Well, I had my first day at my new job today. Because it’s a kind of job I didn’t study for in college and haven’t worked before, I still have no idea how much I’ll enjoy it, but it does mean that I won’t have Wednesdays off anymore. It also pays a lot more than where I was working before and that’s a huge plus. Because of this new job, I’m also not yet sure how many comic reviews I’ll be able to write in the near future, or if a couple may be delayed until the next day. At least for today, I’m only writing this first impressions post. Sitting in a room for 8 hours for orientation, not to mention waking up much earlier than I’m used to, has left me feeling a bit brain drained.
Anyway, the comics I picked up this week include Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey 5, Jean Grey 11, Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 16, All-New Wolverine 30 and the Detective Comics Annual. Here are my first impressions, and links to full reviews will be added when they’re posted.
Phoenix Resurrection 5 is the best issue in the mini-series. It really helps that this comic focuses more on Jean Grey than the other four, digging into her relationship with the Phoenix Force. It’s great how the Phoenix tempts Jean by bringing back a bunch of people she knows are dead, but if anything, it allows Jean a chance to say goodbye. It helps re-enforce the idea that if this mini was limited to a small team of X-Men, it could have been much better. The art’s great as well. As a whole this mini-series is kind of mixed in overall quality, but it’s definitely worth picking up if you’re excited about Jean Grey’s return.
Jean Grey 11 is weird, but good. It concludes teenage Jean Grey’s solo series with her own confrontation with the Phoenix Force. It takes Jean on a journey through a whole bunch of different places and times, warping reality the same kind of way that adult Jean’s reality was warped during the Phoenix Resurrection mini-series. I’m not entirely sure what to make of the ending, but those who have enjoyed the Jean Grey solo series up to this point will likely enjoy this one.
Doctor Aphra 16 is fun as usual. This issue is mostly chaotic, with Aphra sort-of leading a team of weird mercenaries to raid some sort of archive. The empire shows up, along with a commander introduced early in this story arc, and then things get really weird. The ending scene reveals what Aphra was really after, and it kind of makes sense of things. The tension between Aphra and the murderous droid, Triple Zero, is somewhat lessoned here because of what Aphra found, but the archeologist clearly doesn’t like her situation. I’m not sure what it is, but I didn’t like this issue as much as some previous issues. That said it’s still an enjoyable comic. The Doctor Aphra series is worth checking out if an Indiana Jones in the Star Wars Universe with morally questionable characters sounds entertaining.
All-New Wolverine 30 is fantastic. It concludes the Orphans of X story arc in a bit of a surprising way, with Laura trying to make a deal with all the people who wanted her kind wiped out. There are a couple of reveals as to what’s truly motivating the Orphans of X, and how one of their members has been misleading everyone else. That’s not to say there’s no action in this one, nor is everything resolved. The colouring by Nolan Woodard is especially effective in this issue. The cameos on the last page are also very appropriate. This story arc as a whole has embraced a lot of lore from the entire Wolverine family, not just Laura’s past, and that makes this an easy recommendation for fans of anyone who’s donned the “Wolverine” name at one time or another.
The Detective Comics Annual is brilliant. After the last issue of Detective Comics saw a shocker ending with Clayface potentially killed, it felt like the perfect time to explore Clayface’s backstory in detail. This looks at Basil’s life as a child, as a rising actor, and as a man whose car accident left him horribly disfigured. It’s the tragic tale that’s beautifully told. It’s a story about someone who, out of desperation, went to a substance that didn’t seem to cause any harm in order to help. That very substance changed his physical makeup and altered his behaviour, turning him into the villain he became. The art is fantastic too. Any fans of Clayface, or those who have been reading Detective Comics, up to now, should definitely pick this up.