Missed last week due to the holidays, so we've got two weeks to cover.
All New X-Men 20 - Not shocking. Not great. The art is subpar and the story is pretty cliche. Stryker's son is leading the purifiers and is probably some kind of self-loathing mutant. Wolverine's cloned daughter can track people. The X-Men head out to round up some of the haters, Jean has a trite line of dialogue and there's an ending that's supposed to suck me in for more. I guess the cover has some people jacked up because it'd be funny if Logan's "daughter" and young Cyclops got together? I don't find that intriguing or shocking in any way. This book's not doing it for me anymore.
Black Science 2 - Yep, still cool. I want more, though. This might have to be a TPB deal. We're getting a kind of Sliders deal here, except with more science and way more evil, nasty, gnarly shit. That's cool, but I don't like how they're dealing with the backstories. The only one that seemed authentic was Ward, the hired help. The scientists and their rich benefactor ring extremely cliche and, while I know I'm reading a comic, I don't want it to come across as a stereotype. The art is gorgeous, the worlds are going to be incredible, but I'm not sure single issues will do it for me here. The best part of this issue was the disparity between the Germans, stereotyped as Nazis, and the Indians, stereotyped as the native victims, and the way that situation actually plays out.
Daredevil 34 - I really thought they were going to kill her. I really thought that would be the bit that drove Matt out of New York City - maybe he'd be blamed for it, or maybe he'd just be guilty. But then she survived and her speech - although quite melodramatic - sat right with the people and the phone call came in. I don't know if they'd possibly dare to kill Foggy, but it certainly seems like they want us to think they're going to. It'd be a noble way for an ordinary person to die, and it'd be a lasting thing that Mark Waid would do to the Daredevil-mythos, but is it worth it? Foggy's always been around. This new DA, yeah, she's cool, but will she be able to fill that role? I don't think so. The things with the Sons of the Serpent are coming to a close and it's certain that DD is going to win, but what will it cost him? Next issue says Elektra; that's always a good thing!
East of West 8 - This might be the darkest book I'm currently reading? When it comes to trade, are people going to be able to deal with it? I mean, this much heavy shit, all in one dose... So, this single issue was pretty much the epitome of the philosophical debate of freedom, right? I mean, who's really free? If we see our chains, does that make us less free? If we don't see them, are we more free? And this extends all the way to the secondary part of the story in this issue, too, the brief interlude with Death seeking out the Oracle. I'm loving the thematic ties, and the white pages (at least here, if not in Infinity) are definitely serving a purpose. It's a fascinating read and I'm interested to hear more about long-term plans. I'd love to have some reassurance that this is a definitive story, one with a firm ending in mind, because that'll cause me to have more faith in the story as a whole. As it stands now, I'm OK with hope being thrown out the window because at least there's honesty. Comforting? Not at all. Realistic? I think yes.
The Private Eye 5 - While everyone was talking about the Madonna grave, no one mentioned the sexual ambiguity of PI! I think that's a sign that we're advancing as a culture? That's great. You know what else is great? The way this series continues to kick ass. Here we get clued in a bit more on the long term plans of DeGuerre, the relationship between the Internet and the Cloudburst, the way Gramps and PI have lived together and what exactly Taj was working on: turns out, bringing the Internet back! Holla. It's going to be a great conclusion. I'm hopeful that this book will actually conclude next year, as I know it's taken a while, but it's always been worthwhile.
Saga 17 - Man. I don't know how to express the feelings this book gives me. Seriously. It's...it's complex. I really thought we'd have more time with all the characters than we've got with each one who's died. And, of course, there's the possibility that, since Gwen's going there to heal someone, that more than one person will be healed. But...this book toys with my heart so much. Still loving the narration, the ghost Izzy, the subplot with the journalists, and, of course, the conflict that Prince Robot IV is creating for himself. The fact that he's rebooting isn't surprising, as he's got to be a pretty major villain, so he can't be gone already. The fact that they don't know that he's rebooting? Now that's ripe with storytelling potential, and not just for quick bloodshed. Best of all, though? All of our major players are now, for the first time in the series, in one place at one time. I'm really, really excited to see where next issue takes all this.
Thor: God of Thunder 16 - Not as happy with this issue as I have been with the previous issues in the run. Don't like Thor going off half-cocked and just killing his allies, nor the reveal of the traitor; feels like a cheap back door. Also, the fact that this is rising to the conclusion and the whole purpose of the League of Realms is now gone, the League itself dispersed makes it feel as though the prior issues didn't really matter. If it was just going to come down to yet another Thor slugfest, let's just have that first. I know, I know, that makes it less of a story, but I'm not feeling this one anymore at this point anyway, so it might as well have gotten here earlier? I don't know. This was just weird. The Garney art bothered me more than it has in the past, and the story seems to be slogging. I hope the conclusion can get us back to a great point.
Young Avengers 14 - Well, it's all almost over. The fun ride always has to come to an end and this is just about it. And, while I thought the other artists were just fine and did more than a passable job, after 13 issues of McKelvie's gorgeous pencils, they just couldn't cut the mustard. I loved the relationship between America and Kate Bishop, I loved the semi-cliffhanger ending, and I dug the kind-of confrontation between Billy and Prodigy. The parallels to Phonogram were obvious, but the backstory to Miss America was totally unexpected. I love the fact that they're still able to surprise, even in, essentially, an epilogue. I'll be sad when this book is gone, but I'll look forward to the inevitable hardcover and, hopefully, a resurgence of interest in the first two runs, which should be collected as hardcovers, too.
Book of the week goes to Saga. In the official aftermath of Locke & Key, we've got a firm transfer of power to the best comic book being produced.
The new week brought only two books. Good to let me catch up.
Avengers 24.NOW - More stupid numbering, but the story wasn't half bad. The art, however, was a hit and miss. None of the artists, in and of themselves, are bad artists, but I dislike the rapid changing from page to page. We start in 3030 with the Baxter Buildings and Franklin Richards running things. (He's the best future character, right? I mean, theoretically, he should always be in charge of everything in every future.) Then we have a future Iron Man jump back to the past, reveal the new problem and the Avengers dealing with it. We also have a great relaxation scene, conspicuously missing Tony Stark and Cap. Those two are inside dealing with the future of the Avengers - removing Wolverine and potentially Spider-Man - while a different future makes its way toward them and changes their course. The ending with the Rhodey reveal and grandfather and the Illuminati foretelling is exciting in a dangerous way. I like the idea that Cap and Iron Man are destined for yet another clash. I'm glad just to be keeping track of this and not necessarily needing to see every little bit, because, while it's good and interesting, I'm still not sure of every single intent. I think, when all is said and done, Hickman will go down as one of the best builders, if not one of the best executors.
Origin II 1 - More stupid numbering and not much more. Although I like the idea of including some information about Sinister in the early days, and I love the idea of Kieron Gillen doing some work with Wolverine, I didn't find there to be much intriguing about this issue. The pencils were fine, for a Kubert, I guess, but they weren't great. And the story, despite that button on the bear's nose at the end, wasn't anything to write home about. I get that it's supposed to show the animal side, and it did, but it was neither compelling nor all that interesting.
Book of the week goes to Avengers. I guess.