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Bullet Reviews #58


Each week, we at Comic Booked like to take a quick look at some recent comics with the idea that sometimes we all have small weeks and we MUST have more comics to read. If this is you, then check some of these books out: Amazing Spider-Man: Ends Of The Earth, Animal Man #9, Artifacts #17, Avengers #25, Hell Yeah #3, New Avengers #26, New Mutants #42, Swamp Thing #9, Uncanny X-Men #12, Wolverine & The X-Men #10

This special one-shot, released a little late because we already know what happens after these stories, is told in two parts. It begins with Spider-Man calling for help from heroes around the globe.  I’m not exactly sure why they felt the need to have two parts, it’s generally one overall story where some heroes succeed in getting the tech Spider-Man needed to try to stop Doctor Octopus while others utterly fail in their tasks and pay the ultimate price. I’m not really sure if this one-shot was even necessary but it does do it’s job in showing that there were other heroes trying to help Spider-Man and Company in their attempt to stop Ock and save the Earth. It was entertaining, and shocking, even though I really wasn’t familiar with many of the other heroes involved here. Certainly a book worth checking out if you’re really digging Ends Of The Earth but if you’re just looking for the main story you don’t really need to read this to fully enjoy the overall arc. I’m glad I did, though. -Skott Jimenez

Animal ManANIMAL MAN #9 (DC)
The most recent instalment of Animal Man picks up where issue #8 left off, with Buddy Baker’s body being usurped by The Rot. This sends the titular hero’s life energy into the Underlands of The Red, to the Bone Orchard. Here, A-Man meets the Shepherd, who is reluctant to help him but eventually concedes and begins to bring Buddy to the Red Totems. Meanwhile, Baker’s body is brought to The Rot, and the Black Totems plan to use it to lure Buddy’s daughter, Maxine, to her death. Maxine continues to evolve into the Avatar of the Red, sensing the departure of Buddy’s life energy from the Earth. Lemire’s writing continues to push the boundaries between the three established forces at the center of DC’s The Dark storyline: Green, Red, and Rot. Steve Pugh’s first issue as sole artist boasts visceral visuals, building on the colorful vividness of Travel Foreman and Jeff Huet. If you haven’t been reading Animal Man, pick up the trade paperback collecting issues #1-6, then continue through to issue #9. Jeff Lemire is doing something special with this formerly underappreciated DC character: he is couching the superhero storyline in the tensions of Buddy Baker’s family life. Animal Man #9 continues to trigger emotional responses – as any great comic should – because it is not just a story about a fist-throwing do-gooder. It’s a story about a family. -Braydon Beaulieu

ARTIFACTS #17 (Image)Artifacts
Artifacts is an ongoing intracompany crossover book that unites the bearers and wielders of the various artifacts that make up Image’s Top Cow imprint. The Top Cow universe has actually been undergoing a bit of a reboot lately, making now an excellent time to jump in if you’re a fan of characters such as The Darkness, Witchblade, and The Angelus. Artifacts #17 is part four of the ongoing Search For The Angelus storyline, which also falls under the New Creation arc. Current readers of the series already know that Darkness wielder Jackie Estacado had a hand in the creation of this new universe, but the book opens up with character Tom Judge finally discovering that fact. He does so at the cost of much bodily harm, which he brings upon himself by destroying one of Estacado’s favorite cars. We come in towards the end of the fight, and while it’s light on action, we’re treated to some very well drawn images of Jackie using his Darkness power. The coloring really blends into the pencils well, and some of the larger panels could easily be mistaken for classical art pieces. Danielle Baptiste takes center stage in the second half of the book, and in true superhero story fashion she begins a romantic entanglement at exactly the wrong moment in her life. There isn’t a lot of new information given in Artifacts #17, and it doesn’t feel like a lot happens so it’s hard to call it essential. It’s worth buying for the art and for Dani’s cute little moment with Finch, and honestly if you know at least a tiny little bit about this universe and want to get back into it, this issue makes a surprisingly good jumping on point. – Scorpio Moon

