The Comic Fanatic – Week of 1/23: Uncanny X-Force, Batwoman, Young Avengers
Quite an exciting week, lots of good titles. Going to highlight the big three this week that are worth your time, but don’t forget about Uncanny Avengers, Wolverine and the X-Men, Nightwing or Gambit. Red Hood wasn’t that good this week, though. Let’s start with the most obvious one for this week.
I was really prepared to hate this book. I was totally ready for nothing short of complete disappointment. If you’ve ever talked comics with me for more than five minutes, you’ll know I love X-Force. All the incarnations. Remender’s Uncanny X-Force was extremely exceptional and left some very big shoes to fill. Shoes that I felt no one would be able fill, hence my trepidation about Uncanny X-Force (Vol 2) #1. However, it appears that I have distressed needlessly as this first issue is quite good. It’s fun, the art is good, and if this is a sign of things to come, you can count me in.
Initially it would appear odd for Psylocke to appear on another X-Force (after the Final Execution arc), but it works. It starts six months after the end of the previous series, and things have not been going well for Betsy. She’s kinda wandering now. Storm is another odd one, but she seems to be going through a phase as well after her divorce (and haircut). So these two broken women meet up with the very Canadian Puck at a bar and go after Spiral. Then there’s Fantomex and Cluster, they’re around too. Unknown what role they’ll play. And of course, the mysterious and enigmatic Bishop returns in a villain capacity it appears. A very interesting cast, but I’m going to trust Humphries. He seems to have a real handle on the characters. Big shoes indeed, but he just MIGHT be able to pull it off.
I really enjoyed this issue. The writing is fun and fast paced, and the art is rather spectacular. Let’s face it, as nice to look as it was, Psylocke’s costume was rather impractical, and she needed new threads. I like the design of the book and am eager to see how the different characters and pieces all fall into place. Uncanny X-Force is dead, long live Uncanny X-Force.
Speaking of books with great art, let us not forget to speak of Batwoman #16. This issue focuses on Medusa’s attack. Batwoman and Wonder Woman are back, and nearly every character gets a page or two to show their part of the battle. And not to sound like a broken record, but this is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read. One thing that is notable about this issue is that all of the ads have been pushed to the back of the comic, instead of being interspersed. This way you get to truly appreciate the two page spreads of the gorgeous art.
Of course, art without a strong narrative is just pretty, but the writing is also great. Williams gives us a snapshot of the battle, just a few minutes of each character, never lingering long before panning to the next. But it’s amazing what he does with those minutes. Great depth to those characters. And not just the good guys. The bad guys get a spotlight, too. Bones, Hook, Medusa all get their spotlights. Pick up this one. And just incase you think this is merely rampant fanboyism (I won’t lie), IGN also praised the book highly.
This next book really surprised me. I wasn’t originally going to pick up Young Avengers #1, but it ended up in my file. As to how it was, let me put it this way: the quality of the issue, writing and art combined, is so good that after reading a book I didn’t want, full of characters I know next to nothing about (apart from Kate Bishop), and events that normally I wouldn’t care about, I ordered the rest of the series. It is really that strong of a book. Kieron Gillen is one of those writers who for me that isn’t always on, but when he is, you better look the hell out and buy the damn book.
Young Avengers focuses on six characters. It starts with Kate Bishop and Noh-Varr in a explosively exciting opening. Then it cuts to Hulkling and Wiccan. Let’s get the elephant out of the way, they’re the main gay teen couple in comic books nowadays. Not that I’m an authority on those matters, but I feel its well done and realistic. But to boil their characters down to just that fact is a criminal over-simplification. They are superheroes, and complex individuals. And they’re pretty cool. Lastly, we have Kid Loki, who I’m growing increasingly fond of, and Miss America. An interesting pair if there ever was one. A regular motley crew, full of varied and interesting characters. Looking forward to seeing where this series goes.
There we have it. Uncanny X-Force, Batwoman, and Young Avengers. Three titles that are well worth your time. That’s it for this week’s edition of The Comic Fanatic, stay tuned to next week. Also, if you haven’t read my article on what we as comic fans want, you may like it. Until next week, True Believers!