Thursday, December 13, 2012

Direct Message 06: Cable & X-Force #1

This one came together quickly. It's really just Alec and I punching Cable & X-Force #1 again and again in the hopes that it will die. Alec does most of the work, while I just sort of hang back all proud and grinning. Also, Shawn Starr makes a guest art appearance.

You can read Direct Message 06 HERE!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Direct Message 05: Fatale

Mostly because of me, Direct Message 05 wherein Alec and I discuss Fatale was delayed. The words... they would not come. Eventually they did in their way, so here we are with a completed discussion column. Isn't that lovely? Go read it. Enjoy.

You can read Direct Message 05 on Fatale HERE!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Week of December 5, 2012

Action Comics #15: So... everyone's going to assume any criticisms I make of Rag Morales's art are actually personal, aren't they? My bad. Didn't quite think that through... shit. I like the ideas that Morrison throws out here. Not sure how they actually work. But, it does explain the series so far to a degree. Isn't it convenient when the plot explains away the bits that people criticised? I think so. [***1/2]

All-New X-Men #3: A bit of a dip down. The 'our powers are going crazy because... uh... PHOENIX!' shit is a bit lame. Especially after there didn't appear to be any problems whatsoever in issue one. I dug the last page. Let's get to that: the interesting part. Maybe? Soon? [***]

Avengers #1: Unsurprisingly, this reminded me quite a bit of The Ultimates #1. Same writer, same general characters, a very similar art team... even a plot that bears some similarity. The key bits are in the differences, then. This is more hopeful, not as seedy. More inate goodness and heroism here. A sense of heroic epic -- myth in action -- that wasn't present in The Ultimates #1. That comic ended with Nick Fury looking freaked out, completely at a loss. This one ends with Captain America gathering more Avengers, because he doesn't get freaked out or find himself at a loss. This is a largescale story of heroes and goodness... that was the world falling apart and being changed forever. I think I preferred that one more, but I'll certainly take this one. [***3/4]

Daredevil: End of Days #3: Bendis and Mack recognise a simple fact: Daredevil fucks a lot and probably doesn't carry around a box of condoms. And James Bond died of VD. [***1/2]

Fury: My War Gone By #7: That felt like ages since issue six... The look of... fear in his eye on that second page... this is going to get dark by the end, isn't it? Also: more Frank Castle! Why isn't issue eight out next week, dammit? [****]

Hawkeye #5: Of course, my first reaction was that they took away the thing that appealed most to me about this story. Funny how a government-sanctioned superhero team can't actually... do... anything for said government. Also, I don't like fake Nick Fury, Jr.'s tone when discussing his father. Who the fuck is he? A poor plot contrivance brought about by casting a movie... But, I dig the vibe of this comic and the lovely art. [***1/2]

The Ultimates #18.1: Captain America is a boring president. All he does is play superhero. I could read any other comic featuring Captain America for that. In this one, he's president. That means I want more Jed Bartlet and less typical superhero bullshit. Christ. What's the use of doing anything different if all you wind up doing is more of the same? No. Really. What? [Fuck you]

Later

Sunday, December 02, 2012

EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Week of November 28, 2012

All-New X-Men #2: One of those second issues that make you miss the double-sized first issue that was once the norm. Stick this with the first issue in a single comic and you'd have a much stronger debut. Hell, skip the first issue save the final scene and start here and it's a better debut. The stuff with the original X-Men really works for me -- interesting juxtapositions and possibilities. Glad to see that things improved. [***3/4]

Batman, Incorporated #5: You know, whenever there's a large focus on saving Gotham City, I tend to always go "Why?" Because it's a shithole and any sane person would have used his massive resources to relocate all that deserved it, sealed it up, and wiped it from the face of the Earth. Then again, the Batman isn't sane, so... [***3/4]

Fatale #10: I reread the entire second storyarc and... yeah, I'm not feeling it. These feelings will be expanded upon in the next Direct Message. But, it's still a comic drawn by Sean Phillips, so... [***1/4]

FF #1: A bit more like the Matt Fraction we all know and love. Crisp dialogue, clear characters, an easy to get concept, and the Allreds. We all knew this was going to be decent going in and it did not disappoint. Scott Lang is rather compelling here as well, which is surprising. [***3/4]

Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity #2: The meandering, lazy pace of this is nice. It's a hang-out comic. I like hang-out comics. [***1/2]

New Avengers #34: I think I'll discuss this at greater length in Random Thoughts this week. But, I do 'love' how Avengers #1 ships this week. Can't give it even a single week for the end of this eight-year run to sit and settle and sink in? Just shout "NEXT!" and we're off on the next run already with no break whatsoever? Why not ship it this week? That bugs me. It shouldn't, but it does. I'm not saying put off the next run or anything -- hell, I'm really looking forward to Hickman's run on Avengers and New Avengers -- but must it start the week after? Not even a single week off between the two? December is a big month, there's plenty of time for that comic to ship slightly later in the month... It just feels like "Thanks, now get the fuck out." Stupid sentimental bullshit. [****]

Prophet #31: I enjoy this series a lot. I like the characters, the art, the writing... [****]

Secret Avengers #34: As I've been reading Uncanny X-Force trades as they've come out, I've seen more and more threads from that title repeated in this one. I like that. Rick Remember building his own little world off in the corner. Well, I should correct myself: I like the idea of it. I'm not particularly bowled over by some of these ideas he obsesses over. I did enjoy the Captain Britan/Hawkeye banter, though. [***1/4]

Thor: God of Thunder #2: Dean White is gone and the colouring does take a dip. It's not as noticeable or bad as it should be. So, there's that. This god butcher story is intriguing and has a different feeling from other Thor stories. The whole difference between war and murder narration towards the end is especially engaging and good. And what would be a 'cool moment' in many other comics ("Thunder.") is played perfectly as desperate and slightly funny and just kind of sad. Thor barely survives... Now, to expunge that editorial full of bad jokes from my mind... [****]

Ultimate X-Men #19: "200 mutants? That's not near extinction! I'll show you near extinction!" And that's how Brian Wood turned the mutant race into 20 people living in the middle of nowhere on land that can't grow anything. He fucking saw you and raised. Fuck yeah. [****]

Uncanny Avengers #2: I have never seen so many ugly, half-formed panels from John Cassaday in a single comic before. Look at that final panel on page five. Hell, just look at page five. This guy drew Planetary and now... Also, will someone explain to me how altering people and giving them superpowers is okay, but mutants are not? I'm not a racist, so I can't exactly figure out the subtle difference. It mostly looks like bullshit to me. [**1/2]

Later

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Direct Message 04: The Manhattan Projects

Alec Berry and I managed to get the latest Direct Message on The Manhattan Projects done in about four days. Is this a sign that we've finally gotten our act together? Who knows! But, there's some new comic-discussing going on and you should go read it.

The latest Direct Message can be read HERE!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Week of November 21, 2012

Avengers #34: The first of the one-two punch that is the End of Brian Michael Bendis's Avengers Run. I wonder if the essay at the end of this issue will run in next week's New Avengers finale as well. It seems like that would be the more fitting place. While Bendis began on Avengers technically, New Avengers was his book really. I liked this end well enough. Wonder Man is put back in the box alongside the Wasp. I'm not sure Bendis ever really did enough with Wonder Man, but I always liked the idea of his turn. Not a 'bring the house down' finale or anything, but I liked this. [***1/2]

Daredevil #20: A well-crafted comic. [***1/2]

Hawkeye #4: Probably my favourite issue of this series so far from a writing perspective. Some clever bits, too. A bit more balanced... Yeah, I dug it. [****]

Indestructible Hulk #1: One of the few Marvel NOW! titles that I'm giving a single issue to make me continue and, while I think the concept is clever and reminds me a bit of Joe Casey's approach to Bruce Banner, it doesn't really interest me. It's the sort of idea that can only go so far because of the limitations of the Marvel Universe and I can see that that will always be a frustration for me with a book like this. The conflict between Marvel's internal reality demanding it approximate our world and the level of genius it possesses is one that I try my best to avoid, because it's just hell watching. Also, the Hulk never seems to interest me. He smashes. Yay...? Whatever. [No issue 2]

Ultimate X-Men #18.1: Brian Wood jumps over 'the cure' almost as quickly as he jumped over the end of the Sentinel conflict. Good for him. A transition issue that allows the book to jump into "Reservation X" in issue 19 without too many distractions. The problem with the cure is that it's partly an effort to exterminate mutants, but it's also a story-ending machine where those that don't take it don't necessarily engender sympathy. There's the idea that mutants are born that way... but they also only get their powers as teens and most mutants in the Ultimate Universe are teens... is that who they really are? And given the sort of lives they've been forced to lead as mutants, why would they want to remain that way? Mutants in the Ultimate Universe have had a much harsher time of it than the regular MU and by sidestepping the conversation as much as possible, Wood doesn't linger on that too long. That QQ mention has me wondering, though... [***3/4]

The Unwritten #43: It's shocking to see fictional characters like that... but... there isn't any effect. I know that Leviathan hurt is bad for humanity, but the shocking lack of effect of the damage of fictional characters take a bit of the urgency out. As Tom says, this doesn't change anything in the real world. So, why care? This book has become about managing destruction that seems contained in a way where we know it's bad, but that's only because we've been told. What we've been shown doesn't actually seem to matter. There is something interesting in watching a book flail about like this, unable to find its footing, though. I'm with it. So: I'm with it. [***]

Wolverine and the X-Men #21: Amusing, but something that misses my sensibilities. That happens. No one's fault. This just doesn't click with me. [***]

Wonder Woman #14: Oddly, my least favourite pages were the final ones with Highfather and Orion. The rest was good: Wonder Woman winning someone over with patience and genuine caring, and the gods being dumb and petty... Good stuff. [***1/2]

Later

Monday, November 19, 2012

Riding the Gravy Train Archives

Every Riding the Gravy Train post on Avengers vs. X-Men in one easy to use archive...

