It's another hot and spicy edition of TWiP! If you want to read a comics review... here's your chance.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Yes, it's that time again, time for TWiP the best comics reviews column in the entire world.
Anyways, it's good this week, including a nice bunch of AvX tie-ins, a new Supercrooks and the finale of 'The Omega Effect' crossover.
As always, click the links to head to the forums and comment away to your heart's content.
Mighty Thor #13 – After coming back from the dead, things get back to what counts as normal for Thor, as he spends most of the issue smashing the shit out of freaky monsters with his hammer. This fight was excellently drawn by Pepe Larraz and Fraction gave Thor some suitably bad-ass dialogue. Are 'the mares' pre-existing Thor villains or are they all-new? My lack of Thor knowledge is vast. I also liked the use of Hreidmar the troll here, he could be a cool new side-kick for Thor. The hammering of monsters was all well and good, but the best thing for me about this issue was that Fraction is addressing Donald Blake. I literally have no idea what his history is at the moment, is he a real person? Is he just a fake made by Odin? Is he even still connected to Thor? This arc looks set to clear all that up and hopefully it will make sense. Hopefully. Oh yeah, and Simonson on covers! Awesome.
Daredevil #11 – The final chapter of 'The Omega Effect' is a disappointment in some ways, in that the threat of the Omega Drive isn't resolved at all. Daredevil's plan to destroy it fails and all of his, Spider-Man's and Punisher's efforts were for nought. But in terms of character development, this issue was a real success. The conversation between Daredevil and Rachel Alves was fantastic, really got to the heart of what it means to be a hero. I'm very interested to see where Rachel will go from here, will she continue to be a part of the Punisher title as his sidekick (sorry, ally) or will she show up elsewhere? It's great that a character who's only been in about 12 comics can stand toe-to-toe with the other big names in this story. Add to that some great Spider-Man quips from Waid and the wonderfully taciturn Frank Castle and this was just what you want from a street-level team-up. Big respect also to Marco Checchetto, who kept the quality of his artwork up whilst delivering 3 issues in 3 weeks which is no mean feat. And hey, we get another issue of DD next week! Get in.
Moon Knight #12 – Bendis and Maleev's run on Moon Knight comes to an end in an enjoyable fashion, but I was kind of annoyed that it wasn't Moon Knight himself who managed to defeat Count Nefaria. Yes, calling in the Avengers makes sense and there's no real way that MK could beat Nefaria without it being stupid, but it's not very satisfying to have Thor just come in and sort everything out. Oh well, that's what you get when you put street-characters up against cosmically powerful bad-guys. I really enjoyed the stuff with Nefaria in the police station, when he burned that corrupt police chief down to a skeleton... that was hardcore. Maleev's art was excellent as usual and Bendis' dialogue was damn good, especially the bit at the end with Tony Stark explaining the threat of Ultron to Spector and Buck Lime, I can't wait for that story. Overall this has been a good book, certainly the best Moon Knight I've ever read (but that's not much). I would have liked to have seen more of Marc Spector's misadventures in Hollywood, but that's a nitpick, this was a great 12-issue story and I look forward to reading wherever Moon Knight shows up next.
Wolverine #305 – The post-Aaron era of Wolverine begins with a story that brings back one of his villains, Doctor Rot. But this is a very different story from that first one, and it looks like being a lot of fun. I'm not familiar with Cullen Bunn's work, but he does a good job here, his voice for Wolverine is good and the ideas on show here demonstrate that he's got a twisted sensibility that suits Wolverine, Those brain-monsters were creepy. Paul Pelletier has been a favourite of mine ever since She-Hulk and his work on the cosmic Marvel titles, he's not particularly flashy, but his work is just perfectly suited for superhero stories, a sort of cross between Mark Bagley and Alan Davis. I love that his Wolverine is really short and stocky. I'm looking forward to the rest of this arc, and it's just a shame that Bunn and Pelletier aren't the permanent creative team. Instead we get Loeb who is very hit and miss.
New Avengers #25 – As a big Iron Fist fan I loved this issue and I can't wait to see where this connection between the Iron Fist and the Phoenix is going. Much of the issue is a flash-back to hundreds of years ago as Yu-Ti The August Personage In Jade (always use the full name) is haunted by dreams of the Phoenix coming to Earth. Mike Deodato's art is awesome in these dream sequences, some of his best work ever I think. It was great seeing these characters show up again and it's cool to see that this crossover is about more than just Red Hulk punching Gambit or whatever, there's a deeper story here.
