Friday, September 27, 2013

Wolverine and the X-Men #36

Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: Andrew Currie
Colorists: Matt Milla and Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 25th, 2013

"Battle of the Atom, Chapter 5"

As I said with Uncanny Avengers, all of this time traveling is getting a tad ridiculous. As of right now we have X-Men from the past, X-Men from the future and by the end of this book, X-Men from the present in the future. That is a lot of time traveling. It is no surprise that Earth fractured reality by screwing with the timestream. In just this one arc they are jumping in and out of different times like it is a pool.

Anyhow, we continue the general argument with all of the X-Men about the fate of the past team. Jean Grey (past) with the help of the Stepford Cuckoos and Emma Frost battle future Jean Grey in a telepathic battle. The few pages that they illustrated the fight was impressive and hope to see more of it in coming issues. While this was happening, everything else fell into chaos. The teams fight but with a quick mind meld (I can't think of a better term), past Jean Grey learns something about the future that makes her decide that it is the right thing to do to return to her time. Meanwhile, a few of the team members at the Jean Grey school travel to the future with the help of Magik to see what is actually happening there. We learn quickly that something is awry and are introduced to MORE future X-Men.

Regardless of all of the craziness with time travel, I am starting to settle into this event and enjoy it. There seems to be a lot of action and a lot of things coming that could fracture the mutant race completely. I am also interested to see what is up with these future "X-Men". What is their deal? I am sure questions will be answered in the coming weeks. The first month of Battle of the Atom ended up not being too shabby.

Uncanny Avengers #12

Writer: Rick Remender
Penciler: Salvador Larroca
Inker: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 25th, 2013

Oh man, time travel stories. I feel like Marvel is just so full of time anomalies right now with Spider-Man 2099 in our time, Angela battling the Guardians, the Apocalypse Twins in the past and the "Future X-Men" hanging out with the "Past X-Men" that it is sometimes hard to follow. With that said, it still bothers me a little when the middle of an issue that is otherwise good wastes tons of time playing recap with the story line. I am not saying that the writing is bad, it just isn't needed to be reminded of what happened in the previous issue or two.

With that complaint, there is a lot of good. We get a little more of the Apocalypse Twins' past, we see more Wonderman and Scarlet Witch love and lastly, we see how the twins are trying to get back at Kang. Other than that though, not a whole lot happened in the issue. It felt very heavily recappy instead of progressive. That doesn't mean I am not enjoying the book, I just am expecting more in the issues to come.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #27

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: David Marquez
Inker: David Marquez
Colorist: Paul Mounts and Justin Ponsor
Letterer: Cory Petit
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 25th, 2013

"Spider-Man No More: Part 4"

I know I say this frequently, but I am so happy that I gave Miles Morales a chance as Spider-Man. Bendis has created such an amazing character that is really starting to grow. His banter with Spider-Woman in this issue as well as his internal dialogue was incredible. He is still battling with his decision to put the webs back on and he feels that his fight with Taskmaster is just reaffirming it. Regardless, he seems to be sticking to it which is showing true growth in the character.

If you remember, we left Miles, Spider-Woman and Bombshell on a rooftop, paralyzed by Taskmaster. This issue picks up with the three of them figuring out how to get out of the predicament, figure out what Taskmaster's powers are and to figure out their next step. The best part of this was seeing them all struggle with Taskmaster being able to redirect their powers back at them. When Miles and Spider-Woman figure out to use their webbing instead, it gets incredibly fun. 

With the last minute addition of Cloak and Dagger to the fight, it is impossible to tell anyone to skip this issue. There is plenty of the classic banter that is needed in a good Spidey tale that is mixed with just the right amount of darkness that you will be pulled in. I am excited for the following issue and the last part of this arc that will have the massive Spider-Woman, Bombshell, Cloak, Dagger and Spider-Man team-up against Roxxon corp. Bendis really has something special here and it just seems to keep getting better.

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #3

Writer: Robert Rodi
Penciler: Michael Del Mundo
Inker: Michael Del Mundo
Colorist: Michael Del Mundo
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 15th, 2013

Well it seems that Infinity has found its way into one of my books. It made a little nervous seeing that scrawled on the cover considering I am not overly caught up but there was no need for concern. The only REAL connection to Infinity is that Spidey is in New York, fighting off some of Thanos' men with the Mighty Avengers, when everything kicks off.

The Team-up itself isn't with anyone that seems to matter, rather it was with a random college girl who is studying medieval history in the library when New York is being evacuated. She out of the blue (seriously, bam sudden) gets super powers to basically be an Elektro-esque character that can travel like electricity. She doesn't like technology so I assume this is meant to be a tad ironic but just feels tacked together.

