GRAPHIC NOVEL Round-Up : Bendis’ UNCANNY X-MEN

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ALL NEW X-MEN VOL 2 HERE TO STAY – Collecting issues 6 to 10 of the series this is an interesting and fun premise for a miniseries, namely have the X-men of the past interact with the present. However for a series, it is a gimmick, an in-joke, that runs the risk of staying around too long, and outliving its sell by date. For the moment Marquez and Immonen art keeps it interesting, but already the premise is getting to feel belabored.

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UNCANNY X-MEN VOL 1 REVOLUTION – Collecting issues 1 to 5 of the series the pluses are a strong, witty and fun script by Brian Michael Bendis, and some gorgeous art by Chris Bacchalo. The weaknesses are the layouts can be lost under muddy finishing/coloring, and a tendency, unsatisfying tendency, to end the very slight collections on a cliffhanger. It is a weakness that both volumes share.

Add to that the outrageous price of $24.99 for only 5 issues ($5 an issue!!!), a hundred thirty plus pages of story and the absence of a complete, standalone story becomes even more insulting.

It is a very petty and miserly and obscene ‘bleed your audience’ policy that Marvel has undertaken here, that does not deserve to be rewarded by purchasing these overpriced volumes. That said, I do feel the writing in these volumes is fun and entertaining and action-packed and worthy of a read if not a buy.

Just be aware that the cliffhanger ending, appropriate for a $3 monthly serialized comic, is wholly inappropriate for an overpriced $25 collected edition ; that you should be able to enjoy on its own without waiting months for the next volume.

GRADE : B-. Until the ending I was enjoying both volumes, but without an ending the volumes are very much like a great parallel bar routine where the athlete fails to stick the landing. Pretty, but ultimately disappointing and forgettable.

And add that exorbitant price point of $25 for 5 issues of material (and yes I realize the trade can be had for a little bit cheaper, but that is still overpriced as well) and it becomes a case of look, do not buy.

Borrow or rent these puppies for a quick read, then move onto something else, that you would not have any problems paying retail for; something you would not mind proudly adding to your bookshelf such as BATWOMAN VOL 1 HYDROLOGY. A book that I have also recently read.

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DC publishing (the other big comic book company besides Marvel) has their own problems, however producing satisfying collections is generally not one of them.

DC hardcover collections, offer an issue more and two dollars less retail, and offer a contained story, something that Marvel’s new publishing initiative MARVEL NOW may want to take note of.

Marvel writers generally are currently doing good work (far better than their esteemed competition that with few exceptions is self-destructing due to editorial hubris), so to have that sabotaged by ghetto collections… possibly not the route Marvel wants to go.

To try the books and decide for yourself or to hunt them down for less than retail use the below links and this blog earns a couple pennies. If I’ve helped turn you on to something you would have otherwise missed (BATWOMAN HYDROLOGY is a must have for any art lover’s collection. It is exquisite), then please use the links below. Thanks:

All-New X-Men, Vol. 2: Here to Stay

Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1: Revolution

Batwoman Vol. 1: Hydrology (The New 52)

Batwoman: Elegy

BEST COMIC BOOK COVERS OF 2011! The Remaining Parts!

“These people are like family to me. It has not been easy for anybody. Let me put it that way: It was like a death in the family. Only I was the dead guy. I felt like William Holden, face down in the swimming pool, narrating this thing.”– Frank Darabont on his departure from WALKING DEAD

Okay we’re wrapping this puppy up of the best Comic book covers of 2011. This covers the rest of the year not covered in the first part of this Article.

Okay onto the fun!

John Tyler Christopher for Annihilators: Earthfall #1

Steve McNiven for Captain America #1,3- Steven McNiven in addition to interior work, did several covers. These two were head and shoulders above all the rest of his covers for 2011. They differentiate themselves, particularly #1 by being very memorable. A great cover notable by distilling an entire issue into one image. A great cover is something iconic. CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 is a poster waiting to happen.

