Bruce Castle Presents: Bendis vs. Loeb – Spoilers!

Large Cover of New Avengers #48

New Avengers #48 (***1/2)

Ok, so if you’ve read my other reviews you’ll know that I didn’t like Secret Invasion. I disliked the New Avengers issues during that time and I liked that recent Dark Reign one-shot even less. But this issue was good. First off, Billy Tan has drastically improved, He’s soared above mediocrity and he assures you that he’s worthy of being featured in Marvel’s flagship title. The objective of this issue should have been to establish the new team, wrap up all the SI nonsense, present an intriguing future for our heroes and possibly a twist or two. Bendis accomplishes all of that, mostly. Yes there’s another damn Skrull (Can that be the last time I type that word please?) and I’m still not sure about my enthusiasm towards this book, but this issue was satisfying enough. Bendis uses “Talky Room” again (Description of that here) and he introduces his new team in a fun way. The new lineup is the five dudes on the cover (Big surprise) plus her, her, her and her. Jaw-dropping? No, it’s pretty much who’d you expect. And the big twist in this issue? Luke Cage sells out to you-know-who. So, it was a good issue, but will I stick around post-4 bucks? I don’t know.

Ultimate Spider-Man #129

Ultimate Spider-Man #129 (****)

This issue was great. It was an Ultimatum tie-in that was better than the main mini this week. But what did this have to do with Ultimatum? Business seems normal. There’s a bit of a big event in here though. It concludes with the cops with May wanting to talk about her relation to Spider-Man. That’s cool, but Ultimatum related? I don’t think so. Then again, Bendis did say that Spider-Man may not be Peter Parker after Ultimatum. Jessica Drew returns! The clone one not the Skrull (Damn it! Again!) one. Bendis loves him some Jessica Drew. Human Torch makes an appearance as well. The highlight of this issue of course is Bendis’ marvelous teenage dialogue. Well done again sir!

Ultimatum #2 (of 5)

Ultimatum #2 (***1/2)

Say what you want about this book, but at least it delivers the goods. Well, it does in the death and WTF departments. The biggest problem here is the lack of emotional attachment. If you aren’t invested in these characters, you probably won’t care much. And if you do care, you may feel Loeb shows disrespect towards the beloved characters. The deaths in this issue? The Blob eats the wasp! Again, WTF! The last time I saw Blob (Other than possibly Ultimates 3. That series is a blur) was in Ultimate Spider-Man when it was revealed that he was Liz’s father. He was a sympathetic character, and now he’s chowing down on the Wasp and says “tastes like chicken”. Ok, that one I can’t explain, but I think I can with the next one. Magneto snaps Professor X’s neck! So that’s a WTF, but that makes sense in the Ultimate U. Magneto is much more evil there. He’s furious about the death of his children, but he’s also a vicious bastard. And remember, Prof did screw with Magneto’s mind earlier. So I kind of like this outcome. Both of them are willing to go to extreme lengths to fight each other. Oh there was one more death in this issue, but even I didn’t care much because it was Valkyrie. But we did get to see Ultimate Hela who’s an S&M nightmare (Must all the Ultimate Loeb characters be so “modern”). Thor went to Valhalla and Cap was there too?! Oh noes! Is Cap dead?! Oh and it was a bit annoying to see events I already know the outcome to because of those recent Fantastic Four issues. Why must Finch be so slow? Oh well, he did another great job here. But have the boobs on his women always been this BIG?

Ultimatum #2 of 5 Preview Preview Page 7

See? Was Finch always that…Cho? Anyway, Ultimatum continues to be a violent shocking cleansing of the Ultimate U. I just wish there was more substance to accompany all that flash.

Large Cover of Hulk #9

Hulk #9 (****)

And speaking of Frank Cho, it’s his last issue of Hulk, for now. Reviewing this book is silly. Almost as silly as the book itself. You either love it or you hate it. And if you haven’t read it or even to those who hate it, this is basically a modern Stan Lee book. The comedy, the zany ideas, even the great art. It’s satirical people! Multiple Wendigos! Wendihulk! Sentry and Moon Knight talk about going to the same shrink! It’s a lot of big pretty dumb fun. Next issue? It’s Defenders vs. Offenders! Nuff said!

Large Cover of Hulk #10 (50/50 Variant)

12 thoughts on “Bruce Castle Presents: Bendis vs. Loeb – Spoilers!

