Siege #4: Siege's powerful climax may have been ruined by the Marvel solicits for the Heroic Age because while I was pleased with the series, I knew the ending and needed to get through 22 pages of comic to get there. In the end, Olivier Coipel is the real hero of Siege. He creates some amazing art in the issue, and even gets a splash page or two to show off his chops. Marvel did such a good job of keeping Captain America's death a secret, I don't see why they couldn't have done the same thing here. I understand they want to generate interest in their comics and have comic stores line up to buy, but Bendis really gets the shaft here because this issue has everything a final issue is supposed to have: explosive action, horrific deaths, story closure, and a happy ending. I like the role Steve Rogers is getting in the new, post Norman universe, because it makes him more important than Captain America. There's a lot to like about Siege; I just hope the follow through is as interesting.
Amazing Spider-Man #631: Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo deliver a phenomenally written story that will have serious after affects in the Spider-Man universe. They've definitely upped the ante in part two, and if you liked The Dark Knight, you should pick this up -- Spidey is going down some very dark roads.
Ultimate Spider-Man #10: Bendis writes an impassioned speech by the Principal of Peter's high school. As a teacher, I was enthralled. I only wish we could say some of these things to people, but, alas, this is the fantasy world. It turns out that this is only one of several incredible moments in this comic. David LaFuente really makes his art work here. I've complained that his art is the weakest part of USM, but I take that back. In this issue especially, it seems like LaFuente has found a style that suits the story and the characters. And when I got to the end of the issue, I had only one questions: Where does Bendis go from here? There are several story possibilities that present themselves at the end of the issue, and these ideas are not about Spider-Man, but more about Peter and Peter's family. Bendis has perfectly scripted an emotional drama. I dare you to read this and not feel something for Kitty Pride. This is one of the best USM comics ever written.
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1: I love a good mystery, and there's no greater mystery than where Bruce Wayne went when he was swallowed up by the omega beams in Final Crisis. We see the first part of that journey here, but there's enough going on to keep me hooked. I have more questions than answers, and I'm still completely unsure of the ending, and while I'm not excited for Bruce's return (as it might mean the end of Dick and Damian), I'm excited to see where the journey takes Bruce. Grant Morrison is a writer all writers should strive to be -- clever, insightful, and mysterious.
Bannen's Book of the Week:
Amazing Spider-Man #631: If I could give an award for book of the year, it would go to Amazing Spider-Man. Zeb Wells' story changes things in the ASM universe. It adds a darkness to an otherwise light character, but this also makes the Lizard more than a regular character in Spider-Man's rogues's gallery. Curt Conners has become something more sinister, and as with Bendis' USM story, where does Zeb Wells go from here? One thing "The Gauntlet" has done is update the characters for a new generation. All of the characters have been more threatening, and more violent. This is echoed with Bachalo's take on the Lizard. He's gargantuan, misshapen, and much more reptile than human. At times, he looked like a lumbering dinosaur more than a half-man, half-lizard creature. Of all the storylines so far, "Shred" is possibly the best one. I wish more writers took chances with mainstay characters (although I have to credit DC and Grant Morrison with their Batman work). The work they put out is phenomenal.