Review Roundup for Week of 1/10/18
This week, there were a large number of books out, many of them with high quality. This week was a joy to read and review. There are links to full reviews of the two books of the week, which I guessed at before I read them this week. Please let us know what you’d like us to review by leaving a comment on our Facebook page, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or messaging any of us directly. Keep in mind that the format we’ll follow will be as follows:
Book Title and Number(Story Arc Name)*
*Denotes Book of the Week
Here we go!
Avengers #675 (No Surrender)*
This is the start of the Avengers going weekly with a storyline called No Surrender. This book incorporates every active Avengers team and pulls some others back into the fold. Many characters are involved and some are taken off the table right away. This event promises to change the Avengers forever and it seems like this book takes that first big step towards that. Check out our full review.
Story – A lot is going on, but there are already immediate consequences and questions. 8/10
Art – It’s difficult to find anyone who can illustrate all of the Avengers in this book well, and that’s exactly what we got. Very nice work. 9/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – The drama of each of these teams has been brought into this event, which is great, especially if there’s a team you love. As the weeks unfold, we’ll get a clearer sense of when this takes place. 8/10
Twist Factor – Jarvis. Man, that provided some raw emotion as this issue went on. 8/10
Final Score – Marvel Book of the Week. 8/10
The Flash #38 (A Cold Day in Hell)
There is a disappointing sense to this issue after how the last one ended. I was really anticipating an awesome fist fight, but that’s not what happened. There’s a short fight, followed by August turning on the Rogues after Captain Cold exposes his plan, allowing Barry to stop the Rogues. Flash is asked to trust August so he can save Wally from a trap set by Captain Cold for Copperhead. Flash stops them, but Copperhead gets away since she didn’t actually get caught doing anything. She talks to a shadowy figure in a car who now runs the criminal underground in Central City. Barry gets Singh and brings him to Iron Heights to put a case together against Snart for the murder of Turbine. Snart gets transferred to a different facility, while Wolfe is threatened with being reported, while Kristen intervenes, keeping him safe. Wolfe brings Kristen into the fold, just like she and Singh planned. Barry has a heart to heart conversation with August about forgiveness, which leads Barry to seek forgiveness from Iris. We’ll see how this plays out moving forward.
Story – Despite the fact that this is a conclusion to this arc, it was still disappointing, especially considering how the last issue ended. The themes of forgiveness and mistakes have driven this story, but we need some growth in the long run (pun intended). 6/10
Art – The art in this issue is solid, but isn’t as good as other issues have been. 7/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – It feels like Barry has lost a little bit as a character since he inexplicably stopped being a major story cog in Rebirth, which is disappointing. 6/10
Twist Factor – Godspeed’s path to redemption. He could become a more interesting character down the road. 7/10
Final Score – 6.5/10
Justice League of America #22 (Deadly Fable)
This is a book I almost gave up on after we found out what happened to Ray Palmer. This book has always been more about smaller relationships and world politics than big world threats like the other Justice League book. That pays off a little in this issue. Since Caitlin Snow is looking to cure herself of her illness and it’s offered in a dream by a mysterious woman. She accepts and as she explains her new state to her JLA teammates, she collapses, releasing the Primordial Monarch. The Ray, who is battling devils in Vanity, doesn’t have his JLA communicator which would alert him to the teams predicament. The Monarch has captured the JLA and Vixen breaks free and begins to fight back. This ultimately costs Vixen her life.
Story – The story in this book moves slowly until it doesn’t and that’s constant in this issue Between the destruction of Mount Justice and losing Vixen, it moves very slowly. 6/10
Art – While the facial work is excellent at times, this book’s look doesn’t special. It’s ok, but not much more than that. 6/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – The consequences in this issue are very real, killing off one of the most important characters in this book. However, where this falls is a little confusing since Metal is referenced briefly. 6/10
Twist Factor – Killing off someone thought to be the leader of this team. 8/10
Final Score – 6.5/10
Mister Miracle #6 (of 12)*
This issue is brilliant. It starts by dealing with the end of last issue when Barda asked Scott to stay after she brutally takes out Funky Freshman and the Highfather’s Guard. This entire issue centers on a single conversation between Barda and Scott. The climax of the conversation is excellent, followed by an encounter with a character they’ve been teasing since the series started. Since it’s so difficult to talk about this issue and not provide any spoilers… Check out our full review.
