For our first review of the week we have Dark X-Men #4 of 5. Paul Cornell keeps this series going towards its ultimate conclusion as Mystique discovers that Nate Grey is now possessing Norman Osborne. Nate is impressed on how strong Norman is and the psychic battle of wills between the two is fierce. However, Mystique and her Dark X-Men enter Osborn's mind to help save their boss in hopes that he will be grateful enough to release them from their bonds. But both Norman and the "evil" mutants are stunned when Nate unlocks the one door in Norman's mind that nobody wanted opened - thus releasing The Green Goblin!
This is just another example of how underrated the mutli-talented Paul Cornell is. Crisp dialogue and brilliant plots are his specialty and with every issue of this book makes me hope that Mystique, Dark Beast, Omega, and Mimic stay together for their own series when Dark Reign is over. I have really fallen in love with this team. I want to read much more about them. Solid thumbs up from me. How about you, my friend?
DeadFett: I thought this issue was pretty good. I like the mix of characters here. Mystique has always been a favorite. Being that Marvel is headed towards the Heroic Age, I don't see this team continuing. I wouldn't mind seeing these characters make it to the other X-Books. I thought the writing here was good. I like the appearance of the Goblin at the end. The writing and art here were solid. I give this a thumbs up.
Rick is now out of his coma and has returned home. After speaking with Rick's mother, Aunt May suggests that Peter, Bobby and Johnny suit up and speak to Rick about his new abilities. During their introduction Rick reveals that right before he gained his powers, an eye appeared in his room. Johnny realizes that it was one of The Watchers he encountered during his time with the FF. Apparently their Chosen One is Rick Jones.
I really didn't enjoy this issue too much. I felt just like filler to me. The appearance of The Watchers here brought back memories of Ultimatum and how much I disliked it. That may be influencing my judgment here, but I'm giving this a thumbs down. What did you think of this my friend?
Starlord: I haven't been happy with this title since it came back, actually. I agree that there was very little here that held my interest. I'm going to give this a thumbs down as well and hope that once Siege is over, Mr. Bendis can get back to writing the best Spider-Man I had read in a long time.
Our final book that we will be reviewing together is Secret Six #18, the final chapter in their own Blackest Night story. What started off as a battle between The Secret Six and The Suicide Squad turns into a team up as they fight for their lives against the Black Lanterns of their past.
Leave it to Amanda Waller to have the Ace in the Hole in the form of a Manhunter (the Green Lantern variety) that she pulls out in time to destroy the undead villains. When the dust settles Waller demands that the Six come with her, but they assert that they would rather die then become The Wall's lap dogs. Putting an exclamation point on the statement is Deadshot who pumps a bullet near Waller's heart. Everyone separates, Waller lives and reveals that she is the new Mockingbird; something the Six hasn't figured out yet.
I loved this book. It's by far my favorite read of the week and might end up being my favorite story to come out of Blackest Night. Gail and John know these characters like the back of their hands and give them the respect that they deserve. My thumbs can't lift high enough for this issue as well as the entire story. Bravo!
Back to you Sir. Thoughts?
DeadFett: I enjoyed this issue. I haven't been keeping up with it since issue 7 but I found it really easy to jump in and understand what was going on. It's a great mix of characters that Simone understands and work well together. I was happy to see Floyd shoot Waller. About time someone did that. It's too bad she lived and is now Mockingbird. I give this issue a thumbs up.
The conclusion to the four part story of Stephen Strange ends with one heck of a bang. It’s up to Strange to fix the broken “artery” that is magic in this universe. To do so he must cast his astral self into Eternity itself to repair the damage. In the meantime it is up to his new apprentice Casey to protect his body. Unfortunately the demon Barashtok appears after Dr. Strange has left, asking for Casey’s help in exchange for the return of her soul. When The Silver Dagger appears to kill Strange’s lifeless body, Casey must make the decision to save herself or her mentor. With her mentor being the choice, Strange is given time to save the world and though her body is taken by the demon, her soul is saved by the Doctor; this gives him the hope that she’s not dead, only lost. His new journey begins. Mark Waid is at his best here, giving fans of Dr. Strange everything that they want from Marvel’s one true Sorcerer Supreme. Good solid art by Emma Rios makes this one of my early favorites for best story of 2010. My Score: B+
New Mutants #10
Here’s a simple story where the New Mutants are sent by Cyclops to defeat the attacking Sauron in Japan. While the White Queen questions Scott’s reasoning for not sending an X-Man with them, he reminds her that they are already X-Men. Which begs the question: “Why are they still calling themselves New Mutants”? As the battle rages on Emma realizes that Scott is looking for his eventual replacement as leader of the mutant team. Though at first it appears he is watching Cannonball, it ends with him admitting that perhaps he was watching one of the others – Dani? This book still feels uneven to me, but this particular story was interesting. Personally I’d rather see Sam Gutherie become the heir apparent, but by the end of this issue, I could see where Scott took a shine to Moonstar. She was well written and it really reminds me of the old Cyclops/Storm conflict from days gone by. My Score: C+
Adventure Comics #7
It’s Black Lantern Superboy vs. Wonder Girl with Krypto thrown in for good measure. This is another fun Blackest Night tie in with BL Superboy opening his mouth and saying all the things he would never say to Cassie if he were in control of his own body. The fight goes from Coast City to the Fortress of Solitude where Conner is able to break free long enough to help Wonder Girl and Krypto into figuring out how to stop himself. The answer is to dig up Kon-El’s other body that is still buried in the Fortress and waiting for the Legion of Super Heroes to revive him. Yeah, it makes my head hurt too. Still, Tony Bedard does a solid job carrying this story with the young adult angst that we have come to expect from these star crossed love birds. I really enjoyed this story and for the most part have been enjoying the whole series as well. My Score: B
How unfortunate that this book has been cancelled before given the chance to really find its footing. I see a lot of great potential in the series; especially the conflict between Brand and Peter Gyrich (a much underused character in my opinion). This issue finds the couple trying to figure out why a bunch of rock aliens are attacking Earth. Come to find out, these rock creatures are repulsed at the decapitation of four heads that are placed on the side of our Black Hills – yeah, Mount Rushmore. This is actually a very humorous but believable problem for the genre that this book plays in. It is very reminiscent of Men in Black. The issue ends with their final cliffhanger as Brand and Beast are lured into a trap by the android Drenx, with only Lockheed between his friends and certain death. Other than the Beast still looking like a horse, I’m really going to miss this series. So much potential wasted.*sigh* My Score: B
Batman and Robin #8
I get the feeling that Grant Morrison dislikes the character of Dick Grayson just as much as Dan Didio. Why else would he make him look like a complete buffoon? Did Dick actually think that bones with the batsuit could be dipped in the Lazarus Pit and bring Bruce back? Isn’t this the same guy who almost ripped Tim Drake apart for trying to do the same thing less than a year ago? That’s my first big gripe about this issue, but I’ve got a heck of a lot more. What are these bones to begin with that they made such a monster when resurrected? How come they were in the batcave? How can Bruce’s bones be anywhere if Bruce himself is actually lost in time? I’ve got so much dislike for this book that if it weren’t for the pretty pictures, I’d probably dump this like a wet sack of cement. Rarely do I use the word SUCKS because I think it’s a huge blanket statement and usually an unfair one, but every issue I read makes me throw up a little more in my mouth. And it’s bad enough that Dan is letting Grant rip apart the greatest DC icon, but does he have to allow Grant to do the same with Rucka’s wonderfully layered character, Batwoman? There is nothing fun in this book. The story lies there like a ten dollar whore. Blech! My Score: E