Secret Avengers #26 – Seeing Renato Guedes draw the wrong Beast reminded me of how much I dislike Cat-Beast. I've kind of accepted it's existence, but seeing Monkey-Beast again just reminded me of how much cooler that version of the character is. This issue was a damn good tie-in, which showed the attempts of this team of Avengers to take down the Phoenix Force before it gets to Earth. Predictably they failed, but Remender still found time for some great character moments. I particularly like Beast calling out Captain Britain for his arrogance and foolhardiness (is that a word?) and I like that Remender seems to be trying to finally elevate Cap to the top echelon of heroes where he belongs. The stuff with the Kree is also interesting, what with this issue it and the most recent issue of Avengers, it looks like they'll be playing a surprisingly large role in this story, something to do with 'the ascension'. The return of Mar-Vell is interesting too, it's always good to see him again but what with Ms Marvel's upcoming name-change and new series, I don't think he'll be sticking around for long (if it's even the real Mar-Vell, could be a Skrull or something again), at least he's wearing the cool green costume.
FF #17 – After the excellent and heartfelt last issue of Fantastic Four, Hickman continues his recent hot streak with a very funny issue of FF. This issue doesn't focus on the kids, but on Spider-Man and Human Torch as roommates, which of course has predictably disastrous results. It was great seeing Peter and Johnny play out 'the odd couple' and how Hickman threw in crazy concepts like a door to the Negative Zone in the closet. Dragotta's art was excellent, especially in the wordless sequence where Peter, Johnny and the Light Brigade went on a Magic Mare's Milk-fuelled bender. And that last page! Amazing, I never thought I'd see Annihilus taking a dump. Hickman proves here that when he cuts loose and stops being so portentous and just writes a fun comic... he's got what it takes.
Uncanny X-Men #11 – Unlike most of the other AvX tie-ins that I've read so far, this issue was really just an expansion of what we've seen in the main title. So we see the events and fights that we've already seen, but now Kieron Gillen goes inside the character's heads and we see what's motivating them as they punch the shit out of each other. My favourite scenes in this issue were the ones narrated by Namor, because not only was it good to get an explanation as to why a former Avenger and one of Captain America's closest allies is siding with the X-Men, but also because Kieron Gillen's Namor is just so damn awesome. I also really liked that we got an insight into what Colossus is going through as the Juggernaut, and that we got a reason for Rulk to win that one. The scenes with Hope were also interesting, I wonder what her plan is? In AvX #2 it seemed like she was just running away scared, but obviously not. I'm also glad that Gillen has kept going some of his subplots, especially UNIT. Greg Land was Greg Land, but I did like his full Cytorrakked-out Colossus.
Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #9 – This issue was crazy, Hickman is just blowing everything up and I have no idea where this is going. My favourite scenes in this issue were the ones which featured the actual Ultimates rather than the children or the people or whatever they are. Partly because I was still jazzed from seeing the Avengers movie and these characters resemble the movie versions more than the 616, but also because I don't really care about all the weird societies. I guess it doesn't matter that I don't care because they've all been blown up now, but then again, so has the US Government. I can't wait to see what happens next, will there be anything left? Also, is this Hickman's last issue as sole writer? I've never read anything from Sam Humphries, what's he like?
Supercrooks #2(of 4) – More typically OTT stuff from Mark Millar, it's an acquired taste I know, but I've definitely acquired it and therefore I really enjoyed this issue. This time out is basically the gathering of the heroes, as Johnny Bolt picks his team to head over to Europe for the heist, and yes, the Ocean's 11 comparisons are stronger than ever. I felt that Millar did a good job of establishing who each character was in only a few pages, and also how he subtly got across the back-story of this world and how hard it is to be a superhero. There was also the typical blood-thirsty Millar violence and a hefty dose of shocking sex stuff, with the revelation that Gladiator, the superhero from #1 is a closeted homo-sexual that Johnny Bolt is blackmailing into helping with the Heist. Leinil Yu's art was excellent as always, he really is a top-level talent. I'm interested to see where this is going, we're already halfway through and we haven't gotten to the heist yet, and there are so many characters here. I'm particularly interested in the Praetorian, he's like an anti-hero Wolverinesque character gone too far. I'm also excited to see how 'The Bastard' lives up to his name.
Superman #8 – Another pretty good issue of Superman, I have to say I'm liking the Jurgens/Giffen take way better than the Perez one, and this is only after 2 issues. It was obvious that the opening stuff with Superman being on the run was a Helspont-induced hallucination, but it was a well-done action sequence nonetheless, and it looks like the fears on show here will play a big role in the coming months. Helspont is a decent villain, but he is annoyingly verbose, I was glad when he shut up and started to fight. It was interesting to see Lucy Lane show-up, I wonder what her characterisation will be like, will she be the more militaristic Daddy's girl like she was when she became Superwoman? Or will she get married to Ron Troupe? I noticed she's not blind here.
