Ah, September. Kids are back to school, it’s cooler in the mornings, and people like myself are already three months into Halloween planning. But now is that time that people also look back and reflect on the summer movie run for the year. So let’s take a look at a sample of what this year had to offer from May-August. Now, my list is a bit short, and will be missing some obvious entries. We live pretty far from the closest theater so we don’t get a chance to see everything. So here’s what we have, in order of release (and spoiler-free!):
The wonderful thing about Iron Man is his odd sense of purpose. Here is man who has always been intellectual, a tinkerer, a weapons designer and most notably, an adventurer. He really is the living embodiment of an Arthurian knight. He has, especially in recent years, been a man on a quest to rid the world of evil in many forms. With Extremis back on the black market, one of Tony's worst fears is coming true, that his inventions will fall into the hands of those who wish ill of and would seek to harm the world at large. There's no doubt that he's a hero and his heart's in the right place, but then there's always been the question of where his ego is at any given moment. He's become a hell of a tactician in the decades since his debut, but then there are moments when little things slip past him. He may well become the Galahad of S.H.I.E.L.D., or at least their Lancelot. That being said, Maria Hill really needs to hide the (other) women and booze and let the man do his thing, which would be saving the world.
This is what Kieron Gillen has brought to Iron Man. The writer of the last volume of Uncanny X-Men is starting out Iron Man as though he were a classic knight-in-shining-armor hero. There's a bit of history shown in this one that long-time fans would recall and that gives us insight into what Tony thinks of other inventors. The dialogue and narration are pretty freaking good and there's really not much to pick apart as far as pacing or characterization. All of the characters we see in this issue have the potential to really mess with Tony's life, both in and out of the Iron Man persona. It will be very interesting to see where Gillen goes from here. There is a lot of promise for future arcs and the possibility of new Iron Man villains.
Greg Land's pencils are fantastic in this, just as they were in the first issue of the new volume. There doesn't seem to be too much wrong with this at all. Then there's Jay Leisten's inks, which aren't really required in this issue, except for backgrounds and bits of the new armor. The base art by these two is really good, despite some fans complaining that it doesn't match the cover. The colors on this issue were just phenomenal. There's no panel in this issue without great colors and art in general. This is one of the most beautifully illustrated Marvel comics in a long time.
Iron Man #2 gets a 5. It leaves a lot open for more issues in the story arc and the potential for more stories of its kind in the Iron Man series. Hyper Geeky definitely recommends this issue for any and all Iron Man fans.
Iron Man #2 (2012)
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Pencils: Greg Land
Inks: Jay Leisten
Colors: Guru Efx
When last we saw our hapless hero, his Spider Sense was doing a lot more than just tingling. He was captured by the third iteration of the Hobgoblin and taken to the Kingpin and given the once over with brass knuckles. Then there's the fact that he was guarded by the Hand, which is excessive since they didn't think he was Spider-Man. I mean, sure, he's been outed as "Spider-Man's tech guy" but that's different. So far, he's managed to survive possibly the largest set of super-villain waves he's seen in quite a while. His boss even came to his rescue in the last issue, which brings us to the here and now.
Dan Slott and Christos Gage have been doing an exceptional job writing what is probably Marvel's premier title. Slott already has nearly 2 years worth of experience writing the original Spidey book, and the assistance from Gage has certainly not hurt the book. The dialogue they've put in here is just classic wall crawler. The pacing is good and there are a few references to characters we haven't seen in a while. The full plot of the last few issues comes to a beautiful close here. There's definitely some great things coming from the look of it. There's no shortage of awesome to this script.
The art is still really good in this one. Giuseppe Camuncoli has brought his "A game" to the end of the story arc. There's certainly plenty of action, things going boom and just plain great things to illustrate. Dan Green and Dell's inks have helped cement the artwork thus far. The inks and Antonio Fabela's colors have given some extra dimension and nice shading to Camuncoli's colors. The colors, especially the somewhat muted bits on Spider-man's costume are pretty good. I lust like the art in this one all around. Every bit is wonderful and consistent, which really makes a difference.
The issue earns a 5, because there's nothing missing and above all, there are some added bonuses that really make it work as a story arc finale. If you're a Spider-Man fan, this issue is simply spectacular. I hear the next few will be as well, so this is certainly one to read.
