Because You Demanded It

After a good month-off, I have decided to turn UncannyDerek into a more open venture. Primarily, it’s going to get a whole lot more fun.

The basic changes are mainly going to reflect within reviews and what posts are about. It’s been a long while since I’ve done any reviews, and quite frankly, I’m not going to stick to a particular schedule. I’ll continue the writing scheme, but to put it simply, it will not be a priority.

Also, a lot more content will be updated as needed, rather than every-few-days. What that means is multiple updates in a single day – albeit shorter ones. But it will not be quantity over quality, that’s for sure.

This will be taking place shortly. Aw, what the heck. Let’s start now:

*Spoilers!*

On the set of The Avengers:

Captain America prepping a scene with two CGI folk. Note: The gun!
Captain America

Now Cap is holding said-gun.
Captain America Gun

Now a crew member is holding it! (That gun gets around!)
Skrull Gun

You CANNOT tell me that the movie’s villain is not the shape-shifting Skrulls. You just can’t. The Skrulls have so many funky weapons that it’s impossible even to say, “That’s not a Skrull gun!” Here’s just a few I pulled from the wonder world wide web (or the WWWW for short).

From the comics:
Skrull Gun

From the toys:
Skrull Gun

From the cartoons:
Skrull Gun

From Secret Invasion:
Hank Pym Skrull Gun

In that last one, Hank Pym was revealed as a – you guess it – Skrull.

Regardless, it’s good to be back.

Keep on Space Truckin’!

Classic Comic Friday: The Infinity Gauntlet

The first Friday of each month, I will review a classic comic from my own personal collection. Due to Canada Day falling on a Friday and my work schedule being hectic, pardon the week lateness of this review.

My last Classic Comic Friday was the graphic novel, X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills. I had a lot of fun reviewing such a great book, that I really wanted to do something else that I enjoyed reading. But I also wanted that something else to be a major storyline. The only logical conclusion in my mind was the brilliantly written story, The Infinity Gauntlet by writer Jim Starlin, and artists George Pérez and Ron Lim in 1991.

Admittedly, as a child I overlooked this six-issue mini series due to the fact that I was still a kid focusing only on X-Men. Looking back on it now, I wouldn’t have had any idea who or what Thanos or Adam Warlock were. In fact, I can guarantee you, the immensity of showing the Celestials, the Watcher, Eternity, Eon, etc, would not had even impacted me the way it did later in my life.

Didn’t this mini series just kick your butt though?! Nothing could have prepared me for the immensity of this story. This was the first time I, and presumably you, feared for the Marvel Universe. I mean, what could stop Thanos?!

The Infinity Gauntlet

The Infinity Gauntlet #1-6 (July – December, 1991)
Jim Starlin (writer), George Pérez & Ron Lim (pencils, covers), Josef Rubinstein, Tom Christopher & Bruce Solotoff (inks), Max Scheele, Ian Laughlin & Evelyn Stein (colours), Jack Morelli (letterer). $2.50 each

After gaining the six Soul Gems in The Thanos Quest mini series, finally Thanos places them in the Gauntlet to control the universe. And quite literally, he does control the universe. With the Gauntlet, Thanos first tries to impress the entity of Death – the being responsible for allowing Thanos to gain the Soul Gems. However, Death refutes him leaving Thanos to wonder what the price is of becoming a god. With the devil Mephisto at Thanos’ side, Mephisto convinces Thanos to prove himself worthy to Death by using his power for evil. (As if he wasn’t going to do that already.)

From there, with the snap of his fingers, Thanos wipes out half of the universe’s population. On Earth, the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. try to figure out what has caused such a catastrophic disappearance. Glimpses of the Skrull worlds and Asgard show readers that this is not only an Earth event. Not until the Silver Surfer asks for aid by Dr. Strange does everyone understand the gravity of what is about to occur.

Meanwhile, still unable to gain the respect and love from mistress Death, Thanos wipes out a series of planets – sending shock waves to Earth, destroying countries, flooding continents, and knocking Earth off of its orbit from the sun. Earth begins its plunge into a new ice age. It also destroys the Rainbow Bridge, stranding Odin and other gods gathered there from fighting Thanos.

