Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Bill March 9, 2011

My pull list seemed like something straight out of the 90s this week. I got one featuring everyone's favorite lethal protector, another with the pinnacle of 90s X-Men excess (or should I say, X-cess... sigh. No. No I shouldn't. Sorry), and finally a heavy dose of a brooding purple bowsman. Thank god I didn't get that Deathlok Weapon X trade, I might have fainted from all the radical-ness.

Regardless, seeing as how I'm conscious on a Wednesday night, let's check out what I thought of a few of these in this week's I-swear-it's-going-to-be-renamed-at-some-point The Bill.

Why Aren't You Better?:

Onslaught Unleashed # 2
Writer: Sean Mckeever
Artist: Filipe Andrade

I really really want to like this book, but there's just something about it that's not clicking. It could be the weird, spindly art of Filipe Andrade, but I much prefer it's fluid action-y flavor to the more standard fare by David Baldeon. It might be the characters, but I honestly love the vast majority of the major players. In all honesty though, it might just be a converange of uninteresting and otherwise convoluted ideas that are crammed within it's pages.

To say I was less than interested in the mcguffin that got all the heroes to this secluded location is putting it mildly at best. The story of Toro, his history as a child assassin and subsequent drug testing, doesn't light any fires for me. And it doesn't really help that his story feels incredibly tacked on to this larger, and mildly more interesting, story of Onslaught. I really enjoy McKeever as a writer most of the time, but this is one story of his I can't wait for him to get out of his system.

Meanwhile, there's this whole Onslaught thing that I'm not sure how to feel about. On the one hand, the nostalgic part of me is happy to see him getting a decent, non-Liefeld push. On the other, I can't help but think that he's totally unnecessary and utterly uninteresting. It's two issues in and the only thing I can glean about his master plan is that it involves ruling the world via the help of young South American boys.

More, I worry that they're going to ruin an already very fragile character in Rikki Barnes. I was fairly skeptical when they announced her first miniseries, but since then I've really become a fan. That said, I like her the best when they just kind of ignore her awfully confusing and overly involved origin. Anytime I have to have to take a deep breath and start with a "well, first of all...", I know in my heart that it's a character that won't be for anyone. I worry that they're making Rikki all murky continuity, and not the great complex character she truly is.

If this were any other book I'd totally drop it, but seeing as how it's A- written by Sean McKeever, B- stars Gravity, and C- is a four issue mini-series, I guess I'll stick around.

Here's hoping things get more interesting next issue.

Better Than It Has Any Right To Be:

Venom # 1
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Tony Moore

Back when this book was first announced, I shrugged it off as nothing. Just another attempt to make Venom interesting while reverting to the status quo (for the record, I really liked Mac Gargan as Venom, but whatevs) I told myself. And then I saw the creative team; the very same that was behind my beloved FrankenCastle. This book quickly became an instant buy.

And boy, am I glad I picked it up.

There's something about the Remender/Moore team up that seems to bring out the best in each of them. They're like a real life Power Man and Iron Fist; you know, perfectly complimentary to the other's style and able to push the other's talent to the limit. In case you couldn't tell, I liked Venom a lot.

Changing the character from a villain with a moral compass (or just a criminal out of his element as it was with Gargan) to a black-ops government operative is a fantastically fresh take on this long in the tooth (or tongue! Am I right? ...sorry, I don't know what's gotten into me tonight) somewhat stale character. I'm totally digging the idea of Flash Thompson doing his best Spider-Man impression (which I totally called, by the by) while having control issues with his 'other'.

In addition to this new (and hopefully not short-lived) take on everyone's favorite symbiote, they also do a number on Jack O'Lantern and made him interesting for the first time ever. Between this and the kind of awesome Hobgoblin revamp, these second string, Green Goblin wanna-bes are really coming into their own this year. I'm incredibly intrigued by this new Halloween-themed Jack and can't wait to see him and his broom glider again in the near future. Quality stuff that I really hopes sticks around.

In any case, I'm really stoked about this book. I don't know where it's going, what to expect, or even how long it'll last; all I know is that if they keep up this level of fun and energy, I'll be there for the whole thing.

Unless, you know, it gets REALLY shitty. Like REEEEAAAAALLLLLYYYYY shitty. And I'm sure it won't.

Wow. I sure was in a reviewing mood tonight, huh? Well, I'm gonna call it a night right here, but if you want to hear me rant about Hawkeye Blindspot, or call me out for not buying that new Skullkickers trade, please drop me a comment and I'll try to abide. Till next time...


  1. I enjoyed the first issue of Venom quite a bit too. Definitely a pleasant surprise in terms of the direction Marvel has taken the character...though not in terms of the quality of Remender's and Moore's work, which is always top notch! I get the sense that, much like his Punisher run, Remender has planned this story with a definitive beginning and ending in mind, and I'm excited to see where he takes the concept.

    Oh, and I'd be happy to hear what you think of Hawkeye Blindspot. I heard excellent things about the first issue, so I'm curious to see how well the second one panned out.

  2. You know, honestly, I'm not sure what to think about Blindspot. I felt the first issue was so overencumbered by continuity that it didn't feel like a the big fun story it was trying to be.

    It's weird. I really like most of what McCann is doing with Hawkeye, and I'm so happy that he's (Hawkeye) getting the respect he deserves. After those disastrous miniserieses of the mid to late 90s, the short-lived series of the early 00s, and being killed twice by Bendis, it's nice to see him back as the high flying adventurer he should be.

    The second issue of Blindspot was certainly better than the first, but it's not gripping me like the previous few series. It's like my interest wanes as these series continue. Maybe it's the lack of Mockingbird. That said, there was a suitable cliffhanger at the end and I'll totally be around until the end of the series. I just hope that McCann stops with the heavy reliance on flashbacks, and just gives us a great story of his own.

  3. Hmm that's interesting, I didn't realize the first issue was so weighted down by the character's history. I guess a little continuity porn here and there doesn't hurt, but you can't sustain a series with it. I've never been a big fan of Mockingbird, strangely, so I had the feeling I might enjoy Blindspot a little more than the short-lived series starring the both of them.

  4. It's funny, I wasn't really a fan of hers until she came back.

    I mean, I read some of the old stuff with her in it, but up until recently I figured she was one of those characters that just worked better dead. Since her shocking (because I didn't expect or want it) return in Secret Invasion, I've actually grown to like her quite a bit. I dig how she grounds Hawkeye and the flirtation they have; it's too bad that they've already been broken up.

    You should totally give the series a whirl, it may not be the best, but it certainly ain't the worst. It is, I'll say with authority, way better than Widowmaker, so at least it's got that going for it. And really, as long as they don't make Hawkeye don a suit of armor and brood, it'll be better than most of his past serieses.