As most know, I was out for the larger part of this week over at E3 in Los Angeles, California. I left the duties of comic book reviews to David, and he did a wonderful job. There were a couple big books that I love that he didn’t cover though, so I decided that since I now have some time, I’ll jot down some thoughts on more issues. The next week of comic books I hope to be back on, reviewing far too much in far too little time!
I’m going to start this short review off with a few words to save you some time reading my rant: this was pure garbage. There. Move on and read about something more interesting. If you want to know more about my thoughts though, please, read on. I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t absolutely hate Ultimates 3. I think that in comparison to the previous Ultimates books by Mark Millar, it was trash, but it definitely had some great moments. The third issue where the Ultimates fought the Brotherhood was great, and I do like the ending with Magneto swearing revenge and Doom laughing. In Ultimatum #4, though, I groaned through most of the issue. First off, Doom and Mr. Fantastic finally get Fury back, but Doom admits that the whole scenario with getting Magneto’s kids killed back fired and wasn’t intentional at all. What? Are you kidding me, Loeb? You wrote that it WAS intentional. How can you just go and change your mind? You can’t. Furthermore, this series has served to just jam pack a bunch of Ultimate versions of Earth-616 heroes to be thrown away and never used again. Dormamu? Really? And he kills both Dr. Strange and Spider-Man? I’m sorry if that’s a spoiler for anyone, but I don’t know why you’re really wasting your time with this series to begin with, so I don’t feel bad about spoilering anything. For me, I keep reading because the Ultimates really helped me get back into comics. I had felt that comics were becoming to convoluted, so to have this alternate universe with re-inventions and it’s own brand new time line, it was much easier for me to follow and enjoy and was more akin to how I had read comics as a kid: bright eyed and fresh faced. Plus, when you have high profile names writing your books like Millar, Bendis, and Vaughn, it’s easy to be pleased. I also know that when Ultimatum is over, Millar is coming back to the Ultimate universe, so I’m hoping for redemption. But God… I can’t believe that a writer like Loeb, who used to be so good at concocting stories, is now writing this. I suppose I have to admit there are “moments” in the book that are “cool,” but that doesn’t make the book passable by any stretch of the world. I just like Magneto as a center stage villain, and I don’t have that in the normal Marvel Universe. But good God… this is by far the worst book I’ve read this week. Stay away.
Ultimate Spider-Man #133
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Ultimate universe, we have this book. For quite some time, Bendis has been neglecting this book and filling it with continuity errors and bad stories due to the fact he’s spending all his time re-shaping the normal Marvel books to his own crazy pop-culture filled world. What used to be the strongest ongoing became just as weak as all the others. The final issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, though, was actually quite brilliant and moving. It said right from the start, “this is a silent issue,” and with that in mind I read the book much slower, analyzing every frame as I moved along. While it creates a continuity error with Ultimatum, I find I really enjoy the way the final story was done. With all the Ultimate books now ending, this definitely showed how to do it over the half-assed endings of X-Men and Fantastic 4. To be honest, I’m glad that the book ended on this note because it gave me a little bit more faith in Bendis ability to manage all the work he does. With the Marvel universe, all his books are intertwined, so it’s easy enough to follow his writing there, but outside of that, his work does suffer. Suffice it to say, this definitely does remind us that the point of the Ultimate universe was to create a new continuity line with it’s own characters, and so few have been brave enough to bring in brand new heroes and villains. I’ll be interested to see what Bendis does with the future of Spider-Man considering he’s, for all intents and purposes, dead.
Although, as a final note, I gotta say that while Spider-Man may not be Peter Parker anymore, whoever it is is certainly looking a little plump.
The Mighty #5
The Mighty is one of those series that I tell my friends about and they shrug it off because it doesn’t sound that impressive. I don’t know why, considering it’s written by Peter Tomasi (remember that little book called Green Lantern Corps?), but they don’t listen. At issue #5 of this limited series, however, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to read. The stakes are definitely raised in this issue. The basic premise is that the world has one superhero and behind him is a huge company that helps regulate his actions and make sure people are getting saved. Our main character is appointed as the new director of this company, and it’s his job to be with Alpha the superhero at all times. However, what seems like a perfect world definitely gets darker with every issue. Like so many limiteds, it starts off with a murder, and we are left guessing who committed this murder until the end of the series. After this issue, I think that murderer is rather clear even if no one comes out and says it. The thing that really stands out for me about this series, even more so than the plot, is the artwork. As I’ve stated in the past, I’m a huge fan of the work of Darwyn Cooke, and Chris Samnee’s art is close to mirroring it while still holding it’s own. The characters are very smooth and there are no instances of anyone looking too different than the rest, which sets a tone for this book that holds well to it’s themes of only having one superhero. By the end of this issue, a brand new element is brought into play that conjures up images of Alan Moore, and I can’t wait to see where it’s going to go from here.
