Review: Immortal Weapons #2

Immortal Weapons

After Jason Aaron’s surprisingly excellent Immortal Weapons #1: Fat Cobra, I had extremely high hopes for the follow-up issue.  The format is novel: a brief, ongoing narrative, kin to DC’s current back-up features, links each issue, but each is otherwise a one-shot exploring a little-known character in the supporting cast of the Immortal Iron Fist.  Unfortunately, where Fat Cobra gave a sublimely melancholy look at the jovial martial artist, Bride of Nine Spiders settles into an awkward horror pastiche utterly lacking in martial arts… or in background on the still enigmatic character.

The Immortal Iron Fist was known as much for David Aja’s gorgeous martial arts fights as it was for Brubaker and Fraction’s pulp superhero extravaganza.  Some of that excellent design work and fluid art came through in Fat Cobra, particularly in Michael Lark’s brief segment.  Brereton, the sole artist on the main story, offers little of that personality to the book beyond stiff, awkward characters and a generic, if tolerable, rendition of any number of horror tropes.

Cullen Bunn’s story isn’t bad: the last time one of the Brides of Nine Spiders was on Earth, a single, living spider remained behind.  The creature proved to be immortal, and possessed mystic properties that, if used correctly, could summon and bind the Bride to Earth.  This, of course, does not go very well at all.  There’s little wrong with the premise, except that it isn’t a Bride of Nine Spiders story.  It isn’t even a story about the man who binds her to Earth.  It’s a story about a group of thieves stealing a mystical artifact, and that’s a good two steps away from where the action should be.

Swierczynski and Foreman’s back-up feature, continuing the story of Danny Rand and a troubled young student of his, fares better.  Though brief, the story gets to the point quickly, working overtime to complete the set-up started last issue.  Ending on a particularly chilling note, “The Caretakers” continues to set-up a potentially interesting story.

It isn’t fair to review something based on what you expected it to be.  I’m sure that there are many people who will enjoy Immortal Weapons #2: Bride of Nine Spiders.  Unfortunately, that story is in the wrong place, in a book marketed towards fans of pulp action and martial arts and purported to explore the backgrounds of these enigmatic new characters.  Bunn and Brereton don’t do bad work… they just don’t even remotely fit the title.

Grade: C

– Cal Cleary

Read/RANT

Immortal Weapons #1: Fat Cobra

Bruce Castle Presents: Matt Fraction Books Unite!

Large Cover of Uncanny X-Men #505 (Villain Variant)

Uncanny X-Men #505 (***)

Do we really want this man writing the X-Men?

I think it’s official, Brubaker has left the building. Did Fracker break up? I don’t know, but that picture is awesome. And Tony was right. Anyway, I feel sorry for this book. It’s become Marvel’s answer to JLA. One of the terrible things about the current JLA is that the book has to keep servicing other books. It spends too much time talking about events that it can’t tell its own stories. That’s exactly what Uncanny X-Men is. This issue spends so much time talking about X-Force, and M-Day, and Astonishing X-Men and now Dark Reign. Fraction only gets a few pages to tell the stories he wants to tell, but it has little impact. It barely makes sense! The Dodson’s continue to impress and the fact that this book isn’t terrible demonstrates Fraction’s ability as a writer. Please Marvel, give the man some freedom!

Large Cover of The Invincible Iron Man #8 (Villain Variant)

Invincible Iron Man #8 (****1/2)

Everything about this book is perfect. Except the art of course, Larroca can’t draw people. I know I know it’s Iron Man, but this book is about the characters. It’s not about the iron. Although the few panels involving technology do look sweet. It’s still amazing how Fraction manages to write this cast so well. Tony, Maria and Pepper are so lovable even though they’re definitely human and flawed. You know what else is in this issue? Comedy! I’ve said a thousand times but I’ll say it again, if you liked the movie you’ll enjoy this. Last thing, Osborn is the new Skrull. It’s only been two weeks and already I realize how much I’ll type the name Osborn in the coming months.

God-Sized

Thor: God-Sized #1 (****)

The writing is great. The art is great. There are four art teams working on this thing and yet they’re all pretty cool. I enjoyed the part three artist the most. It was very old-school, cartoony, and fun. So this is a quality issue, but I’m sure a lot of you will ask, “What’s the point?” It’s a tribute. Along with the 38 new pages, you’ll also receive a reprint of the classic Thor #362. Walt Simonson had one of the best runs on Thor ever. It easily rivals the Lee/Kirby era. But you know what? You can’t even get a trade that contains Thor #362. They were reprinted in trades but they’re sold out now. That’s why this issue is important. If you haven’t read Walt’s run, it’ll let you know what you’re missing. If you have read his run, you’ll quickly be reminded how great it was. The reason why I loved part three so much was because you got to see all the classic Simonson costumes, Balder in his armor, Thor with his beard, and so on. Of course this issue isn’t all about Simonson, it’s also about Skurge. He was a tragic and important part of the Thor mythos. I highly recommend this issue.