Quick Hits: Reviews of X-Factor #217 and more…

X-Factor #217

X-Factor #217: This seemed to be a bit of a strange issue to me as the plot we picked up from last issue almost seems to take a backseat to other issues here for a good chunk of the issue. It seems Peter David has something he wants to get off of his chest, and here he finds the unlikely mouthpiece of J. Jonah Jameson—who has hired X-Factor Investigations to look into the murder of a close friend—as he confronts a right-wing, anti-Muslim (and mutant) rally. Do I agree with what Peter Davis is trying to get across in this scene? Absolutely. Did the scene help to move the plot along? Yes and no… the rally certainly tied into the sequence of events that he’d been building with this story, but something about about this exchange of dialogue jarred me from the suspense that had been built up thus far. I won’t deny David his right to use this issue as a soapbox, hell I even agree with most of what he said, I just wonder if it could have been worked in more naturally. At the least I expect this issue could get people talking—or thinking—about the issues he raises. On another note, the artwork from Emanuela Lupacchino looks absolutely gorgeous, some of her best work yet on this series, and the brief scenes exploring the long-hinted-at relationship between Shatterstar and Longshot were priceless. B
Review by Spaceman Spiff

The Amazing Spider-Man #656: It almost doesn’t seem fair for me to write about this series lately because I’ve been so in love with the work Dan Slott has done since taking over as the sole writer on Spidey’s main title. And here, again, he’s joined by Marcos Martin, who may be one of favorite artists to draw the web-slinger. Another fun issue as Spider-Man looks to make good on his pledge to do everything in his power to stop innocent bystanders from dying, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he has all these new resources to play—namely, his new job at Horizon Labs—and they certainly come in handy as he has lost his ‘spidey-sense’ and now has to deal with an armed maniac who’s taking hostages in NYC with no regard for human life. And with the loss of his wife, Mayor J. Jonah Jameson has taken a similar “no more casualties” pledge, but with very different ideas about how to accomplish this than what Spider-Man has. Oh, and how cool does Spidey’s specialized armor that he trots out look? A
Review by Spaceman Spiff

Brightest Day #22: My favorite story out of all those juggled by DC’s latest maxiseries belonged to Firestorm’s battle against his Black Lantern doppelganger Deathstorm. This issue purports to bring that to conclusion as our hero squares off against not only Deathstorm but the Anti-Monitor and a slew of resurrected Black Lanterns. We can see here a clear casualty of Brightest Day being cut from 26 issues to 24, as the rushed conclusion we get is barely satisfying and reeks of deus ex machina. Though I was happy to see this plot return (and we get a stunning cover from David Finch out of it), I cannot stress enough that Brightest Day should have been more judicious with its time management. The end result is a series which has meandered for issues on end and is now trying to cram every satisfying bit into its last three issues. How disjoined will #23 and #24 read, I wonder?  C
Review by Rebel Rikki

Darkwing Duck #10: Though the recent Darkwing Duck Annual #1 was an amazing piece of storytelling (you can read my review to see for yourself!), I’m less sold on the arc currently happening over in the monthly comic. It’s a Get Smart-style spy spoof with an H.P. Lovecraft backdrop, and I’m not sure those two genres merge very well. That said, writer Ian Brill still packs a few nice character moments into these pages, especially in regards to Darkwing’s ever-loyal sidekick Launchpad McQuack. Artist James Silvani really outdoes himself here, in a few  pages even transposing Jack Kirby’s signature style to the established Disney Afternoon look. Finally, let it be known that I will always appreciate a good pun, and the two-page long Beatles joke in this issue really got me going.  B
Review by Rebel Rikki

Unwritten #23: Mike Carey and Peter Gross’ Unwritten never disappoints. Though currently only 23 issues old, I’m confident that it will join the ranks of Sandman and Y the Last Man as the premiere Vertigo titles. Here, Tom Taylor reaches the end of the “Leviathan” story arc by, like Captain Ahab before him, confronting his own whale. The depth of the philosophy in play here fascinates, and above all I love that Carey’s scripts are structured so that readers can discover and deduce crucial aspects of Taylor’s struggle along with him. It’s only appropriate that a book with such heavy metafictional leanings can allow its main character to act as a proxy for the readers when necessary. The end result: a tale that never ceases to be engrossing.  A-
Review by Rebel Rikki

tags: brightest day, darkwing duck, mike carey, peter david, spider-man, unwritten, x-factor

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