Giant Size Astonishing X-Men
Whedon and Cassaday’s epic is finally concluded. The bad news? It’s waaay late, the art isn’t up to Cassaday’s usual par, and we all pretty much knew what was going to happen, more or less. The good news? It’s a solid story, with interesting possibilities for new stories coming out of it, and we get to see Whedon writing Spider-Man.
Worth it to finish off the series, but could’ve been much better if it were on time and if certain events hadn’t been given away in other books.
Batman #677 RIP
This issue is better that the first (or at least easier to understand). My complaints about the first issue still stand (I don’t like Jez Jet and feel she’s a plot device waiting to happen, among other things), but it’s a more enjoyable read.
I’m sure the Morrisonites will proclaim it more manna from Heaven, but as a more casual devotee of his, this book actually feels rushed and more than a little heavy on the buy-in. There are a few aspects of the Black Hand’s plan which I feel like they’re just asking us to accept. For example, when Batman did his sensory-deprivation experiment, the doctor that oversaw it did something in preparation for this grand plot.
Will my suspension of disbelief pay off? I suppose we shall see.
Final Crisis #1
Right off the bat, let me say this: This feels like a Marvel story. In fact, in some ways, it feels like bits of Marvel stories that’ve already happened. For instance, we have Libra essentially doing the Hood thing from New Avengers, the Monitors feel like a combination of the Watchers and the Marvel Asgardians, and the whole thing’s wrapped up in a package that puts me in the mind of Galactus meets the Celestials.
Does that mean it’s bad? No. It’s quite good. It’s got a nice pace and there’s enough there to make me want the next issue, even if I’m having trouble placing the events. An example of that: we just wrapped up Death of the New Gods, with Orion battling Darkseid and ol’ grey face getting burned into nothing. Final Crisis opens with a Lanter report of a 1011 on the galactic space police radio. For those not up on their space police codes, that’s a Deicide. The victim? Orion. Meanwhile, a dark and familiar figure from Morrison’s Seven Soldiers series shows up, and we also see a pretty major character get the shaft.
New Avengers #41 SI
I have to admit that I’m really liking these Avengers SI tie-ins. Despite the fact that the story doesn’t progress at all, and the whole thing is basically Bendis showing us all the breadcrumbs that he placed building up to this event, I’m still entertained.
Really: Spider-Man gets bucked by a T-rex, and gets into an argument with
SheenaShanna over her name, and it has Ka-Zar and Zabu fighting Skrulls. How can that not be entertaining?
The art’s nice, like Cho-lite. The story’s got action in the jungle, and ends with a confrontation that I’m pretty sure will play out in the main SI book, so really you should be reading all of these books to get the full scoop.
Iron Fist #15
This is the first Brubaker-less Iron Fist book and it seems he wasn’t kidding when he said Fraction didn’t need him anymore to write these. SO WHY AREN’T YOU, FRACTION!? Oh well. Let’s not my trepidation for next month’s new Iron Fist creative team ruin this great issue.
This issue is another of the stand-alone Tales of the Iron Fist one-shot fairy tales. This one has to do with Iron Fist Bei Bang-Wen (1827-1860), who fought in the Second Opium War.
I’m a big fan of these, as they really serve to give depth and history to the entire Iron Fist legacy, and more than that, they’re just really cool little stories. I could see an entire series being written of “Iron Fist Mysteries”, Planetary-style. I could see myself buying it.
Anyway, great issue as usual, and I cross my fingers for next time.
Thanks partially to Victoria Day Monday, and to the fact that I forgot my wallet at home yesterday, I’m two days late getting my comics this week. Go me. Oh well, let’s get to it!
The Mighty Avengers – Secret Invasion tie-in!
I liked this one a lot. We get to see a lot of backstory with the Skrull Jarvis, and how completely he infiltrated the Avengers and Stark’s files. The rest of the book is about the internet fan-favourite, The Sentry, and how he handles being told the invasion is his fault. In short: he doesn’t, and it’s kind of awesome. Not to give anything away, but the Void makes its return and I’m liking where this is going.
