Holy butt toast I have been gone. I am declaring this to be my annual since it encompasses 5 weeks of pull list reviews. Vacation took away my desire to write reviews as well as my money but now I am getting paid so I can write reviews so for this 45 issue monster edition, I welcome you back!
For this long list, I just dropped a bunch of +2s for what I really liked and there was a lot.
Amazing Spider-Man #664-666 (Hail Satanna)
Mr. Negative revealed to the public! Wraith revealed! Spider-man hiring Peter Parker for tech! This sort of ties in a bit more to prior stories that I like but nothing too confusing though newer readers would have not been able to guess the identity of the Wraith. I wasn't.
New Avengers used in skeeball by Arcade, deals with Peter's relationship with Betty Brant. When she is held up it shows how close the Daily Bugle family is while Spider-man goes out for revenge. Eventually Aunt May calls him back reminding how he always disappears after loved ones are hurt. And then Aunt May and Jameson Sr. move out of New York because it is finally too dangerous. All in all a great character piece reflecting on the interpersonal dramas of the characters.
The Spider-Island begins with Spider-man hanging out with his teams as he is unable to notice the bigger picture, namely the Jackal giving citizens of New York Spider-man powers. Also now Spider-man is a master of kung fu. Kung fu mastery is cool. Also they brought back Kaine because they brought back Kaine. I am looking forward to seeing where this arc is going though despite the horrors I have heard about the Clone Saga.
What makes Avengers great with the Fear Itself storyline is that they don't explain shit so they can just have the team fighting the Hulk interspersed with the interviews between the team members that develop the character. I want to say I am tired of this whole format but damn they make some cool battles. I need to remember this for Socialfist.
Avengers Academy #16
While Hank Pym faces Serpent-powered Titania and The Absorbing his students fight in New York. There is a bunch of cool stuff in this issue like Pym building a giant gate out of destroyed buildings literally by stacking them. The comic really hits though when in her fury, Veil kills one of the enemy soldiers and is forced to deal with the consequences of taking one's life.
Not entirely sure how I feel about this issue of Deadpool. After his last rampage when Deadpool tried to commit suicide via the Hulk due to his realization that he had no friends, he got committed to an insane asylum in England where his psychologist has suggested plastic surgery to fix his face - and possibly his mind. This is an interesting idea but early on Deadpool's escape borders on the on the macabre more that the humorous. I am interested in where this goes though.
Fear Itself #4
First off I would like to thank my friend Devin for getting Matt Fraction to sign a copy of Fear Itself #1 for me. Also thank you Matt Fraction for signing that.
This issue ramps up everything as the Serpent's fate and Thor's are revealed to be intertwined (since they are destined to kill each other). Meanwhile Captain America goes to avenger Bucky who was killed by the Red Skull and Tony Stark is forced to meet and deal with Odin. Thor gets tossed out of the Serpent's realm and comes face to face with evil-hammer powered The Hulk and The Thing. Shiny!
Fear Itself: Deadpool #2
Last time Deadpool decided to throw the Walrus a bone in the form of a fake magical hammer to cash in on the whole "everyone is afraid of villains with hammers so why not give one to an idiot so I can stop them for money." The problem was the hammer was magic and Deadpool is finding out the hard way. Unlike the last issue which was a bit unbalanced the newest issue had some great laughs, especially in the form of Deadpool's biggest fan - a little girl and the bedroom of Cable's biggest fan which Deadpool sent the Walrus to destroy.
Fear Itself: The Deep #2
I don't know but for whatever reason The Deep isn't really holding my interest. The battles might be too dialogue heavy. It might be that it doesn't feel like much is being accomplished. If anything it is like grinding in a video game - fighting monster after monster for more experience except they just get more and more tired. Let them punch Attuma already!
Fear Itself: FF
Bunn (who also did The Deep) doesn't do much in this issue except show a bit of the psyche of the possessed Ben Grim aka The Thing. Because he is such an important villain though, nothing happens in the one-shot making it feel a bit wasted. It definitely feels more filler-y than anything and ultimately doesn't feel satisfying at all.
Fear Itself: Fearsome Four
Duck yeah Howard the Dinosaur! When we last left our heroes Man-Thing had turned them all into monsters with his Nexus-y powers. As they quickly are defeated they find out that Psycho-Man is behind the Man-Thing's rage in an attempt to make a fear bomb with his emotion controlling I-pad. And then the tagline for the next issue is The Old New Fantastic Four Vs The New New Fearsome Four. Oh man, this is what a fun issue is.
Fear Itself: Uncanny X-force
It is pretty easy to tell someone different is writing this issue of X-force. The characters don't mesh as well, the story is muddled and I have no idea what the goal or point is. Apparently the anti-Mutant group the Purifiers captured a mutant and plan on killing him but I have no idea what makes this so special (minus a limited number of mutants). Still, confusing, disorienting and not fun.
