Reviews of Blue Beetle #35, Daredevil #115, Mister X: Condemned #2, Ultimate Spider-Man #130 and another of those Shameless Plugs we’ve neglected to include for a while!
Review: Blue Beetle #35
I’m getting sick of comics that I enjoy getting cancelled. It’s been on the cards for Blue Beetle for a while – and truth be told, the series hasn’t been five-star-excellent since John Rogers left – but even so, it’s sickening reading the “next issue” blurb confirm that #36 will be the last one, particularly as this issue seems to do a fair bit in the way of setting up a potentially longer plotline (is this all really going to be resolved in one issue?) and expanding the character’s mythology. It’s not really the best issue, mind – it’s a bit light on the usual wit (Paco’s “trying to usher in a pantsless society” aside – but the running joke about installing Linux on a toaster is a bit much), and the art (from two different people as the issue goes on) is inconsistent, in one instance getting part of Beetle’s costume (the bits that stick out of his “backpack”) completely wrong, and in another turning Brenda into a standard “comic book” teenage girl (all breasts and legs) instead of the refreshingly normal way she looked before. Still, though, it remains a fun book, and it’s going to be a crying shame when it’s no longer around. [SP]
Review: Daredevil #115
Brubaker puts a fairly revelatory spin on what appeared to be a rather by-the-numbers “new villain” story. Daredevil’s relationship to The Hand is given an interesting twist after years of having them show up as ridiculously crap ninjas for him to beat the hell out of, and Master Izo is probably the best new character to show up in Daredevil’s run yet. While Brubaker’s early Daredevil stories seemed eager to ape Bendis’ take on the book, his last couple of arcs have really seen him come into his own as captain of the Daredevil ship. It’s been a short arc, but justifiably punchy without an inch of fat on it. Very, very good. [JHu]
Review: Mister X: Condemned #2
Matters come to a head more quickly than expected, with the architect managing to expose the conspiracies surrounding Radiant City before even reaching the half-way mark for his four-issue return. It’s a commendably bold move, suggesting that Dean Motter had more ambitious plans for his creation than a brief comeback tour. The first issue’s multi-character approach is maintained, although the writer is careful to show how their fates are intertwined a little more explicitly than before. A fascinating break from the norm. [JHa]
Review: Ultimate Spider-Man #130
Bendis is clearly struggling with this. He’s trying to juggle a storyline about Aunt May having to deal with the consequences of Peter being Spider-Man – something which is presumably the culmination of a long and carefully-planted process over the book’s life – and at the same time deal with the fact that the entirety of New York has been flooded in Ultimatum – something which clearly isn’t. Oh, and you’ve got the return of Peter’s female clone thrown in there, as well. As a result, a once reliably-strong superhero title is currently feeling like a bit of a disjointed mess (particularly with having to waste an entire page on that bloody picture of bloody Magneto sitting on his bloody chair with bloody Thor’s bloody hammer), with strong moments, typically good dialogue and character material, and the usual great art from Immonen – but wrapped up in a story that just feels like an entirely wrong fit for the title. I can only hope (although I think it’s a futile wish) that the whole thing comes out of the other side of Ultimatum unscathed, and get back to the levels of excellence it was scaling only a few short months ago. [SP]
Shameless Plug : Zur-en-Arrh!
Just a quick plug that I forgot to do last week – I recently posted on sister site Noise to Signal the first of a three-part series called “Zur-en-Arrh!”, which involves my re-reading the entire Morrison Batman run and summarising and commentating on it as I go. It’s partly a guide to what was a Big Talked-About Comics Story for those who are interested but haven’t/won’t read it, and partly a bit of analysis for those of us who have. So if you’re interested, you could do worse than pop along and check out part one, which covers the “Batman and Son” storyline and the “Clown at Midnight” one-shot. [SP]