Thursday, August 26, 2010 01:59 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 8/18, plus one or two back issues. Beware spoilers!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight - Riley
I didn't expect much from a one-shot about Riley (yuck), but this is surprisingly good. A large reason why is probably the fact that it's written by Jane Espenson, a talented lady who wrote a lot of the original Buffy TV episodes, and is continuing to write great television even as we speak (she's also got a pretty fun Twitter feed at @JaneEspenson). The issue fills us in on what Riley was doing before he joined up with Twilight, and also explains a little better exactly what Twilight's motives were and how it was that Riley ended up joining him. These explanations nearly fix the recent, terrible story arc by Brad Meltzer, and nearly make Angel's actions throughout all this make sense. Nearly. Anyway, it's fun, clever, funny, and effective.
Thumbs Up

New Mutants #16
This issue of New Mutants doesn't actually involve the New Mutants at all! Instead, it focuses entirely on the group of soldiers who literally went to Hell and back, and spends most of its pages on flashbacks explaining what they were doing in Hell and what happened to them there. The final page surprise reveal is a bit of a cliche in comics, but the one at the end of this book is legitimately surprising. It's also not contrived; it advances the story in an interesting and unexpected way; and it introduces a bunch of new characters about whom I can't wait to find out more. This here is a crazy fantastic comic - chilling, thrilling, exciting, imaginative, and even funny. My favorite moment combines pretty much all of that: a new recruit who foolishly failed to follow the rules suddenly gets carried off by a demon and General Ulysses responds by saying, "Yep. That will happen."
Thumbs Up

Secret Avengers #3 & #4
I think I decided after I read the first issue of this book that I wouldn't read any more... but I came in under budget this week, and I was curious to see where the evil magic crown storyline would go, so... here we are. #3 opens with an unexpected flashback to the Wild West. Apparently the guy who runs the mysterious Shadow Council is pretty old! I'm curious to see more of the Wild West storyline, but we don't get back to it in these two issues. The backstory on the crowns turns out to be unbelievably epic, spanning all the way back to before the beginning of the universe as we know it, one-upping even the Celestials and Galactus in age and grandeur.

I have to say, I really enjoy the new Ant-Man as a character. Comic book characters, even the more interesting ones, are generally divided into the heroic good guys and the villainous bad guys, but here's a dude who's just a selfish coward trying to survive. He's pretty hilarious. His best moment is when he mans up and takes out a troop of suicide bombers by causing a nuclear chain reaction. He runs for it, accompanied by narrative boxes reading "Oh God Oh God Oh God," and when he successfully escapes, he screams, "YES! ALIVE!" Issue #4 also includes Nova-powered Steve Rogers, which is a crazy bad-ass concept. It's incredibly fun seeing him duke it out with a crown-possessed Nova. The story arc ends with Steve learning the bad news that Nick Fury is part of the Shadow Council. This should be interesting!
Thumbs Up

Spitfire #1
It's just a one-shot, but it's still pretty fun getting to watch Paul Cornell play with the MI:13 characters again. The focus here is mostly on Spitfire, obviously, as she feels out her new relationship with Blade, and learns how to live with being a vampire - or at least, a part vampire. It kind of cracked me up that the first page of the book - usually reserved for a short summary of what's been going on recently, so you can pick up the story easily - is covered with text from top to bottom. Spitfire's story is just that complicated! The issue itself has some cheesy dialog moments, but is overall entertaining, insightful, and funny.
Thumbs Up
Tagged (?): Avengers (Not), Buffy (Not), Comic books (Not), Ed Brubaker (Not), Paul Cornell (Not), The Take (Not), Vampires (Not), X-Men (Not), Zeb Wells (Not)

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