Oh, hello there. Thanks for checking out this week's edition of Rants & Raves. The concept is simple: we all love and loathe certain things while reading through our stack of new comics and I'll pick 4 things to spotlight. 2 that made me happy to be a comics fan and 2 that made me not so pleased with the industry.
If you're nice, I'll even add a bonus rant or rave from time to time. This week there's two because I'm feeling extra generous. Once you're done reading (you are reading this and not just glancing at the pictures/titles, right?), be sure to chime in with your thoughts on my selections and even your own rants and raves!
BEWARE: THAR BE SPOILERS HERE!
Rant: Downplaying Wolverine
Let me kick this off by saying I loved ALL-NEW X-MEN #2 and thought the way writer Brian Michael Bendis handled Wolverine's interaction with the team was hysterical. That said, as a fan of the character, I also thought it was doing the runt a total disservice.
It's no secret James despises Cyclops after the events of AVENGERS VS X-MEN. On some level, I absolutely understand why Logan would lash out if he thought Scott had the brass to stroll into the X-Men's property. But is this really how Mr. Howlett would respond? Out in public eye, he'd drool and scream as he lunged at Cyclops claws first? Now, I'm not disregarding or oblivious to the numerous times Wolverine has given into his rage. It's something that happens quite frequently, but to think he's regularly sporting such a mindset is a misconception.
He might not always look like it, but Wolverine's incredibly wise and has been through countless trials that tested his patience over the decades. Wolverine was able to act calm and collected when he immediately picked up Scott's scent, so I'd like to believe that he'd logically act in a more mentally stable manner when confronting the former X-leader. He'd want his blood, but screaming like a madman with no cover available doesn't seem like the best way to take down a dude with highly accurate and powerful optic blasts.
Then there's the Jean Grey incident. Over the years, the clawed X-Man has shown a great deal of resistance to telepathy (courtesy of Charles Xavier), yet here the young Grey had no issue whatsoever making Wolverine count sheep. To top it off, she literally just discovered she could read minds and then somehow was able to completely shutdown a man with a powerful defense against telepaths. Could it be that Xavier's death means Logan's TP resistance is now down? G-Man and I had a good chat about this and we don't believe so. Otherwise, that would imply Xavier has idly been holding those defensive measures in place every second of every day over the years. Is this something he could do? Considering his massive amount of power, I suppose it's possible but doesn't seem very rational to me. So, teenage Grey easily making Wolverine pass out is something that made me scratch my head... especially since Bendis had Logan say "you know that doesn't work on me."
How do you feel about Wolverine's treatment in the issue?
Rave: Marvel NOW! continues to impress
Man, I'm such a sheep. Marvel throws a bunch of new number ones on the shelves and I can't help myself. Despite my limited budget, every week I'm making room to give each one of these new titles an honest shot. Thankfully, so far they've been mostly baller . Yes, "baller." I think I've only used that word a handful of times in my life, so that should help emphasize how I feel about the move.
If they haven't already done so, Marvel should definitely give Matt Fraction a raise. Not only did he blow me away with FANTASTIC FOUR #1 and continues to impress with HAWKEYE, but he's also done a solid job with FF #1. If you didn't laugh at least once or close the issue with a strong interest in where things are about to go, then there's Jason Aaron on THOR: GOD OF THUNDER and Brian Michael Bendis on ALL-NEW X-MEN. Both of the Marvel A-listers managed to string me along with their second issues. My checking account might not be pleased with Marvel NOW!, but I certainly am. I only hope these titles remain consistently strong as we dive deeper into each series.
Viners, how do you feel about Marvel NOW! so far?
Rant: RED LANTERNS feels stagnant
I really want to like RED LANTERNS. Seriously, I mean that. I think Atrocitus and his crew have the potential to be one of the most interesting corps in the cosmos. Writer Geoff Johns made me fall in love with their leader and I was thrilled to see they earned an on-going in The New 52. Because of this, I've been buying issue after issue despite it being so mediocre. I keep hoping the next issue will improve, but it seems like a foolish desire at this point because sadly, the series has been -- to be blunt -- boring.
Somehow, an issue consisting of Miguel Sepulveda's brilliant sketches of the Red Lanterns blasting apart The Third Army doesn't redeem the book. Yes, it looks fantastic, but these oh-so-sexy pencils can't compensate for a weary story and script. Writer Peter Milligan is capable of much better and 14 issues in, I'd really prefer to see someone else given the opportunity to craft Atrocitus's adventures. I hope the series will one day improve, but my fanboyish nature will only let me hold on for so long.
Are you still holding onto hope for RED LANTERNS like myself or have you already dropped it?
Rave: The future of IDW's TMNT
Shredder wants to recruit Leo? General Krang is constructing the Technodrome? And now Old Hob is going to team-up with Slash? The future looks exciting and filled with an extra filling of awesomeness in IDW's TMNT reboot.
Yes, it wasn't fun seeing artist Dan Duncan leave the title and yes, replacement artist Andy Kuhn does illustrate some wonky facial expressions, but overall he does an able job and I especially appreciated his work on the lengthy battle. If you ever considered yourself a fan of the Turtles, you've gotta give this series an honest chance. All of the characters you know and love are here and it's all playing out in a familiar yet refreshing manner.
Bonus Rant: Cassaday's Captain America close-up
If I was the Red Skull, I be so ashamed this dude has defeated me time and time again. I'm usually fond of John Cassaday's work (loved ASTONISHING X-MEN), but this just looks ridiculous to me. The scales are too prominent and way too puffy. It completely underscores Captain America's physicality. Was this panel off-putting for you as well?
Bonus Bonus Rant: Batman's brutality
Whoa, whoa, whoa! What?! Bruce Wayne is an absurdly skilled marksman and I get he was in terrible shape here, but this was crazy! It almost seemed like brutality for the sake of brutality. Wayne needed to escape from Scarecrow, but was a huge grappling line (you see that size of that hook, right?) really the best way to end this abruptly? Now, you can say "Batman knows he'll live," but does he really? That devastating shot ripped right through Crane's lower jaw and out his mouth. Then, the poor villain was left hanging there as he pretty much bled out. Not only did this likely shatter/destroy more than a handful of teeth, it could have potentially ripped through his tongue.
To make matters worse, Batman leaves him like that. Again, he's in piss-poor condition and needs to escape, but this felt like sentencing Scarecrow to death. Then, I don't know how, but Scarecrow is able to talk after suffering this attack. Go figure. David Finch's artwork is great and makes this scene (for a lack of better words) a jaw-dropper, but there really wasn't a less dangerous way for the world's greatest detective to escape this one?
Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. Be sure to follow him on Twitter to get early spoilers for Best Battles and Rants & Raves!