The FINAL Bags & Boreds Column!

All Star Western # 2
Written By: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art By: Moritat

The book that should’ve been the Best of the Week with its inaugural issue is back with a vengeance. All Star Western has been developing an amazing buzz and there was nothing in this issue that made me think that they didn’t deserve every ounce of it. Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have reigned supreme by delivering great Jonah Hex stories for the last few years– but with All Star Western they have just brought Hex– and the comic book western– to another level entirely.

Picking up where we left off in #1, Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham continue their murder investigation– only to become embroiled in an all-out gun fight worthy of any true grit western. Rifles shooting through windows, big explosions and bloodthirsty hooded henchmen were all I needed to have the best reading experience this week. Hex’s most recognizable attributes also poke their head out with a “by the book” confession/murder scene. What really sold this book to me was how Gray & Palmiotti have managed to tell the origin of one of the most famous fictional cities with a great amount of subtly.

One of the ideas that made the DC New 52 Relaunch so intriguing and ambitious was the stated attempt to make all of the books– regardless of timeline– mesh with one another. Paul Cornell gave us a hint of Stormwatch in Demon Knights #1 and now All Star Western is giving us hints that its’ overall story will provide us with definitive origin story for the legendary Arkham Asylum. Although our main character is Jonah Hex, to me he is only one player in the bigger picture– which is how Gotham City came to be the darkest entity in the DC Universe.

I can’t possibly write about All Star Western #2 without making mention of the fantastic art, which in my opinion was leaps and bounds better than the first issue. The decision to not make any double page spreads and stick strictly to one page splash’s served well for those reading this issue on a digital delivery system like myself. And if I haven’t said enough to make you go out and read this book then maybe I can cap it off by mentioning that this already action packed issue also brings with it an
8-page back up featuring El Diablo.

All Star Western is a perfect example of how fun comics used to be. You will get the best bang for your buck here– even considering it’s $3.99 an issue. Given all the great content in ASW, Marvel Comics should be embarrassed that for the same price they rarely– if ever– bring the goods that Gray & Palmiotti bring here.The Incredible Hulk # 1
Written By: Jason Aaron
Art By: Marc Silvestri, Michael Broussard, Joe Weems, Rick Basaldua and Sal Regla

The Hulk has gone through many transformations throughout the years. Various creators have attempted to put their own spin on the jolly green giant– with some succeeding more than others. So it’s not that surprising that a hot writer like Jason Aaron fails to bring even the slightest bit of interest to this one-dimensional character. (Even if he is speaking again.) Thankfully, the art doesn’t reflect the listless storytelling. The multi-artists’ efforts provided some of the best work displayed this week and was the only thing that made this book bearable.

Wolverine and the X-Men # 1
Written By: Jason Aaron
Art By: Chris Bachalo

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this. I’ve hated the title since the 1st announcement. I have always felt jackhammering Wolverine’s name into a comic’s title is just a cheap formula to sell more books. That said, I enjoyed the cast of characters and fresh comedic feel that Jason Aaron has injected into the X-Men. The X-Books are heavy with drama– making this change of pace a welcome treat. I’m not sure whether this lighter touch will continue but it sure made this book more enjoyable than most X-Fare.Aquaman # 2
Written By: Geoff Johns
Art By: Ivan Reis

The disappointment bug bites me once again as one of DC’s best characters continues to get the short end of the stick. I’m not debating that Ivan Reis is a great artist but I think his style is becoming very much (dare I say) like Rob Liefeld’s. I should probably elaborate in order to be completely fair: Where Liefeld lacks the ability to draw a proper range of emotions, Reis’ faces a problem with… Perfection. It’s a fact that everything Reis draws– be it physiques, faces or even “average Joe” filler characters– must all be perfect, featuring great looking square-jawed people. This is only a nitpick I have. I would never go so far as to say that he is a bad artist, only not an artist that I don’t specifically enjoy. The story is also snooze worthy– making this issue an overall BUST.Deadpool # 45
Written By: Daniel Way
Art By: Salva Espin

I haven’t discussed the Merc with a Mouth yet. The one thing I think we should all consider is that Daniel Way has managed to successfully write Deadpool for four years– earning much praise from non-critics. Although I can understand the seething hatred for Deadpool, I can’t state I share it. His market saturation is nowhere near that of Wolverine’s, making the argument of his overuse a weak one. Deadpool #45 keeps up the funny as Wade Wilson and his darker Doppelganger save the day and wreak havoc. This is also my first exposure to Salva Espin— who displays a clean line and makes each character unique. Don’t let the critics steer you away from one of Marvel’s best books– amazingly not affected by all the event tie-ins.



