Tagged: Uncanny X-Men

Chris’ Comics: Uncanny X-men #600

UNCX2013600COVUncanny X-men #600

Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli, Mahmud Asrar, Stuart Immone, Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo, David Marquez, and Frazer Irving.

Marvel $5.99

If you want to know if Uncanny X-men is worth the $6, but also want a spoiler free review, then I’ll save you some time; it totally is. Granted it’s a tad pricey ( SIX BUCKS!!), the issue is well worth the money  if you are a fan of writer Brian Michael Bendis’ take on the X-men and want some closure from the last 3 years of X-comics.

If you want exact reasons as to why this book is worth your time, then I’ll give them to you, but beware, here lies spoilers.

The conclusion of the  long-running Revolution plot line in Uncanny X-men is brilliantly executed, as 2 long time creators says goodbye to one of Marvel’s most iconic franchises. Bendis and artist Chris Bachalo having Cyclops organizing a non-violent Million Mutant protest in Washington DC was a thing no one probably saw coming, and such an important moment for mainstream comics. Writers like Ryan North have been experimenting with non-violent methods to resolve super hero conflicts as of late, and it’s nice to see creators of this caliber follow suit. l. This may be the last issue of Uncanny X-men I’ll read after buying the book religiously for half a decade, so this relatively sweet moment made for a perfect ending of a run I’ve enjoyed for the most part.

1504366566587496519 That’s not to say the rest of the book isn’t brilliant. No, no, while the Bachalo and Bendis chapter is clearly my favorite, the rest of this comic is just as superb. Sara Pichelli kicks this issue off and tells a story that run  throughout the book, in which the X-men confront Beast about some of the reality-threatening nonsense he’s been pulling as of late. I love how diverse Pichelli’s X-Men look, especially the female characters, giving each X-Man a distinct look that most artists don’t consider that they draw them. It’s mostly talking head stuff, but the amount of emotion she gets from the character’s facial expressions is fantastic, and does and excellent job of selling Bendis’ dialogue. From there we have Kris Anka‘s , who pages are clean and sharp, making him a perfect fit for the comparatively light hearted story of reunion. Stuart Immonen‘s pages aren’t his best work, but it nice to see him come back to the All New X-men kids for a brief visit. which sets up the upcoming soft relaunch of the title. Mahmud Asrar‘s art is a tad uneven, but he manages to deliver on the anticipated Iceman sexuality story, making a a satisfying conclusion to that tale. I like how Bendis deals with Bobby coming out, giving it a bit of realistic edge. It’s far from perfect, uncannyxmen_600_pg15-x750but still really handled well, at least in my opinion. I feel bad about not discussing that segment more, but I feel there’s already enough said by people more qualified to. David Marquez swings by to help with the Beast confrontation and Frazier Irving wraps the issue up with some pages that are perfectly fine. But again, the biggest draw for me is  Bachalo’s final X-Men pages for the time being. Bachalo’s stuff is superb, cramming the pages with an army of mutants that he’s been associated with for the last few years.

Also worth nothing the inclusion of a old, I’m assuming rare solo Iceman story by Mary Jo Duffy and Georgr Perez. I’m not sure if it’s suppose to tie into the previously mentioned above Iceman tale, or just pad out the page count for this comic. Seeing Perez’s art is always welcomed though, and it’s a nice additional to the modern talents represented in this issue.

Uncanny X-Men 600 isn’t my favorite finale published this year, but it’s a strong ending to a pretty solid run of X-Men comics. Bendis gives the future creators plenty to work with, all while wrapping up his plot lines in a satisfying manner. Comics history should he kind to Bendis- he added a bunch of cool new toys to X-Men comics, touched upon some social commentary, and pulled off some Chris Claremont in his prime moments with a brilliant collection of amazing artists. I’ll be sad to see him go, and appreciate everything he’s done for Marvel’s mighty mutants.

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Chris’ Comics: Uncanny X-men 35

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_35_TextlessUncanny X-men 35

Brian Michael Bendis, Valerio Schiti, Richard Isanove

Marvel $3.99

Okay real talk (about fictional characters) time: This is a dumb comic.

I realize that there has to be some suspension of belief when dealing with super hero books. It’s fantasy, so things that don’t work in the real world may fly in comics, and cool, I’m down with that. But man, that is not the case with this issue, where I had to turn my brain off to get past a huge plot point.

UNCX2013035_int2_00006Uncanny X-men 35 sees the kids of the former New Xavier Institute go out on their own and try the whole super hero team thing. As a result, the hilariously terrible named Goldballs goes viral and becomes a minor celebrity (because you know, super heroes are a rarity on Marvel Earth 616), until SPOILERS, it’s revealed that he’s a mutant and everyone fears and hates him again. Which I think we’ve seen before with Dazzler in the 80s, but whatever. It’s a fun little cautionary tale and that doesn’t bug me. What does is the whole “Wait he’s a mutant” reveal. I mean the dude runs around with a giant X-belt buckle and with 2 dudes who are rocking big X jackets. Not to mention paling the 3 girls who are clones of wanted terrorist Emma Frost in broad daylight. How did no one know he was an X-man of sorts prior to this reveal, especially when this was hanging out with the literal face of the mutant revolution for months? Did they miss the giant X-plane as well? This book also suffers a number of bad Brian Michael Bendis troupes, such as Avengers-level threats jobbing to Bendis’ new wunderkind, Middle age dad dialogue for teens, a cool cover that has nothing to do with the interior, and jokes that miss that mark by roughly a mile. I’ve generally been a fan of Bendis’ work on this book, but the script for this issue is sadly quite rough.

That being said, there’s a gag involving Emma Frost and her past that really works for me, and appreciate it when Bendis makes little nods to X-godfather Chris Claremont’s numerous contributions to this franchise. And the book starts off and ends well, but 80% of this book’s script and direction really doesn’t work for me.

Comics-072215-UncannyHOWEVER, this issue certainly looks great. Valerio Schiti comes over from Guardians of the Galaxy to fill in for cover artist Kris Anka, and he’s a perfect fit for this book. Valerio’s style is comparable to Anka, although there’s also some hints of Joe Quesada as well, resulting is some softer, yet clean looking takes on the casts. It’s impressive how well these characters look under Valerio, as I’m certain this is the first time he’s drawn them, not to mention he was probably under a deadline crunch as well. I particular;y dig the final few pages of this book, where Schiti draws a scene involving an angry mob quite well, perfectly portraying some real anger and violence and hitting all the proper emotional beats to make the scene really work. Schiti inks himself as well, leaving veteran colorist Richard Isanove to finish the art with a crisp and bright pallet. It’s a fantastic looking book that would have been a buy on sight if the script was a little tighter.

