James Hatton's Reviews

Hi all.

Welcome to another week of reviews. A couple of the books didn’t get covers. You can blame the hardworking, hardliving, hardrolling Tim Stevens who does all of our cover scans. He’s so hardcore, he doesn’t NEED to worry about The Sentry, and forget Ultimate X-Men, it’s just beyond him.

Anyway, hope ya’ll enjoy a fun fun fun week of books.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #531
Writer: Joe Michael Stryczinsky
Artist: Tyler Kirkham
Inker: Sal Regla

This is what JMS does well. When a character needs to make a point, address the story with a strong and firm point, JMS shines. Babylon 5 was great because these characters had a need to tell their story – Rising Stars was excellent because each person was motivated to an end.

It’s been awhile since his Spidey has had something to fight for. Prior to this storyline, he’s been middling about while the enviornment ruled him. Finally, Peter has the ability to stand tall and take his stance. The speech that ends the issue is poigniant and perfect Spidey. As is the resulting response. Excellent stuff.

Rating: A

ASTONISHING X-MEN #14
Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: John Cassaday

I just don’t know. I had both my roommate and Tim Stevens tell me how fun this issue is, but I just can’t get behind Astonishing like the rest of the world. Most of it though is due to my inability to see why he’s doing what he’s doing.
Is his Emma REALLY a villain?
Are we EVER going to know why Colossus is back?
Did she just brain explode Cyclops!?

Whedon gets the characters, he understands plotting better than I do, and maybe I should just relax about it as it will all make sense in the end… but I just don’t feel this book like the rest of the world – and I think Cassaday gets badly inked. I’ll admit it.

Rating: C

DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON #4 (of 6)
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Grey
Artist: Khari Evans
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti
Colorist: Christina Strain

Daughters takes a more dramatic twist, and someone gets some new body parts, and Colleen Wing has to be the moral compass. For the most part we are now building for the big final fight between the girls and Belladonna – but we get some heavy character development of our main characters. Now that we know that Misty, Colleen, and Humbug are members of the upcoming Heroes For Hire it begins to feel like we are getting a primer on why we should start to love these characters.

As a note – I already love Colleen Wing. Just saying.

Rating: B

FANTASTIC FOUR
Writer: Joe Michael Straczynski
Artist: Mike McKone
Inker: Andy Lanning, Cam Smith, and Kris Justice

This issue’s spoilers were written the minute issue one came out. “Doom can’t lift the hammer”. Oh, ok, so then why is he fighting for it?

Add in the explaination of how Doom came back, but without the ‘how he remained silent for a year’ portion. It was what it was, and this storyline has seemed somewhat superfluous.

Rating: C

NEW AVENGERS: ANNUAL
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Olivier Coipel
Inkers: Everyone

This is everything an annual should be. Continuity based monster, check. Extended fight sequences, check. Fitting points all together in a nice tidy package, check. Happy ending that seems to move the plot without having to dedicate three 23 page issues to it, check.

A good book, if you haven’t bought it – they get married – the end.

Rating: B

RUNAWAYS #15
Writer: Brian Vaughan
Artist: Adrian Alphona
Inker: Craig Yeung

We are building towards a very sad end. It’s fairly well known that at the end of this storyline, one of the Runaways is dying. I’ve done my best to stay far far far away from spoilers, as I hate to know big twists early. So now I watch with an eye for plotting and who the story is going to be able to push out of the way.

I can’t figure it out, and with each issue, I am starting to get more and more anxious about the pending death of one of these characters. That’s the power that Vaughan puts into his book. That’s why Runaways should be at the top five, and not so many other titles that sit there. I’m done ranting. Fact is, Runaways, even when it’s on off footing, has been amazing, and if you aren’t reading it – why the hell aren’t you reading it?

Rating: A

THE SENTRY #8 (of 8)
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Dean White & Richard Isanove

I knew I wouldn’t be happy with the ending. You can’t build a story about the point and counter point of one character where one NEEDS the other, and reinforce it every single issue and have one of them win. You can’t. It destroys the concept of the character you are building. So in the end, when we are left with the Void as a villain that can reappear at necessity, and being the constant Deus Ex Machinae of the Sentry – it left me a touch dry, but it was a dry I was expecting. Still a fun read.

Rating: B

SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa
Inker: Christina Strain

A fun sidenote. Wednesday night, the new books have come in. I’m working on one project or another and I hear a disgustingly sucrose yelp from my bedroom. Out runs the adorableness that is my fiancee’ holding this book and saying in what can only be described as ‘a disturbing glass breaking tone’ of “THISBOOKISSOOOCUTEEEEOHMYGODICAN’TBELIEVEHOWADORABLETHISBOOKIS” … So after an overview myself, I can rightfully say that this book is completely cute and where it is geared towards a more female demo – it’s a great read. Oh, and what a great ending…

Rating: A

ULTIMATE X-MEN #69
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Ben Oliver
Inker: Jonathan Glapier & Jay Leisten

As the first issue of the series, we’re building towards the Shi’ar figuring out who or what Jean is and on the other side of the coin we have Elliot aka The Magician who will be moving into a forced role as a member of the team. It’s not a bad issue at all, but it’s mostly set-up. Whether Kirkman is ready to handle the Ultimate version of Phoenix/Dark Phoenix saga, I’m not sure, but the issue stands as an issue one of a story and that’s ok, as it is in fact Phoenix: Part One.

Rating: B

X-FACTOR #6
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Dennis Calero
Inker: Jose Villarubia

Finally get the beginning of a better look at Layla Miller, the girly girl of House of M. Hopefully they will give us the entire story, so we can go bak to HoM and go ‘OHH!’ but from the beginning with her orphanage tale, to the end where you end up realizing there is more to the story – it’s well done. I worry that they will never broach every angle that I’d want on this story, or muddle it up with retconning itself, but for now with the base of her world set into motion, I”m ok with it.

Hey, Layla knows stuff, and I like Layla.

Rating: A

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