Desiato’s Top Ten Single Issues of 2008

I did this last year (obviously before the blog existed), and even though I’ve got a pretty durned big DCBS box coming next week (25 books. Yay!), I don’t necessarily expect them to crack this top ten, so I’m just going to jump the gun and publish my list now. Ha ha! It begins…

Going to skip putting the cover images on here because I am lazy and it takes up too much space.

10. Fables #75
Writer: Bill Willingham
Penciller: Mark Buckingham
DC’s Vertigo Imprint

Ah, Fables. If there’s one thing you do well (and believe me, it’s a lot more than one thing), it’s big milestone anniversary issues. You could argue that this book had a lot to live up to considering the quality of issue 50 and its positioning as the climax of the War and Pieces arc. I love the way Willingham and Buckingham depict war (the March of the Wooden Soldiers trade pretty much assured that I’d be reading this book until it ends), and this issue caps off the arc while giving us a window into what else we get to look forward to.

9. Kick-Ass #3
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Marvel’s Icon Imprint

Is it late as hell? Yup. Is Millar more interested in the movie than the comic? Probably. Doesn’t change my opinion of this issue. This book revels in being over the top, and does not pull any punches in the violence and blood department. There’s more to it than that crazy final battle sequence, but we shouldn’t exactly be looking for a lot of depth in a book like this. Review is here.

8. Thunderbolts #121
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Mike Deodato, Jr.
Marvel Comics

Ah, watching the Green Goblin go nuts. Who hasn’t seen that before? Well, me, honestly. Never really read much Spider-Man, mostly due to lack of time. This issue is the last of Ellis’ run, and it delivers on what we’ve been wanting to see since he started writing the book post Civil War. And that’s not all of course. You’ve got Bullseye with one of the best lines of the year, and the rest of the inmates attempting to run the asylum while Norman flies all over the place and just throws pumpkin bombs indiscriminately. Fantastic stuff.

7. Terry Moore’s Echo #3
Writer: Terry Moore
Artist: Terry Moore
Abstract Studio

Most of the awesome in this issue came from the last page reveal, which is that kind of true holy crap moment that gives you a little glimpse of what could be coming over the months as this series continued. We have a new character introduced out of the blue, all kinds of craziness and over the top dialogue. It forces you to pause and try to cope with what you just read, and the only words you can think of are “Damn. Didn’t see that coming.” Contrast that with a crushing interaction between the main character and her sister, and you have a wonderful issue of a wonderful book. Review is here.

6. Nova #15
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Penciller: Wellington Alves

Yes, I love Galactus. Yes, this was one of the better Galactus stories I’ve read in recent history. Any of the three issues of the story arc could have been on this list, but I think the way that the Harrow B plot was resolved was a great moment. Wellington Alves did a great job with the big G, and the way he was used as this disinterested party hovering in the background of panels was excellent. Review is here.

5. Superman/Batman #51
Writers: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
DC Comics

You can only read so many depressing ass comics (and considering my top four could all easily fit in that category except Iron Fist) before you need a break. And what works better as a break than the madcap fun of the two issue “Little Leaguers” arc from Superman/Batman? Not much at all, really. Super fun silliness that just makes you feel good inside. Sure, either issue could have been put here, but I went for the first because I flipped a coin. These things need to happen sometimes. Review can be found here.

4. The Twelve #6
Writer: J Michael Straczynski
Artist: Chris Weston
Marvel Comics

This is probably the best issue of this series so far (and this is pound for pound the best mini series that has come out this year, despite delays), mostly because JMS really poured on the despair in a way we hadn’t seen yet or since. That’s really what this series is about: despair. It’s another very quiet book similar in style and scope to Thor (and really, this is where JMS seems to be most at home). This issue features the actual fate of Rockman, and dear lord is it heart-wrenching. Check out my previous review for some more insight.