Revitalizing himself from the Soul Gem, Adam Warlock finds Dr. Strange and summons Earth’s strongest and remaining heroes to give Thanos the fight of their lives – and what a blast that is! Not only does it feature Earth’s mightiest heroes getting the beat down by Thanos, but it also features some jaw-dropping moments. Wolverine’s defeat, Cyclops’, Nova’s, and Thor’s death, Iron Man’s beheading – what a terrifying experience for readers.

The Infinity Gauntlet Thanos

After their defeat, the universes mightiest entities take on Thanos, including Love, Hate, Eon, Galactus and Chronos. After their monumental defeat, Thanos takes on Eternity itself. Eternity’s defeat and Thanos’ assimilation as the ultimate cosmic entity only becomes his downfall. Leaving his physical body, Thanos then becomes the embodiment of the entire universe. Unfortunately for Thanos, it becomes his ultimate downfall.

With a thrilling conclusion which threw readers through the ringer of emotions and excitement, The Infinity Gauntlet not only proved to be a worth company-wide crossover, but it literally goes back to the age-old adage, “With great power comes great responsibility.” But that’s not all.

Jim Starlin did not just write this story just to get a message across. He did not write it about “whomever wields this glove.” We’ve seen that before. It is about something so much more that most writers should look at this series as a benchmark. It set up something incredibly fearful in the Marvel Universe. It created the ultimate weapon that absolutely nothing can defeat. To top it all of, it got into the hands of comic books greatest nihilist.

However, it’s still more than just that.

What Starlin made was an incredible, adventurous story. It disrupted the status quo, built great suspense and a climax not even recent story arcs could hold a candle to. Within six comics, The Infinity Gauntlet did more than what most novels could accomplish. The only kicker is that The Infinity Gauntlet is one of those stories that goes under the radar due because it deals with space.

If only more people actually read what happened in Marvel space rather than what just happens on Earth. But I digress.

To be also considered is the fantastic work both Pérez and Lim put into this story. The incredible depth and detail put into the six issues outshines many artists today. My favourite page in the entire series is Thanos’ triumph over Eternity (shown below) as it represents the absolute vastness of the Gauntlet’s power. Although a simple drawing, the concept is immaculate and is skewed within the entire series. The art is nothing-less than magnificent. The versatility of these artists to create practically every Marvel character shows immaculate artistry.

Although the ending itself arguably made the rest of the Marvel Universe “forget” what happened (yeah, there’s always a catch), The Infinity Gauntlet shows us what it’s like to be a god for six issues. I’m afraid that I loved every minute of it.

Grade: 9.5/10

And don’t forget to check out UncannyDerek on Facebook and Twitter!

So until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

Next month, I’ll be reverting back to single issues for Classic Comic Friday. Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

The Infinity Gauntlet Thanos Eternity

Wednesday’s Reviews: Empty Promises

With the X-Men’s Schism around the corner and the Fear Itself stories ramping up, I figured it would be best to review two very anticipated titles this week: X-Men Prelude to Schism #4 and Fear Itself: Black Widow #1.

But first, I must quickly mention Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6. – Holy @*#$! What an ending! This is Marvel’s best series of the year. What a wild ride so far!

Now that that’s done:

X-Men Schism Prelude

X-Men Prelude to Schism #4 of 4
Paul Jenkins (writer), Clay Mann (pencils), Jay Leisten & Seth Mann (inks), Chris Sotomayor & Lee Loughridge (colours), Rob Steen (letters), Giuseppe Camuncoli & Dan Brown (cover). $2.99

I personally held off reviewing any of the Prelude to Schism stories until it became interesting. By the final issue, I’m really just reviewing it to complain.

In the prior three issues, readers get a brief history on the major players in the X-Universe: Cyclops, Professor X, and Magneto. By the fourth issue, we receive the same ideas, but with Wolverine. What the series ended up being is more a re-telling of each characters’ history, rather than pushing a story forward. Each issue, we’ve waited this much longer to find out what the threat to the X-Men is. We know that IT’S coming, but we have no idea what IT is. By the end of issue four *Not a spoiler alert* we STILL have no idea.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Wolverine Origin story, then this book is new for you. Aside from that, nothing new is teased for Schism. Well, I suppose one thing is that writer Paul Jenkins really likes is to make Wolverine look like a jerk. Alas.