Avengers vs. X-Men Reading Order
Later

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Riding the Gravy Train 31 (All-New X-Men #1)

The new beginning is the end. The train doesn't stop here, but this is where this series of posts is getting off. I was going to do a more general summary/finale post, but I don't want to do one of those. I've 'summed up' Avengers vs. X-Men many times. I've repeated myself many times. The posts are there, go read them if you need to know what it was all about. Or, actually, I'll tell you right now...

All-New X-Men #1 is what it was all about. This was the end goal, this comic. You might think it was Uncanny Avengers #1, but you'd be wrong. That was a book that I considered part of the Avengers vs. X-Men wrap-up/epilogue portion of the event. Avengers vs. X-Men kept going after that comic. All-New X-Men, on the other hand, follows a week after AVX: Consequences #5 shipped. This is the new beginning where Brian Michael Bendis takes over the X-books and does for them what he did for the Avengers titles. Avengers vs. X-Men was, as I've said, an X-Men story about returning to a familiar status quo with a mutant school, mutant terrorists/revolutionaries, and mutants plentiful world wide. It was the anti-"Disassembled" in many ways.

When Bendis took over Avengers, he destroyed the title and the group, leading to New Avengers where you had Captain America and Iron Man and, then, a bunch of 'non-Avenger' characters. During his time on New Avengers, he oversaw the moment where the X-Men were destroyed in a similar fashion and, only now, rebuilt back to what they were. Sure, some roles may have been shifted (Wolverine runs the school, Cyclops is the new Magneto), but it's a very familiar place.

The goal is the event was to get here. Sorry, a goal of the event was to get here. The story told in the event was a goal as well. But, ever since Bendis took over the Avengers titles, one of the major patterns in the Marvel Universe was that each event or new status quo seemed to exist to lead to the next, usually in an alternating pattern. Event A led to New Status Quo A, which led to Event B, which led to New Status Quo B, which led to Event C, which led to New Status Quo C, etc. There were stories in there and I enjoyed quite a few of them. But, there was also a general feeling of the events and new status quos not delivering all that they could, because part of their function was to produce what came next. That was something that I felt really hindered Avengers vs. X-Men where there was such a focus on hitting All-New X-Men #1 that the story being told didn't match the story they were trying to tell. Cyclops needed to be in this role, so everyone ignores that he was right and they never gave him any credit, nor recognised their roles in driving him to extreme measures by the end. There was a sense that they failed to see that, by the end of Avengers vs. X-Men, Cyclops was the hero and Captain America was the villain who just happened to win...

Even in All-New X-Men #1, there's an effort to make Cyclops out to be some sort of bad guy, while also doing everything they can to make sure that the reader can only view him as a good guy. We have two mutants who accidentally stumble on their powers: a timestopper and a healer. Cyclops and company rescue both from authorities -- the healer in particular is such a bad example if you're trying to show that Cyclops is waging war on human authority... he was arrested for healing someone! We're shown some of the 'good' X-Men fretting over all of the damage that Cyclops is doing to mutant/human relations, but they offer no alternatives nor any results. Take the healer -- what would Storm, Kitty Pryde, Beast, and Iceman have done in that mutant's case? Left him in the hands of police that arrested him for healing someone? There was an obvious overreaction at play here. Not only was no harm done, this man actively helped someone -- and was arrested. This is clearly a corrupt system being dealt with, making Cyclops and his group appear nothing but sympathetic, while his old teammates look like bumbling fools, sitting on the sidelines, ready to work with the corrupt and hateful, wringing their hands over the idea that protecting mutants actually requires action. There is no sense of Cyclops placing mutants above any morality: his actions, while illegal, are moral. That wasn't the case at the beginning of Avengers vs. X-Men where he endangered the entire planet on the belief that the Phoenix would save mutantkind. As that story continued, his actions were justified more and more until we get to the point where he's saving innocents from corrupt authority while the superheroes get all pissed off.

I keep wondering if that's what Marvel is striving for. It must be to some extent, but in such a one-sided way? Is the use of the original X-Men supposed to be the counterbalance? Their youthful innocence and naïveté causing us to see that Cyclops is, in fact, lost and immoral? Or will they simply look like dumb kids that don't a thing about the world? Will they even react poorly to what Cyclops is doing once they learn the entire history of mutants since their time at Xavier's school? I guess those answers are coming soon, because All-New X-Men #1 seemed content to end with its premise -- in fact, the only preview pages provided were of the final scene. Nicely done there, Marvel... way to underwhelm automatically.

It's hard not to be disappointed by All-New X-Men as payoff for Avengers vs. X-Men in the same way that New Avengers #1, Mighty Avengers #1, Dark Avengers #1, Avengers #1, New Avengers #1, and all of the other follow-ups to events were disappointing. It doesn't feel like enough. Avengers vs. X-Men ended with a "Stay tuned for the new status quo!" teaser, basically, and this is it and how can a single comic deliver on that, especially when its ends by stating a premise we all knew months ago?

And, already, Marvel is teasing Age of Ultron...

"And did we tell you the name of the game, boy? We call it riding the gravy train..."

EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Week of November 14, 2012

The Boys #72: I don't think any ending could have totally satisfied, but this came damn close. The final few pages in particular are wonderful. And Stillwell's realisation... I'll miss this book. [****1/2]

Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #14: This book isn't quite on autopilot, but all urgency is gone. It knows it's dead and is taking everyone is can with it. That's interesting, but also depressing. It's nothing but death and misery. [***]

The Massive #6: Another good character spotlight issue. I like the slow pace with this book. There's no need to rush. There's so much room that so long as the comic is interesting in and of itself, I don't mind a thin plot. Not many books could get away with that, but this is the sort of title where that seems almost preferred to heavy, plot-driven stories. [***3/4]

New Avengers #33: Thankfully, the cover didn't predict what happens inside of this issue. But, I guess that could be next issue... This arc hasn't wowwed me, but Bendis has one issue left. Two weeks. First, Avengers and, then, New Avengers... [***1/4]

Punk Rock Jesus #5: This comic reminds me of my teenage self so much. If time travel is ever invented, I may send him this. He'd love it. Love it. I'm liking it quite a bit. [***3/4]

Thor: God of Thunder #1: A fine Thor comic. Probably the best I've seen in many years. Not a home run -- a solid double that might have been stretched into a triple if they'd ran their asses off. I do like Aaron's take on the character here and who doesn't love the Ribic/White art team? (Idiots, that's who.) [***3/4]

The Ultimates #18: I wound up liking this finale to Sam Humphries's first arc than I expected. It somehow clicked. It's a bit rushed, a bit obvious... but, it works. And the status quo is still interesting enough that I'll stick with this for a while. I just need to remember that Hickman, Ribic, and White are gone and they are never coming back. Remember... remember... remember... [***1/2]

Where is Jake Ellis? #1: I dug Who is Jake Ellis?, though not as much as many. It was a great-looking comic with a story that grew increasingly thin. That seems to carry on in this first/sixth issue. But, it's nice enough to look at that I don't mind. And Edmondson gives Zonjic enough cool things to draw. Maybe it will turn out to read great, too. Who knows? [***1/2]

Wolverine and the X-Men #20: The other side of the coin, in a sense, to All-New X-Men #1. The final page isn't a knock-you-on-your-ass one... if only because I think that's meant to be Kade Kilgore and he looks about ten years older than he's supposed to. But, good issue still. [***1/2]

The Zaucer of Zilk #2: This is comics. This is superhero comics. This is you. This is me. This is them. If only... if... why isn't that... you and me and them and comics and superhero comics... why... Why don't we learn? [ZZZZ1/Z]

Later

Monday, November 12, 2012

Avengers vs. X-Men Reading Order (Updated August 17, 2013)

In the vein of my Secret Invasion Reading Order comes something bigger and, somewhat, more ambitious: an Avengers vs. X-Men Reading Order. It may surprise you to learn that it wasn't too difficult. Parts of the order are strictly judgement calls and some issues could be switched around with no real impact on anything, because they're so self-contained. An example of this are the intial tie-in arcs of Avengers Academy and X-Men Legacy where they both fall within the same timeframe, but could be read in any order really. I'll try to explain myself as I go and, maybe, update when necessary (aka when someone points out a factual error that makes my order impossible... though, in some cases, those are unavoidable). My biggest criteria for order is that events show in Avengers vs. X-Men trump all tie-ins with AVX: VS trumping all other tie-ins. So, events seen in Avengers vs. X-Men and tie-ins will always have Avengers vs. X-Men as the first comic to show those events with the others following. I think that makes sense.

