Welcome once again to LIGHTNING REVIEWS, the only weekly summary online (that I know of) detailing everything I’ve read this week! I have decided to rename the “Cut List” because that implies these comics aren’t good, which is not always the case. Instead, my reviewer copy items that do not receive fill reviews will be in the “Variety List”, and this week has a lot of variety! All Marvel on my pull list though! Let’s get to it!
Deadpool #12- PASS! I really like Deadpool and I’m glad these intermittent 2099 issues are trying to tie in with the main storyline, but I think these are unnecessary, much like annuals and certain spinoff series. This issue refers to elements of present day Deadpool more than the first 2099 issue did, but I just don’t think it contributes anything toward what I actually enjoy. I really only pick this up for the sake of having the complete run. It’s not bad, per se, but it’s just not required reading.
Extraordinary X-Men #10- PASS! I really do hate telling everyone to pass on the only main X-Men title I buy, but I can’t bring myself to enjoy it. They never win anymore. I just don’t care about the characters and it all seems so disconnected from the rest of the Marvel Universe, which is not a coincidence. It’s a shame because this is an “Apocalypse” story in which we have yet to see Apocalypse and this weekend was the premiere of a movie called X-MEN APOCALYPSE!! There are a couple of cool moments in this comic, but I think the entire book needs an overhaul. I’ve been reading 80s Claremont stuff and this is complete garbage comparatively. I really do think I’m dropping this title after this arc unless we see a vast improvement or a new creative team. I am so disappointed as a Nightcrawler and an X-Men fan.
Spider-Man/ Deadpool #5- PULL! Now this is a good comic! So much coolness, between the death of Peter Parker, Wade’s tryst with Death, and a vow never to kill again by the Merc with a Mouth! Mysterio is an underrated villain and Shiklah is an unappreciated wife, but both get a spotlight in this issue. I’m actually surprised that so many big developments are happening in a “team-up” book, because as Marty McFly would say: “This is heavy!” McGuinness and Kelly are a dream team I hope never leaves this title. I just wonder if the consequences of this issue will bleed into other team and solo titles. We’ll find out soon enough!
Totally Awesome Hulk #6- PULL! I’m so glad to have a new generation of Hulk comic to read. While I love Bruce Banner, there are only so many ways you can yank one tortured soul before the stories become redundant and meaningless. Amadeus and Maddy Cho are smart, young, and strong characters who are also very humanly flawed. In this issue, Amadeus is trying to make amends for the actions of the Hulk when he was not in control and he comes to grips with the losses and regrets he can’t let go. Not only a great action book but a great sibling book. Alan Davis draws next issue, which I’m way pumped for.
X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever #4- PULL! Bailey has been led into temptation, but luckily for us, the worst X-Man ever has a good heart. I really liked the first few pages that highlight the frivolity and elitism of being an A-List X-Man because it makes Bailey that much more relatable. I’m also glad that this series is self-contained because I do feel like Miranda is way too powerful to be in the mainstream. I know it’s not written or drawn by anyone notable, but that freedom makes this a good book, in my opinion. I look forward to seeing how things wrap up after the shocking events in the final pages.
Brobots and the Kaiju Kerfuffle- PASS! It’s cute, but that’s about it. There are so many elements crammed into this kids comic that it loses any appeal for anyone but hyperactive boys who like action and cheap gags. Three robot brothers fight a sea monster (that’s really just a giant in cosplay) by combining into a “megazord” type robot. The overuse of the term “Bro” just kills any enthusiasm I had about this overpriced book. I feel like this book would appeal to avid Cartoon Network watchers, but after the first few pages, jokes just fall flat from a bad case of trying too hard.
Dark Souls #2- PULL! While not really my cup of tea, I still give this a recommendation because it is well executed and action-packed. Our heroine battles giant spiders, their undead victims, and the embodiment of the evil that lurks within the Weeping Forest. This dark fantasy adventure is interesting enough, but the speech patterns follow an Olde English style, and frankly I am distracted from the story because of it. Still, it’s a solid book with intrigue and magic that provides thrills and suspense throughout.
