Review: X-Factor #259

July 18, 2013

X-Factor_Vol_1_259

“The End of X-Factor” continues to feel rushed yet be full of good ideas.

SPOILERS

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One Shot 10: X-Factor #13

January 6, 2012

Variant cover to X-Factor #13

Peter David’s X-Factor, like a lot of ensemble superhero books (particularly books relating to the X-Men franchise), is half insane sci-fi action storytelling and half soap opera.  But very, very few writers can blend those two tones as well as David, or with as much humor and heart.  Like any good soap opera, David’s book is filled with sex, rejection, betrayal, brain-washing, sex, kidnapping and dopplegangers.  Unlike many soap operas, though, David occasionally took the time to stop and catch his breath, lest we forget that these are characters rather than interchangeable plot-driving devices.

Look, for example, at “Re-X-Aminations”, the thirteenth issue of his X-Factor relaunch.  After two solid arcs introducing us to many of the core conflicts that would drive the series, X-Factor #13 steps back a bit and asks us this: how has this affected the characters and their relationships to one another?  The answer, gleaned from a series of interviews with superheroic shrink Doc Samson, is illuminating.

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One Shot Update

June 2, 2011

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Hello again, read/RANT fans! Cal here. I know updates have been few and far between around here, but now that I FINALLY have a) an internet connection (well… kind of) and b) the ability to purchase comics, I hope to start posting a little more regularly.

I’m still working on a way to revamp The Unread Canon, to move the focus away from ongoing story-arcs and towards a more coherent look at some ‘classic’ books, but for now, I hope you folks enjoyed my One Shot colums (from the number of readers I got on the Astro City and Animal Man issues, I’d imagine you did). I’m going to ease back in, and the first part of that will involve starting up my looks at standalone issues of comics, some great, some merely okay, once again.

This, hopefully, is what my schedule will look like for One Shot this year…

6/12/11 – The Unwritten #5, “How the Whale Became”
7/10/11 – All-Star Superman #10, “Neverending”
8/14/11 – X-Factor #13, “Re-X-Aminations”
9/11/11 – Ex Machina #40, “Ruthless”
10/09/11 – Tales of the Slayers, “Righteous”
11/13/11 – Daytripper #8, “47″

As ever, any suggestions for future issues are more than welcome, and hopefully I’ll get more writing coming up soon!

I apologize that life has pulled so many of us away from the site, particularly given how exciting things have gotten with DC’s recent announcement – more on that later.

Glad to be back!

- Cal Cleary


RANT!: X-Factor #50

November 7, 2009

Coming out of retirement because this shit just blew my mind. What is the origin of Layla Miller’s power?

xfactor50-2

Of course! Her future self came back in time to blast her with all her future memories!! DUH!! That explains everything!!

…but wait, that’s not all.

xfactor50-1

#### THAT.


Foilball’s Review Roundup #58 – The Give-Away-Pile!

October 23, 2008

So, my new books came in yesterday and I’ve already started digging in… but wait! I still got some reviews to do. Well, I got some books to bash, actually. This, from now on, is what we will call “The Give-Away-Pile!”:

1985 #5
Air #2
Dream War #6
Foolkiller: White Angels #3
I Kill Giants #3
Moon Knight #22
Powers #30
Spawn #183
Stormwatch: Post Earth Division #14
Wildcats #3
X-Men: Legacy #216
X-Factor #35
Zero-G #1

Most of these books weren’t horrible, like Zero-G or Powers, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t all boring. Some of them were super-boring.

• Memo to 1985: go back to being good! Oh, too late. Only one issue left.
• Okay, Air—you’re done! No more Air for me.
• That goes for all things Foolkiller and anything written by that writer as well (his name escapes me at the moment and it would seem poor form to Google it just to bash him, yes?).
I Kill Giants? YOU KILL MY BRAIN!
Dream War made it so I never trust Wildstorm again. Speaking of…
• I’m dropping all my Wildstorm books (Stormwatch, Wildcats, Authority), which is super-sad because I really loved the story that set-up the new “World’s End” status quo. LAME.
• Somehow X-Factor is STILL holding on… why?!?
• So, issue 30 of Powers was the last issue of this volume? Thank you, Jesus! Now I have an excuse to drop this book!
Moon Knight, we’re totally breaking up after this arc is over. You know this. I told you many times. Don’t cry. Stop crying!!!
• Which brings me to…

X-Men: Legacy #216 – I had planned to write a RANT/review about this comic, but time passed and most of my anger subsided and then the 3.0 patch was released and I disappeared into “The World” for a week and a half and I forgot all about it. Until now.

