My Week in Comics: March 20, 2009

It's Friday, a payday, and I've got only a couple of minutes before work comes by to drag me off the depths of despair. Where's vacation when you need it? But I's time for the most verbose comic reviews around! Let's see what I've gotten myself into this week!

First up is Fathom #7, where writer J.T. Krul goes Independence Day on our asses and ups the simmering paranoia of Aspen's world now that it knows the existence of the Blue and Black. It's a bit wordy, but sides are being chosen (both on the good guys' and bad guys' sides...interesting.) and to see the look of stupid, paranoid, panicky humans being pwned by Aspen-generated tidal waves is worth at least half the cover price. The real storm is about to come next issue, so I guess we'll have to wait for that. This one's an easy 3.5 out of 5.

X-ForceX-Force #13 tries to do a hell of a lot of things with so little time to do it. It doesn't help that Cyclops is itching to save the first mutant baby born since M-Day (this here issue is a Messiah War tie-in) and the Leper Queen is making very messy waves in a Rube Goldberg-type of assisted suicide. Clayton Crain's art is the same bloody and detailed mess , but there is such a case as too detailed, leaving his characters with glossy skin or too many toes. The very tight tension and drama at the end was done great, and this issue's got a death so shocking that I don't know whether to applaud Marvel's balls for going through with it, or to wonder if they're running out of ideas. This one's a 3 out of 5.

Young X-Men #12 seems to be this title's final issue, and unfortunately it goes out in a confused whimper. The team is brooding over Dust's death, and are thinking of hanging up their capes but good. Ink wants to go out a hero and tries to ressurect Dust using his Phoenix tattoo. Ink succeeds, but is now stuck in a coma. Hearing that Dust is alive and Ink is in a coma, the team does a 180 and agrees to stay together as a very happy team. Nothing like a comatose team member to get your spirits up, right? The future scenes interspersed throughout the story provides a plot point but ultimately proves pointless, but at least the art is pretty. This is a sad 2.5 out of 5.

Spider-Man: NoirAnd so we come to Spider-Man Noir #4, the final book in Spidey's chapter of the Noir universe. Spidey finally faces off with Goblin once and for all. But who will walk away from this one in one piece?

It's a pretty good send-off for Spidey Noir. Nothing bad, but nothing mind-blowing either. This issue stays true to its noir roots though, presenting a raw, unapologetic portrayal of a victim who's had enough of the system and deciding to take justice in his own hands. Noir Spidey has his morality and sense of justice tested, and he comes out the better for it. Unfortunately, I feel the development of his character seemed forced into this particular genre that it's hard to reconcile the fact that this is the wall-crawler we're familiar with. Of course, I know that that's probably not the intention, and this isn't supposed to be the happy Spidey swingin' and giving J. Jonah Jameson wedgies or anything, but it's hard to distance the association with someone as fun-loving as the wall-crawler.

I guess it all just feels so convenient. I LOLd at Aunt May scolding Spidey for shooting an unarmed man (Toomes aka The Vulture) who was about to tear her apart with his fangs and claws. "They say you can shoot spider-webs? Why didn't you use those?" she barks at Spidey, and I just can't help but think "Should've let her be Vulture chow." But it's that uncompromising sense of right and wrong that jars Spidey to rethink his modus operandi. Unfortunately, it comes off as power-leveling his morality, making me wish this was one issue longer to let that development sink in more satisfyingly.

If anything can be found good in this issue, it's Carmine DiGiandomenico's gritty art. His style really gets me into that noir mood, and I gotta say he's become one of my favorite artists. In the end, everything's peachy keen, and writer David Hine sets up some threads for a sequel down the road. But for now, this issue is a 3.5 out of 5.

It's a not so big week for me, but nothing too bad either, so that's probably a blessing in disguise. Anwyay, if you agree or disagree with any of my statements (including whether Noir Aunt May should've been Vulture chow), the comment box is your best friend. My Week in Comics is up every Friday. Thanks for reading!

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