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I BOUGHT you into this world, I'll THOUGHT you out of it - 07/18/12


2016 NFL Pick Em CHAMP
Jul 19, 2007
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SPOILERS welcome!

I got my stuff early for once. So far I've read AvX #8 and Avengers Academy #33. I'm gonna get to Captain (Carol) Marvel later today I hope.

AvX was better. There's been some debate about this being worse or just as bad as last years event Fear Itself. The thing with Fear, was that it progressively got worse. That's not the case so much with AvX. It can be bad, ok or slightly improved. This issue was slightly improved. The dialogue was by Bendis this time around with art by Adam Kubert. I'm not a huge supporter of BMB but I'll give him credit, this issue was good. The dialogue was not the typical cringe worthy kind we get from him. This was some of the better stuff I've seen from him lately so credit where blah blah blah. Kubert was pretty good, his style took me back to late 90's/early 2000's Marvel when he was doing X-Men, so that's a nice treat. I've always enjoyed his art.

There's not much too complain about. Namor goes on a rampage vs Wakanda and meets resistance from the Avengers who are able to drive the PF from him. Actually it was mostly Wanda's doing but the team beat him down pretty good when it was 15-1, even the jobber boy of the year, Thor, got in a few solid licks. I guess some could complain about Black Panther being a little blood thirsty but it's his homeland, so it didn't bother me. Of course, Namor's little attack was not Phoenix 5 approved so Namor became the Jermaine Jackson of the group and the PF left him and was absorbed by the other 4 that arrived to stop the insanity.

The book had some solid moments like Xavier getting a little more aggressive with Scott and Vision catching a burned out Wanda as she fell from the sky after taking out Jermaine. Like I said, not a lot to complain about this time out from me. The overall saga's ending coming up is very much looked forward too though...

Avengers Academy was a great issue. Gage has forever done a great job with event tie-ins and this is no exception. I know a few people have felt this time around has been just OK but I think the Sentinel/Juston story was well done at the heart of a chaotic situation outside the Academy's walls.

Emma came across as a total ***t as she destroyed the Sentinel leading to a sad tender moment between Juston and his friend while Pym put the blame on himself since he's the vet around there. X-23 threatens to kill Emma the next time she sees her, which is more ironic that foreshadowing. It's all undone in the matter of 10 literal minutes as Quicksilver becomes the hero by quickly swapping out the machines CPU before Emma destroyed him. Earlier in the book, Pietro shunned Finesse's plea for assistance and his change of heart led to a reconciliation between the 2 of them.

1 page later the Sentinel is as good as new and everybody's happy. Except for Pym and Tigra who relay to the group that the AvX war could spell the end of the school. This sets up the next arc Final Exam where it could possibly lead to the end of this title or possible relaunching with Marvel NOW. Despite that possibility, this book has accomplished a lot to be considered a success and it's evident with this month's issue.
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I was too lazy/busy marathoning TV shows last week to buy comics, so I have 2 weeks' worth of comics for this one.

Avengers Assemble #5: Dropped. If Bendis' awkward handling of the Guardians of the Galaxy weren't enough (they're basically portrayed as intergalactic thugs instead of a strike team of idealistic but hardened warriors), the page where Captain f***ing America uses the Hulk as an intimidation tactic certainly was. Throw in the Black Widow and Hawkeye making out for no apparent reason despite both of them having significant others already and the whole thing is just 100% the wrong tone for my tastes. But I managed to stick with the series for 5 issues even though it was Bendis writing many characters I have a pretty strong attachment to, which I think has to be some kind of personal record for me. Yay! :)
I'm dropping Avengers Assemble after the first arc. It does nothing for me.
I might drop it myself. I'm sticking with it for Thanos and the Guardians but it's not wowing me.

