I promised you folks some more substantial reviews this week, so here you go! Capsule reviews for a few books I read this week (there will most likely be some spoilers included here)! I'll start with a few Marvel titles, and I'll try to get more reviews up before Wednesday!
Amazing Spider-Man #535 - I've never been a fan of these "4a" comic tie-ins, you know, the ones that exist between the significant events in a character's life that take place in the "real" story. It totally butchers the narrative of the individual comic when you reach the conclusion and it's "to be continued...in some other book." Lame.
Anyhow, it doesn't help that this issue wasn't very good anyways. The real distressing thing to me is that J. Michael Straczynski is the current writer on Fantastic Four - so when he does the hack job on Reed Richards in this issue, it is quite annoying when you realize it's not a case of a writer who isn't following the book butchering the character, but the writer of the book in question!
Now, the whole bit about how Reed was adamantly against a similar law during the 80s and now he's supporting this Act, I don't really care about. I'm not one for holding one writer to the obscure plots of another writer from twenty or so years ago. However, I do not think it is unfair to hold a writer to their OWN work from, what, earlier this year? In the pages of Fantastic Four, child welfare wanted to take their kids from Reed and Sue because of the dangers associated with living with the Fantastic Four (enemies attacking, etc.). Reed proves why this is a silly idea when he tells them to enter the location of Franklin and Valeria into their most secured system. Mere hours later, that location is attacked and destroyed. Reed's point is that the government is not secure enough to protect his children, so that is why they live with the FF - they're safest with them, even if they get attacked some times.
This does NOT mean that Reed wouldn't support the Act. Heck, I think there's a very reasonable argument by Reed that, since the law was going to pass ANYways, it is better for him to control it, because he CAN'T trust the government to do it on their own. That would be reasonable (and you could disagree with it, how novel - a reasonable position that you could differ with!), but that's not how Straczynski has Reed react. Instead, he says stuff like "The law is the law" and that his uncle was wrong to not cooperate with Joe McCarthy and HUAC.
At least Reed acts like he is conflicted - Tony is just a freakin' loon.
Also, could someone please answer this - I get the whole principles thing, and if you wanted to avoid registrating and going on the run, fair enough. However, if you're CAUGHT and thrown in the Negative Zone prison, why exactly WOULDN'T you just register to get out of jail? They know your name - they know your powers - therefore, the very thing you went on the run to avoid, they KNOW. The only tangible difference between registering and not is that if you don't register, you're locked up in jail for the rest of your life!! Who would take that deal?!!?
It's nice to see Peter realize well late that he's on the evil side. Should make for a fun battle in, you know, the real comic, Civil War. This comic? Not Recommended.
Black Panther #20 - Honestly? I was sort of just pleased to see Panther lecturing someone other than Americans, for once...hehe.
Seriously, this was a pretty routine story, with nice artwork from Manuel Garcia (is he the new artist on this title?).
The Inhumans invite Black Panther and Storm to the moon to hear about the Inhumans impending war on humanity (due to the US Government refusing to turn over the Terragin Mists that Quicksilver stole). Crystal hopes T'Challa can convince Black Bolt of not condeming humanity for the acts of a few bad eggs. Panther gets pissed, though, when he learns that some Inhumans are still using Alpha Primitives as slaves.
So we then get to see Panther match up with Karnak and knock him out with one punch - ho hum, another issue, another bit of "Kewl, Panther pwns everyone!!!"
Hudlin does make some interesting points about the everyday workings of a government where the leader's orders can be relayed, but not his tone - and much is lost in translation (leading to a neat bit where Medusa wants T'Challa's help fixing that).
The continuity errors (like Storm not remembering being on the Blue Area before) were silly, but no big deals.
Overall, it was a decent enough issue, but a bit too slight. Slightly Not Recommended.
Cable & Deadpool #32 - You know how sometimes writers try to quickly "salvage" another writer's work by wacky explanations like "Oh, no, that was a clone who said that" or stuff like that?
Well, this issue of Cable and Deadpool read like that for the last issue of Cable and Deadpool, only both books had the same writer!!!
Last issue, I thought that the President character was written way too over the top villain-y. He was practically twirling a moustache as he talked with Cable.
This issue, the President makes a total 180, becoming much more reasonable (and the government does a nice bit of spin by claiming that the President was a Life Model Decoy who was designed to intentionally provoke Cable).
So everyone is quite reasonable in this issue, and we get a number of nice dialogues about Civil War, with balanced sides.
However, the balanced debate over the issues is all fairly repetitive stuff that we've heard for months now, so it didn't feel very fresh.
Staz Johnson's art was decent, but the issue just didn't have enough of a hook, I don't think, for me to recommend it - although it's one of the better Civil War tie-ins. Not Recommended.
Heroes for Hire #2 - It's pretty cheesy that Billy Tucci needs Francis Portella to help with pencils for the SECOND issue of the title.
This is another one of those issues where most of it is just characters reacting to the "real" story, although I will give Palmiotti and Gray a lot of credit for trying to make this issue feel more like a real issue than, say, Amazing Spider-Man.
I have no problem with Paladin betraying the Heroes for Hire, but I do not think it was good to portray him as a total asshole. I would have much preferred a "Sorry, but they're paying me more." That would work well, I think. Not this "Haha, you guys are lame!" stuff we got in the comic. Doesn't fit Paladin's personality, I do not think. Remember how tough it was him to shoot Daredevil over in Daredevil? I like that portrayal better - he's willing to do crummy things, but he at least feels crummy about them.
The art is also way too T&A, so combine that with a pretty slight issue (although one that TRIES to do more) with an annoying take on Paladin, I would say - Not Recommended.