I honestly don't know how I feel about this. So far I have really enjoyed this title but this was just a big miss. After flipping back to the splash page it made sense that Yost didn't write this issue. It just didn't feel like him and everything was just incredibly abrupt. Luckily I am a huge Spidey fan and one issue has never caused me to drop a book. I know there is a part two to this but then we should get Yost back and all should be well.

Scarlet Spider #22

Writers: Christopher Yost and Erik Burnham
Pencilers: David Baldeon, Pat Olliffe and Time Green
Inkers: Terry Pallott and Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor and Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 15th, 2013

"Into the Grave: Part 2"

I mentioned last week that I was a little shocked and definitely saddened that Scarlet Spider is being cancelled just like Venom. This is one of the last four issues and it is full of excitement and more reasons as to why I am confused that the book is coming to a close.

We pick up with Kaine in a grave after being captured by Kraven at the end of the last issue. He is aware that Kraven is insane and they definitely have a past. The only reason that Kraven is alive at this point is because he was resurrected with the use of Kaine's blood way back in Amazing Spider-Man #635 during the Grim Hunt arc. If you don't remember it...go read it. I found it to be a fun arc.

Kraven seems to be torturing Kaine to push him to the edge so that he is willing to kill again. He lies to him, kidnaps his friends and beats him. It seems that the "eternal curse" that is plaguing Kraven has brought him to the edge and he feels the only way for it to come to a close is to be killed by Kaine. There is no actual proof of this as far as I can tell but it is always possible.

This issue drew me in and kept me to the last page. I have really grown to like Kaine and his friends and am worried about their final outcome. This arc concludes in the next issue and then we will get two more before the series ends. I hope that Yost is able to put a strong ending in, if not, it would be truly a shame.

Sex Criminals #1

Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky
Color Flatting: Becka Kinzie
Editing: Thomas K
Production: Drew Gill
Price: $3.50
Release Date: September 25th, 2013

"Suzie Down in the Quiet"

This was my wild card of the week. I have gained a recent affection for Matt Fraction and when I saw his name on this book I couldn't pass it up. Well, that and I saw a few raving reviews about it before hand and the premise had promise.

So, I have to start by saying this book is like nothing I have ever read before. This isn't a book about super heroes or giant gorillas with guns, it is about a couple that when they have an orgasm, time literally stands still. So the real question is what can a book with a premise like that have to tell as a story? Well, there is a littering of drama, humor and personal growth that links together to form an attractive narrative.

The first pages show our two protagonists in a passionate embrace, in a bathroom, while being screamed at to give themselves up. This is pretty nonsensical out the gate, so we get a flashback for our female character Suzie. We learn that at a young age her father was murdered and her family life quickly shattered. Her mother turned to drinking and crying while Suzie was expected to just move on. She quickly learned that she was able to slide down in her bathtub and block out the sound by being under water and this is where she started to explore herself. Her first experience taught her that she could literally make time stand still upon completion.

Fast forward to Suzie as an adult (I skipped a lot, read the comic) where she meets Jon who also somehow can make time stand still. They both have a common interest with books and the library and they seem to come up with an idea of how to save their failing library.

The story, although incredibly adult, was handled in a mature fashion. There were no penis jokes or explicit sex scenes. Everything felt incredibly tasteful but still not appropriate for a young reader. I assume the next issue will give us Jon's back story and I am really excited to hear it. It was fun to get to know Suzie and I look forward to her future exploits. This is, yet again, another worthwhile jump into a new title simply based on the author's name on the cover. If you are looking for something different, Sex Criminals may be the right book for you.

Guardians of the Galaxy #6

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Olivier Coipel
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: Cory Petit
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 25th, 2013

This was the issue of Guardians of the Galaxy I was waiting for. We left off last time with Gamora standing head-to-head with Angela while Peter stood before Thanos, ready to ask questions. Bendis took no time to jump into the awesome fight between the two ladies, showing that they are both very powerful but Angela has a bit of an edge (she is an angel after all).

While this fight was going on, Peter questioned Thanos about Earth. Thanos, after being a tad cryptic, state the obvious. Earth has screwed up by messing with time travel too much and because of this, the galaxy is closing in on them. Thanos says that someone will come and destroy Earth, even if it isn't him. Peter, being from Earth, does not like this and pulls a weapon on Thanos. My only problem with this moment is that Peter seems to get away from this confrontation unscathed. Is he really so great that he can get away from Thanos that easily?

Back to the fight with Angela, it takes the whole of the Guardians to take her down with the added sneak attack from Peter. There are many questions left unanswered and tensions seems insanely high at the end of this book. Hell, the Watcher tells them Angela's name and makes it pretty obvious a whole pile of crap is headed their way. This makes me excited and very happy that I have stuck with this title.

