Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Bill Feburary 16, 2011

Hey everyone! It's that time of the week again, so I hope you're prepared to read my prattlin' on about my new comics. Also, I have a very important question for any and all of you reading this, so make sure you stick around for the outro. Okay?

Okay! Let's do this!

Testing The X-Waters:

Uncanny X-Force #5
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Esad Ribic

I used to be such a huge X-Fan it was crazy. I had posters, toys, guidebooks, every chapter to every big crossover, you know EVERYTHING. That is, until it all got ridiculous around the time of The Twelve, when things got so bad that I stopped collecting comics all together. It was bad.

Years later, I dipped a toe in the water for the latter half of Grant Morrison's run and was blown away. It was the X-Men run I always wanted, so of course it was retconned as soon as Morrison left. Sad and dismayed, I left the X-Books a second time, but still with an eye on them just for old times sake.

A few months ago when Uncanny X-Force hit the stands, I found myself inexplicably intrigued by it. Maybe it was the writer, maybe it was the use of Fantomex, or maybe it was just my old X-Force love come bubbling up; whatever it was, I just needed one more thing to click and I would be all over this book like white on rice.

Then they teased the Deathlok virus.

This idea, thought up by the always entertaining Jason Aaron, really grabbed me of late. For whatever reason (still unknown), I'm all about this new take on the Deathlok mythos. You know, that instead of being a pacifist in a cyborg body, it's this assassination force sent from the future. It's fun, fresh, and was just the thing that Uncanny X-Force needed to get me to pick it up.

The verdict? It was okay. Not terrible by any stretch, but just not what I was expecting.

The cover - which I know I shouldn't judge these books on - makes it out to be an all out brawl between this new X-Force and some Super-Deathloks, but the reality is it's not. There's some fallout from the previous issue, which I'm glad is there; There's some backstory, emotional and otherwise, for Fantomex, which is interesting and generally well-done, not to mention that it's nice to see that Morrison continuity being utilized; and there's some cool fight scenes, which is why I bought the book. However, at the end, I didn't have the charge that I wanted to have from it.

I dunno, I'm going to give this book this arc to impress me. So far, I dig most of the stuff about it, but I'm not totally in love with it yet. I'll let you know how things progress.

So Good It Hurts:

Avengers Academy #9
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Mike Mckone

I know I've gushed about this book before, but I can't help it, it's just that good! Avengers Academy is what I want every teen hero book to read like. You have kids acting like kids, making bad decisions, getting emotional, and whatever, while the adults do their best to rein them in. The characters, the dynamics, the overall storytelling on this one is nothing less than amazing and this issue is no exception.

This time out we get a glimpse of one character making a questionable decision while the adults discuss the ramifications of a different decision. There are tough questions to answer which could alter the future of these young, hopefully, heroes. Meanwhile, Gage and McKone give us the knock-down drag-out fight we've all been waiting for between Finesse and The Taskmaster (fresh off his unbelievably awesome miniseries).

This book just great old-school storytelling in the mighty Marvel manner. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up if you haven't already. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Okay, one last thing before I go.

So, I've been doing these reviews for a while, and have had a lot of fun doing them in the process, but I can't help to think I could do better with the name. I started using the name "The Bill" because it was a great pun for both the anatomy of a platypus and how much I spend on comics a week. However the more I think about it, i don't think it's as targeted as it should be. It doesn't say "COMIC REVIEWS!" like it ought to.

So the question: Should I change the name of this feature? Do you think I'm crazy and The Bill is a fine name? Or do you think it's about time I stop trying to be clever and come up with something a little bit more descriptive?

Lemme know what you think, either in the comments or via the email if you're the shy type. I'm excited to hear your thoughts.

Oh, also you can comment if you want to know anything else about what I bought or want to share in my lovefest for Avengers Academy. You know, if you want...


  1. Nice blog and nice reviews too, Matt. I don't know what it is about Uncanny X-Force, but I find the series weirdly attractive as well. I figured that was just me being insane until I read the first issue, which I actually enjoyed quite a bit! I've been meaning to get the next few issues to see how the story ends, and I have the feeling those won't disappoint me either.

    I'll have to check out Avengers Academy in trade...I didn't have really high hopes for the series, but then I read your comments about it. I also saw in Marvel's latest solicits that they'll be making a guest appearance in Amazing Spider-Man, so I'll be looking forward to that now!

  2. All right good, I'm glad I wasn't the only one taken in by X-Force. I was beginning to think that I should see a doctor...

    And yeah, Avengers Academy totally took me by surprise. I really didn't want to start buying it after the letdown that was Avengers Initiative (which I own the whole run of, of course), but I was really glad that I took the chance on that first issue. Now it's THE book I look forward to every month.

  3. I own a good deal of Avengers Initiative as well...everything through Secret Invasion, I think. It was pretty good in the building, but later on it just didn't feel like it was really going anywhere.

  4. Nice reviews. I personally loved the crap out of X-force. Since the Remender relaunch, it's like the book has been tailor-made for my sensibilities.
    Avengers Academy had some nice Finesse/Taskmaster moments and the Pietro/Tigra catfight was very amusing, but Tigra's overall bitchiness really annoyed me. Also wasn't a fan of how McKone drew Tasky. Kind of a meh for me unfortunately. And Marc, you should definitely pick up Initiative starting with the "Dreams and Nightmares" trade. The quality really went back up starting there.

  5. Also, I like "Reviews from the Resident Quack" as a name. And yes, I realize Platypi don't quack.

  6. McKone is certainly an acquired taste, I'll give you that. There are times I'm not sure I like what he does, but at least it's clean and consistent.

    And thanks for the naming suggestion, Andrew. I'll take it under advisement.

    One last thing, what happened during 'Dreams and Nightmares'? Was that the Dark Reign stuff? Honestly that series just started to blend together there at the end. I was seriously just buying it to complete the run, much like I'm doing right now with Secret Warriors. I think I have a problem.

  7. Thanks for the suggestion, Andrew. I just figured the series petered out and died a silent death, but it's nice to know it had one last hurrah before it was over.

    I like McKone quite a bit, although granted, I never read his Initiative stuff. I was a big fan of him on Exiles back in the day and I've enjoyed his recent work in Amazing Spider-Man.