25 Feb 2013

Mini Reviews 24/02/2013

We may not have time to review every book on our pull-lists but we do aim to provide a snapshot of what's been released over the past week, encompassing the good, the bad, and those that lie somewhere in between.

Also this week, Matt C's New Mutants Project continues.

Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, John Dell & Edgar Delgado
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: From the earth shaking revelations of the end of Amazing Spider-Man and the subsequent aftershocks found at the beginning of this title, we can now start to see Slott building for the mid-term, allowing some of his ideas regarding the differences between the lives that Peter Parker and Otto Octavius led before this point to shine out and offer up some interesting and amusing changes. As Otto starts to take his newfound existence a little for granted it’s clear that cracks are beginning to show in his facade and his ego could potentially threaten to bring the whole show down around him if he’s not careful. In this respect Slott nails the bumbling and perturbed Otto’s attitude perfectly as he storms around in a focussed fluster, becoming temporarily blinded to things around him and granting the audience cause for hope that perhaps this villain-turned-hero’s tenure as the Webbed-Wonder could well be a temporary one. By bringing the emotionless Massacre back into the fray, Slott brings Peter’s stern moral line straight into the crosshairs once again and teases us with the terrifying thought that our hero’s hands could be stained with blood by the end of this arc. For such a gritty Spider-Man story it seems fitting that Camuncoli gets his turn once again on pencils as his style lends itself to the darker edge of expressive characterisation that can put the fear into the reader and inject these stories with a sense of lethality. As long as Slott continues to go down this engrossing path with Superior I’m pretty sure we’ll all be looking back and remembering how ‘Amazing’ it was!  9/10

GREEN LANTERN #17  Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Doug Mahnke, Dan Jurgens, Phil Jimenez, Tom Nguyen, Keith Champagne, Mark Irwin, Christian Alamy, Alex Sinclair & Tony Avina
DC $2.99

Stewart R: And so the end draws near... The recent news that Wrath of the First Lantern is to not only be Geoff Johns last roll of the Green Lantern dice for sometime, but the rest of the collective Lantern writers roll as well, adds quite an air of expectation to the next few issues. With this opening gambit I can start to take a few guesses at where Johns may leave things for the next generation of writers - I'm hoping I might be wrong to be honest - but am not sure just how he’ll lead us there presently. Kicking things off with a glimpse at the Guardians’ far flung past certainly shows that this may be an all-encompassing story that looks over the vast history that Johns has helped to widen, clarify and redefine through the past decade, balanced as it then is with newest human Green Lantern, Simon Baz’s imprisonment under the gaze of Black Hand. The unpredictability of Baz and his abilities adds a good layer of mystery to the already murky - but not incomprehensibly so - plot and to some extent Johns utilises the newly released Volthoom’s education as the tool for any necessary exposition that helps to push the story on. There’s no doubting that Johns excels when he deals in such broad strokes, I just have reservations that he can wrap up such an evidently important arc in the apparently limited time he has. More worrying is the huge cast of artistic talent brought in to make sure this issue hit the stands on time which also gives me concern that things may be a little rushed in the following chapters as we head towards #20. Mahnke’s vision is spot on as always, yet the inking is inconsistent and rather annoyingly has colour and print drift on several pages which was distracting and I hope only applies to my copy!  7/10

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Adam Kubert & Frank Martin
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: And so Jonathan Hickman rushes up the middle, jinking left and right and finishes off his great character triple play with a slam dunk! Okay, confusing, yet positive sporting idioms out of the way, I think we can clearly see that this book is in the right hands. Not only has Hickman managed to offer some intriguing explanations about the membership of three new Avengers, but he’s also been able to wrap them so integrally within the greater story that he is unfolding and in doing so is promising larger and more dangerous threats and challenges to come. Tamara’s tale is tragic and it could be argued a touch cliched, yet Hickman utilises that familiarity to echo and bring light to an even larger issue which is fitting of an Avengers book. While we all know that this writer is comfortable when it comes to sculpting his ‘bigger picture’ plotting, I’m very pleased to see that his character interaction work is up there with his sterling efforts on FF and Secret Warriors and he even gets to play with the recent changes occurring with Spider-Man to comedic effect this time out. Such conversation-intense pieces can require an adept touch from the artist and luckily we catch Adam Kubert in fine form.  He captures Tamara’s confusion and grief, along with the compassion of Shang Chi (a fine left-field choice for an Avenger member if ever there was one) perfectly and strange though it may be to say, it’s almost as if he’s channeling Avengers Arena artist Kev Walker in some panels which is no bad thing! Any doubts that there may have been about this new direction for Avengers have been washed away in the race to the light... 8/10

Writer: Chris Claremont
Art: Sal Buscema, Tom Mandrake, Kim DeMulder & Glynis Wein
Marvel $0.60
Matt C: An improvement on the last issue, but not the greatest. The New Mutants are prisoners of Emma Frost and her Hellions, and with that amount of teenage hormones flying around there's plenty of posturing going on. That aspect is all a bit boring though; far more interesting is Illyana and Kitty's brief sojourn to Limbo, highlighting that this element of the ongoing narrative is easily one of the most interesting since the series launched. The art is solid and Glynis Wein makes a welcome return as the colourist, but beyond a fairly revealing appearance from Sebastan Shaw, it's not an especially memorable instalment. Far more promising is the notification at the end that Bill Sienkiewicz takes over artistic duties from next issue, hopefully providing this title with a much needed shot in the arm. 6/10

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