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From the Hoss’ Mouth 11/15/06

Ahem….and I don’t need your civil war. It feeds the rich while it buries the poor. Your power hungry sellin’ soldiers. In a human grocery store. Ain’t that fresh.

What’s so civil about war anyway?  Just call me Axl Hoss.

This week brings us Civil War, Aquaman, Astonishing X-Men, Birds of Prey, Ms. Marvel, and Supergirl.

Full Reviews:

Civil War #5
Writer: Mark Millar
Pencils: Steve McNiven

We have a first ladies and gents.   This is the first time in my short comic book reviewing career that I picked a book to spotlight that I was completely unable to form a strong opinion about.  I know how some of you hate parallels but the exact same thing happened to me with DC’s Infinite Crisis #5.  Creepy.

So let’s wrap it up.  The story picks up after #4 of course and immediately after the events in Amazing Spider-Man #535 for those keeping up with the tie-ins.  Which reminds me, when Joe Quesada comes out and says you don’t need to buy the tie-ins to keep up with Civil War, he’s lying.  You very much need to buy some of the tie-ins to keep up, like the aforementioned most recent ASM.  The problem is some tie-ins…cough X-Men & Heroes for Hire cough…are a complete waste of time so always peruse the issues at the store before purchasing to avoid getting ripped.

The spotlight here is supposedly on Spider-Man though despite being the big lure for this issue he manages to stay “indisposed” for a good chunk.  Iron Man continues his downward slide but for those paying close attention he doesn’t fire first and would much rather talk than fight…so he doesn’t come off that bad despite receiving the ultimate insult from Danny Rand.  Speaking of Iron folk, both New Avengers and Iron Man focus squarely on Shellhead’s Civil War standing this week and in both he comes out okay as does Maria Hill surprisingly.  So Iron Man has a decent week this week. The next point of interest concerns the emergence of one peculiar outside factor and considering the short list of these character types I’m going to be vague about it so as to not spoil anything.  Just how crazy has Cap become will rest squarely on his decision with this x-factor.  Last but not least the Thunderbolts super-army gets put to minor use, Danny Rand gets busted, and don’t forget to pay extra close attention to Tigra.  That’s it.  Well that and Reed starts talking about some big “Final Battle”…and who honestly uses that term outside of fantasy novels and video games.  Enough! Keep the characters rooted in the real world, that’s what separates you from your Distinguished Competition.

My main problem with the book is that it loses the steam they’ve been building for the past 4 issues.  This one’s way too short in both length and development not to mention that Spider-Man’s scenes should have happened in ASM to provide some fluidity in his own titles as opposed to jumbling his story around in an outside book.  Despite these shortcomings the book itself isn’t bad, it’s actually pretty good, but there’s just not enough here to provide a sense of deeper satisfaction that the audience so desperately craves from these gigantic events.  Without the ever present hype machine driving this series I probably would have enjoyed this one a whole lot more.

Art on the other hand is without a single problem.  McNiven kills, slays, and devours these pages.  Every panel is perfect and just like with #4 if the story is a letdown for you, the art alone is enough to buy the book. 

Verdict: I’m sure this review will fall on deaf ears as most of you rush out to secure a copy but for my own personal interest the art is outstanding while the plot is merely average. 

Quick Reviews:

Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #45: Slightly better than previous offerings yet still this book’s just bland.  Storywise: Arthur and the Dweller manage to fight back against Ocean Master, King Shark’s story undergoes a twist, and Mera learns a little bit more about the Dweller.  That’s that for what is in my opinion the weakest of the OYL relaunches.  The art’s about as average as the story and lacks the small details that could set it apart from so many others.

Verdict: Unless the story picks up I don’t predict this title will continue to last.

Astonishing X-Men #18: This particular issue has a lot going for it: great dialogue, great character moments, and great art.  Unfortunately it also has a lackluster and all too predictable ending.  That being said I find that if you focus on the characters themselves and not on the plot so much you’ll really have a fun time with this series.  Whedon manages to put out some of the best character dialogue for Wolverine, Beast, and Cyclops in a very long time and these moments are what continue to make this book a cut above the rest.

Verdict: A tough recommendation knowing that most will feel disappointed with how the arc plays out, yet still I think this book’s a good pickup this week.

Birds of Prey #100: I really enjoyed this issue.  It’s got an extra story as well as a $3.99 price tag but it’s well worth it.  The first story showcases the new all-female agent network Oracle has put together and it consists of Barda, Manhunter, Huntress, Judomaster, and Zinda with the possibility of even more of DC’s superheroines being added later.  Nice.  The story itself is a rescue mission into Mexico to locate the falsely accused daughter of a mob boss.  The second story focuses on the recently departed Black Canary as she recaps her childhood, growing up with famous mother, and her own recent stab at motherhood herself.  Great stories all around and some slick art to boot.

