Thursday, April 12, 2012

EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Week of April 11, 2012

Another week, another stack of comics, another set of EXCLUSIVE! mini-reviews and star ratings.

Avengers Assemble #2: I liked this issue more than the first. Like many modern first and second issues, I hit the end of this and thought "Hey, this is where the first issue should have ended..." Double-sized first issues were great and allowed for a stronger introduction, one that this comic definitely would have benefitted from. [***]

Avenging Spider-Man #6: Yeah, I broke down and bought this and I'll probably buy Punisher next week, because I am a sucker. A giant sucker. Particularly because this comic wasn't good. It introduced the story and then sort of fumbled around with what to do. Pages of characters arguing over what to do, none of them with anything approaching an actual idea. And the only guy with something that resembles a clear plan is dismissed as a psychopath. I get that these three characters are linked, but it always comes off as stupid to read every single time about Spider-Man and Daredevil bitching out the Punisher because of their different moral takes on crime. Then again, if I could never read a comic where Spider-Man ever has to confront the idea of someone killing someone else again, I would be quite happy, because he always sounds like a simpleminded child in that conversation. [**]

Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #8: Walden Wong's inking continues... It cleans up Ponticelli's pencils too much. I love the roughness of them. The art still looks good, mind you; just not as good. And this was a strong issue. The Frankenstein/Lady Frankenstein relationship hasn't been touched on much and to see why they broke up, where that emotional fracture occurred and why was good. It was also a little underwhelming in a way that a lot of the stories in this comic have been: something may seem like a big threat until it's actually encountered and, then, there's a more lowkey solution than you expected. You almost expect their son to be an unstoppable monster when he's really a freaky little manic thing... And that's not a complaint. The stuff with Father Time was handled quite well, too. Strong issue. [****]

Haunt #23: A breather issue of sorts... and, unlike most breather issues, we don't learn a lot. We learn that Daniel was in the Second Church without realising it. I guess that explains why he was such a creepy perv of a priest. Well, not necessarily... I like how this series both has the frantic energy of a radical reboot and the slow burn of gradual change. It's difficult to pull that off, to move in two directions like that. And Nathan Fox's ability to go from crystal clarity to insane chaos is remarkable. [****]

Journey into Mystery #636: A fun conclusion to this storyarc. The board game bit was cute. As was the end scene. Bring on the crossover! Wait... another one? Fuck you, Marvel. [***1/4]

The Mighty Thor #12.1: Partway through this issue, I realised that the best Matt Fraction Thor stories are the ones where we're told of some past deed or accomplishment. In fact, a lot of the best Thor stories are of stories that don't take place in the present, but at some point in the character's long, cyclical life. That makes sense: the character is mythology. He almost needs to exist in a weird 'story telling the story...' world where we can view him at a distance, where the stories have a simple and direct point to them. There needs to be a message gleaned from the character and his world. Some explanation of human behaviour or emotion. By taking that 'epic' mythological approach and applying it to direct stories featuring the character, something is lost. He's too close to us and there isn't that essential message to be gleaned. So, what do we learn here? Stand up for your friends and family no matter what. Good message. Decent comic. [***1/2]

Secret #1: Intriguing start. I like Ryan Bodenheim's art. [***1/4]

Secret Avengers #25: I couldn't get into this arc. Gorgeous art, though. A story that left me cold. Bring on the event! [***]

Uncanny X-Men #10: I'm tempted to stick this in my Riding the Gravy Train post for this week with New Avengers #24 since this (and the previous issue) is very much a prologue to Avengers vs. X-Men. Captain America's line about Cyclops's first priority was great. The stuff with Unit and Hope doesn't excite me as much -- if only because I'm not a fan of the 'young confused person is manipulated by the older confident trickster douchebag' cliche. With any luck, Gillen will do something cool with it. Also, Emma's frustration that Cyclops wasn't pissed over the Namor making out was interesting. Ideally, you'd think a guy who recognises that being hit with excessive pheremones that cause you to jump on the nearest guy isn't a reason to get pissed off would be a good thing... except Cyclops is the King of Repression, so who knows if he's 'enlightened' or simply ignoring it... [***1/2]

The Unwritten #36: After issue 35.5, I'm not sure this title needed another 'breather' issue following issue 35. I was a little let down that we weren't jumping into What Happens Next. Without 35.5, I'd see the wisdom in a quick break, but... It doesn't help that this issue didn't interest me particularly. I assume the Wave has to do with the death of Pullman and the Cabal being destroyed... or does it? The weird subreality of fiction in this book is so mysterious and unexplained that it's hard to tell what any of it means in the larger picture besides Some Shit That Happens. [**1/2]

Winter Soldier #4: A decent action comic. [***1/4]