Review: The Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman Vol. 2

Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman Omnibus Volume 2Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman Omnibus Volume 2 by Jonathan Hickman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Buddy read with my shallow reading pals. Actually finished it in the required time frame, but was a little too preoccupied with internet pornography to get around to actually reviewing it. Hands are washed and here we go. Sorry I’m late kids.

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Hickman’s Fantastic Four run is the only FF stuff I’ve ever really had an interest in picking up. I’ve liked The Thing since I was kid. I had his mego action figure (not a doll) when I was just a tyke. I actually forgot he had that “I just saw my first titty” look on his face. I always thought the Torch was kinda cool too. But Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Girl. Dorks. Now that I’m more comfortable in my nerdiness, I’m ok with giving them another shot. Reed and Sue are still dorks, but I’m good with it. After getting turned on to Johnathan Hickman I decided to pick up both of his FF collections (is it omnibuses or omnibi?) Anyway, definitely not disappointed. I haven’t gotten around to reviewing Hickman’s Fantastic Four Omnibus Vol.1 yet (workin’ on it), but suffice to say I liked it. Recently I picked up Vol. 2 and I liked it even more.
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Review: Secret Origins Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire

Secret Origins Vol. 1 (The New 52)Secret Origins Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The only reason to read any of these Secret Origin stories, is if your are somehow unfamiliar with the characters.
Not only are the origins not Secret, they aren’t very interesting.
Somehow, I thought that because they were coming out with this Origin volume, I was going to learn something new, or maybe there might be a fresh twist on things.
Nope.
I’ll save you some time.
If you already read comic books, you’ve heard these stories before.
And, honestly, there are better versions of them out there.
Starfire and Harley Quinn were the only ones that haven’t been done to death.
Does that make them great?
No.
But at least I wasn’t rolling my eyes through either of them.
Superman, Green Lantern, and Aquaman were the only characters with stories that felt like the authors even tried to bring some kind of emotion to the table. I’m not saying they were AWESOME. I’m just saying it felt like they tried.
Green Arrow/Oliver Queen is just more we-like-the-tv-show crap, but if you’re into that, it won’t piss you off.
Batman, Batwoman, and Damien’s origins were all unbelievably regurgitated. Nothing was new.
NOTHING.
Red Robin (Drake), Robin (Grayson), and Supergirl, however, rounded out the bottom of the barrel.
I hated all of these guys by the time their issues were done.
Remember when Batman tracked Dick Grayson down and begged him to be his partner?
Yeah, me neither.
And evidently Tim Drake was super excited to partner up with Batman after he caused his poor parents to end up in witness protection.
Mom? Dad? I know I ruined your lives, but Brucey is gonna adopt me now, so…Laters! Enjoy looking over your shoulders for the rest of your (probably very short) lives!
Really? Drake comes off like a total douche. Normally, I like his character quite a bit, so…Thanks!
Supergirl.
*sigh*
One minute she’s fighting a Kryptonian dinosaur, and the next she’s (maybe) starting a war with North Korea over some of their astronauts that she saved.
Yeah. I know that nothing in that sentence made sense.

This isn’t awful, it’s just unnecessary.
It might make a nice gift for people who are just getting into DC characters, but I wouldn’t personally be thrilled to find this under my Christmas tree.

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Review: Severed

SeveredSevered by Scott Snyder

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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Gotta give a shout-out to Kat for providing these friggin’ awesome banners for our shallow comic buddy-reads. You just keep killin’it home-girl.

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Well, not my favorite Scott Snyder book. I’m sure not being a “horror” guy didn’t help. Just not my bag. But it was still a decent read and overall I enjoyed it. Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft put their own spin on the serial killer genre with this one. Severed did have some genuine tension in a scene involving a bear trap and, like Mike, the beginning of chapter 5 had me going. Sam beat me to the punch pointing out the similarities to Road to Perdition (which I liked). Both the early 1900’s scenery and the trip young Jack takes throughout the story reminded me of that book as well. And Sam, thanks for the Albert Fish reference. That’s one Wikipedia page I could have gone to my grave having never read. What a sick fuck. I can certainly see the similarities though. Actually, maybe had I read about Albert Fish first, I would have been a little more freaked out by the killer in this story.

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The art was really nice. Attila Futaki (great name) does a good job and obviously did his research. Everything about his art really feels 1916. I would certainly pick up something by him again.