Fortunately, Clay Mann’s art really shines in this issue. Flying through centuries of Wolverine’s past, Mann successfully shows us a descriptive story. From Wolverine and Rose, to Weapon X, to the 90’s X-Men roster, Mann shows a superb display of artistry. I love his rendition of 90’s Jean Grey. His colouring team of both Sotomayor and Loughridge also do an exceptional job in adjusting the colour schemes to fit the time line of each story.

Not trying to have this review as an entire tearing apart of the book, Prelude definitely served its purpose of getting people wondering what Schism is. This issue somewhat bonded Cyclops and Wolverine together, but also left a clue to what causes the split between the duo as well.

Although I’m still very eager to find out what Schism is, I just wished it hadn’t cost me $12 of already-familiar backstory that gets me nowhere.

Grade: 5/10

Fear Itself Black Widow

Fear Itself: Black Widow #1 (One-Shot)
Cullen Bunn (writer), Peter Nguyen (pencils, inks), Veronica Gandini (colours), Clayton Cowles (letters), Michael Ryan (cover). $3.99

After the Grey Gargoyle turns the city of Paris into stone, it’s up to the Black Widow to not do anything about it and take on Rapdio’s evil forces with Peregrine instead.

I was pretty excited for Fear Itself: Black Widow. After learning the fate of Bucky, I was sure she would have been interesting to follow through with. Turns out, she mentions him briefly, and argues that she must feel cold because she’s a spy. Right. While Paris is covered in stone, Rapdio decides to take advantage of the situation and gathers information of French missile codes to give to other crimelords. Knowing this, the Black Widow leaves America’s current turmoil to stop him. There, her and Peregrine fight to save the day, while Fear Itself becomes only a memory for the rest of the story. In fact, I have no idea what Black Widow actually feels during this entire story until the final page. And no, the feeling isn’t “Fear.”

What lacks in story is made up for with Nguyen’s stylistic art. Black Widow looks sharp, seductive, and surprisingly zipped-up (despite what the cover suggests) throughout most of the whole story. Gandini’s colours render well with Nguyen’s work as Black Widow slips in and out of shadows solely because of her attire. She is indeed dressed and made to look as a spy.

The point is that this Fear Itself story had nothing to add to “Fear Itself” and can, in fact, be entirely dismissed save for Nguyen and Gandini’s gorgeous renderings of Black Widow.

Grade: 6/10

There will be no Classic Comic Friday feature tomorrow because it’s Canada Day. However, it will arrive July 8th for sure.

And don’t forget to check out UncannyDerek on Facebook and Twitter!

So until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

Comic News Explosion!

There’s been so many little interesting things happening in the comic world that it boggles the mind how one can keep up with it. So here’s some stuff I found to be the most exciting in the past little while:

Uncanny X-Men Returns!

If you haven’t heard me complain about Marvel canceling Uncanny X-Men yet, don’t fret. I was right. They WILL be back – even sooner than expected. But starting at #1.

Am I psychic? No. I just am aware how comics work.

Both Comic Book Resources and ICv2 report (Oh, and Marvel too, I guess), much like the Looney Toons, the X-Men are back in action. And as I said before with too many X-titles on the market – sure enough, another one will hit the stands too. Wolverine & The X-Men. *Sigh*

It just doesn’t stop. And I doubt this has anything to do with the cartoon series.

Uncanny X-Men Back

Leonard Kirk Joins X-Factor!

This is the most exciting part to my news, in my humble opinion. Firstly, my first (or second, I’m still undecided) X-book is getting my local hometown artist on board! Leonard Kirk joins writer Peter David and artist Emanuela Lupacchino for a killer new arc in X-Factor. This is so freaking exciting! You can see some of Kirk’s sketches here on Marvel’s website. His versions of Wolfsbane and Layla are gorgeous.

Black Widow Archie?

