Welcome to another great week of Wednesday reviews! We’ve got a great week of reviews lined up and are continuing to take a break from our typical review fest, putting the “versity” into diversity. So put your socks on because we need something to knock off!
Wolverine Giant-Size: Old Man Logan Finale
After numerous delays, we FINALLY come to the end of Old Man Logan, arguably Mark Millar’s best Marvel work and, in David’s opinion, arguably one of the best Wolverine stories of all time. With Millar and McNiven on the book, you know you’re pretty much set for a crazy story and great artwork, and despite the book being delayed repeatedly, it remains a smash hit straight to the end.
When we last left Wolverine off, he had just trekked all the way across the country with a now blind Hawkeye to deliver a mysterious package. It of course turned out to be a devilish set up and it all ended with Wolverine fighting the President, the Red Skull. With Hawkeye dead and the whole mission over, Wolverine returns home where the Hulk Gang had been terrorizing his home as the land lords of the area. The deal was he would be paid for his work with Hawkeye, and that money would be used to pay off the Hulk Gang. Of course, when he gets home he finds he was double crossed and his whole family had been murdered. Finally reaching his breaking point, Wolverine pops his claws for the first time in 50 years and goes after the Hulk Gang. That’s your recap to help you remember what goes on in this issue.
So Wolverine has his claws out and proceeds to go on a murderous rampage against the Hulk Gang, leading all the way back to the Hulk himself, a frail old Bruce Banner who resides in a cave behind a trailer park full of Hulks. The issue deals with a lot of questions left unanswered, such as why there are so many Hulks, and every loose end we had had before this issue was no wrapped up. It’s actually pretty impressive how cohesive the book has been from start to finish, gradually revealing what happened to the world and why things are as they are. Sure, it doesn’t neccesarily fit in with the rest of the Marvel U, but since when have multiple post-apocalyptic futures not been a staple of Marvel’s story telling experience, especially in X-Books? My main complaint with the past couple issues of Wolverine had been that they had been Style over Substance, especially in the previous issue where two issues were dedicated to the word “snikt.” It’s a great flashy image, but when you’re doing a limited story, you want more for your buck then a two page spread of a single word. The Style over Substance had been a problem with Fantastic Four as well where Hitch would be drawing two-page spreads that are amazing to look at, but really just make the book quicker to read due to all the huge imagery. Don’t get me wrong – I think the story is awesome, and the ending is ridiculous (in a good way). This book is really what Millar is great at, and that’s telling alternate reality stories in his dark imagination (the original Marvel Zombies and Red Son, anyone?).
McNiven also shines like a burning star in this book. His artwork is phenomenal. I really can’t think of a better artist to be drawing this book, especially now that it’s all complete. His gruff Old Man Logan is perfect and his landscapes definitely reflect the landscape in which the story takes place perfectly. He also beautifully brings out all the dark aspects of the book, and his murderous rampaging Wolverine is a sight to behold in this book. It’s pretty much perfect in my mind, and I have absolutely no complaints about the art. I love literally everything about it.Continued below
My only real complaint is that I wish the story was longer, or at least was a bit more wordy to explore the universe in the limited confines of the tale. The end of the book, while it does flat out say “The End”, leaves for a lot of room to expand. This is a huge post-apocalyptic world, and if you all remember the map that was given to us in the first issue, there is definitely a lot to explore around it. I would love for Millar and McNiven to return to this world at some point, releasing Old Man Logan 2: Electric Boogaloo. I think it’d be awesome. While the story is really great, there is just SO much room for SO much more that I don’t want it to be contained to just this story. Either way, great ending to a crazy read.
Final Verdict: Buy the issue, and if you weren’t reading this when it was coming out, you better damn well buy the trade
Uncanny X-Men #515
I have been excited for this for so long, you guys. Seriously. You guys? Seriously. Ever since it was announced that the ending of Utopia would lead into the new arc Nation X which featured the return of Magneto, I’ve been shaking with anticipation for the return of the best X-villain of all time and arguably, the best villain of all time (don’t believe me? IGN put him as #1 villain of all time over the Joker. SUCK IT, BAT-FANBOYS). When I saw Nation X on the cover of my issue (not pictured to the left, more on that later), I got so excited. I basically ate this issue up as fast as I could, and I loved it.
