Comic Reviews: Uncanny Avengers, Aquaman, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Uncanny Avengers #2
Well, well, well, welcome back Mr. Tardypants. After nearly a month delay, Uncanny Avengers is back on the stands, and while the full team roster has yet to really come together, there’s plenty in this issue to keep you waiting for issue 3 (whenever it gets released).
Focusing primarily on Rogue and Scarlet Witch’s imprisonment by the Red Skull, writer Rick Remender explains Skull’s resurrection in a pretty quick and interesting way, and I have to admit, as crazy as his plan is, I kind of like it. What he does in possession of Prof. X’s brain is pretty awesome, and is a prime example of something only a comic book could get away with.
Cap and Thor also make an appearance, alongside Havok and Wolverine in the book’s opening segment, which focuses on the clean up of Avalanche’s attack last issue. Wolverine doesn’t believe that Avalanche attacked under his own accord, and Cap agrees, laying the groundwork for a mystery that will most likely bring the foursome on a path that meets up with Rogue and Scarlet Witch.
This opening segment is the highlight of the issue for me. Remender addresses the current human/mutant relationship, and the conversation between Cap and Wolverine over this is really intriguing (as is Thor’s take on the whole matter). Calling Cap out on having the brother of the mutant who almost killed everyone is a great point brought up by Wolverine (and probably some fans as well), and Cap’s response is pretty solid. The following scene between Havok and a survivor of the attack was really poignant and well done, thanks to John Cassaday’s art.
Speaking of Cassaday, some of his faces get kinda weird. But despite that, if he keep turning out art like this, I’ll keep buying Uncanny Avengers, even it comes out as a quarterly book. Rogue’s battle with some of Skull’s henchmen was really cool, and I loved Cassaday’s depiction of the powers Rogue absorbs. Speaking of Skull’s henchmen, their designs are great, and I think I may have a new favorite mutant baddie with Myr, the giant snapping turtle (I know I already love his description of PB and J sandwiches). Cassaday’s Red Skull is also a very creepy. The way he has Skull’s eyes sunken into his face is very unsettling, and reminds me a lot of the guy from The Hills Have Eyes.
All in all, Uncanny Avengers‘ second issue was solid, and pretty close to being worth the wait. I’ve heard that Marvel is going to be adding a new artist in for the next story arc to help with the scheduling issues, so while I’ll be happy to get more Remender craziness, I will miss having Cassaday’s stunning pencils blow my eyeballs out of my face. Unfortunately there’s another long wait for issue 3 (which is now rumored for February).
One of my favorite books on the stands is Aquaman. Yeah, I said it. Geoff Johns has done the impossible with this series, making the once one-note joke of a character a badass, and crafting a pretty interesting mystery in the process. A prologue for next month’s” The Throne Of Atlantis”, this issue reintroduces us to Arthur Curry’s brother, Ocean Master.
Following his battle with Black Manta last issue, Aquaman goes to his brother, hoping to learn who was behind Manta’s search for ancient Atlantean artifacts. While there’s not a whole lot of action in this issue, Johns does create a lot of interesting tension between Arthur and his brother, who remains largely in the shadows as Arthur tries to get answers out of him. There’s almost a Xavier/Magneto dynamic to the two, except they’re talking about being Atlanteans and not mutants. The issue switches over to give us an update on Black Manta, who, like Aquaman, has also been given a couple of badass pills by Mr. Johns. His rejection of Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad invitation is pretty..unique to say the least.
Pete Woods gives Ivan Reis a breather on the art this issue, and to be honest, I don’t think there’s been a better fill-in job this year in comics. If I hadn’t just looked at the cover to make sure Reis didn’t draw this issue, I don’t think I would’ve known. of course Woods’ art isn’t as good as Reis’, it’s still close enough to not make for a jarring difference from the previous issue.
I’ve really been enjoying Aquaman since the new 52 started. It’s been full of adventure, humor, and great characters. It’s a book that I look forward to every month, and now that I’ve seen the cliffhanger ending to this issue, I’m beyond excited for the upcoming Justice League crossover. Yes, he talks to fish, but if you’re still hung up on that, you’re missing out on some of the best superhero comics on the shelf. Period.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles # 16
The turtles do battle with Slash, and hoo boy, is it a doozy. Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz’ new spin on the Ninja Turtles has been a really consistent read, and while this issue moves the plot forward, it sure as hell doesn’t skimp on the action. Slash has been reimagined from his cartoon and Archie comics roots, and is huge, powerful, and virtually unstoppable. It takes nearly everything our heroes in a half shell have to take him down, and that’s still not enough. Andy Kuhn’s art in this segment is stellar, pulling you into the action. You see the desperation on Leonardo’s face as he pleads with Slash, an unrelenting monster, to not make him kill him.
As good as the art is during the action scenes, it’s the aftermath of this battle that really stays with you, even if the ending is kind of a cop out. Despite that, the characterization of the individual Turtles is spot on, and there’s a heartbreaking moment for all you Michelangelo fans out there. If you’re a fan of the Turtles and still haven’t read any of this relaunch, get on it!