5.04.11 Reviews

Moon Knight #1 (Marvel): I don’t really feel particularly compelled by Moon Knight as a character, I don’t really care for Bendis’ writing outside of Fortune & Glory or early Powers, and Alex Maleev can be a hit or miss artist for me, but what the hell? It’s a slow week. Ostensibly, Maleev’s style should be a good fit for the dark tone of the story and character, but many times I felt like the art wasn’t quite conveying what the script intended. The party scene has no energy or sense of movement whatsoever; it merely captures very static shots. There’s the awkward, gratuitous, and un-organic jump-cut to the big two-page splash, which made me, like, jump away from the book, throw it back on my desk, shake my head, grimace, and kind of squint at the close-up with one eye. It wasn’t fun. Generally speaking, most of the panels are very thin on backgrounds. The look of some characters is passable, while others have way too many lines and hatch marks and fuzting going on with the faces. The action is a little hard to follow when the boat pulls up, not sure who is talking to who and if the boat is being pulled, exploding, or flying, but hey, the Ultron reveal was cool. I guess the only parts I did like artistically were when the trio of Avengers was on screen. Wolvie, Spidey, and Cap are rendered in different styles, but remained intriguing. I thought Maleev nailed the expressions and postures of these guys’ wildly divergent personalities quite well, and that hand-to-the-chin head tilt for Spector was absolutely PERFECT. At times, the script just feels like Bendis wanted to write street level Bruce Wayne as arrogant playboy Iron Man. Other times, I liked the banter. I dug the Avengers on the rooftop, highlighting this sort of uneasy alliance regarding the solo Avengers West Coast bit. I think this is the most interesting part of the script for me; the potential franchise opportunity. But how much of the narrative is going to sustain the involvement of Wolverine, Spider-Man, Captain America, or other Avengers? Was this just a cameo to drive interest and get sales up on the first issue? There’s a typo, a line which contains a stray “in” vs. “it.” At the end of it all, it’s an effective set-up, finding out who the “Kingpin of LA” is, and also leaves you wondering if Spector’s mind is fractured and he just made up the whole Avengers bit. As far as the writing goes, yeah, I think I only liked when the Avengers were on screen. Which doesn’t bode very well. If I only liked the art when the other Avengers were on screen, and I only liked the writing when the other Avengers were on screen, doesn’t that inherently mean Moon Knight can’t carry a solo title? Oh well, if it’s another slow week, I might possibly give it an issue or two to make up its mind. For now, a very low… Grade B.

Uncanny X-Force #9 (Marvel): Hrmm… this really is an anomalous issue of this title for many reasons. One, the cover feels generic and/or rushed and/or boring. That’s never really happened before. Two, Billy Tan’s art suddenly doesn’t feel like he’s aping Jerome Opena, but it’s slipped into some other indistinct style that’s neither typical Tan, nor an emulation of Opena, who is the best artist to have graced this title. There are sequences, such as Magneto drinking his drink and receiving the packet from Dr. Nemesis, that are just… no pop… lack proportion… flat… boring… stiff… lifeless… more adjectives! There’s like four pages of this reaction sequence, with no clue as to the identity of the target. Sure, we can assume some things, but how about some clarity? Remender’s dialogue manages a nice Shadow King/Lizard King mix-up that ends with Logan calling Deadpool “ding-dong” again, which never really gets old. But, Logan consoling Warren sounds suspiciously like Colonel Nathan Jessup talking. I don’t recall any of the other dialogue. Not so good. This issue sort of promises this confrontational moment as Magneto discovers the secret existence of X-Force, but then turns into nothing exciting, just a narrative pause between actual missions. It doesn’t feel like it has any consequence, the fact that Magneto is assumably buying this assassination and paying for it with his silence about the team’s existence isn’t even played up. I sort of want to be able to say that only in Uncanny X-Force can Logan silently slaying a long lost Nazi hiding out in Brazil because he just got leveraged by Magneto be considered a relatively quiet issue, but instead it just feels like a usually strong title’s first major stumble. Grade B-.


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