Jeff’s May Reviews Part 3

I’m writing one of these every day until I get caught up. Did I forget to mention that? Also, I’m probably going to skip reviewing the Free Comic Book Day titles at this point because Mike already did a good job and I have enough other unread material around here to stun a large land mammal. Repeatedly. (And don’t even get me started about DVDs.)

Uncanny X-Men 510: The art really hurts this again, as all the women look alike, and they’re in red emergency lighting for most of the issue, and I have trouble keeping track of all the obscure characters anyway. Despite that, the plot is mildly fun and interesting, but not nearly at the same level as…

Invincible Iron Man 13: …the same writer’s work here. I’m not sure if the more “grounded” science fiction just fits Fraction’s style better or there’s less interference or what, but there are interesting ideas on every page (not quite Grant Morrison level, but enough) and Norman Osborn isn’t written like a cartoon character. Hopefully the upcoming X-Men/Dark Avengers crossover will be more like this than like Uncanny.

Green Lantern Corps 36: Sinestro reveals his relationship to one of the regular cast, which is kind of a cliche, but it’s done well here. It’s slowly becoming clear (especially in GL 41 below) that Sinestro, like Magneto in his best stories, kind of has a point about how messed up the Guardians and the Corps are even though his methods are terrible.

Green Lantern 41: We get a glimpse of how corrupt and self-centered the Guardians have always been, making Sinestro’s point a little. The Phillip Tan art is crazy good, and oddly enough in a completely different style than New Avengers. (Not sure if that’s the inking or what.) And, hey, it wouldn’t be a Geoff Johns comic if someone didn’t lose an appendage, right?

Titans 13: Any hope of rehabilitating Jericho goes completely out the window, as he stops coming off as tortured and more as an unrepentant maniac killer. Even if he’s still not technically responsible for his actions, they’re just too awful to wash away (as seen in the final chapter below.) This whole story doesn’t have had a point. I don’t expect the characters to be happy all the time but if there’s going to be all this suffering then they need to come out of it changed somehow and I don’t see that here.

Vigilante 6: Again better written than the Titans chapters, but Jericho’s fate is obnoxiously grisly. Better that they had left him dead. Wolfman does manage to move his regular story along a little bit among all the crossover stuff and I look forward to him going completely back to that next issue.

REBELS 4: Sorry, Shane, I don’t have a lot to say about this middle chapter of the opening story arc except that I still like it a lot and that I am amazed that Tony Bedard got away with the Khund Empire pun on p. 2. (“I’d repeat it, but my wife hates that word.”)

The Unwritten 1: Nice marketing move by Vertigo here – the opening issue of this new Mike Carey series was only $1. I liked this well enough to order the first trade (my preferred medium for Vertigo series.) It’s the story of a man whose writer father created a series of popular Harry Potter-type books based on him as a boy. Or did the author have no son, and the man is the actual fictional character come to life? Seems like there might be some Sandman-like potential about the nature of stories here.

War of Kings: Acension 2: I was never a huge Darkhawk fan, so I’m not bothered by the “everything you thought you knew was wrong” approach here, but neither do I care enough to sustain two more issues of this. I’m interested in where this ends up, but bored by how we’re getting there.

Dark Reign: Young Avengers 1: Some surprisingly complex psychology going on here, as Paul Cornell’s “new” Young Avengers are capable of some awful behavior but still come off as confused kids that (in some cases) could still be saved. Of course the real YAs show up at the end, and hopefully Cornell has something less cliche than a fight seen planned for the beginning of next issue.

Ultimate Spider-Man 132: This is the first real sense I’ve gotten of how catastrophic the damage to New York was and how dramatically different the Ultimate Universe will be when Ultimatum is done. I’m not sure it’s a world I want to read about, but Bendis gets the benefit of the doubt from me. Assuming Ultimatum ever finishes so that we can get to those issues. Everyone’s been coy about who will be starring in this book after the reboot, and Peter does look screwed at the end of this issue, but I can’t imagine Bendis wanting to write this book about anyone but Peter Parker.

Green Arrow/Black Canary 20: Much better than recent issues, as the couple tries to get marriage counseling (which is much more interesting than it sounds.) I also thought they did a really good job of portraying how scary the city is without sound in the last few pages, even if I could live without GA’s annoying stalker chick.

