The GeeksverseThe Weekly Reviews: 10/17/12

The Weekly Reviews: 10/17/12
Published on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 by

This week we look at Avengers #31, AvX: Consequences #1 & #2, Sword Of Sorcery #1, Cyberforce #1, Red She-Hulk #58 and Team 7 #1.

I’m debuting a new format for some of the reviews. This aren’t all books that came out last week, but I’ve been extremely busy and the books-to-review have been piling up.

Avengers #31 ($3.99, Marvel Comics)

Avengers #31

  • Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Penciler: Brandon Peterson & Mike Mayhew
  • Colorist: Jason Keith
  • Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
  • Assistant Editor: Jake Thomas
  • Editor: Tom Brevoort & Lauren Sankovitch

This starts Bendis’ last arc on Avengers. I can’t even remember how long many years he’s been writing the book, but it’s been a very long time. He first took over with the Declassified arc and quickly dismantled the team and then just as quickly rebuilt it. The team has been through some changes over the years, some of it good and some of it bad. With this last arc it looks like Bendis is going to wrap up a couple of issues that have been left hanging under his watch.

Back in Secret Invasion he killed off the Wasp, having her sacrifice herself to save the planet, but it was revealed in non-Bendis books (The Mighty Avengers by Dan Slott and Avengers Academy by Christos Gage) that Janet Van Dyne was somewhat alive and trapped in Inner Space (think the microverse). With this arc it looks like Bendis is going to bring her back to life, or at least thats what it appears.

At the same time it looks like he’s trying to wrap up the Wonder Man story that he started with Avengers (this latest run) #2. It never felt right for Wonder Man to be angry with the Avengers and especially felt wrong for him to attack them. Now it appears that Bendis is going to bring Wonder Man back into the fold.

Wonder Man’s story seems a cop-out to wrap it up quickly, as if it never mattered. The return of the Wasp (if it is her) makes a good ending. Ending his run on a high note instead of just writing the development out of existence, as it appears will happen with Wonder Man. We’ll have to wait and see what exactly happens with the final two issues.

There are two artists on this issue. Brandon Peterson, at the top of his game, handles the Wasp parts and Mike Mayhew handles the Wonder Man/Avengers parts. Mayhew is traditionally a painter. He’s done some good covers over the years. His pencil art, like many painters, tends to be a little flat. There’s a lack of life to his work, a lack of excitement.

3 out of 5

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AvX: Consequences #1 & 2 ($3.99, Marvel Comics)

AvX: Consequences #1

  • Writer: Kieron Gillen
  • Penciler: Tom Raney (#1) Steve Kurth (#2)
  • Inker: Allen Martinez (#2)
  • Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
  • Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
  • Assistant Editor: Jordan D. White
  • Editor: Nick Lowe

After the Fear Itself event, Marvel followed up with a weekly mini-series, The Fearless, that dealt with some of the loose ends from the event mini-series. Following that model, after Avengers vs X-Men, Marvel releases the weekly mini-series AvX: Consequences. This is supposed to deal with some of the fall-out from the event. On the one hand, it’s nice to get to deal with the unresolved issues outside of the main titles, so that those books can deal with it on a per-character basis or just move on with the new storylines. But on the other hand, some of those issues should be dealt with in the main titles.

This is one of those cases. The story of what happens with Cyclops should be taking place in an X-Men title, except with Marvel Now! none of the X-titles seem a natural place to do so. ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’ wouldn’t work because that title never dealt with Cyclops or his extinction team. The new ‘All-New X-Men’ also seems out of place for this particular story. This really could have (and probably should have) been dealt with in the last issues of Uncanny X-Men. That seems a fitting place for this particular epilogue.

The story itself is decent enough. Some of it works and some of it doesn’t. The Wakanda part would have fit into Wolverine And The X-Men and doesn’t receive enough attention here, especially Storm’s revelation that she’s now a criminal there. In fact, her whole marriage with the Black Panther didn’t get enough attention in the event. The whole Cyclops as martyr thing is forced. There’s no way that Captain America would allow Cyclops to be put in that situation.