Story – Storytelling here is excellent and drives forward with every page and every panel. Absolutely stellar. 10/10
Art – The art on this book looks so good all the time. It’s style is perfect for the story telling. 10/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – These characters explore their history in a way that is incredibly related to the story and builds it for some big character moments. 9/10
Twist Factor – A big reveal and a brief cameo of one of DC’s big bads. 10/10
Final Score – Absolutely amazing. A must read. DC Book of the Week. 10/10
Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #3 (A Constellation of Them All)
Some progress this issue. More concerning psychic phenomena have been occurring at a higher rate in the outside world. We get some more characters that are off the board, and we get an auto mechanic Patch (AKA Wolverine). Meanwhile the X-Men find that Jean’s body is missing from her grave, driving them to stop saying it when referring to the Phoenix and start saying her. Meanwhile, Jean’s powers start to manifest more and as this happens, she realizes that the world isn’t quite what she thought it was. Kitty and the X-Men search for a psychic to use Cerebro leading them to Emma Frost who directs them to New Mexico. Back in Jean’s world, she’s walking home and being followed by a familiar shape in the distance which causes her to run away. The house bursts into flame where she’s confronted with herself as Phoenix saying it’s time they talked. The X-Men travel to New Mexico where they discover a giant sphere, which opens a door, essentially inviting them in.
Story – We are getting some answers as this story develops and our characters are on a collision course now. 7/10
Art – Character design and facial work is nice in this issue, but some design choices are confusing. For instance, Cyclops’ constant glare off his visor. 7/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – This will wind up having some impacts on continuity when all is said and done, but doesn’t clarify when it’s taking place in relation to the other X books. It seems to bring the X-Men closer together. 6/10
Twist Factor – All of the X characters in Jean’s world continue to be cool Easter Egg types of moments. 7/10
Final Score – 7/10
Spider-Man vs. Deadpool (Oldies part 1)
Old Peter Parker. Old Wade Wilson. In a nursing home. That’s how this story starts. Of course Deadpool is sleeping around with other seniors. Peter is trying to put his life as Spider-Man behind him, since he was injured and put into a wheelchair. For whatever reason, Deadpool’s healing factor isn’t working. Wade tries to get Pete back in the Spider saddle, which he resists. Wade points out that there was someone who has been stealing from seniors which is of interest to Peter. He sees it as he develops some pictures. He catches the thief in the act and wheels into action. He takes down the robber inspiring him to suit up again with Deadpool. We see that Wade has set the entire thing up so he could get Spidey back so that they could go after Assassin Deadpool, who may be the Chameleon again,
Story – Fun to see these 2 interacting as old men. Interested to see how this ropes into the ongoing storyline. 7/10
Art – Character designs on the old characters are pretty cool. 8/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – Pete’s disdain for Wade has been around since Wade turned and apparently lasts until they’re old men. 7/10
Twist Factor – Deadpool’s still not a player. He just crushes a lot. 8/10
Final Score – 7.5/10
Titans #19 (Grounded)
Following the battle with Troia, the team has split and gone their different ways and this tells the story of how they got there. It directly involves 4 of the biggest members of the Justice League: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash. They openly argue with the Titans about the ordeal they just faced, with Batman zeroing in on the fundamental errors that were made. We see the weight of leadership really fall on Nightwing. There is an intense conversation between Bruce and Dick where we see just how much Bruce respects Dick and how much Dick looks up to Bruce. The team disbands shortly thereafter. The growing connection between Donna and Roy is present throughout the present day portion of the book as Roy hunts down drug dealers backed by Intergang. Arsenal gets ambushed by Intergang as the issue ends.
