Friday, October 25, 2013

Wolverine and the X-Men #37

Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: Andrew Currie
Colorists: Matt Milla and Israel Silva
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 23rd, 2013

"Battle of the Atom, Chapter 9"

We are coming into the ending of Battle of the Atom and there are still a lot of questions left to be answered. I am happy that Aaron finally approached some of them (why there are so many Ice Men, various identities of future X-Men) while left some of the main ones (why Xorn and Xavier are so damned evil) alone. I know that Dazzler gets nuked in the future, but is that the main reason they are the way that they are? If so, that seems like a bit of a weak plot point considering how much they have gone through. Would that really be the straw that broke the camel's back for the X-Men? I find it hard to believe.

The normal comedy that Aaron tries to tie into his books is present here (little snide remarks from Wolvie, Xavier crippled) and it luckily doesn't take away from the large fight. I am also interested in how the team is going to deal with the cliffhanger from the final page but have some idea and hope it isn't as lamely handled as I feel it may be.

Overall, I feel that this event has been lacking a little and I feel that the constant tease for more information got old around the fifth chapter. Storytelling doesn't have to be all about cliffhangers and weak foreshadowing, it can have real content. Regardless, there is a lot that needs to be covered in the final issue next week and I really do hope that it is handled well. If it isn't, I feel like this is a large missed opportunity and will be a major letdown for mutant fans.

Venom #42

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Penciler: Jorge Coelho
Inker: Jorge Coelho
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 23rd, 2013

"Mania: Conclusion"

Well, this is it. The final issue of Venom. Of course there are a lot of things left unanswered and there is always that wanting of more. I really don't know how I feel about the closing chapter of this book. I know Venom is to return in Superior Spider-Man in the next month or so for some kind of arc and I am pretty certain that Flash will not be in the costume much longer but none of that is explained here.

This issue is basically a "deal with the devil" issue. Flash knows how to reach Mephisto and he wants to get the mark removed from Andi and to just get the whole ordeal put behind him. Of course it isn't that easy and they are still being hunted by Crossbones so a fight breaks out. For some reason (Mephisto claims because he wanted to) Mephisto helps Flash and Andi handle Crossbones and his team and then explains how she is no the one that is marked. He also explains that it was never Flash that was marked but rather the Symbiote itself.

With those moments passing, we are left with Flash and Andi embracing one another in a caring manner while figuratively embracing for whatever is to come. I can't say that the ending was perfect or even great, but it was sufficient. There are new roads open for people to take these characters and an underlying story that can appear somewhere else in the Marvel Universe. I am sure Andi will appear again (if not with Venom in Superior Spider-Man) and we have to find out who is to replace Mephisto when he "retires". If not, I think there is something missed there.

I have had a love/hate relationship with Venom since Bunn and his team took the reigns but am happy I stuck it out. I hope that whatever direction they take the character in the future is good and just not some silly way to get Peter back in the flagship book. Now I will wait patiently till Superior Spider-Man #25 to see Flash again.

Uncanny Avengers #13

Writer: Rick Remender
Penciler: Daniel Acuna
Inker: Daniel Acuna
Colorist: Daniel Acuna
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 23rd, 2013

As Remender continues to spiral this team into darkness he keeps moments alive that are meant to force the reader to smile. After the confrontation in the last issue between Cap and Banshee, Cap is struggling with some hearing problems throughout the issue. This small moment really break up the darkness that is surrounding the team, specifically Wolverine. The struggle between he and his recently murdered (by him) son is just astounding and painful to watch. The whole deal with how Red Skull really takes over starts to come to light during these moments as well.

While everything else sinks into darkness there are also small moments of relationships growing. Janet and Alex obviously have something which Cap, rather loudly, points out. Wanda and Wonder Man are also getting a lot closer and with that showing that there may be some hope for the mutants after you have already signed her off as a traitor to her own team.

The intricate and dark story that is drawn by Remender is becoming more engrossing each issue. I am saddened to read my old reviews where I was getting ready to drop it. Re-reading those issues that I found no real merit to have shown me that I was wrong and that Remender (as always) had a grand master plan that could even be traced back as far as his run on Uncanny X-Force. Maybe this team can handle a dark story and maybe this could be one of the better stories told in Marvel as of late. Only time will tell and I think it is time that I accept that I am along for the ride.