Weekly pulls for 09/25/13 and Amazing Spider-Man Retro thoughts

Finally, I have completed my retro read of Amazing Spider-Man. Over 700 issues later (including .1 issues, a couple tie-ins and a bit of re-reading Superior Spider-Man) I must say that I have a much better understanding of my favorite hero. I intend to do a full retro review in a coming The Panel Scanners podcast but felt that I should at least touch on a few things here.

First, it was a great time. Don't get me wrong, there were definite down points (see Clone Saga in the 90's) and there were moments that is was insanely difficult to only read the flagship title without the others, but it was good. I never felt completely lost and I really cared for Peter by the time he fell off the building in 700 trapped in the body of Otto. I suppose the real question though is, was it worth it?

I felt like it was a worthwhile read. Sure, it was a lot of material and it took me a bit over a year to complete, but it was good. I can honestly say now that I am one of Spider-Man's biggest fans and be able to back up my love with knowledge of the title. If you aren't a major fan, it would be insanely easy to jump onto the Spider-Man bandwagon at the start of Brand New Day (ASM #546-564). I am sure this will illicit a lot of groans from Spidey readers because BND is a touchy subject. BND was basically a retcon of Peter's life after a certain point to make everyone forget that he was Spider-Man to protect his family. This, of course, messed up the continuity of the Spider-Man lore and it took a while for it to be clear as to what from the past held true and what didn't. Regardless, this is a fairly easy place for newer readers to jump on without running the 700+ issue gamut.

Anyhow, I will dive deeper into this when I get the chance to chat it up with Jonny and Darren. For now I suppose I will just list the seven book I picked up this week:

Guardian of the Galaxy #6
Sex Criminals #1
Scarlet Spider #22
Superior Spider-Man Team-Ups #3
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #27
Uncanny Avengers #12
Wolverine and the X-Men #36

I have to say that I am happy with all seven of the books and if you notice, there is a wild card in there. I have decided to try to pick up a new book every once and a while and force myself to drop something that I am not really enjoying anymore. I will have a few openings appearing soon (Venom, Scarlet Spider, Superior Carnage and Six-Gun Gorilla) and I have also decided to pull the trigger on Cable and X-Force. I looked back at old reviews and have never really enjoyed the book. I will also be dropping Uncanny X-Force after this arc is complete IF it doesn't do something incredible (I am not holding my breath).

With that, I am off to write the review for my seven books this week. Until next time, happy reading comic book fans.

Friday, September 20, 2013

X-Men Legacy #17

Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Khoi Pham
Color Artist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Cory Petit
Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 18th, 2013

"Wear the Grudge Like a Crown: Part Two" 

Two Simon Spurrier books in one week? That is awesome. This guy keeps blowing my mind. I think he is going to start being one of those writers that if I see his name on a new book I will instantly snatch it up, even if I know nothing about the title. I am aware of his Crossed book and I have read some of the online stuff but I afraid to start the comic release for I feel I will be lost.

Anyhow, this issue is part two of the fight between David Haller and Scott Summers. It isn't even the fight that makes it incredible. It is the fact that David is treating the readers as if we are one of the many voices in his head. He is explaining his actions throughout the book and basically how he feels about them. He has some incredible insights as to how people think fights are because of Hollywood and then how they are in reality.

The fight, the physical part at least, ends as David figures it would with Scott pounding him into a pulp. Regardless, David ends up using his powers a bit which causes Scott to respond in kind, knocking David back into one of the new mutants (I can't remember their name...), the one that is sort of like Morph from the old cartoon, and it starts a chain reaction to create the monster that he and Ruth were afraid he would become because it is meant to destroy the mutant race. With Magik's sword in hand, Ruth prepares to do the one thing she never wanted to do when her brother, newly armored and ready to brawl, shows up to stop her.

EVERYTHING about this book has me on edge. I thought that nothing would top Six-Gun Gorilla this month but I was wrong. Damn Spurrier, you rock.

Venom #41

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jorge Coelho
Color Art: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 18th, 2013

"Mania: Part 2 of 3"

I am a little sad that the last few issues of Venom are dealing with the hell storyline. I have always found these to be the weakest chapters, but what can you do?

The issue opens with Flash finishing his conversation with Daimon where Daimon is explaining what is going on and how he split himself into multiple clones. He allowed each of the clones free will so he can't track them but he is aware that they are being hunted because of their mark. We learned at the end of the last issue that Mania now has Venom's mark and that Crossbones is hunting her. Mania, on the other hand, is still hunting Ogre, who she has found.

Ogre proves to be sort of a wussy and is quickly dealt with while Mania shows that she is able to control demons that Master Mayhem, who is working with Crossbones, sends after her. She escapes (with the help of Flash and with Flash shoving a bomb that was attached to Ogre into Master Mayhem) and they decide to figure out what is going on. Flash decides to use the orb that he got many issues ago to look into his mind to talk to the Symbiote. The Symbiote explains to Flash that it was just trying to protect him so it expelled the demon (the mark) from his body as quickly as possible and the only way to stop the demon is to do the same for Mania. This leads Flash to the idea to try to make a deal with the Devil.

