This week: Capsule reviews of Astonishing X-Men #32, Batman: The Widening Gyre #3, Psylocke #1 and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #4!
Review: Astonishing X-Men #32
It’s an unexpected Necrosha tie in, as-
Oh, hang on; it’s not, is it?
While it’s understandable that the “big name” X-book is left completely free of editorial interference, you think that someone might have said something here. X-Force’s techno-organic resurrection gimmick has been in full flow for a good year and a half now, but Warren Ellis has still introduced a completely different instance of dead mutant bodies being used as weapons. It’s an annoying glitch, particularly as the emotional punch seems to come from the perversion of Beast’s research rather than the grave-robbing itself, that overshadows the lightweight but perfectly-pitched action. It’s always a pleasure to see Hank McCoy given an actual plotline aside from obsessing over mutantkind’s latest scientific bete noir, and Ellis nails the Cyclops/Wolverine dynamic perfectly. [JHa]
Review: Batman : The Widening Gyre #3
Kevin Smith and Walt Flanagan’s second Batman series is turning out to be a far more enjoyable and well-crafted comic than the disappointing Cacophony, but three issues in it’s actually quite difficult to find a discernable story. It’s more thematic than anything, and although there’s a vague sense of mystery over new “mask” Baphomet driving it, it’s really just a succession of loosely connected scenes. Existing in a weird out-of-continuity sense, too, it’s pleasant enough (and plenty of moments suggest that Smith does know how to “get” Batman), it’d just be nice if it had more of a point. And if a more consistent artist than Flanagan – who’s improved immeasurably since the last mini, but still stumbles at times with some pretty poor character work – were onboard, too. [SP]
Review: Psylocke #1
Okay, I’ll admit I have a soft spot for Psylocke, simply because back in the early 90s when I picked up my first X-Men comic, she was this mysterious X-Man character who WASN’T in the cartoon, and I thought that made her special. The reality, of course, is that a scantily-clad continuity-muddled British ninja with a redundant power set didn’t really fit into the cartoon, but I was young and didn’t notice that. So, bias acknowledged, let me tell you: I enjoyed this comic. The remit for the series, we’re to believe, was “remind people why Psylocke is cool” and Yost, certainly, has had his best stab at that. Yost builds on the saner elements of Psylocke’s muddled past and creates a story that is uniquely about her. Admittedly, the art is a tad gratuitous, and it’ll probably be deeply uninteresting to people who aren’t interested in the character, but it’s been a while since Psylocke had much of the spotlight, and even longer since she did so in a way as well-written as this. I, and the planet’s other five Psylocke fans, welcome it. [JHu]
Review: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #4
I know I keep saying it, but it’s true, so I’ll continue – this is great. Great great great. This book’s always been at its best when concentrating on dialogue and character, and that’s what Bendis gives us an overload of here, focusing mainly on the twists of the relationships between Peter, Gwen, MJ and Johnny. The dynamic of the series at the moment just works – and surprisingly, MJ carries the bulk of the issue quite well, helped by a strong new visual interpretation courtesy of Lafuente. Oh, and there’s still room for a mysterious new vigilante (my money’s on it being either Flash or Jessica Jones, by the way) and a classic Mysterio decoy (to the extent that you almost want to shout at Peter, “Dude, haven’t you read any Spidey comics?”). There’s nothing particularly complex or challenging about it, but it really is everything you could want from a Spider-Man book. [SP]