Oh how I love Mark Waid. I don’t know if I’ve sung his praises enough on this blog, but he is definitely one of the writers who I keep an eye out for. Irredeemable is a comic that I spent a long time trying to find, but was incredibly rewarded in doing so. It’s the story of “what if the world’s greatest super hero became it’s most terrifying super villain?” This book pulls no punches whatsoever, and I’m absolutely enthralled in it. I can’t wait to see where it goes. This issue is no different. I read the first couple pages several times just because I could barely believe it. For a second I thought that perhaps the latest issue of The Boys had been mislabeled. I still can’t believe that that’s how the book opened, and I’m even more surprised by the ending. The Plutonian is quite a character, and depending where the series goes, I might have to consider putting him on a top villains of all time list. It’s interesting seeing the brief moments of humanity he displayed in flashbacks from the first book and watching his character now. The only thing about this book is that the first issue was an absolute shock to read, and every subsequent issue just doesn’t quite hit that mark. Don’t get me wrong, I highly endorse this book, but I guess there was just something about reading that first issue and being so incredibly shocked by the content. This issue is really great, however. Mark Waid is concocting another great story, and the artwork done by Peter Krause is quite gorgeous. If you’re not getting this series, I feel horrible for you. Granted, it’s by Boom, so it’s a bit harder to find, but if you can search through your state for all of it’s comic shops and find this book, you’ll be highly rewarded. I really can’t wait until the next issue. Not even remotely.
Deadpool: Suicide Kings #3
I gotta say, Marc Benson as a comic book writer, to me, is getting old. When he first came on Moon Knight, I was pretty excited, and I really liked what he was doing. When his Deadpool one-shot was released, I didn’t think it was terrible but it certainly wasn’t anything to write home about. But with his most recent Moon Knight arc and this, I’m really losing a lot of faith in him as a writer. It’s just not very good. Deadpool is a really easy character to write for, but Benson is treating everyone around him very poorly. The Punisher, Daredevil, Tombstone, and now Spider-Man are all getting very poor treatments in this book because, for the most part, Benson is writing them not as Marvel Universe characters. He’s also doing a very poor job at just remembering, hey, these characters have met before. When Spider-Man showed up, you’d think that he and Deadpool had never met before, which is surely not the case. The Punisher and Deadpool have certainly tangoed in the past, but it’s easy to dismiss with a character like the Punisher who spends all his time hunting almost everyone. It’s the Spider-Man thing that really got to me in this issue, though. Cable and Deadpool was not that far away, and a quick Google search would show you that they’ve met before. Benson clearly knows a little bit about Deadpool history because Outlaw is a prominent character, though, which is why I’m so confused. Plus, why does Benson feel the need to pull in all these high profile characters to the story? They don’t all fit. It was better when we had Deadpool and just the Punisher, but now the book is getting over saturated. As much as I love Deadpool, I would honestly recommend staying away from this book. It doesn’t add anything to the Deadpool mythos other than a jumbled tale of the everyday life of the merc with a mouth.
New Avengers: The Reunion #4
Having a New Avengers mini-series not written by Bendis is risky, because that is Bendis main book and you run the risk of having some continuity errors by having a new writer. Already, by the end of this issue, I can pull out one minor continuity flub, but it’s one that could so easily have an explanation that I’m willing to ignore it. What is great about this book, however, is it allows us to focus on a relationship that all comic/Avengers nerds love – the relationship between Bobbi Morse and Clint Barton. It’s been a rocky one, for sure, but with the recent revelations brought on the Skrull invasion, we get the return of one of the greatest romances in comics. Not only that, but I am willing to go so far as to say that this book has sparked a brand new fire to the whole relationship, and I don’t just mean in the characters lives. Sure, this book brings them back together in order to begin their fabled love story together again, but it brings it back in a whole new light that it is clearly not the same relationship as we had before. One of the most telling signs of this is the cover of the issue, with Ronin and Mockingbird walking away from their old costumes and each other. We’ve seen them go through incredible highs and lows through this mini, as Bobbi reveals she was going to divorce Clint, but also gaining a new spark as the team up again to fight AIM. Those that have read the issue know how their story ends, and again I feel it is important to look at the cover of the issue when finished. The story of Hawkeye and Mockingbird is clearly over, but Clint and Bobbi? Well that’s a different story entirely.
