The Amazing Spider-Man #642 – Written by Mark Waid and Art by Paul Azaceta. Finally, One Moment in Time is done and we go on with our lives. Now we have “Origin of the Species: Part 1”. This episode finds our wall-crawler adapting to life without any money and running into several humorous moments because of it. Meanwhile, tons of supervillians gather at the behest of some unknown bad guy who wants an “item” of some sort and he’s willing to pay a lot for it. You have guys ranging from Morbius to Sandman and Electro. Why they would line-up for this, I’m not sure, but whatever. Must seem like an easy job. But this seems to have stolen the old “Rat Race” movie thing of beating everyone else to the object, because boy do they scramble. It seems a bit out-of-character because I don’t think Mysterio has ever scrambled before in his life. We eventually find out who the mystery man is and what he’s after and it’s really pretty good stuff. Mark Waid writes a pretty decent Spidey tale, aside from the villians running out the door to try and outwit each other. But my big gripe is the awful artwork by Paul Azaceta. He single-handedly turns this otherwise good issue into utter crap. He makes Spidey look fat in half his drawings. He can do decent storytelling with his art, but the fact that everything he does draw looks like junk doesn’t help matters. A fat Spider-Man? Really? Fanatics you can pick this up, but the rest of you skip this until they get a new artist.
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #2 – Written by Peter J. Tomasi and Penciled by Fernando Pasarin. So Guy Gardner is off to uncharted territory, but not without some help from friends. Arisa and Kilowog decide they’re going with and off we go. But first, we need to make a detour, and that detour is spoiled by the arrival of a nasty person. We also find out that Arisa still believes Sodam Yot is alive after he sacrificed himself. There is also an introduction of Zardor of Kralok which is probably setting up for future issues. So we have all this stuff going on in the second issue and it’s not bad at all. Arisa’s dream is downright creepy. It’s interesting to see how Kilowog is coping with everything that has happened. So this issue has a lot of good stuff going on. Guy’s side journey ends up making total sense for his character and give us a reason to see some of my favorite Lantern Corps color. The end of the issue totally is given away by the cover too. I hate when companies do this, but it doesn’t totally ruin the issue. The issue is solid and the artwork is fine. Really, just a good issue that could go either way for you. I’m a huge Green Lantern Corps fan, so I really like it, but if you aren’t you might want to skip it, newer readers might enjoy this though.
The Invincible Iron Man #30 – Written by Matt Fraction and Art by Salvador Larroca. We start off with Tony driving away with Sasha Hammer from last issue. But Tony’s interests are anything but romantic. Tony is trying to figure out what the Hammer women are up to with their current expansion of business. The trip doesn’t end exactly as planned for anybody. There’s a weird sexual tension created by Sasha Hammer the whole time as well. We also get to see the test driving of the new Stark Resilient car. But Detroit Steel also plans on launching a new application that launches, the giant phallic symbols of DOOM! Ah yes, be prepared for a scene for giant flying penises on their way to destroy Tony Stark for the cover of next issue. I hate the design of those things and I often wonder if that’s completely intentional. The story has an interesting pace and everything is building, then it calms down, and then we get the climatic conclusion of the issue when things go crazy again. Matt Fraction continues to do an excellent job with his run on Iron Man. Salvador provides some very good artwork that’s got a realistic feel without being too realistic. His facial work is some of the best, so it’s easy to tell who the characters are, and that’s important. So pick up this issue because this is one of the better comics out there today.
Thor #614 – Written by Kieron Gillen and Pencils by Doug Braithwaite. The climatic conclusion to the Hel versus Disir in Hell saga concludes with this issue and it was worth it. Part 4 of “The Fine Print” joins our hero Thor calling out the name of the Disir who cannot ignore when their name is called. So off they go to try and kill Thor. The Eir-Gram sword is still trapped when Thor calls for them, so will he be able to withdraw it and finish off the Disir and save Hel from a fate worse than Death itself. To me, this is a great Thor story. Plenty of drama and the conclusion to it all is pretty amazing stuff. The way Thor is able to take care of this made sense and was a total “well duh, you’re pretty smart their Thor,” moment. Kieron is able to capture the mythological aspect of the Thor title well. Some might be looking more for a super-hero type encounter, but this is something else. It all is very interesting and well done and it doesn’t feel like the same old stuff people might get bored with. The artwork is a little sketchier than Salvador Larroca’s but it reminds me a little of his work. It isn’t quite as polished, but I really thought it was quite good. There’s a great moment in this comic as we see Asgard and Balder is standing over the map. On the map is scribbled “Scan of Map of Asgard?” So apparently nobody put that scan in at all and didn’t manage to erase the words the penciller put in. Oops! So look for that little Easter egg. This is worth picking up!
