Friday, September 24, 2010

The List #40

Before we begin, apologies again for the my delayed and brief posts for this past month, I've probably already mentioned that it's due to my college workload at the moment and yeah, it's still going strong right now. Also, maybe it's just me, but this month's releases were overall bland and I found myself without much to say on half of my regular titles. Anyway, all of this will probably be resolved very soon, so please just bear with me.

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #3
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Kaare Andrews
Despite the good omen of this issue's fabulous cover, this issue had little of the joy, laughter, and fun of previous issues to offer this time around. Basically the events of the issue were this: Captain Crocodile who popped in at the end of the last issue attempted to explain his motivation for wanting to kill the babies as they sometimes blow up. Then there was a hunt for a guy on the run named James Jasper clone or something who has to do with the Warpies business (Not sure the significance and I refuse to read Excalibur to find out). He was killed and then this leads to an opening of a Ghost Box with tons of soldiers from another dimension coming though.

Overall, it was underwhelming as Captain Crocodile and the silent hunt
for James Jasper ate up a lot of page time. There was a moment of pure joy where Emma was given her due respect though [which can be viewed here], and of course this thrilled me to no end as it's always a good day when my Queen is treated like the Queen she is. Speaking of her being an absolute queen, unfortunately there was only one moment this issue where she was funny and it was really just commentary on her odd way of patching into other people's brains last issue. Still, Emma goodness is Emma goodness:
Conclusion: I'm sad to say this issue was a disappointment as it was an issue I had heavy anticipation for and also, Astonishing is one of the few titles where I can see Emma written correctly (as you will see emphasized when we get to Uncanny).

Gotham City Sirens #16
Writer: Peter Calloway
Artist: Andres Guinaldo
This arc begins fresh without the absolute bore that is Tony Bedard's writing. It's difficult to judge whether or not this writer will work this series as the results of this issue were mixed: The cast's personalities are still being flatly written with everyone's dialogue sounding mediocre and like the discount store version of how they usually speak. However, a big plus of this issue was the special guest appearances of other Gotham City Sirens such as Zatanna, Talia Al Ghul, and Oracle which is a big plus considering this is supposed to be a female-centered series.

On the other hand, the big conflict of this arc has to do with Selina's connection with Bruce Wayne and villains discovering his secret iden
tity. Definitely a minus to have an arc rotating around a man attached to one of these characters, even though it's been the focus of most of the arcs so far, because it just seems to present this idea that these female characters have no stories of their own without the men in their lives.

The artist, who's been with us since at least last arc but I've yet to really comment on, is also a subject of mixed results as he's absolutely terrible, but he also seems to produce hilarious results as can be seen here with Selina:

Either Selina's been secretly working to be a body builder or this guy has difficulty drawing outside of male physiques.
Also did Dick Grayson get thrown in some sort of aging machine in order to be an adequate replacement for Batman? Because this guy's take on Dick is absolutely scary. Like I think he's using former Batman Adam West as a reference. And I mean the Adam West of now.
Conclusion: While I'm thrilled for GCS to finally have a new writer, I can't say he's doing anything that different from the last one. However, there are a couple spots that I found to be encouraging so there may be hope for this series yet.

Uncanny X-Men #528
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Whilce Portacio
Fraction needs to stop writing Emma Frost. For some reason he thinks he can, so he spent half the issue focusing on her and her new plan to kill Sebastian Shaw so no one ever finds out she's keeping him prisoner and all this just sounds like fucking grasping for storylines. More importantly, it's further ruining her character because obviously he's still writing her with the most fucked-up dialogue I've ever read.

Also, I'm so done with these new kids' storylines. It's the same thing eve
ry issue: There's conflict with the new power, X-Men arrive to help but they can't do much, and in the end it's only Hope who helps them and for some idiotic reason they agree to go with the X-Strangers. In the end, here's Storm's breasts to sum up how I feel about this issue.
I'll grow up someday.
X-Men Legacy #240
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Clay Mann
Despite this being one of the best X-men series as well as a currently serving up a great arc with the much-anticipated return of the Children of the Vault, I find myself having little to actually say about it. It's through no fault of this book that I find myself in this position, hopefully if you read you can see why, but I just couldn't find any point in particular this issue that I found noteworthy on its own.

