Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The List #45 Part 2

Batwoman #0
Writer: J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Artist: J.H. Williams III and Amy Reeder
Finally we have the return of Batwoman after months of salivating for the release of her solo book. Unfortunately, this is more of a taste before the official run, but as far as I'm concerned any Batwoman done by Williams or Rucka is a good one.

The issue focuses on Bruce Wayne
following Kate around, trying to confirm his suspicions that she is indeed Batwoman. He also dons a number of ridiculous disguises during the process which are worth a smirk. Eventually, he concludes she's good, but not amazing and that's basically the plot of the issue.

The stunning art of J.H. Williams III returns with this issue and oh dear me, it is to die for. Maybe I shouldn't say this out loud considering her devoted fanbase, but I feel like my interest in Batwoman loses some of its intensity without Williams on board. But I mean, just look at the image to the right--> It's gorgeous in ways that are rarely seen in comic books (so far as my current knowledge of comics is aware), so I mean it's hard to not be disappointed by anyone else. Which, speaking of, I was with Amy Reeder the artist for the Kate sequences. It's not that her art was anything negative, I would probably have liked it just fine on its own, but it's simply that
in comparison to Williams her art just does not do anything for me. I just think using another artist similar to Williams' style would have worked out better.

Conclusion: This is an issue where not much happened, so in terms of plot I would advise against waiting until Batwoman #1 out some time in 2011. However, if you're a devoted Batwoman or Williams fan, do pick this one up.

New Mutants #19
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Things are dark this issue. Like pitch black. It certainly shocked me to see New Mutants, a book that's sort of X-Force-lite, all of a sudden start having some uncomfortable torture scenes. Let's break this shit down, shall we?

For some reason, Dani is singled out as the zesty powerless mutant, and is tortured throughout the issue while Cannonball is made to listen so that his jailer can feed off his anguish. Somehow, being made of pure hardcore, Dani manages to get it together enough to tell Sam to stop feeding the anguish woman, and even tries to distract him by telling him that he's an excellent kisser. All this while she's still being tortured. The woman's a tough bitch, and I salute her.

Pixie's also tortured, but that's really just giving the reader of Uncanny what they've been asking for. Illyana is placed with Sunspot, whose got a mini evil mutant running around in his body, after she's done being tortured, and they have a fairly depressing conversation:

Illyana also lets Sunspot know that Amara does not love him like he does her. So yeah, this is pretty intense considering I wouldn't put it past Wells to actually kill Amara off. I mean, she may be one of, if not THE, most powerful member of the team, but character-wise she's just functions as pretty wallpaper for the most part.

Meanwhile Cypher's still under the control of the mutant who manipulates with words, and Dani and him discuss this -->

Oh yes, Cypher, you are a mighty cliche at this point just not in the way you're thinking, you sad attempt at a dark and emotionless badass.

Concerning Karma, she's pretending to be unconscious most of the issue and attempting to connect to the isolated Inferno mutant whose head is a big laser. Not only is it sad because she's connecting with someone who's painfully isolated and finally getting to express his angst over this, but Karma's also tortured while this is happening as the other mutants try to take her robot leg by cutting above the metal. Into the flesh. Fun. The beam-headed eventually helps her and Illyana tells her she needs to escape alone. In the end, Magik reveals that Karma is the only one important to save for her mission.

Conclusion: This issue's pretty amazing for its tension as it kept me hooked the entire way through. While I still have a dislike for this arc, I do have to say this was a great issue.

Uncanny X-Force #2
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Jerome Opena
This issue opens with a Danger room session that involves Wolverine, Fantomex, Deadpool, and Psylocke dealing with the possible scenario of Archangel turning against them that ends in Betsy taking out Warren. Obviously, when Warren walks in on this he finds this all a bit surprising and shaky for his relationship. And that's not all that's threatening his and Betsy's relationship--->

But what about your dearly beloved Cyclops, Logan? Anyway, this issue gives spotlight to Betsy as we the readers are privvy to her thoughts. Her place on the team and her reasons for joining are examined while she attempts to comfort Warren over the training sessionand are disappointingly what I expected: She's there for Warren. So thrilling that she has her own story. Luckily she's at least still the badass Betsy we all know and love:

Meanwhile with the Apocalypse situation, it seems that the old lady is solely there for young Apocalypse's education and not actually a member of the Horsemen as we end up meeting a number of Apocalypse worshippers this issue that better qualify for the position. Where do we meet them? The moon!

