Thursday, September 24, 2009

Comic Book Review Power Rankings for 09/23/09

It’s a bit about beginnings and a bit about endings this week as the Comic Book Review Power Rankings takes a look at the conclusion of Old Man Logan and the debut of Superman: Secret Origins, two of the most anticipated issues of the year. In addition to this, I’ll be checking out the latest from Uncanny X-Men, Fantastic Four, GI: Joe, Power Girl, and more. Hit the jump to check out how they all turned out!

For the uninitiated, the Comic Book Review Power Rankings is a countdown from worst-to-best of my weekly comic book haul. Before reading the issues, I preRank them based on the creative team, previous issues, solicitations, and gut instinct. The final Ranking number is based upon how the issues actually turned out. I attempt to keep everything as spoiler free as possible, but keep in mind that there may be the occasional minor spoiler that I overlook. As always, I can be reached via responses to this thread or at

Not ranked this week is the final issue of Wednesday Comics, though I did pick it up and plan on enjoying it later this evening. You may also notice that the new issue of Supergirl is missing from the Rankings this week, which is actually due to the book being shorted at my local comic book shop. I’ll try to sneak in a catch-up review as part of next week’s Rankings.

Written by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost
Art by Bing Cansino, Roland Paris, Edgar Delgado, and Brian Reber
Letters by Rob Steen
Cover by Yanick Paquette, Michel Lacombe, and Nathan Fairbairn
preRanking: 09

• After being briefly brought up in the final issue of the Uncanny X-Men/Dark Avengers crossover, this issue “reveals” the big secrets that Cyclops and Emma Frost have been keeping from one another in the most unceremonious fashion of all time.
• I can freely discuss what these “secrets” are without spoiling anything because, quite frankly, there is nothing to spoil—Emma reveals her role in the Cabal and Cyclops reveals the creation of X-Force. Both do what they do to for the good of mankind. That’s it. No, seriously, that’s it.
• If you’ve been following the X-books, there really isn’t anything of value here. There isn’t even a conflict—the story quickly breaks down into “I love you”/”But, darling, I love you more” as there is nothing for the issue to hang itself upon.
• It would be different if this changed anything in Emma and Cyclops’s relationship, but it didn’t. They reveal the secrets and everything stays exactly the same. If anything would’ve changed, it might justify a full issue, but as it stands, this could’ve been done in one or two panels.
• It really doesn’t matter that Craig Kyle and Chris Yost “get” the characters and do a good job with their personalities, the utter lack of a plot—not to mention the forced weirdness of there being no conflict out of these secrets—ruins all hope for this issue.
Bing Cansino does a decent job with the art, particularly the cool “shredded” layouts during the reveal, but much like the writing, his work is betrayed by the plot.

Verdict: Avoid It. This reeks of editorial mandate as I can’t imagine that Craig Kyle and Chris Yost would push to write a story that is so utterly unnecessary. Marvel should be ashamed of themselves for producing this book, as it reveals nothing, sets up nothing, and does nothing more than to waste your $3.99. I hate to say it because I do really enjoy this creative team, but this is one of the few comics I’ve ever simply regretted buying. You need to avoid this at all costs. Go buy a back-issue of X-Force instead—that way you can support the talented Kyle and Yost without succumbing to this mind-blowingly unnecessary comic.

11. UNCANNY X-MEN #515
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten, and Justin Ponsor
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover by Greg Land
preRanking: 10

