Friday, December 30, 2011

Renaldo's Reviews: The Cape, Uncanny X-Men, Kick-Ass, Children's Crusade

The Cape - 
An ascension to villainy, depending on your perspective or stance, is one that makes for cliched reads, as per comics of the modern era with many writers trying to do this but lacking the deft skill, planning, tact and execution to pull it off. Marvel tried it with Osborn, and didn't mangle it as much, Waid strayed for from butcher this concept with his Irredeemable/Incorruptible books; but Joe Hill took it on his shoulders with a brilliant 2010 one-shot to show humanity and the evils of the heart within. It's a practical yet visceral foray into the human psyche as the mind of the book's star gets ravaged with jealousy, sin and paranoia amid a barrage of sins...where he felt a lack of acceptance into the world.

Hill is one of the top guns to me in comics currently, and this book thrives on its 3 issues in 2011 driving the stake page by page into the hearts of the endeared characters of its pages. It's a journey where a villain is born from fires and pain...built up for years...pent-up anger unleashed in a cynical, distasteful, mistrusting and selfish manner. Each issue carves at the core of human essence with frugality painted by the one who dons the Cape, with the intricate balance helmed over the simple power of flight. It isn't a book on what the power and responsibility it bears with brings, but more a book about the dark nature of those that are lazy and crave something...more. It's a lust for power but it's still a coming-of-age/adolescent tumbleweed/sibling rivalry tale where a villain decides to wipe the stains off his past away, as he blames them for his falls and misdeeds. He doesn't care for anything but for an excuse for his trials and tribulations, yet with the amazing art and glossy sequences which bear a brash yet gritty sense of realism, the typical escapist looking for a poignant read won't be able to deny the potency and allure of watching someone go about wrecking innocent lives with one aim - to cause them the pain he blamed them for instilling (wrongfully I might add) into his life. Seeing him tear apart family and loved ones...never looked...or well.

Uncanny X-Men #3 - 
It's a bit too expository. Gillen does this well on Gen. Hope and Thor...even his Ares books, but when Sinister does it, it's just rambling and prattling all towards hinting at a Phoenix tease. This started off well but lost steam over the last two issues, and the final page doesn't even seem as intriguing as it was meant to be.

Kick-Ass vol. 2 - 
6 issues in. There's a lot of gore. There's a lot of nasty cussing. There's wanton violence. It's calculated, planned, conniving stuff...sometimes with too much attempt to invoke a shock factor...yet you can't help but fall for the aimless fun and action...and inquisitive nature of what the hell's the next page gonna bring. There are way to many LOL and WTF moments to bash this book. Sometimes, it's ridiculous but it's comics...and Millar makes it clear, he's out to test limits, push boundaries...and get hated upon. Romita's art ain't my cup o'tea but it fits here and Millar's witty yet shockingly realistic banter hits the mark as Kick-Ass and Mindy find their lives torn in different directions, yet when the tables are turned for both heroes, mirror reflections of their woes in vol. 1, the sixth issue converges into a helluva fun time. Seeing KA trudge on through successes and disasters, with a new crew in tandem, while Mindy struggles to adapt to normalcy, brings a non-faltering and non-wavering sense of established excitement (which I can't wait to see on the big-screen); while still instilling a sense of transition, but not so much evolution, for RED MIST. New posses, new nicknames...same old smut...and I loved every page. It's pure filth...yet oh-so-much FUN! Red Mist's army meets KA's in Times Square...and stuff 

Children's Crusade #8 - 
Secret War or not, it's nice to see Doom explode. He goes berserk here but the plot seems a bit forced and contrite with too many heads rearing in this book. Cheung is solid as usual, and as iffy as the plot gets, it seems a juncture to step into AvX a bit too much. The continuity strain really hurts as well as the timeline because we see Steve in original gear, and also...where does this lie with Hickman's FF? I've heard too many excuses from the creators and lost interest. Focusing on the read at hand, this issue is chock full of action, and actually isn't that shabby. Doom admonishes and castigates as we see a vulnerable Wanda usurped by a bitchy Emma...coupled with Wiccan actually proving a focal long last. The end is a bit of a letdown with Doom's resolution...but the last page offers something this book desperately needs. It's a true strain of drama, anxiety and not something force-fed into the pages with a monotonous overcasting. Not a bad issue at all.

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