Review Roundup, part 2

Posted: November 9, 2012 in Image, Marvel, Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

by Phil Gibson

The Review Round-Up will be a regular installment here at Comic Critique. We’ll  be taking a look at their pull lists each week and reviewing the new issues of our favorite books. If you enjoy our thoughts, leave suggestions on future books for us to review.

Alex had a pull list chock full of DC comics in his post earlier today. If you want to get your fill of what’s going on in the new 52, check out his Review Roundup.

This week I only had two books on my list, but they’re both standouts; Jonathan Hickman’s The Manhattan Projects and Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force

Manhattan Projects #7

Manhattan Projects #7
Property of Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra

Let me preface this by saying that this is my favorite series going right now. I’m a huge science fiction fan and Hickman has been delivering every issue in this series so far.

Issue seven acts primarily as a set up issue for an upcoming conflict. The whole premise of The Manhattan Projects is that the atomic bomb work during World War II was really just a cover up for much more bizarre, borderline paranormal projects. It features twists on some familiar historical characters, such as Albert Einstein, FDR, and Robert Oppenheimer, who have a variety of hidden agendas as they work together on a number of bizarre projects. By issue seven, the cast has grown to include the residents of Star City, the Russian alternative to the Manhattan Projects. They are tentatively working together to prepare earth for a potential extraterrestrial threat, previously fleshed out in the first story arc.

The thing that works best about this issue is that it seems to be setting up for the real action of the series. So far we’ve been continuously warned about the threat of science “going horribly wrong”, but for the most part things have managed to basically worked out. In issue seven we see the Manhattan Projects becoming its own entity with an agenda separate from that of any nation, which of course puts it at odds with just about every power player in the world. Basically, the world’s foremost geniuses, who are almost unanimously unstable, are setting themselves up for a war against not only every extraterrestrial in the universe, but their own governments as well. Nick Pitarra’s art reinforces the utterly bizarre feel of this book by shamelessly emulating Frank Quitely (only weirder). It works amazingly well in this series as a compliment to Hickman’s characterizations.

Despite being a fun ride, issue seven is not the best jumping on point if you haven’t read the previous six issues. There are a lot of things going on with every single character in this series, and it may not make sense if you haven’t already read their back story. Hickman does provide a nice “Cast” page in the back of the book that tells you a little bit about the many mad scientists who work on the Manhattan Projects, but you really need to go back and pick up the previous issues to fully appreciate what is going on here.

Uncanny X-Force #33

Uncanny X-Force #33
Property of Marvel Comics

This is the series that made me take Deadpool seriously as a character. That’s how good it is. Now it’s getting ready to end at issue #36, but Remender is definitely not winding things down.

Anyone who has been reading this series has been waiting for “Evan”, a clone of Apocalypse, to go from potential atom bomb to actual atom bomb. The last few issues have drawn out the inevitable a bit, but we finally get to see some things come to fruition here. Wolverine has an awesome heart to heart with his son Daken (who also happens to be the leader of the latest incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants) that doesn’t end so well for the old man. Psylocke, who will be taking over as leader in the Marvel NOW! reboot, faces off with the Shadow King with unfortunate results. Nightcrawler (from the Age of Apolcalypse universe) reaps the benefits of betraying the team in issue #32. And Deadpool, oddly enough, plays the role of Jiminy Cricket to Evan, trying to keep him from giving in and becoming Apocalypse (it doesn’t look good).

Long story short, it seems like everyone is royally screwed in this issue, which has been a running theme during Remender’s run. He has continuously found ways to make things worse for the cast, and this issue is no exception. It’s hard to imagine a happy ending to Final Execution, which is fitting given the nature of this title. Even when the team wins, it comes with a huge cost, and it seems like that trend will hold true as we are getting ready to head towards the series finale. I’m looking forward to it.

If you haven’t been reading Uncanny X-Force, get it in trades. It’s a little late to jump into this story but it’s so good that it’s worth the money. It’s almost certain that Marvel will do an omnibus of this series, so that might be your best bet to get the best value for your money.

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