Avengers 19 –
No to the last page. To me it defies and defiles the purpose of the duplicity that lies behind the new Dark Avengers. I really don’t know what goes through Bendis’ mind at times. Then again, this issue is compounded with a bunch of quippy one-liners and sexual tension, you’d think Peter Parker ran though everyone’s veins. Funnily, he and Logan barely get screen time. Bendis loses his handle on how he wrote Stark and Rogers, and the grasp of a returning ex-teammate doesn’t shine as much as I thought it would. It seemed robotic too much, pun intended. The roster is uninteresting and Steve, out of character, goes about this in a very go-lucky yet haphazard manner. Such an issue is one of rebuilding, rehashing and pure poignant themes. It’s pertinent and telling…or at least it should be. Bendis makes it shambolic and a bit too humorous for me. Acuna’s art barely passes but only because there aren’t any real action scenes. What irks me is that Jess Drew and Noh-Varr keep serving no purpose. The one bright spot is focused on Daisy Johnson, who is back with Bendis, after loan to Hickman…and she knocks the issue out the park. She steals the spotlight and despite that stammering final page, I’m coming back to see Bendis write her…she’s the only he seems to be in sync with!
Justice League 03 –
Lee’s art is ever improving by the issue and here, he cuts loose with some wonderfully spread panels of unbridled action and chaos. It’s filled with charisma and enthusiasm but Williams on inks and the colouring team, need be praised. They are making Lee’s stuff gleam. That aside, Johns doesn’t turn out a great script…actually, wait…the script is decent but his dialogue, one-liners, oogling over Diana are a bit cheesy and lax. He takes a powerful team and adds too much nonchalance in. Diana, a la Marvel’s Herc, is well written as is Steve Trevor, but the heroes really lack a voice…it seems they just spew what the average fanboy seems to think. Johns doesn’t grab with this issue but at least the action points to a certain rising villain, who literally ascends and teases his presence. While the Cyborg arc seems too forced and sketchy, the manner the team assembles is thought out and crafted nicely. Planning is good and the execution not too bad…but by Johns’ high standards, more is expected. His work is dwindling since BRIGHTEST DAY ended but I’m inclined to return as the villain rears his head, along with one of the cheesiest written final pages ever…but the role it plays in the story…is spot on. Overall, this issue fits nicely but really…Johns needs to step up a bit more.
Severed 1-4 –
Tuft and Snyder…craft an early 1900s tale of friendship, subtle romance, paternal losses…over a curtain of hidden gore and an eerie calm of cannibalism…so well…that it really takes you back to a time when you loved Stephen King. The art of Attila Funaki is so smooth and segues amazingly with the tale strewn by the creators about Jack, a young runaway searching for his long-lost father, while taking in a friend, Sam, leading to a journey with a monster that devours children for fun. It’s basic a story but the machinations here, while simple, offer an uneasy feel of horror and impending doom basis the innocence and naivety of youth. This theme is played on perfectly as the monster stands licking teeth and waiting. It’s not dark and broody and gory…but it’s full of precise tact and embeds itself nicely onto the main issue of trust. Who do you trust? New friends or new strangers? This book is calm yet it gets a pulse racing because there’s always an unsettling worry with the antagonist lurking nearby. It is what a horror story needs to be…well paced and keeping you on the edge of the pages…flipping with anxiety and unsuspecting nerves. Few curve balls have been thrown here but there was a particular demise that to me reeks of a special twist that I didn’t see coming. I guess the book didn’t hold back as much as I thought it would…and that, by no stretch of the imagination, is no bad thing. Pick this up and when issue 5 hits, expect fireworks…or blood…a lot of!