Age of Ultron #9 by Brian Michael Bendis, Brandon Peterson, and Carlos Pacheco
So Age of Ultron is finally starting to be about Ultron again. Woot?
Morgan le Fay's universe apparently kerploded, and Wolverine was the only survivor, because OF COURSE HE WAS. He wakes up after some sort of epic world-ending battle that we didn't get to see. Bendis comes from the "Tell, don't Show" school of comics, apparently. I mean, who would want to see a team of alternate-universe Avengers have an epic battle against the forces of magic anyway? FUCK THAT, let's see some long-winded dialogue instead!
You guys, I don't like this series very much.
So yeah. Wolverine goes off... somewhere... and hops in a time-machine that we don't get to see. Again, it happens totally off-panel. New York City is in ruins. It is seriously a wasteland. But then on the next page Wolverine has traveled through time like it's just something he always does.
Anyway, Wolverine goes back in time to stop the other Wolverine from his past but our future from killing Hank Pym's past self to prevent him from creating Ultron in his future so that Ultron won't kill everybody in both Wolverines' presents. Oh, and Sue Storm is there, and Wolverine punches her. Off-panel.
They concoct some sort of plan where Hank Pym of the past will code a virus into Ultron's initial programming and then somehow force himself to forget about it until the exact moment when Ultron tries to kill all the humans... You know, that one time he tried to do the thing that he tries to do every time?
Then the two Wolverines and Sue Storm are suddenly back in The Savage Land on the next page. Their travel from New York to Antarctica in a flying car took place off-panel. The two Wolverines go into some cave, because they've decided that one needs to kill the other for reasons.
Seriously, this fucking comic, you guys. This fucking comic.
All-New X-Men #12 by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen
So now we make the leap through some sort of cosmic wormhole into another Bendis comic, but one that is REALLY GOOD. Seriously: Age of Ultron makes me want to slam my head through the drywall, and All-New X-Men is one of my favorite comics right now, and I just can't get that to make sense!
So in this book, Mystique, Sabretooth, and Lady Mastermind are disguising themselves as the young X-Men and committing all sorts of elaborate heists (which has led to them having a Scrooge McDuck money room, and that is hilarious). The Uncanny Avengers go to Wolverine's school to investigate, and Young Cyclops gets to meet Old Havok.
The scene between Cyclops and Havok is genuinely beautiful. This version of Cyclops is from so far in the past that he still didn't even know his brother was alive, let alone a mutant. And now he's finding out that in the future - a future that has mostly seemed incredibly bleak to him - his brother is not only alive, and not only a fellow mutant, but also is the leader of a team of Avengers that includes Captain America. It's a really nice way to throw the character a bone after he's been getting kicked around for eleven issues.
And then Young Jean Grey starts rummaging in Scarlet Witch's head, finds out that she depowered all the mutants a few years ago, and the two of them get into a huge fight.
All of this is illustrated wonderfully by Stuart Immonen. I know I say that about every issue, but I seriously can't get enough of that guy's work.
I just don't understand Bendis at all. Maybe he's overworked? Let's just let him write his two X-Men books and hand all the other shit over to somebody else.
|I don't know why Cap is being such a dick, tho.|
Avengers #13 by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer, and Mike Deodato
The High Evolutionary and his army of manimals have captured all of the little super-kids that Hyperion has adopted, and the High Evolutionary is trying to use them as a power source. Hyperion rips his arm off. It regrows as a gun. Then the High Evolutionary resurrects Terminus, and rides around inside him like a Power Ranger. Hyperion teams up with Thor to wreck everyone's face.
This comic is complex, and extraordinarily creative, and has beautiful artwork, and also knows exactly when to just say "fuck it" and have some godlike heroes and villains punch the shit out of eachother. I love it.
|Maybe don't kidnap this guy's kids, is all I'm saying.|
Avengers Arena #10 by Dennis Hopeless and Riccardo Burchielli
In case you can't tell from the cover, this is the issue where Nico gets killed by a Sentinel. Oh, um, spoilers, I guess?
The first few pages are literally just Nico crawling around in the snow covered in blood, missing one of her arms, so it's really not much of a spoiler. The rest of the issue is a flashback to HOW Nico got killed.
This comic is a total trainwreck and is screwing with a lot of really great characters that I really care about and yet it's just so damned readable that I can't look away.
|Comics! For the kids!|
Cable and X-Force #9 by Frank Tieri and Salvador Larroca
Apparently Dennis Hopeless stepped away from this comic this month so he could focus fully on murdering the heck out of Nico in Avengers Assemble.