  • Avengers: X-Sanction #1-4: Thematic prologue to the event.
  • Uncanny X-Men #9-10: More direct prologue to the series, sets up tension between Avengers and X-Men over Hope as well as adds more to the Hope/Phoenix connection.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #0-1: Prologue and beginning of the story. The Phoenix is coming. Builds up to the Avengers and X-Men fighting on Utopia.
  • New Avengers #24, Wolverine and the X-Men #9, and Avengers #25: The Avengers gear up to face off with the X-Men (if necessary). While Avengers #25 shows events from Avengers vs. X-Men #2, it's mostly an issue that takes place prior to the event... plus, it literally only shows a double-page spread of the Avengers and X-Men fighting, which is heavily implied as something that will happen at the end of Avengers vs. X-Men #1.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #2: The fighting happens and Hope escapes, while the Avengers in space confront the Phoenix.
  • AVX: VS #1 and Uncanny X-Men #11: Fights from Avengers vs. X-Men #2 are expanded upon.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #3: The X-Men surrender and, then, escape. Everyone wants to find Hope. Captain America seemingly tries to kill Wolverine.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #10: After the fight at Utopia, Cyclops tries to recruit as many mutants at the Jean Grey School as possible to join his group, find Hope, join her with the Phoenix, and save the mutant race.
  • Avengers Academy #29-31: After the fight at Utopia, the Avengers drop off some underage X-Men and all of the kids must get along until the adults decide that Captain America is wrong and let the mutants go.
  • X-Men Legacy #266-267: After the fight at Utopia, a trio of Avengers stake out the Jean Grey School to make sure no one there gets involved. A fight ensues. (Note: Some scenes from these issues contradict what we saw in Wolverine and the X-Men #10, but, since that issue was written by Jason Aaron, one of the five main writers of the event, I put it in a more primary position.)
  • Secret Avengers #26-28: The Space Avengers try to capture the Phoenix and fail. The Kree try to manipulate the Phoenix, including a resurrected Mar-Vell, and they fail. During the events of this story, both Noh-Varr and Ms. Marvel are under Kree mind control.
  • Avengers #26-27: Noh-Varr betrays the Space Avengers for reasons that don't entirely make sense next to the Secret Avengers story. However, this one clearly follows that one, so it goes here. In the end, the Space Avengers leave, Noh-Varr is almost killed by the Kree, and we're left wondering how a company could let these two issues and the Secret Avengers issues be published under the same event.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #4: Everyone searches the world for Hope and the Avengers and X-Men fight some more all over the world. Wolverine and Hope go to the moon where the Avengers have also come. So do the X-Men. They almost fight until Thor crashes into the moon... AND THE PHOENIX IS HERE!
  • AVX: VS #2, Uncanny X-Men #12, and Wolverine and the X-Men #11: Expanded fights from Avengers vs. X-Men #4 and more on Wolverine and Hope before they get to the moon.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #5: The Phoenix arrives, the Avengers and X-Men fight on the moon, Iron Man breaks the Phoenix apart, and it inhabits Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Colossus, and Magik.
  • AVX: VS #3: Expanded fights from Avengers vs. X-Men #5.
  • Uncanny X-Men #13: Another perspective on what's happening during the events of Avengers vs. X-Men #5.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #6: The Phoenix Five rule the world and change things. The Avengers attack, the Scarlet Witch gets involved, and Hope goes with the Avengers. The issue ends with Cyclops proclaiming "No more Avengers."
  • AVX: VS #4: Two fights. Considering Thor gets taken down twice over the course of the series by a member of the Phoenix Five, I figured I'd just put this here for ease.
  • Avengers #28: Red Hulk tries to assassinate Cyclops. He fails.
  • Uncanny X-Men #14-17: The Phoenix Five (and non-Phoenix possessed members of the Extinction Team) take on Sinister.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #16: The story of Kade Kilgore and the new Hellfire Club's activities in the wake of the Phoenix Five.
  • Avengers Academy #32-33: Emma Frost decides to destroy some teenager's pet Sentinel. Hank Pym and others object. Fighting ensues. The Sentinel is saved through trickery on the part of Quicksilver.
  • X-Men Legacy #268: Frenzy does some stuff for the Phoenix Five, kind of.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #12 and Avengers #29: Two perspectives on a big confrontation between the X-Men and Avengers where Rachel Summers seemingly lets Hope go, but was really outclassed by Charles Xavier.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #13: Gladiator and his forces fight against the Phoenix Five. They fail. They leave the planet.
  • New Avengers #29: The Illuminati gather, talk, and Captain America tries, unsuccessfully, to convince Namor that he's doing the wrong thing.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #7: The Avengers are hunted by the X-Men and have their base in Wakanda. Hawkeye and Spider-Woman are captured. In a fight, the Scarlet Witch seriously hurts Namor. The issue ends with Namor attacking Wakanda.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #8: Namor wages war on Wakanda. He is defeated and loses his Phoenix power. The Avengers retreat to K'un Lun.
  • New Avengers #25-27: The history of K'un Lun, the Iron Fist, and the Phoenix. It's a story told to Hope. She is given a new master to train her: Spider-Man.
  • New Avengers #28: Hawkeye, Luke Cage, and Spider-Woman in X-prison. They think they've almost escaped, but it's a mental prison where they replay the same scenario again and again.
  • X-Men Legacy #269: Ms. Marvel tries to convince Rogue that the Phoenix Five are evil. They fight. Magik shows up and imprisons Ms. Marvel in Limbo. Rogue doesn't like that and tries to help Ms. Marvel escape. She fails, but manages to escape from Magik.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #14: Colossus takes Kitty Pryde out on a date and shows himself corrupted by the power of the Phoenix. Iceman is wary of Magik and Cyclops as well.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #9: The Avengers try to rescue their captured teammates in Limbo. Spider-Man fights both Colossus and Magik, eventually turning them against one another, causing them both to lose their Phoenix powers. Storm and the Black Panther break up.
  • AVX: VS #5: Fallout fights from Avengers vs. X-Men #9.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #10: The Avengers fight Cyclops in K'un Lun. Hope beats him by using the powers of the Iron Fist and Scarlet Witch. The X-Men grow wary of Emma Frost who is obviously corrupted by the power of the Phoenix.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #15: The mutants at the Jean Grey School prepare for the fight battle with Cyclops and Emma Frost.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #11: The X-Men join forces with the Avengers to bring down Cyclops and Emma Frost. They fight. During the course of the fight, Cyclops turns on Emma to take her powers. He then kills Charles Xavier and becomes Dark Phoenix.
  • Uncanny X-Men #18: The events of Avengers vs. X-Men #11 from the perspective of Cyclops and Emma Frost.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #12: The grand finale. Dark Phoenix Cyclops is brought down, Hope embraces the power of the Phoenix and unleashes it to bring back mutants. Cyclops is arrested.
  • AVX: VS #6: An expansion of the Hope/Scarlet Witch confrontation in Avengers vs. X-Men #12. Plus, some gag stories/strips.
  • Uncanny X-Men #19: The events of Avengers vs. X-Men #12 from the perspective of Cyclops. The issue ends with him unapologetic about his actions.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #18: What went down at the Jean Grey School during Avengers vs. X-Men #12.
  • New Avengers #30: Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Daredevil escort Emma Frost to prison, get into a fight with some hi-tech racists, defeat them, and Luke Cage quits the Avengers.  
  • Avengers #30: Hawkeye and Spider-Woman fight bad guys and one another. Iron Man is tired after the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, but gets off his ass anyway, because that's what superheroes do. 
  • Uncanny Avengers #1: The funeral of Charles Xavier. Havok visits Cyclops in prison to be a dick.
  • Uncanny X-Men #20: Cyclops is visited by Sinister in prison. Danger is set free by Unit after he leaves. Colossus and Magik have a confrontation.
  • AVX: Consequences #1-5: Cyclops is in prison and escapes with the help of Magneto, Magik, and Danger. Emma Frost is in prison. Colossus is a recluse. Iron Man doesn't know what to think after the whole Phoenix/Iron Fist/Scarlet Witch stuff messed up his brain. Hope searches for Cable, finds him, and is trying to be a normal teenage girl.
  • A-Babies vs. X-Babies #1: The entire event in baby form. Kind of. Based on a variant cover.
  • What If? AVX #1-4: The entire event reimagined in four issues.
  • And that's it. Like I said, you can debate a few spots (especially when events overlap and don't line up nicely). But, that's the order I would recommend.

    Update Nov. 14/12: I was asked where Wolverine and the X-Men #18 would fall and that's before Avengers vs. X-Men. Since it's a one-off issue focusing on Doop and seemingly takes place before the event, I would stick it right after issue eight of that series. A little confusing on Marvel's part, but, hey, no surprises there.

    Update Aug. 17/13: In doing a read of the event, I changed the placement of tie-in issues previously situated between Avengers vs. X-Men #7 and 8. Some tie-ins were moved prior to issue 7 and some were moved after issue 8.

    Later

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Direct Message 3.5: Alex Ross, Kingdom Come, and Marvels

    A while back, Alec Berry and I began our next Direct Message discussion on Alex Ross, specifically Kingdom Come and Marvels. It sort of petered out and died, mostly because of Alec. But, I understand. Part of his problem is that he's still finding his voice in criticism and just wasn't happy with what he said here -- mostly how he said it. He's struggling a bit with trying to be honest and not too influenced by others and it's something that we've all gone through at different times. So, I never had any issues with him not wanting to continue this one. But, why let it go to waste? It's up over on the Chemical Box and we're going to begin another one soon on The Manhattan Projects. Now, I stand by everything I say in this discussion and how I said it.

