Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sketch Reviews (June 30 2011)

In case anyone was wondering, I plan to get the '28' series back on track after missing last month's post. The same 'lack of desire' that struck my Comics Should be Good work hit there, too. I've been keeping the basics going, but definitely needed to step back. Not sure if the stepping back is entirely done just yet, but it's been nice.

Batman, Incorporated #7: Chris Burnham's art seemed more in sync with Morrison's writing in this issue. A pretty great done-in-one comic that I can't help but see as drawing some inspiration from Scalped. One of my favourite issues of this series so far, honestly. [****1/2]

Detective Comics #878: A good issue and good conclusion to this little story. Tiger Shark is an interesting villain and one I'd like to see more of. In a couple of places, Jock's art really confused me, but that's nothing new. Snyder's narration was rather strong and the voice Dick put on when talking to James was appropriate and... yet, surprising. In a good way. Between this and last week's Gates of Gotham, I'm feeling more confident about my decision to add Batman to my pull list come September. [***1/2]

Flashpoint: Project Superman #1: An interesting issue that didn't quite land. This seems like the sort of book I'd be all over: a man slowly losing his humanity to superhumanity, but... I never get the sense that Sinclair is the one who changes so much as it's everyone around him that changes how they relate to him. He simply gains powers and people react differently to him until he loses control. It's not so much that he loses his humanity as it's taken from him. It kind of reminds me of the X-Men and how I never quite bought into that 'different non-human species' line of thinking, but understood how, after so many people treating you as something other than human, you'd begin to think of yourself as something different. Sinclair never reaches that point, though. That doesn't make it bad, just less interesting than it could have been. Gene Ha's artwork is a little disappointing in its minimalism. When he pairs down his art, it comes off as sloppy and only partially rendered a lot of the time. The stuff with the X-Ray vision worked quite well, though. I'm intrigued enough to see this one through. [***1/4]

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #8: I really like Nick Dragotta's art, but that little blast from the past story at the end of the comic added nothing. It was five pages that Dynamo had already summed up in a few sentences. I still think that those '60s sequences would work better integrated and this issue definitely seemed to have that problem. At least the pace picked up from issue seven. Still a somewhat humdrum story so far... aside from the debate between Len and Bill, which was quite well done. [**1/2]

X-Men: Prelude to Schism #4: Professor X, Magneto... Cyclops, Wolverine.... seems like an obvious enough pattern. It occurs to me that the hints provided seem like they're pointing to the Celestials. I thought Earth had 50 years until the gold one in San Francisco woke up, but, hey, why wait? This series suckered me in with a pretty good first issue and then did nothing by let me down the rest of the time... but, hey, I imagine some people are happy to see Jenkins revisit Logan's past... maybe? [**1/4]

The New Avengers 100 Project: I bought this off of the Hero Initiative's eBay page and it finally arrived with the mail lockout ended. Nice little collection of art. It's fun to see the same ideas pop up again and again or callbacks to an artist's previous tenure on the book like Steve Epting drawing that '90s team featuring the Black Knight and shaven Hercules... except he left out the leather jackets! I only flipped through it so far, but definitely worth it, especially since it supports a good cause.

The Incal: Classic Collection: This finally shipped this week after a while of waiting. The next best thing to that deluxe, oversized hardcover Humanoids put out last year and, if you didn't get that one, FUCKING HEAD OUT AND FIND A COPY OF THIS ONE! The original colouring is back and I already found one panel that's made two hundred times better for it. It's a shot of Animah with purple skin and blue hair because of the lighting and it stands out so well. Just a perfect little panel. My only hope is that Humanoids keep these coming. A hardcover like this with the original colouring of Avant L'Incal would be a fantastic companion piece -- and, then, maybe Apres L'Incal and Final Incal? Please?