3. Thor #11
Writer: J Michael Straczynski
Penciller: Olivier Coipel
Marvel Comics

More JMS love here. This is a recent one (and oddly enough, takes the same place on the list as Thor #3 last year), and I might be high on this one because it’s fresh in my mind, but the quality is there nonetheless. I LOVE what JMS is doing with this book. It is nothing like what someone would necessarily expect from a character like Thor, but it perfectly fits into his world. Gods with flaws as an interesting literary device dates back to the tragic plays of Ancient Greece to me, and that’s the same kind of feel that I get from this Thor run. It’s such a quiet, slow burn. This issue is similar to that third chapter that I loved so much, in this case we’ve got Thor getting some closure concerning the death of Steve Rogers. He wasn’t around when it happened, so in this book he manages to contact Steve’s spirit and just talk to him for a bit. Coipel’s art in these pages is gorgeous, and he really makes such a simple story device sing. You’ve also got the continuation of Loki’s manipulation of Balder, as well as a callback to the fate of Lady Sif. Fantastic storytelling in every way.

2. The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Death Queen of California (One-Shot)
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Guiseppe Camuncoli
Marvel Comics

This to me was just a beautiful throwback to the 1920’s noir style starring a character I’ve enjoyed quite immensely since his creation by Fraction and Brubaker. Swierczynski had written some Iron Fist work prior to this, but I think this issue is what really made me believe that he would be a worthy replacement for the original creative team. I think this ended up being better than Fraction’s Green Mist of Death one shot simply due to the layered references to Pygmalion and Metropolis, as well as the general feel of the book being more akin to what I look for in an Orson Randall tale. Here’s the review.

1. Casanova #14
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Fabio Moon
Image Comics

If anyone read my ridiculously over the top review gushing like crazy about this book back when it came out, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is my top choice of the year. I’ve gone back and read it probably 15 to 20 times, and it never ceases being absolutely and totally incredible in every possible way. It’s the perfect ending to a story arc. It’s the perfect twist that completely changes (without being cheap) everything that came before it. I think I wrote enough in my review to justify my feelings, so I’ll just point you there. This book is covered in the combined souls of Matt Fraction and Fabio Moon. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Transcendent.

Desiato’s Rainy Sunday Catch Up Reviews, Part 1

Crappy weather all over the Northeastern seaboard this weekend. It’s time to do some MAJOR catching up.

The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Death Queen of California (*****)

This is the best story to come out of the new Iron Fist mythos. It should be noted that I’m including the main Iron Fist series in that statement, which means that this book actually manages to outshine Fraction and Brubaker’s work on the character and the title. I never thought I’d find myself in a position to make a statement like that. But that’s how good this one shot is. Swierczynski takes the Orson Randall character and puts him exactly where he should be; a hot blooded noir tinged Hollywood at the end of the 1920’s. He proceeds to spin a yarn that effortlessly combines the Eastern sensibilities of the Iron Fist with the American culture of the early twentieth century. It’s a detective story in the good noir tradition, complete with everything kicked off by the voluptuous and mysterious woman coming out of nowhere to present her problems to the protagonist, who in turn can’t keep her our of his mind while he tries to focus on the task at hand. Of course, she’s not who she originally claims to be, and thus the mystery unfolds. Sure, it’s procedure, but things become procedure because they work. Which is not to say Swierczynski simply follows a script here and plays by the rules. Something as simple as naming the female lead Galatea (who is of course the name of the woman statue from the Greek Pygmallion myth) starts to pique the interest of the mind.

