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This week in Punchy 09/01/11

Written by Niam Suggitt on Thursday, September 01 2011 and posted in Reviews

There's more out this week than Justice League #1 you know! Punchy takes a look at some of them, including Thor, Spider-Island, Secret Avengers, The Rocketeer and Invincible.

Oh alright, and he read Justice League too.

Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:

Hello hello hello!

Welcome to another instalment of my weekly quick-fire reviews column! I've had a haircut but other than that the deal remains the same! Click the links to head to the forum discussion and join the flame-wars!

There's some top-notch comics on offer this week, including the latest chapter of Spider-Island, more Thor Vs. Silver Surfer, Warren Ellis' first issue of Secret Avengers and Invincible taking a new approach to fighting crime. And I finally managed to get a copy of DMZ #68.

Oh, and there's something about a new Justice League? You probably haven't heard of it, it's pretty obscure.


Amazing Spider-Man #668 – Spider-Island continues to be a really enjoyable and surprising event. I loved seeing Peter Parker be heroic without being Spider-Man, and the way he rallied the New Yorkers was pretty awe-inspiring stuff. It reminded me of the Twitter stuff that went on with the London Riots clean-up, but was also the purest expression of Spider-Man's New Yorkiness I've read in a while. He's the quintessential New York Hero, and Slott is having a lot of fun exploring that. The mystery of Number Six continues to baffle me, I literally have no idea who it is. Is it Ben Reilly? At first I thought it was Doctor Octopus, but now I'm not so sure. One weird thing about this event though is that the last issue of Venom revealed that Spider-King was Steve Rogers, but this issue makes no mention of it at all, weird timing. But I'm sure it'll all work out in the end, Slott has a lot of webs here, and so far it's looking like he'll make it all work.

Iron Man 2.0 #8 – A strange issue, from the cover I was expecting a knock-down fight between Rhodey and some drones, but in the end it was a very dialogue heavy story. I enjoy Spencer's back and forth, and from THUNDER Agents we know he's good at interrogations, but I was kind of bored with this one until the crazy reveal that Palmer Addley escaped death through his kidney, which is just a great idea. And then the action literally explodes across the world. Spencer has built up a pretty unique threat in this title, hopefully he'll be able to finish it up well.

Mighty Thor #5 – Man, when you're used to Olivier Coipel, Koi Pham filling in is a bit jarring. His work did look pretty good, but nowhere near the level Coipel has been at in this book. I hope #6 is all-Olivier all the time. At least he drew the Thor/Surfer and Odin/Galactus fights, as those were just epic as hell. The way he drew it and the way Fraction wrote was just amazing, each punch was momentous. Apart from that, the best thing about this book is how Fraction writes Volstagg, just hilarious. I'm intrigued by how this story will end, and especially how it feeds into Fear Itself.

Herc #6.1 – I found out this book had been cancelled before I read this issue, so it was a bit depressing, but we still have 5 issues to go, and if they are anything like this they'll be fun while it lasts! Mike Grell's art here was fantastic, I'm very glad he's back, what with this and THUNDER Agents. This issue was useful as a bridge between the events of Chaos War and Herc #1, as there was kind of a disconnect there. We see how Hercules got hold of all his weapons and why he decided to go to Brooklyn. Plus we saw some more Greek Gods, and saw Herc kick Mister Negative's ass! What more do you want? This was a great jumping on point, and a perfect point one issue, which makes it all the more annoying that the book was cancelled before giving new readers the chance to try this issue! Oh well.

Secret Avengers #16 – Now that was awesome. Warren Ellis takes over Secret Avengers and it's pretty much the perfect Ellis Marvel book. It's Steve Rogers, Black Widow, Beast and Moon Knight taking on the Shadow Council, but it's way different from Brubaker's run. There's the usual Ellis-science, and he always has a knack for looking at things in a totally unique way, who else could turn Time-Travel into a bomb? There's snappy dialogue and cool ideas and it all wraps up in one issue. This is like Planetary or Global Frequency but with Marvel heroes and it's amazing. The art in this issue comes from one of my favourites, Jamie McKelvie, and it may be his best work yet, dynamic, expressive and detailed, wonderful stuff. The artists for the rest of Ellis' run have a lot to live up to.

Uncanny X-Force #14 – The latest chapter of the epic 'Dark Angel Saga' is this week's Review Group pick, so go there to read my thoughts, and those of some other people. But mainly my thoughts, they're the best ones.

Ultimate Hawkeye #1(of 4) – I've done a longer front-page review for this one, click the link to see what I make of Hickman and Sandoval's new mini-series, which takes Hawkeye to Asia and introduces a truly out-there take on the classic 'No More Mutants'.

