This probably would have been written earlier had I not spent my time yesterday reading the Daredevil Ultimate Collection (Bendis/Maleev) Volume 1, which was fairly incredible (especially the “Wake Up” arc, which floored me and legitimately made my eyes water). But that’s tangential. As for single issues this week, I pulled All-New X-Men #22.NOW, X-Men #9, Birds of Prey #27, All-New X-Factor #2, Li’l Bionic Kids #1, Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Two #2, and Deadpool: The Gauntlet #3.
All-New X-Men #22.NOW
So first I should toss out a disclaimer for anyone who happens to not be reading ANXM: buying this issue gets you a digital code for it, but also a code for the first tpb collection (the first five issues, I believe) of the book, at no additional cost. So if you’ve been considering reading this at all, definitely buy this issue for that.
So this issue marks the beginning of the several issue crossover event between Bendis’ flagship books, All-New X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy. Overall I thought it was a very fun issue. Stuart Immonen’s art is really quite good, and the awkwardness between Scott and Jean (with Warren caught in the middle of it) is highly entertaining. Bobby’s singing “It’s Tricky” (yes, the Run-D.M.C. song) until alien invaders show up and start one of the bigger fights this title has yet seen. The writing of X-23 continues to aggravate me (she actually uses the expression “call me nuts, but…”), but for now that’s my only real complaint. I can’t say that I’m particularly sold on the idea of this crossover, but so far it seems to have potential. Looking forward to part two.
4/5 [Liked It]
Nine issues in, this book straddles the line between competent and good. The book has been marching towards a massive conflict for a while now, and the tension is definitely strong. At the same time, the number of “possessions” taking place in this title seems unreasonably high, and as a person who didn’t find Arkea particularly inspiring as a villain in the first arc I’m not overly enthusiastic about her continuing to serve that role here in the third arc. That said, there are a lot of dominoes in place and if they fall right, the next couple issues could be very exciting. If they don’t, this title is at risk of plunging into mediocre territory pretty quickly.
On a side note: what’s up with Amora? I don’t know the character, but she seems to alternate between almost childishly wonderstruck and maliciously powerful. Which is weird.
Birds of Prey #27
This was solicited as a Gothtopia tie-in but that’s more or less a lie, a frustration that nearly kept me from bothering to read it at all. But hey, I’d spent my $2.99, so may as well give it a whirl. Unsurprisingly, I was very lost, as this issue made constant reference to recent events and was clearly a resolution/tie-up issue for an arc. I learned a lot of backstory about characters I’ve never seen, but very little of it mattered. Strix seems cool. Not sure how I feel about the idea of this Mother figure as a secret explanation of established characters’ abilities. Overall this was a shrug-worthy experience, and impossible to judge fairly having not been reading the title. All I can say is if you were going to read this because of Gothtopia, don’t bother, because it was wrongly solicited and will likely confuse you by preceding any of the events in the other tie-ins.
All-New X-Factor #2
Sometimes when I’m reading a comic I get a certain sense of dread, because I am slowly recognizing that I am going to have to buy a lot of older comics. It’s not the “oh crap, I have no idea what’s going on” kind of obligation, but rather the “oh no, this writer is really good” (or alternatively, “oh no, this character is really awesome”) variety. I’ve heard through the grapevine that Peter David’s X-Factor was worth reading, but I’d not given it much mind. Now, only two issues into his latest iteration, I am beginning to understand why people love his writing so much.
Of course, the new team has very little resemblance to the old, and the characters here are definitely driving the momentum. The richly layered relationships and checkered pasts of these three (Gambit, Polaris, and Quicksilver) make what could otherwise have been a fairly mundane and anticlimactic mission (which if I’m honest I did feel resolved a bit too quickly) nevertheless very enjoyable. So long as this title remains character-driven, it is likely to remain near the top of my Marvel pull for a good long time.
5/5 [Loved It]
Li’l Bionic Kids #1
I was worried when I picked this up because of how little I cared for last week’s Li’l Dynamite issue, much of which had been predicated on my complete ignorance of the franchise it was based on. Happily, the Bionic Kids issue told something far more resembling of a story. It was a little confusing, as no real indication was given as to who the group “spying” on the kids was or what they were, but it was easy enough to follow and had enough fun little moments to make me forget about last week. It’s a basic story dealing with acceptance and friendship in spite of differences — fluff, but palatable fluff. That’s really all I was looking for.
Pretty Deadly #4
This is the book I save until last every time it comes out. This is the book that must be read last because if I read it first I won’t be able to enjoy anything else. This is the book that makes me fall in love with comics all over again with each new issue. I spend roughly $100 on comics each month and this has become the most valuable $3.50 of the lot.
On a more specific note, this issue picked up where the jaw-dropping conclusion of the last left off, and then rushed full-steam ahead. While prior issues were more poetic and ethereal, this one hit solid ground and ran. Emma Rios’ and Jordie Bellaire’s art orchestrated beautiful swarms of butterflies and brutal fisticuffs as the myriad threads of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s story began to weave together and pull towards the coming climax of this first fantastic arc. As much as I enjoyed staring at the oblique puzzle pieces of the opening chapters, I’m adoring seeing them fall into place. This book is a masterpiece from cover to cover (with confessional, beautiful honesty in each letter from the author), and you are doing yourself a disservice if you’re not giving it a try.
5/5+ [Instant Favorite]
Deadpool: The Gauntlet #3
This has been the surprise hit of the year for me, thus far. Despite the high price point, the (still, to me, somewhat) gimmicky Infinity Comics approach, and the inconsistency with which Deadpool is often written, I still found myself clicking the “confirm purchase” button on Comixology, and still found myself laughing out loud at Wade’s terrible sense of humor and propriety. This is a comic pulling influence from the likes of Looney Toons, complete with a motor scooter chase scene involving a supernatural minotaur. There’s nothing unabsurd about this title, and yet it works so well. Toss in a surprise appearance by a popular (but lately absentee) character at the end, and I’m afraid I’m hooked on this story.
5/5 [Loved It]
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Two #2
I did not enjoy this.
Those words, from me, about a Tom Taylor piece, have never happened. But there they are. This issue just really didn’t feel good at all. In fact, my initial reaction was actually to say I hated it, or to call shock value (and considering what has happened in this title, actually calling something here unnecessarily shocking should say something). After further consideration, I’ve decided I can accept the rationale behind the (demoralizing, and occasionally gruesome) events in this issue. But I did not enjoy it. And to some extent, I think I would happily have skipped it if given the chance. So…
1/5 [Hated It]