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This week (25 July 2012), the fight continues in The Avengers #28, the controversial Batman Incorporated #3 is released in some places, we search through the Debris #1, Hit-Girl #2 fights back, Zenescope Entertainment is simply Irresistible #1 and X-Treme X-Men #1 does little to push the envelope.
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The Avengers #28 [Marvel, Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Walt Simonson (artist), Bits Rating: ★★★½]: In the midst of all this seemingly never-ending Avengers Vs X-Men madness, Bendis delivers a story that is all about character. A single character, in fact. Focusing on Red Hulk, the issue is largely an internal monologue, laid out in a largely dialogue-less format that continues to play with the format, just as Bendis did with the Fear Itself issues last year. He touches on a very simple idea, that the team only trusts him because Captain America tells them to. Ironically, as General Ross he outranks the Cap, and this issue explores not only his years of experience, but the ability to make the life and death decisions that Steve Rogers can’t, or perhaps won’t. It is still somewhat hamstrung by the bigger AvX picture, but who would have thought that Red Hulk would be one of the most intriguing characters of the year? Walter Simonson’s art is naturally distinctive, making this issue a nice island in the stream as this arc continues for another few months.
Batman Incorporated #3 [DC Comics, Grant Morrison (writer), Chris Burnham (artist), Bits Rating: ★★★★]: The recent events in Aurora have given a number of studios pause for thought, and this week’s issue of Batman Incorporated was actually requested to be held by DC for a month out of respect for the tragedy. However, some issues were released while others got out internationally. Either way, the offending panels are below, and you can either judge it for yourself now, or wait a month until it hits stores. Sadly, eBay has taken advantage of this and is selling this for around $30, with the recalled variant upwards of the $100 mark. Madness. Just wait a month people. Anyways, with the return of Batman’s alter ego Matches Malone, a Sherlock Holmesian disguise to infiltrate the underworld, Morrison continues to prove that there is still room for a detective comic at DC. Filled with the same offbeat humour that has characterised his work to date, and with wonderfully vivid art from Burnham, this also marks a turning point for Robin. Nightwing rather flippantly refers to him as “the new dead Robin”, in front of Bruce no less, but that is what makes this book work. It also features, to our great delight, the return of BatCow, who seems to have been tended to by Alfred this whole time. Said Cow also contains a vital clue.
Debris #1 (of 4) [Image Comics, Kurtis J. Weibe (writer), Riley Rossmo (artist), Bits Rating: ★★★★ – PICK OF THE WEEK]: Image are knocking them out of the park this year with new debuts, and the new mini-series Debris is no exception. The Earth is a wasteland and giant creatures called Colossals rise up out of the debris to attack the settlers. Only one woman, Maya, has the gumption to face them as she searches for a source of pure water. Yes, it may be similar to the classic Hayao Miyazaki manga/film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, but such a comparison warrants attention. For such a short series, Weibe does a terrific job of establishing the boundaries of this world, language and its characters, with Maya potentially one of the best female heroes in a long time, exhibiting an uncertain strength in this first outing. Rossmo’s distinctive art compliments Weibe’s scope nicely, from the character close-ups to the massive splash pages of organic-industrial monsters that terrify as much as intrigue. Weibe has set the direction early for this new series, and we want to know more about this world.
When trash attacks – Debris #1 (Image)
Hit-Girl #2 [Icon, Mark Millar (writer), John Romita Jr (artist) – Bits Rating: ★★★½]: “The Best Just Got Better,” proclaims the cover, and for the most part they are right. We were as surprised as anybody to find that not only did Hit-Girl exceed our expectations, it has made us completely forget about Kick-Ass 2. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate, as this series warrants a re-reading of that second volume in light of the character development found in this interstitial series. Indeed, this gap-filler series actually adds new depth and meaning to that series, as Mindy continues to struggle with fitting in at school and training Dave. Some memorable moments of Dave training to swing through windows provides comic levity reminiscent of the first volume, especially as Dave messes up his killer catchphrase. The only problem with this is that we feel as though we’ve already been here before, but the bonding moments between the dynamic duo more than make up for any sense of the familiar. We also start to get a sense of the development of the “Justice Forever” team. Romita’s art is still deliberately gritty, but it comes together as whole with greater clarity here. Definitely worth a look, and a must-read for fans of the series.
Irresistible #1 [Zenoscope Entertainment, Raven Gregory (writer), Derlis Santacruz (artist), Bits Rating: ★★½]: If there was ever a comic book that knew its target market, then it is Irresistible. After successfully sexing up Alice in Wonderland in his Wonderland Trilogy and Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Gregory turns his attention more directly to getting laid. The basic premise revolves around a down-and-out guy getting over a bad break-up 18 months prior, only to find himself on the receiving ending of a gypsy curse/blessing that makes him irresistible (yes, just like the title!) to all women. It’s a “be careful what you wish for” fable, and those who wished for a comic full of soft-core T & A where the protagonist is going to have lots of sex may have just bit off more than they can chew. Sanatzcruz’s art is smooth and sexy, pitched at the lighthearted tone of this book, and Franco Riesco’s colours can be largely attributed to its success. it’s just a shame that this first issue is so dialogue-heavy that is obscures the lovingly rendered art at times. There’s some great one-liners though, and while the first issue may read like a wet-dream, there is the promise of comedic situations to come in future issues. We’ll give this one another look next month.
X-Treme X-Men #1 [Marvel, Greg Pak and Stephen Segovia (writers and art), Bits Rating: ★★½ ]: Chris Claremont’s X-Treme X-Men finished its 46 issue run back in 2004, and we may have been the only people to miss it. This rebooted series comes out of Astonishing X-Men, featuring the parallel Earth characters of Captain Howlett (or Alt.Wolverine if you prefer), Kid Nightcrawler, and Emmeline Frost, the floating head of Professor X and the rock stylings of Dazzler travelling to inter-dimensional places. They have 10 mega-Xaviers to find and destroy before they do something or other. It’s a very cool idea, of course, but it’s all been done before. By DC no less. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the Countdown (2007) series in which Donna Troy, Jason Todd and Kyle Rayner toured the Multiverse, this promises all the fun of quantum-leaping through the various versions of the Marvel U with a similarly mismatched group. The artwork is incredibly patchy, and the alternative cover by Salvador Larocca only makes us yearn for the past. Plus, can somebody tell Dazzler the 1990s ended over 20 years ago? The series is careful to not take anybody important out of the Marvel 616, but the potential is here for some incredible fun over the coming months. For now, this is X-tremely disappointing.