It may only be a 5th week, but that doesn't mean we can't have a good time! Punchy takes a look at all of this week's big hitters!
Credits & Solicit Info:
It's another instalment of TWiP, and although this is a 5th week so there are a lot less comics out this week, there's still some damn good stuff, new issues of The Ultimates, Uncanny X-Men and Daredevil, as well as new beginnings for THUNDER Agents and Haunt, and we bid a fond farewell to Herc.
Read on! And remember to click the links to head to the forum.
Herc #10 – So the epic story of Hercules that Pak and Van Lente have been telling for the last few years comes to an end, and whilst Herc in Brooklyn was nowhere near as good as the Incredible Hercules' adventures with Amadeus Cho, this was still a good comic, and one that was a good idea that never really got going. I think the problem with 'Herc' was that there were too many event tie-ins, rather than bring in more readers, the encroachment of Fear Itself and Spider-Island probably pushed them away. This double-sized issue wrapped up things nicely and was a good reminder that what makes Hercules interesting isn't that he's a God, but his humanity. I liked seeing him team up with Elektra, Marvel's two Greek heroes should team up some more, how about they save the Greek Economy? I also liked the humour about Mortal Zeus, he may not have been as cool as Kid Zeus, but he was funny. David Hahn's art was very good too, and if Hercules ever gets another shot, I'd like to see him draw it. I'll miss following the big Olympian Idiot's adventures monthly, but he's still Brooklyn, and I'm sure the likes of Spider-Man, Daredevil, Punisher and the other NYC-based heroes will be making a trip across the bridge to team-up sooner or later.
Daredevil #6 – Another highly enjoyable issue of Daredevil, and one that kicks off what looks like being a long-running subplot for the book, with Daredevil being the target for 5 of the world's most dangerous super-terrorist groups. Although I thought Black Panther was the Most Dangerous Man Alive? But then T'Challa did steal DD's numbering, I guess it's fair turnaround that Matt gets his title. Marcos Martin once again out-did himself in the art department, and showed his versatility, not only did this issue have the usual innovative multi-panelled pages, but he also unleashed two truly awesome splash-pages on our unsuspecting eyeballs. Wonderful stuff, and while I'm sad this is his last issue, I look forward to his next project immensely, and also, Paolo Rivera is still sticking around and he's no slouch is he? Daredevil truly is one of the best books on the stands, and it's not just because it's supposedly 'light', it really isn't as simple as that.
Ghost Rider #6 – Ghost Rider continues it's strong run of strong standalone stories with this creepy tale set in a swamp. Rob Williams crafts a strong story here, that develops Alejandra as a character and also packs a punch with it's (sort of) twist ending. I was really quite shocked when Ghost Rider decapitated Earl. Williams really is tackling the Ghost Rider's role as 'The Spirit Of Vengeance' head on, and is examining what Vengeance means, and what it costs, both in this issue and the previous one. It's annoying that this book is going to end soon, but I do hope that Alejandra sticks around as GR beyond the ending, she's an interesting character, and one that complements Johnny Blaze in some ways. Speaking of Blaze, where is he? In the first arc of this book he was probably even more of a protagonist than Alejandra, but now he's just disappeared. I should also mention Dalibor Talajic's artwork, which was suitably atmospheric, I've liked his work since he filled in on Immortal Iron Fist, so good to see him again.
Wolverine #19 – This story arc has been one of the most enjoyable Wolverine stories I've ever read, it's just been a wild ride from start to finish, and Jason Aaron managed to cram in so many awesome bits and characters. Gorilla Man and Fat Cobra are brilliant companions for Wolverine, and seeing the engage in some subterranean kung-fu action was brilliant. I particularly loved the scene where Fat Cobra disses Gorilla Man's monkey style, just genius. But of course, there's serious stuff underpinning a lot of this madness, the bit where Wolverine explains why the 'soul punch' didn't effect him was chilling, and a great reminder of Logan's recent tragic past. Ron Garney's art kicked ass like usual, and it looks like Aaron is introducing his next new big plotline with the mysterious figures on the last page, are we building up to #300 now? Basically, this book kicked ass, and if you're one of those snobs who turns their noses up at Wolverine because he's too popular, think again, this was a sequel to Agents Of Atlas for god's sake!
FF #12 – I really enjoyed this one, picking up right where last week's Fantastic Four #600 left off, we follow the FF kids as they regroup. The real star of this book is Valeria, she's become a really interesting character, and one who's motives are very mysterious and difficult to read. I'm not quite sure what's going on with all the different machinations and evil plans going on in this book, there's Evil Reed to consider, as well as Nathaniel Richards and Doctor Doom and Kristoff Bernhard. Too many geniuses! But of course this book is now about the kids, so Hickman wisely brings in some humour, which he's getting better at, I loved the scene with Val making a Lightsaber, and Bentley 23 continues to be awesome. Juan Bobillo's cartoonish art really helps with this tone, I loved his work on She-Hulk, and he really brings it here, the kids look like kids, and the weird stuff like Dragon Man and the fish people are depicted as suitably weird. I'm sure his style will be controversial and cause arguments, as any stylistic art does, but I like it. Whilst I'm still not sure whether we need tow Fantastic Four books, this one did go some way towards convincing me.
