8.22.07 Reviews

For the first time in 13 Minutes history, we've got a perfect 4.0 week. That's right, straight A's on all of the books that I'd normally buy and review here. Granted, it was a small litter, but this powerful little trifecta simply did not disappoint.

Astonishing X-Men #22 (Marvel): This issue (though late) fired strong on all cylinders, even the talking head bad guys didn't disappoint. Emma continues to show cunning. Kitty is all grown up, complete with sexual escapades and a lived in self-aware world weariness that slings lines like "Everything is so fragile. There's so much conflict, so much pain... You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize this is it; the dust is your life going on." Beast plays devil's advocate. Wolverine gets a couple priceless lines - "Good luck, Summers." Scott shows what it means to be a real leader, and it's all topped off with a heart wrenching flash of panels from Scott's perspective. Whedon clearly has mastered the dynamics of these character interactions, can string along an old school space-faring plot, and Cassaday's pencils are as tight as ever. This was simply a pleasure to read. Grade A+.

Black Summer #2 (Avatar): I'm impressed that an independently published Warren Ellis book is basically coming out on time, with three issues (counting #0) in the can. The plot continues to thicken, with the US Government applying pressure and pressure of another kind brewing as in-fighting among the Seven Guns heats up. Juan Jose Ryp's art is just in your face painfully strong - striking me as a nice blender of Frank Quitely and George Perez. It's just a visual feast, which manages to be clean and expressive, while extremely detailed and highly stylized. And it's all chock full of hearty social commentary. Grade A+.

Immortal Iron Fist #8 (Marvel): I don't necessarily see the need for the guest artists on the flashback scenes (though I suspect it's to keep Aja on schedule?), but the strong narrative more than makes up for it. The concept of the Seven Cities is a solid one, and Danny exploring his powers associated with the Iron Fist is interesting. The Jeryn sub-plot feels real, not like the "B" storyline waiting to converge that it is, and the tournament introductions have an old-school rock 'em sock 'em feel that's just plain fun. And that's topped off with the visual fun of the Final Four style brackets that has a nice campy chic feel to it. Grade A.

I also picked up;

Chance In Hell (Fantagraphics): Admittedly, I've never been a huge fan of The Hernandez Brothers work (gasp! no! blasphemy!), but this neat little self-contained hardcover graphic novel has a striking cover, beautiful book design, and Gilbert's clean pencils coupled with a planned departure from his normal tone/style of work made me check back in.


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