Foilball’s Review Roundup #59 – Secret Invasion and Final Crisis, The Tie-Ins!

Deadpool #3 (***1/2)

Not as good as 2, and way worse than 1. I hope this series has somewhere to go once the Invasion ends. Or maybe I don’t. Can I really afford another monthly?

Guardians of the Galaxy #6 (***1/2)

Wacky misunderstandings in space! Heh, but seriously, how the hell is Peter gonna convince all his buddies to come back and play nice? He basically brainwashed them! It would be pretty sweet if they all formed their own group and told Starlord to piss off.

Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #34 (**)

BORING. Is this what we should expect from the forthcoming War Machine ongoing? Perhaps I should adjust my pre-order?

Mighty Avengers #19 (*)

Complete waste as it failed at making me care about Marvel Boy. UGH. You can’t just go through the motions, Bendis, you actually have to write clever character stuff!

Secret Invasion: Frontline #4 (****)

Still the best tie-in. Do you get the feeling that maybe Ben Urich is gonna bite it at the end of this mini? I hope so. I like him, but he bugs me. Actually, Sally Floyd bugs me more. Kill her, Marvel!

Secret Invasion: Inhumans #3 (****)

This issue makes me very excited about the direction Marvel is taking the Inhumans. The War of Kings story is going to be epic, people!

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds (***)

I started to read this, and then I got bored. Heh, maybe I’ll finish later…

Final Crisis: Revelations #3 (***)

I don’t really know how to feel about this comic. It’s well written, but I’m not sure if I like it. Is that weird?

Final Crisis: Rogue’s Revenge #3 (*****)

THIS WAS AWESOME! Those Rogues are some cold-blooded bastards, right! It’s interesting that Captain Cold thinks murdering Inertia makes up for murdering Bart Allen/Flash/Kid Flash/Impulse. I don’t think that’s how it works, dude. And, oh man, having the Rogues cringe at the possibility of the return of Barry Allen as the Flash really gets the mind buzzing for next year’s big flash event. As far as this being a tie-in to FC and not just a cash grab? FAIL. Sure, this mini explains why the Rogues opted out of Libra’s Society, but did anyone really care? That subplot was completely irrelevant to the main plot, that being the murder of Inertia. I’m sure I would have enjoyed this book just as much without all the FC hoopla.

Secret Invasion Part 12A

Secret Invasion: Inhumans (****1/2)

I must say that Pokaski has a very good feel for these characters. Crystal making a gigantic stone Black Bolt golem to fight the Skrulls? Fantastic. All the Inhumans are written well in a believable fashion, and you still get the different sense of how this royal family acts in comparison to a standard superhero team. Loyalty above all else is the name of the game. So it’s not even a question that Gorgon would protect Maximus despite his hatred for the man. I should also mention that the Inhumans’ methods for torturing a captive Skrull in attempts to discern the location of Black Bolt was a perfectly ingenius way to go about their business. We’re continuing to learn of the overall plans of the Skrulls as relates to Mr. Boltagon, and it’s not going to be pretty. This is a great series so far, and Joe Pokaski eally does seem to have a future in print media.

Nova #17 (****1/2)

Nova has returned home. Most of the events of this issue take place at the home base of Project PEGASUS, wherein Richard Rider, his brother Robbie and Darkhawk try to beat back the Skrulls from intercepting some seriously dangerous tech. The three characters engage in quite a lot of wisecracking (including a nice shot at the cliche of heroes attacking each other before realizing they’re on the same side) and we’ve got the return (in a way) of the Xandarian Worldmind. But the best moment of the entire issues comes on the last page, where we have a big (from my perspective) return that makes perfect sense, considering that character originally met his end early on in the Nova book (hint, hint…It’s Quasar!). Great reveal that was truly well executed and logical, and it sets up a lot of interest for the rest of the arc and potentially beyond, provided that he’s going to stick around. I love this book. But you already knew that.