Daredevil Noir #3
As I’ve stated in the past, I’m a big fan of Daredevil Noir. I feel that out of all the books in the noir series that have been published, this is the shining star. It manages to hold true to the ideals of the superhero and a noir story, and the artwork is fantastic. This issue continues to hold this true. The narrative is probably my favorite part in that this a story being told after it has already happened, and we are constantly shown scenes of Daredevil and Kingpin talking as Daredevil recounts the tale. The Kingpin encourages Daredevil not to leave out any details because he relishes in the pain this has caused him, and it adds such a brutal and dark element to their relationship that we had known about in the past but had not explored to it’s full extent. There is an absolutely amazing sequence in this book that is almost cinematic as Daredevil shakes down various thugs for information and is definitely my favorite few pages out of any comic to come out this week. While I understand the general trepidation in picking up a limited series of this caliber, I implore any and all of you to seek this book out as well as it’s past issues if you don’t have them. This is definitely the best noir book in Marvels new series and will probably remain the best in the future, not to mention it’s just a great Daredevil story if you’re a fan of him.
The Punisher MAX: Naked Kill #1
I’ve been really getting into the Punisher lately. I’m not sure why. I think it’s that Garth Ennis Omnibus, but with the new Punisher series and MAX as well as his various appearances in Deadpool and Moon Knight, I’ve been getting quite a Punisher fill lately. Naked Kill is something I easily could have done without. I could probably see this as just having been a normal issue of Punisher MAX, if maybe an over sized issue at that, but either way it’s not that great of a story. The Punisher tracks down a torture porn ring and, surprise surprise, kills them all. I find that I don’t really like throw away Punisher stories as much as I like full adventure stories where the Punisher deals out his brand of justice through out the course of several issues. With a character like the Punisher, it’s so easy to just put him in the ring with some bad guys and give him some guns and let him go, but I think that sort of cheats the reader. Of course Frank Castle will kill without remorse, but it’s much more interesting when he kills during a longer and more explained tale. For example, the last arc in Punisher MAX involved Frank solving a mystery while dealing with poison corsing through his veins. This is by far more entertaining than this book. Not to mention that the gratuitous sexual nature just seems kind of over done at this point. The Punisher’s group of villains aren’t really made up of the super powered, and for that kind of stuff I still have the normal Punisher series. It just seems that lately with MAX, rather than focus on good stories, the book tends to just go out for shock value. “Look what the Punisher killed someone with this time!” Ok. Neat. What’s next?
Besides, as far as recent Punisher goes, nothing beats the Ant-Man kill from Punisher #5 by Rick Remender.
Trojan War #2
Review pending, check back soon
The Boys #31
I love Garth Ennis. Preacher is one of my all-time favorite comics. When making the Boys, Ennis said he wanted to out-Preacher Preacher, and so far, that’s just not the case for me. I will admit, the events of the last arc were pretty crazy and off the charts, but so far nothing has reached the utter depravity and insanity of Preacher. In the latest issue, I feel that that is still the case, and I’m getting very confused about the direction of the series. I know that all in all it’ll probably end somewhere after or around issue 60, but so far the series seems like it has not a lot of motivation to move forward. We’re in kind of a stagnant place that is more appropriate for a book that will be frequently on-going rather than have a mildly fixed ending. This whole issue to me felt rather slow and unevenly paced and only read made sense on the last page. While I don’t want to give any spoilers, I’m kind of torn about wether I like it or not. On the one hand, it’s a great twist. On the other hand, there are so many undeveloped plotlines and ideas that could have happened before that ending that now I’m just not sure will happen, and it’s all stuff I had been interested in seeing. I think if nothing else, this definitely ups the ante for the Boys themselves, which is a plus. They’d already been ridiculously brutal to all the super heroes of the world, but they’d never been quite motivated other than it’s their job and they all want subtle revenge for something. Now we finally have a reason for the Boys to take a stand and act against someone. And while I’m still not sure wether or not this book has direction, I will say that I am very intrigued about this current plotline and the fallout of it’s first issue events.
Black Panther #5
The new Black Panther is probably the slowest moving series of all the new Dark Reign rebooted titles. It’s taken 5 issues just to show us what we’ve already seen coming. Granted, there have been little twists and turns along the way, but I’m pretty sure everyone knew who the new Black Panther would be after issue 3. On top of that, the story here is just kind of poor. We start out with Doom attacking T’Challa and Wakanda vicariously, and now Doom is off doing something else as if that never happened while an angry God comes to kill the Black Panther totem and destroy Wakanda. It’s kind of a scatter brained plotline if you ask me. I also am not really a fan of the idea of this new Black Panther. Sure, T’Challa has been the Black Panther for a long time now, but in the world of Dark Reign, is this a status quo that really needed to be shaken up? Let’s be honest here, how many people are actually reading Black Panther religiously, and in what capacity is this going to effect the rest of the Marvel Universe? The Black Panther has turned down roles on both the Illuminati and the Cabal, and Wakanda isn’t exactly a world power, no matter how powerful they are. It just seems like such an unneccesary change, and to tote the Dark Reign title seems like just a cash opportunity because Namor and Doom made an appearance at the beginning. With the first two issues I actually enjoyed the series, but at this point, I’m ready for this arc to be done and hoping something more interesting happens in the future. I doubt I’ll really follow it beyond this point, however.
