The Sunday Pages #87

20th December 2009 | by | 1 Comment

This week: Capsule reviews of The Brave & the Bold #30, Cable #21, Captain America Reborn #5, Dark Avengers #12 and X-Men Legacy #230!

Review: The Brave & The Bold #30
Haven’t checked in with this title in a while, so I don’t know when it decided to do a Superman/Batman and just decide to tell random stories from unconnected points in continuity – but this J.M. Straczynski tale isn’t half bad. There isn’t really a story as such, so much as a bit of a philosophical discussion between Hal Jordan and a past version of Kent “Dr Fate” Nelson – but despite being a little overwrought, it’s fairly thoughtful, and it’s nice to see a bit of time given to a character that nobody really thinks about any more. Really selling it, though, is some gorgeous, subtle artwork from Jesus Saiz. It’s not a spectacular comic, but if the title’s doing a succession of done-in-ones that have a vague point to make, and if JMS can rein in his worst excesses, this could be a series to keep an eye on for a little while. [SP]

Review: Cable #21
In which Duane Swierczynski demonstrates that even when granted the advantages of an eventful plot, with the book now entering its endgame phase, he can still deliver a somewhat irritating read. This issue sees Cable shrugging off having his throat cut (“Tis but a scratch!”), an expositionary AI which pointlessly has the voice of a dead boy and a turn of events which sees Bishop following Cable and Hope through time out of force of habit, despite not having any physical means of doing so. Told as a six-issue miniseries, the story of these two fugitives could have been of interest, but the twenty-odd issue as it stands is merely a depressing black hole which threatens to sap energy from the imminent Second Coming X-Event. [JHa]

Review: Captain America Reborn #5
So it turns out that those recent appearances by Steve Rogers weren’t even spoiling this issue of Cap: Reborn? There’s another one to go after this? Bloody hell, that’s a scheduling screw-up of magnificent proportions, isn’t it? Shame, as I went into this expecting the big triumphant finale, but instead it’s only half of it. As it happens, it’s not bad – probably the best issue so far, as for once it’s fairly clear what’s actually going on (even if I’m still not really sure how we got to this point). It’s all quite obvious “final act” stuff, but there’s no denying that the action scenes are well-paced and well-choreographed – this is the sort of thing, after all, that Marvel consider it worth waiting for Hitch to finish for (even if you half-suspect that this is the last hurrah for this style of comic – as has been discussed elsewhere, “widescreen” comics were a defining approach of the ’00s, but already seem to look faintly outdated as we enter a new decade). It’s just impressive that events elsewhere have conspired to make this entire miniseries even more pointless than Battle of the Cowl was. [SP]

Review: Dark Avengers #12
This series started off so well, but this issue does very little to convince me that Bendis really has much of a plan. Well, scratch that, he apparently has a plan, but it doesn’t involve telling stories so much as patching continuity and making certain scenes spring fully formed from nothingness and then return from whence they came without actually justifying their existence. The revelation that the Sentry is, essentially, the “good” Molecule Man makes very little sense, needlessly complicates an already poorly-defined character and worst of all, came out of absolutely nowhere. Meanwhile, scenes depicting Osborn’s ongoing psychological breakdown are so vaguely realised that it’s impossible to draw a coherent point from them. Ever since the Utopia crossover, the series has been generally disappointing and with Siege about to hit the title, Bendis’ track record with crossovers suggests that there’s little likelihood of that trend reversing any time soon. [JHu]

Review: X-Men Legacy #230
Hmm. Three issues and an annual seems like a lot of page time for what amounts to little more than an extended fight with Emplate, but the tone is so different from Carey’s recent work that despite my better judgement, it comes across as quite the palette-cleanser. I wouldn’t want every arc to be like this, but it makes a nice change of pace – though I admit being a little confused by the Gambit subplot. Turns out, it’s an actual subplot, and doesn’t even try to wrap up with the conclusion of this arc, which is slightly at odds with the tight choreography of the rest of the story. Still, not a bad little X-story when all is said and done, and Acuna’s art has certainly raised it a notch or two above what it could’ve gotten away with under a different penciller. [JHu]