In a first for this review segment I am having to break it into two parts purely because Marvel had decided to release twenty comics this month, twenty five if you include the non 616 comics as well. This is more than I can realistically get through in an evening, so pop back again tomorrow for the second half. Therefore in no particular order:
Wolverine and the X-Men Annual #1
Written by Jason Aaron and Art by Nick Bradshaw
I missed Kid Gladiator, he was one of the highlights of the early Wolverine and the X-Men series and it lost something when he left. Well it is time to make up for all that with a comic dedicated entirely to him! This picks up from the moment that he left Earth and was reassigned to the Imperial Guard School where unfortunately he is having a test on Humanity, by a very biased professor.
There is decidedly very little Wolverine in this book and it should be said that reading this is a minor spoiler for Infinity 6 (damn) but then again if I had not already worked out what it does spoil, then I would be rather thick. The art is wonderful, the story is fine, but there is a lot of ‘montage’ sections which I do not feel work terribly well, but overall it is a really good read.
Avengers Arena #18
Written by Dennis Hopeless and Art by Kev Walker
Thank you. Not much more I can say about this comic other than that. Thank you Mr Hopeless for not going down some half-baked cop out route that I had feared this comic was going to try. I can see where he has left ‘outs’ for half the characters that were killed in this series, and I am sure that in the future some of them will make a reappearance, but for now what we see did happen, it was not a dream and it made this series mean something.
I am so happy that this arc is over, but also I am ecstatic that these characters are going to continue in a new series, however unfortunately I have to wait until March next year for it. Either way it will be worth the wait. Another thing that was worth the wait was the cold opening of the series, it took 18 issues for a resolution, but it got there in the end.
Infinity the Hunt #4
Written by Matt Kindt and Art by Steven Sanders, Paco Diaz and Derec Donovan
I am sorry, can we have this entire series again, but drawn like the last few pages of this comic? Seriously the art changes not once by twice in the second half of the book, going from dreary, scratchy mess to beautifully rendered for 5 pages and on to decent, but not as good as the previous for the final 4. I really mean it when I say that those 5 pages are some of the best art I have seen this month and make the entire reading experience so much better.
I am not a fan of this book at all, given the art changes it was definitely a ‘filler’ book simply thrown in to add a bit more to the Infinity story line and to bump up the profile of these characters, most of whom have been dormant or did not previously exist before this series started. I would give it a miss unless you enjoy watching flying whales being suplexed into the ground.
Written by Matt Fraction and art by Annie Wu
So it is Hawkeye again; that series that I just do not understand? Right? Wrong, this comic I got and this issue I thought was fantastic. I am sure I am going to be told now that this is the worst issue of the series and that I am mental, but I do not care. Kate has run off, needing some time alone, but unfortunately she is utterly broke. Needing to earn some money while she is away ‘finding herself’ she decides to create ads for ‘Hero for hire’. Frankly considering the mess she gets into it is a good job it was not a proper super villain that needed beating, because she would be dead.
Loved every minute of this issue, the art was perfect and expressive and the story was so mundane that it let everything feel natural, rather than forcing the psychopathic villain into it. And then the ending throws us a couple of curve balls that make me question what came before.
Uncanny X-Force #14
Written by Sam Humphries and Art by Phil Briones
What is the sign of a really good comic? You reach the end and get upset because the comic finished. It is a lot easier to do this with a digital comic rather than a physical one because you do not have a tactile reference as to when the comic is ending, but this one really caught me out. I actually thought the arc was ending here, but it might well go on for another two issues or more now.
There is nothing I do not like about this comic. Puck is back with avengeance in full quipping style, Bishop is crazy, Storm is electrocuting everything in sight and Psylocke is getting herself into all manner of trouble. The only downside I can find is that I think I know how this is going to play out. They keep bashing the point of a ‘psychic needs to die’ to stop the revenants taking over, and somehow I think Cassandra just gave us one.
Superior Carnage #5
Written by Kevin Shinick and Art by Stephen Segovia and Dan Mexia
The art in this series has been fantastic, especially considering all the tangles and appendages that Carnage produces. It must be nightmare drawing a comic where the lead character turns into a bundle of tentacles at will and the protagonist is a man covered in a fine spider-web pattern all over his costume. This issue does not paint Spider-Man in the best light, but it is in keeping with his recent character flaws in his own comic. It makes you question who the real villain in the story was.
Carnage changes bodies so often in this comic that I struggle to work out who he was at times and it lessens a lot of the impact of what carnage is having him be stopped so readily. It reminds me of what they have to do to Superman each time they want to stop him. Sound pulse for carnage is his kryptonite and it feels like we have been here before.
Written by Matt Fraction and Lee Allred with Art by Michael Allred
I am going to say this only once, I am clearly stupid. I have no idea what is going on in this comic. I have read the previous 13 issues and I am still none the wiser. This is why I hate time shifting dimension hopping comics because just end up so confusing.
This comic is wordy as anything I have read in a long time and is so reminiscent of 60’s comics, both in the art and the panel layout. There are no large panels with each page divided into at least 4 panes and it feels archaic because of that. This is not for me, I am sure some people love this and they are welcome to it.
Uncanny Avengers #14
Written by Rick Remender and Art by Steve McNiven
Previously I have complained that this series was a bit all over the place with no real focus around Infinity and all the other series this team appears in. Well now I am complaining that they just took continuity and blew it apart. I assume that something is going to change at the last minute in the next issue, but otherwise, this comic is goodbye and goodnight for a whole bunch of very old characters.
The art is amazing in this comic, the scripting is solid and the story has finally found its feet. My only question is if there are going to be any Avengers left to finish off the story, or is this going to become another Wolverine solo comic?
Wolverine and the X-Men #38
Written by Jason Aaron and art by Pepe Larraz
They cancelled this series just when it seems to be getting good! Never mind there are plenty of X-men books to carry this on in, not to mention this is not going for a few months yet. There is nothing better for me that a good X-team in a school and this book nails that. The interactions between the staff and the pupils is fantastic, especially when the adults are more immature than the children.
There is a massive fallout from Battle of the Atom that needed to be dealt with in the form of S.H.I.E.L.D. keeping and manufacturing new sentinels, which was bound to wind up Wolverine. The funny thing is, he is not the only one to discover their location. It looks like Logan and Summers might be teaming up again, even if they do not want to.
Written by Jonathan Hickman and Art by Jim Cheung and Dustin Weaver
I really enjoyed this series despite the rather weak middle, but it does lose something when this finishes only to advertise the next crossover starting immediately afterwards. In fact, the next crossover has already started this week in Avengers Assemble. Could we not have given us some breathing space to understand what has happened here in this comic? It makes it feel like nothing that happened here was important enough to need sorting out if we can move straight into the next big thing.
This resolves everything that has been happening in the Infinity storyline except the incursions from another dimension; that is likely to be resolved in the other book out this week, the one that closes off the series, New Avengers #12. The art in this book is superb as always, the method of victory was unexpected and what Tony decides to do with his new wall art is up to him.