5 Stars: WARNING: The Right Stuff.
4 Stars: The Solid Stuff.
3 Stars: The Average Stuff.
2 Stars: The Stuff.
1 Star: The Stuff Between Your Toes.
Avengers: The Initiative #10 (****):
First, I love this book, I do, but… why does this book exist? How is it different than the current T-Bolts run? It’s teenagers instead of super-villains? Is that it? I wish a book about the Initiative was ACTUALLY about the 50 State Initiate! You know, lets see some teams from the other states. Please? I feel like they missed out on an opportunity for some really surprising reveals leading up to Secret Invasion. Imagine if they had been setting up all these different teams throughout the last year, only to reveal the numerous Skrull moles before/during SI? Those would have been some excellent payoffs. Instead, we get this soap opera stuff (which, yes, is well written) that mirrors the self-destructing Thunderbolts. UGH. And that annual they did is obviously the editors thinking that “OOPS, we promised to do more stuff outside of Stamford… here, READ THIS ANNUAL!” Lame. Hopefully, Year Two will see some development beyond boot camp. And yeah, I’ll still read it as long as it’s still well written.
Fantastic Four #555 (***):
Well, last issue set up some interesting ideas, this issue… nothing happens. C’mon Millar, you only got two parts left in this story, DO SOMETHING! Also, this idea of building a “Nu-Earth” is incredibly naïve. I hope Millar points this out, although if the best he can do to that end is make the CAP machine go bad, then “meh”. Johnny macking on a random villainess was cool. Wow, I just had a random thought… what if Mr. F cheats on Sue? DRAMA! As always, Hitch is perfect with the art. I bitch, but obviously I’ll stick with this run to the end.
The Last Defenders #1 (***1/2):
New Jersey Defenders! Heh. I wasn’t sure about this book, because Joe Casey has been kind of hit or miss lately. Youngblood sucked balls, but I here Godland is excellent. Well, I picked it up anyways, mostly due to my love for the Defenders… but not my love of the New Defenders. I don’t particularly like Nighthawk, as I’ve always thought he was a lame Batman rip-off (I know that’s intentional!) and his costume has always been too goofy to take him seriously. That said, I’m totally in for this version of the team. Blazing Skull is hilarious when written correctly and Colossus has been my favorite X-Man ever since that four-player arcade game from the early 90’s. She-Hulk is the uber-lame in her own series right now, so I’m looking forward to Casey’s take on her. Casey also does a good job of paying tribute to the Defenders legacy by showing or making reference to former team members. Stark forcing his idea of a good Defenders team on Nighthawk was pretty funny… I like that this team is Initiative based. At least someone at Marvel is taking advantage of that idea other than Matt Fraction. The art could be better, but the storytelling more than makes up for it at this point. Oh, back to the inter-team banter… heh. Okay, loving this book. Hey, did anyone else notice that the thought balloon has made its return here as well? That’s Mighty Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man and now The Last Defenders… what does it all mean? Also… Yandroth? HURR?
Uncanny X-Men #496 (****1/2):
Okay, first of all, Mike Choi needs to be promoted to regular art duties if he hasn’t been already. His art is too nice, and even his action scenes are pretty. So, “YAY” for good art. Second, this arc feels like an obvious fill-in story, but what can you expect when we got the predictably “seminal” 500th issues coming up this summer. But fine, the story is still fun! Like “old school X-Men” kind of fun. And if they want to do a whole year of these types of character driven stories, I’m totally cool with that. In fact, let’s just stop all the continuity crap and do these types of stories indefinitely. Also, that Celestial is still in San Francisco? When are we going to deal with that? Ugh, my only complaint is that we had to learn about Kitty Pryde’s “death” in a book that’s not called Astonishing X-Men. Well, at least they’re finally owning up to it since only the morons missed the fact that she was MIA during the entirety of Messiah Complex. All in all, I’m loving it so far, much more even than last year’s Shi’ar epic.
Wonder Woman #18 (****):
Gail Simone continues the awesome with another splendid issue. Romance with Nemesis finally getting somewhere? YAY! The courting ritual stuff is too cute (I’m such a girl!). This is the kind of stuff that’s been missing from Wonder Woman for a while. Most writers don’t get that Wondy isn’t human, less so even than Superman, and that’s one of the things that makes her so damn interesting. I love that Simone is exploring that aspect of her character. Also, the wacky Khund storyline? The statue they built in her honor was a nice touch and I’m interested to see how this Green Lantern dude fits into the Sinestro War from last year. While I miss the Dodsons already, Chang will do just fine as a replacement, as long as he’s not just filling in. Simone’s first arc was fun and centered and this new arc seems to build seamlessly on that, so it looks like I’ll be on this book for a while.
• Detective Comics (***): Fill-In. Milligan and Nguyen do an adequate job here with a throwback yarn to a time when Batman stories could give a shit about continuity. Loved it.
• Green Lantern #28 (****): The plot thickens once again… we finally finish the lame trial story and get to the juice of it: RED LANTERNS!!! 2009 can’t come soon enough.
• Midnighter #17 (***): One, long 22 page action scene. Cool. But, if the artist was better than mediocre, I’d rate this issue higher.
• Moon Knight #16 (**): This title has really lost steam since the OG writer left. Benson stinks of fill-in with all his “buying time” maneuvers. Get better soon or I drop you!
• Penance: Relentless #5 (***): As a whole this series was a fine diversion, I’m just not sure how it fits into continuity. Right now we have Penance continuity by Jenkins and Penance continuity by Ellis, and I don’t think they mesh at all.
• Punisher War Journal #17 (**): The “other” Punisher book. These last few fill-in stories have been super lame and this one is no exception. I don’t know how this is possible, since the same writer has been on the book since issue 1, but the Punisher seems to have softened since the title started. I don’t know, WTF at Matt Fraction. Everything he does is letting me down lately.
• Wildstorm Revelations #5 (***1/2): Solid book, not quite as good as last issue, but the series is still chugging along with awesome. I thought the addition of Zealot and Grifter would be lame, it is in fact the opposite.
• Wolverine #63 (***): Aaron continues to impress me on this book, too bad it’s only temporary. Like Ellis in this month’s Thunderbolts, Aaron gives you that extra bit of flavor. I hope the next issue of Ghost Rider is at least as good as this.
• X-Factor #29 (****): Another solid read from Peter David. I really hope Madrox and Theresa end up together, now that they got a baby on the way… the whole Layla/Jamie future marriage thing is creepy to the extreme. Oh, and the return of Arcade!
• X-Force #2 (**): Still trying to figure out the point of this title. I like Clayton Crain, but the art is way too dark. Yes, we get IT, it’s DARK!