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Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 1/26/11

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It’s a new week of comic books and it’s a massive release dominated by Marvel books.  There’s also some pretty high profile ones including the death of one major character.  Which comics are worth the purchase and which should you skip?  Find out our thoughts below.

Monthly Comics

Age of X: Alpha – This is the scene just before the battle when the soon to be combatants gather to discuss their past as they relax and prepare before the big battle.  An excellent start to the big X event that shifts the Marvel world to one where the X-Men never existed and genocide is well under way when it comes to mutants.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

American Vampire #11 – The series started off slow and at times has pacing issues, but it definitely gets more and more solid with each issue.  You can see the misses and hits working their way out and what might be an issue with one arc is corrected for the next.  This seems to be the last issue of this story arc which saw Pearl and Henry taking on blood bootleggers.  The issue is solid and entertaining and as much as it wraps up one story arc, kicks up a potentially solid next one.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.5

Avengers #9 – The Avengers teams confront the Illuminati and some secrets are spilled.  The storyline seems solid enough but this issue’s highlight is the confrontation between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark that’s been building for quite a while.  As usual Bendis shows he has a mastery over dialogue and witty banter.

Story: 8.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.25

Captain America #614 – The trial of Bucky Barnes continues as we get a bit more of a taste of what Sins plans are.  I actually hoped this would go a few more issues as I find the trial aspect of the story pretty interesting and wish it was expanded upon.  As a whole, what seems like it could have been a cheesy plot line is perfectly  handled by Ed Brubaker.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Deadpool #32 – Deadpool takes on the baddest bounty hunter there is and the issue is just full of the over the top action you’d expect.  I myself was a bit bored and wondered if this is the direction the series is going.  If it is, I don’t think I’ll be going with it.  Deadpool in space?  No thanks.

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7

Fables #101 – Whatever happened to Bufkin?  This issue takes up that question as the monkey still stuck in the business office takes off on his next quest.  It’s a very entertaining beginning to what should be an impressive next story arc.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Fantastic Four #587 – While the issue is actually really solid, I have with issues with it being oversold as a “death” issue.  We see the character in question being dragged down and overwhelmed, but at no point do we see his actual death.  We know he’ll be back, and that he didn’t actually die.  A lot of hype for a non-event.  Overall, this issue brings a lot of plot lines that have been lingering for a while in a very satisfying way.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25

Incorruptible #14 – With his major nemesis taken off of the board, how will Max Damage deal?  He’s still trying to get it all down in Mark Waid’s excellent series.  But, just as he won’t let past crimes go for other criminals, will the other heroes let him turn a new leaf?

Story: 8.25 Art:7 Overall: 8

Infestation #1 – G.I. Joe vs. Zombies? Transformers vs. Zombies? Star Trek vs. Zombies? Ghostbusters vs. Zombies?  IDW has all of those properties as comic book series, and there needed to be a way to get them all to take on zombies, cashing in on the current zombie craze.  They’ve pulled it off, but can’t say it’s bee done amazingly well.  It’s entertaining, but really is for the hard core fans of those series.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Magneto – This one shot looks at Magneto’s move to the United States, how he got his costume and the beginnings of his time here.  The issue is ok, not quite adding to the depth of other limited series involving the character.  It’s a decent read, but really, it’s for the hardcore fans out there of the character or X-Men.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Namor: The First Mutant #6 – I’m not quite sure why this series hasn’t sat right with me.  It might be it’s weird habit of trying to set Namor on his own and ignoring what’s occurring in other series, but at the same time being tied so closely with the X-Men and their recent fight with vampires.  It’s a tough balance to do, and I can’t say this series really stands out enough that I really look forward to it every month.  I think this is it for me and it’s getting dropped.

Story: 6 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.25

The New Avengers #8 – Luke Cage and Jessica head out for a nice dinner and to talk about her return to being a full time hero.  But as you’d expect nothing goes right and Dr. Doom shows up to ruin it all.  It’s a great isolated issue you can pick up and enjoy, but at the same time it looks like it’s setting something up for down the road.  Great issue, that’s a really entertaining read.

Story: 8.5 Art: 7 Overall: 8.5

New Mutants #21 – As  a whole the “fall” and “rise” story lines haven’t done much for me at all.  I don’t know the original story it works off of, and it is just convoluted if you don’t  This is for the serious hardcore old-school New Mutants fans out there.  I will say that I did enjoy the weapon that had to be unleashed to make it all happen and what that opens up and there’s some hints as to some things we might be seeing down the road.  All of that opens a lot for this series to reach the potential it has.

Story: 7 Art: 6.75 Overall: 7

The New York Five #1 – Brian Wood’s sequel to his cult smash hit picks up where the first one left off with the four girls ready for another semester of college and more drama in their life.  The characters are a bit cliche but at the same time they’re realistic.  But on top of the story and characters this series much like it’s first volume is a love letter to New York City and you can tell Wood feels it’s the greatest place on earth.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9

Punisher: In the Blood #3 – It’s so nice to have the regular Frank we know and love back.  He continues his march through the underworld on his quest to take on Microchip and the men who’s keeping his wife alive.  All the elements of a classic Punisher tale, and it’s so nice to have it back.

Story: 8.25 Art: 7 Overall: 8

Secret Avengers #9 – This solid series continues as Rogers must figure out how to take on John Steele and get Sharon back.  The series is consistently solid and entertaining.  It doesn’t quite hold up to that “secret” in the title as you’d expect, but the team is entertaining even though they’re not featured as much as they should be.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

Thunderbolts #152 – The issue seems a bit weak as the team takes on monster movie knock-offs that are heading towards Japan.  But the point of the issue becomes apparent about half way through which saves the issue and makes it a lot better than the first quarter would lead you to believe.

Story: 8.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8

Uncanny X-Force #4 – Holy shit that was an amazing ending to the first story arc.  The team must decide what to do when they confront Apocalypse in the body of a child.  Do they kill him?  Do they capture him?  Do they leave him be?  The decision by the team members might surprise you with an ending I was not expecting.  My jaw dropped.  Beyond fantastic.

Story: 9.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9.25

Uncanny X-Men #532 – The mutant plague still rages on Utopia as the few X-Men in San Francisco deal with the impostor XMen and threats that are going on.  The Sublime story line is interesting but there’s a spark that’s missing.  Meanwhile Fantomex, Pryde and Frost continue to deal with Shaw in a story that has a lot of potential and should be getting more focus.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

X-Men #7 – The vampires are dealt with and the team must figure out what’s next.  This issue starts to set that up in interesting ways with a new way to figure out things they should be handling as well as a PR aspect that seems to have a lot of potential.  The issue is definitely entertaining, but not quite spectacular.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

X-Men: To Serve and Protect #3 – There’s nothing bad about these short stories and some will come into play down the road, but overall this is really for the hardcore X-Men fans only.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

X-23 #5 – The series has been entertaining so far and is full of potential, but so far has reached it.  The first few issues were tied too closely with the sub-par Wolverine story line, and now it’s attempting a plot that’s too complicated too soon.  It’s still trying to find it’s legs and hopefully it finds them soon.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7