Sunday, July 29, 2012

Riding the Gravy Train 17 (Avengers #28, Wolverine and the X-Men #14, and X-Men: Legacy #270)

The Phoenix Four are officially villains. The turn hasn't been long or subtle, but I think we can safely say this week that, yeah, they're the bad guys. Isn't it nice to be right?

What's sad isn't how terribly obvious this direction -- where the hosts of the Phoenix are corrupted by power, assuming thay just because they can do something that it's just -- is, since it has been obvious from the moment we saw the five of them in action. What's sad is just how poorly executed all of this has been with few cases worse than Wolverine and the X-Men #14 and X-Men: Legacy #270, the former more than the latter. We are shown the Rasputin siblings as they make it very, very clear that, yes, what everyone said would happen has. And it's happened in, like, a week. These are heroes, supposedly, and they are driven this far over the edge in a week?

It's actually another example in the argument I've been making since this event began: the heroes are fallen by this point. The corruption has set in for all of them, not just those given these incredible powers. They no longer fight for what's right -- they fight to fight. They don't know anything else. Look at how the Red Hulk looks at this entire thing in Avengers #28: "They do not get it. This is war." And he's not the only one. Everyone speaks of this conflict in militaristic terms and, actually, have since the beginning. This was never a disagreement between allies that could be solved through reason and discussion. It was war. War without killing, but war.

The lack of killing given the mindset of these characters is laughable. They've moved so far beyond righteousness in non-killing to simply being naive and delusional. They don't kill because they don't kill because they don't kill. They fight and fight and fight and do nothing but fight, but they don't kill. This is the war without end. The never-ending battle. Fallen heroes slugging it out in new ideological conflicts forever, constantly rearranging the sides, switching things up, picking new teams... They are fallen and the world is their plaything. 'War' is some game that they play like children at recess. These events are their recess where, this time, Captain America and Cyclops were the captains and chose all their buddies. None of this matters because there are no true consequences, much like a game. It seems important at the time, they play their hearts out, but soon the bell will ring, they'll go back inside for a while and return later to do it all over again.

Even the Red Hulk and others willing to 'kill' fit into that mindset. He's the big thug that is too overeager and is willing to do anything to win that game of touch football, even breaking some poor kid's arm in an ill-advised tackle. There's a few of those in every school yard.

I am at a loss at how awful Wolverine and the X-Men #14 and X-Men: Legacy #270 are. In Wolverine and the X-Men, Colossus forces Kitty Pryde to have dinner with him, gets increasingly pissed off when she doesn't seem interested, and damn near destroys the school, killing everyone in the process, because he's god now and she will love him if he says to love him. It's one of the worst thing that Jason Aaron has ever written, lacking in anything close to subtlety or nuance, choosing to go for cheap in-your-face storytelling that's very forced and unnatural simply to shoehorn characters that were mindless drones a few months ago into going "Hey... maybe we shouldn't have just shouted 'Viva mutants!' and tried to kill those Avengers guys..." It's awful writing used to fix bad writing.

X-Men: Legacy is almost as bad, but at least uses a character that's a little closer to the corrupt, evil person she's shown as. Magik using Limbo as a prison for the Avengers isn't even close to as big a leap as Colossus deciding to destroy a school for mutants run by his friends. In fact, given the way the character has been written (aside from a few recent bits, I've been told), if she were doing this before acting as a host for the Phoenix, I don't think anyone would have blinked. That doesn't make it any less obvious a comic in the way that Rogue goes from "Mutants forevah, sug!" to "Avengers forevah, sug!" in fairly short order. It's cheap in the way that it tries to make the Phoenix Four look evil, particularly when Rogue tells Magik that they'd be more likely to side with her and Magik basically tells her that, no, they'd kill her to live the mutant dream. The unsaid obvious thing is: the Avengers were previously being held in the X-Brig and, then, were moved to Limbo, so I think they already knew about the Limbo prison, Rogue.