Now, on to my reviews:

Avengers vs. X-Men 8 - Despite all of my criticisms of this event I did sorta like last issue and this one took it up a notch. I still don't like the idea of what's going on but within the confines of the story we're given this issue was probably the best of the event so far. The scene with Xavier really sold it for me. The attack on Wakanda was good and ultimately it was just an enjoyable issue. Bendis did a great job and I've always been a huge fan of Kubert. Hopefully this is a late upswing for this event.

Uncanny X-Men 15 - This is such a fun side-story to the AvX event. I loved seeing the Sinister/Phoenix 5 battle and the mind games that Sinister had prepared for them. I thought Gillen could have done better with the Gambit bombs. Before Sinister tweeked him Gambit could charge organic matter by sight. Imagine how powerful an army of Gambits like that would have been, moreso than Gambits exploding like a bomb. Otherwise though it was just fun. The fact that it took all of the Avengers to take down Namor in AvX made this issue more fun. Sinister's kingdom took down 3 of the Phoenix 5 and made two others flee.

So yeah, great issue. Can't wait for the next one to see how it ends. Oh, and weaponized cows was great :D :up:

X-Factor 240 - For all intents and purposes this was an excellent issue. The story itself was really cool and it helped the reader see the world how Layla sees it. It was definately fascinating. It falls apart for me though when you think about how her powers work. First off, her mutant powers are to heal. She gained the additional powers of knowing the future through being given her older self's memories and recorded memories of the next 80 or so years. The problem for me comes in the alternate futures that she can see. She should only see what happened leading to the future that she was stuck in. There is no reason whatsoever that she should see multiple futures that change... none. The excuse given is that when she broke her visions to save Guido it it altered things but that honestly just doesn't work for me. I find it forced. Ultimately, it's as I said way back when: Her mutant power should have simply been the butterfly effect.
That would have made sense and her power as David shows it here would have made tons of sense.

And I don't know, something about Guido and Monet creeps me out. I don't know why, they just do. I don't like the idea of them together. I feel like the age is far too great. And I just don't care for Guido how he's written now since being risen from the dead. Part of his appeal was his kindness and sense of humor. With both of those gone he's just a two-dimensional thug and it's annoying.

I'm giving this book a lot more leniency than I give others due to my love of the characters but that's really starting to wear thin. I figure I'll give it until at least October (since it promises to cut the cast down by half) but we'll see how long after that it lasts for me.

Captain Marvel 1 - I had ZERO interest in this book. I had no desire to buy it. So why did I? Simply put, I miss Cosmic Marvel. I don't know what's to come for this story or if it goes very cosmic at all but skimming it at the shop gave me that nostalgic feel for the days of Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy. So I gave it a shot.

I'll start by saying I've never cared one way or the other for Carol. I didn't hate her, didn't love her... she was just there. This issue, however, really caught my interest though. I think her costume helps, as I always hated her old one. The story was good and I'm curious where it goes. I've not been paying attention to the solicits for this book so I'm going to check those out but chances are I'll give this book a little while to impress me.

Batwoman 10 - Ultimately I've been waiting for this arc to end and it looks like it (finally) has. The story wasn't bad but the layout of it, jumping back and forth, just took me out of it entirely. I've nearly dropped it several times but I kept reminding myelf that I liked the first arc and Rucka's run so I should wait this one out. I figure I'll give it maybe another 2 or 3 issues and decide then what I'm doing. I do like that it's looking like they're going to do what I was hoping: Jacob training Flamebird after she was cast off by Batwoman and nearly killed. I'm curious where that goes. That's a potential saving grace for the book.

Justice League 10 - This was better than the past issue or two. The Wonder Woman/Green Lantern fight was interesting and the story was decent. I like the motivations revealed behind Graves' attack on the Justice League. I'm very interested in the Trinity War and I'll be sticking with the book until then at least. The cast will be changing around then I believe so I'm curious how it changes. I like the promised friendship between Cyborg and Shazam once he joins the team so I'm curious how that'll play out.

