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Thursday, 13 December 2012

CBT Iron Man #4, Avengers Arena #1, Cable and the X Force

Iron Man #4
The fourth issue of Iron Man was released this week, thats right Marvel are releasing it as fast as possible, I think thats the third issue in the last four weeks! But I am in no way complaining, this fourth issue has kept up the brilliant standard of fun and intriguing one off's about recovering the Extremis. Its the fourth part of a 5 part story so maybe I should talk about the whole thing when the next one comes out in a week or so but fuck that. I think this has been a brilliant and smart way to begin the series... with a lot of new readers (hopefully) thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Iron Man's growing popularity some one off stories are a good way for new readers to get acquainted with the character. Not only that but it gives Kieron Gillen a chance to show what he thinks of Iron Man before really putting him through the ringer, its a nice grace period for everyone to enjoy before the intense stuff starts. And yet, if you have read many of Gillen's interviews you will know a little of what is coming and each issue that has come out can be seen as contributing to the ethos of the later issues and the questions Tony will be faced with. This fourth issue is the easiest example of this, I can't remember which interview I read that Gillen said one of the themes the book and Tony would face is the idea of belief and magic (I know big subjects, hang on). After his confrontation with the Pheonix and the lack of clarity science gave him those themes make sense and the demonic creatures created with the Extremis in #4 nicely foreshadow and lay the ground work for some later heavier stuff. I think all of the issues have these little things in them I may do a big review sometime soon about them in detail if enough people are interested.... Anyway the issue was awesome I really liked the literary references and the concept of tech demons. Not to mention Tony saving himself with superstitious symbols, and one of my very favourite parts of Stark to date was him turning off his visuals, a beautiful touch that says so much about the man and the job he does. Art wise, well I love Greg Land's work, especially his Iron Man but I am still not a fan of his Stark or in this issue his Pepper who looks painfully like both his Jean Grey and his Pixie from his X Men runs. That being said his X Men work is some of my favourite art ever I just with he would draw a chick with a different hair cut! Not sure when #5 will be out, knowing this book next wednesday! But I am definitely looking forward to the last part of this story and the start of the new story. (SPOILER) I thought I would leave the last comment for the last page, Awesome! This is definitely going to come back in 20issues time. (END OF SPOILER)
Avengers Arena #1
The first of Hopless' two #1's this week is Avengers Arena, a teen drama that uses the plot of Battle Royale as inspiration (obviously) to drop some of the Avengers Academy cast, Runaways and X 23 into a new and unique(ish) situation. This is really odd... Dont get me wrong for a comic in which I recognise like 3 cast members I really enjoyed it but the concept is, well brave. It feels like it has the freedom of a creator own comic but with established characters, I definitely don't think anyone is safe but I am curious as to how long this can go on for. I think its definitely one to keep an eye on, and the art is awesome, I haven't read anything Walker has drawn before but he is a name I will look out for in the future. My favourite thing so far about the title is SPOILER the villain, Arcade, he is usually small time, comic and just not very good. He is a good character he just isnt good at what he does (an anti wolverine) so to see him actually being real bad ass is cool. ENND OF SPOILER I am really looking forward to seeing the group descend from almighty and rightous to murderers, hunting each other. My only problem (and this is a little biased as an X Fan) is that X 23 might just be treated as a mirderer when her character has really been developing recently. However I trust Hopless, he has brought us 2 wicked titles this week and Avengers Arena is definitely a good read, self contained and, despite its copywrite worrying plot device, is a really fresh way of looking at comic book characters we know and love or dont know in my case...
Cable and the X Force
I think this is one of my most eagerly awaited titles of Marvel Now if for nothing else than the lineup and the first awesome front cover, and Hopless and Larroca didn't disappoint. Every scene just seemed perfect, the characters did and said things that suit them so much that the comic just felt right, perfectly right. I know thats an odd thing to say but I think its well evidenced! The introduction to Domino was one of my favourite parts,  it was her just being her, being a bit of a spy, being a bit devious and being damn cool. I also love that she was talking to "Boom" (I'm guessing Tabitha Smith Aka Boom Boom from the origonal X force) ad that she is caught out, and the line "she's exactly like her old man" Perfect! I am really interested in seeing some more of Forge, he has been missing for a while since Ghost Boxes, which is strange considering its an Astonishing event and therefore not quite running alongside but whatever, its good to see him back and there is no place I would rather him be. Doc Nemesis is clearly going to be a little bit of the comedy element but in a way I can actually stand (ie. not Deadpool). I'm not a big fan of the design of Cable's new arm but after seeing it actually written into the story I am a little more comfortable with it. The arm is the only issue I have with the art, the book is beautifully drawn, Larroca has a certain simplicity to his art that specifically pops when mixed with D'Amata's colours. Thats not to say his art is simple though, there are some wonderfully detailed images, I mean its not busy, or overcrowded and in film terms he knows when its time for a close up... in face he is one of the best artists out there for drawing things in a cinematic way with unique but understandable "camera" angles. Also on a side note I hate the costume for Havok that everyone seems to be going with but the idea of his "head dress" actually being on his costume rather than a separate part like in the classic days and execution of that adaptation make this my favourite Havok in that stupid ass costume! I am also happy to see Hope appearing in the comic, one of the things I was worried about with Marvel Now was the lack of relationship development between Hope and Cable, that has been one of my favourite things to watch for the last 3 years I am glad to see it continuing. As far as the story itself is concerned SPOILER it looks like either TO or Phalanx to me which is interesting however I hope Cable doesn't get the TOV back, I want to see him now that he has developed into something new. In summary WOW a wicked first issue, I cant wait for Colossus to appear properly and I cant wait for the next issue!!!

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