So, this week we have a fine selection of books, beginning with two takes on A+X #2 and including more from Marvel NOW! So let’s dig in, shall we?
A+X #2 (Marvel)
If you remember right I absolutely loved A + X #1. It was a blast from start to finish. No real brilliance to it. No long thought out plot lines that would eventually connect. Completely stand alone. But so much fun! Issue two proved to be a bit more um…tame. When you compare the two these two issues can’t even compete. Black Widow and Rogue was a clever concept for a team up except that the enemy was a Sentinel. This is Rogue and Black Widow. One of those robots shouldn’t stand a chance against these two A-Listers. Especially together. I love how Rogue takes Black Widow’s memory but earns her abilities even though there is no mutant power. I understand learning what she knows but it almost made it feel like Romanov was a mutant the way she pulled it off. I know she isn’t but it comes from sloppy writing. The jokes fell flat but it wasn’t nearly as bad as Iron Man and Kitty Pryde and I can’t put into words how much I hated the artwork on this one. The concept seemed even more tame but I loved the thought of Kitty Pryde taking over Stark Industries or whatever its called now a days. Either way I’m hoping the third issue impresses me more than this because I can promise you that is one title I won’t be purchasing anymore. This issue was bad. But not nearly as bad as Wolverine and The X-Men #21 Ugh…that was awful. Just awful. -Nick Furious
This is Marvel’s attempt to re-instate Marvel Team-Up without having to use Spider-Man (although he is an Avenger so we’ll see him soon enough…) My biggest complaint about this title is that the action is short. Very short. The book that spawned this one – AvX: Versus – gave us battles between X-Men and Avengers in short bursts, which was great – it was part of the greater story of AvX.
This book is different. This is a book that can showcase the animosity and the caring between the 2 teams, but shouldn’t have to resort to 10-ish page stories to do it. Why only 10-ish pages? Because there’s 2 stories in the book.
The first story involves a pairing of Rogue and Black Widow. It is written and drawn by Chris Bachalo, and although I’ve been critical of his art style in the past (some of it depending on his inker), here it suits it to a tee. There’s a little humor tossed in with the Black Widow’s car being totaled and her reaction, and her surprise at seeing Rogue who was able to “borrow Captain Marvel’s powers for a day”. Yeah, don’t see that happening after LAST TIME Rogue took Carol’s powers… So a little incredulous, but a fun story.
Part 2 has Kitty Pryde and Lockheed meeting with Tony Stark, who wants to offer Kitty a job. Seems he feels her talent is wasted at the school and he brings her to Stark Resilient to find work. Kitty has a cold, though, and sneezes into a ball of Pym particles, expelling many small Brood who were incubating within her and have absorbed her phasing ability. Oh, did I mention Peter David wrote those story? Yeah, you can see that can’t you. Again, a fun little story, and PAD kept true to the stories going on in all the titles to keep this story in context, if a tad unbelievable.
All in all, it was ok. I’d love to see a 1-2 issue story arc like Marvel Team-Up of old with different Avengers and X-Men teaming up, not just 10-page stories. Hopefully Marvel works their way up to that. -Kelly Cassidy
ALL NEW X-MEN #2 (Marvel NOW!)
Okay it is time to admit it. I don’t care if you have loved X-Men for years or if you only liked them in the 80′s or the 90′s or even Joss Whedon’s run; The X-Men are back. What exactly does that entail? It states that X-Men is not just another title that you see on the rack and you have no idea which one to buy. THIS is the title you want to buy. It remains unclear if this will be an ongoing title but I know everyone (myself included) hopes so. The concept alone is brilliant. Henry McCoy of all people is on a mission to save the world before he dies. Those mutations that eventually hit a further mutation are eventually going to kill him. Hank is one of those guys that knows that if he doesn’t save the world he can’t just hope that Tony Stark or Reed Richards figure it out. Regardless of what the story is, Beast has brought the original X-Men to his time to convince Scott he has lost his way. What a tragic thought to see how far you can possibly fall. This series has taken charge and is taking no prisoners. All New X-Men is making X-men a must-buy title once again. It has taken long enough. Time for X-Men to take back the crown for best mutant comic you can buy. -Nick Furious
FABLES #123 (Vertigo)
Soon this series will be one of, if not the only, series coming from DC/Vertigo with triple digit numbering. This issue closes out the two-parter that tells, basically, how Bigby got to marry Snow and have the cubs. I have to say, I love stories that are done like this, the kind where you know how it ends, but the ride there has a few curves and you begin to wonder if it actually will end the way you know it does and should.
Bigby, after a conversation with a turtle with a tea cup on it’s back (the tea cup holds the world the woman who was turned into the turtle comes from), begins to realize that he’s been taken for a ride. His destiny of being killed by a beast as big and powerful as he probably doesn’t have to come true. He hunts down the green lady who holds his fate and demands she change it. She agrees under threat of being eaten, and swaps that fate with that of a corrupt King who was to marry a beautiful woman and have many kids. Bigby and the King fight, and it’s epic, but eventually the King lives the fate originally told to Bigby: He’s torn apart and killed by a beast as great and powerful as Bigby… it turns out the beast in question actually was Bigby!
As the story comes to a close, we return to the future where Ambrose is finishing the story, he’s writing down all he knows of Fables history, then he returns to bed…with his wife…the green woman from this tale! Another fine story, thanks Bill Willingham! -Skott Jimenez
GODZILLA #7 (IDW)
Boxer and his crew are now on the run from the Feds and are still working to take down the Big G: Godzilla! Things happen kind of fast and slow at the same time in this issue as first, Boxer and his crew begin to work to set the traps for Godzilla, a trap that culminates in Godzilla being burned by lava from one of the Pacific Northwest’s semi-active volcanoes. The plan works fine, for the most part, until a black helicopter shows up and draws Godzilla away from the volcano that was rigged by Urv to blow. Sadly, there is tragedy in this issue as Urv refuses to destroy Vancouver for nothing and races to prevent the bombs from going off. He manages to stop the majority of them, but not all of them. The depiction of Urv being reunited with his husband, who was killed on their wedding day by a monster spider, is very well played especially for a Godzilla comic.
