by Jason Aaron (writer), Ron Garney (pencils), Jason Keith (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: The New Avengers get involved as Cap and Logan confront the inventor of the Deathloks.

What’s Good: Going into this issue, I was not overly thrilled with the idea of Aaron bringing in the New Avengers.  I liked his inclusion of Captain America, but bringing in a whole team, I feared, would dilute the comic.  What I didn’t count on, however, was the fact that Aaron writes an awesome Spider-Man.

His Spider-Man is absolutely hilarious.  His banter is awesome and his constant ribbing of the Thing is equally riotous.  But Aaron’s Spider-Man’s wit is so sharp that it borders on the metatextual.  For instance, his complaints regarding the fact that characters from the future always come from a dystopian wasteland, or his mocking of the sheer number of catch-phrases that the Thing has are both wonderfully done.  When Aaron writes Spider-Man talking and bantering exactly like the Thing, it’s utter genius and a hilarious statement on the character.

Then, not done yet with character, Aaron presents us with a grizzled, commando Spidey of the future who is a tragic shadow of his present-day go-getter.  Aaron’s Spidey, so madcap and hilarious in his present day version, finds himself unable to tell a joke or find humor in the future.  This alone speaks volumes about the darkness of his environment and in retrospect, is chilling.

Beyond this, what we get from Aaron is basically a smattering of coolness.  We get a headless Deathlok flailing about and punching through a guy’s chest.  We get a surprising callback to Aaron’s Wolverine: the List one-shot.   Then there’s a demoted mad scientist who makes cyborgs from roadkill, who serves as a surprising source for comedy (“Take care….of my possums…”).

Garney’s art continues to be awesome.  His Deathlok looks creepy, his future Spider-Man is so badass that he defies description, and the books tone maintains that “gritty Saturday morning feel” that should be paradoxical, but somehow isn’t.

What’s Not So Good: It’s hard not to feel that the book’s early pages couldn’t be better used.  The future Spidey scene was cool, but served no long-term purpose that I can discern aside from providing a retrospective comparison between future Spidey and present Spidey.

This wouldn’t be worth noting, were it not for the fact that the ensuing pages immediately after this see Aaron extending the action scene that concluded last month’s issue.  Ultimately, this is merely a means for introducing the New Avengers into the book, and it doesn’t feel significant or organic.  I’d figured the battle was over last month so it was a bit of a hard sell believing that our characters were still in danger.  If anything, it was a bit too close to being an empty action scene.

Despite seeing future Spidey, we also get no scenes featuring our protagonists in the future.  That’s a damned shame, given that Miranda and Wolverine in the future provided some of the strongest stuff last month.  I can’t help but feel that some of the pages spent on future Spidey and the extended action scene could’ve been put to better use on future Miranda.

Conclusion: Weapon X continues to be a very strong series, despite a somewhat light first half.

Grade: B

-Alex Evans