It’s my heavy week of the month for comics, with 13 to talk about. Before I get started though, a brief update on my fiction writing. I recently received professional feedback for the first book I’m trying to get published. While there were a number of suggestions on how to improve on it (which I paid for after all), the first sentence in the feedback was “I enjoyed reading this,” and it later went to say that it has the potential to be great. That was very encouraging to hear. I’m currently working on the second draft for the second story, and once that’s finished I’ll start implementing her feedback. I’ll probably write a longer blog post related to that in the near future … when I have time that is.
Also, you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting as many reviews on a week to week basis lately. That’s partly because I’m busy with my fiction writing and preparing to send it out, but I’ve also been working full time hours for the last month and a half. It helps that of the part-time workers in my department, I have the most seniority now. It also means that Wednesday is the only day of the week I have time to write for this blog. Sometimes I barely even have time to re-read all the comics I pick up before the next Wednesday rolls around (I always read every comic twice before storing them unless I really disliked it.) If and when work slows down, the posting will pick back up. With all that out of the way, let’s talk about comics.
The Marvel comics I picked up this week include Spider-Man 2099 2, Amazing Spider-Man 5, Nightcrawler 5, Captain Marvel 6, X-Force 8, Avengers Undercover 8, Amazing X-Men 10 and All New X-Men 10. Other comics I picked up include Justice League United 4, Red Sonja 11, Batman 34, Batgirl 34 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 37. Some of them were great, some were disappointing and several comics had one badly misplaced line of dialogue. I’ll be sure to mention and bold each of them. Here are my first impressions, and links to full reviews will be added as they’re posted.
Spider-Man 2099 2 is great. After a fun opening scene involving a bank robbery, it continues to develop both Miguel and the supporting cast. The characterization is great, the writing is solid and the art is very good. If you could have any interest in a Spider-Man from the future stuck in present time, you should at least read this.
Amazing Spider-Man 5 is good. The first four issues, while fun, didn’t feel all that special considering how great Dan Slott’s Spider-Man run has been overall. This issue changes that, with great antics involving Electro and Black Cat, some further expansion on the new character Silk and a great cliffhanger ending. A couple potential awkward moments were skipped over, but surely they’ll come into play later. There’s a lot to like about this issue for Spider-Man regulars.
Nightcrawler 5 is fun, but nothing special. Nightcrawler spends most of the issue hanging around the Jean Grey School and teaching kids in the danger room. In no way is that a bad thing, although Mercury acts as though it’s her first Danger Room experience even though she’s practiced in them plenty of times. There’s also a building plot that will come in to play in the next issue. Nightcrawler’s characterization is spot on and his fans should enjoy this, but otherwise this comic kind of just exists.
X-Force 8 is fun. It’s written mostly from the perspective of a military squad who are being attacked by X-Force. Because I read so many comics at once and kind of fried my brain in the process, I kind of forgot the reasons why X-Force fought against them. Still, it’s a fun comic that also features MI 13.
Avengers Undercover 8 is alright. Like the cover suggests, it takes place 3 months after the last issue. Several of the undercover kids have sunk deep into their positions and have started to lose themselves to their darker nature. Only Hazmat and Anarchism are still holding onto their heroic selves. Beyond that, Baran Zemo’s endgame has begun. This is all interesting stuff on paper and the characterization is solid, but it seems to be lacking something.
Amazing X-Men 10 is fun. Wendigos have flooded Canada and the X-men team up with Alpha Flight to fight them. There’s really not much else to say. It’s fun, but there’s nothing particularly special about this one. It’s worth noting that yet another odd line occurred in this issue. Aurora says that she heard of Northstar’s wedding, which is odd considering she was in the wedding party.
Justice League United 4 (actually the fifth issue) is alright. Most of the comic is made up of conversations to conclude the first story arc, now that most of the action resolved itself in the last issue. They decide to make themselves a permanent team, the next story is introduced and that’s pretty much it. This may just be my last issue. Parts of this series have been fun so far, but it’s kind of unremarkable. That’s a shame, because I really liked Animal Man (also written by Jeff Lemire), would love to read a team book set in Canada, and would like to read a team book with Supergirl in it.
Red Sonja 11 is great. Sonja continues her quest to gather the greatest artisans in the land. This time she must rescue a stargazer from a fundamentalist religious temple, willing to torture and execute him for merely believing that the Earth is round. Because of how well-guarded the temple is, she must use a different strategy than usual to rescue him. It’s a smartly written issue that in some ways, feels kind of relevant today.
Batman 34 is good. After the year-long Year Zero storyline, Batman once again fights in the present in this one-off story about catching a serial killer. That’s pretty much all you need to know. It’s a good mix of fun and creepy, and batman fans should enjoy it.
Batgirl 34 is good. As the second last issue in Gail Simone’s run, it concludes Batgirl’s war with the extremist vigilante billionaire Knightfall. In some ways the conclusion felt a bit too convenient, but it’s still fun and features a number of welcome cameos. There’s also some great action. The ending builds toward Batgirls upcoming redesign and more optimistic look. Even if this isn’t quite as good as I hoped, it’s a must read for anyone who’s read Simone’s run up to this point.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 37 is fantastic. This is a straight up villain issue, with Shredder and Krang trying to negotiate. It doesn’t end well. This is a great issue in a consistently great series, and anyone interested in the Ninja Turtles should be reading this and ignoring the movie that just came out.
Spider-Man 2099 was great. Really fun dialogue.
Amazing Spider-Man was good, but I still don’t like Black Cat as a villain. It bothers me. at least the rest of the issue was good.
Nightcrawler was OK. The return of Voge bores me – he was lame. Mercury being excited about the Danger Room felt weird, considering how long she’s been around. Other than that, I was mostly meh.
Captain Marvel was great.
X-Force was also great. It was nice seeing how frighteningly competent X-Force is, from the point of view of the victims. And MI:13! Yay!
Amazing X-Men was really good. Much better than the past two issues. Rockslide! Alpha Flight! Some good characterization. Really good.
ANXM was excellent.
So, why do you read every comic twice?
Sorry for the slow reply, I’ve been away since Sunday. Anyway, I read each comic twice for a couple of reasons. First, I read every comic I pick up on Wednesdays in one go. After reading a large bunch like this in one setting, it’s easy to miss minor details or even get lost in a more complex plot. I always read a comic twice before reviewing it. Second, I feel that I get my money’s worth if I read it at least twice.