I hate to sound nit picky and aggressive towards this comic, but I’ve re-read it a number of times and remain disappointed with it. I think it’s more so due to the fact the Bendis has been really good on Uncanny X-men for quite a while, so a dud issue hurts more, especially if this is the penultimate issue in his run. It’s really a surprise that the book reads so poorly, as Bendis’ past X-done in one’s have been some of the best issues of this run. Luckily Scitit’s art cushions the blow, making for a great looking coming that just read poorly. This issue is far from a must read sadly, and while I feel bad trashing a creative team I like, it’s something I can’t recommend to anyone at $4.

 

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: Memorial Day Lateness

4339743-uxm34Uncanny X-men #34

Brian Michael Bendis/Kris Anka/Marte Gracia

Marvel $3.99

As I’ve said plenty of times in the past, the strongest issues of Brian Michael Bendis’ Uncanny X-men run have been the done in ones. UXM #34  is another done in one, so it’s safe to say you can another positive review from me for this title.

One of the things Bendis did early in his run was set up a cool Mystique Vs Dazzler feud. It’s something I’ve enjoyed because they’re 2 of my favorite mutants, and it’s lead to a cool Kris Anka (who draws this issue) redesign for Dazzler. With the Bendis run coming to an end soon October,  he uses this issue to wrap up that plot up in a satisfying way.

One of the reasons why this issue worked for me was it gave Dazzler some much needed focus and characterization. She joined the team shortly before the Charles Xavier retcon a go-go arc, but was quickly delegated to a background character role. She’s a lead character here, and Bendis gets a lot out of her in 20 pages. It also helps that Bendis get to bounce her off of Maria Hill, a character he co-created and has a massive amount of experience writing. His take on Mystique is also rad, as he handles her with a certain degree of sympathy that makes the character relatable even though she’s a bit of a monster. Aside from the Dazzler & friends related business, we get to  check in on the new students who are currently without a school. Bendis drops some hints that he has some plans for them to be revealed soon, and I’m curious to see what they are. It’s been a bit of a challenge to get new mutants to stick around for an extended period of time, and I’m curious to see if Bendis has any ideas on how to change that with his generation of  “X-kids”.

Kris Anka was the best choice to draw this issue, as he is great at drawing female characters and can convey the proper emotions needed for this story. His body language is really strong, and it shows in this issue, especially since there’s a lot of scenes involving 2 or more character standing/sitting around chatting. Anka’s work is exceptionally clean, and Marte Gracia‘s coloring keep the book looking fresh, giving Anka’s minimalist style a much needed sense of dimension.

Uncanny X-men 34 is another fine single issue that tell a story within 20 pages and will warrant an immediate re-read. It’s not the best this run has seen, but it’s definitely worth the price of admission if you’ve been enjoying this incarnation of X-men

Kaptara_02Kapatara #2

Chip Zdarsky/Kagan McLeod

Image, $3.50

Kaptara #2 is a fine comic, but I’ll be honest: the art is wasted on the monthly format. Artist Kagan McLeod‘s work is so good, it begs to be put in one of those oversize albums (Hardcovers as their known as in the States) the European market gets because they appreciate the medium better. This  absolutely bizarre but incredible looking take on the Masters of the Universe universe deserves an over-sized hardcover at the very least. McLeod’s art, especially his character designs, are hard to describe properly. They’re extremely odd, but are flowing with creativity that it’s worth admiring. Everything from the body language, to the layouts to the environments are so unique, and have just the right amount of comedy to remind you that this is not exactly the most serious book. The best way to describe it would be those old  Sunday morning newspaper strips with a modern Adult Swim twist.

Writer Chip Zdarsky‘s second efforts on this book are a improvement from the previous issue. The main character Keith is given some much needed drive, and the characters from the previous issue also get their fair share of development. Chip and Kagan also introduce several new characters that are also as equally amusing and well designed, expanding the cast quite a bit. Now that the general premise is explained, Chip gets a little more room to breath, and the book benefits greatly from it.

Kaptara #2 is insanity on paper, but also gorgeous. It’s unpredictable, hilarious and something genuinely unique, which something both the readers and the industry benefits from.

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: Date Night Edition

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_33Uncanny X-men #33

Brian Michael Bendis/Kris Anka/ Antonio Fabela

Marvel $3.99

Note: Despite Kitty Pryde and Magik being the focus of the issues, there is zero actual dates in this issue.

This particular issue works on a number of levels. Brain Micahel Bendis uses Marvel continuity to his advantage. Uncanny X-men #33 focuses on Kitty Pryde and Illayana Rasputin’s friendship, while setting the issue on MONSTER ISLAND, which is the best island location in the Marvel Universe. Bendis expertly draws upon both the character’s pasts to tell a compelling story that’s been done a million times before in X-men comics, but everything’s so good the reader doesn’t notice. His voices for these characters ring true and natural, to the point that this may be the best done in one he’s done on Uncanny.

Art wise, the book couldn’t look better. Kris Anka returns to draw this issue, and he’s the perfect fit for it. His Kitty and Magik look great, thanks to Anka’s clean line work and Antonio Fabela‘s flawless colors. Anka’s super expressive faces also help with the emotional beats of Bendis’ scripts, making the whole thing feel so genuine and Chris Claremont-esque. MOST IMPORTANTLY, he channels some serious Wally Wood/Jack Kirby when it comes to drawing the massive residents of Monster Island. He’s a great enough talent that he can mix those gold and silver age era character designs with the modern age looks of Kitty and Magik  and have it look natural. Well as natural as you can get in an X-men comic.

This particular issue of Uncanny X-men rewards you based on how long you’ve been with the franchise. There’s some calls back to the book’s earlier days, and it definitely has that nice, Claremont era vibe to it, without feeling too much like fan fiction. It’s fun read that now only showcases some great art, but shows how good Bendis is when he focuses on a dense done in one issue.

Ms.-Marvel-14-CoverMs Marvel #14

G Willow Wilson/Takeshi Miyazawa/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

NOTE: This issue very much has dates and emotions, justifying the title of this article.

It’s been a few months since I’ve wrote about Ms Marvel, but it’s not like I stopped reading the book. It’s been consistently excellent, but much like Saga, it was getting to the point I was running out of ways to praise it. This month’s issue isn’t any less excellent that those non-reviewed issues, but there’s a particular scene I want to talk about.

Said scene is between Khamala’s older brother Aamir, and her bff/boy with a secret crush Bruno. SPOILERS, said moment involves both males discussing Bruno’s crush on Khamala, her new male friend who she’s clearly sweet on, and why it would never work between Ms Khan and her bestie. It’s scene we’ve seen before in all sorts of media, but writer G Willow Wilson brings a cultural spin on it that makes for a really compelling 2 pages. It gives a good reason for it to not happened, which in turn makes it all the most fascinating.

That is not to say Khamala is a no factor in this comic. Our spunky lead is dealing with her first crush, and it results in her being dragged closer to the shared Marvel Universe. Fill in artist Takeshi Miyazawa  (who ironically was also the back up artist on regular series artist Adrian Alphona’s run on Runways) line work is great, slightly more focused and manga-esque than Alphona’s but beautiful none the less. Ian Herring‘s superb colors helps Miyazawa’s art stay in constant with how the title looks normally, without taking away from his particular spin on Ms Marvel and her cast.

