Hit Monkey #1: 1. This comic has a protagonist who is a monkey. 2. This monkey is an assassin. 3. This monkey assassin is being mentored by the ghost of the assassin from whom he learned his skills. 4. Bullseye appears in this comic. 5. Why are you not out the door on the way to your nearest comic shop to buy this?
X-Men #1: A brand-spanking-new X-Men comic, just for your pleasure. The good? Paco Medina's art and Juan Vlasco's inks. They're crisp, and neat. Paco knows how to draw Logan wearing a cowboy hat and holding a beer bottle. His action shots are violent, but fitting. And he plays with the angles sometimes, a trick that accentuates the oddness of Victor Gischler's vampire story. Gischler introduces what I think is a new concept: vampire suicide bombers. They take off their protective gear in the sunlight, explode, and then infect a bunch of other people. That's pretty innovative, and the victim happens to be Jubilee. So the bad? I seems kind of silly. It's like the house of ideas had run out of them. And while I enjoyed the issue, I just don't enjoy the idea. Vampires? Maybe Stephanie Meyer has just ruined the genre, but mutants fighting vampires? Eh, it's not my cup of tea. But the issue is good in that you don't need to know the four year backstory (that's summarized on the first page) to understand what's going on. So while I'm lukeworm on the story, I'm pleased with the work of the writer. A new reader could easily become a new X-Men fan after reading this issue. I just hope it doesn't turn out to BITE us in the end. (As an addendum, I wanted to, but fought the urge to add a myriad of vampire related jokes. I didn't want this review to SUCK.)
Scarlet #1: So Scarlet is a girl who's had too much, and been pushed just a little too far. So she starts a revolution, on a small level at first, but then it escalates. I think Bendis is really stretching to make this story work. He's trying to make a not so original idea (one that's been used already in such works as Falling Down with Michael Douglas and Robert Duvall) very original. The direct narration hurts the storytelling, for me anyway, because Scarlet isn't a mystery. She tells us everything she's thinking, directly address us with her concerns, then tries to make an excuse for her crusade. The cops are hypocritic drug users, people are complacent fools, and only she can change the world. I like Bendis better when he writes Ultimate Spider-Man. At least Peter Parker is genuine. Scarlet? Not so much.
Casanova #1: An interesting inter-dimensional type story (ala Fringe), but one that's a little too hectic for an introductary issue. The reader can't really get a grasp of the world he/she is in, so when world's change, we feel just as lost as the main character -- which can be a plus, but in this case, where you're trying to embed the reader in your world, if you don't give him/her enough time to plant his/her feet, he/she is lost. Cassanova can work, but Matt Fraction has to dial it down a bit if he wants readers to stay engaged.
The Last Zombie #1 (AP Entertainment -- Keene & Wight): I hate to be super mean, but this is probably one of the least interesting zombie stories I've ever read. When I finished it, I just said, "Meh," and tossed it aside. I can't really tell you anything of substance about the comic. And I think that speaks volumes.
BANNEN'S BOOK OF THE WEEK:
Hit Monkey #1: Daniel Way has taken what at first seemed like a truly silly idea, and made it colorful, not necessarily believeable, but fun to imagine. I want to see the Hit Monkey in a suit, however, and I will be quite disappointed if that doesn't occur. The fact that Marvel is allowing this to creep into their 616 universe tells me that they have a lot of confidence in Daniel Way, and that they recognize Hit Monkey for the commodity it is going to be. I hope two things happen: first, that Hit Monkey has cameo appearances in other comics in the 616 universe, and second, that Marvel doesn't beat this idea into the ground. Hit Monkey is a limited, three-part story. That's long enough to establish a fan base, tell an introductary story, and move on. I'm just hoping they recognize that what makes Hit Monkey interesting is that it hasn't been done before, nor should it be replicated for the next five years. Go buy a copy of Hit Monkey -- take the money you were planning to use on Scarlet and Casanova, and spend it on this instead. It's much more enjoyable.