Having said that last week would be a one off, what has happened again? Marvel has put out 21 books this week. I realise it is all the annuals that come out at this time of year and I should not complain about the number of comics I get to read, but it is playing hell with my ability to go through them all in one night.
Amazing Spider-Man #700.1
Written by David Morrell and Art by Klaus Janson
I am very confused as to where this fits in, all my predictions for what this comic was going to be have been proven wrong. I thought it was going to be the world of Superior Spider-Man seen through the eyes of Peter Parker trapped in his own body, but it is not, this is a flashback to an untold tale of Peter Parker back while JJ was still the editor of the Bugle.
It is rather a bland comic about Peter getting a cold, feeling sick and oversleeping while the city falls into a snow storm. It is actually rather reminiscent of Daredevil Dark Nights #1 as the still sick Peter swings off into the night to save his cold Aunt May. I always struggle with the very basic and personal plots, but I am more interesting in seeing where this ties into the current Spider-Man run so I will keep reading.
Avengers Annual #1
Written by Kathryn Immonen and Art by David LaFuente
You can tell that December is here because Marvel is wheeling out all the snowy and Christmas themed comics. This comic is similar to the current run on Hawkeye in that it focuses on what happens when they are not being Avengers. In this case, what Steve Rogers does when the rest of the team all leave him to babysit the Avengers Mansion while they go off on holiday.
There are some wonderfully funny moments in this comic, however the art really messes it up for me. In terms of the art style, there is nothing wrong with it, but the characters themselves look nothing like they should do. To give an example when Bruce Banner is first introduced all I could think was – why is Arcade in the Avengers mansion. It is a clever little aside in terms of the story but it is such a missable comic that it cannot help but feel irrelevant.
X-Men Legacy #21
Written by Simon Spurrier and Art by Khio Pham
The same as in the last issue this book is incredibly word heavy. It is as if the writer does not trust the artist to be able to show what is happening, so he has to explain the subtext of what is going on at all times and on all panels. The irony of this is that it leaves you more lost about what is actually going on. There is so much description of what is not visible that you end up with questions such as – why is Blindfold in bed and how the heck did David get there? It takes it to the extreme near the end of the book by filling half a page with overlapping text bubbles. The problem is it is not effective as you mentally just skip over it because the boxes overlap preventing easy reading of that text.
I am not a big fan of how this is being presented, but I really do want to know what is going on and how this will be resolved. The problem is we are still trying to sort out the fight between David and his ‘son’ who has taken on half his powers and the appearance of his Father and has sort to destroy the world a piece at time. I really get the impression that this entire run could have been done in one comic, but they have stretched it out so far and stuffed it full of filler.
Amazing X-Men #2
Written by Jason Aaron and Art by Ed McGuinness
Everyone watch out for the Pirate flasher! I kid you not, mid way through this comic a dead pirate is shown from behind ripping open his long flowing coat and a young mutant is sent reeling away in disgust from what he sees. This is not what it is supposed to be showing, but seriously it is all you can see when you look at that panel.
The X-Men have been transported into the afterlife by the Bamphs at the school and in usual X-Men style they manage to pick a fight with the locals after merely a couple of minutes. There is so much ‘weird’ going on in this comic that it is hard to find some sanity to hold onto, but I expect that this is the intention and it will get a whole lot more strange before normality is resumed.
Young Avengers #13
Written by Keiron Gillen and Art by Jamie McKelvie
This comic has been building to this moment for quite some time now, that final show down between Wiccan and ‘Mom.’ The problem is that ‘old scene stealer’ Loki comes along and pulls the rug out from everyone with a dramatic declaration.
I really like the team that has built up here, I like the interplay and I like the fact that they might actually be the only ‘team’ in the entire Marvel universe not filled with people who deep down dislike each other. However I have not been enamoured with this arc, so seeing it coming to a conclusion here is not disappointing for me. Do not let me put you off, this is not a bad comic, it just is so self involved and complex that you feel you need to re-read all the previous issues every time a new one comes out just so you do not feel lost.
Iron Man #19
Written by Kieron Gillen and Art by Joe Bennett
You would have thought by now that all comic characters would have developed a sort of ‘Spider-sense’ that alerted them to utterly stupid plot devices that are going to get them completely screwed up. Tony appears to have taken a long walk of a very short pier by rebuilding Mandarin city, seemingly because he can, rather than out of any desire to do something altruistic. The second the comic starts anyone with half a brain can see where it is going to end up and the issue does not disappoint.
It is a very slow burner, there is a lot of unnecessary side plot in this comic which really had not needed being there, but it is a decent effort none the less. This is definitely building out of the last arc and into a much bigger story and perhaps someone that ought to have been buried forever is starting to stir again.
Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe #3
Written by Christopher Hastings and Art by Jacopo Camagni and Victor Calderon-Zurita
Deadpool kills the marvel universe involves him fighting various members of the marvel universe with a Deadpool theme about them. Longshot saves the Marvel Universe by doing almost an identical process and as the issue progresses the numbers of these ‘alternate’ characters multiples and the issue just becomes more and more confusing.
I really liked where this was going in the first two issues, but now it appears to have descended into cramming in as many big names in the Marvel universe into this comic in anyway possible leaving these set pieces being more important than the story.
Written by Matt Fraction and Art by Oliver Coipel
Infinity’s final few tie-ins have not even finished yet and the new ‘big thing’ has already started. It kindly retells the Inhuman’s origin story, which is important for people who have not previously read their Silver and Bronze age storylines.
This comic does a really clever trick. It tells us everything that is happening, it lulls you into a false sense that it might actually be a self contained story and then right at the end yanks out the rug that it has been building throughout the issue. I am happy to see the back of Infinity and long live Inhumanity!
Daredevil Dark Nights #7
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Art by Thony Silas
The Matt and Misty show continues as they are blown out of the sky and into the sea. It is quite a dramatic way to start a comic and the comedic way that their ‘relationship’ continues out at sea on the raft is amusing. This is Daredevil at his best fighting low level crime syndicates; there are none of the supernatural monsters that plagued Daredevil ongoing series and it is much improved because of that.
The art in the issue is wonderful and the scripting and the pacing of the comic is fast without feeling rushed. This sets everything up neatly for the conclusion to this series in the next issue.
Fearless Defenders #12
Written by Cullen Bunn and Art by Will Sliney
Finally Valkyrie has managed to get the team together. It has only taken twelve issues and the series to be cancelled, but at least she managed it in the end. It is so annoying because this finally felt like the moment that the series was really going to kick off into a wider more meaningful story and no that is it, it is over.
What more can I say, the art has been fantastic, I have loved the characters and the stories they have brought together and I have so much respect for the team trying to put together a group like this; all female and all relatively minor characters. I am at a loss as to why this sort of series fails, but others with similarly minor name characters continue on strongly. This will be sorely missed.
Written by Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn with Art by Scott Koblish
This issue wins; I surrender. Every time I say that I do not want another retro Deadpool comic to kick of an arc because I have seen it before and it was great, but not again thanks; they come up with one like this. To coin a phrase ‘this book is all hell full of crazy.’ Deadpool is in the 60’s blowing up the moon, upsetting the watcher, being eaten by a dragon helping a baby god have a dump on Asguard that Odin then clears up. I mean all of that completely literally and I have not even scratched the surface of what is in this comic.
I could read this issue ten times and still not get all the references in it. Brilliant, clever, funny, insane and that was just the letters page this week. Please read it so I do not have to use up all my superlatives on this issue.
Guardians of the Galaxy #9
Written by Brian Michael Bendis and Art by Francesco Francavilla
I have one thing to get off my chest. Please let someone else colour your comics! The art is fantastic but the colouring is utterly dire. Actually scrap that, there is no colouring, just a single shade layered over every character on the page. In this case, it is grey. The first two pages are fantastic, but then it just wallows into this bi-chromatic colour scheme for the entire comic of grey and orange. It causes issues where you get text saying ‘that crazy redhead’ – which redhead, everyone except for agent Brand is entirely grey!
This comic came out a week late meaning that it was already spoilered by Infinity 6. It is a shame because the comic is written well and I did wonder what happened to let the armada through in Infinity so I suppose I know now. I want to keep reading this book, but I will only if they change the artist because I cannot stomach anymore of this.
1/5 (all for the writing)
Indestructible Hulk Annual
Written by Jeff Parker with art by Mahmud Asrar
I am just counting down the hours until the world ends. It will have to happen because there is no way this world can keep on spinning if it has managed to produce a Hulk comic that I actually liked. In fact it produced a comic which I think was one of the best this week. The comic uses the Hulk not as the protagonist, but as an object controlled by the protagonist, in this case Tony Stark.
Years before the very young pair of scientists were at a lecture for the best and the brightest held by an older man by the name of Dr. Derenik Zadain. His theories were very simple; it does not matter what you want to research, just make sure the military are interested in it. Flash forward to the present day and Tony and Bruce are in search of the island that the military had given him years before to conduct his experiments on. An Interesting read from start to finish and the best use of the Hulk I have read for years.
