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What I Liked This Week

Posted by bnwadmin On May - 25 - 2011


Jonathan Hickman (w) Barry Kitson (a)

There have only been a handful of books in my opinion (interestingly enough all by Marvel) that have been consistently strong each month and only get better with each outing. Thirty days can be a long time to go between the action and the narrative, but for a select few authors and artists that obstacle is a kin to playing baseball with a beach ball – it’s just easy. For me, reading Hickman’s continued excellence on the Fantastic Four/FF feels like he is playing with the world’s largest beach ball.

Issue four of the latest iteration of the FF continues to dig deeper into the conundrum that Hickman introduced back in the Dark Reign Fantastic Four mini-series. Clearly not learning the lesson that forced him to side against his family in the Civil War, an ended experiment has been brought back to life by none other than his daughter. Now Reed and Val have to hold a symposium with a who’s who of their rogue gallery to figure out how to defeat an unlimited amount of Reed Richards from countless different dimensions.

It’s sheer joy watching the fun of the round table going back and forth as Diablo, Doom and others wax on about how they admire these new Reeds and their ruthlessness, until of course they find out their alternate universe version fates.

Meanwhile, Sue is called away as part of her new official job in Atlantis and brings Spidey and Alex with as the War of the Four Cities begins. But you will never believe who instigated its commencement. And finally, it seems Ben is still having issues dealing with Johnny’s loss, but with so much going on since his demise the Thing appears to finally be hitting that emotional wall. What toll it will take no one but Hickman knows for sure.

I’d love to say that if you have not been reading FF that issue four is a great jumping on point, and in some ways it is as the beginning of an arc starts now. However, Hickman has put together so many layers of this onion that as you peel one back, countless new layers take its place. It’s a never ending “blooming” onion (mmmm, Outback’s blooming onion, now that is good stuff). But fret not, all four of his previous Fantastic Four collections plus the above-mentioned Dark Reign mini-series are in stock at Brave New Worlds and will of course count towards out Rewards Program.

I feel like a broken record, but in the weeks that Hickman’s Fantastic Four and FF have been released, it has been hands down my favorite.

Mighty Thor #2

Matt Fraction (a) Olivier Coipel (a)

Feels like a tease when I first open up an issue of Fraction and Coipel’s Mighty Thor. I really relate Coipel’s artwork on the God of Thunder to Michael Straczynski’s run from five years ago – simple, elegant, understated and a whole lot of awesome. So, when I opened up Thor for the second month in a row and began to read the words associated with Coipel’s art, it leaves me a little perplexed. Thank goodness it’s Fraction providing the tale.

Fraction earned his stripes on Thor in the Ages of Thunder one-shots that he penned along with the Secret Invasion Thor mini-series. Add in the final six issues of the title Straczynski and Coipel teamed up on starting in 2007 and Fraction is providing the chocolate to JMS’ coffee.

It can be hard getting caught up in expectations (superhero movie fans should know exactly what this means) when reading a book, and at first the Mighty Thor can be a letdown if you are hoping for that deliberate pace that JMS told his story with.

However, Fraction has his own unique style and when it is on, it is on. The action seems to come a lot quicker in Thor’s Asgard nowadays and that is not necessarily a bad thing. The Mighty Thor is a perfect jumping on point for casual fans and people who like the movie and want something more. Much like he did with Invincible Iron Man when the first film came out, there are a lot of relatable situations and characters in Mighty Thor #2 to not overwhelm or lose new readers out of the gate.  Sif, Heimdall, Odin and the Destroyer all make appearances.

Plus, the story is fun and the consequences of the premiere issue are still being felt by our favorite golden-haired god. But wait there is more as Galactus is coming. His herald the Silver Surfer arrives with an ultimatum which receives the response any good Asgardian would give. That’s how fun this issue is!

Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine #6

Jason Aaron (w) Adam Kubert (a)

A year is a long time to tell a six-part story, especially one as convoluted as this tale. But it has been worth the ride, as Aaron and Kubert wrap up this story with what appears to be an ode to Back to the Future III, beginning the story in the Wild, Wild, West where Peter Parker has brought the invention of the bacon cheeseburger to the masses.

But seriously, it’s a tale of love and lost and of friendship gained. At the end, with all the time travel, Mojo-craziness and temporal flux, Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine was a very enjoyable tale that ended on a high note. Granted, you really need to pay attention from panel to panel, especially in this issue, but that is part of the joy. If you are looking for some mindless entertainment, might I suggest the multiplex. If however you like to be challenged, read this book, which I think will get stronger in story if you get to read all six issues at once.

Issue six had all the classic time elements included, especially the opportunity to peer into the window of how this entire adventure began in the first place. And I loved the way Aaron finished the story, bringing it back to its two main characters while also throwing in an enticing epilogue.

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