Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wednesday Pickups: The Last Two Weeks of November (11/17/10 and 11/24/10)

Gonna try and get caught up on my large back log of unreviewed comics so let's get right to it.

First up is X-Men #5. Xarus' army of vampires, now including Wolverine, descend upon Utopia and look to have the X-Men back into a corner they won't make it out of. Of course old, sly Scott Summers expected as much and reveals his hidden weapons (one very much expected and the other a very clever use of a character) sparking a massive battle that between the two species. Not the greatest X-Men book going but still pretty enjoyable. Victor Gischler's story walks a fine line between predictable and clever, ultimately it just seems to keep enough interest for one to enjoy Paco Medina's art. This issue also features another great cover from Adi Granov, this guy really knows how make vampire covers snatch fresh blood. (see what I did there ;))

Heading over to DC, we have a Green Lantern double feature with the regular title and Green Lantern Corps. In Green Lantern #59 the Indigo tribe returns, finding a human host for their entity while Barry and Hal have a heart to heart over who the latter is keeping company with. Doug Mahnke's art is consistently knocking it out of the park! Emotional scenes, action scenes, large alien entities; this guy can handle it all. Not sure if its just me but Geoff Johns story just isn't as captivating as before and during Blackest Night. Going to keeping picking up the book for a little while hoping it changes for the better but I could easily see this being the result of Johns stretching himself to thin over everything he has his hands on at DC. Green Lantern Corps. #54, on the other hand, is just great overall. This issue features a ring-less battle between Kyle and Sinestro (although I have to call shenanigans on the end of it) and The Weaponer telling his origin to the captive Soranik Natu. Tony Bedard is really keeping the reader invested in these characters each issue while Tyler Kirkham and the art team are illustrating this glowing-spacey book to perfection.

Finishing up DC for the week is Brightest Day #14, one of my favorite of the series so far. This issue is all about the artist formerly known as Deadman as he takes to the mean streets of Gotham in search of the dark knight. Believing he has finally found the person to wield the white ring he is anxious to get rid of it but the ring has other plans. Boston Brand (Deadman) is easily one of the more interesting characters to come into the spotlight in Brightest Day and I really enjoy the creative team (would list them but there is quite a few) taking this whole issue to focus on him.

Jumping back to Marvel, or more specifically their Icon imprint, we have Superior #2. Simon tells Chris all about the space monkey and suddenly becoming Superior, this then leads to the two running through a power checklist for Simon with some interesting results. Still enjoying this original book from Mark Millar and Leinil Yu, I don't know if its quite "The most important comic book since 1938" but it is a fun and emotionally involving read none the less. One thing you have to give the books props for its handling of an impaired character gaining powers, while its been done before this books does it tastefully and with feeling rather than for a gimmick.

Next up is the latest Vertigo resurrection, The Extremist #1 (originally published as The Extremist 4 issue mini series.) The Extremist is one who takes pleasure in all things perverse and abnormal, who only serves others so that its own desires can be met, and most importantly of all The Extremist is not just a single person. Have to admit I didn't know exactly what I was getting into when I picked this up, but I ended up enjoying it. Peter Milligan crafts an interesting tale about the normalities and abnormalities of life while Ted McKeever's loose and rough art style provides the perfect accompanying visuals. Definitely not a book every one could get into but if you enjoy the examination of fetish and fringe life styles, this might be right up you alley.

Lastly, and pick of the week by a mile, is Kill Shakespeare #7. In this issue, the players come to town to provide a little entertainment for those fighting the good fight against Richard. Shakespearean players never appear just to entertain however, as both Juliet and Hamlet reveal to the reader as well as each other their deep motivations. I know I have talked this book up a lot so far, but this issue just makes me want to repeat it all over again. Easily my favorite of the series so far with a great story, art, and cover all working in harmony this issue. If you haven't checked out this book yet, please do immediately! This issue wouldn't be a bad jumping on point and the previous 6 were recently collected if you wish to know the full story.

That is it for the 17ths books so let's jump right into those from the 24th.

Kicking off this week we have Skull Kickers #3. Our two favorite mercenaries try to catch up with chancellor's corpse while Dwarf suffers through an interesting bout of indigestion. A book for those looking for a bit of humor with their sword and sorcery, this issue deliver another helping of all three. The highlight of the issue, though, had to be Edwin Huang's indigestion dreams for Dwarf. Looking forward to even more of this medieval farce coming in 2011.

Heading over to DC for a large portion this week, we have Batman Beyond #6 of 6. Barley surviving their encounter with this new Hush last issue Bruce and Terry have just moments to regroup before he blows up the entire city. Luckily, their not the only ones with a score to settle as Dick Grayson, out of retirement for one time only, and the new Catwoman join up with our favorite future Batmen to help them stop this latest abomination created by Cadmus. Those who have been reading the blog, know I've really been digging this mini and that certainly continued into this final issue. Overall this was a great comeback for Batman Beyond and I am glad it sparked enough interest to warrant an ongoing series starting in January. It effect utilizes the world created by the TV show but isn't afraid to tell new stories, which is always refreshing from a comic based on something else. Needless to say I will definitely be checking out Batman Beyond #1 and you should be to.

