Foilball’s Review Roundup #28

Checkmate #26 (-)

Bruce Jones is a hack. A despicably vacant wreck of a talent. This issue was awful. And to be perfectly clear, I mistakenly pre-ordered this mess out of habit and boy did I pay the price for that one. In one swift stroke, Jones destroys any and all credibility earned by the Checkmate organization during the Greg Rucka run. What’s most appalling is that he sacrifices said credibility in order to give the world this monstrosity. What. The. Fuck. Hyperbole? I think not. I’m positive that anyone who’s actually read this issue knows exactly what I’m talking about. I’m burning this travesty, just as soon as I hit the publish button.

Fantastic Four #557 (***)

As far as opening arcs go, this one was an interesting choice. Millar stated that he wanted to get back to telling family oriented stories… doesn’t everyone say this about the Fantastic Four?… but I found these last four issues to be curiously devoid of any real depth. It’s not enough to say your plot is about Sue and Reed’s relationship, you actually have to write about said relationship. Maybe I just couldn’t handle all the subtext, but I just don’t see how this issue’s payoff scene was adequately built up in the preceding issues. Ok, that’s enough about what I didn’t like. Wait, this was stupid as well. The idea of the Anti-Galactus suit comes from a place in Millar’s head where he’s way too pleased with himself. Okay, okay, what I liked: Dangling subplots! This is something Lee and Kirby really excelled at in their legendary run and I’m glad Millar is tapping into this.

+Subplot #1: The fate of Nu-World!
+Subplot #2: Johnny and his new flame!

The Nu-World thing will most likely get addressed by the end of the run, but I’m not so sure about the “banging your villains” issue. Could this be just another one of Millar’s attention-grabbing ideas that go nowhere? Maybe. Oh, and with regards to that scene, couldn’t he still handcuff her after they finish? I’m sure I saw that in a movie once starring Joe Don Baker.

We’re still in the opening stages here, and I usually love the Millar/Hitch pairing, so I guess I can cut them some slack. And let’s be real, writing the FF is not the easiest assignment in history. Doing it right could be one of the toughest jobs in comics, second only to writing a good Superman book (Yay, Geoff Johns!). So, yes, I complain, but my heart is in the right place. Oh and… Enter: DOOM!

X-Force #4 (*****)

As each part of this story unfolds, the complex plot turns faster and thicker. In this issue, we focus on X-23. Now, I haven’t read much X-23, so I had no idea she was this emotionally damaged. And then she’s a cutter? Good, God! This happens after Wolverine just rips into here (not literally, at least not yet) about innocence and sacrifice. I love how violently Wolverine reacts, as if he feels personally indicted by X-23’s inhumanity. And rightly so, I would think. She is your clone, dude. Later, after the cutting, X-23 confronts a wolfed out Rahne Sinclair A.K.A. Wolfsbane. Just before going wild shit crazy on the drugged up lassie, X-23 hears Logan’s damning words in her head… and proceeds to drop her guard. Extreme violence and blood loss follows.

Which brings us to my one complaint about this entire series: the art, although wonderful, is sometimes so dark that it’s difficult to read the details. And maybe there’s too much blood? This is a nitpick, I admit. I am old and could probably do with some reading glasses. Anyway…

GAH! So much happened in this one issue! Why is Wolfsbane attacking her friends, specifically Angel? Oh, well because she’s under the control of Mathew Risman, of course. What a twist! And Bastion has no idea what Risman’s doing behind his back! Another cool twist! Shit! Those are Archangel’s old wings, right? A choir of Archangels?!? And speaking of Archangel, look who’s back… Archangel!!!

This is my book of the month. I had no idea how much I would enjoy reading it and it has completely surpassed all expectations. Consider me a believer. If you’re not reading this book, do yourself a favor and click the links. Gah, all I can say is that I wish I had access to this art a month ago. Sigh.

Quick Hits:
1985 #1 (**1/2): Meh, I think the solicitation was more interesting than the actual product being solicited.
Action Comics #865 (***): Well written, as always, but what was the point of retconning Toyman’s character history?
Fables #73 (**1/2): I wish the war was over already. I don’t think I care who wins. I don’t think I even like these fables anymore.
The Immortal Iron Fist #15 (***1/2): This was fun. Shockingly. I dread the day Brubaker and Fraction leave the book.
The Programme #11 (*): Oh, finally, time for the super soldiers to fight?
Spawn #178 (****): I really like what Hine has done with this book. And now… and NOW I read that McFarlane is coming back and he’s going to turn it back into a superhero comic? WTF? EFF YOU, TODD!!!
War is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle #3 (***1/2): Okay, I get it now. I think I like this book.