After the first half of this event focused on the X-Men perspective, building up the Avengers as the giant bad guys trying to oppress a race (somehow), we've now had those same X-Men turn on their leaders, because, no, they're wannabe killers of kids, destroyers of schools, and use Hellish landscapes as prison as they torture the inmates.

Except, we're to believe that these characters have only recently fallen and I don't see any change (aside from the over-the-top Colossus bullshit). They were always like this. This is their true selves coming out, the true selves we've seen for years now. This truly is the columination of everything we've seen going back to Avengers Disassembled. The mutants/humans tensions, the superheroes fighting superheroes, the questions of when killing is necessary... the inability to do anything but hit things and then condemn people who do nothing but hit things. This is the low point, the moment where they stand around in pools of blood wondering why they used to smile in old pictures.

Next week: Avengers vs. X-Men #9.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Week of July 25, 2012

Three days of work down. Two to go. This whole 'work five days in a row' thing is insane. Also, preparations for the fifth Blogathon have begun. This one is going to be insane. You have no idea. You may think you do. But you don't.

Batman, Incorporated #3: If anyone at DC or Diamond is upset that I got to purchase a copy of this today, let me assure you that I'm not the sort to be offended by coincidence. I just dig me some Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham Batman comics. This one included. (I figured I'd keep this spoiler-free given some people won't be getting this for a month, theoretically.) [****]

Captain America #15: So... the dude's complaint is that Captain America is only one man and can't be in many different places at once? And people take that as a legitimate complaint about how good Captain America is at his job? I can't tell if that's bad writing or exactly like the real world. I really can't. [***1/2]

Haunt #25: Another fill-in artist, another tangent. An entertaining one. I'd like to see more comics with prostitutes dressed up in leather pony suits as men ride their backs. Well, not that specifically. It's just rare to see and I'm not sure that that's a good thing. [***1/2]

The Manhattan Projects #5: So... there's a plot to this book. Hmmmm? [Hmmmm!]

The Mighty Thor #17: Oh, Donald Blake... you get your rest now until someone decides to dust off your disembodied head and attach it to the Destroyer or something. Also: Thor hates his ex-girlfriend. That's a surprise. Because he seems like the sort of guy who would want to stay friends. Just like Seinfeld. I guess Amora ain't no Sif. [*1/2]

Ghost Whisperer National Comics: Eternity #1: At least Cully Hamner's art looks good. [And at least Jennifer Love Hewitt had breasts.]

Prophet #27: Die Hard! Die Hard? Die... Hard... That sort of took me aback. It makes sense of course. I guess I never expected that particularly Liefeld character to pop up. I didn't expect any to pop up. This may be a 'continuation' of a Liefeld comic, but it's so divorced from what we think of that sort of comic that a tangible reminder that, yeah, this is just the future of that world, is a little shocking. Meanwhile, this universe gets more expansive and strange with every page. Insane. [****]

Secret Avengers #29: You could really just pull those Avengers vs. X-Men issues out and not miss a beat going from issue 25 to 29. Not a single beat. That's the smart way to approach a book like this. I'm a little surprised that it bothered to get involved at all. Sales bump? And the chance to bring back Mar-Vell for no real reason? Anyway, the Shadow Council is back and that's fine. Plus, lots of supervillains. And, yeah. I liked this. It was fine. [***1/4]

Spaceman #8: It's weird to think that there's only one issue left. It doesn't feel like we're at the end of the story yet. Oh, maybe the end of the 'Tara kidnapped' plot, but that's not the story. Is it? Azzarello has said that this is only the first story in a larger work that, hopefully, he and Risso will return to after doing some other things. The Mars stuff seems more like a dream... something fake. But, is it? It's so detailed... I just enjoy the hell out of reading this comic when it comes out. And, soon, it's over. Damn, man. [****]

