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It's another week, so whaddayaknow? It's another TWiP! The only comics column you will ever need!
This week is especially good, so I'm not going to waste much time, except to remind you to click the links to join the Outhouse forum discussion.
Venom #13.3 – So it wasn't a fake-out! The 'Circle Of Four' actually did die! But of course, since they were in Hell when they bought it, they can easily be brought back to life by Mephisto. It was pretty obvious that the various scenarios we saw in the issue were false, but they were interesting nonetheless, just like the Antitheses shone some light on each hero's character, so did their paradises. So we saw that Venom still wants to be Spider-Man, that Alejandra wants to know her mother, and that Red Hulk wants to be accepted back into the army. Interesting revelations. Also cool was the fact that Mephisto's part of the bargain to bring everyone back to life was that at some point in the future they will have to do him a favour. Is that set-up for another crossover? Or maybe Parker and Remender laying down tracks for their own ongoing series? This has been a great storyline so far, and I can't wait to see how Remender closes things up.
Mighty Thor #11– Another issue of two halves. The first half is a blistering action sequence as Thor and a bunch of other Gods smash their way through the Demogorge's body. It was a lot of fun seeing Thor just cut loose and kick some ass, and Ferry drew it very well, he's perfect for the weird aliens and environments that Thor is facing. The stuff on Earth was a little slower, but still good, I was shocked by the level of violence as the fake Crone killed Kelda, really visceral stuff. Am I the only one who'd like to see a Silver Surfer/Loki team-up book? They have a cool relationship going on here. I would probably have liked the Tanarus plotline to have gone on longer, but you can't really complain with how it's ending, never before has Heimdall been such a bad-ass. It was good to see Tony Stark again, but what the hell was he wearing? He looked like a gay pirate! Maybe I'm being charitable to this book because I watched the Thor movie again yesterday, but this is still good comics.
Secret Avengers #23 – This was probably Remender's best issue so far. Whilst I'm still a little iffy on the nature of the villains, the rest of it was fantastic. I'm a big fan of Eric O'Grady as Ant-Man and felt that until now he had been underused in this book. In fact, I don't think Warren Ellis used him at all did he? It was cool to have Ant-Man be the main focus of this issue and provide the narration, even if he did die at the end. He went out like a champ and as I've said elsewhere, he died before he could be changed from his dirtbag nature too much. Yes he died a hero, but it didn't rob him of his uniqueness. Remender is proving himself to have a real knack for fun dialogue and 'banter' between characters, I really loved the two Hank's interactions. What's also cool is the new characters Remender is introducing, not only Venom (who even though he wasn't accepted onto the team this issue, will be a part of the book eventually I'm sure) but the original Android Human Torch. But his appearance here does raise a question, in this issue Captain America claims that Human Torch killed Hitler, but Bendis has previously said that Bucky was the one who ended Adolf. Which is right?
Avengers Academy #26 – After the big fights of the last few issues, this one as a bit of a 'rest' issue, as the team deals with the fallout of the battle against Hybrid, and also with the very idea of Avengers Academy. It was cool to see Jeremy Briggs return, and I think he's a really interesting villain. That's if he's even a villain at all! Gage is cleverly keeping it ambiguous as to whether or not he's on the level or an evil prick. It's kind of like a mini version of what Norman Osborn is saying in Bendis' books. He may be bad, but he does have a point. It was good to see the Avengers: Initiative characters like Cloud Nine show up again and have their say, this issue really showed that Marvel do have new characters, which goes against what a lot of industry doom-sayers suggest. The scene of the future at the end was a little confusing though, was that Hank Pym talking, or Jocasta? Hmmm... Next issue is a Runaways guest-spot, I'm very excited to see them again, and I hope that Gage writes them well, because a lot of the time anyone who isn't BKV has struggled.
Fantastic Four #603 – Man, the scale of this issue! It was truly cosmic, the stuff with Galactus fighting those Celestials was awesome, just massive. Although I did think Hickman overdid it with the Celestial's constant slashing dialogue, I found it annoying/aggravating. Is Galactus dead then? The pose he was in as he fell was reminiscent of the skeleton Galactus we've seen previously. Despite the huge cosmic scale on display here, Hickman did find time for some nice character bits, I really liked the scene where Johnny Storm was re-united with Franklin, and Bentley's message to the aliens was brilliant. The stuff at the end was epic too, but I can't help but think that even the Thing couldn't survive such a blast, the Celestials should have vaporised everyone! I wonder what Future-Val and Future-Franklin will do, it seems like Franklin is the key to stopping this threat, but he's too young to do it.
