The Sunday Pages #52

29th March 2009 | by | 4 Comments

This week, we serve up more capsule reviews for Captain America #48, Dark Reign: Elektra #1, Thunderbolts #130 and X-Men: Sword of the Braddocks #1.

Review: Captain America #48
The flashback elements fade into the background here, as Ed Brubaker concludes his musings on Bucky Barnes’ origins. The arc appears to have been conceived as a more reflective story for the title character after the last two traumatic years, but a number of elements have seen the book feeling a little lost in recent months, with its ignoring of the Dark Reign shake-up a little odd and a nasty descent into stereotypical racism for the villain of the piece here. Despite some superlative art, Captain America has drifted away from “essential read” status. [JHa]

Review: Dark Reign: Elektra #1
Elektra was a fairly smart choice for the “first Skrull” reveal – a character dogged by inconsistency and almost defined by her malleability, it’s easy to drop her into almost any role and still have it feeling like the same Elektra readers have come to know. Capitalising on the interest in the character Secret Invasion will have generated, this series picks up moments after the release of the Skrull replacees, explaining What Elektra Did Next. Wells’ take on Elektra is a strange one, playing the title character as an enigmatic, unknowable figure even in her own title. As brutal as she is mute, it seems an odd that there’s little attempt to re-establish the character more definitively after her time “out of play”. Elektra comes over as an ineffable force of nature instead of 3-dimensional human being. Apparently that’s what Wells was going for, but personally, I’d have preferred something a little easier to identify with – it seems unlikely Marvel can win over any new Elektra fans with a comic along these lines. [JHu]

Review: Thunderbolts #130
This issue is the second part of Deadpool-crossover “Magnum Opus” and the book shifts quite radically in tone to accommodate its guest star. The most noticeable means by which this is achieved is in the artwork, which is by Bong Dazo, an artist who fits well with Deadpool’s Paco Medina, but Diggle also seems to be writing a little more bombastically than in the past. The air of businesslike amorality that permeated the title through Ellis’ run and Diggle’s opening issues is virtually non-existent here, and it’s hard not to feel that the title is bending a little too far in trying to cater to Deadpool’s wackier side, especially with it’s painfully unfunny cliffhanger. Thankfully it’s only a short crossover, but it’s not one I’m going to look back on fondly. [JHu]

Review: X-Men: Sword of the Braddocks #1
Much like the solicitation for the recent Nightcrawler one-shot suggested it’d be telling a major story where Nightcrawler left the team, but didn’t, so the solicitation for “Sword of the Braddocks” implied that it’d show Psylocke returning to the X-Men, but doesn’t. Since I’m fond of Psylocke as a character, I decided I wanted to read about her return. What I ended up with instead was a one-shot tying up a loose end from New Exiles and a near-incomprehensible backup strip reprinted from an old X-Men Unlimited. Only an appearance of Captain Britain saves the issue from being entirely unremarkable, and if the interaction between the Braddock siblings is this interesting under Claremont, you have to wonder what Cornell could make of it… [JHu]