This week’s capsule reviews cover Dark X-Men: The Beginning #1, Green Lantern #43 and Ms. Marvel #41.
Review: Dark X-Men – The Beginning #1
If you’ve been reading “Utopia” and want to know how Osborn rounded up the so-called “Dark X-Men”, well, good news – this anthology book does that job perfectly well. If you’re looking for a good story, though, you can forget it. This is vignettes all the way. The trio of stories in this particular issue shows us how Namor, Mimic and Dark Beast came to be recruited. Both the former and latter shorts rely on their dialogue to carry the story, and seeing the Dark Beast as a foil for Osborn is an unlikely but enjoyable pairing. The short between the two, however, fails to hit any believable mark as we take a pointless and shallow tour through the continuity minutia of The Mimic. I can appreciate the comprehensive knowledge on display, but it all feels like too much. Not a terrible start to a mini, but only on the understanding that it’s for X-Men completists only. [JHu]
Review: Green Lantern #43
Not really a Hal Jordan Green Lantern story at all, but at least it’s a “Prelude to Blackest Night” worthy of the name, as this nasty little tale sets up the new form of Black Hand, the figure at the centre of the soon-to-be-pivotal Black Lantern Corps. As a standalone story it’s not half bad, with Doug Mahnke’s artwork well-suited to the grim tone – although I’m still a little uncomfortable with taking a largely naff and useless GL villain (once used to great and hilarious effect in the classic Justice League #28) and turning him into such a dark figure with such an altered backstory. Furthermore, one scene in particular provides evidence of how unnecessarily violent Geoff Johns can be for a supposedly “all ages” book – and an otherwise excellent montage of “death in the DCU” only emphasises this when you realise just how many of the moments in question featured Johns’ creative involvement in some way… [SP]
Review: Ms. Marvel #41
As someone who started buying Ms. Marvel again purely for the Moonstone stories, I’m a little disappointed that the conceit of her being the lead character was rather quickly truncated, but the stories have been decent enough, despite an artist’s roster that can’t sit still. In this issue, Reed starts to bring the idea of the “storytellers” to its conclusion, as well as put Ms. Marvel back in the spotlight. The judicious use of the Avengers cast might initially seem appropriate for the title, but it’s a pity Reed waited until now to use them, after resolutely ignoring Danvers’ role in any teams except her own SHIELD squadron in the past. It’s not great, but to give the brief run its due, at least it hasn’t made me want to drop the series a second time. [JHu]