This is one of the things I’m really liking about this series. While I’m getting it for the monsters, you put Godzilla on something and I’ll check it out, the human characters are being fleshed out fully and are active players in the overall story. But that leads to the question of what IS the overall story? Why are the monsters so active now and what about the vision of Space Godzilla, Gigan, and Megalon? Are the earth monsters somehow aware of a coming threat and are preparing to stop it? Have the humans who have captured most of the monsters and places them on Monster Island dooming us all to die? I’m sure we’ll be getting answers very soon! -Skott Jimenez
INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #1 (Marvel NOW!)
Hulk has been over and over. Everyone has tried to find a fresh angle. Every poor writer has been forced to write for Hulk only to realize that writing for Hulk is HARD WORK. Hulk fans don’t deal with rehashed story lines. They are very vocal about how much you suck at writing Hulk. So who better to be placed on Hulk duty then the writer who blew people away last year with his run on Daredevil? That’s right Mr. Mark Waid, Marvel’s most coveted writer. Now who do you put with the likes of Waid that can keep every pleased with the artwork and still challenge them? Look no further than Leinil Yu who is personally my favorite artist right now. Look up Leinil Yu in the dictionary and it will read “The Best”. Waid writes unlike any writer and Yu does art unlike anyone out there. That is what we call perfection folks. So why did the story not feel all that entertaining? It’s a set up issue folks. There is no room to breathe when you are getting a new number one. It has to pull in new reader and keep old readers hooked. Even though Hulk didn’t hook me I can’t help but think there are bigger things in the horizon. I trust in Waid and if he says he has a big story to tell I trust him. I’m not sure Hulk: S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is that appealing to me but I believe it will be. -Nick Furious
JUDGE DREDD #1 (IDW)
So, for the first time in who knows how long, there is an all new Judge Dredd series for America. Now, I’ve never really been a fan of the character, not because I don’t like him I just never read much of him. Sure, I have the crossover books with DC’s Batman and Lobo but that’s as far as I ever got. So why did I pick this book up? Simple: Jim Starlin Cover. I love the guy’s art and I feel there simply isn’t enough of it on the stands today. So, having said that, it’s obvious I don’t know much about the character but I do know this book was a lot of fun. Written by Duane Swierczynski, who also does Godzilla for IDW, the first issue gives a perfect entry-level explanation of this character and his world to those of us who may only be familiar with the Stallone movie. It was so well done that I didn’t feel lost at any point in the issue. The art of Nelson Daniel is crisp and sharp, going a long way to solidify this world and it’s characters. Now, I can’t say how this compares to the 2000 A.D. series but I can say that, on its own, this is certainly a very interesting and entertaining book. Dredd and the other Judges seem very single-minded in their enforcement of the law which does have the possibility for some very interesting stories. But first, they have to figure out why so many robots in Mega-City One are beginning to revolt!
I’m going to at least grab this one in trade but can certainly recommend it for anyone who’s curious about the character or is interested in learning more after seeing either of the movies. -Skott Jimenez
NEW AVENGERS #34 (Marvel)
Even though this is one of my least favorite titles I can’t help but enjoy the team of Bendis and Deodato. Every single panel breathes as if it is moving picture. Not many teams can pull that off but Bendis and Deodato make it seem so simplistic its fascinating. As far as story goes the Doctor Strange story has been less than entertaining but I can’t help but be pleased with Doctor Strange taking on every single member of the Avengers. My only complaint? Simple: it wasn’t long enough! This is Doctor Stephen Strange, the former Sorcerer Supreme! This isn’t just a wham bam thank you ma’am, no this is one of the most awesome heroes on the planet but it ends that quickly? Oh, wait, I think I left off that Dr. Strange is not the one that is possessed. The entire Avengers team is possessed while Dr. Strange is the only one who knows what is going on. Overall a pretty clever concept just didn’t last long enough. The plus to this issue was definitely the end where Luke Cage really got to leave the Avengers. He sold it back to Tony Stark for 5 dollars and decides to restart Heroes for Hire. Now that is a comic I could be interested in. Did I mention Squirrel Girl was in this issue? Isn’t that reason enough to buy it? -Nick Furious
X-MEN LEGACY #2 (Marvel NOW!)
I was kind of critical in my review of issue #1. Sometimes it takes a creative team a little bit to set the tone of a story and get things meshing as a team. Issue #1 felt kind of… off, but I can view it as a prologue to the series.
In this issue we see more of what’s going on with Legion and the battles he is having in his own mind. He was shocked to find out the death of his father last issue, and so many of personalities and powers escaped. But now we see what we expect from an X-Men comic: some X-Men. We had a brief glimpse in issue #1 of the Jean Grey school, but now we have Logan, Ororo, Beast (who seems remarkably healthy, unlike his status in All-New X-Men… Continuity, editors!!) and even add in Chamber to the mix. Now, I haven’t seen Jono in some time, but I have the feeling that his inclusion and his psi-ish abilities are a key component to the story going forward.
All in all, I liked this issue better than the previous, which to me tells me that Spurrier had to get some cards on the table before he began to turn them over and reveal the plan. And I’m OK with that, as it seems like he’s going to turn over some cards sooner rather than later (which is good) and save some for a later time (which is fine – so long as we get a strong progression of the story, I am more than happy to wait). -Kelly Cassidy