DAREDEVIL / FLAVOR / X-MEN WEDDING SPECIAL / NEW CHALLENGERS [Reviews]: Pre-morial Day Weekend Reading!
Infinity Countdown has been a rather strange event so far. Initially, I was excited considering one of the things promised — that it would tie up the loose ends from the most recent Guardians of the Galaxy run, which was fantastic, while it would also bring other corners of the Marvel Universe in using the infinity stones. Thus far, however, it’s continued the stories that began in GotG, but otherwise we’ve just seen an extended game of hot potato with various Infinity Stones. For something billed as an event, there is actually very little going on outside of the issues the Guardians are dealing with. For that reason, I’d hoped that the tie-ins could add an extra layer of depth to this story to make it more fulfilling.
Unfortunately, the first of those tie-ins, Infinity Countdown: Daredevil #1, left me feeling even more empty about this event than before. This issue really doesn’t have much of a story, despite the efforts of writer Gerry Duggan. The majority of the issue is a fight between Daredevil and Turk as the former lowlife turned kingpin recounts the story of how he came to possess the Mind Stone. The story itself was rather entertaining, only for any development to become completely irrelevant just a few pages later as the game of hot potato continues. This issue falls into the same category as everything else in this event that doesn’t involve the Guardians: it all just feels like a waste of time, space, mind, soul and reality. If the rest of the event and tie-ins continue down this route, even the Guardians won’t have the power to save this story. 1/5 Infinity Stones.
Now usually my comic book choices are the traditional superhero, action-packed, crime drama, or something sci-fi or futuristic, but every once in a while you see something that catches your eye and tempts your interest that may not be your norm. That is the case of when I saw Image comics Flavor #1 written by Joseph Keatinge. We journey into this world where cooking is more of a sport and primary source of survival; we find our protagonist Xoo in the side car of her incredibly talented dog Buster’s bike as he peddles as fast as he can through the city, in a rush to get the Garuda Truffle before supplies run out. As the story moves along, we find that Xoo is an unlicensed chef and it’s against the law for her to cook. And since her parents are both handicap from past injuries, Xoo has been running their family’s restaurant to pay bills.
Meanwhile there is another mystery lurking, the city that Xoo and her family lives in is surrounded by a fortified wall and at the end of the first issue we get a glimpse of why that wall is there. This was great read; Wook Jin Clark sketches a very precise world, and gives you a full tour throughout the pages of Flavor with awesome assist from the coloring expertise of Tamra Bonvillain. Flavor #1 gives me the same adventurous theme I feel whenever I watch or read The Adventures of Tintin, especially with characters like Buster the dog. Buster is instantly my favorite character, and he is sure to be the favorite for other readers as well: he ride a bike, cook, and who doesn’t love a trusty dog companion in a story? 3.5/5 Bibles.
X-Men Gold “Wedding Edition” was cute. It is the more rom-com than most movies tend to be, which was a nice change of pace. It’s written as 3 separate stories leading up to the wedding of Kitty and Colossus, which as we all say, “It’s about time!” “The Dream Before” by Chris Claremont gives us a look at Kitty Prides’s history through beautifully drawn (Todd Nauck) and colored (Rachelle Rosenberg) frames that make you feel her anxiety. “Boy’s Night Out” by Marc Guggenheim is just that. We get an awkward bachelor party with the men of the X-Men in Vegas. I really enjoyed the bold lines and dark red and black tones in these frames by Greg Land (artist) and Jason Keith (colorist). They were such a stark contrast compared to the other two stores. We finally finish up the trilogy with “Something Old” by Kelly Thompson. This is the bachelorette party. The ladies of the X-Men surprise Kitty with an oulandishly weird night out, and there is also a surprise guest by an old nemesis of Kitty. Marika Cresta (artist) and Frederico Blee (colorist) do a great job of bringing this back to a lighter and more feminine feel. Overall, the three are full of comedy, doubts, love, exes, and basically every other romantic comedy cliche, but still a fun read. Here’s hoping for a happy marriage in the next issue. 4/5 Bouquets.
I went into this review with a great deal of trepidation. I’m a huge fan of the early Challengers of the Unknown comics. However, the subsequent relaunches have been extremely hit or miss for me. Previews for this newest volume were so vague that I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. From the outset, Scott Snyder & Aaron Gillespie crafted an eerie vibe that felt less “Fantastic Four”, and more Fringe or The X-Files, which will help this book stand apart from its potential competition.
The four new members, brought back from the brink of death by the mysterious Prof, each has a unique backstory and plenty of secrets that they wish to keep from the others. They will be dispatched on missions that explore the weirder side of the world and the multiverse. Each time they leave Challengers Mountain, the hourglass tattoos given to them will wind down and if they haven’t returned in time, they will die. The dialogue was crisp, the narration, while it did beat us over the head with how altruistic one of the Challengers is, did the job of making us care. And the mysterious Prof, well, he has his own secrets that he’s keeping from the team and will make for an interesting plot development later on.
Andy Kubert…WOW. I’ve followed his career for a long time. When he first went to DC Comics and did posters, guest issues and the like, I got excited. But after a while, I’d lost hope that he’d draw more DC characters than just Batman or Justice League related characters. I got my wish and then some. This is some of the best work of Kubert’s career. He brought top level emotion and character acting. And in a heartbeat, can switch it up to big widescreen pulp or science fiction insanity. The wrong inker could have muddied the waters. And while Klaus Janson does go a bit dark in a few scenes, for the most part, he accents Kubert’s work perfectly. Anderson has been doing great work for a while, but his palette here seemed pitch perfect on every single page. It’s been ages since I was this excited about the relaunch of a forgotten DC franchise. Snyder is like a Duke University basketball talent scout: he just keeps finding the very best. I’m hoping the quality keeps up once Gillespie flies solo. I’ll anxiously await issue two. 4.5/5 Bibles.