Friday, June 25, 2010

New Comics - Week of June 23, 2010

Reviews by Paul Steven Brown

Cultural Wormhole takes a look at Avengers #2, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3, Justice League: Generation Lost #4, Wolverine: Origins #49, Wolverine: Weapon X #14, X-Factor #206, and X-Men: Legacy #237.

Avengers #2

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: John Romita Jr. w/ Klaus Janson & Dean White
Published by Marvel Comics

Between the three major Avenger relaunches (Avengers, New Avengers, and Secret Avengers - I haven't read Avengers Academy), the flagship book appears to be the weakest. I can't help but wonder, and with a note of sadness, that this is due to John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson's art. I've been an admirer of JRJR's pencils for almost as long as I've been reading comics. He was the regular artist on Uncanny X-Men when I began reading the series way back in 1986. So what's the problem?

It just looks rushed. Maybe Romita is exploring a looser style. Could it be Janson? He's always had a loose inking style that can make a penciler's lines look a little rougher. For some reason, the art just isn't working for me. But is that the only problem? Would I enjoy Avengers that much more with another art team?

The story hasn't really grabbed me, to tell you the truth. Bendis wheeled out Kang last issue, a great, traditional Avengers villain suitable for a relaunch that promises to have a more 'classic' feel, but he was just used as a spectre of warning. This issue sports a big throwdown with Wonder Man, which had a slight set up last issue, but still feels disconnected to main story. Also, unlike the camaraderie and distinct personalities of the New Avengers cast, this team (which has three of the same members) just seems... there, and the script feels like it's going through the motions. I'm giving this one more issue.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3

Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Yanick Paquette w/ Michel Lacombe & Nathan Fairbairn
Published by DC Comics

We've had caveman Bruce Wayne, pilgrim Bruce Wayne, and now, pirate Bruce Wayne. Next month we should see him as a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker. It's all your typical Grant Morrison weirdness, but it has been entertainly weird. We continue to get the set up for all the clues laid out in the last arc in 'Batman and Robin', plus a little development on the JLA end of things. Apparently Bruce's return is dangerous to the timeline and could destroy the universe... or something.

Yanick Paquette is the artist for this issue. I've warmed up to his style over the last year and a half. It's very distinct, clean, and the storytelling is usually pretty clear. Oh, and he can draw some cool looking pirates. He is only given one page of women to draw and, remarkably enough, he keeps the arched backs, pouty faces, and plunging necklines to a minimum.

Justice League: Generation Lost #4

Writers: Judd Winick & Keith Giffen
Art: Joe Bennett w/ Jack Jadson
Published by DC Comics

I said two weeks ago that I would give Justice League: Generation Lost one more issue to win me back. While the fourth issue is not a homerun, it does warrant a stay of execution. At least it doesn't suffer from the repetitiveness of the past two chapters, which is a definite plus. Also, we actually get some development with Max Lord. He's spent the better part of the series as a looming figure of antagonism. Here we get to see a personal downside to his recent resurrection.

We're also introduced to a new Rocket Red. While I'm not the biggest fan of the "Bwa-Ha-Ha-ness" of the old Justice League International, Red's wacky pro-communism rants were pretty funny. And, as he points out, all this group needs is a Green Lantern and you've got a real JLI line up.

Things are moving in the right direction, so I'm giving JL:GL one more issue.

Wolverine: Origins #49

Writer: Daniel Way
Art: Will Conrad w/ Andy Troy
Published by Marvel Comics

The end is almost here. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Just one more issue and we can kiss the nightmare that has been Wolverine: Origins good-bye.

Okay, it hasn't been all bad. Just the Romulus stuff... which dominated almost the entire series. However, there has been the occasional good issue or arc. The issues with Omega Red that were drawn by Scot Eaton last year were pretty darn good. The done-in-one where Logan bares his soul to Nightcrawler before the crossover with Dark Wolverine had some really good character work. In other words, Daniel Way can write a decent Wolverine book, but all this retconning nonsense just didn't really do it for me.

At least Way is going out by writing two issues that play more to his strengths. We get Wolverine out in the woods confronting his demons and thinking about his future. Sure the whole Romulus and Daken material is the impetus of this, but it hangs more on the fringes of the story.

Wolverine: Weapon X #14

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Ron Garney w/ Jason Keith & Matt Milla
Published by Marvel Comics

Jason Aaron makes a good creative choice this issue and most of it is written from the perspective of one of the men that was turned into a Deathlok and sent back from the future to present day. It has injected this arc, which has basically been "Wolverine vs. Terminators", with a much needed shot of adrenaline. It's some solid character work and it sets up the last page perfectly. Unfortunately, between this particular Deathlok and Miranda (both the present and future one), plus the New Avengers, Logan has felt like a guest star in his own book for the last three months. Still, Ron Garney's art has been really solid, so that's enough to bring be back for another month.

X-Factor #206

Writer: Peter David
Art: Valentine De Landro w/ Pat Davidson & Jeromy Cox
Published by Marvel Comics

Oh, continuity; why must you mess with my head? I'm not talking about references from two decades ago type of continuity. No, no, no. I'm referring to the sort of timeline hiccup within a series that has been scripted by the same writer for the last five years. Not only that, but the continuity head-scratching is due to an issue that came out about six months ago.

In the X-Factor: Nation X one-shot, all nine members of X-Factor were accounted for and visiting the X-Men on Utopia, presumably pre-Second Coming and after their move back to New York. In X-Factor #205 there were a few references to the events of that issue. In other words, it was past tense. However, if I am to understand the events of this issue, this is the first time Terry has been back with the team since Detroit, though she was in the one-shot. Also, Layla and Shatterstar have been off in Europe for the last couple of months. It all doesn't jive very well continuity-wise, which is strange since all of these issues have been written by Peter David. Their his dominos to set up and knock down.

This may be me being a nitpicker, but it's pretty distracting and enough to pull me out of an otherwise decent issue. Now that the gang is all together again, I can hopefully leave this annoyance behind and move forward unperturbed.

X-Men: Legacy #237

Writer: Mike Carey
Art: Greg Land w/ Jay Leisten & Justin Ponsor
Published by Marvel Comics

Okay, I'm ready for Second Coming to wrap up now. Not that it hasn't been entertaining, but I'm far more interested in what Mike Carey has planned for X-Men: Legacy in the coming months. Also, I want to get Greg Land off of one of my favorite series, like yesterday. Land's grosses moment this month is Domino's "oh-face" expression whilst yelling in the midst of combat. I hate it when he does that. Hope looks particularly horrible when she throws a tantrum near the issue's conclusion.

Cypher has been used to great effect during this crossover. He convinced Warlock to take down all of the soldiers in the Right's base. He acquired some important intel on Bastion's machinations. He plays a very important role during X-Force's mission in the future in this issue. Not bad for a guy that's been dead and out of publication for over twenty years. I guess you were just ahead of your time Dougie.


  1. Domino's "o-face" sparked humorous "water-cooler conversation" at the office the next day.

    I will not repeat it (that would be unladylike. I, sir, am a classy broad), but it did involve some... ummm... "sound effects" and rude gestures.

  2. I just hope that after SC this will be the last that we see of Land on an X-Book for a long while.