Here’s the thing about this issue, though: the book is definitely great. This is Matt Fraction writing X-Men as he had been before all the Utopia stuff. Utopia wasn’t terrible, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed it. I thought it brought a great new twist into the series and it definitely began to pay off a lot of little things Fraction had been working into the book for a long time now. This issue is definitely made of win. I’m just confused about the solicit for it. If you click right here, you’ll find Marvel’s solicit for the issue, which reads, “…CLASSIFIED… The effects of UTOPIA are felt here! One of the original X-Men makes his exit! …CLASSIFIED…” I hate to be a spoiler guy, but… well, this doesn’t happen. Beast doesn’t leave, unless I read the issue wrong and I don’t think I did. I have the issue right here in front of me, and Beast is definitely still here at the end of the issue. Beast is very negative during the issue, sure, but he doesn’t leave. The only “leaving” in this issue is from someone that was relatively new in the X-books (although he first appeared in 1977… to fight Godzilla). So what the heck with the solicit, Marvel? And what do you have to say about this, Fraction? Did you change your mind?
Also, one other odd comment about the book: Greg Land is back as the artist, right? I love Greg Land. I think the guy is phenomenal, and I know he gets a lot of hate for how he does his artwork, but bull to that. His stuff looks great. However, the color guy they teamed up with? Doesn’t look so hot. I mean, picture in your mind the last Greg Land arc (Sisterhood) or even Phoenix: Endsong. Those books look AWESOME. With this book, I had to make a double take to make sure it was Greg Land because it looked so irregular for his work. Having Greg Land back on board as the artist is such a relief because our previous artists in Utopia? Not so hot. But the colorist? Meh. I’m not saying he’s doing a horrible job, but compared to other people who have filled in Land’s lines it’s just not as pretty to look at. It’s a bit less on the realistic character side and more on the cartoonish side than I’m used to for Land.Continued below
That being said, I do love the issue. It brings X-Men back in full force as we begin to deal with the fallout of Utopia and the impending return of the King. I am very excited for the Nation X arc and I think Fraction teaming up again with Land is a great move. The arc looks to be a smash hit and this issue definitely puts pieces on the board for how it’ll all play out (not to mention the smashing last page – hoo boy!). Color me overly excited as my inner fanboy runs wild with excitement.
Final Verdict: Are you kidding me? Magneto is coming back. How is this not obviously a buy?
No Hero #7
Warren Ellis’ No Hero is disturbing as all hell. Seriously. This book leaves such an awkward taste in the mouth after reading it because it’s just so awfully dark. I mean, Warren Ellis in general puts out about 20,000 books a month, but this is definitely his darkest work I’d say. And now that the mini is over, we can look back and just reflect on the horrifying story Ellis wrote.
For those that don’t know, No Hero was one of the books being released on Avatar. Essentially, one guy has created a formula to create super humans, and we follow our main “hero” as he joins this group and becomes a hero. What happens, however, is a disturbing and decidedly disgusting situation. You see, the formula that makes you a super human “releases the inner you” as it’s form of power. What was inside this character was so hideous that all his skin came off and he became a hideous monstrosity that he had to be held in a protective suit where no one could see him. His power was seemingly limitless, though, and we never knew why. Before long he turned into a homicidal maniac and began to dismantle everything we knew as true, and we still had no idea why. Now? Now we know why. And good God, it’s just so dark! I mean, I’ve read dark and disturbing things before, but what with the ending of issue 6 and the entirety of this issue, you just have to ask: Good God, Warren Ellis! Who pooped in your coffee one morning to make you so mad to come up with this?!?!
I think I should clarify – this book is great. I really liked it. From beginning to end it’s an odd and disturbing thrill ride. Just like all of Ellis’ work, it all comes full circle too, explaining the oddity of issue 0 in this final issue. I just can’t remember the last time I read something so utterly disturbing. I know probably no one reading this site had any idea of it’s existence, but I still don’t want to give away the ending because I strongly endorse this being picked up in trade. I literally sat for a minute after reading the last page before saying, “Really? That’s the end? Jesus Christ!” I’m not sure how else to describe it – it’s the darkest comic I’ve read in a long long time, and it is absolutely no surprise to me that it’s a Warren Ellis book.