Why did I hate it so much? OMFG!!! How many times are the X-Men writers gonna go to the “This Is Your Life Charlie Brown” well?!?!?! SERIOUSLY!!! Stop all the mind-control memory lane bullshit!!! Tired! Tiring! Sick! Over!

Whew… better now. That’s it for last shipment’s books, look for the new reviews to be posted soon. Okay, gotta write up an awesomely wordy review of the latest Captain America and head over to the DCBS site to adjust my order—I gotta cut all these shitty books!


ORIGIN STORIES: Marvel Evolution – X-Factor to the Power of Awesome!

October 10, 2008

…oh, hey. I didn’t see you there. How’s it going? Enjoying your Marvel Evolution previews?

In a little over a month the latest Vs. System expansion, Marvel Evolution, will be hitting stores. YAY! It’s been kind of a long wait, hasn’t it? Sorry about that. But! The unbearable wait is over, and like last time (and the time before that, and that, and…) a new set brings new preview articles. This time, almost all exclusively written by you, the fans!

TBS Is The Master Of Good Ideas!

Billy: “Hey, great idea extending the blog preview action from MUN.”
TBS: “I mean, evil genius?”
Billy: “If you say so.”
Andrew: “Why are you talking to TBS and not logged into the World?”
Billy: “Crap, let’s go pwn some noobs!”
TBS: “WoW has stolen your soul, Billy Zonos.”*

As If I Needed To Tell You!**

Here’s a quick list of the X-Factor cards previewed so far:

Cyclops, Mutant Messiah – Look for this version name to repeat four more times throughout Marvel Evolution. It was kind of a theme.
Concussive Force – The image for this card changed more than four times. Also, it’s a very powerful card… as many of you have pointed out.
Jamie Madrox, Multiple Man, Jamie Prime – This image, to me, cuts down to the core of Jamie Madrox’s personality. Love it. Also, TBS did a fine job figuring out all that messy identity crap. Kudos.
Re-Absorption – UGH, we hated the art for this for the longest time and always meant to find something better, but then I never did and at the time of the deadline we’d kind of gotten used to it.
• Cyclops, Man of Action – I wrote that version months before Fraction and Brubaker started referring to Cyclops as a “Man of Action” in their X-Men interviews. I mean, great minds think alike. :)
• Polaris, Back in the Fold – This card makes me so happy… for obvious reasons.
Multiple Man, Hydra, Army – Admittedly, his connection to Hydra is pretty suspect, but hey, it was an opportunity for subtle Crime Lords legacy and TBS loved it.
• Multiplicity – That movie was so lame. Sorry for referencing it.
• Strong Guy, Guido Carosella – I misspelled this guy’s name the most. I always wrote “Casserole” first.
• Iceman, Jack Frost – “Catch a cold.” Get it! Wait ‘til you see his other flavor text.
• First Class – the art for this became “available” at the last minute, and by that I mean, the latest Marvel Previews supplement came out days before the art deadline.
• Fearless Leader – the flavor here is extra cheese, but he actually says stuff like this!
• One Man Army – I regret not naming this card “One Man Gang” or “O.M.G.”
• Jean Grey, Jean Grey-Summers – You know, I KNOW this is Ethan and not Phil and yet somehow that fact slipped by me.
Cyclops, Astonishing X-Man – for the longest time, this was not the art for this card. Thankfully, I pulled my head out of my butt and fixed it. One of my favorite cards.

What To Expect From The “X”

In my mind, there are three unique versions of the X-Factor team, and as I was the one in charge of sorting out the team lists, you can expect to see all three versions of X-Factor represented in Marvel Evolutions. Do you require more detail? Sure.

You’ll see at least two of each of the members of the original group: Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast and Angel. However, the character art on the cards may not match exactly the look and feel of this incarnation.

Unfortunately, that is just one of the many harsh realities of using recycled art. Marvel allows us access to thousands of high quality images in their online database, but since said database is relatively new most of these images were uploaded from recently published comics. I mean, X-Factor was first published in the 80’s, folks, and the archivers just haven’t gotten around to scanning them in yet. Of course, we also have access to my rather large collection to pull images from, and we surely did, but scanning these comics myself came with its own set of unique problems. For one, no matter how killer my scanner is, using printed comic pages from the 80’s (or older) as source material is rough. Basically, when scanned, the pages look like crap… and retouching images is NOT my forte. But enough already, I’m sure I’ll find time to speak on this more at a later date when I get all my excuses in order.

The second incarnation, the government sponsored team, will also be present: Valerie Cooper, Forge, Multiple Man, Havok, Polaris, Quicksilver, Strong Guy, Mystique, Sabretooth, etc… this is probably the least represented version of the team since finding art for them proved the most difficult. Believe me when I say I tried really, really hard. Obsessively hard.

