The Shopping List 11-24-10

Finally

Yes, I know. These posts keep coming later than I expect. Later than I want. It was a tough week at work.

Batwoman #0Batwoman #0 by J. H. Williams, W. Haden Blackman, and Amy Reeder ****

She baaack! Sort of.

I never know what to expect out of 0 issues, but this operates as a perfect introduction to the new title. It summarizes Kate until this point and sets up the status quo going forward. But more importantly, it’s a showcase for the art styles of J. H. Williams III and Amy Reeder. The two share duties, not on separate pages, but on the same spreads. Williams handles the Batwoman sequences; Reeder, the Kate Kane sequences. Simply put, it works.

The narrative comes from Batman’s perspective as he does some real detective work (My favorite Batman cliche is “We’re going to see Batman do some real detective work.” Here, he actually does.) Bruce trails Kate, taking on a variety of disguises, trying to find evidence that she and Batwoman are one in the same. But Kate proves she’s worthy of the Bat-mantle, going about her life, never letting herself be exposed.

The main story is only 16 pages, with the remainder of the pages made up by a previews of the upcoming #1 and Scott Snyder’s debut issue on Detective Comics. Whether you read the Rucka/Williams run or not, get in here. I have huge hopes for this book.

Black Widow #8Black Widow #8 by Dwayne Swiercynski and Manuel Garcia ****

The cover says “Part 3 of 3,” but this issue ends with a “To Be Continued.” If that wasn’t enough, it will be continued in another series. The “Kiss or Kill” story is over, but a one page epilogue points us to the upcoming Widowmaker miniseries. Not quite the closure I was looking for. No more issues of Black Widow are solicited, but we don’t know much who is behind the plot against the Crane family, only a name. But that’s only one flaw of this issue.

Swierczynski’s neutralizes his threats as fast as he introduces them. It keeps the plot moving, but the fights never seem even. Widow is too clever to ever seem in real jeopardy, even when simultaneously attacked by Fatasma and the Crimson Dynamo. Stretching the story out, even by one issue, could have given the fight more heft and drama. I know fandom loves to cry out against decompression, but anything that ups conflict is worth doing. It’s not about length (or girth even); it’s about good stories.

I can’t get a handle on Garcia’s art. Sometimes it resembles Mark Bagley, other times a bright, cleaner Mike Deodato. This is not a complaint mind you. He just doesn’t stand out as his own artist.

I’m not sure if I’ll follow Natasha’s story over to Widowmaker, but just like he did on Iron Fist, Dwayne Swierczynski has come to a book midway through its run and proven that he can stand up to any writer. I’d be interested to see what he would do with his own series, starting from scratch.

Captain America #612Captain America #612 by Ed Brubaker and Butch Guice, Sean McKeever and Felipe Andrade ***

Part two of “The Trial of Captain America” is a disappointing pile of exposition. Bucky sits in his cell alone, telling us what prison is like, ” Echoed screaming … Fights … Threats yelled between cells,” but we see none of it. Elsewhere, Bucky’s lawyer, Bernie Rosenthal goes on TV, telling us what we already know: the evidence against Bucky is overwhelming but he’s truly a hero.

In other news: Sin!!! I loved her in the beginning of Bru’s run and she’s back! She’s as repulsive as a Nazi burn victim as she was cute as a redhead anarchist. Now that she’s taken up her father’s mantle as the Red Skull, I’m excited to see story continue.

Last month, I said how much I liked Daniel Acuna’s stylized (though out of place) fill-in issue. Sadly, it was just that, a fill-in. Butch Guice returns this month. Because of the expository nature of the issue, much of it is made up of talking heads. Great artists can make even calm discussions look exciting, but Bru hamstrings Guice with the television sequences. Televised news interviews are static affairs: bust shot of reporter, inset image over their shoulder. Really, when was the last time Larry King Live was visually stimulating? When Lady Gaga was on? Luckily, Guice takes advantage of a Black Widow/Falcon subplot, using a variety of angles and panel shapes and sizes to create a stirring, gymnastics-filled infiltration sequence.