Sean Phillips for all four of the CRIMINAL LAST OF THE INNOCENT and select INCOGNITO covers. I didn’t care for some of his INCOGNITO covers in 2011, I think both as concept and covers INCOGNITO never quite gelled into having an identity. Whereas with CRIMINAL LAST OF THE INNOCENTS (as well as the other story-lines) the covers just scream creativity and read me. Great stuff.

JH Williams III knocks it out with his cover for BATWOMAN #1.

Kalman Andrasofszky for X-23 #14. I have no interest in this character or this book, but that is just a fun cover.

Esad Ribic did a lot of covers for 2011, but his covers tend to be too static for my liking. They fail to make me interested. Two exceptions, that made this list being X-FORCE #4 and #13.

Gabriele Dell’Otto gives a very intriguing cover to VENGEANCE #1. And Joe Casey seems to have an intriguing story to tell, but I couldn’t get past the very bland interior art by, to me, an unknown. But Dell’Otto’s cover did the job, it had me interested in buying the book. However the interior art quickly unsold me.

Sean Murphy for American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #1.


Jae Lee offers a great cover for Wolverine #9. Compare this image to another image below and see what you think. You’ll know the image when you see it.

Gorgeous Terry & Rachel Dodson covers highlight UNCANNY X-MEN 537 & 535. For some reason they knock it out of the park when drawing Kitty Pride. however the other characters they do in other covers… Emma, Colossus, Wolverine… not so much. But with their Kitty Pride covers it’s like that’s when they get interested and inspired. I think they just love drawing brunettes. :)

David Yardin worked his way on this list with two covers that are very visceral, bordering on a rough, muscular moment of ugliness captured, frozen in that moment before the point of no-return. Namely:
Spider-Island: Heroes for Hire #1- A silly cover for a silly storyline, but Yardin’s cover (based on a Romita cover) makes it more compelling than it should be and X-Factor #219. The covers depict ugly moments, which are disturbing, but it’s drawn with sexiness and sensuality beneath the savagery so it makes for something of an uneasy and unsettling image that gets you to stop and take notice. And that’s what covers strive to do.


Sam Basri was fantastic on POWER GIRL, and his cover for #26 is Hilarious and great!

I like wrap around covers so thumbs up to New Mutants #25, looks a bit computer generated, but nice enough.

Jock for Daredevil Reborn #4


Paul Chadwick’s art highlights the exceptionally well laid out DHP #1. Fantastic Typography!


Birds of Prey #11 by Stanley Lau. Jae Lee’s cover looks more than a little like this one. I’ll leave that for others to ponder. Getting back to Lau, I dislike all of Lau’s covers for CAPTAIN ATOM, his earlier work on BIRDS OF PREY is much better. It’s like the work of two completely different artists.


I have yet to read Morning Glories, but Rodin Esquejo offers a titillating cover for #8 that is both sexy, and creepy (nurses putting on gloves is never a good thing).

Dan Brereton for Spider #1


Jason Pearson for Astonishing X-men 36. Did I mention I love wrap around covers?! :)

That’s it kids. Let’s call it a wrap on the best Comic Book Covers of 2011!!!

Hope you enjoyed, and here’s hoping for even more great covers in 2012!!!

BEST COMIC BOOK COVERS OF 2011 PT 1 of 4!!!!

Well here in the 3rd week of 2012, thought it was an appropriate time to put out my best and worst of 2011 Comic List.

I personally love looking over best of and end of year lists, and my own lists, tends to touch on a lot of things that may be bypassed or overlooked or just not tried, in other lists and on other sites.

True to the eclectic nature of this blog, my lists are always… never less than unique. :)

So let’s get into it, and enjoy!

We’ll start with the best covers of 2011! We’ll start with the 4th quarter of 2011 in this post and work our way backward to highlight the other 3 quarters as well.

