Rapid-Fire Reviews: Labor Day Edition

by

Or – “Most People Don’t Know That His Full Name Is Manuel Labór.”

 

So, I have completed my daily labors, overseeing the dozen fellers and gals what make up the current workgroup to call themselves Team RamRod (“See, you’re Arkot Ramathorn… Ram. And I’m Rodney Farva… Rod. Team RamRod!”) and I am preparing to have some spaghetti and hang out with friends, but first I wanted to catch up with some of the many titles that I’ve neglected over the busy last days of August…

RAPID-FIRE REVIEW TIME!

Previously, on Everything: Everything is the concept of all that exists. Every entity, physical body, and abstract object is part of everything. Everything is the opposite of nothing, though an alternative view considers “nothing” a part of everything.

 

 

AA1.gifAgents of Atlas #9: The story of how Jimmy Woo’s lost love Suwan became the leader of her own giant international conglomerate isn’t told here, but some titillating tidbits are. She has her own dragon pal, and he knows Jimmy’s dragon confidante, Mr. Lao. She has her own killer robot, and M-21 model, far superior to Jimmy’s outmoded M-11 unit. She even has technological superiority, hacking Jimmy’s Atlas networks easily and declaring a dragon clan war. She DOESN’T have her own superhuman attack force, though, and Venus, Gorilla-Man, Namora, Temujin (Son of Mandarin) and Derek Khanata use that to their advantage, springing Jimmy from the newly minted Jade Claw’s clutches. I’m fascinated to find that the Agents may have a decent counterpoint to their Venusian/Atlantean/Siren/technological/were-ape awesomeness, and I really want to know how Suwan managed to put together her OWN giant cabal of evil (called ‘The Great Wall’) that rivals her uncle’s. Jimmy’s heartbreak leads to 4 stars.

4stars.jpg

AC1.gifAstro City – The Dark Age Book III #4 (of 4): The Silver Agent is back, The First Family and the Honor Guard join forces, and even their massive power can’t stop the unleashed Incarnate, powered by the same forces that empowered the Apollo 11. Pyramid agent Aubrey nearly killed the Williams brothers, a hero called The Point Man makes a huge mistake that saves the day but possibly dooms the future. After the crisis falls, The Silver Agent returns to the time-stream, the Incarnate is down, and Charles and Royal Williams find their one final shot at the man who killed their parents. This issue ends with an ominous tentacled thing arriving in our reality as Royal voice-overs that EVERYONE had unfinished business. As much as I love Astro City, this issue raises more questions that it answers, and I hope that the last 4-book cycle of ‘The Dark Age’ finally allows us to get back to the business of Astro City. But the most important bit comes in the lettercolumn, as Kurt Busiek reveals that Astro City is going monthly! That news alone is worth the price of admission. Royal’s quest for vengeance leads to 3.5 stars.

35stars.jpg

AM1.gifMighty Avengers #28: The menace known as the Unspoken continues to advance against China, as Quicksilver and USAgent vie for the title of “Biggest Douche in the Marvel Universe.” (Apparently the prize money is wonderful, if Tony Stark’s coffers are any indication. The Chinese National super-team isn’t as out of it as we might have thought, and the Young Avengers finally try to figure out what’s up with the Scarlet Witch (since Wiccan and Speed may or may not be the souls of her lost twins sons from years ago.) When they try to find out, though, “Scarlet Witch” attacks and (not surprising, since s/he is actually Asgardian god/dess of mischief Loki) quickly overpowers the kids. Before she can score a Total Party Kill, though, another player enters the field, as Ronin leaps into motion to stop her and figure out what her deal is. Five to one he sleeps with Loki… Clint’s appearance, John and Pietro’s assclownery, and Cassie’s naivete roll together into a nicely textured 2.5 stars.