Monday, June 27, 2011

CBR Review: All Nighter #1

I recently reviewed All Nighter #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The best part of All Nighter #1 is the first page: a splash of a woman in her early twenties with short, kind of spiky hair, a skull and crossbones t-shirt that replaces the skull with a cassette tape, a hole in the left knee of her jeans, sitting atop the roof of a diner. The look on her face is one of concerned sadness as she narrates, 'My name is Kit Bradley. Nine years ago, I killed my mother. Tonight I have to do something that qualifies as the second hardest thing I’ll ever have to go through. Okay, it’s a distant second... but I have to find a way to break up with my boyfriend. Again.' It’s a powerful mix of art and words that hook you right away. A fantastic beginning."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Flashpoint: The Outsider #1

I recently reviewed Flashpoint: The Outsider #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Of all the Flashpoint tie-in minis, the one that’s stood out as the biggest mystery book is The Outsider. Who is the Outsider? Is he Alfred Pennyworth, an altered Lex Luthor, a White Martian, or something else entirely? James Robinson doesn’t shy away from that question by answering it right away in this issue, revealing the character to be brand new and looking like the likeliest candidate to be the ‘Nate Grey’ of Flashpoint. And, judging by this issue, he’d make a nice addition to the criminal landscape of the DCU if they went that route."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Captain America #619

I recently reviewed Captain America #619 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Marvel may have their broader strokes planned out well in advance, but, sometimes, things don’t line up too neatly. Ed Brubaker has lamented that the finale of the Buck Barnes Captain America didn’t come out before Fear Itself #3 and, while annoying, what’s more bothersome is how the end of 'Gulag' seems rushed and doesn’t satisfy completely. Unless the first issue of Captain America and Bucky bridges the gap between this issue and Fear Itself, that gap is a glaring error. Especially when the issue basically puts forth the argument that Barnes can never be Captain America again, for good reasons and, yet, there he is in Marvel’s big event in full costume."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sketch Reviews (June 23 2011)

Batman: Gates of Gotham #2: The first issue left me a little lukewarm, but I really enjoyed this one. Great character work, an interesting backstory, and a pretty awesome end. [****]

Brightest Day Aftermath: The Seach for Swamp Thing #1: When I saw the previews for this comic, I wondered if that was supposed to be Chas with John and, apparently, it was. Good thing someone wised up and said that the art looked nothing like Chas and had it changed. That's about the only good thing about this comic. Just a fucking mess of a comic that doesn't seem to have any sense of any characters. I wonder if Vankin knew which version of Batman he was even writing, because that wasn't Dick despite the costume indicating it's Dick. Ugh. Just not good. But I knew that when I bought it. Just wanted to see how fucking awful this John Constantine story would be... and make reviewing any future issues easier if I wanted. [-**]

The Mighty Thor #3: Colour me surprised, but I really enjoyed this issue. The disparate threads connected up and make for a lively, entertaining read. Fraction manages to write engaging dialogue -- the stuff with the Silver Surfer was great. Probably my favourite Thor comic he's written since that last one-shot he did a few years back. [****]

Secret Avengers #14: What the fuck was that shit? I'm not buying any more of this shit until Ellis arrives. [BAD FUCKING COMIC]

Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #5: You knew Nick Fury would have something up his sleeve... and it's magic Hulk pills... huh. That's... was it ever mentioned that Black the First Hulk took pills to maintain his Hulkness? 'Cause I don't remember any mention of that. There is something comedic about Fury and his Avengers getting Hulked out. They just look like bodybuilders and that's kind of funny. They don't look scary. Hell, Clint Barton just looks a little absurd and weird. Shit, I don't know what to make of this comic. I liked some parts and hated others. On the whole, this is still my favourite Ultimates stuff from Millar, especially of the Ultimate Avengers bunch. Looking forward to the final issue. One final thought: that's all Spider-Tao does? What a fucking waste... [**3/4]


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Punting It: Invincible Iron Man #505

I was supposed to review Invincible Iron Man #505 and even bought it for the expressed purpose of reviewing it. I didn't review it. This isn't the first time that's happened. I (and many of my fellow reviewers) have punted books because, when it came time to review them, there was nothing to say. But, I'm not sure that's actually the case with Invincible Iron Man #505; I'm more convinced that anything I have to say wouldn't really work in a CBR review.

That immediately raises the concept of what a 'CBR review' entails and, maybe, I've limited myself in that regard. That's definitely possible, I admit, but I do think there is a 'type' of review you write for that site, and most other 'mainstream' places. It's almost like a broad overview of the comic with a few specific examples whereas, here, I'm more inclined to focus in on a couple of specific points and ignore the broad view. I'm sure that approach could work on a place like CBR -- and I've probably done it and just don't remember when.

