Comics

AICN COMICS Reviews: THE WAKE! DEXTER DOWN UNDER! FRIED PICKLE NOIR! UNITY! RED SONJA! & More!

Published at: Feb. 26, 2014, 2:06 a.m. CST by ambush bug

The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)

Advance Review: THE WAKE #6
KING’S WATCH #4
DEXTER DOWN UNDER #1
RED SONJA #7
AMAZING X-MEN #4
Indie Jones presents FRIED PICKLE NOIR #1
UNITY #4
JUSTICE LEAGUE #28
DAREDEVIL #36


Advance Review: In stores today!

THE WAKE #6

Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Sean Murphy
Publisher: DC Vertigo
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


It didn’t take a MENSA candidate to make the aquatic association of THE WAKE’s title to the shitstorm that Snyder unleashed from Davey Jones’ locker, but the way in which he did it made my jaw drop when this book took its hiatus a few months ago.

You all will remember when last we left THE WAKE, the aquatic brain trust had basically unleashed merman-a –geddon on the world. Not only were there thousands of razor-mouthed man-guppies chasing our heroes, but they had also unleashed a skyscraper-sized merman who could devour the paltry underground base in one chomp.

Well, fuck them. They’re not in this issue. They probably died.

Act II takes us back to the very first pages of the book, where we were flung 200 years into the future. Way back in the beginning there was a girl living in water world with her pet dolphin. Issue #6 is her story, and it’s a good one.

Her name is Leeward, and she lives in a world where only the highest regions of America remain above sea level--a world where these mermen are the clear enemy after they sent warm water gushing to the ice caps and melted them. Leeward lives in a world where these creatures are now hunted with a reckless abandon for consumerism and basic survival.

Now, for some reason the last vestiges of our government aren’t too kind to these activities as they work to form their own plan for fishie eradication. Kudos to Snyder for restructuring the American government. The concept of regional governors is something I believe we should institute even before releasing the Kraken.

I would like something for you all to enjoy, so I’ll let you fall in love with Leeward and her bigger mission as your own discoveries when you read the book.

As a parting thought, though, I offer you to not rush your read of the book like I did. Murphy brings his PUNK ROCK JESUS harshness to the metal barges our children’s children call cities. There’s a beauty and a sadness to this moisture-laden pastoral existence, and Murphy gets all the credit for bringing it to life.

Optimous Douche has successfully blackmailed BottleImp to draw purty pictures for his graphic novel AVERAGE JOE coming out in 2013 from COM.X. When not on Ain’t It Cool, Optimous can be found talking comics and marketing on robpatey.com and just marketing on MaaS360.com.


KINGS WATCH #4

Writer: Jeff Parker
Artists: Marc Laming
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Reviewer: Masked Man


With just one more issue to go, the DEFENDERS OF THE EARTH—er, the KINGS WATCH kicks into high gear, as Ming the Merciless' forces attack the Earth! Yes, the only thing standing between us and domination is Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Mandrake and Lothar! Which kinda makes Flash look like a wussy, right? I mean, he used to be able to handle this by himself. Anyway, I think it's pretty cool that Dynamite thought to jump on this concept. As a kid I wanted to like the show, but felt it was too much of a bad G.I. JOE/CAPTAIN PLANET knock-off. Action was too watered down and I hated all the kids--two things that are not a problem in this series, as it has plenty of real action and no kids!

Spoiler time people: so in this issue, Ming's forces hit hard and the heroes scramble around for what to do about it. Of course, by pooling their resources and with a 'god weapon' created by Dr. Zarkov, they manage to shut down the invasion. This is all told fairly well, as each hero is give time to show their stuff--Flash as the daredevil hero, the Phantom as the brute force of nature and Mandrake the Magician as master illusionist (Lothar as the strongest support man). Though Zarkov's weapon is a bit Deus ex Machina, and as he shared it with the rest of the world, I fear how countries will probably turn it on each other (no nuclear fallout) once Ming has been defeated.
br> The biggest problem I had with this issue is the visual storytelling. It jumps around so much, with actions being set up but not being resolved in the next panel but the next page. Characters popping up all over the place, with no hint of set up. The action scenes are really a mess, which is a shame because that's the main thrust of this issue. Laming can clearly draw well--figures, vehicles and backgrounds all look great. But in order to tell a good story, panels have to clearly show how things are happening, not just what is happening.