Let’s see if it ends up somewhere awesome, or if Sentry ends up in his usual “interesting, but misused” category.
The brawl with Gog continues… or is it really Gog? JSA is consistently the best team book in DC’s catalogue, far outshining the supposedly premier JLA in my eyes, and this issue’s no exception. The entire issue’s one massive donnybrook, with the rolling dust cloud ending up in Africa, and a big teaser for the next issue and the next year of JSA books. Good stuff, though I’m a little confused about Green Lantern and his shadow-powered son. Is that Kingdom Come Lantern or Earth-1′s?
Brubaker’s determined to write a story which encompasses the full breadth of Captain America’s entire history, and so far it’s blowing my mind. There hasn’t been a clunker issue in the entire run, and everytime he builds to something and I say, “WHOA!” he finds another way to top it.
This issue, we have the usual cast of villains (Skull, Faust, Zola) furthering their mysterious plot, which we’re only now starting to see the shape of. Nevermind the Ultimates title, this is the real Grand Theft America, with a plot to put Skull’s man in the White House, and bring Captain America back…
A showdown’s coming. Fantastic.
Let’s talk about the Gormogon’s apprentice.
There probably aren’t many people that know I watch Bones, and I mostly do because my special lady likes it, but I’ve come to enjoy it enough that I found the season finale this week to be kind of jarring and, frankly, annoying. Big spoilers ahead.
So we find out the identity of the Gormogon and his new apprentice. Gormogon’s “nobody”, and his apprentice is somehow Zach. Yes, the squint.
How does this happen? Why does this happen? Well, because Zach’s apparently a creature of pure logic (like a Vulcan) and he was approached at a conference a few months back. How do we find this out? Expositionary dialogue.
That’s just annoying. Remember the feeling of “wow, that was quick” that you had when watching Anakin’s descent in Revenge of the Sith? Okay, now pretend that you didn’t even get to see any of the scenes between Anakin and the Emperor, and the entire thing just got spouted off in about three sentences when Obi-Wan confronted Anakin about why he was being such an evil douche.
It’s not like Bones is Shakespeare, but while it’s not a “smart” show, it’s usually a well-crafted one. The dialogue’s cute and witty, and the character interactions, though sometimes caricatures, are generally believable and involving.
You could see the actors doing their best to work through the whole mess, too. Bones’ reactions to both Booth’s “death” (which was already a bizarre enough plot element) and then to Zach’s betrayal felt authentic, but it was all kind of like interior decorating a bathroom. Sure, you’ve got pretty things and it all looks nice, but you can’t ignore that steaming pile that’s floating in the bowl.
I suppose this is all due to the writer’s strike, and things would’ve been less rushed with a few more episodes, but whomever thought going ahead with this plotline on a shortened season was a good idea needs a stern talking to.
The Big Event in Batman lore is finally here. This issue is a prologue of sorts, laying out the wheres, whys and whats of the play, and giving things a gentle nudge to begin. It doesn’t begin with a bang, but there’s a few action beats, and the debut of the new Batmobile, and the reveal of the new look for the Joker (who appears to be about fifteen years late to a Marilyn Manson video).
Robin’s worried about Bruce, Alfred’s sure he’s okay, and we find out there was a paternity test on Damien, though the results aren’t made clear. All the while, the Black Hand begins closing its grip.
Enjoyable as a beginning, but not the immediate “whoa” that Secret Invasion 1, for example. Maybe I’m just trepidatious about the whole thing and need to let go of my Batlove to see where things are going…
How do you even review a book like the Boys? The story wraps up with more character development than action, and Hughie keeps his hamster. If you like the Boys, you’ll like this issue.