Speaking of stuff not stopping, remember when Betty and Veronica from Archie were both Black Widows? I suppose Veronica is Natasha while Betty is Yelena? Does Archie comics even know there is a second Black Widow? Regardless, here are the covers:

Black Widow Betty

Black Widow Veronica

Avengers 1959

If you haven’t been reading The New Avengers, you missed out on some ridiculous retconning as of late. Turns out in 1959, Nick Fury created a band of Avengers before the Avengers ever came to be. What’s even more over-the-top is that the team consists of villains like Sabretooth, Kraven the Hunter and Namora (well she’s turned around now). This five-issue mini series will chronicle the missions the team worked with Fury on.

So not only was the Avengers 1959 story tacked-on to the New Avengers story poorly, but now it’s getting its own mini series. Mind boggling. Writer/artist Howard Chaykin will be taking the helm with the story. You can check it out this October.

“Namor: The First Mutant” Canceled

And to go off of Namora, Namor: The First Mutant has officially been canceled with issue #11. No – it will not be seeing a reboot any time soon, but it shows me that Namor is better off in the X-Men. His stories weren’t bad at all – it was just that Namor has never had a home. When he did with X-Men, he was great. His own spinoff was unfortunately not worth it. However, I’ll never forget how great Namor: The First Mutant #5 was. It definitely places Namor in a completely different light.

You can still read about Marvel’s best anti-hero currently in many X-books, as well as in the Fear Itself: The Deep mini series.

Alpha Flight’s Villain

Announced and only teased to readers today, Alpha Strike will be the main villains in the Alpha Flight maxi series. Is that Wendigo? And who is the mysterious lady in the shadows?

Alpha Strike

Total anarchy!

As a complete side note, I’ve been listening to Devin Townsend’s “Deconstruction” album consistently for two days straight. (It was released Tuesday).

Update: 06/24
Rest in Peace Gene Colan

Legendary comic book artist Gene Colan passed away yesterday at the age of 84 due to complications with hip and liver disease.

Colan is known for co-creating such characters as Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Blade, Super-Adaptoid and Dracula. He’s also known for exceptional runs on Daredevil, Captain America and Doctor Strange. He was recently given an Eisner Award for Best Single Issue with his work in 2009’s Captain American #601.

He shall be missed.

Alpha Flight Returns! X-Factor Wins!

A new week of comics have came along! This also includes the premiere of the new maxiseries, Alpha Flight, and some superb storytelling in Peter David’s X-Factor. Although I don’t particularly feel the need to review Avengers #14 entirely, all I will say is I’m going to be dropping the series after the Fear Itself arc. I’m tired of the same “Block Pages” in each story. I’m also tired of hearing the same voices for each character. Although Romita Jr’s art was superb in this issue – and the idea behind the story is great – I’ve grown tired of Bendis’ execution.

But we’ll see how things go.

As for another turn of events, you may remember my first review of FF #1 back in March, but I’ve decided to pick the series up again (in lieu of The Avengers). That, and Black Bolt is apparently returning for issue #6. I love the Inhumans and have always followed them on their journeys. I was especially involved in the War and Realm of Kings stories, so I’m very excited to see how Black Bolt’s return will play a role in those current plots.

For now:

X-Factor

X-Factor #221
Peter David (writer), Dennis Calero (pencils, inks), Brian Reber (colours), Cory Petit (letters), David Yardin (cover). $2.99

Feral’s back from the dead but still dead! If that isn’t enough to intrigue you into the story, then I don’t know what will.

Continuing from last months cliffhanger, both Shatterstar and Wolfsbane are on the run from Feral – who is being used by a being of immense power – to anchor demons amongst other paranormal creatures to kill Wolfsbane. If that isn’t enough, Layla has gone banana’s at the base and is putting symbols as wards on the doors and windows. I think she knows stuff.

For such a short issue, David tackles what he needs to: Rahne’s and Feral’s past, Shatterstar’s humour, Rictor’s concerns of Shatterstar’s whereabouts and Layla being Layla. It all flows naturally and never feels pushed at all. That is what makes X-Factor such a joy to read. No dialogue feels forced to move the plot along and the reader can just accept what is happening as just another day.