    You can read Direct Message 3.5 HERE!

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    Riding the Gravy Train 30 (AVX: Consequences #5)

    In Avengers vs. X-Men #1, Cyclops took a stand against Captain America based on his belief that the Phoenix coming to Earth would result in the rebirth of the mutant race. He was right. But, when he spoke of the mutant race, what Marvel was really saying through the character was that the coming of the Phoenix (aka Avengers vs. X-Men) would result in the rebith of the X-Men. Having come to the end of this entire event with this week's AVX: Consequences, that's what has happened: the X-Men have been reborn.

    When House of M featured the Scarlet Witch proclaiming "No more mutants" and almost wiping out the mutant population, what really happened was that an Avenger made the ascension of the Avengers to Marvel's top franchise official, going so far as to decimate the former top franchise, the X-Men. Under the guise of returning the X-Men to the concept's roots by making mutants again a minority so outnumbered that they are practically extinct, what really happened was that the X-Men franchise was shunted to the side, lost in a sea of stories that were more about how few mutants there are than about exciting action. While the concept of the X-Men fighting for a world that fear and hates them was always the root of the franchise, it was also something that could slip away in the background much of the time, allowing the characters to get lost in superheroics and soap opera. However, once the mutant population was lowered to less than 200 members, the story was just about the fact that mutants are almost extinct and the two issues that come with that: keeping every mutant alive no matter what and ensuring that more mutants are born. Now, you can get a decent amount of stories out of those two ideas. Hell, it would have made for an interesting single title among many X-books. But, it was the dominating focus of the entire line, splintered through different approaches. And, well, it killed the X-Men to a degree. Change is bad, right?

    Schism was the first step in rectifying the situation. Cyclops, the poster boy of the new status quo, was challenge by Wolverine over his leadership choices, wanting to return to the X-Men's older ways. In the end, Cyclops embraced the role of leader of a near-extinct people going so far as to rename the X-Men his 'Extinction Team,' while Wolverine returned to Westchester and opened a school for mutants. It was a return, but the issue of the low number of mutants still loomed heavily over the franchise -- and Cyclops and his group were still 'heroes' in the recent X-Men mould. The return to the old ways was partially complete.

    Avengers vs. X-Men accomplished two things: it returned the mutant population to non-endangered levels and it pushed Cyclops fully into the role of Magneto to Wolverine's Professor X. I speculated last week that that was what we would see in the final issue of AVX: Consequences and I was right. Now, make no mistake, that doesn't mean that Cyclops will be a copy of Magneto any more than it means that Wolverine is a copy of Professor X. I don't foresee Cyclops doing actively villainous things the way Magneto would. Often, Magneto fell into the role of 'typical bad guy' instead of 'mutant revolutionary,' which is where Cyclops seems more poised to fall. He's the alternate to Wolverine's school. Not necessarily divided along the old Xavier/Magneto ideological lines of 'peaceful co-existence vs. mutant domination.' It would probably make more sense for Cyclops to simply fight for mutants, no matter what. That means he'll do both 'heroic' and 'villainous' things depending on your perspective. We saw that a bit in AVX: Consequences #5 when he has Danger mark the warden of the prison with a giant X on his face. The mutant race is reborn and Cyclops is going to make sure it survives its new infancy, grows up, and thrives. It's not so much anti-human as Magneto often was, but pro-mutant.

    But, really, it's a return to the old X-Men helmed by the man that made the Avengers the dominant franchise. That was the goal of Avengers vs. X-Men and it has a good chance of working. The pieces have been returned to familiar positions. It's a new status quo that's really just the old status quo. When Marvel said that this was the culmination of the stories the company has been telling since House of M (even Avengers Disassembled really), they weren't lying.

    It's our childhoods reborn.

    [Next: I have two final posts to write. A wrap-up/overview post that will probably say everything I've said many times once again and a reading order post. Those should be coming in the next couple of weeks.]

    Thursday, November 08, 2012

    EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Week of November 7, 2012

    Action Comics #14: That was a perfectly fine comic book I read, yes. Was that what they were going for? [**3/4]

    Age of Apocalypse #9: Hey, Roberto de la Torre is back! And, once again, I can't tell any characters apart. I gave up on that long ago, though. Who they are doesn't really matter, does it? If they were worth knowing, I'd know them. I know Jean Grey and Prophet and Little Creed and Big Creed and Wolverine and Cyclops. Does anyone else actually matter? There's almost a plot in this issue. A sense of direction. That shouldn't last long. You know who I miss? That narrator fellow whose inclusion in this book was baffling at the beginning and never made to matter at all. Is he dead? Did I nod off and miss his death? And, yet, I do enjoy this comic. They still have a "From the pages of Uncanny X-Force..." tagline at the top of the cover. Really? Who are you fooling? [No one]

    Avengers #33: It's always encouraging when the Big Three (plus Mr. and Mrs. Ant-Man) get their asses handed to them by Brand New Generic Villain. Tha baddie's mockery of Thor was kind of funny. The 'real world' stuff was good. This feels like such a throwaway, though. This how you want to go out, Bendis? [***]

    Daredevil: End of Days #2: In the future, there will be "Hulk: The Musical." Screw President Wilson, that is the real story of this comic. That, and Nick Fury never dies. Ever. [***1/2]

    The Defenders #12: A bit of a hot mess by the end there. Matt Fraction Explains the Marvel Universe and, like all big explanations, it just makes you wonder why he bothered. No. Really. Why? Why try to explain this? Why try to offer up a reason for why this fictional universe exists as it does when we all know the real reasons? It doesn't make it better. It doesn't make it better. When the fuck did Fraction become Straczynski? There is something amusing in that the world is saved by Dr. Strange tricking himself into not being as big a douchebag. I liked that part. I liked the storytelling technique used here to rush through in a manner that actually gave the issue a bit of weight. But, still... The Marvel Universe didn't need an explanation. [***1/4]

    Iron Man #1: Did... did Marvel trick me into buying Invincible Iron Man #1 again? It sure as fuck feels like it. [Marvel THEN!]

    The Manhattan Projects #7: I am intrigued. I do love the blue and red colouring. Every issue is a joy and a surprise. [****]

    New Avengers #32: A bit better than what's going on in Avengers, but it is revisiting one of the worst New Avengers stories (the Brother Voodoo magic arc with the Hood). And this issue was pretty tedious in Dr. Strange trying to figure it out, while everyone else runs around like idiots. But, there's another issue next week! And Jessica looks shot on the cover! OH NOES! [***1/4]

    Later

    Monday, November 05, 2012

    Riding the Gravy Train 29 (AVX: Consequences #4)

    If it wasn't clear already, AVX: Consequences seems to be Uncanny X-Men #21-25 under a different title, almost. It has skewed towards Cyclops heavily the entire time, but this was the issue that made it clear that this series is a bit more expansive, focusing on the Extinction Team itself. The series picks up where Uncanny X-Men #20 left off in many ways and, so far, suggests a progression of the Extinction Team from the reigning 'Uncanny X-Men' to becoming the new 'Brotherhood' under the charge of Cyclops. He's tried playing at the Professor X of mutants and the role didn't suit him, so, now, he'll be the Magneto?

    Now, it's not quite so cut and dry, obviously. In ruling over Utopia, he was already more 'Magneto and Genosha' than Professor X. But, that Magneto was also more of a hero than villain. It's like it's always been a sliding scale for Cyclops, leading to this point. He went from Professor X to Genosha Magneto and, now, to Brotherhood Magneto. It's an interesting arc, but I wonder if there's anything more to it than that. Not just from the perspective of Kieron Gillen and Marvel -- from the character's perspective as well.

    Part of it revolves around Wolverine, I think. When circumstances dictated that Cyclops take a harder stance, Wolverine stepped up and softened, positioning himself as Xavier's successor. He took off and opened a school for gifted youngsters, while Cyclops created his 'Extinction Team,' a group of powerful mutants that would act not only a superheroes but also as a threat to the world that mutants were not to be fucked with. The beginning of his Brotherhood, as it were, under the guise of another roster of the X-Men. They engaged in traditional X-Men adventures until the Phoenix came and they became the villains of the story. Never mind that they were right and, ultimately, restored mutantkind, they were all villified as a result of their encounter with the Phoenix. The Extinction Team went on the run (save Hope, Psylocke, and Storm), while Cyclops and Emma Frost were imprisoned. The former looking to become a figurehead for mutantkind, possibly a martyr; the latter, a bitter and angry woman. This issue ends with Cyclops using metal filings to send Magneto a message: "NOW" and Magneto, flanked by Magik and Danger saying "Well, ladies... / Villains it is."