I am nervous about another BND type thing here. Making a Deal with Mephisto is always rough. I guess it would be a good way for Flash to lose the Symbiote though. Oh well, I guess I will find out in the next issue. I am staying on till the end of the ride now.

Uncanny X-Men #12

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Tim Townsend, Mark Irwin, Jaime Mendoza, Victor Olazaba & Al Vey
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 18th, 2013

"Battle of the Atom: Chapter 4"

People can't argue that Bendis doesn't use a lot of dialogue. I feel as if a lot of these first four chapters of Battle of the Atom is just giving us a guide point as to where each member of each team stands on the placement of the original X-Men. This issue picks up with S.H.I.E.L.D. noticing another time anomaly and they instantly blame McCoy and by they I mean Hill. There is a short exchange between she and Dazzler before we jump back to Utopia where Jean and Scott (past) is talking to Scott (current) and his team. The young X-Men feel that his team was their last hope.

I have to admit it is really cool to see the Stepford Sisters banter with Emma and Jean and then the use of the Hive Mind to catch up everyone who didn't know about the future X-Men (man there is a lot of clarification between which person is from what team and blah blah). I am not certain why Magik responded the way that she did to the group, but I am sure it will be explained soon.

In all reality, the rest of the issue basically dealt with Scott battling over the fact of helping his past self or not and seeing a strange yet expected resistance of Scott's decision TO help them from Emma and Magneto. The issue ends with the Stepford Sisters and Emma standing off against the future Jean Grey simply because Emma doesn't like Jean, regardless on how she feels about the past X-Men being where they are.

So, as you can see not a whole lot happened. Bendis is really known for stretching out stories but I really want this thing to pick up pace soon. We have six more chapters left so considering that we are about halfway in and we still haven't really been told WHAT the Battle of the Atom is and what it is going to lead to I have a bit of a concern. If Bendis lets me down here...I just don't know.

The Superior Spider-Man #18

Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Ryan Stegman
Inker: Livesay
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 18th, 2013

This arc has been incredibly interesting so far because Slott has finally found a way to connect the Spider-Man 2099 world to the world that we know. I hadn't even thought that Tiberius Stone could be Miguel's grandfather but it all seems to make sense. I suppose I am getting ahead of myself though.

This issue picks up with Otto and Miguel standing toe-to-toe after Otto had come after Tiberius for trying to take control of Horizon Labs. There is a bit of a scuffle, Miguel whoops on Otto a bit while insulting him by calling him low-tech. Otto, in his normal douchebaggery, gets angry and tries to chuck a car at Miguel. At this moment Tiberius shows the readers that he has a portable Spider-Jammer and forces Otto to almost drop a car on Normie Osborn. Liz gets mad at both Spider-Mans and Miguel takes that moment to grab his grandpa and run away. It seems that the time abnormality is being caused by Otto-Spidey getting too close to Tiberius (because hell, we know Otto will kill him if need be).

While all of this is going on, Grady is poking around in the past to prove that Tiberius is one of the main sources that Horizon is under investigation in the first place and is actually able to get that information. The concern is, he has had his time-door open too log and it has almost destroyed New York in the past. The book builds up to Miguel returning to Horizon with Tiberius in web claiming to know how to stop destiny who is quickly punched in the face and knocked out by Otto. Oye, his timing is almost as bad as Parker luck.

Oh, and for some reason Green Goblin is flying around pretending to be Hobgoblin, I am sure that will come to head in an issue or two. Regardless, you can see that there is a ton going on in every issue of this title. I do find it interesting that in each issue it seems that Otto-Spidey becomes more and more like his old self. He seems less like Peter and more obnoxious. I do like that Slott is not ignoring this (and it is obviously intentional) because he is making it seem like more and more members of the cast are noticing that Peter isn't himself.

The Superior Spider-Man is always a fun read and I am intrigued as to where this will go. I wonder if this short arc is all we will see of Miguel or if there is a potential for another Spider-Man 2099 title. I shocking hope not, I hate the puns in those books. They fit in the 90's, I feel it would fail today.

Superior Carnage #3

Writer: Kevin Shinick
Aritst: Stephen Segovia
Inker: Dennis Chrisostomo
Colorist: Jay David Ramos
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 18th, 2013

I have to say that this title isn't exactly what I thought it was going to be. When I heard they were going to make a Superior Carnage book, I just figured Kasady was going to go around and kill people even more hardcore than he had in the past. I wasn't expecting this to be a book about The Wizard trying to have one last big run at being successful before the tumor that was put in his brain by Black Bolt kills him.

