It’s that time of the week again! Each Tuesday we offer some quick reviews of a selection of books released in the last few weeks. This time around we take a look at: Amazing Spider-Man #693, Fairest #7, Green Lantern #0, The Mighty Thor #19, Transformers: Regeneration One #83, & Uncanny X-Force #s 29 & 30
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #693 (Marvel Comics)
Alpha, Part 2: The ‘saga’ of Spider-Man’s new sidekick, Alpha, continues and, well, the more I read with this kid… the more I want to see him get pounded into paste by anybody! Seriously, I’m getting annoyed with Parker comparing himself to this punk; they are nothing alike. The way they got their powers is kind of similar but from there… nothing. If getting me to hate this kid after only two issues was Dan Slott‘s plan he succeeded in spades!
So, after we continue to deal with Alpha, his parents and all the unwanted drama surrounding him, we finally get some action when Jackal shows up and kidnaps the punk and his family forcing him to man up but even when given this chance, and the guidance of Spider-Man, he fails to step up.
So, what are the bright spots here? Well, I’m still liking Slott’s writing. He’s gotten me to hate this kid very quickly and I like that. Humberto Ramos on art is always fantastic and always worth the price of admission. Bringing the Jackal back is also interesting. This time he wants to clone Alpha thinking he’s more connected to Peter Parker than he really is. Finally, the capper of this issue is Peter working to take the powers away from the kid. Should be interesting if he actually succeeds in doing this because this kid’s ego has gotten way out of hand. I think it’s time to use Jackal’s Big Red Button on this kid.
This won’t go down as my favorite story but it will be one that I remember because of how much I hate this kid so I guess I have Dan Slott to thank for that!
I’m looking forward to the Hobgoblin story coming soon though, then, the big #700! -Skott Jimenez
FAIREST #7 (Vertigo)
A warning: this Bullet contains a MAJOR spoiler. If you haven’t read the issue yet you may want to stop reading this.
Alright, this is probably going to be the story that will set long time readers of Fables off. This one story, out of a decades worth of issues, changes so much it isn’t even funny.
This is a tale of Beauty and The Beast as told by Beast. Set in 1946 we have Beast on the trail of a creature called Lamia. The creature is one he’s gone after many times, apparently, and has captured many times only to have it escape… many times.
Two things make this story interesting. First is the names Beast used over the years to cover his true identity: C. Auguste Dupin, Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. I guess this means Holmes won’t be brought in as a Fable now but I love when the Fables are tied into other mundy legends. Second, and more shockingly, is the identity of this Lamia creature.
While Beast is hot on the trail of her, and trying to get to her before Saint George does, and finally gets to her but only after she’s killed 4 mundys but manages to save her from Saint George at the last minute. After subduing Lamia we get a glimpse into her origin. She’s a snake-type creature, as beautiful as a snake woman can be, who had been used and abused because of her beauty. One day she happened across a Fable who’s name was Beauty. Because of her life and the abuse to took on due to her looks Lamia attacked and killed Beauty then took her form to protect herself. In taking her form she also took her life and would eventually become Beauty in almost every way.
So the Beauty we’ve known since the beginning of the series is a snake creature who took her form who knows how many years ago. The end of the issue shows Beauty and Beast, still in Haven, and Beauty is beginning to show signs of reverting back to her Lamia mentality. We’re also reminded that they have a child together.
This issue was a great example of how awesome a Fables book can be, even without Bill Willingham writing it. This was written by Matthew Sturges with art by Shawn McManus and I’d like to say I would love to see them come back and do more! -Skott Jimenez
GREEN LANTERN #0 (DC)
Hal Jordan is sidelined for a spell while Geoff Johns gives the power ring to a Muslim, surprisingly without uproar from some group of Americans or other (that I’m aware of). Johns makes it a point to stick in an epilogue to reassure those thinking of reforming H.E.A.T. and sending death threats to his children that, yes, wholesome white boy Hal will return. Presumably in ten issues time, at which point the magic wishing ring will zip off Simon Baz’s finger–in mid-flight, where he’ll plummet to his death–and return to Hal with a “You Are Bestest Green Lantern Eva!” fireworks display, thus saving America from the tyranny of brown-skinned comic book characters and their politically correct agenda.
