I picked up these comics on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter.

The Guild #1: Wow. This was a really good comic book. I think I like it even better than the webisodes. The web series pushes hard for the funny. The comic book is more natural. It’s still
funny, but it allows the humor to grow out of the situation. It also makes more room for pathos and characterization. Highly recommended- even for those who have never seen the show.

Invincible Iron Man #1: Sure, the comic is a couple of years old but the freebie just came out the other week. Now I see why other members of the board have been raving about this comic for the past couple of years. It is truly excellent- modern, fast-paced, well-written, visually captivating and full of suspense.

Haunt #6: I decided to give the Kirkman/McFarlane title a try with this special done-in-one issue. Unfortunately, it’s not as new-reader friendly as advertised. Issue 6 basically tells the story of issues 1-5 from the perspective of a supporting character. It’s very disjointed, though many of the scenes work on an individual level.

Justice League of America #43: I want to like this book but it’s just not firing on all cylinders. There’s good stuff here like the new villains who somehow got a hold of New God technology, a great double-page spread of the multiverse, and Congorilla and Starman’s enthusiasm as new recruits. But there’s also bad stuff like the over-lapping multiple narrator effect and a line-up pulled apart by Cry for Justice and Blackest Night less than an issue after it’s been put together.

Cloak and Dagger #1: This one-shot exposes the strengths and weaknesses of the mutant metaphor. Strength: Cloak is captured by a pro-human group that wants to re-train him not to use his powers- reminiscent of the camps that purport to help gay people not be gay. Weakness: many of the X-Men, including Cyclops and Storm, are less than welcoming to Dagger because she’s not technically a mutant. It’s hard to hold the moral high ground when you’re just as ready to reject people who are different than you.

X-Men: Second Coming #1: Great art by David Finch. Great pace: slow build- including lots of establishing shots- to a frenetic finish. Great villains: an all-human cabal of Steven Lang, Bolivar Trask, William Stryker, Graydon Creed and Cameron Hodge under a surprise leader. Great set-up for the next great X-Men crossover.

Wonder Woman #42: The Green Lantern Corps guest appearance lasted so long that I forgot I was reading a Wonder Woman comic. It also took a while before that opening sequence was connected to the main Wonder Woman story, making it feel like you were reading two stories instead of two different parts of one larger story.

Star Wars Legacy #46: Consistently excellent. Jan Duursema’s art is absolutely luscious and John Ostrander does a great job of juggling a big cast. This issue has Jedi vs. Sith vs. Imperial Knights, competing nightmares, heroic moments for supporting characters, a long-time coming declaration of love and Cade Skywalker claiming a purpose for his life.

Blackest Night #8: It’s hard to review this issue quickly because there’s so much to take in. I’ll just say that the panel of the White Lantern Corps made me giddy and I’m excited about the resurrections (especially Ronnie Raymond and Jade). I also thought that the twists were phenomenal- such as resurrecting the Anti-Monitor as a by-product of defeating Nekron and the unanticipated resurrection of Deadman.

Amazing Spider-Man #627: Reminded me of Uncanny X-Men 322 when Juggernaut took it on the chin in order to establish that Onslaught was coming. That’s okay. I liked that earlier story and enough time has passed that this issue isn’t derivative. Other positives include Spidey stopping a purse snatcher and Wong’s phone manners.

Angel #31: With this issue, the pieces of “The Crown Prince” start to come together. Connor has a cadre of demon warrior ladies fighting under his command. Illyria has a long and awkwardly amusing one-sided conversation with Angel. And Spike shows that having a soul doesn’t necessarily make you a nice guy. There’s also a good twist in the villain’s plans and a great final page.

Angel: Lorne: I’m so glad that John Byrne is working on the Angel titles for IDW. This is a great one-shot. It opens with Illyria in action and Groosalugg in meditation before bringing in the main stars of this particular tale: Angel and Lorne. The foursome face off against a demonic menace that is somehow using the music of the spheres to turn the world inside-out and upside-down. The non-violent but very musical
Lorne holds the key to victory. The extras- an earlier Byrne/Lorne story for “After the Fall” and memorial by Mark Lutz (“Groo”)- make this a truly excellent tribute to the recently deceased Andy Hallett (“Lorne”).

Captain America #604: I know that it has generated a lot of controversy and I wouldn’t say that it’s Brubaker at his absolute best, but “The Two Americas” is a strong story. It’s nuanced but also very forthright. It follows in the tradition of superhero stories such as Superman’s radio adventure against the KKK and Cap’s own battle with “The Secret Empire” and might one day stand shoulder-to-shoulder
with those classics.

