RE: Leinil Francis Yu. I agree his art has gone downhill. Any lingering interest I had in SE went out the window when I saw how bad it looked! And the $3.99 pricetag. When did all 'big events' automatically cost more?
When did all 'big events' automatically cost more?
When it became obvious that they could charge more and folk would happily pay it.
I've got to say that I have no enthusiasm for either of the "Bi Two"'s "events" this year - I just wish folk would concentrate on producing really good comics, rather than plotting these massive epics every year.
The concluding part of KOTOR's involvement in the "Vector" crossover, and it becomes clear that the A-thread of this particular story is mostly concerned with setting up how the plot-device is going to work in the other sections of "Vector", and how they are going to manage to connect separate comics series across a thousand and some years of time. It was fairly obvious last issue how they were going to pull of the latter, and there are no surprises here on that front. In honesty I felt like the ending was a little anticlimatic, as it was pretty much just a case of waiting for the obvious dominoes to fall with little in the way of unexpected developments. It wasn't terrible by any means, just a little bit flat. Fortunately the B-thread was much more interesting - our main lead bonding a little with the guest Jedi, and making the choice to start taking his destiny into his hands. It is a bit of a change of tone for the book, but it feels like it grows naturally out of the story and could be a shot in the arm for the title.
All told, a bit of a mixed bag. The crossover doesn't really make me want to follow it through into "Dark Times" but its downstream effects on the KOTOR cast look like they have potential.
X-Men Divided We Stand 2 Better than the first issue. Beast story was good, Forge was good, Havok was just depressing.
X-Men Legacy 211 More of the outside world than of recent - Charles tries to seek his half brother but at the same time there's Hellfire club stuff happening and one of the missing X-Men shows up
X-Factor 31 Rounding off the Arcade story.... Shows of what use X-Factor can be now
X-Factor The Quick and The Dead Quicksilver. How to redeem the character step 1. Very good. Make Quicksilver back into a hero and I'll be happy. Did I have him on my potential X-Men team list ? Should of done.
Avengers Initiative 13 New trainees. Hmmm. I'm becoming unsure about this title, as the cast seems a bit revolving door at the moment. Who's left from the first issue ? War Machine. Yellowjacket (who's a Skrull) Is that it ?
Mighty Avengers 13 Fury goes recruiting. Good issue (albeit one yet again set in the past with no Avengers in it) showing Fury putting together his secret team.
Mighty Avengers 14 More past background stuff, this time around the Sentry which shows us at least how long Jarvis has been a Skrull. But halfway through it crashes into the present and into .....
Secret Invasion 2 which is just really one big battle. Not much of a plot advancement from last issue bar some Skrulls on the ship dying, one of them convincing one of our heroes that they're real and a shed load more Skrulls showing up. You could of almost skipped this issue, bought the next one and found not much had changed
Captain America 38 The good stuff. Felt right. New Cap and the Falcon go into action together. You find out who the Skrull's Steve is (no real surprise) Faustus' brainwashing at the end is good because it bring something Bucky did to possibly haunt him when he meets this "Steve"
Young Avengers 5 of 6: Stature First up - nice logo for Stature. I'm not sure if they've established what the Young Avengers are doing in the ruins of Avengers Mansion - and where they are looks from the art to be in a better shape than when we last saw the place. Interesting examination of Cassie's issues towards her family, and serves as a bridge to get her back in with her friends.
New Avengers 41 Half of the issue is the current big fight in the Savage land. Half is Flashback showing Ka-Zar and Shanna encountering the Skrulls. Dunno about you but Shanna spent a sizeable portion of the issue waving an "I am a Skrull" banner around !
Uncanny X-Men 498 More of the X-Men feeling like a good title. Bad stuff in Russia. Up pop our missing members in San Fransisco. And a revelation as to who the goddess is.
X-Men Legacy 212 And another good X-Men story this week. More "revelations" from Xavier's childhood tied into his road trip - now accompanied by Gambit.
Giant Size Astonishing X-Men 1 Probably the best issue of AXM. 3 for 3 this week from the X books. It's rather spoilt by being the latest comic book ever and the ending having been spoiled by Uncanny a while back
All Star Superman 11 First read suggests it wasn't up to the wonder that was the last issue, but hey any Morrison Quitely is good stuff. luthor escapes the chair and puts his perfectly organised plan into effect.
Legion of Superheroes#42: After the careful juggling of sub-plots over the last few issues it would appear that it is now time to cut loose with some all-out Superhero action again. Very good stuff - mostly a fight scene, which in good superhero tradition looks like a lost cause until almost the last minute, but a well-written fight scene which makes good use of the characters who show up to the engagement. There's also some decent dialogue (an icy exchange between Saturn Girl and Ultra Boy is a personal favourite) and some time to attend to ongoing sub-plots - including addressing a character beat for Invisible Kid that has been left dangling since the beginning of the last creative teams run. Good stuff.
