Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 5/18/11

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It’s a thick stack of books dominated by “X” comics, events and some comics making their debut.  Before you head to the shop to pick up your new releases, here’s what I think of this week’s batch of comics.

Monthly Comics

Alpha Flight #0.1 – In a reflection of the real world, the first prequel issue of the new Alpha Flight series starts with a Canadian election which is clearly more than it seems.  The issue as a whole is a decent read, and there’s a lot of potential but it doesn’t quite blow me away.  The art is a bit inconsistent and as a whole, if you have read Chaos War, you just have to accept these characters are returned from the dead.  Again, the series has potential, so I’ll be very interested in seeing where it goes from here.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Astonishing X-Men #38 – Two issues in two weeks and I can’t say either was really needed.  This issue decides to veer from last issue’s battle in Japan and instead sends a team into space to deal with the Brood.  The story is blah and there’s some dialogue that’s bizarre (why is Beast rambling about a “secret” team!?) and the art is very inconsistent.  This is one “X” series that’s not needed and definitely not astonishing.

Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75

Avengers #13 – Generally I would have really liked how this story was told, but it’s yet another lead up to Fear Itself, which has been told numerous times before.  Instead of dropping the team right into the action and furthering the story, we instead get a retread that adds little other than a different perspective.

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7

Avengers Academy #14 – The junior team also feels like a junior comic.  There’s just something that’s missing from what should be a solid series.  Instead we get stories and characters that just don’t quite click, especially after such a promising start.

Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75

DMZ #65 – I keep saying this series is some of the best political commentary out there.  This issue is a perfect example why.  What horrors and lies are ignored every day for this nation to continue?  How many of the founding qualities are trampled upon so that we can wake up the next day as a free nation?  In this simple story, all of that is addressed, but not at the same time.  Brian Wood’s work here deserves greater recognition, because through a comic book, he’s asking the questions too few are.

Story: 10 Art: 8 Overall: 9.5

Fables #105 – Just when the series hits a lull in storytelling (but an interesting concept) an issue like this comes before you and knocks it out of the park.  The majority of the story revolves in a father and son talk.  Simple in concept, damn near perfect in execution.  The series’ quality shines in this issue.

Story: 9.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9

Generation Hope #7 – I really think it’s between this series and Astonishing as to which is the worst “X” series running right now.

Story: 6 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.25

Heroes for Hire #7 – Fun, fun, fun, that’s what comics are all about and this series is a perfect example of that.  Spider-Man and Paladin are sort of working together as plot points from the first story arc come back.  The series might focus on B and C list characters, but the comic itself is an A.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

Invincible Iron Man #504 – Fear Itself has been a disappointment so far, but Matt Fraction brings the quality for this tie in.  Iron Man has to deal with the Grey Gargoyle who has grabbed one of the hammers that have crashed down to Earth.  It’s a twisted story, and really enjoyable.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Namor: The First Mutant Annual #1 – It’s the final part in a three part story that finds Namor, Cyclops, Hope, Steve Rogers and Dr. Nemesis in the Negative Zone.  There’s some awesome parts here and some parts that made me as wtf.  Overall, the story is lacking and if I had noticed it was an annual, I would have skipped it.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Power Girl #24 – I’ve never read an issue of this series before, but when I heard it’d have to deal with a Muslim with meta-powers I felt I needed to check it out.  The story is just amazing with a great voice and perspective.  Are all the issues this good?

Story: 10 Art: 9 Overall: 9.5

Rocketeer Adventures #1 – I’ve never read a Rocketeer comic before (but have a trade sitting waiting to be read), and I have to say this first issue has a great pulp feeling to it.  The stories are entertaining and have an innocent throwback feel to them.  A great first issue, here’s hoping the rest take flight like this.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

Thunderbolts #157 – The team continues their so-so battle but there’s need for the Thunderbolts team in another location at the same time.  Will the B team get called up?  It’ll be interesting to see how these teams meld or clash is the more likely.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

Uncanny X-Force #10 – Archangel has fully taken over and a very interesting event forces him to completely lose his shit.  This is a pretty big moment as the team needs to head to the Age of Apocalypse to save their friend.  This series continues to be the best “X” book the market.  Plus as a bonus you get Iron Man 2.0 #3 to read too.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

X-Factor #219 – David continues to play in his little corner of the “X” world and as many answers there are in this issue, there’s also a hell of a lot hinted at.  Overall a decent story, but I’m really intrigued to see what comes next.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75

X-Men: Giant Size #1 – Well that was certainly an interesting issue.  It’s the first chapter of First to Last and mutants must deal with their place in the world and decide if their species will continue or fade out.  I’m not sure I’m a fan of the pseudo retcon, but the concept has me hooked.

Story: 8.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8

X-Men: Prelude to Schism #2 – Still not quite sure what the big danger is, but Cyclops turns to Magneto for advice as to how to move forward against this unseen threat.  It’s a decent story, but there’s been past stories of Magneto’s time in Germany that was much more effective and moving.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

X-23 #10 – Laura is hurting and Gambit has decided to call in reinforcements to try to help ground her.  This is the comic we should be getting, a killer attempting to reform.  Something that’d be a great companion for Daken which is the killer who embraces what he is.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25