Wolverine and the X-Men #17
This is my favorite single issue of the year. Wolverine and the X-Men #17 is a one and done story free from the confines of the “Avengers vs. X-Men” crossover, and features some of the funniest moments I’ve read in a comic. Written by Jason Aaron and drawn by the always awesome Mike Allred, it tells the back story of the most important faculty member of The Jean Grey School For Higher Learning:
Yes, the green floating thing gets his moment to shine, and my god, does it rule. Doop has always been one of the stranger Marvel characters of the past ten years, and also one of my favorites. From his start in the Peter Milligan and Mike Allred X-Force run, Doop has always been beloved by fans for his strange nature. Like an R-rated Slimer, when it comes to Doop, you never know what you’re going to get, and this issue has hilarious out of left field moments to spare. I won’t spoil them here, but it makes me wish for some sort of Doop mini-series written by Jason Aaron. His timing in his script is amazing, more so when you factor in the fact that we have no idea what Doop is saying in his language.
Doop’s co-creator Mike Allred handles the pencil duties in this issue, and his panels had me crying with laughter. From the opening splash page of Doop passed out at his desk (which is my new facebook cover photo), to his , “unconventional” ways of protecting the school, Allred nails the comedic moments just as much as Jason Aaron does. I’m firmly in the “love it” side when it comes to Allred and his work, but I honestly think that even the staunchest Allred haters would find it hard to hate this book.
Wolverine and the X-Men #17 is the best single issue this year in my opinion. It’s most definitely the funniest, and thanks to it, I’m now going back and filling in the gaps of my Wolverine and the X-Men collection, and will be re-subscribing to the series. If that’s not the sign of a fantastic issue, I don’t know what is.
From the pages of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s phenomenal Batman comes Talon, the only man to ever escape the clutches of the Court Of Owls. Telling the tale of Calvin Rose, a young man with a very difficult past, Snyder, co-writer James Tynion IV, and artist Guillem March not only introduce us to a new Batman character, but also add to the mystery of the Court as well.
Calvin Rose has not had a good upbringing. When we’re first introduced to him, he’s a child locked in a kennel by his father. After escaping and finding Haley’s Circus, Rose learns the tricks of the Escape Artist trade, and starts using them in an act for the circus. Of course, all this changes when he gets to Gotham, where the dark connection between the Court and the Circus once again comes into play. Calvin is taken in by the Court, who then train him to become their newest Talon which builds to a fantastic sequence in the still unsettling labyrinth. However, after a change of heart during his first mission, Rose goes on the run, and for the past five years has been trying to survive while being hunted. That is, until now, when the Court is now being more aggressive in their search for Calvin.
Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV have a really well-paced origin for our hero. In many ways Calvin Rose reminds me of Jean Paul Valley, the original Azrael, but with his own twist. It’s also commendable that Snyder and Tynion came up with a way to show us more of the inner workings of the Court Of Owls, but also keeping a mysterious quality about them. Guillem March’s art is different, but still within his style for this book. Perhaps it’s because I’m more used to his work on Gotham City Sirens and Catwoman, but I was very impressed with his line work, and he creates some really striking images throughout the issue. Talon #0 has gotten the ball rolling on this new character, and I’ll definitely be picking up the first issue next month.
Amazing Spider-Man #694
Rejoice fellow Spider-Man fans, for the “Alpha” storyline has come to a close. Yes, the tale of Spidey and his new sidekick is pretty much over before it really got started, and all I can say is “good riddance”. I’ve been a fan of Dan Slott’s run since he began, but this has been the first time I’ve been really put off by a storyline of his. There’s really no time for us to even consider not hating Alpha. Over the course of three issues he gained his powers, started training with Spider-Man, ended up being a massive dick, and then got depowered and sent packing because he couldn’t use his powers responsibly. Seems to me like someone in the Spidey editorial offices is in a hurry to get to issue #700 (and presumably the relaunch after the book is “canceled” with that issue).
Humberto Ramos’ art is something you either love or hate. I tend to teeter in between the two, but I do feel that his art has been the most consistent it’s been in this run. He’s depiction of the Avengers and Spider-Man trying to handle both Alpha and Terminus in battle is rock solid, although his depiction of Captain America tends to make him look like a leftover from “Marvel Apes”. Regardless, we’re now heading full speed into issue 700, and hopefully as far away from Alpha as we can get.
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