Green Arrow and Black Canary
This book keeps on rolling like a great cartoon show that I only get to watch for half an hour every month. It’s never going to be Watchmen or Kingdom Come, but I like it that way. The book feels rooted in the DC universe, with cameos from the JLA in almost every issue. It’s fun, the banter’s witty, and I’m always left wanting more. What more can you really ask for?
newuniversal – Shockfront
Let me preface this by stating that I don’t entirely remember how New Universal ended, but that was back in 2006, so I guess that’s not terribly shocking.Â I think Starbrand got saved by Mask lady and they ran away after meeting himself from the future.
Anyway, this book picks up right where we left off.Â Justice is murdering people because he can see everyone’s sins and thinks he’s in hell.Â Sawyer– I mean, Starbrand, is hiding out at Nightmask’s house.Â She works at a “manhua” store (Chinese comics, apparently), giving this whole thing an odd Watchmen vibe, albeit with Romance of the Three Kingdoms comics instead of pirates.
As with the first New Universal, you’ve got no real idea what’s going on by the end of the first book, as it just sets the scene and introduces a few new players to the game.Â (Quite literally.Â One of the new players is a football player whose powers manifest in a chest-burstingly bloody way.)Â What’s to come?Â I dunno.Â Do I care?Â Yeah, I do.Â Hopefully, this whole thing builds to some kind of gigantically bloody super-fight the likes of which only Warren Ellis (okay, maybe Garth Ennis, too) could write.
So not safe for kids or the squeamish.
Captain Britain an MI13
Despite my suspicions of a new title that’s launching as part of a big crossover, I picked this book up because I’m British and totally gay for the English heroes. (Screw you, Union Jack’s book was awesome.)
This one’s actually good. You’ve got a traitor Skrull who has chosen the form of John Lennon as his Earth form, Captain Britain, Pete Wisdom, Spitfire, and a newly-flippant Black Knight. There’s some fun dialogue, good art, and the whole thing’s got that classic mystical bent that the magics of England provide, complete with some kind of vision and prophecy.
Also, Captain Britain punches the head off of a Skrull. Fuck yeah.
Serenity: Better Days
The “missing episode” of Firefly concludes. I find myself torn about this one. I’m going to have to go back and read the first two issues so I can keep them all in mind and get the full flow. Upon reading this one, while I find it was fun and had that old Firefly flavour, I couldn’t help feeling there were some plot points that came out of nowhere, and an oddly douchebag move by Mal to tie things up.
I just didn’t expect the droid army to show up, or the crew to get shafted financially like they did (even though I obviously didn’t really expect they were going to strike it rich since this takes place before the movie).
Not quite up to par with the Buffy series going on, but still solid work from Joss.
Man, those Cintiq‘s are pretty. It’s too bad the cheapest one costs as much as the entire computer that I do my art on!
Maybe I’ll look into getting one of the smaller, non-screened ones. I have one of the old Graphire tablets, and it’s served me well, but the drawing surface is pretty small, and the resolution isn’t the best.
I’m going to start myself an Intuos fund, and put all my commission-money into it until I have a new one!
The journey begins!
Midnighter fights the dude that stole his shtick for an entire issue, then leaves town (presumably) for good. The issue is basically one long fight scene with some scenes of the background characters and town thrown in. Not bad, but nothing really all that special. The whole thing plays out like the climax to a kungfu movie or something, except that the art doesn’t really convey the action in a particularly dynamic way. I’ve heard the series is ending soon, which is a shame because I like Midnighter, but the whole thing’s been somewhat unfocused. I’m surprised Giffen didn’t have bigger plans, or at least a more obvious arc spelled out.
The big event has kicked into full-swing and we spend almost an entire issue in the Savage Land watching the inevitable (but not undesired!) doppelgÃ¤nger battle. Oh yeah, and a T-rex shows up to spice things up a little. The dialogue is fun, as Bendis does his best to make the old-school heroes sound old school (Power Man keeps saying, “Word!”) and we get a few interesting developments, and the image of a squished Spider-Man. We still don’t know for sure who’s a Skrull and who isn’t, even when their twins get taken out, so there’s plenty of tension and confusion to stretch until the end of the mini-series.