More than that, I have little opinion on most of this comic. It's a dumb action comic that tries to horrify us and seem big, but never does. Part of that problem with that is that, in destroying Paris by transforming almost everyone into statues by the Worthy-fied Grey Gargoyle's new Medusavision seems cheap to me. I doubt it will mean anything besides giving Tony Stark a reason to freak out. Will the consequences of the population of the capital of France being slaughtered be addressed in the future? I'd bet ten bucks on 'not fucking likely.' And, if it's not, why should I care? These dead people are props and nothing more. Hey, maybe I'm weird, but I tend not to care about props. You may as well have Iron Man and the Grey Gargoyle destroy cars and buildings like they usually would, because the people of Paris matter just as much as property in Marvel New York City. Hell, probably less. Avengers Tower getting destroyed will almost certainly have more follow-up than the dead city of Paris. It's had more build-up and emotion invested into it and will have more invested in it in the future, and isn't that what causes an emotional connection? The build-up and the payoff? That these are meant to be 'people' doesn't matter; they're just drawings on the page (and not particularly good-looking ones). They're not really people and no work has been put into it to make me think of them as such beyond Tony Stark kind of crying and vomitting all over their statue corpses. Is that a metaphor or symbol or something, folks?

The only other thing that stood out in this comic was that final panel that I haven't seen discussed online (I haven't sought out discussion on this comic or anything; I'm talking about discussion by the folks in my little circle of folks who talk about comics... though I may have missed it since I'm not on Twitter 24/7). The comic ends with Tony flying away, apparently to fix his armour and check in with his fellow heroes, except he took the bottle of whiskey that was sent to him by Hammer Industries as a big "Fuck you, you addict fuck!" gift. I've wondered when Stark would finally fall off the wagon, wondering if it would ever plausibly happen after the giant string of fuck-ups he had starting with Civil War. By the end of Secret Invasion (which, if you follow the Bendis timeline, took place all of a month after Civil War... AT MOST), he'd fallen so low that you kind of expected the story to be "Iron Man: The Drunken End" where he gets shitfaced for six issues until he's arrested and shot in the head by Norman Osbourn. Except, he didn't drink. That led to Tim putting forth the theory that maybe they'd wait until things are going so well for Stark that he decides that he's on the top of the world and can handle drinking. His ego would be his cause to begin drinking again. This issue seems to point to him heading back into the bottle because Paris was killed. Now, he hasn't actually drank yet and this could be a big tease by Fraction that leads to a scene where Stark takes the bottle to Paris, throws it at the Grey Gargoyle and makes some dumbass speech about how he's too strong to let the bastards get him down. That seems oddly likely. Personally, I'd rather see him just make a brief stop by wherever Steve Rogers is, tell him that it's on him and that they won't have Tony Stark to kick around anymore, because he's going to go drink himself to death on some island somewhere. Okay, not really, but that would be entertaining.

I'm wondering if Stark crawling back into the bottle is the lasting consequence of Paris. Is that how those deaths are made to 'matter?' Is that enough? Not really, because they're still just props then.

I will say this: I'm tempted to pick up the next issue to see if Tony pops that seal and says "Fuck it" to the rest of the world.

Monday, June 20, 2011

CBR Review: Avengers Academy #15

I recently reviewed Avengers Academy #15 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "What does one do with a competent yet unremarkable comic? As Avengers Academy joins in on the Fear Itself fun, it delivers a story that is both obvious and unavoidable: the students helping to defend Washington against Sin’s attack, and the consequences of sending children into such a dangerous situation. There isn’t another way to approach the events of Fear Itself and how they would impact the characters in this book and, yet, the execution contains no surprises. Given the premise, the comic plays out exactly how you’d expect. There are no big missteps and no moments of wonder or amazement."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1

I recently reviewed Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Reading the first issue of Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons, it brings to mind a meeting where the muckity-mucks at DC were kicking around ideas for Flashpoint mini-series and someone said, 'Hey, how about Deadman, who never died, is in the same circus troupe as Dick Grayson and his parents, who also lived?' Sounds good, especially when you throw in some other characters like Ragdoll, Killer Shark, and Dr. Fate, except for one thing: no one really came up with a story. As far as comics that are nothing more than ideas go, this one is some lovely art and the odd bit of character work that succeeds."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