    After seeing one of the new mutants he helped bring about turn from a scared man into a proud one before being killed, Cyclops seems ready to accept his required role as the new Magneto. In prison, he's silenced, shut off, stuffed into a corner. In many ways, it's Wolverine's visit that is the catalyst for this turn. Logan visits Scott to talk him out of seeking revenge on the inmates that killed the mutant. It's the second time Logan has visited him and it's reminiscent of scenes from the movies where Xavier would visit Magneto. Two former friends and allies that suffered an ideological split, but still tied together through mutual respect and a broad, common goal. If Wolverine is the new Xavier, then Cyclops needs to be the new Magneto. Not because that's the 'interesting' story to tell in comics; because the binary positioning of Xavier and Magneto helped the mutant race thrive. The conflict pushed them all forward, made the human race both fear and respect them. The X-Men slowly gained respect and proved that mutants were not a universal threat through their willingness to protect humanity from the Brotherhood. At the same time, the Brotherhood inspired fear and awe, acted as a reminder that mutants are more advanced, more threatening and capable, than humanity. It's an odd sort of give and take where mutants wind up gaining through every encounter. For all of the talk that Magneto and the Brotherhood made mutants look bad, their presence made the X-Men look that much better.

    AVX: Consequences seems less about wrapping up loose ends from Avengers vs. X-Men than concluding the story of the Extinction Team from Uncanny X-Men. Which suits me just fine. Also, it's not surprising that Iron Man keeps showing up given that that's Gillen's next big assignment at Marvel. Most people assume the teased Bendis/Bachalo "Uncanny" book will be Uncanny X-Men, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's something like "Uncanny Brotherhood." That could prove interesting.

    Next week: AVX: Consequences #5 aka the final Riding the Gravy Train comic. There will be a wrap-up post and, of course, an Avengers vs. X-Men reading order post at some point after that. So, it's not quite the end for us just yet.

    Saturday, November 03, 2012

    EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Week of October 31, 2012

    What a week. Not a happy week. Work kind of sucked, Wednesday night was killed putting together our new bed, and I was in an overall bad mood. But, it's the weekend now and I've spent the day sleeping in, watching wrestling, reading Metabarons, listening to good music, drinking a Slurpee, and generally relaxing. So, let's talk comics...

    The CBLDF Presents Liberty Annual 2012: I bought this more for the charitable aspect than anything else. As usual, the stories tend to be preachy and not necessarily entertaining. But, there's also some cool things in here. I was disappointed that the solicited content from Warren Ellis was nowhere to be found. [I don't rate charity books... and, if I did so in the past, I don't anymore...?]

    Fatale #9: Have not read. Letting this pile up a bit before reading. I find it reads better in chunks, not single doses. [Who knows?]

    Happy! #2: When I first heard people dismiss this as "Grant Morrison trying to do Garth Ennis," I didn't agree. Then again, that was before reading the second issue. I assumed that Morrison would do his own thing a bit more by now, but hasn't. It does seem like a third-rate Ennis rip-off book. Except without the humour or the wit. I hope it gets turned around by the end... [**1/2]

    Haunt #27: This Lady Haunt diversion was decent. The underlying story with the Second Church stuff is quite good -- fascinating. I've enjoyed the slow burn here. Still not a fan of the colours. [***1/2]

    The Mighty Thor #22: And so does Fraction's run come to an end... Was this issue's goal to convince me that Thor is a menace for all living things? I always find stories like this amusing because, when applied to serialised corporate superheroes, all they do is point out that these supposedly good characters are, in fact, doing bad things simply by living. There's so much history built up that they're unwilling to part with that threats come for them, not some other reason. Because a writer thought putting Asgard in Oklahoma would be interesting, Thor had to make that choice and, as a result, he's been responsible for a town continually being attacked and terrorised. His defence? "Life would be boring without me!" and everyone just sort of buys it? It works with most superheroes and stories like this highlight how the external constraints of publishing these comics eventually turn heroes into villains without meaning to. Welcome to Marvel NOW! [***]

    New Avengers #31: My shop didn't receive its copies two weeks ago, so I got this now. Like Avengers, this is clearly Bendis trying to tie up some loose ends. Michael Gaydos on art is a lovely treat for a Luke/Jessica story. Looking at the upcoming releases, the next two weeks bring new issues of this, so, for me, it's suddenly become a weekly book. Thanks, Diamond? [***3/4]

    Ultimate X-Men #18: The action scenes in this issue seemed very rushed. They began and ended so quickly that there wasn't any sense of struggle. Just putting this whole Sentinel business behind us as soon as possible it seems. Which I don't actually mind too much. We've seen that before. Mutants put on a reservation while some choose to give up their powers? That has a bit more potential, I believe. For an 'end of the story' issue, this was surprisingly transitory. And Wood did a nice job with that final scene. Captain America came off as reasonable despite that not being what was required. Bring on the next issue! [***1/2]

    Winter Soldier #12: It's a shame that there probably isn't much chance of Ed Brubaker leaving this book with both James and Natasha still brainwashed and acting all evil, right? That is the book I want to read. Those two running around trying to bring down America in the name of communism. Just kill off that lame James wannabe and we could have some fun, folks. Besides, it would be fitting for Brubaker to leave the character where he was at the beginning of his reintroduction to the Marvel Universe. Who wants to read about a whiny guy who's constantly holding back? Chump. [***1/2]

    Wolverine and the X-Men #19: Kitty Pryde has pretty high standards for teachers. Like everything else in life, it's who you know... and if you're a mutant. [***1/2]

    Later

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    29: Three Months

    Today's edition of Random Thoughts has me venting a bit and finally doing an edition of that thing where it's basically one long thought. I haven't reached the point where I'm outright 'naming names' yet. But, I assume that time will come, too. In the meantime, go read as I repeat myself a bit, insult a lot of people in broad terms, insult some specific people in not-too-hidden ways, and, basically, share way too much information.

    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Week of October 24, 2012

    The great find at my shop this week: a bagged set of Down #1-4 for five bucks. One of those Warren Ellis books that somehow slipped through the cracks. Funny thing: I always thought of it as a Warren Ellis/Tony Harris comic, but Harris only drew the first issue. It's more a Warren Ellis/Cully Hamner comic.

    Avengers #32: Oh, so the woman with the reddish hair is the Wasp. That was obvious from the opening scene of this issue. Except, isn't her hair meant to be brown? Actually, doing a quick Google image seach, her hair is usually a dark brown, almost black at times. But, hey, why not fool readers by lying? Bendis is wrapping up the loose ends. 'Kay... [***1/4]

    Batman, Incorporated #4: Jesus, issue three came out three months ago... I had forgot all about Matches Malone and all of that. The reveal of Wingman isn't too shocking -- I honestly can't remember if this is who I thought Wingman was way back when the idea of his identity being a secret was introduced. It's also clear that the Heretic is Damian II... simply left in the tank longer. This issue was entertaining in how well the entire organisation works together. Action! And Burnham's art is lovely. [***3/4]

    Captain America #19: Ed Brubaker departs, wrapping up a loose end in a manner that seems ironic given how his run began: Bucky revealed alive, brainwashed by the Soviets to kill. Here, the issue ends with Steve telling '50s Cap that his mind will be repaired and he'll be given a new life, one where he doesn't remember any of his true identity. Another member of the 'Captain America family' brainwashed -- for a good reason, it seems. But still... An appropriate ending. [***1/2]

    Journey into Mystery #645: That final scene took a reread to fully understand. Loki's declaration of victory and eating out Ikol's throat threw me -- like he was killing Loki instead of allowing Loki to subsume him. An even more fitting end than the comic I just briefly mentioned. A more purposeful 'end,' too. Partly because so much of what Gillen was dealing with here were things that he had introduced and, therefore, needed to put away. The end of this made Young Avengers an even bigger 'must read,' if only to see what happens now that Loki is Loki instead of it simply being Loki. [****]

    Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity #1: This seemed like a low key, lighter take on some of the same material Graham is exploring in Prophet. Some of the same broad ideas occur, but the perspective and purpose is so different that it's still engaging and worthwhile. Putting those two books together side by side should make for some interesting compare/contrast pieces... [***3/4]

    Prophet #30: Great pacing/structure that built to a big finish. I like the idea of Old Man Prophet returning to a world he once fought for only to see it ready to succumb to the empire he fought against. On the surface, that seems like a betrayal -- but, what loyalty does this generation have to a previous one? Just because they chose to fight, doesn't mean that it's the Right choice. Or, that that choice always stands no matter the context. Not something explored (nor is there any reason why it would be), but that part had me thinking for a bit. [****]

    Secret Avengers #33: And now we print the "Black Widow Was Right," t-shirts, yes? [***]

    The Ultimates #17: I'm very tempted to drop this title and forget that it continued on past Hickman/Ribic. It's so conventional and mediocre in its approach to the subject matter and the execution thereof. Very typical, unremarkable superhero fare when, a year ago, it wasn't. Also, the art continues to slide and grow progressively worse. It's so fucking disappointing. [**]

    The Unwritten #42: Up until the final pages, this felt like treading water. Even the reintroduction of Lizzie doesn't completely wow me. Like I've said for a while, this book doesn't seem to have a clear purpose/direction and it's still feeling around for one it seems. [***1/4]

    Later

    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    Riding the Gravy Train 28 (AVX: Consequences #3 and A-Babies vs. X-Babies #1)

    Never has the title of this series of posts seemed more appropriate than on a week where Marvel released a comic based upon a variant cover. A-Babies vs. X-Babies isn't a good comic. It's got some cute pictures, one or two gags that work, and a whole lot of pandering to adults that mistake empty buzzwords like 'fun' for 'good.' What the fuck does 'fun' even mean? If it means something like this, shouldn't I have had fun reading it? No, really. I didn't. And not because I wanted to dislike it or am a cynical person. It's just not good. It's a trite concept poorly executed. They somehow took a ridiculous and inane concept like Avengers vs. X-Men and made it even more so. And slapped some cutesy art on top to sell the idea that it SHOULD be stupid and poorly written, because that's how things like this are. It's so thin and forced -- mostly because the only idea at play here is "Let's draw the Avengers and X-Men as babies and have them fight like in that event book we did." It was a variant cover expanded to a full-length comic because... well, shit, people will buy it. I did. I paid my three bucks, because I'm a fool and a completist and got on this train months ago. So, bravo, Marvel. You couldn't get me to buy any variant covers, but you got me to buy this piece of shit. You win...

