X-Factor #227 – Written by Peter David and Art by Leonard Kirk. The team tries to save The Hangman’s son Terry from the evil, demonic bloodbath. But of course, with X-Factor on the case, nothing ever goes exactly to plan. And there’s some really good stuff in here. We’re further learning what Layla knows and can do, but she’s still shrouded in secrets. There’s a part with Strong Guy that makes me say, “Ah ha, he did lose his soul!” Just a lot of great stuff that’s tying together from past issues. That’s one of the things Peter David does in such a masterful way. He can keep building on these characters and past events and still give you a forward moving story. It is this progression that makes X-Factor one of the best books out there. And leave it to Peter David to give you a “holy crap” finish that makes you want to come back. The guy is great when it comes to these cliffhanger endings. Leonard Kirk’s art is good, but there are parts that look a little rushed and lacking detail. If a character is further away, he doesn’t make it so you can see their face, which at times seems cheap because most artist can give you more than a couple of dots where their eyes are. But his up-close stuff is excellent. Maybe he’s just heavily inking things to where it doesn’t look good if he does. But anyway, besides a little nagging thing like that, this is an outstanding issue. Every issue seems to be like this when you’re dealing with Peter David though. If you aren’t onboard, this title is great and will continue to consistently give you the best bang for your buck!
Rating - 9/10
The Amazing Spider-Man #674 – Written by Dan Slott, Penciled by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Inked by Klaus Janson. A crew of new Vultures is flying about the city. A city that is still reeling from the events of Spider Island, and even celebrating it to get past it. Everyone thinks the murders and apparent suicides are a part of the Spider Island incident and that someone didn’t get cured. Nothing too special here though. Following up a huge event is hard to do. There’s still some fall-out going on, but they’re also trying to move to the next chapter. That’s a hard transition to do. Slott does his best with it and this is a decent story. With Giuseppe’s pencils, I can’t help but thinking Daken now. So no matter what he does here, the art is distracting to me and half his characters seem to look a tad like Daken. I’m going to have to take 1 point for the art. His style just wasn’t meshing very well here. But that’s just my perception of it. Decent enough stuff, nothing spectacular.
Rating – 6/10
Generation Hope #13 – Written by James Asmus and Art by Ibraim Roberson. Hope deals with a secret that’s been hidden from her team. There’s another light out there and they have to go to the rescue again. This issue focuses mostly on the fabric of the team and them finding out a bit more about themselves. Velocidad is rapidly starting to age as he uses his powers and this could be a big story down the line. Pixie being on the team offers an interesting dynamic with her having smooched Velocidad who had a thing going with Hope. Zero continues to be a deeply interesting character as well and he has a new and surprising relationship budding in here as well. The initial fight with the X-Men was a bit cliché and not too interesting, but it did get much better from there. The art of Ibriam Roberson was good and the overall look of the comic is excellent. This series might get skipped over by some, but it's actually one of the more interesting X titles, even though it doesn’t have an X in it.
Rating - 7/10
Captain America #4 – Written by Ed Brubaker, Penciled by Steven McNiven and Inked by Jay Leisten. So Cap is in some strange alternate reality world that he got sucked into last episode. Nick Fury and Sharon Carter need to find a way out for him before, apparently, the whole World gets sucked in. Yes, this is a Captain America story. Normally I like Ed Brubaker, but this isn’t his best work. I never felt like I was engaged in the story. The alternate reality world that Codename Bravo can control just seems hokey. I didn’t like the set-up and I don’t particularly like the story being told. It seems a tad too far out there for Captain America. I also get tired of the constant rewriting of history from World War II. I’m starting to feel like Captain America was in that war for about fifty years based on everything that’s ever happened to him during it. I really thought McNiven’s art was the bright spot of the whole issue. I particularly like the way he draws the Falcon. One redeeming thing. The story didn’t interest me in the least, but I guess mileage may vary on this one.