One last thing to mention is that Acuna's style works very well in this type of story. I am sad to hear that he is leaving the book next month to be replaced by McNiven who I am not certain can replicate the same emotional imagery that Acuna has created in his short stint with the title. Farewell Acuna, your work will be missed.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #28

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: David Marquez
Inker: David Marquez
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: Cory Petit
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 23rd, 2013

"Spider-Man No More: Part 6"

We last left our hero thwiping his way toward Roxxon Corp to take care of some business. This issue deals with Spidey, Cloak, Dagger, Bombshell and Spider-Woman handling their business with Roxxon. The company has touched every person of this group in a way that will never be repaired and they want to make sure that Roxxon is no longer a thing.

The smooth and quick battle in Donald Roxxon's office with the heroes and the Braintrust was fun and visually appealing. Marquez brings amazing life to the characters and emotions to even masked faces that make me smile. The conversation with Roxxon as he hangs out the window by webbing is brilliant writing from Bendis painting a picture of a tyrant who truly feels he is untouchable.

I am nervous as this comic approaches Cataclysm because it could easily be no more. We are getting a full cast of characters and an intriguing story that would almost be criminal to see vanish. I am sure that Marvel has some sort of idea what to do with this title if the Ultimate Universe does shatter but I will really miss this faucet of the world. So much to love, perhaps not too much time left. Bendis really has created a different Spider-Man that I can love. Here's hoping to continue to see Miles in the future. 

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #5

Writer: Christopher Yost
Penciler: Marco Checchetto
Inker: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 23rd, 2013

"The Superior Six"

Yost has been slowly building toward this issue for a long while. I can't remember exactly when, but back in Avenging Spider-Man Spider-Man started to collect the old members to his Sinister Six. It was unclear as to what exactly he had planned but it definitely kept me hooked to this book. It was actually painful when Yost was off of the book for the past two issues with the Infinity tie-in.

Well, it seems that Spidey was collecting his old team so that he could control them the same way he does his spider-bots. He decides to take a test run to go after the Wrecking Crew and it proves that his plan was not quite ready. His control can be lost and if it happens, his old team will probably smash his face in. This "Superior Six" is bound to be a problem and introduced more and more in the future.

I did also find it interesting to see Miguel O'Hara in the Alchemax building during this issue. It gives me hope that we will see more of 2099 and that this book will continue to tie into the main story. I am really finding myself to enjoy Yost's work in this book and am surprised her is basically pushed off to a companion book. I feel like if I see his name on something in the future I may just have to give it a go.

Superior Carnage #4

Writer: Kevin Shinik
Pencilers: Stephen Segovia and Dan Mexia
Inkers: Dennis Crisostomo and Dan Mexia
Colorists: Jay David Ramos, Vero Gandini and Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 23rd, 2013

I am not finding this book to be superior. All of the characters are coming across bland and similar and I am not feeling a connection at all. I get the purpose of The Wizard doing what he is doing but it all just feels rushed. The story telling itself feels choppy and Spider-Man seems to just be throwing his minions out like fodder. This doesn't feel like the hero that Slott is trying to make Otto seem to be (justifiably terrible instead of not caring), and this isn't Carnage.

The only real shining point of this book is the art. The cover is vicious and fitting for any comic that contains Carnage and frequently that feeling appears inside. The problem is sometimes you can flip from page to page and feel a lack of attention to detail and disproportions in a room. There is also a moment that seemed that Spider-Man teleported to a new area without any transition.

Luckily this title is only one more issue. It hasn't really grasped me and I keep hoping that Cletus is going to pop out of no where at the end to massacre everyone involved. I know it wont happen, but a guy can dream, right?

Sex Criminals #2

Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky
Color Flatting: Christopher Sebela
Price: $3.50
Release Date: October 23rd, 2013

"Come, World"

The fact that the cover of this book states that it is for mature audiences is definitely not a joke. On that, the first issue even seemed tame compared to what was presented in this issue. I think that may have something to do with the male perspective and that Fraction probably has a little more experience on the male end of sexual encounters. Now, I am not saying that the sexuality of this book makes it bad. I mean, the thing is called Sex Criminals, it is to be expected. While I was reading it last night, my wife shot me a lot of questioning looks as there were images of ejaculate and boobs on the pages, but then she read and chuckled. "The stuff you read is strange..." she mumbled as she rolled back over to continue to look at Pinterest.

As I said before, this issue was written more so in the perspective of Jon, even if we get small glimpses as to what Suzie is feeling. She refers to him throughout the issue as "This fucking guy" which I suppose could have many meanings. We learn a lot about who he is rather than just the guy with the glowing penis that Suzie met at a party. He delves into his past and discusses his first sexual experience and where he first encountered his version of "The Quiet" which he refers to as "Cumworld". His story is graphic, funny and has a Benny Hill reference which made me laugh a bit too hard. I really feel as if I am connecting with these two characters.

