Capsule Reviews, 3/13/09

Dark Avengers #3

In this Issue: Norman and Sentry have a conversation about split personalities, then the rest of the issue is all monster and Morgana Le Fey and her giant monsters fighting the group. If you aren’t looking for a lot of depth, that’s a load of ass kicking scenes. Doom and Norman then work together to try and take out Le Fey.

What I thought: Osborn’s conversation with Sentry was extremely well done. Norman was more than likely being manipulative, but it’s easy to see him meaning every word he said about he and Sentry being kindred spirits. This is the best character work done with Sentry (outside of the awesome Age of Sentry) since his creation. The fight is the fake Avengers against a bunch of demons and dragons and it parallels Slott’s Mighty Avengers perfectly, as each team struggles mightily against magic while really becoming a team… which come to think of it is similar to Loki being the impetus for the original Avengers formation. I wouldn’t have picked this up in a busier week, but I’m glad I did.

Rating: 8/10 – Great

Invincible #60

In this Issue: The central conceit here is that this is a Summer Event in one issue. Angstrom Levy, Invincible’s dimension hopping nemesis, gets an army of Invincibles from different dimensions to attack the Image Earth. All the heroes fight back, a ton die or are seriously hurt, the world is wrecked, and somehow Invincible escapes with victory, though his reputation is stained beyond belief.

What I thought: This was fun and wholly action packed, but 30 pages? Really? We couldn’t get a full double-sized for an “event” in one issue? Naturally this was rushed and the guest stars felt shoehorned in. Worse, major stuff happens to regular cast and while we’ll eventually get repercussions, they sure aren’t given emotional weight here. Since I care about these characters, that kind of sucks. Still, it was an ambitious attempt and worth a shot.

Rating: 6/10 – Solid

Outsiders #16

In this Issue: A really cool scene where Metamorpho explains how each member of the team represents a different part of Batman, then Geo-Force, the team leader, takes the group to a mine on their first mission against the mysterious, shadowy (naked) villains who are using long lived humans as weapons.

What I thought: This is a very Tomasi book in that the characterization drives everything else. We’re given characters that aren’t only cool, but relate to each other well and are in interesting situations. The overarching plot, unfortunately, still feels contrived, with the surprise group that’s never been mentioned nor given any proper explanation or real motivation beyond random controlling villains. Luckily, the heroes are well-written enough to sustain things for now.

Rating: 6/10 – Solid

Uncanny X-Men #507

In This Issue: A whole ton occurs. Colossus and Emma take out the Russian dues ex, which teaches Piotr to feel, so he gets Kitty tattooed on his chest. The science team takes out Godzilla when Warren reveals his Archangel powers, freaking out Beast- They’re the X-Club now. Scott agrees with San Francisco’s mayor that he’s forming an army and Magneto returns.

What I thought: I hate Colossus so much. He whines and refuses to use his power while facing his enemy, allowing himself to feel the pain of Kitty’s loss… which would work great again were this not already a wholly tragic character with a dead family who was tortured for years. Also, the tattoo of Kitty’s name is beyond trite given how much he had to go through to get to that point. Casting Emma as the concerned friend to Colossus is also a terrible mistake. Since when is she the surrogate mother of the team? Tough love, semi-evil step-mother I buy. This? Not a chance. Of course, the X-Club more than makes up for it as Dr. Nemesis mocks Beast and the team has no idea how to handle Godzilla… until Angel does so easily. Beast is extremely upset his best friend is keeping secrets from him in a great twist that’s really relatable since they’ve been friends and teammates for so long- but it also fits in well with Scott agreeing about the army. Of course, with that the case, Magneto and the X-Men are no longer quite at opposite ends of the spectrum, so this is a great time to bring him back in full force if he’s the philosophically conflicted Magneto, not the raving lunatic villain. Still, the Colossus stuff dragged this down considerably.

Rating: 7/10 – Good