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A few debut issues this week in a rather eclectic release week.

Monthly Comics

Astonishing X-Men #32 – Someone is digging up dead mutants and turning them into weapons to kill mutants.  It’s kind of a similar plot to Necrosha, except these two stories aren’t related, just bad timing.  I was definitely underwhelmed with Warren Ellis’ first arc on this series and his second attempt, leaning more towards the action end of the spectrum, may not be any better.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7

Batman: the Widening Gyre #3 – The third issue is much improved as Batman must balance a social life with his night activities.  We also finally learn the name of Gotham’s newest crime fighter as he has a little hear to heart with Batman.  Kevin Smith (of movie fame) also finds time to explore the rather odd relationship between Batman and Robin with some great humor provided by Aquaman.  While nothing is ground breaking, the issue is a semi-humorous read.

Story: 6 Art: 5 Overall: 6

Black Widow: Deadly Origin #1 – I went into reading this issue with very little as far as expectations, and that’s good because while the comic isn’t horrible, it’s also not very good.  We’re treated to an unraveling mystery involving the origin of the Black Widow after an opening action sequence that so far has nothing to do with anything.  Coming from such a fantastic writer in Paul Cornell (Captain Britain) the opening story is even more of a let down.  Artistic styles switch around based on the era with none of them adding anything to the story telling.  Overall, a mig meh.  I think this is truly a perfect example of an average comic book.

Story: 5 Art: 5 Overall: 5

Captain America: Reborn #4 – The Red Skull, Dr. Doom, and Norman Osborn, continue their team up as we learn a little more about their plan for Steve Rogers aka Captain America.  Hank Pym and Reed Richards rush to try their best to thwart whatever plans that the three have brewing.  In what I thought would be an abomination of a series that pisses on continuity has turned into all kinds of possibilities.  It’s easy to figure out what the last page is going to be and what happens but that didn’t stop me from being kiddy and excited as to what is yet to come.

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 9

Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love #1 – Cinderella has been a character that’s only been touched upon in Fables and up until now hasn’t received the focus she deserves.  In a series that very much “feels” like it’s character we’re drawn into the black-ops world of Cinderella in this limited series that focuses in on one of her globe trotting adventures.

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.75

Deadpool: Team-Up #899 – As Deadpool himself exclaims in this issue “I’m gonna suck every last dime outta this inexplicable and totally undeserved popularity…”  While the issue was entertaining, it never reaches a level to the point that I think this series needs to exist other than to empty the wallets of comic book collectors.  There’s nothing new, exciting, or sets it apart from the far superior regular Deadpool series.  It’s better than Merc with a Mouth and at least bring team-up’s to the table something the regular series doesn’t have.  Still, there’s no need for two ongoing series starring Deadpool, let alone three.  I feel like Marvel is really banking that Ryan Reynolds can pull off a solo Deadpool movie, but with unimpressive comics like these they might suck out the good will before it’s even released.

Story: 6.5 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6.5

Deathlok: The Demolisher #1 – It’s a world where governments and corporations battle over rights using private armies.  It’s a very different take from what we’ve seen in past series dealing with the character Deathlok, in fact he doesn’t even appear in the first issue.  This Marvel Knights series is pretty original and definitely a diversion from the normal super hero comics out there.  A very nice and tight first issue.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25

Doom Patrol #4 – I don’t normally read Doom Patrol, and after this issue I know why.  If it weren’t for the Sinestro Ring that came with this issue, I’d of not been subjected to this issues rambling, disjointed story telling.  DC had the brilliant idea to package some of it’s weakest sellers with promotional rings for Blackest Night and having these issues tie into the greater story with single issue stories, much like the numerous expanded story three issue limited series being released.  Like those series, this story series former teammates rise and the current team fight them (yawn).  Instead of making me care about these characters or in anyway interested in them, the reader is thrown into the series deep history with a rambling attempt to explain what’s going on and the back story.  None of which makes sense.  A huge missed opportunity for DC to get readers hooked to a new series.

Story: 3 Art: 5 Overall: 3

Immortal Weapons: Tiger’s Beautiful Daughters #4 – I’m behind in my Iron Fist comics, and haven’t gotten around to catching up to the 10 or so back issues I’m behind on.  I really need to make the time….

Story: ? Art: ? Overall: ?

Lobo: Highway to Hell #1 – Scott Ian of the band Anthrax can play a mean guitar and headline a band, but it doesn’t qualify him to write comic books.  Unlike other musicians who’ve lately crossed over into the funny book industry, Ian’s story is one giant action comic with pithy one liners in place of a story or dialogue.  It’s been quite a while since Lobo has seen a regular series on the shelf but this issue doesn’t make the case he needs or even deserves one.  Even Sam Keith’s art (of the Maxx fame) can’t save this lackluster series.

Story: 4 Art: 5 Overall: 4

the Marvelous Land of Oz #1 – Even though I purchased the previous Oz series, I never got around to reading it.  I really need to get to that.

Story: ? Art: ? Overall: ?

Psylocke #1 – There’s action comics and then there’s smart action comics.  Where the action is actually second to the overall story and how it’s written.  This issue is in the latter and is very good.  Betsy Braddock/Psylocke is back and must come to terms with being back with the X-Men as well as being in the body she’s in.  This issue also has the first part of X:Men: A Girl Called Hope which focuses on Hope and Cable’s trip in the future.  I’m not quite sure what this added to the overall story that hasn’t been explored in Cable.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Secret Six #15 – John Ostrander returns to write this issue solely focusing on the psyche of Deadshot.  To say this issue is outstanding is an understatement.  Ostrander takes the character he wrote in Suicide Squad and in just one issue makes him a fully fleshed being.  He lays out Deadshot’s flaws and positive attributes, explaining all of this while talking about his tortured past and hinting at it’s affect on his present being.  This is a pure character study and is brilliant.  Writers should be studying this issue and working to obtain it’s excellence.

Story: 9.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9

X-Men vs. Agents of Atlas #2 – Agents of Atlas was a hailed series that never quite reached the level of sales that it’s praise would lead you to believe it deserved.  This two issue limited series is an attempt to bridge the regular series into it’s new role as a back up feature by guest starring the X-Men in hopes of boosting it’s awareness.  The story feels like a very appropriate throw back issue by having a misunderstanding between the two teams lead into a fight which leads to the two teams coming to an understanding and becoming allies.  The overall story though comes off as a series of events that flow into one another instead of a complete narrative.  The second issue is good and the two issues are a decent read for being a marketing gimmick.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5