X-Men #20 – Written by Victor Gischler and Art by Will Conrad. “Regenesis” is here and we get to see what’s going on with Cyclops’ side. So there’s Russian style smuggling of Sentinels going on here, but the shipment gets hi-jacked at the hand-off point where Domino happens to be watching. So this is a track down and find the Sentinels, which are always bad. It felt kind of an introduction to Cyclops’ team more than anything. We have Domino, Storm, Warpath, Jubilee, Colossus (with Juggernaut fighting action now), and Psylocke. Not a bad issue, the artwork was pretty decent here. Nothing too spectacular in any phase, but a decent X-Men-type adventure that this magazine really hasn’t had yet. It has some continuity going for it, which was sorely missing from the X-Men series. That being said, it felt like there was nothing here I hadn’t seen before. You would expect more coming out of what was supposed to be a big event. Overall, just a good enough issue, but nothing all that spectacular.
Animal Man #3 – Written by Jeff Lemire and Art by Travel Foreman. This strangely fantastic voyage continues. This month, Buddy and Maxine encounter agents of the Rot while being in the heart of the Red, which is the lifeline for all life apparently. Buddy’s wife and son also get a nasty encounter. Let me tell you something about this book. It is nail biting, enthralling, edge of your seat action and horror! This should go on to be a great horror/superhero movie. Not too many mix the genre, but almost none mix it so well. Foreman’s artwork gives you a gritty and surreal feel that creeps you out! The agents of the Rot are comical at times in this issue and then go into full bug out, creep out mode. My only complaint is that the book isn’t longer. One of the true gems of the New 52. Plus it ties-in to Swamp Thing quite a bit as well. Talk about fantastic! May not be for everyone, but it sure is an amazing read so far. I just love how it isn’t really about Buddy, it’s about Maxine and the rest of his family as well and they balance it oh so well!
Justice League International #3 – Written by Dan Jurgens, Penciled by Aaron Lopresti and Inked by Matt Ryan. I like the fact that the JLI has started off with them retreating in defeat. This leads us to a chance at redemption for them, less they become the laughing stock of the superhero world. Jurgens does a fantastic job of raveling a lot of trouble together and dividing the heroes up into groups. This gives us a bit of time to meet and learn a tad more about each character. What Jurgens does is very basic storytelling and he’s excellent at it. You aren’t going to find anything super deep with him, but he’ll give you a comic that reads like a comic. Lopresti does a fair job here as well. I’m not confused as to what is going on in the panels. This is why this combination works so well. The writer and artist both have a story to tell and they work together perfectly. I’m not completely confused by what is going on, everything is easy to follow. Just some really good stuff here.
Hawk & Dove #3 – Written by Sterling Gates, Penciled by Rob Liefeld and Inked by Adelso Corona. This issue is a gigantic fight issue that doesn’t end. A bit of story development as we almost learn more about Condor and Swan. So a big fight scene that doesn’t end. Pretty much sums this one up. Here’s Sterling’s script he sent to artist Rob Liefeld. “Rob, please give me 20 pages of fighting and I’ll just write some dialog. Oh, please make sure everyone looks like they’re gritting their teeth again. Thanks!” And Rob sure does deliver just that! I’m not sold on Rob’s artwork here at all. There’s a scene in the splash page with Hawk leaping and I have no idea where one of his legs even begins. There are times when Hawk just looks like a ridiculous lump. He sure doesn’t draw him liked he used to. I do rather like his version of Dove and thought those were probably Rob’s best scenes. But after 3 issues, I’m sick of all the grimacing his characters do, non-stop. The cover should say, “All Teeth Gritting Action on EVERY Page!” Liefeld has been gearing towards doing at least two comics a month, but man, the quality isn’t quite there yet. And please Rob, NEVER draw Deadman again! Talk about massacring a character!
X-23 #16 – Written by Marjorie Liu and Art by Phil Noto. Guest appearances with the Fantastic Four (or FF) again. Val Richards is possessed by the King of the Whirldemons. I guess they’re big on hula-hoops maybe? No, they seem too nasty. But anyway, the main part of the story is that X-23 (Laura) goes all Captain Universe on the bad guys. Cosmic X-23! Can’t wait for Heroclix to do that one! Anyway, a decent story with some characters you wouldn’t normally associate with X-23. The art is the main thing that draws you into this. Phil Noto’s facials on Sue and Laura alone is impressive. They’re very distinctive in their looks and facial expressions. They give Laura a slight empty, almost soulless green eyes. I can always tell what’s going on and there is some subtle stuff going on at times in the artwork. Good stuff there. Overall, my impression is this is a decent comic. Nothing too special, but I really do like Noto’s art, so that pushes it up a tad.
Technorati Tags: aaron lopresti,adelso corona,animal man,dan jurgens,hawk and dove,jeff lemire,justice league international,marjorie liu,matt ryan,phil noto,rob liefeld,sterling gates,travel foreman,victor gischler,will conrad,x-23,x-men of war