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I guess I just wasn’t really all that afraid of the killer in this one and it reminded me of a couple of other “bogeymen” stories I read when I was younger and more into the horror stuff. Still, it was good. I liked the ending and some of the twists the story took while getting there. I would definitely recommend it to those interested in serial killer fiction or horror stories. You might want to read up on Albert Fish first, then give it a swing. If not, you may wanna skip that Albert Fish wiki page altogether. He defines twisted son of a bitch.

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Review: Essential Fantastic Four Vol. 5; by Stan & Jack (& the Johns)

Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 5Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 5 by Stan Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FACK!!!! I just deleted a whole DAY of review/summary on this. GODDAMNIT!!!!

SHIT FUCK HELL BALLS!

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Anyhow…we see all the villains, from Doom to Annihilus.
We see Inhumans.
Space, Negative Zone, finally naming the baby.
Thing gets turned back into Ben Grimm, but quits the team and breaks up with Alicia Masters!!!!
Johnny loses Crystal, who has to return to the Inhumans or die from Earth pollution.
There’s a Magneto/Namor team up against the FF!
100th issue extravaganza!
Kirby leaves after nearly 10 YEARS!!!!and over 100 issues.
Romita Sr. and John Buscema take over, and I love what they do. Buscema’s facial work is great! almost as good as Lono’s at the Strip Club! BOOM!
Lots of cliffhangers, the womenfolk gain a whole lot more respect, and the characters all grow.

Most importantly, Reed transforms from a misogynyst bully dictator into a quasi-pacificst scientific genius family man. This means, I hope, that Stan Lee either grew up, or wrote Reed’s character to change with the times, as the later we get in the FF, the more that Stan’s writing reflects real life worries (space, Cold War, treatment of people who are different, Nuclear Apocalypse, Family life and concerns). Stan grew a lot between the 4 years covered here from Vol 4-5.

This is truly essential. Worth it. Even if you only skim it Mike.

Oh well, my other review was too long anyhow.

Adding cool pics from the book to Shallow Reader’s Group!

I had a bigger review but oh well…concise is better I think.


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Review: Deadpool, Vol. 5: Wedding of Deadpool by Brian Posehn

Deadpool, Vol. 5: Wedding of Deadpool

Deadpool, Vol. 5: Wedding of Deadpool by Brian Posehn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 stars

The title is pretty darn accurate, so I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything if I let it slip that Deadpool gets hitched in this one.

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The actual wedding is only a tiny part of the volume, and the rest is filled up with Wade’s previous marriages.
According to his memories *cough* he’s been married quite a few times.
In other words, you have an unreliable narrator telling silly stories about how he met and married various women. It’s up to the reader to pick through and decide if he’s even met some of these women, much less married them. And I guess that’s half the fun of reading this title.
I will say that I didn’t have as hard a time reading this as I originally thought I would. Sure, it’s really repetitive and full of chimichangas and dick jokes, but I guess most Deadpool fans already know what they’re getting into, right?
So is this something you should read?
How the hell should I know?!

One interesting thing about this volume is that the cover (issue #27) made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most comic book characters on a single issue.

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Yep. Seriously.

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Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 4: Realm Of Kings by Dan Abnett

Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 4: Realm Of Kings

 

Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 4: Realm Of Kings by Dan Abnett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh well, what the heck. *shrugs*
I’ve been looking for an excuse to use this GIF for weeks.

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This was pretty decent ending to Abnet’s Guardians, and now I’m sad that there isn’t more to his run on this title. So, I guess I’ve just got to go back and re-read all of the stuff surrounding the Realm of Kings storyline. And the stuff after that.
Eventually, I’ll catch up. I’m not delusional. I know that will never happen.

You see the panel below?
That’s Star-Lord, Thanos, and a cosmic cube.
For reals.
I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t Drax already kill that guy?
Yep.

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And Thanos isn’t even the only problem! As annoying as an all-powerful Avatar of Death is, has anyone ever stopped to considered what would happen without one?

What happens when Life wins?

Hint: It ain’t pretty.

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Ok there’s a ton of stuff that happens in this volume.
Dead team members turn out not to be not quite as dead as we thought they were at the end of the last volume.
Yay!
And then maaaaybe a few of them manage to get killed…again.

