Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Weekly Rankings For 08/13/08

Here are this week’s comics (last week's actually, posted late due to a well deserved vacation for Brandon) ranked prior to reading them, based upon past performance and advance information released on each issue:

8. Secret Invasion: X-Men #1 of 4
7. Frank Frazetta’s Dracula Meets the Wolfman
6. Green Arrow/Black Canary #11
5. Secret Invasion #5 of 8
4. Lone Ranger #12
3. Green Lantern Corps #27
2. Action Comics #868
1. Batman #679

Here are the rankings after the first read through with a mini-review:

8. Secret Invasion: X-Men #1 of 4
Carey & Nord

Just because this bad boy is at the bottom doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. This issue sets up nicely for X fans wanting a little action in the overall Invasion. It’s simple: the Skrulls invade the west coast not knowing that the X-Men live there. They bring a bunch of losers thinking it will be easy and they find the X-Men waiting. Things go badly. One of the X-Men gets infiltrated which brings an interesting subplot. Cyclops, Emma, Cannonball and a couple of others all play a nice role here. It isn’t too overwhelming in terms of use of the X roster. The artwork is good and brings some uniqueness to the Skrulls which is refreshing. This is a good start to tie-in gearing towards the X-heads.

7. Frank Frazetta’s Dracula Meets the Wolfman
Niles & Francavilla

Dracula fights the Wolfman. There is a love story thrown in there to get them in the ring together. The issue is light on dialogue, but heavy on action. The issue’s strength is in the presentation. Artwork, scenery, design all scream out Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney. It’s a fun read if you are into the genre. The Frazetta line continues to impress.

6. Green Arrow/Black Canary #11
Winick, Norton, Faucher & Baron

This issue explains everything. Well, not everything, but most things. We get the play by play of how Connor got shot. We even get an explanation as to why. This issue doesn’t use the characters that have been thrown in recent issues, like Plastic Man and Speedy’s British boyfriend, but at least Ollie and Batman do some talking. For the most part this felt like a rush to wrap up this long reaching arc. The funniest thing for me was that the title page said “Part 3” and yet it sure feels like Part 11 or 12 to me. Aside from the art, one positive with this issue is the fleshing out of some of the villains. They actually seem like they could be interesting characters down the road. No reason to get this issue unless you are already in this arc.

5. Action Comics #868
Johns, Frank, Sibal & Anderson

Superman meets the real Brainiac. I have one major problem with this issue. Superman has been dealing with fake Brainiacs for decades. He meets the real one who says how happy he is to have found another Kryptonian (the other being the city of Kandor) and how he knows about Earth as a result. He plans to exploit and destroy both Superman and Earth now. So, the Brainiac drones never reported any information about Earth or Superman back to the main Brainiac? All this time, all these run-ins with Superman and the main Brainiac had no idea about Superman or Earth? This is a major, major hole. The art carries this issue. From the portrayal of Lois to the torture of Superman, the whole issue sparkles. It’s unbelievable how much Superman looks like Christopher Reeve. This issue does establish just how easily Brainiac can defeat Superman, setting up a dire situation for the Man of Steel. I liked the issue and I am definitely interested to see how Supes gets out of this one.

4. Lone Ranger #12
Matthews & Cariello

After a few months off the Ranger is back. This issue does a lot of setting up and character development. The strength of this comic is the almost reveal of the character’s feelings. The Ranger almost tells his sister-in-law how he feels. Tonto almost tells the Ranger what’s going on in his head. There is a lot of that in this issue and it works because that feeling of trust among the characters is there, but it is very fragile. This comic also sets up the bad guy making his return. He is simply menacing. The artwork is the cornerstone of this issue that drives everything else. The close-ups of the faces really add in emotions like fear, disgust, annoyance and joy (for the Ranger’s nephew). A great issue if you like the old west and the legend.

3. Secret Invasion #5 of 8
Bendis, Yu, Morales, Martin & Warren

It appears the heroes are turning the tide. The issue focuses on Reed Richards. Basically, he gets the gold star for figuring out how to take away the Skrull’s masks. This allows everyone to see just who has been lying all this time. It’s interesting to see that some of the heroes are genuinely disappointed with the results at times. It’s a good issue. I don’t know if the Skrulls have another trick to play, but I would suspect with three more issues to go they probably do. One major complaint was that Cap and Thor were teased at the end of the last issue and they aren’t in this one.

2. Green Lantern Corps #27
Tomasi, Ross, Laguna and Ruffino

This issue is a ramp down from the big battle with Mongul. There is some light moments where Guy opens his Oa bar and grill and where Kyle flirts with a female lantern. I guess that means she’ll be dead soon like all this other girlfriends. Then there are some plot developments with the lantern graveyard/memorial. Add in that someone is killing off lantern rookie’s families and we have a very mixed bag for this issue. I liked the jumping around though. There should be multiple plots moving around with so many characters. I liked the art. It continues to make excellent use of color and in this issue the human characters had a more distinct look to them. Oh, and as for Mongul, let’s just say he’s not as dead as we were led to believe. Shocking, I know.

1. Batman #679
Morrison, Daniel, Florea & Major

Guilty. I loved this issue. I love stories where Batman is worn out. Mentally, physically or even just possessed. Batman has lost it. He is talking to stone gargoyles. He is sickly violent. But, he sees the plan the villains have for him and he plans to exploit it. Sure, the premise and explanation might seem silly. The Batman in this issue is the Batman if the Bruce Wayne were taken out of the mix. It sounds absurd, but why wouldn’t Batman have made a plan to have some personality kick in if Bruce Wayne became useless? I like it. It’s creative. Add in that one of the villains is actually Thomas Wayne (maybe) and we have some interesting plot movements. Robin calls in reinforcements, but Nightwing is still out of commission. One flaw I found with this issue is the cast of villains. Why are they so special that they can take out Batman? In Knightfall you had a physically imposing villain like Bane, but here you have a rag tag bunch. Thankfully, the Joker is around the corner. This story would sit better if he were really in charge of all of this. I liked this issue a lot and the artwork only made it better. Batman’s wacky costume makes this issue shine, but the shear violence really sets it apart from any other.