Game Tape…the late edition

Wednesday has come and gone. The heroes have fought their battles and villains have hinted at things to come. Now it’s time to review the game tape…

This week was one of the best weeks for me in a long time.

I rediscovered two Jeff Parker penned issues and read a slew of things I had been looking forward to. It was a week of surprises: a true Festivus miracle!

First up is a book I kind of took a risk on: Mighty Avengers #32. After Jesse reminded me how much I love Dan Slott’s prose and seeing the preview pages on Newsarama, I figured I’d pad the light week with this one. Where else am I going to read the great line, “Let’s smite the hell out of something”? This issue is solid considering I’m not that keen on the whole idea of multiple Avengers teams working at a cross purpose with Osborne heading one of them. I’ve always liked Loki as an idea; here his grand game of chess plays out quite interestingly. The real strength was in something I thought would never happen: I liked Hank Pym. The guy’s been an Avenger since God was a kid, but he’s usually so whiny and self-doubty. If I want to read that, I’ll read 90’s Kyle Rayner or any Superman story from the last 5 years. Slott makes Pym interesting by making a self assured genius, refering to himself as “Scientist Supreme.” I may have to make a concerted effort to find Slott’s issues on the cheap in a few months or remember to get the trade.

Next up is Thunderbolts #138 and #139. I remember reading about these months ago, but forgot them in the mean time. Given my love of Secret Six, you would think this title would be a natural. Bad guys working toward agendas which sometimes workout in everyone’s best interest…intentionally or not. There just hasn’t been a writer on the title I’ve cared about… Warren Ellis aside. Walking down the wall of books though, I saw that this week’s book was written by Jeff Parker and featured the Agents of Atlas. Apparently so did the previous issue. It ties in nicely to the encounter with Osborne in Parker’s AoA title. The art here is sometimes over inked and difficult to tell what’s what…especially given that the action happens at night or in poorly lit areas. I was especially pleased to find that Parker’s light and breezy dialogue and pacing works just as well when bent toward a more twisted crowd. If you’re looking for something else to read this week, These two books might do the trick. Proving the old Serbian proverb, “You can never go wrong with Jeff Parker.”

This week’s Chimichanga is funny, sweet, and cute. As part of the week of surprises, I never thought I’d use two of those words in association with Eric Powell, the man who wrote Satan’s Sodomy Baby. Don’t worry though, there’s still some potty humor to be found. I’m looking forward to future issues.

Last surprise of the week was Astonishing X-Men. I was seriously considering dropping this title after the Ghost Boxes story arc. I just couldn’t get into it and didn’t want to spend the money on the one-shots. This arc is proving different. You still get the great Ellis ear for dialogue, and now you’ve got Phil Jimenez art. Instead of being more retread of the Bleed idea from Wildstorm, we’ve got a villain using parts of dead mutants to create bio-weapons. While this isn’t a new idea, it works so well here in X-Men. It’s fair to say that Beast and Cyclops are Ellis’ favorite characters here. He writes them so well and they’ve got the best lines. The team itself has finally come together well too. As usual though, the interplay between Brand and Beast is his best writing. This issue we see a different side of the relationship from the usual references to kinky animal-sex. A genuine concern and care is displayed in an odd sort of way. It’s also nice to see the whole team working as a well oiled machine. Sometimes writers forget that most of these characters have been training to fight and work as a team since they were teens. I could go on about this arc as a whole and Ellis’ writing, but that seems excessive so I’ll end. Thank you, Warren Ellis, for restoring my faith in 616 X-Men.