Best Shots Reviews: THOR, DETECTIVE COMICS, Tons More

Best Shots Reviews: THOR, DETECTIVE

Best Shots  12-29-09

By The Best Shots Team, courtesy of ShotgunReviews.com

Your Host: Troy Brownfield

Greetings, readers!  Remember, you can keep track of all our Best Shots columns and stand-alone reviews right here.

Just a couple of words, here: the Best Shots schedule has been a bit off due to the holidays and such, but should be back on track next week.  Wait, there’s only one DC book and a Siege preview?  Damn.  Okay, week after that.  Anyway . . .

Forgetless #1

Written by Nick Spencer

Story A Art & Colors by Scott Forbes

Story B Art & Colors by Marley Zarcone

Published by Image Comics

Review by Henry Chamberlain

The debut issue of Forgetless has more bratty club kids than you can shake a glow stick at in two ultra-cool stories, one coming at you from New York's Upper West Side and the other from the South Jersey suburbs. Niether story is given a proper name. You jump from one to the next. In each case, the characters are all heading out to see the last performance ever of the legendary band, Forgetless.

In the first story, we cut to the chase to see one skinny girl making out with one skinny boy. They are surrounded by Twitter-like comments from friends of the boy wondering where he is and amazed that he might have found a skinny girl of his own. Cut to the very next page, and we start turning the clock backward like they used to do so well on Alias. We see the same girl about the shoot the same boy. Another girl waits impatiently for the gun blast. Turn back some more and we see that these two girls are aspiring models. Keep turning back and we find that Sara and Sonia are thinking that it might be easier to make it in the big city as hired killers than as supermodels.

Scott Forbes provides just the right mix of pale colors and sharp thin line art to accompany all the snark. He also adds some nice digital effects to go with the hallucinatory feel of the first story. For the second story, Marley Zarcone does wonders with shades of light acid green that play with the bright red of the fur lined cap worn by Darla, the little punk minx that is in perpetual mischief mode. Zarcone's drawing style is direct which is perfect for such a dynamic lead character. Darla is so determined to get her underaged self to see Forgetless that she's willing to manipulate her friends mercilessly and even sell the family dog and lie to her stepmom that the dog was run over by a truck.

Of the two stories, so far, the story of Darla's demented persistence and insolence is the straight on winner. But, overall, the whole comic is well worth the price. Dripping with style, Forgetless is the latest hipster comic from Image that you'll want to be in on. Judging by the cover for Issue Two, with cocky Darla front and center, the talent behind this title has a charming self-awareness that will see them through.

Vengeance of the Moon Knight #4

Written by Gregg Hurwitz

Art by Jerome Opena

Colors by Paul Mounts

Letters by VC's Joe Caramagna

Published by Marvel Comics

Review by Lan Pitts

"In ancient times, the Pharoah slew his enemies and cut out their hearts. He burned them on the altar -- a sacrifice to me. The Pharoah. And you? A mere avatar and you won't grant me a single heartbreak?" -- Khonshu

This is slowly becoming my favorite Marvel book on the shelves these days. I understand that some people just shrug Moon Knight off as a C-lister at best, or a wannabe Batman or a half-ass Daredevil. His history is a bit, shall we say, convoluted. His powers seem to change on a whim. Also, is he Marc Spector, or going by another alias? It can be confusing at times, but man oh man, this book is just stellar. Gregg Hurwitz has spun himself something great, and an interesting note on this issue is that there's not a lot of dialog, but it is heavy on the fast-paced action.

MK is outnumbered after Ravencroft asylum inmates have been basically made into a small army, and are used to drive him out. Needless to say it works and MK does his best to take down as many of the inmates as possible, even going to lengths with him using Frenchie to pilot his jet as a sort of broom to sweep up a huge gathering. Of course, he goes hand-to-hand eventually, all the while not killing a single one much to the devil on his shoulder Khonshu's chagrin. Though with some creative plotting, the villains actually get the upper hand, leaving MK defenseless for Round Two.

That's one of the main reasons this book is as great as it is. Hurwitz wants you to keep coming back. It's a simple formula, but works all the time. Like I mentioned, there's not a lot of dialog, Opena's art does most of the "talking", and it speaks volumes. This is surely one of the characters, books, and creative teams to look out for in the coming year. Hurwitz and Opena have given us four great issues so far with a great set up, and there's no doubt the pay off will be worth the wait.