• If you’ve been reading my Rankings over the last few months, you probably already know what is coming with this review. Matt Fraction writes an interesting issue, this time featuring Cyclops having to own up to the fact that his decision to move all of the mutants to the floating Asteroid M wasn’t exactly thought through very well, but Greg Land’s insulting excuse for art ruins it for everyone.
• The are some interesting things going on in this issue—most notably the practical issues that Cyclops faces as he attempts to make his mutant haven self sufficient and Beast’s eulogy for a fallen member of the X-Club science team.
• Unfortunately, interesting and entertaining aren’t always the same thing, as the slow pace and methodical approach to society building becomes a bit of a bore—though I will say that the surprising return of a certain major character was cool and should set up some interesting things for the future.
• I also really liked the idea of Danger being the warden of Asteroid M’s prison, though Emma’s explanation of why this is a good idea rambled on for far too long and just assumes that readers read Joss Whedon’s introduction of Danger in Astonishing X-Men.
• I’m running out of ways to tell you how bad Greg Land’s art is, despite the fact that, as Kirk pointed out in his post about CrossGen, he is capable of not-tracing.
• To make matters worse in this issue, its clear that Land is simply recycling old traces by putting new costumes on the characters and is no longer even bothering to draw backgrounds.
• I understand that photo referencing is simply a fact of comics now and that many of my favorite artists do in fact photo reference, but there is a major difference between photo referencing and tracing. Heck, there is even a major difference between tracing and lazily tracing. This is Greg Land lazily tracing and if it is a damn shame that Marvel continues to print it and Joe Quesada continues to defend it.

Verdict: Avoid It. The story isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but Matt Fraction does some interesting things by approaching the story in ways that most writers wouldn’t (I know I certainly wouldn’t have though to address how Asteroid M would get fresh water). The problem is, and always will be as long as he is allowed to pretend to be an artist, Greg Land’s poorly traced art. It’s gotten to the point that Land isn’t even thinking about what he is tracing—character’s expressions rarely match what they are saying and he is using the same faces/poses over and over again. I’m not even sure why I bother anymore.

Lead Written by Rick Spears
Lead Art by Tim Green II and Edward Bola
Backup Written by Duane Swierczynski
Backup Art by Hautey Diaz and June Chung
Letters by Nate Piekos
Cover by David Aja

• The third Immortal Weapons origin one-shot focusing on Dog Brother, who is a legacy weapon that watches over the downtrodden and explores the life of the current Dog Brother as his life crumbled completely before he took up the mantle.
• There is a lot of story here, but little characterization. The young kids (including the future Dog Brother) are archetypical slum-dwelling orphans who do things you’ve read about and seen in other stories. Add a kung fu element to any one of a dozen similar stories and you have this issue.
• It’s an interesting background story for Dog Brother, but it doesn’t really connect with his appearances in Immortal Iron Fist and ends far too abruptly.
Tim Green’s art in the story reminds me a lot of Frank Miller’s work on Ronin. There are lots of thin lines, wild uncontrolled expressions, and a total absence of consistency. It is an interesting choice to make stylistically, but the end result isn’t very good (again, just like Frank Miller’s work on Ronin).
• Colorist Edward Bola makes weird coloring choices throughout the issue that don’t do very much to help the matter—most notably using a single color to color everything in a panel with no clear indication of why he is doing it. I don’t get it and I don’t like it.
• I still can’t get into the back-up story. The character work and the overall plot aren’t that interesting, plus Swierczynski hasn’t really been able to keep any momentum going due to the shortened page count.

Verdict: Avoid It. The good points about the issue are few and far between, despite the interesting premise behind Dog Brother. The uneven art, poor coloring choices, uninteresting backup, and reliance on clichéd archetypes unfortunately keep this one from living up to its potential and, in the long run, hold it back from being good.

Written by Peter David
Art by Dennis Calero
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover by Skottie Young
preRanking: 12

• I picked up this week’s Wolverine: First Class to fill the gap left by my shop not receiving its full order of the new Supergirl issue, mostly on the fact that Dennis Calero would be performing the art chores.
• The issue follows Wolverine and Kitty Pryde attempts at escaping capture by the Skrulls, who hope to find a way to emulate their powers for the Super Skrull program, so it ties into the Secret Invasion even that everyone seems to have forgotten about in way.
• Most of the issue’s character interaction is comprised of “tough guy” dialogue between Wolverine and his captors. Peter David does a good job with this, but relies on it too much considering how sparse his dialogue is throughout the rest of the issue.
• Doesn’t it seem a little weird that the Skrulls would only abduct Kitty and Wolverine? You’d think that they’d want other mutant skills.
• The highlight of the issue is the art by Dennis Calero, which is strong and expressive. He really is stuck creating the tone and carrying the story, especially considering how thin the dialogue is.
• Calero’s approach is very straight forward and methodical—it’s basic, but effective.