25stars.jpg

 

AN1.gifNew Avengers #56: The powerless New Avengers are at the mercy of Chemistro, but nobody factored in the returning Mockingbird (who, as of last issue, is wearing her “The Reunion” costume for the first time, placing that series in continuity finally) who grabs Captain America’s mighty shield and starts busting chops. Sadly, though, the Wrecking Crew arrive to ruin her day. Spider-Man manages to help, as does a severely debilitated Luke Cage (whose heart is, for some reason, not happy, which I attribute to the loss of his powers, somehow.) A squad of cops get blown up, and the villains get a bonus when the Dark Avengers arrive and are likewise de-powered. The Hood gets new abilities, thanks to Loki and the Norn Stones, while both New and Dark teams are left at the mercy of The Hood’s super-army. Dirk and company’s loser status and impending ass-kicking even by a squad of powerless Avengers earns 3 stars.

3stars.jpg

 

AI1.gifAvengers – The Initiative #27: This touching issue gets A:I back on track, narrated by three-time loser Johnny Guitar, who once got the tar beaten out of him by Dazzler. Alongside his partner, Doctor Sax, Johnny is recruited by Taskmaster to serve in a new Shadow Initiative. He, of all the new recruits, finds out the sad truth: That they’re all nothing but cannon fodder to soften up powerful foes without endangering the important members of the team. Johnny goes out with nobility though, injuring his partner to keep him from dying, and then going to his own doom like a hero. The issue ends with the discovery of the badly beaten Brother Grimm (attacked by Tigra last issue as a warning to The Hood) and the realization that the former New Warriors are much more dangerous than anyone gave them credit for. Johnny’s face turn combined with Greer’s perfect seasoning of a dish served cold earns 3.5 stars.

35stars.jpg

 

Bo1.gifThe Boys Thirty-Four: Stormfront. The last surviving member of Payback. Neo-Nazi $&@$head supreme. The man who left The Female in a coma. Left to his own devices, he could level a city, but he’d still be an idiot. Billy Butcher, The Frenchman and Mother’s Milk remind him how his brethren fared in World War II, and the short-handed Boys get an assist from Love Sausage of the Russian super-team ‘Glorious Five-Year Plan.’ The foursome beats the one-eyed caped sack of flesh to death, crushing him into the pavement as a horrified Wee Hughie watches. Mother’s Milk wonders if Hughie can really take the life, and Butcher cryptically replies, “We could tell him who we are.” Starlight makes a stand, The Female wakes up (and breaks Hughie’s arm for trying to steal her candy) and Butcher earns his name at the end, preparing to torture Soldier Boy for information. Billy’s brutality, Annie’s defiance, and Vassily’s wonderful joie de vivre earns 3 stars.

3stars.jpg

 

BH1.gifThe Boys – Herogasm #4 (of 6): When the planes attacked on 9/11, President ‘Dakota Bob’ ordered the Air Force to fire on an airliner loaded with passengers, but Vic the Veep and Secret Service agents loyal to Vought-American KNOCKED HIM OUT and took over the situation. “Tell NORAD to order weapons hold,” says the normally mono-syllabic vice-president, over and over, as if hypnotized. While the Boys extract this information from a Secret Service man NOT bought and paid for by Vought, the mysterious man from Vought-American tells the Vice-President something very important: Dakota Bob is going to die. “You will serve out the remainder of his term, then win the 2008 election and begin the first of your own…. You will implement policy initiated by us and us alone… Do you understand that?” The Veep says he does, and we fade to black realizing that V-A is about to takes over the government without a single shot being fired. It took long enough to get there, but this series is finally becoming important to the ongoing storyline… Vic’s complete imbecility earns 3.5 stars.

35stars.jpg

 

BB1.gifThe Brave And The Bold #26: The Milestone universe’s most famous dead guy meets the DC Universe’s most famous dead guy, as Xombi crosses swords with the Spectre… When a murderer dispatched by The Spectre becomes a murdering ghost, killing other wayward spirits, he is forbidden by his boss to intervene. David Kim, known to some as a Xombi, gets involved, and together they stop the menace to the wandering dead. It’s an interesting little metaphysical tale, with Scott Hampton providing some interesting art, and Xombi-creator John Rozum offering a Vertigo-esque story with a compellingly cruel antagonist. As team-ups go, this one is both unlikely and completely logical, a hard balance to strike with characters this unusual… David’s sense of justice and Crispus’ sense of duty earn 3.5 stars.

