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It’s a great stack of books this week with a mix of action and cerebral.  Siege tie-in books are slowly creeping into the pile to go along with the lonely Blackest Night books.

Vertigo also treats us to another $1 book for the first issue of Joe the Barbarian.  Find out what we think of Grant Morrison’s latest series below.

Monthly Comics

Avengers vs. Atlas #1 – The Agents of Atlas never quite got the reading audience it deserved.  It was a decent series and had tons of potential.  To boost their audience it seems Marvel is determined to throw them into various team-ups like this series and the previous one featuring the X-Men.  The story definitely fits the vibe of previous Atlas stories, this one featuring a time rift.  It’s not bad, but would be much better suited as part of an anthology with a few other stories (I’m thinking Atlas, SWORD and Voodoo as a regular monthly comic).  Entertaining, but not really worth the $4.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Blackest Night: the Flash #2 – So much works in this issue and at the same time so much doesn’t.  We have two stories, one of the Flash in his Blue Guardian get up.  The editing is horrible as the editorial boxes have the symbol of the Yellow Lanterns (instead of blue), which to me just epitomizes the sloppiness of the Blackest Night tie-ins and gives me the feeling as a reader that these mini-series are cash grabs and not taken seriously.  The Rogues part of the story has a bit more promise and the parts with Captain Cold stands out.  If this mini-series just focused on them, their history and emotions it would stand out as quality.  Instead, this second issue, while better than the first, still falls flat.

Story: 6.5 Art: 7 Overall: 6.75

Captain America #602 – Ed Brubaker has amazing timing when it comes to exploring modern political issues within the pages of this series (in the past he’s taken on the housing crisis).  In this issue Brubaker looks at the discontent with modern America and the disillusionment that’s given the rise to the Tea Party movement, all with a super hero bent.  An excellent read.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9

Dark Avengers #13 – The entire issue is focused on the deep dark secret of the Sentry and his origin.  It’s a very different look at the super hero mythos.  Instead of focusing on the usual Greek gods type archetype, we’re instead to look towards Judeo influences (appropriate since the modern super hero has much to do with mostlyJewish creators).  What would a modern prophet look like?  Would they be a super hero?  And if one were to be, don’t prophet’s tend to be tragic and be forced to sacrifice?

Story: 8.25 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25

Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #7 – I’ve given up on the various Deadpool comics that aren’t the main series, but with the introduction with alternate dimension Deadpools, I thought I’d give the series a try again.  The story sees Deadpool attempting to return Headpool to his own zombie dimension.  While it was entertaining, and the story is original, I have to ask, is it necessary?  The main series balances the humor and action, “Team-up” leans more towards the action, and this series seems to lean towards the humor.  While each have their own style, I can’t help think are all three necessary?  It’s a blatant money grab and one I have no problem resisting.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25

Deathlok: The Demolisher #3 – I’ve been praising this series which takes place in a world where corporations battle each other and televise it.  Deathlok has just partook in his first issue and Roxxon must decide on how to use him.  The series definitely takes a bit from the movie Robocop here, but it works very well.  Now, if only Marvel could figure out how to use this character well in the 616 universe.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25

Doctor Voodoo #4 – This is the second last issue of this series which has been canceled with issue number 5.  I can’t say I’m shocked or sad to see it go.  The first arc has lots of potential with such a villain as Nightmare (and this issue has some great visuals that show the potential), but it’s often bogged down by random names and what comes off as mumbo-jumbo.  Marvel, for whatever reason, is a comic company that seems that have issues marketing it’s horror side of it’s universe of characters.  I’d suggest a monthly “horror” anthology featuring such characters as Voodoo, Strange, Blade, etc.  Might as well wait until the trade of all five issues comes out.