Aquaman #8 – Not much happened in this issue of Aquaman, but it was still very good. It was great to get some flashbacks to Arthur Curry's past, and to see how different he was back then. In these flashbacks he comes across much more like Namor than he does Aquaman, and considering how bad-ass Namor is, that's no bad thing. We got a bit more information on just who The Others were too, including codenames and some indication on abilities. I'm most intrigued by the Prisoner-Of-War and his weird magic shackles, but all of them seem cool. I'm looking forward to seeing this back-story doled out, but I hope it isn't revealed too slowly. Ivan Reis' art was fantastic, but then that comes as no surpise, even though this was mainly an action-issue, his art made it worth the money. It's also good to see Black Manta actually look cool, because really, the potential for him to look ridiculous is very high.
I, Vampire #8 – Much like last month, I'm only really getting half of the story here on account of not reading JLD. But the half I'm reading is a half I'm enjoying. It was great to see Andrew come back and kick some serious ass. When he decapitated Cain... that was awesome. I also really like that I genuinely have no idea of what Andrew's motives are now. Has he really turned evil? Or is it all just a plan? It's great that I literally don't know. This issue once again proved that Joshua Hale Fialkov not only writes good vampires, but he also does damn good John Constantine, when Peter Milligan's run comes to an end (not that I want that to happen anytime soon) Fialkov would be my choice to replace him, I want to see what he does with the character with no restrictions. I can't wait to see what this book's version of the Van Helsings are like, worse than vampires? Awesome.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #8 – Am I just an idiot or had anyone else completely forgotten that the Sinestro Corps had been destroyed? I read Green Lantern every month and still I was surprised by this issue. Anyways, it was good for this book to make use of what's been going on in the other GL titles and to tie them together a bit more. So not only did we get Arkillo's adventures on Korugar, but we also had Munk heading back to go be creepy and evil in Hal's title. It was cool to see the Weaponeer again, but also weird, it's still a little strange that the continuity for these books is exactly the same when so much else has changed. In many ways this was a table-setting issue, which made it feel a little light, but I did enjoy it, and can't wait to see Kyle turn up in Blue Beetle and how that impacts this book. For once I'll get to read both sides of a DC crossover! I'm also liking that the Invictus plotline looks set to be a running thing, but I hope we get to see Larfleeze die sooner rather than later.
All-Star Western #8 – Another very good issue, and after thinking last time that Arkham was a bit of a fifth wheel on this adventure, it was good that he got a central role in this issue, even if that role was basically to fuck everything up for Jonah. That said, the scenes with Arkham in the Opium Den and then psychoanalysing the hulking prisoner were series highlights for me. The fight between Jonah Hex and the evil ZC in the arena was wonderfully brutal, especially when compared to the fight in #7. It was a bit annoying that Hex's plan was discovered so quickly, but it did speed things up and gave us a real doozy of a cliffhanger. Interestingly the cover to the next issue seems to indicate that it's a 'Night Of Owls' tie-in, how the heck are they going to work in the Court Of Owls into this story? They're not even in Gotham! Hmm. The Nighthawk and Cinnamon back-up was good once again, I like the structure with the flashbacks, and I guess I was right in my recollection that they are Khufu and Chay-ara reincarnations, those corpses where very Hawkish.
American Vampire #26 – Holy crap, was that a Werewolf at the end there? Is AV branching out into other monsters now? If so, that would be awesome, but then again, vampires in other stories (such as oh, I dunno, Dracula) have the ability to turn into dogs, so this may just be another species of Vampire, with Calvin's role as a Taxonomist, I can see that being the case. I liked how this issue used the issue or Race in 1950s America, and how it paralleled Calvin's position as a black man with that of being part of an entirely new species and the conflict between his type of Vampire and other types. I also really liked how this story played with your expectations, at first you think the old guys are racist, but then you think, nope, they're OK. But then it's a double-twist and they're not only racist but also Vampires or maybe Werewolves! Scott Snyder, always keeping you on your toes. I liked that we got to see some more of Calvin and find out a bit about his back-story, such as his brother, it's great that this book is developing such a large cast, it gives it an epic feel. It was also good to see Roger Cruz show up as guest-artist, I remember when he was the by-word for lame 90s X-Men fill-ins, but whilst he's still filling-in here, he does a great job and maintained Albuquerque's style well.
Spaceman #6(of 9) – I must admit I was a little confused by this issue, there was a fair bit going on and it was hard to delineate what was happening and to who. Maybe I just had a brain-fart but this issue felt disconnected from the last one. I guess it all really boils down to Orson's plan to get through the wall and into the City, but I couldn't tell if he knew if he was being watched or not. At least Azzarello still managed to fit in some great moments like Carter being an absolute bad-ass and that double-page spread of the City, that was beautiful. Heck, the whole book has been beautiful, I think this may very well be Eduardo Risso's best ever work.
Good stuff innit?
I think my favourite comic this week was either Secret Avengers or American Vampire, both very different, both very good. Join me soon for next week's books, which include Action Comics, JLI, Defenders and the beginning of the end for The Boys.
Oh yeah, and make sure to check out my review of The Avengers movie, it's out now in the USA and it is excellent.
Review by: Niam Suggitt