Reading twenty comics a week is kindergarten. So’s finding a kick to the face. But finding one that’s oriented vertically that will look better on the ISB’s template, rather than the standard wide-panel format that the action lends itself to? That’s more difficult.
But far from impossible.
But enough with the slightly modified Batman quotes! It’s Thursday night, and that means that rather than going for the Superboy Trifecta, it’s time for the Internet’s Most Ill-Considered Reviews!
Here’s what I got this week….
…and here’s what I thought of ’em!
Agents of Atlas #5: It’s no secret around here that my affection for Spider-Man is only rivaled by my outright love of the complex, multifaceted Batman, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this is my favorite issue of Agents of Atlas so far.
Not just because it’s got Luke Cage shoryukening a killer robot’s head off, or because the plot centers largely on a redhead in a flouncy half-toga and her misadventures with webbing, or even because Spider-Man fights a gorilla, although I assure you that those are all pretty big factors. No, it’s because Jeff Parker gets the Marvel characters better than almost anyone else working today, and in this issue, he gives us a perfect Spider-Man. From the fact that Spidey’s the only one who realizes what’s going on with the Agents of Atlas (one of those moments that reminds us that he’s really smart, which we don’t get nearly as often as I’d like) to him being the only one who bothers to keep track of who he’s fighting, to the end where he’s snapping pictures because hey, a guy’s gotta eat, it’s all great stuff. And considering that it’s only one of several great things about this issue–not the least of which is Carlo Pagulayan’s beautiful art–it adds up to something that everybody ought to be reading.
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3: I’m pretty sure that if you go back through and read my reviews–a task which I by no means recommend that you actually attempt–one of the adjectives that I use most often to describe the comics I like is going to be “fun,” sliding in at a close third right after “awesome” and “kicktacular.”
It is, after all, pretty widely accepted that comics oughtta be fun, and if that’s the case, then Jonathan Hickman’s FF is exactly what comics oughtta be. It’s obvious just from reading this thing that Hickman’s having a blast writing it, giving himself a huge playground of alternate universes that give us everything from flying pirate ships to the Cowboy Beyonder, with all the attendant versions of the Fantastic Four themselves–and Willie Lumpkin!–along with them, and it all leads up to a last page that I’m pretty comfortable in classifying as “a hoot.”
Hickman’s slated to be the next writer of the regular Fantastic Four series, so it’s easy to view his work on this one as a sort of trial run for what that’s going to be like. I’ll cop to doing that myself, and I’ve gotta say, I’m not disappointed. It’s got all the cosmic action, family dynamics, humor and–yes–fun that I want out of the book, and I’m looking forward to more.
Doctor Who: The Time Machination: What’s this?! A full-length comic drawn by Paul Grist only one week after the last Paul Grist book?! What wondrous things have we as a society done to warrant such miracles?!
All right, all right, stop your groaning. I know I’ve mentioned my undying affection for Grist recently enough that it’s all still fresh in everyone’s mind–and if it’s not, you could always just read Jack Staff and discover what true joy is like for yourself–so I’ll skip that bit.
I will say, however, that I don’t envy Tony Lee for writing this one. Not because it’s not good; it’s perfectly enjoyable, as was his very, very entertaining Doctor Who: The Forgotten, which I enjoyed even though I’ve actually read more comics and magazines about Doctor Who than I’ve seen episodes of the show. No, it’s because I imagine writing for Grist is a tricky proposition. I’ve only ever read one other book that he drew but didn’t write–St. Swithin’s Day, with Grant Morrison–and they feel so different than his work as a writer-artist, as they tend to lack the best element of his comics: the innovative page layouts. When you’re writing for yourself, it’s probably a lot easier to push the boundaries of the form than if you’re going from someone else’s script, and it shows.
Which isn’t to say that this is an inherently inferior book–other than in the way that every comic not written and drawn by Paul Grist is–there’s just a noticeable difference. And once you get past that, you’ve still got the art itself, which even reined in is deceptively simple and dynamic, and a script from Tony Lee that, while a bit predictable, is still a highly enjoyable time travel romp. It’s worth picking up if you’ve enjoyed IDW’s more recent Doctor Who offerings, or if you’re curious about Lee’s upcoming ongoing Who series.
Or if you’re a total mark for Paul Grist, which, from the loks of those last three paragraphs, I just might be.
Wolverine: Weapon X #2: Those of you who aren’t reading this book might just want to skip this review, take my word for it and jump on now, because in a few moments, I’m going to totally spoil some things that will read a whole lot better if you’re coming to them fresh. Just trust me: This is the best Wolverine comic since the last one Jason Aaron wrote, which–in case you missed that one–had Wolverine teaming up with the Sons of the Tiger to fight a guy that could punch you in the soul.
For the rest of you, the actual review: Anyone who’s read the ISB for more than a few moments–and especially those who have read Ghost Rider, but Aaron’s got that combination of talent and imagination that just sings, and this issue is a perfect example of just how good he is.
Wolverine, after all, works best in the same way that a lot of heroes do: when he’s utterly outmatched and comes out ahead anyway. The problem is that after 30 years of stories about a berserker Canadian samurai secret agent killing machine super-hero with unbreakable bones that can heal from a mortal wound in a matter of panels, it’s gotten awfully hard to raise the stakes. But then comes Aaron, and instead of wringing enjoyment by playing off Wolverine’s unbeatable status and inevitable victory–a technique that literary historians are no doubt going to be referring to as The Ennis Method–Aaron finds a way to outmatch him with a gang of villains that are similarly enhanced, but with guns that shoot cancer and claws made of lasers.
One more time, that’s: guns that shoot cancer and claws made of lasers.
Boom. Review done. I don’t have to say anything else, other than confirm that yes, that is literally what Wolverine is fighting in this story, and yes, it really is as wildly entertaining as it sounds.
The only thing I don’t like about it is that in order to have said fight, Wolverine puts on yet another costume, which is not to be confused with his regular costume (as seen in the X-Men books) or his brown costume (which he was wearing in Wolverine: Origins but has since been ceded, I believe, to his son,
Bad Idea Dokken Daken) or the darker costume that he’s wearing in X-Force. Because seriously, Wolverine needs a fourth–a fourth!–costume like he needed… well, like he needed a third ongoing series. But considering that that series has, in two issues, become one of my favorite Marvel books, I’m willing to give it some leeway.
Public Enemy v.1: Welcome to the Terrordome: I don’t really have a review here, just a fact: This book ends with Chuck D having a fistfight with George W. Bush.
See your local comics retailer about ordering it.
Annnnnnnnnnnnd that’s the week! As always, any questions or concerns, such as the sheer indispensable radness of Chris Giarrusso’s G-Man or my thoughts on the GI Joe: Best of Hawk collection (not as egregious in its omissions as the Cobra Commander one, but the reproduction quality still goes to crap at the end) can be left in the comments section below.
And seriously: Laser claws.