Sue, Spider-man and Alex of the Power Pack face off against an evil Reed and nobody warned Sue. Seriously? Nobody thought to warn the people that there are evil Reed Richards? Dick move. And then the Inhumans returned from space. It was okay but nothing really grabbed me.
I have no idea what is going on in this issue. I picked up a brief recap of War of Kings which I haven't read but I guess the Inhumans control the Kree or something? Really unintelligible especially for newer readers. And then Black Bolt was back from the dead.
So Blackbolt returns and then is like "we gotta go and have an Inhumans meeting and Blackbolt finds out he married 4 other women including a horse. I still have no idea what any of this means. Comics Alliance, I need those annotate FF articles please! Unlike the past two though, there was some fun stuff like Black Bolt fighting a giant octopus in space.
As Hectate and Kyknos (the son of Ares who hates Herc) team up to bring New York under the thrall of magic, Herc, Man-Bull and Basilisk head to The Isle of Coney to confront the foes. On a giant centipede subway. Fighting police officer bugbears on dragons. And fire breathing baboons. Nuff said!
Heroes For Hire #9
While Paladin and Gargoyle (not the Gray French hammer-powered one, the Etrigan plus wings one) team up to clear Yancy Street after the Thing attacked, a drug dealer conquers his fear, mortality, and humanity becoming something monstrous. Meanwhile Shroud and Elektra (being paid extra to not kill) run into trouble in the shape of Puppeteer and Purple Man (and Purple Man's armies). Oh man this is fun stuff and I look forward to the next issue.
Hulk, Zzzax and MODOK in a three way battle for problems Ross (aka Red Hulk) caused. Zzzax for the uninformed was a monster Ross controlled mentally to fight Bruce Banner way back. When MODOK 2 shows up hunting the beast Ross realizes the threat and stops MODOK by taking over Zzzax one more time to save his partner. MODOK runs away swearing revenge most likely having had absorbed the electric creature. The art and layouts in this book were great with tons of well conveyed action.
M.O.D.O.K. did capture Zzzax after all! As he watches below, the Red Hulk returns to fight Ben Grimm in a battle we saw a while back in the Avengers resulting in the destruction of Avenger's Tower. Meanwhile, the Red Hulk's other enemies send the Black Fog (the genetically enhanced serial killing boogeyman) to finish the job the Thing (hammer powered) started. M.O.D.O.K. decides he's going to need a front seat and oh man Jeff Parker knocks out another great issue!
The Incredible Hulks Annual
Last time our Parker watched as alternate super powered (he stopped Galactus) and sort of evil Peter Parker got coma'd doing the right thing. Then Deadpool and alternate Deadpool (who was really Victor Von Doom) became friends until the alternate Wade Wilson (acting as Doom) killed his friend. Deadpool took revenge sending alternate Wade to Hell. Also alternate Bruce Banner is the Sorcerer Supreme who banished the Hulk to Hell and now regular Bruce Banner can't Hulk out. And alternate Hulk is a demon who just got let out.
So Deadpool is transfomed into Banner to act as a distraction for demon Hulk as alt-Banner undoes the banishment before sacrificing his life to kill the Hulk once and for all. Alt-Parker is then released from hell by the spirit of alt-Banner and comes back as Ghost Spider who sends the heroes back to their own world.
+2 +2 +2 Oh man. If that didn't sound awesome what is wrong with you?
The Incredible Hulks #632-633
Arm'cheddon who wished for a giant war fleet in the wishing well a while back gets his turn against the Hulk with help from a captured She-Hulk and A-Bomb (Bruce Banner's cousin and best friend) who he poisons curing them of their Hulk-ability. As Arm'cheddon continues his assault he pushes the Hulk too far threatening Betty Ross (the Red She-Hulk) and leading the Hulk to kill mercilessly. Damn.
As Umar, lover of the Hulk and leader of the Dark Dimension steps up to bat against the Hulk, she takes him home with her ending the battle of monsters. With the Hulk as her consort she begins her conquest of the Dark Dimension but Amadeus Cho, professional Hulk fan has issues especially since Betty Ross got pulled in. Teaming up with Monica Rappaccini, Scientist Supreme (meaning she comes with sour cream and tomatoes) the world's foremost poison expert and scientist, they create a portal to send Dr. Strange, Cho and a cured (Rappaccini dealt with the poison) Jennifer Walters (formerly the She-Hulk) in after him only to find the world's magic gone and Tyrannus and Red She-Hulk bringing the ruckus. The conclusion is coming closer and it will be titanic.
