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My I don’t have to runday: Graeme bemoans where the time goes, from 8/22.

Graeme McMillan

And, of course, after taking two days out for the weekend to get caught up on other writing I had to do, I have two days left and all manner of books from this week to review. So let’s get all of the Marvel ones out of the way first, shall we?

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #543: I love the fake-out on the cover of this book – “Oh no! Peter is covering his face while pulling cloth over a body on a hospital gurney! Aunt May must be dead!” even though the entire issue is essentially one big piece of filler because JMS can’t quite finish off his “Aunt May has been hanging onto dear life” plot until, what, November now, because of Joe Quesada’s schedule. While I kind of like the idea that Peter Parker is now breaking real laws because of what he feels is his great responsibility to the people he loves, the execution of it manages to almost suck all the life out’ve the idea. Very much Eh.

ANNIHILATION CONQUEST: STARLORD #2: On the plus side, Timothy Green’s artwork continues to shine, and those were some unexpected deaths. On the minus side, a lot of the quirkiness of the first issue seems to have gotten lost in the jumble of “war is chaos” scenes here, and as a result, the book seems much less charming and more generic this time around. Okay.

ASTONISHING X-MEN #22: It’s not going to stick, of course, but part of me really would like the last page here to be the final death of Cyclops, if only because I’m very amused by the idea that one of his last memories is having sex with Emma (Or perhaps I’ve just got a dirty mind, and that’s meant to be something else). That said, even as we’re clearly approaching the endgame here, the book seems to have lost a lot of the focus and intensity of its earlier issues; maybe it’s because of the schedule, or perhaps I’m just not that interested in the generic alien monsters or seeing Colossus and Kitty have sex…? Either way, Okay, depressingly. I want to enjoy this more.

THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST #8: They had me even before they introduced a sumo wrestler called Fat Cobra as a challenger to Iron Fist in this new martial arts tournament storyline, I have to admit. Ignoring the great art by David Aja (with Roy Allen Martinez taking the Travel Foreman flashback artist role this time around), Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker hit just the right notes of awe and humor when dealing with the mystical city of K’Un-Lun and the mystical tournament between it and six other mystical cities that Danny is forced to compete in… Month in and month out, this really continues to surprise and amuse with just how Very Good it is.

IRON MAN, DIRECTOR OF SHIELD #21: For some reason, this feels as if it’s the first issue written once the Knaufs had read the end of Civil War – We get nightmares about the death of Captain America and a plot involving the Initiative – instead of the first post-World War Hulk issue, but for all that, it’s as Okay as ever. There are probably many people who enjoy the deliberate pacing and strong leadership of Tony Stark in this book, but I’m not one of them. Roberto De La Torre’s art is still nice, though.

THE ORDER #2: So much more enjoyable than the first issue – I thank the idea of Britney Spears analogs fighting bears with jetpacks, personally – with a team dynamic and book dynamic slowly emerging as things go on. I’m still not the greatest fan of Barry Kitson’s art, but have to admit that Mark Morales’ inks make it look better than I’ve seen it; Matt Fraction’s script seems to have recovered the sense of humor that I thought was missing from the first issue, and I appreciated seeing the PR flack appear and having that side of the show played up more… Whether things’ll continue along these lines or next issue will be back to the more straightforward superheroics of the first remains to be seen, but for now? Good.

Tomorrow: DC! Tank Girl! And arguably nothing else…

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