The most important part of any noirish book is the narration. It’s the only entrance you have into the story and the main character. The window into his thoughts. Duane is more than capable here, and his narrative captions move the story along swimmingly. The story itself twists and turns upon itself over and over as new details come to light and more characters enter the picture. You’ve also got that inevitable moment where the detective proves he’s a badass, which in this story is represented by Orson having a meeting with a film executive and using some pistachio shells to his advantage. Did we need to know Orson Randall is a badass? Not really; he is an Iron Fist after all, and the work done in the first arc of Immortal Iron Fist as well as the Fraction penned Green Mist of Death one shot certainly established the level of badassery at play when Orson Randall is around. In this case, however, Duane is specifically making sure that this book is perfectly accessible to anyone that might deign to pick it up. Truly, there’s not a whole lot of actual Iron Fist talk until later in the book, and Orson very rarely appears with his cowl early on. This is simply an awesome noir story that anyone can read. I gave it to one of my roommates that is a big noir fan, and while he may not have gotten as much out of it as those of us with a larger information base about the Iron Fist mythology, he still loved it.

The art is also excellent here, and the work of Giuseppe Camuncoli is very different than what we’ve become used to in the various and sundry Iron Fist books since the relaunch. It also follows the standard approach of using different art for different eras. With this being a standalone one shot, things work despite the different art style than what your average Iron Fist fan would be expecting. It more than gets the job done, and there are some beautiful sequences that show a strong grasp of sequential art. It enhances the story without being garish or jarring, and both halves of the book work in a wonderfully symbiotic fashion, which is exactly what you want from a comic.

This is a gorgeous book, and probably the best Marvel one shot I’ve ever read. If not for the mad power of Casanova #14, this book would be a strong candidate for my favorite single issue of the year. It’s super accessible, wonderfully written and wonderfully drawn. It is completely worth the four dollar cover price (which I did pay in full, as I managed to forget to order it from DCBS). EVERYONE should pick this book up, if not only to enjoy the story but to see a taste of what Duane Swierczynski is doing with Iron Fist post Fraction and Brubaker

Fables #76 (***)

MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE FABLES SERIES. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

Still with me? Cool.

This kind of issue was probably necessary after the conclusion of War & Pieces. You had to have the moments that deal with Gepetto and his attempts to reacclimate himself with polite society after signing the Fabletown charter at the end of issue 75. And considering the art demands that faced Mark Buckingham during War & Pieces, it was as good of a time as any to spell him with pinch hitter Mike Allred. It’s also always been the case that the non-Buckingham issues have never been heavy on story progression. So we have a breath catching interlude to take care of things. This issue does not answer the question of “where is this series headed?” after the huge shake up of the Adversary being captured and brought into Fabletown, but that’s not something that had to be answered immediately. You have what is pretty much expected. Pinocchio and Beast take Gepetto out for a tour of the town, and the inhabitants of Fabletown aren’t exactly pleased with their newest resident. He is spit on, denied food, and generally reviled. No shock there. The only problem with this is the fact that it’s basically an auto pilot issue. Willingham doesn’t do anyhting big or spectacular, nor does he do a lot of character building that we haven’t seen before. The art is capable enough; this isn’t Mike Allred’s first go around in the Fables universe. It’s certainly a different style from Buckingham, and the only part of it that’s really jarring is Allred’s rendition of Pinocchio, which is completely different from Buckingham, even down to hair color. Even still, that’s not the kind of thing that’s going to ruin a book. All told, it’s an adequate installment of Fables. It’s not reaching for the stars and it’s not slumming. It’s just there.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #34 – THE GOODERS!

And now, The Gooders. These books were the cream of the crop, or as close to it as this bunch got.

1985 #2 (****): I’m really liking where this is headed. See, you can’t call me a Millar hater! Some of his stuff is utter garbage, and some of it, when he puts the research and thought in, turns out quite fantastic. Here’s hoping I’m right about this one.

Conan the Cimmerian #0 (****): Bruce Castle’s review of this was spot on. It was a very, very, VERY good sword and sandal read. Unfortunately, I think I’m done with Conan for now… or, I may pick up the first issue when it ships! I just don’t know!

Daredevil #108 (****): It just keeps getting better! Dear Greg Rucka, please never leave. No more brooding! No more Mila! No more Emo!