Ms Marvel #14 is another delightful issue from one of the best comics on the stand today. It’s a wonderful series that never disappoints and constantly entertains, and it will be interesting to see if this issue’s cliffhanger will play out next month.

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Mark & Eve & Alex & Scott & Emma Edition

Invincible_118Invincible #118

Robert Kirkman/Ryan Ottley/Jason Howard/Jean-Francois Beaulieu

Image $.25

CHRIS FACT: If you offer a comic that I have the SLIGHTEST interest in for under $1, I will buy it.

Invincible is a book I’ve read for a long time. Like 104 consecutive issues long. It was also a book that got a little too gross for my liking and jumped ship. But for a quarter, I was willing to pick it up and see what Mark and the gang were up to these days. For the record, Invincible 118 is definitely NOT the perfect jumping on point for new readers. There’s a 6 page recap of the series, and that’s HELLA intimidating if your new to the series. But if you’re a lapse reader like myself, it’s pretty good issue to jump back in on and not be too lost.

Robert Kirkman is still going strong on this book, mixing drama with some much needed but slightly juvenile humor, which is needed because this book gets GRIM in the last few pages. TRIGGER WARNING/SPOILERS: There’s a sexual violence discussion that while handled well, kind of comes out of nowhere if you’re not caught up on the book. I applaud Kirkman for taking some story telling risks and actually pulling it off, but I’m not sure if that’s going to win him any new readers.

Ryan Ottley, one of my favorite artists today and one of the things I miss most about the book, has started inking himself, and it’s a bit jarring. His art looks a little looser, and more Erik Larsen-esque. It’s not bad mind you, it’s just took me by surprise. On colors we have  Jean-Francois Beaulieu who uses a brighter palette than John Raunch did, but still isn’t on FC Plascencia level. In his and Raunch’s defense, it could be a printing issue, but without a digital copy of the book, it’s hard to say.

 

Invincible ends on a solid cliffhanger, hoping to keep anyone new to the series on. For me, it’s not enough to get to start buying the title again, but it was a nice to revisit the book. I applaud Invincible for being a super hero book where there’s some consequences for the cast’s actions because there’s no status quo, I just have no desire to stick around.

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_32_TextlessUncanny X-men 32

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

I’m sure Brian Michael Bendis isn’t the type of dude who googles his own name and reads reviews of his comics. Dude has better to do with his time. But man, it really does feel like Uncanny X-men 32 addresses all of my complaints with the book in a single done in one.

The end of AXIS is finally addressed in this book as Cyclops’ brother Havok joins the cast. Bendis’ take on Alex is fun, although you’ve have to be caught up on Rick Remender‘s runs on Uncanny Avengers and AXIS to understand why he’s currently the way he is. Alex acts as the stand in for the reader, and helps us get caught up on what went down at the end of the last issue and the beginning of this one. There’s a bit with Scott and Emma that made me MAD as of fan of those readers, but speaks of Bendis’ talents. He managed to get some strong emotions out of me with this comic, something he hasn’t done with this book in some time. Bendis has a pretty good track record with done and ones on this title, but this is easily one of his stronger issues on this run.

Chris Bachalo and his army of inkers provide to supply this book with some fine art (that cover is especially good), although the 2 different colors and some odd photoshopping when it comes to the background hurts it in places. It doesn’t ruin the book in any way, but it certainly pulled me out of the experience a few times. But when it’s good, it’s good, especially when it comes to that Scott and Emma confrontation. Again, a great scene that hurt me oh so much.

As we approach the end of Bendis’ Uncanny X-men run, it’s nice to see the writer continue to take the X-men in some interesting directions while writing some excellent comics. His run on Uncanny has been a little uneven in place, but issues like these overshadow the weaker issues. Uncanny X-men 32 may be the best yet, setting the up the end of  this volume of  UXM on a interesting foot.

 

 

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Toys Toys But With Comics: Teen Hi-jinks Edition.

Hey look at that, some reviews, but on time! We live such a brave new world!  Also this is totally not me trying to get as much writing done before the Super Bowl as possible, no no no.

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_30_TextlessUncanny X-men #30

Brian Michael Bendis/Chris Bachalo/An army of inkers

Marvel $3.99

 So here’s the thing. I know it’s in fashion to be a pretty pretty internet hate machine and smack talking big 2 comics to show your indie cred is a trend. But even with that being the case, I’ve tried avoiding going that route, and praise Cape Comics  when they do things right.

But man, it’s hard to stay positive when a comic is all kinds of bad, especially when a comics is disappointing enough to make me consider dropping the series.

I applaud  Brian Michael Bendis for taking some risks with Uncanny X-men with this current arc, despite it being drawn out like no one’s business. Last month’s cliffhangers were crazy, and there’s some follow up to it this time that would be really neat if they actually stuck. But between upcoming solicits, Bendis himself putting future covers online, and the decompression mentioned earlier, a lot of the impact of these events is lost. Also quick side note: this book was solicited as a book that deals with the repercussions of AXIS. This arc began during Original Sin, and is still going on. There’s zero crossover with AXIS (or OS come to think of it), and feels more like an issue of Doctor Who with all the timey whimey nonsense. I know Chris Claremont was a master of the long game and was also guilty of time travel shenanigans, but he did it early enough in the X-men history where it was still fresh. It feels cliche and tired here, nearly 30 years later.

 

This mostly talking heads issues wastes Chris Bachalo’s talents. Bachalo is a skilled and kinetic artist that gets to stretch his muscles a bit with some brief action scenes but it’s the kind of dialogue heavy issue that’s better served by a Kris Anka (who did a dope job on the cover). That being said, the book still looks good, but not good enough for me to recommend on visauls alone, especially with the inking and the coloring being all over the place.

Ultimately this book is the worst type of bad by just being boring. Bendis’ mutli-MccGuffin balancing act isn’t working out for my tastes, and if this ship doesn’t steer itself right with the next issue, I’m afraid my time with Uncanny X-men is done for the foreseeable future.

 

GalleryComics_1920x1080_20150121_GOTHAC_Cv4_5490db710bf4f8.47907702Gotham Academy #4

Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, Msassyk/Serge Lapointe

 DC $2.99

Man that last review was kinda rough. Let’s focus on a good comic now, yes?

Gotham Academy #4 is a hoot. A hoot that involves one of the leads painting D&D monsters in art class, which I adore, and  I don’t even play Dungeons and or Dragons.

What I like about this book is aside from looking AMAZING month after month, is that is operates far enough outside of the DCU where it’s not affect by whatever crossover or event is going on that month, but is close enough to remind you that it’s still a Batman-related book. This month does that by giving 2 REALLY cool shout outs to the classic Batman: The Animated Series, as well as the monthly Bruce Wayne cameo.

