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Published on August 30th, 2013 | by Contributor


What’s In My Bag: Issue #9

By Mike Seibert

In each issue of What’s In My Bag, I recap and review three individual single issues from my bag of recently read comic books. The order listed is not necessarily by preference. Also, be advised that minor spoilers may abound, but are generally in reference to previous issues only or other happenings that may relate to the issue being reviewed.

Thunderbolts #9 (Marvel NOW!)

From the recap page: “General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross–The Red Hulk–has assembled a team intent on cutting out the cancer of evil that infects this world. By his side are a handpicked group of like-minded individuals–former loners bound together to accomplish what might have been out of reach on their own. Frank Castle, The Punisher, vigilante executioner. Flash Thompson, Venom, symbiote solder. Wade Wilson, Deadpool, regenerating psychopath. Elektra Natchios, Elektra, ninja assassin. Re-powered former gamma genius, Samuel Sterns, The (Red) Leader. And the mysterious Mercy, angel of death. Together, they are the…Thunderbolts!”

I had no intention of picking up this book until I saw Julian Totino Tedesco’s cover for issue number 1. Seeing all of these loner anti-heroes in one place was enticing, but the selling point for me was seeing the clever use of red. Most of these already have predominantly red costumes, but I thought it was really cool that changed both Punisher and Venom’s white into red to match the others and tie into a theme of team unity.

So, it was an easy gimmick; but it was enough for me to give it a try…

This series started off great with writer Daniel Way (Deadpool, Wolverine: Origins) and series artist Steve Dillon (Preacher, Garth Ennis’ Punisher) establishing a decent premise and delivered a good action story that satisfies fans of these divergent characters. Everybody seems to get equal time and that maybe why deep into the second story arc; the issues are kind of flat. Nobody really steals the show here. It could be said that Punisher isn’t Punisher-y enough or that Deadpool isn’t Deadpool-y enough and I don’t disagree. The bizarre love triangle between Deadpool, Punisher and Elektra is clever, but isn’t enough to carry the series.

Even guest artist Phil Noto doesn’t really add anything new to this issue, and that’s a damn shame because I really like his stuff. His art style reminds me of the classic 1960’s James Bond posters. A very pop-art vibe that looks so out of place with this story about hijacked Crimson Dynamo armor suits.

Thunderbolts are not a bad book exactly, but I view it as more of a missed opportunity based on the unique mix of characters. I haven’t dropped this book yet, but when a round of cuts comes, I’m not sure if I can guarantee this series’ safety on my pull list…

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #2 (of 6) (Dark Horse)

Set just months after Star Wars: Episode 3-Revenge of the Sith, this miniseries continues a line of solo Darth Vader tales that have focused on his rise to power and consolidation of the Empire’s grip on the galaxy.

A wealthy industrialist was not prepared for the new dynamics and way of life under Imperial rule. His son was killed by Vader when he opposed the Sith Lord. Now the industrialist is seeking revenge for the murder through an elite assassin.

Eight other have previously failed…

I like this particular era of Star Wars continuity because it shows how Darth Vader evolves from the stumbling Frankenstein wuss at the end of Revenge of the Sith into the scourge of the galaxy we see at the beginning of A New Hope.

This Darth Vader is still learning his new power and is inexperienced at using it. I also like how his sycophantic relationship with The Emperor is presented. Through Palatine’s abuse, we learn to sympathize a bit with Vader and can really understand his actions at the end of Return of the Jedi that much more.

Stephen Thompson draws the best Darth Vader of Dark Horse’s current titles. He captures all of the detail, along with all his conflicting emotions perfectly. His Vader says so much with simple posing and body language, but can also portray the leather suit in action with it looking silly.

I’m anxious to see the identity of this Ninth Assassin revealed and the final showdown with Vader. It should be a doozy!

X-Men #1 (Vol. 4) (Marvel NOW!)

From the Comixology synopsis: “Because you demanded it! The X-Women finally get their own book! An old enemy shows up at the X-Men’s door, seeking asylum from an ancient evil come back to earth. Meanwhile, Jubilee has come home, and she’s brought with her an orphaned baby who might hold the key to the earth’s survival — or its destruction.”

So, as written above, this is the much-hyped X-Men book with the all-female cast. I’m sure it’s a gimmick to attract headlines, but hey, it got me interested enough to pick up this first issue. I’ve been largely indifferent toward the X-Men corner of the universe for the last several years, but these exciting new Marvel NOW! books have roped me back in!

As to the gimmick of the all-female team, honestly, I’m just glad that there is a new X-Men team that doesn’t have Wolverine on the roster. The X-Men universe is so deep and vast that a book like this works well, and while reading it, I didn’t consciously notice that there were no boys around.

Writer Brian Wood (DMZ, Star Wars) surprises me here with a straight up super hero adventure that is so different from his usual style. Oliver Coipel’s (House of M) art dazzles and does an amazing job of presenting the ladies as powerful figures first, without being exploitative. None of the characters have exaggerated body proportions or skimpy, revealing costumes here. But, that’s not to say that his renditions of Storm, Psylocke, Rogue, Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers aren’t sexy; quite the opposite, but everything is very tastefully done. And yeah, Storm is rockin’ the Mohawk again; so badass!

Also, this series gets kudos from me for making me care about one of the most grating X-Men characters from the 90’s: Jubilee. In one issue, she’s endeared herself to me and her new responsibility really suits her and gives her the opportunity to grow as a character.

This book isn’t currently on my pull list. I’ve just been picking it up off the rack, but I am anxious to see what happens and will probably stick with it. I’d recommend this X-Men book to anybody of either gender; but I’d especially suggest it for women and girls that are looking for a book showing empowered super women kicking just as much ass as the men, without being objectified.

Like what you’ve read? Be sure to let us know using the comments below. Didn’t like it? Even better! Just be sure to leave a comment and start a conversation.

Any and all feedback is appreciated!

You can Follow Mike Seibert on Twitter @Seibert_Mike and use the #whatsinmybag

About the Author

BJ Shea's Geek Nation is always looking for contributors. If you have watched, read, or played something that you think Geek Nation would like to read about, send your review to BJgeeknation@gmail.com and your review might get published!

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