Bruce Castle Presents: Final Crisis For The T-Bolts And The X-Men!

Thunderbolts #126

Thunderbolts #126 (****)

Wow! Cool cover, right? I don’t know who Francesco Mattina is, but I’m sure we’ll see plenty more from him in the future. Ok, so I loved Ellis’ Thunderbolts run. It’s only two damn trades! Pick them up if you haven’t already. I’m happy to see that the new writer, Andy Diggle, doesn’t try to screw with what Ellis did. He writes the characters the same, but he does have to shake things up. This is Diggle’s first issue, so it won’t be his best. The book is a little humorous, but not as much as it was. There’s also a scene between Radioactive Man and Songbird that seems off. Other than those minor faults, Diggle writes a pretty damn good book. Torre tries to keep the artistic style of Ellis’ run as well. His work is similar to Deodato’s without copying him. It looks pretty cool. Congratulations guys! I’m eager to find out what happens next!

Astonishing X-Men Ghost Boxes #2 (of 2)

Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #2 (***1/2)

Damn you Bianchi and your blank covers! Don’t draw this. Spend your time on the main title please. Clayton Crain or Kaare Andrews or even someone else could have done the cover. Anyway, it’s official, this was filler. I doubt these two issues really meant anything. But there’s a big difference between regular filler and Ellis filler. This issue was so sad! Last issue was about the different Subject X’s. This issue is about the different results the Ghost Boxes could have had and they are dark. Really really really dark, I need a hug. This issue also includes Ellis’ script. You definitely have to read the script. I read the script and then looked at what the artist drew and let me tell you, Ellis tells a much better story. The artist either ignores things or in Crain’s case, you can’t notice the details that Ellis wrote. But the art is still pretty. I like Clayton Crain and Kaare Andrews and I don’t see their art often. If you can get past the 4 dollar price tag and the fact that this is just a What If, give this a try.

Final Crisis Revelations #4 (of 5) (Cover B)

Final Crisis: Revelations #4 (****)

How can this book feel so epic and so self-contained at the same time? Brilliant writing that’s how. And I still love Tan’s art. Sure it looks a little 90’s at times, but he captures all the emotion and the biblical tone perfectly. I think this is pretty much what I’ve said on the other three reviews of this series. It’s more interesting to write negative reviews, isn’t it? The only thing that bugged me was the ending. This can’t affect Final Crisis, right? Oh well, I’m eager to see how this ends. What will happen to Crispus Allen? I know Montoya will be presented with something big and I wonder what it is. What will happen to Vandal Savage? And of course, will God finally show up?

Bruce Castle Presents: Wolverine Goes Beserk!

X-Force #6 (****)

If you’ve read one issue of X-Force, you can probably tell if it’s for you or not. Every single issue has been either crappy or really good depending on your opinion. I happen to fall into the really good category. I enjoy the fun and the gore along with the continuity junk. I’m conflicted when it comes to Crain’s art. He does a pretty good job here though. There are even a few moments of (dark) greatness. Overall, this was a promising first arc. I’m pleased that Mike Choi (I really dug his Uncanny X-Men work) will handle the art chores in the upcoming issues and it looks like Kyle and Yost will provide many dark, violent, continuity-filled stories for years to come.

Ultimate X-Men #97 (****)

This is the end of Heroes writer Aron Coleite’s first arc on Ultimate X-Men. I was quite pleased with it. I really enjoyed Coleite’s jam-packed storytelling. There is still some room for improvement, but he’s still adjusting. Like the rest of this arc, this issue contains some pretty crazy stuff. I also enjoyed seeing Mark Brooks’ art. Oh, I just have to write about this: SLIGHT SPOILER!!! Colossus lifts Wolverine over his head and rips off his leg! Does that remind you of a certain unfinished Ultimate mini-series? In fact, listen to what Wolverine says about it, “The Hulk tore me in half once. You shoulda seen what I did to him. It was epic.” END SPOILER!!!! How can you not laugh at that? Anyway, if this title continues after Ultimatum, it looks like Coleite could have a pretty impressive run.

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.