CBR Review: Daken: Dark Wolverine #10

I recently reviewed Daken: Dark Wolverine #10 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The opening scene is bold and engaging with Daken causing havoc on the 110, dressed in military gear and a Captain America mask alongside others identically dressed. The point of it all is unknown; no explanations are given and that’s what makes it work. Daken blowing things up with some other people before popping some sort of pill that exchanges Matteo Buffagni’s clean and energetic art for Riley Rossmo’s scratchy, frenetic scrawls? That’s how you begin a new direction! It immediately grabs the reader makes the new team look like they’ve got some interesting ideas for the book."

You can read the rest HERE!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

CBR Review: Avengers #14

I recently reviewed Avengers #14 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "In Avengers #13, the title intersected with Fear Itself and also began the incorporation of 'The Oral History of the Avengers' feature that’s been running as a back-up in Avengers and New Avengers since their relaunch just over a year ago. It’s an interesting way to approach the event tie-in issues, one that lends more weight to what happens than traditional storytelling. By placing the events of these issues within the context of 'The Oral History,' they already seem bigger and more important, which is definitely the case with the battle between the Red Hulk and what has become of the Thing now that he is one of the ‘Worthy.’"

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sketch Reviews (June 16 2011)

I actually bought comics yesterday. This week, I got to go into work an hour early, which meant leaving an hour early, which meant leaving in time to get comics. Read them late last night after the girlfriend went to bed. And, then, I finished reading Noah's Turn by Ken Finkleman before watching the first few episodes of his latest TV show Good Dog. The book came out in the fall and was a gift from my buddy Adam. I just got it on Monday because he's horrible at mailing things. It was a pretty decent read. Nothing too surprising if you're familiar with Finkleman's work on TV. A Crime and Punishment-influenced book that reminded me a little of Woody Allen. Lots of concerns over class and money, of proper behaviour and the superficialities we erect in a society. Funny without making you laugh sort of comedy. Kind of like Good Dog, which many would say is like Curb Your Enthusiasm, but in genre only. Whereas Larry David is an engaging and sympathetic character much of the time, George Findlay rarely is. He's petty and selfish and cowardly. Though, his interaction with a little person pedestrian in the fourth episode is hilarious. He goes places David would never. I can't wait for the DVD. And, if you want to see Finkleman make an interview horribly uncomfortable and funny, check this out.

Deadpool MAX #9: The 'Non Kyle Baker' issue. Shawn Crystal isn't bad by any means. I like his manic, stiff, over-the-top cartooning here. Well, sometimes. Sometimes, his faces get this weird quality that looks awful. But, many times, I stopped and thought "I should like this more than I am" and that's because he's following Kyle fucking Baker and going for an entirely different tone. Look at the cover and then what's inside and it's two entirely different beasts. Lapham's writing needs that Baker approach to balance off the goofier and dumber elements of his script... otherwise, it's just a cartoony comic that isn't nearly as funny or interesting. [**]

X-Men: Prelude to Schism #3: That first issue was a fluke, wasn't it? The writing and the art continues to slide, continues to do the opposite of the first issue... Then again, Cyclops talking to his dead mommy just doesn't do much for me. [*1/4]


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CBR Review: Alpha Flight #1

I recently reviewed Alpha Flight #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Part of the problem is that Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente have too many balls in the air. It’s great that they have subplots for all of the characters, the country, and the larger Marvel universe, but none of them really mesh. Instead of creating a cohesive story, all of the various subplots clash with one another and give the comic a disjointed 'And now here’s something about Sasquatch! And now here’s something about Guardian! Etc...' feeling. Oddly, despite being the center of the issue, Nerkkod’s attack feels like an afterthought, some random occurrence that provides an excuse for the characters to do something and advance the political subplot, but really could have been anything."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Punishermax #14

I recently reviewed Punishermax #14 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The third story arc of Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon’s Punishermax continues to hum along nicely, exploring two different Frank Castles: the one that tried his best to become a regular guy after coming back from Vietnam, and the one that’s in prison right now, broken down and seemingly prepared to die. That contrast is striking, because neither of those characters has been seen before. Normally, pre-Punisher Frank is a regular guy and a loving husband, not an emotional cripple who would rather be in a jungle killing. The Punisher is a dedicated force of nature, not an emotionally destroyed man who has no fight left in him. It’s compelling writing paired with art that adds depth and a joy to read every month."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Annihilators #4