In Sean MchKeever’s Nomad back-up story, Rikki Barnes has some serious ovaries. After being captured by the Second Shadow, the stays strong, despite being beaten until her face looks like an eggplant. She admits to us that she is too ignorant to give up the plan if she wanted to, but she refuses to give any information up. Then she breaks her own thumbs to get out of a pair of handcuffs. I haven’t been that impressed by self-mutilation since Hawkeye flicked his fingernails off in Ultimates 2. Sweet.

Invincible Iron Man #32Invincible Iron Man #32 by Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca, and Jamie McKelvie****

I have a friend who complains about the climax of the first Iron Man movie. His problem is that Pepper, not Tony, turns on the arc reactor, defeating Obadiah Stane. Iron Man was the hero, but his girlfriend did the actual work. In the beginning of the issue, Team: Iron Man (Iron Man, War Machine and Rescue) start the fight against the attack drones swarming Stark Resilient’s product launch, but Tony saves the day. By the end, he’s left Pepper and Rhodey behind and reject Maria Hill’s assistance, determined to save the day by himself. Moments like that make him one of the premier Marvel heroes.

Fraction keeps the banter going in this issue, referencing TED talks, Space Invaders, Wired magazine, even the Backstreet Boys. The quips would feel more at home in a Spider-Man book, but it does keep the full-issue fight going.

Salvador Larocca turns in his standard art. Nothing new to report there. The real visual highlight in this issue is a Pepper Potts backup drawn by Jamie McKelvie. (The $6 price tag scared me away from Ultimate Spider-Man #150, so I’m glad I still got some McKelvie goodness this week.) Yes, Happy is a grown up Kid-with-Knife and Tony is a jacked version of David Kohl. I should complain, but I can’t. His clean, open art is gorgeous. I don’t care if there’s no action. He draws pretty pictures. I hope he ends up on a good book, because I know I’ll buy any monthly he ends up on.

Amazing Spider-Man #649Amazing Spider-Man #649 by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos ****

Getting my head into Amazing Spider-Man isn’t easy, but this book is very enjoyable.

A few things that start me at a disadvantage:

  • I’ve never read a Hobgoblin story before.
  • The last (and first) time I read of Phil Urich was in The Loners, where I thought he was going back to heroics.
  • Having read very sporadic Spider-Man stories, and only about six issues of Brand New Day-era ASM, I’m not sure what is years-old continuity, what’s been recently established, what’s new in the past couple issues, etc.
  • A lot of new characters have been dropped on my plate: Norah, Randy, Carlie, Pete’s new co-workers

Despite my difficulty in determining what brought us here, Dan Slott makes great use of Peter Parker’s current life. He uses Norah to keep the Bugle around, but puts Pete in a new job where his skills don’t go to waste. The fact that he is qualified for his position at Horizon Labs makes you realize how extraordinary his life has been. Because of that fateful spiderbite, he knows that creatures from the vacuum of space hate fire and sonics, that you’d need a magnetic braking system for an anti-gravity harness.

A guidance counselor in my high school loved to tell us “There are no bad schools, only bad matches.” Her point was that we each had to find the right college for us. Similarly, Humberto Ramos is not a bad artist, but he’s had some matches. X-Men was a bad match. It was too dark, too moody for his bright, exaggerated art. That’s why Runaways was better. That’s why Spider-Man is a perfect match. His name almost scared me away from this book, but these past two issues have turned me around on him really quickly.

The Shopping List 10-27-10

Death and Lex Luthor

Action Comics #894Action Comics #894 by Paul Cornell and Pete Woods ***

I didn’t realize this issue was part five of the arc, but I’ve been interested in getting into the book and featuring Death on the cover is about as good of Bells-bait as anything.

