Review: Invincible: Ultimate Collection Volume 2 by Robert Kirkman

Invincible: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2Invincible: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2 by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Brief Introduction:

After reading the first volume of Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker’s classic superhero comic “Invincible,” I just had to read the second volume of this fantastic series and see more of Mark Grayson and his family after the explosive and tragic revealation at the end of the first volume! “Invincible: Ultimate Collection Volume Two” is definitely one volume you do not want to put down!


What is the story?

After the tragic events in the first volume, Mark Grayson is starting to look at life in a different light now and must take over his father’s job of protecting Earth from villains. Throughout this volume, Mark will have to face various foes that he has never faced before, while trying to graduate from high school and make it to college!


What I loved about this comic:

Robert Kirkman’s writing!: As with the first volume, Robert Kirkman’s writing is just fantastic as not only are we shown more action scenes than we were shown in the first volume, but we also get so many emotional moments from the characters themselves. I loved the way that Robert Kirkman actually explored the turmoil that Mark and his mother suffered after what happened in the first volume (I really do not want to spoil the ending of the first volume since I want everyone to check this series out, but let me tell you, it truly was a shocker). Just seeing both Mark and his mother become so upset after the events of the first volume and trying to cope with the situation the best they can truly shows that these are characters who strongly relate to any person. Even though most superhero comics do deal with your typical super heroic action scenes, this was one of the few times I have actually read a superhero comic that actually explores a character’s emotions on a certain situation (okay, I actually read emotional content from some of the X-Men comics) and it was a truly sad experience to sit through when I was reading this comic and I often found myself sympathizing with Mark and his mother. I also loved the way that Robert Kirkman created many action scenes in this volume so that way you can stay interested in the storylines and enjoy the constant action scenes being shown in this volume! Again, I loved the way that Robert Kirkman wrote Mark Grayson’s character as Mark is shown to be an average teenage boy trying to juggle his time with high school and being a superhero and I love how he shows enthusiasm in being a superhero while trying to stay close to his friends despite his constant superhero duties.

Ryan Ottley and Bill Crabtree’s artwork: Done in about the same style as Cory Walker’s artwork in the first volume, Ryan Ottley has done a brilliant job at doing the artwork for this volume as the characters look a bit realistic and the facial expressions that shows whenever a character is upset or shocked is extremely well done. Bill Crabtree’s coloring is just as brilliant as before as the characters are brightly colored and I also loved the dark coloring being done whenever the characters are shown during the night time.


What made me feel uncomfortable about this book:

Like the first volume, there are many scenes of blood and gore, especially with various killings in this volume where characters are ripped apart and their insides are showing. Also, one small nitpick I had with this volume was that there were so many different stories being shown all at one time. In the first volume, we had one storyline that had several small events happening to the characters while each event led up to a bigger storyline that was unfolding. In the second volume, there are so many storylines going on at the same time such as Mark and his mother dealing with the tragic events of the last volume, Mark almost being married to the Queen of the Underwater Kingdom, and a time traveler named Angstrom Levy trying to save his timeline from a catastrophe. All of these events happening in one volume is often confusing and sometimes, half of the storylines do not really wrap up, which is irritating if you want to see the storyline all the way through.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Invincible: Ultimate Collection Volume Two” is a truly brilliant follow up to the first volume and anyone who is a huge fan of Robert Kirkman’s works or is a huge fan of superhero comics will definitely get a kick out of this series!

Rating?

5 pows

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Review: Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction

Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a WeaponHawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hawkeye


Introduction:

Now, I will admit that when I first heard about Marvel launching their “Marvel NOW” line (which is similar to DC doing their “New 52” reboot, except that “Marvel NOW” is not a reboot), I was a bit hesitant about reading any of the comic books from this line because:

1) I did not like the direction that Marvel was taking some of their franchises (X-Men in particular).
2) Since I have not been reading Marvel Comics (or DC comics for that matter) that long, I was afraid that I would not understand some of the new comics coming out since I have not read a lot of the previous comics before the 1970s and some from the 1990s yet.

But, after I heard so many good things about this comic book, I just had to put my reservations about the “Marvel NOW” comic book line on hold and give Matt Fraction’s hit series “Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon” a chance! Lo and behold, I found myself loving this series and I wanted to read more from “Hawkeye!”


