Jeff’s May Reviews, Conclusion
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four 3: Now this is more like it, Hickman has a great sense of what makes these characters tick, including the kids. I’m very much looking forward to him taking over the main series.
Wolverine 72: The “missing” Old Man Logan chapter, to be finished in a giant-size special later. It’s kind of down to a collection of clichés at this point, but done so enthusiastically that it’s still entertaining.
Wolverine Origins 36: First I got bored reading the recap page, so that wasn’t a good start. Unfortunately, this is so plot driven that there’s no room for the interesting (to me, anyway) father/son dynamic between Logan and Daken. Now Daken has new claws that can kill Wolverine (and Romulus). So what? We know he’s never going to get to use them in any significant way. Daniel Way is just pushing the pieces around for whatever end game he’s got planned. I’m normally a big fan of artist Doug Braithwaite, but I thought this issue was a little hard to follow in places.
X-Men: Legacy 224: Essential reading for Rogue fans, as this features the most significant character development for her in years.
Batman in Barcelona: Dragon’s Knight 1: A somewhat standard Batman story, even with the different setting, but with some nice touches by Mark Waid, including some discussion of the Wayne legacy and a little twist in the story that I didn’t see coming. I also liked the art by (presumably) Spanish artist Diego Olmos.
Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink 1: After all the first issues, this is my favorite of the “Aftermath” series. The new Tattooed Man, from Final Crisis: Resist, is continuing to try to be a better man but his family problems and the cops’ distrust may derail him. I’m not familiar with either of the creators but they do good work here.
Avengers/Invaders 11: Yawn. And it occurs to me: why do the Avengers need to disguise themselves as 40’s heroes when they’re going to have to eliminate this timeline to get things back to normal anyway?
Last Days of Animal Man 1: I’m a fan of both Animal Man and writer Gerry Conway, so I decided to check out this issue to see if I liked it enough to order the trade. I’m happy to say that Conway’s work is up to modern standards, the story is faithful to the solo series’ continuity, and I liked this very much. Off to Amazon to order the book. (Oops, it’s not listed yet.)
Moon Knight 30: Is this the end of the current series? I think I remember reading somewhere that it was taking a hiatus and coming back. If so, it can’t come soon enough because I got bored with this story and it turns out to be inconsequential anyway. It seems that Spector has been out of the US long enough to miss the Dark Reign stuff, so now that he’s aware of it presumably the next series will be about how he deals with it. (It might actually be good for him, given that Stark wouldn’t allow him to operate openly.)
Ms. Marvel 39: Continued good stuff from Brian Reed, as Karla Sofen continues to try to live up to the Ms. Marvel legacy in her own twisted way. Or maybe she’s just being mind controlled by a closet full of MODOK babies. And there’s a glowing woman that may or may not be Carol Danvers. Just read it, already.
Spider-Man: The Short Halloween 1: The reference in the name notwithstanding, this isn’t a Batman-style noir story but actually an attempt to do the Giffen/Dematties/McGuire Justice League style. Since only one of those three (Kevin McGuire) is involved, it comes off stupid instead of funny and charming. And it’s May, which is a silly time to ship a Halloween story. (It’s not like it would have expired if they held it for another five months.) Avoid.
X-Force 15: The crossover is still moving too slow for my taste, and again Bishop fails to get the job done, but I have to admit I was never a fan of the Apocalypse/Stryfe/etc. era so your mileage may vary.
Dark Reign: Electra 3: The Elektra/Bullseye battle is put off for (at least) another issue, as we get some interesting flashbacks to her time as a Skrull captive and some hints about the atrocities the replacement Elektra may have committed.
Immortal Iron Fist 26: A great end to “Escape from the Eighth City”. Definitely get the collection if you haven’t been following it month-to-month. I thought the “Immortal Weapons” specials were starting next, but based on the last page here it seems that there’s another story arc coming first.
Ghost Rider 35: Creepy (in a fun way), and better than the fill-in style story that I complained about last month. This story (which is a standalone even though it’s labeled “Part 3”) features Johnny Blaze and gives some idea about why he still wants to fight back against the forces now controlling Heaven.
Avengers: The Initiative 24: Basically the end of the current Initiative era and the beginning of whatever’s coming next. The creative team (well, the writer at least) is staying the same so hopefully it will still be good.
Runaways 10: I guess the new creative team isn’t ready yet, so there are two short fill in stories here. The first is a hysterically funny look at the X-Men through Molly’s eyes (she’s a mutant, so they invite her to San Francisco) I didn’t like the second story (“Truth or Dare”) as much, but it’s not bad. Maybe worth getting for the lead story since, as not part of a story arc, I think there’s a chance this issue might never be collected.
Incredible Hercules 129: Athena’s plan to defeat Hera involves sneaking in to Hades while Pluto is on Earth. The metaphor (which I won’t give away) for Purgatory and the revolving door afterlife in the Marvel Universe is extremely clever, but I think it’s maybe one of those things that shouldn’t be examined too closely because it undermines the suspension of disbelief.
Dark Reign: The Hood 1: This is by the same artist, but a different writer than the original Hood miniseries (by Brian K. Vaughn, who’s probably busy working on the last season of “Lost”). Fortunately the new writer is Jeff (Agents of Atlas) Parker, and so far it looks like this will make a nice bookend to the original series on the shelf. Nothing in this is directly related to Dark Reign yet, however.
Whew! That’s it for May, and I’ll get to this week’s books over the weekend.