home : news : reviews : features : fiction : podcast : blogs : t-shirts : wtf?

Comics Reviewlution : New X-Men, Angel and the Ape
Reviewed by Kenn McCracken, ©

Format: Comics
By:   Peter Milligan and Fiona Avery and Howard Chaykin and Grant Morrison
Genre:   Superhero
Review Date:  
RevSF Rating:   8/10 and 6/10 and 10/10 (What Is This?)

"Please don't be alarmed. I know I look like a special effect, but we're actually here to help." -- The Beast, New X-Men #116

Spider-Man's Tangled Web #5 (Marvel Comics, $2.99) A good Jedi mind trick for reviewers to learn: losing expectations. It's something that I have to do every time someone requests me to watch a Summer Blockbuster at the cinema, or read an anthology series with themed stories by famous horror authors. The trick came in handy here.

I'm not a fan of arc-based comic series that focus on a hero or group, allowing different creative teams to play in the sandbox each month. I purposefully skipped out on the first three issues of this series, in fact, though Garth Ennis penned them. I'm that wary of the idea. The solicitations for this issue piqued my curiosity, though, and the cover gave me the final push to try it out.

Color me pleasantly surprised. Peter Milligan does some really fine writing here. The story still bears a little of the predictability that the Marvel Universe carries as a weight, but his characterization of the Rhino (easily one of Spider-Man's lamest enemies) is strong. By the end, one is almost forced to feel a little sympathy, if only because we've all made a bad but irrevocable choice or two in our lives.

Duncan Fegredo provides some nice pencils, as well, but what really makes this issue worth picking up is the pacing, owing (I believe) a little to both Milligan and Fegredo. The last panel alone is worth a poster-sized reprint. (8 out of 10)

Rogue #1 (of 4) (Marvel Comics, $2.50) To be fair to Fiona Avery, this book features my least favorite of the X-Men. Well, one of the least; that title is actually shared by 75% of the cast. Also working against her is the fact that she is writing the Mini-Series Focusing On A Character Best Suited For Group Interplay -- add this to the Cyclops, Nightcrawler, and Storm mini-series that have come and gone and continue to come, among others.

That said, Avery does a good job with this look back at Rogue's earliest days with the X-Men. Smartly, the story chooses this as a focal point for an exploration of Rogue and her powers; if nothing else, it allowed me to avoid wondering why every time an X-Man steps out and away from the team, a new adventure occurs (makes you wonder if they travel to the bathroom in pairs). Aaron Lopresti's pencils, along with Avery's dialogue, do a good job of capturing the flavor of this incarnation of the team without seeming retro.

Avery does a nice job of showing a young Rogue seeking acceptance where little is to be given, as well as trying to cope with the fact that her powers are so dangerous to herself and those around her. It's a little out of character with the Rogue from that point in time, but very much in step with the Rogue that most readers have become familiar with. Also, by focusing on her relationship with other X-Men, particularly Professor X, we are able to see Rogue as defined outside of a vacuum.

It's a nice start, but there's a long way to go make this a sturdy book. (6 out of 10)

Angel and the Ape #1 (Vertigo / DC Comics, $2.95) A forewarning: this is not an Art Adams production, though he did provide the cover. Of course it's not, my brain suddenly informs me -- he's too busy finishing up the current run of Authority to work on anything else!

Back to the issue at hand -- while Adams appears only on the cover, this book is far from lacking. In fact, it may be one of the best books to hit this year. Howard Chaykin and David Tischman provide the writing, and Philip Bond turns in artwork that I would never have expected to like (bad assumption); the combination is a book that is pure fun.

The writing is filled with bad puns, both in character naming and visually. Even with Bond very cartoonish style, Angel is incredibly sexy. The plot is the sort of thing that fills the late-night Showtime schedule. With all of this, do you really need any more convincing?

One final note: this book takes full advantage of the Vertigo header. There's a little nudity and a whole lot of sexual comedy inside, so consider yourself forewarned.

Thus armed, go out and buy a copy. (10 out of 10)

Unquantified, shameless mark rant of the week: New X-Men #116 (Marvel Comics, $2.25) You had me at Frank Quitely's cover; Morrison's mad genius storytelling sent me over the edge. (10 out of 10)

Kenn McCracken is Comics Editor for RevolutionSF.

Recommend Us
  • Send to a Friend
  • Digg This
  • Reddit It
  • Add to del.ic.ious
  • Share at Facebook
  • Discuss!
  • Send Feedback
  • Roundtable 112 - Green Lantern
  • there are two means to do
  • Angel rewatch and discussion thread
  • Comics Forum
  • Related Pages
  • Print This Page
  • Captain America: Civil War 4-Word Reviews
  • RevolutionSF Podcast: Where Are You Coming From, Spider-Man?
  • Marvel Movies Get Spider-Man, Blow Off Everything Else
  • Search RevSF
  • New on RevSF
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Book Probe: BattleMaster, Wade of Aquitaine, Kriendria of Amorium
  • RevSF Podcast: Drowning in Moonlight: Remembering Carrie Fisher
  • Logan
  • RevSF Home


    Things From Our Brains
    Get even more out of RevSF.

    The only free sci-fi and humor zine left in America.
    RevolutionSF RSS Feed
    Search RevSF

    Random RevSF
    RevolutionSF Interview : Rogue Blades Editor Jason Waltz

    contact : advertising : submissions : legal : privacy
    RevolutionSF is ™ and © Revolution Web Development, Inc., except as noted.
    Intended for readers age 18 and above.