Weekly Awards For The Comic Books From November 5, 2008

All right, let’s go ahead and dish out The Revolution’s weekly awards.

The award for the best comment of the week goes to Joe Average who posted this comment to The Revolution’s review of Ultimatum #1:

“For a first issue, I am tending to like this more than hate it. Most television shows and movies have an opening sequence to “hook” the viewer. Not much story, mostly flash. From that perspective, i like the way this issue starts off. Is it deep or complex? No. Does it need to be at this point? I don’t think so. Magneto is one of my favourites so it’s nice to see the death of his children really push him over the edge. Granted, if history is any indication, Loeb will eventually drop the ball again, bur for now I give it an 8 overall. Yes, an 8 may be high for the deep thinkers out there, but compared to Secret Invasion, i’m liking this ride MUCH better…

PS – HE LOVES YOU”

Joe Average definitely liked this issue much more than me, but he gave good supporting evidence concerning why he felt Ultimatum #1 was a good read. The kicker to this comment that pushed it ahead of several other good ones this week was the “PS – HE LOVES YOU” I busted out loud laughing. Classic.

The nominees for the Che for the best read of the week:

Adventure Comics Special Guardian #1
Justice Society of America #20

The Winner: Adventure Comics Special Guardian #1

The Revolution was not all that impressed with the majority of the comic books that we got last Wednesday. This was a rather disappointing week. However, there were two gems that I enjoyed immensely. This was certainly a tough decision to choose between Adventure Comics Special Guardian #1 and Justice Society of America #20. I have already reviewed both titles and through both were excellent reads.

Still, in the end I had to award the Che to Adventure Comics Special Guardian #1. Robinson did an excellent job continuing to lay the foundation for the New Krypton story arc as well as fleshing out Guardian’s character and giving him an important role in the New Krypton story arc. This issue also did a fine job in trying to pull in new readers as well.

And now the nominees for the Sequential Methadone Award for the worst read of the week:

Amazing Spider-Man #576
Invincible Iron Man #7
Sub-Mariner: Depths #3
Trinity #23
Ultimatum #1

The Winner: Invincible Iron Man #7

Amazing Spider-Man #576
Creative Team
Writer: Joe Kelly
Pencils: Chris Bachalo
Inks: Tim Townsend

Art Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10

Amazing Spider-Man #576 was another unimpressive read. In this issue Spider-Man brawls with the newly improved Hammerhead once again. Only, this time Spider-Man manages to break Hammerhead’s hip and, thereby, concluding that broken hips do indeed hurt more than the dislocated jaw that Spider-Man received in the beginning of this issue from Hammerhead. The rest of this issue is basically a little Public Service Announcement that kids should not join gangs.

Thank goodness for this issue, or I might have run out any joined the MS-13’s this weekend. Kelly also tells us that the kids that join gangs are innocent creatures who are being used and simply feel as if they have no other choice but to join a gang. So, keep that in mind the next time you get carjacked. It just isn’t their fault.

Okay, enough sarcastic comments, the fact is that Amazing Spider-Man #576 was a boring read. This two issue story arc has read like filler. The only major plotline that has been advanced is that Mr. Negative is trying to take over all of the smaller street gangs in his attempt to be the new Kingpin of New York. And Hammerhead is Mr. Negative’s newest weapon in his arsenal to take over the city.

Kelly serves up a dull read and it feels like he is simply going through the motions with this issue. Amazing Spider-Man #576 is a standard issue brawlfest issue. At this point, there simply is not much going on in Amazing Spider-Man that is particularly interesting at all. And the introduction of Norah has done nothing at all for me. Norah is a lame and irritating Gen X version of Lois Lane.

Of course, the worst part of Amazing Spider-Man #576 is the artwork. Bachalo and Townsend deliver an issue that at certain parts is virtually impossible to decipher. I felt like I was staring at an ink blot test for the majority of this issue. It is possible that the terrible artwork made this issue such a tedious chore to read that it negatively impacted my view of the story itself. And what is with Bacahlo drawing Peter Parker like he was 16 years old again?

Sub-Mariner: Depths #3
Creative Team
Writer: Peter Milligan

Artist: Esad Ribic

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

This just might be one of the slowest moving stories that I have ever read. I understand what Milligan is trying to do with this title. And Milligan’s concept of Namor originally being nothing more than a mariner’s tale just like mermaids and the Kraken is a neat one. Unfortunately, the execution has been less than impressive.

We are three issues into this mini-series and we STILL have not gotten an appearance by Namor. Trust me; this mini-series is a Sub-Mariner title only in name and not in content. Sub-Mariner: Depths #3 is terribly repetitious as we simply get the same dialogue from the previous two issues. We get plenty more of Professor Stein doubting the existence of Namor while the crew continues to maintain Namor’s existence. I feel like I keep reading the same issue over and over again.