Witchblade #133

Written by Ron Marz

Art by Stjepan Sejic

Letters by Troy Peteri

Covers by Stjepan Sejic and Jeffrey Spokes

Published by Top Cow

Review by Lan Pitts

"My name's Sara. I'm a detective with the NYPD. But that doesn't really matter...I want to talk." -- Sara Pezzini

There's actually two stories going on in this issue. One being the resolution to the missing children from the previous issue, as well as a sort of "welcome back" for Aphrodite IV. As usual, Marz nails the dialog and brings subtle mystical elements to the story with an addition to a real-world problem. There's no intergalactic threat or demonic hellgate that will unleash an unholy terror...this time anyways, and the villain is not who you think at first. Much like the story of the "Three Billy Goats Gruff" there is a troll under the bridge, but Marz didn't take the usual route and the real monster is in plain sight.

Sara and her boyfriend/partner Patrick find the missing kids, and after a bit of a brawl with the troll, Sara learns his true purpose: to protect innocents. Sara is informed of a nearby child molester and things don't go too well for him. The conflict from the "War of the Witchblades" isn't mentioned, but I wonder how long Sara will walk this darker path, that almost has her taking on a more of a Vic Mackey persona. Of course, after that ordeal, we see a set up for events to come with a couple pages of Aphrodite IV.

Now, I've discussed before that Sejic has trouble handling quieter moments of the book, but grand slams things like trolls and the imagery of Hell. In this issue, you can see improvements in how he does with figure construction and facial expressions. I love what he did with the countryside scenery, and it's a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the New York cityscape he's done for a while.

This has been one of my consistently favorite books since I was reintroduced to the series earlier this year. With recaps at the beginning of each issue, it makes it easy to pick up and dive in. I say, take the plunge.

Tiny Titans #23

Written by Art Baltazar and Franco

Art by Art Baltazar

Published by DC Comics


Review by Amanda McDonald

What happens when the bunnies and penguins that live in the Bat-cave scare away Batman's bats? Batman gets upset and tells Robing they better be home by the time he gets home (in addition to Robin's homework being done). Robin enlists the help of Batgirl, but Babs is busy toddler-sitting a couple little fellows named Tim and Jason, so she brings them along and we learn they are particularly fond of Robin's costume-- of course. Bat-Mite (yes, BAT-MITE!) shows up with a bag of Batman costumes, because the obvious solution here is to dress all the bunnies like bats and then glue them hanging from the ceiling. The issue ends by showing us the bats' new home, and includes a bonus pinup by Franco that I would love to pull out and put up as part of my Batgirl art collection (alas, I can not bring myself to tear apart my comics. . . ).

Often discarded by adults as a kiddie book, comic book fans are missing out on a great read if they are passing up Tiny Titans. Are kid readers going to appreciate the Tim/Jason element of this issue? Are kids going to notice the portrait of Dan DiDio on Alfred's wall? Highly unlikely. Sure, the average reader who is out to collect every "Blackest Night" tie-in doesn't need to add Tiny Titans to their pull box, but definitely should give the book a leafing through each month. It's a quick read and it's virtually guaranteed to give you a laugh or guffaw.

PELLET REVIEWS!

Gotham City Sirens #7 (DC Comics; Reviewed by Erich Reinstadler) A change of pace, GCS 7 follows the three stars of the book on their Christmas vacation. After stopping a gang of knife-wielding Santas,  Selina Kyle takes time to hang out in the Gotham City penthouse of Dick"Batman" Grayson. A pleasant evening between old enemies turned friends is interrupted by Damian, who couldn't possibly care less about Christmas and memories and such when there's a killer on the streets. Next up, we find Pam Isley spending time wild and free in the jungles of Central America. Her time with nature is quickly ended by tourists with a TERRIBLE sense of direction, and drug lords poisening the jungle. Her reverie brought to an end, we end up in Brooklyn, at the home of Harleen Quinzel's family. A less-than-enthusiastic sends Harley to her dad's "office" (AKA prison), reminding her why she got away from the faily in the first place. As always, Paul Dini delivers a great story featuring three characters that he knows amazingly well. An exploration of what makes a family and what makes home, GCS 7 is a great issue. Worth the buy.