So Frank Tieri - who I'm honestly not familiar with - has stepped in to tell a story that's not related to Cable or X-Force at all.
I guess the Avengers forced Hope to live with a pair of foster parents at some point after Avengers versus X-Men. Given that she is the mutant savior, and also incredibly powerful, it seems like maybe she should have been sent to Wolverine's school or something? At any rate, she wants to hang with Cable, who she considers her real father, so she attempts an escape. The Uncanny Avengers show up to stop her, she defeats them handily, and hops a bus to wherever the heck Cable is right now.
It was actually a very good issue, despite framing the Uncanny Avengers as a bunch of easily-bamboozled nitwits.
|Suffice it to say, the Avengers do not support her right to choose.|
Dial H #13 by China Miéville and Alberto Ponticelli
Dial H remains not only my favorite DC book, but one of my favorite current comics, full stop.
It's a bit too twisty-turny and surreal to give a proper summary of at this point. This issue focuses on the character of Open-Window Man, and it is fantastic. His origin story caused me to laugh harder at a comicbook than I have in years. It is simultaneously silly and brilliant.
If you're reluctant to take the plunge into the actual Nü52 but don't want to give up on DC completely, BUY THIS BOOK. Buy all the issues. Read them all in one sitting. It is outstanding.
|Open-Window Man: Year One|
Fearless Defenders #5 by Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney
While this isn't my favorite comic in the world, I would've bought it for the cover alone.
This one is essentially just a long fight-scene, where they call in all their super-powered friends to help them out. It's the most fun issue of Fearless Defenders so far.
|The book has been suffering from a lack of Colleen Wing.|
Iron Man #11 by Kieron Gillen and Dale Eaglesham
This comic has taken a very rapid u-turn from being something I thought was great, to being something I think is terrible. Not just terrible as a story, but terrible for the actual character of Iron Man.
Basically, Howard and Maria Stark were having trouble conceiving a child, so an alien robot offered to help. But he also genetically altered baby Iron Man to be super-intelligent and super-talented with technology, because humanity needed some sort of catalyst to spark super-science and "uplift" human civilization. Which not only ruins the whole self-made-genius aspect of Tony Stark, but also pretends that Reed Richards, Hank Pym, Bruce Banner, Victor Von Doom, and hundreds of other super-scientists wouldn't have had any impact on humanity at all.
I really hope this is all later revealed to be some kind of trick, because otherwise it will fuck up Iron Man on a baseline character level. I don't care if Gillen wants to tell this story and see it out to the conclusion, but if that's the case I hope the next writer comes along and says "Nope!"
|Just a few issues ago, we were fighting Death's Head. What happened!?|
The Movement #2 by Gail Simone and Freddie Williams II
I'm gonna' be real with you: I love Gail Simone, but I can't seem to follow this comic at all. I have no idea who these people are or what they're doing.
It's still early, and I do really like that DC is giving one of my favorite writers a lot of room to create and play in her own brand-new corner of their fictional world. But right now I'm not feeling any particular feelings about this comic.
|I now know more about "James Cannon" than any of the main characters.|
Red She-Hulk #66 by Jeff Parker, Carlo Pagulayan, Patrick Olliffe, and Joe Bennett
This comic is getting too difficult for me to review. All I can really say each month is "It's awesome."
Betty Ross has easily become one of my favorite superheroes ever, in a very short time. Seriously, go buy this book.
|That's just how it goes.|
Superior Spider-Man #11 by Christos Gage and Giuseppe Camuncoli
Christos Gage has apparently stepped in to write the script for this issue. I like Christos Gage.
Spidey has been called in by Mayor Jameson to oversee the execution of Alistair Smythe, aka the Spider-Slayer, the man who killed Jameson's wife. Obviously, Jolly Jonah wants this thing to go off without a hitch.
Octo-Spidey is less than thrilled to be returning to the prison he broke out of in his previous life, but he also wants the mayor to trust him, and sort of wants to see the Spider-Slayer get iced, too.
Smythe breaks free, of course. But Otto has already used his intimate, insider knowledge of the prison to block every possible escape-route as he chases Smythe. It's a really cool look into what all these criminal masterminds and super-genius inventors think about while they're sitting around in jail all day. I really like where this plot-line is going.
My one small gripe is that this book is changing artists pretty frequently. They've all been extremely talented artists, but it's still a little disorienting.