The Sunday Pages #64

5th July 2009 | by | No Comments

This week’s capsule reviews cover Cable #16, Justice League: Cry for Justice #1, Marvel Divas #1 and Uncanny X-Men #513

Review: Cable #16
Although the Askani’son came out of the Messiah War with his status quo far less changed than it might have been, the crossover seems to have re-energised the book, and this is easily Duane Swierczynski’s strongest issue to date. The time-travel concept is used to provide an interesting hook for the story, rather than just a means to furnish a backdrop, and a genuinely surprising cliff-hanger ensures that interest in the next issue is ensured. Paul Gulacy’s art is a little too on-the-nose in places, with his Bishop looking too obviously sinister, but his clear and dynamic storytelling is a massive improvement from Ariel Olivetti’s static vistas. The only thing holding the book back from genuine quality is the still-hollow characterisation of Nathan Summers, not helped by some sloppy continuity. The unexplained re-emergence of the previously-cured techno-virus could be brushed off in a team book, but in what is ostensibly a Cable solo title, it comes across as more than a little lazy. [JHa]

Review: Justice League: Cry for Justice #1
And so we finally get James Robinson’s much-vaunted Justice League miniseries. However, if you actually wanted much in the way of plot movement, I’m afraid you’ll be waiting a little bit longer – this is very much a mood and character piece, setting up the motivations for its various characters’ decisions to join this new, offshoot, “pro-active” League. Well, half the characters, anyway. Presumably we’ll get Supergirl, Batwoman and Captain Marvel in issue #2. Yup, it’s a slow burner. But it’s not half bad, for that. It’s essentially a series of short vignettes, but they generally work well – provided you’re used to the characteristic slight overwroughtness of Robinson’s dialogue and narration. Mildly interesting developments take place regarding the minor supporting casts of both Starman and Grant Morrison’s Animal Man (in both instances serving as the catalyst for particular characters’… um… cries for justice), and it looks terrific – Mauro Cascioli’s gorgeous painted artwork at least skips past novelty value and works at actually telling the story. But whoever decided to give the series a five-word title and have two of those words be the same? Oh dear. [SP]

Review: Marvel Divas #1
It’s hard to review this without saying all the obvious stuff, really – you wonder where the target market is, given that it should theoretically be aimed at female readers despite its central concept being ever-so-slightly fundamentally patronising, and of course given that it has that utterly wretched J. Scott Campbell cover. But despite those misgivings, and some shaky voice-related moments (“I love my gal-pals”), this is fairly decent fun. The meta-gags are a surprising addition (references to “company-wide crossover”, or “can any one of them support their own ongoing?”), but there are other amusing sequences dotted throughout, particularly the recurring use of TV/film-style montages. Which makes it all the more surprising when a final-page twist threatens to wreck that mood entirely, and sadly only adds to the book’s identity crisis. I’m all for character-driven material, and I like the heroines assembled here, so I’ll keep reading – but I’d like to know what the point is. [SP]

Review: Uncanny X-Men #513
Well, this is doing nothing to convince me that X-Men/Avengers crossovers can work, as it looks like we’re getting into the 927th example of an X-Men/Avengers story that’s going to looked back on with scorn, rather than fondness. Some nice art from the Dodsons, but the story’s a bit of a mess on every level. The cast is massive to the point of being hard to follow, and to anyone ever complained about Claremont being wordy, Fraction is demonstrating that he can punch at a similar weight – there are some pages that seem to be more dialogue than art.  I’m also not convinced about the feasibility of the story – the tension from the mutants inside Graymalkin seems to have appeared from nowhere, while Scott and Emma are both oddly passive in a story that seemingly should have been based on their schism. I’m also tempted to say that too much time is given to merely introducing the “Dark” X-Men, considering that we barely see the normal team. As much as I liked Fraction’s early issues, I’m increasingly perplexed by his run. [JHu]