This week Punchy takes on the last issues of Action Comics and Wonder Woman, there's hot Wolverine on Wolverine action and a fight that literally shakes Las Vegas to the ground.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Hello hello hello! Welcome to this week's This Week In Punchy! (TWiP for short), which whilst a smaller week than we've had recently, still packs a, wait for it, packs a punch. Oh God, I am hilarious.
There's lots of great comics this week, so what are you waiting for? Read on! And remember you can click on the links to join the discussion.
The Punisher #2 – A good issue, I wasn't sure about Rucka's take on the Punisher after reading #1, but it really works here, he's turned Frank into this inhuman force of nature just hunting down people and killing the fuck out of them. He's like a slasher-movie villain or something, and he's the hero! I'm also liking how Rucka is bringing in elements of the Marvel Universe that make sense, like the really enjoyable guest-appearance from Spider-Man's Pal, Norah Winters, and of course, the appearance of the new Vulture at the end. Marco Checchetto's art is really strong, and he uses some interesting layouts, which only add to the atmosphere of this book.
Wolverine #14 – Wow... just wow. I mean, how big are Jason Aaron's balls? Fucking massive, fucking Hank Pym balls. I had guessed that the Red Right Hand would kill themselves in a Suicide Pact, but never in a million years that the Mongrels would be Wolverine's kids. Just so clever and so messed-up. I was laughing at the lameness of the Mongrels in previous issues, well I'm not laughing now. Aaron has done it again, and I can't wait to see where Logan goes now. And God help Daken if his dad ever found out what he did here.
FF #8 – Good to have Steve Epting back, his two-page spreads of the battle were just amazing. I was a bit confused by the conversation between Sue, Reed and Nathaniel, was it just exposition? Or was there something else there? The rest was great though, Doom taking names, Valeria trying to bust out of being grounded and then being rescued by Bentley 23 (who is awesome), and then Mad Thinker and Diablo attacking Doom. It's always good when a book subverts your expectations, and I'm sure we all expected those guys to betray Reed, but instead they took down poor old Victor.
Uncanny X-Force #13 – I love this book as much as the next man, but does anyone else feel Remender is over-using the whole 'you think the team have been beaten but it's actually Fantomex creating an illusion' thing? It's happened about 3 times in only 14 issues. Apart from that repetition, this was grand fun. I loved Fantomex and AoA Gambit's back and forth over who was the most fake-french, and then Gambit sacrificed himself, which made me sad, I'm the only person who still likes Gambit I think. Wolverine going berserker was cool too, and the ending was very cool, but how come AoA Nightcrawler wasn't there? From the looks of the post-Schism teaser, he was on the team. Still, there are a few issues to go. I was disappointed that Brooks wasn't doing the whole issue, but Eaton was decent, and it means that #14 is out only next week!
Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt #4(of 6) – This was great, it turned what is basically 22 pages of a fight into a commentary on the nature of heroism and whether or not they should kill. Gravity Vs. Hardball is a fight for the ages, and was wonderfully drawn by Norton. It's rare in superhero fights these days that you feel every punch and kick, but I felt in this issue you did, especially when each blow was causing an Earthquake. Man, Gravity done fucked up, and McKeever is very brave doing this to his own character. The other plotlines didn't get much play this issue, but Prodigy is continuing down a dark path, let's hope he doesn't fall off the wagon like Tony Stark, or Fear Itself will go down as the recovering alcoholic's least favourite event.
Mystery Men #4(of 5) – I'm really digging how insane and dark the Surgeon and Achilles are, the Surgeon especially his hilariously nuts. This issue ratchets up the tension for the final issue next month, and leaves us on a down-beat note, as the heroes are left scattered and lost. But there were some positive moments too, I really liked seeing Aviatrix and The Revenant strike up a relationship, it's one in the eye for racists. It was also good to see The Revenant's origin in greater detail, and of course Patrick Zircher's art was fantastic. I can't wait for issue 5 and to see the dastardly general get his due.
The Ultimates #1 – The first book in the new Ultimate Universe is this week's Review Group selection! Head on over to the thread to see what we all thought of Hickman and Ribic's take on Earth's Most Politically-Conscious Heroes.
