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Robert Kirkman (W)/Tom Raney (A)
Mike COTTON: "The third and final act of "Magical" didn't do much more for me that the first two issues. Focusing on a reality-warping new member, Magician, who has gained a place on the X-Men and become a media darling just never interested me. While there's some cool action, like many X-Men stories, the ending comes down to Wolverine stabbing the big bad in the chest to defeat him. The most interesting thing about the book is the ongoing subplots from Xavier and Lilandra's romantic relationship to Nightcrawler and Colossus' feud to Sabretooth lurking close by, where Wolverine seems to get his scent. Overall, I think a writer as skilled as Kirkman can make this a "must read" book based on his previous writing, but he needs to find his footing and make these characters sound and act like teenagers again, not just alternate universe versions of the same characters we have in the 616 Marvel Universe."
WOLVERINE: ORIGINS #6
Daniel Way (W)/Steve Dillon (A)
Brian Cunningham: "Another very cool Quesada cover gracing this month's cover, with Wolvie (in his best costume) getting a beat down courtesy of Omega Red..."
|Brian Cunningham: "Part One of 'Savior' reveals the mysterious material that hinders Wolverine's healing factor is called Carbonadium. While it's neat to see Logan sweat out a slow-healing wound, the issue feels like it stars a character that kinda looks like Wolverine, but isn't the real deal. He's drawn like he's 6-foot-3 (he's actually a puggish 5-foot-3); in a flashback to 1963, he takes a mysterious red tablet without hesitation when he's told to (he never blindly follows orders); he creates a makeshift mask out of a blanket for seemingly no reason (he usually wants you to know it's him kicking your ass)...none of this feels like the badass, don't-care-what-you-think mutant we all know and love. But the cliffhanger has potential as it sets up a long-awaited rematch with Russian assassin hinted at on the cover."|
ANNIHILATION #2 (of 6)
Keith Giffen (w)/Andrea DiVito(a)
Sean T. Collins: "If you're gonna do a big cosmic crossover event, this is the way to do it: Instead of a frivolous 'let's you and him fight' structure, set it up like a war movie. Make all the characters involved major galactic-threat-level power players, rather than sticking Spider-Man in the middle of it for some awkwardly placed star power. Involve a lot of cool-looking giant bald dudes with names like Thanos and Drax and Ravenous. Throw in weird WTF images like an exploding alien filled with centipedes or Galactus and Silver Surfer captured and rigged to some painful-looking tube hookups, in an image that's so whoa it's our Panel of the Week...
PANEL OF THE WEEK
|Sean T. Collins: Is the end result Maus? No. Is it a fun read? Definitely."|
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #4
Dave Gibbons (W/A)
Alejandro Arbona: "Regular Corps writer and legendary Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons does double-duty as artist on this issue, which comes as a shock because...well, the pencils aren't as strong as I expected. Characters look like they're trudging through molasses in the static art, and with writing as madcap as Guy's vacation misadventure, it really needed to be light and nimble. A subplot with Soranik Natu may be setting something up for later, but it really felt like it went nowhere, and even the Vath Sarn/Isamot Kol scenes sacrifice the book's tried-and-true police procedural feel for a more unrelatable conflict involving Isamot's mating rituals. That lizard's gotta get laid!"
INCREDIBLE HULK #98
Greg Pak (w)/Aaron Lopresti (a)
Sean T. Collins: "Hulk SMASHED! The surprise treat of the year, 'Planet Hulk,' hits a new high of slam-bang fun with two killer splash pages care of artist Aaron Lopresti in which the Hulk gets hit hard–first by big bug Miek and then by the Emperor's reluctant Lieutenant. All that's followed by the reveal of the infamous Spikes, parasitic organisms that turn everyone they infect into unstoppable killing machines. In other words, the smashing's just started. Writer Greg Pak continues to build a sci-fi/fantasy world out of whole cloth that's now, officially, the home planet for an all-time great Hulk adventure."
