Bullet Reviews #136: This week we look at Cataclysm: Ultimate X-Men #1, Dark Shadows #23, Deadpool Annual #1, Dexter #5, Superior Carnage #5, Superior Spider-Man #22, Uncanny Avengers #14, and Wolverine And The X-Men #38
CATACLYSM: ULTIMATE X-MEN #1 (Marvel)
It starts off where you’d expect I guess, picking up the pieces. They decided to make it that Pixie didn’t get off Tian with the last group, so a group of X-Men led by Storm and narrated by Rogue go off to find her. They do, with a group of various mutants, and when Pixie looks up and sees Galactus in the sky she kind of freaks out and they’re all teleported onto this tiny rock of land in the middle of nowhere, and they have to fight off some living rock machine things. It’s not going well and one of the dudes from the group gets killed, just before Rick Jones as a tech suited Captain Marvel comes to help – and that’s where it ends. Now I apologize if this comes off as the weakest bit of comic book journalism ever, but did anyone else think that was kind of stupid? I was not really impressed at all. The snarky/silly tone didn’t work for it, and at the end of the issue I was just like huh? Was that a joke? Nothing of great interest happened here, and it’s a shame to think this could be the last memory anyone has of these characters from the great Ultimate Comics X-Men series. -Scorpio Moon
DARK SHADOWS #23 (Dynamite)
It would seem that all’s well in Collinsport. The evil that took over Barnabas Collins and caused untold amounts of death and destruction has been defeated and it appears that the only one around to deal with the fall out is Emma Debellis, David’s friend who was turned into a vampire. We move forward about 20 years and find young Emma in a mental institution trying to cope with her curse. We learn what happened that brought about the end of the war with Dark Barnabas and how Emma ended up with some control over her curse. It’s almost a sad ending knowing that everyone she knew has either grown up and moved on, like David, or ended up dead (or worse) like her family and those who tried to stop Dark Barnabas.
In the end it would be Barnabas who helped her contain her bloodlust with the same amulet that contained his, and ended up starting the whole mess, but we end with the cycle possibly starting again as the therapist who is trying to help her starts to remove said amulet.
It a bittersweet thing to have this series come to an end. On one hand, it was one of the most entertaining non-super hero comics I’ve collected recently… On the other hand I guess they kind of wrote themselves into a corner with this story because, well, where do you go from here? Honestly, that’s a question I would love to get an answer to. I, for one, would not mind the occasional miniseries here continuing the adventures of Barnabas Collins. -Skott Jimenez
DEADPOOL ANNUAL #1 (Marvel)
For those of you who just want to know what happened, sometime before “Secret Invasion” Deadpool was on a mission in NY, got interrupted by Madcap, and when they managed to piss off the local superheroes, Thor zapped them so hard with lightning that they fell into one big pile of ash. They both healed but regenerated all mixed up into one body, they looked like Deadpool, but had both minds. This was meant to explain a lot of Deadpool’s crazy over the past few years. When Madcap eventually has a chance to take control of the body, sometime just before Marvel NOW! started, Deadpool doesn’t like riding shotgun, and comes up with a plan to split them into two beings again. It works, but now Deadpool is sad without his constant companion around. So basically, those extra little boxes that they drew in during the previous Deadpool series, that was Madcap talking to him in his mind.
I wasn’t looking forward to an extra goofy issue, because the last arc in the series was so great and left me wanting more, but these writers did a fine job of continuing the new trend to retcon some of Deadpool’s craziness in ways that are sometimes even wackier but serve to bring him more back down to Earth. And it worked, they got me to buy into that technically very short-lived friendship. It was only a few pages, but I did find myself feeling all sentimental about it. It’s mostly just a pile of goofball, with Deadpool getting knocked around like a Looney Tunes villain, but I’m really glad I read it. -Scorpio Moon
DEXTER #5 (Marvel)
I really loved the Dexter TV show. When it ended, I was very sad. But, then, Jeff Lindsay, the writer and creator of Dexter, saw fit to work with Marvel Comics to publish a comic series telling a story from Dexter’s earlier seasons of the show. Again, I was psyched to see some new Dexter stories an in a cool new medium. That was 5 months ago… and now it is over. The story was really great. It all started with a high school reunion and a bully who had been on of the first on Dexter’s table. Dexter had let him go and now, in this series, he was paying the price for that. As the series unfolded, Dexter explored the possibility that someone else could be infringing on his territory, his dark hunting grounds, as he called it. This did not sit well with him, especially since the people who were being killed were homeless people who did not fit Harry’s Code, the code that Dexter had been taught to follow to protect himself and still sate his dark passenger. As this issue brought this series to a close, Dexter had been caught by the Skid Row Slasher, his high school nemesis Steve Gonzales. Dexter is put to work on Gonzales’ island where homeless people are taken and given a job and a chance at a new life. He knows that Deb will eventually come looking for him, but he doesn’t expect her to show up as a captive. Things look pretty bleak. I can’t spoil the ending for you, but I can say that if you are a fan of Dexter you should really be reading this book. I loved it. Plus, this is not the end as there is a new series slated for February 2014, Dexter Down Under. -Aaron Clutter
SUPERIOR CARNAGE #5 (Marvel)
Holy cow! I can’t believe that when this series was announced I figured I would try the first issue then be able to wait for the trade. Little did I know that this book would be this awesome! The Carnage symbiote goes from host to host and it’s revealed why. It hasn’t been the hosts rejecting the symbiote, it’s been the other way around. It’s looking for the perfect host. The problem now is since it merged with The Wizard it now knows the secret of the Superior Spider-Man! Add to this the HUGE mistake Otto made in trying to capture Carnage by allowing it to merge once again with Kasady in hopes of containing it. He was hoping to contain it while it jumped from The Wizard to Kasady but failed. They were able to finally contain Carnage and Spider-Man now holds it captive in Spider-Island II, but the damage has been done. Carnage knows Otto’s secret but Otto doesn’t know that while The Wizard was the symbiote’s host it healed his mind. It also did the same thing with Kasady. Bad things are on the horizon now.