So as this mini-series comes to a conclusion, Parker has been putting together a good action/adventure yarn. It delivers for any fans of these characters. I just wish it has some better storytelling, because then it would be one of Dynamite's best books and more worth the time of the passing fan.

Learn more about the Masked Man and feel free check out his comic book CINDY LI: THREE OF A KIND and CAPTAIN ROCKET at www.Toonocity.com


DEXTER DOWN UNDER #1

Writer: Jeff Lindsay
Artist: Dalibor Talajic
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Lyzard


Before you begin bemoaning what happened in the DEXTER Showtime finale, I must point out that this comic is in no way associated with the show that brought Jeff Lindsay’s character to prominence. Written by the book’s author, this second series of DEXTER comics from Marvel takes place in the books’ universe. But though it might occur during this timeline, it hardly can be compared to either incarnation in regard to quality.

In DEXTER DOWN UNDER, our vigilante serial killer is transported from the familiar Miami to, you guessed it, Australia. Apparently they have an illegal immigrant problem and some local hasn’t taken too kindly to the massive influx of Asians. Sergeant Wiggs recommends the Canberra police get help from the recently published Morgan.

DEXTER, whether it be the books or TV show, isn’t successful based on its main character alone. His relationship with side characters like his sister Deborah and girlfriend Rita, the culture and weather of Miami…there is more to these stories than a charismatic sociopath. DEXTER DOWN UNDER gets rid of all the familiar trappings for Dexter to play against. Yes, he constantly compares Shawna Wiggs to Debs, but it just isn’t the same. Sure, Australia has some similarities to Miami when it comes to the beaches and humidity, but again, not a direct parallel. In fact, the portrayal of the land down under is stereotypical, lazy even. “Bastard” is thrown around like f*#% in “The Wolf of Wall Street”, with “bloody” taking a close second. I don’t doubt this is terminology typical of the area, but when the only named Australian characters are Bruce, Shawna, and Riley the comic reads like a Wiki summary of the country.

The whole time, I wondered why this story couldn’t take place in Miami. There are plenty of immigrant problems in Dexter’s city, and why not have the real thing instead of a pseudo-Deborah?

The art is rather unimpressive as well. Dexter is now in his early forties and yet, at times, his appearance is that of a man in his twenties. It is both inconsistent and untrue to the character. Dexter Morgan comes off as a smartass with that smirk of a youngin’, respectable when drawn age-appropriate. Then there is the gore or, in this case, the lack thereof--hardly any blood worthy of the spatter expert.

I’m not even sure that comics are the best medium for Dexter. In the novels it is Lindsay’s extensive narration, Morgan’s inner monologues filled with dark and twisted humor, that kept me coming back for more. Maybe if done right I would change my mind, but as it stands, DEXTER DOWN UNDER is just as big a letdown as the TV show’s conclusion.

Lyzard is Lyz Reblin, a graduate student at the University of Texas pursuing a master's degree in Media Studies... which is just a fancy way of saying she plays a lot video games, watches far too many horror films, and then tries to pass it all off as "research."


RED SONJA #7

Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Walter Geovani
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Reviewer: MajinFu


When trudging through a swamp populated by cannibals and lizard people, it is usually wise to make the best of it as Red Sonja, the “devil” herself, so aptly exemplifies in this new and quite-good installment of her latest series.

The beginning of this issue offers an incredible moment of sympathy for anybody who has visited the rural south or sat singly on any sort of excruciatingly long ride via your local public transit system. You’re hungry, you’re sick of the environment cramping your style, could use a drink and can’t tell if your loins are burning because of the humidity or your dwindling sex life. It gets to the point where as soon as Sonja the “parched, starving and RANDY” sees a pair of leering bumpkins, her first thoughts tend towards threesomes, and understandably so. With their lurid appraisals of the recently-roasted rabbit Sonja has put on a spit, who wouldn’t yearn for a little hanky panky, huh?

Turns out Sonja’s not in the bog lands looking for some sugar or to improve her culinary skills. A typical pharaoh-type named Samala who’s confessed to be knocking on death’s door has contracted her to assemble a team of mighty party planners so that he can have the most epic send-off hedonist tyrants like him typically assume they’ve got coming to them. He has already enlisted a small army of slaves to erect a nice big tomb for him, and Samala has threatened to bury all of them alive along with himself once he finally kicks the bucket if, that is, Sonja cannot return with six of said prized artisans in one month.

