Welcome to the first of my (hopefully) weekly column spotlighting a few of the better books released this week. I may also spotlight some of the truly bad ones if something strikes me as truly horrible. Something like Final Crisis or All Star Batman and Robin. Has DC completely lost their minds? I mean really…
Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost
I’ve been a little cold towards X-Force for the past three or four issues. The first couple of story arcs were top notch brutal action movies trapped inside the pages of a comic book. The last arc basically reintroduced us to the Vanisher, a D list villain who nobody ever cared about. After reading issue 12 I understand why hes there and I’m actually enjoying his annoying ass. He is the official X-23 punching bag. This issue she cuts off an ear because he tries something shady. Its going to be a weird romance. The main crux of the story is the same one they’ve been playing out since the first issue. The Church of Humanity, Bastion and just about anyone with a fanatical hatred of mutants are gearing up towards something huge and Cyclops decided to get proactive. Being on the offensive has forced the formerly personality challenged leader of the X-Men into a true military strategist. He’s looking at the world as if mutants were at war with humanity and the X-Men being the poster children for “can’t we all just get along”. His naive adherence to Xaviers dream is a thing of the past as we can clearly see with X-Force, the official black ops team of mutantkind. There is a lot going on in this issue but I feel like its a strong jumping on point if you want to read about pissed off mutants who are more like Jack Bauer than Professor X. I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the art for this book. I first noticed Clayton Crain when he drew the Ghost Rider mini series Trail of Tears. His ability to make ugly things beautiful is astounding as witnessed in this issue with the Suicide Leper.
NEW AVENGERS #50
Too many to list
First I have to say I am loving Dark Reign. Norman Osborn with the keys to the world peacekeeping taskforce is something that I never saw coming. I honestly expected Tony Stark to be the big hero and we would see a 1984 Big Brother type thing happen in the Marvel U. This I didn’t see coming. Kudos Mr Bendis for making this story something truly special. And now I have to give a healthy FUCK YOU! To Marvel in general. $4.99 for this? Are you fucking kidding me? For those of you who don’t know, Marvel started a price hike last year. The original idea was for all the mini series and “special” issues of a book to be $3.99. I understood this. Make the lower selling books a bit more expensive or have event books be a little more to keep the core titles at $2.99. Well scrap that. As of last month New Avengers, Hulk and Dark Avengers are the first three titles to go to $3.99 permanently. So when a $3.99 book has a few extra pages it goes to $4.99. The story was fantastic as always I just didn’t feel like it warranted a five dollar price tag. Thor #600 from a few weeks ago? That monster was more than worth the $5 I shelled out for it. A brilliant climax to an equally brilliant story plus several back up stories that felt like they were actually pertinent to the current storyline. I’ll be talking more about the price hike and the potential ramifications to the entire industry in the first installment of Lethal Entertainment Radio. Keep checking back for the date of our first show.
Grade: B (if it had been $3.99 this would have been an A)
NOVA / GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
I’m not going to review this, I’m just going to say you should go out right now and pick up Annihilation and Annihilation Conquest. After you finish those start with the Nova trades and then move on to Guardians of the Galaxy. These are without a doubt the most enjoyable books ANY company is putting out right now. They are action packed, fun and funny. Right now these two books are about to start up a big event with a handful of X-Men and the Starjammers. Never before has Marvels cosmic line been this good. Never!
Grade: A+ across the board
Last issue they dropped the “After the Fall” from the title of the book. Angel and crew are all back from their time in hell and all of Los Angeles remembers everything. Including the fact that Angel saved them all making his the biggest celebrity in a town obsessed with celebs. Saving people becomes more difficult as the people asking for help either want an autograph, a picture, a movie deal or to have his babies. This is an Angel I’ve never seen before and its a whole lot of fun. This issue sees the return of Kate who we last saw in the First Night storyline helping out Connor. If you were a fan of the show you should be reading this. If you are a fan of solid storytelling you should also be reading this.
Most everything else I read this week is mid storyline so I’m going to give you some quick hits.
WONDER WOMAN #29
No one has captured Diana as well as Gail Simone. This story arc is going to be the one they talk about as the defining point in Wonder Woman’s entire run. The best WW I’ve ever read.
If I didn’t love this book so much I would say horrible things about its inability to ever ship on time and how the later it becomes the less I care about it. Sadly, its so good I can’t stop reading.
Terry Moore’s ECHO #10
As a fan of Strangers in Paradise I was a little unsure how Terry would handle what looked to me like a super hero book. He handled it like Terry. Yes, there are super powers but no, this isn’t a super hero book. If you like detailed character work this is a book you should read.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #47
If Ed Brubaker told me to jump from a skyscraper with my children in a backpack I just might do it. He is a master storyteller that everyone in the world should try to emulate. I do fear he is taking on too many projects but for now more projects just means more awesome stories.
AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #22
With Tony Stark on the run and SHIELD dismantled how much longer can the initiative stick around? Well, as long as they’re still here they might as well fight that big cyborg clone of Thor they keep in the basement. I’m digging the story but Ramos’ art makes me dizzy
THE MIGHTY AVENGERS #22
US Agent? Jacosta? Does anyone even care about these guys anymore? I didn’t. Now I do. Damn you Dan Slott.
FANTASTIC FOUR #564
The FF go on vacation so of course the kids get lost in the woods. What would a family vacation into Jesusville be without some mysterious disappearances.
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #24
Hands down my favorite regular DC book. Geoff Johns is the DC equivalent of Bendis. He orchestrates all the really good story lines and puts them together with a style that you just don’t see very often. Hes leaving this book soon to write a new Legion book. And the Flash. And Green Lantern.
Well that’s it for me this week. Have a good week and whatever you do don’t buy those stupid Wolverine one shots. There seems to be a new one every week and they all suck.