The third, and most current incarnation, that being “X-Factor Investigations”, will OF COURSE be featured prominently. I mean, we know who butters out bread, if you know what I mean: Multiple Man, Strong Guy, Siryn, Wolfsbane, Rictor, Layla Miller, and M.

…and then a couple of odds and ends characters to satisfy those continuity minded fanatics.

As far as the X-Men dual affiliation goes, we used it pretty liberally, but only because most of the above character were in fact, at one time or another, card carrying members of the X-Men. But, that doesn’t mean we gave it to every single member of X-Factor. That would be lame. So, all the original members of X-Factor are dual-affiliated with the X-Men, but characters like Layla Miller and Valerie Cooper are not. And then there are some characters (Polaris, Caliban) who some of you will undoubtedly point out did not receive said most deserved dual-affiliating (that was an attempt to confuse with odd sentence structure). Well, that’s because for variety’s sake we decided to dual them with another team, and Hump was adamant about not breaking the “only two printed affiliations per character” rule. Sorry!

Okay, beside roster infos, what else can I spoil? Card names (and one piece of flavor) that I love and hope you love too!

• Fall’s Edge
• Cracking The Case
• Optic Blast
• The “X” Factor
• Vocal Minority
• “Please. This demeans us both.”***

Speculate away!

Spoiling Art, It’s What I Do!

And now, I give you the art for one of the cards that will undoubtedly become very annoying in drafts (if you can get him):

“Devolving Brute”

“He lost a finger on each hand. I’m sure that’d make anyone crazy.”

TBS: “I liked these better when they were on the main site.”
Billy: “Why? I’m my own editor here!”
TBS: “Exactly.”
Yip: “ARENA!!!”

Recommended Reading:
1. Astonishing X-Men Vol. 1: Gifted
2. Astonishing X-Men Vol. 2: Dangerous
3. Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3: Torn
4. Astonishing X-Men Vol. 4: Unstoppable
5. X-Factor Vol. 1: The Longest Night
6. X-Factor Vol. 2: Life and Death Matters
7. X-Factor Vol. 3: Many Lives of Madrox
8. X-Factor Vol. 4: Heart of Ice
9. X-Factor: Madrox – Multiple Choice
10. X-Men: Endangered Species
11. X-Men: Messiah Complex

Also, feel free to hit up the Wiki page, a great place to start.

That’s it for this week’s installment. If you have anyone questions, feel free to post them here in the comments section. The way my e-mail is setup nowadays it’s much easier for me to find (and reply to) your questions and comments about Vs. here. So yes, Ken Williams, if you wish to bitch at me, you’re gonna have to read and (OMG!) comment on a (THE HUMANITY!!!) blog.

*Yes, TBS often refers to me as “Billy Zonos”. Weirdo.

**I guess it’s tradition at this point to use these articles to redirect to previews, so why stop now? Also, special thanks to Captain Spud for maintaining this thread. It makes writing these up much easier.

***A phrase that has, after writing it, entered my everyday bag of tricks. Heh. It’s perfect for any occasion!


Foilball’s Review Roundup #50 – My Late Secret Invasion Reviews

September 15, 2008

The New Avengers #44 (****1/2): This was the much needed issue to explain how the Skrulls did what they did. But here’s the thing, I think it makes the Skrulls look too smart. Like, these guys got cloning down to a perfected science? Shapeshifters, genetic manipulators, interstellar space travel? Dude, how the hell can Earth win? They can’t. They really can’t. So now, after reading this issue, if Secret Invasion ends in any way that isn’t total victory for the Skrulls then it’ll just ring false to me.

The Mighty Avengers #17 (***1/2): This was an okay issue, but in no way a must-read. Hank Pym is hard to mimic… who cares? Unless… unless this means that the Skrull Pym over in the main title plans to betray his people. Interesting…

Avengers: The Initiative #16 (*****): OMG! This book was sweet! The Skrull Kill Krew was never this awesome! The art! The dialogue! This book was just too much fun! Can you guys imagine an event book written by Dan Slott? Poor Robert Kirkman, now I understand his bitterness. Marvel replaced him with Slott!

Black Panther #40 (*****): You know what this arc reminds me of? It reminds me of the very first arc of the series; the arc that made me love the Black Panther. It’s as if Aaron went back and read those first six issues, and nothing else, and then sat down and wrote this wonderful tie-in. It’s sad that it’s taken 30 odd issues to get the Panther title back to this level of good.

Captain Britain and MI13 #4 (*****): Finally got a copy… wow, this was good. Should I be watching Dr. Who? Also, I’m glad I read the Wisdom trade before picking up this series. Continuity is great when it works!

