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Indestructible Hulk #6 – Review


By: Mark Waid (Writer), Walter Simonson (Penciler), Andres Mossa (Colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (Letterer)

The Review: You might have seen an article doing the rounds a while back about how Jerry Ordway, one of the great comic artists of the 80’s and 90’s, has found it hard to come by work at DC recently; if not, Bleeding Cool have a quick rundown and Ordway’s own blog is the straight dope on the matter. While I suppose it could be said that the art styles of the past sometimes have trouble gelling with the comics of the present, there’s no doubt that talents like Ordway’s still deserve a place on comic book shelves. Great art shines no matter what. Proof positive of this is found in this month’s Indestructible Hulk which features the perennial artwork of Walt Simonson – a Marvel Alumni with pedigree to spare – whose appearance here on interiors is as likely to excite old fans as much as is it to earn him some new ones.
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All New X-Men #9 – Review


By: Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Stuart Immonen (Penciler), Wade Von Grawbadger (Inker), Marte Gracia & Rain Beredo (Color Artists), VC’s Cory Petit (Letterer)

Review: My review of last month’s All New X-Men #8 was pretty awful; too many overly-long sentences and contrived compliments. Still, I blame it all on Bendis. After all, it gets difficult finding new ways to lavish praise on a book that’s still failed to put a foot wrong 8 issues in. Therefore it’s a little bit of a Godsend that #9 offers something of a hiccup. It’s not much of one, granted, but it’ll do.

So let’s get that criticism out of the way first: this issue does feel like something of a placeholder. The only characters whose story sees any concrete progression this month is the villains’, and even then they only appear on 4 of the book’s 20 pages (that’s 20%, stat fans). Irksome, yes, but a minor sin in the grand scheme of comics. I mean, I seem to remember 2009’s Cable series achieve the impressive feat of running for 25 issues without anything of note happening at all.
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Uncanny X-Force #2 – Review


By: Sam Humphries (Writer), Ron Garney (Penciler), Danny Miki with Scott Hanna (Inkers), Marte Gracia with Israel Gonzalez and Wil Quintana (Colorists), VC’s Cory Petit (Letterer)

The Review: One of my big comic book regrets of late is that I didn’t pick up Remender’s run on Uncanny X-Force. I borrowed the odd issue from friends but didn’t get the big picture, and from what I hear the whole run is an epic Must Read; I’m basically waiting for Marvel to package the whole thing up in an Omnibus edition so I can try and read it all in one massive sitting. Anyway, the point is that as well as missing out on some great storytelling, I also feel that I’ve missed out on some key moments which inform Sam Humphries’ turn on the title.

This feeling was a bit more pronounced with the first issue (lots of vague plot points discussed between Storm and Psylocke and glimpsed in flashback panels) but the sense still lingers here. This, along with the general bluster that dogs the books composition, makes things a little hard to follow. I can’t quite work out whether I like it or not. There’s good and bad, and I’m not sure if any one side really wins out.
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Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 – Review


By: Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Steve McNiven (Penciler), John Dell (Inker), Justin Ponsor (Colors), Cory Petit (Letterer)

The Review: The following things will occur during the course of this review. First, I’ll obviously be giving my heartfelt opinion on Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 – my treatise on the best flavour of Ramen Noodles will have to wait for now (in brief though: Chicken). Second, I will muse somewhat on how awesome it is to have Bendis back on such winning form – when he’s writing like this, the Marvel Universe is a much better place. Thirdly, I will use the term “cosmic restructuring” again and again and again – because this series is undoubtedly the keystone of that process, the linchpin of Marvel’s interstellar ambitions.

This cosmic restructuring has its beginnings elsewhere. Iron Man #6 technically kicked things off by relocating the Armored Avenger to Space (not that this changed much other than the landscape and the suit, but hey, it was a start). Nova #1, released last week, was far more integral to the
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Avengers #6 – Review


By: Jonathan Hickman (writer), Adam Kubert (art), Frank Martin (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story:  Just who is the new Captain Universe and what forboding message does she have for the Marvel Universe?

The Review:  First, the good news:  the art is very much improved from Kubert’s first issue.  Last issue, I wasn’t sure how much of the improvement was REALLY owing to Kubert’s efforts and how much of it was only thanks to the switch in colorists, given how wonderful Frank Martin’s work always is.  This month, there can be no doubt: Kubert has tightened up his pencils.  Things no longer looked at all rushed, giving us the “high-budget,” polished, top-shelf work we usually expect from Kubert.  This makes him a good fit for a book like this: I’m so used to seeing Kubert draw big event comics that at this point, my brain is basically conditioned into thinking “this is important!” when seeing his work.  Basically, I think we can put his rushed performance on Avengers #4 in the rear-view mirror now; this is the Kubert you were probably expecting.

Sadly, while the artwork is improved, I’m not really sure that I can say the same for the script.  Hickman gives us another issue largely focused on one of his new Avengers, which remains a good plan of action for the series.  The problem is that, unlike Smasher last month, this new Captain Universe just….isn’t very interesting.  Much like last month, her origin is pretty by the books but unlike last month, we don’t have a strong, sympathetic character with which to prop that up.  Stricken with a happy dose of amnesia, Tamara Devoux is simply too much of a blank slate to carry the issue on her own.  As for her the Captain Universe sentience inhabiting her body, it’s really more of a walking, talking portent more than a real, sympathetic character.
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Morbius The Living Vampire #2 – Review


By: Joe Keatinge (Writer), Richard Elson (Artist), Antonio Fabela (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)

The Review: If it seems like a long time since the first issue of Morbius: The Living Vampire came out that’s because…well, it was. The most conspicuously late shipping book on Marvel’s slate at the moment is (of course) Uncanny Avengers, but Morbius has probably just nabbed second place – #2 has arrived just under two months since the title’s launch. And right now, that’s probably the most interesting thing about it…

Which is a shame.  Morbius, much like X-Men: Legacy, has positioned its minor league hero in a interesting place; a largely self-contained corner of the Marvel Universe where the character can develop at his own pace, carve a successful niche and, hopefully, garner a loyal critical and commercial following in the process. Instead it’s floundering, and floundering hard. With a fairly glum and uninteresting story, a cut-out cast of characters and a bland, detached art style it is, quite possibly, the worst book to yet come out of Marvel NOW.
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Nova #1 – Review


By: Jeph Loeb (Writer), Ed McGuinness (Artist), Dexter Vines (Inker), Marte Gracia (Colorist), Albert Deschesne (Letterer)

The Review: I was bracing myself to maul this book. Even the physical act of purchasing it elicited a heavy sigh; there is simply no fun in handing over hard-earned money for something you feel in your gut you’re going to hate. Sadly, this is the main response my nervous system has developed to anything with the name ‘Jeph Loeb’ attached to it over the last few years. I’ve read things of his I’ve enjoyed, sure – you can’t really deny the quality of most of his Batman work or his Marvel ‘Colour’ titles – but most of his recent output has been, in my eyes, unabashedly poor.  In some cases, like Hulk or X-Sanction, I actually felt like he was trying to see how far he could push his audience, using them as a test group in a heinous experiment to seek out that magic ‘so bad it’s good’ sweet spot. Problem is, when you fall short of that target, you just get ‘bad’. Yet Marvel continues to put their faith in him, and perhaps no more so than with Nova, being as it is an integral part of the company’s Cosmic restructuring.
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