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ComiX Weekly: 5/23/12

The AIPT Professors of Taste are back to review as many comic books as we can bear. This week is a little thin coming from Marvel, but DC has a few potential must buys including Grant Morrison’s continuation of Batman Inc., the raping of Flash, Aquaman getting some non-Justice League team love, and Dark Horse unveiling Mind MGMT. Let’s pull back the curtain and see which comic books are worth your 10 dollars.

Amazing Spider-Man #686 (Marvel)

OPTIMISM, in the convoluted and stale world of punching bad guys in comic books, is a relative concept. Dan Slott has been increasing my optimism for superhero comics with fresh ideas some time now, and it shows with the Ends of the Earth storyline. He’s adequately set up a team of researchers Peter Parker works with who create amazing inventions. This new take on the smarts of Parker have made things a lot more fresh and along a science fiction vein I enjoy. It’s revealed in this issue that tech may have held a much more evil purpose than ever imagined.

Mysterio rocks the bubbles like a nanny rocks the cradle.

This story has had some nice twists and turns, mostly driven by the different villains in the Sinister Six. Doc Ock was recently revealed to be ultra evil and not really doing anything to save the world. What a twist! Sarcasm aside, the story has had some surprises, and the big reveal that Spider-Man’s work is being used for evil is a great way to tie in his new suit.

Somebody tell Silver Sable the WNBA is a great way to utilize those mad hops.

Some might say it’s a bit odd Silver Sable and Black Widow were chosen to sidekick with Spidey and in some sense I agree. I imagine they are being threaded in moreso because they have international relations while Parker is a NYC boy. This story is all about globe trotting and saving the world so they make sense.

When do the Avengers have time to be mind controlled? I’ll never know.

The story is enjoyable, but seeing as it’s a chapter in a larger story, it may not be easy for everyone to follow. This isn’t a story about character development but plot development for the most part. Peter has had tinges of development, such as pushing Sandman to reveal information by threatening him, but at the end of the day this is more about the action than anything. It’s a romp around the globe and a fun one. But is it worth $3.99?

Budget: $10.00-$.0.00 = $10.00

Mind MGMT #1 (Dark Horse)

A common tendency is to assume superhero comics are drawn in extreme detail, with giant breasted women, skin tight spandex and enough punching to satisfy a mob. It’s clear Matt Kindt wants to bring a style and energy new to the genre and I couldn’t be happier.

If you never thought you’d see a murder in watercolor… well that just happened.

A few weeks ago I reviewed Matt Kindt’s work on 3 Story over here and, while I liked it for the most part, the short story form didn’t do it for me. There wasn’t a coherent message; the character simply did things. In Mind MGMT though, the story is very apparent and clear. A plane of folks mysteriously forgot their entire lives. A writer is trying to find her next book and thinks figuring out what happened to them would be the perfect subject. Of course the circumstances of their memory loss is a lot more complicated than it appears. I don’t want to ruin any of the surprises, but lets just say this is an interesting way to incorporate a super power.

On the move. The adventure is on.

While Kindt’s watercolors are a tad messy they imbue a sense of dreaminess that carries the story along. Or is that nightmarishness? I can’t help but think this is how one might feel when being chased endlessly.

Action! Adventure!

One might argue this style is everything a superhero comic isn’t about. Sure, there are no action lines flying around people’s heads, but at its core this book is about story. This book isn’t so much read as felt which is why it’s such a unique and enjoyable experience. This is a buy for anyone adventurous or who wants to take a chance.

Budget: $10.00-3.99 = $6.01

Eleven comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a 10 dollar budget. Sexy Ultron will give them what they deserve.

Resident Alien #1 would work really well as a ho-hum 8 clock TV show on NBC. An alien is cloaking himself so everyone in a small town thinks he’s their doctor. He’s stranded on Earth until his buds pick him up. At the same time murders are going on. The art is good, but the pacing and action are slow and methodical. Interesting read if you’re into cop dramas.

You’d think it’d be impossible for a bunch of gorillas to catch flash, but in Flash #9 it actually makes sense. Kind of. Flash has amnesia, and must figure out who he is. It’s an okay story, along with some nice gorilla myths, but meh reading. Plus no Flash rape!