The Ultimates #13: What am I supposed to do with this? Am I supposed to pretend that the last 12 issues didn't happen? Am I supposed to forget about Hickman and Ribic and White and act like this is the same fucking comic? Because it's not. The slow shift to this point has been happening for the past few issues and, here we are: a mediocre, fine superhero comic that exists within a larger, interesting framework... and it doesn't feel like anything new or noteworthy is being done. I don't know. Part of me wants to simply drop it. Make a clean break and pretend that the series ended. Part of me wants to give Sam Humphries and his line-up of Vastly Inferior To Esad Ribic aritsts a chance to maybe make me like this comic despite being something quite different. After the City, the Children, the People, Reed Richards, and the rest... what the fuck does Captain America bring to the table? That's what I want to know. [**3/4]

Winter Soldier #8: It's kind of a shame that the Black Widow can't permanently become Bucky's arch-nemesis because of her role in other comics. That would be interesting. Her brainwashed and moving against him. A giant black ops game between a guy who loves a woman, and that woman trying to kill him. Or maybe that wouldn't be great. I think Brubaker could make it work. He's making this work and, on paper, this doesn't sound much better. But, that's why we like Brubaker, right? [***3/4]

X-Treme X-Men #1: I dig alternate reality comics and, yeah, I didn't like this. A messy, convoluted thing that gave me no reason to care about anything that's happening. I don't really know what it's about. Something about the multiverse being broken? Maybe? Somehow? And these random people are going to save it? It's like a less organised Exiles and that comic was nothing but a disappointment time and time again. I gave it a shot. [You only get $2.99 from me once]


Friday, July 20, 2012

Riding the Gravy Train 16 (Avengers vs. X-Men #8, Uncanny X-Men #16, and Avengers Academy #33)

Last week, I praised Kaare Andrws for his depiction of the Thor/Emma Frost fight in AVX: VS #4, because it actually built up Frost as threat. She didn't just beat Thor, she got her ass kicked by Thor as hard as we'd ever seen someone get their ass kicked by Thor and it didn't even slow her down. He shattered her -- literally -- and she rained down death from above with the shards of his diamond body before reassembling herself. If you read something like that, you walk away thinking that anyone who gets in Emma Frost's way right now is going to get crushed.

Although Frost looked equally tough in Avengers Academy #33 this week, the Phoenix Five didn't fare as well in the other two Avengers vs. X-Men comics released this week. Or any of them released prior to this. In the rush to turn the Phoenix Five into figures of 'power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,' everyone forgot the most basic fucking lesson in telling a story:


Up until now, we've been told how powerful the Phoenix Five are. We saw Colossus talk some bad guys out of being bad guys. We've seen them float around and talk in fiery word balloons. We've seen them come up with the brilliant idea to use giant hunks of ice to slowly irrigate dehydrated areas of the planet. But, we've also seen the Scarlet Witch make them cry like babies and the Avengers constantly one step ahead of them. We've been told a lot about how powerful they are and how much better the world is with them in charge. We've seen very little.

This week, we saw Namor ride into a country on a tidal wave, stir up some trouble, and get his ass beat so badly that the Phoenix Force left his shattered, broken body. This week, we saw Sinister take out the entire Phoenix Five with a bunch ideas that seemed like leftover Nextwave jokes.

These guys are meant to be taken seriously why again?

The Namor stuff in Avengers vs. X-Men #8 didn't actually seem much different from a dozen other comics I've read where Namor rides into town on a tidal wave, insults the 'land dwellers,' yells "Imperius Rex!" 49 times, and gets his ass beaten by a bunch of people who were once his friends until his mentally unbalanced mind shifted and he decided that they must die. I swear, every time that Captain America sees Namor and doesn't execute that motherfucker is a time where I have to question how smart he really is. But, the point is, this is supposedly one of the five most powerful beings on the planet and he got beat just like he always does. It may have taken a few more people, but it all happens so fast that none of it sinks in.

