Weekly Awards For The Comic Books From January 28, 2009

All right, it is time to dish out The Revolution’s weekly awards.

As always, the followers of The Revolution chimed in with plenty of great comments. I went ahead and gave the award for the comment of the week to Ilan the Portlander Rebbe in response to the Final Crisis #7 review:

“After reading and re-reading final crises and shifting through all the online commentary, I am convinced that one of two things is the case. Either Grant Morrison is genius of such unparalleled vastness that it would make Shakespeare and Milton weep, or he decided to knock off early and turned over writing duty to Timmy, an eight year old on acid suffering from severe ADHD.

You can see that this is Morrison’s baby, and that his overall vision is rather brilliant. But as they say, the devil is in the details, and in his case, the details go everywhere. The story goes everywhere, and frankly, every plot seemed like it needed its own mini-series. We never get answers to so much. Where and why did Captain Carrot come from, what happened with Barry and Iris, what was the point of Anthro in all this? I think in the end, Morrison bit off more than he could chew, and what was intended as his love song to the Multiverse fell flat of what it could have been.

It’s good of him to take the blame for everything, but to be honest; I think the mess came from DiDio more than anyone else. He is the editor, his job is to take the writer’s passionate ideas and give them logic form. Morrison said that everyone stayed out of the way, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Sometimes, you need to have someone rein you in. If someone hadn’t told DaVinci to add some religious icons and get rid of the dogs playing poker, we never would have had the Last Supper. DiDio should have made sure that Morrison’s good ideas translated into good story telling.

To be honest, he dropped the ball in several places as well. He never should have connected Batman RIP to Final Crises in the first place. One didn’t connect to the other, and trying to shoehorn them in messed up the ending to RIP and didn’t adds anything to Final Crisis. I also think that DiDio calling it a crisis to begin with was a foolish decision. It might have been a good read if judged on its own merit, but calling it a crisis puts additional exceptions on it. I liked New Krypton, but if it had been called Crises on Kandor, I would have asked for a lot more from it.

In the end, the disjointedness of it and the lack cohesion turned off a story I otherwise might have enjoyed. Final Crises had a lot of good to it. The writing was fantastic, and Morrison’s passion was evident on every page. It really makes the execution of it all the sadder. Morrison was obviously trying to expand his craft, and I respect and artist trying to grow creatively. But not all experiments end with a positive result, and if the work is going to be put forth, you need an editor to keep things in check.

I still need to mull over Final Crises for a few weeks and let it stew in my brain before I form a lasting opinion. I’m just worried that this well be like the Matrix Two. When that sequel came out I was hyped for months about it. And after I saw it, I convinced myself that it had to be brilliant, and that I just needed to see it over again to understand it. Finally after much fighting with my future wife, numerous bad reviews and the cold harsh light of time, I had to admit that it was in fact a horrible nonsensical movie. I’m hoping that’s not going to be the case here.”

Okay, let’s go ahead and check out the nominees for The Che for the best comic book of the week.

Captain America #46
Daredevil #115
Fantastic Four #563
Incredible Hercules #125

The Winner: Daredevil #115

Captain America #45

Creative Team

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve Epting

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

Brubaker dished out another excellent read with Captain America #45. In Brubaker’s typical plotting fashion, one story arc blends seamlessly into the next one. With this new three issue story arc we get to see Bucky re-united with his old Invaders teammate Namor. Brubaker writes a good version of Namor. Namor is properly imperial, egotistical, cold and blunt with Bucky, but at the same time Brubaker manages to convey the obvious admiration and respect that Namor has for his old teammate. And the fact that Namor would even deign to accompany Bucky on this mission speaks volumes for how much Namor respects Bucky.

I dig the plotline involving the original Human Torch. We get a nice swerve as we learn that of all the Invaders it was the Human Torch who completely awed and captivated Professor Chin. That Chin views Human Torch as the ultimate weapon. And Chin’s desire to make the Human Torch into a weapon for Communist China thematically works well with this title since it brings up the painful memories of Bucky being turned into a weapon by Communist Russia.

Brubaker continues to pull off some fantastic character work with Bucky. I enjoyed how Brubaker explained how Bucky felt during his missions as the Winter Soldier. That Bucky still remembers all of his actions as the Winter Soldier and how he hates every single one of them.

