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From the Hoss’ Mouth 10/04/06

There’s two losers this week.  Prepare yourself to be both shocked and awed…oh who am I kidding you’re all too jaded for that…right?

Lets get ready to double down this week as the reviews are coming in pairs.  We’ve got 2 Nightwings, 2 Smaller than Life Heroes, and 2 solid additions to the growing rogue’s gallery that is "The Loser of the Week".

My Deepest Sympathies,


Full Review:

Nightwing #125
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Art: Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund

125 is here and with it brings Marv Wolfman who can hopefully turn around this dreadful series.  Why is this writer change so important you ask? Well because Dick was one editorial mandate away from being killed in Infinite Crisis, solely because DC had no idea what to do with him anymore.  There was enough support to live and let live but after suffering through Dick’s opening OYL arc the reason for the Nightwing doubter’s kill ‘em and forget ‘em approach actually seemed to be the more humane way to treat Nightwing’s character. 

So where does this leave us now.  Well DC has pulled its stuff together and brought on Wolfman who besides being a great writer might just be the one person at DC to actually understand Nightwing anymore.  He’s got the experience with the character, he’s got the literary skill to pull off his vision, and more importantly he’s got the power of a new beginning on his side.

This issue finds Dick still in NY which is the only thing that remains form last issue’s arc, so we’re off to a good start.  No Cheyenne, no Todd, no albino mutant wannabe twins, and no stupid slug monster fights where they don’t belong.  Nightwing is competent here.  He thinks like he should.  He fights like he should.  He talks like he should.  He acts like he should.  His actions follow a rationale and the story follows a logical plotting, which is exactly as it should be. 

So what’s so great about it? Nothing really. It seems Marv’s just starting to find his voice and direction here.  There’s nothing spectacular or anything that stands out either.  Standard villain, standard fights, standard mystery, standard pedestrian love interests.  He’s not trying to change the world and personally I think that’s a great thing.  Considering where this book used to be, being standard and shooting for a well-rounded story that stays true to the character is a huge step in the right direction.  Extravagances can come later but right now Nightwing just needs to be Nightwing again.  

Jurgens art or I should say layouts are ok.  Rapmund was credited with finishes and I can’t tell where one’s pencils end and the other’s begin but the art towards the beginning of the book seems much improved over the art towards the end.  Overall it seems a bit rushed.  Honestly though I could care less; my problem with this book has never been the art.

Verdict:  Been waiting for DC to fix Nightwing, well here it is and it’s much improved.  I can’t recommend the book to anyone who doesn’t already possess an interest in the character but for those Dick Grayson fans out there now is the time to jump on or if you’re one of the many that dropped this book now’s the time to get it back on the pull list. Note: Actual cover is different from the solicited cover.

Quick Reviews:

Outsiders #41: A fairly quick read that wraps up the Mallah and the Brain storyline while veering towards the next plot point focusing on Dr. Sivana.  The Outsiders manage to regroup in light of Sivana’s scheming which has just managed to blow their cover in front of the whole world.  There’s some nice character moments here and there and one that I found rather touching involving Metamorpho and…himself.  The art’s okay as a whole.  I find facial expressions as well as proportions to be a little off but the action sequences are nice as well as the layouts.  Winnick also continues to tease about Grace’s secret, it better be worth it if it’s going to be drawn out this long.

Verdict:  An average addition to any comic pile this week.  Nothing great yet not bad either. 

The Irredeemable Ant-Man #1:  I actually really enjoyed this book despite the vast majority being talking heads.  On the bright side there’s a whole lot of dialogue for an opening issue giving a large amount of development to the three main characters as well as providing all the necessary background.  Despite the large amount of scripting the actual plot doesn’t move forward a whole lot, essentially it’s all character and  relationship development that leads up to one SHIELD lackey taking a new Ant-Man costume out for a spin.  It may sound boring but it’s not, and for an opening issue there’s  actually a fairly decent twist at the end.  The headline for this issue reads, “The world’s most unlikable super hero” and well despite the mystery twist I think it’s safe to assume that this new Ant-Man is a jerk, but all around not so unlikable.  He’s more along the lines of the loveable screw-up you just can’t help but watch.  The art’s plain, I doubt Marvel’s in a hurry to put a huge name on this book but Hester does manage to get the job done and his work’s clear and concise.

Verdict:  A pretty good start.  I’m not sure about the long term relevance within the rest of the Marvel Universe but that shouldn’t stop you from checking it out. 

The All New Atom #4:  A double dose of shrinkey dinks this week.  I’ve been buying this title purely out of a love for Gail Simone.  Overall it’s not as funny as I would have hoped and the endings to each issue haven’t really been there yet I’ve still enjoyed the ride.  I particularly like Ryan’s narrative and the scattering of science quotes throughout.  It gives the book a sort of feel reminiscent of the “Flash Facts” as well providing rationale for all of the Atom’s actions.  Continuing the opening arc we get a lot more mystery but not any actual revelations.  Also the new artist does a good job of picking up after Byrne.  The one question I just can’t shake though is, “When is Ray coming back?” There’s a whole lot of references going on here for him to just be swept away so cleanly.

Verdict:  Between the two size changers this week I say go with Ant-Man but that’s not to say this story’s bad either.  I can’t recommend it for those not already involved it’s simply not worth the investment as the arc’s wearing a bit thin, but for those who may have already picked up a previous issue or two then you’ll find more of the same here and that’s not a bad thing.

This week’s loser(s):

Giant-Size Wolverine #1:  Let’s take a step back for a moment and go dig out the recently published Giant-Size Hulk.  Notice how it featured a new story relevant to Hulk’s massive Planet Hulk event, another new story by Hulk superscribe Peter David, and finally a reprinting of Hulk: The End, the best “The End” story to date and also an extremely tough book to find at a decent price.  Basically a great Giant-Size edition that’s packed with wonderful stories and worth every penny.  Now let’s look at Giant-Size Wolverine.  A single new story that has nothing important to do with recent continuity and can be read in all of 2 minutes followed by reprints of X-Men 6 & 7 which might please Jim Lee fans but are neither new or pertinent to anything published in the last 10 years.  What a great value at a measly $4.99. 

Verdict: $4.99 for this…F$#% it.

Fantastic Four #540:  Can it be…two losers?  Why yes, yes it is.  Why this one?  Well remember the last CW issue of Amazing Spider-Man where Pete questions Reed’s reasons for supporting the S.H.R.A. and Reed gives a rather lame answer about his Pinko Uncle suffering through the HUAC shenanigans…well that exact same flat and ridiculous excuse is reprinted here….verbatim.  So that means I’ve now paid $6.00 to read about why Reed is a douche…twice.  Hooray ME!  Also this issue is meant to take place after CW#4 yet the events that transpire here don’t completely mesh with what we’ve seen previously…besides the lazy reprinting of the dialogue from Amazing Spider-Man that is.


A Hoss is a Hoss of course of course:

Despite the double dose of rip-off handed to me at the register, I still enjoyed a lot of this week’s books.  Namely the mostly reliable “52”, Dini’s outstanding “Detective Comics”, Peter David’s excellent “F.N. Spider-Man”, and the double helping of Greg Pak that is “The Incredible Hulk” and “Phoenix: Warsong” both of which are really starting to heat up.



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