Paul Cornell is one of the more solid writers that Marvel has at the moment. Though not the biggest name in the bullpen, he does seem to write some seriously well done books. With that being said, I’m on the fence with the second issue of this five part mini series. I love the return of X-Man, and am looking forward to see how it is going to be played out. The dialogue flows well and hits some wonderfully witty heights. In fact I haven’t had this much fun reading Dark Beast in a very long time, and Mystique has even had some great lines without sacrificing the cold and calculating villainess that I’ve loved for all these years. Leonard Kirk’s pencils are not my favorite here, but not bad either. So what is it about this series that makes me hesitate giving it a higher score? Still not a fan of Mimic or Omega (though the latter is growing on me), and the final panel of this issue seemed to shout Superboy Prime. I actually muttered, “Uh oh.” Out loud. Still, I’ve spent money on much, much worse. My Score: B-
In the second half of this “Blackest Night” story, Booster finds himself pitted against the undead version of his bestest friend, Ted Kord. Like all the DC books that are involving themselves with this event, the emphasis is on the emotional reaction of our heroes to seeing their friends as walking dead villains. This is the main reason I’m still loving Blackest Night. Here’s my only problem with this particular story. I’ve actually grown a bit tired of Booster mooning over the loss of Ted. Sure, I miss Ted as much as the next guy who grew up on JLI, and the loss of someone close never goes away, trust me... I’m well aware of that fact. In this issue, however, it seems as though Booster has just lost Ted... that there seems to have been no closure at all, which anyone who has been following this series, knows is not true. Same actually goes with the new Blue Beetles desire to do Ted proud. This particular story has been done already. I enjoy Dan’s writing on this book, but I do think he could have tried a little different spin on Ted’s undead return. My Score: B-
Oh Mark Waid, I’m so sorry to do this. I love your work, man. LOVE IT! But what the hell is this? Perhaps if they hadn’t promoted the first part of the Gauntlet as such a huge thing, I may not have had such high expectations, but what a bomb this was. Azaceta’s art was just horrendous. I’ve never seen Spider-Man look worse. The story was meh at best. So the Daily Bugle gets blown up... again. Not what I call a huge “wow” moment since I’m pretty sure it’s been done before. Electro was inane and dull. The only thing that even piqued my curiosity at all was crippling Dexter Bennett which may actually be just what this rather confusing character needs to put it on track. I was really excited about this since Mark Waid is one of my all time favorite writers, but this was probably the dullest read of the week for me. My Score: D
What do you get when you take Bruce Banner, The Fantastic Four, and Skaar – son of Hulk; add Mole Man and his monsters with just a dash of Tyrannus? You get another slightly unusual and intriguing story by Greg Pak and crew. What really intrigues me about this book right now is the way Dr. Banner is being written. There’s something really devious going on in that ultra-intelligent mind of his and its got me hooked. I would have absolutely no problem at all reading this title for several years if they were to keep this as the status quo. Which is odd for me since Hulk has always been my absolute least favorite character in the Marvel Universe (after Sentry, of course). My Score: B+
I’m nearly five issues into this series and although I still can’t say I’m a huge fan of Stephanie; the book itself is rather enjoyable. This issue is probably the best yet, thanks to some great dialogue between Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon that Bryan Q. Miller deftly handles like a seasoned pro. The brief and very funny moments between Stephanie and Damien are also a nice counter balance to the more tense confrontation of their mentors. Stephanie would not have been my first choice as the new Batgirl; personally I think there’s a helluva lot more character development for Cassie that she has now been cheated out of. Still, if you enjoy the Batman family in general, this is a much better read than Red Robin, that’s for sure. My Score: B
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