35stars.jpg

 

BVS1.gifBuffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 8 #28: Buffy and the Scooby gang, along with the Slayerettes, have relocated to the mountains of Tibet, subsisting on what they can grow, and trying to repress their magical/demon natures. Former bad guy Andrew suspects that something is wrong, and barters a video camera, returning to old tricks as he attempts to ferret out a traitor amongst the group. Faith has a nice growth moment, Willow and Oz bond (and Willow gives away her reticence about losing her powers) and even Giles realizes that things aren’t what they used to be as Andrew cuts straight to the heart of the matter. The upshot of it all is that the traitor ISN’T one of them, but IS among them, and the issue ends with the girls discovered, and Twilight’s forces en route to strike. It’s an interesting look at what magic means to the various characters, telling us more with what they WON’T say as what they will. I’m still unhappy with the whole “addiction to magic” plot point being resurrected, though, and not sure where it’s supposed to go from here. Still, Oz’s serenity, Willow’s fears, and Buffy’s reveal of a big secret to her best friend earns 3 stars.

3stars.jpg

 

CA1.gifCaptain Action #5: Action Boy’s attempt to fill his dad’s big shoes has been going well, in a way, and this issue marks a major achievement when he manages to keep the new president (and, yes, it is who you think it is, marking his eleventy-seventh comic book appearance in recent days) from being infected with alien spores. The younger Captain takes the President’s place, while the original Captain Action is charged with protecting Obama until he heals. A nice couple of flashback stories fill out the issue, giving us a look into the psyches of both Captains, as well as showing off some cool bits and pieces of espionage throughout. All this under a gorgeous Paul Gulacy cover (I don’t know who Action Girl is, but her design is striking as heck…) I have toyed with dropping this title for monetary reasons, but issues like this give me pause to rethink that decision. Father and son conspiracy-busting earns 3.5 stars.

35stars.jpg

 

DX1.gifDark X-Men – The Beginning #3 (of 3): Norman’s choice of mutant team becomes more interesting with each issue, as we focus on Namor, thanks to a mind-probe from the White Queen. Emma is sure that Namor only joined her team because he’s attracted to her, but the real answer is much more complex: He doesn’t know what a mutant IS, how he can act like one, or even what he really feels about being one. We also get a look at how Norman recruited Mystique, a story which involves a biker bar, and pretending to be Wolverine, but… Wasn’t she dead for a while? The third story, my favorite, details what happens when Norman tries to use technology to control the multiple-personality disorder of Jeanne Marie Beaubier aka Aurora of Alpha Flight… Suffice to say that Jeanne pulls off a trick worthy of Osborn himself, creating new personalities to stop him with each new tack he takes, and eventually out-crazying that which she can’t out-maneuver. It’s an awesome look at an underutilized Marvel superstar, and it’s nice to see that even Norman doesn’t have all bases covered. Namor’s neuroses, Raven’s psychoses, and Jeanne Marie’s bug$&@$ crazy earn 3 stars.

3stars.jpg

 

DC1.gifDetective Comics #856: This series continues being beautifully rendered and vaguely incomprehensible, as Batwoman clashes with Alice, recovers from being poisoned, and Kate Kane gets to ballroom dance with Maggie Sawyer. Bette Kane (the former original Bat-Girl) gets a cameo here, making me wonder if we’re going to get a costumed appearance, though she doesn’t have any aliases left, with both Bat-Girl and Flamebird in use right now. Batwoman makes a tactical error, though, leaving her dad at Alice’s tender mercies. In the Question’s co-feature, Renee escapes a watery death, looks awesome in her little Trilby hat, and takes a bullet as the kidnapping plot she’s trying to unravel thickens. I am loving the art on both features, but J.H. Williams really kills as Maggie and Kate trip the light fandango. It’s absolutely breathtaking. Kate’s tactical error and Renee’s bullet wound earn 4.5 stars.