Yes, X-Force goes to the blue part of the moon where Apocalypse is located only to be ambushed by War who damages EVA by blowing a hole in her with his axe. Naturally, this is terrible and is worsened three times as Fantomex feels the pain due to his connection to EVA and Psylocke, being a telepath, also suffers the blow.

In a fight scene that's as bleak as this month's New Mutants, X-Force gets its ass kicked by Apocalypse's followers which include the previously seen War giant, the drummer guy whose likely Famine, a geisha who vomits cockroachers, and Vanisher's ugly brother who rides a flying carpet. Post-defeat, young Apocalypse emerges from his headquarters to go out to take care of X-Force.

Conclusion: Great issue, amazing art job by Jerome Opena yet again, and amazingly well-done fight scene. Definitely pick this one up.


FSaker said...

Wait, so Magma is dead? And killed off-panel, it seems? Sure, the girl was being used just as wallpaper in all X-books, but she deserved better...

Uncanny X-Force is amazing! Psylocke was a real badass in that last line to Archangel, and the new Horsemen of Apocalypse are the most interesting incarnation since the first one, with Archangel (maybe even more than that one)!

Too bad EVA died, I liked her (more than Fantomex himself, in fact). Let's hope she follows the typical X-Men route and "gets better" (aka ressurrects) by the end of this arc...

Suzene said...

I liked Pixie when her entire job was to bump into things and be cute way back when. But now the writers seem to think that we should think she's the greatest thing since sliced bread for no other reason than being a perpetual victim in someone else's recycled storyline. The only thing she's done so far is beat up Empath, and there are precious few junior X-Men who haven't done that. I actually kinda like the X-Kids, but I wish someone besides Mike Carey would give me a reason to beyond the fact that I used to like the book they were in five years ago.

FSaker said...

I think the problem with the X-kids is that no writer currently develops them properly. As much as I like Carey's writing, he was supposed to be highlighting the New/Young X-Men in his book, but Rogue ends up getting the vast majority of the attention. Even Magneto (who wasn't even supposed to be part of this cast) actually gets more highlight in X-Men Legacy than the X-kids.

And he's the writer that mostly uses the X-kids; Kyle and Yost actually put X-23 and Elixir to good use, but now they're gone...

Of course, it doesn't help that there are about 15 or 20 (or more) New/Young X-Men around there... hard to develop all of them properly.

Suzene said...

In Carey's defense, he's not trying to write a junior X-Men book, so much as a book highlighting a different member of the senior team until he gets bored. Xavier got rotated out for Rogue, and I think Rogue is due to lose her spotlight once Age of X wraps. That the kids get any development is just seasoning.

But yes, I agree with you, and even when Kyle and Yost were on the book, they had a bad habit of mistaking angst for character development so we've still got a bunch of kids who are defined more by things that were done to them rather than them being characters with any kind of agency. From what I've seen, X-23's new book doesn't seem to be making the same mistakes, but no one's ever been able to convince me that I should give a damn about X-23 anyway and I don't think I'm going to start now.

Prodigial said...

Wells is unreal!! WHY THE HELL is he leaving?!? I am totally enjoying Fall of the New Mutants. Notice how he's taking the New Mutants down dark and murky angst waters, by sticking to the feel of the New Mutants' and picking up on continuity.

Dani is coming out as a complete bad arse, despite the de-powered factor. Two thumbs up!

Music to my ears FSaker and Suzene, God forbid the likes of Craig Kyle and Chris Yost get their hands on this title. They would rape it to nothing, like they did the Academy X characters.

Though I can't help but seeing sequences (since Necrosha) where I could see Wells inserting the survived new New Mutants (ref.Prodigy, Surge and Elixir; (He's put bloody Pixie in there!!!)) into the fold, I am thoroughly enjoying his run on the title. Pity his run is about to end.

I don't think Magma is gonna be dead. Hope not, anyway. I was under the impression Wells wanted to do a Magma and Sunspot and Empath love triangulation thing. It's just about the only thing going for these three underused characters, really. With Magma gone, that would be a waste.

Karma is looking promising. Cypher is a joke, really. His 'cliche' comment could well be, as Mr.Hellfire pointed out, a literal stab at his thoughtless return. But let's not forget good old Warlock still back on Earth and the mighty Legion, who is meant to make an entrance into Limbo.
Surely they'll come out of this alive. As long as the fake Illyana stays behind or dies, I don't see any problem.

Morevover, I cannot wait for the 'Age X'!!! Is that Sunspot, who along with Cannonball and Cypher, is cast in Age of X?

Prodigial said...

I really should get into Uncanny X-Force by the looks and sounds of it. Now that the two douchetarts truhards are gone of the creative team.