Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 12/21/11

It’s the second last week of comics for the year.  What was worth it?  Find out below!  A bit late, but better than never.

Avengers #20 – Osborn and his band have come out of the woodwork and get the Avengers off their game.  As they attempt to kick up some leads, Osborn has some other plans.  The story is really just a sliver of what’s going on as there’s more in the other Avengers title.  Overall though, it feels like a solid threat for them to face and it’s pretty entertaining so far.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Batman #4 – Bruce and Dick have a conversation and we learn some earlier detective work Bruce did concerning the Court of Owls.  Overall, these first four issues are a solid start and mystery that seems worthy of Batman and it’s a nice beginning for new and old fans alike.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

The Bionic Man #5 – It’s a new Bionic Man for a new century and Steve Austin has a whole new bag of tricks.  Austin also meets his nemesis.  It’s Bionic Man 1.0 versus Bionic Man 2.0, fight!  The action is great, tech is cool, story and art top notch.  I was never a big fan of the television show, but Kevin Smith and Phil Hester have done here like they’ve done for the Green Hornet, got me interested in an updated and fun property.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Captain Atom #4 – Captain Atom still attempts to figure out his role and tries on a military one for a bit.  There’s also a bad guy moving around, looks like we have the first villain, whatever it is.  The series is unique and I think amazing to look at.  The art and coloring is so cool.  Definitely a series I’m happy came out of DC’s shake up.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25

Daken: Dark Wolverine #18 – Daken seeks out the Runaways for help as the series begins to wind down.  Daken’s battle with Roston continues, but the art seems to have dropped a bit.  Sad this series never really took off, because when it was firing on all cylinders it was quite good.

Story: 7.25 Art: 7 Overall: 7.25

Daredevil #7 – It’s a Christmas issue as Daredevil takes some kids out on a field trip, but of course that can’t go right.  The art is fantastic and story pretty good.  It’s a good single issue to check out to see what the buzz is all about.  Mark Waid has made this one of the top series that Marvel is putting out.

Story: 8 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8

DC Universe Presents: Deadman #4 – Boston Brand wants to know the point of it all and to figure that out he has a chat with the Son of the Morningstar.  This issue is one long philosophical debate about the meaning of life, death and our relationship to God.  If you’re interested in those things, it’s a top notch issue that leaves you with more questions.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Fables #112 – In this Christmas theme issue, Rose Red must decide what type of avatar of hope she’s to become as she travels around A Christmas Carol style.  There’s a lot set up here in an issue that for most would just seem like a holiday tie-in.  The series is a slow build, and the latest arc is just getting under way.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Fantastic Four #601 – Wow, this issue puts the epic in galactic.  The Kree decide to annihilate Earth, the Inhumans are pissed and Johnny Storm is in control of the Annihilation Wave.  Jonathan Hickman has been leading up to this for what seems to be like years and it’s been completely worth it.  Absolutely jaw dropping and exciting.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Fear Itself: The Fearless #5 – Um, that was a bit easy.  Crossbones gets yet another hammer, this one was ridiculously easy to get.  The follow up to Marvel’s stinker even Fear Itself, is turning out not much better.

Story: 6.5 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5

Generation Hope #14 – The team finds Sebastian Shaw and fight some really random enemy that’s not fleshed out at all.  It might have been just better to have them find the “new light” and deal with Pakastani military, especially with what’s going on.  Overall, just ok.