Guardians of the Galaxy #4 (*****): It took four issues, but they got me. I’m hooked. Something about the character dynamics this issue makes me feel like this is a book worth reading.

The Incredible Hercules #120 (*****): Herc rises to the occasion and beats up a god. Not much more to say than that. Also, it was brilliant!

Nova #16 (****): Indeed, this was one of the better issues of Nova, and I like how it tie-ins with Secret Invasion, but what bugs me is how horribly it seems to sync up with…

She-Hulk #32 (****): … so I guess Nova gets away then? As for She-Hulk, I’m still enjoying the new artist but as for the story, I’m kind of wishing this Skrull Pope guy would just go away. He’s annoying. And unnecessary.

Secret Invasion: The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (***): Meh, why did this even need to get published? And the title is total lies. It’s a story about Jackpot (jack-who?), not a story about Spider-Man. Waste.

Thunderbolts #123 (*****): Christos Gage, you are a master.

X-Factor #34 (*): Larry Stroman, you are not.


Reviews: Secret Invasion Part 10A: The Secondary Characters

September 1, 2008

WAY too many books to review from this last shipment, so I’m going to split this up into three installments. After this one will come the Avengers books, followed by whatever’s left over.

Incredible Hercules #120 (*****)

I love the way that everything going on with the Eternals matters. The Dreaming Celestial is standing in the outskirts of San Francisco, and every book I’ve read that has involved San Francisco in some way have either explicitly mentioned his presence or at least shown him in the background of a panel (we’ve seen this in both Uncanny X-Men and this very book). Hell, the Eternals are all up in Hercules’ bidness, and I’m not just talking about Ajak being a member of the God Squad. Let’s put it this way: HE is not the Beyonder. HE is not anyone we’ve ever seen before. But the concept behind HE and who HE is caught me completely by surprise, but makes a whole lot of sense in a super awesome way. It’s not hard to make the claim that the Eternals are the true movers and shakers of the Marvel Universe right now. Not the Illuminati. Not Tony Stark. Not SHIELD or the Red Skull or any of these people. It’s groovy. And as a whole five issue arc that starts with the Eternals thinking Hercules is Gilgamesh and ends the way it does, this will stand as masterful comic work regardless of its affiliation with a major event going on at the same time.

This is a book that shows the true potential of a shared universe, because it brings in ideas completely alien to its original concept borrowed from other books that allow new avenues of storytelling to unite and divide. Stories like this are why we NEED these big earth shattering crossover events, whether we like them or not. Because it’s all about potential. And I’m not the type of person that’s just going to assume that it’s going to fail or not sync up because there’s no specific reason for it to do that. I don’t need these books to be validated by having their story threads show up in the main Secret Invasion title. Because I know there’s no room for it, and I’d rather Bendis focus on the story he wants to tell and pace it the way he wants to without having to worry about the added pressure of filling in the gaps or making sure everything gets mentioned. After reading this issue, I’m going to know exactly whom the Skrulls are referring to when they say “He loves you.” Do I care whether it’s mentioned there or not? Hell no! Because I have the information. I’ve been saying this from the beginning, but Secret Invasion as an event is too big not to have this many crossovers. Does it suck for those who don’t have the time or resources to read it all? Maybe. But I’ve read 67 Secret Invasion books (counting the Infiltration prologues), and all of them but one have been solid to great reads (sorry, X-Factor #33. Even though the rest of the arc was good, you still sucked). So what’s to complain about? Not a thing.

X-Factor #34 (***)

Does the art still suck? Pretty much. I know some people enjoy this Larry Stroman art because he’s basically the diametric opposite of the Greg Lands and Salvador Laroccas of the world, but I think there’s a breaking point when you can’t actually recognize characters easily. And when it gets in the way of actually being able to easily follow and enjoy the story, you’ve got a problem. But as for the book itself, we have the continuation of the X-Factor/She-Hulk/Secret Invasion Detroit series (which Nova actually gets sucked into a bit, but more on that later) with Jazinda and Nogor’s dealings with Darwin (the Talisman of the Skrull gods introduced in She-Hulk 31) at its center. We also get a little more of the new “Embrace Change” aspect of the series, as Nogor is convinced that Darwin is the evolutionary missing link between humans and Skrulls (the idea being that Darwin’s ability to adapt to any situation on the fly is not far removed from the Skrulls’ ability to shape shift to fit any situation), and he could be the one to unite them all. Of course, it doesn’t take, and Nogor is tied up and taken away (where is he taken? Why, She-Hulk #32, of course). I think Nogor is a wonderful premise and a fantastic character, and for that reason and that reason alone, I think these issues are well worth reading (though you can probably just skip X-Factor 33. You might be a little lost, but that issue is pretty painful).

