Sunday, February 15, 2009

The X-Axis - 15 February 2009

Quite a bit to cover this week. Check out this week's House to Astonish to hear us talk about Bang! Tango, Batman and Secret Warriors - download here, visit the podcast webpage here, or subscribe on iTunes.

Down below, you'll find reviews of the Wolverine: Manifest Destiny miniseries and this week's X-Men Origins: Sabretooth one-shot.

And here's the rest of this week's X-books, plus a few titles I meant to review last week and never got around to...

Bang! Tango #1 - Check the podcast for more on this, but it's a Vertigo miniseries by Joe Kelly and Adrian Sibar. A mobster on the run after botching a job ends up in San Francisco and starts a new life as a tango instructor. Naturally, somebody from his past life shows up asking for a favour. It's a rather average crime comic with a tango motif nailed onto it, I'm afraid, which never seems to add up to anything more than the sum of its parts. Some of the art works well, but it doesn't really capture the sense of dance - admittedly a very difficult task in comics, but if you're doing to do a book about the tango...

Batman #686 - The first half of Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert's "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?", essentially an out-of-continuity piece in which a bunch of characters show up at a surreal funeral to lament the passing of assorted versions of Batman. It's pretty good, in fact, playing off the range of interpretations that the cast have had over the years. An apparent attempt to shift art style to reflect different takes on the character doesn't come off - with a handful of exceptions, it all just looks like Andy Kubert - but it does look good, and it's an endearing reflection on what the character is all about.

The Mighty #1 - This is a DC miniseries from Peter Tomasi, Keith Champagne and Peter Snejbjerg, which came out last week. It's a superhero book, but with no connection to the rest of DC's output. Alpha One is the world's only superhero, and he's got a whole police force entirely devoted to helping him out and cleaning up afterwards. Something tells me it's one of those "all is not as shiny as it appears" stories. Great art from Snejbjerg, who gives it a timeless, retro feel, and actually a rather good first chapter setting up a promising mystery.

R.E.B.E.L.S.#1 - Um... well, it's a DC Universe superhero book which I picked up on the offchance that it would be worth talking about for the podcast. Brainiac 2 comes to Earth with aliens in hot pursuit, and hooks up with Supergirl to fight them off. Perfectly okay, and some of the alien character designs are quite imaginative, but nothing that really grabs me.

Soul Kiss #1 - A miniseries by Steven T Seagle and Marco Cinello, and it's one of those books where explaining the concept entails giving away the plot of the first issue. Basically, though, a girl makes a deal with the devil and wants to get out of it. Striking art, though the style shifts awkwardly at times, from rough pencils to a pseudo-animated look, for no apparent reason. But none of the characters really connect with me; it feels like a parade of familiar types I've seen before.

X-Infernus #3 - In which the cast decamp to Limbo and run around fighting things for an issue. Not what you'd call philosophically deep, but hey, it's a series designed primarily to get Illyana Rasputin back into circulation, what were you expecting? It's a decent enough action story, which gives artist Giuseppe Camuncoli something to work with. He's the real selling point here, if you ask me. A lot of artists would have gone for angst-ridden murk, but here we get bold lines and bright colours, and it's all refreshingly energetic.

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