  1. I will admit, I said WTF a lot while reading Ultimatum. A lot. I was with friends, who when I showed them stuff, they also wondered what was going on. Something that isn’t a criticism of Loeb (because the Ultimate X-Men authors did the same thing) is that they never mentioned Beast’s second death. Beast was with Dazzler, Nightcrawler and Angel, when the Ultimatum Wave hit. Professor X mentioned how Nightcrawler and Dazzler died, and you could see them dead, and so did Jean Grey, recalling their last moments. But nobody mentioned Beast. He was there. In both Ultimatum 1 and Ultimate X-Men, he was there, but nobody mentioned Hank. I had to learn about it in an ad for Ultimatum about the Dead Pool (I was so disappointed when I learned it wasn’t Deadpool, but a dead pool). Again, it isn’t an attack on Loeb, as the other writers seem to not care either.

    USM is Ultimatum related as Peter and his friends are going to see Johnny when the wave hits. That’s why all of them are there together on that train in Ultimatum 1. Yeah, that was a good issue. I was sad about the Venom arc, but this was fun and good again.

  2. Reread Ultimatum #1. Professor X stumbles at the end and says something like “Kurt….Alison…..Hank. They’re all dead.” So, blame the Ultimate X-Men writer for only covering Kurt and Alison. Or blame Jean Grey. Maybe she doesn’t care about Beast. Or maybe Hank’s last thought was dirty and Jean didn’t want to ruin Rogue’s memory of him. Maybe Hank’s last memory was of him fucking Rogue?

    Ok, I guess USM had “something” to do with Ultimatum. But to call it a tie-in is silly. But as I said, it was better than Ultimatum #2 so who cares.

    And yes, the Venom arc made me sad too, but this issue was back to the awesome basics.

  3. I’ll have to check (at a comic store as my copy is in Mew York), but I was pretty sure that he only mentioned Kurt and Allison when he mentioned them.

    Yes, it wasn’t much of a tie-in, but it was a tie-in more than the FF prelude to Civil War was a tie-in.

    Oh, and am I the only one upset that Mockingbird is just back because of this? I mean, she had actually died. There were multiple moments where in the afterlife, Mockingbird showed up. I believe she was in Dead Girl’s mini-series, and she was in the GLA’s afterlife poker game (where Hawkeye wasn’t, because he had been revived by Wanda already, but nobody knew that yet). Now, she’s back. Sigh…

  4. What? You need a reason for Mockingbird’s return? You’re silly! Bendis wanted to use the character so he did. What’s wrong with that?

    I believe Bendis is one of the many “fanboy” writers. Why are any of those characters on the Avengers? Because Bendis loves them and you should too. As we’ve talked about, I am very close to dropping NA.

  5. Because she was actually dead? Not “she was in an explosion, so how could she possibly survive” type dead, but dead. Actual body, buried, seen in the afterlife. I’m pretty sure you’re sarcastic, but as much as I think Mockingbird is somewhat interesting, I don’t like that she is suddenly alive. I wouldn’t mind if they had some explanation, but the way they did it…

  6. Sigh, yes I was being sarcastic. I thought that would be clear due to my second paragraph, but alas. Damn type!

    Basically, you’re right. Bendis just brought her back because he wants her back. Bendis is a “fanboy” writer. He writes the characters he wants to write. They’re not popular? Fuck you, they’re on the team. You can’t have Spider-Man and Wolverine on the Avengers! Fuck you, they’re on the team. You can’t have that character, she’s dead! Fuck you, she’s on the team.

    Understand? It sucks, but it’s true. Dan Didio and Joe Quesada, even Geoff Johns are also an example of this. Didio wants Barry and Hal back? They’re back. Joey Q wants MJ out of Spidey’s life? She’s gone.

    While they’re happy as hell that comics are the way they like it, we just have to deal with it.

    So again, I may not pick up NA 49. The only thing stopping me is just to get the DA team-up in NA #50. Although there is the new Dr. Strange in NA #51, but I could just ask or wiki it if I want to know who it is.

  7. Well, at least Spidey had reason to be on the team, along with Wolverine. A lot of things they explain (however poorly), but this wasn’t. If she had died, and had already been replaced, then she would have been revealed to be a Skrull then. If she hadn’t been replaced (she didn’t revert, so…), then she just got revived without explanation.