At this point, The Wizard has taken Kasady's Symbiote and put it on Malus (a doctor) because he can actually control it there. With Kasady's mind wiped from the recent events in Minimum Carnage, The Wizard found him to be useless and this was the next best option. I have to say, I am not a fan of the design of Carnage on Malus when it is being controlled. I have always liked the savage look of the character and the fact that "Superior Carnage" has basically a helmet and yellow teeth just doesn't sit well with me.

That aside, the new Frightful Four (two of which are Malus and Carnage as one) decide to go forward with their plan to take over the mayor's office in New York and with that, take out J. Jonah Jameson. All seems to be going pretty well until the obvious happens, Spider-Man is waiting for them.

I think that this book is interesting just to watch The Wizard slowly lose his mind and grasp on what is real or not. I am not finding myself to care too much about Klaw or Malus but that may change in coming issues. I am also a strong believer in Carnage needing to be Cletus Kasady. It just feels so wrong when it isn't him. Regardless, I will continue to read this book considering it is only two more issues. It is definitely not ground breaking, but I always enjoy a little more Spidey in my life.

Six-Gun Gorilla #4

Writer: Simon Spurrier
Art: Jeff Stokely
Colors: Andre May
Letters: Steve Wands
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 18th, 2013

"Episode 4: Deserve's Got Nothin' To Do With It"

I mentioned on my twitter feed that this book is one of the reasons I love reading comics, and that is beyond true. Blue, our librarian main character and "Partner", our Gorilla friend are just so much fun to follow. Each issue we are learning more about them and the planet that this story is taking place. On top of that, there is no question that the audience of this title should be a little more mature. At the end of every chapter I am legitimately concerned about the characters and what may happen to them next.

This issue picks up after Blue and Partner were attacked (and Blue was taken offline) by an assassin. Oddly enough, it seemed that the planet itself was protecting Blue and this issue cleared it up a bit. The planet is basically alive and trying to figure out the best way to protect itself. Blue feels as if the planet is protecting him, but he could be very mistaken and it is not clear if he is right or not. Part of me feels that Partner is the complete personification of the planet, but I can't be certain and I am sure will be proven wrong.

The largest focus of this issue is that Blue and Partner feel that Blue's reason for being on the planet is different. Blue wants to figure out more about the watch and what the rebels are up to while Partner wants him to do something to help the planet. Interesting stuff. The book closes with Partner taking on the assassin and it isn't looking too good while Blue found a cache of money that the government was using to pay off rebels. There are so many moving cogs and only two issues left, I don't think I can wait another month for the next installment.

Cable and X-Force #14

Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Penciler: Salvador Larroca
Inker: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Frank D'Armata
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 18th, 2013

I sat here staring at my blank blog page for a while just trying to figure out what to write about this book. It is funny that technically "a lot" happened in this issue and yet, nothing happened. X-Force continues their fight with Uncanny Avengers, Havok continues to have a conversation with his nephew and Hope stops talking to her future self to return to the past to help her father. Chaos ensues, Cable loses control, Hope stabs him in the head (literally) with a giant spear that is to off-set his psychic lightning (that's a thing right) and then Cable offers to buy her ice cream (I am not making that up).

Now the X-Force is on the loose to take care of whatever problems that Cable may see coming and Havok seems to be just letting him do as he wishes. I just....I just find it so hard to care. At least Doctor Nemesis rides around on a giant worm and makes Dune references, right? I still find this book to be incredibly meh. I find it impressive that two pretty damn solid Spidey books got canned and this is still floating on the surface. I really need to give this book an ultimatum. Get good in the next two issues or find another reader. There, it is said.

Weekly pulls for 09/18/13

First, I have to make note that ANOTHER one of my Spider-books is getting the ax. That's right, it has been announced that Scarlet Spider will be ending with issue #25. I have also learned that there will be a Superior Venom comic that will quickly replace the Flash Thompson iteration for the black and original symbiote. I am happy to see that Venom is going to stay a thing in some way shape or form, but I am sad to see a book that has had some incredible moments get canned. Scarlet Spider was a surprising and dark look at another version of Spidey. I am not saying that the book was perfection, it definitely had weak points, but it was a fun read. It is always sad to see Marvel pull the plug on things that are a little different.

Another thing...the first event I decide to skip purchasing due to it having tie-ins to pretty much every book I don't read, Infinity, is supposedly amazing. Go figure, right? First event I decide to stand my ground and people are swooning over it. I have had the chance to read the first two issues and I do see why people love it. Hell, I almost purchased issue #3 just because of the hype (my comic guy even put it in my pulls to tease me), but I resisted. I have to stand my ground. I can't give Marvel another $100 a month, that is just ridiculous. So, I will find my way around it to read the books somehow...somehow.

