Thursday, January 31, 2013


(w) Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza
(a) Brett Booth

I usually take the time to express my opinions on a given comic book issue as best I can. I put effort into what I write because the people writing and illustrating the comics I read put effort into the work they produce. Unfortunately, Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza seemingly do not respect their readers enough to not treat them like dimwitted know-nothings, so I'm not going to give the same effort I usually give for this review of Teen Titans #16.

First off, Red Robin's internal monologue at the beginning of the issue is as ridiculous and asinine as ever, but the real kicker is that Lobdell tries to convince us readers that Tim Drake and Jason Todd are so close, they're like brothers. Any fan of DC knows that this is a BIG FAT LIE. In what world are Tim and Jason close? The one where Jason died before Tim was even introduced into the Batman mythos? Or the one where Jason came back from the dead and tried to kill Tim, who was Batman's sidekick at the time? I would say he was Batman's Robin at the time, but we all know how Lobdell dropped the ball on that one. 

Also, Tim says there's no one he'd rather have by his side than Red Hood when facing the Joker. Really? Not Batman? Or Batgirl? Or Nightwing? Or any of the other people in the DC universe that are more trustworthy than Red Hood? What an absolutely stupid idea. Seriously, Scott Lobdell, stop insulting my intelligence.

Oh, and the big thing.

WHY DOESN'T RED HOOD SHOOT JOKER? Jason has his gun the entire time he's conscious. If 17 issues of Red Hood and The Outlaws, not to mention years of pre-'New 52' character development that stayed in-continuity, have shown that Jason has no problem using a gun to kill people, why doesn't he lift his arm up and unload into the Joker? Because Scott Lobdell can't write. It's such an obvious plot hole that can't be ignored.

Almost forgot about the gas bomb dummy Jason shoots up instead of the Joker because Joker apparently had all the time in the world to keep talking to Red Robin and Red Hood while also escaping without them noticing him replacing his body no more than ten feet away. WHAT? I nearly closed the book at this point because there's no way this could have happened in a way that would make sense.

There's a lot of dialogue to hate in Teen Titans #16, but my favorite bit of awfulness comes from Wonder Girl speaking to Arsenal who is right next to her: "So, Arsenal isn't the moron he made you out to be." Like nails on a chalkboard, this sentence sounds. She refers to Arsenal in the third person then references some unnamed person who described Arsenal with no further information. So frustrating.

And Raven pops up for no reason other than to awkwardly set up the next arc. And Lance from Team 7 is around for some unexplained reason. God, I just wanted it all to end and it just kept going.

In conclusion, this issue was awful. Just awful.


And the '.5' is only because the stupid fight between Red Hood and Red Robin was kind of cool looking. Kind of.


(w) Geoff Johns (a) Paul Pelletier


Hot off last week's big reveal at the end Justice League #16, Geoff Johns throws "Throne of Atlantis" into fifth gear in Aquaman #16 with some fights, some twists, and a whole lot of new questions that need answering before the end of the crossover. Orm the Ocean Master -- aka the current King of Atlantis -- sentenced the Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to death by expulsion to the "dark waters". While Aquaman searches for his beleaguered friends who are sinking to the bottom of the Mid-Atlantic Trench in weird pods, the reserve members of the Justice League bring the fight to the invading Atlantean army on the surface. 

The most exciting part of Aquaman #16 is seeing the extended League roster show up to lend a hand in this time of crisis, and how that affects the League proper. Some choice dialogue reveals that Batman and Cyborg had been developing the idea of having a sort-of emergency call list of Leaguers on stand-by, but Batman's frustration at Cyborg's call to arms shows Vic acted of his own accord. Cyborg's decision to circumvent Batman's input is an important step for Victor, a relatively popular hero who isn't featured in any other series of the 'New 52', and who desperately needed some character development beyond his father issues. Now, we have some friction between Cyborg and Batman, something that will surely come up in future issues. And seeing more heroes being added into the mix is just plain exciting.

While the extended League takes on the Atlantean forces, Aquaman and Cyborg manage to free Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman while also learning that the monsters Aquaman believed he had sealed away at the end of "The Trench" have mysteriously returned. Up to now, educated assumptions pointed to Orm's hand moving the chess pieces around the board to force an war that would prove Atlantis' superiority.   The dramatic irony of the Trench monsters' freedom finally comes to light for the characters, but their arrival raises even more questions because Orm is as confused about their sudden and seemingly indiscriminate strike as the League. 

Even though everything is coming together, Johns keeps us guessing to the end with the big twist at the end of Aquaman #16. The reveal makes a lot of sense and it points to how and why the events of "Throne of Atlantis" have taken place, but it also leaves things open for a solid resolution in Justice League #17.



(w) Dan Slott (a) Ryan Stegman


With The Superior Spider-Man, Dan Slott is exploring uncharted territory with the character: critical thinking. Peter Parker has always been a smart person. Incredibly smart, in fact. Unfortunately, that genius was usually squandered by Peter's one-track mind when it came to being Spider-Man -- the mask always took precedent, no matter the cost. And when we take an unbiased look at Peter Parker's entire career as a vigilante superhero, we can see that many of the tragedies and heartaches in his life were a result of unpreparedness or simple miscommunication. This may sound harsh, but it's one of the many truths the ghost of Peter Parker is forced to learn as he watches his own life being lived by someone else. The Superior Spider-Man #2 builds upon the events of the first issue without the storyline feeling like a Brian Michael Bendis super-decompression. Octavius isn't as righteous or 'good' as readers want him to be in Peter's body, but the switch has proved to be a fantastic source for new types of Spider-Man storytelling, and that's the best thing to happen to the character in years.

"He's saying super villain stuff! How can no one see through this?" ponders the Ghost of Peter Passed as he watches everyone in his life fall for Octavius' deception. I was worried Ghost Peter would only be popping up every once in a while when Otto needed a good kick in the pants to do the right thing, like a guardian angel with some alternative agenda. Having Peter float around aimlessly only to be unseen, unheard, and unknown to the world is fun because it lets Dan Slott convey the difference between the Amazing and Superior Spider-Men. Otto is doing things with the concept of being Spider-Man that Peter wouldn't have thought of in years. Like actively figuring out ways to balance an actual social life against crime-fighting, or being smarter about patrolling the city by employing spider-bots that connect with a tablet app to relay information about various incidents that require Spider-Man's attention. He makes nice with J. Jonah Jameson so the press isn't constantly on Spider-Man's case, and he actually dates Mary Jane Watson (or "the Watson woman"), something that hasn't happened in a great many years. Of course, it's not really Peter doing these things.

