The NEW DC 52 assault is finally over (of the original FIRST ISSUES anyway). We can now get back to “normal” here at IMJ HQ and bring back a little variety.
In this week’s column…
Rick gets surprised, Ian gets pleasure from a little Liefeld bashing and Jose gets angry at Rick… But you say, “Jose gets mad at Rick EVERY WEEK!” Well yes, he does. Turns out that even we like a little continuity now and again.
X-Men: Schism #5 (of 5)
Written By: Jason Aaron
Art By: Adam Kubert
When I sat down to read my books this week I was filled with a refreshing sense of excitement. Maybe it was from the break of not having to read twenty plus books in a day due to the massive DC reboot of the past month or perhaps I was just digging the variety. Not that I didn’t enjoy the DC books, far from it. But I was ready to move on from the weekly avalanche of #1s. With the great books released this week there were a few tempting places to start this week’s column but I immediately found myself drawn to the book I was anticipating most after a fantastic cliffhanger from only two weeks ago: X-Men: Schism #5.
In the last issue, Cyclops finally addressed the biggest elephant in the Marvel Universe when he told Wolverine that Jean (Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl, then Phoenix) never loved him. Of course, this inflammatory statement left the two seasoned vets beating each other to a bloody pulp. It doesn’t help matter that an unstoppable Sentinel is slowly approaching in the background… Leaving us wondering, can the two X-Men finally place their differences aside for the good of the team?
As expected, this issue continues that climactic fight sequence as the Sentinel, now involved in the fight, attempts to kill them both.
I have purposely glazed over most of the story points, mainly because they are not really what matter in this issue– or the mini-series, for that matter. X-Men: Schism was an event designed to set the stage for the next wave of X-Books. It is meant to finally draw a line in the sand between Scott and Logan– a division always there, yet never fully explored.
The future of the X-Men has been spoiled for quite some time thanks to Marvel and their hideously revealing previews. Before I read this issue I knew that it would culminate with the division of the team. Logan starts over with a new squad of heroes– leaving Scott with his regulars. Still, this issue was a great reminder that the excitement isn’t usually found at the destination, but in the journey: What will it be like? Will these two A-List heroes nearly kill each other and end their relationship with the expected big “Fuck you!”… Or will there just be quiet? Where will the new team go? How will they get there?
Not only does the book’s third act answer all of those questions, but it is done with some of the best dialogue I have read in an X-Book in a long, long time. Jason Aaron has a great knack for honest, slam-bang dialogue that hits just the right dramatic notes… And we get plenty of drama as Scott and Logan discuss the future of the team.
The conversation was not what I expected at all– as it was handled in a mature and touching way. It not only shows the growth and mutual respect that these two characters have for each other but also explores their unknowing need for one another. Aaron’s affinity for the X-Men has never been more clear than right here. The tone was heavy yet the words seemed to flow as natural as any conversation between two old friends would. It also served to set up the new status quo within the two teams.
X-Men: Schism #5 almost felt like the natural conclusion to something that had been in the making since Wolverine became a part of the X-Men all those years ago. He and Cyclops have never seen eye to eye– yet they always found a way to make it work. Well, it didn’t work this time and rather than writing some obvious blowout argument between the two– I found the decision to end the conversation with Scott’s blessing refreshingly original.
The art, unfortunately, was a bit hit or miss for me. The close-up sequences showcase Adam Kubert’s line work beautifully but his “bird’s eye” panels were horrific (as usual). Fortunately, the final pages of the book– charged with carrying the most emotion– were very consistent. Kubert does a great job working his art around the dialogue seamlessly.
X-Men: Schism was a complete success in my book. The potential for tons of new stories is great and we’ll hopefully get some great old school style crossovers in the future. In my opinion, there’s never been a better time to start reading X-Men (at least, in the last decade). If you are so inclined, X-Men: Schism is the place to start.Chew #21
Written By: John Layman
Art By: Rob Guillory
Chew continues to put a smile on my face every time I read it. I’ve never discussed it in my short history as a columnist for IMJ… But anybody that’s followed Jose for more than 5 seconds knows his deep-seated loved for the comic. Hell, I understand he just had dinner with the esteemed Mr. Layman the other night. (Ooh, how I would have loved to have been there.) Ian’s a big fan too. So I know a lot of love has come before me.