With my new found connection to the "heroes" to this book, I am intrigued as to what their time stopping heist is all about and who is chasing them. It seems they are not the only two with powers and there is a lot to explain. Now that the exposition is out of the way there seems to be a lot ahead. I sat down the book last night with a smile on my face and sadness knowing that I have to wait another month before I am able to find out what is going on. Matt Fraction is quickly working his way up in the ranks as one of my favorite writers right now. If he keeps writing different, emotionally attaching and exciting books I am bound to stay a long time fan.

Weekly pulls for 10/23/13

I was a little nervous that I would have to delay my pulls this week due to an incredibly late work function that got me to my comic shop after closing time (7). Luckily, I called my comic guy and asked if he wouldn't mind staying open a few extra minutes to let me grab my books and he obliged. So, in a relatively exhausted haze, I grabbed my seven books and was on my way.

It was a little sad for me when I looked at my books. Venom #42 was in my hands which meant the series is now over and I also told my comic guy to no longer pull Uncanny X-Force for me. I have given up on Hopeless, I just can't connect with his uneven writing. I also made the choice because there are so many things out there to read and I want to start expanding my horizons a little more. I have to start allowing myself to stop picking up books that I am not really enjoying. I think one of my fatal flaws as a comic reader is that I always hope for the best and am too willing to wait for it to happen. That was the case with Cable and X-Force, Uncanny X-Force and Gambit. So, from here on out I think I am going to try to implement a rule of three. If there are three issues of a book, in a row, that I am just not feeling, I shall drop the title. I need to stand strong by this or my pull list will continue to get out of hand.

Anyhow, there were seven books this week:

Sex Criminals #2
Superior Carnage #4
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #5
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #28
Uncanny Avengers #13
Venom #42
Wolverine and the X-Men #37

I do want to note that my rule of three is going to start after Superior Carnage. See the review as to why...Reviews will follow soon after this. Until then, happy reading comic book fans.

Friday, October 18, 2013

X-Men Legacy #18

Writer: Simon Spurrier
Penciler: Khoi Pham
Inkers: Khoi Pan with Jay Leisten
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Cory Petit
Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 16th, 2013

"Wear the Grudge Like A Crown Part Three"

I have to start by saying that I am really sad after reading through some of the January 2014 solicits. I learned that this book is "racing toward its conclusion" and seems to be ending in February or March. With that said, Spurrier is saying that he has some rather large and good news but is unable to spill the beans as of now. I hope it has to do with David getting another solo book or that Spurrier is getting another Marvel title. Otherwise I am just sad.

Before tackling the book I need to take a moment to discuss the covers to this series. If you flip through all 18 books, you will see some of the most fantastic cover art for a book. It is vibrant, interesting and just weird, which I love. The weirdness of the cover gives you a slight window as to what the issue may be about. This issue has an image of Scott Summers and Emma Frost pumping up a brain with a tire pump. This is a glimpse into the mind trip that this issue was.

When we last left David, he had become the World Worm and was ready to consume the mutant race, or so we thought. He actually was using one of his many powers to confuse everyone around him to see what he wanted them to see to draw out Ruth's brother. This ultimately ends up backfiring when David crumples at the end by released the weird internal version of his father into the real world.

One of my favorite moments in this issue is when he tells Scott that he doesn't actually have an issue with him. He mentions that it would be insanely hypocritical to hate Scott for doing something that he had done himself in the past. This continues to show that David has become much more balanced while still being insane.

I know the final few issues of this series will have David and Ruth going after the evil Xavier from David's mind and I know that Ruth could still potentially have to kill her boyfriend. I love the characters in this book and am still surprised to say that a book about Legion has made its way into my top five comics for the past year. Simon Spurrier is a genius writer who gives life to characters that used to feel dead to me. I really do hope that Marvel gives him a chance with another book, otherwise I feel I will continue to follow him to Boom! studios and wherever else his work takes him.

Uncanny X-Men #13

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Mark Irwin, Jaime Mendoza and Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 16th, 2013

"Battle of the Atom, Chapter 8"

It seems that the time for conversation is over and the time for fighting has finally begun. Bendis has been setting up this fight for the past three issues and it seems to be finally coming to head. The "bad" future X-Men have captured the four original X-Men at this point and try their best to send them into the past. The thing is, time has warped around them and the time machine that they have is not allowing them to transition back to their own timeline. This is obviously an issue and is causing great grief for this X-Team.

While that is happening the "good" future X-Men and the current day X-Men are gathering outside of the school and are preparing to enter to save the kids. They want to allow the students to make their own choices and are not aware that they can not be sent back into the past. A few of the "bad" X-Men are outside also, trying to stop the team but are not being super successful yet.