Speaking of Shazam... the back up was good as always. Gary Frank's always been hit or miss for me and he's definately hit on this. The story felt shorter than usual but it's going in places I'm eager to see the conclusion to. I think Billy and Freddy are both very interesting characters, and Mary as well, and I'm very eager to see their stories unfold.

Nightwing 11 - While I've been loving this title this issue itself did little for me. I don't know what it is but it just sorta bored me. A part of it might have been that I noticed Barrows took an issue off and we had a guest artist who was NOWHERE near as good, so that took me out of the story a bit. But still, it was decent. Nothing great but not bad either. Hopefully Barrows will be back next issue and it'll pick back up.

Best and Worst of the Week

Best: Captain Marvel 1 - This was neck and neck with AvX (as odd as that is to type) but ultimately I felt this story was just better. It got me to care about a character that I don't give a crap about, it introduced her in a way that's new reader friendly (especially since I realized while reading that I didn't know her origin or anything about her outside of being Ms. Marvel), and the art was good (reminds me of Yu). The fact that it makes me look forward to a second issue is a sure sign that the comic is off to a good start. Hopefully it'll do well.

Worst: Nightwing 11 - This really was the issue that I enjoyed the least this week, though X-Factor was neck and neck with it. Though it should be noted that this was a good week and none of the comics were really bad.
Those of you planning to drop AVENGERS ASSEMBLE after the first arc might want to hold off there. Bendis is off after it, and there's mumblings that Mark Waid is taking over. I wouldn't be surprised if he sent it into a new direction.
Yeah, if any book should be cancelled and relaunched as something else with Marvel's NOW initiative, it should be that pile of crap. Waid deserves his own Avengers book, not some tarnished piece of garbage or some reclamation project. The Bendis heads will leave when he does and Waid will already have the deck stacked against him when the sales drop.
Just wanted to say how much the Summer of Valiant is living up to it's billing. I love that they've relaunched the entire line; and, all three books have been kept on my pull list. There hasn't been a bad book in the bunch. X-O Manowar #3 came out yesterday; and, we finally get to see the main character in action. By issue's end, he ends up in modern days. Fantastic series!
Those of you planning to drop AVENGERS ASSEMBLE after the first arc might want to hold off there. Bendis is off after it, and there's mumblings that Mark Waid is taking over. I wouldn't be surprised if he sent it into a new direction.
If that's the case, I'll pick it back up when Waid takes over. I'm not a completist, so I have no problem with missing a few issues if they're as bad as Bendis' last few have been.
Also why is Star-Lord alive? How did the Guardians reform?

And this week's Journey into Mystery made me sad :(
Yeah, it was great but also sucky. :csad: Maybe there'll be some kind of follow-up in "Everything Burns," though. Or not. Maybe Loki'll just grow up again pretty early into NOW so it won't make a difference.

The questions about Star-Lord and the Guardians went unanswered, but that didn't bother me too much. I can understand that Bendis is approaching this as a fresh start for new readers and taking the time to explain, "Oh, Star-Lord was dead recently and the Guardians disbanded, but he came back like this and the Guardians re-formed like so," would just kill the momentum of the story. They are, after all, essentially guest stars. That kind of thing should definitely be tackled in their own series, assuming one will start back up in anticipation of the movie. First arc, lay everything out and bridge the gap between The Thanos Imperative and Avengers Assemble.

My guess is that Thanos somehow busted out of the Cancerverse and Star-Lord (and hopefully Nova, but with the newbie around that seems less likely) hitched a ride along with him. I mean, they were all trapped under the same circumstances, so it makes sense that whatever frees one would free the others.
Possibly. I do vaguely recall something like that. But whatever, Drax comes back from the dead like it's going out of style.
Captain Marvel #1: Well, that was quick. I'm done with this series after just one issue for at least as long as it takes for the regular artist to change. Dexter Soy pretty much made this issue unreadable. It's ungodly ugly. Everyone has a vacant, vapid look to them, faces aren't consistent from one panel to the next, anatomy's all over the place, backgrounds are mostly unlined blobs of color. It's shockingly unprofessional for a comic put out by one of the biggest publishers in the industry.

