Brian Reed has always had a great handle on Peter Parker. He can write the dramatic with the humor and balance it well. This annual is a good example of this. Peter is erased form history and thinks life will be better without him. What follows is the usual Peter finding out what it means to be Spider-Man and how much he means. And yes, Uncle Ben appears. Reed makes the story, one we have read countless times, seem fresh and interesting. Everything is nicely tied up by the end of the story, which is what an annual should do. It's a self contained story that old fans will love and new fans will will appreciate. If this annual shows anything, it shows that Reed needs to have some input in the current Spider-Man titles. Be it a back up or something.
Lee Garbett pencils a good Spider-Man book. Most of the issue sees Peter outside of his costume, which works in Garbett's favor. Characters are expressive, with the reader being able to see the confusion on ever character's face. The classic panels look fantastic. His artwork has a slight look like Oliver Copiel. Garbett has a great future ahead of him at Marvel.
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #39 gets 3.5/5.
|Dark Horse Comics|
Jason Aaron has spent seven (technically eight) issues turning the Hulk's status quo around. And the Hulk really needed it. Flipping the tables on how Banner and Hulk see each other is what has drawn me to this series in the first place. And now that Banner is somehow back in the Hulk, we have "Stay Angry." Yeah, the Hulk is trying to keep Banner out. It's as black and white as you might expect. I like that Aaron keeps making the Hulk black out when Banner is doing something. It adds a nice twist to the story. Now that Hulk needs to stay angry, it gives Aaron some room to create some insane villains. And create a heroin gun. It's the type of insane concept that has made Jason Aaron a staple at Marvel comics.
Steve Dillion has been a great artist on crime books and ones that involve Wolverine. But the Hulk isn't one of those. The Hulk doesn't have the stature or look that he needs. He looks like a slightly bigger human being. Also, the Punisher is missing his eye patch. That's a big mistake, considering the Punisher has had his eye patch for months now. The close ups of the Hulk's face to look good. Mad Dog, the villain in the issue, has a hysterical look to him. As you might expect, the Punisher looks great, sans eye patch.
The Incredible Hulk #8 gets 3.5/5.
The answer is yes. While the beginning of the event had some problems, the last couple of issues have brought the quality up. The ending is full of action and quips. But the best part of "Exiled" is that it is full of ramifications. The effects of these issue will be felt for some time to come. Much of it has to do with Mephisto, in a way that few probably saw coming. To me, the best events are ones that you will have ramifications for some time. Much like Civil War. Abnett and Lanning add a good amount of human interaction to the god events. One of the things the last couple of New Mutant issues lost was the focus on the New Mutants themselves. Loki seemed to take over all the books for the first few issues. While not a bad thing, as Loki is one of the most interesting characters in the Marvel universe right now, it would have been better to see the focus shift from book to book.
Carmine Di Giandomenico's artwork on this event has been some of his best in recent memory. Occasionally characters have some weird body shapes, but they are very expressive. It's a give and take. Occasionally the action scenes can get a little chaotic as well. To the point where it's hard to tell who is who or what angle we are looking at. It's a quick panel or two, so it's not something that bogs down the entire issue.
New Mutants #43 gets 4/5.
Dr. Rot has been the main focus of this arc, and I couldn't be more happy. It's been full of one sick idea after another. He's one sick individual, one that Jason Aaron only touched the surface of what Rot was actually capable of. Bunn throws a lot of weird ideas out there, but his use of Weapon X is one of the highlights. Weapon X has been used so much in the past, it's hard to find new ways to use it properly. But Bunn uses it perfectly here. It doesn't dominate the arc, or even appear for much. One of the more annoying things is that there are new sub groups that pop up and are shoehorned into the continuity. Bunn just builds on what has been already established. Seriously Marvel; bring Bunn back onto Wolverine after Jeph Loeb is done.
Paul Pelletier continues pencil a great Wolverine book. While Bunn pens a disgusting script, Pelletier adds with the sights. Blood as far as the eye can see. The weird flesh monsters look great. Amongst the things that are disgusting, Pelletier adds some small character development to the proceedings. Not giving Dr. Rot real eyes, as they look to be all pupil or something, adds to the craziness we are reading. These two creators are on an absolute role, and I'm loving every panel of it.
Wolverine #307 gets 4/5.
Jason Aaron continues to balance the AvX plot line and the Wolverine & the X-Men plot. The end of last issue is quickly taken care of this time, which somehow fits in before Logan and Hope go to the moon. As one of the architects of AvX, it's funny to see him do something like this. But the book delves more into how the book feels on the two sides fighting. Part of me was hoping that we'd see some desertion, with the occasional X-Man going over to the Avengers. But nope. Oh well. A good chunk of this issue is fighting, but Aaron gives plenty of character moments. As with the rest of the book, this issue has a lot of characters, but Aaron gives them each plenty of time. It's nice to see Kid Gladiator have some time to shine.
Nick Bradshaw's art on this book has been one word: perfect. It's incredibly detailed, and almost awe inspiring. Especially when Hope decides to lash out with the Phoenix force. But the shining moment for the issue had to be the couple of panels where Logan is trying to figure out if he should kill Hope or not. It's an intense couple of panels, and Bradshaw gives Logan a great deal of emotion in his eyes. It's clear he's troubled by all of this, and really hits the reader hard. This even is going to leave Logan damaged by end.
Wolverine & the X-Men #11 gets 4.5/5.