32 thoughts on “Foilball’s Review Roundup #28

  1. Oh, and I can’t believe how lame the Fan4 arc was. The first issue had a lot of promise, and then there were a couple issues with muddy fight scenes that didn’t really go anywhere, and then it’s all resolved with one punch and one “I’m so wise” comment.

    Um… yay?

  2. i’d rate it lower but i still like Hitch. it evens out i guess.

    yeah, i do love Crain, but i wish it wasn’t so effing dark! i shouldn’t have to sit in the sun with a flashlight to read my comics.

  3. Uh lets see, this review is full of comics I recently dropped to save money. The only one I actually read was Immortal Iron Fist, cmon you could have rated that higher, that was so much fun. It’s always nice to see done in ones where they introduce entirely new characters and then get you caring about them! Much props to Fraction on that one.

    I sadly dropped FF after that one issue with the fight in the snow with the robot. I couldn’t see what was happening!!! The rest of the issue wasn’t that great either. It just seemed like Millar was bringing up interesting ideas and executing them poorly. I love both Millar and Hitch, but for whatever reason, it seems that they are not on their A game on this book.

    You almost hooked me on that pic on Jonny’s villain girl. Thanks for including that.

    Again, I sadly dropped action comics as well, I wasn’t a huge fan of the legion arc, and with Toyman and Brainiac coming up, it seemed like a good time to drop the title. It seems from your mini review that I was right.

    Finally, I did sadly drop X-Force. I did enjoy the first three isssues. The first two felt like an 80s Carpenter movie and the third issue was actually developing some cool ideas. But damn it, I couldn’t handle that art. The parts I could see, it looked good, but I need some damn light!

    But really Billy, this is your book of the month? Well, should I give it one last try and pick up the fourth issue?

  4. RE: X-Force… i can’t believe it either, but it’s really fricking good.

    RE: Action Comics… dude, it was still a well written story. if it was any other book i would have rated it at 4 stars at least, but it’s Geoff Johns on Superman and it wasn’t as good as i’ve come to expect so it only gets 3. i just don’t understand the Toyman retcon. what was the point? is Toyman just one of his pet characters or will this have ramifications 10 issues down the line?

    and you have got to be kidding me, the Legion arc was insane awesome! i usually can’t stand Legion, yet i loved that story!

    also, the arrival of Brainiac = jumping off point? are you HIGH? do you EVEN like Superman?!!?

    HELLO?!?!?!?!?

  5. Oh Billy, your craziness makes me laugh. Uh, so yeah about X-force, I probably will pick it up again, I just can’t help it. And Mike Choi is taking over the art on issue 7 and I’ve been loving his art over on Uncanny. Maybe I will actually be able to see what’s going on.

    Dude, I said I liked action comics. Notice I said I sadly dropped it. Geoff Johns is a fantastic writer! But I’m sadly not reading Booster Gold or Action Comics right now because I’m trying to cut down on my comics from like 40 titles a month to like 20. Sacrifices need to be made. I like Brainiac sure, and yes I like Superman, but it just didn’t seem like it’d be the best which is what I’m trying to read.

    As for the Legion story, I did like it. But people were saying things like “It’s the best story of 2008”, which I don’t agree with. Maybe it will read better in trade. Would it make you happy if I picked it up in trade?

    Basically, would you prefer I read x-force or action comics? And I’m getting the best superman right now on all star so HA!

    Hmm, although that is ending in august, and then no more superman, except the KC superman is JSA!

    Um yeh this is a weird post, I just loooked on dccomics and it says that the brainiac storyline is building up to a Superman event.

    Sigh, you win Billy, you win. I’ll pick up the Brainiac stuff.

  6. yeah seriously, we only get one more issue of All-Star and then all we got is Action Comics. you better get back on board.

  7. I just tracked down your review of 864, it was time trapper talking? Yay you just saved me 3 bucks. I was already going to read that legion book anyway. Thanks Billy, and I’m sure I’ll have a review of 866 in the next few days.