There’s no need for this new prison, especially when the Raft exists to house super powered criminals. It seems like just an excuse to create something for the story instead of making the story work within the established confines of the universe (which is the way it should be handled).

Hopefully the next couple issues pick up and show why this mini-series exists, because unlike The Fearless, there’s been no reason shown for why this couldn’t have been in Uncanny X-Men.

#1 – 3 out of 5; #2 – 3 out of 5

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Sword Of Sorcery #1 ($3.99, DC Comics)

Sword Of Sorcery #1

  • Writer: Christy Marx, Tony Bedard (back-up)
  • Penciler: Aaron Lopresti, Jesus Saiz (back-up)
  • Colorist: HI-FI, Brian Reber (back-up)
  • Letterer: Rob Leigh, Steve Wands (back-up)
  • Assistant Editor: Rickey Purdin
  • Editor: Rachel Gluckstern

Sword of Sorcery was introduced with a zero issue as part of DC’s Zero Month, replacing one of the canceled New 52 titles. Like some other titles, it featured a back-up story. The title of this book, Sword of Sorcery, indicates it’s an anthology with Amethyst being the main feature. The recently announced Threshold book also follows this model. Beowulf is the current back-up, which will end in issue #5 or so if I remember the solicitations correctly.

At first glance Amethyst seems an odd character to reintroduce. It’s been decades since she’s last been in a comic book, at least in any significance. Gemworld was seen in JSA not that long ago, but I don’t think Amethyst was there.

Marx writes a good story. She manages to build a world that is easy to understand and get interested in. At the same time she handles the character of Amethyst very well. Her reactions to the new world are understandable and natural. The scene, and reason, for her mother’s training from #0 makes sense now and also helps makes Amethyst’s reactions all the more natural. Training takes over when confronted by danger.

Marx chooses wisely in matching Gemworld up with the familiar concept of knights and royalty. It gives us a context to view all this in, allowing many questions to be answered due to that familiarity. With just a few words and panels we’re thrown into a ‘Game Of Thrones’ level political world where we can see a kingdom that will play others against eachother, as well as a family that has a bit of infighting between brothers. We get major and minor houses, we get power struggles, and we get a character fresh to it to be our point of view and interaction.

Even though she’s new to the genre, Christy Marx has a good handle on how to write a comic book.

Lopresti’s at the top of his game. His work just gets better and better. He’s a natural at drawing beautiful women, so this book is perfect for his talents. But he’s showing that he’s equally as good at drawing the medievil setting and all it’s details.

4 out of 5

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Cyberforce #1 (Free, Image Comics)

Cyberforce #1

  • Writer: Marc Silvestri & Matt Hawkins
  • Penciler: Khoi Pham
  • Inker: Sal Regla
  • Colorist: Sunny Gho
  • Letterer: Troy Peteri
  • Editor: Bryan Rountree & Matt Hawkins

You may have heard about the kickstarter campaign for the return of Cyberforce. Because of the Kickstarter, the first five issues of Cyberforce will be sold free. That’s a great deal for the customer and a great way to attract readers to the title. Great for the customer, not so great for the retailer as they still have to pay the shipping fees for the books being delivered to the store. At least when a book is sold for $1, part of that helps the shipping and handling.

And if you’re going to offer the book free to attract readers, the end product still needs to be good.

I was very excited when heard Cyberforce was coming back. I’m an old school Image fan from way back and picked up all the titles. Cyberforce was always one of my favorites. I’ve always loved Silvestri’s pencils and the characters and designs were great. So I looked forward to this.

Looking forward no more.

It’s not a bad book, but there are some fundamental issues. The story is hard to follow. At points it acts like we’re supposed to recognize these characters, which we do but this is a reboot and as such they should be new. The world isn’t established very well. Is it futuristic? Modern times? When/where does it take place? The pacing is awkward and jumbled. The sequencing doesn’t make much sense. Velocity’s introduction to the team is odd as well. Maybe it’ll flow better once the other issues have come out and can be viewed as a whole, but on it’s own it’s not a good first issue.