Fantastic Four #558 (****1/2): This was really good. Really, really good. I can see clearly now what Millar is doing and I love it. The interweaving of the subplots over multiple 4-part story arcs is finally starting to pay off. I haven’t been this excited about reading Fantastic Four since JMS first took over the book. I know I was harsh on the first couple of these, but now that the engine is revving up toward max RPMs, I couldn’t be happier. I just hope he doesn’t blow his load too soon. But, I still think the Galactus suit was a lame idea. OH! Almost forgot, little Val is a genius!

Ghost Rider # 24 (****): Love the new artist. Love the new direction. If this is what we can expect from the rest of Aaron’s Ghost Rider run, I think I can finally put myself safely in the “on board” column. It was touch and go there for a while with a couple of stinkers mixed in with the gooders, but this issue has restored my faith… for now! Ha-Hah, you just never know! Next month I could be bashing it again! Help, I’m in an abusive relationship and I can’t get out!*

Iron Fist #16 (*****): Terrific series finale, bravo to all involved, especially Matt Fraction. I can’t wait for the “Heroes For Hire” relaunch this fall… wait, what? Not cancelled? New creative team? Get OUT of here!

Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #30 (****): Still not the Knaufs, but adequate. Actually, more than adequate. This Moore guys is doing a bang-up fill-in! Overkill Mind! Star Squad! Paladin messing up Iron Man’s fascist face! YES! YES! YES!

The Punisher #58 (*****): Every month I get a little sad. New Punisher issue only serves to remind me of its imminent cancellation. Well, pretty much, right? I like the new guy, his Foolkiller was good, but no one’s ever going to top Garth Ennis. Oh, I should say something about this issue. It was really good, as usual. They always are. Sad face.

Thunderbolts #121 (*****): OH GOOD GOD! This was epic. And now it’s over. Forever. I don’t care that this book shipped once a quarter, it was totally worth it. But, I don’t think Ellis is leaving because of lateness, I think he’s just done. Is that true? Does anybody know? I’m seriously asking a serious question here…

X-Factor #32 (****1/2): In this issue, Madrox tells Cooper to get stuffed and finally takes responsibility as the father of Theressa’s baby… and just like that, *POOF*, X-Factor is a 4-5 Star book again. Why? Because we’re back to focusing on the drama, baby, and not the action. Yay! Thank you, Peter David. I don’t know what happened to you or why you had to phone the past 6 months in, but I’m glad you’re back. Now, if only I could say the same thing about She-Hulk. UGH!

Young Avengers Presents: Hawkeye #6 (****): This was easily the best of the series. Fraction is just on fire this month (although his Punisher still sucks ass). I loved how much of a dick Clint is when he makes Kate cry. Ha-Ha! But then, it was just Clint teaching her a lesson all along! Oh snap! Shit, I wish Clint had his own team book or something. He works well as mentor/father figure… FUCK, why isn’t he leading the New Avengers? He’s got the attitude, the skill and the experience. Maybe that’s one of the changes Bendis has lined up for after Secret Invasion? I hope so. I’ve always loved me some Hawkeye. Oh, and when the hell is Young Avengers Volume 2 coming out? These characters are way cooler than the Titans and those shitters have two books, both equally shitty!

Hmm, got surly there at the end. Ah, well. Tomorrow, Planetary Series Review (honest) and on Wednesday, maybe a Spoiler Re view… if something cool comes out.

 

*That one was for VsRealms.