Guardians of the Galaxy #5 (***1/2)

Drax gets his Wolverine in the sewers of the Hellfire Club moment here, as he skulks around eviscerating Luminals for a good portion of the book. This issue has a bit of middle chapter syndrome going on; things happen and the story continues to move, but not a lot of it grabbed me. The Drax stuff was fun, but as I mentioned, we’ve seen it before. A lot. There is a big reveal involving Cosmo that was a nice moment, and I did enjoy the way Adam Warlock discovered the traitorous dog with a nice continuation of the work being done in the Marvel Universe with the Eternals and the Celestials. I am also looking forward to the litany of “I told you sos” and overall smugness of Rocket Raccoon over the next couple issues once he finds out about Cosmo. This was a good issue, but nothing special.

Black Panther #41 (*****)

Well, there was certainly an unholy amount of badass in this three issue run. There are so many great moments in this issue, from the reveal of what was actually going on with Black Panther and Storm to the final fate of the Skrulls. But like the rest of the issues, the real star of the book is Commander K’vv, the man that is running the Wakandan portion of the invasion. There is a running theme in the book of K’vvr struggling to figure out how to write a letter to his wife, and the final portion of the book is set to the narrative of the letter itself (this is, of course, going on after his bloody and violent end at the hands of the protagonists) with these stark pages of dead Skrulls and blood alongside the cheering Wakandans. The way Aaron wrote these issues is very sympathetic to the Skrulls, despite the fact that they are the invading force and should really be the villains of the piece. It’s that little extra oomph that pushes this book over the top. The characterization of K’vvr is excellent, and the final letter is a very sobering series of panels. These are overall probably the best issues to come out of the Secret Invasion event. I probably liked the Hercules issues more, but they were not as accessible as what we have her. I recommend that everyone out there read these books. You will not be disappointed.

Thunderbolts #124 (*****)

I love what Christos Gage is doing with these characters. I should have started reading this book earlier. How long has it been this good? Every single person in this book and on this team is certifiably insane. And all of it is tempered by the strange sense of twisted honor that many of these characters feel. Many of them are legitimately trying to do good works, but have to deal with what simply boils down to mental illness, and at the same time, you’ve got characters like Bullseye and Venom right next to them that only care about killing and survival. The interactions between Norman Osborne and Moonstone are awesome. Songbird, Radioactive Man, the Swordsman duo, Penance, it’s all great. I don’t know if I have more fun reading any Marvel book other than Thunderbolts right now. Awesome stuff.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #55 – A Secret Invasion in September

The New Avengers # 45 (****): The art plus explanations (can’t really say answers as I do not believe anyone was even asking these questions) makes this a solid read. Yes, “wasting” a page on the Queen vomiting in the toilet may have turned off some people, but I loved it. Vulnerability is always cool. I mean, this panel did wonders for Tony Stark.

The Mighty Avengers #18 (***): More Secret Warriors!!! I feel like I’ve read this story already, yeah? And the whole V for Vendetta/Alias/Every spy fiction fake torture sequence EV-VAR! thing was more than a lot a bit unnecessary in my not so humble opinion. Unlike the clone Reed Richards torture scene, I don’t think the scene in this book fooled anybody. Truth.

Avengers: The Initiative #17 (**): WOO! Wait, what am I so excited about? This was awful. The Queen doing her best “twirling moustache” routine at the end had me gagging on my own tongue, and then there’s that tossed in Star Wars reference… to one of the BAD ones? BLAH.

Black Panther #41 (*****): EPIC. And final. I’m glad we ended our relationship on a high note, T’challa. I would’ve been truly sad if your last arc had been balls. Although, I do wish the payoff for this arc had been that Storm was a Skrull the whole time. That may have saved the book for me.

Deadpool #2 (****1/2): Even better than the first issue, even with the predictable ending. BOOYA! Good Deadpool writing is back, baby!

Guardians of the Galaxy #5 (****1/2): GARSH! When did this comic get so good? Out of all the anti-Skrull plans, I think I like Drax’s the best: ‘Kill ‘em all.’ Perfection. OH, NOES! Cosmo… a Skrull agent? Say it ain’t so, dawg!

Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #33 (***): ‘War Machine: Weapon of S.H.I.E.L.D.’? ALL IN, DUDERS! I even like the Transformers ending. DING. This first story was mediocre, but I’m looking forward to this new direction.

Ms. Marvel #31 (****1/2): Technically no longer tying in with Secret Invasion, instead dealing with the post-SI aftermath, the “Dark Reign”, whatever that is. Man, where has Reed been hiding this story? It was so good! Character building moments! Good times! No fight scenes! So, questions: Why does Carol want to kill Norman Osborn? Could he be responsible for this “Dark Reign”? Is it related to what’s happening over in Thunderbolts right now?

Nova # 17 (*): UGH, this was the opposite of awesome. DnA are really letting me down on this title. To be frank, it sucks. It’s boring. I’m bored. Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. is boring. Quasar is boring. Dick Ryder’s family life is boring. Darkhawk is boring. BORED FOREVER!!! The most interesting stuff in this issue deals with the Super Skrull fake betrayal, but that’s over by the first couple of pages and then the book quickly reverts back to its natural state: boringtowne.

She-Hulk #33 (****): What a difference the art makes. Same writer. Same shitty story. But somehow the fabulous art makes everything more interesting.

Secret Invasion: Inhumans #2 (****1/2): finally got my hands on this and I was not disappointed. Tom Raney rules.

Secret Invasion: The Amazing Spider-Man #2 (***): Better than the first issue? I don’t know. It was still UGH-inducing.

Secret Invasion: Thor #2 (**): UGH. This book is FAIL. Why even make this a mini? There were absolutely ZERO interesting plot turns before Thor shows up at the end. Just skip the two filler issues and make this a one-shot where Thor beats the shit out of a legion of Skrulls. DING.

Skrulls vs. Power Pack #3 (-): This books makes me cry.

Thunderbolts #124 (*****): …and THIS book makes me giggle like your little sister on weed. WHEEE!!!!

Foilball’s Review Roundup #50 – My Late Secret Invasion Reviews

The New Avengers #44 (****1/2): This was the much needed issue to explain how the Skrulls did what they did. But here’s the thing, I think it makes the Skrulls look too smart. Like, these guys got cloning down to a perfected science? Shapeshifters, genetic manipulators, interstellar space travel? Dude, how the hell can Earth win? They can’t. They really can’t. So now, after reading this issue, if Secret Invasion ends in any way that isn’t total victory for the Skrulls then it’ll just ring false to me.

The Mighty Avengers #17 (***1/2): This was an okay issue, but in no way a must-read. Hank Pym is hard to mimic… who cares? Unless… unless this means that the Skrull Pym over in the main title plans to betray his people. Interesting…

Avengers: The Initiative #16 (*****): OMG! This book was sweet! The Skrull Kill Krew was never this awesome! The art! The dialogue! This book was just too much fun! Can you guys imagine an event book written by Dan Slott? Poor Robert Kirkman, now I understand his bitterness. Marvel replaced him with Slott!

Black Panther #40 (*****): You know what this arc reminds me of? It reminds me of the very first arc of the series; the arc that made me love the Black Panther. It’s as if Aaron went back and read those first six issues, and nothing else, and then sat down and wrote this wonderful tie-in. It’s sad that it’s taken 30 odd issues to get the Panther title back to this level of good.

Captain Britain and MI13 #4 (*****): Finally got a copy… wow, this was good. Should I be watching Dr. Who? Also, I’m glad I read the Wisdom trade before picking up this series. Continuity is great when it works!

Guardians of the Galaxy #4 (*****): It took four issues, but they got me. I’m hooked. Something about the character dynamics this issue makes me feel like this is a book worth reading.

The Incredible Hercules #120 (*****): Herc rises to the occasion and beats up a god. Not much more to say than that. Also, it was brilliant!

Nova #16 (****): Indeed, this was one of the better issues of Nova, and I like how it tie-ins with Secret Invasion, but what bugs me is how horribly it seems to sync up with…

She-Hulk #32 (****): … so I guess Nova gets away then? As for She-Hulk, I’m still enjoying the new artist but as for the story, I’m kind of wishing this Skrull Pope guy would just go away. He’s annoying. And unnecessary.

