God, Greg Land’s “pencils” are so fucking annoying I can’t enjoy the issue.  I keep seeing the same faces over and over and over again on different characters – mostly women – he really, really, really cannot draw women as individuals…I guess, something like that.  Many of them still have his horrible “porn star” swipe faces.  Arrggh.

Larry Stroman’s on X-Factor are almost as annoying, but at least I’m more tempted to call what he has “talent”.  I just don’t like it.  I didn’t much like it the first time around on the other X-Factor, and I can’t wait for him to be gone from this one so things can get back to looking human.

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So I somehow managed to go almost a month without picking anything up.  Here’s what was in my box:

Avengers: Initiative 15:  I love this title.  We get a solidifying of Crusader’s status (although he royally fucked up by driving 3D off…) and some Gauntlet action.  Please don’t cancel this book Marvel.  I think I forgot what happened to Rhodey though…need to go back and read a few issues.

New Avengers 43: Another Skrull over-brainwashed a la Captain Marvel, but this one doesn’t end so well.  Or perhaps he wasn’t over-brainwashed, just over-killed before his un-programming kicked in.  Either way it was an interesting read that occupied all of 4 minutes of “Marvel Time” in between SI 3 & 4 or 4 & 5 (forgot to check).

Mighty Avengers 16: How I Became a Skrull, by Electra.  Moderately interesting, not horrible or great.  Even badasses can be taken out by multiple shapeshifters…although frankly it probably shouldn’t have taken that many.

Thunderbolts 122: I totally forgot what happened last month…I think it was the end of that whole mental jailbreak thing and Ellis’ arc.  This one picks up where the Captain Marvel mini ends, and starts off a new writer’s run.   It’s off to a good start, I guess.  If you like this new, super-bitchy version of the T-Bolts.  Which I don’t.  But I’m a zombie I know…just hoping for them to somehow get Fabian or Buseik back on it someday and remove the suckometer from its ass.

Captain Britain & MI13 3: You knew Cap B was coming back…so this is just the obvious, but it’s still good reading.  I can’t figure out what the hell the new girl’s powers are…some kind of wonky tk?  The new costume doesn’t look nearly as cool as it should with all those flags flying around either.  Storywise, good read and worth your money.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3: I’m really enjoying this series and dying to know what the deal with Vance & Starhawk is. I love the Vance-Cap/Guardians-Avengers parallel they set up with the whole ice bit.  Awesomesauce.  I really wish it wouldn’t get dragged into the Skrull thing, but we’ll just see how that goes, maybe it won’t suck.

Secret Invasion 4: Good stuff.  I forgot to buy 3 though.  Doh.

New Warriors 14: The inevitable, arbirtary Nu Warriors vs. New Warriors brawl begins.  Still, the Skrull going ons do make for a nice backdrop & excuse.

Astonishing X-Men 25: Much better story than the last book I read involving Wolverine & Bianchi.

Cable 5: I guess this arc’s over.  I still don’t care.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the premise of the story, but the whole Bishop-as-a-badguy thing still comes off as stupid to me.  I mean, it’s sort of believable in the sense of his backstory, but still stupid in the sense that he never once mentioned this child/person before?  I’m guessing it’s because that was retroactively inserted into his history when history was changed by the prof not dying?  Whatever, don’t care.  Although it has been a while since a good “hero gone bad” story so MAYBE this whole thread has wings.

New eXiles 8:  Stuff happens here I guess. I’ve been bored with Exiles lately; the new characters just aren’t interesting enough, and that last issue (or the one before??) had ABOMINABLE art. fug fug fugly.  This one looks nice at least, and the expected Psylocke plot is chugging along.   I hope we get some actual info on Mystiq…he’s moderately interesting.  New Gambit?  With Sue’s force bubbles?…almost interesting but nah.

Uncanny X-Men 500: God I hate Greg Land’s “art”.  If I wanted my comics to look like goddam cheesecake-Maxim-softcoreporn-bullshit I’d buy something else.  Storywise it’s…well, it’s a hell of a throwback with Mags retconning himself again and hanging out with the High Evolutionary.  Which may actually make a lot of sense considering what’s happened but STILL…we get a revamped Hellfire Cult, “SIster”hood of Evil Mutants AND you bring in a High Evolutionary + Magneto team up in the same issue that you claim is all about “moving forward”?  OK…the last time the title actually tried to move forward was, believe it or not, Claremont’s relaunch after that whole stupid 1 year later thing.  Which could have actually been cool if they let him run with it….but whatever.  Anyway, it’s not a bad story at all, just not what they are claiming.  Yet.

