Wolverine #72

June 2, 2009
you want some a THIS?

you want some a THIS?

Wolverine #72

Mark Millar
Steve McNiven

Some kind of delay, or publishing schedule over-lap or something like that, has caused this to be the last chapter of this story which will appear in the regular Wolverine title. I think they are shuffling it off to a double sized special edition in order to get this book back in line with main continuity. This issue sees Old Man Logan coming to the end of his long, messed up journey. And, of course, things are still getting worse and worse.
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Avengers Free Comic Book Day

May 6, 2009
Some assembly required

Some assembly required

The Avengers Free Comic Book Day

Brian Bendis
Jim Cheung

This past Saturday , coinciding with the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, was Free Comic Book Day 2009. One of Marvel’s offerings was Avengers. This year it is a completely original comic, without any of the usual re-printed or re-purposed materials we have seen in previous years. The comic is simply titled “The Avengers” without specifying which adjective-designated team will actually star in the story.
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The New Avengers #52

April 27, 2009

Eye spy.

Eye spy.

The New Avengers #52

Brian Bendis
Billy Tan
Chris Bachalo

Marvel’s Dark Reign flows into this “Sorcerer Quest”* story line. The characters are all still clearly under the influence of Dark Reign’s new status quo, but the world is moving on. Regardless of what conditions restrain them, there will always be work for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. In this case, it is an unbalance in Marvel’s often overlooked magical sub-verse. The dimension needs a new Sorcerer Supreme and all the major magic players are out to get their hooks into whomever that will be.

What worked:
This book really feels like part of a larger universe. Doctor Strange is not an Avenger, but he is the Avengers circle. He was a member recently, and he knows these people. So, he is more than a guest star, but less than a cast member. He really feels like a friend who came by because he was in a moment of need. It makes sense with the logic of this book’s universe. These people know eachother and can count on eachother.
The “call to action” in this story comes about unlike you will find in any other super-hero comic. There is no alarm bell, or shouting of orders. Rather, a bunch of friends sit around a (rather large) table and talk about the problem. It less about the immediate peril, and more about pride, humility, and loyalty.
If you just count the number of pages and panels where nothing seems to be happening, you would say this was a fairly boring comic book. But, when you read what is actually going on in those scenes, the story is never slow or dull. Those scenes have meaning because you care about the characters. But they are also, strangely, exactly what makes you care about them in the first place.
Luke Cage and Peter Parker explaining simple morality and team ethics to the high-and-mighty Dr. Strange makes for a really nice scene.
Billy Tan is really stepping up for the art on these issues. And though i love Chris Bachalo’s work, his action can just get confusing. Which brings us to…

What did not work:
All of the action in this issue was in the demonic/mystical sections, which were done by the amazingly talented Mr. Bachalo. And though I really do love his work for its energy and beauty…he forces it. He will push a shot in too close, or exploe an effect too far and a panel or two will simply be lost.
Though I do trust this arc to pick up the pace in the next issue or two, it is off to a rather slow start.

*My name for it.


Uncanny X-Men #508

April 18, 2009

ex-women

ex-women


Uncanny X-Men #508
Matt Fraction
Greg Land

The Fraction/Brubaker run on Marvel’s flagship X-title continues. Messiah Complex and Manifest Destiny have left the X-Men with a strange new status-quo, but strange has always been the status quo for them.

What worked: Fraction’s fast paced story telling is wonderful. Even in very talky moments, the story just clips along. He introduces each character with a quick intro caption that tell sthe name, the powers, and gives and adjective or two to describe them. No, I don’t know every character from the X-Men’s checkered history who shows up in the book, but thanks to these captions I know enough to get what is going on in the scene. Sure, I still have some questions, but I trust that anything I NEED to know will be told when the time comes for me to know it.
In the past, Greg Land’s artwork has looked a little too static, too posed. Simply, the drawings looked a little too much like the photos they were referencing. I don’t know what changed, but that quality is gone. Now all we have a lush, elegant, detailed renderings that look as vibrant as any comic on the stands today.

What did not work: Though there were some great reveals in this chapter of the story, it feels like it might be moving just a tad too slowly. Or, maybe it is just that I don’t quite know enough about what is going on to sink the hook in.
Also, there is a scene where a seemingly shocking revelation is made to s certain character, but the next time we see him, he has not reacted to it at all, and seems to be busy on an unrelated errand. Nothing terribly unrealistic, but it does take some of the weight from the conflict when even the characters it is affecting don’t really let it interrupt their schedules.