Ever since Spider-Gwen was announced, the comic world has been buzzing with praise for her design, cosplayers are popping up at cons and there was an all-around anticipation-high for the character. Jason Latour and Robbie Rodriguez’s Edge of Spider-Verse #2 features Gwen Stacy as the unwitting soul who got bit by a spider in all her tenacious glory. It’s a strong start and a great (girl) character. You can read my full review HERE.

Edge of Spider-Verse's Spider-Woman by W. Scott Forbes

Edge of Spider-Verse’s Spider-Woman by W. Scott Forbes

V. reviews Captain America #11


Based on my glorious experience with Uncanny X-Force, I already knew Rick Remender was a good writer. While I have plenty of faith in his talent, I didn’t think he was so good that he could make a character like Captain America compelling.

I was wrong.

What do I mean by “a character like Captain America?” He’s as white-bread and straight-edge as it gets. While I don’t actively dislike the character, he certainly wasn’t interesting to me … until now. In just one issue, I like the guy. I may even come back around for another issue or two.

You can read my full review of Captain America #11 HERE.


For the past two years, Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force has been something I quite looked forward to on Wednesdays. At a time when many of my favorite superhero comics were not that great or being cancelled, Uncanny X-Force was a consistently good title and filled that superhero space in my heart. So, when the opportunity presented itself for me to review all 37 issues of Remender’s run, I jumped at. And here, lords and ladies, is the finished product – my Uncanny X-Force MEGA review. Cheers!

Lady Mandarin by Billy Tan

Stream of Comicsness – Week of 02.01.2012

This week’s haul …
Action Comics #6, Sweet Tooth #30, Uncanny X-Force #21

So Sweet
If you get your comics from your LCS every week, you know it isn’t cheap. Prices ranging from $2.99 and sometimes up to $4.99, multiplied by four or five books a week. Well, you do the math. Some books are more than worth it, others are not. The titles that are worth it hit hard and make you anticipate the hell out of the next issue. Titles that do that for me are Batwoman, Chew, Uncanny X-Force … and now Sweet Tooth.

Rewind a couple of months.

One of my besties lent me the first trade of Sweet Tooth, a title that was on the long list of things I want to read. I devoured it. Next trade, please. I also read that voraciously. On to the third, Sweet Tooth: Animal Armies. It is probably one of the most intense stories I have ever come across in a comic. It ranks up there with moments in Y: The Last Man and something else really awesome that I can’t think of right now. But then I had to wait for the fourth trade. That was more than I could handle. Continue reading

Comic Judgment: Best in Show

It’s weeks like this that make me so happy to be a comic book reader. All three titles that I pulled stuck the landing (My Batman and Robin #1 review is here) and marked the beginning of exciting new eras. We’re not just talking DC, either. Let’s get it started Continue reading

Comic Judgment: Debuts and Curtain Calls

There’s nothing like a hefty Wednesday haul, especially when the books are as good as mine were this week. From a promising upstart to two venerable titles that took their bows, there’s quite a bit to cover. Here we go:

Better. Stronger. Faster.

The Bionic Man #1: Can a comic book based on a classic TV show withstand the white-hot expectations of readers full of nostalgia? Or will said nostalgia warp one’s view, resulting in an overly positive or negative response?

Though Dynamite’s new Bionic Man comic had me at “Oscar Goldman,” I still approached it with caution. Col. Steve Austin, astronaut, loomed so large in my childhood that I successfully lobbied my parents to buy me his doll – uh, action figure when I was 7 or 8. As I began reading, I thought of the great RuPaul’s advice to his drag competition contestants: Don’t *%$! it up.
Continue reading

Comic Judgment: Marvel Edition

The pull list was pretty meager this week, but discovering Steve McNiven’s art made the drive to my LCS worth it. The lovely Zatanna is unrepresented here only because I overestimated the amount of cash I had on hand Wednesday. She’s coming home with me tomorrow, but here’s a brief, double Marvel rundown.