The other major issue is with the art. Pham has talent, there’s no denying that, but I don’t think this book is a good fit for him. The cybernetics are washed out, hard to see and determine what is circuitry and what isn’t. It makes the characters look unfinished, broken down. Maybe that’s supposed to be the look, but without a clear established story (which there isn’t), that look doesn’t get conveyed properly. It just looks bad.

2 out of 5

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Red She-Hulk #58 ($2.99, Marvel Comics)

Red She-Hulk #58

  • Writer: Jeff Parker
  • Penciler: Carlo Pagulayan & Wellington Alves
  • Colorist: Val Staples
  • Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
  • Assistant Editor: Jon Moisan
  • Editor: Mark Pannicia

With Marvel Now!, the Red Hulk book becomes Red She-Hulk. Which is kind of funny since Red Hulk was originally Hulk before becoming Red Hulk. Red She-Hulk seems kind of odd to be getting her own book, it’s not like her appearances in Defenders upped her profile that much, especially since that book was getting canceled due to poor sales. She is an interesting character, and it’s good that another female character is getting her own book (to go along with Captain Marvel) but Red She-Hulk? Isn’t there more higher profile ones that could carry a book?

It makes sense to keep Jeff Parker on, since he’s been handling the Red side of the Hulk world for awhile now. He’s got a familiarity with the character and his experience allows him to use characters like General Fortean, to help bring over the old Red Hulk readers. But I have to ask, what is the Army-Air Force? The Army and Air Force are two seperate branches. Is he Army or is he Air Force? Wouldn’t have a general in both.

The story is solid, if somewhat lacking in pop for what is essentially a first issue. Red She-Hulks (she needs a better name) motivations for her attack on the Echelon project need more explaining. Right now it looks like a rampage. The end does show a little more behind the project, that it’s not as clean cut as it appears, but her motives are still a mystery. How she found out about it needs to be explained too. The story feels unfinished as it is. Entertaining, but unfinished.

The art by the team of Pagulayan and Alves is very good. There’s an odd sequence with Fortean being in the bunker and then being out of it and being back in it, but other than that the rest of the art works.

3 out of 5

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Team 7 #1 ($2.99, DC Comics)

Team 7 #1

  • Writer: Justin Jordan
  • Penciler: Jesus Merino (w/ Ron Frenz on breakdowns)
  • Inker: Jesus Merino, Marlo Alquiza, Drew Geraci, Jose Marazan Jr.
  • Colorist: Nathan Eyring
  • Letterer: Carlos M. Manglial
  • Assistant Editor: Darren Shan
  • Editor: Eddie Berganza

I like Justin Jordan. I think he’s a good new talent, but I don’t think this style of book suits him. The script isn’t that strong. It’s weak in characterization, with all the team members being one-note stereotypes. They don’t stand out with any real personality. It’s also hard to get a handle on who is in charge. Is it Higgins or Waller? This takes place five years ago, when the first metahumans were starting to appear, but just from seeing where certain characters are now and where they are in the past, there’s alot of ground to cover.

Also, if metahumans are first starting to appear and Facility 9 is brand new and designed to house them, where did all those prisoners come from? It seems like a big facility and that’s a lot of prisoners. It’s also a cliched storyline. Build a big prison to hold dangerous criminals and guess what, something goes wrong and the prisoners riot.

Team 7 should have been one of the first books out in the New 52. Now it feels like it’s being retconned, forced, into continuity. There was no indication he was ever in Team 7 in Grifter’s own title, same with Slade Wilson. Part of the team just feels like it was thrown together to have named characters. And where is Steve Trevor? He’s associated with Team 7, as revealed in Justice League.

Merino’s art isn’t up to his usual standards. Maybe it’s a combination of Frenz doing the breakdowns and the platoon of inkers. Honestly, the layouts look like standard Frenz and not Merino, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. There are some panels that are just off. The one with Grifter and Fairchild making a bet, is that Fairchild’s hand just floating in space?

Not off to a good start.

2 out of 5

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One Response
    • Sword of Sorcery is an interesting title from DC. They do very titles that aren’t straight superhero books so it is interesting that they launched a fantasy/alien book that isn’t exactly a superhero book in the traditional spandex and cape variety.

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