To me, Lex Luthor has never been a great villain. Xenophobia + genius = Lex Luthor. Bleh. I suppose I see him as too reactionary. What I mean is, if Superman did not exist, would Lex Luthor, as we know him? No. Without the X-Men, Magneto still has it out for Homo sapiens. Without Daredevil, the Kingpin is still ruining crime in NYC.

Paul Cornell is a writer whose name I hear lauded often, but nothing he wrote even grabbed me. Here, Lex’s personality is as clear as a bell in the night and there are some great character moments. Sadly, there’s not much more than that. No action. I understand I grabbed one stray issue on the middle of a run but I’m not sure what the actual mission of this book is. Did this issue even have an antagonist? Was it Death?

It sounds like I didn’t enjoy the book. I really did and will buy the next issue. I’m just saying that it didn’t grab me the way an issue sure to grab new readers should. Bringing Death to mainstream DC Universe is a big step. I’m afraid it was a wasted opportunity.

It’s interesting to see Death in a modern art style. It works. Pete Woods draws her as the cheeky enigma that she should be, but modern coloring makes her more rendered, less distant than some Sandman artists. Negative reviews of his New Krypton work has me scared, but I had no problems here at all.

Last month, I took Uncanny X-Men off my subscription list. I just found a place for that $4, Action Comics.

Black Widow #7Black Widow #7 by Dwayne Swiercynzki and Manuel Garcia ****

Swiercynzki has certainly made this book more action-packed that Marjorie Liu did. His plots twist and turn, and once you think you see where it’s going, you’re kicked into a pit in a Polish bunker. I’m also impressed by his skill working Natasha’s various talents and weapons into the story. Most writers are content to have her shoot someone, maybe kick someone in the face, but he uses her full repertoire: Widow’s Kiss, Widow’s Bite, whatever. The books sales aren’t good; it’s selling less than 19,000 copies a month, but just as he did on Iron Fist, Swiercynzki refuses to let a character’s lack of popularity stop him from telling great stories.

Manuel Garcia doesn’t have a quickly recognized style, but even in his days on Mystique with Sean McKeever, he knew how to keep even the talkiest scenes interesting. He’s night and day from Daniel Acuna, but his agreeably exaggerated figures are fun to watch. And to anyone worried, no, the pages do not look anything like his covers. In fact, a couple places reminded me of Mark Bagley, other places, not so much.

For the one solicited issue left, followed by the Widow Maker miniseries, keep your eyes on this book while you can.

Captain America #611Captain America #611 by Ed Brubaker and Daniel Acuna ***

Brubaker must be hoping a lot of people jump on this book with “The Trial of Captain America” arc. He spends most of this initial issue explaining what brought us here over the last five years, much as he did with issue 25 before he, you know, killed Steve Rogers. That was a good jumping on point, so maybe he knows something we don’t. The story itself is interesting, showing various heroes’ various reactions to Bucky’s past as the Winter Soldier. Hawkeye’s disbelief that Bucky used to be an assassin is a bit off, but luckily, Natasha is the kettle that reminds Clint of his pot’s color.

For months, I’ve talked about how consistent the art has been on this book. No longer. Daniel Acuna, fresh of his Black Widow run, brings his truly unique style to Brubaker’s epic. He doesn’t look like any of the previous artists, but his art is so cool that I didn’t care. The large patches of color and lack of eyes make the art look deceptively simple, but give a haunting tone. That’s something I’m not used to on a Captain America title. Solicits show that Butch Guice will be back for the rest the arc, which may only make this issue stick out in the eventual collections. I love Guice, but it would have been nice to see what Acuna could have done with a full arc.

Sean McKeever’s Nomad story continues with a fun Black Widow team-up. I wonder, just as Rikki does, why Natasha chose her as a teammate. With such a dangerous mission, you think she’d choose someone more experienced. And if it’s training, take her somewhere safer! With the last issue of Young Allies out this week, this may be the only place to see the new Nomad. Keep you fingers crossed for her.

