Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week in Review 11/19/11

Amazing Spider-Man #674
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Company: Marvel Comics
With Spider Island having seen its conclusion, Peter Parker picks up the pieces of his life and shoulders on. Slott still has that mixture of things that work and things that don't in this book. The revitalization of an old villain by making him the leader of a group of Emo teenagers causing mayhem doesn't jibe all that well and makes them seem like rejects out of Rumble Fish. On the other hand,
the way that he handles the crumbled relationship between our hero and Carlie is, oddly enough, the best part of the book. It feels real and thought out and not your traditional, "I hate you and never want to see you again," kind of event. Camuncoli's style trends towards the more sketch-y side of things, but with Spider-Man, that sort of thing works in his favor. A solid book with a few points that drag it down.

Avengers #19
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Daniel Acuna
Company: Marvel Comics
Sadly, another team formation issue. I swear, we've seen more of these pertaining to The Avengers in the past five years than we've seen in any other book. It's worrisome, and lends credence to the fact that Bendis doesn't know how to write exciting team books. Still, there are individual scenes that pop, especially with a certain Avenger making his return. The inclusion of Daisy from Secret Warriors is fun, but has my Spider-Sense tingling with danger. My biggest complaint is that, again, there is not much in the way of action, there is only a bunch of people standing around talking. Now, Daniel Acuna has certainly improved as an artist over the years, but his style still isn't the perfect choice for this book. Often the realism that comes with his photo reference-y style seems out of place. Disappointing.

Birds of Prey #3
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Jesus Saiz
Company: DC Comics
The introduction of Pamela Isley to the new Birds of Prey team is the main draw for this one, and though there's a certain recognizable formula to the story, Swierczynski makes the affair enjoyable enough to watch. The way that he breaks down the story and gives each character a moment or two to shine is nice, as is the Mission Impossible vibe that runs through the entire book. My one complaint, story wise, is the Invisible Ninjas and the people turned into bombs story is not as interesting as is could be. Saiz however is killing it. The smoothness that his characters and the organic way that his action plays out is so on the nose and cool. It makes everything on the page have more impact and lets you get into the story easier. While I am hoping that the story's pace picks up, Birds of Prey continues to keep me interested.

Incredible Hulk #2
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Various
Company: Marvel Comics
Oddly enough, this second issue feels pretty much like a rehash of the first issue. Yes, we get more from Bruce this go around, with his megalomania and need for the Hulk personality ratcheted up, but there isn't any new information revealed that wasn't last time. Aaron's story itself is oddly paced and though there are some good one liners here and there, there are times when his characters feel oddly out of place. Case in point his new Von Doom female spy, who needs to reiterate that there's no relation to the real Doom. It's almost as if that single piece of information is the driving force for the character and it really, really, doesn't work. His Hulk though is the only interesting thing going on. The way he's characterized is different than we've seen him before and really does keep you turning the pages. The art this time out, provided by 12 different artists, is disappointing. Yes, there was a reason for it, but the different styles, even though they are trying their hardest to work together, don't mesh well and the change ups take the reader out of the story. A bit bland overall, but I'm curious as to the fallout of Banner's stint as a fill in for Dr. Moreau. 

New Mutants #34
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: David Lopez
Company: Marvel Comics
The idea of separating themselves from both Cyclops and Wolverine, and deciding to live in the real world, among real people, is a great storytelling device. It allows the characters to be more personable and believable. It also is a great way to show that even though these characters are mutants, they're human too. The way that DnA are able to do that works so well and that they are able to deliver laugh out loud situation humor while at the same time reintroducing Blink into the lives of the X-Men makes for a solid start to a new story arc. Lopez, who first caught my attention with his run with Peter David on Fallen Angel, continues his very clean lined style that makes his work as good as it is. His version of Warlock, stuffed inside a hoodie and baggy clothes cracks me up every time I see it, but it also makes sense in the grand scheme of the story. Really, this isn't the New Mutants from Claremont, this is something new and different and so far, engaging enough that you want to keep on coming back to see what happens next.

Venom #9
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Company: Marvel Comics
I've been a huge fan of the Venom series by Remender. He took Flash Thompson, melded him with a character that I really only cared about as a kid, and added in a special forces angle that created a trifecta of unexpected fun. This issue however felt like Remender emulating an arc or two of Walking Dead. Yes it's the fallout of Spider Island, as there is a would-be villain trying to take advantage of the opportunity of the chaos, but there are elements of violence and torture used that felt very heavy with Shock Value. Yes, I can see the reason that these things are being used, to show the back and forth between Flash and the Symbiote, so maybe it's just my own sensibilities getting the better of me, but the instances and the context that they were presented in didn't add much to the story. In fact, the only thing that did add something was having Caselli as the guest artist. His work on Amazing Spider-Man has been great and the work here for Venom is just as good. It's expressive and entertaining and is pitch perfect for the character.

X-23 #17
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Takeda
Company: Marvel Comics
While I typically haven't checked in on X-23, I still believe that the character is one of the few that have been created recently that has the ability to stick around. There are two reasons why I checked out this issue. 1) Because it was recently announced that it was getting cancelled. And B) Because of the homage to Adventures in Babysitting that this cover does, as that's a film I absolutely loved as a kid. This issue of X-23 however proves to be immensely entertaining. There are a few instances of backstory that pertains to past relationships and choices that Laura has made, but the bones of the tale centers around Mr. Fantastic and The Inivisible Woman asking her to babysit for an evening. The humor is fresh and Liu's take on Val and Franklin is rather great. It seems like an odd combination but the payoff is welcomed. Takeda, an artist who I know mainly from Ms. Marvel, does a fairly good job. Her painted style seems a little like Clayton Crain's, but there's a bit more focus to it. She also captures here characters rather well, especially the stoic blankness of our heroine. It's sad that a book that has the potential to be this good should be cancelled.

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