Thursday, May 24, 2012

Comic of the Week! 5.23.12

Ultimate Comics: X-men #12

Picking were slim this week as I am not into all of the Owl nonsense going on the Batman family of comics, and I was about to pick Aquaman for the Comic of the Week as it has been consistently one of the best DC books I have been getting (the other is Wonder Woman, last weeks CotW), but then I got to the final page of UC: X-men #12 and I was pretty much blown away.  You can tell the comic is building to something, something that feels like it is meant to be big, but in the industry these days, that usually is met with a lot of disappointment and gnashing of teeth.  (For example a "major" DC character is supposed to come out of the closet in the near future...snore)  But as I was saying, you really get the sense that the comic is building to an incredible reveal.  It gets even better as bits and pieces of story that have been lurking in the background of the comic's many plots start to resurface and tie into one another.  And then, on that final page, they hit you with something you couldn't possibly see coming.  They tie up many many loose ends by revealing a character and a storyline that had been pretty much forgotten and who has been pulling the strings for a very long time now.  The most savory part of the whole experience is that it actually makes sense!  It's not a shock for shock's sake.  You actually get that nice "oh wow" moment where your faith in comic book storytelling is restored.  Obviously, I am not going to ruin the moment for you, especially if you have been reading Ultimate X-men at all for the past few years.  And if you've trailed off lately, I strongly urge you to jump back in.  Things are getting really good.

Kitty Pride, not exactly Shadowcat anymore
If you are not familiar, Ultimate Comics: X-men follows the adventures of the various groups of mutants running about Marvel's Ultimate Universe (an alternate timeline that frees classic Marvel characters from their very heavy 40+ years of continuity and allows them to be fresh and new).  The world they inhabit is one where mutants are hated and feared because Magneto flooded the Earth Bible-style and killed a whole lot of people in the process.  Many of the stalwart X-men characters also met their end during this conflagration including Professor X, Wolverine, Cyclops, and Magneto himself. The comic follows three distinct groups of mutants as they navigate a dangerous world.  One group is Kitty Pride's group of "Morlocks" who live in the old Morlock tunnels of New York.  Her group seeks to save other mutants from being rounded up by the government or killed by an angry world. Kitty's group also features a displaced Johnny Storm who, while not a mutant, sure likes hanging around with them.  Jean Grey covertly leads another team of mutants who work for SHIELD and who cavort with the likes of the Hulk.  Finally, Storm is the de facto leader of the remaining mutants who have been rounded up by the government and placed in "protective custody" kind of like the Nazis did for the Jewish folks back in WWII.
The book oscillates between these three groups of mutants, sometimes focusing on a single group for two or three issues at a time.  The incredible thing is that the writers manage to hold all three stories together and make them independent and yet relevant to one another.  It really works well and interest in each group remains consistently high.  Although this latest issue promises to engage all three story lines simultaneously in something much bigger!

If you are not already checking out Ultimate Comics: X-men, it's not too late.  Grab a few trade paperbacks and catch up, things are about to get real.

Loser of the Week
Avenging Spider-man #7 

This comic is a couple of weeks old, but it is still worthy of derision.  I've long been disillusioned with Marvel's lack of respect for their flagship character.  I dropped Amazing Spider-man a long time ago because it was clear they were only paying lip service to the incredible creators that laid the foundation for the single greatest comic book character ever, and that they were only interesting in exploiting a marketable franchise.  But, I gave Avenging Spider-man a chance because it promised to be light-hearted and fun, and basically be a new iteration of the classic Marvel Team-Up.  And it was, for about two issues.  Now, it has reverted to type and is just a really sorry excuse for a comic book.  There is very little here of value.
I know She-Hulk is on the cover, but sadly, the cover is the best part of this comic.  There was a nice issue with Hawkeye awhile back, but that was the last issue worth reading.

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