Secret Wars #7
Well, it was perhaps inevitable that as every other bit of this series completely goes off the railst he main series would eventually suffer. The delays and distantly epic tone of this finally conspire to create an issue that’s just disjointed and contextless. Did large swaths of plot happen in tie-ins I didn’t buy? Did I forget things from last month? Should I care? I don’t know, but I honestly had no idea what anybody’s plan or goal was here, and the result was an entire issue spent waiting for a punchdown that got delayed to issue #8 as part of the bullshit extension of this series and a cliffhanger that blatantly wasn’t part of the original outline. Complete mess.
The Uncanny Avengers #2
Also a complete mess, but with an intriguing mixture of elements on the team that makes me kind of want to hang on for at least another issue or two, just because I’m increasingly intrigued by Duggan as a writer. But at $3.99 a pop, that’s hard to justify, and if this doesn’t pick up into something where I have an idea of what the fuck is going on in the Marvel Universe I’m probably going to start buying some more Image books.
Unsurprisingly, as this converges back towards Aaron’s ongoing Thor plot and back towards the shambling mess that is Secret Wars it faltered badly for me, with the ending being a confused mess of mostly identical looking characters. Still, there are some charming bits here from its actually good idea of “Thor-based police procedural.” I suspect Aaron is a writer I like more in the small details than the large plotting. Still, done with his Thor run for the time being, I think.
The lengthy delay and alternate universe setting are really throwing me out of this, and it’s increasingly feeling like a book that’s all style and no substance. I think Spider-Gwen has generally worked best when adjacent to the rest of the Marvel Multiverse, as opposed to in her own AU, and may well drop this and just quietly hope the character gets the Miles Morales treatment down the line, because this just isn’t doing it for me.
All-New All-Different Avengers #1
A slow start to a promising book, ending with the team far from assembled and not a ton of impressive plot looming over things. Still, it’s a good writer and a good team, and much as the first story is a bit of a let-down the Ms. Marvel/Nova backup is a total hoot that redeems the package. Still excited for this book, even if I’m really shaking my head at the general sense of totally mismanaging this relaunch.
The Infinity Gauntlet #5
By far the best of the Secret Wars related books, due to owning the characters it created over its five issues and giving a resolution based on their stories and concepts that didn’t really tie in to the increasing clusterfuck that is the larger crossover. I hope we see Anwen and her family in the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe, because this was really one of the hidden gems of a very messy effort.
Darth Vader #12
This did not do what I expected, which is feed directly and straightforwardly into Vader Down in a “Vader has just been shot down” way that exteded immediately from the prior cliffhanger, instead taking an odd and anticlimactic detour. This mostly works well, leading to a great Vader/Aphra scene, although I end up even more worried about her at the end of the book than I did at the start, which is impressive as hell of Gillen. Reasonably excited for the forthcoming crossover. I’m sure all my hopes will be cruelly dashed, what with it being a forthcoming crossover, although to be fair Gillen and Aaron shared the X-Books very well, so this actually could be good.
The Ultimates #1
I was hugely excited for this book, especially after talking to Ewing on the podcast last week, and it didn’t disappoint. Ewing puts together particularly deft and satisfying teams, and the dynamic on this one is one of his finest; five incredibly powerful characters none of whom are cliches in the sort of arena they’re fighting in. The Galactus premise is a nice, big, meaty hook. This is a really fun book of the sort that’s why I still like Marvel in spite of the irritations; much recommended.
The Wicked and the Divine #16
It’s odd, this issue was almost too completely up my alley, especially when it segues into Vampire: The Masquerade LARP bits. Genuinely surprised by Leila Del Duca’s art style, which is much more cartoony than I expected for the overtly None More Goth issue. The penultimate page has an epically awful Gillen pun. Increasingly intrigued by the mechanics of god recruitment and what the actual “pantheon” means. Can’t wait to see everything go apocalyptically wrong next month.
Missed on the rack last week, so in amidst this week’s reviews where it towers. The bloody Conan feel of the cover is absolutely real and owned by the book, but Morrison grounds it so that it feels like proper Santa Claus as well, as opposed to some grimdark reimagining thereof. It’s a marvelously well-done tightrope between serious and silly, and the best work Morrison has done since… oh, man, it’s genuinely hard to say. We3? Probably, yes.