Today I’m giving reviews of all the comics released this week that I’ve read. I actually read quite a bit this week so they’re all going to be short. Let’s kick this pig!
This is the start of a new story arc for this series. The comic starts with Richter demolishing a building with his newly returned earthquake powers. This isn’t really a spoiler since this scene was in the preview images. More than anything else, it’s a humorous little scene shows us how excited he is to get his mutant powers back. The rest of the issue either deals with the emotional fallout of a member of X-Factor losing her newborn child or introduces this story arc’s mystery. Overall, I thought this was a good issue, and I’m looking forward to the next issue. However it’s not overly friendly for a new reader. The series, while good from what I’ve seen, is kind of confusing and relies on plenty of continuity. For fans of the series I recommend it, but new readers should probably look elsewhere.
X-Factor is a team of private mutant investigators. The series, written by Peter David, has been consistently strong from what I’ve heard. I can’t confirm that since apart from Messiah Complex and the Second Coming tie-ins, I’ve been reading this series since #220. If this issue and the last story arc represent the title’s overall quality, than I probably should check out the rest of the series. Richter along with millions of other mutants in the main marvel universe, were depowered back in 2005. Even so, Richter remained a regular member of the X-Factor group. Richter recently regained his earthquake powers in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade 6. Speaking of which…
Avengers: Children’s Crusade 7 (of 9):
This comic was brilliant. I’ve only read this mini-series starting with issue 6, but I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen so far. The only problem is that older issues are hard to find since this mini-series has a bi-monthly release schedule. By the time the next issue arrives in stores, you’ve likely forgotten what happened in the last issue, and that’s this mini’s biggest and only problem. The artwork is great, the dialogue is strong overall and the ending is one giant HOLY CRAP moment. The only problem, again, is that we have to wait two more months to see what happens next. It’s also a good jumping on issue, explaining everything that you need to know in as few words as possible. I only read Children’s Crusade 6 once or twice two months ago and right away I knew what was going on. I recommend this to anyone who’s interested in it, whether you’re new to comics or not.
Children’s Crusade is a mini-series about the return of the Scarlett Witch. Scarlett is a long-time member of the Avengers who went crazy back in 2005 and caused the House of M event. Before the House of M event, she also destroyed the Avengers, although I haven’t read that story so I can’t really comment on that. Long story short, neither the X-Men nor the Avengers are too happy with her, and they spend half the issue fighting over who gets to try her for her crimes. She also happens to be Magneto’s daughter, and Magneto spends half the issue trying to protect her from both the X-Men and the Avengers. Her superpower is that she’s a reality-warper, which is a very dangerous power – especially for someone who is mentally unstable. This issue not only explains more back-story about the House of M event, but it explains part of what caused her to lose her mind.
Fear Itself: The Home Front 6 (of 7)
I have mixed feelings about this one. The first story is great, but I’m not really sure about the others. Since there are four stories in this issue, this review will be longer than the others.
Fear Itself is Marvels major event this year, and I’m ready for it to end. Basically eight hammers fell from the sky that only “The Worthy” can wield. The worthy are mostly various super criminals in the Marvel Universe (The Hulk and The Thing are among them though,) and when they pick up their hammer their powers are suped up to the point where most superheroes can’t even slow them down. The world is in chaos, whole cities have been destroyed and Thor was nearly killed after battling just two of the worthy. Sounds good in concept, but I’ve found the main event rather disappointing so far. Sure, Issue 5 and 6 were alright, but the series has been nothing but build-up so far and there’s only one issue left. Not to mention that nearly every series has tie-ins to the event, and it’s hard to find comics that don’t tie into the event somehow.
Fear Itself: The Home Front is a mini-series tied directly to the event. Each issue contains four stories. The first story in each issue about Speedball, a superhero that I honestly know little about. What I do know is that a mistake of his caused the deaths of 600 people and was the primary trigger behind the Civil War event in 2006. Speedball’s Home Front story takes place through all 7 issues of Home Front, and is primarily a redemption story for his character. Simply put, this is the best part of the Fear Itself event right here. It focuses not only on Speedball’s redemption, but it also focuses on the regular everyday people and how they’re dealing with the event. I’d recommend that you read Civil War first if you can, but Speedball’s story is compelling, dramatic and full of over-the-top action and amazing artwork. Heck, sometimes the art looks like real life. Too bad Fear Itself isn’t as good as this tie-in.
Story number two is the second part of three, and features five younger characters in the Marvel Universe: Power Man (who I know nothing about,) Spider-Girl (a teenager with powers similar to Spider-Man,) Thunder-Strike (similar powers to Thor,) Amadeus Cho (I guess he’s supposed to be some kind of genius,) and X-23 (Wolverine’s female clone.) The five of them were somehow warped onto an old battleship that is now flying toward Hawaii to kill people. The five of them fight off a bunch of sword-wielding sharks and then figure out that they have to stop the ship somehow. That’s all that happens here. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t dislike it either. I’ll have to see the final issue to decide what I think about this one. In short, I can’t really recommend this yet.
