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Thoughts About the Boughts 8/15/12


The Best There Is
Jan 4, 2005
Reaction score
I don't participate in these things anymore because I'm usually not up to the current week in my reading. I usually take a week out of the month to read certain books for work, then I get all my Marvels in two massive dumps during the month, and in general am behind in all my reading so what I'm reading is usually from a week or more prior. This week I happened to read a couple from this week I bought while at work, and there's one in particular that stood out...for a bad reason.

ADVENTURES OF A COMIC CON GIRL #1 - Sounded interesting in the descriptions, so I picked it up. BIG MISTAKE. This book was a tremendous waste of money. I'm guessing it was supposed to be funny, but it wasn't. Here's an indication of how it was: the opening pages feature the main character crapping herself the morning after a wild after party. Then it pretty much continued along those lines from there. Add to the fact that the art wasn't that great beyond the cover. Folks, unless you like the lowest denominator in humor, avoid this book and it's remaining two issues. There are better books to spend your $4 on.
So I just got my books and I'm pleased with my haul. After the large double shippings ahead I decided to pass on X-Factor. I might come back for it another day if I decide to continue with the series but until I firmly decide what I'm doing I didn't want to spend money on it.

Now, on to what I did buy.

Batwoman 12 - One issue past the last arc and already it's loads better. Williams III's art was a big bonus but I think it really comes down to the fact that it's straight forward and not jumping around in time. This is a book on the cutting block but I'm hoping to stick it out. We'll see though. That said, Bloody Mary is a very interesting new villain now that we have a better idea of who she is. The Wonder Woman scenes felt a bit out of place but it's just a set up sequence. I think one of my biggest interests in the series is what will become of Firebird. I'm glad the issue picked up after the lackluster, continuity screwy last arc. Now I'm looking forward to the series.

Nightwing #12 - I wasn't as thrilled with this arc as the previous two but it was short so that's no biggie. I don't really have much to say about it. It was decent, the art was good, overall a nice issue. Nothing that'll stick with me but I don't regret buying it.

Green Lantern #12 - This book is easily my favorite DC title right now. I've enjoyed the book since Rebirth, though it lagged after Blackest Night, but the relaunch really jumped it into high gear and this newest arc has been very interesting. And now that I know you don't need to read all the Lantern books for the Third Army, I'm excited to read it. I think Black Hand is a great villain, the art was good, and overall it's just a great title.

Uncanny X-Force #29 - Another good issue, though I'm glad they're leaving the future and getting back to the main story. This issue focuses on Betsy trying to kill herself and nearly succeeding, resulting in an afterlife conversation with Warren before being brought back. It was very well done. I don't think this new run was as good as the story that ended with the Dark Angel Saga but it has the potential to achieve it. Here's hoping.

Avengers #29 - I was hesitant to buy this issue because I dropped Avengers after the first AvX tie-in issue, also because it's a retelling of a previous W&tXM issue. But after I skimmed it I saw why it was told and I was intrigued. Honestly, I enjoyed the issue a great deal. Between this and the previous issue of New Avengers I think Bendis is really getting into Xavier's head and giving a good portrayal of him... and that really gives me hope for the X-Line. We saw a few issues of W&tXM ago a battle involving Rachel and some X-Men versus Wolverine, Captain America, and other Avengers. In this issue we learned that the Avengers attacked with the intent of taking out one of their top telepaths, Rachel Grey. Their plan was to have Xavier stop her. He played along but finally stopped, ticked at the whole situation, and wiped the memory of his being there from their minds. That will lead wonderfully into the New Avengers Illuminati issue and into his small involvement in the AvX mini. And lets be honest, it's been a long time since we've seen Xavier cut loose in a mental battle and own it, not since Carey's Legacy issues staring him.

I love that Xavier is really starting to get a role in this event and I'm hoping he plays a major part in the final of the story. Very good.

Avengers vs X-Men 10 - The first half of this event was some of the worst story I've read but the second half has really picked up. I found this issue to be very enjoyable. I liked the tactic of sicking Shao Lao the dragon on Cyclops and I liked how young the dragon was because that goes with the egg beginning to hatch toward the end of Immortal Iron Fist. I liked seeing such a minor character as the Thunderer getting involved and doing decently well with his plan to use the dragon, which resulted in Hope gaining the abilities of the dragon and being able to hurt Cyclops. I like seeing Emma going nuts and making other X-Men bowing to her, as it gives me hope of her going the way of the dodo. And I also love that Magneto is mentally calling Xavier to arms, doing exactly what I wanted while reading Avengers and bringing Xavier deeper into the storyline.