Secret Invasion: The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (***): Meh, why did this even need to get published? And the title is total lies. It’s a story about Jackpot (jack-who?), not a story about Spider-Man. Waste.

Thunderbolts #123 (*****): Christos Gage, you are a master.

X-Factor #34 (*): Larry Stroman, you are not.

Desiato’s Top Ten Monthlies!

From the perspective of purely focusing on ongoing titles, this list was surprisingly more difficult than I thought it would be. I read a lot of minis. So books like Atomic Robo or Comic Book Comics or the Inhumans stuff are not going to be on this list. I’ve done my best, and here’s what I came up with.

10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8

It’s enjoyable. It’s not necessarily deep in the way I think of other comics I enjoy, but a lot of that comes from it being adaptation material, and for whatever reason I have a lot of trouble thinking of these books as comics as such so much as they are simply vehicles to continue a story from a different medium. It doesn’t really affect my enjoyment of the series (to my knowledge), but it basically creates a bit of a mental block that stops it from transcending a certain sense of mediocrity of vision.

9. Captain Britain and MI:13

It’s at number nine because we’ve only got four issues and it’s been a Secret Invasion book first and foremost, so we’re going to have to see what this series is capable of when it’s put out on its own and not piggybacking off a big event. I love it so far, and I haven’t had a single complaint, and I’m hoping the quality continues when the book strikes out on its own.

8. Avengers: The Initiative

This would be The Order. Hell, this should be The Order. They should have let Fraction keep going and then he would have been forced to drop Punisher to make room for Invincible Iron Man and everything would have been groovy. Avengers: Initiative isn’t as good or interesting or risky as The Order was, but it’s still an excellent book, and it’s the only place you can really get that sense of the post Civil War status quo (and I LOVE the post Civil War status quo). It’s still good stuff and it’s still got some interesting new characters, and it’s an important piece of the Marvel Universe.

7. Terry Moore’s Echo

I’ve never read Strangers in Paradise, so I started reading Echo more off the name recognition of Terry Moore than actually knowing or liking his work. Good decision for me. It’s a very good book, and we’ve got a ton of different angles from which to approach it. It’s a government conspiracy book. It’s a science fiction book. It’s a relationship book. It’s a fugitive chase scene book. It’s all of these things rolled into one. And it’s very good.

6. Green Lantern Corps

Since I started reading the GL books, I’ve enjoyed Green Lantern Corps demonstrably more than its single minded ongoing brother. I love the Green Lantern Corps as a concept, which is part of the reason why the solo title can wear a little thin on me from time to time. I’m not really interested in the one man so much as the sea of thousands.

5. The Immortal Iron Fist

I’ve only gotten one issue of the post Brubaker Fraction run, and it’s still good, so the title is still up here on the list of things I look forward to every month. It’s got a solid cast of characters and a good foundation of the Iron Fist mythology to use, and the writers have done an excellent job of making Danny Rand someone to care about. It’s good chop socky fun, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

4. New Avengers

Marvel’s flagship. With Bendis all in the mix of the big events since Secret War, everything of importance has a tendency to be seen through the lens of the New Avengers. That’s obviously quite the case now with Secret Invasion, but this has been an excellent book for pretty much the entirety of its run.

3. Thor

Straczynski’s book is huge and sprawling and yet focused and insular at the same time. I just reviewed issue ten, and I put most of my thoughts for the series as a whole into that review, so you can just go read that to see just why I love this book as much as I do.

2. The Incredible Hercules

So this is certainly the little book that could. Remember the cynicism and incredulity that came with the announcement that Hercules was replacing Hulk in this title? The assumptions that Hercules can’t sustain an ongoing and it would be cancelled in three months or revert back to a Hulk book faster than the blink of an eye. But it persists. And the reason it persists (other than getting the sales bump from tying into Secret Invasion and launching in the aftermath of World War Hulk) is that it’s REALLY DAMNED GOOD. This is the type of book that could legitimately hold on to the readers it gains from the event bumps because it’s so charming and well written and FUNNY and light and breezy goodness. Hercules and Amadeus Cho working your standard odd couple angle may not sound like the stuff of kings, but it is.

