Comics I Read: Catching Up #15

S.W.O.R.D. 2-3: Sadly, since this is one of my favorite new book launches of the last year, it is already cancelled – #5 will be the last issue. (“Doctor Voodoo” has had its run similarly truncated.) I have mixed feelings about this; I certainly don’t expect Marvel to publish books that aren’t profitable, but there’s an emotional investment from the reader too and it feels wrong to solicit that investment in an ongoing series (with interviews, podcasts, etc.) and then stop it after a miniseries length. However, I also feel that fans today are too involved in the business details of the publishers, so I’m really not sure what the appropriate response is other than disappointment. Anyway, Kieron Gillen’s blog entry linked above says a trade is planned, so I recommend you get that when it comes out instead of spending for the individual issues. (If anybody at Marvel had said that increased sales could have an effect on the cancellation I would say buy them, but they noticeably have not said that.)

Astonishing X-Men 31-33: Definitely an improvement over the last arc: this one feels more like the Joss Whedon issues. It’s always great to have Phil Jimenez on art, and interestingly (in a good way) his work here feels more like John Byrne than George Perez. It’s a shame that the story features animating dead mutants at the same time as “Necrosha” and “Blackest Night” are going on, but I guess that’s the kind of coincidence that can’t be avoided when you have Warren Ellis writing far in advance.

Thunderbolts 137-140: The post-Andy Diggle era is mostly positive: Rick Remender does a good job with the Power Man/Iron Fist story in #137, but I hate the whole idea of Osborn trying to brainwash heroes at this late stage of the game, and the use of the characters doesn’t really square up with “New Avengers”. Starting in #138, Jeff Parker shows the slow disintegration of the team – my guess is that the concept is unlikely to make it through “Siege” – and the “Agents of Atlas” appearance is logical given how they deliberately provoked Osborn in the first issues of their book. (And they actually have a lasting effect on the ongoing story in this book.) I’m not in love with the art, though, which is murky and hard to follow in places.

Adventure Comics 6: I wish Geoff Johns’ and Francis Manapul’s Superboy comics could go on forever, but sadly this is the last one for now. The art is as beautiful as ever, and the coloring in the locations outside Smallville (Bizarro World, Paradise Island, etc.) is superb. I also like the characterization of Luthor as more of an evil scientist than a politician/businessman because they’ve literally gone as far as they can go with that. (Who’s more important than the President of the United States?) I won’t give away the surprise guest star, but he helps set up the next big Superman storyline.

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