February Reads, 2014

No Caption Provided

These are books I read this month that I especially liked, and why, in roughly the order that I enjoyed them.

Enjoy!

List items

  • Hawkeye #15

    After having followed Kate's adventures on the west coast (which have been great) for the last few issues, we finally get back to Clint's story back in New York, and the same gritty conspiracy and street level violence delivered through hilarious character work that made this book great in the first place. Just great storytelling and a lot of laughs.

    Plus, if the cliffhanger ending that I don't want to spoil is as it appears, could this be Kate's next case?

  • Mighty Avengers (vol.2)#6 and #7

    With issues 6 and 7, I think it's fair to say this book (which has been great all along) is officially hitting it's stride.

    Issue 6 sees Blue Marvel finally introduced into the New Avengers family, as well as a really well done solo subplot featuring how cool the Falcon can be. Issue 7 sees the team unite to take down a new, rogue member of the team while investigating the same crimes that she is.

    I won't deny that I'm pleased as heck to see the great Valerio Schiti take over art chores from Land, but the real star of this book for me has been Al Ewing, who's just done such a good job of giving this great cast such distinct voices, and really taking the time to making each of them shine.

  • Wonder Woman (2011)#1-28 and #0

    So I decided to finally give the most recent Wonder Woman a chance (before there got to be more issues than I'd want to bother with), and boy am I glad I did.

    Though I was overall hot and cold with Brian Azzarelo's 100 Bullets series, the new direction of WW really made me curious, and I have to say, his style, still fully intact, is the perfect fit for an ongoing story about the contemporary adventures of the Greek Pantheon. And it's an awesome world for Wonder Woman to inhabit.

    This series truly is a classic in the making.

  • Uncanny Avengers #17

    I don't know why this book isn't just called "Avengers", because it really is just the most epic, classic, and consistantly well done Avengers book in years, and really deserves to be their flagship title.

  • Uncanny X-men (vol.3)#17

    After a few great character spotlight issues (#14 and 16 especially), we finally see Cyclops' new class being sent out unchaperoned to be tested in the wild. It's pretty great to see how the characters are developing both individually and as a group, and the focus on them has made this one of the most fun issues so far.

    Not only are the characters fun, but the story (like most issues of this series) has just enough twists and intrigue to it to keep me wanting to come back every month.

    I know not everyone's a fan of Bendis' Cerebus-esque use of overlapping group dialogue, and this issue is especially heavy on that. Likewise, Bachalo's pencils are an acquired taste that I can either love or hate, with most of his work on this book being somewhere in the middle.

    That said, stylistic quibbles aside, this is still one of the most distinct and solidly produced X-men books to come out in years.

  • Amazing X-men #4

    I have to admit, there's just no way I can even pretend to be objective about this book. It's more silly and action oriented than I generally like my X-men stories, but it still totally works for me because that's the perfect way to bring the story back to the greatest of all X-men, the Nightcrawler.

    I just can't not like this book, it's totally hittin' me where I live -CRAMM!-right in the feelings. I swear, I totally started to tear up reading this issue.

    So, yeah, if you like your X-men a little silly, action packed, nostalgic, and/or sentimental, this might be a book you'd like.

  • She-Hulk (vol.2)#1

    All I had to hear was that She-Hulk was getting her own book again to want to read it. Then I opened it to see the sweet, smooth lines of Javier Pulido (who's work I've totally fallen for since seeing it in Hawkeye last year) and I just knew that this was going to be She-Hulk done right.

    And it is. Following in the tradition of Shulkie losing her job in the first issue, the story seems set on putting her back at the center of her own story again, super-lawyering her way through the weird legal of the MU for the little people getting lost in the cracks over a ridiculous world.

    Basically, if you like She-Hulk, you should love this.

  • All-new X-factor #3

    And this is the issue I was waiting for.

    Seriously, I think there's been some editorial decree at marvel that medium to high profile projects have to take three issues to get going; it just seems to happen so much.

    Anyway, if you were wondering if Peter David's new X-factor book would be any good, this issue's the answer (and, yeah, it's really good); seriously, if you're worried about what you might have missed in the first two issue, don't be. Just dive in with this issue and let the intrigue flow.

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #31

    Unlike some other books I read this month, the 'Turtles hold no real nostalgic or sentimental currency for me, in fact they aren't really characters I care much for one way or the other.

    So, that I'm getting as into this book as I am is a pretty refreshing surprise for me. The art's a huge draw, from the stylized line-work of Ross Campbell, to the lush colors of Ronda Pattison, to the sense of movement, weight, and overall story telling, this book just really pops off the page for me, and breathes new life into characters who are often little more than cartoony archetypes.

    This latest arc, with it's attention to the more subtle, vulnerable side of these characters, shows us a very human side of one of comics most iconic families.

    At the very least, it's definitely the best 'Ninja Turtles story I've read.

  • X-men (vol.4)#10 and #11

    If I have one criticism of Brian Wood's X-men, it's that he doesn't seem to have a middle gear. This is another great issue of Storm's X-men tracking a cataclysmic threat around the world, and, despite really being in the middle of the story, seems to serve just as well as a jumping on point for new readers.

    All of which is great, but it feels like there's so much going on all over the place that, at times, it feels somewhat unfocused. It has been really great to see this cast in action, and particularly to see Jubilee leading the New X-men back into harm's way. But everything seems to just come back to this one big threat, so either everyone's on high alert or it's just a downtime issue, and I can't help bet feel that with trying to incorporate so many characters (which I do appreciate),the characters might be better served by having some of them off doing their own thing in a more traditional X-men parallel plot thread kind of way.. but maybe that's just me.

    Either way, this was a very fun issue with, not one, but two intriguing cliffhangers. So, y'know, that's cool.

  • New Avengers (vol.3)#14

    This is maybe not the best issue of this series so far; as we peer into yet another parallel, doomed earth, it becomes increasingly hard to care about plot produced lives of this perpetual parade of not really the characters we care about anyway.

    Two things help this issue pull it off, though. Firstly, Doctor Strange cares, he cares a lot; seemingly more than he's ever cared about anything as he descends into the underworld to pay the ultimate price. So that's cool, but what makes that even cooler is seeing how Simon Bianchi draws the Doctor's quest to the most alien and dangerous realm in the universe. Bianchi, he PULLS. IT. OFF.