GREEN ARROW #66
Judd Winick (W)/Scott McDaniel (P)/Andy Owens (I)
Brian Cunningham: "For those wondering how Green Arrow got out of that two-arrows-in-chest jam before the 'One Year Later' jump, this issue answers it. Turns out, he was found and hospitalized on a remote Pacific island to recuperate. His pride deeply wounded, he realizes that he was beat pretty bad at his own game, and he needs to get better by training with the world's best and deadliest in physical combat. The story's twist comes at the end when you learn the significance of his final teacher: the man who trained Deathstroke. The story is dominated by talking heads to the point where even the super-energetic art of Scott McDaniel can't ramp it up. But that final twist will bring me back for more."
Stuart Moore (W)/Jamal Igle (P)/Keith Champagne (I)
Brian Cunningham: "In the middle of the 'In My Father's House' arc, this issue finds Firestorm and his posse of other nuclear-powered heroes under attack from the Dollies. And it seems only the imprisoned Pionic Man has answers as to why. The best part of the issue is the interaction between Jason Rusch and his estranged, abusive father when Jason learns his dad's been evicted from his home."
MARTIAN MANHUNTER #2
A.J. Lieberman (w)/Al Barrionuevo (a)
Sean T. Collins: "The cover tells you all you really need to know about this issue: The new, grim'n'gritty pointy-headed Martian Manhunter glaring at you and clenching his fist in front of a bunch of slaughtered human security guards lying in pools of their own blood. What happened to the wonder-filled fish out of water? He ain't here, that's for sure, and while writer A.J. Lieberman hits all the dark-superhero notes deftly enough, he never sells us on the notion that what's happening to Martian Manhunter is traumatic enough to undo character traits firmly established over the course of decades–no matter how many passenger airplanes the baddies blow up over the skies of New York City. Awkward timing, unfortunately."
EX MACHINA #23
Brian K. Vaughan (w)/Tony Harris (a)
Sean T. Collins: "Writer Brian K. Vaughan deftly keeps juggling a whole lotta balls in the third part of this multi-tiered story arc. A home-invader dressed as a fireman commits another robbery and kills a dog while he's at it, double-agent City Hall staffer January keeps trying to drag Mayor Hundred into a drug-related political firestorm, an ominous dream hints that Hundred's animal-whisperer arch-nemesis may be due for a return in the near future, and Hundred's powers freak the eff out. BKV mixes inside-baseball politics, superhero weirdness, screwball humor and stomach-churning violence like the comics equivalent of a damn good DJ: No matter how many genres he splices, he never misses a beat."
Bill Willingham (W)/Mark Buckingham (P)/Leialoha & Pepoy (I)
Brian Cunningham: "This issue could probably hook anyone. And for Fables fans, the story amps up everything to a whole new level. The opening panel sets the tone for the issue with the lone caption:
'This is how the world ends,' showing a ravaged, diseased people struggling to survive amid complete carnage. Yep, that's only the first panel. The rest of the issue, Part Two of 'Sons of the Empire,' details a horrific four-part strategy by the evil Homelands leadership (led by Pinocchio's dad Geppetto) to invade our own world, which hides the rebellious and heroic Fables. As heinous as the plot is, it's Geppetto's opening salvo masked as a 'peace treaty negotiation' that makes him one of the most sinister villains in comics."
Brian Wood (W)/Kristian Donaldson (A)
Alejandro Arbona: "You won't find a bigger DMZ fan at Wizard, but this issue missed the mark for me. Kristian Donaldson, the artist on writer Brian Wood's indie title Supermarket at IDW, guest-pencils an issue telling both the secret origin of Zee–the med student, makeshift combat doc befriended by Matty Roth in the middle of the Demilitarized Zone, a.k.a. Manhattan–and of the war surrounding Manhattan itself. Donaldson's art plays its part admirably, crafting a chaotic, confusing vision of destabilized city dwellers surrounded by violence, but for once, it's Wood's writing that compromises the compelling realism that made every previous issue of this book so engrossing; for one thing, I just can't see the president of the United States giving a televised address in real life and telling people to go to hell. Zee's despair is an acute picture of what life in the city can feel like sometimes, but other issues successfully sold the New York spirit even when the sentiment wasn't spelled out–that Manhattan and its residents belong only to themselves and will stand in defiance of anything that happens around them. Here the theme is spelled out but not heartfelt."
To talk with the Thursday Morning Quarterback crew and share your opinions on all of this week's books, click here!