Hulk Smash Avengers #5 - Hey, look what finally arrived (thanks, Bob!). Was it worth the wait? Well, Oeming art is always welcome. And Van Lente finds a decent gap in the Red Hulk saga for a continuity insert (i don't know that it actually fits per the characters' schedules; i mean that Banner deducing the Rulk's identity was not previously shown and is a good plot point to hang a story on). Van Lente is a fun writer and he gives us some decent dialogue and a good fight scene. The point of view characters weren't really necessary - i would have preferred more actually [Red] Hulk Smashing Avengers in lieu of them - but they were fine as well. This was probably the best of the Hulk Smash series (sorry, Roger Stern; i still love you), but even so it didn't really convince me that this "event" or whatever it was needed to happen. There ought to be some sort of "chance of continuity screw up vs. good story" risk/benefit analysis when doing a series like this, and i'm not sure this one would have passed the test.
Avengers #28 - Wanyas and Bob had to go into a separate room to have a spoiler-full discussion about this issue last Friday, so i figured something awful or awesome must have happened in it. But while i thought the premise and (text heavy) set-up were a little weird, i didn't notice anything too momentous. I've liked the way Bendis has been writing Red Hulk in this series, taking advantage of Thunderbolt Ross' military background and having him act as Captain America's lieutenant. So i liked that this issue used that as a starting point for a Rulk solo/inner monologue story. However, having Rulk (presumably incorrectly) assume that Cap wanted him to assassinate Cyclops is a bit weird. Ross is a character with a history of bad decisions, so i don't consider this out of character, but it's hard to see how Ross would have thought Cap would have wanted him to kill Cyke. I also don't take Rulk's conclusion, that since the Phoenix Five (*snicker*) didn't kill him that they were going to lose the war, as gospel. But overall i actually enjoyed this issue. Definitely helped by Walt Simonson's pencils; i was really prepared to not like the art based on the atrocious cover and the previous Simonson-drawn issues, but i thought the art here was nicely done.
Astonishing X-Men #52 - I was a bit put out by Karma's cleavage on the cover, but luckily the interior art (especially the flashback parts; i guess there were two artists on this book and i don't know who did which) was very nice and non-exploitative. And the story seems fine. The (minor) overlap with New Mutants is unfortunate, but on its own this book is decently written and i'm glad of the Northstar hype that got me to pick up this series. So far this hasn't been a great series, but it's been ok.
X-Men Legacy #270 - Unfortunately i still can't get behind this book. I like Gage and i want very much to read a well-written story where Rogue and Ms. Marvel reconcile, but, maybe due to the AvX backdrop or the Limbo setting, this didn't work for me. Magik's "i knew you were gonna betray us" trap was particularly annoying, and the fact that Rogue has been zapped to a different hellscape for next issue doesn't look promising. Overall, it's a water-treading problem; if Rogue's realization that the Phoenix Five (*snicker*) are bad guys could actually have affected the main AvX plotline, we might have had a real "team-up and break out" adventure story here that might have been more fun. There were good moments here, to be sure: Ms. Marvel willingly allowing Rogue to absorb her powers was a nice bit, and the depiction of Rogue in Ms. Marvel's nightmare as a giant leech-monster was cool. I still plan to stick with this series (as long as it lasts), but i wouldn't recommend this to anyone not already getting it.
Captain America #16 - I noticed that Brubaker was only co-writing this issue before i starting reading, and i'm suspicious of that trick now, so i think i accidentally predisposed myself to being disappointed here. But c'mon. That scene where Captain America rescues a whole crowd of people from a group of super-villains only to look up and realize that everyone is upset with him because of what some Glenn Beck stand-in is saying about him on their video phones was a bit much. Probably more of an art/layouting issue than the new writer, but it was really poorly done. I similarly thought the Diamondback/Sharon Carter cattiness was poor. But i did like how the Hydra Queen "managed" Baron Zemo, and overall i'm still enjoying this plot. And let's give some point for the new villains; they may feel a little generic so far but they'll have a chance to develop and at least it isn't the Serpent Squad again. Having them destroy the Lincoln Monument seems a bit much, though!
Winter Soldier #8 - A few issues ago the Widow made an offhand remark that her history as a ballerina was really a memory implant. I wasn't sure if that was a new revelation or based on some random Black Widow mini-series or something that i skipped; a quick internet search says it's the latter. I don't really like that and i'd love if we're moving to un-retcon the retcon here, but probably not. Anyway, the standard Winter Soldier review applies here: better without Guice, i'll take any Brubaker i can get now that he's leaving Cap, obligatory "i'll never forget the lack of gorillas" comment, etc.
Dark Avengers #178 - Another atrocious cover. But i'm enjoying this book. I think the best line was Boomerang's: after being set up with Centurius' "If it takes a dozen lifetimes, I am going to kill Victor Von Doom" and similar from the others, he says "I'll talk a lot about evening the score, and then get distracted by stuff and never get around to it." Hilarious! I will say that i think Parker is still working his way up to writing this new cast properly. I've been intrigued by Ai Apec since Bendis first starting using him (enough to pick up the Osborn series he was introduced in? Hmmm....) but he's pretty much been a blank slate and i don't think Parker has had a chance to develop him yet; he's started to remind us that he's a god and that's a good start but i'm waiting for more. I've never been sold on this evil Scarlet Witch and the additional powers seem meaningless to me because i never really understood her powers to begin with; i do like that she's a science-based villain and i'd like to see more done with that. And i think Ragnarok needs to be a lot more over-the-top ridiculously Thor-ish to work properly (and a better name). At this point i'm confident that Parker will make it all happen (probably better than my expected ideas)("Trickshot", on the other hand, will always be a hard sell, but i don't even like Hawkeye). I think i'm impatient because the book is divided up between the Thunderbolts and Dark Avengers so there hasn't been a lot of space to devote to character development, and while i love the Thunderbolts characters at this point, "fighting a Judge Dredd that turns out to be an Avengers amalgam in the future" doesn't rank high on my Most Wanted Stories list. But people! Ignore my minor ankle biting; it's inherent in my nature. This is a really, really good series.
By fnord12 | August 1, 2012, 7:34 PM | Comics
Avengers: i really didn't want to read a whole "General Ross inner monologue" thing, so i'm glad other characters showed up and started having a say.