Saturday, November 3, 2012

Quick Reviews: Punisher War Zone #1, New Mutants #50, and more

Punisher War Zone #1 by Greg Rucka and Carmine di Giandomenico
I haven’t read a Punisher issue in a year or so so I confess to being left in the dark but Greg Rucka’s story gets me up to speed. Apparently, during the Punisher’s last mission, he managed to kill a bunch of bad guys and is accused of killing three cops. And all that carnage was assisted by Punisher’s possession of a web-shooter – which pisses Spider-Man off.

But Spidey’s confrontation with him doesn’t go well and results in another one of his web-shooters missing. Angry and out of options, Spidey takes his case to The Avengers. With the world’s mightiest heroes about to come down hard, Wolverine decides to warn him to give The Punisher a head start.

What I like about this title isn’t just the idea of him dodging The Avengers but the way it affects Spider-Man. There’s a scene in the book where Spidey’s trying to convince the others to go after the Punisher and the team basically says it’s a police problem and while the rest of the team has turned their back and are heading toward the door, Captain America never turns his back. In panel after panel, Cap is listening intently to what Spider-Man is saying. I also like Wolverine giving The Punisher the benefit of the doubt and warning him. The two of them have had their scuffles in the past but it’s nice to know someone knows The Punisher didn’t kill any cops.

It’s a promising start to what could be a fun ride.

A-Babies vs. X-Babies #1 by Skottie Young and Gurihiru
When baby-Cyclops steals Bucky-bear from baby-Captain America, the A-Babies assemble to take on the X-babies to get the stuffed animal back. This issue is fun, funny, and very entertaining. I haven’t gotten any of the X-babies stuff before but if it’s this good, I’ve been missing out.

Wolverine: MAX #1 by Jason Starr, Roland Boschi, and Connor Willumsen
Every once in a while I see a MAX title and tend to think of it as its own universe. Because if the Punisher or Wolverine are this violent and use foul language during the course of those stories, why don’t they do that in normal titles too?

The story starts with Wolverine in a plane crash with a case of amnesia. It’s as boring as it sounds. A MAX title gives you the ability to do as big and violent a story as you want – with this larger canvas I expect a good story. I won’t be fooled into picking up another issue.

Marvel Now! Point One #1 by various
Nick Fury, Maria Hill and Agent Coulson interrogate a man from the future who gives them some cryptic foreshadowing while the reader is introduced to five character’s stories.

Each story was pretty awful.

The Starlord story starts 20 years in the past but doesn’t say who the character is (I only know because of the credits page at the end of the book) and never shifts back to the present.

The Nova story was brainless nonsense that didn’t endear me to this new Nova. Is Richard Rider dead or something?

The Miss America Story is the first time I’ve read anything with the character. She and Loki’s dialogue is full of veiled, unexplained references to the past that I didn’t get.

The Ant-Man story was probably the most irritating. Ant Man’s daughter is killed by Doctor Doom so he decides to get a measure of revenge by defacing Doctor Doom’s painting at a Latverian art exhibit. It’s as dumb as it sounds.

The Forge story was interesting. The idea that he fixes his own brain in time to help Cable is intriguing. Forge has had so many writers tear him to pieces that I’m not a big fan of the character. You never know which personality he’s going to have or how lax his moral compass will be this time. It’s hard to root for a character I don’t care about.

As for as the main story – I know the Marvel Universe has a Maria Hill but when did it gain Coulson? For that matter, when did the Ultimate Universe’s Nick Fury become 616’s Nick Fury? What in the hell is going on?

When did Marvel stop putting in asterisks next to things to reference other issues that would explain some of the dialogue or at least tell you what issue Cassie died in so you could read that story? If this is what Marvel Now is going to be like, I can skip Marvel Comics for a few years. While DC Comics is innovating, Marvel is still confusing.

New Mutants #50 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Felix Ruiz, and Klebs
The New Mutants throw a well-deserved party!

This is the way every series should end: tying up loose ends, the characters talking to one another and really connecting. I don’t like Sam and Dani being in the friend zone but I do like seeing Amara and Roberto getting closer. The New Mutants are one of my favorite groups and I hate that the ride is over but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to each of them in the future.

X-Men Legacy #275
When Rogue and Mimic respond to a breakout at a prison holding super-powered prisoners, they might be outnumbered but their ability to absorb and use other people’s powers gives them an advantage – and they need it.

The final issue of X-Men Legacy focuses on Rogue. The last several issues have focused on Rogue and they’ve been amazing so I’m happy that the title ends with her. She and Mimic have some nice dialogue and a final page that wraps up the title nicely and tells the reader that, while most of the X-Men are in turmoil, Rogue is happy.

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