It’s been a bit of a crazy week. Nanowrimo is coming to an end this Saturday, and I’m almost finished writing my second book of the month. My PlayStation 3/Blu-Ray player died, so I’m looking into local repair options. And there was a local convention that I went to – my first nerd convention ever. So I didn’t have the energy to write any Nano journals this week. But I’ll get to that later, it’s time to talk about this week’s comics.
The Marvel comics I picked up this week include Uncanny Avengers 14, FF 14, Indestructible Hulk 16, Avengers Arena 18, All-New X-Men 19, Avengers Assemble 21, Superior Spider-Man 22 and Scarlet Spider 24. Some of these were great, and some of them … not so great.
The non-Marvel titles include Pretty Deadly 2, Mass Effect Foundations 5, Aphrodite IX 6 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 28. Here are my first impressions for each. I’ll add links to full reviews as they’re posted, but as with the rest of the month, there will probably be only one.
Uncanny Avengers 14 was easily my least favourite comic of the week. The opening pages seem to be teasing something, but with all this book’s subplots, they’re easily forgotten once the rest of the comic starts. Why is Wolverine able to beat his son so easily when he’s still recovering from his injuries and his son is powered by apocalypse technology? I’m not a fan of Daken, but he’s supposed to be a bigger threat than this even without the upgrade. But the worst part of this comic is when three major characters are killed in the last 8 pages. When it’s becoming increasingly evident that what’s happening in this book won’t be permanent, it’s getting harder to care about anything. There are some interesting ideas in the story, but the storytelling is too cold and convoluted for its own good. I’m about ready to drop this series, and I cannot recommend today’s issue in good conscience.
FF 14 was fun. The story side of it was a little confusing for a rushed first reading, but there were a lot of entertaining moments and some interesting revelations. There’s also a lot of build-up for this title’s conclusion, and Scott Lang has some great character moments. The art has so many visual cues, gags and Easter eggs that it’s worth the cover price alone. This is such an easy recommendation to Fantastic Four fans, or those who like the characters on the cover.
Indestructible Hulk 16 was fun. That’s the best way to describe this series in general; it’s just a fun Hulk series. This issue explores one of Banner’s science crew members, balancing the story with some well-written drama. I’m not sure how it ties into the end of Infinity as I ignored the event, so I won’t comment on that. Hulk fans will very likely enjoy this issue.
Avengers Arena 18 is a good conclusion to this fairly controversial series. As with the rest of the series, you either like it or you don’t. There is only one death in this issue, and it’s one of this title’s original characters. Only 6 characters died in the entire series, and only 3 of them existed beforehand. A lot of the aftermath is skimmed over, but that will likely be explored in Avengers Undercover.
All New X-Men 19 was good. The original X-Men encounter the Purifiers for the first time as they try to protect a mysterious girl. The identity of this girl isn’t a huge surprise – anyone familiar with her will recognize her the second Kitty Pryde says her name. It also seems to fit her last appearance fairly well, and I’m sure it’ll be explored more soon enough. All in all, good issue that somehow had enough space for the original X-Men to react to the religious zealots they’ll be fighting for the next few issues. It’s also a great starting point for anyone interested in checking ANXM out. If you’re an X-Men fan in general, this series is worth reading.
Avengers Assemble 21 was great. It introduces Spider-Girl to the Avengers squad in a believable way, and then has an all-spider team for the rest of the comic. The action is fun, the dialogue is perfect as usual for Kelly Sue DeConnick, and it does a good job explaining Inhumanity for someone who hasn’t read Infinity (like me). This is highly recommended for Avengers fans who want a simple, self-contained story.
Superior Spider-Man 22 was really good. Half of the comic is about the grand opening of Parker Industries, with some great moments between Spider-Ock and Anna Marie. The rest is the Superior Spider-Man encountering Venom for the first time, and it goes about as anyone paying attention to Superior Spider-Man expected – that only makes it more entertaining. This is worth reading for Superior fans, or anyone who wants to catch up on Venom now that his series has ended.
Scarlet Spider 24 was great. It’s more dramatic than most issues of this series as it deals with the aftermath of Kraven’s antics. And then it starts getting really weird by the end, but in a good way. Sadly, this is also the second last issue of Scarlet Spider, and while Kaine and Aracely will move onto the New Warriors, it’ll be sad to see the other characters go. Still, this is a great issue and shouldn’t be missed by Scarlet Spider regulars.
Mass Effect Foundations 5 was alright. As the cover suggests, it’s all about Miranda and Jacob shortly after the events of the first Mass Effect game. Considering their storyline has been explored both in the Mass Effect Redemption mini-series and an IPhone game, this issue feels kind of pointless. It’s not bad, but in many ways it’s hard to care.
Aphrodite IX 6 was good. The title character meets Aphrodite XV for the first time. The world is explored a lot deeper than before, and thanks to her freedom, Aphrodite IX is starting to develop a personality of her own. Meanwhile, she’s still being hunted by the genetically enhanced humans while the cyborgs await the moment they can regain control of her. This series takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where cyborgs and genetically enhanced humans are at war with each other, and the title character has a bit of both. If that sounds interesting to you, check it out.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 28 was very good. It concludes the City Fall storyline as the Foot Clan ensure dominance over the city’s criminal underworld, the turtles battle Bebop and Rocksteady for the first time, and Leonardo struggles to regain his senses. There’s lots of action, lots of drama and some great art to go along with it. This is the perfect series for Ninja Turtles fans.