Ghost Peter isn't too fond of Otto's new ways, but just because Peter doesn't understand something doesn't make it bad. It happens a lot (in movies, at least) -- one scientist discovering the final solution to the chagrin and over-analysis of the other scientists out of jealousy and a feeling of failure. In the case of The Superior Spider-Man #2, ghost Peter mentions, on more than one occasion, that Otto isn't doing things like Spider-Man would do, and Mary Jane makes the same observation. This sequence feels like the first of many that will put Otto Parker's identity and reputation up to the test with Peter's personal relationships. Otto explains that he's trying to be "a smarter Spider-Man" by evolving the way he looks at being a superhero and a man in general. The most interesting part about Otto's drive to be better is that -- at least in this issue -- it's primarily fueled by his desire for Mary Jane. Otto takes MJ on multiple dates with little more payoff than pecks on the cheek and the cold shoulder one particular night. It's in the frustration of not even getting to first base that causes Otto to have his greatest revelation about Spider-Man as Spider-Man so far: Mary Jane and Peter's relationship is dependent on the Spider-Man aspect to keep it alive and healthy -- without the mask, there is no spark and no deep connection.

It could be argued that Slott has effectively cheapened decades of history between these characters by implying that their love was little more than some weird superhero/damsel-in-distress relationship that was only good when the world was going bad, or vice versa. Really, it's an astute observation on the nature of a super hero being in love with someone who isn't. In the beginning, Peter and Mary Jane had a relationship built upon a mutual respect and love for one another, but as time went on and Spider-Man's life began to affect Peter's, Mary Jane was often caught in the crossfire as the one who needed saving, with all the whirlwind emotions that come with being held hostage by a mutated thug or international crime syndicate. Otto's decision to break things off with MJ is one that merits significance because it's a decision that shocks ghost Peter because it's something he could never do, no matter how much sense it made. Otto understands how Peter and Mary Jane's relationship became dysfunctional and he puts a stop to it before it can even start back up.

The Superior Spider-Man #2 continues Dan Slott's fantastic look at a villain turned hero. Otto Octavius has a chance to change his life completely (and for the better) without sacrificing who he is at the core, which is something many of us wish we could have done at some point in our lives. The addition of ghost Peter into the mix is risky, and the jury is still out on how that element of the storytelling will play out, but for now, it's enjoyable and provides the Peter Parker presence fans really want. Giving Otto the chance to make Spider-Man into a better hero was a stroke of genius for Slott because it allows Otto to transfer his mad scientist ideas into competent tech with practical uses. I mentioned it in my review of the first issue and I'll say it again here: for me, The Superior Spider-Man is a whole lot more fun and interesting than Spider-Man has been in a while.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013


(w) Peter J. Tomasi
(a) ChrisCross

"Rise of the Third Army" concludes this week with Green Lantern Corps Annual #1, a rather fantastic finish to a somewhat lackluster 'crossover' event that spanned all four Green Lantern Family titles from the 'New 52'. Things started out well enough last August with Green Lantern Annual #1, but the actual "Rise" of the Guardians' new army has been slow-burning, to put it lightly. In fact, the Third Army was rarely more than background noise that happened to pop into the main story every so often. Fortunately, Green Lantern Corps Annual #1 offers a bit of redemption for "Rise of the Third Army" with a satisfying conclusion that smoothly leads into the upcoming follow-up crossover, "Wrath of the First Lantern".

The Guardians of the Universe have been losing their marbles for quite a while. Geoff Johns provided the catalyst with the reveal that the Blue Ones had been hiding the fear entity Parallax within the Green Lantern central battery for eons. Besides giving explanation to the ineffectiveness of the Green Lantern rings against the color yellow, Johns' revelations in Green Lantern: Rebirth were the first of many that showed how billions of years of immortality have made the Guardians lose sight of their ethics.

In Green Lantern Corps Annual #1, Peter J. Tomasi picks up all the plot pieces -- from Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, and Red Lanterns -- that have been piling up over the past four months. The Guardians' endgame is near, and part of that includes deceiving all Green Lanterns ignorant to the threat of the Third Army into returning to Oa for a mass genocide. Guy Gardner, new Lantern Simon Baz, and the squirrel-like B'dg concoct a plan to exploit the Guardians and inform the rest of the Corps as to what's happening by manipulating the Guardians' massive egos. John Stewart and Star Sapphire Fatality finally manage to see Mogo's reconstitution through. Kyle Rayner and his Rainbow Brigade show up near the end to add some seriously needed firepower. Finally, Atrocitus' reprogrammed Manhunters join the fray against the most powerful, most insane beings in the known universe.

This is Green Lantern storytelling at it's best: crackling interconnectedness that conveys the larger-than-life essence of science fiction storytelling. And unlike Geoff Johns' previous epic Green Lantern story arcs, the Guardians sit firmly at the center of this conflict, not through past mistakes or misinterpreted intentions, but by the will of their own machinations. Parallax, the Sinestro Corps, the Black Lanterns; all of them pale in comparison to the Guardians of the Universe in terms of raw power. Ganthet and his sorely misled brethren want peace in throughout the universe, no matter what the cost. In one sense, their endeavor is no different than in the past. Just like any other technology, advancements are made as time moves forward. For the Guardians, upgrading their technology means having a singular goal, a shared focus that allows for the best possible results. Under these guidelines, the Green Lantern Corps is like an old PC from the mid-90s: slow, outdated, and not worth the effort it would take to make it better.

Just like any nefarious villain bent on total control, the Guardians bite off more than they can chew, leading to the explosive -- if not foreseeable -- escape of the mysterious First Lantern, now named Volthoom. Without spoiling the circumstances of his escape or his intentions, the First Lantern's plans are a natural step forward from "Rise of the Third Army" that will give all the different Lanterns a lot to deal with in the coming months. Geoff Johns' Green Lantern plans have been coming to fruition for the past eight years, and it will be exciting to see how the Guardians' fall from grace will end. I word it like this because I can't see an outcome to "Wrath of the First Lantern" where the Guardians are still in power. Already in the 'New 52', the rules have changed for the Green Lantern franchise in significant ways, and introducing a First Lantern into the mix makes logical, if not yet evident, sense.

Green Lantern Corps Annual #1 does a great job finishing up one story arc and starting another. While the entire "Rise of the Third Army" event was less fast-paced as I had originally expected it to be, the conclusion makes it worth the build-up because we've been able to slowly integrate the idea of a hive-minded army of locust soldiers assimilating sentience into the basic setting of Green Lantern series. Instead of "Rise" being a one-month blitzkrieg (like, say, "Night of the Owls"), Johns and Company opted for pacing that made the threat of the Third Army all the more real and disturbing.