Thunderbolts #166 – The T-Bolts take on Jack The Ripper, and whilst it's obviously not on the same level of sophistication as the medium's most famous take on Saucy Jack, From Hell, this arc looks like being a lot of fun. Jeff Parker is obviously pretty knowledgeable about The Ripper and manages to stop the story becoming too ridiculous. The revelation that the Ripper in the Marvel Universe is actually Mister Hyde was a clever one, and I really never expected to see Moonstone in a team-up with Inspector Abberline. This is the kind of crazy stuff only comics can do, and I love that Parker is embracing getting to do a time-travel story and taking us to all sorts of interesting places. Declan Shalvey's art was very strong, I particularly liked the page where Moonstone's cape split into panels, very cool. Frank Martin's colours were also awesome, he got across the murk of Victorian London perfectly.
Uncanny X-Men #2 – Despite the fact that I have pretty much always hated Mister Sinister, I'm really enjoying this storyline. I don't know why this is, probably because the stakes are so high, the X-Men are going to have to fight off Celestials FFS! How can they do that? I didn't quite follow a lot of Sinister's crazy monologuing, but Gillen managed to fit enough cool moments into this issue to make it fun, Hope kicked some ass, and he really does write the best Namor ever. I was a bit annoyed that Carlos Pacheco didn't manage to draw all of the book, it's only #2! How is he behind already? Rodney Buchemi did well enough in making his style similar to Pacheco's, but I'm a stickler for artistic consistency, so I have to mark it down a bit. Say what you want about Greg Land, but at least he gets it done.
The Ultimates #4 – Esad Ribic... wow, his art just keeps getting better and better, this issue looked fantastic, the insane architecture of The City, Thor's facial expressions, the action, the splash page of the Gods... just awesome. Not much actually happened in this issue, but it was very enjoyable to see Thor cut loose and for Nick and the gang to get a real indication of precisely what they're up against. I'm not too sure about the effectiveness of the last page reveal that Reed Richards is the bad guy, anyone who read Ultimate Fallout already knows this, so why treat it like such a shock? I'm still waiting for Captain America to show up too, how long can you lead us on for Hickman? Cap-Tease.
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1(of 6) – I'm so glad that this book is back, along with Jimmy Olsen, it's my favourite thing Nick Spencer has done, it's just a really different take on the superhero and Spencer never does what you'd expect. This issue had familiar elements like an under-ground species deciding to attack the surface, but the rest is like nothing else out there. The interactions between Colleen and Toby are great, and the explanation of how the Menthor helmet actually works was genius. And what other superhero comic would spend two pages discussing Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless? Spencer is joined now by Wes Craig, who kicks ass on the art, Craig demonstrated how good he was when he drew Guardians Of The Galaxy in a great cartoony style and his work here is similar in how angular it is, but it's slightly different too, with a darker edge. It's just great to have good art back on this book, because once CAFU left volume 1, the art went to shit a bit, apart from the guest-spots. That's one thing I missed in this issue, where was the set of pages from an industry legend?
Spaceman #2(of 9) – I'm really enjoying this book, and now that I'm used to the future argot Azzarello is using, I'm really getting drawn in. This issue continued to develop the story, but backwards rather than forwards, we see more of the Flashback to Orson on Mars, and also to the controversial discussion about his creation as a genetic monster. It's fascinating stuff and Azz is reflecting current fears about genetic experimentation. The stuff in the present is mostly action stuff, but it was very well done, Eduardo Risso really is a fantastic artist, and the violence in this issue was brilliant to look at.
Super Dinosaur #6 – More cheerful Saturday Morning Cartoon fun from Kirkman and Howard. The fight between S-D, Derek and Squidious was incredibly enjoyable and the sort of thing that will raise a smile in anyone, from age 8 to 80. But this book isn't just silly fights, there's some depth here, like S-Ds feelings of being left out by Derek's new friendship, and the incredibly creepy stuff with Maximus erasing the existence of Mrs Dynamo. I also liked the return of that weird dude in the black suit, he's a great visual, and looks to be the real villain of this series.
Haunt #19 – Wow, that was awesome, I don't want to insult Kirkman, McFarlane, Ottley, Capullo et al, but the previous 18 issues just feel like a warm-up for this new creative team. This is Alan Moore on Supreme-level stuff in the way it takes a book and just moves it to another level (although Haunt was nowhere near as bad as Liefeld's Supreme). First of all, the artwork from Nathan Fox is just sublime, every page is amazing, every panel is incredibly detailed, it's just so interesting, and so not what you'd expect from a book like this. I hope Fox can keep up the high standard he sets here, because this is one of the best-looking comics I've read this month. Joe Casey's story is great too, he's setting up some very interesting villains and the flash-forward on the first 2 or so pages was very enticing. I also like how he's doing an Orange Juice and ripping it up and starting again, the Government Spy Organization has just disappeared, Daniel Kilgore's girlfriend is dead, and the nature of Haunt and Kurt seems to have completely changed, this is a brave new world for Haunt, and I'm very excited to see where it goes. If you've been ignoring this book because it reminds you too much of 90s Image, try this one and rethink your position.
Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist #1 – This $1.00 book is this week's choice for the NEW REVIEW GROUP!!! Join us!
Short but sweet, quality not quantity.
My favourite book this week was either Daredevil, Haunt or THUNDER Agents. I suggest you read them all, they will rock your world.
Join me next week as things get back to normal, there's new issues of Action Comics, Swamp Thing, iZombie, Amazing Spider-Man and Moon Knight, as well as a new launch for The Defenders and a bumper-sized Hellblazer Annual!
TWiP's Second Opinions!!
Review by: Niam Suggitt