Bruce Castle Quickies 5

4 stars = Stop reading review and go buy now!!!!
3 and a half stars = Great issue and make room on your trade shelf someday soon
3 stars = Recommended and maybe even trade worthy
2 and a half stars = Recommended
2 stars= Not the best, not the worst, not recommended
1 and a half star = Terrible issue and vocalize your disgust at your next social event
1 star = Awful awful awful and you may want to consider dropping this title
0 stars = Next con you attend where the writer and/or artist are present you should throw this issue in their face

 

Immortal Iron Fist #16– This is the last Fraction/Brubaker issue, or Fraction issue I guess, Brubaker left a few issues ago. Anyway, this has been a great run. It turned a character that a lot of people didn’t care about into something they could love. This issue doesn’t really break the trend. You get some nice moments in Danny’s life including training kids, his business life, and you even get some Misty Knight moments too. What threw me, was the ominous downer ending. I was kind of expecting more of a finale instead of a set-up for the next Iron Fist run. Oh well, Fraction was being nice to Duane Swierczynski I guess. Anyway, I’m going to miss Fraction on this book. 3 stars

 

Ultimate Spider-Man #123– Well, this is the first issue of the new venom arc. It definitely has that first issue feel.  Remember that Ultimate Spider-Man video game that was supposed to actually have continuity in the Ultimate universe but then never did? Well, they finally kind of tie that in. There’s nothing spectacular here, mostly just setup. The last page did make me laugh though. 3 stars

 

Thor Reign of Blood #1– I don’t think a lot of people like these one-shots at much as I do, but I love them! I so wish that Fraction was writing the regular Thor series. It seems like Fraction wants to. Oh well, maybe someday. At least I still have another one-shot and the Secret Invasion tie-in to look forward too. 4 stars

 

Young Avengers Presents Hawkeye #6– Who else but me could squeeze three Fraction comics into one review? Yes, I haven’t read the rest of this series and bought this issue only because Fraction was on it. And Alan Davis, he is a great artist and he shines here as well. As mentioned earlier, I haven’t read every Young Avengers story, but this was really good. Like, really, really good, it almost makes me want to read the whole series….Nah. 3 and a half stars

 

Uncanny X-Men #499– Sorry guys, this isn’t the right cover. This was last issues’ cover. Don’t blame me though, blame Marvel, this is the only pic I could find and I don’t have a scanner. I’m still loving Mike Choi’s art in this arc and I can’t wait till he gets on board X-Force. This issue was ok. The San Francisco thing still seems like it could have been explained in one issue. The Russian story is a lot better but it seems a bit pointless. It seems that Brubaker had one thing he needed to say in this arc, the rest is mostly filler. It took him five issues to say what he wanted to say! They said the same damn thing in the free comic book day issue and that was free! What the hell?! That said this certainly wasn’t terrible. It’s hard to recommend it though. I hope this title gets a lot better with issue 500. Brubaker/Fraction go! 2 stars

Review: The Immortal Iron Fist #16

This is what’s funny about the way my mind works. I had actually written down my own little twist on the famous TS Eliot line (in this case, “this is how the comic ends, not with a whimper, but with a BANG”) before I realized that I had just commented on that line changed in a similar way by Brian Reed in Ms. Marvel #28 in my review of all those Secret Invasion books. And I’m aware that commenting on it as such pretty much accomplishes the same silliness as the original intent. Except with more words. And commenting on this addition of words is wasting yet even more words. And now I’m rambling. And wasting YET EVEN MORE words. So I’m just going to move on, refuse to self edit and get on with the comic review.

This is Matt Fraction and David Aja’s last issue on Iron Fist. It’s a bridge issue. It wraps up most of the loose threads left from The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven (which, admittedly, there weren’t too many) as well as set up a new status quo and series of problems for incoming writer “Guy with a really long and confusing last name whose first name is Duane” (AKA Duane Swierczynski, or that guy who’s writing Cable) to solve. It’s a bit of a thankless task at face value, but you can tell that both Fraction and Aja really care about Danny, and it’s just not right for them to finish their run on a flashback one shot. We get to see Danny come down from his last adventures and deal with the aftermath, as well as just live his life for a while. There’s no fighting. There’s no kung fu. In truth, there’s no real conflict until the last page. Unless you consider Danny trying to turn Rand Corporation into a not for profit charity organization. And you get to see fun little moments like Danny teaching martial arts to the local children while preaching the importance of math, in a scene that plays as kind of, well, adorable, which is somewhat amazing coming from the mind of the guy that created the relationship between Casanova and Zephyr Quinn (and I’ll leave it at that. All confused by this statement need to READ CASANOVA. And yes, I put that in bold as a way to subliminally affect any and all that only skim this review. Ha!)