THE WEEK (JAN 30 - FEB 5, 2013)

Featured Review
Green Lantern Corps Annual #1
(w) Peter J. Tomasi
(a) ChrisCross

"Rise of the Third Army" finished up with this oversized annual issue! Now that the Guardian's new army has ravaged the universe, how will the Green Lantern Corps stop them? Find out here! Plus, GLC Annual #1 also leads into the next Green Lantern Family crossover, "Wrath of the First Lantern"!

Aquaman #16
(w) Geoff Johns
(a) Paul Pelletier

"Throne of Atlantis" continues this week as Orm the Ocean Master declares all-out war on the surface world! Plus, remember how the monsters from "The Trench" got out a few issues back? Well here they come to eat your face off!
Batman and Robin Annual #1

Batman and Robin Annual #1
(w) Peter J. Tomasi
(a) Adrian Syaf

Hawkeye #7
(w) Matt Fraction
(a) Steve Lieber

The hurricane issue. All of Matt Fraction's royalties from this issue's sales are going directly to Hurricane Sandy relief. So, make sure to drop by your LCS and maybe pick up more than one copy if you've got the money to spare this week!

Justice League Dark #16
(w) Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes
(a) Mikel Janin

The Superior Spider-Man #2
(w) Dan Slott
(a) Ryan Stegman

Dan Slott promised he would address the issue of rape between Peter and Mary Jane now that Peter is actually Doc Ock. I was very impressed with the first issue, so hopefully Slott can keep the momentum rolling!

Teen Titans #16
(w) Scott Lobdell
(a) Brett Booth

Extra! Extra!
Avengers #4
(w) Jonathan Hickman
(a) Adam Kubert

Batman, Incorporated #7
(w) Grant Morrison
(a) Chris Burnham

The Flash #16
(w) Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
(a) Francis Manapul

Superman #16
(w) Scott Lobdell
(a) Kenneth Rocafort

X-Men Legacy #5
(w) Simon Spurrier

Sunday, January 27, 2013

EXTRA! EXTRA! (JAN 23-29, 2013)

Green Lantern Corps #16
(Tomasi, Pasarin)

Green Lantern Corps #0 back in September introduced Guy Gardner's family, a plot element that's continued throughout "Rise of the Third Army" as Guy's illustrious rank in the Corps is stripped and he's forced to go back to Earth, disgraced and powerless. Peter J. Tomasi has done a great job fleshing out Guy's downward spiral that comes to a head this month in Green Lantern Corps #16 as the Third Army goes after Guy. With guest stars B'dg and Simon Baz from the pages of Green Lantern, Tomasi is building up to next week's explosive finale of "Rise of the Third Army" that will lead into "Wrath of the First Lantern", an event that promises to change the cosmic landscape of the DCnU.

GRADE: 8/10

Red Hood and The Outlaws #16
(Lobdell, Green II, Faucher)

While definitely on the 'not terribly relevant' end of the spectrum for "Death of the Family" tie-ins, Red Hood and The Outlaws #16 does provide an interesting crossover between the title and the Teen Titans who join Arsenal and Starfire in searching for their respective Red-titled leaders. This issue is about setting up the future of Red Hood and The Outlaws by touching on Roy Harper's surprising past with Killer Croc, a look at the mysterious Dr. Hugo Strange, as well as an epilogue about Deathstroke pointing toward some re-envisioned classic Titans/Deathstroke action! Of all the titles he's writing for DC, Scott Lobdell's work on this series is the best: it's relatable and meaningful, it's not saturated with internal monologue, and the characters feel like real people instead of an idea of what people should sound like. Even though the Joker is hardly a focus of this chapter in "Death of the Family", the tie-in label is still valid because Joker's actions have caused a lot more consequences than even the Clown Prince of Crime could have anticipated.

GRADE: 8/10

Supergirl #16
(Johnson, Asrar)

While I was a big fan of Supergirl since it started, I've found myself liking it less and less every month, starting with the departure of series co-writer Michael Green II, then with the "H'el on Earth" tie-in issues that feel so forced I almost want to just stop reading the book until all this Kryptonian stuff is sorted out. Supergirl #16 continues the odd trend of reworking Kara's unique personality; instead of being the bold, independent thinker she'd been for 13 issues thus far, Kara's become a slack-jawed servant to the whims of H'el, a guy who couldn't look more evil and despicable if he tried. Homesickness can go a long way in influencing actions, but it's hard to balance Kara's total support of H'el's obviously insane machinations against her previous, well-adjusted self. I'm hoping we'll get the Kara we all know and love back after the conclusion of "H'el on Earth."

GRADE: 7/10

Uncanny X-Force #1
(Humphries, Garney, Miki)

With a title that requires this series to somewhat live up to the spectacle of it's predecessor, Sam Humphries and Ron Garney's Uncanny X-Force is about a new era for some of Marvel's leading ladies, as well as Puck, the mystical dwarf from Canada. But I digress because UXF (v2) is actually very fun and entertaining -- Storm and Psylocke are working together to find and stop classic X-Men villain Spiral from peddling her hive-mind hallucinogenics to club scene ravers. So far, there's not a lot to explain exactly why all these characters will eventually join forces (including Fantomex offshoot Cluster), but that's not the point of this first issue: it's to show how Betsy Braddock -- the only remaining member of the previous X-Force team unless you kind of count Cluster -- hasn't moved on from what happened with that team and how those lingering emotions are making her life unlivable. This volume of Uncanny X-Force has the potential to be one of the coolest 'Marvel NOW!' series going forward, but it's going to take a voice of it's own that's not drowned out by other female-centric books like the non-adjectived X-Men or even Fearless Defenders.

GRADE: 7.5/10

Saturday, January 26, 2013


(w) Rick Remender
(a) John Cassaday

Reading Uncanny Avengers is experiencing a modern classic unfold. Much in the same fashion he rendered Uncanny X-Force one of the best comic book series in modern history, Rick Remender is making sure this new series lives up to it's top shelf name. Uncanny Avengers sits comfortably and impeccably between the Avengers and X-Men franchises, in terms of team makeup as well as narrative breadth. Jonathan Hickman is going universal in the pages of Avengers and New Avengers, ratcheting up the scope of the threats facing each team, threats that have universe-sized ramifications. Brian Michael Bendis is bringing his unique brand of interpersonal relationship drama to the X-Men by penning decompressed, character-driven stories. Remender's book and team fall right in the middle, which is kind of the point.

Uncanny Avengers #3 continues "The Red Shadow", an opening salvo that very much reflects Remender's attempt to balance the sheer size of the Avengers with the intimacy of the X-Men. There are a number of different elements that showcase the melding of franchises. Like Red Skull, who is traditionally an Avengers villain, focusing his evil intentions upon the biggest perceived genetic monstrosity of all: the mutant gene. Taking the Nazi ideology to it's extreme conclusion makes Red Skull one of the more foreboding villains in recent history. Or Red's S-Men, a ramshackle team super humans made special externally, through science, magic, or anything other than being a mutant, really. These S-Men (short for Special Men, one would assume) have undergone alterations to become a facsimile of the very perceived threat they stand against. For them, the ends justify the means when the end is the extinction of all mutants. And their backstories reveal the hatred that fuels their endeavors.