Flashpoint #5(of 5) – Er.... OK. If this was the end of the old DCU, then it's not the best way to go about it. This whole mini and event was just really rushed in my eyes. 5 issues meant the main story was crammed into too short a space, and it also meant that all the other DC books had to rush their endings too. This should have been longer. The actual issue was OK, the reveal that it was Barry rather than Professor Zoom who created the Flashpoint Universe was a good one, but it does another to the long list of idiotic things DC heroes have done lately. And the way Barry returned the DCU to 'normal' was dumb and made little sense. I don't like the Speed Force at the best of times, but when it contributes to time-travel nonsense like this I hate it. At least the art was nice and Batman got a nice emotional moment, but other than that... meh. And what was that hooded woman? Ugh, it's just leading to another event isn't it?

Justice League #1 – This was OK, a nice fast-paced read with strong art by Jim Lee and all of Johns' strengths with few of his weaknesses (it's hard to have continuity porn if this is the first issue of the continuity!). I particularly liked how dumb Hal Jordan is, has Johns finally got that the character is useless? More likely he thinks he was making Hal cool, rather than the idiot he is. The ending was good and I'm interested to see what the 'new' Superman is like, but this was pretty standard superhero stuff, there's nothing groundbreaking here and nothing worth pissing your pants in anger at. In fact, I don't get any of the anger at this issue, all the complaints about how it has the heroes being hated and feared? This story is set 5 years ago and explicitly mentions how it is before the JLA became respected, this is not indicative of all the other titles, stop moaning. You can't use Justice League #1 as a barometer for the quality of the new DC anymore than you could Justice League Of America #54 for the old one a few months ago. Take each book as it comes and calm down. I'm intrigued enough by this one to get #2, but we'll need to see a few more JLAers next month for it to really pick up.

DMZ #68 – Finally managed to get a copy of this and it was worth the wait. Where other writers might have stopped, Brian Wood has extended the series beyond the end of the war and it was a wise decision. The recovery from the Free States War is not going to be easy, and it's fascinating to see Matty and Zee traverse New York and get the lay of the land. In fact, I kind of wish the war had ending sooner and we could have had more of this. But I can't shake the feeling that something big is yet to go down, Wood has one more trick up his sleeve for us, the wily bastard!

Invincible #82 – Apart from the sleazy cover, this was a very good issue. I'm really enjoying Mark's new take on super-hero problem solving, he's moved beyond the 'a fight will solve everything' approach and his interactions with Universa here were refreshing. I just hope he doesn't start to solve every problem with diplomacy, as that would get a little dull. The rest of the issue was a little bitty, with several vignettes that didn't move anywhere fast, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. I'm most intrigued by what's going on with Robot and Monster Girl, what the heck happened in the Flaxan empire? Was that mentioned in Guarding The Globe? Because I'm behind on that one.

Haunt #17 – Was this the last issue of Kirkman/McFarlane? Or is that next month? It's not clear. If it was, it was kind of a weird way to end things, the Apparition is defeated in a way that doesn't really make sense, and then it wraps up in a very non-definitive way. I suppose it leaves Casey with lots of stuff to play with, but it was rather unsatisfying. We shall see. And who is Mr. Sheldon? Why doesn't he have a first name? Suspicious!

Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker #6 - More insane madness. I literally have no idea what is going on in this comic. But I don't really mind, it's fun enough even if you're confused. I particularly loved the flashback with Butcher taking on Jihad Jones and his sidekick Jet-Boy. That was just bat-shit. Mike Huddleston's art was glorious once again, but man, my head is messed up after reading this book. It's a unique experience, that's for sure.

Rocketeer Adventures #4(of 4) – Another great collection of short stories, and another artistic feast for the eyes. Scott Hampton, Tony Harris, Brendan McCarthy and Ashley Wood! Amazing. I think my favourite story was the Arcudi/McCarthy one, but as usual they were all good. This was a great mini-series and a fantastic tribute to Dave Stevens and the wonderful character he created it. I hope IDW do another series, just maybe without the involvement of a certain cover artist?

Whoomp! There it is! 

This was DC's big week, but in the end, Justice League didn't impress me that much, it was good, but just good, if you know what I mean? It was over-shadowed by Secret Avengers really, that book was excellent, check it out, seriously.

Join me next week, when the new DCU gets a bit meatier, with the debut issues of the new Action Comics, Swamp Thing and Stormwatch. And there are other comic companies too! Casanova's back at Icon and there are new issues of Wolverine, Moon Knight, Morning Glories and The Boys! Can you handle the excitement?

Follow my increasingly dull tweets, read my blog.

Review by: Niam Suggitt

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About the Author - Niam Suggitt

Niam Suggitt, Punchy to his friends, is the most humblest of all the Outhouse writers.  His easy going manner and ability to see and recognize the point of views of those who he disagrees with has made him one of the most sought after members of our community to resolve conflicts.  Although he likes all of you, and considers everyone to be his friend, Punchy would prefer you use “Niam Suggitt” when quoting him for the front cover blurb on your book.  Follow this wonder of a man at @NiamSuggitt, if you want to, he’s cool with you either way.


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