Okay, Johns might not do that. He only kills minorities and foreigners if they’re unpopular and it makes his villains look hardcore. Otherwise, he likes having them in supporting roles to white people, which is how most comic fans like them, too! Anyway, this issue itself? Meh, I didn’t hate it. Johns and Doug Mahnke (perfunctorily) focus on the negative influence of 9/11 and the recession on Baz’s life. Nice of them to use Dearborn as the setting, even if it’s used as an Everyplace, USA with a closed factory; I also prefer this guy to Hal because he has a much more sensible mask, has understandable anger issues without being shown as menacing or “cool,” and is unrelated to that Multi-Colored Lanterns stuff we’re pretending to take seriously because it’s drawn with lots of crosshatches. In fact, if it weren’t for a power ring used as a deus ex machina, this would be a perfectly fine Baz #1–er, 0–which means I wouldn’t have had to read Green Lantern. -Andrew Taylor
MIGHTY THOR #19 (Marvel Comics)
Everything Burns, Part 2 Things are falling apart fast for Loki as every scheme and plan he has used since Fear Itself is starting to fall apart. War has broken out across the Nine Realms and it may all be Loki’s fault. Asgardia is without a leader as the All Mother is imprisoned, by her own will, and the Warriors Three choose among themselves a new leader because Asgardia needs leadership.
Thor stands with Asgardia but seeks out Loki demanding answers. It’s all looking very bad for Asgardia.
In the midst of all this, we have a shocking return of one who should no longer exist but does and she seeks revenge on Loki… I’m not sure who or even if this creature is who she claims to be. Another layer to figure out.
One of the highlights of this issue is the double page battle scenes. They take place in the different realms and are put together as some sort of collage. I admit I got stuck on that page for a few minutes because of the sheer genius of it’s construction. We got to look at the battle in Nine Realms on one page and each panel moved the story further perfectly. Certainly the creative team of Fraction, Gillen, and Davis put thought into this one and I loved it!
Everything Burns is supposed to tie up all the loose ends of Journey Into Mystery and will bring The Mighty Thor to an end setting up Thor and Loki’s entries into Marvel NOW! and I’m beginning to wonder what condition the Asgardians will be in for that. Loki in particular, all his schemes are backfiring and it really does look like he was doing things with the very best interests in mind. You have to feel sorry for the guy. -Skott Jimenez
TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE #83 (IDW Publishing)
The continuation of the Marvel series continues! You know, I was only planning on getting the first (81st) issue of this then jump to the trades but this is such a fun book! We’re beginning to learn a little more about what happened to Earth and how it would eventually fall to Megatron. The Autobots left and someone, we don’t know who, found the Ark and Megatron and made the mistake of reactivating him. It was bad and almost everyone on Earth died when the last ditch effort of using nuclear bombs was tried.
This issue brings back some familiar faces to readers of the Marvel run. First, Spike Witwicky is the man calling himself Circuit Smasher. He’s no longer the head of Fortress Maximus and would have been a vegetable had it not been for G.B. Blackrock who used the tech he made to create Circuit Breaker to fix Spike.
But while all these bits of information begin to come to light, Megatron makes his move and draws Optimus Prime out. With Prime and the best fighters away from Cybertron, it looks like Megatron may be making a play to take their home planet as well! To say there is a lot going on in this series is something of an understatement but it’s done so well that it doesn’t even come close to being overwhelming.
This has become one of my favorite new books. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Transformers book that was just pure, back-to-basics, fun. With the writing and the art of the classic Marvel Comics series, and some fantastic retro looking covers, this it the Transformers series for those of us who miss the days when G1 was all we had. -Skott Jimenez
UNCANNY X-FORCE #29 & 30 (Marvel Comics)
Man, it sure is a good thing we’re getting more X-Force every month, ain’t it? I was sick of only getting one issue every thirty days that had fantastic artwork and a kinda-smart approach to big dumb action movie plotting. Churning out these pamphlets with mediocre art that relies on the skills of Dean White to look remotely interesting sure was an improvement. Now, the only thing worth reading these comics for every month are the word balloons where Remender couples his comedy routine–which, to be fair, he writes a Deadpool I don’t picture being voiced by that guy from the Uncharted video games, and is therefore not annoying–with the whole debate about pre-emptive murder that, no matter how many times the characters bicker over it, never actually prepares them for making the choice. #29 gets readers through the Minority Report of Future Past dystopian detour drawn by Julian Tedesco, while Dave Williams presents a road trip in #30 with the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the teen clone of Apocalypse to try and stir up some of that evil madman stuff (and kill people along the way). There’s a pretty good panel where Sabretooth asks “Would a villain share his Cheezitums?”, and having Psylocke mock this future’s Punisher for whipping out a gun to stop her from committing suicide is great, but these issues could have been spliced together without suffering a thing. As it is, these 40 story pages comes down to two, maybe three scenes extended to full comic length. The blurb at the end of #30 declares “Final Execution continues,” which means either Rick Remender took “Slouching towards Bethlehem” a little too literally, or this double-shipping policy is leading to this series spinning it’s wheels in a parking lot. -Andrew Taylor
And that wraps up another week! Let us know what you think about these books. Do you agree with our Bullets? Disagree? Now’s your chance to speak up! We have that comment section below just for that reason, you know.
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