Verdict: Read with Caution. The only part of this issue that I really enjoyed (other than the awesome cover by Skottie Young) was the art by Dennis Calero. His clean character work and strong expressions really carried this story when the loose plotting and thin dialogue fell flat. If you are a huge Calero fan (like me) this is worth picking up, otherwise, you can pass.

Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts
Letters by John J. Hill
Cover by Amanda Conner
preRanking: 06

• In this week’s installment of the always enjoyable Power Girl, the titular character finds herself dealing with the arrival of a trio of “sexy aliens” that crash land in New York and the bounty hunter that has been tailing them.
• I found it very odd that Power Girl takes a backseat in this issue to the debuting aliens, especially when the aliens didn’t have the most interesting personalities and had rather wooden dialogue.
• As always, I really like this book’s fun, lighthearted approach, which is a breath of fresh air most weeks, but it is worth noticing that a lot of the lighter moments and humor in this issue come as filler scenes (such as Power Girl washing her cat).
• As per usual, Amanda Conner’s art is the title’s biggest draw, though this isn’t her strongest effort. There are some panels where she does simply amazing work—including some of the most impressive and nuanced expressions of the week.
• Unfortunately, a lot of this issue looks really rushed, with some panels looking unfinished and others being pretty subpar in comparison to Conner’s other work. My best guess is that Conner is beginning to feel the pressure of working on a monthly comic and some pages were victims of that.

Verdict: Check It. This is the weakest issue of the series yet, but is still a fun read. The light tone and good chemistry between the writing and the art does its best to make up for some of the shortcomings, but cannot fully overcome an uneven output from Amanda Conner and relatively uninteresting focal-point characters.

Written by Joe Kelly
Art by Mike McKone, Andy Lanning, and Chris Chuckry
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover by J. Scott Campbell and Edgar Delgado
preRanking: 08

• As you can tell by the cover, the Black Cat makes her return in this week’s Amazing Spider-Man which finds Peter Parker bumbling through his love life as a ridiculous number of attractive women fight over him.
• This issue features a lot of strange plot points, including Norah makes some dicey comments, Peter’s Spidey-equipment failing, and a few important points in the conclusion of the issue that only seem to happen to push the plot along. They were all tremendously distracting.
Joe Kelly has a good take on most of the characters and did a great job of writing the interaction between Spider-Man and Black Cat. I’ve never been a huge fan of the character (though I loved the Black Cat/Wolverine miniseries from a few years back), but this was interesting to me.
• As mentioned above, Peter’s fellow journalist Norah Winters makes some attacking comments towards Peter’s roommate Michelle that could be taken as racist, which really did not work for me. Norah attempts to justify herself and although she was dating Robbie Robertson’s son (a black man), this is still an unnecessarily uncomfortable moment that should’ve been avoided altogether.
Mike McKone’s art was incredibly energetic and expressive, which brought a lot of life to the script—even in the less action-y moments such as Spidey’s conversations with Black Cat.
• I didn’t care for McKone’s more “inventive” layouts, such as using spider-shaped panels, though. These really disrupted the flow of the issue and didn’t enhance the page at all in the long run.
• I am really digging the choice of putting Spider-Man in the black-and-red costume, though. It’s more impressive visually than the royal blue-and-red.

Verdict: Check It. This is an entertaining issue that is held back by some nagging issues with the writing, including plot holes, odd characterization, and an opening scene that needed more elaboration before it devolved into a shouting match between Michelle and Norah. The Black Cat/Spider-Man interaction works well, though, and is the focal point of the issue. It’s worth checking out, but don’t get your hopes too high.

