July 16, 2014 Comic Reviews

Two amazing books and two not so much. Well, 50/50 odds are better than anything at the casino, right?

All-New X-Factor no. 11 by Peter David, Carmine Di Giandomenico and Lee Loughridge | Marvel | $3.99

When I think about which comics to cut from my pull list, I inevitably consider X-Factor each and every time. Yet then an issue like this comes along and reminds me why I continue to read the series month after month (though that's more week after week lately).

This is the climax of all the threads woven over the last several issues (minus an explanation for the grief Doug seemed to give his teammates last outing), and what a climax it was: calls to the previous volume, massive force fields, bisected spaceships, silent explosions and exemplary usage of the characters’ powers made this one of the best executed issues of the series yet.

Giandomenico seems to have grown very comfortable with the book, as his art only seems to get better every issue. There was plenty of eye candy here, and though a page or two felt overly crowded with small, somewhat indistinct panels, the finer details pebbled throughout more than made up for that distraction.

Hobby Hole score: 9.1/Fantastic
Previous issue's score: 7.1/Alright

She-Hulk no.6 by Charles Soule, Ron Wimberly and VC's Clayton Cowles | Marvel | $2.99

I felt like I fell through time to read this issue. Outside the brief Bluetooth reference, this could have easily been a comic from the eighties--everything from designs to colors simply SCREAMED that better-left-forgotten decade, and not in a good way.

(Before I continue, if people in New York truly dress like they do in this issue right now, please be sure to let me know so I can stay as far as long as possible. Thanks.)

The art is a long way from the stylized gloriousness of Javier Pulido’s opening issues (thankfully, he returns next issue), but so is the writing. While much happens this issue, very little actually happens. Really, the two biggest developments were a friend deciding to help Jennifer out and her opting to (temporarily, I’m sure) move past her obsession.

If the storyline hadn’t been so hard to follow, especially in the chaotic and unfathomable fight scene spread, perhaps that slow pace wouldn’t have been so bad. Hell, almost nothing happened at all in a few early issues of Hawkeye, and they were glorious. But, as it was, I’m hopeful this series gets back on track.

Hobby Hole score: 4.5/Bad
Previous issue's score: 6.8/Meh

Silver Surfer no. 4 by Dan Slott, Michael Allred and Laura Allred | Marvel | $3.99


"There, we got the mandatory Guardians of the Galaxy reference out of the way and can move on with life."

I imagine that’s what Slott and Allred were thinking in the midst of this issue as, although the scene is amusing, the brief cameo of the upcoming movie stars seemed tacked on and left-field. I’ll eat my words if there’s a payoff next issue or something of a further development, but as it stands, the real story (and the real enjoyment) didn’t begin until they were gone.

Being a quieter issue mostly set on Earth (and one particular corner of it even), Mike Allred delivers a beautifully rendered Massachusetts, and the subtle differences between the “actual” and “imaginary” versions simply made me stop and stare like each page was a great Where’s Waldo?. Laura Allred certainly deserves credit as well, though the line work didn’t look to require as much finesse as in past issues (that first issue history lesson still sticks with me).

Oh, and can I just say, if this series goes south (which it shouldn’t), a Mike Allred-pencilled Doctor Strange series would be just fine by me.

Hobby Hole score: 8.8/Great
Previous issue's score: 8.1/Great

The Wicked + The Divine no. 2 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson | Image | $3.50

We’re two issues into this series now, and though people seem to be losing their heads both within the comic and over it, I’ve yet to establish any sort of emotional connection to the lead characters.

Laura? Is she just an angsty, lost teen? Luci? A libidinous troublemaker? The others? Well... I hardly know which is which outside the others, to be honest.

It’s a problem, and one that’s not helped by Gillen’s writing style for this series, which is very similar to the one used within Young Avengers. Like in that book, much of this seems to go over my head, as though I’m simply missing societal references and in-jokes required to enjoy the book.

In the end, barring a turnaround after a second reading, and despite my love for Gillen and sheer enjoyment of McKelvie’s background-less art (along with perfect panels like the Google joke this issue), this series has failed to catch my attention and, next month, will likely fail to make it into my buy pile.

Hobby Hole score: 6.4/Meh
Previous issue's score: 8.1/Great