The notions of foodie cannibals and pharaohs who greet their own demise like it’s a sweet 16 party are already kind of humorous, but Gail Simone’s aptitude for colorful narration and varied dialogue takes this story to another level. If you’ve ever read her run on the pre-nu52 SECRET SIX (and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?!) then you know what you’re getting here. Despite some inconsistent art, SECRET SIX was easily one of the best superhero/villain team books of the last decade thanks to a proper mix of morbid humor and deep characterization, both of which are on full display in this issue of RED SONJA. Simone has done a lot of great work over the years, and it’s nice to see that streak of refreshing and original tales continues here.

Couple the superb writing with some fine art from Walter Geovani and colors by Adriano Lucas, and you have an easy recommendation. Seriously, this is the kind of book where the art does such a good job of storytelling and switching up the composition/layout on every page that you’d almost take it for granted. Almost. Even when some of the panels have to sacrifice some detail, it’s in the name of cramming in as much story as possible. The colors equally accentuate the narrative by highlighting the rancid bog air and contrasting all these pale greens and murky browns against Sonja’s vivid scarlet. Beautiful job.

I also have to mention Simon Bowland’s lettering, just because it does such an excellent job emphasizing the comedic beats and off-kilter characters found in this comic. There is a funny nod to Conan’s home brew that just wouldn’t have had the same punch without the proper accents and er, embiggening of words. Lettering is usually a job that is appreciated more for subtlety, so the less you notice it the better it’s considered to be, but in this case Bowland’s work is just another aspect of a wonderfully cohesive whole.

So yeah, I liked this one. A lot. Also, I know this is a fairly old release (Dynamite’s website says it was originally published over a month ago), but I’m new to the party and reading it kind of made my day. Maybe it will do the same for you. So if you haven’t picked this one up yet for whatever reason, consider hunting down a copy. This book is fun, it’s sexy, and just look at that cover. Folks, this is simply good comics in general. This is what it looks like, and it’s worth it. Trust me; my weekly trip to the “local” comic shop consists of an hour-long train ride, then hopping a bus into scenic “Oldtown." Would I do that if I knew a copy of RED SONJA #7 was waiting for me upon my arrival? Abso-friggin-lutely.


AMAZING X-MEN #4

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Ed McGuinness
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy


I Feel Like I Should Love This Comic More Than I Do.

A new X-Men title, written by the same man who did WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN, with art by a man I've loved since I was a kid, about a team of classic characters and fan favorites, and the first story is about them going to heaven to rescue my favourite character from my favourite franchise…I should love this book. But…look, I like it. It's solid. It's not nearly as exciting as I was hoping for.

The book is at its strongest when it focuses on the relationships. Aaron understands these characters and their relationships, and is able to mine these longstanding friendships for wonderful scenes. It can get tiring to see "X sees Nightcrawler and freaks out" for the sixth time, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit I misted up once Wolverine and Nightcrawler got to reunite, or laughed when Beast remembered "Obstacle Chess" with Kurt. There's great character work throughout the book.

The story itself never really comes together, though. Maybe it's because of Azarel? His sheer enthusiasm can be fun, but he never comes across as a real threat. The scope of the story is giant, but it never feels like it. It's wonderful to see lines like "Firestar will burn hell!", but we don't get much opportunity to actually SEE Firestar burning hell. There's not much action in this book, but lots of very well-drawn art poses of the heroes. It drains the story of its much-needed action, and turns an exciting adventure into the afterlife into a character-building exercise. And while that's not necessarily a bad thing, it does drain the title of some of its power.

The art is strong throughout, especially when McGuinness gets to play with the pacing and paneling. The very first scene of the book takes a simple page and turns it into a visually engaging scene. McGuinness does some of the best work I can remember him ever doing in this issue.

I don't know what it is, but I'm just not enjoying Amazing X-Men as much I know I should be. Maybe the next few storylines will validate my excitement when the book becomes an actual X-Men title.


Indie Jones presents!

FRIED PICKLE NOIR #1

Writer: J.R. Mounts
Illustrator: J.R. Mounts
Publisher: Scairy Tales Noir
Reviewer: Mr. Pasty


What's great about this review is how I thought I was reviewing a completely different book. When our beloved Ambush Bug sent me the specs for FRIED PICKLE NOIR, I wanted to get the cliff notes online, so I could go in with some modicum of preparation.

Then I saw it, and nearly wept.

“Surprise romances make freshman year challenging in this quick-witted, south-of-the-Mason-Dixon romp about a girl named Rachel forging a relationship with her emotionally shaken father after Mom abandons the family to pursue a psychic calling.”