Dan Dare#6: Channelling the spirit of British war movies very strongly this issue. Complete with a stand very much in the tradition of "Zulu". Garth Ennis also gives Dan a couple of moments of superb presence, where the strength of the character in terms of moral fibre really shines. There is also a scene that in five written words, manages to be more touching than the majority of comics angst ever is. Good stuff, and clearly setting up to go for an all-out ending to the series next issue. This isn't entirely Hampson's Dan Dare, but it is a fitting reinvention of the setting.
Knights of the Old Republic#29:
A little bit caper-movie ish today - as our heroes set out to break into a secret repository on a primitive planet in order to obtain evidence to expose a conspiracy within the Jedi Order. Played very much with the light touch this series has I am prepared to excuse the fact that it hews very closely to the template for these sorts of things - right down to the old "it's always in the getting out that things go wrong". "Star Wars" is by definition far from inventive in terms of its storytelling - when it works it works because of the verve and energy that it has. It does feel like this series is starting to pick up a sense of a positive direction. Whilst previously the characters were focussed on just getting out of their current scrapes they are starting to be proactive and have plans that they are trying to carry through. It is a change in style that I think will keep the book on its feet nicely. (And how can I resist a cast of characters whose idea of sneaking into a repository of Sith artefacts is for two of their number to be zipped into an aliens laundry basket and pretend to be an artefact for delivery).
Final Crisis #1 - a rare misstep from Grant Morrison. Looks lovely but story is completely flat and you have characters who have interacted with new gods talking about them as if they had only ever heard of them.
Giant Sized Astonishing X-Men #1 - very pretty and decently written but the fact it's taken so long to come out and be done is pathetic.
King Sized Hulk#1 - three short tales written by Jeph Loeb, with beautiful art by Art Adams, Frank Cho and Hulk-Legend Herb Trimpe. Also Hulk 180 and 181 with Wendigo and some character who will never amount to anything....Wolvereen or something. Only thing that sticks out is the random issue of the Avengers that's lumped in which has no ties to the Hulk that I can see whatsoever.
Franklin Richards: Not So Secret Invasion. Charming stuff.
Captain Britain & MI13 - solid start to the series and I'm hopeful of good things. Cornell has managed to capture Pete Wisdom's voice which was a relief. Hopefully as this series goes on we might get to find out what happened to Meggan.
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 - excellent, excellent stuff. Rocket Racoon, Warlock, The Church of Universal Truth, The Matriarch and Mister Cosmo. Awesome.
FCBD Gumby - absolutely genius, inventive and probably the best FCBD issue since last year's FCBD Gumby.
FCBD Transformers: Animated - screencap comic, decent enough but the caps are waay to dark.
FCBD X-Men - the story would work if it didn't have the oh we are set in wales let's have a mine in it. Also, the traceomatic Greg Land annoys the fuck out of me. Use a photoref if you need it but stop fucking tracing photos non-stop you lazy bastard.
According to the paper Gordon Brown is going to turn up in a forthcoming issue of Captain Britain when he discovers that half of his party are in fact aliens in disguise.
Yeah, the Metro were asleep on the job there. He is in fact in #1 of "Captain Britain and MI13" for about a page. (Although why they were surprised by this escapes me - it's a comic that features an alien invasion of Britain and the national response to said. Did they expect that the Prime Minister wouldn't feature at some point?)
Invincible Iron Man#2: Hmmmm... I can't quite put my finger on it but I didn't enjoy this anywhere near as much as the first issue for some reason. I'm not sure what it is - perhaps it is Tony's rather easy deployment of lethal force against the leader of the A.I.M splinter group (Superheroes shouldn't kill - it is a mindset thing for me), or perhaps it is the fact that some of the Tony/Pepper banter just seems to fall flat this issue. It was a bit of a Curate's Egg to be honest. I did like a lot of the portrayal of Stark - a man whose mind works so far ahead that his attention is only half on the fight against A.I.M whilst he thinks of tweaks for his armour ("I need not to have giant rockets strapped to my feet anymore" is, in context, perhaps the line of the issue). The developing plot with Ezekiel Stane is a quite good - relevant and contemporary whilst still feeling like it is a story that Iron Man belongs in. But some how the whole is less than the sum of its parts. It is Matt Fraction, so when it is good it is very good. I'm prepared to cut it some slack, this issue might just be a bit of a blip.
Doctor Who#1 (IDW):
I presume that this is a reprinting - it has a cover date of January, and the cover that is on it isn't shown in the traditional IDW cover-line up inside. I picked this up out of curiosity and.... it is ok I guess. Gary Russell's story feels rather lightweight and by the numbers. There is a villian/monster, the Doctor and Martha get to run about a bit, the Doctor delivers some witty banter and then draws himself up to be all threatening and "moral arbiter of the universe".... It is all very much by the numbers. (It probably doesn't help that the inclusion of a monster from the TV series feels more like "these worked on screen, he'll do" than anything else).The art from Nick Roche is decent, and suited to this "running about being clever" version of the Doctor - it is just on the correct side of caricature and it has a nice looseness and energy to it. It can't make up for the fact that the story feels so fluffy - like a "Milky Way" or something, you bite down and it feels like there is nothing there. There's nothing wrong with it, it is perfectly competent - just uninspired, and the art alone isn't enough to make it worth the £3 I spent on it. If this gets a trade it might consider picking it up, but I'm not so worried anymore about missing out on the individual issues.
