I knew if I stuck it out, it had to happen eventually. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…
I might as well just wrap this post up now, because there is no possible way that things are going to get better than that.
But alas, it’s Thursday night, and as I am a slave to my habits, that means it’s time for another round of the Internet’s Most Self-Referential Comics Reviews! Here’s what I picked up this week…
…and here’s what I thought about ’em!
Adventure Comics #6: With this issue, Geoff Johns’s run on Adventure comes to a close, and while this might come as a surprise given my comments about Blackest Night last week, I think that’s a shame. Johns has done some of the best work of his career on the Superman titles, and Adventure felt like an extension of that, but with the added bonus that the focus on younger characters (or, in the Legion’s case, characters that used to be young but have been aged up commensurate with the comics Johns read when he was 12) seemed to be doing a good job of blunting the random brutality and grotesques–you know, arms getting ripped off and blood getting puked out to be replaced with hate–that seems to crop up in his books. Plus, that Superboy Prime stuff was gold.
Which isn’t to say that this book didn’t have its share of problems, because brother, they were there. It’s almost the textbook definition of a comic that stumbled its way out of the gate: As I understood it, the whole idea behind it was that it was going to be a Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes book with the occasional team-up, but in practice, we haven’t seen the Legion in this thing for three months, which, for those of you keeping score at home, represents half of the series thus far. And while the two Superboy Prime issues (again, a full third of the run thus far) were highly enjoyable, they had absolutely nothing to do with the Superboy storyline, meaning that the ostensible focus of the book was just put on hold for two months of (really funny) in-jokes. And while we’re on the subject, his take on Superboy trying to figure out who exactly he was, which mirrored the fact that he was created to replace a version of a character that no longer existed but now exists again thus rendering him redundant, had a lot of potential to play out nicely with a good arc, but the end of it with this issue felt rushed, and more than a little anticlimactic. It might not hold a candle to the Cary Bates story from Action Comics #510-512, but it’s a good illustration of Lex being evil that unfortunately revolves around sitting in someone’s kitchen for twenty pages and a main character who himself is in no danger whatsoever.
In short, the shame of it comes from the fact that there’s so much potential to what’s being set up here, but with Johns leaving, none of it feels like it’s going to get resolved, or if it does, that it won’t be in this book, which adds up to something that’s pretty frustrating for the reader. But hey, at least we know the Legion’s coming back.
Dark X-Men #3: If you’d told me a year ago that someone was going to be doing a highly enjoyable comic about Nate Grey fighting Venom and the Sentry, I would’ve said you were suffering from the same sort of dementia that makes people think Cody Devereaux is not the single best thing on television. And yet, here we are, with Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk doing just that.
That’s not a surprise, of coruse; Cornell and Kirk are the team that kicked off the late, lamented, highly entertaining Captain Britain and MI:13, after all, so it’s not like anybody should’ve been expecting their next project together to be a misstep. It’s solid and engaging stuff… but that’s not important.
What is important is that X-Man has basically the sweetest jacket ever.
Seriously, look at this thing.
It’s a blue and gold pirate coat with the lapels done up as Phoenix wings. Straight up, Leonard Kirk: That is boss and I am not even joking. And that’s before you even get to the back:
It’s official: The X-Men need more filigree. And that’s real.
S.W.O.R.D. #3: Let’s be honest here, folks: In that it does not feature ADAM-X THE X-TREME, this issue is a massive failure. Fortunately, it succeeds on just about every other level, up to and including the fact that it features Death’s Head.
Long-time ISB readers will probably recall that I’ve been in the tank for Kieron Gillen since Phonogram, and as I’ve loved everything he’s done for Marvel, it’s no big shock that I think S.W.O.R.D. is engaging and fun with a great hook to it. And the dialogue’s fantastic too, to the point where I actually cracked up at the interplay between Henry Gyrich and the Beast. But enough about that guy.
What caught my eye this time, even more than the previous issues, is the art. I’ve seen some consternation here and there from people who don’t care for Steven Sanders and Craig Yeung, but as is so often the case with people who disagree with me, they are wrong and should be ashamed of themselves. Sanders brings a fantastic, exaggerated cartoonishness to the characters that’s most noticeable in the Beast, but leads to wonderfully expressive characters that are just a joy to see playing out on the page, and Matt Wilson’s colors do a great job accenting them and handling tricky stuff like force bubbles.
And there’s not much more to it than that. Simply put, it’s just a thoroughly well-done, highly enjoyable comic, and while I normally throw a little more hyperbole on it than that, sometimes that’s enough.
Secret Six #17: I went on and on about how glad I was to have John Ostrander back doing a new Suicide Squad story last week when the Blackest Night tie-in hit shelves, and the intervening week hasn’t really changed matters much, so this is less of a review and more of a reminder that that story is continuing here, as the Secret Six get up to all sorts of fightin’ shennanigans at Belle Reeve so that nobody forgets to pick it up. And you should pick it up; Simone and Ostrander have thrown their respective teams into a fantastic conflict that’s straight from the heyday of the original Squad’s fight with the Justice League, only without Nightshade and Captain Atom sneaking off to make out.
Well it can’t have everything, but don’t worry: It makes up for it with undead Punch and Jewelee.
And that’s the week! As always, if you have any questions or concerns about something I read this week–like if you want to discuss the (appropriately) creepy turn this week’s issue of Strange took, or just offer up a reminder that Unwritten is one of the best books out there right now–feel free to leave them in the comments below.