Friday, January 25, 2008

Comics Out January 23, 2008

X-Men 207. Bachalo's first panel, a muddy close up of a boring creature called Predator X, is great in its combination of cartoon and abstract art. His faces during the Rogue-Mystique confrontation are also top notch -- even more than Kitson, Bachalo makes talking heads just fun to watch. I want some X-Men action figures based off of his style. As for the story, this concludes the big Messiah Complex thing, of which I only got the prologue and the Bachalo parts. Thankfully Bachalo drew the conclusion so I could see how it all ended and feel glad I did not get the rest of it. From my limited perspective, this is your standard "everything changes -- no wait nothing does" ending. It looks like two characters are killed but upcoming solicits make it clear that they are not. And as for the baby the story revolves around? In the first episode of the fifth season of Buffy, Whedon introduces Dawn, Buffy's little sister, who turns out not to be a real girl but I kind of magical construct; at the end of the season it looks like her sacrifice will save everyone, neatly taking out of play at the end the thing you introduced at the beginning. But Whedon is smarter than that, and makes Dawn a real character who continues on. Messiah Complex, at this point, has gone the more boring route of taking the baby out of play, to the future. There is a whole other Cable series in which she will appear, but as for this story, not such a satisfying ending. And it really did not seem like there was enough material for 13 issues -- certainly I did not feel like I was missing out on anything without those other parts.

Order 7.
Turns out this book, which just got better and better, will be cancelled with issue 10, which is lame. This issue is the best one yet, featuring a really interesting confrontation between Namor, and Hellrung, who should be totally outclassed, but figures out how to deal with the situation in a smart believable way. (For people who view every Marvel issue in the context of the Marvel Universe there may be an objection that in a world of shapeshifters and whatnot Hellrung's threat does not make much sense, but I encourage you not to be that guy. You have to view stories in their own right, on some level, and not always as part of a bigger thing).

Astonishing X-Men 24. The fact that Whedon's three other arcs have been six issues and this one is six with a Giant Sized conclusion -- a conclusion that is not just an epilogue or something as I assumed, but very much the other part of the cliffhanger this ends on -- made me feel, perhaps unfairly, that this issue was unnecessary. I guess it was not, I just think Whedon has trained me to expect a conclusion of some kind at issue 6. I thought this Breakworld arc would end here, and the epilogue would treat the fallout, and, say, Nova. I really don't see a reason for a Giant Sized special to conclude rather than a 25th or 25th and 26th issue here, except maybe they want to get the new team on this title faster. I don't have any real complaints about this issue, except for maybe two panels where Cassaday makes Emma Frost's face look like that of a bulky man.

Umbrella Academy 5
(which came out last week but I just got it this week). The introduction of the title card was awesome. There was some over-the-top violence that was pretty surprising. More important, Ba is such a great artist on this book and Number 5's character is advanced in significant ways. This book hits the "monkey's are intrinsically awesome" button too many times (Spaceboy, Pogo, the police monkeys), but it remains strong.

In comics news Newsarama has a six page lettered preview of Millar and Hitch's first Fantastic Four issue, which did not really get my attention, but I suppose I will still buy it; Heath Ledger, the Joker, died; DC's solicits are up and include some awesome action figures based off of their All Star titles, which is to say based off of Miller and Quitely's designs, which I love; Marvel's solicits are up; and there is an interview with Matt Fraction, whose Order is cancelled at issue 10, and who will be doing a Young Avengers Presents book and a Thor special. So good news and bad news.

Review, discuss, recommend.


Matthew J. Brady said...

Man, I had been waiting for the trade on The Order, so I guess it's my fault that it got cancelled. Sorry, everybody.

Astonishing: It was decent, but it did seem to be mostly setup for the REAL ending. And the bit about magic protecting the weapon seem to kind of come out of nowhere. Also, I think Aghanne turned out to be evil, but I'm not sure. I guess all will be revealed, whenever the thing finally comes out.

Hey, I might have to check out that Matt Fraction Thor thing. Maybe.

anonymouse said...

This was Bachalo's last X-Men. Recent Marvel solicits have hime drawing Amazing Spiderman numbers 555-557 scheduled for April release. I can't wait for these to see how Bachalo gets out of drawing cityscapes, which he has said are his least favorite elements to draw.

The Order has been canceled? My fault, too. I've ignored it.

anonymouse said...

And All-Star Quitely draws a variant cover for All Star Batman #10

Jason Powell said...

I was going to post this to Free-Form comments, but wasn't sure if it's somehow obliquely disrespectful of Heath Ledger? I don't *think* it is. (In a weird way, I find myself more attentive to the sound of his voice and finding it cooler.) Plus, it's just too dang funny not to share.

Mitch said...

I borrowed every issue of Iron Fist from a friend. I haven't read any of it, so I'll be happy to finally jump on board.

I am SO, SO, SO upset about The Order. I love everything that I've read of what Fraction does, but I just can't get enough of the vibe he has going on that title.

Also, too bad about Heath Ledger. Another good actor gone too soon. However we've all learned an important lesson- if you've got an emergency, you can always call the Olsen twins!

James said...

X-Men: Can anyone fill in some gaps on this for me? Like why is the baby the saviour of mutanity, just because it's the first new mutant since House of M? And were we supposed to have guessed it was somehow also Rachel Summers? That's what the red hair and green eyes mean, right? And why does Bishop want to kill it? Just so Ariel Olivetti could draw this awesome Cable cover?

Re: Bachalo's X-Toys, DC is so kicking Marvel's ass in this regard. You can get DC action figures that look like art by Ed McGuinness, Jack Kirby, and now Frank Quitely, while Marvel action figures look like action figures have always looked. With more joints.

Umbrella Academy: I loved the Kraken's one-upping of Batman, when he departs unnoticed mid-conversation... from a moving car.

James said...

Oh, and Astonishing X-Men: I was bummed out by Cyclops' "don't expect it to last" line. Mainly because it looks like he's right: post Messiah Complex solicits mainly consist of Cyclops wearing full-uniform with visor, and putting together various teams to murder people (X-Force, Young X-Men). Funny that Whedon was brought on to "rectify" Morrison's run, but now it looks like his own major character rehabilitation is going to be immediately reversed.

Geoff Klock said...

Jason -- that is pretty funny.

James -- the worst part is that it basically got reversed BEFORE IT HAPPENED., since I think you have to assume Messiah Complex takes place after Whedon's run.

James said...

Yeah, this whole time I was hoping that Messiah Complex would have an inconsequential enough ending that Unstoppable could happen after, but unless it happens after Messiah Complex AND after the X-Men reform etc. in a few months, looks like we're out of luck.

Prof Fury said...

Maybe the visor thing in Messiah Complex is a strategic fake-out? After all, it was a great advantage in Astonishing that his foes assumed no visor = no powers.

I doubt it was planned that way, of course. But it might provide a workaround for the X-writers who want to use it.