Dennis Calero’s art is definitely a noticeable change from Emanuela Lupacchino’s bright, splashy pages and “well-endowed” characters. But much like Lupacchino’s work, Calero does brilliant facial features. We can tell what each character is feeling even if words were not on the page. Calero’s art, tied in with Reber’s noticeably dramatic dark colours, give this book the mood it needs given the gravity of the situation within its pages. Because of the duo, the final panel of the book could not be scarier to loyal X-Factor readers.

This issue is the beginning to where all-things in X-Factor shall come crashing down. It’s going to be one exciting ride.

Grade: 7/10

Personal note: I rarely write reviews about X-Factor because it feels like I’d be writing about family. Uncanny X-Men and X-Men Legacy have great “family” moments which makes their readers feel invested with the characters. This is noticed when the X-Men mention an issue or event that readers have read in the past. With X-Factor, it’s inherent fluidity is what makes me feel invested. If you’re into that, I highly recommend you pick up all of X-Factor’s back-issues starting with #1 (in 2006). If not, go ahead and pick up #200 – which is an excellent starting point. (And so you know, X-Factors numbering goes #1-50, then #200-onwards)

I had to write a review for this issue because it was just too darn-exciting for me not to.

X-Factor

Alpha Flight #1
Fred Van Lente & Greg Pak (writers), Dale Eaglesham (pencils), Andrew Hennessy (inks), Sonia Oback (colours), Simon Bowland(letters), Phil Jimenez & Frank D’Armata (cover). $3.99

Taking place after the events after both Alpha Flight #0.1 and Fear Itself, Alpha Flight is officially back with their own maxiseries! (It’s a word, right?)

Attuma, or “Nerkkod – Breaker of the Oceans” is chosen for a hammer as seen in the Fear Itself story, and is terrorizing Vancouver, Canada. (Coincidently, Boston just did the same thing.) Fortunately, the reborn Canadian superheroes are able to put a hold on Nerkkod’s plans of complete devastation. All except Northstar, who is unsure of himself and is content with his boyfriend Kyle in Montreal. To make matters worse, in the #0.1 issue, Gary Cody and his Unity Party just won Parliament and is now running the country. He abolishes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and declares the Emergency Act to control the chaos Fear Itself is creating in the country. And there’s still more! Actually, there are still three major problems in the story which I could go on about. But where’s the fun if I told you?

The great thing is that Fear Itself definitely plays a strong hand in Alpha Flight. There are so many problems happening in the story that even I felt overwhelmed – and that’s exactly what Van Lente and Pak want you to feel. The world is turned upside-down and us readers are right in the middle of it. Alpha Flight does their best to deal with that is at hand, but it is only bound to get worse.

And holy sh–! Eaglesham’s work is impeccable. Page-after-page is sheer emotion and brilliant layouts. You can look into the backgrounds and be wowed by how much detail goes into his art. Great facial features really shine in this issue. Most particularly with Shaman versus Nerkkod, Kyle having a freak out over the phone, and Aurora’s attitude throughout the book. He also reworked Marrina’s costume to really spruce up her attitude. With Hennessy’s and Oback’s great contrasts (especially on Snowbird’s transformations), we’re left with a gorgeous book. Although, yes, Eaglesham had some stiffness in certain panels, the pros entirely outweigh the cons here.

My biggest beef isn’t even really a problem. It is the first few pages where the characters get stereotypically introduced in comic book fashion where by saving civilians they have their names called out to them. It’s corny, but it still works.

There is so much crammed into this book and tons left to solve by the end, that I’m surprised we’re only getting eight issues of it. Hopefully our Canadian heroes can handle it. But from the looks of their creative team, they’re in good hands.

Grade: 8.5/10

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

Wednesday’s Reviews May 18 – Take One

After a hectic work week, I hath returned to bring you reviews beyond your wildest imagination!

Or something like that.

I’m still on a Thor high, alright?