Fun easter eggs aside, the book also effortless blends TEEN romance, school, and spooky mysteries, which are my favorite type of mysteries. It’s reminds me a lot of what Marvel was going for in the mid 2000s with The Runaways, which is a good look.  Combined with the gorgeous visuals, it reminds me more of a Japanese Role playing game than a Batman comic. It may not be for everyone, but it’s nice to see DC make an attempt to go after the same market who would also be reading something like Ms Marvel (aka people with great tastes).

 

Gotham Academy is a fantastic read month after month, and it really deserves more of an audience. Word on the street (Twitter street that is) is that sales for this book aren’t so hot, which is a shame because it’s a great little book that’s truly all ages. If you want something that’s fun and a visual delight, I can’t recommend this book enough.

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Seeing Purple Edition

Happy Whatever you’re celebrating Forbidden Planet Faithful! Let it be known that I’m writing this article instead of playing several Blizzard video games because I love you (and money).

Hawkeye_vs._Deadpool_Vol_1_3_TextlessHawkeye Vs Deadpool #3

Gerry Duggan/Matteo Lolli/Jacopo Camangni/Cristiane Peter

Marvel $3.99

If you’ve been reading this blog at any point over the last 2 years, you’ll know that I’m VERY protective of reading the Hawkeyes when not penned by Matt Fraction. Luckily for me, Hawkguy Clint Barton has been handled incredibly well over in the various Avengers books, and Hawkeye Kate Bishop has only appeared in Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie‘s excellent Young Avengers run.

Kate is also our narrator in this issue of Hawkeye Vs Deadpool and series writer Gerry Duggan absolutely nails her voice. Duggan balances Kate’s youth plus her relationship with Clint exceptionally well, with some nods to “recent” events over in the Fraction/Aja series. Her interactions with Deadpool are hilarious, and it’s fun to see Katie-Kate interact with the greater Marvel universe.  Duggan’s Deadpool is still a blast to read, and bouncing him off of Hawkeye Kate keeps the book fresh.

Art wise, the duo of Matteo Lolli & Jacopo Camagni remain a great fit for this title. Aside from the amount of teeth in Deadpool’s mouth being inconsistent, their expressive and clean art is perfect for this book’s kooky antics. They also capture modern NYC well, doing the city justice and making the some of the more modern reference work. They’re also great at capturing the humor in Duggan’s script, especially as seen on the final page of the book. Apparently Queen jokes are in fashion in comics this year.

Deadpool Vs Hawkeye continues to show what sort of fun one can have with a Marvel team up. Great visuals, solid jokes and good character work justify this book’s existence, and I would recommend it to anyone with any investment in the Hawkeyes and or Deadpool. AKA me.

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_29_TextlessUncanny X-men #29

Brian Michael Bendis/Chris Bachalo/ 5 inkers/2 colorists

Marvel $3.99

Ambitious best describes this incredibly dense issue of Uncanny X-men. Brian Michael Bendis is already balancing several plot lines with this current arc, and the addition of a few last minute Macguffins may take this book into a new direction. It’s a bold decision, especially when Bendis is balancing a number of plotlines with a large cast as is, but hopefully he can pull it off. Time will only tell.

Art wise, this book isn’t a mess per say, but having 2 different colorists work on the same penciler is jarring. Chris Bachalo usually looks best when he’s coloring his own work, so Antonio Fabela and Jose Villarrubia aren’t doing his much justice. One of their pallets are too light, maker the book look paler and more retro than it needs to be, while the other is much brighter, but does some weird inkless coloring with several characters hairs and fur. To be fair, that almost may be on one of the several inkers, it’s hard to place blame.

While the art is a bit inconstant, the stakes are certainly raised in the penultimate (I think) chapter of The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier. Hopefully the story will stick it’s landing, because while the creative team has done some good work on this book, there’s still a chance that it’s gotten too bloated for it’s own good.

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Solo X-Men

It’s a rare week for me, one where more trades of note dropped than books I buy, thanks to scheduling and delays. So welcome to the article where I dedicate 500 words to a single issues of Uncanny X-men.

 

portrait_incredibleUncanny X-men #28

Brian Michael Bendis/Kris Anka

Marvel $3.99

Recently, Newsarama blogger Jim Mclauchlin wrote an article on said site putting comics journalism on blast. One of the things he stated  was that reviewing single issues of comics was unfair to creators, as it’s only focusing on one chapter of a story, which is something you wouldn’t see in a literary review . While there were several points in that article I agreed with, Jim also writes for a site that does Top Ten lists daily, and it’s totally fair to review comics on a issue to issue basis, because that is how they are sold. If Marvel or DC want to do single story graphic novels only, I would be all about that, but since they don’t, Imma do me and review their books as they hit the stands.

 

Which brings us to this month’s installment of Uncanny X-men, which is the latest chapter of the Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier retcon arc. It’s worth starting off that the cover credits Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend on the art side of thing for this issue (obviously Brian Michael Bendis is credited as the writer correctly) , which is incorrect because Kris Anka handles that. The cover also implies a Magneto Vs Cyclops thrown down (again), which is also incorrect because Mags appears for all of one page. What I’m saying is that trusting Marvel is risky business.

Jokes aside, Uncanny X-men 28 is a solid issue. The quick recap is  that Scott Summers, the least pursued #1 terrorist in the Marvel Universe, is  trying to get walking macguffin Matthew Malloy to join his revolution. You know, the revolution that’s really not taken off after 30 issues. It’s a dialgoue heavy issue that sees 3 X-men’s faith in Charles Xavier’s teaching tested, and how differently they react to it. Oh and a lot of close ups of people’s faces, explosions and teleporting.

While the dialogue is pretty much by the numbers, with some cool callbacks to the X-men’s history, Kris Anka’s art work continues to wow me. Thanks to Bendis’ callbacks, we get to see Anka’s interpretations of the X-Men throughout time, ranging from the silver age to the modern age, and most importantly including the beloved Jim Lee designed 1990s roster. Marvel, if you do not publish a X-men’92 book with at least covers by Anka you are leaving money on the table.

Another thing that impressed me is a sequence in which Anka apes several different artists’ styles in a flashback of sorts. It’s not the first time I’ve read a comic where an artist changes his style in reference to another story arc, but it’s still really neat to see Anka channel a wide variety of artists like John Byrne, Joe Madureira, the Kubert bros and Oliver Copiel, among others.

Combine this with Anka’s flat, yet still bold, color pallet, and Uncanny X-men is a beautiful looking book. It’s not the type of book I would recommend to anyone not interested in X-Men comics to, but for those of you already fans of Marvel’s mutants, it’s a good read.

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Of Foes and X-Men

The_Superior_Foes_of_Spider-Man_Vol_1_16_TextlessSuperior Foes Of Spider-Man #16

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

It’s funny. I’ve been lamenting over the fact that SUP FOES is ending for months, but if this issue was the last one, I’ld be strangely okay with that.