    That doesn't mean I won't try to squeeze what I can out of this, though.

    In a lot of ways, A-Babies vs. X-Babies reminds me of AVX: VS. A 'bullet proof' concept seemingly aimed at disarming any criticism by honing the idea into such a small, direct thing that calling it a piece of shit would suggest 'not getting it' or it 'not being for you.' Never mind that the fights in it were laughably bad in all respects, it was KICKSPLODE FIGHTING ACTION and if I wasn't on board, well, that's my fault. (For the record, I never heard that, but read those 'recap/credits' pages and see if that isn't heavily implied right there at the beginning of the fucking comics.) I assume that's the case here as well. It's an oddly defensive way to approach things. Maybe that's in my head. I don't think it is. Seeing how different people at Marvel respond to criticism (well, comic industry employees in general, actually), it's not a big leap to assume that there's a similar "It's your fault" attitude at play here if you think this piece of shit is a piece of shit. It's both surprising and not to see that attitude extend beyond trolling comments sections and message boards into the realm of actual comics.

    I keep coming back to the intro text page for this comic:
    The book you're about to read doesn't really have anything to do with the AvX event, but it does have baby versions of the Avengers and X-Men fighting each other. So, yeah, you're buying a book where babies fight babies. What does that say about you?

    That question could be read in more than one way. Maybe because I've read the comic in question, my immediate reading is one of mocking disdain for anyone who spent three dollars on this. Why in the world would someone do that? What is wrong with someone's brain that they would do such a thing? This is about as stupid as comics get: baby versions of heroes fighting. Of course, reading the question in that way implies something about a company that would produce such a thing. Do they similarly have awful taste? Are they merely taking advantage of people? But, you can also read it as them asking the question in a way that suggests "That you are awesome!" as an answer. Like this is some little secret in-joke between friends. Because, when they're not telling you you're Wrong, they're trying to convince you that we're all in a cool club together called comics and that's special and wonderful and it's us versus them out there in the 'real world.' Those people who don't get it? Fuck 'em. Because we're special, you and I. Marvel is your friend and you love your friend, right?

    I don't know which reading disturbs me more...

    ***

    If I tried hard enough, I could probably make this comic seem 'worthwhile.' Hell, I seem to have impressed some people with how I've done that already for parts of Avengers vs. X-Men. It's not that hard, really. You just simply read the comics 'wrong.' Like how A-Babies vs. X-Babies continues the undercurrent that I found not only in Avengers vs. X-Men, but also The X-Men vs. the Avengers: the X-Men/Babies will put all sense of morality behind sticking together with fellow mutants. In A-Babies vs. X-Babies, the fight starts because Cyclops steals Captain America's teddy bear. In no way is that justifiable from the perspective of a hero. Cyclops is clearly wrong -- there's no ambiguity here. Yet, the X-Babies immediately fight against the A-Babies. Iceman even continues the game of 'keep away' from Captain America, showing a complicity in the theft. Ostensibily, these X-Babies are meant to be heroic babies in this world, so why stand behind a leader who steals for no reason other than because he wants something? Because they're all mutants and they stick together no matter what. This also continues the idea that Cyclops is the bad guy by casting him in a villainous light -- unarguably so. He's a thief and is wrong. The best thing I can say about this comic is that A-Babies vs. X-Babies at least manages to stick to the story of what Avengers vs. X-Men was supposed to be better than any of the actual comics that make up that event.

    ***

    The only thing in AVX: Consequences #3 that stuck with me was the opening two pages with Iron Man and Lei Kung in K'un L'un (called "K'un-Lun" in the comic...) as a further example of how egotistical Tony Stark really is. He spends a few weeks trying to figure out the connection between the Phoenix, the Scarlet Witch, and the Iron Fist and, because he couldn't, he's somehow lost. Lei Kung gets it without saying it: just because the science is beyond you, doesn't mean it's not science. Stark somehow thinks that because he's not smart enough to make the math work that that means that math is useless in this whole thing. It sticks with me, because it's so easy and boring and simple that it's brought up and tossed aside in two pages. It's an open mockery of the character by the guy whose first issue writing said character's ongoing title hits the stands in 13 days.

    Next week: AVX: Consequences #4.

    Friday, October 19, 2012

    Riding the Gravy Train 27 (AVX: Consequences #1-2, Wolverine and the X-Men #18, Uncanny X-Men #20, and Uncanny Avengers #1)

    It's hard to get off the topic of Cyclops, isn't it? Somehow, he became the character that just took over Avengers vs. X-Men, particularly the second half. Obviously, he's meant to, because of his central role, in a similar way that Captain America dominated the end of Civil War and the ensuing fallout (Iron Man shared that spotlight, though, in a way that Captain America doesn't here). He is the Loser, the Fallen Hero, the Villain, and, now, he's stuck in a position where he switches between gloating over being right and realising that no one cares. What a depressing mess that is, don't you think? How completely soul-crushing to read about a hero who set out to do something, was called crazy for it, villified for it, and, then, saw his cause coopted by those that villified him as they condemn him...

    But, I'm a little sick of Cyclops. He was right. We get it. Now, he's being treated unfairly and we get that. I mean, they even had Captain America go out and get his douchebag brother to lead the new Avengers/X-Men team that's come about as a way to bridge the human/mutant relationship. You don't get much lower than that, because no one likes Havok (aside from his costume). (Okay, some people like Havok...) Has Captain America even met Havok before? He immediately turns on Cyclops, but welcomes his jackass little brother into the Avengers fold with open arms, seemingly as a dig at Scott? Goddamn, Cap is an asshole. He comes off like the sort of guy who would fuck a woman he doesn't like just because it would piss an enemy off.

    The issue that I keep coming around to is one of fairness -- which is completely stupid. Why should this be fair? No reason.

    But, reading these post-Avengers vs. X-Men comics, it becomes continually apparent that there is no sense of fairness or justice in what the Avengers and X-Men are doing now. Cyclops is imprisoned despite being right, despite being continually provoked with no justification, despite being possessed by a cosmic force... And the rest of the Extinction Team (not just the Phoenix Five) are being hunted, too? (Except for Hope...) Why? "Because..." That's all. Because they were on Cyclops's team. Nevermind all of the other mutants who joined up with him and, then, abandoned him... Why is Magneto any different from Iceman? When it came to fighting the Avengers and, then, fighting Cyclops, those two were completely in line. Same with Rogue and many other X-Men who aren't wanted criminals. Why? "Because..." That's it.

    No, the problem isn't a lack of fairness. Within the world of these characters, sure, that's the problem. But, these aren't real people. They're fictional constructs whose sense of fairness and justice are determined by outside forces. The problem here is that the writers and editors behind these comics have specific stories they want to tell, whether or not those stories actually 'work' with the characters. I've said before that a big problem with Avengers vs. X-Men is that the story they wanted to tell and the story they told weren't the same things, and that's a problem that's continuing here. Is Cyclops meant to come off as genuinely more sympathic, likeable, and relatable than every other character? I doubt it, because why would you structure your entire line of books around a bunch of hypocrites and cowards who are too thick to admit that they were wrong, while the one guy who was right is portrayed as the villain? You wouldn't. And, yet, here we are.

    Cyclops spends much of AVX: Consequences #2 being lectured by a man who nearly doomed the human race, has a long history of brainwashing and possessions, and a complete willingness to kill, sometimes losing all control of himself in a rage. Obviously, there's meant to be a bit of irony, but the entire thing is so lopsided that Wolverine is pathetic, truly pathetic, in his determination to push the narrative Marvel has decided upon that it's all bad comedy.

    The hypocrisy and randomness of the whole thing is embodied in the Scarlet Witch. She did far worse things than Cyclops under far less provocation and, yet, she's back with a few token arguments about her wrongdoings. She basically committed genocide only for there to be justification and rationalisations later that allows everyone to feel okay about her being back in the fold... and the man who undoes her actions is thrown in prison? Sure, there may be adjustments made down the line, but it all rings a bit false, don't you think?

    They wound up writing a story where the 'bad guy' was right and the 'good guys' were assholes about it and are stuck having to move ahead with their plans. The alternative is that the way I'm reacting to the comics they're putting out is what they intended and, then, I have to wonder why. After all, I don't see Cyclops advertised for many titles after October, but Captain America and Wolverine are all over the place...

    Next week: AVX: Consequences #3 (plus A-Babies vs. X-Babies #1... maybe... it keeps popping up on different shipping lists, so I have no idea when/if this is coming out... did it ship already... my shop didn't get any copies... they were shorted on New Avengers this week, though, so maybe they were shorted on that, too... I don't know...)