I recently reviewed Annihilators #4 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The latest in Marvel’s cosmic start-and-stop line of books comes to a close with both the Annihilators and the team of Rocket Raccoon and Groot finishing things with their respective enemies. Both stories end well, but lack the gravitas of earlier cosmic work by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. While it’s hard to keep doing things that ‘Change Everything Forever!’ this mini felt a little light, even with lasting consequences to the Spaceknights and Dire Wraiths."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Sketch Reviews (June 9 2011)

Two trips to the States in two days. Last night, Michelle and I saw the Sam Roberts Band play in Detroit and that was pretty awesome. It's the fourth time I've seen the band live -- first time in five-and-a-half years, though. They played St. Andrews and fuck was that place hot last night. Probably the most physically uncomfortable show I've ever been to. But, the venue offers unlimited pop for five bucks, I bought the CD of the opening act Zeus, and the show itself was fantastic. I even geeked out a bit when they played "Dead End," my favourite song of theirs -- and not one that I've seen cropping up in their recent set-lists that they post on Twitter. So, yeah, it was a good night despite the heat. Then, today, we went shopping and I spent too much money on DVDs. Cheap wrestling sets, all three seasons of Deadwood, the second Sean Connery Bond collection that came out this week, and season one of Archer for ten bucks. Plus, some groceries that aren't available here. Lovely couple of days. Now, comics...

'Breed III #1: Where the first issue left me cold, this one worked a lot more for me. Starlin's art looked a little crisper, more dynamic. I wish he'd tone down the narration a bit, but I'm starting to get into this series. Like I said last week, I got the first trade, but I think I'll wait until the second one comes out to read it. Read them both in one go. [**1/2]

Ghost Rider #0.1: I need to stop buying these 'point one' comics. This was bad. A comic that read like it had ADD and didn't seem to care beyond getting to the end of the comic. Just fucking awful. Waste of goddamn money. [*]

Journey into Mystery #624: Rather enjoying this book. Gillen definitely makes this new version of Loki work. He kind of reminds me of Huey, Dewey, and Louie all rolled into one. That could be because I'm watching DuckTales on DVD right now. [****]

New Avengers #13: So that's what the two stories have to do with one another! Still pretty detatched. I did love the way Deodato drew the sad/guilty Thing's face. That was pretty great. Mostly an issue of spinning its wheels for me, though. [**3/4]

Scalped #49: The stuff with Red Crow has me most intrigued. And, damn, the narration in those final pages... Jason Aaron can write one hell of a comic book sometimes, can't he? Guera continues to impress me more than the last time I saw his art... this book will end someday. I hope that day never comes. [****1/2]

Secret Warriors #27: Two weeks later after my shop got shorted... The Fury/Strucker stuff made me laugh. The other stuff seems like necessary positioning for the final issue, which impressed me less so. Though, Vitti drawing Leviathan men popping was great. [***]

The Unwritten #26: An entertaining comic that sees our protagonists actually doing some shit. Huh. [***1/2]


Monday, June 06, 2011

CBR Review: Flashpoint: Secret Seven #1

I recently reviewed Flashpoint: Secret Seven #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Of all of the Flashpoint mini-series and one-shots, few sound stranger and more unexpected than Secret Seven, a series that’s basically Peter Milligan writing Shade, the Changing Man once again. He recently brought the character back in his Hellblazer run and seeing him write the character in this alternate reality with George Perez on art is almost surreal. Perez is probably the quintessential ‘superhero comics artist’ in the business and pairing him with Milligan on such an odd and crazed title is inspired. The results are a little mixed, but Secret Seven #1 is always interesting."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Halcyon #5

I recently reviewed Halcyon #5 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "What began as a clever concept about what superheroes would do in a world with no violence, no aggression, and no need for them, ended as a much different story about a man becoming his own worst enemy. To go from something so big to something so focused and personal is surprising and, when it hits, it hits hard. However, how it works within the context of the entire story is questionable. The ending of Halcyon #5 is an unexpected treat, albeit one that doesn’t retroactively make the story better. It merely highlights the flaws in how the story was structured and built."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