45stars.jpg

 

DW1.gifDoctor Who #2: Archie Maplin may not be a proper companion, but he manages to steal the show in the issue, as the Doctor is saved from being crushed by a train, then embarks on a silent-film chase (filmed by a handy camera crew, since this is Hollywood and all) that ends with The Doctor and his nemesis hanging off a clock-face ala Harold Lloyd. It’s all very interesting, but the real gems come from Archie, who makes sure to stop and mug for the camera. Buster Keaton appears briefly, and the entire affair ends well, save for a strange temporal vortex that envelops the TARDIS. A squadron of Judoon (though, sadly, the platoon is not upon the moon) and the leader of the Shadow Proclamation (who, oddly enough, resembles a red-eyed May Parker) declares him to be under arrest for repeatedly meddling in the affairs of Earth’s future. This bodes not well, though the Time Lord has been in worse scrapes, probably since breakfast… With the Cloister Bell ready to ring again, every moment with Doctor #10 comes across somewhat bittersweet. Theta Sigma’s temporal lunacy earns 3.5 stars.

35stars.jpg

 

D51.gifDynamo 5 #24: The long-brewing sub-plot regarding Father Gideon comes to the forefront, as he and Synergy move against Dynamo 5 at last. We find the irony of the Father teaming up with one of the illegitimate daughters of Captain Dynamo, as we find that he is the son of… MADDIE WARNER. The brains of the D5 team finds herself stunned to see him after so long (she apparently broke up with his father after being assigned by FLAG to cover Captain Dynamo.) Ironic that the man known for sleeping with women and wrecking relationships would have his longest-lasting one out of a broken engagement. Synergy’s powers easily overcome the Dynamo 5, who only have one each, and the kids find themselves trapped and chained as part of a revenge plot… Scrap tries to rip out of her chains, and finds the horrible truth: all their powers have been neutralized. It’s an interesting issue, and Mahmud Asrar kicks ass on the art here. It’s good to finally see this back-burner plot come to a boil, and I’m intrigued to see where it all ends up. Bridget’s skull-bikini earns 3 stars.

3stars.jpg

 

EM1.gifEx Machina #44: Mayor Mitchell Hundred heads into the sewers to deal with the menace that shares Pherson’s powers, only to find it nothing but an automaton. Security Chief Bradbury finds himself almost blackmailed over the existence of a White Box she thinks was used to rig the election. When the box explodes, though, the investigator ends up possessed by it, and possibly empowered like Mitch himself. The book ends with the Mayor ringing in a new year, and the promise of something wicked on the horizon. With the vague rumblings that this book may be ending soon, it’s good to see some forward momentum, and a reminder that this title is ALL told in flashback to the early years of the 21st Century. I’m not sure where it’s going, but I’m enjoying the ride again. Allegations of Mitchell’s impropriety earn 2.5 stars.

25stars.jpg

 

FCD1.gifFinal Crisis Aftermath – Dance #4 (of 6): I think this book has a lot going for it, but I’m starting to think that it (as well as a couple of it’s Final Crisis Aftermath brethren) would have been better served as a 4 issue mini. Shiny Happy Aquazon leaves the Super-Young Team after last month’s breakup, and ends up working with her father, a member of Big Science Action, Japan’s premiere superteam. Big Atomic Lantern Boy pines for his lost crush, while Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash starts walking the Earth, ala Forrest Gump, and gains the same sort of followers. Team leader Most Excellent Super-Bat and the Crazy Shy Lolita Canary work the intelligence angle, and find out that someone in Japan wants them to be consumed with the quest for fame, the better to keep them from finding out what is REALLY happening in the land of the Rising Sun. Speaking of which, Rising Sun seems to be possessed by the worm from a bottle of Mezcal and is acting oddly. I want to love this book as much as it’s potential, but right now the story is falling a tiny bit flat. Heino’s breaking and entering earns 2 stars.

2stars.jpg

 

FCE1.gifFinal Crisis Aftermath – Escape #4 (of 6): There’s a fine line between mysterious and incomprehensible, and this series parks right across it. Electric City’s guests include Peacemaker, Cameron Chase, The Atomic Knight and others with ties to the espionage community (and, oddly, Charlton Comics) while a very OMAC-like jailer keeps them from escaping. Chase and Tom “Nemesis” Tresser ends up going on a strange journey through a landscape that makes no sense, and find the Cosmic Treadmill of the Flash, making me wonder about time travel and how it might clarify this story somewhat. Either way, the issue (like most of the two before it) just doesn’t have any through-line to grab ahold of, and even the Prisoner metaphors aren’t working any more. As with ‘Dance,’ it probably would have worked better as a shorter series. Tom and Cameron’s Bogus Journey earns 1 stars.

