This is 22 Pages at the University of Toronto! We like comics! We're great! Love us! Give us money!
(Seriously though, find out more about us here.)

Twitter Feed

    Reviews by Ammar Al Subahi

    Avengers #1

    Publisher: Marvel
    Writer: Jonathan Hickman
    Artist: Jerome Opena
    Colorist: Dean White

    Rating: 4/5

    Premise: The Avengers assemble to face a new threat from planet Mars.

    This is the big one. The crown jewel of Marvel Now and the beginning of a new era for the Avengers. This was pegged down as Marvel's version of Grant Morrison's JLA as soon as the creative team was announced. And for those of you not familiar with the reference, let's just say there are some massive expectations on this book to deliver mind blowing action of epic -- if not even cosmic -- proportions.

    And no doubt, Hickman teases us already about the coming attractions already at the very first pages of the comic. Promising really big things to come, but will he deliver? And more importantly, if you ask me, will he get the new reader onboard?

    The story begins with the famous line-up from the movie: Cap, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow. But very quickly the concept of the Avengers evolves into something much bigger, something much more expansive. And the thing is Hickman is pulling out some VERY obscure characters from Marvel's past into the foray. Only time will tell whether Hickman will manage to pull this off but conceptually speaking, he's certainly taking the Avengers somewhere they've never been before.

    I'm not that familiar with the man's previous work, but I can't think of any other artist that could truly capture the grandeur of the story other than Opena. His art has such presence, an almost "sketch-painting" type of quality, if that makes sense -- which mostly likely is credited to White for going for a little more 'basic' approach in his colouring and matching the tone of the story. Opena also has an incredible sense of depth: big bombastic panels filled with detailed content... art wise, reading this is sort of the equivalent to watching a great movie in a high def IMAX theatre or the likes.

    This was a fast and fairly easy read, but a highly ambitious and promising one. Newsarama likened this to Morrison's JLA meets [Claremont's] Giant-Sized X-Men... and I agree, but I would also like to add that it has a touch of Batman Inc to it, as well. But we'll see how accessible this book will be for new readers in the upcoming issues when the full roster is introduced.

    Captain America #1

    Publisher: Marvel
    Writer: Rick Remender
    Artist: John Romita Jr
    Colorist: Dean White
    Inker: Klaus Janson

    Rating: 2/5

    Premise: After walking in to a trap, Captain America becomes a prisoner in Dimension Z!

    Marvel Now never ends!!!

    Maybe they should have just called it "Marvel Forever."

    Anyhow, so after taking out the Green Skull -- an extremist-environmentalist borrowing the Red Skull's moniker -- Cap gets assigned another mission, all while contemplating over what to answer on Sharon's -- his SHIELD accomplice and girlfriend -- wedding proposal.

    Yeah, that's right. Since Cap was such a sissy and didn't have the balls to ask for himself, Sharon decided to grow a pair and put a ring on that finger. Truly, Cap is living in the new millennia now.

    But he has bigger problems he needs to concern himself with, for just as he thinks he has successfully managed to infiltrate some terrorist organization he was assigned to check out, he finds himself walking right into a trap.

    Next thing he knows, he's in a whole 'nother dimension as prisoner of a familiar villain he hoped he'd never see again...

    I have to applaud Remender's progressive effort here at trying to do something new with Captain America; he's taking him to places he's never been so far, both physically (or perhaps 'spatially'?) and emotionally. We're also getting to see glimpses of his childhood, which I believe is a first. I wasn't really big on the content of that part, but at least I can appreciate something new being done with the character: an attempt to flesh him out more.

    Sadly, the inconsistency of the art is killing this book for me. I recall seeing the preview pages which depicted Cap's fight with the Green Skull, and I thought it looked absolutely fantastic. And you can tell that it is mostly the contribution of Dean White and Klaus Jansen here: their colouring and inking giving Romita's art that provides depth and a sort of 'thickness' to the art and makes it vibrant.

    But only in some parts of the book. In the others, all that is gone, and what we get instead is a sketchy mess of transparency.

    I may not be a fan of the direction here, but I at least appreciate the effort. But what is bugging me this issue is the inconsistent art. For those of you who are able to get past that, add an extra point to the rating.

    Cyber Force #2

    Publisher: Image/Top Cow
    Writer: Marc Silvestri & Matt Hawkins
    Artist: Khoi Pham
    Colourist: Sunny Gho
    Inker: Sal Regla

    Rating: 2/5

    Premise: Carin escapes and Cyber Force get taken down, HARD!

    Step aside, Marvel Now! Cuz the 90s are back with their second issue over at Top Cow!

    Last issue we were introduced to the Cyber Force through the eyes of a runaway teenager named Carin, who happened to be none other the political headhoncho's daughter. A search party was conducted, and things didn't look well for the Cyber Force. This issue we get to see that confrontation and we also find out the whereabouts of Morgan Stryder, an ex secret operative who has gone AWOL.

    My feelings about this are pretty much the same from last issue: "ehh... mnyeah... well... okay..." There are some major casualties this issue -- or so I assume they are -- which really felt empty. The reason for that is poor character work: we never got to know them before their demise, so we don't care. This is probably different for you seasoned top Cow vets. But as a new reader myself I just couldn't give a damn.

    Artwise this is a step up, though. It's much more consistent than it was last issue. But there's still something lacking... the art is better than before, but I don't sense any really solid “cinematography” (comicatography?) in this issue: meaning the way the story is told visually feels rather bland and somewhat poorly executed. I don't recall it being like this last issue, but maybe it's just me.

    For those of you interested, you can read the full issue for FREE here.