I am really starting to enjoy this arc but I do have a couple griefs. One, I don't quite understand why the "bad" X-Men are being considered villains. I know they aren't exactly doing the right thing but I feel like they are more misunderstood than anything. I really do feel like they think they are doing what is best for their race and their future. I also wish there was a little more light shed onto the future world instead of just the scattering visions of Dazzler as the shortest lived president ever.

Regardless, I see why this event is here to mark the passing of 50 years of X-Men. It is covering the past, present and potential future of the mutants that we have grown to love and hate. I am excited for what is sure to be an explosive conclusion. My only remaining question is, what about Nightcrawler? I thought he was going to appear during this but it now seems like it may be delayed until Amazing X-Men. I suppose only time will tell.

The Superior Spider-Man #19

Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Ryan Stegman
Inker: John Livesay
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 16th, 2013

"Necessary Evil, Part 3"

This issue was, for a lack of a better word, superior. The main focus is Otto trying to figure out how to stabilize the time before the whole of Horizon and New York explode. The thing that is incredible about this concept is Otto digging into his own brain to try to prove that he is better than his greatest foe, Peter Parker. It is known that Peter was able to stop the Reverbium reaction and Otto feels he should be able to do the same. The first step was to dig deeply into his previously accessed memories of Peter's which showed a ton of homages to previous story arcs which Ryan Stegman draws in such a fashion that is hard to not fall in love with his art even more.

Anyhow, Otto is unable to access the memories and there is an interesting image of someone is shadow struggling with rubble (I think it is Peter resurfacing) in his brain but it isn't really touched on. After being unable to use his memories to save everyone Otto comes up with his own plan and is able to revert the explosion into an implosion. During this time everyone else escapes Horizon including Spider-Man 2099.

I think the one missed opportunity in this book was for further interaction between the two Spider-Men. I am happy to see that Miguel is now stuck in the current timeline that could lead to some interesting double Spider-Man action in the near future. Hell, with the hints that Miles Morales is also coming to the main Marvel U and with Scarlet Spider joining the New Warriors, there will be a plethora of Spideys in New York again. I am really excited.

 All in all this was a good issue. It really pushed Otto forward and even made him state that in some ways he may be inferior to Peter. He also needs to move forward after the destruction of Horizon and now has to worry about the fact that Carlie has found out that all of Peter's current money is coming from Otto's personal accounts. With Green Goblin on the horizon and Carlie on his tail, Otto has a lot happening to him. I am loving Slott's work here. 

Six-Gun Gorilla #5

Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Jeff Stokely
Colorist: Andre May
Letterer: Steve Wands
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 16th, 2013

"Episode 5: And Those Who Dig"

Wow, just wow. This comic has been so incredible, confusing and all consuming that it is hard to put down. I was so angry last week when I learned that issue was pushed back to this week but it was well worth the wait. Just when everything in the book seemed to be falling into a neat pile at my feet that I understood, a new curve ball was chucked at me and I loved it.

After Blue figures out his reason for being on the Blister and accepts his fate, the tumble-squids take over his mind and induce a sort of living nightmare. In this nightmare he sees strange flashes of his life mixed with the stories he used to absorb himself with while working at the library. It formed a sort of trippy dream sequence that basically reflected the confusion as to what the world is to Blue. It seems that the dream sequence was put into place to teach Blue a key lesson about the Blister and that it isn't all reality.

Now, the whole basis that the Blister is a mix between reality and subconscious is incredibly interesting and still a little bit of a guess on my part. It is true that Blue and Partner discuss something along those lines leading into the final pages of the issue, but it is still unclear. It is also a little unclear as to what exactly Partner is. Is he a figment of Blue's imagination from a story he read brought to life or is he something more? Only one more issue and I am sure Spurrier will not let me down.

Oh, I also think it would be a crime to not discuss Stokely's crazy vision of the story. His art reflects the unstable situation of Blue's mind and the fracturing of the world around him. I feel that he was the perfect choice to work on this book. Anyhow, I am done gushing. Go find a copy of the first five issues of this if you haven't already so you can be ready to enjoy issue six with me next month.

Indestructible Hulk Special #1

Writer: Mike Costa
Penciler: Jake Wyatt
Inker: Jake Wyatt
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Cory Petit
Price: $4.99
Release Date: October 16th, 2013

"For a friend whose work has come to triumph"

I am really surprised how much I am enjoying this little mini-series. I mentioned in the All-New X-Men Special review that the story sort of surprised me because there was solid characterization and this issue did much of the same. The shining start this time around is Bruce Banner, not the Hulk. Bruce quickly jumps into trying to figure out what is going on with the Doctor Octopus that appeared out of no where. He mentions how much he loves the smell of paper in a lab and how rebuilding and learning things with limited resources is a blast. The only thing that caught me a bit off guard with him was he mentions how he is surprised by Spider-Man's knowledge of the sciences. I swear they worked together in the past but maybe that is something that was wiped away during Brand New Day.

