Friday, December 9, 2011

Renaldo Reviews Part 2 - Voltron, Uncanny X-Men and More!

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Renaldo reviews another mixed bag of comic books - Voltron #1, Generation Hope #1-13 and Uncanny X-Men #540-544 & #1-2. Check 'em out after the jump!

Voltron #1 – there are a lot of variants. Alex Ross…wtf? That aside, the issue has a lot of action, albeit in some confusing panes. The panels are mumbled and jumbled at times, but Brandon Thomas and Ariel Padilla write and sketch some nifty stuff with a story that isn’t what I expected a first issue to be. There’s no prologue, no major origins, no character backdrop or major past developments…we’re mostly in the present. It’s not a bad way to go, as the issue is full of punch. Thomas will be rehashing some things as seen with the Zarkon arc and it adds a more earthly feel to the book. There’s something nefarious coming and seeing Voltron independent of the 5 other pilots do make for an intriguing tale. Fans of old-school Voltron, books or cartoons, may not take to this revamp, but I’m one…and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not a bad kickoff!
Generation Hope # 1- 13 – Gillen shows a dynamic that grows under artists such as McKelvie and Espin, whom are fitted with sublime ease to his vision. This reminded me of some BKV Runaways, but not as wholesome. Yet Gillen did manage to intricately give the team a persona of its own while individualize the characters and make them stand out. Everyone gets proper screen time, from Hope to Kenji and Teon, and Scott, Emma or Logan also offer useful contributions as Schism came to light. Teen suicide, romance and warfare for youth – all tackled with grit, humour and an attitude that was reminiscent of YXM in its good days. Gillen came into his own and it’s sad he won’t be here again but Asmus is a decent replacement with the sleek Ibraim Roberson. Even the Ide FEAR arc showed gusto and Gillen’s panache to craft impacting stories. The Teon arc and subterfuge with Zero/Transonic also proved smooth and alluring. Tackling Hope’s ID comes full circle in 2012 and Gillen will be missed but his UXM stuff should compensate those in need. Each mission and each squabble were done major justice.

Uncanny X-Men: 540-544 and #1, 2 in the relaunch - I favored this title more when Gillen took over full time as I'm a fan of his Gen. Hope and his Thor. His Phonogram works ushered me into his stable as I often compare his style to BKV and if I could have Gillen on Runaways...I would. It's nice how he handles the ensemble of these mutants, and his handle on Scott as well as Namor, Emma, Magnus etc is spot-on. His grip on showing a militant Summers looking after Utopia is downright perfect. His FEAR tie-in was really riveting with Juggernaut, an avatar of the Serpent, coming to town and the UXM going head-to-head and not winning. This series was filled with master moments as Gillen has the dialogue and character relations down to a tee. Just as he picked up from JMS, he did so from Fraction with a seamless and sometimes flawless cohesiveness. It was so well done that sometimes you looked past the average art of Greg Land. Seeing Summers offer contingency plan, one after the other, while showing his X-Men struggling in FEAR, really played off smoothly. With the relaunch under Pacheco's art, Sinister returned and while the entire arc is a bit bland, Gillen continues to script the characters, heroes and villains, with a clever ease. Pachecho is wonderful and constructive in the best manner and it's nice how Gillen's Summers has the opinion that they are better than the Avengers, and goes out at all costs to protect all species of Earth...and even considers TEAM LOGAN's best interests at heart. Despite a bogged down and sometimes lax Sinister arc, Gillen continues to spin a strong dynamic with Emma/Hope, Emma/Namor and many others. Magneto's status and r'ship with Summers varies on different books, as seen in Children's Crusade, but here...he rightfully takes a backseat as Scott leads from the front. With the Rasputins sure to butt heads and Ororo seemingly disenchanted and now an Avenger...Gillen's UXM has a lot of potential stories brimming. There are some complex and nefarious members on Utopia, and Domino, Psylocke and Hope are a few that would spin heads when their final fates are revealed I'm sure. Gillen delivers and does so...very solidly. 

Wolverine and the X-Men #1, 2 - Call Bachalo's art muddled and confusing, but it's a fine frenzy to me. I'm a big fan of him as he has spunk, fun and charisma in his works. That aside, Jason Aaron writes an obnoxious yet witty tale in these 2 issues that show Logan as endearing and really a turncoat. His solo/X-Force/Avenger days are all brutal and cutting, but here...he's big daddy and as a father figure he has a lot to take care of...mutants! Beast, Kitty and Iceman are all pivotal facets in Aaron's title and he uses a cliched fun cast to churn out the proverbial midnight oil. Rachel Grey is also popping up and that's good to me. The new Hellfire Club displays such a distinct hubris that it's borderline unbelievable. Overall, Aaron's grasp on showing the potential stresses, strains and fractures with Logan's new school is pretty safe and sound. His Kitty Pryde and Iceman are remarkably written and you'd think he's been doing these characters for some time. It's his first foray into a team book but what he scripts is relayed so well by Bachalo. The action is exhausting but this relentless pace makes an indefatigable book. It's well conferred that Logan has high expectations and standards to live up to by keeping all these younglings safe, and reconvening with Xavier shows how hard he's trying to make this venture work. Logan's tribute and homage to Jean also rears its head and overall, while the Hellfire Club is anew yet shoddy, what makes a good read is Aaron's penchant to deliver good action sequences while still enhancing the book's internal substance. Plotting this new title is no easy feat but Aaron seems to be the man with the ideal plan. I also love the wildcard and ace in the hole known as Quentin Quire...

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