It’s certainly not something I’m saying based on the book’s quality. Oh no, this issue is great, successfully capturing everything I love about this book in 20 pages. It’s more the fact that one of the Foes gets a win, and Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber have made this character so likable, you  cant help but be happy for them. Is this was the final issue Id be 1000% okay with that, despite the fact that said character has done some truly terrible things over the course of the series and would get getting away with a lot.

 

Of course, there’s an issue left and there’s still plenty of things that can go wrong. Spencer, Lieber and colorist Racelle Rosenberg introduce a number of elements that can still come back and bite this character in the ass. 2 of them justified, 1 of them a surprise of sorts, but great and welcomed none the less. Also given the fact that we’ve yet to see a proper appearance from Spider-Man himself in this book, I wouldn’t be surprised if he were too show up in the final issue.

 

But enough with speculation. This issue, much like every other issue of this series is great. The humor is second to none, and the return of a gag from a previous issue is just as funny this time around. The action piece when the poop the hands is surprisingly brutal, but successfully maintains the tone of the book. And then there’s ending. Smart, kinda cruel, but perfectly in line with the character’s actions. And you may find yourself wanting said character to get away with it, but we all know he won’t. It’s bittersweet in a way, but also something he’ll deserve.

 

There’s no question in my mind that this book will stick it’s landing. The real question is HOW it’s going to all go down, and if any of the Sinister Five are going to get away with it. I’m very excited to see it all plays out, and welcome this book’s end.

 

 

background (2)Uncanny X-Men #27

 Brian Michael Bendis/Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

Between the change in colorists that goes down halfway through this book and the most cliché of bad things to happen to S.H.I.E.L.D., I should by all means dislike this issue of Uncanny X-Men. However, even with those 2 massive flaws, this comic is really solid, continuing the book’s hot streak for nearly an entire year.

 

While Kris Anka has done great things with this book recently, Chris Bachalo is a perfect for Brian Michael Bendis’ script. Bendis writes a big action piece for this issue and crams a ton of characters into it, catering to Bachalo’s strengths. The end result shows just how in sync these 2 creators are, which works out in the reader’s favor.

 

Given the fact that he’s heavily featured on the beautiful illustrated cover, it comes as no surprise that Cyclops plays a big role in this issue (in addition to another X-man who definitely deserves more screen time) Bendis continues to handle the character well, although his intention at the end raise some questions. It’s the sort of drama the X-men became famous for in the 80s, with a hint of modern flair. It’s something I’m all about.

 

While Im less than thrilled that this arc proably stil has another chapter or two left before it’s over, I’m enjoying the ride. Uncanny X-men is far from perfect, but it’s definitely a fun read.

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Spider-Gwen, X-men, and The Wicked + The Divine

4049035-edge_of_spider-verse_2_coverEdge of Spider-Verse #2

Jason Latour/Robbi Rodriguez/Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

As someone who got into comics when he was younger due to Spider-Man, it’s funny how very little I actually read about the Wall-Crawler these days. I haven’t bought a physical issue of a Spider-book in some time, and I’m only catching up on Superior Spider-Man now via the Marvel Unlimited app.

That being said, when Gwen Stacy: Spider-Woman was first announced, I was more than ready to spend money on this comic. The design by Robbi Rodriguez was hot to death, and the concept of having Gwen get bit instead of Peter really appealed to me. I’m not to interested in Spider-verse all that much, but I figured picking up this one shot couldn’t hurt.

Now that I have the issue in my hand and have read it a few times over, I have to admit I’m a little disappointed by it. I hate to toss shade at writer Jason Latour, but he played it a little too safe this debut issue. There’s a lot of cool stuff introduced and I lot of concepts I like, I’m just bummed out that we may not see any of play out fully in the near future. I know Spider-Gwen is going to be popping up all over the Spider-Verse event and the tie ins, but I want to know more about her world. It’s a good script, and it did a find job of leaving me wanting more, I just wish I was a little more satisfied with what I got to begin with.

That being said, visually the book looks great. Robbi Rodgriguez and Rico Renzi were the perfect artists to handle this one shot, as this story has all the pop and flair you want form a Spider-book. Gwen looks fantastic in action, and her amazing (UGH BAD PUN) costume really stands out. On a visual level I couldn’t be more satisfied with EoSM 2.

But yeah. Edge #2 is a good comic, but I was expecting a great comic. Hopefully Latour, Rodriguez & Reniz will have a chance at Spider-Gwen again sometime in the future.

portrait_incredible (2)Uncanny X-men #26

Brian Michael Bendis.Kris Anka

Marvel $3.99

Chris Bachalo‘s cover is easily one of the best UXM has been grace with since this 2013 relaunch. I really like it,(it serves as an excellent looking methaphor for the inner demons Cyclops is battling), so it may sound weird that I’m about to say that I’m glad he didn’t handle the interior art for this issue.

Uncanny X-men #26 addresses the fallout from 25 and how it’s gonna haunt the modern X-men. An uneasy alliance form, and questions and doubts rise in a really emotional issue of Uncanny X-men.

Which is why I’m glad Kris Anka drew this issue. Anka’s the type of artist you want to convey emotion in your comic, and he does a great job of selling Brian Michael Bendis‘ dialogue. He managed to hit the action pieces just as well, and the end result is a finely crafted comic, especially when you factor in how great the coloring is too.

Bendis by the way does an excellent job of writing an side of Bobby Drake we’ve never seen, as well as a Cyclops at his lowest. This was the sort of emotional baggage that should have been addressed sooner, but with Anka and Bendis handling it so well now, I’m okay with the wait.

If you hit the shop this week you may noticed that All New X-men dropped as well. I’m done with the book for this time being opting to go the trade route with it. Uncanny X-men, on the other hand, has become the X-book I don’t want to trade wait for. Between the 2 different art teams and Brian Michael Bendis’ solid scripts, it’s easily the superior X-book on the stands.

tumblr_inline_nc1v0wN2sX1r77eonThe Wicked + The Divine

Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson/Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

Getting real tired of coming up with ways to praise this book. Part of me just wanted to leave it at “buy this book I already hit 500 words, just trust me”, but that’s kinda half assing things. So instead I’ll do a handy little checklist as you why you should read it if you’re not.

Is Wicked+ Div still a gorgeous looking book thanks to the talents of  Jamie McKelvie & Matthew Wilson? YES

Is Kieron Gillen‘s dialogue still incredibly clever and hilarious? YES

Is Wic+Div still the type of book that asks a little more from it’s reader instead of dumbing it down for mass appeal? YES

Is the murder mystery involving gods still incredibly compelling? Also are said gods also super interesting and insanely well designed? YES, although this issue is heavy on the Tron homage.

So yeah, The Wicked + The Divine is still great, in case I wasn’t clear enough above. It’s American Gods meets Phonograms, which is the type of mash up I live for. It arguably has the most diverse cast in comics outside of Saga or Mighty Avengers, and some of the best character interactions in comics today.