Teen Titans #88Teen Titans #88 by J. T. Krul and Nicola Scott ***

Close, but this isn’t quite doing it. The team members are a great mix of New Teen Titans (Raven, Beast Boy), Johns’ Titans (Wondergirl, Superboy, Kid Flash) and even newer faces (Ravager and Damian!). As much as I miss Nicola Scoot on Secret Six, it is nice to see her on a higher profile book. And she kills it. But …

J. T. Krul spends his first issue treading old ground. 1) Readers don’t need to be told that Raven has to keep her emotions in check. 2) Titans should have some romantic tension, but does it still have to Connor and Cassie? 3) The villain needs a motivation, which he doesn’t yet. He’s just a sketchy high school teacher.

The whole concept behind the Titans has always been family. You can see it in their villains: Deathstroke, Trigon, Blackfire. The list goes on. Use that to tell some stories. I’ve enjoyed Teen Titans the most when things are fresh. And no, killing off members does not count as fresh. Define the team and then shake some shit up. I want to like this book, but it needs to improve or it will stay on the shelf like it has since Johns left.

Thunderbolts #149Thunderbolts #149 by Jeff Parker and Declan Shalvey ****

This was an interesting way to do a tie-in series. In reality, it simply took advantage of the way things are in the Marvel U, instead of a specific book/event. The plot of Shadowland, that Daredevil is possessed by The Beast, does not factor in the story. The only related factor is that DD is using The Hand as his soldiers, which has been the case for over a year.

Between those fully reformed like Luke Cage, those trying their best like Songbird, and those who may never repent like Crossbones, Jeff Parker does a great job allowing his protagonists to show the many layers of evil. Parker also takes advantage of the above-mentioned status quo, using inhuman demon/ninja opponents. Of course, this allows his characters can truly let loose, which is always fun to see.

Declan Shalvey once again shows up on art. I assume the black dots within his inks are his doing as colorist Frank Martin has not used them on regular artist Kev Walker’s pages. They give a nice, idiosyncratic touch. That’s what you’ve got to do to stand out in this industry. I applaud it. I will, however admit that I am excited to see Walker back for the big 150th issue. Woot.

Sorry this was so late. Halloween’s a hell of a drug.

The Shopping List 9-22-10

Uhh … Mixed bag this week. I may have found another unclaimed seven dollars for comics next month.

Avengers Academy #4 by Christos Gage and Mike McKone ****

This second and concluding chapter of the “Scared Straight” crossover with Thunderbolts is also the weakest issue of this book yet. Most of this has to do with the prominence of Mettle, who I so far find the least interesting of the group. Also, his persistent use of the word “brah” is grating.

There is some good stuff here though. Hazmat makes a nice threat and you can really tell Hank Pym wants what’s best for these kids. Christos Gage decides to play Norman Osborne as Lex Luthor rather than the dissociative identity disorder guy we’ve seen since Civil War. Nothing wrong with that, but you really wonder how these kids could believe a word he says. The heroes have said a million times since he was in power “He’s the freaking Green Goblin!”

As I say, this may be the weakest issue of this book so far, but still, four stars.

Black Widow #6Black Widow #6 by Dwayne Swierczynski and Manuel Garcia ***

This is an exciting start for a new creative team. Nothing more complex than a case of mistaken identity, but Swierczynski has Natasha doing some undercover work, surveillance, and hand-to-hand combat proving her years of training.

Manuel Garcia draws some emotional, action-filled panels with his jagged pencils. His females show a bit more cleavage than necessary, but they do look good. I will say though, for a smooth, crafty spy book, I’d like some art that matches. (I would do bad things for a Greg Rucka/Terry Dodson Widow book.) Garcia would be well suited to something grittier, maybe Moon Knight.

It’s nice to see this book continue, even without its original creative team.