Avengers

Avengers #13
Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Chris Bachalo (pencils, colours), Tim Townsend, Wayne Faucher, Jamie Mendoza & Al Vey (inkers), Clayton Cowles (letters), Alan Davis, Mark Farmer & Javier Rodriguez (cover). $3.99

“Fear Itself” hits the Avengers with. . . nothing happening. In fact, this issue takes us back to Fear Itself #1 with the end of the book showing Stark announcing the Avengers promise to rebuild Asgard. Needless to say, the book really does not pick up much steam and simply holds one constant tone of nothing-happening-at-all throughout. When the action that takes place is Spider-Woman crossing her arms or Thor laughing, you know you’re in for a thrill-ride.

The story does show a bit of promise. We’re given little tidbits of information that something has gone wrong, or currently is. It’s not too clear. The readers are teased about the events of Fear Itself in this book with an unknown interviewing each Avenger separately. But like I’ve mentioned before, Bendis is yet again doing his panels in the most repetitive way, which I’d like to now trademark as the “Block Page.”

. . . It’ll take off. Just you wait.

As for plot, we’re given a sense that Hawkeye and Spider-Woman are going to form a relationship, and Volstagg has no chance with Ms. Marvel. We’re also given plenty of giggle moments with Rulk and Spider-Man from time to time which made up for some of the Block Pages.

But thank god for Chris Bachalo and his rag-tag group of inkers (which came with him after his X-Men run). If it wasn’t for his fun-filled artwork, I think my eyeballs would have melted from seeing another Romita-Block Page. Bachalo shakes things up with some fun in the colour department too. A great spread of the Avengers in the ruins of Asgard definitely shine as one of the highlights to this issue. However, minor issues like Thor suddenly having a beard for a panel and Beast looking like Dark Beast are a bit unnerving for me.

Avengers #13 becomes a story that really fails to launch yet fortunately has some saving grace from Bachalo and friends.

Grade: 5/10

Alpha Flight

Alpha Flight #0.1
Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente (writers), Ben Oliver & Dan Green (pencils, inks), Frank Martin (colours), Simon Bowland (letters), Phil Jimenez & Frank D’Armata (cover). $2.99

Alpha Flight is back as Marvel’s #0.1 series brings you a good-sized introduction to the team. If you haven’t read about Canada’s superheroes before, now is the best time to jump on!

What’s most interesting is that the team is split up for the majority of the story. Sasquatch, Marrina, Shaman, Vindicator and Aurora are off in the St. Lawrence River fighting Citadel, while the remaining team fight Persuasion (Purple Man’s daughter and ex-member of Beta Flight) in Montreal. Both stories eventually tie in together with a “Fear Itself” angle at the conclusion of both battles. By the end of the story, Alpha Flight is whole, while Northstar questions whether or not he should join.

Building a set-up for the Fear Itself series tie-in, only little bits of the team are fleshed throughout the book. Surprisingly, given Northstar is the only member who didn’t die and has been seen in X-Men; he was given a lot of development with his relationship while the rest of Alpha Flight seems neglected. Also surprising is that there is no mention that Aurora is his sister. In fact, Sasquatch and Marrina hardly gets any time in the story at all.

The art leaves me skeptical. Although the brilliant colours really bring out the life of the story, the actual characters seem stiff. A lot of scenes seem like character poses, while particular face close-ups seem like photo references or possible traces. I could be wrong, but its definitely the vibe I feel from the art.

Despite the peculiar set-up for our Canadian heroes, Alpha Flight does what its supposed to do with a 0.1 issue of Marvel. Let us just hope the eight-issue series gives the team some justice.

Grade: 6/10

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

Wednesday’s Reviews: Avengers & X-Force

It has been a while since I last did a review, let alone many reviews. I’ve been unbelievably busy, so I have had this on the back burner. Despite the lack of updates, traffic on my site has still been exceptional.

I really have to give a big thank you to my readers for making me want to update this more often. Without you, this site would have no meaning. (Did I just discover the reason for life, itself?)

I definitely have two major updates these next few days. The first is reviews, as you can probably tell from this title. The second will be a discussion about a recent movie I watched: Superman & Batman: Apocalypse. But more on that later.

P.S.: Two weeks of back-to-back Uncanny X-Force is mind-blowing.