1. Nova/Guardians of the Galaxy

Is it a cheat? Probably. Don’t care. You know the implicit trust everyone has in Geoff Johns and all of his books? That’s how I feel about Abnett and Lanning. These guys have been working with Marvel cosmic since its grand rebirth during Annihilation (they wrote the Nova lead in mini) and through the Nova ongoing, Conquest and Guardians of the Galaxy, they have steered the ship of the new look Marvel cosmic. And it’s awesome. And they’re obviously doing well enough that they’ve been rewarded with exclusive contracts and the next World War Hulk sized event with War of Kings. My favorite writers taking on Black Bolt and the Inhumans? And possibly finding a way to make Vulcan interesting? Awesome. But let’s leave that on the side for now. Since I started collecting monthlies, I have not gotten more enjoyment out of any single series than Nova. And Guardians of the Galaxy is certainly no slouch either. So I’m combining number one to basically cover the DnAverse.

Reviews: Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy and Young Avengers Presents

Only three reviews for the immediate time being (one of which is lazily short) because I’m a bit behind on my reading. I’ll be finishing the tenth Fables trade tonight or tomorrow, and I’ve read the Secret Invasion tie ins (natch), so I’ll eventually get to the rest of the books I got on Friday.

Nova #15 (*****)

What a shock. Desiato gives an issue of Nova involving Galactus five stars. I know, I know. Sometimes you just have to step out on a ledge. And by ledge I mean not a ledge. Because as I’ve been saying for the rest of this arc, this is just some solid gold damn good comics. And once again, Abnett and Lanning give Galactus the due diligence he deserves. Galactus does not speak once throughout all three issues of the arc. It was never in doubt that the planet he chose to assume would die. This is Galactus. He’s not going to be stopped by a little Green Lantern wannabe. All is as it should be. DnA also wrap up the side story of Harrow in a pretty neat way which further continues the recharacterization of Galactus as the ultimate badass. Plus, those silly Brits decided to throw in an old school Get Smart reference (“Cone of Psilence”? AWESOME!). It’s like they jacked into my brain and figured out exactly what kind of cosmic Marvel story I would want and then put pen to paper based on exactly what I need. Loved it. Loved it loved it loved it. Great little lead in for the upcoming Secret Invasion tie in(s) too. Don’t know what to make of it all yet, but it’s certainly something that could shake up Nova’s status quo if it hasn’t already.

Guardians of the Galaxy #3 (****)

Still really good. It’s a bit of a step down from the first two issues, and we’re getting even more of the original Guardians popping up in a VERY SKRULLY FASHION (cough cough), but not so much in a way that it completely takes away from the rest of the book. I do think it was a good choice to keep all the Vance Astro business back at the HEADquarters (not going to refer to Knowhere in any other fashion) and not have him go out with the rest of the team. And I definitely enjoy the continuation of the Universal Church of Truth storyline. I’m really starting to enjoy those characters as villains. So glad that they didn’t make the UCT a one off little thing in order to start off the series. They’re giving these characters some depth beyond the black hats. They have a purposes and motivations. And it’s creating a nice contrast to the silly fun that the Guardians revel in. We’ve also got an intriguing hook to segue into Secret Invasion, and it’s safe to say that a lot of havoc is about to unfurl.

Young Avengers Presents #6 (****1/2)

Yep. It’s as good as everyone said. Worth the extra three week wait to get it. Matt Fraction writing Clint Barton is SUPER FUN. Fuck, I need to buy the Young Avengers hardcover. Fuck, I can’t afford it. But you’ve already read Billy and BruceCastle talk about this bad boy. We all know it’s good. So let’s just move on.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #33 – THE MEDIOCRES!

As promised, The Mediocres. These books weren’t great and they weren’t bad. They were workman like in their execution, filled with substance but lacking the style to put them over the top.