Superior Spider-Man #23
Written by Dan Slott and Christos Gage with Art by Humerto Ramos
Okay it finally happened; can we have Peter back now please? I have been banging on for ages about how much I have loved Otto-Spider, but it turns out that once a super villain, always a super villain and things just got nasty.
This picks up directly after the last issue with the fight between Spidey and Venom still in full flow. Just how devious Otto is was shown in that brief sequence and I think that was the tipping point. I have revelled in watching his unorthodox methods of dealing with other villains and laughed when he pushed everything just too far. However this was against another hero character and it shows how being judge jury and executioner does not work unless you are Dread and in which case everyone is guilty anyway. I still really like this book, but I think this was the point at which I stopped liking the character.
Marvel Knights: X-Men #2
Written and drawn by Brahm Revel
I find these Marvel Knights books really hard to ‘place’. They are always set prior to the current comic runs and this leaves me with a huge reading block. Because they are slotted in to the back story of all these characters it means that nothing of any great importance can happen in the comic. It sucks away all the worry and fear for the characters because you know no matter what happens, none of them are going to die.
Here they are off seeking a mutant killer, one who left a psychic trace that they found with cerebro. What they found was a very powerful young hallucinogenic mutant who could suck memories out of your mind and make them real. It is an interested story, but I am not sure how it will stretch to a full five issue run. When it comes to it we all know she is going to die because she has never been seen since, which rather ruins the tension for me.
Painkiller Jane: The Price of Freedom #2
Written by Jimmy Paliotti and Art by Juan Santacruz
This is such a fun way to make a ‘mature’ book without it becoming gratuitous. There is a lot of violence, lots of implied nakedness, but the speech bubbles are always put in the right place to hide everything. Jane is a former cop who nearly died after a crime boss gave her a massive overdose; when she woke up 6 months later she had massively enhanced healing and now she uses that in a Punisher style to protect the innocent.
Tasked with protecting a Saudi princess against some pretty twisted people she flees to a tropical island in the hope of hiding her trail. However this is not enough for the screwed up trio who are hot on their tails. This is not a book for the squeamish nor the under 18s, but if is a lot of fun and it shows a considered restraint in what could otherwise been a rather gratuitous use of the female body.
Fantomex Max #3
Written by Andrew hope and Art by Shawn Crystal
I have said it in a previous review and I will say it again, I simply do not understand the mature tag on this comic. There is one single panel which contains gratuitous violence in it; there is nothing else in this entire comic apart from one F-bomb. So cut those two tiny things and make this a normal series, or if you are using the mature tag for the comic, actually make it worthwhile.
The line between Eva the machine and Eva the personality is starting to become blurred as she comes face to face with her ‘father.’ A little later on and Fantomex does exactly the same thing, but the physically reality and the computer simulation are two very different things. I really do like this series, but there was a lot of plot being dumped in this issue which hopefully means that next time we get a really decent amount of the present day story progressed.
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #7
Written by Christopher Yost and art by Macro Checchetto and Paco Diaz
This has to be the best looking book Marvel put out this month. While the art on the main Spider-man title is really good, Ramos did have a very weird way of drawing Peters head. There are absolutely no questions with any of the art here, it simply phenomenal on every page.
Spider-Man had ‘recruited’ the former Sinister Six creating the Superior Six to do his bidding via mind control. This all worked until the control method fell apart and they decided to take it out on the one person who they all admitted they secretly admired before, Spider-Man. It is just a shame that this book does not do long arcs, next time it appears to be a team up between Spider-Man and Namor, but if it is as well done as this, it would be worth reading.
Secret Avengers #12
Written by Nick Spencer and Ales Kot with Art by Butch Guice
The different levels of spies, double agents and intrigue in this comic give me a headache. It is not a bad headache, but more of an empathy for what Maria Hill must be going through trying to keep track of who is on whose side. To be honest I am not sure if some of the double agents even know that themselves.
Mockingbird has been caught out in the appearance of a senior AIM technician and has to give a believable presentation to a council of super villains who include at least one double or triple agent depending upon how I view the character. If they manage to pull of this storyline and resolve it without tripping over their own convoluted plot, then this should have a fantastic resolution soon.
Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #3
Written by Matt Kindt and Art by Marco Rudy
I want to cry. I could not stand the first issue of this series, but the second one was ingenious and beautiful. However a merest flick through this comic shows me that my fears were well founded and we are back to the mind bending art of the first issue. The one saving grace for this comic is that it is actually followable. The first issue left you wondering if you were holding the comic upside down for all the sense it made.
I really hope we get some resolution to all the random bad guys scattered throughout this series. Basically if you have ever had a fight with Spider-man then you are going to show up somewhere in this series, on a plane, in a haunted house, in a submarine. Everything is just so weird, but at least it is readable.