Comics Reviews 25 September 2013

Image

A quick aside for starters. I mentioned in my previous preview that I thought I’d missed Hawkeye. The Comixology Pull List app had apparently lied, or the issue was missed. Something like that anyway, as there wasn’t an issue on the shelves. Apparently this week’s comic delivery to the UK was short a few titles so this review might be lacking some of my normal entries.

AVENGERS #20
Going into this run of Avengers I knew that Hickman was apparently a good writer who used big ideas and a lot of planning, I had not followed any of his work and didn’t know if there would be any pay off. After 20 issues we’re starting to get some information about what’s been going on not just in the title but in Infinity as a whole.
The attack on the Builder ships in last issue continue here, with Captain Marvel and the other kidnapped Avengers breaking free. The alien worlds deal with Builder rule and prepare to strike back or be taken over. Gladiator’s all up for fighting back, but the maths alone makes the Kree bend the knee (well, not the Supreme Intelligence for whom legs would be a pipe dream). Finally Ex Nihlo and Abyss, who have been frenemies of the Avengers for this whole run, meet more Builders. This is where we get some information about why they’re not building, and why Ex Nihlo is special. Apparently all the Ex Nihilettes don’t have their versions of Abyss any more and can’t build life any more. I’m not sure why yet, but this seems to have driven them into action and that’s why they’re destroying everything they can’t subjugate.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #6
When we last left the Guardians of the Galaxy, Gamora was fighting Angela on the moon, Peter Quill confronting Thanos and the rest just watching the lunar battle. Tony Stark dons Quill’s costume and joins the fray alongside Groot and Rocket Racoon, leading to all sorts of low gravity hijinks. The Watcher is watching, not because he’s into chick-fights but because Angela really shouldn’t be here. I assume that’s because she’s from another comic company and the Watcher has comics awareness as well as cosmic awareness.
Groot is blown apart and I’m guessing that’s a thing which happens fairly normally for him, Tony’s “fish out of water” routine is still good fun. Now we’re exactly half way through Infinity (the aforementioned Avengers issue was the eighth out of sixteen ‘core’ issues in the crossover), we get an odd Infinity prelude. Quill talks to Thanos about the reality quake he experienced thanks to the Age of Ultron event, and Thanos reveals that he’s pretty much done with Earth. All the minds of the planet have been doing terrible things and their time is coming. So not much help for Peter. Still, he rejoins the group just in time and after finally putting Angela down for the count, they question The Watcher and get shrugged off by him. Far too often The Watcher gets oddly chatty so seeing him at first panicked and then just reeling off his official spiel about his duties makes a nice change to recent depictions.

REVIVAL #14
Revival continues to be brilliantly creepy. After seeing one of the Revivers combust in the hospital, we see a little more about what could affect them. The strange spirits who have been lurking in the woods make their move against Em and Jordan, giving off warped bits of dialogue like they’ve been listening to people, or maybe remembering things from their past lives. Jordan is a sinister little girl whose near-normalcy makes her creepy moments even worse, especially when she wants to die at the hands of the spirits. Compared to previous issues which have darted around the cast, this issue spends the majority with Em chasing Jordan who’s playing/waiting for the spirits. And then there’s the grotesque last page, just in case nothing else in the series had traumatised you yet.

SEX CRIMINALS #1
Matt Fraction’s been killing lately with Hawkeye, where he shows he can deliver both comedy and drama without either getting in the way of the other. Now he’s turning his hand to some creator-owned comedy for Image Comics. Satellite Sam is sexy in a seedy way, but this dials up the fun, and the weirdness.
The elevator pitch for Sex Criminals is basically that it’s about a couple who stop time when they have sex, and use that power to commit crimes. Fairly simple. It’s a sex comedy with some genre mechanics in it. The thing is, it’s actually handled really well.
The story is told from the perspective of Suzie, narrating back and forth through time, often appearing as her present self in the background of panels set in the past. It’s an interesting mechanic not entirely dissimilar from Scarlet’s talking to the reader in her eponymous series. Suzie’s dad dies, her mum drinks and she’s confused when she has an orgasm and stops time. Only the ‘dirty girls’ are seen to be aware of sex and everyone else in her life avoids the subject like the plague. Without anything else to do, she finds out that not everyone freezes time and starts to look into the mechanics of her power.
In time we meet Jon, who has the same power. The issue is bookended with the pair committing a robbery and I’m sure as the series goes on we’ll see how they got there from where they were in the past. Despite being exposition-heavy, the issue flows brilliantly with the voice of Suzie and the flow of the narrative. The art is expressive with the present Suzie often giving a look to the reader expressing her take on the many daft actions of her young self. The colour is vivid and interesting even in dark times, and the effects for freezing time are a good indicator that everything’s changed in a medium like comic art where the artwork’s already pretty static.

ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #27
Taskmaster has taken Spider-Man and Spider-Woman to task, delivering a sound beating to the pair and Bombshell who does what few superheroes in training have done and runs away. Taskmaster is a foreboding enemy, with the ability to take on the powers of anyone near him (similar to the Composite Man in the Legion of Super-Heroes). Normally when a supervillain copies hero’s powers there’s the obvious thing of training, but against these teenage heroes a trained mercenary wins pretty much hands down. The unprofessional chaos of the teen heroes which still include Cloak & Dagger on the sidelines, is fun to read. DC often defend their recent attitudes towards their heroes by saying that they still have a lot to learn, but this comic shows what that would really look like. I’m kind of surprised reading this, that Peter Parker never had this kind of bungling squad of aspiring heroes to team up with instead of the X-Men and the Ultimates. Roxxon are still the ominous enemy sending people out and patiently waiting for the next move, although who wouldn’t target the biggest, most obviously evil skyscraper in the city?

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #36 (BATTLE OF THE ATOM #5)
Emma Frost and Jean Grey of the future are fighting and it’s… kind of anti-climatic to look at. There is a precedent for this sort of battle if you recall Professor X fighting the Shadow King back in the long, long ago. Fortunately there’s a lot of fighting and angst to cover the time while a psychic battle we can’t initially see rages.
Young Cyclops and the present day Cyclops are confronted by Wolverine and his team, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love Wolverine’s appearance and calling out of the Scott Summerses despite preferring Cyclops out of the two. Unlike Avengers Vs X-Men each side in this conflict is understandable and each side gains and loses members each issue.
Emma Frost wants to be rid of Future Jean Grey/Xorn (who is the Jean of the past, but in the future, as I guessed). Cyclops wants Young Cyclops and Young Jean not to have to live through all the madness he’s gone through and end up a terrorist and dead, respectively. Magik, Young Beast and Young Iceman are both trying to figure out what the potentially eeeeevil truth behind the future X-Men is. Kitty and Rachel want the kids to be in control of their own destiny. Wolverine and the future X-Men want to send the kids back, but there’s lying from all sides in this issue.
Magik’s found something in the future and it looks an awful lot like the recent Wolverine & The X-Men future we saw, and less terrible than the future X-Men say. Deadpool makes as much of an impassioned speech as he can and that’s all apparently a lie. But then Young Jean Grey saw the future and changed her mind. I’ve no idea who’s playing who, what the truth is or why any of this is happening, but it’s still quite exciting and will demand a reread as soon as the story’s over. After enough time of getting used to Nick Spencer’s gloriously messy visuals, it’s weird having Giuseppe Camuncoli taking over for the issue but for the crossover it’s probably for the best.

WONDER WOMAN #23.2 / FIRST BORN #1
It was only in the solicitation of this issue that I had a name to give to Wonder Woman’s current nemesis. It feels like odd timing given that she’s defeated Zeus’ First Born for now, but I guess this is what happens in Villain’s Month.
Apollo>>> seeks out information on his nameless older brother and gets a secret origin thanks to three oracles. Brian Azzarello’s use of language in 100 Bullets was superb and goes back and forth between interesting and jarring as the oracles narrate the First Born’s rise and fall. One of the few children Zeus actually had with his wife, the First Born was destined to rule Olympus so like all good Greek Myths, he tried to undo this horrible fate by casting his son down on Earth to be eaten by animals. The animals befriended First Born who did the nastiest impression of Mowgli ever by going all savage and slaughtering any humans in his way. He became more and more powerful, pretty much daring Zeus to confront him. Zeus of course doesn’t bother until the last minute where he erases all trace of the First Born’s name and deeds from the world. The story is really good at emulating the style of Greek Myths and the way characters act, the way prophecy and tragedy are handled. Aco’s art fits how the artist choices have been for most of the series so far unlike the Cheetah #1 from earlier this month. Wonder Woman feels separated from the rest of The New 52 and the other representations of Wonder Woman that I’ve seen in these last two years and that does seem like a positive.