Without further ado:


So the best covers of the 4th quarter of 2011 are as the pics show:

The number one cover artist for 2011 Qrt 4 (From Oct1-Dec31) is JH Williams the 3rd, with his gorgeous, stained glass worthy BATWOMAN covers. How he manages to write, do the amazing interiors he concocts AND do the covers is beyond me. It’s award winning work (at least art-wise, I trade wait for most DC comics, so will be a while before I read it. But if it’s half as good as BATWOMAN:ELEGY HC, one of the most gorgeous books of 2011, it will be a treasured buy).

But right on JH Williams III’s heels as my favorite cover artist of Qtr 4, is John Tyler Christopher. A brand new name as far as I can find, his covers on DC’s VOODOO are just stellar! And he also produced a couple issues for Marvel’s Annihilators: Earthfall. I have no interest in buying Marvel Monthly comics (too expensive, too many ads, too few pages) but they did produce a few decent covers in 2011, and the artists deserve recognition. DC’s VOODOO however, I think I will be picking up in issues. The interior artist is Sam Basri, a fantastic cover artist in his own right, with a stellar run on POWER GIRL in 2011, so combine him with John Tyler Christopher’s covers and it’s win/win.

Viktor Kalvachev is next up with his fantastic covers for the soon to be short lived MEN OF WAR. His covers are gorgeous set pieces, seemingly run through with Russian Constructivism aesthetics. Objective and often geometric forms carrying universal meanings, and striking use of color, primarily red. Definitely a cover artist to watch.

Next up is Francesco Francavilla covers on BLACK PANTHER along with DARK SHADOWS and CAP & BUCKY. Being a fan of most things pulp I quite like the mood Francavilla’s covers strive for. I’m a detail guy, so that’s the only reservation I have against the slightly cartoony covers, but overall they work for me. His pulp-tinged composition and layout skills winning me over.

Now for the rest:

Chris Bachalo for WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #1- just wonderfully laid out cover. I hear good things about this book, but I don’t pay $4 for a comic, period. I’ll wait for the trade, an affordable trade. Meaning I don’t pay $4 per issue in trade format either (another crazy business decision Marvel has been cutting their throat with). If the trade breaks down to an outrageous amount per issue, I wait till the price drops, or I don’t get it. One less X-MEN book for me to buy, is not a bad thing. There’s more than enough great books out there that are priced right.

Ben Oliver for BATWING #3. Hearing nothing but great things about this series. At $2.99 I’ll be picking it up monthly.

Patrick Zircher for VILLAINS FOR HIRE #1- I enjoy this artist’s layouts, his shot composition, but his lack of backgrounds tends to weaken them a bit. In this one he has Andry Troy assisting, and it is Zircher’s best cover of 2011.

Rico Renzi for LOOSE ENDS #3. I hate the logo on this book, but ignoring that, I like Rico Renzi’s actual art.

Marko Djurdjevic for Avengers Origins: Ant-Man & the Wasp #1

CASANOVA #2 (from Marvel’s ICON imprint) gets Gabriel Ba on the list.

Daniel Acuna for AVENGERS #19. It’s easily the best of the covers he did this quarter. Meaning it, like all the ones I give praise to here, I would buy as a poster.

Alex Ross only did 2 covers for this quarter, one was for ULTRON and it was one of the rare Alex Ross covers that I didn’t like. However the 2nd one was FLASH GORDON ZEITGEIST. and that as you can see for yourself is masterful. When Alex Ross is on his A game, there is none better. Easily one of the best ones of the quarter.

Nathan Fox gets on the list with his only cover of the quarter, HAUNT #19. Wonderful composition, the typography really sells it.

Eric Larsen for SAVAGE DRAGON #177.

And Finally Steve McNiven for CAPTAIN AMERICA #5.

That’s it kids! The best covers for 2011 quarter #4! Come back as we complete the list for the remainder of the year!