Sunday, June 24, 2007

Quick Take Reviews for June 24

Checkmate #15
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
Here is a look at some of the books that came out this week. Some impressed me while others were lukewarm to cold. It is all in the eye of the beholder!

X-Men: Endangered Species One-Shot: This special by Mike Carey, Scot Eaton, and John Dell signals the next major change going for the mutant population of the Marvel universe. Gathered at a funeral and realizing that their population is decreasing towards extinction, the different sects of mutants react in their own way. There are sources out there that would be only too happy to have the mutants wiped off the face of the earth, and somehow the X-Men must stop this. With special guest appearances by the who’s-who of mutantdom, this is obviously setting up the next year of events. Interestingly, the chapters of this story will be back up stories in four Marvel titles- X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, and New X-Men so readers wanting to follow this tale will need to be purchasing all those titles. Marketing ploy or sheer genius? I guess we will know four months from now. I have mixed feelings about this book, but am willing to see what happens in the next few chapters before making up my mind. Grade: C.

Amazing Spider-Man #541: No offense, but I am really tired of J. Michael Stracsynski on this title. Never has a new book needed new blood so badly. I guess I am still a bit sour about finding out that Gwen Stacy was a bit slutty with Norman Osborne, but all I see is the pathos of the character. Can’t he ever have a bit of a better day, filled with those endearingly awkward moments that have made me love Peter Parker’s character so much? No, because he has outed himself in Civil War and some dickhead shot Aunt May. Now Spider-Man has to be badass. This issue follows in that vein as Spidey tries to get to the bottom of who has harmed his family. It kinda made me hope that he is really a skrull, you know? Grade: D.

Army@Love #4: This Vertigo book is growing on me. At first read of issue one, I was really unimpressed. Then I sat down and read issues 1, 2, and 3 at one sitting and it all clicked. Pathos, drama, action, sex, and thrills with a crazy dash of secrecy add up to make this a killer ride. Soldiers who sign up for the adrenaline rush? God knows it could happen. Rick Veitch and Gary Erskine are a cohesive unit, and their work here is excellent. Adult readers, give it a try! Grade: B+.

Captain America #27:
I don’t know when it happened but somehow I have fallen a bit in love with the Winter Soldier. Yep, I have a Bucky crush. Ed Brubaker and the insanely fantastic art team of Steve Epting, Mike Perkins, and Frank D’Armata have me under their spell. Captain America may have died, but the book lives on in the guise of Bucky, Sharon, and the Falcon. Their search for answers and the guilt that Cap’s death carries have created a dramatic atmosphere that Brubaker has deftly built on. I am glued to this book and have no intentions of going anywhere as long as this creative team stays put. Grade: A.

Checkmate #15: Another chapter of that crazy crossover with the Outsiders finds the Black Queen and Boomerang being tortured while secrets begin to leak all over the place. I have really come to love the “court system” of Kings, Queens, Bishops, and Knights and the complicated web of intrigue it weaves. I also never knew that Egg Fu could be so evil. I may have nightmares tonight. The last page of this book is one of those “holy crap” moments that I love. The crossover ends with Outsiders #49. Grade: B.


Eaglewing said...

As I don't have a steady pull list, I only follow these mega crossovers on the 'net. The only way it really affects me is that I buy fewer trades down the road. I'm not buying something that tells an incomplete story, and I'm not going to be 'forced' into buying more than I want just to get the full story I need. I think these crossover events are basically cash cows, especially since they happen so often now. I wonder how many characters will be killed off or brought back in this one? ;-)

I might have to check out that Army@Love in trade format. Sounds like something I'd like.

Another Ed Brubaker book to add to the list to check out. I never paid it much attention as I wasn't much of a Cap fan, but with out of the way, maybe there's some interesting character stories here. Besides, everything of Brubaker's I pick up I wind up really enjoying. I'm currently reading his graphic novel Scene of the Crime: A Little Piece of Goodnight and its a great noir/ modern P.I. tale.

Nick said...

Eh Checkmate was alright but, the moment they started with all that Black Knight, White King, etc. crap I just lost interest. I never felt the naming conventions to help the story but, rather hinder in the telling of it.

That's just me though, I am a tad persnickety about things.

Heidi Meeley said...

Eaglewing, both Army@Love and Cap are great books. I think getting the trade or hardback of Brubaker's run would be fantastic! I also reccomend Army in the trade form, so the first story arc can be fully absorbed.

Crossovers between more then one title make me irritable because then when I read back issues, I am always missing some part of it. Arggghh!! One example that plagues me to this day is the big All Star Comics/Justice League team up back in the day. I have the books filed under their own title, so I can never get the full effect of a great story. I did hear that they collected it or were planning to, so maybe that would be an out.

Let me know if you check those books out!

Heidi Meeley said...

Nick, you are too cool! I feel you about the whole naming thing, but once it all clicks in, it raises the level of intrigue another notch. I especially love the rocky romance between the Black Queen and White King. Juicy!

It is okay to be persnickety though, God knows there are books that I just get so pissed about because of all the detail that detracts from the enjoyment of it!