YOUNG AVENGERS #10
Each issue of Young Avengers has presented interesting narrative styles to consume, literally so for Mother, the ongoing villain of Young Avengers as she eats the narration box explaining what’s going on in her dimension. We don’t see much of the team, but instead catch up with Mother, Leah and the two Young Avengers in their orbit. In Mother’s meta-dimension, she has three encounters with Loki, Patriot and Leah. Each of these meetings reveals a bit more of the mysteries. Loki has (kind of) been working with Mother but only as far as it suits his ends, and he’s freaked out by Patriot. Patriot himself is a riddle no one knows the answer to, and is weirdly present both in the Mother-verse and in a kind of self-help group for super-powered ex-lovers of Young Avengers. Then Leah offers her help to Mother and takes the perspective over as she’s ‘helping’ Teddy with her group of Evil (?) Exes. There are three Marvel Boy ex-girlfriends, reminding me that Marvel Boy is a Morrison series I’ve still yet to read, Patriot who is creeping everyone else, and Ultimate Nullifier. UN is a brilliantly awful collection of Marvel references through a douchey dudebro filter. Apparently Miss America left him in the ‘relationship negative zone’. So brilliant, so awful. Gillen and McKelvie continue to shine in everything they do in this comic, even the letters page.

BOOK OF THE WEEK
This is a difficult week to pick favourites. Young Avengers and the latest part of Battle of the Atom are both high contenders. My book of the week has to be Sex Criminals #1 though, which presents an interesting sex comedy which manages to be funny but not crude. The book is interestingly drawn and narrated, and I can’t wait to see what the next issue brings.

A quick aside for starters. I mentioned in my previous preview that I thought I’d missed Hawkeye. The Comixology Pull List app had apparently lied, or the issue was missed. Something like that anyway, as there wasn’t an issue on the shelves. Apparently this week’s comic delivery to the UK was short a few titles so this review might be lacking some of my normal entries.

AVENGERS #20
Going into this run of Avengers I knew that Hickman was apparently a good writer who used big ideas and a lot of planning, I had not followed any of his work and didn’t know if there would be any pay off. After 20 issues we’re starting to get some information about what’s been going on not just in the title but in Infinity as a whole.
The attack on the Builder ships in last issue continue here, with Captain Marvel and the other kidnapped Avengers breaking free. The alien worlds deal with Builder rule and prepare to strike back or be taken over. Gladiator’s all up for fighting back, but the maths alone makes the Kree bend the knee (well, not the Supreme Intelligence for whom legs would be a pipe dream). Finally Ex Nihlo and Abyss, who have been frenemies of the Avengers for this whole run, meet more Builders. This is where we get some information about why they’re not building, and why Ex Nihlo is special. Apparently all the Ex Nihilettes don’t have their versions of Abyss any more and can’t build life any more. I’m not sure why yet, but this seems to have driven them into action and that’s why they’re destroying everything they can’t subjugate.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #6
When we last left the Guardians of the Galaxy, Gamora was fighting Angela on the moon, Peter Quill confronting Thanos and the rest just watching the lunar battle. Tony Stark dons Quill’s costume and joins the fray alongside Groot and Rocket Racoon, leading to all sorts of low gravity hijinks. The Watcher is watching, not because he’s into chick-fights but because Angela really shouldn’t be here. I assume that’s because she’s from another comic company and the Watcher has comics awareness as well as cosmic awareness.
Groot is blown apart and I’m guessing that’s a thing which happens fairly normally for him, Tony’s “fish out of water” routine is still good fun. Now we’re exactly half way through Infinity (the aforementioned Avengers issue was the eighth out of sixteen ‘core’ issues in the crossover), we get an odd Infinity prelude. Quill talks to Thanos about the reality quake he experienced thanks to the Age of Ultron event, and Thanos reveals that he’s pretty much done with Earth. All the minds of the planet have been doing terrible things and their time is coming. So not much help for Peter. Still, he rejoins the group just in time and after finally putting Angela down for the count, they question The Watcher and get shrugged off by him. Far too often The Watcher gets oddly chatty so seeing him at first panicked and then just reeling off his official spiel about his duties makes a nice change to recent depictions.