Anyway, I highly recommend this book as one of the strongest X-Books of the past year and also this specific arc as its got the charming work of Clay Mann with Carey providing a great story and using a unique cast of X-Men that really works for this arc.

X-Men Vs. Vampires #1
Writers + Artists: [Find Out Here]
X-Vignette mini-series tend to be a hit or miss with me with the miss being the general leaning. This one so far seems to be fine despite it being part of the horrible vampire-polooza bullshit. Here's a quick rundown of what was went down in this one:

Husk shows her loyalty to her BFF Jubes and goes out hunting for information about where she is. When she encounters vampires we get a show of how badass she is as she shakes off a vampire bites by just husking, turns into a wooden form with tons of stakes, isn't phased by being set on fire, and barely reacts to getting chopped in half with an axe. Why isn't she on a team again?

The next story is a Dazzler story where we get the whole "We're people too!" vampire story. Which would be fine if that was even close to the main focus of this vampire event. Instead, it's a story in a vignette series which means a whimper in the terrible roar of this event. Not only do I not care, but True Blood's already got this covered and does it so much better.

Following that is what seems to be a Rogue story where she meets a vampire who believes she's the reincarnated form of his past lover due to her spirit seeming the same. Instead it turns out to be none other than No-Girl possessing Rogue. At first she's torn about this as he promises her love and a body, but in the end she just kills him. Also, Ernst appears and is fabulous in appearance, but fails to sound like her creepy self (is it really that had to write a creepy voice? Seriously?). Basically a mediocre story involving two great characters.

And the last story is a Magneto one which I didn't even bother to read. I'm sorry, I don't care if this turns out to be the greatest vignette story ever, I'm so fucking sick of Magneto right now I just want Logan to decapitate him this frigging instant. And now for the news:

  • This double-panel from Namor: The First Douchebag #2 served to tick me off. I'd take it less seriously had Emma reacted as if this was sarcasm or denial, but it seems she thinks him serious. To this I say: Really, Namor? You're the pathetic stalker here, bud. Remember [this]?
  • Apologies for my lack of inclusion of Avengers Academy #4, but it was fucking dull due to spotlighting Mettle as well as having to no suspense considering A. Osborn wouldn't bite it in a junior book B. We already saw the end result of this issue in Thunderbolts.
  • The results of our last poll reveal Wolverine and Rahne's Hellspawn in a tie for most likely to be declared Omega-level which is exactly as it should be. Narcissistic asshat Cypher followed in second and Fantomex came in a far behind third. Qwerty and Sage tied for fourth which is too bad because I was rooting for Claremont's super-pet. Oh and Longshot didn't get a single vote, so how's that for lucky? Thanks everyone for voting and don't forget to vote on the new multiple choice question where you choose who gets kicked out of X-Factor. And by multiple choice I mean you can pick as many members as you want. Hell, kick out the whole team if you want.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The List #39

Morning Glories #2
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Joe Eisma
Considering how quickly the first two issues keep selling out and my eternal reverence for Nick Spencer after Forgetless, I feel pressured to like this book more than I actually do. Don't get me wrong, it's a good book, but so far I don't see what makes it so amazing.

I'm also not sure how to take this book. I assumed it would start out with introductions to the characters as the string of weird, ominous occurences weaved themselves into the story. Instead, the school has been obnoxiously upfront about how they're up to something. This issue we've got Casey's parents killed because they wouldn't cooperate with the school, attempted stabbing, cults, and near-drowning of the students just so Casey would answer a pop quiz question. While I see why Spencer would avoid the traditional, build-it-up route, I feel like the story suffers because of it.

These life-or-death, tense situations these characters have been through already don't affect me as much as the should because I don't really care about any of these characters yet. I also have to reiterate that Spencer's comparison of this series to Runaways makes me think that this series' is also having a rough start just to get the basics out of the way before smooth storytelling can happen. In the end, I'm not sure how to feel about this series besides it's good, I'm just not sure where it's going.

