Punchy takes his popular quick-review threads to the front page! This week contains plenty of Fear Itself tie-ins, a melancholy issue of Generation Hope, the Legion fighting for no reason and John Constantine throwing a thumb down a demon's throat!
Credits & Solicit Info:
This marks the first instalment of a new column, for the last few months I've been recording my thoughts on every comic I read every week in the Outhouse forums, first in the Comic Book Reader's thread, and then in individual threads, and now, due to popular demand, I'm taking them to the front page! Wowee, it's shiny here.
Each entry here has a link to the thread in question, so if you want to discuss the particular issue, or just want to call me an ass, make with the clicky-clicky.
Also, if you have an idea for a better name for this column than 'This Week In Punchy', feel free to suggest one.
Invincible Iron Man #506 – There's a lot going on in this issue, and Fraction does really well in juggling all the balls. My favourite thread was Tony and the Asgardian dwarves he works with to build new weapons to fight The Worthy. The dwarves were just hilariously foul-mouthed and grumpy, completely different from the usual aloof Asgardians. I also really dug the decision to render their curse words with Nordic runes, it added a sense of levity to what has been a dark storyline. And Tony slipping further and further into drinking again is certainly dark, I'm terrified about what's coming for Tony now that he's a boozer. The stuff with Rescue in Paris was equally scary and dark, and the set-up of her fight with the various idiotic Detroit Steels will be very exciting. I think these issues have been my favourite Fear Itself tie-ins.
Iron Man 2.0 #7 – A weird issue, not so much a Fear Itself story, but more of an Immortal Iron Fist issue, and mostly set-up for whatever's up next for Danny Rand and Doctor Strange, I'm guessing it's that new Defenders series that's being rumoured about. This stuff obviously needed setting up, but was War Machine the place to do it? No matter what Strange said, he just seemed out of place here, and this story interrupted the main Palmer Addley plotline. But still, Monkey King was awesome once again, and I look forward to his one-shot, and Rhodey's confusion worked really well. An odd storyline this, I need to think about it some more.
Hulk #37 – This was pretty much a clinic on how to write an event tie-in, Parker took an event we've already seen in the Red Hulk/Hammer Thing fight, and built around it, making sure it works within the stuff he has in his own book. So it's revealed the fight from Avengers #14 was being monitored by MODOK and Zero/One, which means it no longer seems like Fear Itself hi-jacked Rulk for it's own means, but that it has it's own place in Parker's ongoing stories. Add to that a fun guest-appearance from Hawkeye and Mockingbird, and some really strong art from Elena Casagrande, and you don't get much better of an event tie-in than this.
Herc #5 – This takes a different approach to tie-ins, and has the events take place around the edges of Fear Itself, and it's a lot of fun. There were some really cool moments in this comic, such as the 'Face turns' of Basilisk and Man Bull, the Centipede Subway train, Hermes showing up, and the reveal of who exactly it is who is praying to Hercules. The Wicker Man Ares is awesome too, I can't wait to see Herc and Kyknos throw down next issue. Whilst I still feel this book is missing a certain something special that Incredible Hercules has, I'm still enjoying it a lot.
Daredevil #1 – Is this week's Review Group pick, coincidentally picked by me! Join the discussion!
Avengers #15 – It was really cool that Spider-Woman finally got a bit of the spotlight. We all know she's a Bendis favourite, but she hasn't really had much to do since Siege. We got an insight into her troubled mind, she fought the Hammer Hulk (which was bad-ass) and also macked on Hawkeye. A pretty full day for Jessica Drew I think you can say. Not much more to say really, I'm still really liking the 'Oral History' framing device, though I may be the only one, and Bachalo's art was excellent. Good to see Alien Boy do something too.
Avengers Academy #16 – This issue can be divided into two halves, the first was the awesome fight between Giant Man and Hammered-up Absorbing Man, which was big, wide-screen superhero fights done well, and reminded me of Godzilla or something. The way Pym resolved the fight was clever too, Giant Man is not just a Giant, he's a genius! The second half was pretty heartbreaking, Veil's attempts to rescue a mother were just nerve-wracking, and then at the end, when she flips out... holy crap, this book is getting dark. I think Gage has done an awesome job of showing how scary these crossovers would actually be for a teenage superhero, and it should be applauded.
Uncanny X-Men #541 – I love it when Cyclops unleashes his strategic side, just so cool. Gillen did really well here at showing how unstoppable the Juggernaut is, and at juggling all of the different mutants Scott had in mind to stop Juggy. I loved Iceman's little moment in the sun, and Hope was just bad-ass. And then... it all counts for nought. I am honestly at a loss as to how they are going to beat him. Oh, and Emma Frost in a cowboy hat is totally hot.