AvengersAVENGERS #25 (Marvel)
We open with Cap talking to his team and telling them someone has to stop the Phoenix Force before it comes to Earth. Cap explains it is most certainly a suicide mission and if anyone doesn’t want to do this no one is going to make them. No one backs down as they all want to the right thing, I mean they are Avengers right!? Cap tells them to make sure to say goodbye to loved ones just in case to which Noh Varr does to his little punk rock chick, to which he basically breaks up with her. Cut to the away team talking about failing as Beast is having his temper issues when Noh Varr realizes they still haven’t fully lost as the Phoenix Force has touched Thor’s hammer. We cut back to Thor heading back out in space with his hammer. Thor throws the containment unit into the Phoenix as The Avengers can now get a reading on Phoenix to try to find a weakness. On the downside, it turns out he really pissed off the Phoenix. Thor comes back and he tells them he clipped the wing and that the Phoenix can be defeated. Everyone excitedly realizes they need to go back to Stark and Pym and figure out what to do next, but Noh Varr points out he is actually still working for the Kree and fires a gun explaining he has to contain the Phoenix Force for the Kree, who will most likely want to use it for a weapon. What started off as pretty dull had a stellar ending. Great tie in for sure. *Second print available this week!* -Nick Furious

HELL YEAH #3 (Image)Hell Yeah
I have read a lot of Image Comics lately. When I say a lot I mean somewhere around 20 to 30 different comics. Hell Yeah might be in the top 3 I have ever read. I did read Hell Yeah #1 and missed out on two but Joe Keatinge does a great job of recapping so you don’t feel like you missed out on anything. The artwork by Andre Syzmanowicz compliments the story nicely as he draws characters so they pop in each scene. Very similar to the “scene-stealing” method of comic book artists. The concept is this, Ben Day is this kid who lives at home with his mom. Everything is going great until people from an alternate dimension show up and tell him that somebody is going around all the other realities and killing all the other Ben Days’. But Ben can’t figure out why anyone would want to kill him. Eventually they figure out it is Ben’s mom who is going around killing the other Ben’s. Pretty much a filler issue but a damn good one as this series is definitely one of Image Comic’s best yet. You can be sure to see Hell Yeah #4 in bullets as well. -Nick Furious

New AvengersNEW AVENGERS #26 (Marvel)
We continue the story of the random red-headed girl who doesn’t speak but is destined to become the next Iron Fist. Although you can’t help but think this is Hope, Marvel has tricked me with something similar to this and I won’t fall for it twice. The story opens with discussing the prophecy that this girl will save us all. So that is two sides that believe that now. The Avengers still don’t exactly see that happening seeing as Hope is 16. Eventually while this red-head is being trained to be the new Iron Fist she has a burst of energy come from her knocking back everyone. No one has seen that before but they feel that it is a warning of things to come. Eventually the red-head is told she is ready to battle the dragon to get the power of the Iron Fist. Two days later she winds up victorious and just in time as the Phoenix Force can be seen hurdling towards Earth. New Avengers has been a very entertaining book, but this whole Iron Fist story is absolutely fascinating. –Nick Furous

NEW MUTANTS #42 (Marvel)New Mutants, Journey Into Mystery
Exiled, Part 3: Here’s an interesting bit of trivia: I’ve been collecting comics for 22 years and this is the very first issue of New Mutants I’ve ever purchased. Anyway, this is the third part of the big crossover between Journey Into Mystery and New Mutants where the Asgardians have lost their memories and reality has been reworked making them regular people. The New Mutants work to put things back before the spell placed on reality weakens completely and causes untold damage to all there is. Their only hope is…Loki. They were able to convince him of who he is and he works to create a counter-spell to save everything…except…well, Loki reverts to form and lies about remembering who he is and all hell breaks loose. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this story, especially the ‘I don’t really care about New Mutants’ part but I’ve been very pleased with how this story is going. The seeds for this story were planted a while ago and very subtly making this feel more organic than these things normally do. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if we get another crossover! I would be remiss in mentioning the art of Carmine Di Giandomenico. It’s absolutely perfect for this book. Great story here, Gillen and DnA have created a story that reminds me of the Marvel Comics of old! -Skott Jimenez

