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Prattling Panels: 5/23/14

Alright its the day X-Men: Days of Future Past comes to theaters so get out there this weekend and listen to my thoughts on the What Are You Reading Comic Book Show!

Yes I am a wore, thank you very much!

Velvet and Rocket Girl reach first arc endings, Saga is back, and I finally review Wonder Woman this week! What an exciting week here at Prattling Panels!

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Wolverine and the X-Men #4
Written by Jason Latour; Drawn by Mahmud Asrar

Well this is the first issue since the beginning I can recall enjoying of this new Wolverine and the X-Men run and its thanks almost entirely to how well Jason Latour writes Quentin Quire. One my favorite recent X-Men moments was how Quentin bursted into school one day wearing a shirt proclaiming Cyclops was right about his own agenda from Schism. (Love the little detail of the button on the cover) Well in this issue Quentin gets to spend time with his idol which honestly is the bet part in a what I’ll admit is a cluttered issue of the book that holds together nicely via art by Mahmud Asrar.

It does feel odd or slightly planned this storyline happens with a hence of DOFP in their with Faithful Josh in trying to stop Evan from what he becomes. Just feels odd this happen the same week as the movie but hey maybe thats just my mind making connections where there are most likely none. 4/5

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Green Lantern: New Guardians #31
Written by Justin Jordan; Drawn by Diogenes Neves

Misleading cover is misleading. Carol isn’t really in this issue until the end of it, but she’s not the real focus, but instead we follow Kyle for the majority of the issue on this seemingly dead planet and the writing by Justin Jordan is very good, but again, this feels like the issue we might not have expected after that huge packed annual last month. But hey maybe this is a good thing? Depends on who the reader is. This reader? I like how we dig deeper into Kyle’s powers and his own mind. Kyle Rayner is a great White Lantern and still one my favorite characters. What the ending sets up with Carol, looking forward too. Also Diogenes Neves art is very well drawn, detailed, and dynamic here. Its very nice eye candy. 3.5/5

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The Mercenary Seas #4
Written by Kel Symons; Drawn Mathew Reynolds

While this issue was very good, I think I’m gonna officially drop The Mercenary Sea from the rotation here as it seems to be one those books that might read better in collected trade format. The exciting pulp adventure has gotten better but yeah trades maybe kinder to this book for me, but Mathew Reynolds art continues to be a joy to look at. I find it the best part of the book honestly. 3/5

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Rocket Girl #5
Written by Brandon Montclare; Drawn by Amy Reeder

Now Rocket Girl might read better in trade too, but I’m gonna keep reviewing it because I find it to be a very exciting and fun 1980s sci-fi romp. DaYoung has quickly upped the ranks in terms of great new characters for me and she’s a delight to follow. Brandon Montclare writes her so goddamn good and doesn’t at all feel stereotypical or like how he thinks teenage girls act. Hell that’s said for all the ladies in this wonderful book, even Amy who plays up the machine at QM. Each issue has been a blast and the time travel stuff is remarkably fun itself, I love the idea of a teen division of the NYPD in the future. This is the first arc conclusion so when the first trade comes out, please pick it up. You’ll have plenty of time given Issue #6 won’t be out until September. 4/5

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Deadpool Annual #2
Written by Christopher Hastings; Drawn by Jacopo Camagni

In a complete standalone Deadpool adventure, Deadpool takes Spider-Mans costume and becomes him after the latest plot by the Chameleon knocks Peter out and this book is just spectacularly fun. Hastings really plays up the Spider-Man/Deadpool relationship that almost everyone has taken a crack at and most times, I love it. There is great comedic material and set pieces to be taken from such a team up. The issue doesn’t disappoint with the situations Deadpool gets into as Spider-Man and of course what happens when Peter wakes up and finds himself in Deadpool’s costume. Camagni’s art is as well what helps sell it with the over the top moments of the book and stellar action of it as well. Its just a damn blast of energetic fun that I expect from such a book and idea as a one off for something like an annual. Deadpool continues to be one of Marvel’s brightest stars among its strong line of solid grade A books. 4.5/5

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The New 52: Future’s End #3
Written and Drawn by Various

