Age of Apocalypse #5
Writer: David Lapham
Artist: Davide Gianfelice
We’re five issues into this series and it’s beginning to wear a little thin in my opinion. This issue shows us this world’s Quinten Quire and what happened when it came time for Wolverine to kill Kid Apocalypse. Though not much of that helped to carry this story along as it seemed more of a filler issue than anything. There’s nothing wrong with a filler but it’s felt like that for several issues now and I’m starting to lose interest in what this title is about. Jean is in yet another training sequence trying to convince Horror Show to go and see his father, Sabretooth, in the brig. Unless something really good can come of this meeting then does it even matter?
Gianfelice did well at moving the script though the style wasn’t one that I liked. However he made the panels interesting by some of the elements he put in them like the physically mutated people that make up this world. The sequence that took place on the astral plane was pretty interesting as well.
The scene with the Celestial and Logan splitting down Jean’s skull was one of the better panels towards the end.
A decent read regardless though it does need to find a path and stick to it for a while. So far it’s confusing as to what the goal here is with this team though the assumption is still taking out Weapon Omega. Things haven’t been too interesting since the second or third issue and we need to get back to that momentum again. –IS
Cover: 5/10 Writing: 5/10 Art: 4/10 Relevance: 5/10
Avengers VS X-Men #7
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Olivier Coipel
It’s funny how you can go from really enjoying an issue to scractching your head just two weeks later after reading the next. This is that head scratcher issue. While Fraction is establishing some new elements with this event there are parts of this story that seem to read like fragments. Maybe they’re continuing from tie ins that have not come out yet and if that’s the case then this issue probably could have waited and made more sense.
The X-Men are rounding up the Avengers but it’s when Wanda sees Vision go down and witnesses Emma taking out Hawkeye in a brutal fashion things aren’t looking up for the heroes. From here things get a bit hectic and the only thing we’re really sure of is that these teams are STILL fighting. Though it was great seeing Black Panther slap the hell out of Tony for throwing a pity party.
There were a couple of good sequences in the story and Fraction was savy enough to have Wanda see Vision and especially Hawkeye go down. Anyone who knows the history there will realize how this may affect Wanda in the long run. The appearence of Iron Fist and Lei Kung to take Hope seems a bit late since she’s already been training with them in K’un Lun for several issues in New Avengers. Though this is what I mean by Marvel putting a lot of these issues on shelves out of order.
Coipel’s artwork helps keep this issue from winding up as cage lining. His depiction of Hope still impresses me and I’m confused as to why he’s the only artist drawing Hope like the fourteen year old girl that she is. The action scenes are pretty powerful and Namor’s attack on Wakanda looks to be very impressive for the next issue. The only scene that was a bit odd was how Captain America looked to have the face of a teenager when he found out that Namor was attacking.
I’m not even sure if much happened in this issue to validate picking it up. The fight is still the exact same fight and there has been no shift in what either team is fighting for nor has anything happened to make me choose a side. Maybe Marvel should contact Vince McMahon on how to keep a good make believe rivalry going for longer than three weeks. –IS
Cover: 5/10 Writing: 4/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: ?/10
Uncanny X-Men #15
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Daniel Acuña
This Strange, Unpleasant Land: Part 1 of 3. We begin an arc involving Mr. Sinister’s eventual and inevitable battle with the Phoenix Five. We’re also treated to two separate subplots. One involves Psylocke and Magneto along with Danger and Unit; the other involves Colossus, Magik and the Demon Lord Cyttorak. It looks like readers will be getting a lot of story for their money in this 3 part arc.
This is starting off as being one of Kieron Gillen’s better stories since coming aboard this title. It’s also always a pleasure to see him make use of Unit. Any Sinister fan will surely enjoy delving into his secret underground lair. It’s a subterranean version of old London which is mainly populated by clones of himself. We also find out that he’s cloned a handful of Madelyne Pryors as chambermaids as well as what looks to be a handful of Scott Summers slaves, complete in shackled Iron Masks. Mr. Sinister prepares his city while he awaits the arrival of the Phoenix Five. The first act of this arc is presented at a wonderful pace. We get the typical info dump which sets us up for the second act, without the pages feeling too wordy. Mission accomplished Mr. Gillen, you’ve made me want to read more.