Of course, Brubaker had a huge surprise in store for the reader as we learn that during the Winter Soldier’s botched mission to kill Professor Chin ended up with the Winter Soldier killing Chin’s wife. What a juicy and stunning twist. Add to that the ending with Bucky entering Chin’s laboratory dressed as the Winter Soldier and you have the ingredients for an exciting showdown in the next issue.

What I enjoyed the most about this issue is how Brubaker is handling the storied history of Captain America. Marvel’s one weakness is that it is dreadfully anemic in terms of Golden Age stories and characters compared to DC. And I have always thought that Marvel was foolish to virtually ignore their own version of the All Star Squadron in the Invaders. Brubaker is doing a wonderful job fleshing out Marvel’s Golden Age by using the Invaders in various flashback scenes. And the inclusion of a classic Golden Age character like the Human Torch is another plus to this story arc.

Steve Epting cranks out plenty of incredible looking artwork. Epting’s artwork is a perfect match for this title.

Fantastic Four #563

Creative Team

Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Bryan Hitch

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

Fantastic Four #563 was a solid set-up issue for this new story arc. Millar nicely put a bow on the previous story arc and quickly set about laying a good foundation for this new story arc. This issue centers mostly on the engagement of the Thing and Debbie. Yeah, it seems awfully fast for these two to actually be getting married. Millar has not spent much time developing this relationship during his run and often it has seemed forced and artificial. However, I am willing to go with it since I am sure that it will lead to something interesting and entertaining.

Millar continues to impress me with how much he understands each of the members of the Fantastic Four. Millar is able to make each one so fully fleshed out and unique. Of course, Millar’s Johnny Storm is the most entertaining of the four characters. Seeing Johnny chilling in his condo with two mamasitas dressed as Scarlet Witch and Storm was classic. And who can blame him! If I could get away with it I would do the same thing.

Fantastic Four #563 was strongly plotted as Millar is juggling several plotlines at once. While the Thing/Debbie engagement takes the spotlight in this issue, Millar also begins to grow the Masters of Doom plotline. Millar also hints at the simmer plotline concerning Franklin avoiding talking to his sister now that she has revealed her super smart abilities. And throw on top of that the plotline surrounding Debbie’s ex-boyfriend and the story that he is looking to sell about Debbie. With these four plotlines, Miller shows off his ability to juggle immediate, mid-range and long-range plotlines with ease.

The scene with the two “Masters of Doom” intrigued me. We see that these two men are romping their way through the Omniverse and are eradicating all life from every parallel Earth that they travel to. I know that some readers dislike the idea of Doom having any Masters. I am not one of those readers.

Everyone has a “master” at some point in their life no matter how powerful that person is. I have no problem with Doom learning his trade from someone else and then blossoming into the monster villain that he is today. It is logical that Doom learn from someone more experienced in order to grow into the role as one of Marvel’s preeminent villains. It makes more sense to learn from a “master” than to simply be born into the role as a monster villain.

Bryan Hitch provides for plenty of his excellent realistic styled artwork. Hitch always delivers a couple of one page splash shots that are simply fantastic. In this issue, I loved the splash shot of the Human Torch streaking through the air.

Incredible Hercules #125

Creative Team

Writer: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Artists: Salva Espin & Clayton Henry

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

Pak and Van Lente delivered an entertaining conclusion to this story arc involving the Amazons. Once again, Incredible Hercules #125 offers up a fantastic blend of action, drama and humor. This title is simply pure comic book fun. There are few titles on the market that deliver the type of read that Incredible Hercules gives us each and every month.

I was glad that Delphyne was the one who got the honor of taking down the evil Artume. It was only fitting that Delphyne be the one to defeat Artume and in the process return honor and dignity back to the Amazons. Pak and Van Lente understand that a good story does not always mean that the headlining hero has to be the person who delivers the final blow the main villain.

Of course, Delphyne being the Queen of the Amazons means that she cannot be in a relationship with Cho. And Hercules has his own woman problems as he confronted Namora about her dream of being with Namor. Namora responded that she was surprised that Hercules does not realize that their relationship was just a casual fling. Namora properly pointed out how Hercules himself has pretty much slept with anything that won’t run away from him. That Hercules’ sexual conquests are a virtual “Who’s Who of Super-Heroines.”