Alright, moving on to my pulls for the week. Did I mention that I ended up leaving JC Comics and Cards with seven books this week? Yeah, seven freggin books. Good thing I am reading all things that I am actually enjoying AND I only got two books last week:

Cable and X-Force #14
Six-Gun Gorilla #4
Superior Carnage #3
The Superior Spider-Man #18
Uncanny X-Men #12
Venom #41
X-Men Legacy #17

There are definitely some heavy hitters in there. Second to last issue of Venom, second part of the fight between David Haller and Scott Summers, Battle of the Atom chapter 4 and the continuation of Simon Spurrier's badass mini-series with a sad man and a Gorilla. I should have some pretty decent reviews to follow. Till then, happy reading comic fans.

Friday, September 13, 2013

X-Men #5

Writer: Brian Wood
Penciler: David Lopez
Inker: David Lopez
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 11th, 2013

"Battle of the Atom: Chapter 3"

As of right now it really seems that Battle of the Atom is an event in which mutants are arguing over if they should send the original X-Men back to their own time. I feel like there has to be more than that coming but that is the overall synopsis of the event thus far.

This issue shows that not everyone on the current X-Men feels that they should return to the past, at least to not be forced to go back. Jean and Scott are still on the run and the current X-Men and future X-Men hunt them down. It gives the whole thing an almost Sentinel feeling to it. All of the telepaths are struggling to search for Jean in the one moment that she lowers her defenses.

If anything, this issue showed a growth in the relationship between Scott and Jean. It shows that even with Jean knowing her future and the fact that Scott sort of loses his mind, that she still has an intrinsic animal attraction to him that is hard for her to ignore. On top of that, it shows that they are willing to do anything to be able to make up their own minds as to where they should be in time. At the end of the book we find Jean and Scott on the old, beaten down Utopia meeting with adult Scott's team. They are so desperate that they will reach out to the group that they are not so sure about.

On a different note, shouldn't the current X-Men that have their past selves in this timeline be aging at double speed? I don't know...random time traveling thought.

Regardless, I am interested in this event still but am not sure what the overall purpose is. I understand that these kids need to go back in time before something terrible happens...but does that have to be an event? Also, are these "future X-Men" really who they say they are and what the hell is up with future Jean Grey? So many questions, so few answers. At least we get another chapter next week.

Uncanny X-Force #11

Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Ramon Perez
Color Artists: Rachelle Rosenberg and Jay David Ramos
Letterer: Cory Petit
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 11th, 2013

So, if you read this blog you know that my feelings about this title have been pretty everywhere. I really don't know how I feel about it overall and am never certain what to expect. All I was sure about was that at the end of the last issue we saw the Revenants of Storm, Psylocke and Puck show their faces while our heroes are captured. The question was, how are they going to get out of this? This has to be a difficult struggle right? Well...

There were the normal struggles of the characters figuring out what makes them strong and why their Revenants were much weaker than them. It was no surprise to see them overpower their other selves and for Bishop's back story to get flushed out a little more. Regardless of how it felt pretty predictable, the book itself had me smiling a bit by the end. I really like the cast of characters, I just want to feel a level of consistency in their writing and for it to actually feel more like a team rather than just a cluster of random mutants that happen to be heading for the same goal.

In the final pages of the book we see that Spiral is going to be returning to the book because she knows who the Owl Queen actually is and could be the key to stopping the Revenants from taking over the world in this timeline. I am still really back and forth on this book and I feel that if I am to drop a book anytime soon it will be this or Cable and X-Force. Maybe I am just not a fan of Humphries' writing overall but I really want to like these two books. I'll give them another month or two I guess...

Weekly pulls for 09/11/13

Well I was in for quite the shock this week when I grabbed my pulls. When my comic guy handed my my stack it felt mighty light and I quickly learned that I only had two books come out this week. This was the first time in ages that I have seen less than five books pull and I wasn't sure what to do. My eyes instinctively started to dart toward the new release wall, figuring that something had been missed. Surprisingly, this was not the case. The wall was, however, riddled with 3D covers from the DC world for their Villain Month which was tempting. I actually grabbed Court of Owls #1 and then set it back down. I can't commit to another series and I know if I read that I would want to start reading Batman.

After looking through the pretty badass cover art for the DC books I started looking through all of the different Infinity books scattered throughout the new releases and releases from the last couple weeks. I am happy I didn't decide to invest in the event due to the magnitude of books that are related to it and my pocketbook couldn't handle all of those Avengers titles again. I must admit that the artwork sandwiched between the covers was beautiful and I have to get my hands on copies of the trades in the future.

So, I decided that was that. Two books this week. I suppose that isn't a bad thing. It left room in my budget to pick up another long box with some bags and boards for the coming months. I also pre-ordered my AvX OP kit for the coming Heroclix event. I was going to do X-Men and Avengers but decided that I am already over investing in the game as is.

