Wolverine and the X-Men #9 is a sorta unofficial tie-in to Marvel's AvX event, going into greater detail about Wolverine's dillemma concerning Hope, the Phoenix Force and his allegiances (being both an X-Man and an Avenger). Jason Aaron avoids the pitfalls of most tie-ins, blending AvX's plot points seamlessly into a day-in-the-life at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, and I love it. Aaron taps into something emotional and deep here, and you feel for Wolvie as he's once again asked to do what any lesser person in his position would fear to do.
But the book's not all heavy...there are lots of cute and unexpectedly heroic moments here that makes it all interesting. And man, Chris Bachalo's art is a welcome sight in this book. Nobody draws crazy action like he does, and he's surprisingly apt at the slow and steady moments as well. All in all it's a decent issue that touches upon a major crossover event like AvX, but doesn't forget its own voice. This gets a 4 out of 5.
Speaking of AvX, Avengers vs X-Men #2 is what the first issue should have been. The floodgates of pain have been opened, with both the X-Men and the Avengers going at it with gusto, one-upping each other in strength, wits, preptime and caption boxes that make the action seem more dire than it actually is!
The issue is bursting with action, and I'll forgive you if you miss some decent character moments from Jason Aaron's scripts, but what we mostly get is setup and stuff we already know. It's fun to watch it all go down, though, even if it sometimes gets a little WTF-inducing (can anyone say microscopic telepath tasers?). John Romita, Jr.'s art is surprisingly good. His action scenes are less scritch-scratchy and easier to follow, even if some moments that needed more oomph were missing them. I want to FEEL every punch in a book full of punching, you dig? I didn't sign up for Red Hulk giving Colossus what seems to be a back massage (though some of you out there might have?)!
The event is starting off in the right direction, at least. Action out the wazoo and decent art make for a decent comic. But like I said in an earlier post, if you want your fill of superhero throwdowns, you're better off just getting AvX: Versus. This gets a 3.5 out of 5.
Supergirl #8 sees the aftermath of Kara's battle with the Worldkillers. Escaping from the police with the help of the mysterious Siobahn Smythe, our Maid of Might lies low and goes on a night out of town. But there's more to Siobahn than she's letting on...
Let's start with the good: the legendary George Perez on art. The dude's still got it, and I love how he lends a classic feel to one of my favorite books. Speaking of classic, Michael Green and Mike Johnson reintroduces the classic villain Silver Banshee into the DCnU this ish, but less villain-y and more well-meaning punk rebel who doesn't want to live in her father's shadow. It's fun to note that Siobahn is the first person Kara's gotten really close to since coming to the DCnU, and their similar circumstances will make for some interesting interplay down the road.
Good story with great art, more than I could ask for in comic books these days. Supergirl #8 gets a 4 out of 5. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.
It's been a while since I've seen X-Force on a good old-fashioned kill mission, so in Uncanny X-Force #24 they do just that, tying up loose ends from some of their previous adventures...namely, the Age of Apocalypse (AoA) version of Iceman!
This is mostly AoA Nightcrawler-centric issue, and Rick Remender paints him as a soul tortured with the prospect of killing AoA Iceman, one of his truest friends in their home dimension. But something happened between them that drives him to complete this mission, and seeing it all unfold is a treat in itself. Lots of funny, awesome and heart-wrenching moments here, made better with Phil Noto's surprisingly nuanced and detailed art. Once you get to the last few pages, you're sad, happy, shocked and appalled, and it feels good. After that boring Otherworld storyline, Remender and co. really needed this return to form, and they just delivered splendidly. This gets a 5 out of 5. Pick this up on sight!
Finally, we get to The Sixth Gun #21, which is a 'silent issue' (meaning, no word balloons whatsoever). And boy, did Cullen Bunn choose the right time to attempt this...this is Becky's one-woman mission to rescue Drake Sinclair from the lair of the Knights of Solomon!
The silent issue, IMO, separates the best comic creators from the mediocre. With some comics relying heavily on dialogue and written descriptions to clearly describe what's happening, taking all that away and relying only on the visuals to help the story along is the greatest test of both comic book writer and artist. It's a good thing then that it's Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree doing the test, and they not only pass, they graduate summa cum laude on their first day. Bunn's deft direction and Hurt's choice of panel layout and camera angles are pitch perfect. Even with only the visuals guiding us through, Becky and Drake's daring escape still reads like the most exciting and epically cinematic thing you'll see on the comic book racks this week.
No words needed to be said. And that's awesome. This gets a 5 out of 5. If you want to know what a perfect silent issue looks like, you owe it to yourself to pick this up.
A great week in comics if I ever had one! The Sixth Gun is still awesome, and I'm glad Uncanny X-Force is back to stabbing threats to mutantkind! Got any comments? Suggestions? Violent reactions? Drop me a line via the comment box below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!