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  1. PhilBetaGAMMA says:

    ASW: ln spite of myself, l find myself, enjoying this title!
    lnc.Hulk l never got far enough in2 the book 2 note the multi artists deal, but l’m not surprised. When was the last time Silvestri completed a whole comic, himself? Glad l missed that one.
    X-men: Upside…Bachallo’s approach l’ve usually favored. Downside..A book led by Wolverine. l’m not sure, but l’m thinking;downside wins
    Deadpool Downside…lt’s Deadpool …Upside…There is no upside

  2. Insideman says:

    Rick got a new job that made it where he had to STOP REVIEWING COMICS IMMEDIATELY! (Must’ve been SOME promotion, huh?)

    Jose and I want to wish him the ABSOLUTE BEST! We really appreciate Rick’s professionalism… And, of course, his TOUGH SKIN when it came to our comments.

    Of course, I also hear THOUSANDS of PEOPLE CLAPPING after reading the 2ND PART of this announcement.

    I want to be the first to say, “Welcome BACK, Jose!”

  3. I enjoyed the hulk. To a first time Hulk Reader, I was very intrigued with what I saw and am eager for more. I wonder though, has the hulk shaved all this time? Or do any characters Jason Aaron writes grow beards by default? 😀

  4. All-Star Western is easily one of my favorite New 52 titles. I enjoy that it’s one of the rare comics out there that, like Rick said, gives us bang for our buck. As for the other titles you reviewed I can’t say anything about since I haven’t read them…

  5. Allfather says:

    I wasn’t planning on getting them, but I decided to try out Aaron’s “Incredible Hulk” and “Wolverine and the X-Men” anyway. And I thought both of them pretty much sucked.
    I’ve been waiting for a good Hulk series ever since Peter David left the book (and yes, I know I’m in the minority of folks that thought “Planet Hulk” blew) but no one can seemingly capture the excitement and humor that David’s run did, IMO.
    I’ve seen most (if not all) of the comic review sites praising “Wolverine and the X-Men” #1, but I really don’t get it. Yes, it was “playful” and ” humorous” but it just seemed so out of character and forced. Wolvie starting his own mutant school like some “cool” Professor X just doesn’t make sense at all. Granted, I stopped reading “Schism” after the first issue, but I think I know what Wolverine is all about, and it certainly isn’t this. I’ve tried several times to get into the X world lately, but no recent story is worth the $3.99 price tag – not by a long shot – including this new title. I’ll stick with the wonderful X-Factor – which is a dollar less but pretty much worth a higher price.

  6. Allfather says:

    And congrats to you Rick on your new job! Thanks for all of your reviews!!!

    Now…..for what I have been waiting for – Jose!!!! Can’t wait for next week!!!

  7. Allfather says:

    All Star Western, however, is still excellent and is probably my pick of the week too. For someone like me that never read a Hex story before, it really motivates me to buy past trades of this title.

  8. can you elaborate on why Planet Hulk blew Allfather? I admit that the story itself is nothing new..but it was just epic..and a complete story..the fact that I remember names of side-characters like Meek, must mean something to me..and yes I actually cared for what happened to the characters in this book…compare that to the death of Thor and Bucky..I dont think anyone cared.not even a fraction..

    I really dig All-Star Western and man was i dissapointed when the story was already over halfway the book cause the remaining pages where for a second story with this zorro-like character..I dont know..cause I didnt care so I stopped reading there.. All-Star Western is one of my favs of the new 52 but this alone might be a reason to drop the book

    Aquaman..I dare to admit that I enjoy the book so far..the artwork is indeed striving for perfection and with Johns lame writing..the book is similar to watching a way too expensive made blockbuster movie..I also drink one glass of Coca-Cola a day so..

    • Allfather says:

      The reason I didn’t like Planet Hulk was I just didn’t care for the supporting characters at all. I found them annoying and basically downright stupid – down to the way they looked and spoke. I was really disappointed because I thought the whole concept was interesting and fun and I was really looking forward to reading it – but I found it a chore to read through and it ended up really boring to me (I was literally nodding off during it). I realize I’m in the extreme minority in this so I guess it just comes down to “different strokes for different folks”.
      I didn’t care for the new Incredible Hulk because nothing really happened – which should never happen in a first issue. No real explanation in how and why Hulk is underground and has befriended these mole like creatures, why he is split from Banner, etc. I didn’t follow whatever story it was in Fear Itself in how Hulk ended up like this, and in a first issue it shouldn’t matter whether I did or not.
      I agree with you Rick on the back up story in All-Star Western #2. I didn’t care for it and it kind of abruptly interrupted the main story. Never a good thing.

  9. ed2962 says:

    Congrats, Rick! Looking forward to Smackdown!

    • Insideman says:

      Just in case my previous ad in the above space blew the announcement that badly, Jose & I are starting a weekly comic book review column NEXT FRIDAY…

      In my defense, it WAS something I had to throw together at the very LAST second. 8)

      And NO… The new review is NOT being called COMIC BOOK SMACKDOWN.

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