06. GI: JOE #9
Written by Chuck Dixon
Art by SL Gallant and Andrew Crossley
Letters by Chris Mowry
Covers by Howard Chaykin and Robert Atkins
preRanking: 07

• Things heat up in GI: Joe #9 as the Joes begin to raid Destro’s castle (too bad he is on his way to Cobra’s hidden base) and the duo of Mainframe and Snake Eyes get closer to Cobra’s secret server.
• There is lot of great action throughout this issue, with good storytelling from both writer Chuck Dixon and artist SL Gallant as the Joes fought Destro’s giant robot and Snake Eye is ambushed by Cobra forces.
• The character interaction was a bit weaker than normal, except for the scenes between Mainframe and Snake Eyes. The humor in their interaction helped balanced out the issue by injecting a bit of fun into the action.
• The Scottish accents from Destroy and his associates were a bit rough, with them sounding more like hillbillies at times than Scots. It’s a gimmick that either needs to be dropped or massively overhauled.
• SL Gallant’s art is much stronger than it has been, with his storytelling showing great improvement, especially in the action sequences.
• Unfortunately, consistency is still a HUGE problem for him. This is mostly in the actual character designs, especially the women’s faces, than with line widths, quality, etc. Baroness was especially rough as her facial features shifted throughout her few appearances in the issue.

Verdict: Buy It. Aside from some character design problems and the horrible Scottish accents, this is a pretty solid issue and an entertaining read. There is a nice balance of action and character moments, with the Mainframe/Snake Eyes scenes stealing the issue. It definitely needs some polish, but is otherwise another strong issue for this great series.

Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by Wesley Craig and Nathan Fairbairn
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover by Pasqual Ferry
preRanking: 02

• This week’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun romp through alternate futures as the ragtag Team A of the Present-Time Guardians (Star Lord, Cosmo, Jack Flag, Mantis, and Bug) meet up with a different future Guardians of the Galaxy—this time lead by Killraven—and begin to understand what is happening as they attempt to make it back in time.
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (“DnA”) stick to their usual M.O. with this issue by chronicling a fun adventure with quirky characters—only this time we get an all-new cast of characters to work with.
• I like the idea of the team sliding through alternate futures, though some of the side effects, such as the odd aging of Star Lord and Mantis or Jack’s phasing out of reality doesn’t work quite as well do their unclear definition. In the end, they seem to serve as little more than a gag or gimmick.
• It cracks me up that Star Lord says his team’s name is the Butt-Kickers of the Fantastic, which is a name Rocket Raccoon suggested when the team first got together.
• I have to applaud the use of a future version of Wonder Man (known as “Hollywood”) here. It’s a character that is rarely ever handled well, but DnA really pull it off.
• The art was a bit of a mixed bag. Wes Craig’s work has a ton of energy, which helped carry the story through its multiple action sequences, but his expressions were really ill-defined.
• I like how loose Craig’s style here. It’s a departure from his previous work on this title and has a very Humberto Ramos-meets-Phil Hester vibe to it that I do dig. The problem is, as I said, certain aspects of his art suffer, most notable his expressions.

Verdict: Buy It. This is undoubtedly a fun issue, but is a step down from the usual level of quality that I’ve come to expect from Guardians of the Galaxy. It still has all of the charm of the title, but the execution leaves some to be desired. The most prominent example of this is Wes Craig’s new looser style, which shows a lot of promise, but is still clearly a work-in-progress.

Written by Mark Millar
Art by Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines, Mark Morales, and Morry Hollowell
Letters by Cory Petit
Covers by Various
preRanking: 04

• After lots of delays, the much-hyped Old Man Logan comes to a conclusion this week with an incredibly violent and pulse-pounding issue that finds Wolverine taking his revenge upon Hulk and his descendents after finding his family murdered at the end of the last issue.
• This is one of the most brutal and savage comics I have ever read. From cover to cover, this is pure, unrepentant violence. Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
• This is the perfect ending to the story, with Logan “coming to terms” with his violent past in a berserker rage that culminates in a battle with the now-mad Hulk.
Mark Millar doesn’t waste much time with dialogue, popping in a few jokes here and there, as well as an explanation for the Hillbilly Hulks (lots o’ incest with cousin She-Hulk), and an interesting, ambiguous epilogue. Otherwise the vast majority of the issue is left to the art.
Steve McNiven does a wonderful job with the art. He uses large “snapshot” style panels to capture the intensity of Logan’s violent attacks on the Hulks.
• This is a bit stiff at times, but I think that McNiven meant to it to be so that he isn’t capturing anything in motion but rather at the exact moment of heightened violence. It’s an interesting move stylistically.
• The art is perfectly accented by the inking duo of Dexter Vines and Mark Morales, as well as the colors by Morry Hollowell. The overall effective is incredibly dark and atmospheric, using a deep, rich color palette that perfectly reflects the darkness of the story.
• The only major problem that I have with this issue is the steep $4.99 price tag. Yes, the story is oversized and you do get a handful of extras, most notably a cover gallery; however, that is something you’d expect at a $3.99 comic. Marvel includes absolutely nothing that would justify the higher price, other than the fact that they knew fans would pay for it. Despite how awesome this story is, that is a slap in the fact to readers, especially those who waited so long to pick this up.