Hulk 12: Well, at least he didn’t punch Galactus in the face. I was a little worried about that for a moment. At first I thought this issue blew a hole in my Red Hulk identity theory (how would he get access to Reed Richards’ files?) but I think the ending confirms it. (“…with a broken heart. Just as you left me, Banner.”)

Thunderbolts 132: Much, much better than the train wreck last issue, but this still feels like they didn’t want to cancel the title and are trying to come up with a justification for it rather than there being a good story reason why Osborn needs a black ops team.

Wonder Woman 32: I don’t want to tip too much of the story, but the fascinating thing going on here is that Gail Simone has put Diana in a similar life-or-death situation that Greg Rucka did with the Max Lord situation, and the differences in approach are really interesting. You shouldn’t miss anything that Gail Simone does, but especially this.

Justice Society of America 27: Marking time a little bit until the new creative team comes along, but Jerry Ordway has enough of a history with these characters to make it interesting for me. In fact, those of you remember All-Star Squadron will especially get a kick out of this because he reaches all the way back to that era.

Justice League of America 33: I really liked this, so it’s a shame that Dwayne McDuffie has gotten himself fired as of the end of the current story next issue. I was worried about that from the minute his message board postings broke, because even though he wasn’t mean or malicious DC is notorious for not liking their laundry aired in public. Even to the point of firing the writer of one of their top selling books, apparently. (And I wouldn’t be surprised if it was intended less as a punishment for McDuffie as it was a warning to other talent – if we did it to him, what chance do you have if you don’t keep your mouth shut?) Anyway, as an old time Milestone fan I was thrilled to see Hardware again (a trade of his early issues is coming out next year) and Dwayne figured out a clever way to have a Batman presence, and a nice emotional scene to go with it.

Teen Titans 71: Essentially a full-length version of what will become Sean McKeever’s Ravager “co-feature” next issue. It’s good, so that bodes well for that feature if not the main feature(which seems to be managed by committee at this point.)

Guardians of the Galaxy 14: Great fun, as both teams’ respective peace missions to the Shi'ar and the Kree fail in the most catastrophic ways possible, causing both sides to want them dead.


  1. [i]REBELS 4: Sorry, Shane, I don’t have a lot to say about this middle chapter of the opening story arc except that I still like it a lot and that I am amazed that Tony Bedard got away with the Khund Empire pun on p. 2. (“I’d repeat it, but my wife hates that word.”)[/i]

    I am now tempted to demand that for your next post, you do a panel-by-panel dissection of the comic.

  2. Oh, great, BBCode doesn't work here. Does HTML?

  3. Where's my %^&*! "The Wire" reviews, Snap to it Man! And Lost and CYE and Larry Sanders and...

    The Unwrittens definitely tweaks my interest, but how does the material rate as far as language, violence etc.? Kid-friendly?(which I think would be a good idea for them).

    BTW, has anyone heard rumors as to why Ultimatum is SO late? I believe it's going on 7 months now since the last issue.

  4. Re: REBELS. I'm finding these "middle chapter" issues, where the story advances only incrementally, difficult to write about.

    Re: Ultimatum. I think #4 is out this week. I assume it's late because David Finch is slow, but I don't know that for sure.

    Re: Unwritten. I don't think there was any swearing in it, but I would say it's for adults because I think the main character is not someone kids will relate to. It sounds like it should a light fantasy, but so far it's not.

  5. Cool!

    Thanks for the info and good luck with the posting everyday thing. Tougher to do than you would think!

  6. Your comments about Fraction are right on. He is extremely focused and great when writing Iron Man and all over the place on Uncanny X-Men. I couldn't put up with the story line changing every 3rd page and nothing moving very quickly or resolving itself. For that reason I have stopped reading Uncanny X-Men (and buried those copies in the back yard) and opted to wait for the collections of Fraction's Iron Man stories. I like Mike Carey. I had ordered Unwritten #1 on the last BC Previews order I worked on (sigh) and then opted not to order it from Captain Red Hen, rather wait for the eventual trades. I'll be interested to see what you say about the upcoming issues of it.


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