Avengers

Avengers #12
Brian Michael Bendis (writer), John Romita Jr. (pencils, cover), Klaus Janson (inks, cover), Dean White (colours, cover), Cory Petit (letters). $3.99

Indeed, Iron Man wields the Infinity Gauntlet with the final chapter of the Avengers versus Parker Robbins story. With the last issue leaving us at a complete jaw-dropping standstill between Robbins and Thanos, who knew what would come next?

A very delicate, yet powerful conversation between the titan of death and Robbins stirs up a whirlwind of excitement for the reader. What will Thanos do to Robbins? More importantly, what will Robbins do to Thanos? All of it leads up to a climatic battle and a rekindling friendship all in this issue.

When the Avengers get tied into the mix and Red Hulk has a Power gem, you know there is hell to pay. It all leads to a vengeful slug-fest between Robbins and Hulk, with Robbins finally using the Reality gem to show how ridiculously powerful these Infinity gems are.

Brilliant pacing throughout the story makes each page another excitement to turn. I would argue this is Romita’s best work in Avengers so far, with very few issues on character feeling too stiff. The battle between Red Hulk and Robbins is truly a wonder to see, as a great panel-by-panel fight features art in the background of old Marvel events long-gone due to the Reality gems magic. Oddly enough, the events were actually ripped out from the original works and Romita simply placed the Rulk/Robbins fight over top of them. With two very contrasting styles of art, it literaly makes the panels pop-out at you. This too is because of White’s dynamics of red and brown tones over the gray-scales.

With very few problems in this issue, I am floored by how great this arc concluded. And most importantly, by the end of this issue, the reader will get yet another Marvel U shattering ordeal that only Bendis could effectively pull-off.

Sure, I could nick off marks for suddenly leaving the Watcher out of the story. I could also nick off marks for seeing yet another page like this. But they are minuscule in the grand scheme of how powerful of an issue Avengers #12 was.

Grade: 7/10

Uncanny X-Force

Uncanny X-Force #8
Rick Remender (writer), Billy Tan (pencils, inks), Dean White (colours), Cory Petit (letters), Esad Ribic (cover). $3.99

The team goes to rescue a captive Deadpool, while Psylocke battles the Shadow King in yet another explosive issue of Uncanny X-Force. Oh, and Archangel’s about to burst.

Right off the bat, the reader is dropped into a plot where Deadpool’s on a reconnaissance mission, while Psylocke is helping Warren deal with the Death persona. Fantomex also shows Deathlok around the base, making me wonder if he will be a permanent part of the team. (Eee!) Lots happen within the short timespan of this book, yet all is paced so ridiculously well, that you know this is a Remender book.

Needless to say, if you’re a Psylocke fan you’re in for a huge treat. This is her book. After Deadpool fails to check in with X-Force, the team goes to find him. Upon arrival, most of X-Force becomes mind-controlled (minus Fantomex due to his neural implants) – leaving Psylocke the only one able to fight up against their foe – the Shadow King.

If it’s not good enough that this story is primarily about Psylocke, we’re also given huge depth with Warren about his Death personality. In so-few pages, Remender intertwines all of the subplots in one grand scheme with an absolute flawless script.

By no-means is Wolverine or Deadpool the main-characters of these stories. This book is a Psylocke/Archangel/Fantomex story guest-starring everyone else.

Tan’s art is nothing less than incredible. A particular panel with Archangel screaming shows his anger and near-insanity. Don’t even get me started on how beautiful Psylocke is drawn in her old costume.

Dean White was on double-duty this month doing both Avengers #12 and this issue. While you can see similarities with both books for colours, he definitely has a knack for not over-doing things, yet still placing emphasis where needed. I definitely prefer his colouring style with Tan’s art. Actually, it would have been great with Ribic’s and Opena’s too. Of course he did a great job in The Avengers too with Romita.

A few weeks ago, Uncanny X-Force released a .1 issue and it stood out as a great one-shot. The idea of the .1 issues were to get new readers on board.

Uncanny X-Force #8 arguably repeats the same process while still continuing the main storyline. I think I’ve said this at the end of every Uncanny X-Force review, but it needs to be said again.

If you haven’t started reading Uncanny X-Force, START!

And doesn’t Esad Ribic deserve a “best cover” award? Look at those colours! Wonderful!

Grade: 9/10

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!