Swamp ThingSWAMP THING #9 (DC)
I cannot recommend a comic more highly than Swamp Thing #9. The problem I find with many superhero comics is that when push comes to shove/punch/kick/gunshot/superpower, the action becomes the sole focus of the art and storytelling. The characterization that surrounds action sequences disappears when the fur starts to fly. Not so with this issue of Swamp Thing. The furious intensity of the art (a collective effort between Yanick Paquette, Marco Rudy, Nathan Fairbairn, and Val Staples) is matched blow-for-blow by Scott Snyder’s first-rate storytelling. In these action sequences, we feel something: the love between Alec Holland and Abigail Arcane. These emotional tensions in the battle between the Swamp Thing and the Rot-Abby are so strong that they make the action serve them, rather than the narrative simply being a lead-up to the fighting. This is what makes Scott Snyder’s writing so powerful, and this issue’s re-rebirth of Abby Arcane such a gigantic payoff. Snyder has turned this character into far more than simply a love interest for a male character. The complex (but incredibly gorgeous) layout of Swamp Thing #9 might not make it an ideal choice for comics novices. But if you have a handle on reading comics and you’re not reading Swamp Thing, you need to get to your local shop right now. –Braydon Beaulieu

UNCANNY X-MEN #12 (Marvel)Uncanny X-Men, AvX
Basically Uncanny X-Men is Cyclops’ team’s perspective on Avengers vs. X-Men. Namor remains one of the best characters as his arrogance is so many worlds beyond  entertaining as I always smile at his narcissistic comments. Namor, Sunspot, and Hepzibah are announced as the Tabula Rasa team, Namor and Hepizbah decided once they get back they are gonna bone. Go Namor, always jocking tricks left and right. So they arrive to meet with the Avengers team who consists of She-Hulk, Thing, and the Power Man himself, Luke Cage. There are battles all over the place and a lot of really entertaining humor. We get to see Namor and Thing duke it out some more. Luke Cage attempts to fight Namor in the water, which is ridiculously one-sided, but Namor respects him for it, which its rare for Namor to respect anyone but himself. At the end of the issue Magik grabs Namor as Scott and Emma tell Namor they are headed for the moon. Colossus says how familiar this feels and Cyclops agrees but promises this time it will have a happy ending. Pretty entertaining issue, and a great tie in. Well worth the read. -Nick Furious

Wolverine, X-MenWOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #10 (Marvel)
We open to Logan and Kitty talking about how Wolverine fighting against the X-Men is not something he ever wanted to do. Summers and his X-Men show up on Wolverine’s front door step. Wolverine tells them they aren’t welcomed there but as usual somehow Cyclops talks his way into getting Wolverine to semi listen. Rachel and Iceman discuss Angel being someone different. He will probably never be the same again (yeah right). Kitty and Wolverine call for the Krakoa to fetch them. Cyclops can’t believe they have the Krakoa ready to attack people. Eventually they are released and Emma and Kitty have some words (I love when these two bash each other). Wolverine agrees to listen to Cyclops as Scott is torn whether he respects Wolverine or hates him for renaming the school the “Jean Grey School”. Cyclops explains he is going to give Logan one last chance to join his side, because he wants Wolverine. After all Wolverine is an X-Men! Cyclops respected the whole Avengers thing, but he always thought when push came to shove Wolverine had Cyclops’ back. We then cut to more foreshadowing that one of the students is a kid version of Apocalypse. Angel attempts to fly towards Heaven after he feels it is the only way to prove to everyone he truly is an Angel, not a mutant. Angel of course fails as Genesis saves him before he falls. Genesis asks Angel what he sees when he looks at him. Angel lies as he tells him he sees only good when he can really see Apocalypse. Eventually Wolverine’s X-Men tell him they want to help. Wolverine is more than happy to have more X-Men help the Avengers, but the other X-Men explain they are going to help Scott because that is what Jean would have wanted. On the final pages we are shown that Shi’ar Death Commandos have been sent to take out Hope. I felt like I got a bit of closure from Schism which was one of the most open-ended events ever. I needed this issue for sure. Well done, Aaron, you are damn good at making X-Men a compelling read. -Nick Furious

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