It's not often that reading a comic book feels like reading a novel. Remender's narration throughout Uncanny Avengers #3 transforms "The Red Shadow" from a well-written Avengers story into a broad, expansive narrative that's a fantastic allegory for World War II. While Red Skull's general ideology remains the same -- thus does his position in the symbology -- his hatred has shifted from merely one ethnicity to an entire species of mutated humans. Against Red Skull's metaphorical Axis stand the Allied Forces in the Uncanny Avengers, who seek to throttle Red's hypnotic amplification of people's base fears about mutantkind, pushing them to murder those who are different. Captain America vs. Red Skull: sound familiar?

Keeping the gratuitous violence off-panel was a wise choice, artistically, because it gives John Cassaday room to show more with less and to incorporated Remender's narration to give these sequences the cold, bitter tone the story requires. Cassaday's artwork for the entire issue is fantastic, especially his Red Skull, who looks verily insane from beginning to end.

Rick Remender and John Cassaday are creating something truly inspired with Uncanny Avengers. The narrative's underlying symbolism and lasting consequences give it the demeanor of Marvel's flagship 'Marvel NOW!' title. In many ways, Remender has taken the best parts of the Avengers and X-Men franchises and melded them together for stunning results. Uncanny Avengers #3 is the third chapter of "The Red Shadow", but unlike many middle issues, this one doesn't lull or rest on exposition to carry the story into a big conclusion.


Friday, January 25, 2013


(w) Geoff Johns
(p) Ivan Reis
(i) Joe Prado

Last fall, a number of DC creators, editors, and executives started talking about how 2013 was going to be a year full of changes for the 'New 52'. Geoff Johns' epic "Throne of Atlantis" could have been a simple crossover between Justice League and Aquaman -- a natural move since Johns writes both series -- but it's slowly transforming into a turning point for the entire DCnU.

Justice League #16 sets up the final pieces for the inevitable war between Atlantis and the surface world. The issue is thick with anticipation -- the difference between war and peace lies with Aquaman's ability to temper the Justice League's justifiable anger over the tidal wave that decimated the eastern seaboard against his brother Orm's anger over the perceived attack on Atlantis. At some points, Aquaman is literally standing between the League and Orm, stopping all hell from breaking loose. Aquaman's ethical quandary over how to proceed -- standing with the League and demanding justice from Orm, or adhering to Atlantean tradition by forsaking the entire surface world -- is a central theme for the entire sequence. The one unfortunate element of this situation is that all the character behave in cliche superhero fashion of punching first and asking questions later. Batman, in particular, acts particularly out of character for a hero who understands the intricacies of how fear compels people to do unspeakable things. But traditional superhero tropes aren't enough to detract too much from this stellar issue. 

But there's a lot more to Justice League #16 than just the beachhead confrontation between the League and Ocean Master. For one, Dr. Shin has been an important and central character in Aquaman since the first issue, so it comes as no surprise that he's a target of a team of Atlantean assassins who believe Shin is a key figure in turning the tide of the coming war. Being the foremost human expert on Atlantean physiology puts the Doctor in the unique position of finding a weakness to exploit. Johns also properly introduces Dr. T.O. Morrow into the 'New 52' with his suggestion that S.T.A.R. Labs employ his nameless "android" to take control of the weather from Orm, who has used his mystical staff to conjure up a series of deadly storms. It's just a passing remark, and the idea gets shot down by Cyborg's dad pretty quickly, but not before a certain Dr. Magnus and his Metal Men are also mentioned. Being the Chief Creative Officer for DC, Johns has a lot of freedom to include little nuggets of foreshadowing. Of course, the biggest "holy sh*t" moment comes with the final splash page that points to a bold new direction not only for Justice League, but also the DCnU at-large.

Justice League #16 is a fun issue full of intense action, plot-advancing story, and an ending that will get most any DC fan excited for the future of the series and the 'New 52'. Already, a tidal wave has destroyed the east coast of the United States. That's going to last for a while, and a war with Atlantis is going to change the landscape even more. Since last Free Comic Book Day, we've known that 2013 would bring "Trinity War", the first major 'New 52' crossover that would effect the entire line. "Throne of Atlantis" may or may not be a prelude to this massive event, but it's setting the standard for 2013 being about big ideas and big changes.



(w) Geoff Johns
(a) Doug Mahnke
(i) Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Tom Nguyen, and Mark Irwin

Since his first appearance in last September's Green Lantern #0, Simon Baz has polarized internet discussion boards for a variety of reasons. From readers who felt Baz was an unnecessary attempt at diversity, to those who felt his 'mistaken terrorist' storyline was too politically motivated, to others who simply disliked the fact that a Green Lantern was carrying a gun. Of course, for all the detractors, there were just as many fans who were vocal in their excitement for a superhero more representative of modern American culture. Green Lantern #16 offers a good helping of plot advancement thanks to the arrival of B'dg, a squirrel-like Green Lantern most recently featured in Robot Chicken's "DC Comics Special" in a segment highlighting some of the more ridiculous characters in DC's pantheon. 
It seems as though Geoff Johns took this slight to the might B'dg to heart. The adorably bad-ass B'dg becomes Baz's teacher/coach by default once he learns Hal Jordan is technically dead.

One of the best things about Simon Baz has been the way Johns has characterized him beyond the ring. Too many times in comic books, characters are introduced and made to accept their fate with little to no question for the sake of moving the story along quickly enough to keep readers interested. Johns, instead, has taken the time to flesh out Simon as a person. Simon's journey has two parallel narratives that play off one another and pay off in big ways throughout this issue. Simon's primary goal is clearing his name of terrorist actions. By focusing on a more human task, Johns is able to incorporate the Green Lantern element as the secondary narrative that's just now coming to a head. B'dg's arrival signals a turning point for Simon's career as a Green Lantern, from amateur with a ring to a member of the most powerful and revered peacekeeping force in the universe.

The final pages of Green Lantern #16 prove that Simon Baz is no temporary replacement; for a while, I was worried that Baz was more of an experiment that could be ended as quickly as it was started. Of course, that could still be the case, but Simon's inclusion in the upcoming Justice League of America coupled with the fact that the Green Lantern Corps really hasn't ever had a problem with there being an inordinate number of Lanterns from Earth points to his being around for a while. With "Rise of the Third Army" coming to a close next week, and "Wrath of the First Lantern" coming next month, I'm sure the Corps will be needing all the firepower it can get.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013


(w) Kieron Gillen
(p) Jamie McKelvie
(i) Mike Norton

What do you call it when the stars align, when everything goes exactly as planned, when all the pieces effortlessly fall into place? Usually, it's called perfection. Now, we can add Young Avengers...again.

