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I had four comics this week; hardly enough to give an accurate idea of what the best and worst comics are.
Since I started picking this book up in November, Amazing Spider-Man has been very close, or has been, my pick of the week. This week is no different. With the second of this book’s two rotating artists, Ramos and Caselli, Caselli has a similar style but unique take on the wall crawler. There are some great action beats that are drawing very well, character moments that are true to those characters, but at the same time it moves them forward. This current arc is about Spider Slayer Alistar Smythe who is back to ruin the life of the beloved J. Jonah Jameson. Naturally JJJ has some moments that highlight his hate for Spider-Man, but also his realization that Spider-Man isn’t the nuisance he makes him out to be. It’s similar to Barney Stinson for How I Met Your Mother, who we all know is a jack ass, but shows moments of sincerity. Slott has been writing some cliffhangers that feel much like a comic book should. He leaves the story at a spot that is logical and makes you want to read the next issue. With a book that is bi-weekly, I don’t have to wait long.
My pick for worst of the week is Thor #619, a book that has been here lately. I am almost done with this book, a book that hardly has any structure, a story that is trying to get back to its former status quo and a book that makes brow raising choices that make you shake your head. The only reason i keep buying this book is Pasquel Ferry. This guy can draw some great fantasy characters and draws Asgardians that look both fantastical and science fictional at the same time. For those who know Thor, know that this is how they character should be drawn. With Marvel changing Thor back to the title characters original book, Journey into Mystery and starting a new Thor series, The Might Thor, written by Fraction and drawn by former Thor artist Oliver Copiel, I may be done with this character for now. Gillen will be writing Journey, and he is a writer I can’t get into, and I haven’t liked what Fraction has done with Thor so far. Sorry Marvel, I am sure you will get lots of new readers with this maneuver, but I probably won’t be one of them.
I also picked up Invincible Iron Man #500. Marvel has decided to amalgamate all the volumes of Iron Man into one and go back to its original numbering, and to celebrate created a huge anniversary issue with three different artists telling two stories: one present and one future. The story was alright; jumping back and forth between the two time periods. However, the art was too wildly inconsistent, especially in the future story where I had no idea what was going on in some panels. Not sure if it was the colouring or the inking, but is seemed rushed and sloppy. The style is meant to be gritty, but this wasn’t pulled off well.
Finally, the last book was my only DC book this week, Brightest Day #18, and I am going to give spoiler warnings here. This issue focuses on the Hawks, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and their involvement in this series up until this point has highlighted the continuity mess that these two characters share. It would take too long to explain it all, so I will take the easy way out and point to a Wikipedia article on Hawkman . Brightest Day #18 finally gets the Hawks to a place where they can finally shed all that past continuity and start fresh, but Johns and Tomsai say that isn’t enough and kill off the characters for good. This May be the first real deaths of DC’s dead is dead that was pronounced by Hal Jordan back in Brightest Day #8. This may also be a way to create a new Hawkman or Hawkgirl that cannot be added to the continuity of the former. Brightest Day is almost over; there are seven issues left and this is book is bi-weekly, so that’s about three months worth of story to go and there is a lot that can happen.
So I had seven books this week, and choosing the best was really hard. Three books vied for the top spot, while only one book could be the pick for the low spot on the pile. But before I get to the picks, there will be a slight change in format from last week. Picks of the Week posts will now come on Thursday and will include a brief review. Okay, that’s over, now time for my picks.
Best of the Week
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1: I knew nothing about this book until earlier this week when I checked out the preview, which I did because I’ve heard good things about Nick Spencer. Why I picked this book is that it’s a beautifully drawn book; artist Cafu has a great Gary Frank vibe and really sells facial expressions. Spencer’s story is about a special UN superhero squad that is called when they really hairy shit hits the fan. While we see the THUNDER Agents, this issue is not about them, it’s about those who run the superhero program and what happens when something happens that no one planned for. There are lots of twists and turns, and the story is paced really well, with action, exposition and some great character work. This beat out Amazing Spider-Man #648 for two reasons. THUNDER Agents really surprised me and took a story I’ve read before and made it feel fresh. Reason two is that Amazing Spider-Man seemed to force one of Peters character traits on the reader to move the plot to its conclusion, but it was still a great book with a very strong story and great art. That being said, I’m very happy I picked up this book and look forward to the next issue.
Worst of the Week
Avengers Prime #4: At one point I looked at the cover to see if this was the final issue of this mini-series; alas it was not. This book is still taking place right after the fall of Asgard, and while the coming together of the Avengers big three: Cap, Iron Man and Thor, was important after Seige, this bi-weekly title is still telling this story months and months after Seige has ended while the rest of the Marvel Universe has been involved in the Heroic age. I’m not a fan of Bendis’ Avengers story, his characterization doesn’t seem to always fit; case in point the guy bond at one point in this issue about getting into a former Avengers pants. These guys have some serious trust issues, especially with Tony and this series was supposed to look at tackling that, but talking about what girls they’ve laid, not cool. Which is a shame too because Alan Davis is drawing this book, and these characters look great and the story telling Davis provides is really well done. There is one more issue left and I’ll get it because I am pot committed, and once this is done, Avengers The Children’s Crusade will be the only title that i read, and once that’s done, I don’t think i will be reading the any avengers titles, which sucks cause there seemed to be a lot of potential with this franchise.