New Mutants #17
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Leonard Kirk
So far I'm really not feeling this Magik-centered arc. First off, I'm really sick of this ongoing story of restoring Magik to her former self as well as visit Limbo every two minutes for barely minimal development just so that no one can deem the entire mini-series/arc completely useless. This has lasted way too long, and really just needs to go away now. Magik's not cool or interesting enough to hold up so many arcs/mini-series and this is made even worse by the fact that it's not even Magik, it's 'Darkchylde'. A summarized version of my response to this drawn out Magik story is perfectly encapsulated in [this].

On the other hand, [this] conversation found in the previews is classic prelude to a drunken makeout. Seriously, I've had this conversation, everyone I know has had that conversation, and I even saw it happen this weekend. Oh the joys of watching people trying to come up with an excuse to kiss each other. Anyway, Wells did this part....well (heh) but in the end I have to say this current arc should be avoided.

Thunderbolts #148
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Declan Shalvey
My thoughts on Thunderbolts are a bit funny. When I think of it after not reading it for awhile I tend to regard it as mediocre, but as soon as I read another issue I remember that it's actually a good book. I think the problem is that this book doesn't really wow me at any point, it's just this continuous serving of good with no real variation.

This issue there's a new artist on board who's an improvement over Kev Walker, but still similar enough so that the change isn't jarring. The scene with the Thunderbolts dealing with the normal prisoners was definitely one of interest, but besides that it was sort of a standard issue. I'd say if you have some pocket change to spare, pick this book up, but otherwise, this book is pretty forgettable.

X-Factor #209
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino
This series is the only one this week that really got me excited to know more as well as gave me something comment on (for better or for worse).

The Rahne/Rictor drama, despite my loathing of Rahne, is really what is keeping this book exciting as it was moved along minimally this time around so that the reverbations of what's going on can be fully felt. This issue, Jamie went up to see Rahne and it was revealed that he knows about her involvement with X-Force. There was also a questioning moment where everyone wondered if one of Jamie's dupes got Rahne pregnant. Even though I wish Rahne dead, her presence brings back a familiarity of the X-Factor book when it was really fun and remarkable.

The events of the Hela story are less than interesting, but we did finally see Longshot do something this issue and he was even somewhat likable then. The two most notable things this issue are notable for two completely differents reasons and they are:

[This] comment made by Guido is the last straw with me. Previously, I've thought of Guido as a somewhat likable, but ultimately superfluous character that David keeps around because Guido's someone developed specifically under his hand. Now I'm just so sick of Strong Guy's what seems to be feigned 'tolerance' ('tolerant' attitudes already being an issue with me) as he makes these homophobic comments. Especially since I've heard all these comments before, they're intended to seem like 'jokes' so that partially serious feelings can be vented and no one can call them out on it as it's supposed to be a 'joke'. No, seriously, this bro-y version of homophobia needs to stop because it wasn't funny the first few times, but now this latest comment really takes the shitcake. I am not amused.

On a lighter note, Shatterstar's need to fight everyone he sees this issue seems to be evidence that he's bothered by Rictor's baby daddy issues. Which is good considering my previous thoughts on how he didn't seem committed to the relationship. In the end, I want to see these two together, and so I find this a positive development as the main concern I had for 'Star's wanting to fuck around was that he wasn't as invested in the relationship as Rictor was.

Conclusion: X-Factor really is much-improved to the point where I'd say it's back to the quality it was at around the 'Isolationist' arc which is something we haven't seen in awhile. While it is indeed a bit overdramatic with the soap opera of Ric/Rahne, it's still an addicting storyline. Definitely pick up X-Factor as it is the best book released this week.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Comic Book Releases Briefly: 9/1/10 and 9/9/10

Apologies for being absent for the past two weeks, but I just started college again so my life has been a bit hectic lately. If you find yourself going through bitchy withdrawls, just know that I've also got a [Tumblr] that you can go to for second helpings of snarkery.

