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Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Week in Comics: August 24, 2008

My Week in Comics is a weekly look into my…uh…buying habits. Keep in mind that the reviews to be read here are not coming from a jaded, old comic book enthusiast but more of a wide-eyed fan of these monthly installments of yum or mush.


Another installment of My Week in Comics is up. I'm realizing just now how hard it is to write reviews, but I hope that with practice I can get better, and possibly faster. With that, let's see what's in store for me this week.


YOUNG X-MEN #5

Writer: Mark Guggenheim
Artist: Yanick Paquette
Inkers: Ray Snyder
Colors: Rob Schwager
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Cover by: Terry and Rachel Dodson

$2.99/P150.00



The opening storyarc for this new title comes to a shocking conclusion, as Donald Pierce is finally revealed to be the mastermind behind the Young X-Men and the New Hellfire Club kicking each other's butts for no reason. Greymalkin kicks Pierce's ass to return the favor (with help by Magma) and set off to stop all the madness and Pierce once and for all!

This issue wraps up the maiden story arc of the Young X-Men neatly, albeit a little too neatly. Donald Pierce’s motivations are lost to me (probably it’s explained in the myriad of other mutant-related comic book events before this) and so his final battle with the Young X-Men comes off as nothing more than a slap fight between nerds and a really scary robotic bully, and for the same pathetic reasons. The Young X-Men, however, are motivated by the legacy of the X-Men name, and while they question their actions under Pierce’s twisted guidance, they still want to be known as heroes.

Ultimately, everything just moved too fast for me to comprehend. It didn’t help that Yanick Paquette kept drawing Magma with huge boobs (along with every other female in this title), distracting me from the real message of this issue. Not that that’s a bad thing, though. Magma’s hot (pun intended). Paquettes’s good enough for this story, though I guess the art was better at telling the story this time.

It’s got a pretty tragic and hardcore ending, and one wonders what’s next for these young heroes. But will anyone stay long enough after this to find out?

My Rating: 6/10


IRON MAN: DIRECTOR OF S.H.I.E.L.D. #32

Writer: Stuart Moore
Artist: Carlo Pagulayan, Steve Kurth
Inkers: Jeffrey Huet, Andrew Hennessy
Colors: Joel Seguin
Cover by: Adi Granov
$2.99/P150.00




Iron Man faces off against rogue agent Nicolas Weir, who is assimilated into a giant floating metal brain and is raring to blow up every single weapons system in the world. Needless to say Iron Man dispatches Weir quickly (way too), and hunts down the mastermind behind all this, with explosive results.

This issue sees Iron Man saving the day like always, but does so in a lampshaded way, as if it's a hard sell to readers that Iron Man is capable of such bravery. Nicolas Weir being literally bitchslapped by Iron Man into remembering who he is ("Stark. God I---I hated you. But I never wanted to kill anyone...") to Stark's internal monologue on the lives he has touched 'with these iron hands' are just some of the moments that made this all feel heavy-handed to say the least.

We all know what Tony Stark is going through these days, his guilt over the deaths in Civil War and in his last story arc...but writer Stuart Moore felt that we need to be reminded of it every step of the way, to the point of literally showing all the persons whose demises he felt responsible for as ghosts hovering over him on-panel. "I remember them all..." Stark says, facepalming his way to sullen despair.

Carlo Pagulayan and Steve Kurth's pencils, however, were okay in this issue. It will take the bright red and yellow colors of Iron Man's suit to get used to (I'm used to the matte finish myself) though.

All in all a somewhat disappointing start for Stuart Moore and co. Maybe they're still finding out what makes Iron Man tick and how to make his voice their own. Hopefully they find out soon before they descend to mediocrity under the shadow of the creative team before them.


My Rating: 5/10


INCREDIBLE HERCULES #120

Writer: Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente
Artist: Rafa Sandoval
Inkers: Roger Bonet, Greg Adams
Colors: Gracia with Calero and Trevino
Letters: Joe Caramanga
Cover by: John Romita, Jr.
$2.99/P150.00



Herc and his God Squad proceed to close the book on the Sacred Invasion, hard. Finally facing the Skrull gods Kly’bn and Sl’gur’t, the God Squad realize that the only way out of the Dreaming is through these two, and so it’s gods versus god for the fate of the world, and the universe entire!

Once again, Greg Pak knocks it out of the ballpark. Throughout this invasion, he has made the God Squad into a likeable bunch of deities who, while all-powerful, come off as all too human. Amadeus Cho, who has always been Hercules’ foil in his adventures, decides that the foil should come off so Hercules can finally let loose. And let loose he does, to satisfying results. When Hercules finally says, “I’m ready to play god!”, what comes next is a shot to Kly’bn’s kisser heard ‘round the multiverse!

Not to say that kicking ass is all there is to this book (though they’re certainly the most satisfying parts of it!). Pak wraps up this little number with a touching insight into what it takes to be a real hero, while leaving dangling plot threads and a gigantic twist at the end that promise even more adventures for every one involved.

As for Rafa Sandoval's pencils, he leaves none desired here. Each of his panels ripple with muscle and energy, certainly complementing Pak’s kinetic and grandiose story. I could look at Herc and Kly’bn’s fight all day and it still geeks me out…that’s how awesome it looks.

What this issue entails for the Secret Invasion of the Skrulls, we don’t know, but what’s clear is that this major victory for Earth just dropped the Skrull invasion’s effectiveness a peg or three. When Earth’s heroes are mowing down your forces this easily (especially the very god you worship!), it’s making the Skrull invasion look, well, pathetic to say the least, don’t you think? But that’s for another post of this blog. Regardless, this is a smashing good issue all around…one that’s certainly at the top of everything I’ve read so far!

My Rating: 10/10

So what's the verdict? Well, we got one major winner in Incredible Herc, but everything else just fell badly. I'll give the others another issue before I decide to drop them. Money's tight and I need to get my money's worth.

Got any questions, comments or violent reactions? Then leave a comment below and let's talk about it! My Week in Comics is up every Sunday. Thanks for reading!

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