The return recurring of reviews is a nice change of pace from the last 6 months of sporadic problems. Here’s what’s new and most everything is pretty good.
I don’t often talk about Doom Patrol. It’s one of those books that I read because it’s good enough to keep getting, but not great enough comment on in the reviews. Issues 14 and 15 have changed that. After the “war” with New Krypton, everyone’s second favorite manipulative handicapable genius acquired a deceased Kryptonian to experiment on. The results are interesting… There’s also a series of good character moments with the team as they confront each other in a way the X-Men haven’t gotten since Kitty’s exclaiming the jerkitude of Professor X. Giffen is doing a yeoman’s job of bringing these characters to interesting places now that he’s done recycling Morrison’s ideas. Clark and Randall are doing a stellar job with art chores, vaguely reminiscent of Jim Lee. 14 is a good jumping on point if you’ve ever been curious about the team or the book called Doom Patrol.
One of the greatest joys of this week was Beland’s inspired sequel to Fantastic Four: Isla De Le Muerte. Fantastic Four: ¡Ataque Del M.O.D.O.K.! is a thoroughly entertaining tale featuring Reed and Sue on vacation in Puerto Rico. While there, Reed stumbles into a mystery (not unlike a certain Elongated Man), while Sue momentarily bemoans the loss of a perfectly good vacation (not unlike a certain other Sue). We meet a Puerto Rican superhero, there’s the usual team-up business (which thankfully is disposed of in a brisk shorthand), MODOK shows up, and hilarity ensues. Reed and Sue interplay so well here that the dialogue of the A.I.M. hench-simians is only the second best thing about this book. It’s easy to forget that this is a couple in love with each other and still attracted to each other. Beland reminds us with simple and true exchanges between the two. It is not a complaint by any stretch here, but some readers may object to the fact that Reed and Sue do come off too much like Ralph and Sue in this book. I love it though.
In addition to the story and the phenomenal dialogue, Juan Doe’s art stands out. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something pleasantly retro about Doe’s style. The best I can come up with is a cross of 1939 New York World’s Fair and early 60’s add for American Airlines with it’s angles and simplicity of line. There’s an elegant and well done flashback/ origin story too. Definitely worth picking up.
Hickman’s S.H.I.E.L.D. #4 was stellar too. My only complaint is the standard one I have with Hickman. He likes to leave too much in the gutters. Sometimes it works, sometimes I’m left scratching my head. This time it worked okay. I really appreciated the confrontation between Da Vinci and Newton; that he didn’t turn it into a brawl or a pissing contest says a lot to me about how different a story Hickman wants this to be. Throw in everyone’s favorite french quatrain spouting prophet and it’s good time city.
In the “don’t be a baby, buy this book” column is Chaos War #1. Coming off the heels of Amadeus Cho’s last adventure to save Hercules, and pulling in things from as far back as the beginning of Incredible Hercules, this book is worthy of the $3.99 cover and the lable “Extra-sized event kick-off issue!” That the book is thicker with good material, makes me long for days gone by. While the story is standard Part One of X Extinction Level Event fare, Pak and Van Lente make it entertaining and original…but damned if I know how they did it. The back up story was fantastic too. And don’t worry, there are plenty of onomatopoeic abuses happening. I see a post devoted to them sometime Sunday. Seriously, this is an outstanding book for it’s price. You won’t be sorry that you left the store with it in your bag.
I got several other books too, but nothing really new to report on titles like Secret Six, X-Men Forever 2, The Boys, or GI Joe.