This series has, as I’ve said before, successfully made Carnage a real threat again. The symbiote has evolved into more than just a blood-covered Joker wanna-be, he’s much more. And far more violent. I can only imagine how bad it’s going to get when the symbiote escapes and reunites with a Kasady whose mind is 100% again. I believe this nightmare is going to happen in February’s Superior Carnage Annual #1. I, for one, cannot wait because this series has renewed my interest in Carnage! -Skott Jimenez
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #22 (Marvel)
Before I review this issue I gotta be straight forward about a few things. Although I feel I am very seasoned in knowing Marvel lore, I have not really followed Venom after Eddie Brock. Did I know that Flash Thompson is now a secret agent using the Symbiote? Well of course I knew that, but only because I used to do the Marvel Press Releases, other than that I don’t know anything about Flash Thompson as Venom. HOWEVER. I do KNOW Flash Thompson lore very well. So. With that said. I gotta get into some questions I am hoping readers might be able to answer for me. Dan Slott and Rick Remender are two of the best when it comes to following protocol and using past lore to write stories of the present, and they do it damn well! But I have to ask, how in the world does Flash Thompson not know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man!? I can think of a few stories where Parker told Flash he was Spider-Man, or at least hinted it towards him, and if that isn’t pure “continuity” then shouldn’t the symbiote be able to tell FLASH that Parker is Spider-Man? It told Brock. It told Carnage. Why would it not tell Flash? Please explain this to me. Did the symbiote get its memory erased or something? Either way, it just really baffled me. This issue was another entertaining story in the saga that is the Superior Spider-Man. Every issue seems to dwindle closer and closer to the damning truth that Parker truly is dead. I don’t want Parker to come back, I am having way too much fun on this high stakes adventure. And it is all thanks to Dan Slott. -Nick Furious
UNCANNY AVENGERS #14 (Marvel)
Wow. How do I even describe this? This issue was all sorts of jaw dropping awesome. And this issue was exactly what I have come to expect from this remarkable title. I love this series. But I HATE when they change artists on this series! But no worries on this. Steve McNiven is AWESOME on this title! I don’t have any idea how to even get started on this review. Okay here we go! Last time we left off Wolverine (Who I think still doesn’t have a healing factor?) was hanging on wall being beaten to a bloody pulp. So he sent Rogue and Sunfire to stop Wanda from making another BIG PROBLEM for the Marvel Universe! Something she has done one too many times in the last 8 years or so. As the panels fly by us we all know exactly what is going to happen, but the entire event takes forever, it takes nearly the entire issue. It doesn’t drag, and it doesn’t bore. It stimulates. It energizes the entire situation. As we near the end of the issue the act finally happens. As the entire issue flies by the status quo is simple. Nobody dies. No one is to kill anyone. But Rogue doesn’t care what the status quo is. She doesn’t care who is preaching it. She can’t sit by and have Wanda attempt to wipe out the mutant race…again! Being the reader we know that Wanda is not really wiping out the mutant race. We know Wanda is tricking the Apocalypse Twins. But that is the true glory of Apocalypse. Even in our darkest hour, we can’t seem to find peace with one another. Five pages before the comic ended Rogue stabbed Wanda in the chest to finally end her crazy antics, and to save the entire mutant race. And then the twist happened. Wanda used Simon to cast the spell that made my jaw drop. “All mutants…Rise.” -Nick Furious
WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #38 (Marvel)
After the artwork stopped being dreadful and Aaron had some time to get some story flowing, I decided to take another crack at Wolverine and The X-Men. And once again the comic sucks. When I say it sucks, I mean it just isn’t really very good. I think the artwork is WORLDS better than the previous artwork. The concept of S.H.I.E.L.D being prepared to go to war with mutants is all too awesome to be used in Wolverine and The X-Men. There have been so many concepts wasted in Wolverine and The X-Men, I didn’t want to this one get the garbage treatment! And it really didn’t. It was just a lame issue regardless of what the concept was. I thought the new characters in Uncanny X-Men were dumb, but all these goof balls are a whole new kind of stupid. Wolverine is prepared to do battle with SHIELD. Okay…maybe this is a job for The X-Men? But the question remains…who are the X-Men? There are so many different X-Men I can’t even keep track anymore. However: I do like the idea of having Wolverine and Cyclops team up to take on SHIELD. Marvel didn’t change the status quo with the whole Phoenix Force taking over Cyke, no they simply wrote themselves into a corner. At some point the X-Men will have to come together again, at some point Scott Summers will have to go back to being on a team with Wolverine. The battle between these two is so drawn out that I have become weary with it. At this point I don’t even care that Cyclops killed Xavier. If Kitty Pryde can put up with being on team SUMMERS then that kind of makes it seem…uneventful. Kind of like every issue of Wolverine and The X-Men. -Nick Furious