader, Fraction is unnecessarily muddying the waters and further diluting the Iron Man franchise.

The plotting is average at best.  Fraction is only able to come up with a few plotlines.  I much prefer titles where the writer is able to juggle multiple long range, medium range and short range plotlines at one time.

The plot progression is pathetic.  This story is creaking and moaning like a dehydrated two legged horse trying to cross a desert.  Readers can easily skip several issues at a time and still not miss anything of real importance.

The character work is completely absent.  Each character moves through the pages like an automaton mechanically spitting out their dialogue.  The dialogue itself is generic.  The dialogue in this issue is boring at best and cheesy at worst.  To top it all off, none of the character’s possess a unique voice.

Worse of all is that Fraction proceeds to talk the reader to death in this issue.  It is one thing to not be able to write quality dialogue and at least try and cover this weakness by relying on economical dialogue and letting the action carry the story.  It is entirely another thing to not realize your dialogue is a weakness and proceed to serve it up in copious amounts.  Writers should always lead with their strength.  Fraction does not do this with this issue at all.

Fraction continues to present the reader with possibly the most generic and boring version of Tony Stark that I have read in a long time.  At no point has Fraction displayed the fact that he grasps Tony’s character at all.

The worst part is how Fraction is jamming a square peg in a round hole with his entire anti-Capitalism and pro-Environment angle with this story.  This is simply not the character or title for Fraction to get on his high horse and preach about these two subjects.

If this is what Fraction wants to do then it would be best delivered with a character better suited for these themes than the ultimate Capitalist in Tony Stark.  It is no secret that Tony Stark was largely patterned after Howard Hughes.  At this point the entire free energy for the world and forsaking his corporate empire by Tony seems nothing more than base pandering.

Fraction would do well to subvert his own personal beliefs in favor of properly writing Tony’s character and just trying to deliver an entertaining and fun read.  Talented writers are able to write any character regardless if that character does not line up with the writer’s personal beliefs.  Average writers are unable to do so.

Larocca’s artwork is incredibly stiff.  Everyone looks posed.  There is no fluidity at all to the story.  The panels look like a series of static shots.  I also despise the photo referencing with Tony Stark.  All I see is Sawyer from Lost each and every time I look at Tony.  This completely takes me out of the story.

Verdict: I would only recommend Invincible Iron Man #27 to die-hard Matt Fraction fans and to new readers who are interested in Iron Man due to the Iron Man movies.  Newer readers will greatly enjoy the similarities between what you get in Iron Man 2 and what you get in this title and will not be put off by the endless recycling of older plotlines.  If you are looking for your Iron Man fix then I would recommend getting Iron Man Legacy instead of this title.

  1. Nemesis #2

Creative Team

Writer: Mark Millar

Artist: Steve McNiven

Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

There really is not much to say about Nemesis #2.  That is because there really is not much to Nemesis #2 at all.  This issue is an extremely shallow and thin read.  There are few titles that I find more anemic that this one.

Nemesis #2 reads more like a storyboard than a comic book.  It seems like Millar is presenting a movie pitch by deliver a skeleton of a story.  What the reader gets is the bare bones of a story without any character work or dialogue.  I cannot shake the feeling that I am reading a very rough preliminary sketch for a story concept.

We do learn more about Nemesis’ background.  Unfortunately, it was not even remotely interesting.  This simply is not a creative take on an evil Batman.  It feels as very little effort has been put into fleshing out Nemesis’ background in order to make it interesting.

Another huge defect of Nemesis #2 is that none of the characters are compelling.  We get two completely unlikeable characters in Chief Morrow and Nemesis.  There is “good” unlikeable and “bad”unlikeable.  Good unlikeable is where you hate the villain so much that you cannot get enough of them.  Bad unlikeable is where the character is so uninteresting that you just want them to go away.

That is what we get with the two main characters in Nemesis #2.  They are both one-dimensional, uninteresting and rather lame characters.  I could care less who wins and who loses.  Reader apathy is the death knell of a story and that is what we have here with this title.

I like cool action scenes, but the action in this issue is so over the top that it becomes silly and goofy and takes me out of the story.