Nova #16 (****)

Not as good as our Galactus storyline, but that’s a pretty high water mark to deal with, and a bit of a recession should be expected. Kl’rt enters the Secret Invasion scene here (took him long enough, eh?) and the results are not exactly what Nova would expect. There are some great moments afoot, however. I particularly enjoyed a little interaction where Nova is shocked and dismayed that the Skrulls disguise themselves as children in order to set a trap, and Kl’rt points out that when you’re a shapeshifter, subterfuge is really your only option. We also deal with the continuation of Nova coping without the Worldmind and how difficult it has become for him to do even the most mundane things due to his internal suit mechanics being the equivalent of a prerecorded customer service phone chain. There’s a lot of good here, and most of it comes from Kl’rt’s characterization as the grizzled veteran that’s been forgotten by the Skrull invasion forces, partly because he’s been busy with all these Annihilations that keep popping up and partly because he can’t win a fight to save his life. He’s the outmoded old tech that sits in a corner and rots. He’s the old Pentium 1 PC that’s been in your garage for fifteen years. But he still wants to be part of the action, and he needs to find his daughter. And that leads us to…

She-Hulk #32 (****)

Woo! Shared universes! Kl’rt shows up fresh from Nova to confront Jazinda in this issue, as we have more interactions with Nogor the Talisman, who is still written very well by Peter David. I just really like this character and the tension between his fate and the fate of the Skrull invaders. You threaten him and the Skrulls just might relent, thinking their plans are not ordained by the gods, but if you kill him, they’ll launch into such a religious fervor that they’d probably completely exterminate the human race. So She Hulk and Jazinda are stuck with this guy, and they can’t trust Tony Stark enough to let him deal with the problem. Kl’rt’s arrival really mucks up the works as well. These She Hulk issues have really shown the strength of a lot of these crossovers, in that we’re getting all kinds of ancillary benefits that there would never be room for in the main mini.


Review: X-Factor Layla Miller #1

August 20, 2008

PAD’s X-Factor run has run the gamut from being the best book Marvel publishes to being purely average, and while he may be going through some ups and downs in regards to the main cast, the man can write Layla Miller like nobody else.  It can’t be easy writing a character who seems to know everything, but PAD does so with ease here.

Layla Miller is trapped in a possible future, a dystopian world in which mutants are kept in camps out of fear and loathing.  She’d been caught and taken into one of these camps during the Messiah Complex event, and the book opens with her escape.  As always, there’s a slightly twisted sense of humor about Layla Miller, and her escape had me smiling.  PAD uses this book to explore this particular future, and to begin a mutant-rights rebellion led by Layla Miller, a century-old cyborg Cyclops, and the daughter of Cyclops with Emma Frost, Ruby Summers (as a note, I’m really hoping for Ruby to show up on a Vs card some day!), which seems more like it deserves a mini-series, rather than a one-shot.

Ultimately, there’s a lot that you could say this book doesn’t accomplish.  Layla isn’t back in the Marvel Universe (which is probably a good thing, considering how laughable she’d find the ‘secret’ invasion going on right now).  We don’t know the outcome of the rebellion, and while PAD introduces some new characters, he doesn’t have time to go into any depth with them in this one-shot.  Despite all that, however, the book is quite a fun read.  Hopefully there’s more coming soon!

Grade: A-


Bruce Castle Presents: Secret Invasion Tie-Ins vs. Final Crisis Tie-Ins!

July 17, 2008

4 stars = Stop reading review and go buy now!!!!
3 and a half stars = Great issue and make room on your trade shelf someday soon
3 stars = Recommended and maybe even trade worthy
2 and a half stars = Recommended
2 stars= Not the best, not the worst, not recommended
1 and a half star = Terrible issue and vocalize your disgust at your next social event
1 star = Awful awful awful and you may want to consider dropping this title
0 stars = Next con you attend where the writer and/or artist are present you should throw this issue in their face

Mighty Avengers #16- Sigh. And so we get another SI filler issue. Again, I’m still finding these quite tedious. Oh, and something that heightens that feeling is these damn homage covers. They started doing these with the Marvel Zombie covers and then continued with SI. They were cool for the Marvel Zombie mini-series and that’s it! Once we got to the 20th printing of that hardcover and then now with the Skrulls, these covers are just plain crappy now! Oh well, I doubt this will change by the end of the event so yay I have four more months of this to look forward to! But I digress. This issue is about what happened to Elektra. Despite my earlier ranting, there was a lot to enjoy about this issue and I’m sure a lot of you will love it. This is coming from a DD fan so liking an Elektra story means something. However, this is a picture heavy book from the usually wordy Bendis. Unfortunately, when you have a story that depends so much on the art, if the art is bad the issue will probably be bad as well which is what we get here. Sadly, I found Khoi Pham’s art horrendous. His Elektra looks like an old woman! From the story alone this issue is pretty good, but because there are so many wordless pages, the shoddy art detracts from the story.

