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Dark Wolverine #82
Written by Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu
Art by Guiseppe Camuncoli and Onofrio Catacchio
Colors by Marte Gracia and Antonio Fabela
Lettering by VC's Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by David Pepose
While the last few issues of this series have felt bruised and battered, Dark Wolverine is back with a vengeance in this tie-in to Siege, as there's a lot of hard-hitting violence and at least one scene that, despite myself, I immediately said out loud: "Did they really just do that?"
Don't worry, I'm not going to give away that moment -- but if Way and Liu are allowed to get away with it, I'm going to be particularly impressed with how ballsy this book is. In any event, the thinking man's Wolverine isn't really back to the scheming and plotting I loved so much in the first arc, but that's not to say that he doesn't kick some serious Asgardian in this book. That said, while Daken's innate poetry doesn't quite fire on all cylinders, the relationships between the Dark Avengers are back, and these are among the best moments of the book.
But the writing alone wouldn't have been able to carry this book -- that honor goes to the art team, who manage to take this arguably street-level character and believably pit him against the warriors of Asgard. If Guiseppe Camuncoli and Onofrio Catacchio don't get a raise -- or a high-profile book after Dark Wolverine -- it's proof there's no justice in this world, because every page nails the composition, the action, the expressiveness.
Camuncoli and Catacchio's great strength is giving a real sense of nuance to the body language and expressions, that suddenly gets cranked up to 11 when the battle is on. Whether it's the little touches, like Venom snarling, or big iconic shots like Daken crouching over a pile of bodies, this book brings its A-game when it comes to its visuals. Colorists Marte Gracia and Antonio Fabela also deserve a round of applause, as they manage to incorporate the lush colors of Laura Martin, while at the same time giving it this sense of electricity that I've really only seen from Jose Villarrubia. It's superb.
It's not quite as polished as its tremendous first arc -- there are some moments that I have really no idea what Daken was trying to convey, and the sense of motion isn't quite as strong as it once was -- but either which way, this series is not going quietly into the night. With the writing taking steps in the right direction, the art team having about as much fun as they possibly can on this book, and one heck of a strong cliffhanger, Dark Wolverine #82 is definitely worth a look.
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Jean Diaz and Belardino Brabo
Colors by Andrew Dalhouse
Lettering by Ed Dukeshire
Published by BOOM! Studios
Review by David Pepose
Sophomore slump? What sophomore slump?
Incorruptible proves that there's still some power in a second impression, with some consistent improvement from all sides on its returning issue. By getting just a glimpse of Max Danger -- as well as the sorts of threats a post-Plutonian world has to offer -- the folks at BOOM! Studios are building up a worthy follow-up to their flagship book.
The part about this book that really deserves some praise has to be the artwork from Jean Diaz. I'll be honest, I couldn't believe the same artist drew both the first issue and the second -- the faces look smoother, more expressive. It's not flashy by any means, of course, but little moments, such as a perp getting blown apart by gunfire, or the hunch that Max Danger has when he walks, it's great. I've said in the past that Incorruptible's sister series, Irredeemable, has had a steady curve of improvement since it began -- but Incorruptible just made a quantum leap.
Writer Mark Waid, meanwhile, gets a chance to really flex his superheroic muscles. If Irredeemable was a negative of Superman, Incorruptible is a negative of that, meaning that it's okay for him to demonstrate some altruistic flair. It's not anything groundbreaking, but at the same time, we do see that it's not as easy for Max as it looks -- even if he's virtually invulnerable to everything around him. The weakness for both Max Danger and the Plutonian has never been a physical beatdown -- it's always been a weakness of the mind. It'll be interesting to see if Max can succeed where the Plutonian has surely failed.
Either which way, it's clear that the team at BOOM! Studios have been eating their Wheaties, because Incorruptible #2 is a book that really hits about its weight class. While I'm still curious about the overall theme here -- it's not really as clear as to what Waid's trying to say in this book, whereas the theme of ungratefulness and human weakness came into play very early on in Irredeemable -- the sheer effort of the team is enough to keep me on board for next month. If Incorruptible can shake off the methodical plotting of its sister book, it'll be a great superhero actioner that could even stand on its own two feet.
Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural #4
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Jefte Palo & Alessandro Vitti
Colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters by Dave Lanphear
Cover by Marko Djurdjevic
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by Lan Pitts
But I am sure of one thing. To end this madness -- I must die at the hands of my brother. -- Daniel Drumm
Thank, God. It's been a slow burn, but this was the issue I've been waiting for in this series. Finally Doctor Voodoo relieves himself of the self-doubt and turmoil to accept his new role and I can't wait to see what transpires out of this. So, what we have here is the Doctor and other various magical Marvel characters such as Ghost Rider, Magick, and I'm sure I saw the Living Mummy, under the influence of Nightmare, hunting Daniel who has possessed the Son of Satan's body for the time being. There's a backstory on how Daniel actually died and the beginning to Jericho's pursuit in the supernatural, and of course a team up I didn't really see coming. What's the old saying? The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Rick Remender has crafted this character for readers unfamiliar with him, and I loved how this issue turned out. He gave Drumm layers and it was about time he shed the layer of "uncertain of his position" next issue has potential to be one hell of an all-out supernatural slugfest. Just as previous issues, we have Jefte Palo on art, assisted by Alessandro Vitti, and outstanding color crafting by Beaulieu. My main disappointment is the confusion I had about this series. At one time, I read it was an ongoing. Then, a mini. Then again ongoing...but it does appear to be a mini that ends next issue. I guess I should have taken a hint when no other Marvel books were affected by Nightmare's Hell on Earth. Funny how that works.
Calling this a misstep is about right. I've had fun with this book and feel shafted now that I'm sure this was just something to get Voodoo over with the fans so he can be a member of a new Avengers team. That's my guess anyways. Visually, the book is one of my favorites on the market, Nightmare's hair aside. Palo and Vitti really shine not only with the superheroics, but with the flashbacks as well. I wished the character had been allowed a full series, but then again, when the former Sorcerer Supreme only got a four-issue mini, I guess I was expecting too much.
Amazing Spider-Man #618
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Marcos Martin and Javier Rodriguez
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by George Marston
It is no secret that I am a huge Amazing Spider-Man fan. Hell, I gave the title my "gold medal" for 2009, and if the last several issues are any indication, Dan Slott and the rest of the Spidey Braintrust are gunning for it again in 2010. After last week's relatively subdued character piece, we turn to my personal favorite Spider-Foe, the menacing Mysterio, for a little more flash in issue #618. Dan Slott strikes a very nice balance between Spider-Man's humor and pathos. The dialogue never falls prey to some of the pitfalls Slott often has in his characterization, and the pacing is just right. So much happened in this issue, it almost felt oversized. On top of that, Marcos Martin's art is utterly sublime. I could not ask for a better artist for this title, and he delivers in full force. Javier Rodriguez's subtle color work is perfect, as the muted tones of the hardboiled Maggia-centric scenes really make Spider-Man's brighter colors pop in just the right way.
This story picks up some of the threads introduced way back in Slott's first run at the start of "Brand New Day," exploring the heightened tensions between Mr. Negative and the Maggia. The Maggia, whose high ranking members have all died under awful circumstances over the last few years, find themselves under the leadership of a dimwitted heir who is more interested in whatever plate of pasta is being shoved in front of him than actually running the crime family, and so decide to enact a contingency plan. That's where Mysterio comes in, and it is at his hand that the Maggia finds the strength to turn the tables on Mr. Negative's faction.
The idea of Spider-Man being embroiled in a battle between two warring crime factions is nothing new; in fact this story harkens back to the early days when Lee and Ditko has Spider-Man stuck between the Crime Master and the Green Goblin for control of the criminal underworld. Throw in Mysterio's involvement, and you've got some classic fare for fans of our friendly neighborhood webhead. On top of all that, Aunt May and her new husband, Jay Jameson, have returned from their honeymoon. May has a run in with Mr. Negative, and let's just say that if he was Loki she'd have ended up with super powers instead of the crabby attitude he bestows on her. This issue also taught me a new Spider-Fact: Peter Parker drives like a jerk.
All things considered, if you are a fan of the classic Spider-Man style of storytelling, even if you haven't given the title a chance since "Brand New Day" lifted off, I highly recommend this issue. Lots of great action, some fine characterization, and plenty of Spider-Man mythos make this issue a home run. Dan Slott is at his best, and Marcos Martin is almost unparalelled in all ways.
Battlefields: Happy Valley #2 (Dynamite; by Troy): The bomber crew faces an extremely dangerous situation on an op, the most dire of which is caused by an unexpected source. Once again, Garth Ennis nails everything that you’d expect from a top-notch war story, from the camaraderie of the men to the moments of heroism cut by sheer terror. During the missions, it seems that anyone (or everyone) could die at any moment, and that’s indeed part of the point. It takes a great deal of trust between a bomber crew and the pilot to make any facet of their jobs work, and that link is explored thoroughly here. High marks to artist P.J. Holden for strong character work and sharp verisimilitude.