Now, I have to admit that Nemesis #2 features some nice artwork by McNiven.  There are some dramatic one page splash shots that leap off the page at the reader.  McNiven packs his usual impressive amount of detail into each panel.  My only complaint with the art is that the panel layouts are rigid and lack originality or diversity.

Verdict: I would pass on Nemesis #2.  I would only recommend this title if you are an absolute die-hard Mark Millar fan.


  1. Young Allies #2

Creative Team

Writer: Sean McKeever

Pencils: David Baldeon

Inks: N. Bowling

Colors: Chris Sotomayor

Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Young Allies #1 is a generic teen super team title.  Nothing at all about this issue felt unique, fresh or creative.  Instead, I felt like we were getting a standard issue teen super team title designed to try and flood the market with another new Marvel title.

The roster for the Young Allies of Arana, Nomad, Gravity, Toro and Firestorm seem completely random.  It is as if Marvel just hastily slapped together a mix-mash of characters just so they could have yet another new “Heroic Age” title on the market.

Young Allies feels pre-packaged much like a pop band that is artificially assembled by a recording label.  There is no character work at all in this issue.  There is a complete lack of chemistry between the characters.  The dialogue itself is nothing more than common super hero dialogue.

One of the important tasks of a debut issue of a new super team title is to quickly establish each member of the team and to give the reader a good taste of the unique flavor of teach team member.  McKeever fails to pull this off in this issue.

To be sure, McKeever loads up on plenty of dialogue heavy scenes.  However, none of those scenes actually flesh out any of the characters.  Nor do any of those scenes get the reader interested in any of these characters.  Instead, I found the members of the Young Allies to be largely bland and unexciting.

Another one of the most important tasks of a debut issue is to quickly establish the mission statement of the team.  Unfortunately, Young Allies #1 fails in this category.  McKeever never lets the reader know what is the purpose of the Young Allies.  McKeever fails to outline the motivation for the team to exist and what their point and purpose are within the 616 universe that separates them from the myriad of other super hero teams in the 616 universe.

Young Allies #1 is also lacking in content.  There is no real story at all in this issue.  All we get is some random fighting and lots of relatively pointless dialogue. McKeever fails to hatch any plotlines at all other than the random villain attack at the end of this story.  There is nothing at all in Young Allies #1 that hooks the reader into wanting to come back for more.

The artwork is solid, but certainly nothing special.  The art is clean and consistent and never gets in the way of the story.  Baldeon’s artwork has the proper bright and youthful look that works perfectly on a title like Young Allies.

Verdict: Young Allies #1 is a fluffy read.  There is little content to this issue.  McKeever offers the reader nothing on this title that you cannot find elsewhere and in a better fashion.  I would only recommend Young Allies #1 to fans of the characters that star in this title.


  1. Justice League: Generation Lost #3

Creative Team

Writer: Judd Winick and Keith Giffen

Artist: Fernando Dagnino

Inks: Bit and Raul Fernandez

Colors: Hi-Fi

Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

Justice League: Generation Lost #3 was an average read.  The writers spend the vast majority of the time in this issue re-hashing what we already know from Blackest Night #8 and from Justice League: Generation Lost #1 and #2.  I get it.  Nobody remembers Max Lord.  It isn’t that hard of a concept to grasp.

The scenes involving Fire seem more like a perfunctory excise of making sure the reader fully understands how nobody on the planet remembers Max Lord.  I found myself quickly skimming through these pages as they offered little that was engaging.

The rest of the issue consists of mindless brawling between our heroes (Booster Gold, Ice, Captain Atom and the new Blue Beetle) and the Omacs.  The fight scene seems just an artificial excuse to work the new Blue Beetle and the Rocket Reds into the story.

The plotting and pacing was poor on this title.  No plotlines are advanced in this issue.  The story itself seems a bit directionless.  It appears as if the writers are stalling for time.  The reader could easily skip this issue and not miss anything.

It appears that this 26 issue title is going to be fluffed out in order for the writers to stretch this story across the entire year.  The story could probably be told more effectively and in a more entertaining manner if it was just a 12 issue series.

The character work was average.  The dialogue was pedestrian.  There is no chemistry at all between the characters.  At this point, the writers have failed to get me to care about any of the characters or the threat that Max Lord presents.

