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review 2015-05-15 03:03
Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth
Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth - Adam Glass,Ryan Benjamin

Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth centers on a group of villains unleashed to do the government's dirtier assignments for a shorter prison sentence. To keep the team under control, each member of the squad has a nanite bomb injected in their necks. Problem with villains, such as Harley Quinn, Deadshot, El Diablo, Black Spider and King Shark, is that sometimes a death threat isn't enough to keep them in check.

Suicide Squad is primarily Deadshot's story, with the comic trying (and basically failing) to set him up as an anti-hero. Despite being the leader of the group, Deadshot is entirely self-serving and has no compunction about treating everyone he encounters as expendable. Based on the gimmick of the series, this part works. What did not work was the painful attempt to make Deadshot an empathetic character. I guess we're supposed to root for him because he has a soft spot for something vulnerable and innocent, but it didn't gel for me. At that point, it was yet another painful cliche in a storyline that had been riddled with them.

What I did enjoy about the collection was Harley Quinn. She plays a pretty minor role during the first half. Basically, Harley was there just for some chuckles, occasional cheesecake poses and to bang Deadshot. During the second half, the plot shifts to the squad having to hunt her down and I enjoyed Harley's small moments in this part. Like how quiet and serious she got when suddenly motivated. It was a nice contrast to how she was just doing her own thing and having fun on the team in the first half. I have high hopes that something great will be done with her character down the line, but I fear that she'll be relegated to the background once the Joker makes an entrance.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the series will get better further in, so I'll definitely be picking up the next volume.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-10-04 17:49
New X-Men by Grant Morrison Ultimate Collection - Book 3
New X-Men by Grant Morrison Ultimate Collection - Book 3 - Grant Morrison,Chris Bachalo,Phil Jimenez,Marc Silvestri

First off, the cover of this volume should have "Spoiler!" written across it. Secondly, there were a lot of things I did not like about the last leg of Morrison's run. But, we'll start with the good.

Highlights:
-Jean and Wolverine's connection. The arc of Wolverine and Jean being stuck inside a run-away ship was probably my favorite section of this part of the collection. But there were a lot of moments between Jean and Wolverine that really highlighted their friendship and did it in a way that (for once) I could actually understand why they would have such affection for one another.

-Magneto. I really enjoyed the arc of Magneto as this aging and outdated radical activist that didn't know how to connect with the people he was trying to sway anymore. It was almost heartbreaking watching him struggle to gather people to him like he was once able to do. I loved the internal conflict we kept seeing as he tried to be the man he once was. I only wish that his arc hadn't been so rushed. I would've loved to have seen it given more attention and time to develop instead of whipping through it.


The Annoying Things:
-Pacing My main issue with all three of these volumes is the pacing. I got whiplash from how many things happened in such a small amount of time. Plots would be over in the blink of an eye and it never gave the characters' time to react properly to anything that was happening or to explore an interesting concept. And Morrison had so many interesting stories that got only a fraction of the time they deserved dedicated to them.

-Cyclops. Throughout the whole Morrison run I kept waiting for Scott to get his shit together and step-up. Sadly, he never does and it drove me nuts. He's supposed to be a leader but all we got was an emotionally stunted man who spends the better part of his scenes whining and getting dragged around. Sometimes quite literally. In this book, Wolverine carries a passed-out Scott into a dangerous mission because he wants him there as backup. And that's a huge issue I had with Scott's character here.

Scott plays a purely reactionary role throughout the entire Morrison run. Stuff goes wrong and he reacts to it. He gets dragged into situations and just does what he needs to get out alive or because "it's the right thing to do". Even at the end he doesn't have to deal with the fall-out of his cheating on Jean because he ran away when it was discovered and Jean dies before he has to actually talk to them about it. (And yes, even though it was telepathically, I'm counting his thing with Emma Frost as cheating.)

-Jean's Death. I absolutely hated the way Jean died. Not because I enjoyed her character in the story and didn't want to see it happen. No, it was because I loved her character in the story and her death made me feel nothing. If you kill a character off, it should invoke an emotion. When Jean died all I thought was, "Well that was stupid." The entire scene felt extremely trite.

