My Week in Comics: January 28, 2011

Six of the most awesome comics this side of comicdom is hitting my week in comics hard! What have I gotten myself into? Read on to find out!

Age of X: Alpha hits the ground running, offering no explanations to how this dim and distant future came to be (which, according to writer Mike Carey, is deliberate). All we know is that the X-Men was never formed, so no one stood up for mutantkind when they needed it most. Now they're in hiding, hunted like rats. But a savior is in the horizon in the form of...Magneto?

Mike Carey offers up an interesting alternate history, with familiar mutant characters taking on unfamiliar roles, through a series of short stories illustrating this alternate universe. I especially liked the Scott Summers story, where he's turned into a one man firing squad under the heel of this universe's Arcade. But ultimately I could only sit on the sidelines watching everything unfold. Everything is not what it seems, and while I'm insanely curious to know why, that's all I'll ever be at this point. The saving grace to this issue is the gorgeous art supplied by artists I've never heard before: Mirco Pierfederici, Gabriel Walta, Carlo Barberi, Paco Diaz and Paul Davidson provided some truly beautiful work in this one-shot, and I'm certainly standing up to take notice. The story continues somewhere else, so good luck with that. I'll be waiting in the wings for the fallout. This gets a 3 out of 5.

Zatanna was last seen in her undies tied to a bed by a puppet (no, really). In Zatanna #9, we learn that not everything is what it seems, especially a creepy marionette with dead eyes and a creepy smile.

This ish is actually a two-fer, with half of the book focused on the current story arc, and the last half telling funny little short story about Zatanna and her adventures with braces courtesy of Adam Beechen. It's a jarring experience to just stop so abruptly barely halfway to the book, just to let DC know. I'll spare them the question of why since seeing li'l Zatanna in braces slobbering all over the place is pretty hilarious. Zatanna #9 gets a 4 out of 5.

Am I the only one creeped out by the concept of a Ms. Sinister? She makes an appearance here in X-23 #5, and even though his female version is sporting the sexy cowgirl look, I can't help but imagine deep inside he's this buff guy in a goatee who experimented on mutants. But I digress. Laura and Gambit come face to face with Ms. Sinister, apparently reformed. Can they trust her?

Writer Marjorie Liu is going someplace interesting with Sinister here, what with Gambit in Laura's tow. Their history is palpable, and I'm curious to see where Liu is headed with this. Hopefully it's to some major butt-kicking, since I'm beginning to miss some of it here. But at least we get to see Will Conrad draw a sexy Sinister! This is an easy 3 out of 5.
It's always a joy to see The Sixth Gun on my pull list whenever it comes out, and The Sixth Gun #8 is justifying my faith in this series. Becky and Sinclair are hiding out in colorful New Orleans, and we meet new characters both suave and shady. A gunfighter sets his sights on Becky's heart, while Sinclair is searching for a way to dispose of the six cursed guns. He better hurry up, because a ghastly and mysterious force is dead set on claiming those guns as her own!

You know what I noticed? Cullen Bunn is not heavy on exposition, unless it's really needed. It's all character work, and Bunn has built his characters into absolutely believable ones. Then Brian Hurtt's art brings old New Orleans to life, from its fanciful saloons to its soggy swamps. He even gives us an man versus wild (animal) fight to solidify their position as the most awesome comics this week. I don't think I've given this book a low grade...they never give me a chance to do so! This is an easy 5 out of 5.

Top Cow's big event is reaching its breaking point in Artifacts #5. New players enter the fray as Cyberforce gets recruited to mess up the gathering of the thirteen none other than Aphrodite IV!

Artifacts is running at a steady pace, and its getting exciting now that writer Ron Marz is building up to the inevitable showdown between all the major players of the event. It's been a while since I saw Cyberforce in anything relevant, so seeing them in action again is pretty cool. The art duties here as done by Whilce Portacio, twhich is well done and flows along with the story. With a continually good-looking setup, and a promise of a throwdown next issue, Artifacts #5 gets a 4 out of 5.

Speaking of throwdowns, Uncanny X-Force shows us how it's done in Uncanny X-Force #4, in what probably is the most satisfying end to a threat ever seen in comics. Ever.

We sorta complain when the resolution is too 'clean-cut'. That's it? You might ask. But you know what? In the context of what the X-Force's entire reason for being is, it works. Rick Remender's scripting and characterization just adds more flavor to this disgusting pie of violence. I've never been a fan of Deadpool and Fantomex before, thinking of them as one-note caricatures, but here Remender just pulls you in. I would be remiss to not mention Jerome Opena's sick, sick pencilwork, which has to be literally seen to be believed. Hands down, one of the most gruesomely beautiful comics of the year. Support these people, guys! This ish gets a 5 out of 5.

Wow! What a way to start the year! Awesome comics left and right...this week is a good week for a comic book fan! If you got your own thoughts about the comics I've reviewed today, hit the comments below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

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  1. Thanks for the post on my blog, George. I've been looking at more indy books of late, trying to find ones that I like.

    Glad to see Zatanna in your list there, I LOVE the character and it's probably my favorite book from DC right now. I've not read #9 yet but I'm looking forward to it!

  2. You and me both, Joe! Paul Dini is making Zatanna such a fun read. Hope I didn't spoil you with my review...needless to say it's really fun.