Verdict: Buy It. This is an excellently crafted issue that most certainly desires a “Must Read” verdict based upon the merits of its execution. Millar and McNiven bring their A-game and the end result is a simply fantastic comic that excels on nearly all levels. Unfortunately, the ridiculous price tag and sorry excuse for extras hold this one back. You definitely shouldn’t miss this issue, even if its going to cost you way more than it should to check it out.

Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Dale Eaglesham and Paul Mounts
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover by Alan Davis, Mark Farmer, and Dave McCaig
preRanking: 03

• After discovering a pan-dimensional council of alternate Reeds, the 616 Reed Richards finds himself spending less time with his family and more time with his counterparts in this issue. But, can you blame him when all his family does is whine about birthday parties while the other Reeds are terraforming worlds to end hunger, fixing abnormal suns, and killing the Galactuses (Galacti?) of other dimensions?
• This issue is an interesting character study of Reed Richards, but not necessarily of who he is current, but rather of what he could become. Of course, this is all to give us a better understanding of our Reed.
• I found it really interesting that, when looking at Reed’s childhood, rather than having him be a social outcast for his brilliance, Jonathan Hickman writes him as someone the other kids look up to—a major twist on the clichéd archetype.
• The interaction between the multiple Reeds was really interesting and well-handled; I have to applaud Hickman for doing such a great job of creating separate identities for each Reed while still maintaining the core personality. I’m really impressed how Hickman put each character together and applaud him for it.
• The breakfast scene with Reed and the family didn’t come out quite as well due to its plodding pace and very isolated subplots—things are brought up in this scene that really go nowhere.
Dale Eaglesham’s art is gorgeous throughout the issue, especially with the amazing spread of the multiple Reeds fighting off a Galactus.
• The only thing I really don’t understand is why the 616 Reed is grizzled and buff looking. Is he supposed to be like Indiana Jones? I get that every artist puts their own spin on a character, but I can’t remember anyone presenting Reed in this manner before; I’m not a big fan of it.

Verdict: Must Read. After a very strong debut, the creative team of Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham up the ante with an even stronger follow-up. The creators have a superb take on the characters and their sci-fi roots. This is the pulpiest and most high concept take on the characters that we’ve seen in a long time and it works incredibly well. After the disappointing Hitch/Millar run, Hickman and Eaglesham have once again returned Marvel’s first family to level of quality that they deserve.

02. NOVA #29
Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by Kevin Sharpe, Nelson Pereira, and Bruno Hang
Letters by Cory Petit
Cover by Brandon Peterson
preRanking: 01

• Picking up where the last issue left off, this issue follows Nova and several members of the Nova Corps as they inspect the mysterious spaceship that appeared out of the fault last issue, only to find that it contained a long-forgotten member of the Nova Corps and his criminal prisoner. Unbeknownst to them, the ship is also being pursued by a bounty hunter, Monark Starstalker, and the criminal’s henchman.
• The issue moves at a great pace with superb dialogue and character action. There is an ice mix of wit and charm with the otherwise brooding and serious story.
• The character work is the strongest aspect of the issue, with Starstalker looking to be the next in a long line of forgotten characters that Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning look to revitalize. In addition to this, we get the introduction of the Nova Corpsman, whose Kung-Fu-esque (like the TV show) travels could make for an interesting story should the writers wish to revisit it.
• Its great to see Abnett and Lanning separating out the probationary members of the Nova Corps with their reverence for the titular character. Giving the rookies their own subplot here is also a cool idea, as is their distinct red uniforms.
Kevin Sharpe does a good job with the art, showing strong range by handling the “talking heads” portions of the issue just as well as he does the action, thanks mostly to his strong expressions.
• He also finds a nice balance on the details, especially when drawing the contrast between Starstalker’s ornate costume and the simpler Nova Corps uniforms.
• His anatomy could use some work though, as it is quite muddy and inconsistent at times. Some of this can be attributed to the thick inks by Nelson Pereira, though.