    And in your rating system, I didn’t realize how much higher a 4 was than a 3.5. Considering you praised the 4’s, and was unhappy about the 3.5’s, I think there is something to be said. What is in that 0.5 that makes or break a comic for you? Are you even considering dropping Hulk? You’d think that you seriously considering (and pretty much deciding) to drop something that got 3.5 (and it’s going to be different during Dark Reign from what it was in SI) on your scale would at least merit thinking about the 4’s. Sure, the dollar, but your decision to not buy it will probably have no impact on their decision on whether or not comics should have raised prices in general. Otherwise, it is a dollar. Oh, well, I’m just going off about something that I have no business butting in on. Do what you feel you have to.

  8. My rating system is perplexing I admit. Especially since I originally started reviewing on a four-star scale (Which is what I usually do), but then Billy made me change it to five in an attempt to uniform the site. Of course that didn’t work since Billy doesn’t post anymore, Desiato hasn’t used the five-star in a long time, Seventh goes on a grade system (A,B, etc.) and DC doesn’t rate at all!

    But anyway, I tried to make sense of the five-star system and it’s something like this:

    ***** – You must read now! Sometimes this is tremendous quality on a Watchmen scale, but it’s usually something that I just really really enjoyed. I used to give Hulk five stars. Lately however, I’ve tried to restrict the five stars to the best of the best.

    ****1/2 – This is probably where the “books I really really enjoyed” stuff has ended up. But four and a half is also fantastic stuff.

    **** – A significantly good issue. Not top tier, but still something that has quite a lot of quality to it. Hulk has ended up here because I always love to read it. It’s usually near the top of my stack month after month. However, Hulk is not medium-shaking book. It can even be an indefensible pick at times. Still, I get a big kick out of it.

    ***1/2 – The lowest level of recommendation. However, I still recommend it. It’s still a good issue, but it may not be all that memorable. It probably won’t even be something that’s trade worthy.

    *** – An average book. It’s something that probably isn’t worth your money or time, especially in this American economy. This may also be a place where bad issues of good books tend to go. If I read a bad issue of say, Ultimate Spider-Man, it will probably go here.

    **1/2 – Below average. Don’t read it unless you love the art/writer/whatever.

    ** – Bad.

    *1/2 – Terrible. Something that may deserve some vocal payback for the writer that wrote this garbage.

    * – Yeah, you should probably drop this book now. I don’t care how good it used to be.

    (-) – Burn the fucking thing.

    That’s a basic guideline.

    I have considered several times to Hulk in trade. In fact, I should do it. There are two things that stop me.

    One: As I said, it’s an enjoyable read. It’s almost always near the top of the stack. I would lose that monthly joy. It’s also cool because I add monthly sales to Loeb books. Not that the numbers really need my help. The book sells really well. But it still sticks it to the Loeb haters. And there are so many.

    Two: I read this book with a good friend of mine. We only have about five or so books in common to talk about monthly.

    Basically, I read about 25-45 books a month. That is way too many. It should be about 20 books. Even if that means I read ten in trade. At least it would cut my weekly tax to about 15-20 bucks instead of say 30-40.

    New Avenger cons:

    1) As we’ve talked about, there’s really only one arc in the entire 48 issue run that I consider great. That’s a bad bad thing.

    2) I have one friend who also reads this book, but I don’t really like him. 🙂

    I could read NA in trade, but what’s the point? The biggest thing this book has going for it right now is that it’s the heart of the Marvel Universe. I drop it, I’m kind of in the dark. However, in this internet age of ours, I could look up any info I want to know about online.

    You know what? I just looked over the solicits for NA 49-51 and I think I finally decided.

    I’m dropping the book.

    I’ll still look online to see what I missed. If I hear extraordinary things about the next few issues I may change my mind. Or if I absolutely adore the first DA issue (I think I will try it) I may have to buy NA 50. But I think my five or so year relationship with New Avengers is dead.

  9. Yep. I keep trying to find that damn dead pool list for Ultimatum because apparently it’s very important. So if you find a link, let me know please. Also the McGuinness variants, Dazzler was on the first and Professor X was on the second. So I guess those are spoiler covers as variants often are.

  10. Well, thank you, but I did find those. But if you notice, you can’t see the name next to Iron Man in the bottom left corner. What I’m looking for is the dead pool without the obituaries. I did find it somewhere but I can’t find it again. Guess what I get if I search dead pool?

    As I said, the two characters on the variants died in that issue. Hank Pym is on the third variant but he isn’t on the dead pool unless he’s that last name.

    Although, there could be no pattern after this. Marvel has released a teaser before each issue with the last page for God’s sake! Did you see that last issue one that actually showed Prof dead? Why is Marvel doing this unless of course they break the pattern now.

    Still, it’s a safe bet that Hank will die next issue.

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