Also, I really hope ArcAngel isn’t back to Angel already. So. Lame.

X-Factor 33 & She Hulk 31: The art in X-F is fucking horrible and makes the issue hard to like.  It mucks with everything.  I don’t think I can make an unbiased judegement.  Although I will say that Darwin is being written like a talky moron…which doesn’t seem like how I remember him from Brubaker’s writing.  Surprisingly I prefer the old version.

X-Force 5: Kinda silly…and evidently Angel’s changes are somehow undone by Uncanny 500 (I’m guessing that’s what his sidebar reference was to???), so I really don’t care – that was the only thing I was really looking forward to from this arc was Arcangel’s return.  Pun intended.  Sort of.

X-Men Legacy 214: Evidently this is getting another title change after the next arc? Hmmmm.  Still, a good story and another old X-villain gets a very modern update this month.  I’m curious about the Wolverine crossover…not going to make me buy Origins again though.  Curious how they’ll package that trade.  Trade’s don’t always play well with crossovers.

Young X-Men 4:  Something about Cypher in issue 5? Umm…ok?  But seriously, FINISH THIS SHIT ALREADY. This arc is tired and stupid.  So is the tattoo guy.  Dumb dumb and probably too powerful by far.  Imagine if he hung out with that chic that popped up in X-Treme who could make tattoos….

There was yet another Avengers title in my box:

Avengers: The Initiative 14: Unlike Hannibal Tabu,  I really enjoyed this issue.  In fact, I may actually read it again (pssst, that’s really high praise from me, I rarely read something more than once inside 5 years).  While I agree that Triathlon’s (sp?) sudden moniker change to “3-D Man” seemed to come out of nowhere…I have to wonder if it didn’t.  The way he was talking about it it sounds like they got their powers from the same place.  Time for some research…

SNAP!  Triathlon is actually directly related/tied to the original 3-D Man!  Dan Slott, you continuity whore, you haven’t let me down yet!  I love that guy.  And not just because he actually commented on my blog once.  So yes, this actually makes pretty good sense and ties in wonderfully (in the magical comic book coincidence way) with the Skrull invasion bit.

Uncanny X-Men 499 – Nothing too surprising here, but still a nice X-read.  Colossus gets angry…so we’re seeing some of that death rage leaking out maybe?  /eh I dunno.  But yeah, all it all it was decent, and we get a brief connector “sort of” showing us how/why they wind up in San Fran.  Oh, and a new *hood of Evil Mutants is forming….

X-Men Legacy 213 – OK, we know Charlie is going to survive, but I have to admit the end of issue cliffhanger really left me wanting 214!  Mike Carey is also doing a great job (taking lessons from Slott? 🙂 ) on using continuity to create new and wonderful storylines.  Continuity is in no way an encumbrance (in my opinion) to a writer who really loves what he’s working with.  Such a difference between something by a writer of this caliber and something by…I don’t know…Jeff Loeb?

PS. Jeff, isn’t it a bit weird to have the Ultimate universe being secretly invaded by ROBOTS at the same time 616 is being secretly invaded by ALIENS?  Now if the Squadron Supreme universe gets secretly invaded by AMAZONS (from the moon!?) we’ll have a sweet little triumphrate of stupidity.  Hint: It’s cool the first time, and hey maybe even the second time…but don’t do it at the SAME TIME!

In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m finding volume 3 of the Ultimates horrid and trite.  Even Joe Mad’s revered pencils look like…well, shit.  Dark, muddied shit.  Blame is laid at the feet of the colorist, whom I understand will be allowed to finish the series, but will not ever be working for Marvel again.  This is a pretty high priority gig to blow in such a way.  I wonder if they’ll get the pages re-colored for the trades?  That would be sweet, then at least I can enjoy looking at them.

Oh, Sabretooth gets mauled by 2 tigers.  That’s…kinda amusing.

The previews for Ellis & Bianchi’s Astonishing X-men run, on the other hand, look beautiful!  So much of a better use for him than that horrible abomination of a Wolverine story Loeb did.

Runaways 30 – Aww, a somewhat-overused-but-still-touching sci-fi/time travel ending and a new Runaways addition AND gorgeous art means this issue is great.  I think I missed 29 though, going to have to look that up.  Definitely picking up the trades for this.