I thought, “Holy shit, what did I agree to?”

Turns out my zeal to get out in front had me clicking out of muscle memory and I had actually linked to DEEP FRIED & PICKLED, which clearly is not the same thing and has no business being on AICN. Or anywhere else, as far as I'm concerned.

But back to the matter at hand.

FRIED PICKLE NOIR is about a pickled investigator named Q. Cumbersome, who spends most of his time battling the mob in a town called The Pits. He also has a hot tip from Kumara, who sports a nice set of yams. Yes, most of this book is littered with silly puns involving produce, and it's written and drawn in black and white by J. R. Mounts. You've heard the expression “dance as if no one was watching”? Well, Mounts tells jokes as if no one was listening. It's a little overbearing at first, but once you get a few pages into his story, it becomes apparent that he's not doing shtick, or trying to dazzle you with NAKED GUN-style sight gags in every panel. Instead, the SCAIRY TALES author uses his admittedly self-humoring wit to establish a steady rhythm. His narrative starts to read like a spoken word poem that ebbs and flows with a background bass guitar. It's quite remarkable, actually, that he's able to keep the joke going for so long without it becoming (cough) stale.

As for the art?

I would call FRIED PICKLE NOIR the GARBAGE PAIL KIDS of the VEGGIE TALES universe. It's dark and seedy in a Philip Marlowe sort of way, void of color except for the splotches of red blood when the shit hits the proverbial fan. My 11-year-old daughter passed by when I was studying a full-page panel and asked, “Is that a penis?”, though I can't be sure if it's because Mounts draws his pickles with a hat tip to the male genitalia, or my kid is just paying attention in health class like I begged her not to. Either way, it's hard to not respect what Mounts has accomplished here. FRIED PICKLE NOIR is more than just a novelty act, it's a real story with real characters, and while the entire “Thrillogy” revolves around vegetables, this is still a book with plenty of meat.

Web heads who can’t get enough of Mr. Pasty’s word vomit are encouraged to watch him operate as Nostradumbass over at MMaMania.com here. Love, hate and Mafia Wars requests should be directed here.


UNITY #4

Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Doug Braithwaite
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


I haven’t checked in with a UNITY review since the inaugural issue. In that review I lamented comparisons to the UNITY of yore, like how this UNITY was less of an event and more of a team, how this UNITY wasn’t spanning the time stream but keeping it squarely in the here and now, and finally how the pivotal characters of yore like Archer & Armstrong were nowhere to be found.

I don’t know why I did this, since I generally rail with a youthful defiance against those who cry over their amber and shun change. I guess even my cold black heart has one soft red spot for nostalgia. Well, NO MORE I SAY! The new UNITY is a perfect representation of Valiant today, and a sterling homage to how tight continuity can add new titles without it feeling like so much padding simply for sales.

This new UNITY has a purpose--not something you can say easily about the additive titles of other comic companies. UNITY is vital connective tissue that has brought the psiots or next gen of humanity titles like HARBINGER into a collision course with X-O Manowar and the never ending story of ETERNAL WARRIOR. Until UNITY the three would reference one another with nary any direct contact. But in the past four issues, UNITY has brought these forces together and as such changed the entire world.

Part of the reason I’m OK now with this new direction for UNITY is the fact that the players are pale reflections of their 90s selves. That’s not a slight; I too am a pale reflection of my 90s self. I still wear the frayed jeans, but the flannels have been traded for Brooks Brothers button downs. Aric of Dacia got the X-O armor back in the 90s, and then promptly went and ran a global conglomerate! It’s really a WTF were they thinking decision when contrasted with his new mission of finding a new homeland for his people after they were aged thousands of years during interstellar travel while they were enslaved by The Vine. This is a nobler and more headstrong Aric, and as such he pissed off a lot more people--especially when he tried to regain the original family homeland, now part of Whogivesafuckistan, which is part of the USSR. Thanks to this tussle, UNITY was formed as old alliances fell.

Pretty much everyone has switched sides in four issues, which has helped to keep the action pumped to 11. Originally part of Harada’s scheme to claim the armor, his minion Psiot Livewire, lifelong friend Gilad the Eternal Warrior and even the MI6 stealth master Ninjak have all flipped sides to Aric’s way of thinking. Even after Livewire had the X-O armor under her control, she chose right over might and decided Harada’s means do not justify any moral end.