If you like Warren Ellis’ crazy side, this book is for you. If you want to read some disturbing and dark that, dare I say it, “out Preacher’s” Preacher, this is for you. Preacher, to me, had been one of the most shocking comics I’d ever read because it was the first book to show me how far a comic can really go when it comes to taking things apart and being ridiculously graphic in it’s insanity. This? This kinda sorta beats that. It’s not the epic work that Preacher was, but in it’s 7 (8 if you count issue 0) issues, it managed to disturb me more than anything else I’ve read recently. As I said for Ellis, it’s nothing like his major work with titles like Planetary, Transmetropolitan, the Authority, or Astonishing X-Men. It’s just a short and ridiculously insane and graphic superhero horror story.Continued below
Final Verdict: Go get that trade when it comes out
Let’s all be honest here: we’ve all kinda sorta read this one by now. This comic is the entirety of the first motion comic, and I watched that and reviewed it already. You all pretty much know my thoughts on the story, but as a refresher, I liked it and I like the book. I think the art is cool and matches a good dark tone for the story, and while New Avengers Spider-Woman is light hearted and a bit more affable, this Spider-Woman is dark and broody with the fallout of Secret Invasion. It sets a nice tone and this book has been a long time coming. With just one issue, I can say I approve.
But remember when I originally reviewed, I interviewed “a random person?” I asked her what she thought about the MoCo after watching it and if it made her more liable to be into the Spider-Woman book? Well, I made that same person actually sit and read the Spider-Woman book and then wrote down all her thoughts on it afterwards, so instead of another review of the same book, I provide this short little interview:
How did you like the comic?
Jessica: It was a decent opener. I like the artwork, it’s different. Goes well with the tone of the story so far.
Which did you prefer, the comic or the motion comic?
Jessica: The comic. It’s just nicer to read it. Kind of like an audio book, just watching it or hearing it takes something away from it.
Do you think that the added scenes and art improved on the story? Did it help you understand more as someone who hasn’t read New Avengers, Spider-Woman Origin, or Secret Invasion?
Jessica: Yeah, it gave a little more detail into everything since I didn’t read it. It just helps a bit.
Do you care at all about the plight of Jessica Drew now?
Jessica: Somewhat. I’ll read it. I’m not completely attached to it, but if it… you know, if it’s still good I’ll keep reading it.
Ultimately, if you had to pick one of the two mediums to follow, which would you take – the motion comic or the comic?
Jessica: The comic. It’s just better to read a comic.
And in case anyone was wondering, my cat didn’t read it so he couldn’t give his opinion on this one.
Final Verdict: We say get it
Dark Reign: The List – X-Men
I’m a big supporter of Marvel. I mean, obviously, right? Every book I reviewed this week save but one was a Marvel title. As much as Dark Reign perplexes me, I am faithful that there is a good endgame at the end of it all (and, fingers crossed, a relatively normal status quo again and the Avengers re-assembling). Suffice it to say, I was and am excited about the “event” called the List, but this issue just didn’t really do much for me.
The past two issues of The List have both worked much better in the premise: Norman has a list of things to take care of, and he takes care of them. With the Avengers issue, Ronin attempts to kill Osborn and his thwarted. With Daredevil, Osborn sends
Hawkeye Bullseye out to instigate. With this? Osborn is really just throwing a temper tantrum due to the events of Utopia and is lashing out at Namor. Of course, Osborn is thwarted again and Namor retaliates briefly, but in the grand scheme of things, the other two issues of the List added to the story. With this, Namor just ends up mad. Surprise, surprise, right? And while the events of Daredevil will play out in Daredevil’s book, and Avengers will play out in New Avengers, the events within this book probably won’t really add to anything at all as X-Men is about to go into it’s own (awesome) storyline with Nation X.
I’m a big fan of Matt Fraction. I think he makes great stories and story arcs and is generally one of the best writers in Marvel’s stable currently. This book just kind of comes in one ear and goes out the other, so to say. The one thing this book does is really establishes what players Fraction will be using in the future (although Beast isn’t around and Magik is for some odd reason) and fleshes out Namor’s presence in Utopia just a litte bit. Other than that, it’s a pretty passable.