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Weeks of October 10 & 17, 2012

    So: I'm married now. We left town last Wednesday night and I didn't feel like bringing my comics with me. I'd read them all while Michelle was teaching a gym class as usual, but didn't have time to write about any of them (hell, I didn't even get to open Building Stories until yesterday!). That means you get a double-sized dose of my EXCLUSIVE! mini-reviews and star ratings this week. Aren't you lucky? Yes, you are. And a new Riding the Gravy Train will go up later today or tomorrow or this weekend, taking into account two weeks' worth of Avengers vs. X-Men fallout goodness.

    Avengers #31: Is that Hope? Or someone else entirely? I DON'T KNOW! Comics are fun! A slight breather issue, which suits me fine. I'm glad that Bendis is trying to do something with the Wonder Man stuff. [***1/2]

    Avengers Assemble #8: "Thanos loses because the US military can't make shit that works right." I didn't particularly enjoy Thanos being shunted back into basic bad guy mode, but, whatever, it was a clone. Thus ends the weakest part of the Bendis/Avengers era. I can say that with confidence. As much as I found the Secret Invasion tie-ins tedious, they were better crafted on almost every level. Avengers Assemble #1-8 were the worst Avengers comics released with Bendis's name attached to them. [Fucking horrible shit]

    Captain America #18: Thus ends the worst Captain America story released with Ed Brubaker's name attached... I guess it really is time for people to move on, eh? [**]

    Daredevil #19: Who doesn't love a cover that shows the end of the comic? ME! ME! ME! Another solid, good issue. [***1/2]

    Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #13: And this title joins the "Rotworld" fray in time to end in a few months. This comic made very little of an impression upon me. The ending was good. I like the idea that Frankenstein is sort of outside the three 'realms' (or whatever you'd call them). [**3/4]

    Godzilla: The Half-Century War #3: From a writing perspective, this issue didn't do a lot for me. Lots of exposition, just throwing details at us -- details that mostly don't matter. But, hey, James Stokoe drawing a bunch of monsters...! Can't go wrong there, can we? [***1/2]

    Hawkeye #3: An amusing issue centred around the trick arrows and the word 'bro.' I dug it. [***3/4, bro]

    Marvel NOW! Point One: The second one of these big Point One anthologies that Marvel has done and the central story tying things together is a bit better than the previous (with weaker art) and the teases are a bit better. Then again, they teased a lot of comics I'm already interested in like FF and Young Avengers. On the fence a bit about Guardians of the Galaxy and Cable and X-Force. I solidly don't give a fuck about Nova or Secret Avengers. A mixed bag where I enjoyed some bits quite a lot and skimmed through others. [If I waited a month, I probably could have gotten this for free from my shop... but I like them, so I'll give them my money]

    The Massive #5: A really good self-contained issue that jumped away from the Kapital for the most part. An early bit of muscle flexing by Wood? I hope so. [****]

    The Mighty Thor #21: A weaker finish than I was hoping for. I guess there just comes a point where the constant swerves and tricks and doublecrosses just become noise. This story was filled with them, so they lose a step by this point. Also, it felt like a lot of build-up for a lot of nothing in many ways. Surtur was a bit of a strawman villain here, wasn't he? Alan Davis kills it on art -- and, from an intellectual standpoint, I liked a lot of the ideas here, they just didn't carry the emotional weight you want from a big finale like this. [***1/2]

    Punk Rock Jesus #4: There's still more than enough of a religion-hating young angry man inside of me to absolutely adore the end of this comic. I really enjoy this comic now, but my 17-year old self would have loved it. This would have been his favourite comic series of the year -- maybe ever. [****]

    Secret Avengers #32: Decent end to this whole Abyss Crown story and I liked Black Widow calling Ant-Man out for being a LMD and no one believing her. [***1/2]

    Ultimate Iron Man #1: I didn't even know what the point of this comic was until the end and, by then, the mediocre dialogue and ugly art made me not give a fuck. [Not buying issue 2]

    Ultimate X-Men #17: You can see a bit of DMZ in Nick Fury's speech to Kitty at the end. This is humming right along, executed well, and one of the more interesting comics I'm reading right now.

    Untold Tales of the Punisher MAX #5: At what point in the future does the father/son stuff take place if the father, as a teen, had a dad that had a giant DVD collection? Apollo 13 seems to have first come out on DVD in 1999 -- and, since the dad took it everywhere, you have to assume that his death happened at least a year or two after it was released, meaning that the flashback story took place in the 2000-2002 range. Meaning, that the framing story, if in the presents, would be 10-12 years later. Given that the son in the framing story looks to be in the 10-12 age range (maybe younger, but the art provides no solid clues), it clearly can't be the present, because the father didn't look like he was getting any girls pregnant while stalking the Punisher. Just the things you think about when reading a tired, cliched, mundane, tedious comic book... [*3/4]

    Wonder Woman #13: A transition issue, sort of. Suits me fine. I'm enjoying the ride. [***1/2]

    X-Men #37: The end of Brian Wood's tenure on the title and it's a good conclusion. His whole run told a nice story with a clever concept that mostly lent itself to exploring the differing views of mutantkind by members of the team -- and, in the process, bringing about conflict. The Storm/Colossus fight was so charged, because of the slow build to it. The way it was teased and the stakes slowly raised. [***3/4]

    The Zaucer of Zilk #1: Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... [****1/4]

    Later

    Tuesday, October 09, 2012

    Marketing Failure 101 - Avengers: Season One

    Yes, I bought the combo giftpack of The Avengers at Wal-Mart, partly just to get the Avengers: Season One graphic novel included. I was curious about the sort of book Marvel would put out to tie-in with the movie and to win over the casual fans who may go "Oh, what the hell, I'll get a comic, too!" when buying their Blu-Ray/DVD combo. Michelle was intrigued by the idea of the comic until she saw it and remember that she doesn't really want to read any comics. To say that I was biased heading in wouldn't be inaccurate. I knew that Marvel had taken the wrong approach pretty much from when it was announced (or, rather, 'discovered' by Bleeding Cool... because why would you want to promote something like this?) by doing the same dumb shit they usually do when there's a chance to actually reach new eyeballs. I was genuinely surprised when Peter David revealed himself as the writer of this, because he's a lot higher on the talent scale than I was expecting. But, it's still disappointing to a degree that he was who they tapped. I look at a project like this and wonder why Marvel doesn't hire their top writer and top artistic team. Why not give people their absolute best? After all, this comic isn't really meant to be 'good' or a 'work of art' like others may be: it's a marketing tool. It's part 'bonus feature' and part 'first taste' of what someone could expect from Marvel.

    So, really, there are three things that Marvel is 'selling' readers on here to get them to buy more comics from them:

    1. The characters.

    2. The writer.

    3. The artist.

    Those are the three things that Marvel can use to say "If you enjoyed this, here are some other books you'd like..." Three things that could be used to promote their comics and they fuck it up. They absolutely fuck it up in an amateurish display of idiocy that only seems to exist in comics. There are exactly two pages promoting other Marvel comics and what are they? The other 'season one' comics. You might see the logic in promoting those books, but you'd be wrong. You're thinking "Oh, it's a line of books, so it makes sense to promote those," and that's wrong. That's typical dumb comics thinking. Who cares about those other books? They have zero connection to what I just read (aside from Hulk: Season One), because they don't feature the same characters, writer, or artist. Instead, this should have been a book with the top writer, the top artist, and three pages of recommendations: one for the Avengers, one for the writer, and one for the artist. All to easy to find, in-print books that, if someone went onto Amazon right now, they could buy with as little hassle as possible.

    But, we get Peter David and four art teams, each blander and more mediocre than the one that came before it. This is an ugly, uninspired-looking comic. This is fill-in quality art clearly produced on a tight deadline, because no one thought to plan ahead at all. This is a book that didn't make me want to read another comic. David's writing is workmanlike with a story that (as the plot provided at the back of the book shows) was clearly designed with the limitation that the three Avengers spotlighted (Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man) must split up to allow for the different art teams. The story has the trio of Avengers go after the Hulk at the behest of General Ross and get stuck in a trap by Loki to make them not trust one another. The pages are full of bright, shiny characters that lack any substance and I found it hard to keep my focus as I went along.

    Normally, I don't care about comics looking or seeming like the movies, but the utter lack of any attempt to make this fit in with the movie at all seems like a bad call, too. Why include a comic that's one concession to the movie is leaving Giant-Man and Wasp out? Why not try to bridge the gap between The Avengers and the Marvel Universe a bit more?

    Hell, normally, I don't care about the 'right' approach to bringing in new readers so long as the comics are good. Unfortunately, this comic is both bad marketing and a bad comic. It really does seem like something thrown together because someone had the idea of putting a comic in with the Blu-Ray/DVD without actually thinking through what the right approach would be. I mean, I assume part of the goal here was to get people to buy more Avengers (and Marvel) comics, right? If not, what was the goal?

    Monday, October 08, 2012

    The Splash Page vs. Riding the Gravy Train

    In this week's When Words Collide column at CBR, Tim Callahan and I had a little Splash Page reunion to discuss Avengers vs. X-Men. It kind of turns more into 'Tim says something and Chad blathers on for 27 years,' creating a first: a Splash Page discussion where I wrote more than Tim. I tried not to repeat myself too much between this and the various Riding the Gravy Train posts I've done, but, hey, there's only so much to talk about, even in events.

    You can read the Splash Page reunion Avengers vs. X-Men special edition of When Words Collide HERE!