Anyhow, the storytelling in this issue is wonderful. There is danger, there is villainy and there is Abomination! Oh, and did I mention puppies? There are puppies too. The story is really starting to amp up and we are finally starting to get clued into what is really happening with the Doctor Octopus that appeared.

Even though this story isn't going to have an overall influence on the main Marvel U, I am not upset that I am picking it up. It has been fun to see the original X-Men interact with other heroes from the current timeline and to see Superior Spider-Man interact with a version of his old self. The handling of Doc Ock by Spider-Man is priceless. I am very excited for the last issue coming in the next two weeks and will be sure to grab it up quickly.

Hawkeye #13

Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciler: David Aja
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 16th, 2013

"The U in Funeral"

I am so happy this book is back in my hands. After the hiatus of Hawkeye, I was starting to forget why I loved the book so much. I knew there was something special about it, but I read so many comics that it was hard to grasp what that was. This issue reminded me exactly why this has been one of my favorite books in a long time.

This issue deals with the fallout of the death of Clint's neighbor Grills. There are no fights, there are no explosions, there are only emotions. Clint is not dealing with the death well and, for obvious reasons, blames himself. Clint seems very broken and there really doesn't seem to be much that anyone can do to fix him. There is even a moment where Kate tells him that as long as they had one another, they would be able to survive anything in which Clint responded by falling asleep next to her. There is no question why Kate left him to go to California.

Aja and Hollingsworth do something amazing with the art and layout of the book that helps the reader experience the cluttered and confused emotion of Clint. Every panel is close, each room seems a mess and Clint always seems to be shown alone. The final page where it zooms out of the lonely Clint at the edge of his building brought me to care deeply for the guy. He is alone, even when he is surrounded by people that actually care about him.

Next issue promises to show us what Kate is up to with a new artist at the helm. I will miss Aja but am intrigued to see another art direction with the Kate story. Regardless, I love this book and stand by all of my earlier statements that this is the Marvel book to read. If you are not reading it, do yourself a favor and start, now.

Guardians of the Galaxy #7

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Consultant: Neil Gaiman
Penciler: Sara Pichelli
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 16th, 2013

This issue of Guardians mostly focuses on an interrogation of Angela. I am happy that Bendis decided to handle her in this manner considering she was just dumped into the Marvel U thanks to some bad choices of other superheroes. We get a lot of questions answered and at the same time still wonder how Angela is going to fit into the world.

I think one of the things that Bendis does insanely well in this issue is build the confusion between Angela and the team. She thinks of Earth as a myth while they think of Heaven as such. I also like that they approached the fact that Gamora just sort of attacked Angela and never asked questions before hand. Lastly, I felt that Angela's personality seemed to click pretty well with the comedic, yet serious tone of the current team.

After everything is cleared up and Angela is no longer held captive, there is a truly incredible moment in New York. Angela is standing on the edge of a building and is watching superheroes fly by. She stands in shock and awe realizing that Earth is a real thing and that she is now on it. She goes off to figure things out while being gifted with a communicator to stay in touch with the Guardians. I first thought that Angela was just a ploy to sell this title, I now think that she is going to fit somewhat well. She feeds off of the comedy of Star Lord and Iron Man well and can pack a mean punch. Here's hoping that she becomes an official member once Infinity fights its way into the book next month.

Weekly pulls for 10/16/13

I first would like to say that episode 15 of The Panel Scanners is live and you should definitely give it a listen. There I give a pretty heartfelt expression of what it meant to me to read over 700 issues of Amazing Spider-Man. The main thing to take away is if you love a character, doing something like that will either make them more important to you or make you insanely tired of them. Luckily for me, my love was further deepened.

