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Alternate Cover - 29th May 2006

Alternate Cover

Much like Seb's finding in his column, I'm getting an odd sense of a week gone terribly, terribly right. Though I wasn't too keen on New Avengers. With Civil War out of the gate, the Civil War tie-ins start trickling down in the form of She-Hulk and Wolverine, and you should all know I'm a sucker for a crossover (or rather, in this case, a crossunder). On the other hand, Daredevil keeps himself to himself, and that's fine too.

Daredevil #85

Daredevil #85

Publisher Marvel • Writer Ed Brubaker • Artists Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano

There's something about this issue that's not clicking properly with me. In previous issues, Brubaker has been absolutely slathering his debut arc with layer upon layer of shocks and twists, but from this issue that seems to have slowed down, giving it an odd feel caused, perhaps, by the change in pace.

The discovery that Matt is being manipulated into killing the kingpin by someone makes perfect sense, but at this point I'm unsure if I'd be so quick to believe the Kingpin - true, the knife was given to him despite his refusal which indicates some influence trying to force him in the direction of murdering Fisk, but I'm unconvinced that the Kingpin himself couldn't be engineering something and if I'm not won over by the idea, I don't think Matt would be either. Nevertheless, a Fisk/Murdock team-up could make a hell of a pairing.

The background subplots, however, with Dakota North and Ben Urich investigating the new Daredevil is still far more interesting, and made even more interesting by the fact that "Daredevil" is now making pagetime in Civil War - the fact that they're including him and not pretending the status quo with Matt Murdock as Daredevil is in effect makes me believe that he could turn out to be quite a major player, and I'm utterly gripped by the idea. A-

New Avengers #19

New Avengers #19

Publisher Marvel • Writer Brian Bendis • Pencils Mike Deodato • Inks Joe Pimentel

New Avengers continues to explore the ramifications of the House of M event. It's the perfect follow up, showing just what happens when someone who absorbs energy is faced with the escaping energy of a planet-full of mutants. The way that Michael's powers only manifested because they attacked him and forced his hand is genius, though the initial blame should go to Alpha Flight for that. This issue also ties HoM in with Civil War as SHIELD psychically interrogate Spidey and learn all about what went down.

Pacing is definitely a problem in this arc. Usually I'm fond of a slow read but in this case I'm feeling that it should've been done with by the end of this issue. The graveness displayed about Michael's destination of Genosha is unclear to me - sure, it was the site of the HoM event, but there's nothing of worth there now, if anything it should be one of the best places he could end up, miles from any significantly populated areas.

Deodato's art continues to impress me but with Civil War kicking off everywhere else, I'm feeling like New Avengers, with such a large amount of top-tier heroes in it, should be addressing it too. Instead we're crawling through a storyline that's just wrapping up the loose ends of the last crossover, and that's forcing me to drop it down a grade for probably the first time ever. B+.

Wolverine #42

Wolverine #42

Publisher Marvel • Writer Mark Guggenheim • Pencils Humberto Ramos • Inks Carlos Cuevas

Guggenheim may be new to comics, but he's clearly been writing them in his head for years. This issue is what I would call a note-perfect Wolverine story. It adequately introduces who he is, what he does, and how he does it. It then shows him asking the questions no-one else wants to, and setting out to do what he thinks is right no matter what others are telling him. This is the Wolverine you all know and love. The Wolverine who's ready and willing to cut the crap. In this case, the crap is Nitro, the man responsible for the deaths of 300 civilians as well as the New Warriors - the event that kicked off the so-called Civil War.

Wolvey reasons, quite logically, that while the government and the public are attackings the heroes who provoked him, someone's got to make Nitro accountable for what he's done. It's dirty work, it's unpopular work, and it's difficult work, and that's everything that Wolverine's willing to do, especially if no-one else is. It's very straightforward superheroics, but it's also the best it gets. I haven't read a Wolverine story that nails the character this well in years.

Ramos' art is not to everyone's taste, it can't be denied. I love the guy, though. Ever since his creator-owned Crimson, I've found his work to be brilliantly kinetic and expressive, with shades of Chris Bachalo before he degenerated into abstractualism. His Wolverine mask does seem to take a cue more from the original design, with incredibly small, er, head fins (what the hell are those things called?!) but I don't have a problem with that interpretation. Equally fantastic is the colouring job on this issue - it's surprisingly rich. I haven't bought Wolverine regularly in years despite giving it a try when Way began his first post-HoM arc, but based on the strength of this issue I've got a feeling I'll stick with Guggenheim and Ramos whether they're on the book for 6 issues or 60. A

She-Hulk #8

She-Hulk #8

Publisher Marvel • Writer Dan Slott • Art

Paul Smith
This week's second of the two official Civil War tie-ins, the second I've bought despite not being a regular reader, and the the first to beg the question, "Are you going to buy all the tie-ins?" - I'm afraid I can't promise I won't, since my initial scepticism has been totally waylaid and despite the ill-advised trade dress for Civil War comics, I can't deny they look cool when you lay them all alongside each other.

This issue certainly feels like a tie-in that was shoe-horned into the title in order to bump sales, as it spends plenty of time trying to weave existing subplots alongside the big Civil War issue of who might be exposing the remaining New Warriors, which is dealt with pretty succintly, though it does make for some excellent reading. There's nothing wrong with trying to make a sales jump, it's true, and She-Hulk is a title that deserves one. The writing is great, the art does the job nicely, and it's got a great attitude. I'm not sure I'll be back next month, but I suspect plenty of people would be. It's certainly worth picking up if you're after the tie-in material, though. B+

About this entry


Gah, that Greg Horn She Hulk cover still makes me want to hurt something. SHE HULK IS NOT JENNIFER GARNER, you lazy, tracing, porn-wannabe.

I mean, I don't dislike Horn as much as Paul O'Brien does (ever read his rant on that score? It's quite good...), but his Emma Frost and Elektra covers really are an embarrassment to the industry... especially the Emma Frost ones that actually bore no relation to the character inside the issues!

By Seb
May 31, 2006 @ 10:55 am

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I think his She-Hulk pieces aren't as bad as his previous work, if only because the playful, sexy element of the character is well established. Does he trace, though? I know Greg Land's always tracing porn stars, but Greg Horn looks more like he's just computer painting his own work. Paul O'Brien did indeed tear him out for those Emma Frost covers, and rightfully so. He's not the worst cover artist in the world, it's just a shame he can't show a little more restraint sometimes.

By James H
May 31, 2006 @ 2:12 pm

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He doesn't usually trace, certainly not to a Greg Land extent - but he's patently obviously done so for that She-Hulk cover (or, alright, if not traced, used Garner as photoreference and not bothered to hide the fact), and it's just annoying...

By Seb
May 31, 2006 @ 2:15 pm

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