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The Sunday Pages #60

31st May 2009 | by | No Comments

Summer has, er, sprung, but that hasn’t prevented us from reading comics and then reviewing them on the Internet this weekend. Check inside for a brief look at Ms. Marvel #39, Spider-Man: The Short Halloween, Superman #688 and X-Force #15.

Review: Ms. Marvel #39
The title’s metamorphosis into a “Moonstone” title continues well, despite the temporary nature of the change being advertised even at this early stage. Artist Sana Takeda brings a unique, manga-influenced look to the series, and she’s clearly learnt to rein in the cheesecake since her infamous tentacle-rape Heroes for Hire cover. This one’s a two-parter, and for Thunderbolts fans like myself, it’s refreshing to see Moonstone given a sole focus. Reed is clearly enjoying a break from writing Ms. Marvel, and it’s useful that she’s a fairly bitchy character, since his characterisation of Carol Danvers had increasingly been mistaking “strong” for “bitchy” as it was. It can’t last forever, but more’s the pity, since the title hasn’t felt this energised since its first, fantastic year. [JHu]

Review: Spider-Man : The Short Halloween #1

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I wasn’t really going into this one-shot expecting much from a pair of new-to-comics Saturday Night Live writers, but it surprised me by being pretty good fun. The story’s fairly straightforward, but the sort of thing that kind of works with Spidey – drunk guy dressed as Spidey at Halloween pisses off two guys dressed as Doc Ock and the Green Goblin, so of course when they hunt him down later they end up fighting the real Spidey, while a lame supervillain team capture the drunk guy and think they’ve barbie as the princess and the pauper free

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got the real one – and there are laughs throughout without it ever really being a parody as such. Despite being a $3.99 book, there are 33 pages of story, so it’s able to take a little time over the subplot of relucant supervillain “Fumes” (“On the one hand, I would be the guy who killed Spider-Man… very cool. On the other hand, the Punisher might track me down and kill me.”), and it’s not the sort of thing you’d want for every Spidey story, but as a one-off, it’s really quite a good laugh. And while Kevin Maguire’s art is a little stifled by a Marvel-esque colouring job – and, like many artists that pop onto Spider-Man for a one-off, rooted in a much more “classic” style than the present-day books – this is exactly the sort of thing you hire him for, and he does the job as well as you’d expect, particularly on a superb Romita Sr.-esque Peter in the final panel. One gripe, though – what’s it doing out in May? [SP]

Review: Superman #688
So Robinson finally gets around to establishing Mon-El’s real character arc for this “Superman-run-without-Superman-in-it”, and it appears to be the plot of the Red Dwarf episode “The Last Day”. To wit : Mechanoid/Daxamite is comfortable with only having a short time left to live, before being shown what human life is actually all about and deciding that hey, they’d actually quite like to enjoy a bit more of it, please. The scenes featuring the character have been the slowest-paced of the run so far, but are also shaping up to be the most satisfying – including, depending on how much I’m reading into things, an intriguing bit of character development that could raise a few eyebrows – particularly when compared to the really rather dull Guardian/Codename : Assassin conspiracy theory subplot. As ever, though (broken record time, sorry), this is almost worth picking up for Renato Guedes’ expressive and assured art alone – even though he performs a minor misstep by drawing a distinctly Caucasian Dr. Light for her two-page cameo. [SP]

Review: X-Force #15

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The fighting finally starts, and the chapter is all the weaker for it. This problem crops up a lot in comics that are paced for the trade, and doubly so in crossovers – although it’s nice to see the characters all back in play together, it remains unclear quite how Stryfe, Apocalypse and Cable are supposed to relate to one another at this point in time – whether it’s a new setup or an existing one being riffed off. As the kind of fan who actually knows enough to care about Stryfe in the first place, I’d have preferred to know as much by now. Clayton Crain’s artwork is the real weak link in the chain, and the murkiness of the pages only serves to obscure his already sub-par storytelling. The results aren’t pretty, in any sense of the word – though the cliffhanger spotlighting a revitalised Apocalypse manages to save me from complete apathy towards the next act of the crossover. [JHu]