Verdict: Highly recommended for everyone.

This week’s loser(s):

Ms. Marvel #9: Rogue finally makes an appearance and what do they pull instead?  More alternate reality crap.  Seriously stop with this stuff already.  First she has a HoM makeover.  Then she fights Traveller with Strange with more universe jumping.  Now she squares off against an alternate version of herself.  You can’t keep using the same trick because it’s already old, especially when the title only has 9 issues under its belt.  Please can we just get back to dealing with Carol in our reality?  Wasting the long awaited Rogue appearance like this is just a tragedy.

Verdict: I’ve had enough shifting dimensions, let’s stick with the 616 and its characters please.  Pass.

Supergirl #11:  A jumbled mess of a story.  Not even the appearance of the Outsiders (who I really dig most of the time) or a brand new “New God” can save this one.  Get this now…Supergirl teams up with the Outsiders to fight shark pirates who got their powers by eating mermaid sashimi.  What…the….F$%#?  Why?  Better yet, who cares?  I don’t.  Pass.

Verdict: It’s a race to see who can get cancelled first.  My money’s on Supergirl but it could be close if Ms. Marvel continues to play Exiles.

The Rundown:

The Great:

Thunderbolts #108: What a grand story.  Everything gets tied together nicely as every character pulls out their trump card.  This means a whole hell of a lot happened and it was all gravy.

Iron Man #13: Witness Tony Stark getting down to the nitty gritty about registration and his part in it, Happy Hogan fights for survival, and Tony Stark gets an offer he shouldn’t refuse.  Also the way the last arc’s events and corresponding cover-up get played into this one is fantastically rich. 

Checkmate #8: The continuing love saga between Mister Terrific and Sasha gets shunted for a really nice undercover story complete with departmental foul-ups and all the intrigue you’d expect.  A solid issue that showcases the politics of the DCU at it’s finest.

Batman: LotDK #212:  A one shot that showcases the lighter side of Gotham as young love finds the shadow of the Bat is not a thing to be trifled with.  If you like Ultimate Spider-Man then you’re gonna love this.

The Good:

Moon Knight #6: Confusing yet sadistically fun with killer art…literally.  A little clarity would go a long way here but it’s really a minor point.  Also Taskmaster is a pussy.

X-Men First Class #3: One weird trip through the mind of Charles Xavier.  A fun story but I just couldn’t shake the “this is so pointless” feeling I got from it at the end.

Dreadnoks Declassified #1: After last week’s stellar discovery of “G. I. Joe America’s Elite” I had to pick this up.  I was not disappointed as this story achieves in every way.  The sole problem is that it’s 48 pages for $4.95.  At $3.99 I wouldn’t have a problem recommending it but that extra price hike puts this one squarely in the good column.

Deadman #4: Brandon gets a costume and a mission…finally.  I really like the characters and the story but the pacing on this title is killing me.

Hellblazer #226: Denise has only managed to lose me with one issue before this but she does it again here.  Otherwise she was on solid ground.

Ghost Rider #5: This book has a pretty sweet recap of Blaze’s origin and the title itself is growing on me a little more with each offering.  I only hope it continues to improve.

Cable & Deadpool #34: Would have been great if not for the all too easy Messiah move by Cable.  I get really sick of his holier than thou attitude and this issue is a shining example of just that. 

New Avengers #25: The weaker of the 2 Iron Man stories this week yet this one manages to make Maria Hill a real person for one brief shining moment.

Catwoman #61: Finally Film Freak is outta here with a pretty good exit too.  The real meat of the story is the continuing relationship between Selina, the Bradley’s, and little Helena, but unfortunately there’s not enough of that here.

Robin #156: A suicide story with a good message that hopefully will manage to help the right people.  Personally I just hate being preached to.

Green Lantern Corps #6: If not for Guy, Soranik, and (very briefly) Kilowog this one would be in the filler section.  Otherwise it just ho hums along hoping its great selection of characters will blind us to the boring plots.  I’m on to your little ploy GLC.

Shadowpact #7: The Nightmaster, Enchantress, and Detective Chimp plot is great.  The Blue Devil, Ragman, and Nightshade plot isn’t.  Overall the bar scenes outweigh the bad Congregation battle placing this one firmly in the good column. 

The Filler:

52 Week 28: A solid letdown from last week that also managed to lose me in the space chapter.