Captain America #2: By all accounts, longtime writer Ed Brubaker has done a masterful job with his Captain America stories. For people like me who are way late to the party, this freshly-launched volume is an excellent point of entry. As a man out of time, Steve Rogers is constantly confronted by ghosts. His former love and fellow soldier Peggy Carter has just been buried. He knew Jimmy Jankovicz as a boy who could cross dimensions and even touch people’s dreams, but Jimmy is now a catatonic, elderly man in a wheelchair. Continue reading

Thanks for the Memories, Spidey

A couple of years ago, a friend and mutual comic book fan handed me the first trade volume of Ultimate Spider-Man. Sure, I liked Peter Parker and had always related to him as a nerdy underdog who was fast with a quip. But I hardly expected this book to become such a treasured and long-lasting part of my comics reading experience. If my budget had ever forced me to reduce my pull list, Ultimate Spider-Man would have been one of the very last to go.

Major comic book character deaths have become so commonplace that they barely register. With rare exceptions, we know the publisher will find some way to bring them back. In the months leading up to Ultimate Spidey’s death in issue #160, I was certain it wouldn’t bother me … much. Of course, by the time Peter gave up the ghost after a brutal showdown with Green Goblin, I was one sad puppy. Continue reading

G3 Review: Uncanny X-Force #9

Cover art by Esad Ribic

Uncanny X-Force #9
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Billy Tan
Colors by Dean White

* There are minor spoilers contained in this review. *

I initially picked up Uncanny X-Force #1 on a whim. I like the premise of the X-Force team, and Esad Ribic’s covers are seductive. The issue turned out to be an art powerhouse and a character goldmine. I love my team books, and this is a team book of bizarre proportions.

One thing that Marvel does, and I wish DC did, is provide continuity summaries. I knew nothing about Fantomex, Deadpool, and Archangel, but I was interested immediately. Rick Remender’s X-Force is disturbed and dark, and not in the lovable psychopath, Secret Six kind of way. Continue reading

Comic Judgment: Invincible Iron Man #500.1

The Invicible Iron Man #500.1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Salvador Larroca
Colors: Frank D’Armata
Letters: Joe Caramagna

Confession time: This is the first standalone Iron Man comic I’ve ever read. My knowledge of Tony Stark has been limited to team books like The Avengers, his guest appearances in other comics, and the recent movies. So in a way, I’m probably the ideal audience for The Invincible Iron Man #500.1, which is essentially a recap of Stark’s life from childhood to present day. While there’s probably nothing new here for longtime fans, it’s an absorbing, attractively presented story for newbies.

Tony narrates his story during an AA meeting, and writer Matt Fraction uses the classic flashback storytelling device. However, the script never seems cliched or movie-of-the-week manipulative. What’s most interesting is Stark’s exploration of how he became an alcoholic; how drinking almost destroyed his life but probably led to his reinvention as Iron Man. It’s clear that he has a tenuous hold on sobriety, and that his addiction has been deeply humbling. He’s a billionaire bachelor and a genius superhero, but at AA, he’s just another guy with a cup of crappy coffee who’s trying to stay on the wagon. Fraction does a very good job of conveying Tony’s basic persona and his vulnerability. You just can’t help but root for the guy despite the considerable damage that he’s done to himself and others.

I really responded to Salvador Larroca’s art, particularly his gift for realistic, detailed facial expressions. His closeups of Stark feature heavily in this intimate story, and it works. Frank D’Armata’s coloring is muted, but his palette suits the narrative’s tone. I don’t often pay close attention to lettering unless it’s done poorly, but Joe Caramanga’s stood out for the opposite reason: They’re quite good.

It’s impossible to give a full picture of such a storied character in one issue, but Iron Man #500.1 hits all the highlights: His relationship with his parents, how he became a crime-fighter, and the toll that his drinking took on his relationships with women, business associates, and the other Avengers. Seeing all that dysfunction crammed into a single issue is heavy stuff, but also touching. There’s a moment toward the end where he calls Pepper Potts, and that brief exchange reveals a great deal about their connection.

For the people who already know this stuff, Iron Man #500.1 might seem extraneous and a waste of their time. But for readers not terribly familiar with Tony Stark, it’s a solid, enjoyable read and a very good entry point.