Verdict: Must Read. It should come as no surprise that, once again, Nova is amongst the best books of the week. The superb character work featured in this issue is the calling card for the series, as is the great mix of action and quieter moments. Kevin Sharpe’s art could use a bit refinement, but he does a solid job of interpreting the script and has good chemistry with the writers.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank, Jon Sibal, and Brad Anderson
Letters by Steve Wands
Cover by Gary Frank and Brad Anderson
preRanking: 05

• Since it was first announced in 2008, Superman: Secret Origin has been both a source of excitement and ire from fans as some were excited to see how the creative team could take on such an iconic story while others were annoyed that DC would revisit such an iconic story that had already been revamped as recently as 2004. I was personally in the excited camp and I think that, upon picking up this issue, so will many of the book’s previous detractors.
• This very brisk issue follows the revelations of some Clark Kent’s most iconic powers, how they affected his outlook on life, and the days leading up to his first act of notable heroism.
Geoff Johns does a wonderful job of capturing Clark’s teenage wonder and naïveté, especially in regards to how he reacts to his peers and to the revelation that he is actually from Krypton.
• While the issue does make some notable changes to Clark’s earliest adventures, including his relationship with Lana Lang and his first confrontation with Lex Luthor, Johns remains true to the core story.
• There are a few elements from Smallville, most of which are subtle nods to the series, including Chloe Sullivan signing Pete Ross’s cast—which just reminds me of how she should have been introduced into the comics before the show ruined the character by making her as annoying as they did Lana.
• I like the idea that, upon finding out that he is an alien, Clark clutches to his human upbringing and lashes out in anger. This is a much more natural response and helps set up a lot of how he views the world.
• The biggest draw for me was the art by Gary Frank who, once again, proves that he is the single best Superman artist since Curt Swan. His take on the characters is iconic, but only in the sense that everything after Frank now must live in the shadow of his standard.
• There were a few awkward moments, however, most notably the fact that Frank is committed to capturing the essence of Christopher Reeve in every panel and struggles with it a bit when drawing the young Clark.
• On a personal note, I would rather have seen Frank draw Ma and Pa Kent closer to how they appeared in Smallville—rather than as old as they are portrayed by most artists. Given that 15-20 years have past since the events of this issue, there is no sense in drawing the characters like they are in their 50s or 60s.

Verdict: Must Read. This issue is a brilliant look at Superman’s earliest days from an interesting angle. Rather than focusing on how Superman arose from young Clark Kent, Johns and Frank focus on how the young Clark Kent made the self-discoveries that would later cause him to become Superman. The result is a heartwarming and incredibly-well crafted introduction to the character that is one of the single best Superman comics I’ve read in years.  This was an easy choice for Book of the Week and a major contender for Single Issue of the Year.

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Daringd said...

9. Blackest Night: Superman #2: Robinson/Barrows DC $2.99
While I enjoyed the first issue to many things don’t work here. The art was strange, I mean really one page Superman is bulky one page he’s scrawny man up your mind damn it. The story side of things it’s okay, not great okay. Robinson as f late has been hit or miss. His work on Superman has mostly been great but here not so much. I don’t want to rant about it so I’ll end my review here.