Aside from that, the story centers on Carol's decision to finally take the name "Captain Marvel." Most of it is well done, but the Helen Cobb scene kind of rankled me. I'm all for feminism but, much like Hudlin's cartoonish portrayal of Wakanda as the-greatest-nation-ever-conceived-and-f***-all-you-white-people's-countries-right-in-the-ear, DeConnick goes a little overboard conveying how amazing Cobb is supposed to be. Cobb's a great pilot and Carol's personal hero, fine, but does she have to put real astronauts like John Glenn to shame just because they were men? It's not enough for her to just have been their equal at a time when women weren't afforded the opportunity to truly shine in any field without putting up a hell of a fight? It ended up making its message a bit overbearing, and it had all the subtlety of a hammer.

The rest of the issue was all right, although it didn't reach out and grab me much. But I'm not really a fan of Carol, so I wasn't expecting it to; it'd take a really impressive writer to get me way into a character I'm initially cold on after just an issue or two. Waid did it with Daredevil, but apparently DeConnick's no Mark Waid. I might've given it a few more issues to win me over if not for Soy's art. Unfortunately, his work is so bad that I actually found myself wanting to flip the pages quicker than usual just so I wouldn't have to look at it anymore. So yeah, dropped for now. I'll probably try it out again down the line when Soy's gone and DeConnick's found her footing with Carol a bit more, though.
Drax is the destroyer....he cannot be destroyed. :p
Just say the Cancerverse didn't really let him die. That was kind of its whole point, after all.
A bit late, so let's get the spoilers over with.


BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED #6: This is one of those issues where the Batman Beyond strip is at the end and they have to bend over backwards to include Batman somewhere on the cover. The lead strip this time is the "SUPERMAN BEYOND" strip by J.T. Krul and Howard Porter, which is usually one of the loopier ones of the package. It usually doesn't mesh as well with the Batman Beyond and JLU strips, although it isn't too contradictory. The gist is that the newest Luthor has organized a plan of attack to arm the new version of Intergang with nanobot armor to match the armored "super-cops" of the city just as when a Kryptonite meteor shower is about to pass over earth. Also tipped off is Solomon Grundy, who is a mob boss who wants to take down Superman when he's weakened. All of this relies on Superman himself being far too dumb to have also tracked this incoming meteor shower, especially as this strip bleats about how lonely he is and how he has nothing to do anymore. The result is still a decent action sequence, although the sudden appearance of Batman at the end (and not Terry) is odd. Next up is the JLU strip by Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen which is more gathering of the pieces of Apokolips as everyone waits to deal with the evil serpent that Kobra unleashed. The hook is that Darkseid is blind and mostly powerfuless, so his son Orion now rules Apokolips. His wife is one of Bruce Wayne's many old flings and has an interesting exchange with Terry (or "Not Bruceman"). Finally there's the Beyond strip itself by Adam Beechen and Norm Breyfogle which deals with the invasion of cross-country Jokerz gangs, which is highlighted by Batman taking down one that has taken high school kids hostage. The best segment is when Terry seems to capture the art of bluffing a criminal into releasing a hostage which would do Bruce proud. Overall still a solid package although previous issues have been better.

SAGA #5: The latest creator owned series by writer Brian K. Vaughan, this time united alongside artist Fiona Staples, continues to pick up steam and load every page with both imagination and excitement. Every issue expands this unique space opera world further as well as the characters within it. While the lead characters Marko and Alana (and their daughter Hazel) naturally get a bit to do, this issue also further fleshes out bounty hunters such as The Will as well as the royal android, Prince Robot IV. This issue likely has the most action and violence of the series yet as Marko seems to display his warrior side while Stalk finds herself on the wrong end of an army. Vaughan skillfully manages to provide a mix of characters and emotional beats among his bizarre and unique creations, showing off the chops which allowed him to be a successful TV writer. Staples as always is on point with the artwork, which is both beautiful and savage when it wishes to be. This is probably the first issue without narration from Hazel, but it isn't needed nor missed, and honestly not relying on it exclusively is a wise move. Every issue builds on the last and SAGA continues to be an adult's sci-fi epic without being humorless or bogged in technobabble. DC's GREEN LANTERN franchise could probably learn a lot from it. If one isn't along for the ride already, grab some of Image Comics' endless reprints and catch up before it gets too deep. It is the kind of book that is often difficult to review or describe to someone who hasn't read it, but it is a pleasure to experience every month.

