Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What You Should Have Read #4

I think I missed or book or two last week, so there might be a little spill-over.

Action Comics #884
Adventure Comics #5
Booster Gold #27
R.E.B.E.L.S. #11
Secret Six #16
Amazing Spider-Man #614
Dark X-Men #2
Deadpool #18
Ender’s Game: War of Gifts
Incredible Hulk #605
Nation X #1
New Avengers Annual #3
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #2
Spider-Man and the Secret Wars #1
S.W.O.R.D. #2
War Machine #12
Web of Spider-Man #3
X-Necrosha: Gathering

Stuff I Loved: Invincible Iron Man, as long as it’s being written by Matt Fraction or someone equally as awesome, will always go in this section. As with last week’s Dark Avengers Annual, though, I really have to cry foul at the appearance of Captain America. Yeah, we all knew he was coming back, and sure, one could reasonably surmise that he would return by the end of the Captain America: Reborn miniseries, but c’mon, that’s not even over yet and we’ve had two appearances already. I hate when that happens. Also, Rhodey shows up, and I’m pretty sure he’s still in jail or something. His book comes out this week too, so maybe I should have at least read that one first. As for the Ghost, I think I need to do some research on him. Is he the same character from the mid-‘80s? I think that was the last time I saw someone going by that moniker, and he was going after Stark and Justin Hammer. M.O. seems the same, but he looks TOTALLY different. Anyways, the way this story is going, a better title would seem to be Star: Reassembled since he was pretty much disassembled while being chased by Osborn during the last storyline.

Secret Six is another that’s always top notch. The banter between the team members is great, and Ragdoll steals just about every scene he’s in. Black Alice joins the cast in this issue, and everybody visits a strip club. Yeah, awesome, right?

How long have we all been waiting for that last page of New Avengers Annual? And I’ve since given up complaining about Steve showing up before the end of Captain America: Reborn. Apparently it wasn’t just a fluke in a book or two. I had actually expected more Jessica Jones/Jewel, considering she was front-and-center on the cover and all. And since so much has happened between Ronin getting captured and this issue, I had almost forgotten about it. I’m glad Bendis didn’t. Hmm, it sounds like I’m doing nothing but complaining, but I really did love the issue.

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? This issue of Deadpool wrapped up his stint in the X-Men, and I thought the issue seemed to just fly by. I could have used more of the “dude” H.A.M.M.E.R. agents, and I could have seen Norman get schooled by ‘Pool. I think Osborns frustration with how the scene played out was the only thing really missing from the issue. Otherwise, classic Deadpool, the only person stupid enough to attempt to head-butt Colossus.

“And men will call him SPANGEL!” “No, they won’t. Ever.” I love it when TV characters are captured perfectly in comic books, and this issue of Angel really gets Spike and Groo. And Spike as Angel? Can’t be beat. This issue used a pretty neat idea from season 2 of Buffy and took it to the next level, and it also gave us an issue full of great quips and one-liners.

Okay, after a relatively ho-hum start, I really like how this story ended and the Gauntlet began. There’s a pretty major shake-up of Peter’s world, plus a bit of a hint as to where the Gauntlet is going. If this story is any indication, we’re going to see Spidey fighting some amped-up villains who will then reunite to reform the Sinister Six. Sounds pretty awesome to me. I guess the last Sinister Six story I can remember reading is Erik Larsen’s short run on the adjectiveless Spider-Man.

X-Necrosha: The Gathering was a nice little book that showed how Selene recruited the mutants who were following her around in the few months leading up to X-Necrosha. Simple, straight-forward…what really connected with me, though, was the Blink story. This isn’t the Age of Apocalypse Blink, it’s the original, the one who died during the Phalanx Covenant (which, along with the Clone Saga in Spider-Man, was one of the reasons I gave up reading comics for almost 2 years).

Stuff I Liked: I was actually hoping that Dox would be able to keep his yellow power ring, but I guess he’s too independent. His ego is the driving force behind R.E.B.E.L.S. and what keeps me coming back. I don’t think I could care any less about any of the other characters. But Dox is like Tony Stark without a sense of humor. And while that may not sound all that interesting, it works.

Nation X was an extremely solid anthology book, much like Manifest Destiny. The writing was top-notch as was the art. I especially liked the Magneto story that kicked off the book. I didn’t love it, though, and I think it’s because I’ve been away from the X-Men for so long that I have to get reacquainted with everyone. They were just great stories about characters that I couldn’t connect with.

I think Jericho: Season 3 was a book I missed out on last week. I loved the show, and I had heard that a comic was coming out, I just didn’t realize it was so soon. It was a good story, and bits a pieces brought back some good memories of the show, but there were details that I just couldn’t remember. I wish the book had spent some more time giving a recap of the series rather than giving a quick two-page rundown.

The banter between Beast and Abigail is what’s best about S.W.O.R.D. Actually just about everything they say, regardless of who they’re talking to. I don’t care a bit about what’s going on with Gyrich or all the aliens on Earth; I’m in this for the witty banter.

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard was better than the last issue. It’s still not filling me with the awe and wonder that the previous two cosmic storylines did, and really, all the Fault stuff is feeling like an uncoordinated Annihilus wave; monsters attacking our universe.

It seems as though when coming up with The Boys, Garth Ennis really only had a plan/history for Hughie, Mother and Butcher. They’re the ones we spend the most time with, and this issues origin story of Frenchie just seemed like filler. It was well-written and well-drawn, but it didn’t make me relate to Frenchie any more, and even in the context of the series, it was somewhat ridiculous. I’m expecting the same sort of treatment with The Female eventually.

Angel: Only Human was a good, quick read that played off of Season 5 continuity while still moving forward. I’m enjoying the Gunn/Illyria road trip, although I’d rather see her palling around with Spike. They had such great chemistry, and there was really no threat of an attempt at romance. I can see that being attempted with Gunn, although I hope it doesn’t happen. I’m okay with Illyria beginning to understand humanity, but I don’t think I’d like her watered down by too many human trappings.

“That’s Director Osborn if you’re nasty.” I thought this final issue of War Machine was a solid ending to a mostly solid series. Since I wasn’t up on the cosmetic changes that Rhodey went through, I’m glad he’s got a regular flesh-and-blood body again. And he already showed up in this week’s Invincible Iron Man, so I’m hoping that he’ll be a semi-regular (too many Iron Men will just clog up the works) addition to the series. Hmm, but what of his support crew?

Stuff That Was Just Meh: Incredible Hulk (I dislike jarring changes in art that have nothing to do with the story, but I’d rather have two artists on a book than a late book), Dark X-Men (I have to little knowledge about Nate Grey and what happened to him after the Age of Apocalypse to fully appreciate the story…I have to do some research), Web of Spider-Man (I think some more time could be spent on the origins), Walking Dead (what’s left to do?), Ender’s Game: War of Gifts (I don’t remember Zech from the book, so I really don’t see the point of the special), Booster Gold (enough with the Booster/Ted Kord love fest already. We get it, they were best friends, now move on), Adventure Comics (the Conner story was the only thing that saved this from going in the trash. The Superboy Prime story was just awful), and Action Comics (I kinda want a big Kryptonia throwdown now. That’s all I’m waiting for).

As a side note, are there any bloggers who read this and can help me out with some formatting problems? Before I took my little hiatus, I never had a problem lining up the pictures with the text that corresponds to it. Now it's all out of whack.

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