Onto other things. Marvel discussed a bit more of their wave 2 of Marvel NOW! while at NYCC. It seems that a lot of the books are made to be reactions to the events of Infinity, as wave 1 was a reaction to AvX. As of right now there is a plethora of new titles starting up in 2014 and I am sure this is only the beginning. I was a little shocked to see that Thunderbolts is going to continue with Ghost Rider on the team, but who knows how long that will last. Here is the complete (as of now) list of Marvel NOW! wave 2 books:

All-New Ghost Rider (March 2014)
All-New Invaders (January 2014)
All-New X-Factor (January 2014) - Takes place right after X-Factor #260
Avengers Undercover (March 2014)
Avengers World (January 2014)
Black Widow (January 2014)
Captain Marvel (March 2014) - Takes place after the current series completes.
Elektra (March 2014)
Inhuman (January 2014) - Proves that King Black Bolt wasn't killed by Thanos.
Iron Patriot (March 2014)
Loki: Agent of Asgard (February 2014)
New Warriors (February 2014)
The Punisher (February 2014)
Secret Avengers (March 2014) - Takes place after current series, adds Spider-Woman.
She-Hulk (February 2014)
Silver Surfer (March 2014)

So, as you can see, that is a lot of new titles for the new run. There are a couple things in there that interest me but I will have to re-evaluate my pull-list closer to release dates and after further knowledge of what is coming and what is cancelled. Anyhow, on to my books for the week:

Guardians of the Galaxy #7
Hawkeye #13
Indestructible Hulk Special #1
Six-Gun Gorilla #5
Superior Spider-Man #19
Uncanny X-Men #13
X-Men Legacy #18

Hefty pull after two pretty light weeks. I knew it was coming and I know next week is going to be another large week. Anyhow, reviews should follow shortly after this posts! Until then, happy reading comic book fans!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

X-Men #6

Writer: Brian Wood
Penciler: David Lopez
Inkers: Cam Smith and Terry Pallot
Colorists: Laura Martin and Matt Milla
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 9th, 2913

"Battle of the Atom, Chapter 7"

Battle of the Atom is now in full swing and some questions are starting to get answered. There are now two groups of X-Men from the future and one seems to be somewhat evil. To be fair, I am not even sure if evil is the right word, they just don't want the future that they came from to exist. The other X-Men from the future, are barely touched in this book until the end.

The issue itself seemed to surround Jubilee and her baby Shogo as well as the Jean Grey school. The future "X-Men" have been found out to be frauds and decide to shut the school down from the inside. They make it so those who are trapped inside stay there while those outside shouldn't be able to help. A couple members of the team end up on the outside (Jubilee being one of them) and are greeted by the true future X-Men. They also reveal that Sentinel-X is someone we have already met (no full spoilers).

The next chapter of this event promises to be quite a fight. We have the now crazy future "X-Men" prepared to stand toe-to-toe with ALL the X-Men that are around. I am not sure what the end result is, but luckily we have only had to wait a week for each new chapter and should continue that until the end. I can admit that I am enjoying this event now and hope that the ending isn't a let down. I am, however, still waiting to see Nightcrawler who appeared in the solicits AND is supposed to be leading the new Amazing X-Men title. Only time will tell.

Uncanny X-Force #12

Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Adrian Alphona
Color Artists: Chris Sotomayor with Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Cory Petit
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 9th, 2013

Well for now, I am still clinging onto this series. I am still waiting for that moment that I am totally blown away and can't go without the book but I am not seeing it. The thing that the book is doing well is that it feels different. It is a bit darker and offset than the other X-titles right now and also seem to kind of just be its own thing. That isn't a bad thing but it could become that if they try to connect down the line.

This issue dealt predominately with Spiral and what has been happening since Ginny went missing. Her hunt is interesting because it is one of those rare moments you get to see inside her mind. My issue is, as it has been with all of the characters in the series, that Spiral feels really uneven. I can't tell what she is thinking exactly and how she is going to handle anything. Her voice isn't consistent and could be almost any generic character. I have mentioned this before with Psylocke in this book. Speaking of Psylocke, one of her few lines in this issue felt out of place to all of the cursing (that is oddly blackboxed out) that she has been spewing in previous issues.

We do learn by the end of the issue who exactly is controlling Ginny and why this time frame seemed perfect for the Revenants to take over. Would you be surprised if I told you it had something to do with the lack of an alive Professor Xavier and that the Revenants are strangely controlled by his evil sister? No? Then you are as weird as this book. I really do hope it goes somewhere because I'd hate to drop another X-title (I did drop Cable and X-Force) but I am having issues putting myself into this. I said before I'd wait till the end of this arc, and I feel that the time is approaching.

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #4

Writer: Robert Rodi
Penciler: Michael del Mundo
Inker: Michael del Mundo
Colorists: Michael del Mundo and Marco D'Alfonso
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 9th, 2013

Well, I liked this issue a bit more than the last but it wasn't anything incredible. I am definitely missing Chris Yost's work on this book because the writing that Rodi is doing just feels too uneven. The first issue seemed to just trudge along while this second issue seemed to rush the conclusion. It also made it insanely hard to care about Fulmina because she came out of no where, her abilities weren't ever really explained and she was just there. It was also a little difficult to tell that if in the end she even survived or not.

