Wednesday, December 26, 2012

EXTRA! EXTRA! (DEC 19-25, 2012)

All-New X-Men #4
(Bendis, Immonen)

Brian Michael Bendis' run on All-New X-Men marches on with the first meeting between 1960s Cyclops and current-day Cyclops, more insight into the paradox of having the original five X-Men in the present day, and some actual NEW X-Men! As anyone could have predicted, Cyclops and Cyclops have a big ol' eyebeam tug-of-war before Magik teleports the Uncanny X-Men out, but it's really the aftereffects of this standoff that fills this issue's emotional quota. The new mutants are Eva Bell and Christopher Muse who can stop time and heal people respectively--introducing new mutants is one of the big advantages of the Phoenix Force repopulating the Marvel universe, and Brian Michael Bendis is making good use of this opportunity. Yet as enjoyable as All-New X-Men has been, I can't help but feel it lacks a core purpose or idea that drives the series; since the original five X-Men can't possibly just stay around forever, there's got to be a bigger picture we're just not seeing yet.

GRADE: 7.5/10

Indestructible Hulk #2
(Waid, Yu)

Mark Waid is working the same magic with Indestructible Hulk as he is with Matt Murdock over in Daredevil--taking a character that had previously been deeply embroiled with inner demons and dark narratives, then giving said character perspective on themselves and how they affect the world. In Bruce Banner's case, that means shifting from obsessing over curing his Hulk affliction to becoming the scientific monolith he knows he can be. Bruce also recognizes that holding in his resentment and anger isn't a good thing, so he confronts a battle-ready Tony Stark--a fellow genius who has never regarded Bruce as a true equal, for obvious reasons--and the two wrestle it out until they gain enough respect for one another to move forward as colleagues. Waid and Lenil Francis Yu are offering up a Hulk that's completely different from anything we've seen before, taking Bruce Banner's stunning intellect to new heights simply because it's never really been done before.

GRADE: 8/10

Red Hood and The Outlaws #15
(Lobdell, Green II, Faucher)

Jason Todd is not aware that all of his messed up, terrible early years were a result of the Joker's cruel intentions to create a new Robin for himself (as seen in Red Hood and The Outlaws #0). In this "Death of the Family" tie-in, Jason finally comes face to face with the man that beat him to death and who Jason now knows was responsible for all the bad things throughout his life. The problem with Red Hood and The Outlaws #15 is that not a whole lot actually happens by the end of the issue--Joker spends his time proving he knows who everyone actually is, Jason spends equal time feeling less and less confident that the Bat-Posse can defeat the Joker this time around, and Roy takes Kori to Gotham to find and help Jason. There's nothing really inherently wrong with Red Hood and The Outlaws #15, I just felt like there could have been more than just enigmatic clue-hopping and set-up.

GRADE: 7.5/10

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