When Jean dies, the battle with Magneto is essentially over. She reaches down to touch him and he uses a last burst energy to give her a stroke. After watching her and Wolverine survive a plunge into the sun on a run-away spaceship, this was extremely anti-climatic. She dies in Scott's arms who expresses grief. Wolverine goes feral. Everyone stands around in sadness. It's all very...boring.

I got the feeling that the whole reason for Jean's death was purely to allow Scott to be with Emma without guilt or having to outright make the choice to leave Jean. It was extremely frustrating. The collection ends on the lackluster scene of a Phoenix Jean giving Scott her blessing to be with Emma as she joins all the other Phoenixes. A very "meh" ending to an otherwise good run.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-10-04 17:45
New X-Men by Grant Morrison Ultimate Collection - Book 2
New X-Men by Grant Morrison Ultimate Collection - Book 2 - John Paul Leon (Artist), Grant Morrison, Phil Jimenez (Artist), Frank Quitely (Artist), Igor Kordey (Artist), Ethan Van Sciver (

What in the world is with the "Here's Johnny." look Wolverine has on this cover?

This collection wasn't as tense as the first, but I still really enjoyed most of the stories here.

Highlights
-Jean...again. Still really loving her character and she had several awesome moments in this volume. I only wish that when she finally found out about what was going on between Emma and Scott that she hadn't focused all her rage/blame onto Emma. (Even though I understood why she did.)

-The whole Who shot Emma Frost storyline. It had some odd moments. Like the insertion of Beak and Angel's pupa babies. But overall I really enjoyed that entire storyline.

Emma's character development has also been fairly engaging. I like that Morrison shows glimpses of who she is once you get past the unaffected wasp queen persona. Like how shaken up she is over the death of one of her students and the Stepford Cuckoos' hostility towards her.

-The Hank is gay running gag. This really amused me. How everyone kept bringing it up to him. How Emma was reading a magazine where the cover was a picture of his face with the headline "I'm as gay as it gets." I also liked that was used very subtly to show the emotional turmoil he was going through after a break-up.

The Annoying Things:
-Bringing back Polaris. Polaris is discovered alive among the ruins of Genosha....that's about it. It was a "well that's something that happened" moment. This is the only part we see her in for the rest of the Morrison run. Was this supposed to be a hint to the readers that Magneto is still alive? Because if it was, it was a bad one.

-The entire Kick storyline The whole mutant steroid drug was rather "meh" for me. I don't think it especially added anything to the story. In fact, I think it would've been more interesting if the group of teenagers had decided to cause the riot and got as far as they did without the aid of the drug. It could've brought up some interesting questions and conflicts amid the X-men instead of just verging dangerously close into a PSA comic.

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review 2014-10-04 17:32
Lack Luster
X-Men, Vol. 1: Primer - David López,Oliver Coipel,Brian Wood

I read this less than a week ago and I already had to go back and flip through the comic to remind myself of what the plot was. That should tell you something right there.

The story arc was ok but nothing was memorable about it. (Also, I hate children in stories. Babies are no exception.) The story kind of just meanders along until the main action thread wraps up and we're left with several pages of a very G rated Wolverine hanging out with Jubilee and a baby as she takes a walk down memory lane. And [he buys her a house....yeah.

All the characters were just as unmemorable in this and that's impressive considering that the story features some of the most interesting female x-men in the franchise. Additionally, everyone pretty much sounds the same and the little conflict that pops-up is extremely forced. For instance, there's a scene toward the end of the comic where Storm and Rachel start arguing. Up until that point, you never had any inkling of tension between these two characters so Rachel's outburst just seems very random, as does Storm's knowledge of what her issue is.

It sounds like I hated this more than I did. My main issue is that it was just boring. And also, while I enjoy the fact that several of my favorite female x-men are being highlighted in their own comic, I dislike that it means almost completely eliminating the male characters. It's about balance. You can feature female x-men without having to basically remove all the male x-men. In fact, removing all the male team members just does not make sense within the context of this series.

I'm not sure if I'll continue reading this series or not.

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