By all rights this should have been a short list, but I lack restraint. So I bought a few unexpected issues after retrieving my week’s pull. In addition to finishing off the Bendis/Maleev Daredevil Ultimate Collection trades (volumes one through three) and the Brubaker/Phillips Incognito (the latter of which might end up reviewed sometime, if I have the chance), this week I read Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW, Avengers Assemble #23.INH, Catwoman #27, Fables #137, Inhumanity #2, Deadpool: The Gauntlet #4, Dead Boy Detectives #1 and #2, and Li’l Sonja #1.
Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW
It seems that the true crossing over with All-New X-Men will begin in the next issue, as this week’s GotG showed what the Guardians were up to just prior to their perfectly imperfectly timed arrival on Earth. Gamora and Angela go weapon-shopping, Quill gets roofied, and we see a haphazard alien council deciding to let the Shi’ar kidnap an innocent Jean Grey to hold her accountable for crimes that several of them point out she hasn’t technically committed. I’m frustrated that this point — which, for what logic’s worth, should preclude the entire event — is glossed over, but at least someone had the good sense to acknowledge it.
There were some entertaining chunks in here for sure, most notably the conversation between Quill and a certain green lady in the beginning and an ill-fated attempt at cleverness by Tony Stark. And it’s hard to complain about Sara Pichelli’s artwork. Overall, this felt like a stronger entry in the Trial of Jean Grey than last week’s opener, and a decent issue of Guardians to boot.
4/5 [Liked It]
Avengers Assemble #23.INH
I’m going to miss this book when it ends in a couple months. It has an air of fun to it that I haven’t been getting from most of the other Marvel titles I’ve read lately, with the typically wisecracking Jess meeting her match in the indomitable Anya Corazón. This week opened with a conversation about bacon and cell phones. I love that I can say that about something.
When duty calls, Jess leaves the “babysitting” duties in the capable hands of Logan, which sounds like the setup for a sitcom and to some extent it is. Unsurprisingly, Logan takes the scared straight approach to his time with Anya, doing his best to get her to understand the dangers of being a hero, especially a young hero. I must admit, between the oversaturation of Wolverine and how great the last few spider-ladies issues were, this wasn’t one of the best Avengers Assemble issues, but it was still fun enough to keep me sad the book’s leaving.
4/5 [Liked It]
After the letdown that was last week’s so-called (but not really) Gothtopia tie-in, this week’s entry was definitely refreshing. I haven’t read much of this series since Death of the Family ended, and Nocenti gets notoriously harsh criticism for this title, so I was braced for disappointment. But honestly, and maybe it’s the off-kilter nature of this crossover, it was a decent enough issue.
I will admit, it’s tough for me to internalize how much Selina has been changed in the New 52, particularly since I’ve far more recently read the first two volumes of the Brubaker Catwoman and have that version, and its attendant supporting cast, in mind and heart. This Selina is a lot more of a loner, and it was cool for me to see her battling with herself over who she is, who she wants to be. That’s a struggle intrinsic to a grey area inhabitant like Selina, but it was especially appropriate in Gothtopia. I may not be rushing out to add Catwoman to my pull, but as with any crossover the big hope is that the tie-ins will be worth one’s time, and in this case I feel comfortable saying it was.
4/5 [Liked It]
I hopped onboard the Fables train for the Camelot arc, and this issue was the conclusion thereof. It’s been a very long ride (or so it seems…half a year ago, basically), and while I can’t say it was a bad ride I can say it was less amazing than I’d hoped. Having read the first two dozen issues or so of the series at the same time, I must say that the enjoyment factor seems to have gone down a bit over all these years, though I say that with the caveat that perhaps there are elements to the latest issues I would enjoy much more after having read the whole series leading up to them.
It would also be fair to say that Camelot was, largely, the event that precedes an event: pieces of plot, like Rose Red’s Arthurian powers and Bigsby’s missing crystal, have slowly been falling into place. This issue’s focus on the North Wind and a coming war merely solidify that impression. To be sure, Fables #137 is a bit of a payoff for those following the Camelot story, and it piqued my interest for what’s next. But I’d already planned to drop the series when the arc ended, and unfortunately (or, if you’re my budget, fortunately) it didn’t pique it quite enough for me to change my mind.
