Speedy Comic Reviews from February 6, 2013

Speedy Comic Reviews from February 6, 2013
I thought this was a fairly light week for comics for me, but I decided to go for some things that aren't normally on my list (pretty much everything below besides X-Men and Spider-Man).  I branched out with a few things that aren't normally on my list - and I'm glad I did!  See below for the BEST SUPERHERO BOOK YOU'RE NOT READING!
Starting this week, I'm going to start reviewing books with grades instead of numbers.  It's easier for me, and I think it will have clearer meaning for readers.
All New X-Men #7
Marvel Comics - Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Art by David Marquez, Variant Cover Pictured
In case you've not been reading it, this is one of the best Marvel Now titles out there, and my personal favorite.  Here's what you need to know:  After Cyclops was possessed by the Phoenix Force and killed Professor X (for the 6th time, but who's counting), Beast traveled in time to bring the younger versions of the original five X-Men forward in time to modern day.  If like me, you've lost track of X-Men over the years with the convoluted and expansive mythology, this series is for you.  The characters are all recognizable favorites going back to the 80s, and Bendis does a fantastic job of nailing each character's personality from both their past and present selves.  This issue is very talky and focuses on the young version of Cyclops in modern day, struggling with understanding the actions his older self has taken.  Mystique counsels him for some mysterious purpose, but knowing this buxom blue beauty, whatever it is, it can't be good.  The art and writing remain strong in this issue.  Not much really happens, but there's some great setup for the future, and it's a fun read.  Grade:  B+.
Earth 2 #9
DC Comics - Written by James Robinson, Art by Nicola Scott, Variant Cover Pictured
After a run of very weak issues, Earth 2 gains some momentum back with the introduction of Khalid Ben-Hassin, the new Dr. Fate.  While you don't actually get to see Dr. Fate, we learn Nabu chose Khalid to be his host at the same time as the wonders were reintroduced into the world.  I think this issue struggles a little bith with over-exposition.  Lots and lots of words, describing action, describing what has happened in the past, people openly expressing their doubts, fears, and feelings.  There's very little subtext.  Granted there is a comic, but there's not much art to the story-telling here. Nicola's art is stronger than Robinson's in this issue with dynamic flow in the action scenes.  She particularly excels with action scenes with Jay Garrick's Flash.  Trevor Scott consistently provides vibrant colors to Nicola's art, which makes this a very attractive title.  Grade:  C+.
Green Arrow #17
DC Comics - Written by Jeff Lemire, Art and Interior Colors by Andrea Sorrentino
Jeff Lemire!  Andrea Sorrentino!  After three New 52 creative teams, DC has shuffled some great talent onto this flailing title.  This is the first Green Arrow issue I've read of the New 52, and if you're like me, that's ok.  You'll catch up quickly, and Jeff Lemire pushes the reset button for you so you can jump right on.  Once again, Oliver Queen has lost everything - his company, his friends, and his good name.   After a brief setup, we jump right into a well-executed and taughtly scripted issue.  Andrea Sorrentino is one of my favorite New 52 artists with his award-winning work on I, Vampire.  While I'm sorry to see him leave that title, I'm happy to see him with a higher profile book.  Some of the action scenes are hard to follow, but his moody style works great for this title.  His coloring is not as strong as his artwork, and I hope to see him re-partner with Marcelo Maiolo after the final issue of I, Vampire in April.  Grade:  B+.
Harbinger #0
Valiant Comics - Written by Joshua Dysart, Art by Mico Suayan & Pere Pérez
Like DC Comics' Zero Month, Harbinger's #0 tells an origin story of one of its characters.  Instead of focusing on one of the protagonists, it focuses on the origin of Toyo Harada, the most powerful psionic on Earth and the founder of the Harbinger Foundation.  This is an amazing standalone issue that tells the story of how he developed his powers set against the backdrop of Hiroshima fallout of 1945.  It's a heart-breaking, dark, and violent story that will resonate with you well after you've finished reading it.  The best villains are complex and believe they're doing the right thing.  This is Harada.  The art and coloring are incredible and unsettling.  This is one of the best superhero books out there.  Do yourself a favor and pick up the recently released volume TPB along with this issue.  Grade:  A.
Snapshot #1 of 4
Image Comics - Written by Andy Diggle, Art by Jock
Comic book store employee Jake Dobson finds a cell phone with pictures of a dead body on it.  The first issue of this mini-series moves along quickly and is an interesting read about when an everyday nerd is thrust unwillingly into his own adventure.  I think we can all identify a little bit with Jake and his friend Steve and their everyday fanboy geekiness.  The story moves along quickly and is engaging but not riveting.  Jock's black and white artwork makes this worth a read with his excellent non-traditional flow of panels and moody, dark visuals.  Grade:  B.

Superior Spider-Man #3
It's the first appearance of the Spider-Signal!!!!  Otto-Spidey confronts The Vulture, while Peter learns more about his soulmate as he is transported to Doc Ock's flashbacks.  The writing in this issue is a little heavy-handed and melodramatic.  "What I see is a MONSTER!  One that must be stopped at any cost!"  While still interesting to see Otto-Spidey's more mercenary approach to problem-solving, this issue lost a lot of the fun of the last two issues.  The art and coloring remain strong.  I'm interested to see in future issues how much Peter's ex Carlie Cooper has figured out.  Grade:  B.
on February 10, 2013