Part of the problem is that, up until this point in this story, Namor hasn't looked much different. He fights the Thing and the Thing technically wins, but not in a way where Namor looks weak. Every single time we've seen him so far, he's been a powerhouse that hasn't been taken down. We haven't been shown that the Phoenix Force has made him stronger and more powerful. In Avengers vs. X-Men #8, how much of what he does comes off as genuinely different from what he would do with the Phoenix Force? Maybe that little burst of energy he gives off. Otherwise, it looks like the same Namor as always. So, why should I care?

Over in Uncanny X-Men #16, the Phoenix Five are shown in action together for the first time really and... they get taken down with smug ease by Sinister. Which would be fine if this was simply five members of Cyclops's Extinction Team, but it's not. These are not regular superheroes and it doesn't seem like anyone at Marvel save Kaare Andrews understands that idea.

It's not enough to say that these characters are powerful, to rely upon the idea that the Phoenix Force is powerful -- we need to see it. They need to be built up as big threats before they can be taken down and that simply hasn't happened. Part of it, as I said, is that the X-Men were kept too 'equal' to the Avengers prior to the Phoenix Force arriving. Since the first act was building towards this point, the Avengers should have been more dominant. They should have kicked the shit out of Cyclops, Frost, Namor, Magik, and Colossus in particular. They should have been overwhelmed and made to look pathethic by comparison. And, then, once they had this power, they should have turned the tables in a big visible way -- and, until they're taken down, they should have looked like invincible gods. The Scarlet Witch shouldn't have shown up until issue eight where she arrives and takes down one of the Phoenix Five. That should have been a big, impactful moment.

Instead, it was crazy Namor invading dry land and getting a beatdown. Just like always. Ho hum. Too sad. I don't give a fuck.

Next week: Avengers #28, Wolverine and the X-Men #14, and X-Men: Legacy #270.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Week of July 18, 2012

Daredevil #15: Goddamn, that's some of the old Daredevil stuff, isn't it? Inventive, smart, clever -- Waid's writing is on point and gives Samnee a lot of chances to show off. The best issue of this series in a while. [****1/4]

Journey into Mystery #641: Wow. I've been running cold on this book for a while and this was, like Daredevil, a reminder of why I liked this title so much. The stuff with Leah was heartwrenching and the end of the issue was a kick in the gut. Bring on the Thor crossover! [****]

Untold Tales of the Punisher MAX #2: This was a surprise. Another story that gets the point of the Punisher, keeping mostly as a force of nature that cannot be killed (despite us seeing his death). Latour's voice is a strong and distinct -- this kind of reminds me of Ennis a bit, but not as 'cute' as Ennis can get. Willumsen's art is the perfect match for the writing. Cartoony, messy, broad, and just in your face. Great stuff. [****1/4]

The Unwritten #39: I love the art on the flashback bit in this issue. We also get a more backstory on Bruckner. I like how we still haven't seen Tom this arc yet. Still unsure if this book has the direction it needs -- if the story is there. But, this issue is the best of the arc so far. [***1/2]

Wonder Woman #11: Apollo and Artemis as badass villains who tear through our heroes is a nice move. There's a genuine sense that these two cannot be defeated by Diana, Hermes, and Lennox. Lennox in particular gets the shit kicked out of him. After 10 issues of them... well, not breezing through things, but seeming to have a plan and not looking terribly overmatched, this is a nice curveball. [***3/4]

X-Men #31-32: The first issue of Wood's run on this title had a similar vibe to when Warren Ellis wrote Astonishing X-Men and that doesn't entirely go away. The 'proto-mutants' is a good idea and makes sense -- better, Wood develops it well. Where he differs from Ellis is how much he focuses on the characters. A lot of space is given to Storm having to deal with the members of her team questioning her approach to the situation and it works quite well. I'm digging the art as well. I may have to stick this on my pull list. [***1/2]