The Flash #5Flash #5 by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul ****

This book has a lot of good things going for it. But for each, you gotta take the bad with the good.

The Good: The Rogues – Part of what makes the Flash so great (regardless of who’s in the suit) is the Rogues. They’re unique and they share a bond. Teamwork comes more natural to them than Superman’s villains, for example. With that in mind, pitting two sets of Rogues against each other is a great idea.

The Bad: But it also mean that your storytelling has to be crystal clear. When you zoom out too far, no one can tell the difference between Captain Cold and Commander Cold. I swear there are some errors in this book because I’ve read page 4 a few times and it still does not make sense.

The Good: Momentum coming out of Blackest Night – Plenty of people read about Barry in last year’s big event and seeing Johns’ name on a new iteration of a book he was great on years ago no doubt influenced plenty of them to pick it up.

The Bad: Not everyone read Blackest Night. So having Captain Boomerang go into a hallucination about his post-resurrection mission feels out-of-nowhere. Way to cater to new readers.

The Good: A simple hook – The Rogues from the future have to come back to stop a murder before it happens.

The Bad: You know what the problem with time travels stories is? You have to spend half your time explaining how it works and why the typical paradoxes do or don’t apply here.

The Good: The art – Francis Manapul is perfect on this book.

The Bad: I got nothing. He’s perfect.

I don’t mean to make it sound like I don’t enjoy this book, but it does have problems.

Nemesis #3 by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven *

Wow. This book is tasteless. Just trashy. It’s got one issue left and I don’t want to buy the final issue. The only redemption here would be to see Nemesis pay for his sins. He has to pay for his cruel, revolting, implausible sins. If Mark Millar is going to give me that, maybe I’ll give him another three dollars. But I can’t encourage a book where this guy wins. Of course, Millar teases a follow-up series in the back matter, so I may as well piss into the wind.

I’m not going to boycott Millar. Just this book. Superior looks very nice. Maybe it’s actually about a hero.

Violence doesn’t bother me. I read superhero comic books, so maybe that’s obvious. Nemesis can kill all the cops he wants. But when you inseminate a teenage girl with her gay brother’s semen and then booby trap her womb so terminating the pregnancy will make her unable to ever conceive again, you leave me so offended that I cannot describe it.

Did I just spoil that for you? Good.

Steve McNiven does draw some nice pictures though. I wish he didn’t waste his time on this story.

Uncanny X-Men #528 by Matt Fraction and Whilce Portacio **

Yeah, I’m done with this book too. I know I said I may hold on until Kieron Gillen helps on writing chores, but I can’t wait. If I hear that the book turns, I’ll probably pick up the issues I skip. In the meantime, this book is not enjoyable.

It’s not for a lack of plots either. We’ve got another of the five lights, Iceman trying to find the X-men a publicist, Emma dealing with her prisoner (Sebastian Shaw), Namor dealing with underwater subordination, Colossus trying to connect with his ghost of a girlfriend, and a riot at a San Francisco art museum. Six plots in 22 pages. As it stands, 11 pages are dedicated to Storm and Hope saving the new mutant. Another half of them: Iceman, Namor, and the art museum, are brand new. I’m not sure one monthly issue can handle much more than an A, a B and possibly, a C plot. Give each one some real attention so they can move forward.

Once again, this book is suffering from a lack of focus. I’m done.

So yeah … some new holes in the budget. Maybe I can save some money for New York Comic Con next month!

The Shopping List 8-25-10

Hey all! Short list this week.

Black Widow #5Black Widow #5 by Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna***

It sucks that this book is going to be canceled. No, Marvel hasn’t said so, but let’s be honest. Marvel thought this would be a good book to have on the shelves post-Iron Man 2. Issue #3 didn’t even sell 20,000 copies; that’s about Marvel’s cancellation line for monthly 616 titles. Next month, Dwayne Swierczynski comes on as writer. I loved his Iron Fist, but his name doesn’t exactly set the charts on fire.