Amazing Spider-Man #697
Writers: Dan Slott & Christos Gage
Pencils: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks: Dan Green and Dell
Colors: Antonio Fabela
Holy Déjà Vu, Batman!!
By: Andrew Hines
This has been one of the most amazing titles I've ever come across in almost 20 years of reading comics. I honestly don't think there's been another title I've loved so much in so many ways. For the last year and change, I've been on the edge of my seat reading this title and I dare say that doesn't look to be changing any time soon. It feels like watching a horror movie as you spend the night as a "guest" at Arkham. The only predictable thing is that you know you can be sickened, giddy, mortified and appalled at any moment and even experience two of these emotions at the same time. Honestly, I can never really wait for the next issue.
Scott Snyder has done something absolutely astonishing in this series. He's made us feel afraid for Batman again. I don't think I've actually feared for Batman's safety since the Knightfall story arc from 1993 that spanned 6 long months of publication. Snyder has also dug deeper into Joker's insane mind and given us all new levels of creepy wickedness. Let's get to the meat of the writing now. The issue picks up essentially where the last leaves off and the pacing leaves nothing to be desired except the next month's issue. The dialogue is also amazing, especially in the interaction between Bruce and Dick. It's possibly the most psychological issue of Batman since the start of the new 52. Every time I hear the names "Batman" and "Scott Snyder," I think I know how Pavlov's dog must have felt.
The pencils from Greg Capullo are as good as the script. He hasn't yet illustrated a bad issue of the current Batman run. The wonderful thing is that it has a feel similar to the 90's animated Batman cartoon, but slightly darker and grittier. Jonathan Glapion's inks are pretty awesome and help with the darker feel of the issue. he manages to fill half of the page with the deep shadows that Gotham is known for. Then there are the glimpses of brightness that are brought out in FCO Plascencia's colors. All of this together makes for a hell of an issue. The Joker's new look, above all else has had me quite intrigued. He seems to dress more to his mindset, thinking that he's actually fixing a problem. From the first page to the last, the art team here is pretty awesome.
I have to give this issue a 5/5 for sheer excellence. The way that the writer and artists work together on this book is rarely seen in such quality. I doubt there's anything they could have done differently that would have made it better. If you're a fan of batman or any of the Batman Family, this arc is one that you really shouldn't miss.
Writer: Scott Snyder -- Pencils: Greg Capullo -- Inks: Jonathan Glapion -- Colors: FCO Plascencia
A Thief By Any Other Name...
By: Andrew Hines
The Ragin' Cajun has long been a fan favorite of those who follow the Children of the Atom. Ever the charming grifter and master thief, he has languished in the background for too many years. Now a teacher, X-Man and part time thief (allegedly), and apparently, a "security guard for mutant teenagers." I don't recall Le Diable Blanc (The White Devil) being that great with kids, but I guess that much time with Bobby and Kurt will either make you patient or have you looking for creative forms of suicide. Honestly, the only classes I can see "Professor LeBeau" teaching are Sex Ed, Lock Picking 101 and Grifting for Dummies. Thankfully his trademark red irises and black sclera, the classic trench coat and leather suit look still shows up in the issue. Et avec cela, laissez les bons temps rouler. (And with that, let the good times roll.)
James Asmus starts off with a great intro for anyone who hasn't followed Gambit before now. I like the way the story began and the dialogue. You get a feeling of that very distinctive Cajun accent that Remy has. I actually found myself reading the captions those lines in a wannabe-Gambit accent. The flow of the story is pretty good and Asmus brings in a few unexpected twists here and there. The addition of the party gave him some room to show off Gambit's charm and con man skills. It's very well written and that's enough to put Asmus' other writing on my radar from now on.
The pencil and ink team of Clay and Seth Mann are really good. Very clear and defined, the way they've illustrated Gambit is one of the best I've ever seen. Second only to Jim Lee's run on X-Men in the early 90s, they've done a fantastic job on this first issue. The colorist, Rachelle Rosenberg, has done a good job herself. I don't recall seeing her work before this issue, but it's definitely a standout among this week's comics. The colors are soft and subtle. Nothing pops that doesn't feel like it's supposed to. This really is a fantastically illustrated issue. I hope they get to continue on this title for a good long while. C'est magnifique! (This is beautiful!)
This is a beautiful example of how great comics really should be. It earns an A. J'aime cette. (I love this.)