Journey Into Mystery #625
Oh man. So Loki is setting up a deal so Hel (of the Norse Hell) and Mephisto (of normal Hell) will team up and fight the Serpent. And Loki all the while is this little asshole who is too smart for his own good until you remember his looks are deceiving and then he kills himself to go to Limbo on his Hell Hound. The art, writing and everything else about this are fantastic.
Moon Knight #3
So Marc Spector's brief history as a television producer is delved into and it is okay. It is just Marc Spector is a pretty big asshole here with the whole dressing up like Bullseye thing. And I just don't care for Echo who has a tv that can translate phone calls to text because she is deaf. Seriously I don't get how they can't fix her hearing. Moon Knight does very little for me which is sad because I wanted to really like Moon Knight. When I re-up my subs I don't think this will be on the list.
Mystery Men #3
As the General gets closer to awakening his master, the Mystery Men meet some new friends in the form of The Surgeon, a surgeon burnt in a fire but left with an aftertaste...for revenge and Achilles, the archeologist hired by the General to retrieve Achille's bracelet. When the General's attempt to kill the Archeologist goes south, the bracelet takes over turning the Archeologist into Achilles. As Nix, the General's god rises though, time is running out for the Mystery Men.
The New Avengers #14
Gonna drop some truth on everyone. Before I watched the new Avengers cartoon I had no idea who Mockingbird was so her almost death meant nothing to me. She came back though pumped up with super-soldier juice (ewww) just in time to see Spider-man leaving the New Avengers and for Sin to launch an assault. The issue meant more knowing and somewhat caring who Mockingbird was and I don't know, it was enjoyable and not much else to say.
By my estimation it has been about 4 or 5 months since the last Spider-girl and with this being the conclusion of her own series, it was too long. Raven, the evil American Ninja wielding group gets beaten by the newly repowered Spider-girl, Spider-man and Red Hulk avenging her father's murder and saving the day in time for Spider-Island. This is sort of melancholy-ish for me since I really loved the series and I wish it could have run longer but it wasn't meant to be sadly.
As the Thunderbolts B-team plans to escape, A-team goes after the hammer powered Juggernaut who is ready for a fight. Unfortunately Satanna causes Man-Thing to poof away into Fearsome Four territory so she sends in Ghost (the cybernetic man) into Juggernaut in a sort of psychic Egyptian hierogylpic landscape where they see the Juggernaut controlled by the Serpent while keeping the power of Cyttorak in check. The Serpent then casts them out of the psyche and the comic ends with a bang. Great art, great story and dialogue. Oh man this is just such an awesome book to read. If you need a new comic, pick up Thunderbolts.
Ultimate Fallout #1
I am actually tearing up over this issue, it hit me that hard. The city mourns Peter Parker's death in their own way as the truth comes out. When it comes to Aunt May meeting a child who Spider-man had saved though and the two of them hug, I honestly lost it. Macho points were lost but damn this was good.
(I will get 2 and 3 in a week or so, my LCBS was sold out of it.)
Uncanny X-force #12
After getting stranded in the Age of Apocalypse, the remaining survivors and the X-force team up to get the Life Seeds, the one items capable of stopping Apocalypse once and for all - and the only way to save Archangel. The problem is Jean Grey and Wolverine are getting a little too close, the Sentinels found them and the team sent to stop the big base ran into The Black Legion who may be the best alternate world villains ever including Grimm Chamber (Ben Grimm + Chamber - the mutant who is a furnace inside), White Cloak (who seems to be Cloak and Dagger), Iron Ghost (Ghost Rider in the Iron Man Armor), Zombie Sentry (self explanatory), The Blob, Orange Hulk, Manphibian, Beta Red and Demon-Ock. Oh, and the alternate universe Wolverine. Snap!
As Venom races against the clock and Spider-man to save Betty and stop the vibranium shipment Venom's grudge with Spider-man and the return of Jack O'Lantern spice things up with bombs and distractions resulting in Spider-man saving Betty and Flash Thompson feeling resentment towards Spider-man, perhaps leading to some shared feelings with the Symbiote....
From the battlefield returns the warrior to find that his home is not as it was left and his experience in the war has darkened his vision. Before Flash can reconnect with Betty, he's called to find his father, the driving force behind Flash Thompson, the unappeasable father archetype. Flash is confronted with where his anger can lead and it sobered by it before being called off once more to serve his country. Also he fought the Human Fly in a classic Venom in the bell tower battle. All together really solid.
And that is all of the Marvel with the point total at +42. Wheeeew. Day 2 finished at 4:37 am.
Batman Inc #7
Man-Of-Bats and Raven, the Native American Batman Inc team get their time to shine both by having a light cast on them and creating a large back history through artifacts and connections. The comic has some fun ideas in it and I do like the Bats cave but the entire feeling over the issue seemed muddled to me. Is it supposed to be joking or what. I enjoyed it but it felt middling compared to what something more focused might have been.