8. The New Avengers #57: Bendis/Immonen Marvel $3.99
At this point they should name this book The Hood. Yes he only pops up for one page but my god man let it go. Move on to another villain, no one cares anymore. That said this is a pretty solid issue except…it’s pointless. Marvel really screwed NA over by releasing The List Avengers before the end of this arc. If I hadn’t read Avengers List this issue would be in the top 5. I just don’t get why Marvel did that. Like always Immonen art is a real joy he does great work here, with help from colorist Dave McCaig. Overall a solid issue but Marvel just screwed it over to badly.

7. Wednesday Comics #12: Various/Various DC $3.99
So this event has come to a close. DC’s “experiment” was a success sort of. I really enjoyed the series as a whole but certain weeks were dreadful. This week walks the line a bit. The good stories all have strong endings and the crappy stories have crappy endings. I’m looking at you Wonder Woman. The Flash ending is absolutely fantastic I loved it. Along with Metamorpho . Surprisingly however the Metal Men ending really disappointed. I hope we get a second series with a consistent book every week.
7.5/10 Series overall: 7.7/10

6. Uncanny X-men #515: Fraction/Land Marvel $2.99
Not the best issue of Fractions run but pretty solid. My only real complaint about the issue was after the ending of Utopia so much more could have been done. Land’s art which I actually enjoy is pretty solid here but it does nothing for the story. It might sound like I’m tearing the book up but I as a X-men fan really dug it. Just not all of it worked.

5. Wolverine: Giant-Size Old Man Logan #1: Millar/McNiven Marvel $4.99
There will be Blood. My god is this issue a blood fest. 32 pages of death, well 28 ish but still. After a long delay Old Man Logan has come to an end. Was it the greatest ending ever sadly no. Was it damn good fun hell yes. McNiven really shines on the art here, Millar really lets the art speak for the book. I think I would of enjoyed it a bit more if had been on time but I can’t complain. I plan to re-read the hold arc soon hopefully it will be as good as I remember it being.

Daringd said...

4. Dark Reign: The List X-men: Fraction/Davis Marvel $3.99
I’m just gonna come out and say it. Alan Davis should be on the regular Uncanny book as artist. He owns here on art. Not to say Fraction story wasn’t awesome but the art alone is worth the price tag. Fraction gives us one of the better List issues it is amazing what he does here. Much better work X-men from Fraction this week.

3. Invincible #66: Kirkman/Walker Image $2.99
I have to give Dave McCaig A LOT of credit. His colors really help Cory Walkers art. I’d even go as far to say I’d like Walker and Ottley to alternate art of Invincible after this. After a subpar performance on the Destroyer Mini I was dreading Walker on Invincible but boy did he do a great job. Kirkman as always gives us a great story. We will finally be getting the answers from Nolan and Allen that Kirkman has been teasing at for 30 plus issues. I personally can’t wait for the next issue of this two part arc.

2. Spider-Woman #1: Bendis/Maleev Marvel $3.99
I have been dying for this series to come out. Ever since the awesome mini came out a few years ago. Bendis for once did not disappoint here, part of that is due to the wonderful art from Maleev. Bendis covers a lot of ground in this issue; I for once enjoyed this decompression type storytelling. The only thing I have against it is the should of come out when it was solicited earlier this year. This would of hit the marks so much better if had been released right after Secret Invasion. Besides that absolutely loved it.

1.Fantastic Four #571: Hickman/Eaglesham Marvel $2.99
WOW! Hickman really brought his A game here, well really when doesn’t he. After enjoying the first issue of his run I was looking forward to reading this but I was surprised once I read this issue. The floodgates have been opened and Hickman has been unleashed. The amount of stuff in this issue is mind blowing; I don’t want to spoil for anyone so I won’t go into details. Anyone who reads this issue won’t be disappointed.

brandon said...

wasn't Destro supposed to go to the artic base in this issue?

Michael said...

Reed has been portrayed as grizzled before in the early 90s. There was an arc where Reed and Doom supposedly died but they actually sent back thousand of years by Hyperstorm. When the rest of the FF found Reed he had a full on beard, which he kept for a few issues after returning to the present. This was also when Sue had her cutout outfit and Thing wore a stupid helmet because Wolverine slashed The Thing in the face with his claws.

Josh said...