Counter X: X-Force -- Rage War: I can't remember if I completely read these issues. I know I read all of the "Counter X" X-Man and Generation X stuff up right until the end, but I liked both of those more than X-Force. X-Force just didn't land for me like the other two had and it shows in this second collection, delivering the final six issues by Ian Edgington and Jorge Lucas (along with the 'Rough Cut' of the first "Counter X" issue of the series). Warren Ellis doesn't even get a 'plot' credit anymore and the titular "Rage War" story is a mess. Filled with twists and convoluted science -- say what you will about Ellis, but that is a man who works his ass off to make complicated things simple and easy to read. Edgington doesn't do that here. The only time that things seem like they're on track is in the two-part finale where X-Force begins taking down every target Pete Wisdom put the team together to take down. Fuck 'innocent' people, fuck 'murder is bad,' just a team of 'terrorists' bringing down every scummy and horrible thing they can. That is interesting. Lucas's art is hit or miss. He shifts between a detailed style and one that's akin to Ladronn at his most 'Kirbyesque.' Some panels are gorgeous, others are ugly and sloppy. Glad to have this, though. All Marvel needs to do is collect the final five issues of X-Man and Generation X now... [**3/4]


Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Few Links on Your Saturday Night

1. I did this week's mini-reviews and star ratings exclusively for Comics Should be Good. I guess it becomes a less funny joke when it's an exclusive for another site.

2. The latest ...And the Superhuman Review is up with Brian Cronin and I discussing Before Watchmen: Minutemen #2.

3. Alec Berry and the Guttersnipes have departed Spandexless Reads, mostly because we were thrown out since it's a column meant to spotlight what the Spandexless writers are reading and everyone who participated (save Alec) doesn't write for the site. Of course, Alec asked us all to participate because no one who writes for the site would. Logically, you'd think they would simply go "Hey, do any of you want to contribute more than this?" to work around that little problem in concept and execution, but they didn't. So we're gone. I'll miss doing those capsule reviews of "The Curse of the Crimson Corsair." They amused me. But, I was only there because Alec asked and I like Alec, so I don't mind too much. Still...


Friday, July 13, 2012

Riding the Gravy Train 15 (AVX: VS #4, New Avengers #28, and Wolverine and the X-Men #13)

The AVX: VS card continues with two intergender matches. If only Andy Kaufman were alive to see this. He'd be so proud.

Match #7: Daredevil vs Psylocke

Two Japanese-influenced fighters bring a lot of kicks and blocks to the ring. Lots of jumping and stiff, close working. This is meant to play off the Daredevil/Elektra feud, but doesn't have the same energy or personal stakes. More than that, it casts Psylocke in Elektra rip-off territory when she's a lot more. Daredevil countering her telepathic attack was nice and Psylocke playing possum is another bit of evidence towards the X-Men now being heels. Unfortunately, like so many other bouts on this card, this one goes to a non-finish. The comic labels it a 'draw,' but that's clearly not the case. Both people just walk away, so I'm calling it a double countout. Nothing special, honestly.

Result: Double countout [*1/2]

Match #8: Thor vs. Emma Frost

Now, this is more like it. This is how you tell a story to build up a character. Thor and Frost dance around one another for a while, Frost even displaying a little power before Thor just destroys her with a massive hammer hit. That's followed up by more beating until he shatters her. It looks like he's won until Frost no sells being shattered, rains down diamond shards from a low orbit, reassembles herself, and knocks Thor out. We've been told that the Phoenix Five are powerful and this is showing. This is how you make a new faction look like a legitimate threat: take out a main eventer and look unstoppable in the process. Not a great match, but the first time that the Phoenix Five have looked like the threats they've been built up as. Kaare Andrews gets it, folks, and, also, after a card filled with non-finishes, delivers the second clear, decisive victory. You don't build people with cheap wins and countouts.

Winner: Emma Frost [**]


"Do you mutants ever get tired of not thinking for yourself?" is the line of this event.


