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Avengers: X-Sanction [Review]

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Dexter Vines
Colorist: Morry Hollowell
Lettering: Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne
Cover Art: Ed McGuiness, Dexter Vines & Morry Hollowell
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $24.99

I found this volume at a Half-Price Books last weekend, and wound up buying it. Not the best deal I’ve ever found–especially for something as skinny as this volume–but not the worst.

As single issues, this story came out I believe December 2011 to March 2012, essentially leading into AvX.

Last year, I was both put off yet intrigued at a new story focusing on Cable. Though the character had supposedly died at the end of 2010’s Second Coming, here he was, back after less than 2 years; barely a year and a half (in other measure: less than 3 6-issue arcs’ time). From what I recall, despite some mild interest in Cable’s return and dealing with the Avengers…it was this being a mini-series priced at $3.99 that really put me off. And then learning it wasn’t even to be a self-contained story, but lead into a major 2012 event. So I passed on it as singles.

Though this only contains 4 issues, it’s priced at $24.99–essentially $6.25 per issue of content (makes $3.99 per issue seem like a steal). Granted, this is an oversized hardcover, and a 4-issue premiere hardcover might be $19.99 (basically $5 per issue of content), so the oversized format could “justify” a higher price. But this sort of pricing is absolutely NOT worthwhile for only four issues, and this story in particular.

I’m actually somewhat regretting paying half of that $24.99 for this as-is.

The Ed McGuiness art is not bad–I liked his work on some of the Superman and then Superman/Batman stuff, and while I wouldn’t consider it exactly “ideal” for this story, it works.

The story itself seems overly simple and “decompressed” to a large degree and really comes out of nowhere. Cable draws Falcon off from a fight and incapacitates him, knowing Captain America would follow. The two fight, and Cap is incapacitated. Next, Iron Man shows up and he, too, is incapacitated. Then Red Hulk shows up, followed by Cyclops, Wolverine, and Hope herself. We learn amidst all this that Cable apparently did not actually die, but reunited with Blaquesmith, and learns that the destroyed world they’re in could be prevented if Hope had lived–having apparently died due to the Avengers. So with just hours to live until the techno-organic ravaging his body kills him, Cable travels to the past to take out the Avengers so that Hope can live and save the world.

While it’s long since become a moot point…I continue to find myself curious about Cable’s techno-organic virus; recalling that in #100 of his series back in the early 2000s, the character made a concerted effort and managed to excise the virus, removing it as a factor in his life. Seeing it back here and playing such a pivotal role seems rather contradictory.

I’m also not convinced that this needed to be its own separate series…if it was really so important, it might have been worth an issue or two of an Avengers title or even one of the X-books. At the least, it could probably have been “compressed” to fit a double-sized one-shot rather than be stretched into 4 issues.

Ultimately, this is a fairly mediocre series/story/volume, and way too quick a read for $25. If you can find it for half (preferably more)-off, the art at least is worth looking at, and while I don’t recall what material is contained in the It’s Coming tpb preceding AvX, this seems like it would have been much better served being billed as a specific prequel to AvXrather than some stand-alone thing.

Wolverine and Jubilee #1 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com


Story: 2/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Ender’s Shadow: Battle School #1 [Review]

Creative Director & Executive Director: Orson Scott Card
Script: Mike Carey
Art: Sebastian Fiumara
Color Art: Giulia Brusco
Lettering: Cory Petit
Story Consultant: Jake Black
Cover: Jim Cheung & Morry Hollowell (variants by Timothy Green and Emily Warren)
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I almost missed this book. I’ve picked up the first two issues of Ender’s Game, and the trade dress for this is virtually identical, including the title’s logo font.

This story focuses on Bean rather than Ender. We open with Bean as a street kid trying to get in with a crew of other kids in order to survive. He presents a plan that hadn’t been done before, and while parts of what he suggests is followed–the crew gets a bully on their side–the other kids fail to see things through, which results in the bad stuff Bean knew would happen for a half-done job. The results of this helps propel him toward Battle School.

While I’d read the novel Ender’s Game a couple times and so was affected reading the comics adaptation of that, I’ve come into Ender’s Shadow cold–I’ve not read any of the later “Enderverse” novels, including the novel Ender’s Shadow. It’s cool reading about this character and seeing how Bean gets his name and winds up going to Battle School–I’m not sure how much credit to give to Card on the original work versus Carey on this adaptation. Suffice that whatever Carey does with the original, I’m having no trouble following along–and am enjoying this, knowing only that Bean was a character in Ender’s Game and that he’s the focal point of this run-through of that story.

The art has an interesting look to it. It’s almost sketchy in a way, simplistic, and yet it conveys so much at the same time. I have no problem with that–it seems to accentuate the story itself, and for a story I’m new to, I don’t think I really have much in the way of preconcieved notions as to what the look should be. I don’t have my Ender’s Game issues onhand to compare this to, but I’m pretty sure the visual styles are quite different…yet it works just fine, and I have no problem with it whatever.

On the whole, this is an enjoyable issue, even going in knowing it’s the first of a five issue mini. I enjoyed it more than the first issue of Ender’s Game, and am actually quite interested now in reading the novel of this title, just to learn more of Bean and everything only hinted at in this first issue’s segment of story.

While my usual hesitations at mini-series apply, if you’re particularly interested in seeing the property adapted visually, this is well worthwhile. For the more casual reader, I’d suggest waiting for the collected volume for a fuller experience instead of just getting a single issue’s content at a time.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

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