The Comics Corner - Week of 12/03/09

Ryan Porter is back with his unique take on Dark Avengers Annual #1, The Marvels Project #4, Siege: The Cabal One-Shot, Sweet Tooth #4, and Ultimate Spider-Man #5! Come inside and see what made the top of the stack!

Dark Avengers Annual #1
5 Stars (out of 5)
Annuals can be a stubborn and irritating experience. These oversized, more expensive comics rarely deliver on their promises of an amazing story with status-quo changing consequences. They usually end up being meaningless one-off stories that no one remembers. That being said, until I read this issue I wouldíve had a hard time telling someone what goes into making a good Annual issue. But thanks to Brian Michael Bendis and artist Chris Bachaloís work on Dark Avengers Annual, a new standard in Annuals has been set. First, I have to talk about the art. Since I first saw his work I have been a big fan of Chris Bachaloís style. While I know heís not loved by all, I find his work to be exciting and it creates a great deal of action and energy, which is perfect for this type of story. Itís just too bad about that new costume, but more on that later. Bendisí story of Noh-Varrís defection from Norman Osborn to being anointed Earthís new protector is a great character piece on one of the under developed characters from Dark Avengers. But where Bendisí writing really shines and what makes this such a great Annual is all the different ways it works. A stand alone issue that not only progresses the story of Dark Avengers and the larger Marvel Universe, but also serves as a perfect jumping on point. Nor-Varr goes from a scared and isolated alien trapped on Earth to becoming, essentially, the new Captain Marvel. Itís a story worthy of an Annual that new comers and long time readers will be able to appreciate. The only thing wrong with this issue is the costume design for the new and improved Nor-Varr. I donít even know where to begin, it's ridiculous. And finally this issue, as I now know an Annual should, leads right back into the larger Marvel Universe. I love a good cliff hanger ending and, with an Annual, it ought to be bigger and better and once again this Annual delivers because this ending is one of the best.

Comic Reviews are sponsored by Killen's! Click on any cover to go to the store and buy that issue!

Siege: The Cabal One-Shot
4 Stars
I didnít see this coming at all. Norman Osborn is going crazy and the Cabal has collapsed! Okay, so I knew it was coming, in fact we all knew it was coming. This issue exists only to bring together multiple storylines, but it does that very well. For example, I havenít been reading Thor so I didnít know about Asgard. And speaking of Asgard, itís a lot of fun to see Loki playing all sides, Norman included. As for the rest of the Cabal, I still donít like The Hood but itís obvious that Bendis has big plans for the guy. And when will everyone learn that you just donít mess with Dr. Doom? A great lead-in to the Siege event shows us that even more entertaining than the rise of Norman Osborn, will be the fall.
Sweet Tooth #4
5 Stars
So far Iíve been amazed by this series and this issue is no exception. There is a huge twist at the beginning that changes the entire issue. Jepperdís role as protector is clearly laid out showing just what this man is capable of, which I still canít bring myself to trust him. Unfortunately, Gus has no such trouble. His wide-eyed innocence and loyalty to Jepperd is almost heart breaking. At least Gus is able to serve as Jeppeard conscience and Gus does get him to do the right thing. One can only hope that thatís a trend that will continue, with the two of them learning from each other, as they continue to travel through this post-apocalyptic hell. With every issue I learn more about the world, giving me more reason to worry about Gus. I hope Jepperd does continue to take care of him, I donít think my heart could handle any less.
The Marvels Project #4
4 Stars
I wasnít looking forward to reading, yet again, the origin story of Captain America. As it happens I couldnít have been more wrong. After the first three issues, not to mention the incredible run on Captain America, I shouldíve had more faith that Ed Brubaker would not just slap the same old story down into the pages of this issue. Instead Brubaker tells us another side of the story, the Germans' conspiracy against America and the secret project that will turn the unassuming Steve Rogers into Captain America. Seeing this story from a new point of view is refreshing and fun. My only real complaint is that this story ended several pages too soon. But given Brubakerís track record he may prove me wrong come issue number five. Eptingís artwork, which I have always enjoyed, has never felt more at home than it does in the streets of New York in 1940. His style fits the mood and that time period so perfectly. Itís a shame to me that this series is getting lost in the excitement of Dark Reign and Siege.
Ultimate Spider-Man #5
4 Stars
So the third and final book from Bendis this week was Ultimate Spider-Man. I am totally digging the new take on Mysterio, heís proven himself to be quite a threat with a big vendetta against Spider-Man. Still not sure if he hates Spider-Man for a legitimate reason or if itís the typical villain out to make a name for himself. But he was able to kill the Kingpin, so either way itís not good for Spider-Man. Luckily he does have help. The mysterious super hero is red showed up again and Aunt May is taking in former heroes left and right. As Gwen puts it: ďItís like our own little Avengers Mansion.Ē The idea of Ultimate Spider-Man becoming a team book is very appealing.
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