Review – Avengers vs X-Men #11 (AVX)

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman
Script: Brian Bendis
Pencils: Oliver Coipel
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor
Variant Cover: Sara Pichelli & Justin Ponsor
Published by: Marvel Comics

We’re back and I don’t even know where to start, after a 4 week break Marvel comes back with AVX #11 and it’s massive. The force is down to just two hosts and the battle is on to try to tame and control the Phoenix. Unfortunately this is coming toward the end of the series and all the stops have to come out, we have X-Men and Avengers reaching out not just to those hurt but to everyone that ever wanted to protect the planet.

The battle from that point reaches critical mass in a hurry, Scott and Emma are on the verge of insanity as the Phoenix force penetrates their minds and drives their darkest wishes to the surface, tempting fate and the future of the world with every moment. It’s not a good time for visitors when stuff like that goes down and yet Xavier manages to call him out for a chat, unfortunately by chat he meant WWIII for the fate of the universe.

It’s an interesting issue, I love the Avengers speech in the first few pages because it feels like a moment where they’ve come to face reality beyond this is for America or humans or whatever. It’s all or nothing and nothing is looking pretty buffed out right about now, they need all the power and hands they can get on this ship and it’s not going to be an easy ride at all. The Avengers are assembled and the X-Men are finally back as a squad again and they’ve put this lucid dream of a world Utopia to rest in favor of living to see tomorrow.

Xavier is charged beyond belief and so are the others, it’s a showdown that will change everything in their world and as we all know, sacrifices have to be made when the Phoenix is around. The only question is, will they be able to live with what happens if this all manages to cool off, given the extremes I really don’t see this just being a slap on the wrist and a hug to make it all better. Expect serious mental trauma when the story closes up soon.

Release date: September 12, 2012

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Orchid Volume 1 Hardcover (TPB)

Script: Tom Morello
Art: Scott Hepburn
Colors: Dan Jackson
Cover Art: Massimo Carnevale
Published By: Dark Horse

This beautiful hardcover edition of Orchid Volume 1 collects issues 1-4. As an added bonus, Volume 1 also contains all of the codes needed to download the free songs by Tom Morello that originally came with each individual issue. Aside from getting one of the best new comics out there, there is a little piece written by Morello about his inspiration for creating Orchid and a few sketches of some of the main characters (a couple more pages of sketches would have been nice). This hardcover edition is a great way to catch up on this AMAZING series and it really allows you to dive right in and see what you’ve been missing. It was a treat to go back through and reread the story and rediscover Scott Hepburn’s phenomenal art. Whether you are a new or old fan of the series this book is definitely worth picking up!

Release Date: July 11th, 2012
Price: $17.99

Link: Pre-Order | Preview

  
Story:★★★★★ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★★ 
Extras:★★★½☆ 
Value:★★★★★ 
Overall:★★★★★ 

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #11 Guarded Part 1

Script: Andrew Chambliss
Pencils: Georges Jeanty
Inks: Nathan Massengill
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty and Michelle Madsen
Created By: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

Now that Buffy’s mind and body are back together in human form, it’s time for her to get back to reality and figure out what she’s going to do with the rest of her life. Enter Kennedy, she’s got a job for Buffy, which Buffy accepts immediately in her never-ending quest to be a “grown-up.” As quickly as Buffy begins her new job, her inability to be led rears its ugly head. Buffy is used to being in charge but now she’s supposed to follow, which, surprise surprise she is not too keen on! Buffy soon learns that maybe she should listen to others, even if it means no longer listening to her Slayer instincts. Since she is the Chosen One we can expect that this new lesson she learned won’t change her mind for too long and her new career may be short-lived. A demon approaches her for help and off she goes. Unfortunately, Buffy finds that her one true calling, the thing that really sets her apart from everyone else, slaying, is not as needed by society as she thought. After a little bit of soul-searching and career consideration, she decides to get her job back with Kennedy which may soon have her facing a past SUPER big bad!

