Quick Hits: Reviews of X-Factor #209 and more…

X-Factor #209

X-Factor #209: Writer Peter David sure knows how to have fun, and one look at this cover and any reader who’s been following the exploits of Jamie Madrox and company know exactly what kind of a good time they’re in for when they open this issue. Here we pick right up from last month as we find X-Factor investigations in Las Vegas on the hunt for Hela, queen of the Norse underworld and their previous client, a case which left a bad taste in their mouth. Right away we see what kind of trouble this misfit group of mutant private eyes can get into as Shatterstar—this character, who was always rather one dimensional in the early days of his introduction on Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, has really come alive under David’s watch—confronts a Las Vegas theme show starring pirates. There is a cameo in this issue that comes off as just a little too convenient, and I’m sure will set up the next issue, but it’s more than worth it for the scenes of Longshot hitting every casino in town. This issue also has some top-notch art from Emanuela Lupacchino, a nice change of pace for this series, where the art has often been inconsistent. A

Amazing Spider-Man #643: We’ve seen this all before, but it’s still fun. Spider-Man rescues a newborn baby—who just happens to be the offspring of the Green Goblin and Menace—from the clutches, literally, of Doctor Octopus and escapes out into the city where every bystander and newsman assumes that Spider-Man has kidnapped the child and must be stopped. Really, it wouldn’t be a Spidey comic without a colossal misunderstanding in there somewhere, right? Another beautifully drawn issue with lots of villains and more than a few fun moments. B

Brightest Day #10: DC’s newest “event” series has been plagued with pacing problems from the beginning, and this issue is no exception. I imagine it’s hard to juggle 12 or so characters every two weeks, but no single issue seems to know how much it should be advancing anyone’s plot forward.There’s a little momentum here, but how much you’ll be into the story depends entirely on how much you like the characters of Aquaman and Firestorm. As for me: I think Aquaman is cursed to be forever boring, while Firestorm I usually enjoy. However, this issue gives us a revelation about our fiery friend that is handled in such a broad and soap opera-y manner I feel it makes the character more banal than interesting. C-
Review by Rebel Rikki

Joe the Barbarian #7: Grant Morrison and artist Sean Murphy continue their Vertigo mini-series about a young boy’s diabetes induced fantasy. Another exciting, fast-paced issue from this wonderful creative team, I had never seen Murphy’s art before this series but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what he works on next. The suspense is really ratcheted up in this issue—never has a trip to the fridge for a drink of soda brought me to the edge of my seat—and I’ll certainly be white-knuckled as I read the next and final instalment of this series. Certainly a mini-series that will warrant going back to reread once completed. A

Transformers #11: Make no mistake, IDW Publishing is setting the high-water mark for Transformers fiction. The editors and writers there have truly thought about what effect the appearance of giant robots from space might have on the real world, and as a longtime fan, I can’t get enough. This particular arc deals with the political ramifications of the Autobots choosing to live in America, while rogue Decepticons auction off their services to whichever world leader will pay them best. How has it taken 26 years to do this story? It doesn’t matter, because what IDW is giving us is fantastic. That this issue combines solid character development, believable political intrigue, and AWESOME GIANT ROBOTS FIGHTING is a testament to how well these folks are handling a franchise very dear to me. Anyone even remotely interested in Robots in Disguise should be reading this series. A
Review by Rebel Rikki

X-23 #1: A good start to this series from writer Marjorie Liu. A refreshing character study of a super-powered young woman in that it doesn’t resort to the usual sexpot comic book clichés. My only gripes with this book are the unnecessary tie-in to the “Wolverine Goes to Hell” storyline currently running in his series and the mismatched art. I’m not knocking the quality of the drawings, it just seems to me that this style of artwork would be better suited for a Vertigo comic, but who knows, maybe once the initial arc is over and X-23 is freed from the shackles of Logan’s storyline the art will be more consistent with the plot. B

All reviews by Spaceman Spiff, except where noted.

tags: brightest day, grant morrison, joe the barbarian, quick hits, spider-man, steve rogers super soldier, transformers, x-23

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