I am still trying to figure out the purpose of Justice League: Generation Lost other than just a cash grabbing effort on the heels of Blackest Night.  I did not think that Max Lord was a character that needed to be brought back to life.  And, so far, DC has failed to change my opinion.

Verdict: I would only recommend Justice League: Generation Lost #3 to fans of the old JLI.  Otherwise, pass on this title.  There are much better ways to spend your hard earned money.


  1. Titans #24

Creative Team

Writer: Eric Wallace

Pencils: Fabrizio Fiorentino

Inks: Mike Mayhew

Colors: Hi-Fi

Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Titans #24 was an average read.  I am beginning to wonder why DC even needs this team.  The DCU already has the Secret Six.  Is there really a need for yet another team of villains pulling off missions in the DCU?  This seems more like a cash grabbing move by DC since the Secret Six has such a loyal and vocal fan base.

I am still not buying into why Deathstroke would gather together this team.  I have a hard time getting into a team title when there appears to be no viable or interesting reason for the team to exist.

Wallace continues to fail to get me interested in this roster.  This team feels like a hodge-podge of characters.  The lack of any real character work makes it even harder to get into this story.  The characters are simply unappealing at this point.  They are a bunch of rather whiney and angst ridden villains.

So far, Wallace has been unable to generate any chemistry at all between the characters.  The dialogue is average.

I am particularly disappointed in how Osiris’ character is being handled.  This is one of the characters that I was excited to see return in Blackest Night #8.  Unfortunately, all DC has managed to do is kill off any interest in Osiris’ character that I once had.

Honestly, I would rather have seen DC just let Osiris stay dead than bring him back in this manner.  The last thing we need is another mopey hero who does nothing but sit around and whine.  So far, this has been a total waste of Osiris’ character.

Still, Titans #24 did offer the reader some great action scenes.  This issue moves at a nice pace as Wallace makes this issue a lively read.  The scene transitions are well done and this issue has a pleasant flow.

The double twist ending we get in this issue was well played.  The fact that Deathstroke was actually working for Lex Luthor the entire time rather than trying to kill Lex was nicely done.

Of course, the main reason that I purchased Titans #24 is because I am a huge fan of Deathstroke the Terminator.  If Slade appears in a comic book then I am more than likely going to buy it.

Fiorentino and Mayhew combine to deliver a nice looking issue.  Yes, the panels are a bit inconsistent at times.  However, overall, Titans #24 is a good looking issue.

Verdict: I would only recommend Titans #24 to Deathstroke fans.  For everyone else, I would pass on this title.


  1. Batman #700

Creative Team

Writer: Grant Morrison

Artists: Tony Daniel, Frank Quitely, Scott Kolins, Andy Kubert, David Finch and Richard Friend.

Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

This was not what I was expecting for a big 700th issue.  I found Morrison’s story to be average.  This was certainly not the best work that we have gotten from Morrison on Batman.

Having said that, this issue certainly had some fun bits with the hopping back and forth along the time stream and the different Batmen that we get to see from Bruce Wayne to Dick Grayson to Damien Wayne to Terry McGinnis.

Morrison also continues to play with theme of the Batman mythos as a living breathing mythology.  Morrison examines the different versions of the Batman and how they connect with each other.  I have to admit that I appreciate how much depth and complexity that Morrison has brought to the Batman mythos.

To be fair, I have no interest in any Batman other than Bruce Wayne.  Unlike most DC heroes, I view Batman as Bruce Wayne.  The Batman is not just a title to be passed on to other characters like other super heroes are designed in the DCU.  So, this story was going to be limited from the start to a reader like me.

Beyond that, the structure of the story felt sloppy and rushed.  The transitions were clunky and Morrison did not seem to put his usual effort into crafting a nicely polished story.  Batman #700 read like a rough draft.

The artwork was solid.  However, with the big name talent on this issue I expected something better than what we got.  This was not the best work that I have seen from these artists.

However, what was fantastic were the extras included in this issue.  The reader gets treated to some excellent pin ups from Shane Davis, Juan Doe, Guillem March, Dustin Nguyen, Time Sale, Bill Sienkieicz and Philip Tan.  They are all fantastic looking.

