2.01.12 Reviews (Part 2)

Winter Soldier #1 (Marvel): I actually have no idea if the first issue of Winter Soldier is any good, but since I read it right after UXF #21 (below), it felt goddamn Shakespearean by comparison. Ed Brubaker and Butch Guice deliver an engaging blend of noir/espionage/superheroics that hummed right along. It could have just as easily been called The Adventures of Winter Soldier & Black Widow, and that’s just fine with me. It’s always nice to see a softer, more personal side of Black Widow in addition to her superspy bad-assery. If you like art in the neighborhood of Gaydos/Lark/Southworth, then this will be right up your alley. Guice packs the issue with inventive panel layouts and a dark murky style that matches the moral flexibility of the world. I would even dare to say that the art feels a touch claustrophobic at times, but that’s actually intended as a compliment. I think it captures Barnes trying to process so much information at once about Department X and the Russian Mob and Sleeper Agents as he tries to find himself in this overwhelmingly complex world. I wasn’t blown away, but there’s heaps of potential here and I’ll likely check out another couple issues at the very least. Grade B+.

Uncanny X-Force #21 (Marvel): You know you’re in trouble when the best thing about a book is the mediocre Leinil Francis Yu cover. The interior art is largely an exercise in style over substance, which kind of reminded me of Simone Bianchi’s work on Astonishing X-Men. At first glance, it looks amazing, but the closer you look, you start noticing the muddled composition, chintzy backgrounds, and the fact that none of the panel transitions really make any sense. Tocchini’s figure work just doesn’t have the clarity or gravitas of Jerome Opena, and I’m afraid that any artists who come on in his wake are forever chasing him unsuccessfully. At the core, there’s the seed of an interesting idea here, about the Braddocks and Fantomex locked in opposition, to the point that the Captain Britain Corps wants to erase his entire existence retroactively through time and all dimensions, but you’d never know it when it’s buried beneath all this snoozy Otherworld crap that has absolutely no pizzazz. It’s choppy, it doesn’t flow well, and what the hell is Wolverine doing? When Remender's on, he’s capable of producing LOL banter between many of these characters, particularly Deadpool. He’s off now though, so instead, we get absolutely flat dialogue with contrived LOTR and Frazetta references. I also have no idea who the person on the last page is supposed to be. My, how the mighty have fallen. This book was on my Best of 2011 list and now just 2 issues later, I’m suddenly considering dropping it?! It’s very frustrating. Dean White does his best on coloring, keeping this grade from dipping any lower than Grade C+.


At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Jeremy said...

Just hold out till Phil Noto comes out in April for UXF. Stay strong, brother!


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