Of course, one cannot give sole credit to the writer in this case. Daniel Acuña’s work here is terrific. Although not the most detailed style of art, you have to appreciate Acuña’s mastery of the human anatomy. Every single pose, in every angle, looked natural and believable. All proportions were just right and the body language spoke to the reader just as much as the word bubbles did. The pairing of those latter elements offers us a perfectly balanced book which is evident by my rating below. –SG
Cover: 8/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 8/10 Relevance: 8/10
In case you’re wondering, no, that is not a typo. This really is issue #310 even though we haven’t gotten issue #309. Just another Marvel blunder. But that’s not the worst of it.
Wolverine has been a great title for the last year or so. Part of the reason it’s been so good is that writers like Jason Aaron and Cullen Bunn have taken the overexposed, tired concept of Wolverine and given it a fresh spin. Before Aaron took over, you might remember lengthy sagas about Wolverine’s past, who manipulated him during Weapon X, and the groaner of them all…”Who is Romulus?” What could have been a great concept got dragged out for years between this book and Wolverine: Origins. It’s not even a particularly memorable run on the book.
However, Marvel felt the need to revisit this once again, and even pulled Jeph Loeb and Simone Bianchi back in to take a few more whacks at the dead horse. This arc is focusing on why Sabretooth is back from the dead. Honestly, does anyone care how he’s back from the dead? Loeb should have never killed him to begin with, but he’s shown up in multiple books like Uncanny X-Force and Wolverine & the X-Men, so we really don’t need to know. Nor do we need to see Loeb and Bianchi tread old ground here.
The story is just what you think if you read that stuff from a few years ago. Romulus is back and has kidnapped Dagger in order to lure Wolverine to him. Most of this issue is Wolverine and Romulus duking it out while arguing over why they hate each other. A mysterious redhead (yep) shows up and kisses Wolverine, whispering in his ear to go back to the Weapon X facility. If you’re immediate response is, “Wait, didn’t they already do this like 5 million times?,” you would be exactly right. It wasn’t good the first time it was done, and Loeb and Bianchi aren’t helping.
Bianchi’s art looks exactly like his previous work on Wolverine. Nothing has changed. If you like his style, pick it up. For me, I felt like I had jumped back to 2008 and was looking at exact panels. Bianchi needs to go do some other work and leave his Wolverine stuff in the past.
It saddens me that Marvel wants to jump back to this stuff while the previous arc by Bunn and Pelletier was so good and fresh. I’m not sure how long this arc is, but I sure hope they go in a new direction soon. –JJ
Cover: 3/10 Writing: 2/10 Art: 3/10 Relevance: 3/10
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Paul Davidson
Wolverine has sent Banshee and Havok on a mission to check out reports of a Banshee, of the supernatural persuasion, committing murders in upstate New York.
Although one can appreciate this story as being right up the X-Factor team’s alley, one can also find it hard to avoid the gnawing suspicion that this is the pre-game entertainment as ducks are being lined up in preparation to knock our socks off. Yes folks, I think Peter David is setting us up for something good and it will involve the Isolationist. For those not keeping track, the Isolationist is a villain created by PAD almost 20 years ago and he’s pretty bad ass. He possesses the abilities of all living mutants on the planet which makes him extremely powerful, but I digress since he doesn’t actually make an appearance in this specific issue.
PAD also inches along a budding romance between two of X-Factor’s physically strongest members. The Banshee story was interesting if you’re the type of reader who has a mild interest in Wicca, the Occult and Celtic Mythology. The only thing that felt out of place is Alex Summers. He, along with Polaris, still don’t seem like they belong on this team. Whether this was by design or not, let’s just hope it gets resolved soon. If the upcoming Uncanny Avengers series is any indication, Havok might not be staying on X-Factor for much longer.
Paul Davidson’s art leaves much to be desired. All of his panels look skewed, especially characters’ heads and faces. It looks like one of Sam Raimi’s early horror films. Maybe it could be considered just right for the tone of this story, but truth be told, it’s simply distracting. The action sequence also felt very static. At one point Havok topples a lighthouse over and it felt like a whimper. There was simply no “impact” in that scene when it should have felt like the page wanted to rumble right out of my hands. Bring back Emanuela Lupacchino or Leonard Kirk please.
The bottom line is that this issue doesn’t really offer anything for new readers and only managed to keep this long time reader mildly interested. The Guido/Monet scene was amusing though. –SG
Cover: 6/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 5/10 Relevance: 2/10
Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: This was the week where everything decided to take a step backward into suckiness. The only book worth reading out of these is Age of Apocalypse #5 because it doesn’t do that.
Infinite Speech: Can I pick X-Men: Legacy #269 again?
SpidermanGeek: Uncanny X-Men #15. This story has the potential of being enjoyable without having to be an AvX tie-in. It’ll works just as well either way.