Avengers Vs. X-Men #11
AvX is coming closer to the end, which I’m kind of looking forward to. For one thing, I do want to know how it ends, but I’m also looking forward to some the new Now! series and they can’t start before this is over, so…
Anyway, Round 11 was interesting but I was expecting more. That’s the same problem that most issues of this series had but I still expected more from this almost final episode. The character death was somewhat underwhelming (as they so often are, which is very strange, considering how important they are supposed to be). I have to problems with this particular death: 1) In my (limited) perception, he didn’t play such a big role in any comic anyway, so I can’t imagine how his death will change anything and 2) It’s one of these characters where you just know he will come back at some point.
But the rest of the issue looked very cool and had some nice moments but as so often it is mostly restricted to cool moments instead of a really emotional story. The beginning is a perfect example of this: a huge build-up to a revelation moment (“Wow, the Hulk!” – on the other hand, how often did he had to play this role) which leads to one or two panels that don’t mean anything for the story or any of the characters.
It’s a weird event, but then again, they all are. Which doesn’t stop anyone to read and discuss them endlessly (including me).
Avenging Spider-Man #12
This felt like a typical Deadpool issue with no big relevance. Considering the Avenging concept so far, it should make sense but it felt kind of shallow anyway. The basic idea was nice but the jokes were almost too much as if trying to put everything in you could think of when thinking of high school. Another problem is that Peter almost has nothing to do here, his character is almost irrelevant to the issue and that shouldn’t be the point of such a team-up.
The zero issues. I can already see with the first one I’m reading this week that they will vary and be plagued by the same things I mentioned last week. Even the best ones last week didn’t feel completely necessary and more like additions to things we already know. Batman is not really different even if Snyder and Tynion are really trying hard. It might even be that I liked Tynion’s part more, which is kind of surprising. Snyder’s part starts out very interesting but the conversation between Bruce and Gordon is lacking something new. Tynion’s “back-up” felt like a main story as it shows all the Batmen in various states and how they respond to the innovation of the Batsignal. This is a cool idea and the art is amazing too. Tynion and Clarke pull it off in a good way.
Batman and Robin #0
This is strange. I really liked this issue, which gave me more of what I needed: an origin for Damian. The story is a nice concept and the art delivers perfectly on that, with many interesting panel layouts and an amazing mix of beautiful scenery, dynamic action and gruesome details. But is that a story anyone needs who has read Batman in the last years? Hasn’t most of this been covered already? (I honestly don’t know). Then again, if someone started with the New 52, this issue can’t make much sense because you need some more information to understand all of it. It’s the dilemma for most New 52 books - Not enough new for old readers and too much old for new readers. Rarely there’s been a good balance.
Before Watchmen: Comedian #3
This more and more feels like a joke. Yeah, I know, the Comedian, a joke, ha ha. But do we really have to go through all of the 60s and watch the Comedian doing pointless things? It’s funny, it’s only annoying. And what about Eddie’s misogyny? Is it tongue-in-cheek? Is that even possible? To me, all of this just feels really stupid, in an almost offending way. Azzarello is throwing shit in our faces. People should stop buying this. Now, I don’t like it.
That was weird. Kinda. Sorta. As Batgirl would put it with her “hip lingo”. This origin story must be one of the least convincing ever conceived. Barbara has a crush on Batman, so she goes on a tour to the police station so that she can watch some police officers discussing Batman and meet a villain. She knows the villain already, being a student and all, so she fights him, puts on the Batman costume standing around and fights him. Then the holy Batman appears and honors with a “Well done.” Her thoughts tell us that she is scared, which is something, I believe, we have been told in every single issue of Batgirl up to now. Must be some cool way of making her seem more emotional and vulnerable. It stopped working a while ago. Drawing her in the first panel as some teenage wet dream doesn’t improve anything either.
Conan the Barbarian #8
What good is a comic without Becky Cloonan? I didn’t know Vasilis Lolos before and I wouldn’t say I didn’t like his style but it was hard at times to make it fit with this book. Sometimes the expression are extremely exaggerated and cartoon-like, which took me out of the moment. Overall, the style fits and works but it’s just not the same. And it doesn’t help that the change happens mid-arc. The story and the character development are as strong as ever, again making me admiring the skills of Brian Wood.
Fantastic Four #610
Hickman is trying to wrap up everything he ever wrote about before his run ends, so too bad for anyone who hasn’t been reading Fantastic Four since he got on. Both Fantastic Four and FF have become almost incomprehensible to me and it’s no fun to read them anymore.
Fashion Beast #1
So, what am I supposed to think about this one? I haven’t got a clue. A strange story, good art, but no idea what it is about. Sometimes I feel like a total n00b, as if having more comic experience enables you to understand even the most obscure comics more easily. I know this isn’t actually true, but I still don’t know what to make of this comic.