2 stars

X-Factor #33- Does anyone still remember when this was a top tier book? The characters were great, the stories were great. The art was unconventional but fit the story perfectly. Why has this book declined so much after Messiah Complex? I’m almost to the point of dropping this book, but then I remember the characters I fell in love with and I’m still interested in their story. So please Peter David, write better! This issue is a SI tie-in, but there isn’t much about Skrulls in here. We get to see a Skrull reveal which was a bit predictable but still cool, but that’s it. The rest of the book is just like a normal X-Factor book. Also, the Skrull in this issue doesn’t say much, but what it does say is very odd. For someone that writes dialogue so well, I don’t know why we get such weird lines from David. There are still some great moments in here, but that is overshadowed by the horrible art and a bit of bad writing. Oh, and this story is being continued in She-Hulk which is a book I don’t read. And sadly, I don’t care about this story enough to follow it into a new book.

1 and a half stars

Final Crisis Requiem #1 (Cover A)

Final Crisis Requiem-First off, I want to apologize for something. I recently said that I flipped through this issue and thought the art didn’t look very good. Well, after reading it, I feel that the art is pretty fantastic. However, I still feel that Mahnke got his reference pages mixed up and is drawing Impossible Man instead of Martian Manhunter, but the art was great. Sadly, that’s about the best thing I can say about this issue. I personally was appalled when I read it. It tries to ruin almost everything Grant Morrison was trying to say in Final Crisis. This is a retelling of what happened in that book and it pissed me off. This should have made me sentimental and left me remembering J’onn J’onzz fondly. Instead I left this issue blinded with rage. At first, I was going to recommend this issue if you treat it as a MM book instead of a FC book, but I don’t even think it works then. It doesn’t seem written well at all. I had an instinct to stay away from this book, but I heard so many positive things about it that I gave it a shot. I was sorely disappointed.

1 star

Final Crisis Rogues’ Revenge #1- Leave it to Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins to produce a decent tie-in. The team that told some of the best Flash stories reunite to bring us a new Rogues tale. The art is fantastic! I didn’t expect this to be so gritty but it is. The Rogues aren’t written as comic blunderers. They are written as tired old men that are still bad ass in their own way. They are villains with an unusual moral code and they are written extremely well. Unlike the aforementioned FC tie-in, this doesn’t screw with the main FC story. It is referenced and it seems a bit is spoiled. Perhaps issue 3 should have been out by now. It doesn’t seem like much of a tie-in yet, but it is still a great story on its own. There is plenty of set-up in this issue, but there is still a lot of action and cool moments with a cliffhanger that will leave you hungry for more!

3 and a half stars

P.S. For those keeping track, Final Crisis wins!


Foilball’s Review Roundup #34 – THE GOODERS!

July 7, 2008

And now, The Gooders. These books were the cream of the crop, or as close to it as this bunch got.

1985 #2 (****): I’m really liking where this is headed. See, you can’t call me a Millar hater! Some of his stuff is utter garbage, and some of it, when he puts the research and thought in, turns out quite fantastic. Here’s hoping I’m right about this one.

Conan the Cimmerian #0 (****): Bruce Castle’s review of this was spot on. It was a very, very, VERY good sword and sandal read. Unfortunately, I think I’m done with Conan for now… or, I may pick up the first issue when it ships! I just don’t know!

Daredevil #108 (****): It just keeps getting better! Dear Greg Rucka, please never leave. No more brooding! No more Mila! No more Emo!

Fantastic Four #558 (****1/2): This was really good. Really, really good. I can see clearly now what Millar is doing and I love it. The interweaving of the subplots over multiple 4-part story arcs is finally starting to pay off. I haven’t been this excited about reading Fantastic Four since JMS first took over the book. I know I was harsh on the first couple of these, but now that the engine is revving up toward max RPMs, I couldn’t be happier. I just hope he doesn’t blow his load too soon. But, I still think the Galactus suit was a lame idea. OH! Almost forgot, little Val is a genius!

Ghost Rider # 24 (****): Love the new artist. Love the new direction. If this is what we can expect from the rest of Aaron’s Ghost Rider run, I think I can finally put myself safely in the “on board” column. It was touch and go there for a while with a couple of stinkers mixed in with the gooders, but this issue has restored my faith… for now! Ha-Hah, you just never know! Next month I could be bashing it again! Help, I’m in an abusive relationship and I can’t get out!*

Iron Fist #16 (*****): Terrific series finale, bravo to all involved, especially Matt Fraction. I can’t wait for the “Heroes For Hire” relaunch this fall… wait, what? Not cancelled? New creative team? Get OUT of here!

Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #30 (****): Still not the Knaufs, but adequate. Actually, more than adequate. This Moore guys is doing a bang-up fill-in! Overkill Mind! Star Squad! Paladin messing up Iron Man’s fascist face! YES! YES! YES!

The Punisher #58 (*****): Every month I get a little sad. New Punisher issue only serves to remind me of its imminent cancellation. Well, pretty much, right? I like the new guy, his Foolkiller was good, but no one’s ever going to top Garth Ennis. Oh, I should say something about this issue. It was really good, as usual. They always are. Sad face.

Thunderbolts #121 (*****): OH GOOD GOD! This was epic. And now it’s over. Forever. I don’t care that this book shipped once a quarter, it was totally worth it. But, I don’t think Ellis is leaving because of lateness, I think he’s just done. Is that true? Does anybody know? I’m seriously asking a serious question here…

X-Factor #32 (****1/2): In this issue, Madrox tells Cooper to get stuffed and finally takes responsibility as the father of Theressa’s baby… and just like that, *POOF*, X-Factor is a 4-5 Star book again. Why? Because we’re back to focusing on the drama, baby, and not the action. Yay! Thank you, Peter David. I don’t know what happened to you or why you had to phone the past 6 months in, but I’m glad you’re back. Now, if only I could say the same thing about She-Hulk. UGH!

Young Avengers Presents: Hawkeye #6 (****): This was easily the best of the series. Fraction is just on fire this month (although his Punisher still sucks ass). I loved how much of a dick Clint is when he makes Kate cry. Ha-Ha! But then, it was just Clint teaching her a lesson all along! Oh snap! Shit, I wish Clint had his own team book or something. He works well as mentor/father figure… FUCK, why isn’t he leading the New Avengers? He’s got the attitude, the skill and the experience. Maybe that’s one of the changes Bendis has lined up for after Secret Invasion? I hope so. I’ve always loved me some Hawkeye. Oh, and when the hell is Young Avengers Volume 2 coming out? These characters are way cooler than the Titans and those shitters have two books, both equally shitty!

Hmm, got surly there at the end. Ah, well. Tomorrow, Planetary Series Review (honest) and on Wednesday, maybe a Spoiler Re view… if something cool comes out.

 

*That one was for VsRealms.


Bruce Castle Quickies 3

June 19, 2008

4 stars = Stop reading review and go buy now!!!!
3 and a half stars = Great issue and make room on your trade shelf someday soon
3 stars = Recommended and maybe even trade worthy
2 and a half stars = Recommended
2 stars= Not the best, not the worst, not recommended
1 and a half star = Terrible issue and vocalize your disgust at your next social event
1 star = Awful awful awful and you may want to consider dropping this title
0 stars = Next con you attend where the writer and/or artist are present you should throw this issue in their face

Ultimate Fantastic Four #55- Please Marvel, please make this the Ultimate book that gets killed. I’m giving this issue one star for the art and the reveal. Everything else…. 1 star

Punisher #58- As soon as this arc finishes and the next hardcover comes out, that hardcover will probably be collect the two best Punisher stories. Ennis you will be missed. 4 stars

Wolverine 66- I had a lot of fun with this issue. It’s definitely a mixture of classic elements such as Frank Miller and Barry Windsor-Smith’s Wolverine, Unforgiven and Mad Max. I love all that stuff though, and I love this too! Steve Mcniven’s art makes this book! 4 stars

X-Factor #32- It still isn’t as good as the early issues of the book. What happened Peter David? What made you start writing worse? There is still some good stuff in this issue though. I hope that it’ll get better though. 2 and a half stars

X-Force #4- If I didn’t give this book 4 stars, Billy would kill me. I like life. Seriously though, this was a great issue. I don’t know much about X-23 but it was interesting to kind of understand where she is coming from. It’s also cool to see the evil villainous plots. And the gore, can’t forget the gore. This is practically a Max book. 4 stars


Foilball’s Review Roundup #21

May 27, 2008

Rating System: Brand New Day Spider-Man Villains!

5 Stars: WARNING: Screwball
4 Stars: Mr. Negative
3 Stars: Jackpot
2 Stars: Menace
1 Star: Freak

100 Bullets #91 (****)

Finally, significant plot development!!! A new character!!! Although, he does look a little too much like Shepherd. That was confusing at first. Anyway, the new guy, Mr. Slaughter, shows up to reveal interesting things and answers questions from about 90 issues ago!!! Seriously, we haven’t seen the attaché cases referenced in a good long while. Even still, as the series winds down, I doubt The Azz’ll answer every question, I’m sure he’ll let some of this shit linger. Bastard.