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Big week was big part1

Oh snap, it’s a two part review article for this week! I pulled a whopping 5 books , as well as a few trades, so expect ALL COMICS ALL THE TIME articles for the next 2 weeks. Yeah I know, that’s kind of business as usual for me, but I’m choosing to do that over word- vomiting over the release of TWO new Cyclops action figures, so pretend it’s special this time around.

I’ve divided the books up as the following: Comics that cost $5 and comics that don’t cost $5. We’ll be looking at the $5 books first (which unsurprisingly are both Marvel books), because…well because I said so dammit.

detail Hawkeye vs Deadpool #0

Gerry Duggan/Matteo Lolli/Cristiane Peter

Marvel $4.99

I’ll be honest, this  book was a tough sell for me when it was initially announced. I haven’t bought a straight-up Deadpool book in years, and I tend to be very weary of books starring Hawkeye not written by Matt Fraction or Ales Kot. The $5 price tag certainly did help things either, and I figured that is it was good, trade waiting it would be a valid option.

HOWEVER, after flipping through the first issue of said at the shop, I ended up liking what I saw and decided to take a chance on it. And you know what, I’m glad it did, but this book hit me in all the right ways. Gerry Duggan has proven he can tell a good Deadpool story plenty of times in the proper Deadpool series, and while Matteo Lolli is no David Aja, his art definitely works for this story.

 

4063285-hawkvsdp2014000_int2-page-002The plot summary is as following: it’s Halloween night, and Deadpool and some folk familiar to both books are out trick or treating in a certain Avenger’s building. One of Hawkguy’s tenants has got himself in some trouble, so now Wade and Clint have some super heroing to do. The only problem is that don’t necessary want to work together as bro,s bros.

That by the way, brings me to my sole issue with this comic. We’ve seen Deadpool and Hawkeye work together in the past, last year in A+X, and currently in Secret Avengers. I may be playing the role of TURBO NERD here, but there’s material currently being published ( Thunderbolts, Hawkeye, the just mentioned Secret Avengers) thatclashes with this book. Maybe it with all make sense once those stories are all told, but only time will tell.

Continuity-nerd-issues aside, the book itself is fun. Both Lolli and Duggan obviously have some experience with Deadpool with past works, so it’s no surprise that the Deadpool stuff is handled really well. A little head’s up though, this book is DEEP into the current events of the main Deadpool series, so you may be a little confused about a thing or two if you’re not caught up on it.

That being said,  the big surprise is how well the Hawkeye side of things are managed is handled. There are a lot of clever nods to Fraction/Aja’s run, including 2 double spreads that parody the 2 most celebrated issues of Hawkeye.

Obviously any encounter between Hawkeye and Deadpool should be humorous, and the jokes do not disappoint. Duggan knows how to handle mixing humor and action well, and the laughs land more than miss. Visually,  Lolli and color artist Cristiane Peter are great, giving the book a clean, bright look that reminds me a lot of the late and great Mike Wieringo’s work.

 

Ultimately, this book isn’t going to win any awards or redefine the medium, but it’s a fun read for fans of the characters. If you’ve been enjoying Hawkeye and/or Deadpool, you’re sure to enjoy this double sized debut. If you want this to be your entry book to both characters though, you may want to look elsewhere.

 

123px-Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_25_TextlessUncanny X-men #25

Brian Michael Bendis/Chris Bachalo/ Several Inkers

Marvel $4.99

I’ll be honest, this book can be summed up as a double sized issue where the X-men stand around and react to a retcon. That may not be your cup of tea, especially when you factor in that it’s $5 and there’s still a chapter in this arc to go.

That being said, if you don’t mind that sort of thing, it’s a compelling as hell issue. Chris Bachalo returns to draw the hell out of this issue, despite him not knowing how Kitty’s Pryde modern costume works at times, or Cyclops mask reappearing at random.

Uncanny_X-Men_25_Preview_2Those minor issues aside, the book looks great. The army of inkers complement Bachalo’s pencils and colors well, giving the book a crisp, bold, cohesive look. Cohesive and GREAT mind you, as Bachalo delivers some really powerfully scene, both emotionally and action wise. Also the way he colors Iceman is great, as it looks like actual ice.

 

Brian Michael Bendis isn’t a slouch either mind you, but your opinion on the script may be different from mine. I’m a fan of the retcons he’s introducing, but it’s bringing Xavier into some scorched earth territory. If you’re an Charles Xavier fan, you may have a bone or two to pick with these reveals, but I’m strictly on Team Cyclops Was Right, and am digging Bendis doing some new stuff here.

Again, at $5, this issue of Uncanny X-men comes down to a matter of taste. If you’ve been a fan Uncanny’s direction since the Bendis relaunch, you’ll probably like issue 25. If you’re only thinking of jumping aboard because Original Sin is on the cover, you can skip it.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics-Shorty got Low Low Low (and some other books)!

I could easily talk about the new issue of Hawkeye in 500+ words. But I won’t because this was a damn fine week for comics, and the other books that I pulled are also worth discussing. Plus Hawkeye’s return may warrant a separate review column (spoilers: it will!).

Uncanny-X-Men-24-cover-artUncanny X-men #24

Brian Michael Bendis/Kris Anka

Marvel, $3.99

A few weeks ago, Kris Anka spoke about this very issue of UXM on Pat Loika’s Loikamania podcast. During the podcast, Anka pointed out that there’s a moment that Emma Frost has a reaction that she’s only capable of having that was a delight to draw. I’m not saying that specific moment is worth the $4, but it’s easily the best 2 panels in this issue, so yeah, it really is the best reason to drop $4 on this book.

After what I felt was a phoned in issue from Brian Michael Bendis last time around, he and Anka deliver the goods with issue 24. The script is a vast important, as one of the promised SEKKKKRETTTSSS of Charles Xavier is relieved and it’s a massive one. Bendis actually hinted at it a few months ago over in All New X-men, and this reveal takes away the grossness of that scene, clearing things up nicely. You can tell Bendis has been influenced by the last 2 X-films, and what element from the films he chooses to incorporate should lead to some interesting stories.

The only thing that irks me about UXM #24 is the handling of Dazzler’s new ( and awesome) look. The motivation behind it last issue explains why she’s now all faux-hawked out, but there’s no explanation as to how she got a new costume, and there’s zero reaction from the other X-men she’s been hanging with. Considering it’s the focus of the cover, not addressing it at all is kind of a cop-out in my opinion. That being said, I’m glad to see thing improve all over this issue, and I’m excited for issue #25 and how the big reveal is going to play out.

portrait_incredible (4)Secret Avengers #6

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel, #3.99

Oh look, another Marvel book that double shipped this month, goodbye money.