AVENGERS ACADEMY #33: Christos Gage's long term run on this tertiary Avengers title has stumbled a bit in recent months under the weight of the AVENGERS VS. X-MEN crossover. An editorial mandate for sales (which has worked; sales are up), Gage has seemed to struggle to mine as much ore from this crossover as he did with FEAR ITSELF last year. This issue marks a notable upgrade from the last couple through the sheer presence of Quicksilver, who has a memorable cameo as well as role in the climax. The gist is that Emma Frost, who currently possesses 1/5th of the Phoenix Force, has flown around the world seeking to protect mutantkind by destroying all Sentinels left in production. This leaves the unique Sentinel which is friend and protector to Juston Seyfert - star of the SENTINEL mini series from the failed TSUNAMI imprint. The previous issue featured a debate about how real a robot can be as well as whether anyone - mechanical or human - can be judged beyond their "programming". This naturally struck a nerve with X-23 and Finesse, as well as many of the other students who were set up by Norman Osborn to be monsters. This issue sees a climatic battle as well as the aforementioned Quicksilver bit, which is awesome enough to justify the cover price alone. Few characters embody the phrase, "jerk superhero" so well. The artwork by Timothy Green II and Jeff Huet is good although they make certain characters look quite lean. The topic of someone having a Sentinel - a towering death machine of bigotry - as a pet was bound to come up as long as Seyfert was in circulation, so it may as well have happened here. The finale of the issue is also notable as it sets up the closing of the academy as well as the next arc, which promises to be far more notable to the original cast than any in recent memory. Overall AVENGERS ACADEMY remains a great ride with many original and lesser tier characters, but it had hit a bit of a rut for a few months. This issue is a much needed upswing, and hopefully the start of another great run.

AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #8: The issue in which everyone fights Namor, which the cover essentially reveals. Five writers handle the story, but this time the bottle spins to Brian M. Bendis for the script, with Adam Kubert on pencils, John Dell on inks and two colorists. The creative team per issue almost reads like the starting line up for a baseball team, although most sports have more precision than this editorial mess. At the end of the last issue there was a divide with the Phoenix Five, with Emma Frost and Namor believing that Cyclops wasn't being proactive enough with the Avengers and their global naysayers. Thus, Namor launches an attack against Wakanda, a land locked nation that somehow is flooded by the ocean - does that mean Namor has flooded a chunk of Africa too? Or did he merely utilize the lake on one coast of the nation? At any rate, while some Avengers flee to K'un L'un to regroup, all of the Avengers pile on Namor and manage to defeat him, only to see his 5th of the Phoenix Force go into the remaining four. Professor X also has a psychic showdown with Cyclops, which further alludes that he will be the designated corpse of the "event". There are hints and coughs of a better story in the muddle, but the sloppy execution pooches it. A major concern is that this story hinges on a "power corrupts" narrative, but that moral is negated by the fact that those who were given the "corrupting power" don't begin to do anything malicious until provoked by the "heroes", who are eagerly employing Scarlet Witch as a weapon after fretting about her power in AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE. Captain America shouts at one point of the attack on Wakanda, "This is an act of war on innocent people. This proves us right!" If that is an act of war, then what was Cap's own invasion and unprovoked attack on Utopia in their attempt to "detain" (or kidnap, essentially) Hope in earlier issues that sparked this corruption? I thought Cap was supposed to symbolize America's ideals, not its hypocritical stance on international aggression. The secondary problem is earlier issues cemented the long term subplot of Hope being the host for the Phoenix so she could reverse "M-Day" and repower all the mutants, and that detail has been abandoned in favor of the "power corrupts" moral, which is being executed poorly. There are too many cooks in this pot, and their stew is a bubbling mess.