Batman and the Outsiders #8 (***): This issue does a fine job of wrapping up the last 7 issues worth of story without actually introducing anything new or exciting. It’s a good job, but boring.

Birds of Prey #119 (***): And, Tony Bedard is back. Okay, this was not as bad as I expected. And, Scott is still doing the art, so it’s not a total loss. The following series of panels made me laugh, and not in that good way…

Black Panther #37 (**1/2): It’s mostly filler, but the back and forth between Panther and Killmonger is semi-interesting. Next issue promises to be an all-out slugfest, but… I don’t know if I care about the Panther’s solo adventures anymore. Seems to me like Hudlin is finally running out of ideas. When he first relaunched the book, it seemed to hold so much promise. Instead of rising to the level of exciting political intrigue that Captain America has, it’s slowly fallen into petty soap opera drama. It’s just not compelling. I think after the Secret Invasion tie-in issues, I will be dropping this book.

Green Lantern #32 (***): Compared with the rest of the issues in the arc, which I loved, I was very disappointed in this issue. Not much happened. Sinestro was cool, and that Yoda shit he did with Hal’s plane was very cool, but it felt… mediocre, especially for a Johns book. I’m sure this will be the exception and next issue will see the return of the level of quality we as GL fans are used to. Oh, one more thing. This entire arc is making me so sad for Hal. Like, Carol Ferris is so awesome! A part of me has to believe that another reason for this trip down “Origin Lane” is to reintroduce the Hal/Carol love story… for future reference, of course. Maybe we’ll see more of this after “Blackest Night”? I hope so.

Guardians of the Galaxy #2 (***): Great cover. And that’s about it. Everything else is middle of the road. Vance Astro? GAWD, I’ve always hated him. They should just cap his ass and take the shield. I like the modern reintroduction of the Universal Church of Truth, but I don’t like the characterizations of the leads. Warlock doesn’t feel like Warlock, Drax doesn’t feel like Drax, etc… just about the only character that even acts/sounds like they did in Annihilation is the fricking Raccoon. It hasn’t been outright terrible, so I’ll stick with it for now and see how I feel in a couple of months.

No Hero #0 (***): Too early to tell… this could be great, but there is also the possibility that it’s just a retread of Black Summer or The Order or even Kick-Ass. When he’s on, Ellis is the man. When he’s off? You get weird shit like Anna Mercury and Strange Kiss. Oh, but I do like all the backmatter in this one. Thanks! Oh, and the art is still amazing!

Number of the Beast #6 (***): All the cards have finally been flipped (well, all the cards we know about)! Tons of exposition in this one… no wonder it read so slow. This is the nature of the beast so I can’t fault the writer too much. He’d asked so many questions in the preceding five issues that it was inevitable that he’d have to slow down and catch us all up. Like Green Lantern, I’m sure the next issue will pick right back up.

Ultimate Spider-Man #123 (***1/2): There were parts of this I really liked. I loved how Bendis kept changing “listeners” on us. “Oh, what happened to that nice old man?” Um, Venom ate him, dummy. SWEET! The problem I have with this book is that the way Bendis chose to frame this story actually robs it of any suspense. Because it’s told in flashback, we know Venom gets away safely from Silver Sable and her Wildpack. Everything else still works on a technical level, and what he tried to do was a nice experiment in storytelling, but I’m just not that excited to read the next issue. So, fail?

Ultimate X-Men #95 (**1/2): Whoa… shit just got TOO weird. Cyclops flying? WHA! Rogue knows Vindicator? Like, KNOWS knows? It’s gotta be Gambit, right? Because of the purple energy blasts… but, man, that would be stupid. Northstar dead? Colossus gonna go all roid-ragin’ now? I really liked the new direction that the last issue set up, but I feel like we’re moving too fast and heading in too many different directions. Slow down, man. You’re no Grant Morrison.

I’ll be back Tuesday with The Gooders. Monday, hopefully we’ll have our Series Review of Planetary #9 up, and if we don’t then, sorry.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #21

Rating System: Brand New Day Spider-Man Villains!