Coming off of a relatively dark issue #5, issue 6 is a step back in the fun, action direction the earlier issue of Secret Avengers were. This incredibly dense issue sees an awesome Black Widow/Lady Bullseye rematch (and yes, the video game motif returns this time it’s fighting games), Hawkeye step up for Maria Hill, and most importantly, MODOK rocking a monocle.

Another beautiful issue under Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson, writer Ales Kot does some really cool things with the narration boxes and editorial notes. They kinda break the 4th wall a bit, but it all makes sense once the issue wraps. I dug it a bunch, as it’s tricky technique that actually works here, given one of the characters involved.

I really feel bad for the creative team on Secret Avengers. It’s a really smart and fun book that doesn’t get enough hype for whatever reason. I urge anyone who digs Marvel’s quirkier tittles to give this book a chance. If you’re down won over by M.O.D.O.K. discussing sex with one of his minions, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Low_01-1Low #1

Rick Remender/Greg Tocchini

Image $3.99

The last time I read a story by Rick Remender & Greg Tocchini, it was a relatively underwhelming arc of Uncanny X-Force from a few years back. I always felt Tocchini was a little mismatched for the spandex world, and this debut issue of Low is proof of that.

Low is a gorgeous looking book that benefits from Tocchini inking and coloring his own art. It reminds me a lot of Sean Murphy on  The Wake in a way, given that their both heavy on the aquatic stuff,  but ultimately it’s a different type of beast all together. Both artists are heavy on the inks, but Tocchini’s style is smoother and cleaner overall. It reminds me a lot the Bioshock video game series in away, which is good, because I love those games.

Despite the relatively grim premise of the book, (Mankind is forced to live under the sea after the Sun goes supernova, and the search for a new planet to live on isn’t going well) our female lead Stel Caine is an eternal optimist determined to work everything out. Upbeat female leads is something Rick Remender hasn’t done at all in his creator owned books, and it’s a nice alternative from the usual grizzled and jaded male character that stars in his creator owned stuff. He’s caught some flack with his handling of female characters as of late, and it’s nice to see address them in the best manor possible: by creating great comics.

Low is off to a great start, continuing Remender’s creator owned hot streak at Image. It’s a beatiful looking book, and I hope this level of quality continues throughout the series.

 

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: The Wicked + Doge

Before I start yakking about comics, I just wanted to say I also picked up Secret Avengers #5 this past week and dug it. But I’m saving the proper review for next week, as Saga’s the only book I’m picking up, and I would like to talk more than just one book.

 

detailMs. Marvel #6

G. Willow Wilson/Jacob Wyatt/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

Behold, the first use of the Doge meme in a Marvel Comic.

Jacob Wyatt swings by to lend a hand with the art this arc, where Ms. Marvel takes the fight to her new arch nemesis The Inventor. We get some answers as to WHY the Inventor is exactly is the way he is, and I could not be happier with the answers. Over the top super villains are my jam, and this is VERY much an over the top super villain which an insane origin.

Kamala also has her first big-time team up with a major Marvel hero, and responds in the most adorable fan girlish way possibly. For hints as to who this character is, buy the comic, or IDK, google the cover for issue #7. And without spoiling much, I like the reasons why said hero is here, and the chemistry written between the two of them is perfect. As is the such of said Doge meme, which is the most Reddit comment I could make.

Wyatt and series regulars G. Willow Wilson and Ian Herring continue this book’s hot streak, perfectly blending our heroes’ personal life with PUNCHING EVIL ALLIGATORS. Wyatt’s art is a little different from what we’re used to, but it’s still very expressive, with detailed backgrounds and very animated characters. It’s very much another indie/alt comic vibe that Marvel has been excelling at for the last couple of years. Herring’s color pallet keeps the book looking good as per usual, and Wilson’s script hits all the right notes, being equal parts charming, sincere and action packed.

I’m once again finding myself at a lose of words when it comes to finding new ways to praise Ms. Marvel and it’s creative team. It may end up surpassing Hawkeye and Superior Foes of Spider-Man as the best book Marvel puts out if it can continue to maintain this level of quality.

comics-the-wicked-and-the-divine-2-coverThe Wicked + the Divine #2

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

WEEKLY CONFESSION: I was willing to wait for the first volume of Wic+Div to hit trade, as that’s what I did with Phonograms, but then Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals) went and did the variant covers for issue 2, so…..

And I’m glad I did! Issue 2 contains some AMAZING dialogue by Kieron Gillen that can’t help but make you fall in love with the cast. Luci (aka Lucifer) shines the brightest among the cast. There’s a scene in particular that takes place in a prison that contains some hilarious dialogue, and does a great job of fleshing out the character that’s justifies the $3.50. One of the reaosns it works so well is the fantastic art from Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, that’s up there with their Young Avengers stuff. There’s a few pages in the book where McKelive and Wlison experiment with colors and layout that are fresh and amazing looking, and I’m  glad to see them to continue to experiment and innovate with their styles.

But ultimately what wins me move over with this title is how refreshing and honest it is. It’s about people and gods in a terrible world doing things that they didn’t entirely think out, and will have to eventually answer for them. It’s fantastic, and the type of comics I’m not surprised is coming out from Image and this particular creative team.

uncx2013023-dc11-page-001-102321Uncanny X-men #23

Brian Michael Benid/Kris Anka

Marvel $3.99

This is going to sound harsh and a bit manchildish, but ugh, what a waste of Kris Anka.

Anyone who’s been reading this column for the last year can confirmed that I’m bee quite ‘BOUT Uncanny X-men as of late.  Brian Micahel Bendis and his art team have been  moving the story along quite nicely. But this issue man. Ugh.

And again, I place the blame entirely at Bendis’ feet. Anka’s art was great, especially the bit where Dazzler is having a mental breakdown in a bathroom. But this script is a mess. The cover implies that this is a Original Sin tie-in, and the solicit promises an earth shattering change to the X-men.

And despite Emma Frost actually appearing in the proper Original Sin book, there’s nothing that ties this is issue into it. And there’s no reveal of any sort regarding this will, except for a weak as hell cliffhanger. Instead we get the introduction of a new character complete with a cliche origin story, an extended She Hulk cameo and teasing some other mysteries without any resolve. It’s something that Bendis has been guilty of in the past and I find it quite irksome. I’m not saying the book has to be slavishly devoted to the solicitation, but c’mon, this was nearly a completely book than what we were promised.

So yeah, Uncanny looked better than it read. A shame, and hopefully something that will be fixed next issue.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics Belated Edition part 2

wicked-and-divine-620x400The Wicked + The Divine #1

 Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson

Image, $3.50

Despite not being familiar with half the bands mentioned in the comic, I REALLY dug Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie’s 2 installments of Phonograms. And now that they’re done with their 14 issue run of Kate Bishop an her cosplay friends ( aka Young Avengers),  the pair have returned to Creator Owned Comics with Wicked + The Divine.

