Welcome to a written edition of CBFU: From the Shop, for the week of June 18th. In today’s column, I am joining our illustrious reviewers to go over this week’s books, along with Topher Alarcon.
Future’s End #7
Weekly books must be hard. The amount of coordination that has to go into them must be a lot. The first weekly comic series from DC, 52,really nailed it. You could tell that the writing team was together and making something great together. They followed with Countdown to Final Crisis, which was one of the worst things I ever read. Future’s End is now 7 weeks in, and it is somewhere between the two, but closer to Countdown. It’s not the worst book in the world, but after a strong FCBD issue and #1, it feels like Future’s End is kind of just treading water.
There are a lot of individual plotlines that will probably come together at some point, and some are stronger than others. The Frankenstein/Stormwatch storyline is probably my favorite, but this outing was its weakest yet. The worst storyline remains Mr. Terrific, which is very not terrific, even though it feels like it is supposed to be important. Everything else falls in the middle with characters I don’t quite care about. Batman Beyond’s Terry McGinnis hasn’t really had enough time to shine. I wish I cared about Red Robin/Tim Drake, but nothing in the New 52has made me care about this non-Robin. I wish I liked this book, but I really didn’t. 3 Lugos out of 10, for me.
Wonder Woman #32 by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang/GoranSudzuka
I have never tried to hide my dislike for most of the New52. It just feels unnecessary, especially because they didn’t do a full reboot. The best books are those that could have been told in the Old 52, and so the best book to come out of the New 52 has been Azzarello’s Wonder Woman. Mainly because he don’t give a fuck what else is going on in the rest of the New 52.He is telling his own story, and it is one of the best Wonder Woman stories I have ever read.
If Warner Brothers gave a shit about its comic book properties, this is the story they would at least partially adapt for the big screen. Wonder Woman vs. an almost unbeatable enemy (Her own brother, a Greek god), with a fantastic supporting cast of reimagined Greek gods, Amazons, and more. This issue sees the war between the First Born and Diana begin in earnest and it is brutal. The art remains strong, even though the great Cliff Chiang only did breakdowns. Its not a good jumping on point, but if you aren’t reading this book, just start with the first trade and enjoy the ride. 8 Lugos out of10
MPH #2 by Mark Millar and Duncan Fegredo
I didn’t like Kickass. I hated the ending of Wanted. I loved Chosen, Ultimates, and Ultimate X-men. Mark Millar is a polarizing writer. Since Ultimates ended, I haven’t been a huge fan of Millar. His books all felt the same. Shock value seemed like it was more important than characterization and story. But something seems to have happened with Millar. Starlight premiered a few months ago, and it was really good and different. It felt like Millar got his mojo back. He continued the trend in MPH #1 last month. Sure it may feel a bit like other Millar books, but it also feels like the best of Millar.
Issue 2 picks up where issue1 ended, with the main character using his newly obtained speed powers for hiso wn gain. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the book is a really good look at a character with speed powers, which isn’t something you see too often (outside of Johns and Waid’s runs on Flash). If you want a fun book about super powered characters in the “real world,” this is a really good one to read. 6 Lugos out of 10.
Fables #141 by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham
Fables begins its march to conclusion, and the pieces are being set in motion. I have been a fan of Fables since its inception. It has had some weak arcs, and probably could have ended several times before, but I don’t mind, because after several issues that felt like filler, we are getting back into the meat of this series.
The intrigue in this issue is really great as sides are chosen between Snow White and her sister, Rose Red. The Bigby revelation in the issue makes me feel like “happily ever after” may not be in the cards for the major characters of the book. But I hope that there is one. Either way, I will be along for the ride. 7 Lugos out of 10.
SAM’S QUICKSHOT REVIEWS:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #35 (8 Lugos out of 10)
Continuing the trend of an almost too-good TMNT comic book.I mean, really, who ever thought we’d get a good TMNT book? Great developments with Old Hob and Slash. Start of a new arc, so a pretty good jumping on point.