Final Verdict: Pass
Those are names of some of the truly excellent writers that Marvel has in their stable. That’s one thing they have in common.
What else do they have in common?
Jonathan Hickman is dominating all of their faces with his work on Secret Warriors and this title. To be honest, I cannot remember a single run on Fantastic Four that I’ve enjoyed this much. Granted, I only really read the early Stan Lee/Jack Kirby stuff and the 90’s material, but given that this really is Marvel’s flagship team they should be given the high end treatment they deserve. This has everything you want in a FF issue — family dynamics, cosmic threats, grandiose plot points, “solving everything,” high brow solutions to standard comic problems, and mother flippin’ Celestials (those god like creatures that rated as “incalculable” on all power levels on the backs of my old Marvel cards).
In many ways, through 2 issues Hickman and artistic collaborator Dale Eaglesham (career defining work here) have created the perfect Fantastic Four comic. FF comics should be intensely macro in the threats they deal with (like Lee and Kirby liked them to be) while maintaining the micro view of their day to day interactions. Hickman and Eaglesham handle scenes where a fleet of Mr. Fantastic’s take down a Galactus equally as well as they handle discussions about Franklin’s birthday party invite list.
Truly superb work by two of the best in the Marvel offices right now.
Final Verdict: Buy
Once upon a time, Nova was one of the best kept secrets in the Marvel lineup of comics. However, one Phalanx invasion and one of war of kings later and the book is starting to drag a bit. A lot of this stems from the fact that one of the most interesting aspects of the book was that it was really one man trying to protect a universe. Gone were the Nova Corps, all that was left was Richard Rider, the Nova Prime, and the Xandar Worldmind who just happened to be hitching a ride on his Nova Prime. It provided quite the dynamic between the two representing all that was left of a once great collection of warriors was often intense, tragic and hilarious.
Yet series writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have taken us in a direction of rebuilding the Nova Corps, with a limited group rolling around in Nu Xandar (aka inside of war planet Ego) attempting to police the universe and rebuild their numbers at the same time. This issues finds them exploring an old and lost Nova Corps ship and us getting introduced to a new villain who apparently is completely badass and can take on the whole of the Nova Corps. While that all sounds well and good, the story line is gradually going back to what old Nova books were like — cosmic adventures with a jumbled supporting cast and a reduced role for the protagonist.
It’s as if DnA took a look at what was going on with the book roughly 10 or 15 issues ago, made a list of pros and cons, and then said “let’s fix the cons by getting rid of the pros.” Umm…yeah, that doesn’t work. Add that up to the fact that the series has a really inconsistent artistic vision as created by a rotating list of artists and you have a book that is floundering. It’s very sad to see. At least we still have Guardians of the Galaxy.Continued below
Final Verdict: Pass
Detective Comics #857
I was contemplating doing the same thing I did for the Fantastic Four write up to talk about JH Williams III and his current artistic accomplishments on Detective Comics, but that wouldn’t be fair to him. Even if you have no interest whatsoever in Batwoman, Batman, Gotham City, awesome storytelling, exciting plot twists, whatever, you should still be picking this book up for the art.
Looking at this book reminds me of the first time I saw Alex Ross’ painted interiors…like I’ve never seen anything like it before in comics. JH Williams III is reinventing comic book layouts and art every month with this work, as it is some of the most unique work I’ve ever seen. The only artist I’ve ever seen even contemplate these types of layouts before is Frank Quitely, and even his work seemed a little more style based than substance based. It’s as if Williams looked at the comic book medium and said “we can do more with this”, as if he is an engineer of art. The way he maximizes every page and ties everything together into one visual tapestry is completely spellbinding.
Of course, Greg Rucka is telling a ripping yarn in his own right, as we’re following Batwoman on her quest to take down the Religion of Crime (and their new super creepy leader Alice) and all of the twists and turns that come with that. Not only that, but you get the added bonus of a backup story featuring the Question in another story told by Rucka. Sure, it’s not as visually dynamic as the first story, but it’s still Rucka working with Renee Montoya. That’s a match made in heaven, and makes this book well worth a purchase.