  8. In regards to checkmate, I just read that review. I haven’t read any checkmate, but sir, you should have known bruce jones was awful.

    He is responsible for that dreadful awful terrible peace of shit Nightwing story with Jason Todd.

    I so wish I could unread comics sometimes.

  9. I still think X-Force is just kind of stupid. I like Clayton Crain, and while it is very dark, can still appreciate the art. The story just seems kind of silly to me, I don’t know why. Maybe, to me, they are trying too hard to be dark and brooding and have your killers all together and it just doesn’t make sense to me. I mean, there is a lot of death. Just a lot. Whatever? I don’t quite care enough for it to mean anything. The story just doesn’t seem to fit with me.

    Oh, and Bruce, as for the one-shot, I found it to not be very good in relation to X-Force. The first part’s art isn’t good (it looks like Cyclops from Ultimate X-Men after he was all beaten up and bruised after falling off a cliff, with huge puffy lips and just doesn’t look good) and the story doesn’t quite make sense in terms of Wolverine’s abilities. The Warpath one is better, both art-wise and story-wise, but that is just damning with faint praise. It is okay, but nothing spectacular. Just more of Warpath brooding. The cover is awesome though.

  10. see, i don’t think it’s trying to hard at all. if anything, i think Marvel’s marketing department is completely misrepresenting this book. it’s not really about all the blood and gore, to me it’s about all the X-Men continuity wank… which, i’m surprisingly okay with. 🙂

  11. I love how comics opinions can all be so insanely different, yet all right…

    I have no history with Bruce Jones. My love for Checkmate made me see it with rosier glasses. Of course, that is helped by the fact that Mr. Jones manages to avoid giving any real time to the major characters… Anyway, I haven’t read this month’s issue yet (got like 4 more books to go according to my stack), and while I didn’t love #26, I think the jury’s still out on whether or not the ship is sinking for me.

    Again, with FF, my desire for the book to work (I love the FF in concept…) may be letting me be more forgiving than I should. My opinions are roughly the same as yours though.

    Then there’s X-Force #4… I REALLY didn’t like this issue. I’ve read #1 and was surprised at how good it was, but this issue seemed like the opposite of that. X-23 is basically soulless, AND a cutter? Can you do that? Maybe I just don’t understand cutters like I thought I did. (Wow, there’s a quote for the ages!) Plus wouldn’t it have been easier for Bastion to just go steal Angel’s wings himself? I mean his is, y’know, BASTION! What if X-Force hadn’t taken Rahne to Warren? Oh wait, it’s more DRAMATIC this way. What’s next, is he going to tie Warpath up and hang him over a giant aquarium of piranhas while revealing his masterplan? Pass.

    Agreed on 1985 #1. Though I love Tommy Lee Edwards with a passion, so really it could be Jeph Leob writing this and I’d still get it. (Okay, that’s a lie.)

    What was the point of the Toyman retcon?! Uh, obviously so Catherine Grant can come back to work at the Daily Planet!! Duh! <_< Wait, what was the question again?

    I liked Fables, but I dig tactics, so that’s not something I regularly expect people to share. 😛

    The Programme has lead me to a personal quirk that I’ve been pondering for the past few weeks nearly relentlessly: Why, oh why, do I feel compelled to finish what I’ve started?

    War Is Hell is a really, really great book (just finished the next issue) IFF (purposeful second “f”) you can divine Millar’s message (and #3 telegraphed it pretty damn clearly). Otherwise, I’m sure I’d be saying, “okay, but what’s the point?”

  12. RE: X-Force – i don’t think Bastion knows about the whole clandestine choir chicanery. i think that’s Risman’s deal. but you’re right, it was kind of convenient how Angel just happened to be a guest star in this book. hah.

    RE: Toyman issue – HAHAH, i didn’t even mention the Cat Grant garbage cus it was deemed (by the committee in my mind) as “too riddick!”

    RE: The Programme – it’s the OCD again! i think the only reason i’ve kept up is so that i can throw the entire run at Milligan next month at Comic-Con.

    RE: War is Hell – yeah, usually i get “it” right away, but this book was totally throwing me off. i think it was the art. the goofy facial expressions confused me to the point where i was completely missing the subtext of the characters’ conversations. but, i’m good now. i got “it”.