I’m pretty much done with this book. I’m not at all this invested in the story and it sucks because I want to support a big event book like this that heavily features Batman Beyond, but this is reminding me so many of the problems I and many people have with DC Comics right now. The writing isn’t too compelling to keep me interested at all despite the names attached to it and the art really doesn’t captivate me. Also, I’m not liking what an asshole Mister Terrific is or what they do with him in this issue. Mister Terrific is a fucking asshole, and not a charasmatic and interesting asshole, but just a full on asshole where I don’t give a shit about him at all. I’m done with this book, its failed to keep me going on with it, I don’t care. 1/5

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Magnus: Robot Fighter #3
Written by Fred Van Lente; Drawn by Cory Smith

This issue primarily focuses on Leeja Clane: Human Hunter! This was a nice framing device setting it up as two robot recorder or whatever broadcast her hunt for Magnus as a reality show featuring Leeja. It was kinda fun, though missed opprotunity to take a jab at the sort of thing, but then again this could just be how things are in the future so yeah. Its a nice way to set up the chase of Magnus when he and H8R escape robot jail. Towards the end we get some secret robot stuff and such with H8R communicating to someone but not sure who, but the stuff with him and Magnus is wonderful to watch as they escape. Fred Van Lente’s scripts keep getting better here and Cory Smith’s art highlights this book perfectly with is energetic fighting and action. 4/5

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #3
Written by Christos Gage and Nicholas Brendon; Drawn by Rebekah Isaacs

Xander gets a bigger voice in this issue, maybe due in part to Nicholas Brendon, the actor who portrayed Xander for all seven years of Buffy joining the creative team to co-write this issue where Xander must deal with former master, Dracula from the season five premiere Buffy vs. Dracula. Dracula popped back up in season eight which was a delight and the way in which they bring him into here actually makes sense. Brendon lets Xander really shine here, like in The Zeppo, seriously have you caught on to that I love Buffy? His defiance to never serve Dracula again and fix his issues with Dawn are very compelling.

The Scooby Gang interaction with Dracula is fun and poppy. Its just wonderful, even with Jonathan wanted to serve Dracula willingly to replace Xander. Even learning some TMI on Dawn and Xander’s bedroom adventures. This is great fun with Rebekah Isaacs art still providing so much enjoyment, not the best to accurately represent the actors but hey she still provides solid entertainment with her pencils. So far Season 10 is living up to expectations, hopefully the ending that truly came out of nowhere to me and keep up the momentum that it built up. 4/5

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Magneto #4
Written by Cullen Bunn; Drawn by Javier Fernandez

Cullen Bunn’s Magneto is becoming one the more violent series Marvel has next to The Punisher but its effective and not there for violence sake, its because Magneto is back to his roots, his more primal than ever in his attacks, on a personal, physical lever. He’s on a mission and is on a “by any means necessary” mentality. This issue is heavy in narration by Magneto and that’s a strong attribution to Bunn’s excellent writing which helps paint a lovely image with guest artist Fernandez’s similar style to Walta with its angles, pencils, and muted color pallet. Its enjoyable. Again a must read for not just Magneto fans, but X-Men fans overall. 4.5/5

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Sinestro #2
Written by Cullen Bunn; Drawn by Dale Eaglesham

Continuing Bunn’s excellent streak with villains, the second issue of Sinestro impressed me with the momentum it kept up from the first issue. Again as with Magneto, Bunn really gets into the character’s mindset and truly understand them very well. Sinsetro here is reasserting his control over the Yellow Lanterns and its a nicely done sequence that’s paced in tandem with Bunn’s writing and the excellent standout art of Dale Eaglesham. Eaglesham is very detailed with his characters and never lets a panel or frame feel cluttered or too underutilized. Also like Magneto, his dedication to his own people, the Korugarian’s, gives him a true sense of purpose and a wonderful character arc given his daughter is a Green Lantern. Awkward doesn’t even cover their Thanksgiving dinners. Their relationship is gonna be a driving focus in the book and I for one look forward to it. 4/5

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Batwoman #31
Written by Marc Andreyko; Drawn by Jeremy Haun

The first arc post Williams/Blackman concludes its its a pretty good note to go out on. It does typical things like having everything come together, mysteries being solved, and solid character moments. Jeremy Haun’s art continues to really work for this book and this is his best issue yet. The final fight between Batwoman Wolf-Spider is very good and well planned out. Marc Andreyko is a fine writer to continue on the Batwoman book, I just wish under better circumstances was all. He gets the character and writers her well, especially in her relationship with Maggie. That’s where he’s a little better, but I like what he writes her as Batwoman. The next arc is slightly set up here but hey its a very good issue for what was a very solid first effort of a creative team. 3.5/5