The reader also gets a pretty cool “Secrets of the Batcave” by Freddie Williams II in the form of a great double page splash shot of a schematic of the Batcave.  I always love it when artists do a diagram of a hero or a super team’s headquarters.

Verdict: I would certainly recommend fans of Grant Morrison’s Batman to pick up this issue.  Morrison does a good job in this issue of playing with some plotlines and themes from earlier in his run on Batman.  Batman fans that dislike Morrison will probably be less than impressed with how this issue reads.


  1. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #11

Creative Team

Writer: Brian Bendis

Artist: David LaFuente

Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

Ultimate Spider-Man was a solid read.  As always, the strength of this issue was in the dialogue and character work. While Bendis speak can become overbearing and ruin a story on other titles, it fits right at home on Ultimate Spider-Man.

The gabby ditzy feel of Bendis speak works perfectly with the teen characters that populate this title. Bendis always manages to get me to chuckle with his dialogue on this title and Ultimate Spider-Man #11 was no exception.

The character work continues to be well done. I love the cast of supporting characters that Bendis has assembled for Spider-Man. The chemistry between Spider-Man and his amazing friends living with him at Aunt May’s house is spot on.

Bendis ends this issue with an excellent hook ending involving the Chameleon capturing Peter and then impersonating Peter. The Ultimate version Chameleon is a great character and he gets the proper power upgrade help to modernize his character and make him even more of a threat. And we all know what type of hilarity will ensue once Chameleon makes life difficult for Peter by posing as him.

Ultimate Spider-Man #11 had several defects.  This issue was completely lacking in action.  The lack of action is compounded by the fact that this issue is slowly paced. That makes this a bit of a dull read.

The plotting on Ultimate Spider-Man is quite suspect. This issue presents the reader with zero plot progression. Nothing much happens in this issue until the end when the Chameleon makes his appearance. Bendis spends most of this issue stalling by giving the reader repetitious dialogue and re-hashing well worn ground.

LaFuente delivers plenty of nice artwork. LaFuente’s youthful and bright style of art is a perfect match for this title. What is particularly enjoyable are the excellent facial expressions that LaFuente gives the characters. The amount of emotion that LaFuente’s art brings to the table helps to breathe life into Bendis’ story.

Verdict: I would recommend Ultimate Spider-Man #11 if you do not mind a slow story that moves the plots along at the pace of a daytime soap opera. Readers who enjoy character driven stories are sure to enjoy this issue.


  1. Ultimate Comics Avengers 2 #3

Creative Team

Writer: Mark Millar

Pencils: Leinil Yu

Inks: Gerry Alanguilan

Colors: Dave McCaig

Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

Ultimate Comics Avengers 2 #3 was a big budget Hollywood action movie styled story.  Millar loads this issue up with plenty of cool action scenes.  If you like classic 1980’s and 1990’s styled action movies then you will have a blast reading this issue.

This issue is full of “Oh shit!” moments from start to finish.  Millar makes sure to give each character their moment to shine and to show off what a bad-ass they are.  In this issue, Hawkeye gets his moment as he manages to nail Ghost Rider’s motorcycle with a rocket launcher at a distance of one mile.  Of course, it is a perfect hit because like Hawkeye says “I never miss.”

The dialogue nothing artful at all; but what it does deliver are plenty of funny “action movie” one-liners.  The characters get to chew through the dialogue as they try and one-up each other on who is the biggest bad-ass.

The downside to this issue is that the pacing is extremely slow.  We are three issues into this story arc and have gotten little to no plot progression at all.  Up until the end of this issue where our heroes finally lock horns with Ghost Rider, Millar has been engaged in nothing more than moving chess pieces around the bad.

Of course, the biggest weakness of this issue is the absolute lack of depth to the story.  What you see is what you get.  This is a very thin story.  It is truly nothing more than popcorn for the brain.

I have never been much of a fan of Yu’s artwork.  However, Yu’s artwork looks great in this issue.  I have always said that Yu would be a perfect match on a horror or supernatural title due to how ugly he draws his characters’ faces.  Well, after seeing how Yu draws the Ghost Rider, I am more convinced than ever that Marvel needs to place Yu on a supernatural/horror title immediately.  Yu’s Ghost Rider is phenomenal.  One of the best looking Ghost Riders I have seen in a long time.