Avengers #31 by Jonathan Hickman and Lenil Francis Yu (6Lugos out of 10)
The next chapter in the Avengers Original Sin tie-in, the heroes are still lost in time, and things are getting bleaker. As with most Hickman books, I liked it, but I am not 100% sure what is going on…
Avengers World #8
Let me start by saying that I have been absolutely loving what Marvel has created with the Avengers brand! Now more than ever do they feel like a global Superhero Response team. A big contributing factor to that is Nick Spencer’s Earth spanning Avengers World. This series has depicted the largest Avengers roster and managed to juggle numerous conflicts al while retaining character depth and personality. The format to focus on lesser known members and use the blockbuster characters as Generals is brilliant, allowing for characters that are usually relegated to supporting to role to have their moment in the sun and prove that they deserve to be branded “Earth’s Mightiest.” It also gives us a glimpse into just how out of control the Marvel Universe has become, with threats creeping out from every corner of the globe, the captioned “Trouble Map/Location” makes every single mission seem Earth shattering. In other words it’s all very exciting stuff.
Issue 8 again joins Hawkeye, Spiderwoman, Nightmask, and Starbrand as they investigate the disappearance of an Italian city. It also brings back into prominence a classic Avengers Foe in the form of Morgan Le Fay. Her powerful Magical abilities make for a credible threat against omnipotent Avengers like Starbrand and Night mask, while also showing just how impressive more human members like Hawkeye and Spiderwoman are. But even with two Heavy hitters this squad is in over it head, and a guest appearance by one of Marvel’s more obscure heroes (also one of my long time favorites) helps ramp up the action even further. Here’s hoping they keep said character around for a bit. Nothing needs to be said about Marco Checcetto’s art. He sells every scene perfectly, from facial expressions, to dynamic action sequences, to full page poster worthy spreads. The man’s work is amazing and just another selling point for an already stellar issue.
8 out 10 Lugos
Uncanny X-men #22 review
Since issue number one of Brian Michael Bendis’ Uncanny X-men run, he has been keeping readers enthralled by building up a bevy of conflicts and mysteries for Cyclops and the former Phoenix five. Between the conflict with S.H.I.E.L.D. and their apparent spearheading of new anti mutant tech, the recruitment and training of new mutants, the sudden appearance of the time displaced original five X-men, and the mystery of their faltering mutant abilities, Cyclops and gang have had their hands very full(even Girls night out was chaos filled). However issue 22 is the big payoff we have been waiting for!
Last issue saw the Jean Grey School assumingly under assault by S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarriers, while Beast was trying to get to the bottom of Cyclops and Magik’s unstable abilities. It is here that Bendis weaves two of his lingering threads together for a reveal that makes sense to the world of X-men and also keeps in with the theme of Space/Time abuse. All in all it was a great way to bring closure to these long gestating questions, and opens up a can of worms on the background threats facing the x-men.
While the writing of the issue was solid, it was one of the sloppiest showings for regular series artist Chris Bachalo. His chaotic and kinetic style works for the big siege scenes, but the quieter intimate moments are muddy and hard to follow. So murky was the reveal of the big Bad that Bendis had to call him byname in order for the reader to have any idea of who was actually pulling the strings. This didn’t hurt the grand unveiling of the villain but it did partially take away from the impact it could have had had you been able to deduce the identity with your own eyes. This issue was a strong read with some inconsistent art, leaving you with an uneven package, but an enjoyable one nonetheless. 6 out of 10 Lugos
Red Hood and the Outlaws #32 review
Ah Red Hood and the Outlaws! This is one of those New 52 books that I stuck with regardless of how ridiculous the stories had become, why? Because I love the cast, it is the closest thing we have now to the old school Titans roster( don’t even get me started on the New 52 Teen Titans). Red hood, Starfire, and Arsenal make a great team, regardless of their lack of a mission statement, or reason for even being a team. The chemistry between the trio is playful and fleshed out to the point where it doesn’t matter what they are doing as long as they do it together. Scott Lobdell catches a lot of heat for his choice of characterization but this is one book where I feel it fits perfectly with these New 52 incarnations. Starfire gets to play the fish out of water, Jason Todd is the seemingly uncaring badass with a heart of Gold, and Roy is the glue that keeps them all together. Issue 32 does a perfect job of displaying that dynamic, it also is one of the strongest issues of the series in some time. This has to be attributed to the return of the original series writer.