Reed has been kinda like Indiana Jones for a very long time. Remember, he was always a science adventurer in that vein anyway, on top of fighting in World War 2 (the sliding time scale of Marvel leaves he and Ben fighting in some undisclosed military thing). This is all illustrated more recently in Before the Fantastic Four: Reed Richards #1-3. It's a story of Reed before the FF when he was just a researcher. He has a global adventure from the Himalayas to Egypt to Latveria, all over. Fun stuff from PAD.

But anyway, all the bitching over Reed's 'change' is pretty unfounded. Even Kirby drew him beefier than artists normally do.

Zdenko said...

Spidey's webshooters falling apart are due to the return of Black Cat's bad luck powers which were given to her by the Kingpin in Spectacular Spider-Man No.89 in 1984. (

PMMJ said...

Is Superman: Secret Origins really one of the most anticipated comics of the year?

brandon said...


interesting thought about it being anticipated.

what would rank ahead of it in the calendar year of 2009?

I would think Final Crisis 6 & 7, the Gaiman Batman two parter, Spidey 600 maybe.

I would say Blackest Night, Cap Reborn and Cap 600 also were more hyped.

What about Thor 600, Batman and Robin, Battle for the Cowl, Wednesday Comics, some of the Dark Avenger titles.

Heck you might say the Flash Rebirth had more build up.

Seems like a lot of stuff came out that had more momentum behind them. Interesting discussion though.

Ryan Schrodt said...

Thanks for all the comments, y'all! Keep 'em coming!

@Brandon - The solicitation did say that Destro would arrive at the base, but the issue had him traveling there. I'm guessing Dixon took some of the base stuff out of this issue to focus more on Mainframe's team-up with Snake Eyes.

@Michael & Josh - I do agree about Reed being a science adventurer and that he has been beefed up in the past, he just seems overly macho when drawn by Eaglesham and it doesn't sit well with me. I might have to check out that "Before the Fantastic: Four" story. I don't mean to sound like I'm bitching as I clearly loved the issue, there is just something about the design that doesn't sit well with me.

@Zdenko - I compltely forgot about Black Cat's bad luck powers, mostly because they never made a whole lot of sense to me. That does help fill some of the plot gaps, but the issue still has a lot of other issues.

@PMMJ - I think so, even if people weren't excited about it, it certainly got everyone talking.

McE said...

"It cracks me up that Star Lord says his team’s name is the Butt-Kickers of the Fantastic, which is a name Rocket Raccoon suggested when the team first got together"

Also a nod to Rex Havok and the Ass-Kickers of the Fantastic! Loved Abel Laxamana back in the day...

smkedtky said...

FANTASTIC FOUR was easily Book of the Week for me. I haven't enjoyed this book this much since my favorite all-time FF run by Walt Simonson (and so far, Hickman/Eaglesham are outdoing him).

As far as Reed Richards is concerned: I don't care how smart and secure you are with yourself...if you had complete control over your body's form, like Reed does, you'd make yourself look buff all the time too. The facial hair makes sense, too. I actually wondered why a man who would lock himself in his lab for days at a time, was always so clean shaven. It makes sense for the character.

Klep said...

@Zdenko Black Cat lost her bad luck powers at some point after that. Given the quality of forethought and planning we've seen from the "Spidey Brain Trust" in the past however, it wouldn't surprise me if they'd forgotten that and will hastily throw together an explanation.

Zdenko said...

Yeah, I'm aware of that, never read a actual issue of where and how it happened, but in this issue Spidey states something along the lines ''I take it your bad luck powers are back?'' I think he says that on the splash-page where she appears.

ModernTenshi04 said...

Yeah, when I walked into my direct shop around 4:45 on Wednesday, they only had one copy of Supergirl on the shelf.

Wonder if demand is down for the title?

Ryan Schrodt said...

I'm not sure. My shop was actually missing 10 copies. They ordered 14, but recieved 4.

You'd think that demand for this particular issue might be a bit higher since it crosses over with Action Comics.

Anonymous said...

Reed's a shape-shifter. If he's feeling beefy at the moment, that's easy to explain.

Johnny's bulk-up is a little less easy, but a panel or two could easily wipe away this concern...

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