Disregarding the impending cancellation, I enjoy this book a lot. This is a book about spies. Liu’s characters are always two steps ahead of the reader, just like they should be. Cap and Wolverine show up for two good jokes. Widow is a character that does well on her own, but has cameos by the aforementioned Wolvie and Cap, but also Lady Bullseye. She’s been a part of the universe since 1964 and these appearances help show that.

I do have an issue with Imus Champion. Why does he want to kill Natasha? To hurt the Avengers? Why does he want to do that? Lex Luthor hates that Superman is an alien. I get that. Dr. Doom wants to rule the world. I get that. I never understand the bad guys who just want to hurt the hero. It doesn’t feel like enough.

Daniel Acuna’s art looks like no one else’s in the business, but not at the cost of storytelling. It’s an amazing skill that Natasha spends a third of the issue naked, but it never feels lascivious. Acuna’s art usually accompanies stories that are more out there like Klarion the Witch Boy or Inhumans, but I was pleased with it here.

Captain America #609Captain America #609 by Ed Brubaker and Butch Guice***

Is there a reason why Marvel is trying to push this book out as soon as possible? Are they trying to get the story to a certain point before the movie next year? Steve back as Cap maybe? Issue #608 only came out three weeks ago. But three inkers put work in on these 22 pages. Why? Butch Guice’s art is good, but it gets styled in three different ways. Three inking styles means three coloring styles (at least it should). It feels disjointed.

After spending nine pages to fight the new Beetle last month, Brubaker makes some big moves. Zemo uses some strange logic to lure Bucky out, but everything goes according to his plan. I give Bru a lot of credit for his treatment of Cap’s supporting cast. Steve Rogers, The Falcon, Black Widow, they all get a chance to do something worthwhile. Makes it even sadder that I’ve never enjoyed his team books. This book is one of the most consistently good books Marvel has right now.

X-Factor #208X-Factor #208 by Peter David and Emanuela Lupacchino****

Peter David writes the best dialogue in superhero comics today. Hell, he may be the best writer in superhero comics today. He plants seeds that don’t bloom for years. He perfectly chooses the right characters for maximum conflict without altering their personalities. All of this and nothing ever feels forced. Rictor and Wolfsbane have sex. OK. Rictor and Shatterstar hook up. I’m still with you. Then, a year and half after Rahne leaves the team, she comes back, pregnant, walks in on the dudes and flips out. I love it. On a related note, Rahne admitted in issue 13 that she had dreams of eviscerating Jamie on his and an adult Layla’s wedding day. At the time, Layla was like 13. Almost 40 issues later, Layla comes back from the future, all grown up. That shows forward thinking, faith that a book will continue and just plain good ideas.

Emanuela Lupacchino is the umpteenth artist on this book, but she nails it. She may also be the first artist on the book whose Rhane looks good both in human and wolf form. I hope she sticks around.

Next month: Longshot in Vegas. Such a good idea.

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The Shopping List 8-11-10

So what did I buy this week?

***** = Loved It
**** = Really Liked It
*** = Liked It
** = Didn’t Like It
* = Hated It

Daredevil #509Daredevil #509 by Andy Diggle, Antony Johnston and Roberto De La Torre ***

These Daredevil tie-in issues to Shadowland have been pretty good. By focusing on Dakota and Foggy, they do exactly the opposite of Shadowland proper – they focus on people, with problems normal people have. Other parts, following Elektra or Luke Cage and Iron Fist keep the issue exciting. The addition of Typhoid Mary is really interesting, but Daredevil is right; we can’t really trust her.

Roberto De La Torre’s art is incredible. The progression from Maleev to Lark to De La Torre has been nice to watch. Daredevil has looked like little else on the shelves for a decade now. Matt Hollingsworth’s colors are perfect. From smoke effects to filling in the spaces in De La Torre’s scratched up inks, this is coloring that helps the storytelling, which I rarely see outside of Dave Stewart and Laura Martin.

