Comics Reviews (August 14th, 2014)
All-New X-Men #30
Faced with the need to fill an issue before “Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier” wraps up and screws with the status quo, Bendis delivers what one might call a classic issue of X-Men, which is to say, one with no plot and all character beats. This is the strange parody of the X-Men as a franchise: it is in practice a relationship book/soap opera that occasionally degenerates into usually borderline incomprehensible sci-fi. So this, at least, is playing to its strengths. It’s the first issue where I’ve liked X-23, and the Jean/Emma stuff is quite solid too. Still not entirely enamored with Bendis’s take on Emma, but look, this is what X-Men comics exist for, so no reason to complain. A
Amazing Spider-Man #5
Dan Slott continues to be very good at writing Spider-Man. Much like All-New X-Men, this is a calm and efficient execution of what you’d expect a Spider-Man book to be, and with a solid cliffhanger. All the same, I’m feeling a bit lost in it – my decision to skip Superior Spider-Man because I was unimpressed with the premise feels like it’s not paying off, and like the renumbering to #1 is not entirely successful. It’s not that I don’t follow the plot, but I’m not engaging very thoroughly with much of the secondary cast. Perhaps I’m just not big on Spider-Man right now. Don’t know. But this may be one I drop soon to save some money. B+ on the merits, but a personal C.
Captain Marvel #6
I still suspect this first arc could have lost an issue, as it really bogged down for me in the middle, but the arc really has come together at the tail end, and this is very satisfying. I suspect it would work well even if you’ve not read the previous issues. There’s a lot of buzz on this book, and a really passionate fanbase, and this is an excellent place to try it and see if it’s to your taste. Currently it’s comic book sci-fi with a well-conceived lead in the “realistic psychological take on a good soldier” style that, for instance, Greg Rucka does so well with. Worth checking out. A
God is Dead: The Book of Acts Omega
Bought for the Kieron Gillen story, which is short, ludicrous, and an attempt by Gillen to get people to stop pretending Warren Ellis or Garth Ennis have a monopoly on comedic gratuitousness. It’s a nice sketch for a possible series, and I’d certainly like to see more if Gillen has ideas in this universe, but twelve pages is only long enough to get some gruesome jokes in, and not long enough to really establish the merits of the ideas. I can’t say with a straight face that it’s worth $5.99 for this story alone, and the other two stories are not that good. The main God is Dead arc fails utterly to convince me to try the book again, and Justin Jordan’s “The Great God Pan” is frankly horrible. B+ for the Gillen story, D for the overall package.
Original Sin #7
You know, I actually liked the first few issues of this. I really did. But right around when aged Nick Fury showed up, it just went completely off the rails. “Nick Fury: Space Sniper Dude” is just not as radical a take as the series thought it was, and it’s left the comic limping towards a conclusion. This just doesn’t work as a big crossover. There’s a series with these ideas that could have been fantastic, but it’s not a big dumb summer crossover. D-
Sex Criminals #7
This book has rightly been getting praise for its blend of comedy with a real and honest look at the neuroses and pains of life, all with a solid amount of good jokes about sex. It is the only book on sale this week that has a dildo sword, a discussion of bad side effects of birth control, and a bracing look at self destructive tendencies and what they feel like. It’s very, very good, and worth reading. I’m not sure when there’s a good jumping on point to be had, but since it’s only seven issues in, frankly, start at the beginning and catch up. This is very, very good stuff. A+ (Pick of the Week)
Edit: To clarify, Sex Criminals #7 is not the only book this week to feature a dildo sword period. Kieron Gillen’s “Alastor: Hell’s Executioner” story from God is Dead: The Book of Acts Omega also includes dildo weapons, as well as a dildo helmet and an extensive array of penis limbs. It does not, however, combine these phalluses with a discussion of the bad sides of birth control or a bracing look at self destructive tendencies and what they feel like.
United States of Murder Inc. #4
This book has entered that somewhat fallow period between the explosion of its initial premise and the resolution of the first arc, and, like many a Bendis book, is taking its sweet time putting all its cards on the table. It’s enjoyable, but there’s a palpable sense of waiting for things to happen and for the book to expose a bit more of its premise, which is, to be fair, the price you pay with a Bendis book. Still interesting, but I’m not sure there’s much to say until we get past the “letting the fuse run down” part of the exercise. B
August 14, 2014 @ 1:18 am
As someone who mostly reads Marvel in the UK reprints, I have just encountered Bendis's Emma for the first time. Jeez, how hard is it to write Frasier Crane/Rarity from MLP style dialogue? Hint one: they don't say things like "gonna".
I am now nervously reading his GotG, waiting for him to get Groot's speech patterns wrong as well. "I am, y'know, Groot."
August 14, 2014 @ 3:48 am
I know this is a comics article, but has anyone heard about the Ferguson, St Louis virtual police military state? You may think I'm joking, but innocent people are being teargassed, all media people are being told to leave, and the police are strapped like a Sontaran (full on military egar, to the point where even the military veterans are calling it insane). Whether or not you think the police or the civilians started it (and reports say started from the police cracking down on a originally nonviolent protest of a black boy shot by white cops), thing have gone too far. Here's the St Louis subreddit's live feed, so you can see for yourselves:
Normally I wouldn't hijack your thread for this, Dr. Sandifer, but I consider this very serious. Frankly, the police in Ferguson are acting like the villains the Doctor would stop, and we'd call it "unrealistically evil baddies." But this is very real, very real rights are being trampled on, and very real people are being threatened and hurt. And this could get much, much, worse. So thank you in advance for letting me write this.
August 14, 2014 @ 8:58 am
I think everywhere is an appropriate place to discuss the appalling events taking place in Ferguson, this thread included.
August 14, 2014 @ 9:57 am
My gang is on it. We'll be adding commentary later.
August 14, 2014 @ 10:22 am
Ferguson has been all I've been looking at… I'd be very interested in hearing what you have to say on it, Dr. Sandifer.
Its also been distressing that I've had to get all my news about it from twitter… Which ironically wasn't because journalists weren't trying to cover it. The arrest of journalists, and the tear gassing of an Al Jazeera America news crew (followed by the cops disassembling their equipment) just…. Ugh.
( I'm @arcbeatle on twitter if you've been following things on there.)
August 14, 2014 @ 12:19 pm
More from my gang on Ferguson.
August 15, 2014 @ 5:50 am
Pretty big change in Ferguson now that the Local and County police have been replaced with State Troopers. There are still cruisers around but the fact that there's no longer open warfare is actually really heartening.
August 15, 2014 @ 11:40 am
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August 15, 2014 @ 11:41 am
And some more.