Alan Heinberg and Jim Cheung's seminal 2005 Young Avengers was one of the most fascinating instances in modern comics history. Mercilessly pigeonholed before it even debuted, Young Avengers #1 was all it took to sway a vast majority of the skeptics. I say this because, logically, there is bound to be a small subset of readers who won't like something for one reason or another, but to be honest, I've never met a single Marvel comics fan (in person or on the internetz) who didn't not only like, but love the original run. Heinberg and Cheung bottled lightning with those original 12 issues. It's testament is the rabid anticipation that's been brewing for a new ongoing Young Avengers ever since the original ended. Sure, we got The Children's Crusade, but that was Heinberg and Cheung's swan song -- an ending with the potential for new beginnings.

Enter Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, a writer and artist respectively who have worked together numerous times in the past, most notably on their Image series, Phonogram. Gillen and McKelvie's subtle world of music as magic conveyed an idea of youth and popularity as a tiresome barometer of desire, along with the emotional resonance of music through the lens of supernatural pastiche. There's a lot of layers to PhonogramSo what do you get when you put a wildly successful youth-oriented superhero squad with a creative team that somehow perfectly captures the idea of being young? You get Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. And now I've used the same literary device twice in the same review. 

That's how good Young Avengers #1 is.

'Marvel NOW!' has been a mostly successful venture with a few outlying exceptions. Titles like Avengers, All-New X-Men, and Captain America are good because they commit to they commit to a clear narrative direction. Jonathan Hickman makes the Avengers feel bigger that ever before, Brian Michael Bendis has shifted the entire landscape of the X-Men corner of the Marvel universe, and Rick Remender took the Sentinel of Liberty out of our universe in order to find a bold new frontier for Steve Rogers. Young Avengers #1 does magnificently what so many books fail at doing on a monthly basis, and that is tell a compelling story about young heroes that actually feels like it's about young people. The opening pages featuring Kate Bishop and Noh-Varr (formerly known as both Marvel Boy and Protector) are pristine for Gillen's presentation of the awkward morning after a weird night our parents always warned us about while McKelvie draws these characters to look like actual adolescents, which is, again, something that is frustratingly uncommon in today's comic book landscape.

While Miss America Chavez and Kid Loki were featured exclusively in Marvel NOW! Point One's prologue tale, their time in Young Avengers #1 is limited to a small exchange over Loki's apparent plan to inflict harm of some sort, and America's natural reaction to floor the annoying Asgardian imp. Being such a short sequence, the amount of character development is betrayed by the number of panels. America wouldn't even listen to what Loki had to say in Point One, and now she's at the same location, like she's following him. Then we've got Loki, who tries to dine and dash before being spooked by a corporeal voice. Why is Loki so cheap? Is it because he's the god of mischief or is it because he's young and the money he has is that much more precious to him?

The most emotional storyline comes with the established relationship between Billy and Teddy, a.k.a. Wiccan and Hulkling, the latter of whom still goes out and puts on his proverbial mask to fight crime. Billy doesn't approve of the superhero game after the events of The Children's Crusade, and for good reason. "How many friends have we buried?" he posits his boyfriend as the two attempt to understand the needs and desires of the other. Teddy's surprise confession to privately dealing with the crumbling of his entire life after his mother's murder is surprisingly moving. It's what jumpstarts Gillen's plot, "big bad"-wise, going forward as Billy decides to use his powers again, but just for good. Again, McKelvie's artwork plays a pivotal role in the storytelling as his facial expressions contain depth and a dimension of reality without betraying the core of it being comic book art. Much like Mike Allred, McKelvie focuses on the face as a whole to convey different emotional responses instead of relying on body language or over-expressive features.

Young Avengers #1 was somewhat of a homecoming for this comic book fan. Since I got myself back into reading comics on a regular basis almost two years ago, my collecting has been done exclusively digitally, mostly out of convenience. It wasn't until Marvel announced the relaunch of Young Avengers with Gillen and McKelvie (something I actually hoped for after reading Phonogram and first learning about 'Marel NOW!') that I decided I would start buying in print again. I own all 12 issues of the original Young Avengers, and I didn't want to have a gap in my collection. As they've stated in many an interview, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have not recreated the magic that made Alan Heinberg and Jim Cheung's Young Avengers so amazing. Instead, they've evolved the idea (in Gillen's own words) from "being sixteen to being eighteen." While that's only a two year difference, in the life of a person that age, that's all the difference in the world, and Young Avengers #1 captures this sentiment perfectly.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

THE WEEK (JAN 23-29, 2013)

Young Avengers #1
(Gillen, McKelvie)

Ever since Marvel announced that Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie were taking the reigns on a new volume of Young Avengers, I've basically been hoarding any and all info concerning the new series because the Young Avengers is my favorite superhero team ever. I own all the original 12 issues, I've read every crossover and tie-in there's been, and I waited and waited for Avengers: The Children's Crusade to finish up. Now, Gillen and McKelvie are taking Young Avengers in an exciting new direction that -- if it's anything like Phonogram -- is going to be AMAZING.

Avengers #3
(Hickman, Epting)

Captain America continues his mission to gather his Avengers recruits for an assault on Mars against Ex Nihilo to free their fellow heroes. Jonathan Hickman's concept-saturated Avengers stories already have a lot of readers scratching their a good way!

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #6 of 6
(Cooke, et al.)

I stopped reviewing all the other Before Watchmen mini-series because, to be honest, none of them had a lot of staying power. While the first few issues of each series were mostly enjoyable (except for Comedian, which has been a train wreck the whole time), they've slipped and fell into 'filler issue' territory. Darwyn Cooke's Minutemen is the exception to the rule, as Cooke's fantastic art style and nuanced writing have made this series immaculate. 

FF #3
(Fraction, Allred)

I love this series. You should love it as well. Matt Fraction and Mike Allred take readers on a journey to discover why a mysterious messenger has brought a message of the Fantastic Four's demise!

Green Lantern #16
(Johns, Mahnke)

Even though none of the "Rise of the Third Army" tie-in issues have featured a whole lot of the eponymous Third Army, Green Lantern has been the most enjoyable series through this GL-crossover, as Geoff Johns' Simon Baz has proved to be one of the most interesting new superheroes in a long time. 

Justice League #16
(Johns, Reis, Prado)

"Throne of Atlantis" continues this week. It's pretty much obvious that Ocean Master is manipulating everything, right? Then again, Johns has a way of making readers believe what he'd like us to see up until the twist.

