11.23.2011

11.23.11 Reviews (Marvel Edition)

Secret Avengers #19 (Marvel): There’s probably no other writer on the planet that could have someone screaming “Al-Qaeda! Al-Qaeda!” come off as funny during a fire-fight, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Warren Ellis, Michael Lark, and Stefano Gaudiano (this time out) open with our strike team infiltrating an Eastern Bloc crime enterprise to supposedly stop the sale of a homespun super serum (or something far creepier as it turns out – a sort of shamanistic MJ) being sold to The Shadow Council. If you’ve been studying Warren Ellis material for any length of time, there are a few of his “isms” that instantly reveal his hand in the script. The mere mention of things like “The Flowers of Aniana” or “shocktoxin flechette guns” just scream with his brand of intrigue the moment they roll off the page. There’s the type of well played radio traffic that us procedural whores just adore, all while we explore these hidden corners of the Marvel U. You might say that Ellis and/or Lark swiped a small piece of an early Bryan Singer scene out of The Usual Suspects, but that aside, Lark is delivering some extremely well choreographed action sequences that effectively control the pace with sly use of some 9 panel grids. Moon Knight, with his white mask in that white suit, is just an absolutely priceless visual. I’ll never forget that, and never tire of it. The dark and murky aesthetic suits the tone of the story just fine, a perfect match-up between narrative intention and artistic choices. It feels like this team is just barely winning, constantly saving the world on a small scale, just in the nick of time. This issue felt like equal parts Planetary and Global Frequency in the Marvel U. Grade A.

Wolverine & The X-Men #2 (Marvel): I guess everyone on the interwebs is already talking about “the kiss” in this issue, (though I’ll point out that it’s not really clear if that’s actually Bobby or just a dupe), but overall I think it goes a long way toward showing how willing Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo are to shake up the status quo. I loved the flashback that serves as the catalyst for his personality shift, the desire to have Bobby Drake step out of the shadows and step up as a real player in this new era. Aaron does a nice job of utilizing something that feels like an old school plot (Sauron, Wendigo, Krakoa!), but then tempering it with modern dialogue and forward thinking character arcs. Not to mention the inventive nature of the Iceman “dupes,” ala Multiple Man. As Kade Kilgore and The Hellfire Club attack, it seems love is in the air. It’s not just Bobby and Kitty, but also Idie and Broo! Now, it’s no secret that I love Kitty Pryde, but I have to say that Rachel Grey is probably my favorite new character visual in this iteration thanks to the skilled hands of Chris Bachalo. This issue was basically a non-stop ride that sees the team turn to an unconventional person for help. It’s also worth pointing out that this issue does something that most x-books forgot how to do a long time ago – have fun. Grade A-.

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