Verdict: If you like Hollywood styled action flicks then get Ultimate Comics Avengers 2 #3.  You will certainly like it.  This issue does mindless action extremely well.  However, if you prefer a story with depth and substance and also like strong character work and well crafted dialogue then I would recommend skipping on this title.  It is simply not written for you.


  1. Captain America #606

Creative Team

Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Butch Guice

Colors: Dean White

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

All right!  It looks like Brubaker is finally getting Captain America back on track.  Brubaker’s run on this title has been simply stellar from the very start.  However, during the lead-in to Captain America Reborn, the quality of this title suffered.  Reborn then came out and was extremely disappointing.

Since the end of Reborn, Captain America has had trouble regaining its momentum.  The past story arc was about as generic and boring of a story that we have gotten during all of Brubaker’s run on this title.

Fortunately, it appears that Brubaker has this title firing on all cylinders once again with this new story arc.  Captain America #606 presents the reader with an interesting plotline involving Baron Zemo learning that Bucky is in fact the new Captain America.

The character work is quite strong in this issue.  Brubaker continues to do a wonderful job with Bucky.  I continue to find Bucky even more compelling and fascinating than I ever did Steve Rogers.  Bucky’s psychological scars adds some depth and interest to his character.

While, I do not like the dark and scarred hero on many titles, it works very well on this title.  If there is ever a character that should struggle against emotional demons it would be Bucky after all that he has been through since his “death” in World War II.

The chemistry between Bucky, Steve and the Falcon is well done.  The dialogue is nicely crafted.  From top to bottom, Captain America #606 presents the reader with the type of polished story that I have come to expect from Brubaker.

The plotting is also returning back to form.  Brubaker is setting into place several interesting plotlines including Bucky’s nightmares as well as Baron Zemo’s machinations.  To be sure, Brubaker employs his usual slow burn approach with the story.  Therefore, readers who get impatient with slowly paced stories may not be that enthralled with what Brubaker is delivering in this issue.

Guice does a great job on this issue.  I am sad to see Steve Epting leave this title.  Epting has done a wonderful job bringing Brubaker’s stories to life.  However, Guice’s style of art is a perfect match for the mood and tone of this title.  This title should do well in Guice’s capable hands.

Verdict: I recommend getting Captain America #606.  Brubaker appears to be returning to form on this title.  From a technical standpoint, this issue is well written.  The story should appeal to both super hero readers and non-super hero readers


  1. Avengers Academy #1

Creative Team

Writer: Christos Gage

Artist: Mike McKone

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10


See my earlier review. 

Verdict: I recommend giving Avengers Academy #1 a try.  It appears that Gage has some interesting and original plans for this title.  This title should appeal to both fans of the classic Avengers as well as to fans of teen super teams.


  1. Iron Man Noir #3

Creative Team

Writer: Scott Snyder

Pencils: Manuel Garcia

Inks: Lorenzo Ruggiero

Colors: Marta Martinez

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Iron Man Noir #3 was an absolute blast to read.  Snyder continues to do a wonderful job on this title.  I wish the 616 Universe Iron Man was as exciting and fun to read as Iron Man Noir.

Iron Man Noir #3 is a properly paced title.  Snyder keeps the story moving forward with a purpose.  The reader gets a nice blend of drama and action in this issue.  This issue is well plotted.  Snyder keeps the story moving with a nice methodical manner.

Snyder does an excellent job with the character work in this issue.  Tony has a wonderfully developed personality.  This version of Tony is incredibly interesting and appealing.  Snyder clearly gets Tony’s character.  Snyder properly plays up the Howard Hughes aspect of Tony’s character in this issue.  We also get some great character growth as the reader gets to witness Tony finally embracing his density of being a hero and the responsibility that comes along with that role.

Snyder also delivers some great character work with Rhodey and Jarvis.  All of the characters have well developed voices.  The excellent chemistry between Tony, Rhodey and Jarvis is part of why Iron Man Noir #3 is such an engrossing read.

Snyder ends Iron Man Noir #3 with a jaw dropping hook ending that absolutely stuns the reader.  The fact that Baron Zemo is actually Howard Stark was a brilliant twist.  I cannot wait to see where Snyder goes from here.