5 Stars: WARNING: Screwball
4 Stars: Mr. Negative
3 Stars: Jackpot
2 Stars: Menace
1 Star: Freak

100 Bullets #91 (****)

Finally, significant plot development!!! A new character!!! Although, he does look a little too much like Shepherd. That was confusing at first. Anyway, the new guy, Mr. Slaughter, shows up to reveal interesting things and answers questions from about 90 issues ago!!! Seriously, we haven’t seen the attaché cases referenced in a good long while. Even still, as the series winds down, I doubt The Azz’ll answer every question, I’m sure he’ll let some of this shit linger. Bastard.

The Amazing Spider-Man #559 (*****)

Dan Slott can do no wrong in this one. Of all the writers on BND, I’m glad Slott’s the one who gets to rotate in so often. The man just gets Peter. He gets the new direction and his new villains are right on the money. They are exactly the kind of fun and interesting that fits well in the Spidery Universe. Screwball, the first live-streaming super-villain, makes this issue. Especially her reaction to getting spider-tracer’d. Marcos Martin was born to draw Spidey. See, that’s one of the downsides to rotating the art team. They’ve all been fabulous, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Martin on a more regular basis, even if I’d have to wait a month for the next issue.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (***)

It was… fun. I know everyone’s been raving about it, and I don’t really want to bash it, but in my opinion, it wasn’t as good as all that. The team intros definitely work better here than in The Order, and I like the banter, but I just don’t buy the team’s chemistry. Star-Lord, Raccoon, Mantis and Quasar, I get. Giffen did such a fantastic job setting up Star-Lord’s team in that four issue mini, that you wouldn’t expect these characters to act any other way. And Quasar is such an unexplored and lost character, I get why she’s in this book. Drax, Adam Warlock and Gamora… in a team book? Now? Not feeling it. Yes, I know they used to be in the Watch together, but let’s face facts, the characters we have now are nothing like the characters from that much beloved B-Team from the 90’s. Gamora even says so herself in this issue. Just based on how these characters were written in the Annihilation books, I don’t buy that they’d join this team. Sure, D&A skirt the issue with some throw away dialogue about Gamora “searching for meaning”, but these ideas just don’t hold water with me. Anyway, I know lots of people love it, so I’ll stop complaining. I’ll keep reading, since I appreciate the D&A style and what they’re trying to do for Cosmic characters in the Marvel Universe, but I can’t fool myself into thinking this is a 5-Star book.

Wonder Woman #20 (****)

YAY for good writing! YAY for good Wonder Woman writing! That’s all.

X-Factor: The Quick and The Dead (****)

Hey, it’s a 4-Star X-Factor book! I had so much fun reading this. Lately, everything with the angsty/self-loathing Quicksilver has been wonderfully entertaining. I love how crazy and delusional he is. I mean, isn’t this the natural progression for anyone that is as self-important as Quicksilver used to be? The man imagined himself the savior of Mutantkind, for God sakes! If David could tear himself away from the atrocious She-Hulk, I’d love to see a Quicksilver ongoing. The character is finally interesting enough (thanks to Hine) to support it. Oh, what happened in this one-shot? He got his powers back, of course!

Quick Hits:
Amazing Spider-Man #558 (*): I could’ve happily lived the remainder of my life without the conclusion to “The Freak” story. Bob Gale FAILS at BND.
The Boys #18 (****): This book continues to impress month after month. Hughie is now one of my favorite comic book characters.
Cable #3 (***): I’m still on board with this, it’s kind of slow, but I like that the dialogue and narration is sparse. I read so many books every month, it’s nice to relax back with an “empty” read once in a while.
• Foolkiller #5 (***1/2): Decent conclusion to a surprisingly good mini. Looking forward to the next one.
Logan #3 (***): An overall interesting story, but it may have worked better as a fill-in run in the main book.
Nightwing #144 (**): I’m not sure what it is, but I’m just not as jazzed about this book as everyone else. The Talia banter was cool, but the rest of the issue was just sort of blah. If I nail it down, I may do a full review of the book next month.
Nova #13 (***): An entire issue’s worth of lead up for a final page splash that may or may not have been worth it. I appreciate what D&A are trying to do here, but as a longtime Marvel and Silver Surfer reader, I’ve seen this type of setup many times before. I don’t want to be so harsh as to call it a rerun, but it’s damn close. I’m a jaded bastard. Next issue is sure to be an exciting read, so I’ll give the writers the benefit of the doubt for now.
Punisher War Journal #19 (*): I don’t get how Fraction could go so wrong, so fast. The Punisher has always been a historically difficult book to write, but he seemed to have a unique handle on it… till recently. More cancellations in my future?
X-Men: Legacy (****): This is the book continuity buffs have been waiting for! And I, for one, love it! Carey mines the X-Men’s illustrious legacy, unearthing forgotten gems. Also, Professor X as a semi-amnesiac totally works. This is the best X-Men Carey has ever written. Shit, I even like the Finch covers. He manages to allow his women to look like women!