Now, I’m going to devote a pretty solid chunk of this review to the last four pages of this book. I’m not going to actually give away what is discovered on the last two pages (just that it’s a very interesting way to go about things that is going to allow for a lot of story potential for that Cable writer whose name I refuse to reproduce, despite the wonderful power of cutting and pasting), and I really want to deal with the two pages before that in more detail. How exactly do you wordlessly evoke the process of meditation? Well, if you’re Matt Fraction and David Aja, you create 26 sequential panels of the mind’s free association while in such an altered state. An eye becomes a lotus petal becomes an egg becomes a skull becomes a frog jumping into a pond, whose ripples become a linked chain, which breaks apart to morph into Chinese characters, which become the book of the Iron Fist, which leads into the revelation of the last page. We live in an age of big, expressive panels done with a widescreen sensibility. Sure, there’s reasoning behind that, and quite a lot of the reasoning involves movie option checks, but it remains a very arresting experience to turn a page and see so many panels. And they flow so effortlessly and beautifully into and out of each other. I don’t know who was responsible for that, whether it came from Fraction’s script or Aja’s mind or a combination of both, but it is the absolute highlight of the book (and in a book that features Fat Cobra, that’s an accomplishment). And really, what this issue does is make me wish Aja didn’t have to pull back so much on the second arc. He’s a superstar. Beyond the amazing work on what is basically a dream sequence, you’ve got the hypnotic effect of the wallpaper in Misty Knight’s bedroom and the little character tics and reactions simply involved in Danny and his accountant having a conversation in an elevator (which itself was very reminiscent of a beat from the recent Buffy Season 8 arc). All of it is wonderful. And it’s all Aja, which I believe is a first for the entire series.

I’m going to miss this team on this book. I would have been perfectly fine if Brubaker left and Fraction and Aja stayed on, but once Aja’s schedule became impossible for a monthly book, it’s fitting that they all left at once. Do I wish that this team could have become the next Bendis/Bagley collaboration of over 100 issues? Of course. I really think this was easily one of the strongest creative teams for a single book at Marvel Comics, and was right up there with the Geoff Johns/Ethan Van Sciver/Ivan Reis work on Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps. I’m the type of guy that can easily be swayed by one incredible section of a book, so the meditation sequence was enough for this thing to be five stars for me, and short of reading Casanova (Ha ha! That’s two!) this might be the strongest single issue Fraction’s put in at Marvel. Oh, and I dig the hell out of that cover.

Five Stars

So I put a little more of myself into this review than usual (from the perspective of stream of consciousness parenthetical asides that don’t automatically have anything to do with the task at hand…Ooh! Like this one!). I think a little of it has to do with being a bit punch drunk from a full Monday of work. Who knows the cause? But I would like to know if I pushed it too far or it got distracting for the folks who actually take the time to read this blog and read my posts. I’m here to please to the best of my ability, and I’m always looking to improve my writing. So let me know. Comments, please!

Bruce Castle Quickies!!!

