Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This Week's Comics - 2/15/12

This week brings me a solid Marvel line-up (including some titles showing impressive regularity) and even a couple choice DC titles, the cream of the New 52 crop.

Pick of the Week, despite some stellar competition, is X-Factor, owing to the the personally much-anticipated conclusion to They Keep Killing Madrox.


Batman #6:  The heavily lauded Snyder/Capullo team hasn't proven as satisfying to me as Snyder's run on Detective Comics with Jock, but it's still the best straight up superhero title DC is putting out these days. Last issue, if I recall correctly (it feels like it came out awhile ago), was fairly ethereal and Morrison-esque as Batman was trapped in the Council of Owls lair and losing his sanity. Ostensibly we'll see him back here, finally butting heads with the Owl assassin Talon. Solicit says: "Is this the end of Batman?" I'm betting no. Pretty awesome cover though.

Fables #114:  A new storyline starts here, with a mysterious gift to one of Snow and Bigby's "cubs", perhaps the girl chosen to be the new North Wind. Not sure about much else, but it promises to lead to a series of "harrowing" event for the citizens of Fabletown, which is nice since they've been lacking a cohesive plot since Mister Dark was finally dealt with. Also, look for Rose Red to finally take center stage in the oncoming conflict, as has been prophesied for awhile now.

Nightwing #6 (?): I honestly can't recall if I've dropped this title from my pull list. I'm a big fan of Dick Grayson, and Higgins is clearly a fan, making his new solo title comfortably reminiscent of Nightwing's solo days in Bludhaven. Still, it lacks a certain punch and interest level, and I suspect I stopped buying it post-Batgirl-guest-star. This is one to flip through in-store and decide on the spot.


Avengers #22:  The HAMMER/Osborn war continues, and last we saw all of the marquis Avengers team had been taken down rather handily. The solicit hints at a power-play within Osborn's group of evil leaders, suggesting Hydra (and Madame Hydra, natch) tries to take over. Mostly I'm just hoping we're done seeing our heroes get their butts kicked. It hasn't been an impressive debut for Storm, and anyway, Avengers getting consistently beaten is more the theme of New Avengers.

Daredevil #9:  A serious contender for Pick of the Week, this comic is just pure joy. Month in, month out, it's beautiful, and dynamic, and emotional, and smart. Mark Waid is a genius, which is no less necessary to say despite the fact that everyone already knows this.  This issue sees the return of the Mole Man, so I anticipate some great radar scenes in the cavernous sewer cities of Manhattan. (I often think about how much more interaction I expected, historically, between the Morlocks and the Moloids. Perhaps the Mole folk burrow down deeper than our favorite disfigured mutants.)

Generation Hope #16:  Knowing this series is ending soon, right around the time Hope takes center stage in AvX, doesn't lessen my interest in seeing it wrap up. Even with a different writer on it these days, I'm eager for the resolution of plots introduced by Gillen, and this week brings us a big one; the animosity and disenchantment of Kenji/Zero finally reaches breaking point, and we get some full-on betrayal among the Lights team. Obviously the Lights will be wrapped up in the Phoenix/AvX stuff, though we know they end up in the pages of Avengers Academy during that event, but I wouldn't bet on all of them making it to April.

New Avengers #21:  The New Avengers vs. the Dark Avengers. I vaguely remember this fight being lost already, but I suppose it's time for a rematch.  However, the solicit states that one team member leaves under a cloud of failure, so the continuous losing streak of this B-team of Avengers...well, continues. This title could be so much better, and I'm praying Bendis steps it up before he leaves the franchise for good.

Enter Angry Fake-Thor

Uncanny X-Men #7:  The regularity of this title has shocked me. It's the flagship X-title, if you don't count Wolverine & The X-Men, but it must ship at least twice a month. It's already far superior to Matt Fraction's run (admittedly not a hard thing to accomplish) and taking the fallout of Uncanny X-Force and turning it into this brilliant X-adventure in Tabula Rasa is very pleasing. So far all the characters have been utilized well and with an appreciation for all their recent developments. I've particularly enjoyed the interaction between Psylocke and Magneto (dark secrets, newfound respect), Hope and Namor (probably the first time I've seen her flirt and be downright humorous) and the characterization of Storm as an almost light-hearted second in command who has a clarity of purpose mixed with an attempt at being more accessible makes for fantastic reading.

X-Factor #232:  They Keep Killing Madrox ends here, and we've been promised a final shock that ties the entire arc together, for which I'm very excited. To know the truth behind Madrox's recent death-time-jumps will no doubt be satisfying, and to, hopefully, see him return to the present and to Layla would be a dream come true. However I don't really expect that second part, as future covers show a focus on the new X-Factor team with Havok and Polaris taking the reins, with nary a sight of Madrox. But perhaps this week we will finally get some answers to questions teased by Peter David for years; what is Madrox, really? What is Layla, for that matter? And what are their respective destinies? This is a very unique superhero comic, with elements of noir, comedy, action and soap. It also comes out quite often, for which I am very grateful.

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