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Elektra #2
Written by W. Hayden Blackman; Drawn by Mike Del Mundo

Elektra #2 is a much different book compared to what was presented in the first issue with is going right into the story of her search after Cape Crow while dealing with Bloody Lips and Lady Bullseye. The plot is a tiny bit exposition heavy for its own bit, but when its not bogged down in that, the book is wonderfully written by W. Hayden Blackman who truly understands the character very well and can get into her mind. Del Mundo’s art again excels to great and just looks sooooo good. So much effort an work put into each panel and spread that you can tell help tell a great story that just proves beyond a doubt how great Elektra is as a character. This book is s must read. 4.5/5

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Daredevil #3
Written by Mark Waid; Drawn by Chris Samnee

Daredevil is still the Marvel book for me. The teaming of Daredevil and Shroud is brilliant and something I’m amazed hasn’t happened already and Mark Waid pulls it off in spades and we get an answer as to what in the world really happened to Foggy Nelson. The resolution to that and reveal is plotted out nicely and doesn’t feel silly or dumb in any way honestly. As always Chris Samnee is just fantastic, especially with The Owl and how he makes him out, also with Waid’s writing, to make him a terrifying threat and as per usual with a Waid Daredevil book, he puts himself in a difficult spot with the end and we must wait one whole month to see how Matt Murdock gets out of the current sticky situation. 4.5/5

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Batman and Frankenstein #31
Written by Peter J. Tomasi; Drawn by Doug Mahnke

Batman continues the search for the bodies of Damian and Talia to stop Ra’s in Franekstein’s neck of the woods and the last time they were together, thinks weren’t great as Batman tore Frank limb from limb to help regenerate Damian’s life but after they shoot the shit over it they agree to stop Ra’s after battles with weird monster Ra’s summons and man its some really fun shit with guest artist Doug Mahnke’s art and wonderful designs to them that brings life to it. His looks to Batman and Frank are so nicely detailed, more so on Frank. Mahnke’s angular style really works for both characters here.Tomasi continues to truly understand Batman but he writes a damn good Frankenstein as highlighted by Frank’s guest appearances on this book. The ending leaves much to be desired but it gives much anticipation for what Batman and Frank see. 4/5

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Thor: God of Thunder #22
Written by Jason Aaron; Drawm by Esad Ribic

Thor right now continues to struggler in liberating the people of Broxton as Thor in the future struggles with Galactus in this PENULTIMATE(!) issue of Last Days of Midgard. This story has been the most fun since Jason Aaron took over. I mean God Butcher and God Bomb were excellent and while lacking some bigger scaled fun, Accursed was a blast to read but this current storyline is great. Wonderful idea, excellent pacing, even some current issue and themes of the environment being brought up without sounding preachy in anyway. Its a real breath of fresh air. Aaron understands the core concept of his characters and gets right into it. The addition of Agent Solomon has helped out greatly and we’re introduced to a new villain who proves himself a credible threat, ever more so in the ending of this issue.

The stuff with future King Thor is also equally compelling with the battle for future Earth at stake and we come to the art of Esad Ribic who just owns it again here with his beautifully drawn pencils, wide color pallet, and haunting visuals. I know Marvel has a lot of great artists under its wing right now but this is their best one working there hands down. Its become a book I can’t wait to get not just because of how well written and fun it is, because I know my eyes will get a nice visual treat to go along with it. Pick this book up people! 5/5

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X-Men #14
Written by Brian Wood; Drawn by Clay Mann

The Future continues his conquest to get his son Shogo back from adoptive mother Jubilee and its pretty good. This isn’t by any means redeeming the whole book back from its latest quality dip but its not a bad place to go from. Brian Wood is bringing everything full circle here from the beginning of this run here and that’s interesting given its announced he’s leaving the book. The action in this book is fine, even though its yet another school invasion, but Clay Mann works with what he’s given and its a good job. His art serves fine here. The issue focuses on the team dynamic and that’s were it is strongest. The backup was still very good, then again I am a huge Psylocke fan so yeah. Its a nice calm down from the big stuff going on in the main story. 3/5

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Velvet #5
Written Ed Brubaker; Drawn by Steve Epting

The first arc of Brubaker and Epting’s exciting period spy thriller comes to a satisfying conclusion. First, I must talk about Steve Epting’s art which captures the look and feel of the 1950s and 60s that feels genuine and just not seeing something there for it. We know how well he caught the 70s, so that’s nothing surprising. He draws characters so definitely remarkable and unique.