Anyway, it seems my absence couldn't be more perfectly timed as it seems not a lot happened in comic book land while I was gone. Here's a brief look at what I thought of the books I would normally have reviewed:

Avengers: The Childrens Crusade #2
Writer: Allan Heinberg
Artist: Jim Cheung
The only book that I was really looking forward to reviewing, but in the end it's fine because I had little to say about it anyway. Not as good as the first issue, but still amazingly satisfying for me. Seriously, if this book needs to be on a bi-monthly schedule in order to produce a quality product like it has then I'm all for it.

One thing I found shocking was that they actually had Quicksilver and Speed meet up. I've always thought of Speed as the massive ripoff in the room, and I assumed that Quicksilver and him could never meet just because Speed is nearly identical to him. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Heinberg's YA, but let's be honest: Speed is basically a young Quicksilver and was probably just hastily created so that the Scarlet Witch plotline could be introduced. Anyway, this was definitely the best release of the past two weeks and I recommend you all pick it up.

Scarlet #2
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev
One word summary: Mediocre.
Scarlet's view on the world, despite being justified by her experience, still sounds like Hot Topic brand whining about how 'the world is full of shit'. And it's this attitude plus her overconfidence in what she 'knows' about the world despite being 17 that turned me off from this issue.

However, as dull and whiny as it was, I thought [this fucking bullshit] with the shop owner ripping up an issue of Scarlet was ridiculous. Seriously, guy? Thanks for helping along the stereotype that comic book fans are emotionally stunted adults. It's not even that bad of a fucking book, and even if it were, it's not connected to any other books or drawing from any other continuity. Scarlet's not even set in any real universe that matters! This book couldn't be easier to avoid if you don't like it.
I just find this to be such an obnoxious, childish act of disrespect, and that's coming from someone who writes bitchy comic book reviews for the hell of it.

X-Men #3
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Paco Medina
Despite the pressure to do something remarkable considering the current state of vampire fatigue, this series so far has decided to reuse all the typical vampire dialogue/plot moves/everything. Also, despite the pressure of being a new X-Book with no established difference from Uncanny, this series has decided to reuse all the same X-Men dialogue/plot moves/everything. Seriously, using one of Wolverine's sidekicks to lure him into a situation? And worst of all, deeming Wolverine 'the most powerful X-Man' and having him converted to their side. Isn't that the subject of every other X-Related story? Also, what the fuck on Wolverine being the most powerful/useful X-Man? Yeah, because claws and a healing factor are so much more useful than top-tier psychic powers, full control of the elements, or a control of ice that makes the user nearly unkillable. This is the sort of shit logic that happens when you let obssessive fanboys write the books. Anyway, don't waste your spare bucks on this regurgitated storyline.

New Avengers #4
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immomen
This issue is pretty unremarkable. At least Daimon Hellstrom still has no idea what a shirt is.

Batgirl #14
Writer: Bryan Q Miller
Artist: Lee Garbett
I was so bored I couldn't even finish it, and it's rare that I put down anything that I started reading, least of all a comic book. I think this issue marks the end for me and Batgirl, especially since my favorite character, Oracle, is now getting pushed out of the series.

Lastly, poll results time!
Unsurprisingly, Psylocke and Archangel won this poll with 15 votes which is expected considering they're the only couple on this list that now has confirmation to be pairing up officially. Also, it's Psylocke and I know that a lot of you here love her.

Namor and Emma came in second place with 12 votes.....yeah, wasn't expecting that. It seems we see things a little different, my readers, considering I loathe the idea of Emma being with another manchild, but it's ok, we can love each other for our differences. Anyway, moving onto my favorite couple...

Danger and Box came in third with 6 votes, one of them being mine, and I'm surprised they didn't at least get second considering how magnetic a pairing they are. Yes, I know, cheesy robot puns, I'll stop. Lastly, everyone else got one vote. And that's the poll, thanks for voting and please do go vote on the newest one.