Snyder certainly serves up plenty of action in this issue.  We finally get to see the Iron Man armor in action.  As an added bonus, Snyder also unveils the War Machine Noir armor.  It was definitely fun to see the Noir versions of these suits of armor in action.

Ruggiero delivers plenty of solid artwork.  I continue to love Ruggiero’s designs for all of the wild 1930’s Sci Fi tech that we get in this issue.  From Namor’s submarine to Tony’s blimp to the suits of armor, all the tech looks fantastic.

Verdict: Absolutely get Iron Man Noir #3.  If you are looking for some a great Iron Man story then this is the title for you.  Iron Man Noir is incredibly entertaining.  It is also a well balanced issue that should appeal to a large cross-section of readers.


  1. SHIELD #2

Creative Team

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Dustin Weaver

Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 9.5 Night Girls out of 10

I loved SHIELD #2.  This issue was simply beautifully written.  Hickman is establishing himself as not just Marvel’s most talented writer, but perhaps the most talented writer between both Marvel and DC.  The writing on SHIELD is simply on another level compared to any other title currently being published by Marvel or DC.

From a technical standpoint, I am blown away by Hickman’s literary skill.  Hickman’s command of language, use of imagery and plot construction is simply not what you normally find on a comic book.  SHIELD is simply not a comic book.  This title is a graphic novel.  There is a difference.  Hickman is treating the reader to writing that is more “big boy” writing that you find in the realm of literature.

The character work is excellent.  Each character is becoming nicely fleshed out after just two issues.  The dialogue is impeccably crafted.  It is quite evident that Hickman spent much time and effort into writing and then re-writing this story.  SHIELD #2 reads like a nicely polished final draft.  That is not something that can be said for many monthly titles on the market.

The amount of depth, substance and complexity to this story is both impressive and delightful.  Hickman treats the reader to so much to chew on and digest while reading this issue.  Hickman is playing with some weighty themes concerning the universe, the role of mankind within the universe, the human condition and the struggle for order.  SHIELD #2 is one of the few issues that warrants at least two or three reading in order to fully enjoy what Hickman is delivering on this title.

What is so enjoyable is that while Hickman certainly pushes the boundaries as the story becomes surreal at certain points, the basic story remains firmly rooted.  The reader never has to simply trust Hickman that he is going somewhere with this story.  Instead, Hickman gives the reader enough of concrete plotlines so that the reader understands that there is a point and purpose to the story even when things start to get rather bizarre.

I continue to enjoy how Hickman is able to seamlessly blend 616 Universe continuity like Howard Stark, Nathan Richards and Galactus with real world history like Leonardo DaVinci and Nostradamus.

Speaking of DaVinci, what am incredibly cool character!  DaVinci is the type of historical character that is tailor made for a comic book and Hickman is certainly capitalizing on that fact in a fine fashion.

SHIELD #2 offers up a fair amount of action in order to keep the issue lively.  However, Hickman’s story is so engrossing that action is simply not necessary in order to keep the full attention of the reader.

Dustin Weaver’s artwork is breathtakingly gorgeous.  Weaver brings Hickman’s story to life in a vivid fashion.  Weaver’s artwork sucks the reader into the story and makes it easy for the reader to get completely lost in the tale that Hickman is delivering.  The amount of detail that Weaver layers into each and every panel is impressive.

My only complaint with SHIELD #2 is the slow pacing.  This is compounded by the fact that we are only get an issue of SHIELD once every two months.  This bi-monthly shipping schedule is making this slower paced story seem like it is moving at a crawl.

The solution would have been for Marvel to treat SHIELD for what it is: a graphic novel.  SHIELD should have been published in OGN format instead of a bi-monthly floppy.  Marvel needs to expand their vision on how to deliver their product beyond the standard issue serialized floppy format.

If SHIELD is too long for one OGN then Marvel could have easily released SHIELD graphic novels in several volumes.  It works fine for manga.  The OGN format would also enhance the reading experience of SHIELD.

Verdict: I strongly recommend SHIELD #2.  This title is fantastic.  However, for readers who are impatient and dislike slow moving stories, I would recommend you waiting until SHIELD is published in trade format.