Comic reviews for the week of 9/15/14 Part 2

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had 12 comic books to read and I was dividing them into two posts. My reason: 12 reviews in one sitting is a lot to read but it also had to do with my work schedule and being able to get all the reviews written in one sitting. So let’s get started.

1. There are very few comic books that I read solely for the art. Avengers World is one of those books. Since the books inception, it has largely been drawn by Greg Land. Until I picked up this comic book, I had never even heard of Mr. Land. Now I look forward to getting this book each month to look at his amazing artwork. It was a disappointment when I picked up this week’s issue( Avengers World 013) and found that another artist was taking the reins of the issue. It’s not that Raffaele Ienco did a bad job, it’s that there are very few artists that match Land’s level of talent. In fairness, panel’s with the dragon and one of the final panels of the book are great!

The writing was different in this issue too. It took a detour. As many of the readers know, this comic book has had a lot of different stories happening all at once. The author, in an attempt to make things easier, focuses on each of the problems in separate comic books. One of the problems in this series has to do with the slumbering dragon head that Madripoor is resting on. The dragon has awoken and is attacking China. S.P.E.A.R.( China’s version of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is helping the Avengers with their team called The Ascendant to stop the dragon. With a plot point this big, readers should be able to assume that the comic book would focus solely on the battle. Instead, we are given flashbacks where The Ascendant are introduced.

I am not a big fan of detours like this book took. My reason? If I wanted to read a comic book about The Ascendant, I would have bought a comic book about The Ascendant. I understand that each character needs background given but not at the detriment of the story. Grade: B.

2. I could almost review Uncanny X-men 026 in one sentence by saying the writing was great but the art was annoying. But I won’t stop there. Michael Bendis does an amazing job with the different X-men books that he authors. The idea that Charles Xavier married Mystique and that he muffled the powers of a Mutant instead of encouraging them is a pretty big bombshell both for the readers and the characters of the book. In addition, Professor X is withholding the wishes of his last will and testament until the rest of the X-men have assured that this extremely terrifying power is still subdued and out of the purview of S.H.I.E.L.D. The problem here is that professor X is too late and a mutant with god-like powers is free.

There is also a second story line that seems to emerging where at least one of the new recruits of Cyclops’ School of Higher learning are beginning to question whether or not they are being trained to fight against The Avengers and if that really is a good thing.

As I mentioned, the writing is fantastic. The art, not so much. This time the problem with the art is not the artist but with the Colorist. The shading in the book is designed to set a mood for the book but instead it creates an “artsy-fartsy” feel that I find pretentious and annoying. For that reason I’m giving this book a grade of B.

3. Edge of Spider-verse Gwen Stacy Spider Woman 002 is a comic book that I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s clear that each of the “Edge” books are designed to introduce us to another version of Spider-man that will be necessary to taken on the threat that has not been introduced yet. I have never been introduced to Gwen Stacy as Spider-woman before, and as a result, I am being introduced to a completely foreign story line where Peter Parker is dead as a result of trying to imitate Gwen Stacy being Spider-Woman. This is her story.

I really enjoyed this story but it took some getting used to. The art was caustic and it matched the wit of the book. Sometimes when you’re not sure what the best way to review a book, it’s best just to give it the grade….A-

4. I loved reading The Superior Spider-man Edge of Spider-Verse 033. As many of you know, I’ve not been the biggest fan of the new The Amazing Spider-man comic book run. My biggest reason for not loving it is because Dan Slott did a much better job writing Otto Octavius as Spider-man than Peter Parker. I always knew that it was a limited run but it was so good I had hoped the intensity of the series would have continued. So when Marvel announced that there would be a new event where Otto would be back as Spidey, I was stoked.

The premise: When Horizon Labs was destroyed Otto was sucked into a time vortex(of sorts) and he was transferred to the year 2099 while Spider-man 2099 was brought to present day. While he is in 2099, he is confronted with a number of different versions of himself. He learns about a threat to all versions of Spider-man in every different earth.

In this issue we are introduced to the villain. His name is Karn and he looks like a cross between a Civil War General and one of the creatures from the Bioshock video game series( once you’ve read it you will understand). Most of the issue focuses on an epic battle between Karn and all the gathered Spider-men( and women) but after the battle is finished the book breaks away from that story and tells the Origin of Karn.

I really liked that the author didn’t try to combine the two stories. The flow of the book was not interrupted. In addition, the art was excellent. This was very easily a grade A book.

5. Savage Hulk 004 is a fairly unique book for Marvel. The reason? This 4 part story is not told inside the current Marvel Now! timeline. It is faithful to the continuity of The Hulk but each story is told with previous characters that may no longer be alive. The premise of the first story arc is the Hulk and X-men fight The Abomination and because The Hulk was helpful, the X-men bring Hulk to Professor X who with the help of a machine that Bruce Banner created, combines technology with telepathy to try to cure Bruce. In the process, the X-men were kidnapped by The Leader and his minions. They are attempting to siphon the Gamma Radiation from Bruce and give it all to the leader. This issue focuses on the battle between The Leader and The Hulk.

There was a lot to like about this book. I really loved the retro feel of the book. It harkened back to the days when battles between Heroes and Villains bordered on cheesy but still provided readers with enjoyment.

I really enjoyed the art in this book too. It looked retro but also felt new and that is a pretty cool skill to have. This is a grade A book.

6. Uncanny Avengers 024 was the last Marvel book I read this week. I have to say, I actually really enjoyed it. I was curious to see where the series was going to go after spending two years of the same story line but Marvel gave us a direction. Red Skull has created concentration camps for Super powered individuals and our heroes are in them( but may not know it). Magneto is also captured and there is going to be Hell to pay for that.

This is very clearly a book that is leading up to a confrontation with the X-men and Avengers. Both the story and art in this book are excellent. Grade: A

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