Lobdell moves the Outlaws through an attempted Terrorist plot on the Pentagon, he shows just how much teamwork and trust the group has fostered for each other. Witty banter is spread all throughout Lobdell’s dialogue convincing the reader that the outlaws have polished their skills to the point that they can fool around with each other (and their enemies) while simultaneously thwarting a possible catastrophe. Lobdell even manages to place the Outlaws on the radar of the shadowy organization S.H.A.D.E., who requires one of the Outlaw members for a possibly even more dangerous mission. It makes for a fun nonstop ride trough the lives of these three Super Friends.
RB Silva and Rafael Sandoval also bring their A game for what is the prettiest Outlaws issue since Kenneth Roccafort was on the book. Crisp line work and bright vibrant colors makes this book a joy to read and fills each page with the perfect amount of energy to compliment the high-octane script. I’m glad I stuck with Red Hood and the Outlaws, this issue alone justified my dedication, and if you never gave it a chance or just fell off, this is the perfect pace to jump back on. 8 out of 10 Lugos
Fire traps, spooky shadow powers, and a whole lot of Matt Murdock blind man smack downs! I think now that it’s been established that our crimson hero has set up shop in the west coast we’re at a point where DD is back to beating the fuck out of crime again, it’s no surprise that DD gets himself out of the owls old school cliché fire trap from last issues cliffhanger, but it was definitely interesting how the shroud’s creepy shadow powers complimented DD’s senses by blinding everyone in the room while Matt cleaned up shop the only way he knows how. The owl has backed the shroud into a corner and is manipulating him into helping him steal tech that he hasn’t legally been able to acquire, the only way a villain could (by breaking into a super secret facility of science and junk , which puts DD in a position where everyone’s ass is getting kicked, and the beautiful expressive panels do nothing short of elegantly displaying punch by punch, kick by kick, shadow by shadow? Idk what you call those powers but they fucking rule!
After DD’s bust on the science facility TECH theft is done. We see The owl possibly full of untold scientific mumble jumble powers, left out to dry for the police to pick up, with a sinister undertone of “this isn’t done yet look upon my creepy owl hair cut and my glowing science eyes”. What follows is a closer glimpse into the dynamic between the shroud and DD which seems to be forged by their past, and for Coleridge very present experience with trauma and pain (we all know DD has seen some dark days…no pun intended) our issue culminates in an uneasy truce that will surely either pit these two against each other once more or possible see more of that sweet DD/shroud tag-team action. All in all this was a great issue, full of action, beautiful art and great dialog. Also the shroud fucking rules! Good call in bringing back this D-lister and letting his crumb bum ass shine!
8 Lugos out of 10
When Marvel Now first launched there was one book that was heads and tails above the others, and that book was Thor God of Thunder. Written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Esad Ribic. It was Epic, and each page was like a painting, and now 23 issues later it’s still the best. This arc of Thor has had two parallel stories: one taking place in the present with modern day Thor fighting the evil corporation Roxxon, and one taking place in the future with Old King Thor fighting Old Galactus on a dying Earth. You read that right Old King Thor with a destroyer arm versus an Old Galactus at the end of time. Only Jason Aaron could come up with that. Jason Aaron has introduced some new characters into the Thor mythology including Old King Thor’s three granddaughters, and also present day Thor’s new love interest Environmental SHIELD Agent Roz Solomon, and each of these characters gets a chance to shine in this issue.
Between this and Original Sin Jason Aaron is on quite a hot streak. He has a way of making his books action packed, with deadly serious situations, but not without sacrificing the fun. I dare you to read this issue and not have a smile on your face. The dialogue is also great, and each character has a distinctive voice. As I said this is an epic book, but I can’t imagine it being as epic without the beautiful painted art of Esad Ribic. I’ve always been a fan of Esad Ribic, he’s one of my top five favorite artists, but his work on Thor God of Thunder has risen his art to another level. I can’t imagine this book without him on it. If you haven’t read Thor God of Thunder yet do yourself a favor, and pick up the first two trades the Godkiller arc you’ll be glad that you did. I give Thor God of Thunder # 23
9 out of 10 Lugos.