It’s been awhile since Jesse or I have written anything substantial about a Jeff Parker book. Thunderbolts #159 is remarkable then for a couple of reasons. The first is a slight negative: I’m not sure why this issue merited an increased page count and increased price tag, but it was worth it. The book itself is formatted as several vignettes…essentially an old-style annual. Each story looks at the destruction of the Raft from a different point of view. The remarkable thing about the vignettes is that they are not all written by Jeff Parker (again not unlike an old-style annual). While not remarkable in and of itself, the genius here is that the editor brought together four writers with the same panache for dialogue and character. Not a beat was missed in this book between the stories and its intertwining characters. Well done on this issue, Marvel, well done.
For every misstep that IDW is making with their mediocre Transformers books, they are making all the right moves with GI JOE. The re-imagining and depth they are giving to familiar plots/ characters is outstandingly done. Case in point is the current arc running through the JOE titles as Cobra’s upper echelon is in the middle of a pissing contest to replace the assassinated Cobra Commander. Cobra #2 focuses on Serpentor’s role as observer to the contest of power. Mike Costa’s re-imagining Serpentor as a cult figure/ life coach/ cash cow for Cobra is interesting and manipulative. Well done, IDW, well done.
Secret Avengers #14 was about the small moment. Let the other Marvel books handle to grand scale of the Fear Itself event; Nick Spencer is doing solid work with character focused plots. This issue and the last both focus on a character (in this case Valkyrie) and explore their depths. In this case, it’s an origin story mixed with an attack on Philadelphia.
Action Comics #902 had some good moments and dialogue. This shaping up to be a pretty decent ending for the current Action Comics volume.