New Avengers finally told a story about Avengers vs. X-Men that didn't involve K'un L'un and expanded upon the perspectives of the Avengers. The tide is turning, folks. After the first half of the event built up the X-Men, slowly transforming them from crazy cultists to misunderstood underdogs, the approach is shifting back towards the Avengers because, well, the X-Men are proving them right. Kind of. The Phoenix Five, so far, have actually only tried to have a positive effect on the world and have only been revealed as cruel and corrupt when confronted with violent Avengers ready to brind them down, hard. That said, with the power they possess, dealing the Avengers shouldn't be a problem. In fact, the Phoenix Five are powerful enough that they could literally confront the Avengers with non-violent, passive resistance. Let the Avengers attack them and don't respond, just keep talking, just let them wear themselves down until they're left either depleted or ready to assume you're not going to become corrupt. Instead, the Phoenix Five imprison the Avengers they capture in virtual reality machines that play over and over again their imprisonment and escape attempts until they're woken up, told that it was all dream, and sent back in.

This is because the Phoenix Five don't want to just win -- or, convince the Avengers -- they want to punish anyone who disagrees. They want to punish the Avengers for the imagined slight of hating mutants. They are using the same tactics that the real mutant haters used. It's a little obvious (the persecuted become the persecuters), but I'm still shocked at how quickly the shift happened. We've had two issues of Avengers vs. X-Men with the Phoenix Five and in only one of them did they have any real appearance of purity/goodness. There's no real fall here, but they wasn't any rise. They practically began from the position of using Limbo as a prison or making their prisoners replay over and over their imprisonment and escape, knowing that it's not real. Emma Frost quite possibly told Spider-Woman that she's going to execute her.

This is some heavyhanded shit right here.


The first page of Wolverine and the X-Men #13 is a pretty great Watchmen reference.


Despite the X-Men's dominance right now, the entire Avengers vs. X-Men story has been one where all but the top-tier X-Men have looked like absolute jokes compared to the Avengers. The X-Men may have an army, but it's most grunts that can't shoot straight. Hell, do the Phoenix Five really need them anymore?

Next week: Avengers vs. X-Men #8, Uncanny X-Men #16, and Avengers Academy #33.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Riding the Gravy Train 14 (Avengers vs. X-Men #7 and Uncanny X-Men #15)

That didn't take too long, did it?

In my discussion of Avengers vs. X-Men #6, I laid out how things would be for the 'Phoenix Five' as they went from saviours to corrupt in fairly short order and, well, here we are. They speak in terms of mutants/everyone else, have labelled the Avengers a terrorist organisation, and seem ready to execute the Scarlet Witch on sight for crimes against mutants -- she's called the "murderer of the mutant race" by Emma Frost. They have the power and they have an agenda and, combined, those two things mean abrupt, possibly immoral actions, especially given who comprise the Phoenix Five.

1. Emma Frost -- Former villain, noted for her snobbish behaviour and general sense of superiority.

2. Namor -- Ruler of Atlantis, physical embodiment of arrogance, and has a long history of acting without his brain forming a single thought beyond the words "Imperius Rex!"

3. Magik -- Formerly without a soul, not much changed since regaining it, and makes her home in Limbo.

4. Colossus -- Avatar of Cyttorak, a demonic being that demands destruction and whose influence Colussus struggles to contain in every confrontation.

5. Cyclops -- Leader of the X-Men and whose belief in the Phoenix and its seeming choice for host, Hope, is practically religious in fervor.

This is a group that is guaranteed to go too far in pursuit of its agenda. You'd be hard-pressed to find five characters in the Marvel Universe that could make up a balanced and even-tempered substitute for these five, but the selection of the hosts in this case clearly point towards a quick rise and obvious, unavoidable fall. They're already scheming behind one another's backs and presuming that they are superior to anyone who doesn't agree with them, even their fellow Phoenix co-hosts.

Except for Cyclops, their leader.