Final Crisis Aftermath: Run #2
When the first issue came out, I absolutely hated it and totally panned it. With the second issue, I think it’s still garbage but it’s actually a little bit more interesting. The essential plot of this is the same as the forthcoming Cry For Justice, except instead of going after someone that matters we’re focusing on the Human Flame, who is probably one of the most apprehensible and disgusting villains to be given a spotlight in Final Crisis. In this issue, he gets a bit of makeover though, so to say. We’re given a new group of villains who associate themselves with the Human Flame and turn him into a brand new villain. While I can definitely say that beyond this series I will not care, at least now there is something to mildly hold my interest. If the whole series had just been about him fleeing from everyone for being a collosal jerk, I would have been bored to tears yet would have kept reading for completionist’s sake. Now there is some substance, even if it poor substance. I can’t recommend this to anyone, obviously, but at the very least I feel a little bit better about taking the time to read it because now there’s a plot. Plus, the new villain is pretty cool. I suppose I should give this series a little bit of slack considering I’m not supposed to take it seriously and it’s supposed to be trashy with dark humor, but I love Matthew Sturges and just don’t understand why he’s bothering to do this. I consider him a writer of higher caliber, even if I don’t think Jack Of Fables is that great, and I eagerly anticipate his work on Justice Society of America. This just seems like a waste.
I’ve never read Skaar before. I decided to because of the Planet Skaar “event” (all three issues of it!) and must say, aside from the lukewarm prologue one-shot, this issue is actually pretty good. I guess it wasn’t the wisest move of mine to dismiss it considering Greg Pak is writing it, but the whole Planet Hulk saga didn’t interest me, nor did Skaar. However, I found myself surprised as I read this issue. I was relatively engrossed in the events and found myself intrigued to see where it would go. I really like the idea that, even though this child was born through an alien union, he still has a “human” form. I believe that his hatred of the Hulk is misguided, but isn’t all childhood hatred towards parents? Despite his size it’s easy to forget he really is a child. It’s an interesting dynamic that had, assumedly, never been played out before, especially “human” Skaar with other children. I think that if Planet Skaar would last beyond 3 issues, this could be a very interesting idea to explore with the character, but considering the point of the series is to have Skaar fight Hulk, I’m not sure if it’s something we’ll see, and that’s unfortunate. A Skaar vs Hulk battle is certainly long over due, but is it really interesting? Not really. Two brutes beating each other with a small build up does not equal a huge pay off. But Skaar is better than I had originally assumed. It’ll be interesting to see how the next issue plays out.
We now live in a world without Spawn. As far as we know, Spawn is gone. In what capacity is he gone, I’m not sure, but Spawn is no longer about Spawn. It took over 180 issues, but Spawn is now about someone else learning to fill the role that Spawn left open. This is probably supposed to be the most “Earth shattering” Spawn since Spawn locked God and Satan out of our world after the apocalypse. So far, it hasn’t. It has been decidedly darker than recent Spawn, though (especially the Clown’s puppy thing from a couple issues ago). The thing is, I get that this is a status/game changer, but just like with Black Panther, I’m sick of new heroes in old costumes. I don’t like the process of watching the transformation and I rarely find it rewarding. Especially now where our new Spawn is a character that had been in a coma for most of the series. I thought Spawn was getting really good as of late with the Mammon conspiracy and think that Endgame, so far, is a dissapointment. It’s interesting to have Spawn back to a more brutal series and to give the Clown a sadistic spotlight, but all in all I prefer Spawn how it was before he mysteriously offed himself in order to put an end to everything (no pun intended).
Wolverine: Revolver #1
I know what you’re thinking. ANOTHER Wolverine one-shot. Just what we need, right? Well, I gotta tell you, this story is really good. In it Wolverine tracks down a demon in Vegas through a game of russian roulette. How very Deer Hunter of him! It actually makes for quite an entertaining tale to be honest, but the problem is the art. The art in this, just like on the cover, is attrocious. I don’t know what Das Pastoras has done in the past, but good God I just can’t get over how ugly all his characters look. If you look at the cover alone, Wolverine has probably the ugliest gums and teeth on any character that’s not a rabbit. He’s got worse buck teeth in that one photo than Bugs Bunny or Ali Larter! The only thing that kept me in this book was the story, which really was good. It was well written and very Wolverine-esque. Gischler clearly gets the character. I would probably give this book a pretty good rating as far as one shots go if it weren’t for that artwork, though. I just can’t forgive it. It is by far the ugliest book I’ve ever seen, let alone ugliest book this week, and I’ve seen a lot of poorly drawn books.