Monday, September 30, 2013

Review # 54: "X-Factor - 'The Road to Redemption' and 'Breaking Points'"

I almost find it hard to believe that - after these sets - there are only three volumes of Peter David's "X-Factor" left to go. In that sense, there's a bit of a feeling that things are being rushed. However, it would be more fair to suggest they're "chaotic." After all, the "Hell on Earth War" is on the horizon. "The Road to Redemption" feels like the setup to the setup.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Review # 53: "The Mighty Thor by Walter Simonson Vol. 1"

Ever since "The Avengers" was released in theatres last year, I'd been wanting to sample a few offerings from the team's big three. Ed Brubaker's run up to and death of Captain America, Iron Man's "Demon in a Bottle" and "Extremis" (review)... though it's taken me a while to get to Thor. I was too late, unfortunately, to snatch up a copy of Walt Simonson's writer/artist run on the title in a recoloured omnibus before it went out of print. Instead, I've turned to a series of five trade paperbacks as a consolation prize, set for release on a schedule over the next few months.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Review # 52: "Avengers Assemble by Brian Michael Bendis"

Hoping to capitalize on the success of the film, "Avengers Assemble" was originally conceived as a series for younger readers but accessible to all. There's a greater emphasis on action, and less on character motivation. However, the result is a tale that is wonderfully old-school, and readers who enjoy classic material will likely find it to be the best Brian Michael Bendis Avengers story in years.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review # 51: "Daredevil by Brubaker and Lark Ultimate Collection Vol. 3"

Time to bid goodbye to Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark as they wrap up their time on "Daredevil," leaving Matt Murdock in a weird place in the process. Their final story is a bombastic romp. Unfortunately, there's other stuff to slog through first.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review # 50: "Daredevil by Brubaker and Lark Ultimate Collection Vol. 2"

After escaping jail and having the FBI backtrack on their (true) allegations that he's Daredevil, Matt Murdock is in a pretty good place at the start of Volume Two. Of course, it doesn't last. While the Man Without Fear patrols the city at night, his wife Milla waits worrying at the window. Their marriage is being held together, it seems, by blind love.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Review # 49: "Daredevil by Brubaker and Lark Ultimate Collection Vol. 1"

Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark had the unenviable task of directly following Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev on "Daredevil." While Lark's artwork isn't quite as eye-catching as Maleev's, it's still excellent. Brubaker, meanwhile, takes over writing the life of "The Man Without Fear" without missing a step.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review # 48: "Avengers - The Children's Crusade"

"The Children's Crusade" had every reason to succeed: it thrust the Young Avengers into a prominent role in what should have been a major arc - the redemption of Scarlet Witch. It brought back the original "Young Avengers" creators Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung to put it together. It has an All-Star cast: the Avengers, the X-Men, Magneto and Doctor Doom. And yet it falls flat.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Review # 47: "Infinity Gauntlet"

"Infinity Gauntlet" was Marvel's first great event comic of the 90s and may have been the best of what was to become an overinflated decade. It had the right man at the helm for a Thanos story - his creator, Jim Starlin - and George Perez, still benefiting from the commercial windfall of DC's "Crisis on Infinite Earths," returning to Marvel to do pencils. While Perez was forced to bow out part-way, replaced very effectively by Starlin's recent "Silver Surfer" partner Ron Lim, the result was spectacular.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Review # 46: "Silver Surfer - Rebirth of Thanos"

After spending some time with DC (where he killed Jason Todd,) Jim Starlin returns to his throne as Marvel's King of the Cosmos. Teamed up with Ron Lim for the first time, Starlin picks up right where he left off, resurrecting Thanos as a force to be reckoned with in the pages of "Silver Surfer," setting up the events of "Infinity Gauntlet."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Review # 45: "Uncanny X-Force - Final Execution"

It's time for Rick Remender to kiss "Uncanny X-Force" goodbye as Marvel moves him over to their flagship title of Marvel NOW!, "Uncanny Avengers." "Final Execution" offers a satisfying conclusion to his run, ending on a high note after the misstep that was "Otherworld."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review # 44 - "Uncanny X-Force - Otherworld"

I don't envy anyone who has to follow up a story as great as "The Dark Angel Saga." After such an incredible climax, perhaps the best course of action is to take things in a slightly different direction. That's what Rick Remender does with "Otherworld," as Fantomex is abducted by the Captain Britain Corps (which includes Psylocke's brothers Brian and Jamie) to pay for his actions at the end of "The Apocalypse Solution" and Betsy and X-Force launch a rescue mission.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

Review # 42: "Uncanny X-Force - Deathlok Nation"

"Deathlok Nation" is a tricky story for me to review. I was originally going to include this with "The Apocalypse Solution," as it's very much an extended epilogue. But it just didn't seem to fit, so here it is on its own.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review # 41: "Fantastic Four - New Departure, New Arrivals" and "FF - Fantastic Faux"

The Fantastic Four have been on a hot streak when it comes to writers lately. Mark Waid's forced departure led to a fan backlash that extended his stay. Jonathan Hickman stretched the team to its limits, bringing characters like Spider-Man into the fold. Unfortunately, the run of his successor is being cut short as the red hot Matt Fraction is leaving a double 16-issue arc to pen a series about the Inhumans. He will still be plotting, just not scripting.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Review # 40: "Uncanny X-Force - The Apocalypse Solution"

Marvel was on to something when it re-introduced X-Force as a hit squad during "Messiah Complex." While Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost did an admirable job putting together a team that was very much a callback to the Cable era, only under Wolverine, what Rick Remender did in the pages of "Uncanny X-Force" took it to the next level.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Review # 39: "X-Factor - 'They Keep Killing Jamie Madrox' and 'Together Again For The First Time'"

When we last left X-Factor, it appeared Jamie Madrox had been killed. Again. Jamie's death has been a red herring several times, turning out to be a dupe or something or other. This time it's different: he's not dead - he's "just" hopping from reality to reality. While this is not completely explained, it appears that if Jamie dies in an alternate timeline at the exact same moment, he ends up getting ripped into that dimension. How? Well, the trade IS called "They Keep Killing Jamie Madrox." The first universe isn't all that bad. Well, if you don't count Jamie and Layla being mauled to death on their wedding night. From there, Madrox is ripped into several more universes including one where Marvel's "Civil War" escalated to disastrous proportions and another where hell has been unleashed on earth.