8.24.11 Reviews (Part 1)

Northlanders #43 (DC/Vertigo): In some small way, I can’t help but feeling the emotional intent behind this arc. It isn’t just that it’s the last extended arc of the series, and the sorrow that brings. It’s almost as if Brian Wood is so proud of this final arc because it feels like he’s distilled all of his common themes into one story. We see characters coming of age and contending with their own sense of identity, and see the types of generational rifts that have become hallmarks of his writing. In a roundabout manner, we can even see reflections of New York City. When you see this new wave of Viking immigrants vying to establish dominance and carve up slices of a finite pie in their new world, it’s not unlike the crime that commonly came with new waves of Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants to New York City. Even in the Icelandic Trilogy, there seem to be shades of a distant American story. With the Hauksons and Belgarssons locked in strife, there’s commentary about the nature vs. nurture debate, unflinching emotional brutality, and the only certainty seems to be more turmoil. I’m quite curious to see where else Wood and company take us on this swan song. Azaceta’s art, aided by Dave McCaig’s coloring, is right at home in this stark world. The title page lends an epic feel of man’s struggle against nature, and the palette shifts deftly from icy waters, to crimson rage, to the blue-green shades of night. It really is something to behold. Grade A.

Uncanny X-Force #13 (Marvel): Good lord, this book sucks. I don’t even know where to start; every aspect of it is flawed. It’s inconsistent, jumping from almost ok to absolutely horrible, which I think makes it worse than if it was all just consistently poor at the same level. In an effort to let you experience what it feels like to read this book, I’ll just relay my notes as I took them, totally out of sequence, chopped and clipped, not organized, and not even in complete sentences at times: Age of Apocalypse. Art claustrophobic Michael Bay direction, up too close, quick jump cuts give me a headache, no flow seamlessly scene to scene, just bluster, tries for humor with Gambit “rogue-ish anti-hero banter,” but a little too on the nose, fine balance between natural humor and staged dialogue, sounds trite, Celestial drones, Gambit, Rogue, where did this come from? Did I miss an issue or something, part of a crossover in another book? Hot mess, unstable creative team, meandering inconsequential story, no longer feels like destination book, just another dull mediocre X-franchise being burped out. A lot of words, but still no idea who doing what and why. Bogged down by weight of its own continuity, time travel alt timeline paradox, unless very different very soon not sure if I’ll continue buying this title. Needs an artist! How quickly the mighty fall, first 4 issues some of best comics ever, and within space of a year = crap. Mark Brooks ok, trying to ape better Jerome Opena, but Scot Eaton = boo, coloring goes from full life to full flat. Unmitigated disaster. Feels like a bunch of different fill-in artists, fill-in stories, fill-in coloring all had car accident together. Grade C-.


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