Green Lantern #52: I goofed and read Blackest Night #8 first. Oh well. It was still enjoyable out of sequence. I especially enjoyed the origin sequence for the avatars of the rings and the huge battle against the undead planet of Xanshi. The former was wonderfully creative and the latter incredibly powerful. A small character moment or two, however, might have balanced out those two big moments.

Mighty Avengers #35: I haven’t enjoyed the last couple of issues quite as much since Mighty Avengers became more of a Hank Pym solo title than a team title. There were some good moments, such as Jarvis answering Captain America’s call even if Hank ignored it. There were some creepy moments, such as Hank giving synthetic flesh limbs to Jocasta. And there were some big moments, such as the return of Ultron. Plus, there was a big surprise setting up next issue’s series finale.

The Stand: Soul Survivors #5: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Mike Perkins continue their masterful adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel. This issue focuses on a pivotal conversation between Nick Andros and Mother Abagail in which she explains what is happening in terms of the bigger picture. Perkins makes great use of Nick’s notepad (Nick is a deaf-mute) to carry the conversation forward. And Aguirre-Sacasa nicely balances the conversation with a travel/relationship montage of Stu, Fran and Harold.

Uncanny X-Men #522: Yay! It’s the return of Kitty Pryde. I don’t know that it’s a great issue though it does feature a lot of good moments: Cyclops telling Colossus’ away team that they should hurry home, Mr. Fantastic’s videophone conversation with Nemesis, and the sad twist that Kitty is stuck in her intangible state. The Portacio art is unfortunately inconsistent. There are some great panels and pages, but others that are off-kilter.

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Comment by Jason Marconnet (Pint sized mod) on April 16, 2010 at 9:02am
I enjoyed your quick reviews, Chris. I'm glad you enjoyed Invincible Iron Man. It's a great series. The first arc was excellent, follwed by a pretty good done-in-one story featuring Spidey, then the epic World's Most Wanted arc was awesome, and then Stark Dissasembled just finished up. It's been a terrific run and I'm looking forward to see what Fracton has planned next.
Comment by Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) on April 16, 2010 at 9:28am
Weakness: many of the X-Men, including Cyclops and Storm, are less than welcoming to Dagger because she’s not technically a mutant. It’s hard to hold the moral high ground when you’re just as ready to reject people who are different than you.

Kind of sad and funny.

The Portacio art is unfortunately inconsistent.

I've always felt that way about his art.
Comment by Cavaliere (moderator emeritus) on April 16, 2010 at 4:51pm
I found the people in the webisodes of The Guild (the characters, not the actors) to be so unlikeable that I have no interest in the comicbook.

Byrne has found a good fit doing Angel & Star Trek stories at IDW. Please, please, please let IDW do a Next Men series.
Comment by Ana Canino-Fluit (Anacoqui- mod) on April 16, 2010 at 5:01pm
How many did you watch? I find Codex pathetic but likable, and the others funny, recognizable if deeply flawed.
Comment by Chris Fluit on April 16, 2010 at 10:31pm
I enjoyed your quick reviews, Chris

Thanks, Jason.

Kind of sad and funny.

Thanks for the comments, Travis. I read another review of the same issue by Paul O'Brien. He agreed that it was a so-so issue but otherwise he had the opposite opinion. He liked the Dagger side of the story for the meta reason that he also doesn't think she should be an X-Man because she isn't a mutant. And he disliked the Cloak story because he didn't like that Cloak was able to change into his alter ego so easily.

I found the people in the webisodes of The Guild (the characters, not the actors) to be so unlikeable that I have no interest in the comicbook.

That's part of what I was getting at with my comment about the web show pushing the funny. The show has a lot more of "laugh at them" than it does "like them." I think the comic is better in that regard, though we haven't met most of the supporting characters yet.
Comment by Cavaliere (moderator emeritus) on April 16, 2010 at 10:48pm
I watched the first two seasons, Ana. Jennifer stopped watching long before then, mainly because the character of Clara was such a terrible mother (and as we see later, wife). I hate* that character, too, but was willing to finish what was available for us to watch. And I regret doing so. What a waste of my time. The only character that I really wanted to like was Codex and even she was just too far separated from reality for me to be sympathetic. I know there are really people like these characters in the real world but that doesn't make them good people or worthy of our attention.

*Yes, I actually mean hate. Clara displayed no redeeming qualities. She belongs in prison for the abuse & neglect that she heaps upon her children. She can't even manage to be loyal to her teammates, as we see when she used an alternate account to keep attacking Vork (I think it was Vork).


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