This issue was solid. The ending alludes to an exciting big bad that could really potentially cause some big trouble. As per usual the art and writing were great. I’m not a huge Kennedy fan so seeing her wasn’t anything great for me but I’m sure some people will be happy with this. The only complaint I have in this issue (and Season 9 in general) is that Buffy sometimes comes off as kind of a twit. Buffy is a strong woman who has survived countless apocalypses, pure evil, she’s died…a lot and yet sometimes it seems as if she is written like she’s 15 and new to this whole situation. In these instances, she lacks confidence, maturity and experience. I love Buffy and I love these characters and I think the stories that are being written are for the most part excellent but I do wish Buffy’s mentality and overall essence was portrayed in more of a linear fashion (as linear as a Slayer in her 20’s can!). My tangent is over and I feel fully confident in saying that while there have been issues in this series it is still a must read and it’s definitely worthwhile to pick up.

Release Date: July 11th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order (Jeanty) | Pre-Order (Noto) | Preview

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★½☆ 
Dialog:★★★☆☆ 
Overall:★★★½☆ 

Review – Angel & Faith #11 Family Reunion Part 1

Script: Christos Gage
Art: Rebekah Isaacs
Colors: Dan Jackson
Cover: Steve Morris
Alternate Cover: Rebekah Isaacs with Dan Jackson
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse
One flat in England just got a little more crowded. Faith’s (Giles) house is full, Giles Great Aunts, Lavinia and Sophie are still making themselves comfy and now everyone’s favorite red-headed witch has just landed in town. Willow quickly lets Angel know that she’s privy to his resurrecting Giles plan and just as quickly lets him know that she thinks it’s a bad idea. The twist though is that Willow, on her own mission to restore magic to the world, needs Angel’s help and agrees to help him as long as he returns the favor. Angel is leery to help her, making Willow none too happy to which she immediately tells (and shows) him so! After an outburst or two, Willow succeeds and the group is on their way to a fresh locale where they meet up with another old favorite. After some pleasantries their mission begins! Will Willow be able to restore magic to the world and will there be any casualties along the way?

The writing in this issue is fantastic. It harkens back to “Angel” and really comes across genuine and completely in line with the characters we know and love. It ends with suspense and leaves the reader with a lot of anticipation for the next issue. The art, as always, is great. All the feelings and emotions jump out of the page. The new arc/storyline and the special guests are amazing! I found myself completely immersed in what was going on, bummed when it ended and anxious for the next issue. Pretty much everything you could want in a comic. There’s not much more to say except that I absolutely LOVED this issue and this new arc has the makings of being the best yet!

Release Date: June 27th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★★ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Uncanny X-Men #11 (AvX)

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Pencils: Greg Land
Inks: Jay Leisten
Colors: Guru eFX
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Greg Land & Guru eFX
Published by: Marvel Comics

Avengers and X-Men are clashing on Utopia, the whole battle centering around the future of Mutant Kind and Faith as their last hope to continued existence. In these side issues we’ve seen the teams flash into huge levels of past stories before the event, we’re now current in the story and taking a look at what really went down on the X-Men side for the fight.

Okay so that’s not all true, the main body kicks off with what went down between Hope and Unit, the discussion is brief but it hits a nerve that was rattled with Hope to this point. The girl who has been positioned as a savior to mutant-kind and seen as a threat by entire populations of the universe as potential destructive force to everyone. Unit doesn’t need to say much, he just had to tip the dominoes and at this point it’s hard to say where they will go, just like many other side stories this one gets into a whole other realm of possibilities to derail this whole event.

That’s not the whole story of issue 11, in fact it’s just a brief area, the rest of the battle continues on the island in deeper detail, we see the X-Men push themselves to the limit to keep the Avengers at bay, some going so far to reach their limits like Colossus as the Juggernaut force creeps out in a way he’s always feared of. With blood lust and a struggle for control of the island going on the issue heats up fast and just as numbers of the Avengers start to push over the X-Men, a final move comes out from Cyclops that moves to decide the fate of this entire scenario in a single move. It’s a strategy that deviates from the drive that Cyclops had, but it’s one that will complicate matters worldwide for everyone in this tense event coming their way.

As a side story it’s a leap above what Marvel has been putting out there, being current to the AvX saga helps move the read along even if they sprinkle in some past events in the process. One can only hope all of these outside influences are able to come in and wrap up their stories without leaving plot holes behind. Marvel has their work cut out for them but it’s certainly getting interesting.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