The Amazing Spider-Man #559 (*****)

Dan Slott can do no wrong in this one. Of all the writers on BND, I’m glad Slott’s the one who gets to rotate in so often. The man just gets Peter. He gets the new direction and his new villains are right on the money. They are exactly the kind of fun and interesting that fits well in the Spidery Universe. Screwball, the first live-streaming super-villain, makes this issue. Especially her reaction to getting spider-tracer’d. Marcos Martin was born to draw Spidey. See, that’s one of the downsides to rotating the art team. They’ve all been fabulous, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Martin on a more regular basis, even if I’d have to wait a month for the next issue.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (***)

It was… fun. I know everyone’s been raving about it, and I don’t really want to bash it, but in my opinion, it wasn’t as good as all that. The team intros definitely work better here than in The Order, and I like the banter, but I just don’t buy the team’s chemistry. Star-Lord, Raccoon, Mantis and Quasar, I get. Giffen did such a fantastic job setting up Star-Lord’s team in that four issue mini, that you wouldn’t expect these characters to act any other way. And Quasar is such an unexplored and lost character, I get why she’s in this book. Drax, Adam Warlock and Gamora… in a team book? Now? Not feeling it. Yes, I know they used to be in the Watch together, but let’s face facts, the characters we have now are nothing like the characters from that much beloved B-Team from the 90’s. Gamora even says so herself in this issue. Just based on how these characters were written in the Annihilation books, I don’t buy that they’d join this team. Sure, D&A skirt the issue with some throw away dialogue about Gamora “searching for meaning”, but these ideas just don’t hold water with me. Anyway, I know lots of people love it, so I’ll stop complaining. I’ll keep reading, since I appreciate the D&A style and what they’re trying to do for Cosmic characters in the Marvel Universe, but I can’t fool myself into thinking this is a 5-Star book.

Wonder Woman #20 (****)

YAY for good writing! YAY for good Wonder Woman writing! That’s all.

X-Factor: The Quick and The Dead (****)

Hey, it’s a 4-Star X-Factor book! I had so much fun reading this. Lately, everything with the angsty/self-loathing Quicksilver has been wonderfully entertaining. I love how crazy and delusional he is. I mean, isn’t this the natural progression for anyone that is as self-important as Quicksilver used to be? The man imagined himself the savior of Mutantkind, for God sakes! If David could tear himself away from the atrocious She-Hulk, I’d love to see a Quicksilver ongoing. The character is finally interesting enough (thanks to Hine) to support it. Oh, what happened in this one-shot? He got his powers back, of course!

Quick Hits:
Amazing Spider-Man #558 (*): I could’ve happily lived the remainder of my life without the conclusion to “The Freak” story. Bob Gale FAILS at BND.
The Boys #18 (****): This book continues to impress month after month. Hughie is now one of my favorite comic book characters.
Cable #3 (***): I’m still on board with this, it’s kind of slow, but I like that the dialogue and narration is sparse. I read so many books every month, it’s nice to relax back with an “empty” read once in a while.
• Foolkiller #5 (***1/2): Decent conclusion to a surprisingly good mini. Looking forward to the next one.
Logan #3 (***): An overall interesting story, but it may have worked better as a fill-in run in the main book.
Nightwing #144 (**): I’m not sure what it is, but I’m just not as jazzed about this book as everyone else. The Talia banter was cool, but the rest of the issue was just sort of blah. If I nail it down, I may do a full review of the book next month.
Nova #13 (***): An entire issue’s worth of lead up for a final page splash that may or may not have been worth it. I appreciate what D&A are trying to do here, but as a longtime Marvel and Silver Surfer reader, I’ve seen this type of setup many times before. I don’t want to be so harsh as to call it a rerun, but it’s damn close. I’m a jaded bastard. Next issue is sure to be an exciting read, so I’ll give the writers the benefit of the doubt for now.
Punisher War Journal #19 (*): I don’t get how Fraction could go so wrong, so fast. The Punisher has always been a historically difficult book to write, but he seemed to have a unique handle on it… till recently. More cancellations in my future?
X-Men: Legacy (****): This is the book continuity buffs have been waiting for! And I, for one, love it! Carey mines the X-Men’s illustrious legacy, unearthing forgotten gems. Also, Professor X as a semi-amnesiac totally works. This is the best X-Men Carey has ever written. Shit, I even like the Finch covers. He manages to allow his women to look like women!


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