Uncanny X-Men #456
by Chris Claremont, Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
The cover shows Wolverine fighting dinosaurs; which should be cool, right? Who wouldn't want to read a comic about Wolverine fighting dinosaurs? But Wolverine is nowhere to be found within the actual comic--just that Wolverine knock-off, X-23. But there are dinosaurs, kinda. There are these alien dinosaur people, see? (At least I think they're aliens--maybe they're just from the Savage Land...) And a group of X-Men are fighting them, and then these super-powered alien (or whatever) dinosaur people show up, and one of them is a telepath and makes Marvel Girl think that she is an alien dinosaur person, and they all fight, and... Um... Oh heck, this is just a gawdawful mess. Granted, with Davis & Farmer on art, it's a pretty-looking mess; but it's a mess all the same.
Rating: 2 (of 5)
The Amazing Spider-Man #517
by J. Michael Straczynski, Mike Deodato & Joe Pimentel, Mark Brooks & Jaime Mendoza
Many people seem to have been offended by the previous story, "Sins Past," for tarnishing their memories of a beloved character. But the current story, "Skin Deep," commits an even larger sin: it's boring. The tale of a former uber-nerd classmate of Peter's who undergoes a transformation into a villain is terribly trite and seems like it must have been done a dozen times before. If this story needed to be told at all, it could have been accomplished in one issue, not spread out over four. The art by Deodato is solid though unspectacular, and the coloring, mostly shades of brown and greys, makes for a dull-looking affair. Spider-Man should pop and zing off the page, not meander about with dull precision.
Rating: 2 (of 5)
Seven Soldiers #0
by Grant Morrison & J. H. Williams III
With a secret organization pulling the behind-the-scenes strings, The WWII-era Vigilante pulls together a group of five other wanna-be heroes to form a new Seven Soldiers of Victory in order to destroy an evil giant spider out in the desert west. Of course that only makes for six heroes, not seven, and thus things go horribly wrong. Give Morrison credit here for imbuing these new throw-away characters with enough detail and background that they feel as though they just might have been hanging around the margins of the DC Universe, and to Williams for generating a visually interesting comic that is exciting and never confusing (except in the bits where it is supposed to be). How will this all tie in to the year-long uber-story that Morrison has planned? Who knows--I'm just excited by the possibilties of the ride.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)