 

W+ t D is the tale of reincarnated gods and pop stars. So yeah it’s A LOT like Phonograms in a way, at least in concept.  Hey even Gillen admits that’s in his letter at the end of the issue, but the actual execution of the material makes all the difference. Unlike the casters that cling to the shadows in Phonograms, these gods are out there in public, letting the world know that they’re out there and operating on another level.

 

Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson are arguably 2 of my favorite artist/colorists working in comics today, and they are absolutely divine (HAR HAR) in this kick off issue. McKelvie’s line work is fabulous, and his facial expressions and the emotion he can get his characters to convey are all top notch, as usual. But it’s Matt Wilson who’s really upped his game here. Between the results of what happens when Luci snaps her fingers and how the character’s makeup and eye liner looks, it’s hard to name a colorist as skilled as Wilson working in comics today.

 

As for writer Kieron Gillen, he’s nothing short than brilliant. His dialogue is sharp, giving each of the characters a distinct voice that makes them stand out a bit. And while the plot is fairly straight forward, it’s incredibly engaging and ends on a solid cliffhanger. This is Gillen at his strongest, and it’s something that readers benefit from.

 

Wicked + The Divine is a stellar debut by one of the best creative teams with a working relationship in comics today. Anyone who loved Phonograms & Young Avengers, or was stupid enough to skip over them, needs to read this book immediately.

 

3898273-sex+criminals+02Sex Criminals #6

 Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

Image $3.50

Sex Crims is back, in what is arguably the most Matt Fraction issue to date. What the means is that there’s a lot of self depreciation,  paranoia and some bleakness to this issue. Not exactly what you’re expecting from a sex comedy, but something that only helps the narrative and help flesh (HAR HAR 2) out the characters.

 

On the joys of Sex Crims that while it’s an extremely lewd funny book, it’s also incredibly honest and smart. This issue really shows that, as Jon, our male lead steps into the spotlight. Despite being a man who poops in plotted plants and freezes time every time he climaxes, he’s also a man suffering from most realistic difficulties, that help make his easier to sympathize with.

 

This issue isn’t all doom and gloom tho. While Chip  Zdarsky can sell the more dramatic bits of comic with the greatest of ease, he’s also a gifted cartoonist who can hide a ton of jokes hidden in the panels. At this weekend at Heroescon, Fraction described the process as MAD magazine esque and there’s no better description of it.The letter column remains something crucial to one’s enjoyment of Sex Criminals. It’s a fascinating look at what kind of community has been built around this book, and is something genuinely enjoyable.

I’m glad to have Sex Criminals back, and I’m curious as to what direction the book is taking with this volume seemingly focusing on Jon.

 

300px-Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_22Uncanny X-Men #22

Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

 

Gah. This issue comes so close to be a perfect end to the X-Men Vs SHIELD arc, but it hampered by a guest colorist who’s style is lighter than what we usually get with Chris Bachalo. It clashes with Bachalo & Tim Townsend’s (and like 4 other dudes) heavy black style, and does not compliment it as well as it should.

 

It’s a real shame, because everything else about this issue is great. We finally get some answers to some long brewing questions, and 2 other characters get a nice return to form. It’s a rewarding book for long time readers, and it definitely sets up the potential for some cool stories for the future.

 

As for the reveal as to who has been sending Sentinels after Cyclops’ renegade X-Men, it works in terms of the actual identity. The execution is a bit lacking, as the motive for said villains is a tad lacking. Of course Brian Michael Bendis could be planning to touch upon that in a future issue, it’s just a little weak at this moment.

 

Overall the X-Men Vs SHIELD story arc was a fun little romp.  Nothing ground breaking, but a fun story that looked great and read well. A shame about the colors in that final issue, but overall a good time.

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Better never than later

Think I may have messed up that intro title.

 

BELATED REVIEW:

Lumberjanes_002_coverALumberjanes #2

Noelle Stevenson/Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen

BOOM! BOX $3.99

Let me start off this review by congratulating team Lumberjanes, as the series has gone from being an 8 mini series to a on-going! Lumberjanes is a great and important book for a number of reasons, and I’m glad BOOM! is giving the book and it’s fan the support it deserves.

Last week’s second issue is a another stellar comic, this time involving the girls going on a canoeing trip. Obviously things do not go according to plan, and more animals with 3 eyes may or may not show up (spoilers, they do) and the girls stumble upon a good ol’ fashion spooky woods mystery. It’s a ton of fun, and the book looks gorgeous. A lot of the humor, as well as the character building is expressed in the art without much exposition, letting the Brooke Allen‘s pencils do the talking. I’m 100% okay with this, as Allen’s art is super expressive, capturing the girl’s personalities and actions perfectly. Maarta Laiho‘s color art is excellent, and really captures the nature and feel of nature. Noelle Stevenson  & Grace Ellis are fantastic as well, as the dialogue and spoken humor are a hoot.

The all female created, LBGT  and all aged friendly Lumberjanes is arguably one of the most important books out in the market, not to mention one of the strongest. I’m glad it’s found an audience, and I certain hope it grows with each and every issue.

Saga_19-1Saga #19

Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples

Image $2.99

Yay, Saga‘s back. Boo, Saga’s last page is brutal.

Saga continues to be the textbook definition of perfection is comics. From cover to cover, Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan continue to do everything right. It looks greats, the dialogue is fresh and crisp (no one uses profanity like BKV folks, and the plot moves at an impressive rate. It’s mind blowing on how much BKV and Staples can cram into 20 pages, especially when they’re introducing new characters into the cast.

And the last 2 pages. Just….man. Without going into details, Vaughn and Staples change the game on the readers. They managed to completely changed the mood of the book with 10 words, and not by the traditional comics means of death of destruction. It hurts y’all, it’s hurt something fierce.

TLDR: Saga continues to be the best, although sometimes it can be a jerk while doing so.

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_21_TextlessUncanny X-men #21

Brian Micahel Bendis, Chris Bachaelo, Tim Townsend

Marvel, $3.99

The current arc of UXM is titled X-Men vs SHIELD. If’ you’re keeping up on the title, you’re probably expecting things to play out a certain way. 3 issues into this arc, I can safely say that they’re not going to, and the book is stronger for it.

Several plot lines are coming together and the results are interesting. That’s a compliment mind you, as the book has never been better, and a certain X-man needing some redemption in my eyes comes through, while another one makes his triumphant return. Brian Michael Bendis‘ handling of these characters is impressive, and his dialogue and script on this book has never been better.

I’ve spoken highly of Chris Bachalo before in the past, but it’s usually about his art. While it’s great here, his coloring is really impressive this issue. The various uses of reds, greys, and greens are fantastic, and what really won me over was the 3rd last place. The shade of blue Bachalo uses for the sky is beautiful  and it shows off how he’s grown as a colorist.

Uncanny X-men has been stellar for months, and the book is probably the strongest it’s ever been in years. Bendis and Bachalo are an excellent creative team, and I’m really digging the direction the book has taken during their run.

 

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