I went from looking forward to every issue of this event just to be closer to it ending, to eagerly looking forward to the next issue to see what happens. I once called this event the worst story I've read with the exception of OMD, and the beginning of the series still deserves that, but overall it's so far jumped way ahead of that label. I won't give it a ranking among the major events until it concludes but I'm eager to see the next two issues and figure out how it all ends. Hopefully Emma dies and Cyclops is redeamed in some way.

Best and Worst of the Week

Best: Avengers 29 - This issue really surprised me but I think Bendis' handling of Xavier really won it for me. Being that I'm not a big fan of this title, the fact that Bendis' handling of the X-Men in this issue won me over gives me hope for the future of the X-Line post-AvX. His including Xavier in so many of his issues also tells me that he may intend to put Xavier into a larger role post AvX. Man, I hope I'm right.

Worst: Nightwing - It wasn't bad by any means but just didn't do much for me. Hopefully the next arc will be better.
A short week but overall a very good week collectively. Spoilers abound!


SAGA #6: Image Comic's latest hit creator owned series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples has now published their first trade paperback's worth of issues. In order to maintain the high quality art and scripts, the series will go on "hiatus" until November to give Staples more time to draw as well as Image's trade paperback department time to sell the first trade for under ten dollars. This may be a drag for fans of this exceptional science fiction opera, but it may be a boon towards attracting new readers. Already the book sells in the Top 50 and has seen multiple printings of every issue.

This issue does what every climax of an arc in a serial should do; close the book on some subplots while opening the doors to others. Alana, Marko, their half-breed daughter Hazel and their ghostly companion Izabel finally manage to escape into space on a living space ship which mixes mysticism with science in a truly imaginative manner. Elsewhere, Prince Robot IV winds up earning the vengeance of the deadly mercenary called "The Will" though happenstance and a quick trigger finger as both sides continue to chase after the leads. Sacrifices are made, curse words are uttered with abandon and there is even a surprise visit from someone's in-laws! The cast has extended since the first issue but it hasn't become too large too quickly, which is a bane to many sci-fi epics. As always, Staples artwork from pencils to colors to her own penmanship for Hazel's narration is a wonder to behold and makes every page a pleasure.

In summary, reviewing this series becomes difficult because it is more of an experience than something which can always be summarized or boiled down to formula. It features two terrific creators at the top of their game and in sync with each other producing something which feels both familiar yet innovative at the same time. Alana and Marko truly embody the TV Trope known as a "Battle Couple" with neither one of them being diminished to make the other appear strong. Prince Robot IV has qualities which match that of a robot as well as his own quirks. "The Will" naturally is the anti-hero poised to steal most scenes he is in, and generally succeeds. Izabel is one of few "alien ghosts" who exists in fiction yet automatically has made her presence felt, even if she often seems to exist mostly to vital exposition. The design work for the various species, uniforms, and landscapes also serve to embellish the world SAGA has created. And as such, it is a series which is best to be enjoyed by reading it oneself, not reading others reviews of it.

Thus, one can see the hiatus as a chance to catch up those you know on this series, and convince them to add one of the best new comic series around to their pull lists.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #691: Longtime series writer Dan Slott and tertiary regular artist Giuseppe Camuncoli wrap up "No Turning Back", which is the first major story in years to focus on one of the web-slinger's oldest enemies, the Lizard. While the character's appearance in a film was the editorial catalyst for this arc, Slott has continued to mine ore from older stories as well as mine his own imagination for newer ones. The twist of this arc is that despite being "cured" of physically being the Lizard, the monster's personality remained in Dr. Curt Connors' form. While "Lizard-as-Connors" manipulated the capture of Morbius and mutated many of the scientists at Horizon labs into "lizard people", he was unable to revert to a reptilian form himself. In this issue, a weary and enraged Spider-Man has yet another showdown with the Lizard, who is back in his reptile from but is now ironically embittered upon losing human sensation. The battle itself is quite thrilling and the conclusion opens the doors for yet more stories with this antagonist. Meanwhile, a subplot with the Kingpin and Hobgoblin continues to rise to the fore. Camuncoli is aided by penciler Mario Del Pennino and there are two inkers in tow, but the colors by Frank D'Armata manage to make all of the art read together smoothly. The Lizard gets another new design and it may be one which other artists will either struggle with or will make look generic. The march towards the 700th issue continues and the next arc has likely gotten more publicity - Spider-Man gets a sidekick - but this arc has been a simple but effective take on a Spidey/Lizard tale with a few twists and a lot of action.

