This week brings us a pretty star-studded Pull List, including several flagship titles from big publications. Marvel not only has the second chapter of Avengers vs. X-Men on the stands, but a main Avengers title and no less than five X-titles, whereas DC has their adjectiveless Batman, the only readable superhero comic they release. Despite the amount of marquis comics, none of have been as heavily marketed nor as highly anticipated as the Pick of the Week.
Read on, disagree, advise, encourage, and buy.
Batman #8: Again, I find myself slightly at a loss to recall what happened in #7. I'm pretty sure Bats broke out of the subterranean Owl mental and physical torture chamber, but I'm also fairly certain he's had the hell beaten out of him. While I like Scott Snyder's writing a lot, as well as the ambitious idea of a secret Gotham history that even Bruce didn't know about, this New 52 epic is feeling awfully slow. And the Council of Owls itself feels less original than the concept, reminding one of Dr. Hurt's crazy band of psychos and a myriad of other covens, societies, groups and conglomerations that have decided en masse to kill the Batman. Still, this issue promises a storming-of-the-castle fight, as Bruce retreats to Wayne Manor and defends his ancestral home from these predatory birds with ears.
Walking Dead #96: For some reason I keep buying this. I guess I want to know what happens in issue #100, who Kirkman kills off at that monumental event, and if it will be Rick itself. For now the story arc is frightfully familiar, though larger in scope, as Rick and his group find a new group of settlers and begin to hope that maybe now peace and safety and prosperity have come at least. Naturally, I expect tragedy, death and misery to ensue.
Avengers #25: Cap has declared war on the X-Men. Hopefully this issue will spotlight on some dissent in the ranks, since it's a bit startling how quickly his fellow Avengers have fallen in line with this attack. But mostly I expect some scenes of the first fighting on the beach of Utopia and some typical Bendis wordy questions about the morality of current events, without any clear definitive satisfying answers. Still should be fun. Not sure the order of reading in relation to AvX but it should become clear quickly.
Avengers vs. X-Men #2: One assumes things get really fun this week. The first issue felt far more like a prologue than #0 did, and there were some issues that effected the suspension of disbelief. For instance, sure Scott might very well throw the first punch, or optic blast as it will, what with his anger and confidence and bravado, but being the consummate leader and tactician that he is, it's hard to believe he wouldn't have ordered his entire mutant army to prep for a full-on Avengers attack. Still, X-Men scrambling as the Helicarrier drops down on them? Should be pretty sweet. Especially since we know from solicits that Utopia remains an X-base, even with defeated Avengers being kept in the brig, so this battle, while not definitive by any means, should prove both violent and effective in finally setting the series' tone.
|Variant Cover: Uh..good luck with that one Emma.|
Punisher #10 (?): This is an undecided purchase. The only reason I would get it is due to the Omega Effect (Darkseid?) crossover that is going on between Avenging Spider-Man and Daredevil. I don't buy the former, or Punisher, but I do read Daredevil and it seems it may be necessary to read the others, though I doubt it (Waid is too good not to recap the first two chapters in a single page.) I've already missed chapter 1 so I'd have to pick up Avenging Spider-Man, which I've heard is a great comic and I have considered picking up in bargain bins in a couple months. Open to advice on this one.
Uncanny X-Force #14: The team straggles back from Otherworld, and with feet firmly planted on their Earth, Wolverine, Deadpool, and AoA Nightcrawler decide to take care of some unfinished business. Namely, the AoA Iceman who escaped their Apocalypse/Archangel battle, a super-powerful version of our familiar hero, seemingly unkillable (except in human form) and a ruthless murderer. Trust Remender to give us a frenzied, original battle, interspersed presumably with some emotional scenes between Betsy and Fantomex, who both endured an enormously traumatic adventure in Otherworld.
Wolverine and the X-Men #9: The Phoenix is coming to Earth, and we finally get to see the reaction from the one place that is most familiar with it: the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Beast and Logan, both survivors and intimates of this cosmic death-life bringer, pick up the signals of it's approach. We know Logan is quickly approached by Captain America, and that he joins the Avengers on the helicarrier as they descend on Utopia, but ostensibly the true decision of his allegiance occurs in this issue. My theory is thus; he hitched a ride to Utopia with Steve, but will quickly switch sides. Him and Cyke won't bury the hatchet per say, but he'll gruffly state that if there's any chance of Jean coming back, he'll fight till he can't fight no more, 'nuff said bub. I expect it'll make me cry a little bit.
X-Factor #234: Though I still don't feel firmly ensconced in the new Havok/Polaris regime at X-Factor Investigations, and often Peter David has lost my interest a little with these random, sprawling, generally mystical new villains and side characters (all presumably leading to something), and for some reason this comic feels a few pages shorter than most others, well it's still Peter David writing X-Factor so it's pretty sweet. Judging by the cover this month we get to see Monet finally release her frustration (held for many years) against Layla Miller. Expect Layla, as usual, to surprise you, and to be more endearing than normal what with her open pledge of love and honesty to Jaime.
X-Men #27: This strange little overlooked side X-title wraps up an arc this week focusing on Storm's small unremarked-upon-in-other-titles team as they fight off an assemblage of Marvel's deadliest assassins who converge upon the Forgiven, Jubilee's noble vampire allies. The art is pleasant, and it's always enjoyable for me to read a Storm-led team, and it's nice to see Jubilee in a role that somewhat reflects the character I grew up with. Still, I find Collossonaut rather boring, Betsy underutilized, and Gischler's writing in general dissatisfying--for instance I don't care a lick for any of these vamp characters who dominate so many panels. But however it is a simple, straightforward, X-fighting book, and it's not going away for awhile. Plus it has Domino in it, who rarely gets play at all, and, again, Storm. 'Nuff said Bub.
All in all a pretty exciting week, high in potential. Looking forward eagerly to my lunch break, and some post-5 o'clock rooftop comic reading with beer. Happy New Comic Book Day to you all.