Final Verdict: Buy
Amazing Spider-Man #606
With Brand New Day now almost complete with its second year, it is safe to say we have a really good idea as to where we stand in the post-One More Day world of Spider-Man and the stable of writers who work on the book. While for the most part all of the writers do a fairly good job, it’s the ones who are truly prolific that stand out the most — namely Marc Guggenheim on the bad side and Joe Kelly on the (very) good side. So far everything Kelly has written for ASM has been fantastic, as he really grasps Peter Parker — not just Spider-Man. Its one thing to know how to write a super-hero, but to write Spider-Man you really must grasp the man under the mask and Kelly truly gets it.
This issue exemplifies that perfectly as there is very little in terms of action (unless you mean of the Black Cat seducing Spidey variety — mrrrrowwww — yes…that just happened). It’s really Peter Parker dealing with the fact he’s perpetually in a love quadrilateral, and this issue complicates things as he runs into one time love Felicia Hardy (aka the Black Cat), who may or may not still have feelings for him. Whether it’s the opening scenes with co-worker Norah, roommate Michelle, and Mary Jane vying for his affections, or the action set piece with the Black Cat, or the climactic rooftop scene, all of this is about Peter Parker and to be honest, no one is writing him as well as Joe Kelly does right now (even you Bendis…sorry!).
Mike McKone joins Kelly to provide more of his solid (if not unspectacular) work. McKone is one of those artists who is always working and doesn’t bring a lot to the table but also doesn’t take anything off, so in many ways he’s the perfect ASM artist. Always on time, renders everything just fine, handles personal scenes and action scenes just as well — you name it. He’s just a solid guy.
While ASM isn’t always perfect (its event sequences are typically the weakest), you know to buy when names like Joe Kelly, Dan Slott or Fred Van Lente are working. Since BND, I’ve went from not buying ASM to enjoying it in my top tier of books for the past 2 years. Pretty great work.Continued below
Final Verdict: Buy
As we start getting closer and closer to the grand Viltrumite War, in which Invincible and a number of other characters will likely cross the galaxy to try and take out the murderous race of Viltrumites, the story may actually be picking up intensity. There was always a lot of fun to be had in these pages, but as we’ve seen lately, especially in the gory and vicious arc Conquest, the stakes are being raised and everything is getting a bit more serious.
This issue finds us back with Nolan (Omni-Man) and Allen the Alien, as they go back to the Coalition of Planets (or some such thing) to start raising the alarm that there are in fact just 50 Viltrumites left and that if they are to be eradicated it better be soon. Much of the story is explained in flashback, as we’re treated to the story of what happened to the Viltrumites and the reality of where they currently are at. While it’s different than what we’ve heard in the past, Kirkman is such an exceptional storyteller that he makes it entirely believable that this has been the reality all along. Kirkman also does a great job at showing Nolan and Allen interacting, as these two have known each other for a good while and have started to form a fairly friendly bond even though they are naturally sworn enemies.
Invincible co-creator Cory Walker returns to the artist’s seat for this two issue run, and to be honest his style and series artist Ryan Ottley’s style are so complimentary that I could hardly tell the difference. They’re both great artists, and it’s even more fantastic that they have very complimentary styles.
This issue is another example as to why this is one of the best series out there, as month in and month out we are provided massively entertaining stories that work for Golden Age fans and the fans of today.
Final Verdict: Buy
Superman: Secret Origin #1
This book has been a long time coming(as is this review. SORRY.), and I’ve been eagerly anticipating it for months. I do believe that Geoff Johns and Gary Frank work together like Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely.
Everyone knows Superman’s origin. It’s probably up there with Jesus Christ as the most recognized beginning ever. But Geoff puts a twist on it, which admittedly is quite similar to Smallville. Instead of the starting with the rocket coming down on Earth, we’re introduced to a young Clark Kent who’s just learning about his powers. While we’re on the subject, I really love that they kept the Smallville idea of the heat vision coming from being sexually aroused.
As I said before, Johns is one of my favorite writers, and here he doesn’t disappoint. Even though I’ve read this origin more times than I can count, I was never bored.
