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Last Planet Standing #1 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Last Planet Standing (1 of 5)

Reed Richards makes a disturbing discovery, the Avengers mobilize, and the Shi’ar face Galactus…

lastplanetstanding001Script, Plot & Pencils: Tom DeFalco & Pat Olliffe
Finished Art: Scott Koblish
Colors: Avalon’s Rob Ro
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Molly Lazer
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada
Cover Art: Patrick Olliffe
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Reed Richards off in space investigating some ‘cosmic’ situation? Check. Trouble for Richards and Sue leads to Torch and Thing mounting a rescue mission? Yup. Seeing Avengers in action against a team of villains? Yeah, that’s familiar, too. The Shi’ar face some cosmic threat? More familiarity. Spider-[girl] annoying thugs in an alley while [she] beats ’em up? Hmm…some of the characters look different, and a bunch of them ARE different…but the feel is familiar.

It’s been quite a number of years since I’ve read an ‘MC-2’ comic, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect coming in to this issue. What I’ve found is a relatively accessible debut issue of a mini-series that feels like a crossover’s ‘core mini’ and yet…isn’t.

The story here works quite well, and is pretty accessible. If one is familiar with the ‘normal’ Marvel Universe these characters are easy to "get." The premise–a renewed threat involving Galactus–doesn’t seem all that original. And the familiarity may reek of retread in itself. But this issue is a refreshing change from the "usual" of the last couple years.

The art fits the story very well, with the characters all maintaining their distinct appearances, and it’s clear what’s going on panel-to-panel. Nothing seems over-crowded, and the overall tone is bright and open.
While the story is likely to take a much more serious turn later in this mini, right now it reads like a story reminiscent of what one might’ve found in the late 80s or early 90s when I first got into comics–before the big speculator boom and bust. The visuals somehow are also reminiscent of this, and results in a nice, clean, ‘fun’ issue that promises a big story involving a lot of characters, affects a comics universe, but there are only five issues total to the story, as opposed to a huge crossover involving multiple titles and mini-series.

I’m not sure if this issue follows up on last year’s Last Hero Standing in anything other than title, but I did not feel lost reading this issue. There’s no "Previously: in the MC-2 universe…" page, but there is a full page of character head-shots with names and abilities that serves to introduce readers to the main players of the issue…and I suspect that even if one has never before read any of the MC-2 titles, this is a decent point to jump on, especially if you just want one, single story.
In an age of waiting for the collected volumes, this series looks to be one that’ll be fun to follow incrementally, and is worth getting as singles. Regardless of format, this is definitely one to check out.

Ratings:

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

X-Factor #2 [Review]

classicreviewlogowhiteQuick Rating: Good
Title: Star Power

Summary: The fate of Rictor, Madrox confronts his dupe, Layla makes herself useful, and things progress on their course…

xfactor002 Writer:
Peter David
Pencils: Ryan Sook & Dennis Callero
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger & Dennis Callero
Colors: Jose Villarrubia
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Production: Brad Johansen
Asst. Editors: Molly Lazer & Aubrey Sitterson
Editor: Andy Schmidt
Cover Art: Ryan Sook
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Marvel‘s recap page works particularly well here, as it not only recaps the previous issue, but shows (I think full-sized) the central point of the final page of # 1…and though we cut immediately to a "meanwhile," it brings the reader back in enough to have that bit of tension necessary for when we get to the fate of Rictor, who was unceremoniously shoved off the edge of a building by one of Jamie’s dupes in the previous issue.

Layla Miller integrates herself into the team, proving some immediate usefulness, though her explanation for knowing things seems to get on Guido’s nerves. We get a glimpse at the "bad guys" orchestrating some behind-the-scenes events, and a mysterious figure that I’m not even going to try guessing at the identity.

Overall, this issue picks up the threads of the previous issue, and advances the story a bit–resolving a key point of that issue, as well as introducing new elements to the main story, and setting things up for future issues. If the issue seems a bit choppy, it’s from juggling Rictor’s fate, X-Factor HQ, Jamie and confronting his dupe, and other elements of the story in the confines of a single, regular-sized comic. Despite that, fans of these characters–and present writer Peter David–will likely find little complaint other than the next issue not being out yet.

The art works well with the story, keeping a visual/stylistic difference from "standard fare" X-stuff, as well as the noir tone the story carries.

A brief exchange between a couple characters provides an interesting meta-textual commentary on the tile of the "Decimation" event this title is a part of, both addressing reader concerns of no thought going to it as well as providing a jab at the media.

On the whole, this is another fine issue of a fairly distinctive title. If you don’t care about any of the characters or the writer (or the art team), then don’t expect to like it. However, if you enjoy PAD‘s writing, and/or the characters, or even just the art on these particular characters, you will very likely enjoy the issue.
If you’re just curious about things, this is just the second issue–shouldn’t be too hard to locate a copy of the first issue (in whatever print edition) and jump on the ride. Recommended.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

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