    Sunday, October 07, 2012

    Riding the Gravy Train 26 (Avengers vs. X-Men #12, AVX: VS #6, and Uncanny X-Men #19)

    Cyclops was right and Captain America was wrong. Cyclops was the true hero of Avengers vs. X-Men and Captain America was the true villain. Cyclops lost (and won) and Captain America won (and won). Life ain't fair, kiddies. And superhero comics are still the most basic and thoughtless of morality tales, so wrapped up in ideas like "Cyclops killed Professor X" than "Cyclops defended himself against the entirety of the Avengers and X-Men, including Professor X, who was actively trying to shut down Cyclops's brain throughout the fight and, in self-defence, killed Professor X," which is kind of what actually happened. It's like the entire event was one long exercise in pushing the "Captain America is always right" rule that governs the Marvel Universe more than anything else as far as it could go. Just tossing it in the faces of the fans and daring them to go "Say he's wrong! SAY HE'S WRONG!" as everyone just sort of shrugs and mumbles stuff about how Cyclops is a bad guy and Dark Phoenix and Uncanny Avengers...

    Is this what heroism is supposed to be? Insisting you're right and being proven wrong (forgetting that you were ever wrong, of course); not trusting one of your longtime allies, but trusting a teenager you've known for two weeks; continually attacking someone and, then, blaming them when, surprise surprise, they eventually say they've had enough and begin lashing out. In many ways, the Cyclops/Captain America relationship of Avengers vs. X-Men is the same as the Captain America/Iron Man one of Civil War, right up to the end, except for some subtle differences. Captain America is wrong here, as was Iron Man there, and both won, but, at least in Civil War, everyone knew Iron Man was wrong. I think I had a "Iron Man is an Asshole" tag for that event and its follow-up, and I could have the same one for Captain America here, too.

    Looking back over the series, all I can see when looking Captain America is an aggressor who continually looks for a chance to fight and 'put down' his former allies instead of working with them -- and, then, when those allies are proven to have been right from the beginning, still blames them for everything that went wrong. Oh, he pays a little lip service to the idea that he's partially responsible, but it's Cyclops who's in prison despite the fight that resulted in Xavier's death was the result of Captain America leading about three dozen people in an all-out assault on two people. One of which was a person who continually tried to turn the other cheek, work at making the world better, and hope that Captain America would see that, maybe, violence wasn't the answer.

    I guess it's the superhero comic line about killing that gets crossed and, therefore, must result in punishment, despite the circumstances clearly being the sort that 'justifies' killing someone (if any circumstances do). What's a little sad is that, if Captain America and the Avengers had killed Cyclops, he would have made some speech about it being 'necessary,' and everyone would have nodded along.

    There's just something downright unfair about how it all played out. I'm amazed that I actually care. But, I genuinely feel a little pissed off at how things played out here. Hell, let's address the Dark Phoenix stuff from issue 12. You might be with me up until then, because Cyclops went out of his way to avoid violence and only responded when attacked, but, then, he went all Dark Phoenix and decided to burn the world down before starting anew (which, come on, might not have been a bad idea all things told...). However, given past experience with Jean Grey and how fragile someone's hold over the Phoenix could be, that makes Captain America's call to use violence even more questionable. You have a god-like being that, if provoked enough, could be subsumed by the cosmic force possessing it, and you continually poke that being with a stick? That's the brilliant strategy one uses instead of talking to it, trying to pacify it, maybe try to work with it and avoid any sort of stress/provocation that might trigger an event like this until you can figure out a way to get the cosmic force out of its host safely and voluntarily?

    I'm not saying that Cyclops should be given a gold star, a pat on the back, and sent on his merry way, but, Christ, how much can you blame a guy who was right, was instrumental in making the world MUCH better, went out of his way to avoid violence, and only succumbed to violence through continual provocation from the guy who helped start the initial conflict only to turn around at the end and admit he was actually wrong without ever saying that? Oh, and was under the influence by a cosmic force that kind of leans towards mass destruction during all of that?

    I've questioned the standards of heroism in the Marvel Universe throughout this event and, under those standards, Captain America clearly is the true example of heroism in the Marvel Universe. That fallen, tarnished, sad, pathetic little place that probably should have been burnt to the ground if this is how its heroes behave.

    ***

    Also: bravo on the completely unpredictable final issue, fellas. I mean, I did get it wrong about Hope going into space, still the Phoenix host, so I guess I'm not perfect either.

    ***

    Match #11: The Fate of the Mutant Race Match - Hope vs. the Scarlet Witch

    This is it. The main event match of AVX: VS where the fate of the mutant race is on the line. If Hope wins, we get "more mutants," while, if the Scarlet Witch wins, "No more mutants" stands as the rule of the day. The stakes can't be much higher and given Hope's ability to copy other people's powers, she seems to have the edge. Also, you don't earn the nickname "Mutant Messiah" without having SOME skills. It's actually a fairly lacklustre match, relying more on big, flashy moves that don't really do much than some real technical skills. Hope is more of a brawler than the Scarlet Witch, evidenced by breaking their lock-up with a quick headbut to the face. As with a lot of big main events with longstanding consequences for a promotion, there's never any pretense of delivering a good match and outside interference happens fairly quickly. All we basically get are a few lock-ups and the aforementioned headbut before Captain America and some others jump into the ring to break it up. The post-match sucker punch by Hope seems like an attempt to put over the younger competitor without actually putting her over. Terrible booking that sort of summed up the entire AVX: VS card.

    Winner: Cyclops

    ***

    The 'comedy matches' that filled out AVX: VS #6 were pretty good for the most part. I really enjoyed "Verbal Abuse" by Bendis and Jim Mahfood where Cyclops and Captain America settle their problems with words -- and, of course, the Squirrel Girl/Pixie strip that everyone is talking about and is a wonderful deconstruction of how truly nonsensical and bad AVX: VS was as a series. My favourite comments on the series came after the first issue was released, basically going "Well, it delivers what it said it would" like that's an excuse for being really, really, realllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllly fucking bad. Most comics deliver what they say they will and no one gives them a free pass. But, hey, promise nothing but fights and no one will bother to judge if the fights are any good. They weren't. Not a single one. Everyone involved: you suck at this.

    ***

    Kieron Gillen at least gets it a bit, it seems. Now, he's writing Uncanny X-Men where part of that title's mandate would be showing things from Cyclops's perspective. Still, the end of that issue is great. Cyclops doing everything but going to Beast, "I was fucking right, asshole. All of this fighting was for nothing -- if you'd listened to me, this could have all been avoided. Fuck you." Instead, it's a simple admission that he wouldn't change a thing and a fantastic triumphant final page where he seems to be embracing the next stage of his life as matyr for the cause who can now preach about being right from a jail cell. It gives me hope for the Consequences mini-series.

    ***

    I focused mostly on the Cyclops/Captain America stuff these past few weeks and I will discuss the event as a whole. I'm just waiting for it to actually end since we've got five weeks of epilogue books to go. Once that's all said and done, I'll do the big summary post where I try to move past Cyclops/Captain America and look at the event in a larger way.

    Next week: Avengers vs. X-Men: Consequences #1 and possibly Wolverine and the X-Men #18 (it has an "AVX" suffix on Diamond's list) and Avengers #31 (which carries the "AXFO" suffix, which I assume stands for "Avengers vs. X-Men Fall-Out," but I could be wrong and will decide if it counts after I read it).

    Friday, October 05, 2012

    EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Week of October 3, 2012

    Action Comics #13: A solid superhero comic. Nothing too special. [***1/4]

    Age of Apocalypse #8: An interesting issue up until the end where it punked out in the same way that mainstream superhero comics always seem to punk out. "They're not just fighting for humanity, they're fighting for their humanity." Shit. I'm rooting for the mutants. [**1/2]

    The Boys #71: The minute Butcher started talking about Hughie's family, you could tell what he was doing and that was the point: we could, but Hughie couldn't. That's part of what Butcher was talking about the rest of the issue. That trusting, emotional nature of Hughie -- how he should know better, but never does. And that's fine, because he's a good guy and you'd rather he was like that than be a right bastard. There's a sense that he never really got Butcher and that's sad. If Hughie has a flaw that needs correcting, it's his absolutist thinking at times. Butcher was always more nuanced than Hughie gave him credit for -- and more simple than he appeared to us. This wasn't Jesse/Cassidy, but it was pretty fucking good. I don't know where we go from here for next month's finale, but I can't wait. [****1/2]

    Daredevil: End of Days #1: "You don't understand... I tried everything else." Line of the year. [***1/2]

    The Defenders #11: Wow, that's a big crock of shit. Here it is: the reason why so many superheroes are in the Marvel Universe aka the explanation that no one needed or wanted. At all. Why the fuck would anyone waste their fucking time thinking up that shit? What is this obsession with everything requiring an explanation no matter how unnecessary or downright fucking awful? Maybe the final issue will redeem things... probably not. Issues like this lead to my weird, complicated feelings on the work of Fraction. He's so incredibly hit or miss it seems. [BIG FUCKING MISS]

    Fatale #8: Okay, this book only really works when read in big chunks it seems. I enjoyed the first arc more when I read a bunch of issues and any sort of delay nearly kills whatever interest I have in this series -- which I'll admit is on the lower end of the scale. [***1/2]

    Later