4 stars = Stop reading review and go buy now!!!!
3 and a half stars = Great issue and make room on your trade shelf some day soon
3 stars = Recommended and maybe even trade worthy
2 and a half stars = Recommended
2 stars= Not the best, not the worst, not recommended
1 and a half star = Terrible issue and vocalize your disgust at your next social event
1 star = Awful awful awful and you may want to consider dropping this title
0 stars = Next con you attend where the writer and/or artist are present you should throw this issue in their face

Batman #677 – Still not as good as I know Grant Morrison has in him. Maybe my standards are too high. It is a 20 issue event after all. I’m hoping that even without Batman dying I guess, the book will end living up to its title and expectations. There were a few good moments, the art looks good (sorry Billy) and the end seems really intriguing. 2 and a half stars

Daredevil #107 – I haven’t been enjoying Brubaker’s run as much as I guess everyone has, especially following Bendis’ run which included some of the best Daredevil issues I have ever read. This is coming from someone who owns around 300 Daredevil comics for your information. This issue was ok. It didn’t have as much action as I would have liked, though seeing Luke Cage was cool. It wasn’t packed with that much story either. Seems like another lacking issue from Brubaker again. Why are you so good on Captain America and not on DD? 2 stars

Final Crisis #1 – I was going to write a full review on this issue, but I think enough has been said. I personally loved this issue. Loved the art, loved the writing, there was some comedy, it seemed to give you your money’s worth in regards to the amount of information you got. With the normal hindering factors of a first issue and an event issue I have to give the issue 4 stars.

King-Size Hulk #1– This title has gotten a lot of crap. The general consensus seems to be that the art is great and the writing is awful. I for one have found the writing, though it isn’t very good, to be fun. Just think of Hulk as a blockbuster movie. The issue featured 3 short stories with art by Arthur Adams, Frank Cho, and Herb Trimpe. The issue also contains reprints of Incredible Hulk #180 and #181 the first appearances of Wolverine and a good Wendigo story. The last reprint is of Avengers #83 which has nothing to do with Hulk but is still an enjoyable issue. Considering I enjoyed the 3 short stories and I had never read any of the reprinted issues, I liked this issue. However it does cost 5 dollars and the bulk of the material are reprints. So I have to give the issue 2 stars.

Immortal Iron Fist issue #15 – Another story of the Iron Fist. I really enjoyed this issue. Matt Fraction’s writing really shines here in his ability to introduce a book of completely new characters and make a fun fantastic roller coaster ride without getting lessened by too many details or explanations. 3 and a half stars

Ultimate Spider-Man #122 -For those who think that Bendis needs a complete arc to tell a story you should really check out the last few Ultimate Spider-Man issues. This is another done in one story that features Spidey’s joke villain Shocker. This is another solid issue from the Bendis/Immonen team. There is nothing spectacular here but it is still an enjoyable read. 3 stars.

All Star Superman #11-This issue is so damn good! It’s amazing to think that Batman #677 and this issue were written by the same person. This series is always worth the wait and I am sad to see it ending next issue. Please do yourself a favor folks and read this book! 4 stars

Uncanny X-Men #498 – This and Daredevil both prove that for whatever reason Brubaker is writing the hell out of Captain America but not his other titles. This issue isn’t bad, but it isn’t that good either. The hippy story line seems rather poor but at least we get the cool story in Russia. I won’t spoil the end but it at least seems the next issue will be cool and then hopefully when Fraction gets on this book it will be as good as Immortal Iron fist has been. It should be 2 stars but I’ll make it 2 and a half stars for a promising conclusion and that pretty Mike Choi art.

Review: The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death

Iron Fist Cover

I am an unabashed lover of Matt Fraction’s writing. The first book of his I ever read was the Punisher War Journal: Civil War hardcover, which included the issue “Small Wake for a Tall Man,” taking place at the wake for Stilt Man, who can only really be described as a silly D list villain from those crazy Silver Age Marvel books. I was hooked. I caught myself up on War Journal, bought the first Immortal Iron Fist hardcover and whatever issues had come out at the time, and delved into the mad world that is his creator owned Image Comics book, Casanova. Iron Fist has been fantastic so far, really invigorating the character and setting up a concrete legacy of Iron Fists that stretches far back into history. Previously, issue 7 of the ongoing series (entitled “The Pirate Queen of Pinghai Bay”) was a one-shot issue that told a story of a previous Iron Fist. Now, with the release of Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death, we have yet another jaunt into the past.

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