Quick Hits: Reviews of Nemesis #3 and more…

Nemesis #3

Nemesis #3: McNiven to Millar: “You want me to draw… what? Mark, i don’t think it’s legal.” I assume pretty much every time McNiven is handed a script from Millar it goes something like that. Nemesis #3 will not disappoint fans of the previous 2 issues. I don’t know if you can up the body count, not after killing everyone working inside the pentagon, but the blood and gore level is ruthlessly high. Nemesis, as we remember, was “captured” last issue by supercop Blake Morrow. The book opens with Nemesis being transferred to a maximum security prison, while simultaneously Morrow attends a press conference and the world rejoices. You’ll have to grab the book to find out whether or not allowing himself to be captured was really all part of the plan. Suffice it to say, Millar is doing his damn best to shock, awe and offend nearly anyone with a conscience or an active brainwave, and he’s great at it. McNiven’s art has a ferocious realism to it, well suited for delivering the emotional and visceral gut-punch Millar’s ideas need. I wish Tony Scott luck when trying to adapt this for film. My advice to him is to tack on an additional 1 or 2 milly for fake blood. B
Review by Noah Nickels

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #3: Warren Ellis really loves alternate realities. They’ve played a part, and very notably, in his work on The Authority, Planetary and with the ‘ghost-boxes’ of his first run on Astonishing X-Men. While not playing an integral part in this latest arc—under Marvel’s new “Astonishing” banner—the after-effects of those ghost-boxes are definitely coming back to haunt our favorite mutants. I feel like I should like this series a lot more than I should, but something just isn’t clicking for me. I think a lot of that has to do with the art of Kaare Andrews, while seeing Storm with a mohawk again is definitely fun, every character in this book just looks like a character and I think it distracts from some of the more serious undertones Ellis is going for. B-

Avengers #5: Honestly, I don’t have a whole heckuva lot to add to Rebel Rikki’s review, but I really just wanna reemphasize how much fun this issue was. Time-traveling storylines usually make me want to claw all my hair out while dialing the 1-800 number for Rogaine, but this arc I’ve genuinely enjoyed and I think a lot of that has to do with the breezy, swashbuckling attitude that Brian Michael Bendis has taken with plotting out this current run. And enough can’t be said about John Romita Jr.’s art, if the reason Kick-Ass 2 is being delayed is so that Romita can give his full attention to The Avengers then so be it, the results speak for themselves. A

Flash #5: Other reviewers before me have hit on the irony that comics featuring the “Fastest Man Alive” are routinely late, right? I think that beyond being a bad joke, though, the chronic lateness does a lot to take readers out of the series; at least, that’s what it did with me. I find the plot of the first part of this issue to be a total blur (hah!); it starts in media res at a battle we haven’t visited since July, and while it’s a cool scene, I didn’t feel much weight behind it. Francis Manapul’s art, however, is fantastic, including a tremendous page featuring the Weather Wizard that I want to hang on my wall. The action of the issue definitely picks up at the end with a cool twist (that’s a pun too – you just don’t know it yet!), reminding me why I like this series so, and leaving me hoping issue #6 comes out hot on the heels of this one.   A-
Review by Rebel Rikki

Justice League: Generation Lost #10: I really wish that DC Comics didn’t go to Kingdom Come every time it wants to show us a dark future for its heroes. Haven’t we been to that well before? I’m pretty sure it’s tapped. Yet that’s what Generation Lost wants us to believe is the legit future for the DCU yet again. Snooze. This issue also doesn’t give us a lot in the “forward momentum” department, although Winick continues to do a good job building the team dynamic, especially in a great scene between Fire and Ice. Joe Bennett’s pencils are no match for Chris Batista (from last issue), and although I know it’s impossible for one artist two produce 40-some pages of work a month, well… a guy can dream. B-
Review by Rebel Rikki

Secret Avengers #5: It’s become something of a modern comics trope (invented by Geoff Johns?) to take an issue “off” between story arcs to give a little background to an ancillary character or villain. I think it works well in a trade, but in a monthly series, especially one so mired in mystery and intrigue, it can be kind of frustrating. That’s exactly what happens with Secret Avengers #5 as we spend a whole issue getting to know what’s up with the mysterious Nick Fury lookalike helping the Secret Avengers’ enemies. The story does deepen the mystery of the series and provide some more intrigue, but this early in the game I’d rather spend more time watching our heroes interact, you know? What’s more frustrating that all that, though, is that this issue gives series artist Mike Deodato a break and throws his art duties to David Aja, Michael Lark, and Stefano Gaudiano. The result is… not good. At least, it’s not what we’ve come to expect from Secret Avengers. C+
Review by Rebel Rikki

Transformers Drift #2: This series is kind of losing me. It spends a whole lot of time in flashback, showing us the ugly face of pre-war Cybertron, where we’re told many robots “fall between the cracks”, left to live in dark alleys and drink the cast-off Energon of those richer than them. It seems like the comic really wants us to think of Earth and the way that some folks unfortunately get left behind in our own society. The problem is that we as readers really have no idea how Transformers society functions. The notion that there are “rich” and “poor” robots, for instance, kind of comes out of nowhere and doesn’t make a lot of sense – what does the Transformers’ economy even look like? This may seem like an odd complaint but I know writer Shane McCarthy can do better, and I’d like him to spend a little more time exploring these basic concepts than giving us a Horatio Algiers-style story of some poor bum who grows up to be a nasty Decepticon general. Still, Alex Milne’s art is gorgeous and the villains of the piece are unexpected and should be of interest to people who’ve followed the many incarnations of Transformers. C
Review by Rebel Rikki

Uncanny X-Men #528: It’s been a pleasure to see Whilce Portacio back on Uncanny X-Men, even if his work has been a little unsteady. This issue sees a stronger penciling effort than the last, and this makes me very happy. The writing gets kicked up a notch in this issue as well, with some recent mechanations of Emma Frost coming more to light and with an interesting plot-twist involving Kitty Pryde, who has been permanantly stuck in her phased-out “ghost” form since being guided back to Earth under Magneto’s power. I’ve got to say, at first I was pretty ambivalent about the whole subplot with Emma, Namor and Sebastian Shaw, but this latest twist has definitely piqued my interest. Will definitely be anticipating the next issue to see where this is going, and to hopefully pick back up with Scott and Logan in Japan as that storyline didn’t appear at all here. A-

Kickpuncher #1: (Included in the Community: The Complete First Season DVD set) Written by undiscovered talent Troy Barnes, Kickpuncher begins with the abduction of two lovely ladies from their Spanish study group. Heroes (and cool cats) Troy and Abed summon the cybernetic Kickpuncher to help defeat the villains, but will even a warrior whose punches have the power of kicks be enough to stop the evil Snake Men? Although the art by this Jim Mahfood character is passable at best, I can’t wait to see where this series goes, and I really hope issue #2 can find its way to introduce the ultimate archenemy, Punchkicker! A
Review by Rebel Rikki

All reviews by Spaceman Spiff, except where noted.

tags: avengers, john romita jr., justice league, mark millar, nemesis, steve mcniven, the flash, transformers, x-men

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