Oh, and hey! Looks like Drax is gonna be a grandpa!
Or something…

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My point is that things happen. Lots of things.
Some of these things usher in huge changes for the universe, and some of them are more personal. More touching.
There is still humor in this last volume, but maybe not quite as much as in volume 3. I can’t in good conscience say that this was as awesome and enjoyable as the ones in the past, but it was still really good.

Plus, there’s the bonus Realm of Kings one-shot.
Hello, Cancerverse! I love the evil Avengers! And if you haven’t had a chance to read about these guys yet, you just don’t know what you’re missing.

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Review: Night of the Living Deadpool; by Cullen Bunn

Night of the Living DeadpoolNight of the Living Deadpool by Cullen Bunn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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At first, I thought this was about the walk of whore-ers…so I wondered why we had a whole theme of reading about Lono’s Wednesday afternoons…then I realized it meant SCARY Stuff (Then again, I’ve seen some of those Whores…yikes! and Lono’s balls? it’s like Emperor Palpatine’s neck in Jedi!). But I digress…

Anyhow, this is a short, fun, funny, and only conceptually scary book. It’s about zombies, so I know it counts. Also, it’s a tribute to the Romero films and enjoyable. I LOVE the colour palette, black, white, read, and other shades but those 3 are the best. The Covers are art. Pure art. I’d hang some on my walls, but then I’d have to take down the Dukes of Hazzard and Kathy Ireland posters…

This is one of the better Deadpool’s I’ve read; Cullen Bunn has a good handle on him now, and there’s not too much smartass 4th wall stuff, but just enough funny bits to make you chuckle in a good way.
“This is a Civil War Graveyard”
“We talkin’ Cap versus Iron Man or Patrick Swayze versus James Read?” ZING!

Superhero cribs smell more like testosterone and B.O. less like mold and fertilizer…

Singing Rush songs? “Working Man”…hilarious!

Making a Jack-o-Lantern out of a severed zombie head and a flashlight? So he can have his sword/gun hand free!

Complaining that killing zombies is actually kinda sad: “But I’ve played video games!”

Clarence, the AIM scientist zombie head companion, then the joke about every time a 9MM Rings…an Angel gets his wings!

Going out in a blaze of glory…”Young Guns Style”! Yes.

The plot itself is pretty decent too, Wade wakes from a food coma (all you can eat Chimichangas) to find that there’s a zombie apocalypse, and all the heroes are dead…except him, and some ragtag peeps in an El Camino all jacked up. There’s the usual stereotypes left in the party, and what happens is what we expect.
(of course the 8 week search for a perfect hideout until they find a terrible one is pretty funny)

Then the usual sliver of hope, and whatever happens from there, Deadpool puts himself into his work…and a different, yet nifty ending.
I’d love to see it continue in some way, but who knows. (We also get to see Bunn’s notes on what he might have done with the series in the back).

So pretty fun, some good laughs that hit my pop culture target, and we have a whore-if-eye-ing good time!


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Review: Essential FF Vol. 4 by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 4Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 4 by Stan Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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OK so that was a gigantic collection, spanning about 2 years of FF (67-68 I think). There’s good, there’s bad, there’s ugly.

Good: It’s fun to see Lee/Kirby original work.
Bad: Stan Lee has a great imagination, but his writing of characters was pretty stale and repetitive.
Ugly: The sexism runs rampant too often in this book, and Reed’s middle name should be changed to misogynist probable wife-beater.

I’m the first person who knows you can look at history with today’s standards, but in this case, it’s the late 60s, not 1953 or anything. Women’s rights were happening, music, love, revolution, counter-culture, and Reed Richards seems to be written as the old fuddy duddy who knows best for everyone, including keeping his wife in check. There’s insults, threats of violence, and condescending remarks all the time. I’m going to hope that it’s just the character of Reed Richards who’s supposed to be a Hank Pym-level asshole here…otherwise I think it makes you wonder about ole’ Stan the Man…

Fun things: Black Panther’s first meeting of Black Bolt (all 3 Illuminati together for the first time) and the rest of the Inhumans.
Spider-Man, Daredevil and Thor throwdown against the Y-chromosome FFers.
We see classic villains, like Galactus, the Mad Thinker, Wizard, Annihilus, and for the first time, Psycho-Man.
We get to visit the microverse for the first time.
We see Silver Surfer save Earth, after warnings from Uatu the Watcher.
We see the original Punisher (a robotic herald of Galactus, after Surfer was freed).
We see Maximus the Mad take over Black Bolt’s Inhuman kingdom.
We also see, Sue gets preggo! And the birth of the as-yet-unnamed boy.
We see Reed finally cure Ben, only for Grimmy to have to chose between life forever without powers or forever as the Thing…

Thing is bi-polar; he either talks about Clobberin’ Time or he’s mopey about how Alicia Masters won’t love him if she could see who he is…like Umm…dude? She’s blind, she’s felt the face…she knows.