Story – Slows down the pace after the last story arc which isn’t a bad thing. They all set out to be different than Troia’s prediction, which impacts the story greatly. 7/10
Art – Character designs and facial work here are excellent, particularly Nightwing, Batman, and Arsenal. 8/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – This team is constantly trying to prove itself as more than sidekicks, which comes through in this issue a lot. 8/10
Twist Factor – Quick flashback between Bruce and Dick, with Bruce’s expectations for Dick. 8/10
Final Score – 8/10
Venom #160 (Venom Inc. Part 5)
As the team of Black Cat, Venom, Anti-Venom, and Mania gear up to go after Price, Spider-Man infiltrates Price’s operation. Spidey eventually gives himself away with jokes and a fight ensues. He uses an anti-venom mixture in his webbing to free Hammerhead, who immediately turns on him for constantly locking him up. As the battle rages, team Venom frees many of those under Price’s symbiote influence, including the Scorpion who is distraught to give up a symbiote again. In a moment of desperation, Venom has Mania target his Anti-Venom bullets, willing to sacrifice himself and his connection to his symbiote to stop Price. As the Anti-Venom bullets do their thing, Venom finds himself safe – saved by your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The issue ends with Price reclaiming all of the pieces of the symbiote that he’s distributed, making him a Venom-looking adversary.
Story – While gritty and action packed, this story doesn’t feel like it should have been a full crossover versus something in the Venom book alone. It feels like we wasted 2 of Dan Slott’s final ASM issues on it. 6/10
Art – The style is sketchy and clean at the same time, making it a really cool dynamic. I love his battle-damaged Spidey. 7/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – All characters are what you’d expect, however Venom has a moment of heroism that you don’t expect from the Lethal Protector. 7/10
Twist Factor – Spidey saving Venom and his immediate comment afterwards. 8/10
Final Score – 7/10
X-Men Blue #19 (Cross Time Capers)
The team arrives back in their timeline to see themselves murder the Brotherhood and fighting Magneto. A walking Charles Xavier shows up and tells Magneto that the New World Order will have no place for a relic like him as a missile launches towards them and then he and that timeline’s X-Men teleport out. As the explosion hits, we find Charles and his X-Men back at the mansion and they check on a Cerebro trapped Charles who they suspect has called our team back to their original time period. As for that team, they are pulled in between space and time, avoiding the nuke along with Magneto. After some mind-bending time paradox talk, they teleport to the mansion, where they find their counterparts. As a fight ensues, the disguises are dropped revealing Charles Xavier II and his Brotherhood including Old Man Deadpool, Ice Thing, Xorn, Bruiser, Raze and Beast.
Story – Time travel stories can get tricky. This is part time travel, part full X-Men adventure with twists and turns along the way. 7/10
Art – Some of the character designs are amazing regardless, while some close up facial work is a bit off. This is likely due to rotating artists since the book comes out bi-weekly. 6/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – While confusing due to it’s time travel nature, the team the book is centered on continues to be who they are, not who they become in the future (which is confusing). Magneto is consistently Magneto, however. 7/10
Twist Factor – Pretty good twist ending. 8/10
Final Score – 7/10
X-Men Gold Annual #1 (Cross-Atlantic Caper)
Annuals are so much fun. They allow stories to be told that enrich the characters and the world without messing up continuity. That’s true of this issue as well. Kitty, Rachel and Kurt get notice via stork that Meggan and Brian Braddock have had a baby, Maggie. They fly, commercially, to England (which is illustrated and written perfectly) to see their friends and meet the baby. As they discover, this baby is incredibly advanced. Fully speaking and with a high level intellect capable of learning very quickly. Meggan has a moment where she is vulnerable about her newfound motherhood and talks with Kitty and Rachel, while Kurt, Brian, and Maggie talk and eventually play dress up. Naturally, where the X-Men go, trouble follows and in this case Starhammer, from D’Bari is seeking revenge on Rachel Grey. As the fight progresses, Maggie transports Starhammer to a reborn version of his world in the multiverse, granting him the chance to start over. As this story wraps up, Meggan asks the 3 X-Men to be Maggie’s Godparents, and they all accept.
There’s also a short story where a girl named Rosie and her aunt are attempting to get Storm’s autograph, all while pointing out how amazing she thinks Storm is. They chase the X-Men all around town, all while denouncing the prejudice shown towards mutants to random people. At the end of the story, they are rewarded by meeting Storm and taking a picture with her in the middle of a twister.
Story – Fun stories that are sweet and interesting to tell, with some humor sprinkled in. 8/10
Art – The art in the 2nd story is more consistent than in the first, which has some weird facial work at times, amid some other very strong work. 6/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – You don’t have to worry about continuity much in annuals, but they still placed it between 2 issues. This issue emphasized the characteristics of the 4 X-Men highlighted. 7/10
Twist Factor – Talking. %&#$-ing. Baby. Can’t get more Twisted than that. 9/10
Final Score – 7.5/10