REVIVAL #14
Revival continues to be brilliantly creepy. After seeing one of the Revivers combust in the hospital, we see a little more about what could affect them. The strange spirits who have been lurking in the woods make their move against Em and Jordan, giving off warped bits of dialogue like they’ve been listening to people, or maybe remembering things from their past lives. Jordan is a sinister little girl whose near-normalcy makes her creepy moments even worse, especially when she wants to die at the hands of the spirits. Compared to previous issues which have darted around the cast, this issue spends the majority with Em chasing Jordan who’s playing/waiting for the spirits. And then there’s the grotesque last page, just in case nothing else in the series had traumatised you yet.

SEX CRIMINALS #1
Matt Fraction’s been killing lately with Hawkeye, where he shows he can deliver both comedy and drama without either getting in the way of the other. Now he’s turning his hand to some creator-owned comedy for Image Comics. Satellite Sam is sexy in a seedy way, but this dials up the fun, and the weirdness.
The elevator pitch for Sex Criminals is basically that it’s about a couple who stop time when they have sex, and use that power to commit crimes. Fairly simple. It’s a sex comedy with some genre mechanics in it. The thing is, it’s actually handled really well.
The story is told from the perspective of Suzie, narrating back and forth through time, often appearing as her present self in the background of panels set in the past. It’s an interesting mechanic not entirely dissimilar from Scarlet’s talking to the reader in her eponymous series. Suzie’s dad dies, her mum drinks and she’s confused when she has an orgasm and stops time. Only the ‘dirty girls’ are seen to be aware of sex and everyone else in her life avoids the subject like the plague. Without anything else to do, she finds out that not everyone freezes time and starts to look into the mechanics of her power.
In time we meet Jon, who has the same power. The issue is bookended with the pair committing a robbery and I’m sure as the series goes on we’ll see how they got there from where they were in the past. Despite being exposition-heavy, the issue flows brilliantly with the voice of Suzie and the flow of the narrative. The art is expressive with the present Suzie often giving a look to the reader expressing her take on the many daft actions of her young self. The colour is vivid and interesting even in dark times, and the effects for freezing time are a good indicator that everything’s changed in a medium like comic art where the artwork’s already pretty static.

ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #27
Taskmaster has taken Spider-Man and Spider-Woman to task, delivering a sound beating to the pair and Bombshell who does what few superheroes in training have done and runs away. Taskmaster is a foreboding enemy, with the ability to take on the powers of anyone near him (similar to the Composite Man in the Legion of Super-Heroes). Normally when a supervillain copies hero’s powers there’s the obvious thing of training, but against these teenage heroes a trained mercenary wins pretty much hands down. The unprofessional chaos of the teen heroes which still include Cloak & Dagger on the sidelines, is fun to read. DC often defend their recent attitudes towards their heroes by saying that they still have a lot to learn, but this comic shows what that would really look like. I’m kind of surprised reading this, that Peter Parker never had this kind of bungling squad of aspiring heroes to team up with instead of the X-Men and the Ultimates. Roxxon are still the ominous enemy sending people out and patiently waiting for the next move, although who wouldn’t target the biggest, most obviously evil skyscraper in the city?