Eternals #1: more of the same, but less good and too decompressed. Not going to bother with the next issue.
Captain Britain and MI13 #2: I thought it a big improvement on the fluctuating quality of issue 1. I'm sure I'd be even more impressed with it if I had any idea about the backstory of England's mystical realm next door, but prior knowledge is not needed to understand what's going on.
"I used to think it was a terrible thing that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'what if life were fair, and all of the terrible things that happen to us came because we really deserved them?' Now I take great comfort in the general unfairness and hostility of the universe." — Marcus Cole, Babylon 5 — A Late Delivery from Avalon
Captain Britain and MI13#2: As Nick said, a step-up from #1. It has a good sense of pace, with a sense of things happening and the situation spiralling hopelessly out of control. I think kicking the book off In Media Res like this was probably a good move, it allows it to get its set-up done on the run and in passing. Like Nick I was a bit clueless about some of the specifics of a lot of the mystical stuff. Much of it I suspect is recent additions from things like the last Pete Wisdom series which I'm familiar with. But everything seems clear from context, and there are plenty of fairly base-line elements to use for orientation. (The Skrulls reaction to the Green Knight seemed wonderfully apt). Decent stuff. Not earth-shattering but very competently done.
NewUniversal:Shockfront#1 and #2: I got halfway through the last mini-series of Warren Ellis' remake of the Marvels New Universe and sort of drifted away, so I wasn't sure what to expect from this. In honesty the answer seems to be not much. From what I can gather from these two issues there hasn't been that much that has happened to the characters since the first two issues of the first series. These two issues are also fairly slow, and by the end of them it feels like we are were we should have been by the middle of the last six issues. I have a lot of time for Warren Ellis as a writer - he is capable of turning out some really interesting ideas - but this is not up to snuff for my money. These two issues couldn't move more slowly if they tried - if it is possible to go beyond "decompression" ("explosive decompression" perhaps) then these comics are it. Won't be bothering with the rest of the series, and it has killed my interest in picking up the trade of the previous mini.
Legion of Superheroes in the 31st Century#15: I think the plot synopsis did it for me - Bouncing Boy and Triplicate Girl go into a VR gameworld, where they meet Bart "Impulse" Allan - the fastest boy alive - and team up with him to investigate who is destabilising the virtual world. I like young Bart Allan - always did, I think he is a great character - so teaming him up with the animated series versions of two of my favourite Legionnaires.... Call me sold at the pitch stage. Fortunately the resulting comic is decent. Another slice of fun, all-ages, superheroics. Put it this way, I've re-read this already whereas the NewUniversal issues are headed straight for the recycling.
Secret Invasion: Who do you trust ? I had this on my list thinking it was the handbook, but it's 5 short stories about Secret Invasion. The Captain Marvel tale reads like brian Read's been told to turn round the ending of the Captain marvel limited series cos he got it wrong. The Brand tale weren't bad, teh Wondy/Beast story didn't read right, the Marvel Boy story seemed a bit .... not connected to the main Secret invasion but on the other hand you're gonna get kree somewhere and it was about time a certain character came back. Agents of Atlas was fun. So.... not the worst compilation comic I've ever read.
Last Defenders 4 of 6 Kyle gets into all sorts of trouble for putting together an unauthorised team and looks like jacking it in. But then Daimien shows up .... Enjoyable, but the Gerber stuff in Essential 2 and 3 is far better.
Secret Invasion 3 More knock about fun. The big revelation this issue is reserved for the last page - helped by the emphasis in the Captain Marvel LS that the sleeper agents sometimes don't know who they are. So is he or not ?
X-Factor 32 X-Factor leg it from NY. So so
Ex Machina 37 More fun with the rude graffiti writer.
Small lot for 3 weeks without getting comics. This week is huge though - 8 titles, 4 Avengers, 2 X Books, Cap and Iron Fist !
Immortal Iron Fist 16 Sadly one of the greatest runs I've ever read has come to an end. But my it's a good way to go even if we don't get some mad beat up th villains fest. Danny's making some changes after finding out the origin of the family fortune and we get to see what that means. We get to see the living weapons - researching the 8th city - with a wierd moment from Bride of Nine Spiders that just seems odd at the time but takes on greater significance as the issue moves forward and Danny stumbles on a secret of the Iron Fists. My goodness, this is really good stuff. I'm sorry to see Fraction & Brubaker go, and I think follow up writer (Duane something beginging with S who writes Cable) has got a very tough act to follow. F/B have left him lots of stuff to work with - the living weapon's search for the 8th city, Danny's discovery which is linked to Steel Serpernt's task...... I'd like to have seen where the present team would have gone with it. As it is I'm worried that it nmay all go horribly wrong from here.
Oh and Aja does a complete issue on art. Woo ! But he's gone too now.