Staying in Gotham but traveling back to the present we have Batman and Robin #17. Dick and Damien get dragged into a little murder-mystery party involving one of Bruce's old flames, but is she really dead or is someone just manipulating the dark knight and the boy wonder? Overall the comic was ok, nothing spectacular but bigger fans of this pairing might want to stick around. With a comic stack that I'm constantly adding to or trying new things in I have to trim the fat occasionally, and Batman and Robin have drawn the short straw this time around.

Keeping Robin in the picture, we move out west to Teen Titans #89. The team receives Damien as a new member, although neither side is really to happy with the arrangement, and end up tangling with a powerful telekinetic. Really digging Teen Titans since the creative team change to J.T. Krul (writer) and Nicola Scott (artist), and this issue keeps it going. Bringing the new Robin into the team will help keep things interesting story-wise and Scott's art is working wonders in showing the team as still teenagers. Looking forward to lots more from them and where they are going with this new scientist villain who is giving kids powers.

Finishing out the DC books this week is Justice League: Generation Lost #14. Due to absorbing the massive explosion last issue, Captain Atom is once again throw through the time stream and into the future. This time the world has become a wasteland through bio-warfare as well as battles between meta-humans, OMACs, and humans themselves and Captain Atom must help the Justice League to make one last attempt to bring down the OMACs. Like I've said many times before, still really loving this book and see no signs of that stopping any time soon. Easily the best thing to come out Brightest Day.

First up from Marvel this week is Ultimate Avengers 3 #4. In this issue Blade tells the remaining human Avengers everything he knows about the vampires, while the vampires themselves go through a leadership change. Not the best comic out there but a fun super-hero/vampire story, much in the vain of a movie that is so bad its funny. It was probably intended to be a little more serious than I take it but I am still enjoying it none the less. Even the colorists' (Matt Hollingsworth and Matthew Wilson) work seems to bright to be a serious horror tale and just amps up that hilarity of it all. So give it a go if your into that kind of thing and super heroes, although at this point it might just be smarter to wait till its collected.

The last four books of the week all contain the x-gene, starting with Namor: The First Mutant #4. Finishing out this first arc, Namor engages in a duel to the death with his un-dead grandfather, former ruler of Atlantis and current leader of the Aqeuous, for control of both peoples. Story wise, I enjoyed the issue despite it being predictable to the end it stuck with the depth of character that has been present through out the entire series so far. I do have a complaint with the art however, not that Andres Guinaldo's work is bad or anything but it really takes away from the arc when the first three are done by one guy (the fantastic Ariel Olivetti) and the last one is done by someone with a vastly different style. Think this just may be a fill in to keep the book on schedule but I honestly would have rather waited.

Next up is Uncanny X-Men #530. Starting off a new arc "Quarantine", we find most of the mutants on Utopia fighting off new disease targeting mutants. As a, you guessed it, quarantine goes into effect only a few X-Men are in San Fransisco making them the active team, meanwhile Emma and Kitty are dealing with Shaw. Really digging Greg Land's art and Matt Fraction's story matched up together. The only foreseeable problem I see is having to much going on for one book to handle, but I think Fraction will be able to reign it all in before it gets out of control. As good as this book is though, it takes the bronze in X-men group books this week.

The runner up is New Mutants #19, concluding "Fall of the New Mutants" arc sort of. After being quickly beaten last issue by General Ulysses' mutant soldiers this issue shows most of the group being tortured in one manner or another, with the only light at the end of the tunnel being a few of them escaping. Begining to sound like a broken record but like I said before, I'm still really loving this book. Zeb Wells story is awesome as he skillfully handles all the New Mutants while Leonard Kirk's art is sticking strong with him and being just as much of highlight for the book. I do question the rational in concluding the arc at this point only to end it with "to be continued" but that isn't going to keep me from coming back next month :P.

Last up, and no surprise as pick of the week, is Uncanny X-Force #2. Tracking Apocalypse and his minions to the far side of the moon, our favorite mutants with a license to kill head after him but aren't exactly welcomed with opened arms. After the first issue Remender (the writer) and Opena (the artist) had me hooked and the issue just sinks their claws in deeper. Great art, great story, great action, and great characters (well, except for Deadpool but even he is tolerable under Remender's Pen) this one has it all. I used to say if you were reading one "X" book it should be the only one with out and X (New Mutants), but going to have to change it this title from now on.

That is all for this time, slowly but surely catching up to the current week's comics again. And comments, critiques, or outlandish exclamations can be left below.

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