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #0
It is truly amazing how well Frankenstein works. This must be one of the best zero issues yet, showing a truly original origin story with plenty of crazy and passionate ideas that are a joy to read. The journey of “the Monster” is entertaining and heartbreaking, as the best Frankenstein stories have always been. The consistency of Alberto Ponticelli as an artist helps immensely, since he seems absolutely perfect for this character and this world. I don’t know if this comic is underrated but it feels like the most underrated comic out there. People should talk and write about this and not a stupid, fake kiss or superhero battles or short-term deaths.
Somehow I always expect Harbinger to fall apart and become a bad comic. So it’s a nice surprise that this is probably the best issue yet, with some very interesting concepts, solid art and mostly convincing dialogue. This is a really good comic book Valiant is publishing here and I wish it was more popular.
Incredible Hulk #13
Finally we get a real issue of The Incredible Hulk again. Since July we had to suffer through an absolutely stupid storyline that always build up to something we never learned about. “Stay Angry” was horrible. Now we get the payoff for it and it is much better than everything that lead up to it. This issue isn’t great but it helps a little to understand the journey of Banner. It is no excuse for the stupidity of the last months but it feels like we’re back on track again. I hope that all this doesn’t lead simply more stupid fights with Doom and whatnot but that we actually deal with this new development. This, finally, is interesting.
Legends of the Dark Knight #15
And another solid entry in this cool digital comic series. The story didn’t completely get me as it gets tangled up in too much split ego talk. The beginning prepared me for something else, something more intriguing than just another Harvey story that ultimately feels inconclusive. We know these stories here don’t have a lasting effect on the character, so they should feel self-contained, too. That is one aspect where this story doesn’t work completely.
Punk Rock Jesus #3
I love the art. I love the plot. I love how time progresses and we see what kind of character Chris becomes. I love how torn his mother is. I love Thomas because he's the best hero ever. I love the concept. I love Punk Rock Jesus. I love this amazing comic book.
Resurrection Man #0
This had been one of the most interesting New 52 series for me when it started but it soon deteriotated to an average series. Now it's over and leaves with an all-too-convenient ending that wraps everything up and explains a lot, but doesn't do much else. The art is not really impressive, especially the "evil" Mitch looks very weird and cartoonish. I still don't see the point in a zero issue for a series that's ending, but who cares? I have plans for reading the first volume which I hope was better executed than this one under the New 52-pressure. It's sad this didn't end better but seeing how it ended, I'm not sad to see it go.
The Manhattan Projects #6
This is such a strange series that I never know what to expect. And the other funny thing is that it is so good, although I find it almost impossible to follow a coherent story. But the issues are so strong on their own that this doesn't even matter. And since it's Hickman it's always possible that everything eventually will add up. Until then we can enjoy an issue like this one that gives a heartbreaking account of a man wanting to be free and two opponents who turn out to be very similar to each other. The art is still amazing, the coloring is kind of obvious but still brilliant (first time I mention coloring!).
The Massive #4
After the first arc of "The Massive" interested but never fully engaged me, this new arc was a pleasant surprise. In some way, this was exactly what I'd been waiting for in the first three issues. A clear, suspenseful story, a lot of background information that enriches the characters and worldbuilding that is as intriguing as it should be in such an apocalyptic story. The art retains the same good quality, despite the artist change. Now I really want to read on and see what will happen. What a relief!
Ultimate Comics X-Men #16
Somehow I thought the crossover was "Divided We Fall", but here's "United We Stand", which seems to be even bigger. But let's not discuss crossover politics, this doesn't matter anyway for this issue. The story is okay, but feels a bit like a filler between important events. It's nice enough but it doesn't feel like there's actually much going on. And somehow the addition of Nick Fury feels like a distraction for me. It's meant to connect the different comics but it feels like this is the only reason why he is there. About the art: I always accepted Medina's art but never completely enjoyed it. But the use of flares was so intrusive, I couldn't but be annoyed by it. It even lead me to observe even more digital effects that bothered me. I'm not an expert on drawing techniques, so I don't know how much is digitalized (I suppose a lot) but doing it so offensively and for such pointless results, really distracted me.
Wolverine and the X-Men #16
It's so weird to see how all the regular titles become a place for short stories and deeper characterizations during an event. But if it's done like in WatX, I don't mind. The last two issues were already very good and this one shows us the history of Kade Kilgoe in an entertaining, cruel way. It has nothing to do with AvX but with such a fun issue, we shouldn't care much.
Brian Wood continues his excellent run on this series. The second arc came out slightly weaker than the first one but was still clever and maybe a bit short. It also feels still strange that this exists outside the normal continuity but for having this fresh take on the characters and the concepts of mutants, this is definitely worth the out-of-placeness. The art is also not as convincing as in the first arc, but still good enough.
Best issue in this run: Punk Rock Jesus #3
Worst issue in this run: Before Watchmen: Comedian #3
Biggest surprise in this run: The Manhattan Projects #6
Biggest disappointment in this run: Avenging Spider-Man #12