Rating - 4/10
Avengers Academy #22 – Written by Christos Gage, Penciled by Sean Chen and Inked by Scott Hanna & Rebecca Buchman. Hank Pym tries to figure out who killed (obliterated) Jocasta. In order to do this, he needs the help of Magneto. So the X-Men make a visit and makes way for some more interesting interactions. Of course, there’s a fight when the young Avengers jump the gun… AGAIN! Sorry, but that ploy is getting to be a bit old. I’m tired of them being young and impulsive enough to keep getting into fights. Seriously getting old. And then of course, everyone is so “oh, that’s ok, you’re still young, blah blah blah.” Put them in detention or something. Make them mow the entire yard of the complex. Punish them for being stupid! I love Christos Gage’s work usually, but this seems lazy to me. It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t happen almost every issue or so. Because of this, it really drops my approval of this issue. This is also Sean Chen’s last issue. He has done a solid job and this issue is no different. There are times he draws things a bit awkward of under-detailed facially, but you get used to it. It will be sad to see him go as he has been an integral part of the success of this series.
Rating - 4/10
X-23 #17 – Written by Marjorie Liu and Art by Sana Takeda. First off, I love the cover. And the story is titled, “Misadventures in Babysitting” so I was already looking forward to this one. The premise is that X-23 has to babysit Reed and Sue’s kids from the FF. Laura also has some relationship issues to work through with Hellion that has been put on the backburner recently. But when she goes to babysit Valeria Richards and her brother, nothing good can happen. Mainly because Val never behaves when it comes to technology. So you can see where it is all leading. I honestly didn’t care for the whole part with Hellion, but it wasn’t awful. I guess what bugged me the most was the art. Too much dark and moody with Hellion and way too anime-style for me. I just didn’t care for it. I thought the stuff with the Future Foundation was fine because it was brightened up a tad. I just don’t care for Sana drawing X-23, I think Sana is better suited for maybe some other titles. This just doesn’t hit the spot for me. I really wish this issue was better, the cover was setting it up to be grand. However, it looks like we’ll have to wait until next issue for more of the fun to happen.
Rating - 5/10
X-Men #21 – Written by Victor Gischler and Art by Will Conrad. Some rinky dink country that borders Latveria and Symkaria has Sentinels now. Last issue, Domino was apparently killed by one. In the meantime, War Machine was doing battle with Storm and crew. This issue, War Machine teams up after Symkaria breaks the no fly zone. Why the hell was War Machine here in the first place? The ultimate goal seems to be having the Sentinels be able to attack anyone, not just mutants. How utterly sinister! Not that it really makes the Sentinels any more intimidating. There were some good things in this issue, namely the stuff with Domino and then with Psylocke and Jubilee. But overall, I felt like this was just more uninteresting stuff. I’m looking to figure out what the writer is trying to tell us here. Is this story really worth telling? I’m not so convinced yet. There isn’t a convincing enough reason here to want to buy this title on a regular basis. There’s just nothing there. Gischler’s run on X-Men has been very spotty and I think that maybe moving him to another project might be wise. The art was pretty decent, Conrad does a very nice job. I like his fight scene with War Machine as it captures a lot of the essence of the heroes involved. Really, the writing is the weak spot and this was nothing special. Oh, and it may say Regenesis, but don’t expect it to have really anything to do with it besides being a Cyclops team.
Rating – 3/10
New Mutants #34 – Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Penciled by David Lopez and Inked by Alvaro Lopez. This issue focuses on two things. FIrst, the New Mutants are on their own, trying to live as much like normal people as mutants can. Bobby “Sunspot” has a ton of money and would really like to spend it to posh up their pad, but Dani won’t allow that. In the meantime, Blink has been brought back and she’s apparently dealing with some bad mojo that’s floating around. The New Mutants are trying to figure out where she’ll appear next and also what is going on. A lot of good stuff involving the characters as we get to see them try and act “normal”. Dani presents a very strong female character that is just trying to make this whole thing work. Probably the funniest part is when Magma is trying to get a real job and ends up being called out on an emergency in the middle of the interview. There’s a bit of mystery going on as well. In a way, this almost feels like X-Factor-lite. Which isn’t a bad thing as it seems these X teams really need to go their own way sometimes. And to try and make the characters more relatable is another good thing. I liked Lopez’s art and particularly how he draws Dani. He makes her seem like a strong Native American more than most artists can get across. He did a great job here. I really liked this issue and hope that Abnett and Lanning continue to give this comic a lot of love and a consistent hand that it has been needing. I’m tired of them switching creative teams on this one.
Rating - 8/10
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