Monday, September 25, 2006

NEW COMIC: 09.20.06

9/20?! Egad! Someone was late getting around to doing his comic reviews this week... er... last week. I know, you were all waiting with bated breath for me to ramble about whatever random X-titles I picked up. Well, you can stop chewing your fingernails down to bloody little stubs, because I'm finally gonna ramble. And since I picked up six comics last week, I got plenty of ramblin' to do!

So, let's do it shall we!

Civil War #4 - Fanboys on the interweb have been throwing a collective fit about this issue, but maybe I'm just not taking Civil War seriously enough. I mean, sure they have a point that neither Iron Man nor Captain America is really acting in character (or Reed Richards for that matter). And it is true that the Pro-Registration side is acting like a bunch of numbskulls. I mean, when their "big plan" to improve their image involves recruiting bad guys and murderers onto their side, you know they aren't exactly thinking things through.

But, the things is, I just really can't get upset about any of it. Because no matter how much Mark Millar wraps it in political allegory, it's still just an excuse to have superheroes beat each other up for seven issues.

Seven very well-drawn issues.

So, while it might not be good storytelling per se, I'm having fun with it.

Astonishing X-men #17 - For awhile now, Marvel (and myself) have been championing this book as the "easily accessible X-title." But with this issue, I just have to admit that it really isn't. In fact, if I hadn't been reading X-men comics for the last 20 or so years and had instead just picked this title up for the first time, it would make very little to no sense to me. It fairly freely riffs (and rips) from the past, while plowing headlong into the future with little explaination of who's who and what's what.

That said, I luckily have been reading X-men comics for 20 odd years, so it's a great little ride. There's a number of great reveals (the twist with Lockheed is great fun) and cool moments (Wolverine's recovery was awesome little piece of visual storytelling), and there's definitely the feeling that Whedon is bringing things to a head.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.

Runaways #20 - As much as I generally love this title, this issue seemed to be treading water a little. Only the subplot involving Chase and "the Fall" seems like it's really going anywhere. The other storyline, involving a giant monster ravaging downtown LA seems surprisingly underwelming. Part of the problem might be the art by Mike Norton, which is perfectly competent but doesn't really shine in the big battles. Here's hoping things pick up for the title a little bit, or it might get the cut when I head out on my Round the World trip.

X-Factor #11 - Well, that was quick. The big twist from last issue is quickly resolved in the first half of this issue. But that's not to say this is a bad issue. In fact, there's a couple of interesting ideas which come out of this book. First, we have the continued exploration of Quicksilver and his new powers (I'm interested to see how that storyline plays out... and where).

Also, we have a nice little addition to the "science" of mutants. For years now, the X-titles have had two types of mutants: Ones that are born with their powers, and others whose powers manifest themselves at puberty. Peter David finally explains why this is, and his explaination is both logical and clever. I always drag my feet to give Peter David credit because his online persona annoys me so, but I think he deserves it this time. It's a neat little details that makes you go, "why didn't anyone think of that before."

Civil War: X-men #3 - While still better than 198, this issue is a bit of a mess. This feeling was only heightened by the fact that my copy of the issue is missing its top staple... making the whole comic feel like it is about to fall apart on me.

The story itself is competent, if a little boringly executed. I'm glad that the title is continuing to explore and play out the events of Decimation, but it's too bad the actual story is sort of clunky. The issue-long fight scene is fairly uninteresting. And Val Cooper facing up against Gen Lazer isn't much better since Lazer is basically a generic "evil mastermind" rubbing his hands together and cackling in his tower.

Probably the most interesting stuff here is sort of taking place on the sidelines. And I'll be surprisingly sad if the character who is wounded this issues dies. I have hopes for the final issue, but this issue just gets a:

And last but not least, we have...

Nextwave #8 - "I defeated the super-villian, Monica. Like a real superhero." The way that line plays out after what the Captain did is the reason this title is so sickingly entertaining.

This issue is basically an extended fight scene between Nextwave and a horde of mindless ones. But, then again, when isn't an issue of this title an extended fight scene? That said, there's some interesting backstory with Elsa here which, while played as a joke, is actually a little sad and revealing about the character.

But, for the most part, this title is just twisted, action-packed fun!

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