Story: 6.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75

Green Lanterns Corps. #4 – The Corps. has had to retreat and try to figure out what they’re up against when a being decides to help them out.  Looks like this enemy might be part of a much bigger storyline.  Can’t say I dig the eventual reveal as to what they sort of are, but it’s all pretty interesting.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5

the Invincible Iron Man #511 – All hell is breaking loose for Stark.  It’s gotten out about his drinking, he’s dealing with getting the crap beat out of him and Stark Resilient is under assault as well.  Matt Fraction keeps up the heat and the series is running strong after it’s slight distraction from Marvel’s summer event.  He’s used that to make Stark’s life even crazier and set up more obstacles for him.  Just excellent.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Justice League #4 – The team continues to get together as Cyborg gets rolling.  It’s just a slice of the bigger story and doesn’t stand on it’s own, but there’s a lot here to enjoy.  Darkseid makes his appearance and we learn their goal (but can’t say I generally like it).  The team dynamic is getting there though.  As a single issue, it’s a skip if you haven’t read the previous three but it’s good as part of the bigger storyline.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.5

New Mutants #35 – It’s the New Mutants versus a band with powers.  Um yeah… can’t say the series is getting me really pumped.

Story: 6.75 Art: 7 Overall: 6.75

Nightwing #4 – Barbara Gordon pays a visit to Dick and they take on a bad guy trying to sell some microchips.  The story is ok, but it’s really about the interaction with Babs and Dick.  The rest you can skip.

Story: 7 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7

Supergirl #4 – Supergirl is captured and is still figuring out her new world and powers.  The story is pretty good to start off the series and the fish out of water aspect is a nice twist.  She doesn’t know who Superman is, what happened to her world or why she’s on Earth, all of it creates a mystery that’s entertaining and makes me want to stick around.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7.5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #5 – An interesting story that flashes back and forth between the modern day and feudal Japan.  The stories I guess are tied together, but I don’t quite pick it up.  There’s also a nice Christmas theme about it all as well, with the Turtles finally getting something we’ve been waiting to see.  A perfect jumping on point for new folks.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Thunderbolts #167 – The Thunderbolts, through time!  I’m just not feeling this storyline, though their arc dealing with Jack the Ripper is done with.  There’s nothing bad about the comic, but can’t say I’m really enjoying it either.

Story: 6.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #5 – Miles is wearing Peter’s costume and some folks think that’s a bit disrespectful.  It’s Miles Morales versus Nick Fury, Spider-Woman, Hawkeye and Iron Man… sort of.  The group has to decide what to do with the new Spider-Man and Fury has a bit of a chat.  I’ll admit by the end I had a smile on my face.  Instead of disrespecting what’s come before Miles and writer Brian Michael Bendis are honoring what’s come before.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Uncanny X-Force #19 – With the epic story closed, where does X-Force go from here.  There’s Genesis to deal with and that leads to Logan and Hank having a tense conversation.  There’s also now a goal for X-Force.  It’s going to be the fighting force to make sure the kids don’t have to.  Through evil deeds, good may come.  There’s also the question as to why Fantomex did what he did.  That’s discussed and turns pretty interesting as well.  Rick Remender has given us the best “X” series hands down.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

Venom #11 – Hmm, that was certainly interesting.  Jack O’Lantern and Venom are doing the comic book version of a buddy road trip and a good chunk of the comic has the two of them in a diner.  That’s the part that just blew me away.  Discussion of Jack O’Lantern’s origin is just twisted and that ending made my jaw drop.  This is a solid issue when it slows down and focuses on the characters and what makes them.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

Wolverine #20 – Wait, what the hell just happened?  How is HE back!?

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

Wolverine & the X-Men #3 – The team continues to fight Krakoa and Sauron and Wendigo as the Hellfire Club watches.  The issue is kinetic fun and just over the top.  I found myself laughing and enjoying the action.  The characters are fun and entertaining.  Out of the two factions now the “X” series has split, Wolverine’s has the edge.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.5

Wonder Woman #4 – Wonder Woman gets away and Hera pays a visit to Paradise Island.  It’s all very interesting backed up with some fantastic artwork.  Wonder Woman has become one of the best series of DC’s new 52.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

X-Factor #229 – Um, what the hell is going on?  Looks like Madrox is being pulled to different worlds as other versions of himself dies.  It could be interesting or it could make no sense, like it does right now.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

X-23 #19 – The art is absolutely fantastic, story… not so much.

Story: 6.5 Art: 9 Overall: 7