There were a few things that were done well in this issue. First, I liked how it dived into some elements that helped create the Superior Spider-Man. I enjoyed how Otto forced Fulmina into his own mind to prove his point and even mentioned how he used to have a passenger so this was nothing new. There was also a cool moment where Fulmina tried to strike Spidey and there was an after-image of Otto.

The one thing about the book that does stand out, is the art. Mundo really seems to have a grasp of Spidey and his world so he is able to bring the pages to life. As mentioned before, the mind sequence was a fun moment and it was more enjoyable by the way Mundo put everything together.

The last thing that needs to be mentioned is that the connection to Infinity in this book is nominal at best. Yes, there are aliens attacking the Earth, but that is all. The fact that Thanos is on the cover seems to be false advertising let alone the fact that it touts the Infinity banner. Oh well, this arc is complete. We are moving into the Superior Six arc next issue and Chris Yost is back behind the wheel. I am sure he will bring me back into this title that I normally enjoy quite a bit.

Weekly pulls for 10/09/13

Well I got a kick in the pants this week. I went into my local comic shop excited to grab my copy of Six-Gun Gorilla #5 and I learn that it is getting shipped a week later. I also learned that when I updated my pull list I forgot to add a few titles to it and almost missed out on the new issue of X-Men. I really need to be more careful with that. It is one thing when I miss a book by someone else's mistake; but when it is my own, I can't stop kicking myself for it. Regardless, I didn't miss anything and I walked out of my shop with three instead of the four books I thought I was going to.

With my new books in hand and singular issues from all of the titles from the past month, I made my way over to Darren's to record episode 15 of The Panel Scanners. First, I have to admit that it is insane that we have done so many episodes. It has been a blast and has truly helped reform my love of comics. Second, last night's episode was special for me. I was able to discuss, although a bit more brief than I could have made it, my retro read of Amazing Spider-Man. Considering the read itself took over a year, there was no surprise that I sounded pretty passionate about it and the guys told me after the fact that it was some of the better dialogue I have spouted. So, if you get the chance and it is posted, shoot over to our website and give episode 15 a listen.

Well that is about all for this week. As I said before, I only ended up with three titles this week:

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #4
Uncanny X-Force #12
X-Men #6

So with that, remember to give the podcast a listen. I am very proud of it and I think we just keep getting better. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for the reviews that follow. Until then, happy reading comic book fans!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Superior Foes of Spider-Man #4

Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciler: Steve Lieber
Inker: Steve Lieber
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 2nd, 2013

"Foe-ning it in..."

This book is oddly entertaining. I think it is fun to see the perspective of villains sometimes and this book does it in a fun way. After the last issue with Boomerang being kicked out of the Sinister Six (there now four of them), Boomerang is not very happy. He drops a tip to the Heroes for Hire, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, that the Sinister "Six" is up to something. After the team is enamored with the heroes and then quickly beaten it gives Boomerang a chance to save them and work his way back into leading the team.

Once back in the team, Shocker admits to Boomerang that he knows about the Chameleon and that it is a concern for him. Boomerang talks his way out of it and then deals with Shocker by the end of the issue in a sort of amusing manner. I think that is the overall feeling I take away from this book, it is amusing.

On top of everything else, the story really seems to be surrounding Boomerang really finding himself as a person and a villain. He takes stands, alienates his "friends and looks out for himself. This book is a ball of humor, nods to other series (Luke Cage pulls the Thunderbolts badge off of Shocker after pounding him into the ground) and just being a c-list villain. I love this book and highly recommend it. For some reason the final page of this issue kept me smiling for a long while.

Marvel Knights Spider-Man #1

Writer: Matt Kindt
Penciler: Marco Rudy
Inker: Marco Rudy
Colorist: Val Staples
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 2nd, 2013

"99 Problems... One of Five"

This book was....crazy. I think crazy is the word I am looking for. First, it is key to mention that this is Peter Parker, not Otto. It also seems to take place a long while ago or just simply out of continuity of the rest of the Marvel Universe. That said, it is insane as hell.

Before going into the actual story I have to say that the book is a work of art. Each page is full of minute details that cause you to stare at the page for a while. Sometimes it is to clear up confusion, sometimes it is just to see every crazy piece that is going on. Rudy just blew my mind with his frantic style that actually fit quite well for the majority of the book considering it was a big dream sequence.