The two books I grabbed this week were X-Men related and one of which is another chapter to Battle of the Atom which is starting to pick up:

Uncanny X-Force # 11
X-Men #5

One last note. One of my friends mentioned that perhaps I should start sprinkling more spoilers into my reviews. I try my best to not do that because I don't really want to ruin these stories for people but after some thinking, if you are reading a review, you are expecting some level of spoiler. SO, I have decided to start revealing more about the books' stories. So there shall be spoilers ahead! Until then, happy reading comic book fans.

Friday, September 6, 2013

X-Men Legacy #16

Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Paul Davidson
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Cory Petit
Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 04th, 2013

"Wear the Grudge Like a Crow"

I am not completely certain what David's game is, but it seems that he wants to get a little revenge for his father's death. This issue has him (and Ruth) confront Scott's X-Team head-on. The beginning of the issue (only a handful of pages) shows him searching the world for Scott and when he finally finds him, he attacks.

There is not a ton to say about this issue other than it was a little out of character for this book thus far due to the high level of fighting that happened. Spurrier doesn't tend to spend a lot of time in action scenes but rather spend them with conversation, emotional battles and really solid comedic moments. I walked away from this issue remembering a fight which is not something I normally say about this title. I am not saying that it was a bad thing, it wasn't. The fight was done incredibly well and the way that David handled everything fit with his personality that I was hooked.

The reason I am not sure what David's overall plan is reflects his choice at the end of the book. Instead of just ripping Scott apart (which he is more than capable of doing), he decides to fight him in hand to hand combat. The reality is, Scott is a much better scrapper than David and he is bound to lose. So why is he choosing to do it that way? What is his angle? Why isn't Ruth stopping him? The fact that I am so brimming with questions and wanting to know the answers (which I have to wait a freggin month), proves to me that Spurrier is able to keep me on my feet with this book again and again. There is no question why this has been my pick of the month quite a few times and why I am always excited to see where it is going. I can't wait to see the rest of this fight and I can't wait to see what David's plan really is.

All-New X-Men #16

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Stuart Immonen
Inkers: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorists: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Cory Petit
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 04th, 2013

"The Battle of the Atom, Chapter 2"

Well, we are in part 2 of Battle of the Atom already and it is starting off a bit interesting. These X-Men from the future are a little questionable and all of the time paradoxes are driving me mad but it is being done well. The reveal on the last page of who Xorn actually is was interesting, but not overly surprising.

I think the thing that hooked me the most is how quickly Jean defends her place in this time frame and how quickly she tries to run away when forced to go into the past. It is true that she is very aware of her fate and I understand why she wouldn't want to return to her timeline to be forced to forget what her future holds. I do find it odd that she ends up running off with Scott considering how she has been feeling about him as of late.

As of right now, I am not certain where this story is going. I was sitting, full of excitement, for Nightcrawler to appear but I suppose I will have to wait another chapter or two. Oh well, I have all the faith in the world in Bendis. I really hope this story isn't a letdown.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencilers: Frank Cho and Stuart Immonen
Inkers: Frank Cho and Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 04th, 2013

"Battle of the Atom, Chapter 1"

There is so much time travel going on in the Marvel Universe that it makes my head hurt. Seriously. I didn't really know what the story of Battle of the Atom was supposed to be because I was trying my hardest to hide from the solicits. I am getting tired of having everything ruined for me before I even start reading. The only thing I glimpsed from this is that Nightcrawler is supposed to somehow return.

Anyhow, that is not what the first issue was about. We are shown a glimpse of what would happen if one of the past X-Men died. Shocker, the current day member will just vanish. I am not saying that is a terrible idea, it is just very cliched. I understand why Bendis showed it but I don't even think that was the main purpose of that moment in the book. I think the main purpose was to show that Triage can potentially revive the dead. Anyhow, that bit was intriguing

With the plot point in place of if a past X-Man dies the world changes, it is easy to decide to send the kids back to their time. This is when things get a little off. A group of future X-Men blast through the portal first to tell them to do exactly what they were about to do. So now we have three versions of X-Men teams which makes at least multiple versions of various heroes that make things confusing and really hard to write about. I don't know exactly where this is going but I am not discouraged. We have quite a few issues left in this event and at least there aren't a ton of extra books for me to buy this time around. I just hope Bendis doesn't let me down like he did with Age of Ultron. Here's hoping!

Venom #40

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Penciler: Jorge Coelho
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 04th, 2013

"Mania Part 1 of 3"

This final arc in the Venom series started out in a way that will allow Bunn to tie up any loose ends from the series within three issues. We are getting references to the mark of the devil that Flash acquired a long while back and what is happening with it. We are seeing Mania not really listening to what Flash has to say and trying to figure out her place in the world while Flash tries to figure out what to do with her. I think those are the two major things that need to play out and it seems Bunn intends to address them.

