writer: Grant Morrison
artists: Frank Quitely with Avalon Studios
not widely trumpeted, but after an initial sales bump when
Morrison took over, New X-Men has returned to pretty
much the same circulation it had before. Perhaps the newness
has worn off, but though Morrison has had a few ups and downs,
the overall quality of this book is just as high now as it
was when he started.
definitely better than the previous decade's worth of mutant
month, Morrison packs pretty much every tone he can into the
book. Opening with a dynamic chase scene, surprisingly (to
me) incredibly laid out by Quitely, we shift to the cleaning
up of the previous issue's school riot.
a series of vignettes, just about everybody gets accounted
for this issue, and the consequences of recent events are
fully brought home (and better yet, brought home in one
Gang will be getting community service. Except for their leader,
Quentin Quire, whose secondary mutation may very well be taking
him into a higher level of existence. For a couple of issues,
Quentin has been a jerk, but Morrison exposes him as just
a kid trying to be noticed. Though devastating in his abilities,
Quentin feels real.
Quitely sets up a visual joke with the empathetic Xavier that
reminds us of a hallmark of this run: just because he's noble
doesn't mean he's to be trusted. It's done far more subtly
here than in the Ultimate line.
thrown in for good measure are the things that really matter:
hormones. Scott and Emma commit a little bit of mental adultery
- how Catholic. But in the process, Morrison finally illuminates
just why Scott has become so distant.
complaint I can muster is the purely aesthetic problem with
Logan becoming his "Ultimate" self, when even the film version
tries to maintain the classic look. Logan only appears to
be young; somebody ought to remember he probably wouldn't
care too much about being trendy.
writer: Garth Ennis
artist: Steve Dillon
giant squid facts:
eyes are the size of a human head.
recorded carcass was 18 meters long and weighed a ton.
are sharp-beaked eating machines.
their flavor is ruined by high ammonia content in their skin,
which helps them float.
that you're likely to want to eat giant squid, anyway. Especially
since no one has actually seen one living. So when one becomes
the subject of an issue of The Punisher, you can
write it off as a purely fantastic story.
better, welcome it as a change of pace from the previous
heavy arcs that Ennis has been weaving in this book. Why,
it's almost whimsical. As whimsical as The Punisher
is ever going to get.
from featuring a mobster obsessed with finding a giant squid
off of Brighton Beach, Ennis throws a few ghosts into the
mix. After a particularly successful execution by Castle,
a lone survivor sees the friends he allowed to die, and
they're not happy.
or not they're real, we can leave to the imagination, at
least up until the end. But there's a slight clue in the
opening caption: "True story. I'm in it, and I don't believe
the more fantastic elements of the Marvel Universe with
The Punisher always seems a dicey proposition. (With the
possible exception of Wolverine - for some reason, that
one works.) But then, the idea that The Punisher can work
so publicly and get away with it for so long is in itself
unbelievable enough that it leaves room for ghosts and giant
it wrong to be looking forward to such an over-the-top violent
book month after month? Of all Ennis' work, this has been
the most consistent, with so far not a single mis-step.
This issue may be simple piffle, but it's entertaining and
writer: Peter David
artists: Ed Benes and Alex Lei
it. Will the last person out of Leesburg turn out the lights?
knew there was no saving this book. Despite an upturn in
readership and fan interest, DC pulled the plug on Supergirl
months ago. Already they've reassigned the super-hot (in
many ways) art team of Benes and Lei to Birds of Prey,
starting in June. Go ahead, take your drool to Gotham City.
yet, the publisher had the decency to give the girl a great
send-off, starting with a classic cover image by the original
John Romita. Good girl art has characterized the series,
so why not get one of the best for your last shot?
than get into a low-level flame war with DC over the farewell,
writer Peter David did what he does best: tell a damned
good story. So good, in fact, that DC is already preparing
the trade paperback edition of this arc, which features
all the Supergirls you could ever want.
completely throwing us for a loop in #79, severely changing
the destiny of what we thought was the pre-Crisis Superman,
the veteran writer packs in action, poignance, and a completely
non-irritating appearance of the Hal Jordan Spectre. For
some of us, that's quite an achievement.
the process, he brings the book back full circle, and really
makes me regret selling my copies of the early issues. Though
sometimes shaky in sales (obviously), this has been one
David's penchant for jokes on the cheaper side of the spectrum
ran strong, but never enough to overwhelm the series. And
indeed, in this arc, though the other-worldly Xenon tends
to be a little too hip for the savagery of his appearance,
he's still clearly deadly. I just long for the days when
villains weren't so full of their daily allowance of irony.
the end, we're left with a few questions. Xenon leaves these
pages almost as much a mystery as he entered them. And like
any good scribe forced to end his tale too soon, David cracks
open a couple of doors.
Danvers is not gone for good. From clues dropped by David
on his own website, it's quite possible not even for long.
My money is on an upcoming DC book called Fallen Angel.
And I mean that literally. It's a book I will be