1stars.jpg

 

FCR1.gifFinal Crisis Aftermath – Run #4 (of 6): Mike Miller is a miserable excuse for a human being, That could be the nicest thing you can say about the Human Flame, who in this issue, turns on his former partners, betrays and possibly kills everyone who might have assisted him in the name of getting… something, and encounters something described as a ’26-Dimensional Hyper-Griffin.’ It’s a pretty spectacular visual at the end of the book, but the presence of so many skeevy, sleazy, and unsavory characters in one story is more than a little bit offputting, and the disappearance of Green Lantern and Firestorm, who were supposed to be hunting him down, makes little sense, given the amount of destruction Miller is leaving in his wake. Overall, it’s stronger than Escape, less so than Dance. Mr. Miller’s wild ride earns 1.5 stars.

15stars.jpg

 

GG1.gifGuardians Of The Galaxy #17: Well, that went badly. Apparently, the battle for supremacy between Vulcan and Black Bolt ended with both men dead, and a huge rift in the space-time continuum. The universe is only saved thanks to the magics of Adam Warlock, who bonds the wounded Marvel Universe timeline to “an unused future” in order to stabilize reality. He is then promptly stabbed through the heart by Phyla-Vell, now calling herself Martyr, the new avatar of Death, who in turn run through by Gamora, the most dangerous woman in the universe. Before she can check on Adam, though, he rises, purple-skinned and laughing, and Gamora realizes that the future he used was the one in which Adam himself became the evil Magus of the Universal Church of Truth. Adam promptly snaps her neck, and reveals himself to have fully transformed into the Magus, taking his place as the head of the Church. Gamora’s combat-skill and Adam’s brutal naivete earns 3.5 stars.

35stars.jpg

 

IW1.gifImmortal Weapons #2 (of 5): After last issue’s touching, funny, horrifying and overall brilliant Fat Cobra origin, I opened this book expecting something equally as brilliant. What I got was a much more subtle tale of the Queen of Spiders, killed by a suitor, leaving only a series of eight-legged progeny behind. Years later, the legendary ‘Singing Spider’ becomes a sought-after relic, the key to retrieving one of the Queen’s children from another dimension. Little is really explained about the Bride in this issue, other than the fact that she is thoroughly disturbing, alien, and freaky (qualities that Otter Disaster will tell you are shared by spiders themselves.) It’s an odd little tale, and not nearly as effective as last issue, though some interesting art by Dan Brereton makes things lively. The Bride’s feeding frenzy earns 2.5 stars.

25stars.jpg

 

IH1.gifIncredible Hercules #133: With Hercules off playing Thor at the behest of Balder/Malekith, Amadeus Cho travels by bus to the town of Excello, home of the Excello soap company, and the source of his seldom-used codename, Mastermind Excello. Cho finds Agent Sexton, who figures in his origins, finds that the town is a Twilight Zone nightmare, and also that the whole place blew up in 1978. The reveal that thins are not what they seem also lead to the introduction of Pythagoras Dupree, the SIXTH smartest man in the world, who seems to want to step up a notch by killing Amadeus. With the Dynamic Duo split up like this, the worst part of it all is the realization that we won’t see another chapter of this tale for TWO issues, rather than just next time around. As always, Incredible Herc is one of the strongest books going, and it takes concepts that we should have seen coming and still uses them to surprise. Amadeus’ long bus trip earns 4.5 stars.

45stars.jpg

 

IR1.gifIrredeemable #6: The Plutonian goes further into crazy this month, while Qubit makes a fatal error that leads Tony straight to their doorstep. The Modeus androids’ disappearance forces the heroes to travel to Plutonian’s citadel, while a troubled Plutonian attacks their headquarters, finding only an injury Charybdis, powerless without his deceased brother. Charybdis actually pulls a miracle out of his hat though, and manages to psyche out the Plutonian, while the heroes (what is their group name again?) discover a terrible secret in Tony’s sanctuary. Somehow, it’s all linked to a mysterious plague that killed innocents some years ago, and may have led to Tony’s slide into insanity. Either way, it’s another strong and dramatic issues in a series of same, and it makes me want to read the next issue IMMEDIATELY. The Plutonian’s foster home flashbacks earn 3.5 stars.

