But even from an in-universe perspective, the X-men's job is to protect and train mutants, and to fight threats to all of humanity...

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March Reads, 2014

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Some thoughts on some 14 comics I read this month, more or less in the order I enjoyed them. 10 were worth the price of admission, 4 were not.

Did I miss anything good?

Did I miss anything by not reading the two issues of New Avengers that came out this month?

Did I miss them as much as I'm going to miss Azzarello on Wonder Woman? I really doubt it..

okay, let's do this..

List items

  • Wonder Woman #29

    Well, this issue was a pretty epic payoff. Yes, this issue is every bit as epic as the cover reveal implies. With just about every major plot point from the entire run of this book building up to this penultimate issue, we get a little taste of everything that's made this series truly one for the ages.

    As disappointed as I was to hear that Azzarello's leaving the book after the next issue, I was at least satisfied that he'd made Wonder Woman really distinct and interesting again for the first time in years. But with Finch taking over art duties, I'll be surprised if I can sit through an issue beyond that.

    Still, can't wait to see how this all wraps up next issue.

  • Wolverine & the X-men (vol.2) #1 and #2

    Two issues in, this book's already doing better at this premise than the last volume. Primarily, for me, it's just a much better handling of the characters.

    Jason Latour's done a great job finding the voices of this cast, especially Quire and Oya, but also Evan, Storm, Wolverine, and Armor. And Asrar's character expressions and figure-work are a real treat.

    As for the story itself, while I'm personally not all that interested in either the Phoenix force or alternate futures as the basis for plots (just getting tired of them, really), I liked how they were used to give focus to the characters, all of whom were especially entertaining in this issue. The situational comedy and dialogue in this issue was spot-on and highly entertaining, and the characterization was great.

    And, maybe that's just a thing for me, that the plots and threats don't really matter so much as how they effect the characters and develop the characterization of the group. But in that regard, I found these issues to be very strong. If they can keep this up, this could be my new favorite X-men book.

  • Uncanny Avengers #18

    After the last 3 issues of the classic Avengers battling the Apocalypse twins, this issue sees Havok and the Wasp (as well as the Beast) as the last remaining Avengers on the the new mutant world that the twins' machinations have created.

    Daniel Acuna's art is just stellar in this issue, and I really like how they bring him back just as the story is switching gears. There's a lot of fun action in this one as Havok and Wasp fight and flee from Magneto and the Blob, through a city that feels strait out of Nexus but looks twice as cool.

    The story unfolds in a way that explains that both Havok and Wasp (the only people who remember the old world, of course) are shown to have been living in this new world for years, but it never feels too forced and is largely revealed through some great character moments.

    Very satisfying issue, overall, even without the fist-pumping reveal on the last page ;D ..as usual with this book, just more and more epic all the time.

  • All-new X-factor #4 and #5

    Both of these issues were just excellent. While I hadn't been especially interested in the premise or most of the cast of this book, David's brought some great new plots which, combined with his ever solid characterization of off-beat characters, has made this book a new favorite for me.

    Only David could make me ask, "Man, what's up with Danger?" and actually care; this really is feeling like his next classic in the making.

  • Uncanny X-men (vol.3) #18 and #19

    If you haven't read issue #18, seriously, just skip to #19. Nothing that happens in it is remotely interesting.

    #19, on the other hand, was really pretty great.

    That Cyclops' team weren't themselves the focus of the issue wasn't really problematic for me, since there are enough other characters involved in this story to warrant having an issue that deals more with what they're up to. That Hill confronts Hijack and we finally see why Mystique has been keeping Dazzler alive are relevant issues that certainly deserve the attention they're given here.

    That both Hill and Cyclops seem to be giving each other the benefit of being one step ahead of them is, for me, making this a pretty interesting game. And though one could criticize the pace of the overall story, I'm personally enjoying what developments are teased out when.

    After last issue's filler story (which, if anyone missed, they wouldn't have really missed anything), I'm really happy to see the book getting back to the story I'm actually interested in this issue. My only criticism, as usual, would be that Bachalo's art is messy and confusing for most of the action scenes. Overall, though, I enjoyed this issue quite a bit.

  • Haweye #17 and #18

    again, if you haven't read issue #17, just skip to issue #18. Issue #17 is kind of interesting, but really just feels like a backup story from an annual spread over a whole issue; you won't be missing anything.

    Issue #18 gets back to Kate's story out on the west coast, as a mysterious conspiracy against the cat-food man threatens to close in around Kate, possibly trapping her in L.A. forever!

    Seriously, I don't even care which Hawkeye this book is about, they're both so much fun, but Kate's adventures on the west coast have just gotten weirder and cooler with each installment.

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #32

    I, eh, haven't actually read this issue yet. Each time I pick itup I just get wrapped up in the art and glaze right over the words. Looks really good, though. mm, nice action going on in here..

    Seriously, I will actually read it in a minute..

  • Mighty Avengers (vol.2) #8

    Despite the boring Land cover on this book, the Valerio Schiti art inside is actually very human and pleasing.

    We get a bunch more focus on my new favorite Avenger, the Blue Marvel, this issue, including some unexpected ghosts from his mysterious past.

    The rest of the team present is pretty fun in this issue too, as the members of the team get to know each other a bit better. And the new White Tiger starts to actually seem both pretty crafty and pretty bad-ass as she confronts the spirit of the White Tiger.

  • She-Hulk (vol.4) #2

    this is probably one of the most aptly titled stories on this list.

    As She-hulk establishes her new law firm, this issue starts to establish her new supporting cast which consists primarily of her new ex-mutant landlord, her mysterious new secretary, and her drinking buddy Patsy Walker, aka, Hell-Cat. All of which could have made for a great second issue, but somehow it just felt a bit flat.

    I enjoyed the first issue enough to give this one another shot, but it is a bit disappointing to feel this book faltering so early on, especially for such a favorite character.

  • Amazing X-men #5

    Alright, Nightcrawler's back, let's not think about how too much.

    While I can say that I appreciate how Aaron's brought Nightcrawler back a bit different for his experience, this issue was ultimately disappointing.

    Not because of the weirdly contrived way they brought him back, so much as how little actually happens in this issue. And after feeling the same about issue #3, I feel pretty confident in saying that this was a four issue story dragged out over five issues as a cash grab.

    While the art has been really clean and fun in this arc, there's a lot of big splash pages with almost nothing going on. Even moments that seem worthy of epic splashes are somehow spread over two pages.

    I'm glad Nightcrawler's back, and most of this story was pretty fun, it's just too bad that it sort of felt like such a rip-off in the end.