It's another instalment of TWiP! This week is a real smorgasbord of four-colour goodness, including Venom, Fear Itself, a whole host of DC 'final issues' and even a Werewolf puking up a baby.
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Howdy! It's time for the Internet's 67th most popular comics review column! This week was an interesting one, albeit perhaps there was a bit too much Fear Itself. There's only so many hammers one man can take!
As always, click the links to join the forum discussion, which will either be a raging flame-war, or just me pathetically bumping a thread over and over. Either way, it's a damn good time, what else are you gonna do on a friday night?
Venom #6 – Spider-Island takes over Venom, and it's a very good issue. Remender wisely doesn't give over the whole issue to crossover-mania, and the focus on Flash and his dad from #5 is still very much front and centre. But there's loads of Spider-People on the loose and Venom has to deal with that before his Daddy-drama. The fight between Venom and Spider-King was excellent, and Remender used Gravity to fun effect. The revelation of who exactly Spider-King is was very surprising, even more so as it was revealed in this tie-in, rather than in Amazing Spider-Man itself. Add in a Venom-Dog, and this is another must-buy chapter in a must-buy book. Oh yeah, and how stupid am I for not realising the general was blind before?
Invincible Iron Man #507 – Wow, Fraction has a lot going on in this book right now, not content with Tony and the Dwarves, Rescue, Detroit Steel and Grey Gargoyle, he's now throwing in a Golem for Iron Man to fight! This was another great issue, although Larroca's art did look a little weird at one point during the Rescue/Detroit Steel/Gargoyle three-way throw-down. The swearing dwarves were once again hilarious, and Drunk Tony is just heartbreaking to watch, I really don't want to imagine what he'll be like once Fear Itself is over with, sad.
Hulk #39 – A little trip down memory lane for Red Hulk, and it was a welcome one, Ross needs to be developed more, he's been around for 40 years and I didn't even know his wife had a name. It was also a nice breather for the book, which has been non-stop action for like 10 issues now. But that breather didn't last long, what with Omegex showing up (I loved the caption on the cover, so wonderfully old-school and cheesy) and smashing Rulk across America. Parker has loads of wheels spinning, and it's wonderful to see him put them together so well, you never know which threat is coming after Rulk next, and when they do, it's in ways that surprise you.
Daredevil #2 – Paolo Rivera's art is the best thing about this book, I don't think the new 'light' tone of the series would work in the hands of lesser artists. The way he and Waid depicted the fight between DD and Cap was brilliantly inventive and enjoyable. I still think Matt is acting fucking crazy though. The main mystery was boring me, until Waid swerved and brought in Klaw, I think I'm going to like how he brings in some Marvel characters you wouldn't normally associate with Daredevil into this book, he can't just fight the Kingpin and Bullseye every month.
Avengers #16 – Another great tie-in issue from Bendis. I still dig the 'talking heads' stuff, and Bendis and Romita outdid themselves in the mostly silent part of the issue. I liked the use of Sharon, Hill and Hand, and although it was a joke, a Captain America and his Avenging Angels mini-series would be awesome. I think this was the first comic where Bucky's death really resonated for me as well, Cap's rage got that across. I'm guessing that Daisy Johnson is going to be an Avenger in the future, and was glad to see her show up, and that Secret Warriors hasn't been forgotten.
Avengers Academy #18 – It seems like Avengers Academy is coming out every week at the moment, it's weird. This was another typically strong issue, and it was great to see the kids out-smart Titania and Absorbing Man, and Hazmat going nuclear was awesome. I must admit that I thought Reptil had been killed, but I'm glad he wasn't. But somebody's going to die aren't they? I can just feel it. Gage is doing a great job on this book, and I got such a nerd-buzz when the Microverse showed up, can it be too much to hope for the actual Bug? Cool to see Andrea DiVito back on a Marvel book, I loved his work on Annihilation and Nova, he'd be a great choice for this book full-time.
Thunderbolts #162 – This is another book that seems to have a new issue ever week, can there be too much Thunderbolts? I dunno, but I didn't enjoy this issue as much as previous instalments. I think it was just because I was confused by the end; Fixer seemed to be opposing the Underbolts, and then he wasn't. Weird. There were some good moments in this issue though, Satana continues to be hilariously evil, and Troll is a great new character. Plus an actual Giant-Size Man-Thing! That was awesome. But still, I was left dissatisfied by this one. Good to see Matt Southworth getting some Marvel work again too, hopefully this means more Stumptown soon.
Uncanny X-Men #542 – This issue was mainly divided into 3 parts, the first was Cyclops being a bad-ass, the second was seeing all the various contingency plans for dealing with the Juggernaut, which was great fun, we got to see some pretty obscure mutant cameos, including Adam X, who is never not hilarious. The third part was Colossus, Kitty and Magik's trip into Magic-Land, so they could find Cytorrak. This was OK, but it would have been better if we hadn't been shown images of Colossus with the Juggernaut helmet on about 6 months ago. Oh, I forgot about the stuff with Emma being mind-controlled to kill Hope, so there were 4 parts!
Generation Hope #10 – I've done a front-page review for this one, click the link to read it, but maybe scroll down a bit to read my thoughts on Schism #3 first, the two are heavily linked.
X-Factor #224 – Why is it that X-Factor only really picks up when a baby is born? The issue with Siryn's baby is the best in the run, and this was the best issue for a little while, some fun lines of dialogue and some seriously messed-up shit. I did not expect to read a book where a Wolf-lady pukes up a demon baby this week. I can't wait to see where David is taking this stuff, and what Rahne will be like now. I'd particularly like to see a Werewolf-By-Night mini-series by PAD now.
