Game Tape

It was a big Marvel week for me; lately they’re mostly Marvel weeks. So here’s what’s worth talking about.

Astonishing X-Men #43

Astonishing X-Men #43 feels like a filler issue while creative teams are shifted. Your mileage may vary on this one, but It had nothing to offer me after the eye-catching Arthur Adams cover. Basically if you’ve ever seen an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, then you’ve already seen this story. The team-up between Emma Frost and Danger reads like Troi and Data exploring what it means to be human. It’s a done-in-one so that’s nice, but that’s about all it gets points for.

Since the only two X-book I’ve been following are essentially self contained, I was surprised at how easy it was to jump into Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men. The first issue is good. Seriously solidly good. Aaron conceived of the perfect way to introduce readers to the new school and to this faction of X-Men in general. There are some fantastic bits of dialogue, and Aaron nails each character’s distinct voice. Aaron’s also introduced several nice bits of potential conflict as well as an interesting new baddie. This was a dense and well paced first issue. Heck, I even liked Bachalo’s art. That’s saying something considering until the last year or so he was on my least favorite artist list somewhere near Kelley Jones. If you can find it this week, this is a title worth grabbing. This book is the winner of the week. I’m pretty sure this one will make it to the pull list.

All-Star Western #2

All-Star Western #2 reveals that the Crime Bible made it through to the new 52. Yay? So the Jack the Ripper style villain turns out to be something larger…and probably better. Hex has more to do in this issue, and Arkham gets knocked about a bit. Not a bad middle of the story. I wonder how much, if at all, Palmiotti and Gray have shifted their views and approach to story with the new editorial mandates. Was this Hex in Gotham story already planned? The El Diablo back-up feature was nice if a little bland. It’s a good introduction to the character; I just wish we didn’t have to suffer through more zombies. My hatred for the slackjaws borders on the Goon-esque. Still, it’s a good solid western.

In Brief

FF #11 is a roiling boil before things spill into Fantastic Four #600 and FF #12. Less space but much more talking, and we’re reminded that Annihilus is still out there plotting.

Superman #1 was okay. It hits all the right notes, there just isn’t much oomph in it. It’s the difference between writing because you’re in love with the character and you’ve got something to say versus simply being in love with the character. Enthusiasm alone does not carry too far. If I can get #2 on the cheap, we’ll see if it improves.

Secret Avengers continues to be good vintage Warren Ellis. It’s a fun combination of action and character. The art in this one is a treat too. Sort of Will Eisner style layouts on LSD.

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