I’m really getting tired of all this renumbering garbage. Both Marvel and DC have been doing it for a while now and it’s driving me nuts; that, however, is just a personal note and has no bearing on my review of this book. With a $4.99 price tag, I expect to get an extended story that either moves the story forward or develops the characters on a personal level. Peter David does just that with the team’s move to New York and their first case involving the disappearance of the Invisible Woman. There are no missed beats, no padding (no pun intended), and best of all, just a wee bit of filler at the end. As good as the lead story is, the back-up story with Syrin (or dare I suggest the all new Banshee?) is even better. Coming to grips with losing a child is a horrific prospect and one that Mr. David pulls off with heart and soul. There’s a reason that this book is arguably the best of the X-Books and if you haven’t jumped on the X-Factor bandwagon yet, now is the time to do. There is no other book in the Marvel Universe that is better written, better drawn, or better inked than this one. It’s near perfect. My Score: A
DC has pulled off two miracles this year: the first being Supergirl, the second being this book. The multi talented J.M. Straczynski is at the top of his game at the moment with this title. So much so that I’ve found myself putting Brave and the Bold at the top of my stack every month. In this issue we actually see some beautiful continuity ties between the Dr. Fate of the legendary Justice League International and the fairly recent demise of Kent Nelson. And in a brilliant twist, the dramatical pivot of the piece is The Gray Man. Although very light on action, J.M. flawlessly drives this story with introspective dialogue that solidifies Kent Nelson as not only a true hero, but the very definition of a real selfless human being. If this book continues in this vein it could easily eclipse the first twelve issues without even using the multi-arc storyline. The one shot story is not dead at all, and Straczynski is living proof that there’s still life in this concept. My Score: A
You Grant Morrison lovers can have your bizarre story lines and ultra hip heroes; I’ll take Paul Dini over Grant any day of the week. Not only does he really understand the world of Batman, but his take on Damien as the new Robin is much more realistic than Grant’s. This is a disturbing story that drew me right in, with the revelation of the big baddie as a great shock that makes sense. It’s also great to see a D-lister like Humpty showing up. It’s great when a writer can delve into the more obscure characters and bring them to the forefront in a way that makes them relevant and logical for darkness that Gotham has become since the days of the Silver Age. And what can I say about the backup Manhunter story except it still makes me mad that her own book was cancelled. Kate Spencer is one character with so much potential that giving her less than a dozen pages at the back of this book seems like a travesty. My only complaint is that I’m just not a huge fan of Nguyen’s pencils. My Score: B+
I have come to the conclusion that there may actually be two Bendis’ out there; one that writes the inane babble speak that drives me nuts, and the other that puts out a terrific issue like this. It seems that we are finally going to get to the bottom of the Sentry, and for the four of you still interested, I say kudos! Basically the Molecule Man hands Norman his scrambled little brain on a platter and for those of us who have been waiting for the eventual down fall of the great Mr. Osborne, this feels like the tip of the iceberg. Of all the Avenger titles on the stands right now, this is probably the must read of the bunch. I’m actually going to be sad when this group inevitably disbands. But I have a feeling the ride is going to be worth the loss. My Score: B+
Another Blackest Night tie in with a bit of a twist. The already undead Solomon Grundy and Bizarro are supposed to be the leads in this story, but Man Bat and Frankenstein’s Monster are the two characters that really end up shining in this book. There’s technically nothing wrong with this story. Scott Kolins does a great job with both writing and drawing duty here. Still, not being a huge fan of either Bizarro or Solomon Grundy, I wasn’t that drawn into the story. Now the story of Dr. Langstrom was very riveting as well as bittersweet. My Score: B
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