CBR Review: Batman: Knight of Vengeance #1

I recently reviewed Flashpoint: Batman: Knight of Vengeance #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "This is not the first time that Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso have handled Batman, but it seems like the most natural. Gotham City has always had that dark, cynical, downright nasty edge to it, and that’s something that Azzarello and Risso always brought out in their trips there. However, something often felt off; things were a little too dark and cruel for the DCU. There’s a fine line and they seemed to cross it. They still made some entertaining and good comics, but something wasn't right. Here, though, they seem right at home with an old bastard like Thomas Wayne."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Sketch Reviews (June 2 2011)

I don't have too many thoughts yet on the big DC news. I question the wisdom of launching 52 titles (obviously a mix of ongoings and minis) in a single month like that, but, otherwise, until I see a full list of titles and creative teams, it's just a big question mark. Of the titles with creative teams announced so far, only Wonder Woman looks like something I'll buy. If they continue up that percentage, I'll be getting, what, 5.2 comics from them per month?

The Boys #55: Slowly but surely, Ennis has turned Butcher into a villain, hasn't he? He's never been a nice guy, always a bit of a bastard, but one you cheered for. Now? He's just another fucked up shit you want to see get gotten. And HOLY FUCK did McCrea's art kill this comic. The scene with Butcher and Mallory when Butcher went to kill the scientist -- what the fuck even happened there? Can someone explain that scene to me? I can't understand it. [**1/4]

Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #1: The interview Ed Brubaker did with Tom Spurgeon had me more excited for this than I already was. It's pretty great. I'm not sure using the Archie gang as a template is as mind-blowing as Brubaker thinks it is, but it's a useful way to make a point. I jump to Automatic Kafka #4, but that had a different point to it. Similar idea as a jumping off point. But, hey, maybe not. Phillips and Staples are probably my favourite art team. Maybe Williams and Stewart. But, fuck, that's some stiff competition. [****]

Fear Itself #3: Fraction was shooting for Morrison and wound up with Millar. Stuart Immonen carries the comic. [***]

Moon Knight #2: Okay, this comic is just kind of weird. And I like it. Not really sure multiple personalities work this way, but it's entertaining enough. All we need now is an awesome twist ala South Park and the City Wok guy to be complete. [***1/2]

SHIELD #1: Is this actually about anything yet? [**1/2]

Astonishing X-Men: Exogenetic: Picked up the trade today and really like the way Ellis writes the X-Men. Lots of snark that would build up over time of always being together. An entertaining plot that mixes together a lot of old things in a new enough way. The villain of the whole thing just makes me laugh. Not a great comic, but much more in the Nextwave tradition than I think people read it as. [***1/2]

'Breed: The Book of Genesis: Haven't read this yet... [N/A]

Counter X Vol. 2: Yeah, that's the actual name of this trade, but it's really the Generation X one. Unlike the X-Man one, which still really impressed me, this one doesn't hold up as well. Part of the problem is that this one tries to appeal to the existing fanbase more. Which is good at the time, but left me scratching my head a few times. It's also hurt by some pretty ugly art. I appreciate the idea behind the first story with the kids taking on an enemy that's suited to them specifically. I need to track down the uncollected issues, because I think that's where Wood really started to do some good work. I remember this one being the one I liked second-best of the three, so I'm curious how much the X-Force one will work for me. [***]

Elektra Lives Again: Bought this on eBay and it arrived this week. It's the 1996 softcover reprint and that suits me fine. This is a gorgeous book, but what stood out to me more than the art was how Frank Miller approached the writing. The story is much larger than what we get here. So much is going on, but Miller commits to sticking with Matt Murdock and we only see a small piece of it. For the most part, Murdock doesn't do anything. Everything happens around him and he's pretty fucking useless. The plot mirrors the grief and feelings of helplessness he has. He's powerless to bring Elektra back, to change the past, and everything that happens around him leaves him just as powerless. Daredevil doesn't even appear aside from some TV footage that looks kind of silly and out of place. One of the most 'adult' superhero stories I've read, honestly. True emotion, smart writing and structure... this is what the 'adult' superhero comic should aspire to. Maybe I'll expand upon that notion sometime. [*****]