The Week in Comics (7/16/14)


A new Wicked and the Divine this week. And it's brilliant, spoilers. But, also spoilers, it's not my pick of the week.

Fables #142

I honestly couldn't tell you why this book is still running. I mean, I suppose soon it won't be, so that makes sense, but we're at the point where I look through it and I cannot identify a single character having anything interesting happen to them. It's turned to a meandering pseudo-epic that's just retreading the same ground. I'm starting to be unconvinced I even care how it ends. D

Moon Knight #5

I could have sworn this came out a week or two ago, so I'm not sure why it only appeared in my shop today. Bit of a... Ellis does an entire action issue to let Declan Shalvey show off. Declan Shalvey shows off. Result. Ellis does things like this occasionally, and I'm never entirely convinced by them from a readerly perspective, but I see why they're done and what the point is, and I respect them. Very much a comic lover's comic, this one. B

Ms. Marvel #6 (Pick of the Week)

This is an absolute delight. I compared this to Bendis's Ultimate Spider-Man run last time, noting that Wilson is doing a masterful execution of that formula, and that's true, but there's also a wonderful splash of Gillen and McKelvie's Young Avengers here, with a protagonist who's as 2014 as it's possible to be. Doge speak, video game references, discussions of fanfiction, and a character who's grounded in the world. The discussion between Kamala and Sheikh Abdullah is as good as her teamup with Wolverine. This is a joy of a book, and one that I suspect pretty much anyone who likes superheroes at all would enjoy. Top notch. A+

Original Sin #6

Oh for God's sake, this issue doesn't even pretend to have anything happen. It's not even bothering to spin its wheels. It's just letting them sit there, sinking banally into the mud. Why is this eight issues? Why is this comic happening? Why is it being inflicted on all Marvel readers by making it a big crossove? Please make it fucking stop already. Argh.  F

Original Sin #3.2 Hulk vs Iron Man #2

Hm. The whole is somewhat less than the sum of its parts, I fear. Although it's starting to become clear how this is going to pay off the end of Gillen's Iron Man run, and the last page is great, as are several of the earlier ones, there's also a sense that this is going to resolve timidly and banally. The question of exactly how Tony tampered with Bruce's gamma bomb is being danced around to the point where it's all but inevitable that it's not actually going to be Tony's fault. Which is fine, and even preferable, but feels too telegraphed at this stage. All in all, this isn't quite working for me, although it's better than the first issue. C+, though I really hope that actually is a better grade than the first issue.

She-Hulk #6

Well that's the single worst fill-in art job I've seen in ages. Including an unfollowably messy seven page fight scene. I'm at a loss. And the actual plot is playing its mysteries way too close to the chest. Two issues of attention to this "blue file" thing, and there's still very little in the way of explanation. It's just mystery upon mystery, in an incoherently drawn book. Messy and hugely disappointing. F

Silver Surfer #4

The decision to return to Earth and commit to at least a couple of issues there is a surprising one, given that this book initially presented itself as a sort of mad cosmic romp. Presumably this is in part to give more characterization to Dawn, and it's a good call in that regard, but it's surprising and feels like it breaks up the book's momentum a smidge. Still, lots to enjoy here, and this remains a super fun book. A-

Uncanny X-Men #23

It's a problem with Bendis's starts to storylines. I'm not one to complain about decompression or Bendis's overall style, but I think it is a fair criticism that the overall structure he uses makes the starts of his storylines awfully slow. We've got another case, basically, of "here is the solicited premise of the book explained." Large swaths of the issue are devoted to the ongoing plots of the series, which are good plots, and fine. And the cliffhanger is... the most obvious revelation ever. Of course Cyclops is going to be there for the reading of Charles Xavier's will. In a comic featuring his team of X-Men. It's not that this is bad, and I'm still very much interested in the overall plot, but and two pages of Dazzler crying in a bathroom is the most Kieron Gillen scene ever not to be written by Kieron Gillen, but the fact remains that this is not a good advertisement for its own storyline. B-

The Wicked and the Divine #2

It's a testament to how sharp this issue is that you almost don't notice the sheer amount of it that's focused on world-building and exposition. It has to be done, of course, given the ornate premise of this series and its minimum of fifteen major characters, and the second issue is basically where you have to do it. But consistently, whenever there's exposition to be done, either Gillen is in with some phenomenally sharp writing or McKelvie is there to provide some sharp visuals. The two page spread of Lucifer's descent into godhood is magnificent, as are all the Underground scenes at the end. Four pages of two people talking int he National Portrait Gallery move along at a breeze. The final page... yeah. It's not as good as the first issue, but nobody seriously expected that it would be, did they? It's still brilliant. A+


Theonlyspiral 6 years, 6 months ago

Moon Knight is a book I have fallen in love with entirely. I don't know how long I'll stay with it after Ellis leaves. Which is the story of a lot of books with him on it. He leaves and I loose interest entirely within an issue.

The Wicked and the Divine has quickly moved to my number three book (I still love New Avengers and Sex Criminals). I can finally see where you were coming from Phil when you put Gillen up with the A-List for the War. I called the last issue "Frustratingly Good", because after Iron Man I really didn't want it to be a must read.

Bendis' X-Men is loosing me. Uncanny has lost a lot of the fire that drew me to it. We'll see if Original Sin can spice it up (Along with that new Dazzler redesign) but it's on my chopping block.

Anyone have any thoughts on the new Captain America or Thor? I want to add them to my file, on the grounds I want more books like these to exist. On the other hand, the teams on both books does literally nothing for me, and I am actively looking to prune my file. Anyone have a compelling argument one way or another?

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Alan 6 years, 6 months ago

"Dark Dazzler" looks ludicrous to me. Also, I'm just offended at the crassness of the "new" Captain America and "Thorette." The only reason they're embarking on these storylines is so that they can have the main characters return triumphantly in time for the next Avengers movie. I have been increasingly dismayed over the last ten years about the extent to which creative decisions in the comics are driven mainly by marketing decisions about the Cinematic universe.

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encyclops 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm glad it wasn't just me on She-Hulk. I bought one of those a few issues back and thought, "oh, this looks fun" and was really shocked when I opened this one.

I'm gonna be slow to appreciate The Wicked and the Divine, but I'm sure in a few more issues' time I'll show up at the party unfashionably late saying "you guys were right." It's not bad by any means, but so far (haven't picked up #2 yet) I like the art better than the story (though I'm not sure who to blame for the fact that Luci is basically just a mash-up of two Neil Gaiman characters). I'll keep reading and see what happens. I have a couple issues of -- is it really called Ms. Marvel? -- and am looking forward to checking them out.

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Daibhid C 6 years, 6 months ago

I sympathise, but I also remember the days when everyone was all "Jeez, Marvel, you've got a blockbuster X-Men movie, and there isn't a single comic that a fan of the film would recognise as being the same premise. Don't you want new readers?" I suppose there must be a balanced medium.

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encyclops 6 years, 6 months ago

Oh, also: I've always felt that way about Fables. I realize I'm in a tiny minority and that I might have missed out on something good by giving up after the first trade, but that was about all the time and money I felt I could justify sinking into it based on that first experience. Is there a stretch that's generally agreed to be worth reading?

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Alan 6 years, 6 months ago

I think the issue was that people weren't expecting X-Men to be the hit it was. They did have to replace Wolverine at the last minute with an unknown whose prior claim to fame was Australian musical theater. And even then, the release of X-Men coincided with the Grant Morrison era, when they ditched the "yellow spandex" for leather jacket and actually invited mutant children to study at the school.

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