Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review # 38: "X-Factor - 'Hard Labor' and 'Super Unnatural'"

Wandering through the pits of Hel? Meeting up with the Whore of Babylon? Bah. That's a cakewalk compared to "Hard Labor," possibly the high mark for the "Adult Layla" era of X-Factor.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Review # 36: "Hawkeye - Volume 2: Little Hits"

"Hawkeye" is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It's uplifting, then depressing. It makes you laugh, then stomps on your soul. I find myself not having much to say about it, though. Why? Because it speaks for itself. There's a unique feel that you just can't properly quantify.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review # 35: "Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron Vol. 5"

While I appreciate Jason Aaron's ambition to make "Wolverine and the X-Men" a mixture of both whimsy and darkness (almost like Hogwarts with mutants,) there's always a line that can be crossed and things become too absurd. I think he may have done that here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review # 34: "Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War"

The odds were stacked against me fully appreciating "The Sinestro Corps War." First, it's a DC comic so a lot of the history is lost on me. Second, it had the difficult task of following up my reading of the Bendis/Maleev run on Daredevil. Third - while it came first - it has a lot in common with "Blackest Night," which I've already read. Despite those long odds, the second purely Green Lantern Corps story that I've ever owned knocked my socks off.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review # 33: "Daredevil by Bendis and Maleev Ultimate Collection Vol. 3"

Brian Michael Bendis reached his peak in volume two of this set and is due for a comedown in volume three as his run concludes. Fortunately, the "Daredevil" narrative does not fall far.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review # 32: "Daredevil by Bendis and Maleev Ultimate Collection Vol. 2"

Volume two represents the peak of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev's run on this book, putting it on equal footing with Frank Miller and Klaus Janson. With Matt Murdock's life in danger of going to hell, this raises the stakes by giving him much more to lose.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review # 31: "Daredevil by Bendis and Maleev Ultimate Collection Vol. 1"

It's somewhat mystifying to me that Daredevil isn't a bigger deal than he is in the mainstream eye. While what was perceived as a mediocre-to-bad film hurt his standing, Matt Murdock has had more than his fair share of incredible runs and benchmark stories. These days the mainstream media is all over Frank Miller for his work on Batman, 300, Sin City and Wolverine. But you could make an argument - hell, I'd make that argument - that his best writing came within the pages of Daredevil. Yet, it rarely gets mentioned by the press.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review # 30: "X-Factor - 'Invisible Woman Has Vanished' and 'Second Coming'"

Revisiting these books after hitting such a high point with "Time and a Half" and "Overtime," I was expecting a lull. I'd forgotten how good these are, completely underestimating Peter David's ability to throw in great twists. I should know better.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Review # 29: "Green Lantern: Rebirth"

I don't dip into the DC pool often. It isn't so much because I dislike them. I own several DC books and they're all enjoyable. Most of them are definite classics. But with so much Marvel in my collection and so much knowledge of that universe I just don't feel compelled to invest in another. Hell, most of what I own that's DC is considered outside of continuity (ie: "Watchmen," "The Dark Knight Returns," "All-Star Superman" and "Year One.") Frankly, in my opinion, DC's best work rarely takes place within its own established universe.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review # 28: "X-Factor - 'Time and a Half' and 'Overtime'"

These two volumes represent a major turning point for the X-Factor series as its scope becomes far more ambitious. The plots become bigger (and surprisingly more mystical,) notable relationships develop while others fall apart and character conflict goes into overdrive. Thankfully, Larry Stroman is gone and Valentine De Landro - X-Factor's first definitive artist - is back for what I consider a masterpiece.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review # 27: "X-Factor - 'The Only Game in Town' and 'Secret Invasion'"

As we move on to Volume 5, something important has happened: In the first (and last) instance of Peter David's second run on X-Factor intersecting with a main X-Men storyline, Madrox and Layla were sent about a century into the future at Cyclops' request during the events of the excellent "Messiah Complex." In the end, Layla ends up trapped in the future and Jamie is left with a mark to forever remind him of what transpired. This, clearly, was going to have some major implications down the line but couldn't be rushed, which makes it as good of a time as any to shake things up for the team.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Review # 26: "X-Factor - 'The Many Lives of Madrox' and 'Heart of Ice'"

As is the norm for Peter David's run on X-Factor, any time there's a major resolution to anything, there are a lot of plot threads still hanging and a number of unanswered questions. Example: after X-Factor destroyed rival (and sinister) Singularity Investigations, Madrox is forced to do some soul searching and tell Monet and Siryn about their simultaneous "special night" without getting killed (figuratively.) Meanwhile, Rahne is suffering from a crisis of faith, Guido is disturbed over his role as a Manchurian candidate, Rictor continues to have interpersonal problems and the very unstable Quicksilver is still in Mutant Town.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review # 25: "X-Factor - 'The Longest Night' and 'Life and Death Matters'"

Comic fans were stunned this year to learn that writer Peter David had suffered a stroke. While he has been on the road to recovery, it was a stark reminder that all good things come to an end. With that in mind, there was an air of preparedness when it was announced that the series he's been most associated with this century would be wrapping up: his noir-inspired version of a relaunched X-Factor.