This issue was a definitive turning point in the truth-seeking of UNITY. At the center of this fact-finding is the food blogger we met in issue 1 whose witnessing of Aric’s invasion turned her into a real reporter overnight. For this issue she is trying to broadcast the internment camp holding Aric and his people just as Livewire, Ninjak and Gilad are trying to right the wrongs they perpetrated against Aric while they were with Harada. If I were trite, a perfect title for this episode would be “Retribution”.

Being a huge fan of HARBINGER, where Harada serves as the big bad guy, I’ve noticed a disturbing pattern over the past few months. In title after title, Harada is shedding the gray hat of ambiguity between good and evil he has worn since day one for a definitive black head-topper. I knew this time would come eventually; I just didn’t expect it so soon. However, if I have learned one thing about Valiant, especially this new incarnation, it’s that what’s in front of you can change on a dime, and don’t bet one dime on what you think will happen because you will most likely be wrong. Even now, I can’t believe that the American government will let this barbarian hold the keys to the X-O armor, despite Livewire’s willingness to relinquish it.

The expectations of this book have been just as surprising as the art. Braithwaite has brought the world to the brink of war and our heroes to the brink of insanity all with the same scale, grandeur and detail. Yes, I give equal props to deft ninja moves, epic barbarous fisticuffs, nuclear missiles and the deep liens that come from lament and poor choices in life.


JUSTICE LEAGUE #28

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Ivan Reis
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man


And now Johns brings you the Metal Men. For you history buffs out there, the Metal Men have been dancing around the DCU since 1962. Everyone seems to like them, but no one has ever really made them a success. Now for this review, I'm going to pretend I've never heard of the Metal Men, as it is the New 52, and old readers need to stop bashing the industry saving new readers.

Ok, as a big FOREVER EVIL tie-in, Cyborg 2.0 needs a new group of heroes to fight the Crime Syndicate (because the random throwaway characters called 'Doom Patrol' didn't fare too well (remember, I've never heard of the Doom Patrol)). So using his Dad's connections (of super government scientists) he discovers Will Magnus, creator of the Metal Men. Dr. Magnus considers the Metal Men a failure, and even though the world as we know it has pretty much ended, he still doesn't want to turn them on again. What happens next is the origin tale of these Metal Men (FYI, spoilers ahead).

You see, Magnus is a typical movie robot scientist: he hates humans and wants to make better humans with robots. Mind you, these robots will be programed to safeguard all these humans Magnus doesn't like. Anyway, as these robots come to life, we see they all have interesting and unique personalities (one hell of a malfunction); the irony comes out that these robots are as flawed as any human (which Magnus was trying to avoid) except they refuse to do anything 'evil' (more irony--he actually did create better humans).

The Metal Men themselves are very contradictory. One moment they reject their programming, the next they are forced to comply with it. I get the sense that Johns was in such a rush he's not really sure how they work. As a typical naive and combative team, they work very well. They are all fairly charming, though their naivete can be strange at times. At the writer’s whim they seem to understand and know things like robot revolution and pay-per-view, but then fail to understand Magnus' intention for building them (conveniently creating instant conflict).

As the tale wraps up, the Metal Men 'die' fighting their toxic waste stepbrother, if you will, because as Dr. Magnus says, “The metals fused with the toxins and rendered them inert.” To which a huge explosion occurs, because I guess Johns thinks inert things explode. Johns also tries to wrap things up by saying Magnus felt the Metal Men failed because they wanted too much to be human--a point I don't think was well illustrated in the story. But apparently, since the Metal Men were programmed to save lives, that's what they would have wanted, so Magnus decides to bring them back to life (I didn't follow that logic, did you?).

Art-wise, Ivan Reis does a great job with this comic, as he always does. Great-looking work and really good storytelling, but the Metal Men themselves are pretty darn ugly and overdrawn. Being created from globs of molten metal (Gold, Tin, Iron, Lead, Platinum and Mercury) you'd think they would look like the T2000 (from TERMINATOR 2). After all, they can morph their bodies into any shape like the T2000. But Ivan has designed them overly complex with plates, bolts, gears, and ribbing. They also seem to have no control over their color--Gold is gold, Lead is lead, Mercury is mercury (no, wait, he's red--go fig) but they do have control over their eyes--weird.

The Metal Men are certainly an interesting group, and I can see the potential in them, even though this story was rather sloppy with the details. Unfortunately, I also think FOREVER EVIL as a whole is being jam-packed with cool concepts and characters that never seem to really be used, so I suppose the Metal Men will have to wait until after the crossover to really develop.


