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Friday, September 19, 2008

My Week in Comics: September 19, 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.


A bit of bad news...due to the falling value of the Philippine peso, comics here are going up in price again. So the usual P150.00 I so enjoyed these past few months are going back to P165.00. P15 may not seem so much, but it all adds up faster than Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. I don't know what that will hold with my comic book pulling future, but we'll have to see. Suffice to say I'm sad that I have to drop some stuff if they're not up to snuff. With that said, let's have a bit of good news...by way of reviews of this week's comics!


MIGHTY AVENGERS #18 (Secret Invasion tie-in)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colors: Daniel Rudoni
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Cover by: Marko Djurdjevic
$2.99/P150.00



What's in it: Flashback again! It's got Nick Fury sending his new Secret Warriors out a wild mission with no pay off, under the guise of "training". Of course, the kids being the softies they are, question Fury's leadership skills, along with his sanity. Oh, and the Skrull Invasion! Almost forgot that...

Why you should care: If you care about whether or not the Secret Warriors had training, or if you just want to see Stefano Caselli's distinct and great-looking art (and not Khoi Pham's as previously and erroneously solicited) then this is the book for you. On the other hand...

Why you might not: The book has nothing you haven't seen or known beforehand. Unlike the last issue, there's no revelation, no character growth (unless you consider all the 'training' they had under Fury as 'growth'). I kinda winced at the V for Vendetta-style interrogation sequence that ends exactly how you thought it would...I mean, Yo-Yo aped Natalie Portman's "You tortured me!" line! Kind of lame.

Also, Nick Fury comes off here as a paranoid old man who just enjoys seeing kids in pain...a far cry from the 'badass mother-shut yo' mouth that has a plan to save the world' I thought they were building him up to be.

Quote of the moment: Nothing in particular pops out in this issue. Tsk.

Overall: If there's a single 'flashback' issue this Secret Invasion needed, this isn't it. 6/10


YOUNG X-MEN #5 (Manifest Destiny)

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



What's in it: It opens up with a punch to Cyclops' kisser heard round the world, and it goes pretty much downhill for the team from there. The Young X-Men struggle to cope with their uncertainties about themselves and others, and it doesn't help when they discover that one of their own is dirty, dirty traitor.

Why you should care: Guggenheim makes up for a lackluster opening story arc with an issue that fleshes out the team dynamic more. These kids feel like they have gone through a lot, and their motivations and real feelings about each other come out well. You can practically feel the tension between Rockslide and Ink, and Guggenheim makes the latter come off as cocky, but with a bit of uncertainty within him as well. And the art, while a bit of a loose fit with the story, was adequate.

Why you might not: Apart from the printing blooper I saw, there isn't much to not like about this issue.

Quote of the moment: Cyclops' "You can, you know", just before letting Rockslide cry on his shoulder (or at least try to, given the circumstances) is pretty poignant. Certainly warmed me up to the otherwise rigid leader of the X-Men.

Overall: Finally, a Young X-Men issue that makes me want to know what happens next, and that's all I can ask for when it comes to comics. 8/10


IRON MAN: DIRECTOR OF S.H.I.E.L.D. #33 (Secret Invasion tie-in)

Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Sean Chen
Inker: Sandu Florea
Colors: Jay David Ramos
Letters: Joe Caramanga
Cover by: Adi Granov
$2.99/P150.00



What's in it: I'm still surprised they waited this long for Iron Man to tie into their major event. But anyway, its War Machine's time to shine in the wake of Iron Man's apparent demise (as seen in Secret Invasion #2), and his unique answer to the Skrull invasion is something you have to see to believe.

Why you should care: It's got War Machine doing what he does best, dishing out massive firepower with his shoulder-, chest-, hip-, wrist- and back-mounted weapons! He also gets reunited with his former Force Works teammate, Cybermancer. And there's a big reveal at the end, literally, as Rhodes transforms into a giant mecha version of himself to fight the Skrull threat!

Why you might not: You can practically feel that Christos Gage is not having fun with this issue, what with uninspired lines he kept giving War Machine that I expected better from him. Also, the secret ship Tony supposedly designed as a contingency plan in case anything bad happens to him smacks of convenience and deus ex machina.