So, why are these tie-in issues so much better than Shadowland? Antony Johnston’s writing assistance? De La Torre art? Whatever it is, Marvel may have made the wrong decision on the creative team for this street-level event. Shadowland is not going to convince people to read Daredevil monthly, let alone support whatever series (one or more) they hope to launch when this is all over.

Daytripper #9Daytripper #9 by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Bá *****

I usually have a problem with dream sequences. They easily become too literal or too oblique. They do nothing to further a story. But, damn if the boys from Brazil haven’t written a damn good story here. Around issue seven I was getting tired of the Daytripper formula, guessing where Brás’s demise would come from instead of following the story. Because this issue switched from dream to dream and scene to scene rather quickly, I couldn’t get too ahead of myself. This leaves issue nine as one of the most enjoyable in the series.

The art is as crisp and unique as it was in issue one, but because of the dream sequences, the visuals weren’t held to our natural laws and logic. Brás’s kitchen filling with water from a running faucet, his dog asking, “What do you think you’re doing?,” it all fits.

The most exciting thing about the issue is how final it felt. It read as though Moon and Bá were tying together all of their themes and giving their readers a final piece of advice before they head back into the real world. With everything wrapped up, I have no idea what the tenth and final issue will hold. I can’t wait.

Invincible Iron Man #29Invincible Iron Man #29 by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca ***

This is the best run of Iron Man ever. Salvador Larroca’s figures can be inconsistent. Frank D’Armata’s colors are off and his skintones are too shiny. What can I say about this book that hasn’t been said everywhere else?

Well, for one, I enjoyed catching up on the first 18 issues in one big chunk. If I had to summarize each issue of this arc, they would all be the same: “The Hammer Girls are up to something. Tony and Pepper have tension. Tony and Maria Hill have tension. Tony wants his company to create new technology.” I dig Fraction’s characterizations, but 22 pages at a time, “It gets confused with progress/It’s only motion.”

Morning Glories #1 by Nick Spncer and Joe Eisma ****

Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma sure can define characters. The first teaser for this series features Zoe and the caption “Most Likely To Cheat On You.” Each following ad featured a new Glory, each with their own superlative. Each of the six are instantly made unique by their wardrobe, body language and look. In an Avengers book, out of costume, I couldn’t tell you the difference between Steve Rogers, Hank Pym and Clint Barton. And how many nondescript brown haired heroes are there in the Marvel Universe? These six will never be confused with each other.

“You remind me of a cokewhore I used to love.” That one line showed more character than some entire issues of other books. I’ve never read anything by Nick Spencer, but this is a good start. Debuting with a double-sized issue gives plenty of room to set up the real world status quo, define your characters and then blow said status quo to bits by page 44. Jump on while this book it’s still fresh.

From the back issue bins:

Black Widow: Pale Little Spider #1Black Widow: Pale Little Spider #1 by Greg Ruck and Igor Kordey ***

Yes, this is the MAX Black Widow book. That may scare some into thinking this would be a regular Marvel book, but with swearing instead of ^*#@ing and maybe some nudity. But Greg Rucka is better than that. Yes, Yelena Belova lets an F-bomb or two fly, but the plot revolves around a murder at a sex club, truly an adult theme. (More on that in a future post.) Long story short, a military man is killed and it’s the Widow’s job to find out why and by whom. Nothing revolutionary, but Rucka’s dialogue and action scenes keep the plot exciting.

Other than some ugly issues of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, I’m not familiar with Igor Kordey. Here, his characters remind me of Steve Dillon, but with dark shadows instead of details. This sounds too much like an insult, but the best I can say is that the art is serviceable.

The story is only three issues. I’ll be sure to pick #2 up  the next Wednesday I’ve got some money left in the budget.

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