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #36 (BATTLE OF THE ATOM #5)
Emma Frost and Jean Grey of the future are fighting and it’s… kind of anti-climatic to look at. There is a precedent for this sort of battle if you recall Professor X fighting the Shadow King back in the long, long ago. Fortunately there’s a lot of fighting and angst to cover the time while a psychic battle we can’t initially see rages.
Young Cyclops and the present day Cyclops are confronted by Wolverine and his team, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love Wolverine’s appearance and calling out of the Scott Summerses despite preferring Cyclops out of the two. Unlike Avengers Vs X-Men each side in this conflict is understandable and each side gains and loses members each issue.
Emma Frost wants to be rid of Future Jean Grey/Xorn (who is the Jean of the past, but in the future, as I guessed). Cyclops wants Young Cyclops and Young Jean not to have to live through all the madness he’s gone through and end up a terrorist and dead, respectively. Magik, Young Beast and Young Iceman are both trying to figure out what the potentially eeeeevil truth behind the future X-Men is. Kitty and Rachel want the kids to be in control of their own destiny. Wolverine and the future X-Men want to send the kids back, but there’s lying from all sides in this issue.
Magik’s found something in the future and it looks an awful lot like the recent Wolverine & The X-Men future we saw, and less terrible than the future X-Men say. Deadpool makes as much of an impassioned speech as he can and that’s all apparently a lie. But then Young Jean Grey saw the future and changed her mind. I’ve no idea who’s playing who, what the truth is or why any of this is happening, but it’s still quite exciting and will demand a reread as soon as the story’s over. After enough time of getting used to Nick Spencer’s gloriously messy visuals, it’s weird having Giuseppe Camuncoli taking over for the issue but for the crossover it’s probably for the best.

WONDER WOMAN #23.2 / FIRST BORN #1
It was only in the solicitation of this issue that I had a name to give to Wonder Woman’s current nemesis. It feels like odd timing given that she’s defeated Zeus’ First Born for now, but I guess this is what happens in Villain’s Month.
Apollo>>> seeks out information on his nameless older brother and gets a secret origin thanks to three oracles. Brian Azzarello’s use of language in 100 Bullets was superb and goes back and forth between interesting and jarring as the oracles narrate the First Born’s rise and fall. One of the few children Zeus actually had with his wife, the First Born was destined to rule Olympus so like all good Greek Myths, he tried to undo this horrible fate by casting his son down on Earth to be eaten by animals. The animals befriended First Born who did the nastiest impression of Mowgli ever by going all savage and slaughtering any humans in his way. He became more and more powerful, pretty much daring Zeus to confront him. Zeus of course doesn’t bother until the last minute where he erases all trace of the First Born’s name and deeds from the world. The story is really good at emulating the style of Greek Myths and the way characters act, the way prophecy and tragedy are handled. Aco’s art fits how the artist choices have been for most of the series so far unlike the Cheetah #1 from earlier this month. Wonder Woman feels separated from the rest of The New 52 and the other representations of Wonder Woman that I’ve seen in these last two years and that does seem like a positive.

YOUNG AVENGERS #10
Each issue of Young Avengers has presented interesting narrative styles to consume, literally so for Mother, the ongoing villain of Young Avengers as she eats the narration box explaining what’s going on in her dimension. We don’t see much of the team, but instead catch up with Mother, Leah and the two Young Avengers in their orbit. In Mother’s meta-dimension, she has three encounters with Loki, Patriot and Leah. Each of these meetings reveals a bit more of the mysteries. Loki has (kind of) been working with Mother but only as far as it suits his ends, and he’s freaked out by Patriot. Patriot himself is a riddle no one knows the answer to, and is weirdly present both in the Mother-verse and in a kind of self-help group for super-powered ex-lovers of Young Avengers. Then Leah offers her help to Mother and takes the perspective over as she’s ‘helping’ Teddy with her group of Evil (?) Exes. There are three Marvel Boy ex-girlfriends, reminding me that Marvel Boy is a Morrison series I’ve still yet to read, Patriot who is creeping everyone else, and Ultimate Nullifier. UN is a brilliantly awful collection of Marvel references through a douchey dudebro filter. Apparently Miss America left him in the ‘relationship negative zone’. So brilliant, so awful. Gillen and McKelvie continue to shine in everything they do in this comic, even the letters page.

BOOK OF THE WEEK
This is a difficult week to pick favourites. Young Avengers and the latest part of Battle of the Atom are both high contenders. My book of the week has to be Sex Criminals #1 though, which presents an interesting sex comedy which manages to be funny but not crude. The book is interestingly drawn and narrated, and I can’t wait to see what the next issue brings.

This entry was posted in General and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s