Quote of the moment: "Bring it." -- War Machine's message to the Skrulls after transforming into a giant space mecha. Bring it indeed.

Overall: Sets up War Machine adequately enough, and it gives IM's title something to do (besides Invincible Iron Man), but other than that, I could have done without this issue. Saved from the failing grade due to the head-asploding awesomeness of Adi Granov's cover.7/10


CAPTAIN BRITAIN and the MI:13 #5

Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Pat Oliffe, Paul Neary
Colors: Brian Reber
Letters: Joe Caramanga
Cover by: Brian Hitch, David Yardin
$2.99/P150.00



What's in it: No longer a Secret Invasion tie-in, the MI:13 focus on solidifying their super-hero community structure, starting with the hiring of Blade, the Vampire Hunter! Meanwhile, Faiza Hussain lets the Black Knight meet her parents, with hilarious results. Also, what's this issue without a shocking ending?

Why you should care: It's got Blade! It's got a cameo by Captain Midlands! And it's got the Black Knight explaining Faiza's role in the MI 13 look like a marriage proposal!

Why you might not: The book feels like filler, albeit a somewhat useful one, and the scenes with Faiza's family is confusing at best. Either make a coherent sentence or not make one at all, dear. Also, the ending was practically telegraphed the moment Blade appeared in the book, which makes it sort of anti-climactic, doesn't it?

Quote of the moment: "I never realized you were British..." -- Captain Britain, musing what probably half of the world's comic reading population don't know or forgot about Blade. Thanks a lot, Guillermo del Toro.

Overall: It's a pretty underwhelming followup to Cornell's explosive Secret Invasion tie-in arc. Here's hoping it picks up the pace in the next issue. 7/10


FATHOM #2

Writer: J.T. Krul
Artist: Ale Garza, Sal Regla
Colors: John Starr
Covers by: Ale Garza, J. Scott Campbell, Michael Turner

$2.99/P150.00

What's in it: The forces of Killian begin their assault on the surface world with devastating results, while Aspen and Chance confront a prisoner who might hold the key to finding Aspen's lost brother.

Why you should care: Fathom's creative team turns the heat up a notch as the surface world suffers the first wave (pun intended) of attack from Killian's elite forces while the US answers with equal force. Krul is building up to something big with this story arc, and it's interesting to see where this all leads to. Also, Ale Garza's work is gorgeous as usual, his panels detailed and kinetic, though he could benefit from being a bit more kinetic than usual.

Why you might not: It's actually a pretty easy book to get into, so I don't see anything that might turn off any readers old and new.

Overall: Another Fathom issue that does better than people expect. 8/10


INCREDIBLE HERCULES #121

Writer: Grek Pak, Fred Van Lente
Artist: Clayton Henry
Colors: Guru eFX
Letters: Joe Caramanga
Cover by: Arthur Suydam
$2.99/P150.00



What's in it: It's got Hercules getting it on with Namora (but not in the way you expect!)! It's got Cho feeling like a third wheel! But all that's about to change when Amazons, in a blaze of guns and fury, kidnap Cho to use him as a paramour for their queen! Luckiest kid in the world.

Why you should care: This issue is a fun respite from all the heavy drama going on in the Marvel U. Pak and Van Lente are making Hercules such a fun character that I'm beginning to become a serious Herc-head. Not to mention Clayton Henry's detailed art is just amazing to look at, and has improved A LOT since his days in Exiles. And hey, a dose of Mini Marvels at the end just tops it all off.

Why you might not: If you don't like hot girls, gun fights and Amadeus Cho getting some, then I couldn't possibly imagine why you would want to read this.

Quote of the moment: Not really a quote, but damn if the sound effects of this book isn't fun. Where else can you hear explosions that sound "SPROY-BLOOOOM!!!!"?

Overall: A fun romantic romp with girls, guns and gangsta style violence like only gods can provide. 8/10

So what's the verdict? Well, everything fell into some sort of middle ground...nothing particularly bad, nothing spectacularly good either. But then, we have to be thankful for small mercies like these, right? Regardless, it's been a pretty good week, but here's hoping it gets better.

Got any questions, comments or violent reactions? You are more than welcome to leave comments below and discuss anything that might have interested you in this blog post this week. My Week in Comics is now up every Friday. Thanks for reading!


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