Generation Hope #9 – Wow, I wasn't expecting that, I wasn't expecting to Sheffield to show up in a Marvel comic, I wasn't expecting something this bleak, I wasn't expecting the Lights to fail. I don't want to spoil this issue because it was really surprising, but you really should check it out. It's Gillen, it's McKelvie, it's beautiful.
X-Factor #222 – Longshot is pretty much the best thing about this book right now, he seems to be the only character who isn't fucking moaning all the time. I'd like him and Shatterstar to go have crazy adventures together. It was cool that Werewolf By Night showed up though, but I wish X-Factor would lighten up!
Ultimate Fallout #2(of 6) – 3 stories in this issue, and it was a mixed bag, the Bendis/Hardman story was the best, as it picked up from last week's very emotional story, and was just gripping in the personal drama. Aunt May slapping Captain America is just crazy. The Thor story by Hickman was weird, it wasn't really about anything, but the art from Bryan Hitch was amazing (he's started drawing Thor like Chris Hemsworth, which is cool) and the panel of Peter in Valhalla with all the other dead Ultimate heroes was fantastic. The Nick Spencer Rogue story was pretty good too, I love how Spencer drew parallels with recent Ultimate events to bible stories, and made me, for once, like Rogue, Spencer looks like being a fantastic choice for Ultimate X-Men.
Supergirl #66 – Eh, if this is the last ever story with this particular incarnation of Supergirl, it's not exactly the best way to go out. I did like seeing Kara use her powers surreptitiously, and Lois Lane's investigative skills were fun (see, she works as a character on her own, she doesn't have to be married to Superman!), but the plot is pretty rote, and the supporting college characters are all annoying the hell out of me. Plus, CrissCross's art is really weird here, everybody's face is all shocked all the time.
Legion Of Super-Heroes #15 – Big fight issue, but none of it makes sense. Is this blue dude a character I'm supposed to have heard of? Starman does something but I'm not sure what, Sun Boy fighting Kodama was cool, but the whole thing with Gates and Tellus and Saturn Queen was oddly handled. I've decided I'm done with the Legion when the reboot happens, Levitz's take on the characters just isn't for me, he focuses too much on character drama at the expense of the actual plot, and since he doesn't give the reader a reason to actually care about the characters (beyond nostalgia, which I don't have), it's pointless. DC really need to get some fresh ideas and new blood into this franchise, it's completely separate from any other book, it should be much more daring than it is.
THUNDER Agents #9 – Now that it's been announced that this book is returning, I can breathe easy and not worry about whether it's moving too slowly and just enjoy what is a really well-crafted comic. I loved all of this, Dynamo's last stand was gripping, and wonderfully drawn by Mike Grell, who definitely still has it. The fight between Colleen and the Iron Maiden was one of the better wordless fight scenes I've read. I must admit I often find myself losing track of what's going on during silent scenes, but I never did here. The Silver-Age scene was awesome as usual, just the right balance of cheese and pathos. Bring on #10 and bring on Season 2!
War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath #1(of 2) – Even though I was down on the actual event, I think the status-quo left over after War Of The Green Lanterns is really interesting. Yes, Sinestro being a GL is fucking retarded, but everyone in the comic realises it too. I also liked seeing Hal Jordan taking down a peg and reduced to nothing, hah, take that you douche! All the stuff with the Guardians was creepy and worrying, but I'm betting they're going to die soon. I think the most exciting thing about this new world is that Krona's new GLs were randomly killing innocents, this is really going to mess with the reputation of the Corps, I'm betting they won't be able to operate with the freedom they used to. It's a shame this issue was an artistic mish-mash, Sepulveda isn't an artist you'd usually associated with Green Lantern, and his style was very different to the usual sleek art we get, but I did like how he rendered the GL energy, and how he drew Kilowog was awesome.
Hellblazer #281 – A pretty standard issue of Hellblazer really, John taking on Demons is always good times, and it's very interesting to see how getting married has changed him, he's more cautious now, because he's scared, not scared to die, but scared that he'll never see Epiphany again. I'm glad that the misunderstanding between John and Gemma has been sorted out, but it's not properly resolved, and I'm betting there's more to come on that. One thing though, I'm still hazy on what exactly Lady Lazarus is, has Milligan not explained it yet, or am I just dense?
DMZ #67 – The countdown to the end begins here! It's weird seeing the DMZ being rebuilt, but I can't help feel that there's a final twist a'coming. There are too many sides to this conflict for it to be resolved this easily. I do hope that this arc redeems Matty Roth in some ways, he's been a prick for about 2 years now.
The Boys: Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker #1(of 5) – I did a separate, longer, Front Page review for this one, click the link to read it. It's good.
So that's that, see you next Sunday for more comics!
Review by: Niam Suggitt