More catching up and more fun today! This time around we have some pretty good stuff and only a few duds. Also, in Friday’s Sioux City Journal there will be an interview with me, so check that out! On with the show! (I just did an old comic book thing, put exclamation points at the end of everything! Again! Wow! Ok, just stop.)
Captain America #609 – Written by Ed Brubaker and Penciled by Butch Guice. We continue to see what’s going down with Baron Zemo’s master plan of revenge on Bucky Cap. And this time Zemo leaves a message for Bucky and he’s off, knowing that he’s probably walking straight into a trap. It kind of has an old movie feel to it where the villian tries to play a head game with the hero and sets up traps. So the cat and mouse game comes to bear this issue. The artwork is pretty solid with this issue and the story works pretty well. Nothing groundbreaking here, but it’s pretty decent. We also have a back-up Nomad story as well. Written by Sean McKeever and Art by Filipe Andrade. Nomad mulls over starting training with Steve Rogers and joining him. Of course, this could have profound implications for the Young Allies team. Very appropriate that Sean McKeever is the writer in that case. A lot of inner turmoil going on here and Steve Rogers helping out. This is a good back-up story. Overall, pretty solid issue, nothing spectacular but very solid.
Batman #702 – Written by Grant Morrison and Art by Tony Daniel. Well, leave it to DC to come out with an issue that deals with how they’re going to explain-away the eventual turn of Bruce Wayne. And they do owe that much to the fans. The explanation I find lacking though. Grant Morrison has been hit and miss with me. While I’m a huge fan of his Animal Man and Doom Patrol work, this explanation leaves me feeling completely unexcited about the return of Bruce Wayne. DC has pretty much always let it be known that eventually Bruce Wayne would be back and it was just a matter of time. They continue to handle it a lot like how Captain America was handled by Marvel. Neither time did I buy it, but the end result of Steve Rogers returning in a different role was good. I’m hoping this pans out along those lines as well. The artwork has a very sketchy feel to it and it wasn’t too bad. There were spots where it was excellent, actually. I think this might be a good issue if you don’t know what happened to Bruce Wayne and want to find out what occurred, otherwise the story isn’t anything interesting.
Curse of the Mutants: Storm & Gambit #1 – Written by Chuck Kim and Penciled by Chris Bachalo. This issue in the crossover event of… whatever, brings us to the adventures of… guess who! Storm and Gambit, just like the cover states! This one-shot gives us the tale of the quest for Dracula’s body. And guess what? The story is actually pretty interesting! Storm and Gambit form an interesting team that I didn’t think would be all the good, but it was. Despite the artwork being a tad too “manga” for my taste, I couldn’t deny that the artwork also helped with the ebb and flow of the issue. In some aspects, “manga” style sometimes leads to some simpler but more fluid artwork, and it really worked well here. There are a few “mystery” pages where it looked like they were just suddenly scribbled together. I’m not sure if that was entirely intentional or not. I loved seeing Storm have to rely on something other than her weather manipulation powers, it was a pleasure to see. Some hard choices have to be made this issue as well. The best book in the Curse of the Mutants crossover yet. That may not be saying much, but this is a very good issue and enjoyable!
New Mutants #16 – Written by Zeb Wells and Art by Leonard Kirk. A quick word of warning, this issue does not feature the actual New Mutants at all. Instead, it focuses on General Ulysses and the history of his group in Limbo. So we see a lot of weird stuff going on here and why Ulysses is so peeved right now. It’s more of a military viewpoint and really, some interesting stuff. I like the fact that Zeb Wells is willing to basically make this a New Mutants free issue of New Mutants. He understands that the backstory does have to be told for everyone to understand what is driving this General. And better yet, there are some mysteries that could come from all of this. There is a great surprise at the end of this issue as well and boy was I stoked to see it. I liked what I saw, I won’t ruin the surprise though. The artwork by Leonard Kirk was solid as always and he drew some very interesting scenes quite well. I’m not sure a lot of artists would have taken this task on quite so well. Zeb really is doing a fantastic job of setting major things up! Honestly, this is a pretty great issue and if you’re a "Marvel Mutants” fan, this is an issue I highly recommend.
Wonder Woman #602- Written by J. Michael Straczynski and Penciled by Don Kramer with Eduardo Pansica. Well, our second full JMS issue of Wonder Woman and we’re treated to Wonder Woman returning to help save the Amazons from the terrible invading army that’s trying to kill them. I can’t quite figure out why the soldiers are so hell bent on killing the Amazons, but whatever. We get a glimpse at some back story and some moral issues that Diana must face. So what do we really get? Well, you get to see Wonder Woman kick some butt and wax about the choices she must make. Nothing too spectacular. I honestly get tired of always having to see what the Amazons are up to. I would rather JMS have just ditched the Amazonians and made Diana deal with the world we live in and integrate more into that. He, however, just keeps bringing us back to this. The Amazonians are the reason I never found Wonder Woman that interesting. It kind of continues to be that way, so I guess, nothing has changed. It is alright for what it is, but nothing very special going on here.
Wolverine #1 – Written by Jason Aaron and Penciled by Renato Guedes. When I first heard the concept of Wolverine going to hell, I was skeptical. We have vampires going on over in the normal X-Men series and now we have this to boot? Well, I was wrong about this one. We start off with Wolverine visiting Wraith and them talking about things like faith. We then end up seeing a much different Wolverine and apparently some minions from Hell going after Wolvie’s girlfriend. I’m really interested in knowing what exactly happened to Wolverine and the implications this has. The only thing I’m disappointed in is the continuity that Marvel has. When I say that, all the other X-issues will probably have Wolverine acting normal and everything and never even mention that this happened. That gets annoying in a shared universe how nothing ever ties into anything else until it’s time for the big crossovers. However, I did like this issue and the artwork is very well done. The back-up story with Silver Samurai wasn’t very entertaining though. Worth checking out and seeing what the heck is happening with the world’s favorite mutant.
Taskmaster #1 – Written by Fred Van Lente and Art by Jefte Palo. The Taskmaster finds the repercussions of his recent actions come bearing down on him. He has managed to anger the entire underworld of evil henchmen, like Hydra, A.I.M., and Secret Empire. Boy do things go downhill for our non-hero fast! I’ve been a real fan of Taskmaster as of late. Van Lente seems to know how to write him well too. The character has been really interesting and I like that they gave him a mini-series. I really like how the explore how his memory works as well. This can only lead to bad things though. The artwork is pretty solid and fits in well with what’s going on. I might not have liked it so much if not for the spectacular color job on it. It was also interesting to have a dossier at the end of the book that told about these teams like Hydra, so it’s a pretty decent jumping on point. I really thought this was some great stuff, check it out!
Shadowlands: Elektra #1 – Written by Zeb Wells and Art by Emma Rios. Two issues I’m reviewing this time that were done by Zeb Wells. This time we see some background on Elektra and her past involvement with the Hand. She has these half-hallucinations going on through-out. Honestly, where Zeb Wells hits homerun with New Mutants, here he fails miserably. I think that has more to do with the material requested of him than anything else. Listen Marvel, there is no reason to even publish this issue besides trying to make more money off the tie-in. The story isn’t terrible, it’s just completely unnecessary and useless. Couple that with the fact that I wasn’t interested in the least by this and you’ve got a real dog. The artwork was just kind of bland and Elektra looked like she might have taken Anime meth or something. Add this one up and this issue is better off being sent in to the recycling center than anything.