So I like alternate universe stories and Flashpoint does some neat stuff but it does it poorly. Exposition heavy at times, the characters sort of lack much personality and feel like they are being dragged along. Also the Flash has to electrocute himself a second time in what is a really stupid comic. Seriously ugh. I do like Superman though as the emaciated and captured alien kept from the sun but the series doesn't really change anything, especially since after this the entire universe will change. Why not have people dying? Why not do more? Not bad but lacking courage and fun.
Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #2
Frankenstein and his creature friends escape from the clutches of General Lane only for him to chase them down with G.I Robot and the granddaughter of their commander who had died trying to save them With grudges and parties at each other, Frankenstein discovers his next destination in Romania just in time to get surrounded. As the the creatures fight Lane's men and defeat them a new threat enters - Frankenstein's wife. Overall not as good as the first one (due to lack of Hitler killing) but still major fun.
Flashpoint: Green Arrow Industries
If this title wasn't a one shot it could be one of the best Flashpoint stories out there. Oliver Queen, commonly the Green Arrow is in the business of converting supervillain tech into weapons. The problem is he doesn't keep track well, his factories get attacked and people want revenge. The common people. When his base is assaulted by a mysterious intruder intent on bringing his evils (that he isn't aware of to light) Queen is hit with his legacy - the fact that he is hurting people and by meeting his daughter. The story is compact, fun and action pact like an Iron Man story and honestly, I wouldn't mind the real Green Arrow doing this.
Flashpoint: Project Superman #1
A super soldier that loses humanity. That is the idea behind Project Superman. Neil Sinclair is a willing test subject in General Lane's race to make an American superhero but a disconnection from humanity and the beginning of omnipotence causes him to be feared and put on ice, seen more as a danger than a savior. The transformation and growth of powers and even the use is creatively done effectively putting you in his shoes. I need to remember to get the next issues of the series when they come out.
Clark Kent decides Superman needs to go away and become a hidden crime fighter. The on;y thing that stops him - one of Superman's fans who reminds Clark and Superman why the world needs him. Superman does what is right for people. He defends them above all. He doesn't attempt to control anything and ultimately he cares. That is what Superman should be doing and should know in the depths of his heart. This is what the real Superman and all true heroes should know. This is what Chris Roberson shows and this is why he should have been given full command over the relaunch. Superman is the hero that makes me want to do more in my life, to be a better person and the fact that Chris Roberson can tell a good story at the same time - well that is just icing on the cake.
If you recall I really didn't like the last issue of Superman/Batman but this one got it right. They totally absolved Batman of doing anything wrong, reminded Superman that Batman is ultimately good and dealt with the whole embezzling thing. When Batman takes tech from Wayne it is covered by insurance which is also owned by Bruce Wayne who then returns the money. The twist comes that it seems that the Joker killed the reporter and is about to try and kill Clark Kent. Oh man!
Xombi #4 and #5
Xombi is a story that would do really well as a trade with everything collected and while I don't remember everything going on, there are giant floating immortal space cities and seriously, pick up the book. It is a bit confusing with breaks between releases but seriously, pick it up or wait for the trade (since DC is canceling the series after the reboot).
When a group of witch hunters target and mute Zatanna so she can't fully cast spells she has to use her other powers - intelligence and strength to save herself. I like the issue because Zatanna would totally be a character who would be prepared for this sort of thing. I mean not being able to use magic. Things did go macabre though when she sent the witch hunters back to Salem where they were burnt at the stake. No wonder Batman can't love you! Besides that though, this was another fun issue.
DC Total - +15
Third Party Books
Hellboy: The Fury #2
As Hellboy faces the beast (I forget which one and it is late so I won't go searching) Alice goes to find out what is happening ( a bunch of witches commit suicide to escape torture). It's the apocalypse and Ragnarok all in one big Hellboy package!
The Li'l Depressed Boy #5
After finding out the girl he liked and thought he was dating was actually dating someone else, LDB needed someone to lean on in the form of his friend Drew. As they hang out and trying to ignore the problems things look a little better until Drew gets arrested leaving LDB stranded out in the middle of a long highway with nowhere to go.
The Sixth Gun #13
A train robbery of the corpse of the still undead General Hume, the low down dog too evil for the evil, conducted by servants of his wife who hired a necromancer to send a group of train robbing undead and a mummy to get his corpse and the 5 guns currently held by Drake Sinclair and Becky Montcrief. Big shiny train fights, plenty of shooting all rendered in wonderful color. Yes! This is a comic you should catch up with immediately. Don't let the train pass you by.
Third Part Total - +4
Day 3 finished at 3:04 am.
For the totals, that is
Marvel: +42 with with 32 titles.
DC: +15 with 10 titles.
TPB: +4 with three titles.
Next week - regular review schedule.