Uncanny Avengers #3
(Remender, Cassaday)

Finally, finally, we get Uncanny Avengers #3 nearly two months late. It's unfortunate that such a great series -- which is still considered the flagship 'Marvel NOW!' title, I'm assuming -- continues to have such a broken release schedule. To be honest, I nearly forgot it was coming out this week, and I had to go back and reread the first two issues to make sure I knew what was going on. Other than the weird releases, Uncanny Avengers #3 looks like it's going to be a turning point in this first arc.

Extra! Extra!
Green Lantern Corps #16
(Tomasi, Pasarin)

Red Hood and The Outlaws #16
(Lobdell, TBA)

Supergirl #16
(Johnson, Asrar)

Uncanny X-Force #1
(Humphries, Garney)

Wonder Woman #16
(Azzarello, Chiang)

Monday, January 21, 2013

EXTRA! EXTRA! (JAN 16-22, 2013)

All-New X-Men #6
(Bendis, Immonen)

After a five-issue opening salvo, Brian Michael Bendis begins his second arc with All-New X-Men #6 by focusing on Jean Grey and Cyclops as they each start to adapt to the modern day through trials by fire. For Jean, those trials involve dealing with her newfound powers, while Scott discovers a completely new world once he drives off the school grounds with Wolverine's motorcycle. Bendis does an excellent job playing Jean and Scott off of Kitty Pryde and Logan respectively -- Kitty teaches Jean a psychic cool-down technique Jean taught Kitty years ago, while Logan begrudgingly tries to be civil toward a young Scott Summers fearing for his safety because of something he hasn't done yet. I was worried, early on, that Bendis wouldn't be able to sustain All-New X-Men beyond the shock value of the original five X-Men being in the present, but he's proved that there's a lot that comes with being time-displaced amongst your future self, and that's what's going to keep this series alive for a long time.

GRADE: 9/10

Batgirl #16
(Simone, Benes)

I mentioned in my review of Batman #16 that "Death in the Family" is getting a bit long in the tooth, and that fact is quite evident in Batgirl #16, an issue that not only grasps at Joker straws for plot advancement, but also calls into question the entirety of Joker's actions in general. Joker explains to Barbara (after saying it to basically everyone else in one form or another) that Batman's allies are his weaknesses and the only way to make him stronger is to eliminate those weaknesses -- so Joker decides to kill the others and...marry Batgirl? The whole idea is cool from a theoretical standpoint, but the concept of Joker wanting to maim and wed Batgirl is just kind of silly; there's no real reason for Joker not wanting to simply kill Batgirl, and the inclusion of James Gordon Jr. is the only thing that kept me reading, as he was obviously the wild card that was injected to make a rather mediocre "DotF" tie-in worthwhile. I like Gail Simone, but her event crossover issues have just not been that good, and it all comes to a rather uninspired conclusion here in in Batgirl #16.

GRADE: 5/10

Demon Knights #16
(Vendetti, Chang)

Demon Knights #16 moves forward 30 years to reconnect the Demon Knights with each other once again to take on an impossible task: defeat the monster Cain before he can reach the island of Themyscira and turn the Amazonian population into his unstoppable army. Every member of the original team is imbued with some sort of agelessness, except for Al-Jabr, who has built a grand city of innovation in Spain, though has grown old as well. Robert Vendetti does an exceptional job catching up readers to the current status quo without giving too much away (what's up with Ystin and Exoristos' relationship going all sour?), as well as making the issue accessible enough for new readers to be able to understand who these characters are and why they're together. I've heard rumor that Demon Knights is next in line to be cancelled, and if that's true it would be a real shame because Paul Cornell -- and now Vendetti, as well -- has built up such an amazing a focused vision of DC's history.

GRADE: 8/10

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #16
(Kindt, Ponticelli)

It's the final issue of Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E., which is sad because it's such a great series, but it's good because it means Matt Kindt and Alberto Ponticelli poured their all into issue to send the series off in good fashion. "The Monster Bomb" really doesn't differ much from the Creature Commandos' normal missions -- they're tasked with stopping a dirty viral bomb from being dropped on Central City by a terrorist cell known as The Plague -- so it's Karl Martin's parallel story that makes the issue more interesting. Martin's testimony to his superiors as to the legitimacy of monsters running around a major city land him a forced leave of absence to help deal with his delusions of a shadow organization employing cliche monsters to do in hours what federal organizations do in years. Matt Kindt decides to play it up for this series finale, giving us two sides of the same story and offering a more relatable situation that also acts as a way to bow out with dignity.

GRADE: 8/10

Indestructible Hulk #3
(Waid, Yu)

Slow-burn is the name of Mark Waid's game with Indestructible Hulk -- he has been taking deliberate steps to frame Bruce Banner's new designation as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., allowing the idea of the Hulk being an employee of an international peacekeeping/espionage organization to sink in a bit. That being said, Indestructible Hulk is moving a little too slow at times, and the action sequences are few and far between; case in point, this month's issue only really has one big fight scene, and it's over in a matter of panels. I'm predisposed to like Waid's Indestructible Hulk purely based on what I've seen the man do with other characters, but I'm worried there might be a lot of self-fulfilling prophecies and writing to expectations instead of what's good.

GRADE: 7.5/10

New Avengers #2
(Hickman, Epting)

If high-concept, science-saturated, ethically-complex storytelling isn't your cup of tea, New Avengers is going to be your least favorite series of the year -- Jonathan Hickman packs so much into New Avengers #2 that it might take you more than a fair share of rereads to understand what's really going on. Because Earth seems to be the constant incursion point in a chain reaction of imploding universes, the Illuminati gathers to discuss how to deal with the rapidly approaching end of all existence without resorting to killing other worlds to save our own. Mister Fantastic, Dr. Strange, Black Bolt, Namor, Captain America, Black Panther, and Iron Man all have their work cut out for them as they must keep the multidimensional apocalypse a secret, and also because one of the flash-forwards might possibly have revealed the origins of the coming Age of Ultron! Hickman and Epting have developed a stunning series with this new volume of New Avengers, and it's only going to get bigger and better.

GRADE: 9/10

Superboy #16
(DeFalco, Coello, Pinna)

There are really not adequate words to describe how bad Superboy #16 really is; aside from the lazy art and completely nonsensical plot points, Kon-El's personality goes through wildly changing iterations, Flash's internal monologue is some of the stupidest I've read in months, and "H'el on Earth" has become more confusing as opposed to more clear, which is what a story is supposed to do the farther along it gets. Throwing the Justice League into this issue is a blatant play for sales of a book that's simply bad -- Kon is basically just the League's pawn this issue, and their overall plan to use his telekinesis to overpower H'el's forcefield around the Fortress of Solitude is so dumb it's laughable (and Batman admitting he doesn't know what to do?!?! WHY TOM DEFALCO? WHY!?!?) There's really not a whole lot to like about Superboy #16, whether you're coming in as a new reader intrigued by "H'el on Earth", or you're a regular buyer who keeps up with the book. It boggles my mind as to why DC is so flippant with how they're handling their flagship teen hero and making him a cardboard cutout of a protagonist in order to pump up a severely fractured and uninteresting story.