Wolverine And The X-Men #6 – Another brilliantly fun issue of W&XM, this book just drags you along and brings a smile to your face, and combined with Bradshaw's art, Aaron's humour really comes to the fore. This issue was focussed on two plotlines, the first was Wolverine and Quentin Quire's attempts to raise funds for the school by cheating at Space-Gambling. This was a lot of fun, especially since Aaron writes such a brilliant Quire and Bradshaw was able to unleash some truly weird-looking aliens. The second story was the Brood Invasion of both the school and Kitty Pryde's innards. This was a bit more serious than Wolverine's story, but it was still fun, especially Kid Gladiator, it's a cool coincidence that two Marvel books this week included scenes of heroes fighting inside a body, did Aaron and Fraction watch Fantastic Voyage on a creative retreat? It's interesting that the villain of the piece is actually after Broo, I wonder who he is?
Uncanny X-Force #22 – I really love the cover to this issue, it's so totally not what you'd expect from an X-Force cover, it was almost Frazetta-esque. The meat of this issue was decent enough as well I suppose, but it's still a bit of a let-down from the high-quality Dark Angel saga. I continue to love the way Remender is writing AoA Nightcrawler, he's a really interesting character, and once again, I begrudgingly have to admit that Deadpool was pretty cool here, I normally hate him, but Remender really is working wonders with him. The origin of 'Barrister Skinlessman' was interesting, it's cool that someone is revisiting the Weapon Plus stuff. Is the 'Father' who recruited Skinlessman the same 'Father' who's behind the Descendants over in Secret Avengers? If so, that would be a cool crossover, Secret Avengers and Secret X-Men! A perfect fit. I just hope that Fantomex gets his face back, he needs that to kiss other people's girlfriends.
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #7 – Another fantastic issue of USM, Miles Morales really is growing into a great character. I loved his inner monologue here, and how he really didn't seem to know what he was doing, Bendis really got across the sense of discovery he was going through. The fight with Omega Red was very well done, and perfectly demonstrated how he is both similar and different to Peter, the bit where he makes fun of Omega with the same joke Peter used was great. I also really liked how Bendis introduced a bit of conflict into Miles' home life, with his father being anti-Spider-Man and his mother pro, it's going to be interesting to see how that plays out. The scene with Uncle Aaron/Prowler and the Tinkerer was really good stuff too, I had previously thought of Aaron as an essentially harmless thief, but now... he's a bad guy, and the fact that he knows about Miles is very worrying. I can't wait to see what he has up his sleeve. It was a really great move by Bendis to give Miles a Bizarro Uncle Ben. Chris Samnee's art was once again top-notch, he's really fantastic, the man can draw anything!
Superman #6 – So George Perez's run on Superman comes to an end... and it was actually OK. I thought it was really cool how the alien threat Superman was facing came about directly because of his actions over in Action Comics (although it is a bit weird that we haven't seen that scene yet, but perhaps this was written with the idea that Action would have gone without those 2 Legion issues?), it was very clever in how it made the two books feel connected despite being set 5 years apart. The fight between the imposter Superman and Supergirl was good stuff, although once again Perez really over-described everything, on the plus side that makes the comic feel full, but on the other... it's clunky. There was one caption box where Superman was describing a time when he used his super-hearing, jeez that was bad. Overall Perez's run has been decent, but it's probably a bit too old-fashioned to really work in the context of a reboot. I'm not sure that Giffen and Jurgens are the people to bring modernity either, but the idea of Superman fighting Daemonites is an interesting one. Oh yeah, and Nicola Scott's art was very good, can't wait for Earth 2.
Aquaman #6 – Most of you will know that I am not a fan of Mera, or more precisely, I'm not a fan of how Geoff Johns seems obsessed with Mera and thinks that she's the greatest character ever and that she should be the main star, not Aquaman. So it's no surprise that I didn't like this Mera spotlight issue at all. It was lame and clichéd and obvious in it's attempts to make the reader think Mera was a 'bad-ass'. I read Aquaman for Aquaman, not his boring wife, and no matter how hard Johns tries, I will never think she is interesting. It actually makes me mad that interesting superhero marriages like the Flash's or Superman's were erased by the reboot, but this one wasn't, simply because Johns has a Mera-obsession bordering on the one he has for Sinestro. At least Sinestro is actually interesting! Gah! The art was decent, but other than that... NO.