What is this story about?

Basically in this volume, it details the adventures that Clint Barton, also known as the legendary Avenger, Hawkeye, has whenever he is not with the Avengers. Along for the ride in these adventures, is Young Avenger member Kate Bishop and she and Clint end up fighting crime in New York City while wielding their bow and arrows in the process!


What I loved about this story:

Matt Fraction’s writing: Now I will admit that this is probably the first time I had ever read an “Avengers” comic book since I am more of an “X-Men” fan, but after hearing so many good things about this comic book, I decided to give Hawkeye a try and I found myself loving this volume! Matt Fraction has done a brilliant job at keeping this story self contained (which was what I was looking for when I picked up some comic books in the “Marvel NOW” comic book line) and I really enjoyed the solo adventures that Hawkeye went on. I also loved the way that Matt Fraction made Clint Barton into a truly hilarious and active character and I loved his little quips throughout the entire story. Some of my favorite lines from Hawkeye was when he was making fun of how the older comic books would set up the dialogues whenever they are translating foreign languages (like you know how the older comic books would tell the readers “translated from Russian” or “translated from Japanese”)? Well, his dialogue would go like this:


“(Some Spanish-sounding stuff)!” or “(French Stuff).”

I also loved the way that Matt Fraction portrayed Clint Barton’s relationship with Kate Bishop as it is both heartwarming and hilarious to look at and it was fantastic seeing another character who had the same sharp-shooting skills as Hawkeye does.

David Aja and Javier Pulido’s artwork: David Aja and Javier Pulido’s artwork were fantastic in this volume as they are reminiscent of the artwork in Frank Miller’s classic “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” comic book. I loved the way that David Aja’s artwork in the first three issues is scratchy and bold lined while still capturing the essence of each action scene involving Hawkeye and Kate Bishop fighting against criminals. Javier Pulido’s artwork in the fourth and fifth issues are much lighter in color tone and much more detailed in designs and I really loved the way that they captured the characters and the action scenes.

Hawkeye


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

Probably the only issue that I did not care for in this volume was the “Young Avengers Presents #6” issue. For one thing, I do not normally read the “Young Avengers” comic book series, so I will admit that I was a little confused about what was going on, even though this issue is supposed to be when Kate Bishop first meets Hawkeye. Another thing about this issue was that I felt that the tone of the story was way too different from the tone of the rest of the volume, which was light hearted and action-packed while this issue was dark and had too much soap opera drama for my tastes. So, all in all, I think that this issue was just average and not as good as the rest of the issues in this volume. Although, I did enjoyed Alan Davis’ artwork in this issue as it was gorgeous to look at and the characters’ facial expressions were realistic.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon” is one truly brilliant volume for anyone who is a huge Hawkeye fan and I am definitely looking forward to reading more of his series in the near future!

Rating?

5 pows

Review: Batman: Year One by Frank Miller

Batman: Year OneBatman: Year One by Frank Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Brief History:

To be honest, I have actually first heard about Batman through the 90s cartoon series “Batman: The Animated Series,” which apparently, I have actually had my first exposure to the world of comics through so many animated series throughout the 90s. Since I have been reading a lot of comics lately, especially the “X-Men” comics, I wanted to try a different comic book series and that is where I started reading up on “Batman.” So, the first “Batman” comic I have actually came upon recently is a little gem that I have just noticed lately and that is “Batman: Year One” by Frank Miller along with artwork by David Mazzucchelli along with coloring by Richmond Lewis. “Batman: Year One” is truly a brilliant comic book that newer fans of “Batman” can easily get into!


What is this story about?

This story basically retells the origins of Bruce Wayne as Batman as it details Bruce Wayne’s first year as Batman and all the struggles he overcomes in his new role as Batman. This story also details about Commissioner James Gordon’s first year as a lieutenant of the police force before he became a commissioner.