    RE: Bruce Jones – he is the Anti-Christ… this can’t be reiterated enough!

  13. Thanks Pi about letting me know about the one-shot. I had already concluded that I wasn’t going to buy it, but I appreciate the feedback. I did buy X-Force #4 but haven’t read it yet.

    I kind of hope I hate it just so I can throw Billy’s “pick of the month” in his face. Maybe I’m just bitter. Nah.

    Oh and prof, really? Do we need more needless Jeph Loeb hating. Why do people just need to hate him? He is the comic version of M Night Shamalan. People just love to hate those two.

  14. people hate them because they suck… and because they continually repeat themselves to diminishing (sucky) result. their suck is epic. deal with it.

    “Book of the Month” doesn’t have to mean “OMG IT’S OF THE HIGHEST CALIBER… LIKE A MODERN WATCHMEN!!!!”

    …it can simply mean “no other book i read this month was as fun as THIS book.”

    that said, no other book i read this month was as fun as X-Force #4!

  15. Damn Billy, quit drinking the Red Bulls. I was kidding about the X-Force thing. It’s great you love X-Force. I did buy #4 off of your reccomendation. I haven’t read it yet but I hope it is good.

    Damn I didn’t freak just because you didn’t like Invincible #50. And Jeph Loeb doesn’t suck and neither does M Night Shamalan. Both have done good things and bad things like EVERY WRITER!!!!

    How about this, every time you want to bash Jeph Loeb, bash Bruce Jones instead. I think that is something we all can agree with. Or Liefeld, bash Liefeld.

  16. Oh and Billy, about Marvel’s marketing misrepresenting X-Force. I can agree with that, but the writers are doing it too. This is from Cristopher Yost

    “Next arc is going to be fun; bloody, bloody, death dealing fun—with a side of assassination and torture. But in fun ways.”

    Of course this is from only one writer. So maybe he is the violent one, and Craig Kyle is the “continuity wank” person. Just thought you’d be interested.

  17. “What can we say, we like continuity. Each of those guys are part of x-history, and we figured kids today should get to enjoy their mutant killing ways as much as we did.”

    i’ll misrepresent your face!!!

  18. RE: Yeah, I don’t know what the deal is with episode 34. We were done with it on Tuesday. I’m trying to get a hold of Typhon to see if there’s a better way to arrange things, because as they are now it’s going to give me an ulcer. The problem is that the whole “adding it to the feed” element of it all (aka “the important stuff”) is out of my hands.

    RE: Jeph Leob. Um, I don’t like his stuff. That’s it, no bandwagoning here. I’m entitled to my own opinions and I don’t intend them to debase your opinions. In fact I like it when people have opinions different than mine, it helps me think about things in different ways: in this week’s episode of the podcast (if it ever gets published!!) I implore Sean to give me good reasons to like Last Defenders, since for some odd reason I feel compelled to continue buying it yet find it completely boring. Did I make a joke at Leob’s expense? Sure. But what I was trying to say there is that “I’d read the book with that artist even if someone I really don’t like to read was writing it.”

  19. Ok then prof, it’s fine if you don’t like Jeph Loeb. It’s just if you enter almost any comic environment, it seems like everyone and their brother is bashing Jeph Loeb just for the hell of it. I’m not really sure why that is, apparently Jeph Loeb did something to personally hurt a lot of people or something.
    Anyway, I can totally respect you disliking Jeph Loeb. Different strokes for different folks. I guess I’m just sensitive because a Jeph Loeb story got many into comics. So it sucks that everyone is bashing him all the time.

  20. look, just because someone was brilliant at one point in their career, doesn’t mean that will always be the case.

    Frank Miller gave us a seminal Daredevil run, The Dark Knight Returns, Year One and Sin City. he also gave us The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All-Star Batman & Robin. i think it’s more than fair to say that Frank Miller sucks now.

    same goes for Loeb. I love Dark Victory, his Superman run and most of the first 12 issues of Superman/Batman… but his latest works have been giant steaming piles of SHIT, IMHO that just so happens to fall in line with so many of our comic reading peers.

    and it’s not bandwagony to say that. are these people gods? should we praise them regardless of the quality of their work, new and old?

    i know you LUV Kirkman, but even you’ve admitted that sometimes his writing is THE SUCK.

  21. Pingback: Billy Z’s Top 10 Monthlies! « read/RANT!

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