35stars.jpg

 

JLC1.gifJustice League – Cry For Justice #3 (of 7): Hal and Ollie’s crusade gains a few more converts this month, as Captain Marvel/Shazam, The Atom, and Supergirl arrive searching for Justice. Hal makes a teenage girl cry because he’s hardcore, apparently, and the whole thing still feels force. The League interviews Prometheus, who keeps referring to himself in the third person, but gives them just enough information to wonder if their various cases aren’t related in some way. When Prometheus is revealed to be Clayface, things get much less clear, but thankfully Robinson manages to pull some goodwill out of his hat with the reappearance of Starman cast members Jake Bennetti and the Shade, who agree to sally forth on some unusual mission, as well as a fun but bizarre aerial battle involving Congorilla and Starman III. I’m likin’ the characters here, but the execution of the plot still feels very forced, and grittiness just rings hollow out of the mouth of an interstellar policeman. Kara’s teenage sense of rejection earns 1.5 stars.

15stars.jpg

 

JSA1.gifJustice Society Of America #30: When a new writer comes on board a title, we often get a breaking down of characters and a streamlining of the cast, but Willingham and Sturges actually do the opposite, adding MORE people to the JSA and piling on the mystery. With only Flash and Stargirl standing, they are forced to bring in backup in the form of Doctor Fate, whose powerful (if inexperienced) mystic mojo saves the day. The team finds that Mr. Terrific has been stabbed, and chaos erupts as Wildcat and Magog clash on how the team should be run, irritating Power Girl, the ACTUAL chairperson of the team. Tempers flare, and the former boxing champ steps up to finally knock some of the bass out of Magog’s annoying Cable-looking-goatman voice. Either way, I’m intrigued by what’s going on here, though I’m wondering how unwieldy a team of this size is going to be for ongoing storylines. Ted’s long-overdue smackdown on a loud-mouthed newbie earns 3 stars.

3stars.jpg

 

JSK1.gifJSA Vs. Kobra – Engines Of Faith #3 (of 6): Having this story and the JSA title right before it running simultaneously is very confusing for me, and makes it nigh-impossible to keep the team’s continuity straight. Mr. Terrific and Power Girl clash over the running of the JSA, with espionage versus traditional super-heroics as the primary battle. The team goes into action against Kobra, but it all turns out to be a feint, as Mr. Terrific actually finds the villain in Opal City. Mr. Terrific is stabbed again, but ends this issue vowing that next time, HE will set the rules of their battle, not Kobra. There’s some nice psychological work going on here, and Trautmann does very nice work with the whole secrets and lies motif, and the art is pleasant enough. Had either of the stories appeared alone, I might be less disconcerted, but for some reason, this book suffers in the shadow of the main title for me. Michael’s Scarlett O’Hara vow earns 2.5 stars.

25stars.jpg

 

NO1.gifNova #28: Nova intervenes in his brother’s standoff with Supergirl Strontian, showing just how much more powerful a Nova Prime is than the usual Centurion, and even manages to save an old friend from the clutches of an alien Venom symbiote. When it all shakes down, the war between the Shi’ar Empire and the Inhumans ends with a bang, and Nova even manages to make an ally out of Blastaar of the Negative Zone with a show of diplomacy that impresses me. At the end of the war, Richie Rider has to admit that recruiting a new Nova Corps is a good idea, though he intends to do it much more slowly, and much more methodically than Worldmind did before he/she snapped his helmet band. With the support of his new Corpsmen, including his little brother, Rich vows to become a force for good in the universe, and also to find a new place to live, as a headquarters in the brain of Ego is a little creepy for him. Richard and Robbie’s bonding moment earns 4 stars.