DAREDEVIL #15: Last week at the San Diego Comic Convention, this run of the Man Without Fear got the critical award it deserved when both it (or at least its seventh issue) as well as writer Mark Waid won an Eisner award. It is merely another recognition of the yeoman effort that Waid as well as top notch artists such as Marcos Martin, Paolo Rivera and Chris Samnee (the artist of this issue) have put into every issue. Sales are not at historical highs but are holding steady, with a modest boost from the OMEGA EFFECT crossover with PUNISHER and AVENGING SPIDER-MAN from late spring. This issue continues the climax from that story arc as Daredevil battles for his life with the nation of Latveria, ruled by Dr. Doom.

It is not Doom himself who matches wits against Daredevil, although his presence is felt throughout the work. Instead Doom's will is being carried out by Chancellor Beltane to punish Matt Murdock for interfering with Latveria's business dealings with "Megacrime" cartels in the first place. In the previous issue, Daredevil was magically kidnapped and sought to escape the country despite being zapped with a gas which removed all of his senses, one by one. This issue finds him hopelessly lost in the effects of this gas with nothing but his mind, wits, and his uniquely mutated brain against the resources of an entire kingdom. It seems that Doom does not want Daredevil dead but instead seeks to understand the source of his unique powers, either for personal or mass production use. Since Daredevil's powers do not enhance his physical properties, even fans sometimes forget he is a "super hero" with actual powers beyond a mere compensation for blindness. This issue is all about suspense as Daredevil seeks to plan his ultimate gambit yet; figuring out some way to contact his Avengers allies in a nation that is a deliberate dead zone.

As with most issues, the story is essentially made to showcase the work of the artist. Samnee is a talent best known for THOR: MIGHTY AVENGER but has also done some work on CAPTAIN AMERICA recently. In this issue all of his tools as an artist are on display from work with shadows to colors to panel layouts and facial expressions. Colorist Javier Rodriguez also gets a chance to flex his pigment muscles and does so with gusto. This is a story where Daredevil's mission isn't to defeat an enemy, but outwit them long enough for rescue. The story also gives a new dimension to Daredevil's power, as this entire run has seemed to do.

While many of Marvel's comics are involved in the annual crossover confusion, this is one of the few from Marvel that isn't, and it shines for it. Now that this is officially an Eisner winning run, hopefully Waid's DAREDEVIL will continue to get the sales and acclaim it deserves.

FANTASTIC FOUR #608: Guest artist Giuseppe Camuncoli finishes this two issue tale alongside long time but soon to depart writer Jonathan Hickman revolving around a trip to Wakanda. This story has done much to undo a lot of the damage done to Black Panther over the years and cement his new status quo, without just making T'Challa king again. The only hurdle is Hickman's fellow "architect", Matt Fraction, has killed off T'Challa in his DEFENDERS arc. So which is which? Considering that DEFENDERS involves a machine which can literally resurrect the dead, and it sells almost outside the Top 100 I am more inclined to go with this. This is a simple adventure tale where T'Challa and Reed venture into the bowels of Wakanda and have a meeting with Bast herself while Storm, Shuri, and Sue "imbibe" the heart shaped herb and have a battle with more zombies and ultimately Anubis himself. It leads to a new status quo where Shuri remains the Black Panther of Wakanda, only T'Challa becomes ruler of their dead, gaining all knowledge of prior Panthers. The artwork is exceptional and this has been a simple yet fun diversion as Hickman finishes picking up his pieces before going home.
Congrats to Waid for winning those awards, they were well deserved.
Eisner Award for best writer and for issue #7 when he led the kids from a school for the blind through a snow storm.

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