The issue actually has Flash leave Philadelphia so that he can see a body of someone who looks a lot like Daimon Hellstrom that has his mark of the devil cut off of his chest. This hints us into the fact that someone is hunting these marked people and that Flash should have something to worry about. Of course the body found wasn't the true Daimon because he is locked up, so Flash visits him. We quickly learn that Flash no longer has the mark and that it must be somewhere else. Without even thinking about it I am sure you can guess where it went.

I am sure the remaining two issues will focus on the hunters of the mark and Mania. I hope that the conclusion is tied up nicely because I would hate for this series to just fizzle out. It also makes me question what will happen to these characters post series. I will say, as of now, if there is a Mania book Marvel can keep it.

The Superior Spider-Man #17

Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Ryan Stegman
Inkers: John Livesay
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 04th, 2013

"Necessary Evil - Part 1: Let's do the Time Warp Again!"

We have been seeing teases for this issue for awhile now and I have to admit, it was pretty exciting to see Miguel appear in the pages of a Spider-Man book again. The real question is, why are they using him? What is going on? How do these events connect? Well, as Slott is known to do, he begins to weave how Miguel is connected to the present day world of our Spider-Man.

The story actually starts in the year 2099 with Miguel helping stop things that are coming out of time anomalies. He quickly decides that it has something to do with his known enemy, Alchemax. He learns that it is in fact not them for once and that they are trying to stop the anomalies from ripping them apart. Miguel quickly decides to blast into the past and fix the main issue that is causing things to go awry in 2099.

Flash forward to our lovely Octo-Peter showboating in front of his new girlfriend at a company picnic with Horizon. This is another moment where we see Otto not playing the part of Peter very well and just enjoying having a younger and healthier body. We also see that the government is finally cracking down on Max for the many infractions against Horizon that Otto was not aware of. After Otto is all caught up on the situation, Al Chem which is run by Liz Allan, quickly takes over control of Horizon with Tiberius Stone as the chairman. Al Chem seems to be the basis of where Alchemax actually came from and shows how the science company could potentially be a super power in the future.

Otto is not a fan of Tiberius and he quickly tries to confront him only to be quickly stopped by Miguel who seems to think that anomaly is Spider-Man himself. On top of all of this the Goblin army is starting to rumble more and should be on the move very shortly. There is so much going on in this book that it is hard to only read once.

On that, Slott is doing a magnificent job playing Otto as Spider-Man and showing how people are slowly becoming aware of him not being his normal self. Any level of concern I had at any point for this title has been long blown away and replaced with excitement twice a month. I am loving The Superior Spider-Man and could see it continue for a while with Otto being the front runner. I would also not be insanely surprised if Peter is somehow brought back relatively soon as well.

Superior Foes of Spider-Man #3

Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciler: Steve Lieber
Inker: Steve Lieber
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 04th, 2013

"Foe-ning it in..."

I am still sitting on the fence about this book but I am definitely starting to teeter into the direction of interested. This title is doing a nice job showing us what it is like to live the life of a villain, especially that of a b-lister like Boomerang. I am also really enjoying the fact that his "parole officer" is none other than his old partner, Mach VII or the Beetle (the original one).

I think the fun thing about this book is that it feels like a big joke. Nothing really seems to be taken seriously at all. There is even a cliched yet enjoyable moment that has Boomerang attending a Villains Anonymous meeting in which he relates it to the fine book/movie Fight Club.  The other thing I am enjoying is that Fred, our friendly Boomerang, is just struggling to exist. His current group of Sinister Six are very quick to stab him in the back (as most villains would) and it seems he will do just the same.

I am not sure the direction this book is headed yet, but what I have seen has been fun and interesting. I also am wondering if there will be a shift in narration from Fred to another member of the Sinister Six in the future. Regardless, the fact that I am asking questions is a great sign for this title that it is at least different enough, and interesting enough to keep me on as a reader...for now.

Weekly pulls for 09/04/13

This is one of those weeks that the amount of stuff I have to share is minimal. I suppose the only big thing that I have accomplished is that I am now in the 650's in my Amazing Spider-Man retro read. That means I have less than fifty issues left with Peter Parker. It is hard to believe I have come so far, but it is sort of cool to have a new level of knowledge and enjoyment when it comes to my favorite web-slinger.

Other than that, standard week with an even split of X-Men and Spider-Man related comics:

All-New X-Men #16
Superior Foes of Spider-Man #3
The Superior Spider-Man #17
Venom #40
X-Men Battle of the Atom #1
X-Men Legacy #16

That is all, not being long winded this week. Reviews will follow.