X-Men: Schism #3(of 5) – I think we have a clearer picture of what the titular 'Schism' is about now, and it's certainly a controversial topic, Cyclops turned a 12 or 13-year-old kid into a soldier, into a killer, and Wolverine doesn't like that one bit. I'm not sure where I stand on this issue, Cyclops did what needed to be done, but it's not exactly right. The main bulk of the issue was an enjoyable fight between the Kiddie Hellfire Club and some of the X-Men's heavy hitters, it was a little ridiculous to see Magneto and Namor taken down by kids, but I think it's meant to be ridiculous and a little funny. Kade Kilgore and chums certainly make me smile. Daniel Acuna seems to be a bit of a 'marmite' creator, you love him or you hate him, and I liked his work here, but with how good Aaron's scripting has been in this book, any old schmuck could draw it. Can't wait to see what's next.
Ultimate Fallout #6(of 6) – A strong wrap-up to a mini-series that was variable by its very nature. The Bendis and Bagley stuff was the best, they are such a fantastic partnership, and it lended a sense of finality to the story of Peter Parker. With Aunt May and Gwen in France, they will be out of the way and we won't have Miles Morales out-shadowed by Peter's supporting cast. The Nick Fury story was OK, but I think we should have been shown Captain America quitting, especially when he's on the cover. I did like Fury's scene with MJ, I had forgotten that Ultimate Fury was a person and not an evil plotting machine, he had lost his humanity, and Bendis and now Hickman need him to get it back. The Spencer X-Men story was OK too, but kind of a formality, I had already guessed they'd go to the Morlock tunnels. This has closed the book on the old Ultimate Universe, and next week the new one begins with Ultimates #1, let's hope it's good.
Supergirl #67 – The final issue of this version of Supergirl, and it was pretty good, DeConnick writes good dialogue, and it was fun to see the various college students defeat Ivo as much as Supergirl did. I also liked how DeConnick used Lois Lane. But it wasn't exactly a momentous way for Kara to bow out before she reboots. Chrisscross' art was strange again as well. It's going to be strange going from this story, which emphasises Supergirl's humanity and has her kissing a human, to what looks like a more alien take in the new book. I guess it's goodbye to whatever we call this version of Supergirl (Neo-Classic? Short-Skirted? Bare-Midriffed?) and it's been fun.
Superboy #11 – I think the ending of this book is what upsets me the most about the DC reboot, it's obvious there's so much more Lemire wants to do with Superboy, Simon Valentine and all the other weird Smallville residents. We didn't even get a wrap-up of the Psionic Lad plot! At least Lemire managed to finish the Hollow Men story, and he did it well here, every one of the characters he's used in the run got a chance to shine, and it wrapped up in a nice mirror image of #1. All of that plus top-notch art from Pier Gallo. Scott Lobdell has a lot to live up to, I can't imagine his new book being as good as this one was. Is it too much to ask for Animal Man to meet some Parasite Frogs?
Green Lantern Corps #63 – It's a strange choice to have the final issue of GLC be written by someone who hasn't written the series before, but Scott Kolins did a good job here at getting across just how messed-up and fractured the Corps is now. The chaptered structure allowed him to shine a light on several different GLs, and I think my favourite was the Kyle Rayner scene, but the best art was definitely Kolins' own, he has a knack for drawing awesomely weird aliens. In the end, the Corps comes back together again as usual, but I expect the scars of this issue to be reflected in the new book.
Legion Of Super-Heroes #16 – This issue was the very definition of rushed, you could tell Levitz needed way more space to finish off this story, and as such, this issue was a damp squib. I did like Earth Man becoming a hero and then dying, but the rest of this was very meh. And what was that page of Sodam Yat? Didn't he die way back in Legion Of Three Worlds?
Hellblazer #282 – It's always a treat when Simon Bisley steps in to do an issue, and this was no exception. His art is just so good. This was a very well done and very creepy story, that managed to tie together a lot of little things from Milligan's run so far, like Julian and Epiphany's uncle. I loved how disturbing the imagery in this issue was, and how John solved his problems by kissing. Milligan's run continues to impress, I really hope he does a story about the London Riots, that would be incredible, but maybe it's too soon?
The Boys: Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker #2(of 5) – Another Ennis comic that really gets across the horrors of war, I swear, nobody writes better war stories in any medium than Garth Ennis. This issue continued Billy's adventures in the Falklands, and then showed the war changed him, making him into the bad cunt we all know and love. Darick Robertson's art is of course the perfect complement to Ennis, and this issue looks fantastic, I particularly love the panel of a pint glass being smashed into someone's mouth, a disgustingly beautiful piece of art that one.
Damaged #1(of 6) – This is the Review Group book for this week, head on over to the thread to read what I and some other idiots made of Radical Comics' newest book.
And that's the end of that chapter! A good week, although all the shops in my town had sold out of the latest issue of DMZ, which means this column is missing a precious paragraph of content! Hopefully I'll be able to track down a copy of the fun-time adventures of Matty and Zee soon. In the end, the best book this week was definitely Daredevil #2 because of the phenomenal art, but Superboy and X-Men: Schism are right behind it.
Join me next week for another instalment of TWiP! It's a week which promises a lot, it's the last week of the current DCU, and Action Comics, Wonder Woman and Batman, Inc are all ending. Add to that the new Ultimates relaunch, the return of Kick-Ass and new American Vampire and X-Force, it's gonna be off the funking chain.
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Review by: Niam Suggitt