But let's do this thing anyway.
Age of Ultron #2 by Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch
You guys, Age of Ultron is stupid. I'm just gonna' come right out with it. The absolute only reason I'm going to read this book is for this blog, and the only reason I even want to blog about it is that it's being billed as the current "Big Thing". But so far all it has been is pointlessly bleak, excessively violent, and really boring.
Both issues so far have followed the same formula: The first few pages follow somebody killing a bunch of folks, then the rest of the issue is a bunch of superheroes crying and hiding.
In this issue, Captain America stood up. That's literally the dramatic crux of the book.
The best thing about this issue is the variant cover I chose to post above. I like that Black Widow's actually got a normal human body on there. Though it doesn't quite match the interior art, because there she has burn scars all over her face. Because DYSTOPIAN FUTURE!
|Any time there's an alternate reality, She-Hulk immediately gets a buzzcut.|
Avengers Arena #6 by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker
Avengers Arena is still managing to remain extremely readable despite the fact that I don't approve of the idea of it at all. The characters are all being done justice (even though some of them are being killed off) and being developed in interesting ways... which makes me hope that at least a handful of them survive to defeat Arcade and escape into a new team book. Kev Walker is also rapidly becoming one of my favorite artists in the business.
The only thing that dawned on me with this issue is that X-23 was kind of an odd choice of a character to include in this book, because... she can't die. I'm assuming that it MUST be some kind of an "out" for the story, because there's really nothing Arcade can do to hurt her. He can pretty easily manipulate her into killing everybody else, but I suspect that - in the end - she's gonna' be the one who saves the day.
Avengers Assemble #13 by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Pete Woods, and Mark Bagley
I really love Kelly Sue DeConnick. She's basically able to capture everything I enjoy about superhero comics, every time.
There's a lot going on in this book. Lizard formulas! Black Widow's dark past! Hawkguy making bad jokes! So let's just go ahead and say that this is a comic where the Black Widow gets turned into a lizard monster and saves her friends from other lizard monsters, and you should be following this comic, and every other comic DeConnick is writing.
We'll all be happier that way.
|This one panel made me instantly love Spider-Woman.|
Fantastic Four #5 by Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley
This is another of those boring reviews where all I can really say is "I like it." This is a good comic. Matt Fraction typically writes good comics, and I typically buy them.
The only thing I didn't quite get in this issue is that, at one point, the Thing's eyes lit up and he got really powerful for a minute. I'm not sure if that's a reference to Fear Itself, or if it's something new brewing that I haven't picked up on. I didn't actually read Fear Itself - just some of the tie-in books - so maybe I just have some catching up to do.
But yeah. It's hard to go wrong with a Fantastic Four comic titled I Killed Julius Caesar!
|Glowing eyes? K.|
Fearless Defenders #2 by Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney
Honestly, I like the cover art for this series better than the comics themselves. The solicitations for future issues grab me every time. I especially like this issue's cover because I am a huge nerd for the Toy Biz/Hasbro "Marvel Legends" action figures, and they haven't actually MADE one of Moonstar yet!
I'm not so wild about this comic at the moment. Like, it's... okay. I'm not totally sold on Cullen Bunn's writing yet, so right now I'm just reading this for the characters, who I love. But that can be problematic sometimes. I'd typically rather read a well-written comic in general than a so-so comic with a handful of my favorite superheroes in it.
As for the story itself, it's starting to feel like the first year+ of this series is just going to be them assembling the team. I have some mixed feelings about this: On the one hand, it makes for some occasionally pretty boring stories; but on the other hand, it means Marvel's invested in this book for the foreseeable future, and I really like that. Marvel is being bold, and taking risks on some oddball, character-driven stories without a specific "commercial" draw right now, which is something that big companies are often afraid to do in any entertainment medium. I respect that. So while this isn't anywhere near my favorite comic on the shelves, I think it really sums up what I am loving about the whole Marvel NOW! project.
Though, one quick problem that doesn't have a whole lot to do with this comic specifically, but rather the entire X-Verse: I thought the mutants were getting their powers back now. Or is it just that NEW mutants are appearing? Or is Moonstar an exception because of her ties to Asgard? These aren't rhetorical questions; I'm actually curious how this is all working. I love ass-kicking gun-wielding Dani Moonstar, but I do miss her badass fear superpowers.
Secret Avengers #2 by Nick Spencer and Luke Ross
I feel kind of... weird... about this series so far. The current status of SHIELD is kind of baffling, with Nick Fury "retired", Quake in charge but seemingly never showing up anywhere, Maria Hill still acting like she's in charge, and Nick Fury Junior and Phil Coulson as agents who are acting like - and being treated like - they've been around forever, instead of like 12 minutes.
In this issue, they rescue Taskmaster from AIM Island (which is still one of my favorite developments in the entire history of the Marvel Universe) to recruit him to their top-secret memory-erased black-ops squad. It's fun so far, but I'm still not too cool with superheroes having their memories erased. It's a little too Identity Crisis, and that's a very bad association for me.
Though, confusing as it is, I'm glad to see Agent Coulson in the comics. I love that guy.
|Don't fuck with The Son of Coul.|
Thunderbolts #6 by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon
I'm pretty close to calling it quits on this book. I normally like Daniel Way, but in this series he's just not telling a very interesting story or using his characters in any interesting ways. With a cast of murderous vigilantes, the comic has no right to be as boring as it is.
Also, the book is starting to center entirely too much on a budding relationship between Elektra and The Punisher. This is sort of in-character for Elektra, but does not fit The Punisher at all. I'm sorry, guys, but I really hate the idea of Frank Castle enjoying himself, ever. It just doesn't feel right. And now the newest development is that Deadpool has a thing for Elektra, and him and Frank are gonna' argue about it and stuff? No thank you, sir.
The only reason I've hung on as long as I have is Steve Dillon's art. I love Steve Dillon's art.
Uncanny X-Men #3 by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo
Okay. For the past two issues I've just been ragging on this comic for being about people standing around and talking about Cyclops. But in this issue, a fight scene almost breaks out, before one of the characters freezes time. Then they leave to go talk about Cyclops.
The one compliment I can give this book is that I do really like some of the new mutant teenagers they've introduced. If these characters survive long enough to be handed to a better writer, I think some of them could be fantastic additions to the X-Verse. I just want to see them... y'know... DO SOME STUFF!
Also, I said last week that I suspect Bendis is treating Hawkeye like a violent asshole simply because other writers are all finally starting to have some fun with him. This is definitely reinforced in this issue, where the other Avengers all have to talk Hawkguy down from literally shooting Cyclops in the face.
|Why you gotta' be like that, Bendis?|
Wolverine #1 by Paul Cornell and Alan Davis
I chose to go with the variant cover for this one as well, because it made me smile.
My reviews have just been in alphabetical order this week, but that also serves the purpose of saving the best for last. I was so damned excited when I found out about this book. Paul Cornell and Alan Davis are both fucking amazing, and the idea of a really good Wolverine book is a pretty exciting prospect to me.
So far this issue is just setting up the plot: Wolverine was buying a cup of coffee when suddenly Scary Shit started happening around him, and now he needs to fix it.
The issue was well-written and tightly-drawn, which I expected. Wolverine is treated like the competent 200-year-old samurai, which I always prefer over the snikt-bub catchphrase-spouting aspect of the character. He takes charge of the situation immediately, takes responsibility for his failures, and tries his best to help everyone around him. These are actual heroic qualities, and it's frankly kind of rad to see them shown in a comic. It's something that, weirdly, doesn't happen enough.
|Even nude, Wolverine's got shit UNDER CONTROL.|