DAREDEVIL #36

Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Chris Samnee
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee


Sometimes you have to gush. No, I’m not going off and discussing the finer points of hardcore pornography (not yet anyway) but more tackling the idea that despite already heaping large amounts of praise on a comic book several times during its run, sometimes you get your shovel and thesaurus and find some more to add to the mound. Even if it’s an award winner, even if it’s already a pretty good to great seller, even if it’s the target of virtual handjobs across the critical board each month (apparently I’m not letting the sexual references go today—sorry, folks) you just have to keep giving a good comic its due because, fucking a-right, it’s a good-ass comic book. Just in case you didn’t figure it out yet, DAREDEVIL is that good-ass comic book.

Where this is really coming from is that not only is DAREDEVIL a good-ass comic book but it is also a good-ass superhero comic book. Yes, there are obviously a lot of good superhero comic books out there in the market – at the very least it’s a numbers game - but right now DD is just on a special level in the genre. Not surprising, given the history of the character and the tally of special creator runs it has had over the years, that the current crew is telling a very personal tale with Matt Murdock and his compatriots with very real ramifications and progression for these stage players. Quite frankly, it’s a shame that’s not the way these properties are allowed to work, but it’s also understandable; when a character like Spider-Man or Batman has a popularity level that translates into three or four times the sales as other characters then the market is dictating that you keep those fictional beings at a high level of accessibility. But all that means to me is that between the twenty pages of meaningful, lasting, ramification-filled storytelling that shows up in a DAREDEVIL each month and the five titles’ worth of diluted overhead fillers some of these icons command, I’m taking the quality over quantity that this transition issue of “The Man Without Fear” exemplifies.

Amusingly enough, I’m probably most appreciative that the charade of Matt Murdock denying his alter ego has come to a close. Given all that I just said, I imagine there’s some smattering of irony that the best development of this issue as an endpoint to the volume is it disavowing itself of the fallout of arguably the biggest game-changer that has happened to the character since the turn of the century. But there it is for everyone to see: Matt Murdock is Daredevil and there’s (hopefully) no going back. I love it now, though like I thought it was a great move during the Bendis years because it is something that forces a good writer to be creative with the ramifications. You have villains now coming out of the woodwork and targeting this person and the people they surround themselves with, and someone has to decide to what extreme to play this up. In the case of a character like Daredevil where their true identity is as imperative to their lifestyle and moral fiber and sense of being, their exposure could be the ultimate event to them outside of a major death. There’s a juggling act that a writer knows they are putting themselves into as far as tossing villains, the media (so even more villains), the personal life of the character and their supporting cast, and on and on into the act and not having it all be too oppressive. I appreciate Waid doing all that he has done with this book in three short years and making this move to kick off the fourth.

And I honestly love the tone that is left on the page as this volume comes to a close and sets sights on the next adventure. Matt Murdock’s life in general is like a stray dog in Sochi’s: overly depressing and with the possibility of being put down at any moment, but still staring at the horizon with almost impossible hope. Waid and company brought him back from going over the edge leading The Hand to smacking him back down with Foggy’s cancer. He had Bullseye almost drive him insane with his calculated attempt to finally take down the man that crippled him and he’s had to deal with highly mobilized and positioned racists/terrorists waiting in the shadows to take him down. Despite all this, the almost breeziness that DD shows in the closing of this chapter as he has resigned himself to the life overhaul ahead of him is as exciting for the tone of this book as it is the potential of the stories that tone will be pushing.

Change is good, in real life and in fiction. It’s the kick in the ass you or the stories you read need for rejuvenation. Life gets monotonous enough as it is without finding yourself wading hip-deep in escapist material that has also resigned itself to just treading water while it counts on your complacency to pump it up with your dollars each month. Obviously, in a serialized medium with the longevity of mainstream comics you can’t just throw everything out yearly and put characters with decades worth of backstory through a ridiculous number of milestone moments (well, you can, but as we saw in the 90’s and are probably gearing to see again soon, you disenfranchise your base if you run this pace for too long) but you need to give the pot a stir periodically. Right now we have some master chefs in the kitchen that have their craft down to the art that it is when it comes to adding spices and surprises to the recipe handed down from the Millers, Bendises, and Brubakers, and I can’t wait to see what they cook up with their upcoming batch and how it tantalizes the tastebuds.

Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, The MySpaces, Facebookand a blog where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.


Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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