4stars.jpg

 

TT1.gifTeen Titans #74: Having dropped the Titans book some time ago, and having never read Vigilante, I almost dropped this during the massive “Deathtrap” crossover a couple of months ago. This issue kinda makes me regret not doing so… The battle on Alcatraz finally involves all the Titans (except for the missing Kid Eternity) and the kids fight dozens of escaping villains. The whole thing ends as we knew it would, with the death of a Titan, but it all feels a little bit hollow. The team manages to end the prison riot, and the loss of a member (hint: Red Devil) brings them all closer together, perhaps. We also see what happened to the immensely powerful Kid Eternity: He has been captured by the not-even-close-to-immensely-powerful Calculator, and is being used as a portal to allow Cal to visit the spirit of his dead son Marvin. I’m just not feelin’ the sturm und drang, and I’m finding Static and Blue Beetle to be woefully underutilized in the team dynamic. Overall, it’s just not so much worth the 4 bucks per month. The Ravager backup is pretty much forgettable, too. Eddie’s heroic sacrifice earns 1 star.

1stars.jpg

 

WW1.gifWonder Woman #35: Black Canary and Wonder Woman continue their undercover work in the metahuman fight club, and Diana manages to save the mind of Sarge Steel, still trapped in the body of Doctor Psycho. Diana’s win-streak is damaged by the appearance of Pele, goddess of violence and volcanoes, who blames her for Zeus murdering her father. Diana manages to placate the goddess, by pledging her loyalty, saves Sarge Steel, and makes her way home, only to find fiancee Tom Tresser ready to return her gift of fealty. The absolute star of the issue is Gail Simone’s return to Black Canary, reminding me of how effortlessly she handled Birds of Prey back in the day, and how much fun Dinah can be without Oliver’s influence (or, actually, bad writing of married couples) making her a nag. The issue is beautifully drawn, and the story is more palatable than some of the Genocide storyline has been, and Wonder Woman’s tactics in dealing with the mad god are nothing short of brilliant. Diana and Dinah’s undercover extravaganza earns 3.5 stars.

35stars.jpg

 

XC1.jpgX-Men & ClanDestine #2 (of 2): Imp and Crimson Crusader are horrified to find their aunts and uncles fighting the legendary X-Men, though the ClanDestine acquit themselves quite well indeed. During the big battle sequence, we find out that Charles Xavier and Gracie Destine worked together years ago to stop the psychic onslaught of a creature call Synraith, a creature who is back and possessing Wally Destine. The various siblings come together, while Juggernaut gets his butt handed to him. The best parts of the story come in the details (Gracie’s story of the Spanish revolution, Wolverine and Adam Destine’s shared history) and it’s cute to see Pandora and Rory star-struck by real superheroes. Overall, though, this issue feels more like a last hurrah for the Clan, an attempt to use the massive popularity of the mutants to get some readers on board the less-popular concept. Either way, I’m sadly certain that we won’t see the ClanDestine for a long time after the end of this issue. Pandora and Rory’s swan song earns 3 stars.

3stars.jpg

 

XM1.gifUncanny X-Men #514: While Dark X-Men and Dark Avengers battle it out above ground, Cyclops has many different agents in motion behind the scenes, including a mysterious sortie under the San Francisco Bay. Whatever is going on, it’s complicated, and Emma Frost’s Dark X-Men may have the upper hand, presuming that she’s actually on the other side. Matt Fraction continues to deliver first-rate stories involving nearly all the extant mutants of the Marvel Universe, and sets Cyclops up as a power-broker extraordinaire. Mysterious machinations are coming together, and Norman Osborn’s mutant team is coming apart, and overall, the effect is mesmerizing. Scott and Emma’s epic breakup earns 4 stars.

4stars.jpg

XL1.gifX-Men – Legacy #224: I actually bought this one by accident, as my rant on a recent podcast revealed. Rogue proves herself to be a capable and confident leader here, allowing her to help a young mutant called Trance to finally come to terms with her own superhuman abilities, and even manages to help Danger (the sentient embodiment of the X-Men’s Danger Room) to be less annoying. This all takes place during and around the events of the Utopia crossover, without actually being a part of it, which confused me into purchasing the thing in the first place. The issue ends with Scott Summers admitting that this particular haven has run it’s course, and that it may be time to create a new one, even implying that he’s started that process himself already. It’s an okay issue, but not really as much fun as Fraction’s take on the team, and doesn’t really do all that much for me, other than flesh out the crossover a bit. Anna’s big moment in the sun earns 2.5 stars.

25stars.jpg