I, Vampire #6 – Aw man, I'm not gonna have to read Justice League Dark am I? Stupid crossovers! Other than that, this was a really good issue, it was great to see stuff actually happen in a mainstream DC book. Andrew killing a Vampire kid, and then Tig killing Andrew... holy cow that was exciting. And then Andrew is resurrected as 'Cain: The Sire Of The All'. Even though it's a crossover it looks like being an epic story. I really liked that in amongst all of the carnage and beheadings, Fialkov found room for a little levity in the captions for each party in the battle, I know some people find stuff like that and the 'Fraptions' in Uncanny X-Men a while back to be annoying, but I like 'em. This has been a really good book and I hope it can keep it up.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #6 – This issue was mainly just a big fight between the various Lanterns and Invictus, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. I liked seeing all of the characters in action, and the Arkillo/Invictus fight was especially cool. I would have liked to see a bit more of an exploration of why exactly Invictus is trying to kill everyone and what this has to do with the various rings attaching themselves to Kyle, but hopefully this will be answered next month. I also wonder why exactly Invictus has such a mad-on for Larfleeze, but I hate him too, so perhaps I can empathise. Maybe Invictus is me? So yeah, this was just a mindless fight issue really, but sometimes you need them you know? Sometimes you just want to read a comic where a big monster thing punches another big monster thing. Loeb's Hulk used to fill that role, but not anymore. Perhaps GL: NG can be the replacement?
All-Star Western #6– This book should be re-titled to 'Jonah Hex is the toughest mother-fucker in all of human history', he killed that Giant Bat in like a page! Awesome. And then the raid on the mines, that was a gun-battle for the ages. I liked the twist that the concerned father at the start of this story were the villains, probably because I wasn't really expecting there to be a twist. I hope everyone noticed that Moody's house was full of Owls, that's a definite connection to the Court and what Snyder is doing in Batman. It's a lot of fun to spot the links between this book and Batman, and stuff like Hex meeting Bruce Wayne's ancestors may be obvious, but it does work. Despite me loving these little links and hints, it's cool that the book is heading out of Gotham for a while and we're going to see New Orleans. Those characters at the end are that era's Hawkman and Hawkgirl reincarnations right? The Barbary Ghost back-up was good once again, and I liked that even though Bo Long was killed, the story can continue as Barbary Ghost hunts for her mother. I'd certainly be up for a sequel. What's the next back-up story does anybody know? I want Bat-Lash!
American Vampire #24 – Woof, that double-page spread of the cars falling off the cliff with those snap-shots of Travis' life was something else wasn't it? Really effective storytelling. I think this issue demonstrated that Snyder is a master at using flashbacks effectively, because alongside the blistering action of the drag-race in the present day, he also showed us much more about who exactly Travis Kidd is via flashbacks. He's a cool character yes, but he's not exactly a good guy, and this kind of complicated character is perfect for this book. Yes, the vampires are bad, but the humans are just as capable of murder. It was also pretty funny how he just shoved Agent Hobbs out of the car. I'm still waiting for an explanation as to why Skinner Sweet isn't dead though, it better be a good one. This book continues to be a must-read, and really, Rafael Albuquerque is becoming one of the best artists in the biz.
Morning Glories #16 – Every time I read an issue of Morning Glories I think to myself: 'This is the most like LOST this book has been so far!' and it's true, this issue was very, very LOST. Casey and Miss Hodge have been sent back to the past just like a bunch of the LOSTies were in Season 5, and although this isn't the 1970s, it's still similar. What I found most interesting was the fact that in the past, Casey has the power to tell other people what to do, I wonder why that is? Adding to the LOST similarities, this issue also featured a flashback to Casey's life before she went to the MGA and showed her relationship to her father. At first I thought that this was re-treading old ground, but then at the end when her dad remembered meeting older Casey... it got very interesting indeed. The time-travel hurts my brain a bit, but it's exciting, I reckon Spencer is setting up a way for Casey's parents to come back from the dead, or at least not be killed at all in the new time-line. This book continues to pile on more and more mysteries and at times it's more than I can really take, but each issue is so full of great moments that it's easy to forgive the over-complex stuff that's going on. I just hope that Nick Spencer has good answers for all of these questions, unlike LOST. (And I liked the ending of that show!)
My favourites this week were Wolverine & The X-Men and Ultimate Spider-Man, those are some damn fine comic books.
Join me next week for a 5th week fun-stravaganza! There's Justice League, Spaceman, Moon Knight and Invincible! Ooh boy.
TWiP 2nd Opinions!
- GLX gave his view on Uncanny X-Force #22
- Wolverine & The X-Men was looked at by that man again, GLX, he's been busy!
Review by: Niam Suggitt