Welcome back to another fine installment of Bullet Reviews! This week we begin to wrap up Summer 2013 with Captain America #10, Fables #132, FF #11, Journey Into Mystery #655, Scarlet Spider #20, and Wolverine And The X-Men #35
CAPTAIN AMERICA #10 (Marvel)
This concludes the first story arc in the revised Captain America title. What took 10 issues (and 10 years for Cap) was only about an hour of time in the Marvel Universe. Cap was tossed into another dimension – Dimension Z. Why Z? Z for Zola. (If it was Zemo there would be an X involved there…) Cap has suffered throughout this arc – watching his adopted son die, and then in this issue dealing with the biggest shock to him of all: the death of his longtime paramour, Sharon Carter, Agent 13 of SHIELD. Cap returns home – reluctantly – having lived through 10 years of hell which now explains his attitude within the pages of other books, most notably Uncanny Avengers. We now know why he’s been on edge there. And with both books being written by Rick Remender, the feeling of the continuity of his attitude makes perfect sense. This is also the last issue of John Romita Jr. on the title. Although I was not sure about him on the title, as sometimes his style suits some books and not others, but working in the alternate dimension was really something that I think he had fun with. The various demons and what not – something a little different than the norm. The epilogue, though, was quite interesting as we see the return of a name from Captain America lore: Nomad. I doubt that we’ll see Nomad return regularly, but the possibility exists for something interesting in the future. -Kelly Cassidy
FABLES #132 (Vertigo)
Camelot continues as Rose Red finally realizes her calling: restore the order of the Round Table. She has big plans and sets out to see them become a reality. This is either the start of something special or it’s going to be a huge disaster. But I can’t imagine anyone getting in the way of this grand plan… which probably means there will be someone who wants to see it all come crashing down. But this isn’t the only thing on Rose’s plate. She’s learned that Prince Brandish still lives and goes to New Fabletown to correct this mistake. I know that many of the Fables have limits to the amount of hell they are willing to put someone though but, besides Bigby and Cinderella, I’d say Rose is one of those I wouldn’t want to have mad at me.
On the second tier story side we have the Lady Of The Lake willing to help the 13th Floor Witches with their quest to bring Bigby back, something hope happens… and Snow White and Therese begin to come to terms with the fact that things between them will never be the same again. These are the things that have kept me invested in this series for over a decade now. There is always something going on and even if the story doesn’t feel interesting or exciting there is a pay off to everything more often than not. Fables is still the standard that all other comics and even TV shows centered on the storybook characters are measured by and I doubt that will ever change. -Skott Jimenez
FF #11 (Marvel NOW!)
I’ve been reading the Fantastic Four family of books on and off for a number of years. Although at times it has been inherently serious, they have occasionally ventured into the ridiculous territory. Now, you can argue that FF has been somewhat ridiculous since the get-go, but this issue of FF brought back what truly made the Fantastic Four have some ridiculously insane and fun adventures: The Impossible Man. But this time, he doesn’t come alone; he brings along the Impossible Family. And why? Because he wants his son – Adolf (seriously) – to attend school with the Future Foundation. This was the issue that Mike Allred was born to draw. His style is very classic to me – in other words, reminiscent of the golden age of Marvel back in the 60s and 70s. And the style is perfect for rendering the Impossible Man. FF has been mediocre for me in the past since this new run of the series began (and even in the old run), but this issue is what was missing from the Fantastic series of books: fun. And I’m hoping that the inclusion of the Impossible Boy into the school will create some more fun stories that we used to get and that I think has been lacking from the series for a time. -Kelly Cassidy
JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #655 (Marvel)
It’s funny, this series has really only been back for 2 years but it’s had such great writing and art that it feels like it’s been around longer. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that when I heard Kieron Gillen and Loki were leaving this series I had doubts. #646 brought in a new set of everything: writer Kathryn Immonen, artist Valerio Schiti, and main character Sif. I wasn’t at all familiar with the creative team but I had serious doubts Sif could carry her won title but with that first issue I realized she could, especially with this stellar creative team. Immonen took Sif, who was mostly a third tier character with little actually done with her over the decades, and made her a fully fleshed out main character. It’s amazing to think that in less than a year she made Sif a player, they were able to expand on her personality, give her more range and even adding humor while keeping the Warrior Maiden foundation of who she really is. But this experiment would have probably still failed if they had the wrong artist. Fortunately they had the perfect artist on this series. Schiti was able to show Sif as a strong woman and as a character who was thrust into situations she not at all used to dealing with.
Yes, over ten issues Lady Sif has gone from a pretty forgettable character to a fully formed character capable of carrying her own story. The sad thing here is with all the ‘outrage’ over a lack of female characters headlining comics and female creators there was seemingly little support for this book outside of those of us who absolutely loved it. That just tells me the ‘outrage’ is pretty much staged and can be ignored for the most part. Journey Into Mystery since it returned was a great book but when this team took over it became something really special. I know I haven’t said anything about the story, which featured Beta Ray Bill and does a great job of wrapping things up, but everyone knows that I absolutely loved this series so I just wanted to take a moment and thank the creative team, Kathryn and Valerio, along with everyone else involved in it, for putting out one of the few comic from the Big Two that actually feels like a comic book. It was fresh, exciting, action packed, but most importantly, it was FUN. I’m sad to see it end. -Skott Jimenez
SCARLET SPIDER #20 (Marvel NOW!)
Sibling Rivalry, Part 2
Captured by The Jackal, Scarlet Spider and the Superior Spider-Man need to figure out how to stop the psycho and escape with their lives. Or, if Spider-Man has his way, stop the psycho and he escapes with his life while the clone and the rest are destroyed. Since I’m more of a fan and reader of the Superior Spider-Man I’m looking at this story from his perspective and I have to admit, Otto is showing some of the biggest hypocrisy he’s ever expressed: He’s truly disgusted that the Jackal wants to harvest his DNA. I find that funny because it isn’t his DNA. But there is one thing about this story that comes to light: Otto hates the concept of clones. He wants them all to die in a fire in this book and he mostly gets his wish.
All in all, this quick crossover was highly entertaining and very telling of the sort o mentality Otto has towards other aspects of Spider-Man’s world. I can’t wait to see his reaction to Carnage, I don’t think he ever had interactions with that nut job. This was a great one and done story that gives more insight into the mind of the always Superior Spider-Man! -Skott Jimenez
WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #35 (Marvel)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This was the story that Wolverine and the X-Men was waiting for. It took almost 3 years to get here, but I think that Jason Aaron has now completed the first story arc to make the title worthwhile. Seriously. Up until now, there were a few things that made it great and I think the only reason I stuck around this long was that Aaron truly impressed me with Thor so he had to have something up this sleeve… and this was it. Husk returns to normal, Quentin Quire gets a girlfriend and grows up just a little, and Broo comes back. Probably one of the most unique characters Marvel has ever created, they made him give in to his species’ urges some time back after an attack, but now he has returned… but needed a little help. And this help will come forth in the upcoming Amazing X-Men title, as this guardian angel was covered in a white shroud, was blue, and had only two toes on his feet. Oh, and he had some help from some little Bamfs to help deliver his message. Long time X-fans will know what comes next… Finally, Mr Aaron, you have made this title worth reading. Keep this momentum up. This is what was missing from the title. -Kelly Cassidy