The Weekly Haul: Comics Reviews for July 26
Wait a second, reviews of actual comic book? Isn’t Comic-Con going on?
Yes and yes. I made it to the comics shop a bit belated this week on account of the San Diego craziness, but apparently real comics came to real comic book stores this week, although it was an understandably small batch. That being the case, it’s a somewhat truncated Weekly Haul this time around.
Book of the Week: X-Files #0 — One of the great all-time shows is back in a big way with this week’s movie and DC’s one-shot comic. Reviews aren’t kind to the movie, but the book (set in the show’s early years and scripted by one of the creators) is top-notch.
Comic adaptations are always tricky, as the art can go too far into trying to perfectly recreate actors and the writing can fall flat. But this issue reads and looks just like a classic episode.
Scully and Mulder investigate a series of weird deaths, where victims have no signs of injury or illness. Turns out there’s something playing the possession game, which puts the heroes into a fun game of chess with the invisible adversary.
It’s strong throughout, but the final reveal is a doozy, making it a must-read for fans.
Daredevil #109 — This arc is (finally) all about Matt getting his life back on track, but of course he can only do so while bringing some gangsters, the FBI and the CIA down on his head. A tense read, as Matt and his crew pull themselves further into danger’s path with each page.
Invincible #51 — Lots of daddy issues surface as Mark shows Oliver the superhero ropes and they each get a new costume (in a sequence fairly ripped out of The Incredibles). A few big plot developments, but mostly this is Robert Kirkman doing the teenager-as-superhero thing better than it’s been done since Ditko’s Spider-Man.
Uncanny X-Men #500 — I like that Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction are changing the status quo on the X-Men, and they put together a nice mix of fun and drama. Magneto’s back, and he’s back to his evil roots, sort of. He seems completely different everywhere he shows up, so I guess that’s one of the things you have to live with. Overall, it’s a promising start.
Ambush Bug Year None #0 — Some funny jokes here — and some not so funny — but no matter how ridiculous a character is, there needs to be something to make readers invest to carry them through an issue, let alone a miniseries. This reads more like a transcript of standup comedy.
New Avengers #43 — Brian Michael Bendis continues to milk the Savage Land sequence in this Skrullapalooza mess, but this issue is the first real stinker. The bulk of the issue is about a Skrull transforming himself into Captain America. And that might be compelling if it weren’t for the fact that said Skrull is beaten by the heroes at the issue’s start, so his creation is rendered meaningless.
Black Panther #38 — There’s a big fight between Panther and Killmonger. That’s about it. Reggie Hudlin took the complexity of the arc’s start and funneled it out through generic superheroics. Disappointing.
Iron Fist #17 — A new creative team, and there’s a definite lurch in tone and style in both writing and art. That said, the new guys offer a stylized take on the book, and while it’s a bit loose at the seams it’s still nice to see something off the beaten path. The story is all about Danny Rand’s impending demise, and the issue builds up to that looming moment quickly and effectively.
War Heroes #1 — Mark Millar’s new Image series was supposed to be something of a more unfiltered version of what he started in The Ultimates, but it reads more like a throwaway "What If?" A terrorist blows up Washington, D.C., and the government responds by making… Superhero pills! No, really. Pop one and you can fly or lift cars or whatever. That and kill bad guys. It’s such a lame idea that it almost overshadows how little intellectual complexity is on display in the plot.
Van Jensen is a former crime reporter turned comic book journalist. Every Wednesday, he braves Atlanta traffic to visit Oxford Comics, where he reads a whole mess of books for his weekly reviews. Van’s blog can be found at graphicfiction.wordpress.com.
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