What I loved about this story:

Frank Miller’s writing: Frank Miller’s writing was so amazing and simple to read through, especially if you are new to the “Batman” comics and you need a good place to jump right in the series. Frank Miller has created a more modern spin on the origins of Batman without changing the original history of Batman (his parents are killed before him when he was a child and he decides to become the famous caped crusader he is today) and I especially loved the way that Frank Miller details Batman’s first year fighting crime as being difficult since Bruce Wayne had difficulties in becoming the crime fighting caped crusader since the public viewed him as a menace the moment he started fighting crime. I also loved the way that Frank Miller shown the months that all of this was taking place from January fourth to December third which gave an extremely detailed timeline of this story. What really interested me about this story was learning about the origins of Commissioner James Gordon since I have not really been exposed to his origins and it was interesting to see how James Gordon actually started out as a lieutenant of a police force that was corrupted by the crimes of Gotham City and how he tried to do his best to protect the citizens of Gotham City from such criminal activities.

David Mazzucchelli and Richmond Lewis’ artwork: David Mazzucchelli and Richmond Lewis’ artwork is simplistic yet gives a dramatic feel to the story, especially during the scenes where the characters are in shadows and they give out an eerie feel to the scene they are associated with, like during the scene where James Gordon is attacked by hit men and Richmond Lewis’ red coloring that flashes on the characters’ faces makes this scene extremely intense as you can see the pain and sorrow on James Gordon’s face. I also loved the shadowing that Richmond Lewis applies to Batman as Batman is usually shown in the dark and the dark shadowing makes him look menacing.


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The only problem with this comic book novel is that there is some blood in some scenes, especially during the scenes where some of the characters are shot. Also, there is some language in this book that might offend some readers, so if you do not like dark themed books that deal with crimes in the cities, then this graphic novel might be hard to read through.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Batman: Year One” is not only a brilliant read for “Batman” fans everywhere, but it is also a great place to get into the “Batman” comic series, especially for new fans who are just getting into the “Batman” comics and want to know how Batman’s origins came about!

Rating?

5 pows

Art Ops

Art Ops Vol. 1Art Ops Vol. 1 by Shaun Simon
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

(Received from Netgalley for review.)

What a miss. At first glance, the premise sounded interesting. Unfortunately, it’s half baked. First, there’s the concept of “saving” art by relocating the human figure inside it. Which means, I guess, that art without human figures is somehow less real? Put aside, I guess, how totally cool the people in the paintings are with being people in paintings, and with a modern world they really shouldn’t know much about. Ok, whatever. Now let’s get to the villain, who’s apparently motivated by the fact that people looked at her painting less because she’s “ugly”. She’s drawn in a sort of cubist style, which we all know is totally unpopular and that absolutely nobody spends hours obsessing over the works. Oh, wait, they totally do. It’s very strange that this book equates (morally) good art with conventional notions of beauty, and (morally) bad art with anything that isn’t strictly representational. It’s a bizarrely regressive view of art. If I felt like the author was setting up that view to knock it down, that would be one thing. It would be a point a few decades past its prime, but I could follow that. I sincerely don’t get that sense here.

Aside from that, the main character is obnoxious and I cringed every time he was on the page. Most of the characters are at least a little annoying, but that’s mostly because they’re blandly characterized. Mona Lisa in the real world could be any number of previously sheltered princesses, and there’s absolutely nothing about her that follows from being a centuries old painting. Main character Reggie Riot (ugh, seriously?) is on a totally different level. He’s the sort of juvenile wannabe punk who thinks it’s hilarious to tie up a cashier because he doesn’t like the clothes sold in the store she works in. I wanted to slap him.

There’s an interesting premise in here, but it isn’t executed very well, and the views on art are weirdly outdated.

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Teen Titans, Vol. 14: Team Building by J.T. Krul

Teen Titans, Vol. 14: Team Building Teen Titans, Vol. 14: Team Building by J.T. Krul
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Breaking News – The Damian Wayne Robin is a major sociopath and needs immediate fixing before he breaks Batman’s patience (which, considering it’s Dick Grayson, is no mean feat). It has been decided that the best way to deal with this is to drop him into a group of teenage heroes with their own issues. Stay tuned to see how well this does not work.
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Grayson, Vol 2: We All Die At Dawn by Tom King

Grayson, Vol 2: We All Die At DawnGrayson, Vol 2: We All Die At Dawn by Tom King

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well that was…underwhelming.

When you title a series Grayson, and most of the hype around said series revolves around the presence of said Grayson, one would expect this Grayson to actually be in his own book.
Instead, we’re lucky enough to receive glimpses of Agent 37 as he occasionally pops up to grace the pages just when you’re starting to lose interest in the threadbare story.
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