More Cosmic Mini Reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy #1

Just about all of us that have been following Annihilation: Conquest have been very much looking forward to this book. This is especially true for those of us that read the Star-Lord mini that led into Annihilation, which gave us a glimpse of the way a Marvel cosmic team book could work in this day and age. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning decided to run with this, and thus we have Guardians of the Galaxy. DnA went with a framing device here that allowed for us as readers to immediately jump into the action while at the same time bridge the end of Annihilation: Conquest through the forming of the team through debriefing interviews. It’s a similar trope to Fraction’s framing device in The Order, and while I liked that quite a lot, I do think that it works better interspersed throughout the book like Guardians as opposed to clumped at the beginning and the end in The Order. We know the players, and as the book goes on we begin to know the game. There’s also a nice explanation that wraps up some of the more esoteric dialogue we got out of Adam Warlock in the last issue of Annihilation: Conquest. DnA continue their great cosmic writing streak, and Paul Pelletier is a very good choice for the art duties. We get some hints as to what’s going to happen in the future, and a hell of an interesting hook going into next issue. DnA know how to write these characters and the way they interact with each other, and they’re not afraid to use humor to lighten the mood. This is, of course, pretty much necessary when you’ve got Rocket Raccoon, Groot and Star-Lord running around with these three badasses that have a lot of history together through their travels in the Infinity Watch. It’s good stuff, and it’s a good way to jump into this crazy cosmic madness.

A

Nova #13

This is a great way to begin a Galactus arc. One of the things I have always loved about Galactus is the way that he creates this dichotomy between the omnipotent cosmic indifference of the Galactus character himself and the apocalyptic disaster planet side whenever he rears his necessary head. All we see is what happens when Galactus is prepping a planet meal. You’ve got crazy weather problems and people panicking in the streets, which is standard apocalypse stuff, but DnA pushes it beyond the normal. We’ve got political intrigue and class warfare. We’ve got some kind of disembodied agent of hate thingie that’s terrorizing the populous. And we’ve got Nova playing the hero card. Wellington Alves does a great job here, really putting into focus the destruction that Galactus causes, as well as the pure scale of the big man himself. And it’s only going to get better. It’s just like the end caption says: “Next Issue! Nova vs. Silver Surfer! Nuff Said!”

A

Green Lantern Corps #24

Why the fuck isn’t this happening in the main GL book? I refuse to stop harping on how much of a waste the Secret Origin arc is in Green Lantern (It’s going to take six issues! Six! That’s abominable!), and the work Tomasi and Gleason are doing here is putting the failings of Geoff Johns into sharp relief. This is some truly great writing. There’s an undercurrent here. You can feel the tension in all corners of the Green Lantern universe. You know shit is going to go down. And whether that’s Sinestro and the rest of his corps in the sciencells drawing the Yellow symbol in blood on their cell doors or Mongul doing something truly awful to the Black Mercy plant, you know things are coming. This is the way you build to an event. I don’t even care about the oontinued Thanosization (how’s that for turning a noun into a noun modifier noun? Ha!) of Mongul, because it’s working. It’s effective tension. Tomasi is writing a better book than Johns right now.

B+

These are truly great times to be a fan of cosmic comics.