Dreaming Eagles #5- PULL! If you read my review of the previous issue, you already know that I really dig this book. Ennis and Coleby create a tragically realistic story of black pilots in World War II fighting both Nazis and prejudice on a daily basis. Not too actiony, not too boring, this creates a great balance in art and writing. The comradery is so strong between these guys that their war games are that much more heartbreaking. Really good book that doesn’t shy away from the hard issues. Read it.
Jonesy #4- PASS! I love that this book is brightly colored and doesn’t take itself too seriously, but Jonesy just annoys me. This alternative high schooler with the power to make people fall in love is out to destroy prom, but I fail to see the motivation behind it all. The writing feels like I’m being yelled at and anything that deserves subtlety gets eye-rollingly obvious hinting instead. You can see what’s coming from a mile away as well. The art is fun, but more cartoony than I feel is necessary (and Jonesy is just plain ugly). Skip this.
The Legacy of Luther Strode #6- PASS! This entire issue is one big fight between Luther Strode and Cain, son of Eden, and quite frankly, Luther shoulda got his ass kicked. Cain punches and shatters a freaking sword (which, btw, is not possible) but gets killed with a rock? Come on! The whole time, Cain had the upper hand, but against all odds and logic, he loses. Plus, I like Tradd Moore but he needs to take a class on anatomy because his characters’ muscle structures are all jacked up. No recap page for context, but really it doesn’t matter why. It sucks either way.
Octopus Pie Volume 4- PULL! After reading a couple similarly styled books recently, I thought for sure that this would be a stinker. Well, it’s not. Despite being a predominantly black & white comic with nothing super, sci-fi, or scary, this comic really captures the mindset of millennials trying to navigate society. Drug use, sex, goofy friendships, emotional crisis, and heartache fill these pages, and it’s well written. This isn’t the type of book I usually enjoy, but while reading this, I was thinking “Oh my God, I totally relate to this!” So, yeah, good stuff.
Skylanders: Secret Agent Secrets- PULL! I lost interest with the video game once they added gimmicks like Giants and Swap Force, but this comic blended the older characters with the new very well. The art, style, and writing are all simpatico with the game and features many of my favorite Skylanders including Kaos and Spyro. This oversized book includes three short origin stories of new Supercharger Skylanders and some brief yet redundant bio pages. It’s a fun book with great appeal for kids of all ages, and although a basic knowledge of the game is not required, it is helpful.
Starve #9- PASS! Without any clue of what is going on or who the characters are, the entire issue felt disconnected and pointless. The art isn’t bad for a gritty dark book like this and the writing has merit, but I was constantly questioning what I was reading and why it matters. All I know is that it involves a bizarre cooking show, a company in the process of an ownership transfer, and a man staging a surrender for himself. Other than that, I have no clue. So, an otherwise good comic is ruined by the lingering question of “huh?”
Street Fighter X G.I. Joe- PASS! Some crossovers are great while others feel forced, and this title falls into the latter category. It retains a lot of Street Fighter elements, but I’m not buying the whole G.I. Joe gladiator arena angle. I didn’t read the first 3 issues that no doubt set up the premise of the book, but even so, it isn’t great. The art is pretty standard for an IDW book like this and clearly the writer did his homework, but let’s face it… comic crossovers are like farts; if you have to force it, it’s probably shit.
Vampblade Volume 1- PULL (at your own risk)! From the pages of Zombie Tramp comes this spin off book about a comic shop manager who becomes an S&M badass whose unquenchable need to destroy alien vampires possessing those around her is making her life way difficult! She uses cosmic blades specifically designed to destroy these unseen monsters to become Vampblade, although when she transforms back, she’s totally naked! It sounds crazy because it is, but I did enjoy reading it despite being a trashy excuse to have gratuitous gore and bouncy boobs. Art and writing are better than expected, but it’s not gonna win awards any time soon. Give it a shot, if you dare.
That’s all the new stuff this week, aside from some Essential X-Men reading to get me hyped for X-Men Apocalypse, which is an amazing movie that I highly recommend! In fact, I wrote a full review of it which is linked below, but it’s very long. TL;DR… Characters are a blast for the most part, tons of action and SFX are solid. Great moments for true comic fans. Also, I’m gonna cut myself down to one full comic review a week, in addition to Lightning Reviews and any special articles like interviews and opinion pieces. Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend and until next week, BAMF!