The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.
ANGEL & FAITH #2
Faith finds herself questioning Angel and his intended actions, as well as what effect her going along with him–or not–would have. While she does and as they battle some demons, we also get reference all the way back to early in Angel season 1, which I rather enjoyed because it’s a deep continuity reference that even I can “get” with my limited exposure to the tv series. This is one of those series that I think is going to take a bit of a concerted effort to get through. In a way, it’s not one I necessarily want to read in and of itself from the cover alone. Even now, just a couple days after having read the issue, I can’t even remember what the cliffhanger was. And it takes flipping back through the issue to refresh my memory of exactly what went on in the issue, at length. So on the surface, it’s not something that overly engages or interests me. And yet, when I actually read it, I enjoy it. (I also realize that I have got to read those final two volumes of Buffy Season Eight!). I won’t let many series go like this, but at least for now, I’m sticking with this. I didn’t follow the last Buffy series in singles because I hadn’t yet watched the tv series enough to want to (I’d watched 3/4 of season 1, and wasn’t interested in jumping clear across 7 full seasons). This definitely is a series for long-term fans of the tv series–Buffy and/or Angel. I do definitely like that this series allows us to follow Angel and Faith without taking up space in the main Buffy series, allowing all a better shot at the spotlight and character development and depth. (7.5/10)
FEAR ITSELF: HULK VS. DRACULA #2
This series is still building up to the actual battle that gives it its name. Normally I wouldn’t like this, but 1. it’s Gischler–whose writing I’ve come to quite enjoy–and 2. it’s only 3 issues at $2.99 per, which seems quite tame compared to the $3.99 monstrosities that abound with Marvel. On the whole, this is definitely a side-story, but I’m finding it interesting enough to be explored. I’m not particularly enjoying Fear Itself on the whole…but this at least does something with the concept, fleshing out the impact one of the hammer-carriers has simply by existing, simply by being present. Until Gischler‘s Curse of the Mutants arc last year in the new X-Men title, I knew only that Marvel‘s Dracula was a vampire, had had some dealings with Storm and had apparently interacted with Blade. Since then, with the development of the various vampire factions, I’ve come to realize that the vampires can be very much their own culture within the Marvel Universe, much as the Atlanteans or Inhumans or the Shi’ar. Still, 3 issues seems quite short and not a lot of room for intricate development…but it’s a darned sight better than some uber decompressed 6-issue arc. I’d’ve enjoyed something like this at its length being something like one of those Marvel Must Haves, as a triple-sized issue for $6-7. I daresay if such a thing was done, and they were of the quality of this, I’d buy more tie-ins. The art’s not bad, either. It’s sorta cartooney and over the top in a way, but not drastically so, and certainly works to the favorability of this issue. Probably the only drawback to me is that it doesn’t seem like it’s been a month since the previous issue, almost like the series was held and now being rushed out. This’ll be for more die-hard Hulk fans that want everything Hulk; but primarily for the vampire/Dracula fans, or fans of Gischler himself, I think. (8/10)
X-MEN LEGACY #256
OK…I think I’m officially–if I wasn’t already–following this book out of habit. I want this story to end. I’m interested in Rogue and Magneto, in their relationship…and I’m not opposed to the writer playing with the Rogue/Gambit/Magneto triangle. I’m interested in Havok, Polaris, and Rachel in terms of whether or not they’re coming back to Marvel Earth or to remain in the “Marvel Cosmic” realm of things. But this story in general just isn’t doing it for me. I’m trying to like the series, I’m trying to engage after enjoying Age of X. But right now, I’m pretty much ready to throw in the towel and keep up via Wikipedia. I don’t care for the “X-Men in Space” thing, and that holds just as true in this issue as earlier. The art’s pretty good overall, though doesn’t blow me away. It’s certainly not good enough to “carry” the book on its own. All in all, I’m pretty disappointed here–in the story not holding me, and in myself for continuing to buy this series despite rapidly-declined interest. (4/10)