Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rant-Reviews--The Latest Two Issues of Three Comics.

I haven't reviewed some of my comics I like for awhile, so a few of my favorites have built up two issues--Namely, X-Factor, Avengers Academy, and Thunderbolts. So, I figured, why not review them all and besides just evaluating the stories examine how well the comics flow from issue-to-issue. Shall we?

X-Factor #216 AND #217
Wow, these two issues stand as a testament to how different in enjoyment I can have with a comic issue-to-issue. I always enjoy X-Factor, but #216 was just good whereas #217 was great. I suppose the issue is that the parts that make #217 so great have to be set up in earlier issues, such as #216, and as usual Peter David brings all the various story-threads together miraculously. Basically, mayor J. Jonah Jameson of NYC is calling upon X-Factor to investigate the death of a close friend of his, not realizing he is actually being targeted for death himself by some....well, I'm not sure if they are mutants, or what, but they're evil. In #216 Spider-Man shows up and gets a stern talking-to from Monet, while Layla tells Rahne she better stop lying or things will get ugly.

It's #217 where things kick into gear, as the plot to assassinate Jameson goes into action, right after a startilingly good speech from him about--of all things--tolerance. That Peter David can make Jameson seem like something other than a jerk is a testament to how great a writer he is. Oh, and we learn that Monet is Muslim, which makes sense considering her heritage but I don't know if any other writers have outright declared her religion. Plus, Black Cat shows up as also being on Jameson's payroll and otherwise clever and great stuff occurs. I really loved this issue, but #216 was fine also, with this series showing that if I could only read a handful of comics this would be one.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Thunderbolts #154 AND #155
Jeff Parker provides a great Man-Thing story in #154 and shows Luke Cage and the rest of the team growing the Thunderbolt's ranks in #155. As a fan of Man-Thing I of course really liked issue #154 even though it didn't have regular artist Kev Walker--who did return for #155. Since being taken over by Luke Cage and crew this comic has been constantly fun and at times amazing. Plus, its always fun to see such a random assortment of heroes and villains working together.
4 out of 5 stars.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Avengers Academy #9 AND #10
Christos Gage has always been a writer whose work I enjoyed, from Wildstorm series, "Stormwatch, Post-Human Division," that was my first exposure to him some years ago, to his work on Avengers: The Initiative. He continues impressing here with two solid issues even though the cover to issue #10 which has the slogan, "Magic 101," has nothing to do with magic. That's fine with me though, because in issue #10 we get extended time with Robbie Baldwin (who is always interesting to read whether as Speedball or Penance) at Stamford--where the whole disaster that kicked off the Civil War event occurred.

Before that issue we have a guest appearance by Taskmaster in #9 sort-of addressing how it is possible Finesse could be his daughter, but he doesn't know because--as we learned in the Fred Van Lente mini-series--he has a memory issue. Both issues felt jam-packed with story and action, so I finished them feeling satisfied. This newer series has been solid so far and I hope it continues with the good quality. There is also a creepy moment at  the end with Tigra showing she might be a bit of a hypocrite for getting so mad at the kids for beating up the Hood when she herself...well, read it and see if you feel a bit weirded out too.
3.5 stars out of 5.
4 stars out of 5.

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