The Sunday Pages #40

21st December 2008 | by | No Comments

Capsule reviews from the Comics Daily team, including Doktor Sleepless #10, Mighty Avengers #20, Spider-Man: Noir #1, Thunderbolts #127 and Uncanny X-Men #505.

Review: Doktor Sleepless #10
As with the previous issue, events are viewed here through the eyes of an incidental character. A more forceful presence from previously introduced figures means that the detective is a little overshadowed, however, with the final revelation about her coming somewhat out of the blue. While not the book’s best issue, it provides a smart demonstration of the success of the Doktor’s strategy, with even a hard-boiled police officer instinctively siding with the “cartoon mad scientist”. The main addition to the ongoing plot is slightly predicable, but this doesn’t dampen enthusiasm for the next issue. [JHa]

Review: Mighty Avengers #20
The final issue of Bendis’ run on the title, and it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed. Initially conceived as a more nostalgic Avengers book, only the opening storyline really lived up to expectations before it quickly devolved into permanent crossover mode – first with New Avengers, then with Secret Invasion, during which time there was no guarantee the book’s cast would even appear in it. One of the major problems with modern trade-focussed pacing is starkly evident – the original Mighty Avengers concept barely drew breath before being replaced. This issue itself deals with Hank Pym returning to society while dealing with Jan’s “death”, and is largely a Secret Invasion epilogue. Slott introduces a new Mighty Avengers team and concept next issue. One has to wonder whether the book’s audience will feel like sticking around for it. [JHu]

Review: Spider-Man : Noir #1
An altogether different proposition to the companion X-Men Noir, this isn’t just a noir story that’s had elements of Spider-Man lore shoehorned into it; rather, it’s a fairly straightforward “alternate version” Spidey tale (if it were DC, it would be an Elseworlds – indeed, it has its roots in the likes of Gotham by Gaslight). So core elements remain the same, but are given a twist – “the Spider-Man” dresses all in black, “the Goblin” is Norman Osborn’s crime kingpin nickname, Edward Toomes is a violent cannibal. It’s not a bad little story, but it suffers from a major flaw – it’s not really noir. It’s set in the ’30s, and it’s a gangster story – you could call it “hardboiled” at a pinch, but it doesn’t really have much of the feel or plotting elements of either Chandler, or the subsequent film noir genre. Quibbling over definitions aside, it’s a nice-looking work that benefits from pitching Ben Urich as the lead, but like its counterpart, it feels far from a particularly essential read. [SP]

Review: Thunderbolts #127
As an old-school Thunderbolts fan, I can’t pretend I’m particularly pleased to see the last vestiges of the original concept being given the heave-ho, but on the other hand, I’m actually quite relieved that Songbird made it out of the issue alive at all. Swordsman makes an unexpected guest appearance, a week after he was killed in Secret Invasion: Dark Reign, and makes some promises about dealing with Norman Osborn that now seem unable to go anywhere. It seems that Dark Avengers, is going to be the real heir to the Thunderbolts legacy as, not for the first time, the book is retooled almost from the ground up. Diggle’s opening issues have been good, so I’m willing to stick around to see where it’s going for now, but it is taking a lot of faith and effort not to see this as a perfect jumping-off point. [JHu]

Review: Uncanny X-Men #505
With Brian Bendis’s scripts treating the White Queen as Jessica Jones in a blonde wig, it’s up to the Marvel Universe’s other mainstay to make Emma Frost’s role in the Dark Reign seem plausible. As usual, Matt Fraction achieves his objective with aplomb, while managing to advance his other plotlines with a similar degree of competency. Also deserving of praise is the Dodsons’ work, with the artists looking completely at home in the book, despite this only being their second issue. Their ability to adjust their style to any situation is admirable, with the dark scenes in the Mayor’s office far removed from Frost’s dream sequence. [JHa]