So the story ends with both Cho and Hercules sitting there bummed out about losing their girlfriends. Athena approaches the two men and tells them that she used the remaining energies from the Omphalos to return Atlas back to his proper place and then to restore the city. The men say nothing as Athena stares at them. This prompts Athena to quip “’Thank you, Athena, for cleaning up our mess we created by blindly following the basest impulses of our corporeal forms!’”

Cho then asks Hercules “Pizza?” Hercules responds “Yeah.” And with that the two men trudge off leaving Athena flustered. That was a great ending that perfectly sums up the relationship and personalities of Cho and Hercules. Hercules is like a big puppy who wants to drink, eat, have sex and fight. Cho simply cannot say “No” to stray animals like Hercules. Pak and Van Lente have created some incredibly synergy between these two characters. They compliment each other nicely and are my favorite buddy team in the Marvel Universe.

In the end, I had to award the Che to Daredevil #115. Brubaker served up a stunning conclusion to the Lady Bullseye story arc.

Daredevil #115

Creative Team

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Michael Lark, Tonci Zonjic and Stefano Gaudiano

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

Daredevil #115 provided the reader plenty of action and drama. While Brubaker may normally present the reader with slower and steady paced issues, Daredevil #115 was rather lively. And the main reason was all the great kung-fu fighting that we got through this entire issue.

Brubaker confirms the fact that the Asian female attorney who was representing Milla’s parents was indeed Lady Bullseye. However, the big surprise that Brubaker unloads on the reader came during the climactic fight scene between Daredevil and Lady Bullseye near the end of this issue.

Daredevil yells that Lady Bullseye is like every other villain who targets Matt’s friends and family. Lady Bullseye then reveals that they have not targeted Matt’s friends and family for death. That the Hand want Daredevil to be their new leader. That the Hand have not been attacking Daredevil and his friends. Instead, the Hand have been preparing Daredevil to accept their gift.

Lady Bullseye states that the Hand has been clearing away Daredevil’s problems. That Daredevil’s friends will be his lieutenants. That Daredevil will know a power that he could only dream of. That Daredevil will be free of all the tragedies of the life that he has led. Lady Bullseye then said that the Hand had nothing to do with Milla’s parents and their lawsuit against Matt.

We end the issue with Matt having turned down the offer to lead the hand and he decides to fight Milla’s parents for her custody. Matt is told by Master Izo that the Hand are gone for now. Izo also says that he has an inside source within the Hand that even the source does not know that he/she is working for Izo. We then see Lord Hirochi, Lady Bullseye, Tarantula and White Tiger on a plane to Spain. Lady Bullseye says that this is Plan B.

Brubaker is a master plotter and it shows in Daredevil #115. Brubaker is weaving a complex web of intrigue where the reader gets surprised at every twist and turn. Daredevil lagged for a while, but Brubaker has succeeded in getting this title white hot once again. I am curious to learn what the Hand’s Plan B is going to entail. And, of course, I am excited for the upcoming return of the Kingpin.

For readers who like gritty urban heroes it just does not get much better than Daredevil. If you are a fan of this type of super hero then I heartily recommend giving Daredevil a try.

And now the nominees for The Sequential Methadone Award for the worst comic book of the week:

New Avengers #49
Trinity #35

The Winner: New Avengers #49

Trinity #35 was another unexciting issue. However, it was not the worst read of the week. I had to award the Sequential Methadone Award to New Avengers #49. I already reviewed this title so we won’t beat this horse to death. Suffice it to say that Marvel will have to give me a lot more than what we got in New Avengers #49 to justify the ridiculous $3.99 cover price.

So congratulations to Daredevil #115 for winning the Che for the best comic book of the week. And “congratulations” to New Avengers #49 for winning the Sequential Methadone Award for the worse comic book of the week.

2 Comments

  1. so pumped for return of the king.
    -hobosk8er

  2. I won comment of the week! I rule. this totally volitates getting that english degree my parents said I would never use. Now, I have to think up a comment on winning the comment of the week that it wins next weeks comment of the week and creats a vicious cycle.

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