On the positive side, Ribic does a fantastic job with the artwork. Ribic perfectly captures the oppressive feel of the deep dark underwater world that Namor supposedly inhabits. Ribic also succeeds in delivering a dark, creepy and suspenseful mood fitting of this story centering on some terrible underwater boogey man. If it was not for Ribic’s artwork then this issue would be practically unreadable.

Trinity #23
Creative Team
Writers: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza

Artists: Mark Bagley, Art Thibert, Scott McDaniel, Andy Owens, Tom Derenick, Wayne Faucher, Mike Norton and Jerry Ordway

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

What is the point of this title again? This story reads like an incoherent mess. And I was under the impression that Trinity was going to focus on Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman and their relationships with each other as well as their roles in the DCU. Instead, those three characters have been largely absent for quite some time.

I already published my review for Ultimatum #1. While I was not impressed by this issue, it was not the worst read of the week. In the end, I had to go give the Sequential Methadone Award for the worst read of the week to Invincible Iron Man #7.

Invincible Iron Man #7
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

Imagine that, The Revolution did not enjoy the latest issue of Invincible Iron Man #7. I passed on publishing a review for this issue since my criticisms would have read the same as the previous issues. Criticizing Matt Fraction’s work on Invincible Iron Man is like shooting fish in a barrel. Fraction just makes it too darn easy for me.

This issue deals with Ben Urich deciding that he needs to do some reporting and he chooses Peter to go with him to cover the press conference at the Stark facility in Long Island that blew up. This leads to the obligatory super-hero team-up between Spider-Man and Iron Man. Spider-Man forces himself on Tony in order to help Tony shut down the supertech black market that is selling bits of Starktech which enabled Stane 2.0 to create his bombs that blew up the Stark facilities.

Iron Man and Spider-Man take out the Terrible Tinkerer and Wheele. The adventure concludes with Iron Man then taking Mr. Gross’ collection of Super-Villain technology into SHIELD custody.

Fraction ends this issue with a “dramatic” and “touching” ending with Iron Man and Spider-Man at the scene of the destroyed Stark Facility. Iron Man flips open his facemask and admits that between SHIELD and his corporation that everything feels like it is on the razor’s edge. That the rifts between the good guys are getting worse and that the bad guys are consolidating. Tony states that he does not know if he is strong enough and smart enough to keep everything together.

Spider-Man shrugs off Tony’s comments and swings off. Spider-Man then swings up high and hides on part of the remnants of the Stark facility. Then he whips out his camera and invades Tony’s privacy by snapping a shot of him looking weary as he sits amid the wreckage of the facility.

We cut to Peter telling Ben that he has the perfect picture. Ben is excited and they run a front page article about Tony with the title “The Head That Wears The Crown” with the picture of Tony amid the wreckage underneath the title.

Invincible Iron Man #7 had so many defects and problems that I do not know where to start. Invincible Iron Man #7 was nothing more than pure filler. This issue was designed to waste time and allow Fraction to catch his breath after concluding the first major six issue story arc on this title.

Now, I will admit that Fraction does a fine job with Spider-Man. Peter is a pretty easy character to write. He has an easy personality to get a handle on. All Fraction has to do is come up with some witty banter, which is one of Fraction’s strengths, and you immediately get a solid version of Spider-Man.

Unfortunately, that was about all that Fraction did well with this issue. The main plotline for Invincible Iron Man #7 was Tony shutting down the super tech black market that was selling bits of Starktech. Wow. I am stunned at how Fraction has done nothing more than recycle older plotlines from earlier runs on Iron Man. At this point, it does not appear that Fraction has a single original thought in his head at all when it comes to this title. We have already gotten the Armor Wars. I do not need a one-dimensional and watered down version of that excellent story.

I am also sick and tired of the Registration Act and the Initiative. This story as outlived its usefulness. It has become a joke that registered heroes continually and routinely let unregistered heroes walk. The fact that Iron Man not only does not arrest Spider-Man, but actually teams-up with him and then opens his heart to him was a joke. If Marvel is going to continually let even the top cop in Iron Man let unregistered heroes walk over and over again then I think it is time to put this tired and lame Registration Act storyline to rest.

Fraction also recycled the tired, old and stale dialogue about being registered that we got pounded into our skulls during Civil War and subsequently in the Initiative story line. It was a nightmarish flashback having to sit through that dialogue once again.

Fraction continues to have characters say some of the dumbest things. In this issue, Fraction makes a point of having Spider-Man stunned the destruction of the Stark facility. Spider-Man is overwhelmed and says that “I have never seen such destruction…on such a scale.” Huh, what? Seriously? Spider-Man who has been a part of every single Marvel big event and war with all the rampant and mind boggling destruction is going to state that the destruction of a Stark facility is of a scale that he has never seen before? That was just stupid.

