It’s the end of the year and comics seem to come to a halt as every stops reading to stuff their face full of Turkey and/or Ham. As of the time of this writing I have NOT read the last issue of Amazing Spider-man, but I have heard the rumors and I’m sure to talk about it next week. I actually have to buy my comics so I didn’t get an early copy like almost every comic reviewer on the entire internet (not bitter). I also realized that I should pick a best comic of 2012 because everyone else does. For the past two years such a decision has been really easy to make. Scott Snyder’s run on Batman has been the most impressive hard hitting material in the universe and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. And to spoil the end of the year 2013, Scott Snyder will probably win that year too.
Uncanny X-force #35
I hate it when great comics end, especially prematurely. And this comic ended for one reason, because Rick Remender got pulled over to do “Uncanny Avengers.” Yes there is a rebooted X-force coming next year, but it won’t be the same without Remender at the helm. This comic series went beyond good and quickly became the most enthralling book under Marvel’s banner. And was especially the most entertaining book with the word “Uncanny” in the title. It’s true that everything has to end, but this comic died before it’s time. Another two years of Remender/X-force awesomeness and I would be more satisfied, but Marvel seems more interested in creating more comics that have the word “Avengers” in the title.
This series was also responsible for many changes in various B-listers. In fact it had more influence over the Marvel universe than any major event comic of recent memory. “Uncanny X-force” is the reason Daken (Wolverine’s son) is dead and there is now three Fantomexs. Angel also lost his memory to this comic and a new Nightcrawler emerged from the age of Apocalypse. It did all of these things because it actually had the guts to change stuff. While most comics love to create the illusion of danger, X-force felt more peril because Remender would not hesitate to scar or kill off a character. He wouldn’t do it for shock value just to sell more comics, but it was something to progress the story. X-force was a comic of damaged individuals trying to work together to achieve some vague sense of redemption. A story like that can’t be all clichéd villains and puppy dog tails. “Uncanny X-force” was a unique comic of awesomeness that excelled beyond even Remender’s high standards. I don’t read comics because of spider webs or bullet proof shields. I read them for imaginative characters and great stories. A series like “Uncanny X-force” is why I read comics.
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The Mighty Thor #22
This is the end of Thor, for Matt Fraction and me at least. Fraction’s work on Iron Man made him one of my favorite Marvel writers. I was hoping for more of the same with this comic but sadly didn’t get it. Fraction’s run on Thor wasn’t really bad, but rather uninteresting. It might have just been me, but I just really couldn’t get myself to go more than two issues without regretting getting this comic. The run wasn’t a total bust though. The story with Galactus, and, more recently, with the Enchantress, had strong story elements and several other things going for it. However the overall experience with Thor hasn’t been a satisfying one. Particularly during the Marvel megaevent “Fear Itself.” Almost all of the backstory to that event revolved around the Thor universe, and none of what was going on translated into the Thor comic. We did get an aftermath issue and a story to explain how Thor came back to life just after he died, but it was very frustrating reading two Thor comics written by Matt Fraction that had really nothing to do with each other. I didn’t hate this comic, I was just disappointed by it. Even though the reins are being handed off to Jason Aaron, I don’t think I have it in my heart to keep reading. So goodbye Thor, you would have been more interesting if you stayed dead.
Avengers vs. X-men #12 (of 12)
Huh… no one died. Well, sort of. Chuck X bought it back in issue eleven, but comic books like to top off a climax with some major character’s death. Something to really top everything off before you’re ready for that cigarette and forced cuddles that keep you from just falling asleep. There was a major change in the affairs of mutants, but I’m surprised that no one besides Charles had to die for it. If anything, the comic surprised me a good deal. I was expecting the conclusion to be as inconsistent as the rest of the series. But with Dark Phoenix Cyclops being the only story thread really left, this issue was able to focus wholeheartedly and bring us a satisfying end. The predictability of the end was sort of a mixed bag, and left me a little stunned as a whole. Not everything turned out as I expected it to, but still left enough natural conclusion to feel that the ending wasn’t too off base.
AvX isn’t the end all and be all of comic books, but a certain amount of applause must be given to Marvel for pulling this off. The story had its peaks and valleys, and could have probably have been condensed into seven or eight issues. But the ending actually feels complete without any lame copouts or reset buttons pushed. Something in the Marvel Universe actually changed, and I was just surprised the industry still had the balls for that kind of thing. Let’s just hope they can hold on to that scrotum shack and don’t collapse to market demand to just reverse everything they changed.
Hope true believers.
Uncanny X-force #27
Sometimes I hate comic books. Not because “Uncanny X-force” is a bad comic, far from it. But sometimes it pulls and pushes at my buttons in a way I just don’t like. This recent issue does such a thing by killing off one of my favorite characters. It’s so shocking and heartbreaking that I hope they find a way to save him before the end of this storyline. Rick Remender is too intense of a writer to do something that lame, but I love this character too much to just let him die. Though I suppose his death wouldn’t have such an effect on the reader if he wasn’t such a great character to begin with. We do get a new character out of it, but even her nice rack isn’t a substitute for his wit.
What I do like about the whole issue is that the death isn’t played off as a marketing scheme to sell comics or for shock value. It actually plays an important development aspect of the story. His death won’t go unanswered, and will deeply affect the already emotionally damaged team members. This particular storyline, “The Final Execution”, still has a few more issues so this isn’t something we’ve heard the last of. But even after this storyline, it’s something that will be pulled from as long as Remender writes X-force. I know bringing characters back to life right after you’ve killed them off is as lame as Thor, but I am deeply gut wrenched that I’ll never read another smartass remark from that little French prick.
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Uncanny X-force #19
Wasn’t I just talking about how awesome this comic was? I was? Has something changed to make it less awesome? Not really, it is still as awesome as ever. With the Dark Angel Saga behind our hardest of hardcore mutants, it’s time for a new storyline to begin for new readers. Sadly, that new issue isn’t here just yet. Issue #19 mostly serves as an epilogue that deliveries plot points of the Dark Angel Saga more calmly than the frantic pace of issue #18. I was really hoping for more of a fresh start approach that would allow the audience of X-force to grow, but we’ll have to wait till issue #20. X-force is, in my always correct opinion, the best X-gene comic out there. It really deserves a broader audience, and should be used an example for other comics to follow. It is also a shining example of why Fantomex should be named comic character of the decade. The epilogue portion of this issue last about 99% of the way, but a twist at the end shows you where the next story line is going. Any comic nerd, who isn’t already reading this, owns it to himself to pick up issue #20 when it hits the stands.
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Avengers: X-Sanction #1 (of 4)
Cable is one of the best comic book characters in history. He perfectly blends mysterious and badass that makes for a great super hero. They choose a great way to kill him off, but, I’m guess due to popular demand, the powers-that-be at Marvel have decided to bring him back. I was happy with the news, although jaded by cliché. After reading this first comic however, maybe they should have just left him dead. It was good to see Cable back, but didn’t seem to have that same level of awesomeness that I use to. The story here is Cable is back, by way that is not really explained, to save his daughter Hope Summers from the Avengers, which is also something not thoroughly explained. The comic has some nice ideas, but has nothing that is really thought through. They could have thought of better stories to bring him back, something involving Deadpool would have been nice, but at least I’ve seen much worse. Everything about this comic is just ok, but hardly the treatment such a great character deserves. Maybe they could use Cable time travel device and try again.
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