This issue, Brubaker puts the fugitive on the run take a backseat to a mostly flashback heavy issue that includes Velvet’s training from her handler, who we mostly follow this issue and its a real captivating tale that’s full of great excitement. Velvet has been such  great character to follow and it was a treat to get into her past with the flashbacks of this issue with her handler taking up the majority of the issue as its star but its honestly not bad.

This book has kept climbing the ranks as one of Image’s best books. Again I admit I have a slight bias as I enjoy Brubaker, and most especially when he does spy work but this work just stands out among his own catalogue and Steve Epting’s art is a spectacular treat to look at. This book is solid entertainment and I hope you all pick up its first trade collection when it comes out soon! 5/5

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Wonder Woman #31
Written by Brian Azzarello; Drawn by Goran Sudžuka

One the better highlights that was come from DC’s New 52 consistently is Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman which has been a weird, exciting, fun, and adventurous. He’s written Wonder Woman so damn well and from every possible angle. Right now Diana has to deal with being the God of War and Queen of the Amazons. That change of life to Diana is the main focus of this issue and it makes it very interesting and captivating given one her orders is to protect Zola’s baby, Zeke, a boy child. This gives such great drama as they try to answer if they can find the strength to defeat the First Born and that this will totally change them all as a people.

Diana is a far different queen from her mother and it begins to show very early on and she shows she’s here to make her people even stronger than before and that she is confident to win this upcoming war. Her sparring session with Artemis is a highlight as Diana mentions she truly doesn’t feel like a God but will need to find her strength to become one given she’s the new God of War. Change is threatening and empowering in this issue. The Hermes and Dio stuff is really good and help builds the story up even more too and leads to one the most disturbing things to yet come from this book.

Azzarello shows a real love and care for the character and her world and writes some really great action and his humor when its needed is fantastic. Cliff Chiang’s art was the perfect fit for this book and he’s only doing covers but you can still see he has a hand of in it but Goran Sudžuka’s art is very similar but different and dynamic and helps keeping selling the weirdness and awesome of this series. The art really also reminds me of Michael Allred which I’d love to see him do this book! That would be great but I’m not ending it on that. I’m ending this review of Wonder Woman #31 by saying pick up the trades of this series and read it. This book is solid entertainment, really great and just fantastic! 5/5

BOOK OF THE WEEK!
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Saga #19
Written by Brian K. Vaughan; Drawn by Fiona Staples

Saga is back and opens up on a baby robot with a TV head being birthed right from its mother’s womb. Yeah this book announces its return from hiatus big time with that lovely image.

The book honestly doesn’t miss a beat, showing us what Alana, Marko, and their delightful little family have been up to in trying to lay low after all that’s gone down, well how almost everyone is laying low. I personally am happy to see Izabel again cause ghost babysitters are something I thought I’d love to see. The way in which we catch up with everyone is great, I even loved the look into what’s going on with Prince Robot IV’s wife.

Brian K. Vaughn really paints a picture of a huge, broad, encompassing epic world and feel that’s been evident ever since the debut in 2012. His world building is exceptional as is his deep characterization that has made everyone who has appeared in this book. The book is steeped in its own mythology but it doesn’t feel tiresome or exhausting.

For as much as Vaughn is great, a writer in comics is only as good as their artist and man it sFiona Staples one hell of an artist to be paired with. Her work has been fantastic and spectacular since day one on here. Her characters feel true and pop right at you, her aliens and other worldly like characters and creations are just a jot to look at. There are several issues of this book I wish I could frame, her art is that damn good. Her art does have something in common with the writing of Vaughn, it builds worlds and characters so expertly, its like they barely had to put effort into it.

The time jump in the book does leave much to be desired by some readers and while the strange out-there open doesn’t bookend to the ending, its ending does have a jaw dropping reveal that helps impact the complete 180 turn the book has taken from exciting space adventure to a more family centered, that really isn’t for a family to read. Saga is back and I absolutely happy it is. 5/5

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