With this team-up, Fraction allows Spider-Man to do the comic book equivalent of coming over to Tony’s house uninvited and proceeding to sleep with Tony’s wife, drink Tony’s beer and kick back on Tony’s sofa and watch TV. Fraction lets Spider-Man absolutely take over this issue. Fraction also allows Spider-Man to play the role of the good guy as Fraction makes Peter look much better than Tony. I thought I was reading an issue of Amazing Spider-Man penned by JMS and not an issue of Invincible Iron Man.

Fraction proceeds to make Tony look like an absolute dick in his own title. The version of Tony that we get in this issue is more like the pathetic version that Bendis and JMS routinely gave us rather than the complex and intriguing version that the Knaufs gave us on Iron Man: Director of SHIELD. Fraction makes Stark look money-grubbing as he can only view Spider-Man’s tech like his webbing and his tracers as a revenue generating inventions that Spider-Man could enjoy if only he revealed his identity. In general, Fraction has Tony come off as a total chump and Spider-Man come off as the nice moral good guy.

I am a life-long Iron Man fan. Iron Man is hands down my favorite Marvel character. But, even I thought Tony was a tool after reading Invincible Iron Man #7. It is obvious that Fraction has no love or connection at all with Tony Stark or the Iron Man franchise. You know, Iron Man: Then End #1 may have been an old school story that younger readers probably laughed at, but the fact is that the reader gets a clear sense that Michelinie and Layton love Iron Man’s character. And when a writer has respect and love for a character the story always is a much more enjoyable read.

Fraction continues to display an alarming lack of knowledge and feel for Tony’s character. Fraction’s version of Tony is mind numbingly boring. Tony’s dialogue is flat and generic. It is so sad to see all the character growth that the Knaufs pulled off with Tony’s character go completely wasted as Fraction reduced Tony back to a rather bland personality.

My biggest criticism is that there is a total lack of life on Invincible Iron Man. This title has absolutely no soul at all. Reading this title is like watching a bunch of meat puppets mindless spitting out shoddily scripted dialogue. And the main reason that this title lacks a soul is because Fraction simply does not know how to write the main character.

In general, I enjoy Larroca’s artwork. However, I have a few minor quibbles with the art in this issue. There are several panels where Tony is so shiny that he looks like he is made out of plastic instead of flesh. It is just creepy. And the porn moustache has got to go. Every artist has been drawing Tony with a goatee ever since the 1990’s. And there is a good reason for that.

Also, Larroca continues to look to the Iron Man movie for inspiration concerning how to draw the Iron Man armor. And it is annoying. I hate that all of the sudden, Iron Man is using his repulsor rays to help him fly and land when his older generation armors, which are supposedly inferior, did not require Tony to do so.

So congrats to Adventure Comics Special Guardian #1 for winning The Che Award of the week and “congrats” to Invincible Iron Man #7 for winning the Sequential Methadone Award for the week.

2 Comments

  1. With regards to mini-review of Amazing Spider-Man #576, I may have liked the issue better than you did, but I certainly can understand your point of view. Certainly, Bachalo art is not everybody’s cup of tea, and there were time in which is was hard to decipher panels where there is action going on, not to mention his faces at times really seemed to need work. I also think your comment about the new character Norah being a “Gen-X version of Lois Lane” is pretty spot on, as my reaction to her in this and the previous issue was that she was akin to Lois Lane or Chole Sullivan from Smallville. However, it’s rather telling that she has shown far more personality within two issues than the other new potential love interests (Carlie and Lily) have in the past ten to eleven months. I also believe that the “braintrust” is setting things up so that Peter and Norah will go out on a date and that, towards the end of it, she’s going to say and do something that will remind Peter of MJ and that he still hasn’t gotten over her. In a way, MJ and Norah are similar characters in that they both are outgoing, spunky, and flirtatious with strong personalities; the difference being that MJ is more playful and carefree while Norah comes off as abrasive and nosy. Even Joe Kelly made a comparison between the two in a recent interview he gave to CBR.

    As for your review of Invincible Iron Man #7, one thing you didn’t address was how it appears that Tony also no longer knows that Peter and Spider-Man are one and the same; all he knows is that both were working for him at one point and apparently left for different reasons. This shows just how much of a continuity headache the whole One More Day/Brand New Day not only has on Spider-Man but in the Marvel Universe as a whole.

    Mike McNulty, a.k.a. stillanerd

  2. I read somewhere that Fraction should be the new writer for Young Avengers. I don’t know if you’ve read that before, but during the Young Avengers Presents series, Fraction wrote the last issue with Clint Barton and the Hawkeye from the Young Avengers and I heard that he did really well. With what he’s doing on X-Men and Invincible Iron Man I guess a teen oriented book would be better for him.

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