Here at Comic Booked we offer a selection of quick ‘Bullet’ reviews of a handful of new comic books each week. This weeks comics are reviewed by our very own Andy Kirby and Robb Orr. This week’s books feature Deadpool, Caligula, the X-Men and more!

ASTONISHING X-MEN #39 (Marvel)Astonishing X-Men
I know I’m a week behind on this one, but who can blame me? With all the FANTASTIC, AMAZING, and just plain WONDERFUL things that comic industry is putting out…how do I have time for the mediocre/terrible stuff? That’s right!! This book wreaks of cancellation. Just get rid of the thing. We have two creative teams alternating stories about Abigail Brand and Armor…I’ll just let that sink in for a second: Abigail Brand and Armor… WHAT!?!?   What is going with this book? Why are we keeping this around? The art is wacky, the writing may be okay (but no one cares) and the stories don’t matter. Is this the book where you get fun little stories about nothing? Because I DO want that type of book, but to fulfill that need this book needs a change. DON’T write in arcs, DON’T use frivolous characters over and over, and DON’T put it in “current continuity.” I want a book that is in continuity, but are all one shots, fully self-contained stories where writers can explore the X-Men outside of the events. Where is that book? Alright, simmer down. I’m done now. Sorry ’bout that. *sheesh* -Andy Kirby

CaligulaCALIGULA #2 (Avatar Press)
After a long wait (I almost was beginning to think I missed it somehow) the second issue of Caligula came out this week. It has been a couple of months, so I feel okay in revealing that at the end of the first issue, after infiltrating Caligula’s opulent living quarters, Junius plunged a knife into Caligula’s head in an act of revenge for the gruesome death of his family. Unfortunately, this had no effect on the immortal Caligula. Removing the knife, Caligula takes to calling Junius by the name of Felix and taking him under his wing as some type of twisted companion. Inexplicably Junius goes along with this without even being really threatened or anything! Is he just shocked and biding his time to find a way to kill Caligula? I find it a bit crazy that Junius is now in this situation. This is the man who violently tortured and murdered Junius’ family! Caligula wishes Felix (Junius) to become his scribe and write his story. To write the Caligula tale, he reasons, Felix must live it. That will obviously be debauched, as the closing pages of this issue hint at (please DO NOT show what is foreshadowed in the last panel). German Nobile’s painted art remains original and strong, but works better in bigger panels that capture large scenes than it does in smaller conversational ones. I am curious to see where this story is going. -Robb Orr

DEADPOOL #38 (Marvel)Deadpool
The Deadpool (proper) title is one of my guilty pleasures…(along with Tigra and Lupacchino’s art). There’s no real rhyme or reason to this book, but that’s the way it really ought to be. With a character like Deadpool, a targeted story with a main theme really wouldn’t fit the character. He is like a child infatuated with one thing and then on to the next just as quickly. That being said, Daniel Way is a fantastic Deadpool scribe! In this issue Deadpool’s adventure is the “Greatest Adventure”: Death. But how do you kill a guy with a more powerful healing factor than our furry friend from the Great White North? Wade gets to thinking, and the best way to meet his ultimate demise is at the hands of the Big Green Giant. I like this issue because it give a glimpse of what Deadpool has to go through being near-immortal (when he can focus on it, that is). -Andy Kirby


New AvengersNEW AVENGERS #13
(Marvel)
As our heroes deal with their sorrow of Mockingbird being shot, the two stories finally intermingle their story-lines. And I must say, overall, the payoff was not worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I was relieved when I saw Nick Fury saunter up and pretty much tell them that they are fighting for some kind of formula that pre-dates the Avengers, but looking back at the long-winded tale of how we got to this point made me cringe. Beyond the formula (and the mysterious Nazi Cap) we still have no connection to the characters. Maybe Bendis is playing off of McCann’s run by including Fortune in the mix. Maybe he’s telling a story of Steve Rogers retaking the mantle. Maybe he’s weaving a yarn about Mockingbird’s next step in hero evolution. Or just maybe this is all leading back to Nick Fury’s triumphant return as the World’s Top Cop. Any of those stories would be interesting to me–and I’m in it for the long haul. I just wish we hadn’t wasted the pages on the past story that didn’t much tie-in. -Andy Kirby

PUNISHERMAX #14 (Marvel)PunisherMAX
A few weeks ago, I gave this book a glowing review. I still think it is good and an excellent character study, but you are always going to have those slow issues. Unfortunately, this was one of them. The theme was changed a little from last issue (which is totally understandable), new characters were introduced with Nick Fury and the mob guys, and some more plot-progressing questions were laid out. We are still looking for how Frank came to really be the Punisher and what that means for his family and future. Aaron is painting the picture for us that the Punisher was not created but evolved due to a frothy mix of circumstance and negative character traits. The story still intrigues me as it mirrors the development of the violent through thought-provoking situations and the need to survive. -Andy Kirby

Ultimate Spider-ManULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #159 (Marvel)
Is it dorky to say that I teared up during this issue? I did… seriously. This issue totally captured the feelings I had when I first started reading Amazing Spider-Man. The hero is hurt, his identity exposed. The villains know he can’t fight. They are moving in for the kill–no mercy. A “parent” struggling with feelings of not being able to protect their child, knowing that the child is more powerful and capable of fighting his own battles.. The emotions that Bendis coaxes from the reader and the desperation of the situation is what comics is all about in my opinion. Sure, we’ve never been in that dire of straits, but we’ve all felt overwhelmed by innumerable odds; unable to help those in need when it counts most. This issue provided me with a genuine sense of wonder and awe. I am concerned for those involved with no idea the outcome. I know something big will happen, but my guess of how it plays out and how selfless service will prevail against selfish greed is anyone’s guess. As I finished reading it, I paused. I was content and reassured. No matter what happens next, I held in my hands an example of how to live. How to be noble; how to be a hero. -Andy Kirby

WOLVERINE #10 (Marvel)Wolverine
Jason Aaron has a passion for the supernatural it would seem. He also like violence and potty-mouthery. I’m not complaining, that’s just science talking. What I like about this book is the pacing. It reads quickly, has gritty art, and delves into interesting ideas. I wouldn’t say the plots or storylines are compelling, but definitely interesting. This issue clues the reader into why the Red Right Hand is tormenting Logan. Again, the idea of those that Wolverine has hurt along the way, coming together in their various positions in life for the single purpose of exacting retribution on our hero is…interesting. I’m wondering if this will lead somewhere or if it will even tell us HOW Wolverine was sent to Hell. And I’m also hoping for some backlash to the group. I mean, you don’t make a deal with the Dark Lord and have no unintended consequences or misunderstood terms or something. Am I right? I mean, I’ve never done it…I’ve only heard from Skott. -Andy Kirby