Fall Of The Hulks Gamma 1 (Marvel Comics; Reviewed by Erich Reinstadler The Fall of the Hulks really begins here. This is, for better or worse, a typical Marvel Event Set-Up book. It's almost entriely setting the story for Fall Of the Hulks, by making sure everyone knows the players involved, getting them all placed in position, and removing one of the biggest thorns ever in the side of The Hulk, General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross. It's not entirely a spolier, since it occours on page 4, that Red Hulk kills Ross. The story of the book is his funeral, the people who attended it, and the plot points it sets up, including one hell of an unexpected moment at then end of the book. If you plan on collecting the Fall, then this book (as well as the previous FotH: Alpha) is a must-have. Plus, let's face it - any time you have John Romita, Jr. drawing a variety of Hulks, that's a good thing, no matter what you think of Jeph Loeb's writing.




Captain America - Who Will Wield The Shield? #1 (Marvel Comics; Reviewed by Erich Reinstadler) A stunningly mediocre book that, despite being released BEFORE Captain America: Reborn #6, takes place after (really, Marvel?). Ed Brubaker, Butch Guice and Luke Ross manage to wrap up absolutely nothing. A well written, well drawn exercise in futility, all this mis-timed book does is act as yet another lead-in for the latest universe shaking, status changing, internet breaking, multi-issue cross-over, which will inevitably lead into the NEXT universe shaking, status changing, internet breaking, multi-issue cross-over. After reading this three times, I realized that I'd lost about 45 minutes and 4 dollars. I just couldn't care about it, because it was a nothing book.

In Case You Missed It . . .

X-Factor #200 (Marvel; Reviewed by Brian Andersen): What a great comic! From start to finish X-Factor 200 was everything I could have wanted and more: Witty banter (Madrox and Darwin’s chat about the Fantastic Four children), goofy humor (the Thing’s droll teasing of Shatterstar’s and his superhero name), superhero fisticuffs (Guido v. Thing v. Shatterstar), guest stars (Mr. Fantastic, the Thing, Franklin and Valeria Richards), and a shocking, twisty, awesome ending! Yay! Plus, there’s 3, count ‘em, 3 stories in this 200th anniversary issue (sure one’s a reprint, but so what!). If you aren’t reading this comic and you’re a fan of Marvel’s Merry Mutants - even if you’re just a casual fan - you so need to be picking up this book. Where else can you get humor, drama, action, mystery and deep character developments all in one place? Oh, and uh, does anyone else think that Jamie Madrox looks eerily like Conan O’Brien on the cover? Uh, kinda weird!

Power Girl #7 (DC; Reviewed by Brian Andersen): As much as I adore me some Power Girl I haven’t really been as into this comic as much as expected to be. That is until this latest, winning, totally fun issue. Up until now it seemed like “Power Girl” was working real hard to find its tone, its theme, and its overall ‘reason for being.’ Aside from the always stellar art by Amanda Connor, the storylines didn’t really mess with the overall feel of the character. Thankfully that has all changed, as Power Girl’s solo adventures have finally found their footing by diving into the zanier, surprising, totally unexpected elements of superhero-dom. Having Power Girl deal with the advances of the cheesy, shirtless alien Vortox (who?) and the (who the hell is this) evilness of the Blue Snowman (???) is exactly the kind of fun that’s missing in a lot of comics today. (One aside though, does anyone else think this issue kinda apes the She-Hulk issues by John Byrne? You know, the ones back in the 90’s when Byrne had She-Hulk deal with a host of lame-o villains and the marriage-minded paws of every macho, manly man around? Surely it’s just homage to those issues, right?) All in all, “Power Girl” was a pretty great read!

 Supergirl #48 (DC; Reviewed by Brian Andersen): "New Krypton" is fun, but I’m glad that this issue swept that aside and just focused on Supergirl and her life on Earth. It’s nice to see Supergirl finally confront Lana Lang and her illness - I love me a good subplot but this one has been boiling for a wee too long and is overdue for resolution – and it’s great seeing some reoccurring characters like Inspector Henderson.  Honestly I think I just enjoyed Supergirl existing on her own for a change, being the sole focus in the story, and being able to stand strong solo, far away from her superstar cousin, Mon-El and the other Kryptonians. I love me some guest stars, and all the craziness that having a whole planet of Kryptonians brings, but grounding Supergirl every now and again is a nice, refreshing change. Plus, here’s something we’ve never seen before; a Silver Banshee Supergirl! Excellent! I find myself looking forward to next issue.

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