10 April 2012

PULL LIST: AVX | April 4, 2012

PULL LIST was originally intended to kick off with a lengthy Avengers vs. X-Men event review which I had all but ready to post until my (n)ever trusty HTC Android phone decided to take a shit and die. I've lost track of the times I've performed a factory restore on this thing. This is by no means a tech blog, but just say no to HTC products.

But I digress. Comic panels are late, late, late this week. I've had a few job prospects, interviews, Zombie Jesus Day, etc. So, here's installment one of PULL LIST: the AVX edition.

Wolverine & the X-Men #8

Jason Aaron (S), Chris Bachalo (A)(C), Tim Townsend (I)
Without a functioning Matter Transmuter to repair a crippled Wolverine from last issue's foiled casino raid on Planet Sin, the Beast, né Dr. Henry McCoy, PhD. must rocket to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters in Earth's orbit to recover his backup. But what Dr. McCoy finds instead is a bloody murder scene and his girlfriend, The Peak's Director, held captive by a rehabilitated Sabretooth who forces Beast to shed his diplomatic exterior if he wants to save Abigail's life.

Chris Bachalo is back on rotating art duties and not a moment too soon. His dark shadows and ink splatters are perfectly suited for the gruesome showdown of the two beasts. His colors fit the varied tones, from the crimson burgundy splattered across the space station's sterile white to an all-too-familiar apocalyptic red haze as the ticking time bomb that is Genesis explodes. And writer Jason Aaron is wise to have brought us to that point so soon. And so abruptly. Wolverine & the X-Men has always been fast paced, but this one-and-done issue provides more character development than a trade's worth of other titles.

And it's exactly those character defining moments that elevate this issue. Logan, alone in the mansion in a wheelchair, looking a little bit like a certain former headmaster. The tiny panel of a red-eyed, feral Beast finally losing his perennial cool. But the single defining moment is of Angel bonding with Genesis (call him Evan), the innocent child clone of the very monster that has left him an amnesiac, delusional version of his former self.

Its uncertain how the school will play into the events of AVX, but let's hope the it's left relatively unaffected.

Speaking of...

Avengers vs. X-Men #1

Brian Michael Bendis, et al (S), John Romita, Jr. (A), Scott Hanna (I), & Laura Martin (C)

It should surprise no one that AVX #1 suffers from design by committee, with five writing credits from the House of Ideas. Avengers and X-titles have been building to a head for the past few months, but scripter Brian Michael Bendis manages to brush any characterization aside, showing none of the established rapport between X-Men Cyclops and Hope as fearless leader (as Magneto so elegantly puts it) compulsively trains the student for her fate. Similarly, Avengers relations diminish to playground tantrums as Tony Stark pleads with Captain America that Protector "stop touching [his] stuff." Moments later, a freshly revived from the dead Thor gasps, stupefied at the imminent collision of falling object and airplane. "What madness," indeed!

Veteran artist John Romita, Jr. handles art duties all on his lonesome with considerably more success. His style has received some criticism lately; its taken on some manga influence, looking somewhat like Marvel vs. Capcom adverts. I've no complaints, though, as it takes well to action shots (see above), of which we should be seeing much, much more. Romita does display a couple artistic missteps; though, one may be editorial. Early on, Iron Man's face plate opens like a garage door when confronting Protector but later, when speaking before the President and military brass, it dissolves. Did he grab his nanotech suit to impress POTUS?

AVX still manages to rapidly kick off the event, though. No more teasers. The first shot is fired, the line is clearly drawn, and sides are formed. To expand on an already popular analogy, Cyke sees the Phoenix as an agent of hope and change (not so coincidentally, through the avatar of Hope Summers) while all Cap sees is Iran building their own atomic weapon under the red herring of nuclear energy needed for radiation therapy for cancer patients. These two opinions are no less resolvable among superheroes than in real-life politics; although in comics, we get to see them slug it out.

AVX Infinity #1

Mark Waid (S), Stuart Immonen (A), Marte Garcia (C)

Pimped out as a free download with purchase of AVX #1, AVX ∞ acts as a digital flip book, being the next logical step for tablet eComic readers. Having viewed it on a monitor, I didn't feel the palpable nostalgia Marvel's Infinity Comics seems to be aiming for but the potential is undeniable. It's fun and innovative.

Story-wise, recounts the events of the main title through the eyes of Earth's fallen Nova CORPS delegate in his shiny new X.O. Manowar digs. There's no real story here. Racing at hyperspeed to warn Earth of the approaching Phoenix Force, Nova reflects upon the Earthly vices he's missed -- Sportscenter, Snickers, dubstep (really?) -- and devotion to friends and family.

Marvel editors are again out to lunch as the limited story manages to contradict even AVX #1 as Nova doesn't hit a plane but rather avoids a helicopter before barreling through a building. He is barely able to mutter "Its coming" to a different roster of Avengers before passing out.

At least the art's pretty.

Lis'nin': Kanye West, "Theraflu (feat. DJ Khaled)" and "Mercy (feat. Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz)" | Jay Electronica, "Dear Moleskine"


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