GRADE: 2/10

Saturday, January 19, 2013


(w) Rick Remender
(a) John Romita Jr.


I'm just going to say it.

I love Rick Remender and John Romita Jr's Captain America.

For the better part of the last decade, Ed Brubaker's stoic, dark, spy-y stories about the Sentinel of Liberty have kept me at arms-length from one of Marvel's top characters. Brubaker steeped his Cap stories in the world of espionage, and while that's awesome and cool, I always felt a disconnect between Rogers' personal ethics and his actions as an undercover spy working in the shadows. 

With the 'Marvel NOW!' imperative, Rick Remender has been given the reigns of Captain America, and he's decided to take Steve Rogers in the complete opposite direction that Brubaker had been going. Dimension Z is more than just a weird new setting; it's a metaphor for Cap's life, et al. On Earth, Captain America is arguably the best superhero there is because he's got this amazing combination of tactical genius, physical superiority, genuine faith in his beliefs, and a determination that never quits. After last month's look into a year in the life of being stranded in Dimension Z, Captain America #3 thrusts Steve and his travelling companion Ian (Arnim Zola's son under Cap's protection) into more familiar territory.

This familiarity comes with Steve and Ian being attacked by the Phrox, a species native to Dimension Z who retreated to subterranean caves when Zola invaded and took control of their home. Cap gets to utilize some of his combat skills that have proved useless otherwise thus far, and it goes a long way in making this volume of Captain America feel more organic and natural. The Phrox are wary of Steve and Ian, as their land has been overrun by Zola's mutated experiments, so it makes sense that their first instinct is to kill the invaders. Fortunately, Steve and Ian gain an unlikely ally from a friendly Phrox who saw that Steve, too, was at odds with Zola. Remender also continues his look back at the life of young Steve Rogers in depression-era Manhattan, a story that relates to Cap's current feelings of overwhelming helplessness. As a weak child, Steve was at the mercy of the neighborhood bullies, and in Dimension Z, his skills are rendered all but useless in a place where the landscape shifts and mutant freaks roam the countryside.

John Romita Jr's art is an acquired taste. I've heard that you "either love it or hate it", but I'm more inclined to see it as a learning curve. Much like how it can take time to get used to different writing styles depending on what writer you're reading, the same can be said for artists and their various techniques. Romita has a very stylized look about his work that immerses you without distracting from the story (unlike, say, David Finch's art, which constantly forces me to decipher who's punching what on splash pages and/or fight scenes.)

It makes sense that many people are finding Remender and Romita's vision for Captain America a little off-putting. The most common complaint I've found has been the arguably unnecessary inclusion of the flashbacks to Steve's childhood. As I mentioned earlier, these flashbacks serve not only to shed some light onto a part of Steve Rogers' life that hasn't ever been delved into much, but also to show that even though the world and the circumstances may change, the pain and the struggle remains the same. Captain America #3 comes to an end with a pretty big shocker that's going to have lasting consequences (at least as far as Marvel's solicitations are concerned) that will affect not only the rest of Steve's time in Dimension Z, but also quite possibly for the rest of his life!


Thursday, January 17, 2013


(w) Scott Snyder
(p) Greg Capullo
(i) Jonathan Glapion

Batman #16 is probably the weakest issue of "Death of the Family" so far. Tie-in issues aside, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Joker narrative has been one of the most intense and terrifying Batman stories in years, bringing the 'New 52' a Joker that has lost the little humanity he may have still possessed and now intends to make the world as meaningless as he perceives it to be. Unfortunately, Batman #16 is pigeonholed as the fill-in issue, complete with guest stars and a cyclical plot point that doesn't amount to anything by issue's end.

A big part of Batman #16 is showing how the Joker's plans are starting to fall apart the closer Batman gets to the heart of the matter -- with every advantage Batman gains, Joker's scheme loses traction. And this month, part of the plan includes some of Batman's most notorious enemies: the Penguin, the Riddler, and Two-Face. Why are these villains included in the plans of a whack-job whose return has been characterized by destroying personal relationships and alliances? Well, because they're important to Batman, and what's important to Bats is important to Joker. Including these rogues in his grand spectacle -- even if only for one act -- is telling of Joker's true emotional disparity when it comes to Batman. Since his return, Joker has insisted that he's necessary to keep Batman strong and to challenge the Dark Knight where others cannot. Batman #16 makes it more clear that it's Joker who needs Batman in a demented hyper-dependency kind of way. Perhaps in the year he was gone, Joker came to realize he was nothing when not standing against Batman. But, that's just the conjecture of one blogger. 

Other than Joker's twisted sensibility, not much goes on this issue. Batman journeys through Arkham Asylum, but the entire sequence feels rushed, like Batman could have spent an entire issue being poked and prodded by Joker's various booby traps and hired men, both regular and super-powered. In fact, Batman's quick trip through the spooky asylum puts Joker's plans in jeopardy as not everything is in place when Batman arrives. Cue extended sequence of monarchy metaphors relating to Batman's place amongst his rogues, and that's basically the entire issue. Near the end, Joker proves that when it comes down to brass tacks, Batman becomes weak as a result of his family, but didn't we already know that? And I'm assuming that's going to be part of next month's big finale, so why did Joker have to point it out to all of his villain friends? It just seemed like unnecessary plot development for an issue that wasn't all that stupendous.

Almost every other review I've read for Batman #16 praises the issue for showing how twisted Joker is, but haven't we been reading about how twisted the Joker is for the past three months? I'm all for taking the time to flesh out a story, but the events of this issue didn't do much more than reinforce already established ideas by throwing more Batman villains at us. I'm all for seeing Greg Capullo draw more Bat-villains. In fact, I'm all for Greg Capullo drawing more of everything because his art is incredible. Joker's stretched-face look has been creepy the entire run of "Death of the Family", but for some reason, he looks even more insane and broken than in previous issues. 

