Reviews

Reviews of comic books, graphic novels, books on comics, and other comic-related media.

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211_batman_mask_of_the_phantasm_1024Rosebuds and Grim Reapers: Why Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the Citizen Kane of Animated Films

From the deputized FBI agent of the 1940’s movie serials to the gritty, realistic vigilante of Christopher Nolan’s films, Hollywood has portrayed Batman in a variety of ways, but none of the live-action films have… [more]

Justice League International (2011) #1Justice League International #1 Review

It’s hard to put into words how silly Justice League International #1 is. On the one hand, it’s written in a style that’s a throwback to the very early 1990s. That shouldn’t be a total surprise:… [more]

Action Comics #1, top of page 9Not Your Daddy’s Superman: How Grant Morrison’s Action Comics #1 Works

Having slammed Justice League #1 so severely in the last week, I feel as if I’d be remiss not to point out how excellent Action Comics #1 is and how it gets right virtually everything… [more]

UA 2Mark Millar’s The Ultimates, Part 6: And Now for Something Completely Different

If Ultimate Comics Avengers was a departure from Millar’s previous Ultimates work, then its sequel goes completely off the rails.

Justice League #1, top of page 4How Not to Relaunch a Universe: A Negative Review of Justice League #1

How bad is Justice League #1, written by Geoff Johns and penciled by Jim Lee? It’s virtually a road map for how not to write super-hero comics.

Justice-League-1How to Launch a Universe in 52 Easy Steps: A Positive Review of Justice League #1

Though I typically skew toward hyperbole when I discuss anything, I will do my best to avoid such in this review. So let’s get this out of the way right now: is Justice League the best… [more]

ultimate_avengers_2_020Mark Millar’s The Ultimates, Part 5: The Return

After Ultimates 2, Millar stepped away from the Ultimate universe for a couple of years. During his absence, Jeph Loeb took over forUltimates 3 and while it was a more traditional super-hero story, it still had… [more]

Quicksilver kills HurricaneMark Millar’s The Ultimates, Part 4: More Betrayal

After numerous issues of in-fighting and build up, all of the pieces are in place for Millar’s endgame and he takes the series to its only logical conclusion — America’s arms race backfires. It’s the… [more]

08-16-2011 Amazing SpidermanHow to be a Super-Hero in Five Minutes Flat

J. Michael Straczynski and Esad Ribic’s Silver Surfer: Requiem is one of the best comics I have read in recent memory.  

Ultimatum 1 Variant“Ultimatum”, “Crisis On Infinite Earths” & “Onslaught” & The Thinning Out Of The Superhero Herd A Touch:- “The End Of All Flesh Is Come Before Me”

“Ultimatum” 14. “Ultimatum” was designed to affect an extraordinary culling of super-folks from Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, a somewhat-ailing if still successful component of the companies multiverse. Like “Crisis” and “Onslaught”, it was a project designed… [more]

The_Ultimates2_issue1Mark Millar’s The Ultimates, Part 3: Saying Something

Volume 2 of The Ultimates (sometimes referred to as Season 2) is not only vastly superior to the first, but I would argue that it is the best work of Millar’s career. It’s a fascinating… [more]

ultimates012_23Mark Millar’s The Ultimates, Part 2: Something More Traditional

After the first six issues of Millar’s The Ultimates had established the team as a group of celebrity soldiers with little ethical or moral backbone (except for Thor who is considered insane by the others),… [more]

Ultimates1Mark Millar’s The Ultimates, Part 1: The Anti-Comic

With the ten-year anniversary of Mark Millar’s The Ultimates coming up next year, and with an all new line up of Ultimate books coming from Jonathan Hickman and Nick Spencer later this year, there’s no… [more]

Thor movie posterThor as Camp

Thor is a glitzy, glossy summer movie. It’s also high camp in the traditional sense: super-serious and apparently blissfully unaware of how utterly ridiculous it is on every level. It may take itself more seriously… [more]

Action 1Action Comics #1 and the Superman We Know and Love

Action Comics #1 is the quintessential comic book. Beyond simply being Superman’s first appearance, the cover is iconic, and it holds the distinction of being the most expensive comic book of all time. If ever… [more]

G.I. JoeG.I. Joe: Resolute: The Real American Heroes

The ’80s were, hands down, the best time for cartoons. Between Thundercats, Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe, Transformers, and a plethora of other cartoons that are too numerous to mention here, the ’80s were the… [more]

Grant Morrison's The Authority #1Grant Morrison’s Wildstorm Universe, Part 2: The Authority

While Grant Morrison reimagined the WildStorm Universe’s first team with his WildCats relaunch, the writer also tackled the most popular team with his run on The Authority.

Grant Morrison's Wildcats #1Grant Morrison’s Wildstorm Universe, Part 1: Wildcats

After Mark Millar left The Authority and Warren Ellis’s Planetary had gone to a more erratic schedule, the WildStorm Universe needed a big name to come in and turn the whole line of comics around. Enter Grant… [more]

Kick-Ass-Comic-CoverKick-Ass: The Comic in Retrospect

The movie version of Kick-Ass received so much press attention that the comic can feel like a footnote. Because the movie was optioned and produced before the series was even complete, it’s easy to feel… [more]

X-Factor_Vol_1_85The Peter David Factor: Part 16

X-Factor #85 (Dec. 1992) — Snikts and Bones — This issue continues X-Factor’s part (Part 6) of the multi-part crossover known as X-Cutioner’s Song. Since last issue, Apocalypse has fought and escaped the X-Men, Cannonball… [more]

From Batman #676Deconstructing “Batman R.I.P.”

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding Grant Morrison’s Batman run. To detractors, it’s just unreadable. This often goes along with ugly comments about Morrison in general: that he’s admitted to being inspired by drugs and that… [more]

ValerianValérian: Spaceships, Simulacra, and Star Wars

The French Connection is back after a long hiatus with the same purpose it had two years ago, to present and review significant bande-dessinées. Previous columns dealt with recent publications, works by Sfar, Trondheim or… [more]

Batman #678 (Alex Ross cover)Batman #678: The Zur-En-Arrh Connection

Grant Morrison’s Batman #678 relies heavily on reference to Batman #113 (February 1958), specifically Zur-En-Arrh.

page from Run, Bong-Gu, Run!Run, Bong-Gu, Run! Review

“Bong-Gu” is the Korean word for “fart.” Although my buddy Kevin says it’s actually “Pong-Gu,” which led to a very lengthy discussion about pronunciation. Then we agreed to call the whole thing off. Significance of… [more]

john hComics Round-Up

All sorts of different comics to review this time around: THE UNDERBURBS #1-5, by T.J. Dort and Joe Haley. This is a sort of goth/horror parody comic, with the humor coming from playing out the… [more]