So let me just say that if you’re not picking this up then your missing out on one of the funniest, most inventive books in comics. Period. This Eisner Award Winning comic features some of the most dynamic art and clever dialogue– making each issue feel just as fresh and funny as the last. And if you feel that jumping on at the 21st issue might be a problem– then think again. Issue #21 is Part 1 of a new story arc. Unlike most books out there, there’s no heavy continuity to wade through… So go get this issue!The Infinite #3
Written By: Robert Kirkman
Art By: Rob Liefeld
I never thought I would see the day when a Robert Kirkman book would join the CRISPY CLUB. Even though this is the first Kirkman book I’ve featured Bags and Boreds, it is in no way a reflection of how big of a fan I am of his other works. And though he did release two other great books this week, I felt compelled to vent about The Infinite #3. This issue is by far the worst of the series so far. Why I continue to buy this book is, honestly, beyond me. I keep talking myself into thinking that when you like a GREAT writer, everything said person releases is pure gold. Unfortunately, for Kirkman (and everyone else) this is not the case. What’s TRULY sad: The ART is 90% of the reason I hate this book. I read scenes that have the potential to be gripping, great character moments… Then I look at their faces and all I see are snarling teeth. Liefeld really has NO range! It’s either a screaming “Yaaarrrggh!” face, or a sad “Yaaarrrggh!” face. His poses are completely recycled and the backgrounds offer NO detail. If anything, he’s worse than he used to be. The only way I could possibly recommend this book: If you are an aspiring artist, buy at least one copy so you can get a 22-page clinic on what NOT to do! Hey, it’s cheaper than art school.Severed #3
Written By: Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft
Art By: Attila Futaki
Severed is quietly becoming one of the best books on the market. Scott Snyder’s uncanny ability to raise the tension in this comic makes you feel like you’re watching an immeasurable talent. Severed #3 is a truly scary book. The majority of the issue takes place in the killer’s motel as Jack and Sam confront the serial killer for the first time. The art in Severed #3 continues to be very strong. The entire tale will make for a wonderful collected edition if all involved stay this consistent.
Green Arrow #2
Written By: J.T. Krul
Art By: Dan Jurgens and George Perez
There were a few DC New 52 books that I wanted to give a second chance before deciding whether or not to give them the axe. Being that J.T. Krul’s Captain Atom was a surprisingly great book; I decided to see if GA #2 could match the former’s intrigue. As expected, it didn’t. DC’s attempt to make Queen Industries a comic book version of Apple is really quite annoying. It would be okay if Oliver Queen was a likable character but he isn’t. The cheesy dialogue between Ollie and his antagonists sounds like it was written by a middle school student. The stiff art doesn’t help either. Based on the last thread regarding issue 1, I doubt that most of you read this book, but in case you were thinking about giving it a try- Don’t.Detective Comics #2
Written and Drawn By: Tony S. Daniel
A surprising turn of events this week! Tony Daniel actually managed to write a pretty enjoyable issue of a Batman comic. His art stood out to me on a few panels and the new Batman design actually seems to bring out more of Daniel’s strengths in the darker panels. Story wise we get introduced to a sadistic villain who enjoys performing plastic surgery on his victims. I know it’s not an original concept but it fits Batman’s world well. I don’t mind waiting before Daniel brings in the rest of the Rogues Gallery. You win this round, Tony! But I’ll be watching– so don’t disappoint me.Stormwatch #2
Written By: Paul Cornell
Art By: Miguel Sepulveda
I’m trying, IMJ Nation™! I really, really am! After the late night debate here regarding the first issue of Stormwatch, I went back and reread it. Here’s what you DON’T know: I admit to surprisingly finding it more entertaining than the second time I read it. So naturally when Stormwatch #2 hit the shelves, I decided to give it another chance. I almost hate to write this but Gee, I just don’t see it. I don’t see the appeal of the characters. The dialogue is annoying and confusing. This comic, again, is obviously written for an audience that already has a built-in affinity for the heroes and the concept. Unfortunately, I couldn’t care less about either. Let the hate mail begin! With this final tag for the week, I cede the floor to Mr. Melendez and the rest of Stormwatch-lovin’ IMJ Nation™!