AVENGERS ACADEMY #35: Christos Gage and frequent guest artist Andrea Di Vito continue onward with this latest arc, "FINAL EXAM", which is easily the best story this title has had in at least six months, if not all year. Subplots from the past several years of the book are coming to the fore in such a flourish that one wonders if Gage expected this to be his last arc on the book before ultimately learning Marvel didn't intend to cancel it (yet). This issue also matches that of AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE, which was the last fourth tier Avengers title which Gage wrote, which ended in 2010 and laid a lot of the ground work for this series. Picking up from the last issue, corrupt superhuman tycoon Jeremy Briggs has removed the powers of the Academy cadets and offered them either a place with his new organization as he seeks to remove the powers of most older superheroes to prevent "event" style carnage to cities, or a furnished prison cell. Some characters appear to accept this offer while others refuse and find themselves on the run and struggling to survive. This story includes all of the founding cadets (including Veil) but also some of the newer additions such as White Tiger, Lightspeed, and X-23 who all manage to weave themselves in well here. Briggs remains an effective young antagonist to the cadets (as well as a solid new villain created for them), although Gage makes the same error that Joe Casey made with Manchester Black in his famous story in ACTION COMICS #775 from 2001. Much like Black, Briggs makes a lot of harsh but fair points about the ineffectiveness of "modern superheroes" and the status quo. Yet in order to avoid a complicated resolution, Briggs turns out to be a fanatic himself and surround himself with completely immoral lunatics and thus his points are diminished. Briggs hates the "hero vs. villain paradigm" yet winds up falling into it himself; irony or simplicity? Despite this, all of the characters have moments of heart or courage in this issue and it effectively builds the tension for the next two issues, as it should. It has been too long since this title had an arc as awesome and "important" as this.

AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #10: Here's a riddle; is a mess still a mess when it's less of a mess? The answer may be debatable as Ed Brubaker scripts this issue (with the usual five writers credited to the story) and Adam Kubert continues on the pencils with John Dell on colors and two inkers in tow. Picking up from the last issue, the "Phoenix Five" are now "The Phoenix Two" with the power hosted by Cyclops and Emma Frost. While the latter has become a psychic fascist upon the island of Utopia - it is never a good sign when Magneto has the moral high ground in an argument - Cyclops tracks down Hope, the "MacGuffin That Walks Like A Woman", to K'un L'un. Various Avengers and immortal dragons are blasted until Hope does what she does best; absorb the right power set to win by sheer plot convenience. The Watcher does what he always does, which is appear as a spectator when an editor insists something is important, even when it's forgotten in two years time. Cyclops flies off to have a final showdown with Frost in order to absorb her power while Hope learns that while she may be able to absorb any power she wants, she has yet to absorb a personality besides "stock teenage girl". Scarlet Witch's role in the story continues to be as a living weapon against the Phoenix hosts, which is terribly hypocritical as at the start of the year the Avengers and X-Men came to blows over who considered her a worse menace in THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE. Much like the last issue, this stretch of the series has become "less terrible" than prior issues to the point of reaching mediocrity. However, this isn't true quality at all. Comics this week such as SAGA and DAREDEVIL are true examples of this. AVX remains a marketing gimmick with staples, and it is written as such. Highlights are almost by accident.

DARK AVENGERS #179: Jeff Parker and Kev Walker continue on with the title formerly known as Thunderbolts, with Gabriel Hernandez Walta aboard as co-artist. Once more, the casts of characters remain split in two eras. The escaped T-Bolts are not in the far future which is essentially a rip off of JUDGE DREDD with some future clone of Luke Cage in the titular role (or as "Boss Cage") of being the only metropolis' stern defender against mutant freaks. In the present, the Dark Avengers continue their struggle to liberate a metahuman for FACT and oppose Sultan Magus, who is the super powered dictator of a made up Middle East country. The two are on a collision course as it seems this time the T-Bolts do have a clear path home while Cage's superiors have given them and his program up for lost and have gone over his head. This issue was enjoyable but it remains cluttered and was the lessor of many good books which came out this week. The attempt to give Clor/Ragnorak some sort of angst is commendable.
I'm really enjoying A vs. X. I wasn't such a fan of the earlier issues; but, I think things have really picked up since the five got their powers. Many times, a Marvel event starts out better than it ends; but, this is one of the rare cases where the story gets better as it goes along.

I read my second Year One book (even though I own them all); and, I just might have to go read those first four books. Ant-Man and Hulk were both decent reads. They go beyond just presenting an origin. Plus, they aren't trying to make the book into a new Ultimate world. (Like with DC's versions.) Some things are changed, like Betty is a whole lot more bad ass than in those early Hulk issues. My biggest complaint is that I haven't been blown away by anything I've read.

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