Lenil Yu’s art is nice and clean. I guess someone else is inking him here, because people aren’t as furry-looking as they were in his New Avengers books. He does seem to draw all the old-school women with torpedo boobs, though. I don’t know if that’s a stylistic choice.
To be honest, there’s a bit of Big Summer Movie going on here, which is giving me worries that this’ll be another Civil War with more splash pages and action than plot and substance. That said, this is a thoroughly enjoyable issue, and I was definitely left wanting more.
I’m feelin’ the Bendis/Maleev magic again. Fury’s recruiting a team of unknowns to train up for the Skrull invasion and we get the comic equivalent of the recruitment scenes from Ocean’s Eleven, minus the Rat Pack. Let’s call them the Caterpillar Pack. It’s an interesting idea, and an interesting collection of kids. I’d say that we should wonder at the idea of putting a bunch of kids on the frontlines in a war, but then I remember, lol X-Men. Charles Xavier is a trailblazer of child employment. Anyway, the book’s great, and feels like a build to something exciting. Hopefully next issue will be the start of that excitement.
I had originally written a review out for this book, and then I got some weird error and lost everything. What a pain. Oh well.
Overall, this a good book and staying in my purchase category, but I wonder how theyr’e going to wrap it up in the next few issues when they’ve spent most of the series so far wandering around inside of Roland’s brain/Merlyn’s Grapefruit. Bizarre and strange stuff, powered by the moody and surreal art of Lee and Isanove. Favourite scene: Roland meets the Gunslinger.
After a great start to this new Moon Knight series, I feel like the whole thing is losing its way and is probably due for cancellation soon. This makes me sad, as I love Moon Knight and think he’s a really interesting character. In fact, I don’t know why they’re having such issue keeping him interesting. He’s a more violent version of Batman with multiple personalities! How can that NOT provide for good storytelling!?
Anyway, this issue focuses on the frame job set up on Moon Knight, and Tony Stark stripping Moonie of his superhero registration. It’s well-paced and building towards an exciting showdown, so maybe the book’s turned a corner. I hope so.
This one’s odd. It’s got some of the best Spidey-banter in a long time, and the concept if fun, but I found the whole thing oddly-paced. It’s definitely got promise, though, and was one of my favourite books this week. I’m not a huge fan of the art, which feels a bit like Epting Liteâ„¢. It’s a bit gritty, but a bit stiff. I think it’ll probably grow on me. Regardless, the book’s interesting, and hopefully the mini-series will explore some of the more interesting possibilities at work here. How will Namor react to meeting himself? What will become of 40s Cap? Will teenage Bucky have something to say to Captain America Bucky or vice versa?
My biggest worry is that this is a time-travel story, which has a higher-than-average chance of going pear-shaped. Fingers crossed that things stay on track!
This was a strange mini-series. Scientifically, realistically, it made absolutely no sense. Wolverine’s fighting a fire-ghost man that’s the remains of some mutant he met in WW2 that was incinerated in the blast at Hiroshima. What? It’s all a bit metaphysical, and to be honest, the climax of the action makes even less sense, and was oddly anti-climactic.
It sounds like I didn’t like the book, right? Wrong! It’s fucking beautiful, and elegiac, and actually emotional, and makes Wolverine interesting. Fantastic.
Dawnzilla. That’s really all you need to know. Buffy and Co. head to Japan and the image on the cover actually takes place. Good stuff. Buffy’s been a solid book and continues to entertain.
This one started slow, but has worked its way up in my eyes. We’re in the middle of a detour from the conclusion of the main story line in order to check in with other characters for three issues. This is the second issue. To sum up: the psychic floating fish has troubles, Connor meets a really unexpected figure from Angel’s past, and Wesley rejects a false Heaven and gets sent back from his heroic demise to be Angel’s ghostly assistant from The Powers That Be. I’m interested to get back to the real story, but I’m enjoying this look at what’s gone down in Hell.A. This is a good book for Angel fans, especially those that wanted more than the TV series’ finale.