Why did I purchase Captain America & Hawkeye #631 when the last issue was too silly to purchase? Well I thought the use of Stegron was at least slightly new. Sadly this book is a monster mash. And not the “graveyard smash,” kind. Pass.

Secret Avengers #27 is a fun read for anyone familiar with Captain Mar-Vell. He’s back to life and bringing the hurt on the Avengers. The character work with Thor is also intriguing. It can’t fit in our budget, but it’s clear this is going to have some lasting effects on the Marvel U. A good purchase on a bigger budget.

The Exiled miniseries is almost over with part 4 in Journey Into Mystery #638 and I find myself wondering why do I care? Giving it credit, there is an interesting backstory being unveiled, but the main conflict is so small and insubstantial this miniseries doesn’t matter in the slightest. This story would have worked better as a Summer event rather than a quick 5 issue series.

Astonishing X-Men #50 is the big segue into the Northstar marriage next issue. Based on how this ends I have no clue how that will tie in. This book is fun, some nice banter between Ice-Man and Gambit, but it’s very heavy on the Northstar/boyfriend relationship. A lot of panels are spent explaining the emotional toll they are going through when I think it could have been conveyed much more quickly.

The appearance of Willie Lunkin! The Fantastic Four in another done in one story! The Thing punches a germ. Or something. Fantastic Four #606 is Saturday morning fair, but not the best use of an issue. Hickman is spinning gold thread over in FF, but here it’s a definitive meh.

Deadpool #55 shows Deadpool has been carrying on a fighting style very much requiring a healing factor. Now that he doesn’t have one he might need to rethink how he approaches strategy. This issue has some nice moments and if you’re a fan you don’t want to miss the new angle of the character. Frankly it’s fresh air this book needed. Unfortunately there isn’t a ton here to warrant a purchase.

Why is Vampirella working with soldiers? Vampirella #17 is so convoluted I can’t help but not care. There are some neat battling inside the mind of the bad guy, but this isn’t as much fun as Vampirella: Red Room has been.

David Finch on pencils and you don’t get one splash page in Batman The Dark Knight #9? More Court of Owl stuff, and while Finch does a bang up job drawing some grotesque decomposing Owls this book leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to story.

Dan Jurgens pencils rock the casbah in Superman #9. That’s all I have to say about this issue.

Sexy Ultron is not impressed.

Aquaman #9 (DC)

Last month I was on board for more Aquaman when writer Geoff Johns revealed more about Aquaman’s first superhero team known as “The Others.” This issue is almost as good, but since it’s mostly fights this issue doesn’t hammer home the excellence.

In the future this is how AT&T deals with people who don’t pay.

DC is asking for trouble when they force the writers to fit a story into 20 pages of comic. Added up, this issue has 6 pages containing 5 spoken words and one groan. That leaves 14 pages of talking. You’re going to breeze through this issue. That being said, the art has enough mood to smack the sense into you. More is revealed about Aquaman and his past and the twist at the end is a big deal.

Blam indeed.

A lot is learned of the bagged headed man from last issue, also known as The Prisoner. Black Manta’s ultimate plan also comes into focus, and it’s a doozy. It’s going to be interesting when this story culminates into the showdown we’re all expecting.

Don’t mess with cat-people.

The pencils by Ivan Reis are to die for and I love every panel. What he does with water effects is a pretty thing,

She must make people have to pee all the time.

A lot of folks are going to pick this up in the comic shop and breeze right through it. They might even finish it while standing there, but the quality of art and story are so great it should be purchased.

Budget: $6.01-$2.99 = $3.02

Batman Incorporated #1 (DC)

Grant Morrison: you slay me. One minute I love the insane worlds you build, the next I hate all the exposition you force characters to spout. Here you’ve done a masterful job of pacing and I implore you to please keep this up! No telling if this will continue, but a definite must buy. You can read a longer review with images from the book here.

Budget: $3.02- $2.99 = $.03

I wouldn’t say this was the strongest week for comics. Nothing major transpired in the Avengers vs. X-Men story and most of the top books were off this week.


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