Kick-Ass 2 #3 – The usual crude hilarity that you expect from Kick-Ass and then some. This issue was the 'build them up' part, before Millar begins to knock shit down, and it was great fun to see Kick-Ass and the other members of 'Justice Forever' actually do some good. But then Red Mist (or as he's now known, the Mother Fucker) shows up, and ensures that shit has most definitely gotten real. That was hardcore, I wonder if Millar has read George RR Martin? Because the fate of The Colonel was the same as a certain King In The North. I can't wait to see what levels of depravity Millar and Romita can reach next. It's a shame that this book comes out so infrequently, but when it does come out, it's a real treat.
Action Comics #904 – This issue was pretty bad really, I never bought the threat of the Doomslayer and his drill, so it was just a formality that Superman and his friends would stop it. Even the death of the Eradicator didn't come as a shock because he's died like 3 times before this and also, with the reboot he could come back at any time. So yeah, not a good way for the first volume of Action Comics to bow out, and also probably the worst story of Paul Cornell's career. I did like the coda at the end with Clark and Lois, it's good that Cornell and Roberson have used these stories to basically sum up this version of Superman before the relaunch.
Batman Incorporated #8 – A strange issue. I liked a lot of the ideas raised here, and Internet 3.0 is a great setting, but the artwork from Scott Clark was pretty bad and it was hard to follow what was going on, which made the story less good than it could have been if Burnham had drawn it. I suppose Clark is a good fit because his art is computer-generated, but it didn't work for me. It's also a shame that this is the last issue and #9 and #10 have been cancelled, as it was yet more Leviathan build-up that we'll have to wait a while for the pay-off to. It's also a shame that the reboot is turning Oracle back into Batgirl, as I felt she worked really well as the defender of Web 3.0, it allowed her to still be a positive role model and hero for disabled people, but also get in on the action digitally.
Wonder Woman #614 – And so the Odyssey comes to an end. Wonder Woman defeats Nemesis and gets back to normal. This was a solid ending, and I liked how Hester acknowledged that Wondy was going to change again in a month anyway due to Flashpoint, as that was a complaint of mine. What's the point of Diana trying to get back to normal when 1 issue later she's been revamped just as much she was in #600? It's just poor planning. But it worked out OK. I make fun of Wonder Woman a lot but this was actually a good story when Hester came on, he put in some clever meta-commentary about Wonder Woman actually means and also ramped up the action and almost made me care about her. Let's see if Azzarello can do as good a job as Phil Hester, and the less said about JMS the better.
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #13 – An enjoyable team-up between Guy Gardner and Batman. Whilst the mystery wasn't compelling it had Guy Gardner being a dick but then proving his heroism, it had Batman knowing more than anyone and it had a reference to the 'One Punch', what more do you want? Oh yeah, Ron Frenz!
American Vampire #18 – Wait, did Snyder just kill Skinner Sweet? What the heckins? Was not expecting that one. This was the usual goodness from AV, a great fight between Skinner and Pearl, which had some shocking moments apart from the death, and a thrilling escape from what I'm christening 'Vampire Island'. The ending was a bit rushed maybe, I feel Snyder should have revealed some of Henry's secrets to Pearl, but he's obviously saving it for later. What's up with that Calvin Guy? Is he one of those Japanese Frog Vampires? Has he been possessed by Skinner? Albuquerque's art was great again too, really kinetic. I particularly liked the panel where he drew the SFX 'BOOM' into the art, very cool.
Northlanders #43 – Woah, Ulf Hauksson is a massive dick isn't he? But he's pretty bad-ass nonetheless. I said it last month but it still applies, it's a real shame that this is the last Northlanders story, because it's probably the best one yet. Azaceta's art is fantastic, the scope is bigger than ever, and we've got a massive bastard of a protagonist. I can't wait to see where Wood takes this.
There you go! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I think the numero uno comic this week was Wolverine #14, which was just bloody genius.
Join me next week for the start of the new DCU in Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1! There's also Spider-Island, The Rocketeer, Butcher Baker, Warren Ellis taking over Secret Avengers and Uncanny X-Force again! Get on that shit!
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Review by: Niam Suggitt