The story is just as crazy as the artwork. Peter takes on an assignment to take some pictures and enters a mansion that contains a tortured Madam Web (the old one) and instantly spirals into insanity. He seems to be under some sort of gas from Jack-o-Lantern and because of that somehow took a pill from Arcade? Yeah...Jack-o-Lantern, Arcade, the Beetle, Morbius...the list goes on and on. It seems everything is beating on poor Peter and it is impossible to tell what is reality and what is some sort of trippy nightmare. I think that is one of the reasons I am so interested in the book, because I am not sure what is actually happening.

With the mass confusion that is this title, I can't say it is for everyone. It is weird, unclear but damn fun to read. It is trippy and experimental and really different. The bad is that you can walk away from the book and ask "what the hell just happened" and not be able to get a real answer. Hopefully future issues clear it up a bit so that I can recommend it. For now, I offer caution to those picking this up and hopefully you can enjoy it like I did.

All-New X-Men Special #1

Writer: Mike Costa
Penciler: Kris Anka
Inker: Kris Anka
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Cory Petit
Price: $4.99
Release Date: October 2nd, 2013

"Elegy in the Classroom/The Arms of the Octopus: Part 1 of 3"

I really didn't know what to expect from this title. I knew it had something to do with Doctor Octopus but I didn't know how they intended to use him. Were they going to ignore the fact that Otto was in the body of Peter? Would this be yet ANOTHER dimension for me to somehow keep track of? Regardless, I jumped in with both feet with decent expectations.

I have to admit that my expectations were met. They answered the question about Otto being Spider-Man almost as quickly as Doctor Octopus showed up. Superior Spider-Man is definitely there and not happy to see a version of his old self bouncing around. Regardless, I am getting ahead of myself.

The first part of the book is a nice taste of the past X-Men wandering around New York City and reacting to how different it really is from the time they came from. If anything, there is amazing character interactions that show how their relationships have grown and, at the same time, stayed the same as the X-Men we remember from the past. McCoy, while following around a lady, finds his way to his old college and professor (Dr. David June) who is ironically (I suppose) studying time travel. This is when we get an angry Doctor Octopus that seems to want Doctor David June to help him. A fight quickly ensues and Spider-Man joins the fray after seeing his old body moving around.

At the end of everything there are a lot of questions. Is this Otto from the past? Why is he full of radiation? What can they do with him? With these question, the book closes with Spider-Man requesting help from S.H.I.E.L.D. and Bruce Banner to answer these riddles. I must admit, this mini-series has my attention AND I am excited to see that it seems to be canon.

All-New X-Men #17

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Cory Petit
Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 2nd, 2013

"Battle of the Atom, Chapter 6"

Battle of the Atom is starting to become intriguing but I am still not certain where it is all going. This issue starts by giving us a taste of the future by showing the first mutant president. The events surrounding the quick demise of the first president gives a hint as to what the "evil future X-Men" are up to. Granted, I am still not certain what it has to do with the past X-Men but I am sure it will be cleared up shortly.

I think one of the cool things about this issue was the interactions between the "real future X-Men" and Magik's group. It was nice to see Colossus and his sister get along and really weird to see a future Jubilee seem to be the leader of the X-Men. Regardless of all of that, the book is still dealing with a bunch of relatively convoluted time travel that is bound to make things more jumbled up for readers in the future.

I am definitely into this series and want to see where it goes but there are still so many questions left unanswered. I am also hoping that after this, Marvel starts to slow down a bit with the time travel aspect to their stories. It is a difficult line to tread because it is insanely easy to start making things make no sense at all. I still stand by my question of what is going to happen to present day Iceman, Beast and Cyclops if the past versions stick around too long. Will they start to age at double speed? I guess that is the least of my worries for now. I look forward to next week so I can see what happens in Chapter 7!

Weekly pulls for 10/2/13

After an incredibly heavy week of books, I was able to leave my shop with only four books in tow this week. It was also a bit exciting to see basically two books that are not falling in my current runs. One of those, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, was truly a pleasure to see. I remember the old Marvel Knights stuff and remember loving the stories. I am excited to see more of them in the pipeline and intend to grab quite a few.

I have started another retro-read of sorts as well. To take a break from just running a singular title, I am tackling Fear Itself because 1.) I missed it the first time around and 2.) We are finishing the Heroclix event and I am interested to see where the concepts stemmed from. I will probably update my thoughts on the series once I have completed it. I am reading all of the tie-ins as well so it may take awhile (it is over 100 books).

Alright, as stated I grabbed four books this week:

All-New X-Men #17
All-New X-Men Special #1
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #1
Superior Foes of Spider-Man #4

I will get reviews up as quickly as possible. Until then, happy reading comic book fans.