Johnny likes cars, and making out with Crystal of the Inhumans.
Sue spends the majority of the book on bed rest, and Crystal sits with her and holds her hand…
Only near the end does the sensible thing happen, Crystal joins the FF in Sue’s place after the baby is born.

So that’s it in a nutshell…the stories themselves can be fun, but the dialogue is terrible. Concepts on a cosmic scale, no problem, but basic human interactions? Don’t think Stan figured out those yet…
However, we get Jack Kirby’s fantastic (pun intended!) artwork. Seeing the classics all by his hand is kinda very fun.

Sadly, it’s in black and white and on newsprint, so you lose out on a lot of the real fun.

I’d give this 4 stars for retro fun, icons of the business, and big events in FF history…I’d take away at least 1 star for the borderline misogynistic abuse that Reed throws at Sue (funny part being, Johnny isn’t that way towards Crystal, and Ben sure isn’t that way towards Alicia, so I suppose that would give more credibility to the theory that Stan wrote Reed as a gigantic douche-hole on purpose, and that he himself isn’t a terrible woman-hater).

It did drag a bit at times, and I did skim some stuff, like dialogue heavy parts, to get to the action, or the big moments, or the characters visiting…
But if you’re inclined, it’s definitely classic. (However, I think you have to be in the right mood for it…I almost put it down a few times…but it got better after the first 25% was done…)


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Review: Blacksad

BlacksadBlacksad by Juan Díaz Canales

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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1 part Walt Disney, 2 parts Raymond Chandler, and 3 parts Kentucky Bourbon. Blacksad is so good I’m definitely going back for a 2nd round. Almost took a pass on this one. Being a father, I’ve read my fair share of children’s books and when I saw that all the characters are animals I almost put this one back on the shelf. Stupid because this shit is GREAT and it’s NO fuckin’ kid’s book.

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Review: Books of Doom, by Ed Brubaker

Fantastic Four: Books Of DoomFantastic Four: Books Of Doom by Ed Brubaker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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This is a 241 special…FF and Evil Villain.

Ed Brubaker does a solid job giving us an origin story of our favourite Latverian megalomaniac. The art is decent, and definitely focuses on Victor and his transformation to Doctor (funny enough, he never actually earned that degree, because he was booted after the experiment which left his face (and psyche) scarred).
Victor encounters a lot of tragedy in his early years, his mother dabbled in the dark arts, and it cost her her life and soul; his father died saving Victor while they were on the run from the evil Baron in Latveria.

Then, he ends up in the US, at the same school as Reed Richards and Ben Grimm, and also works as a weapon/tech guy for the military. Funny enough, he thinks Reed sabotaged his work, much like Reed thinks Victor sabotaged his own work in Ulitmate FF. That being said, FF doesn’t feature in this at all.

There’s Doom’s love for his mother, and his obsession with saving her from Hell, but the only other thing approaching love is for Valeria, another girl who grew up with him. Even that ends up in heartbreak…and makes me wonder why Reed and Sue’s daughter shares her name with Doom’s only love….? (If anyone knows, clue me in!)

So there’s the inevitable building of the suit to keep himself safe from the power of the Devil’s touch (which is what scarred his face apparently) and the robots, and so forth…there’s more about his conquering people, working tirelessly, and learning to master all.

Eventually we get to how he takes Latveria and becomes ruler, and there’s a twist at the end, as the narration has all been to a reporter who wants to profile him, but the revelation leaves us to wonder…was that the real story? Or just another decoy?

It was solid, 3.5, but I just didn’t connect with it enough to rank it higher than that, and the art didn’t blow me away…but the writing was good, though you can see how Brubaker has grown since nearly 10 yrs ago on this…


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