Li’l Sonja #1
Dynamite definitely picked a strong note to go out on with this month’s quasi-miniseries of “Li’l” titles. Sonja is a character you immediately “get.” She’s the warrior, ready to solve problems with a sword and slay dragons if she needs to. Or, in this case, to annoy dragons.
Li’l Sonja was a good example, in my mind, of how to do a kids comic that sustains enough of a narrative thread and suspense to keep everyone engaged without being so complicated that it loses the uninitiated. Sonja is resourceful and equipped with an ability to piece clues together that rivals ’66 Batman’s, making her quest to find the stolen items and people (and outsmart a monster or two) charming in the best of ways. Add to that the most entertaining “game” section in any of these books (a bona fide dice-rolling board game complete with a bunch of fun little activities for players to engage in while trying to win) and you have, hands-down, the best of the Li’l Dynamite one-shots.
5/5 [Loved It]
I haven’t read Inhumanity #1, but I’ve read enough of the tie-ins to have a general sense of what happened and why leading lady Medusa has seen better days. And though I met her here for the first time — met, in fact, the entire race of Inhumans for the first time — Matt Fraction did a good job of ensuring that I understood who she is, who she is to her people. Bradshaw’s art is largely enjoyable (though a few pages, particularly the dictator-related ones, felt off), and I imagine seeing Medusa do things with her hair (like drink coffee) doesn’t get old.
I must admit, it’s disappointing that Fraction will not be continuing on with the Inhuman series as originally planned, because with him at the helm I was prepared to explore a new branch of the Marvel universe — a sentiment this issue would have done nothing to change. If nothing else, this issue gave me a better understanding of why those cocoons have been popping up in other titles (it’s not just because of the mists), and confirmed that this isn’t just a passing phase for Marvel, but the beginning of a long, and potentially cataclysmic series of events which will, not hyperbolically, actually affect the whole Marvel universe.
4/5 [Liked It]
Deadpool: The Gauntlet #4
If this series were to have a subtitle, it might well be, “Oh no. She’s hot.” For, indeed, the contents of the coffin Deadpool was tasked with retrieving for Dracula were a lot livelier than he’d anticipated, and it turns out there may be a spark between the two of them.
If by spark you mean she immediately tried to kill him.
Of course, you can’t take out Wade that easily (much to the chagrin of half the Marvel U), and as they say if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. So Shiklah, beautiful undead monster princess, agrees to go along with Wade to fulfill the marriage that has been quite some time in the making. Only to be ambushed by Blade.
It’s that kind of series, and by “that kind of series” I mean the kind I am enjoying thoroughly. If your wallet can take the hit, I highly suggest getting on the Gauntlet hype train. Nine weeks and nine issues from now, Deadpool’s getting married — and all signs point to Shiklah as the bride-to-be.
5/5 [Loved It]
Dead Boy Detectives #1 & #2
I’ll admit I picked this up because I had been misled into thinking that Death (of the Endless) played a role in the second issue (and may as well know what had come before that, right?). It turns out the single panel I’d seen was the single panel she’s in, so no dice on that front. But all is not lost, because it turns out that Edwin and Charles are pretty charming in their own way, and the concept of dead kids trying to keep a living one from becoming another dead one…well, you’re talking to the guy who loves Morning Glories. The fact that this opening arc takes place at a sinister boarding school was just icing on the cake.
In all honesty I enjoyed this more than I expected or wanted to, in the “this might have to wrest its way onto my pull somehow” kind of way. Each main character is well fleshed-out (even the unfleshed ones) and the narrational style is exceedingly different from what I’m used to. Add Mark Buckingham’s art to the mix (which I’ll be missing from Fables from now on), and you probably haven’t heard the last on this series from me.
5/5 [Loved It]