Story: 7 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7

Fables #92 – The series had hit it’s stride again after the disappointing crossover event.  The Mr. Dark plot was coming along nicely, especially with turmoil hitting the sorcerers hanging out on the farm.  Instead, the series has switched gears back to King Ambrose and his new kingdom back in Fableland.  Why the switch?  The complete dropping of a great plot line is rather jarring and leaves me scratching my head.  That’s not to say this issue is bad at all, in fact it’s the usual excellence you’d expect, but it’s unclear why the switch.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Green Lantern Corps. #44 – The main three series involved with Blackest Night for the most part have been damn near flawless.  However, the last few issues of the Corps. feels like not all of it’s cylinders are firing.  This issue see Mogo enter the fight against the Black Lanterns as Guy Gardner still deals with his turn as a Red Lantern.  There’s an all too convenient part of the issue and I definitely felt it feel short of truly long changing impact.  It’s not a bad read, but definitely not quite the magic we’ve come to expect, maybe due to it’s own past excellence.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8

Incorruptible #2 – With Irredeemable writer Mark Waid is deconstructing the super hero genre by focusing on a hero with god like powers going rogue.  In this series, we see the flip side of the coin and a villain attempting to go legit.  The two should definitely be followed together as each are a look at arc-types and throwing them into different situations.

Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8

Joe the Barbarian #1 – Grant Morrison can churn out some amazing comic books and utter crap.  I recognize his hits and misses but, no matter the quality of writing, his books always work on multiple levels and make you think.  This brand new comic is no exception to that.  The series in it’s first issue comes off as an updated telling of fairy tales we know like Alice in Wonderland.  But my gut says in the long run it’ll wind up being so much more.  For $1, this is a must buy this week and shows that when it comes to quality you can’t go wrong with what Vertigo puts out.  It’s just the first issue, but it’s impressive.

Story: 10 Art: 9 Overall: 9.75

the Mighty Avengers #33 – The two Avengers teams continue to take on Creel.  Overall the arc has a nice Avengers vibe but also incorporates Norman Osborn well and the overall Dark Reign story line.  There’s also some foreshadowing and my guess is we get a glimpse of who might be the first villain whatever form of the Avengers takes on post Siege.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3 – The Realm of Kings has suffered overall by not having a main series to tie together a coherent story line.  This mini-series is the closest we have to that.  In this issue we get closer to finding out Black Bolt’s fate, Crystal deals with the uprising on Hala as we learn who’s really behind it.  The series is good and overall “event” is decent, but something is missing from the recent cosmic series’ magic.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75

Spider-Woman #5 – Spider-woman continues to run around Madripoor and figure out who’s trying to get a hold of her (and get her stuff back).  Out of the recent series launched by Marvel, this one stands out on top with beautiful art work and a solid narrative.  This is super hero noir at it’s best.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Thunderbolts #140 – The battle with Atlas continues for the Thunderbolts team.  The issue would of been blah, and felt rushed, however the ending is fantastic and comes completely out of nowhere.  The repercussions should be interesting, if there are any.

Story: 8 Art: 7 Overall: 7.75

Uncanny X-Men #520 – Magneto continues his plan to save Utopia from sinking and finally tells Cyclops about it.  Colossus, Wolverine and Psylocke head to New York City to deal with the Predator X problem.  The most intriguing thing of the last few issues is Magneto and his possible road to redemption.  Will he ever get there and can he atone for his past horrors?  My biggest problem with this issue is some of Colossus’ dialogue, which instead of sounding “Russian”, instead he comes off as mildly mentally handicap.  Oh well.  I think the series will come off better in the bigger picture than it’s individual parts.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

Dark Wolverine #82 – It’s the lead up to Siege as we see the Dark Avengers team travel to Asgard from Daken’s point of view.  Daniel Way has made Daken an interesting character instead of the petulant irritating child he could of been.  The machinations, and plotting have kept this series shift in focus fun and different.  The ending to this issue also was rather unexpected and definitely shocking.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

Wolverine: Weapon X #9 – It’s the end to the Dr. Rot story line.  The relationship between Wolverine and Garner is interesting and about the only interesting thing of this arc.  Dr. Rot comes off as a bad mix of the Joker and Hannibal Lecter, and doesn’t quite click as to what makes those two characters work so well.  The arc definitely went a few issues too long, and the inclusion of Psylocke and Nightcrawler was unnecessary.  On to the next story arc!

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

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