Reading both Avengers vs. X-Men #7 and Uncanny X-Men #15 this week, it was fairly obvious that Cyclops is different from the other four in that his obvious character flaw to date actually makes him less likely to grow corrupt. Maybe it's the way that Matt Fraction and Kieron Gillen specifically are writing the character, but it seems like his faith in the Phoenix and Hope, his dedication to the vision of a better world for both humans and mutants is keeping him calm and centred. While the other four march towards the fall (Colossus not as much, but that's only because he hasn't been shown as much, I think), he's the one pulling them back, championing the righteousness of their cause and pointing out that, with the power they have, they can afford patience and to use persuasion rather than violence when possible. He may want the Avengers captured and taken off the board, but he knows that they're people doing what they think is right. He is on a holy mission and he doesn't hate those that oppose him, he pities them and their lack of faith. He wants to save them!  They are sinners waiting to be saved!

It's a very clever bit of character work given how, up until now, Cyclops's zealotry has made him stand out as the 'worst' of the X-Men. He pushed them into this fight with the Avengers and refused to seek a compromise. That zealotry and faith, when greeted with the knowledge that he was right (for now) has tempered him, given him confidence and placed him in a position where he's comfortable. In his mind, he's won and he doesn't need to fight anymore. When he calls for patience and mercy despite the protests of the others, he seems like the Cyclops of old in many ways.

His shift over the past few years towards a hard-lined zealot, more Magneto's successor than Xavier's, has annoyed a lot of people. They didn't think it was the 'real Cyclops' and that the writers were 'getting it wrong.' But, it's almost like the Phoenix brings out the true, basic nature of these characters. For most of them, that's not necessarily a good thing -- for Cyclops, he's the leader of the mutant race that he was meant to be. Not a paranoid, insecure ruler like Namor thinks he should be, but a confident leader that recognises where he is and knows that being in power doesn't mean crushing everything because you can.

If anything will make the character standing side-by-side with Captain America when this is all over, it's how he's portrayed in these two comics this week.

Next week: AVX: VS #4, New Avengers #28, and Wolverine and the X-Men #13.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Week of July 4, 2012

Action Comics #11: There's a fragmented approach to Action Comics over the past couple of issues that I like. Superman is pulled in numerous directions: the social-justice-crusader in a t-shirt, the new fireman persona, the fully costumed superhero... he's basically trying to be everything at once. I don't really dig on the art of either Rags Morales or Brad Walker, but I like the idea of different artists presenting these fragments of his life. What I'm concerned with is whether or not this run will add up to anything. It's been fairly all over the place. [***1/2]

Age of Apocalypse #5: Bringing on a new artist (for this issue at least) was a big shift and it made me realise how I didn't recognise almost any characters just by looking at them. That's problematic. As is the languid, directionless feel of this comic. It doesn't feel like it's actually going anywhere. The AoA Quentin Quire is an interesting character/concept raised and dismissed... a shame. [**1/2]

Animal Man #11: Underwhelming issue. This comic was once interesting and scary and something I looked forward to. Now, it's just been doing the same thing for so long that I should just drop it and be done. [Held up, hand opens...]

The Boys #68: When MM and Butcher were in the same room, you knew what was going to happen. It was obvious and Ennis didn't try to hide it. The cut-away for two pages was a brilliant delaying tactic that only made the return worse. One down, eh? And Butcher... the amount of damage he has inside has always been there, but, until now, it was easy to deny. I mean, this is a suicide mission he's on. A man who is genuinely determined to tear the world down -- the supervillain of the book, if you will. Brilliant. [****1/4]

Fury MAX #4: If you thought being in Vietnam would end in disaster, getting involved with Cuba is a lovely raising of the clusterfuck stakes. I love the way Parlov drew faces in this issue. I don't know why I noticed them more this time, but I did. [****]

Haunt #24: Visually, this issue was a bit of a mess. Nathan Fox's style does tend to lean in a direction where you have to try a little harder to understand what you're looking at sometimes, but this issue was a whole new level of that. A big part of that is the colouring, which does a pisspoor job of clarifying Fox's line work, instead making it messier. What could have been a thrilling action issue falls flat in a lot of places. [Damn shame]