Saturday, December 20, 2008

An Irregular Comics Review - 20/12/08

Amazing Spider-Man 581
writer: Dan Slott
penciller: Mike McKone

Not quite as sharp as the last three issues, but given that the book's semi-weekly, this is impressive stuff. Slott's clearly dictating continuity for the book, which in part makes it less interesting (Waid and Stern had more freedom by playing much faster and looser with the 'Spidey brain trust's game plan), but he's got the most interesting handle on Harry Osborn in thirty years and his explanation for his 'resurrection' is pretty good. His Green Goblin father Norman Osborn's fingers are in every pie, and his influence will no doubt be felt here too as Dark Reign hits the Marvel Universe. McKone's art is merely workable compared with what he's capable of, but it's no less enjoyable for it. The book is far from challenging, but that's not in the nature of the property, and the way which Brand New Day has been used to restore its accessibility remains hugely impressive.

Invincible Iron Man 8
writer: Matt Fraction
artist: Salvador Larroca

Not the only book this week to have had a high point with Warren Ellis and to have found a truly great run now. Fraction is full of ideas, throws the book chock full of great character beats, and is aided by Larroca at the top of his game. Norman Osborn is in charge of H.A.M.M.E.R. and effectively the world, but remains a step behind Tony Stark, who has secreted the Superhuman Registration Database in his head. Now that's a great premise for Dark Reign - on the run from Norman Osborn who has thoroughly perverted the already uncomfortable conclusions of Civil War. I honestly haven't enjoyed this character (Larroca even dresses Tony well and believably) this much this consistently since the first Michelinie/Layton era - this team needs to stay for a very long time yet!

Thunderbolts 127
writer: Andy Diggle
penciller: Roberto DeLaTorre

Nowhere near as strong as last month's opening for the new creative team, but it's a good step forward into Norman Osborn's Dark Reign which is about to transform this title once again into something new. Diggle realises the strength of this team book and core members such as Songbird and Moonstone - it's mutability. While this month the writer mostly bided his time, we've seen new alliances formed, Venom again used to horrific effect and the next step of the Osborn/Songbird death match. Where that goes in the coming months will be interesting - we're far from the model of bad guys seeking redemption, we're somewhere much murkier and its unpredictability works well. DeLaTorre's storytelling was off on a number of occasions - Deodato he is not - but I hope he gets to reach his unquestionable potential on this book. Ellis should be proud of where his strongest mainstream superheroics effort since the Authority is leading.

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