Avengers; Astonishing X-Men; Black Widow; Ultimate Fantastic Four
by Brian Michael Bendis, David Finch & Danny Miki
Spoiler Alert The coloring in this book is attrocious. I don't know whose decision it was to color the whole thing as though it was being viewed through a red filter, but it just looks bad. The story is no great shakes either: heroes have gathered outside Avengers Mansion; Nick Fury gets all pissy; a Kree spaceship attacks for no reason; Hawkeye dies destroying the Kree ship; Dr. Strange shows up to say that there's magic afoot. There, I've just saved you eighteen bits.
Rating: 2 (of 5)
Astonishing X-Men #5
by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday
Let's get one thing out of the way: The cover--the giant metal fist? Worst cover ever. And considering how lame many of Marvel's covers have been for the past several years, that's saying something. At least the much-maligned cover to #1, featuring Wolverine's claws, was somewhat iconic. This is just stupid. Anyway, on to the actual issue--it's mostly marking time, stretching things out to squeeze a four-issue story into six issues. Thankfully, Whedon's dialogue is fun to read and Cassady's art is nice to look at, and the reaction shots near the end are pretty fun. I do hope, however, that we get a better explaination of Peter's return than we've gotten so far.
Rating: 3 (of 5)
Black Widow #1
by Richard K. Morgan & Bill Sienkiewicz
Someone is killing female ex-KGB agents, and Natasha is next on the list! Gee, where have we read this story before? It's a bit pedestrian, down to the ol' tough-female-saves-a-woman-in-distress scene that you just knew was coming. But golly, it sure is nice to see Bill Sienkiewicz drawing a comic again, and it looks spectacular. (And I can still spell 'Sienkiewicz' without looking!) The story will rise or fall, I think, on how the main villains, especially the two introduced on the last couple of pages, work. If they're stock characters this will be a plain old story with great art. But if they turn out to be interesting, then this could be a fun ride.
Rating: 3 (of 5)
Ultimate Fantastic Four #11
by Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen & Wade von Grawbadger
The decompression continues at a snail's pace: more travelling by the Four; more posturing by Van Damme. Finally near the end something happens: hitting. And since when does Doom have a poison gas breath weapon? Even giving the benefit out the doubt, this story should have taken twelve pages to tell, not twenty-one (although Lee & Kirby would have done it in four).
Rating: 2.5 (of 5)