I won't tell you to not read this issue, because it's one of the main issues of "Death of the Family", but if you're wondering whether it stands on it's own as a good issue, that's up for debate. Sure, it's a penultimate issue to a five-issue-long storyline, but that means there should be a whole lot more going into the end of the issue to ramp up readers for the grand finale! Instead, we get a contrived situation that Batman will obviously escape from because it's Batman. Which is a shame because Scott Snyder truly understands that the Joker's terror doesn't come from his physical prowess, but rather from his mental acuity. Even though the man is a psychopathic, murderous criminal, he's probably the most intelligent, psychopathic, murderous criminal Batman has ever faced.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013


(w) Frank Cho
(a) Frank Cho

One of the biggest debates of the comic book community in 2012 surrounded the idea of 'fake geek girls'. An alarmingly misogynistic Internet rant from a generally well-respected creator triggered numerous discussions about the nature of sexism in the world of comic books, and how that viewpoint holds back the industry in general. This trend of double standards for male and female characters in comic books was emphasized by The Hawkeye Project, a blog that posts original art of Marvel's avenging archer in traditionally female poses to point out the absurdity of how women are portrayed in mainstream comics.

Apparently, Frank Cho didn't get the memo. Savage Wolverine #1 confounds me. Putting aside the overwhelmingly flamboyant use of Shanna the She-Devil's barely-covered, Cho's storyline leaves a lot to be desired, while character development is non-existent. If a solid Wolverine story is what you're looking for, you're not going to find it here.

My biggest issue with Savage Wolverine #1 is the flimsy plot surrounding an inept group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Off the coast of the Savage Land is an island where nobody has ventured before. For some reason, this S.H.I.E.L.D. team decides to investigate because oh yeah, Shanna is on board with them so it's okay. After failing to adequately scan island or assess the situation beyond Shanna's proposal that it's haunted by "black magic", the S.H.I.E.L.D. team swoops in only to have their aircraft grounded by a weird energy buildup. Why would a fully-trained S.H.I.E.L.D. outfit behave so nonchalantly about an island of which they have no information? In most every other Marvel book out there, S.H.I.E.L.D. is a hyper-vigilant organization that has protocols on top of protocols for how to deal with every conceivable situation possible. Why didn't anyone send coordinates or contact a S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier or base before heading into unknown territory? If all of this were background information, it might be acceptable, but the narrative trajectory of this S.H.I.E.L.D. team is the basis for the entire series of events throughout this issue. Later on, the crashed airship is attacked by native neanderthals who somehow get the one-up on extensively trained and armed operatives of an international police force that's intimately familiar with larger-than-life situations on a regular basis.

Frank Cho's artwork is fantastic. He uses the slower sequences to build up anticipation then allows himself to cut lose with the violence and facial expressions that have defined his artistic career. Wolverine is the perfect character for an artist like Cho, and it's evident from the brutal yet beautiful images of Wolverine beheading violent native hunters and being impaled by Shanna's spear. Unfortunately, Shanna's ever shifting breasts kind of ruin everything. As I mentioned earlier, sexism is an ever-present problem with the comic book industry and Frank Cho's scantily-clad Shanna does about everything it can to prove that all male comic book readers want is to see sexy women bouncing around. The core issue with Shanna's appearance is that she's an intelligent woman who would, under any other circumstances, understand that while a leopard bikini might be fine and dandy for the jungle, but that pants can be acceptable as well. Of course, that's not even to mention that Shanna is a character that's been around long enough to have deserved a costume change of some sort; she's been sporting the same TNA-exposing scraps of cloth since 1972.

What about Wolverine? For some reason that even he doesn't know, Logan has been conveniently transported to the same forbidden island that the S.H.I.E.L.D. crew crashed upon. He then proceeds to butcher some natives even though he's on their land and they were most likely acting to protect their people. But really, I don't know because Cho never really gives a whole lot of explanation. Logan guts the natives without remorse, but takes the time to build a grave for the fallen S.H.I.E.L.D. agent the natives had prisoner. I'm not saying Wolverine shouldn't have honored a fallen soldier, it's just interesting that he's got no issues with literally slaughtering the people who live there while getting emotional over an agent he'd never met.

In the end, Savage Wolverine #1 really only serves to highlight Cho's talent as an artist. The visual element of this issue is astounding and vibrant, if not overly-sexualized by an overuse and focus on Shanna's body. Otherwise, Cho fails at delivering a cohesive narrative that captures the attention. In fact, by drawing the reader's attention to Shanna's boobs, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team's conundrum, and Wolverine's violent rampages, Cho is left little space for a true plot. There's a mystery on the island of some sort? Maybe?


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

THE WEEK (JAN 16-22, 2013) [update]

For all you regular readers out there, I want to apologize for not updating very much last week. It was a busy, stressful week that only got busier and more stressful with each passing day. It all culminated with a 5 1/2 hour drive to Washington D.C. on Sunday and the same drive back on Monday. With that being said, I'm ready to get back on the wagon and bring you as many reviews as I can this week! Enjoy!

Savage Wolverine #1
Frank Cho tackles one of the two Wolverine titles for 'Marvel NOW!', taking the X-Men's most dangerous member to the Savage Land for some good old animalistic fun times! I mean, it's Wolverine and Shanna the She-Devil vs. dinosaurs? Count me in.

Batman #16
(Capullo, Synder)
I really hope DC keeps Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo together on Batman for as long as possible because that pairing is just a dream. Early reviews already call Batman #16 not only a turning point for "Death of the Family", but also an excellent use of a villain that's recently become a little over-exposed.

Batman and Robin #16
(Tomasi, Gleason, Gray)
It's Batman vs. Robin! Last month, Peter J. Tomasi left us hanging with a Joker venom-infected Batman coming after the Boy Wonder! Who will win? Joker, obviously. Because the villain always wins right?

Captain America #3
(Remender, Romita Jr.)
A lot of people aren't feeling Rick Remender's Cap' after all those years with Ed Brubaker, but I've thoroughly enjoyed both issues so far. I've always been a fan of John Romita Jr.'s artwork, and Remender's Dimension Z epic is just that: epic.

Indestructible Hulk #3
(Waid, Yu)
It's Hulk's first mission as an official Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.! What could go wrong? Mark Waid is just one of the best writers currently working, and Leinil Yu's amazing, beautifully chaotic artwork just makes the book.

Saga #9
(Vaughan, Staples)
There's not a whole lot to be said about Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' amazing Saga that hasn't been said about a thousand times. But I'll try because I love it so much.

Threshold #1
(Giffen, Raney)
Spinning out of the events in Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual #1, "The Hunted" begins as Jediah Caul is tuck in the Tenebrian Dominion with a giant target on his head! While I really wasn't impressed with "Threshold #0" in GL:NG Annual #1, I'm more interested in Giffen introducing DC's space-faring heroes, as well as Larfleeze's back-up story written by Scott Kolins!

Extra! Extra!
All-New X-Men #6
(Bendis, Immonen)

Batgirl #16
(Simone, Benes)

Demon Knights #16
(Vendetti, Chang)

Frankenstein - Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #16 - Final Issue!
(Kindt, Ponticelli)

New Avengers #2
(Hickman, Epting)

Superboy #16
(DeFalco, Silva)