X-23 #1 – Written by Marjorie Liu and Art by Will Conrad. This issue deals with X-23 the dilemmas of her being involved with the X-Force project that everyone now knows about. Her involvement seems counter productive to getting rid of the idea of her being reversing her descent into a killing machine. So now things have to be dealt with and Laura isn’t having an easy time of it all. So this issue mainly deals with feelings and that may not appeal to everyone. I’m not sure where this title is going to go, but for a first issue this is just ok. At the end they do include a history of X-23 which was really interesting and helpful to me, as I had not known much about X-23 prior to this issue. Will Conrad’s art isn’t very good though. I don’t care for how he draws Laura and half of the other characters. His characters look very robotic and the main facial expression is a glare. Everything just seems a little off with Conrad’s art and it’s enough to turn me off from this issue. A good issue to pick-up for a history of X-23, but the artwork will really detract from what would otherwise be a solid issue.
X-Men #3 – Written by Victor Gischler and Penciled by Paco Medina. Namor has recovered the head, Storm and Gambit have the body. Dracula is alive again and the ramifications could be huge. Wolverine is sent out to find Jubilee and rescue her from the big bad vamps. So we flash back and forth between Wolvie’s journey and the conversation the X-Men have with Dracula. This is probably the best issue of the series so far. Wolverine’s battles seem a tad random, but the stuff at the end was very good. I like the interaction Xarus and his Royal Court with Jubilee. I felt that Dracula acted like he probably should. Paco Medina’s artwork really shined in this issue and has improved quite a bit. I think he improved enough to where his art makes this issue better than it might be otherwise. I didn’t like his work in th first issue, but here it looks like he’s adapting to the X-Men well. I’m still not completely sold on the storyline, but the story here was okay. Still, not a X-Men title that I particularly like, but this one was actually ok. If you want to see what’s going on with the “Curse of the X-Men” storyline, this would be the issue to check out, but still slightly skippable.
X-Men: Legacy #239 – Written by Mike Carey and Penciled by Clay Mann. While in India the X-Men run into a new Mutant on the run and a Sentinel close behind. Of course, we aren’t quite sure that she IS a Mutant, we’re just assuming that the Sentinel is after one. Paras also has to deal with his future bride who he has never met before. Gotta love pre-arranged weddings! Our new character Luisa also has some interesting secrets that start to unravel here as well. So our story is a pretty decent one. There’s lots of action and interesting things going on here to keep the reader compelled and that’s always a good thing. Magneto and Rogue are still bickering as Rogue completely does not trust Magneto. I like Paras’ pre-arranged wedding and having to deal with that and the interactions with his parents. The art work is not quite there yet. I see some styling of an early Whilce Portacio here, but Whilce was better at having his drawings tell a story. Clay is not quite there yet. The first few pages are very confusing and I had to go back and look at them several times just to tell what the hell was going on. That’s not a good thing when a reader has to do that. If he can just work on his facial details and storytelling through his art, he has the potential to be a very good artist. An okay issue, but nothing too special, you can probably skip it.
Zatanna #5 – Written by Paul Dini and Penciled by Chad Hardin. We have fire demons trying to take out Zatanna as we saw in last issue. She also has to deal with her Cousin Zach feeling underappreciated by her and she promises to make his show tonight. Well, those are always famous last words when you’re a busy magician who’s wanted by the Great Mammon. We get introduced to our big bad demon of hell and also find out what his game is. And since we’re in Vegas, things all kind of just make sense here. So a trap is set and Zatanna has troubles resisting this one! Another pretty fantastic issue as I love the way Zatanna deals with the fire demons. Is she lucky? Sure, but it was still ingenious. Mammon’s motivation seems to be somewhat logical. As logical as something in this series will ever be I guess. Zach’s disappointment is pretty interesting as well. The final several pages are just fantastic stuff that you don’t want to miss. Chad Hardin’s pencils are solid, nothing wrong there at all. Paul Dini continues to make an underrated character into a solid hit for me. I’ve said it before, I never thought I would like this character, but Dini has made me a fan. That has to count for something. Pick up an issue and get instantly hooked!