Rusty's World

Rusty’s Comic of the Week: Secret Avengers #20 | January 2, 2012

This post is a little late because of New Year’s. Last night was spent NOT reading comics but enjoying a party held by our friends, Nadine and Phil. It involved me successfully defending my NYE Poker Championship! Then today also had some New Year’s festivities with those same friends, in the form of Chinese food.

I finally got down to reading comics this evening, and no it is time for reviews!

Big week.

SECRET AVENGERS #20 (Ellis / Maleev / Filardi) Marvel

When Warren Ellis took over Secret Avengers I absolutely hated it. His first issue was completely awful and the next issue was not a lot better. His third issue, on the other hand, was pretty good and now this one… which is great! A Black Widow story, which gets brownie points already, Alex Maleev art, not at his absolute best but still very strong, and a VERY well done time travel story. Everything worked here, including the newspaper strip homage. I have been looking forward to the end of the Ellis run and the start of Rick Remender’s and this doesn’t change that, but at least there was finally an issue worth the praise that has been heaped upon the Ellis run.

ALL-STAR WESTERN #4 (Justin Gray / Jimmy Palmiotti / Moritat / Phil Winslade) DC

It has not gone unnoticed by me that the best of the DC relaunch are the books that are not mainstream superhero books. Marvel does those better. Where DC shines is going outside of those bounds with books like Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Animal Man and this one.  ASW has been my favourite comic in some weeks and this one was pretty good. The Moritat art was not as great as it usually is, but it was still very solid. The back-up was also not stellar. The main story more than made up for it. I am looking forward to the further adventures of Hex and Arkham.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #5 & 6 (#5 – Brubaker / McNiven, Camuncoli / Leisten… #6 – Brubaker / Davis / Farmer / Martin) Marvel

Yes, two issues of Cap in the same week. (Even more, Cap & Bucky came out this week as well.) I have no idea why. Even more puzzling, this is a transitionary spot as one art team makes way for the next. #5 was the best issue of the new title so far. I especially liked it as it reminded me of early Flag Smasher, before that villain was ruined by bad writing. It is really interesting to read about a villain he is completely right but using unacceptable methods to fight for his cause. It is so reflective of so many things going on today. Then, #6 was even better! Bru’s writing style feels slightly different under the pencil of Alan Davis. I have no problem with McNiven but what a treat to switch to Alan Davis! I was so happy when he did that Avengers Prime mini and when I heard he was taking over Cap… well, his style is perfect for this book. People who really liked the dark and gritty stylings when this was a Bucky book might disagree. Too bad for them, I guess. 🙂

AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #8 (Heinberg / Cheung / Morales / Ponsor) Marvel

I have enjoyed this mini… I just don’t like waiting two months between issues. I am not a huge fan of the way both the Avengers and X-Man are made out to look like d-bags, but that is kind of seeing it through the eyes of the next generation. Are we trading Cassie in for Scott? I’ll take that trade… and I don’t dislike Cassie.

ULTIMATE X-MAN #5 (Spencer / Medina / Vlasco / Curiel) Marvel

This is SO much better than the old Ultimate X-Men. It has a great cast. I hope they follow through and get rid of Rogue. It looks like it is Kitty’s time to shine. And what is Pietro up to?

All are reasons to keep reading, which was something I couldn’t find myself doing before the relaunch.

FURY OF FIRESTORM #4 (Ethan Van Sciver / Gail Simone / Yildiray Cinar) DC

Last month I felt close to cancelling this book. This month I enjoyed it a lot more. Adding the Russians was great. International intrigue that a couple of teenagers now have to deal with? Good call. I liked the juxtaposition of Ronnie being upset that Jason would think him stupid… followed by him apparently doing something very stupid.

CAPTAIN AMERICA  & BUCKY #625 (Asmus / Brubaker / Francavilla) Marvel

This book started to slide as soon as it left WW2 (and lost the Chris Samnee art), but it made some gains again this issue. Focusing on the second set of Cap & Bucky, while still making it a modern story, really works. I don’t see a long run before this book is cancelled (and then the other Cap book takes over the original numbering) but for now it is worth a read. At last this month.

FF #13 (Hickman / Bobillo / Sosa / Sotomayor) Marvel

Bobillo’s art is a lot better than last issue. And by a lot better, I mean that is merely really crappy instead of that mess from the previous book. Hickman’s story is solid but the bad art is very distracting, Hopefully that problem is corrected before this book gets the axe.

THE UNWRITTEN #32.5 (Carey / Gross / Ormston) Vertigo

The first .5 issue of The Unwritten was one of the best issues I have read of this title in quite a while. This issue was… boring. I found that I just didn’t care about it in any way. Hopefully further of these interlude issues will be more like the previous one than this one.

THE ULTIMATES #5 (Hickman / Peterson / Ribic / White) Marvel

Without going back and double-checking, I assume this is a different artist from the previous issues. I assume that because the previous issues were much better. That isn’t the big reason I rate this book so low, though. It is more because NOTHING HAPPENS. The interaction between Thor and his… relations were the only real saving grace this issue.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #4 (Peter Milligan / Mikel Janin) DC

This is the last issue of this book I will be getting. Four issues in and there is still zero story other than ‘bad things are happening. Of some sort. Or something.’ Milligan can sometimes slip in incoherence in his writing and gets away with it by coasting on style. I bought this book for Zatanna, Madame Xanadu and Constantine. This isn’t Zatanna. This isn’t Madame Xanadu. Constantine… well, if it is just him, I could just buy Hellblazer. Which I don’t.

Dropped.

SUPERMAN #4 (George Perez / Jesus Merino) DC

If I am dropping JLD and this is rated lower, what does that tell you? This has been the weaker Superman book and this issue made no in-roads there. As a writer George Perez is a great artist (luckily he IS that…). Good writing is not just putting in more words. I would think an artist would understand that, but I guess not. I miss the 80’s version of George. (But hey, can’t we say the same thing about John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Walt Simonson…?)

Dropped

ALPHA FLIGHT #7 (Van Lente / Pak / Eaglesham / Aburtov) Marvel

Do you remember the last time there was a good AF comic? 1985? I had high hopes for the new series that started as a mini, was changed to an on-going, and now back to a mini. With only one issue left, I am not going to cut it, but if it were an on-going, I would have.

ANNIHILATORS: EARTHFALL #4 (Abnett / Lanning / Huat / Hennessy / Quintana) Marvel

People talk about how great the Marvel space stuff is. I have no idea why. This miniseries was awful in every way… except the Rocket Racoon and Groot back-ups. They were good but not  enough to save the series.

I picked up some trades after Christmas, which I will do a mini-review about sometime soon. They are Green Lantern: Rebirth, Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle, 100 Bullets Deluxe Vol. 1, Fantastic Four Vol. 1 Imaginauts and Age of Bronze Vol. 1 (and then Kevin Matthews has lent me Vol. 2 & 3)

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