Ororo and T'Challa Back Together? Don't Tease Me, Bro!
Overview: Am I the only person still reading this? Ha, maybe but I don't want to see this series fail. So three issues in and we have a sense for how these books work. The formula is two stories, two characters each (one X-Man, one Avenger), and for the most part, it's continuity-free goodness. Here we get a nice story between the latest power couple gone sour, Black Panther and Storm, and two of the Marvel Universe's ladies' men, Hawkeye and Gambit. After the impressiveness of the last issue, can this one top it? Spoiler: Nope.
The Good: Both stories are decent. They are nowhere near the flatness of the second story of the first issue, which is by far the worst. I appreciate that so far the stories pair up characters that have great chemistry together and that fact is even more evident in the opening story of this book.
The first story teams up Black Panther and Ororo. We see the aftermath of their subtle and abrupt falling out spinning out of the AvX story arc. You can really feel the chemistry between these two characters. We see Storm's playful little antics as she just can't stay away from the king of Wakanda. This causes them to have a fun little confrontation that is the focus of the story. Writer, Jason Aaron, does a good job of conveying this and making you feel invested even if you don't really know about these two characters' relationship. I also like how this story opens up. We get some great action featuring the country's sole protector. The dialogue from this sequence to the playful, flirty talk between the former couple is just great.
The second story is just as good, if not just a bit weaker than the first story. This is most likely due to the fact that there isn't really any serious relationship between these next two characters. The second story focuses on Hawkeye and Gambit and what unravels is a funny little pissing contest between the two over a damsel in distress. It's great to see two guys try to win over a girl's heart. As played out and cliche as that story is, it's never too boring of a story to retell. What I like about this story is how their little fight/team-up is choreographed. The action showcases both of their unique abilities and the witty banter between the two of them as they attempt to show off is just great.
The Bad: The whole thing about this series is to create fun stories that aren't in continuity. I cannot stress that enough. To really feel for the first story and their characters, the reader kind of has to know the strong connection between Ororo and T'Challa. Without that, it's hard for new readers to really even care for the relationship between the two. Also, the art in the first story is just borderline acceptable, perhaps even teetering to mediocre at best. When Storm first appears she just looks like some kind of demon, not a goddess of weather. Oh and the facial expressions, just no. Sorry Pasqual Ferry, but your art? Let's just say thank goodness Jason Aaron can tell a good story with just dialogue because the faces do not match the emotions conveyed through the words.
The second story's art is a little bit better, but barely. It's done by Billy Tan and it's a little too stiff for my taste. And just like the first story, the facial expressions range from terrible to mildly acceptable. Also, this is a little biased, but I just can't accept any other Hawkeye than Matt Fraction's version. When I read Hawkeye now, he's got to be just as witty and awesome as the character Fraction has cooked up with his current run on the character's solo series. I hate to be biased but the Hawkeye in this story just isn't up to snuff.
The Verdict: Bottom Line, this series is a good idea. I just wish Marvel would acknowledge that and put some really talented creative teams to create fun little stories that are actually worthwhile. I love the idea of reading small, lighthearted and satisfying stories that doesn't deal with all the drama of the current Marvel Universe's continuity. If Marvel really backed up this series, it would be at the top of pull list, I'm serious, no doubt about it. But if this is the direction they're going to go, half-baked stories with no real substance or good storytelling, then I can't really justify the 3.99 price point. I say don't pick this up. The second issue of this series is better and easily the best. This sticks to the formula of what Marvel wants with this book, but it's delivered in an uninspired and basic manner. Not essential or all that fun to read.
3/5 stars. I can't recommend it, I just can't. But if you're like me, you'll keep trucking through it regardless because you love the idea. Sigh... wasted potential.