The third story is a one page short about another younger X-Men character. This one is about Dust, a Muslim mutant who can turn into dust, fly around and do various other things. She’s a rare example of a positively portrayed Muslim character in comics, and this single page demonstrates that just fine. She narrates about how faith without works is dead as she protects civilians. I wish this was longer than one page because I found it pretty good, and I like Dust as a character. I haven’t read the fourth story in this issue yet – haven’t had the time.
Fear Itself: Fearsome Four 4 (of 4):
Wow, there’s lots of alliteration in this title – that’s easily the best thing about this series right there because this series was boring. There was far too much exposition and dialogue, and none of it interesting. None of the characters used in this mini-series really feel like the fearsome type. I mean you have Howard the Duck, She-Hulk, Frankenstein’s monster and some other guy I’ve never heard of before. She-Hulk’s one of the most fearless Avengers there is, so what is she doing being frightened here? And Frankenstein’s monster … is he even capable of feeling fear? I simply cannot recommend this issue, or this mini-series for that matter.
X-Men Schism 4 (of 5):
For me, Schism is the main event of the year, not Fear Itself. It’s mostly self-contained, it’s only taking up four months instead of seven, and its tie-ins can be counted on one hand. This is possibly the best jumping-on point for the X-Men franchise right now. Schism is about the X-Men splitting in two: one side led by Cyclops, the other by Wolverine. This is the penultimate issue of the event and the beginning of the split. Cyclops and Wolverine have the first round of their much-hyped fight, and it’s intense and even a little brutal. The artwork is good for the most part, but the colouration is slightly off at times.
I won’t spoil what each side of the argument is, but I can honestly see where both men are coming from. The argument comes to such a stale-mate that they both regress into mentioning Jean Grey to make each other angry. For those who don’t know, both of them loved Jean Grey – one of the original X-Men members who’s been dead since I think 2004. It really screams of the writing quality when the reader can see both sides of the argument, and that every forum thread I’ve visited about this issue is divided on who they agree with. Highly recommended!
After the event, a one-shot called X-Men: Regenesis will show whose side everyone joins. After that, Uncanny X-Men is being re-numbered at 1 and the new series Wolverine and the X-Men will begin. This will be complete with the new Hellfire Club and from what I’ve heard, the return of the classic X-Men villain Mr. Sinister.
Generation Hope 11:
This is a tie in to the Schism event that mostly focuses on the younger mutants in the X-Men franchise. It’s alright, but it wasn’t nearly as good as Generation Hope 10. If you don’t know about characters like Prodigy, Hope, Laurie, Kinji or Pixie, you’ll probably be confused. If you like the younger X-Men characters check it out. If you don’t, skip it. Personally, I liked it. There’s really nothing else to say about this one without spoiling Schism.
Wonder Woman 1:
I’ve never read a Wonder Woman comic before, but I thought this one was really good. It gave me a basic introduction to this Amazonian warrior, had plenty of action and started an intriguing mystery that I want to learn more about. The artwork was simple yet effective. From what I’ve read, this version of Wonder Woman is darker and edgier than the older version. I’m fine with that, because I like what I see so far. I can easily recommend this.
I liked it. Nightwing is one of Batman’s allies in crime fighting – in fact he was the original Robin. Now he’s an independent vigilante, living in a crummy neighborhood near the crime he fights against. This issue touches on his old acrobatic days for a decent emotional scene before diving right back into the action. The issue ends with Nightwing seemingly defeated by a deadly foe accusing him of being a murderer. Good artwork, good dialogue and good action makes me want to check out the next issue, and I recommend this one. I’ve never cared about any version of Robin, but that’s probably because I’ve only seen him in the movies before.
I’m not entirely sure about this one. I think I liked it, but not much really happened. Supergirl’s space pod crashes on earth, cuts through the mantel, and ends up in the snow somewhere. She emerges with her new costume on, and she’s immediately attacked by, I don’t know … robots? She gains Superman’s powers the instant the sun rises, fights back a bit, is overwhelmed and the Superman shows up. On the one hand, this is the only issue in the new DC universe that feels like an issue 1. It’s a legitimate origin story without being too blatant about it. On the other hand, it felt very short. I’ll have to wait until issue 2 before I can decide how I feel about this one.
Now this one was good. This issue actually introduces a potential new Batman villain. Beyond that, there’s a staged Arkham Asylum breakout, a motivational speech by Bruce Wayne and a nice view of the new Bat Cave. It’s dark, it’s mysterious, and the artwork only enhances both of those. The closest thing to perfection I’ve seen in the new DC Universe so far. This one is highly recommended.
I haven’t had a chance to read Uncanny X-Men 540 or Catwoman 1 yet, and I had no real interest in anything else that came out this week. That’s it for now, whew!