And the art, oh my goodness. It’s absolutely gorgeous. You already know I think Gary Frank is the quintessential Superman artist, and here he proves it yet again.
This is the beginning of a block buster series so you should pick it up now, while you can.
Final Verdict: Buy
Now that that’s out of the way, let me say that I’m not getting a lot out of this. I’m not sure how the power dampener can cause such permanent damage after it’s been deactivated to one guy. The whole premise feels forced, in my opinion. So now his heart can’t be operated on because his skin is unbreakable. When his powers came back, why did his heart stay in the crapper? Is there a power dampener in his heart muscle? I dunno man. I just don’t buy it.Continued below
And in the last issue, the last time we saw Mockingbird she was collapsed on the ground because of the beating she took at the hands of the Gov’t sponsored Avengers. But now she’s well enough to pilot a Quinjet, but we don’t see it.
The continuity issues also kill me. Every single Avengers book seems to be interrelated, but not at the same time. Ronin is in this, Mighty, but was arrested in The List. Loki is helping Parker Robbins, and also causing havoc in Mighty. And Norman is jsut everywhere. It’s enough to give you a headache.
At best I can give it a browse because of the writing. Even if the art is great.
Incredible Hercules #135
Maybe I’m not smart enough to get this, but Cho by himself is a serious mindbender. mind you, despite what I said in the previous review, this book actually did get a lot more interesting.
Van Lente really throws the twists in here. From the appearance of Table Top RPG’s in a way I haven’t seen(mainly because I’ve never played a Table Top RPG), to the reveal of who a character actually was, it was completely told in a way that had me completely rapt. Two words: Doctor. Japanazi. That’s right kids. It’s like a Bruce Campbell movie without the Communism. We even saw a possible thread leading to the upcoming Herc crossover Assault on New Olympus. Hot diggity.
The art is really stellar this issue as well. We get to see beautifully rendered versions of Amadeus as a child, and as an adult. And the action is really well thought out and probably a little too smart for me. But damn I love it.
All I can say in closing is that this is damn awesome and really helped further Cho’s adventures. I’m just not sure how this ties into him looking for his sister.
Final Verdict: Buy
Incredible Hulk #602
After a promising start, the main story kind of tumbled a bit. I mean, it’s not TERRIBLE, but it kind of missed a step. The battle between Skaar and Juggernaut was fun, mainly because ol’ Cain Marko is a hoot n a half. Always has been.
My problem is exactly the opposite of the last issue. The art jsut seemed…off. I can’t quite place my finger on it, but some of the background characters looked like they belonged in Mayberry, as opposed to the Marvel Universe. I really hope I didn’t lose you on the Andy Griffith reference. But suffice it to say, there are a lot of goofy looks on the faces of the extras, and it’s either a joke, or a nuisence.
The writing itself was fast paced, and fun to read, because, well, Juggy is hilarious. But I digress. There were soem issues with it as well, because I don’t like it when they get meta and put a Marvel Comics Shop in a Marvel Comic. Especially when they’re just giving you the punchline to a joke that wasn’t THAT funny in the first place. The cliffhanger though, is promising, as you can never have too much of Hulk or Son of Hulk…without this guy. Bub.
Oops, did I just give it away? anyway. Look through it on your next venture out to the comic shop to see if you did it. If you do, pick it up.
Final Verdict: Browse
With The Blackest Night in full swing, it’s not hard to get a bit of Event Exhaustion. It happened to me with Final Crisis, it happened to the bajillion Marvel events the past few years, and in all honesty, it’s even starting too happen here.
But while I am, I gotta say. Damn I enjoyed this issue. It’s still refreshing to see Superman be Superman. As an admitted fanboy of the Man of Steel, I had to get this book.Continued below
The introduction of The Psycho-Pirate was probably one of the best ideas for this book. Overall, it KIND OF reminds me of the last season of True Blood, with a sleepy town being overrun by emotions that they can not only not control, but are even thrust upon them by the Emotional Incubus, Roger Hayden. And even the Superfamily isn’t immune.
And when you get a book where even MARTHA FREAKING KENT is a proper badass, you know you have to pick it up.
Final Verdict: Buy