Worst to First: February 18th, 2009

I only bought four issues this week, and, yet, I’m still torn over what to pick for the worst issue and what to pick for the best. That’s right, it’s an even split. Two issues that stunk so bad I could barely stand to finish them and two that left me pretty well satisfied.

When I was in the comic shop today, I debated over whether or not to try out some new stuff, since I’ve basically lost track of what’s been going on with the X-Men lately, and I haven’t read an Avengers issue since the dumbass ending to Secret Invasion. Inevitably, I decided against trying out either one, but it really struck me how many different X-Men books there are these days. Same goes for the Avengers. You’ve got First Class, Young, Legacy, Uncanny, Astonishing, New, Classic, Initiative, Mighty, Dark – – I mean, come on! How many different books do they have out right now to tell the same crappy stories with slightly different rosters?

Anyway, I’m making a pledge right here, right now. If the day ever comes where there is one book on the shelf titled, simply, “The Avengers,” then I’ll pick it up. And, likewise, if there’s ever just, “The X-Men,” I’ll buy that, too. I’ll even settle for it being Uncanny, since that’s been around a lot longer.

Say what you will about DC, but at least they’re not dicking us for all our money with twenty versions of the Teen Titans. Oh, wait. Or the JSA? Aha! That one actually works. Anyway, on with the reviews.

robin 183Worst: Robin #183

The basic premise of this final issue of Robin is that Robin’s sent a death threat by Lady Shiva, and he spends the rest of the issue assuming that he’s going to be dead by dawn. Instead, he beats her up and hops off into the sky, promising that, soon, “It’ll be time to meet the NEW ROBIN!”

While Nightwing tried to give us some sense of closure to the long-running series, Robin just gives us a throwaway “adventure” with the promise at the issue’s close that this is, “Only the beginning…”

Now, that’s not a terribly bad idea for an issue, but, boy, does this sucker stink. For instance, there’s a line of dialogue where Detective Harper asks Robin about the death note, asking, “You know what it means?” He responds, “Means you should order the worst dessert on the menu.” To which she replies, “Which would make it the best.” And that’s the end of the conversation.

Now, bear in mind that the death threat note didn’t make any mention of dessert. The only logical explanation is that Harper is dressed in an evening gown, because she “hopefully” has a date later. So she asks him about the death note, and he instead tells her to order something bad on her date. So how does she derive that doing that would make the bad thing on the menu turn into the best? Stuff like that gets me stuck when I’m reading through a comic, so I naturally had a hard time getting through this clunker. This doesn’t make sense in the way Final Crisis didn’t make sense; this doesn’t make sense in the way that it’s complete nonsensical word salad. I know the words, and the sentence structures technically fit, but I don’t get what they’re in aid of. What is their purpose?

Oh, plus, thanks to the fact that this is written by the King of Pop-Culture References, Mr. Fabian Nicieza, we get throwaway lines about Wii Fit, Dr. Phil, and a line from the song, “12 Days of Christmas.” Wait, what?

I’m not going to miss this series at all. My last word on it will be a question to you, the readers: When Robin and Lady Shiva finally square off and attack each other, before he explains he poisoned her (and somehow miraculously knows how many ribs of his are broken, even though that’d be pretty much impossible to figure out without examining them first), but, yeah, when they attack each other, can you please explain to me what exactly the two of them do? Looks to me like they both jump, pass each other off panel, and then collapse with their backs to one another. I might be missing something.

Photo-Finish for Last Place: Johnny Monster #1

This is our Book of Doom for this week, so you’ll have to come back on Saturday to read about how much I hated it. Oh yeah, spoiler alert, I hated it.

Consistently Bad-Ass: Guardians of the Galaxy #10

Not surprisingly, I really enjoyed this issue. The only complaint I have with it is that the rescue of Star-Lord seemed a little too easy and anti-climactic. He’s spent the past few issues stuck in the Negative Zone, but the rest of the crew basically pops in, grabs him, and pops back out with the greatest of ease.

In fairness, though, it looks like we haven’t seen the last of Blastaar and his Negative Zone army, as they’re working on an escape at the issue’s close.

I only have one request for this series, though, and since I’m sure the Powers That Be at Marvel read our blog every day (hey, guys!), they’ll be able to do something about it. I want more Major Victory. That guy hasn’t gotten much screen time since his arrival at the beginning of this series, and I think he’s pretty bad-ass and want to see more of him.

x-factor 40First: X-Factor #40

This might be hard to review. I haven’t read X-Factor in quite awhile, but I heard about what happened in the last issue, and I decided that now would be as good a time as any to jump back on board.

In this issue, a grief stricken Madrox shows up to talk to his last remaining dupe, John Maddox, the minister and family man that Madrox let live after meeting him, what, two years ago? That was awhile back. I think it’s really freaking cool when the same writer is on a book long enough where he can bring back stories and characters that would probably otherwise be forgotten if there were a new writer on duty.

The reason this issue is hard to review is because, for the second issue of X-Factor in a row, this baby opens with a, “Personal Plea from Peter David.” He asks the readers to keep their mouths shut and not blab about the ending, because it’s a big climax that he doesn’t want the Internet to spoil. The plea ends by promising us that this climax, “will quite simply blow you away.”

That is not an overstatement.

I was left shocked and full of questions. Mostly, though, I found myself really excited to see what comes next, which is always a great sign when it comes to a shocking cliffhanger ending. Truly, it is a holy-shit moment, and I implore you to get back into this series if you ever were before but gave up on it while it floundered awhile back. I give you Doom DeLuise’s Personal Guarantee that it will not disappoint you.