Avengers # 13
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils & Colors: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Wayne Faucher
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
The Serpent is coming, and in this issue of Avengers we see the events from the beginning of Fear Itself from a different point of view.
One of Brian Michael Bendis’ strong suits is his ability to tell strong character driven stories in the middle of his big events. His tie-in books have always been focused on characters, and filling in gaps for bigger stories. This may be the first time since Civil War that Bendis gets to write a tie-in to another writer’s big event, and he uses it to progress the characters. He also uses the Oral History of the Avengers that has been running in the back of his two Avengers books as a storytelling device in the main story, as he uses it to frame the story. As always, his dialogue is superb, and he handles character interactions in a very enjoyable way. New developments involving two team-members can come across as being controversial, but I think it’s a nice change. My favorite bits from the issue are Spider-Woman and Ms. Marvel’s conversation, which was handled really well, since the two characters are established as long time friends, and the dialogue really shows it. Bendis’ humor is also present, and is always a joy to read.
Chris Bachalo is joined by a bevy of inkers for this issue, and he pulls out a tour de force performance. His facial expressions are fantastic, as well as the body language. His layouts are always fun, and he really got to show off what he can do in this issue. Speaking of which, Bachalo did colors for the issue as well. The high saturation of his color palette works perfectly with his pencils (which makes sense), it looks really good, and makes the characters seem bigger and larger than life. I’m not entirely sure which inkers worked on which pages, but the list of inkers on the book is a who’s who of some of the best in the biz, and they helped Bachalo in putting out a good looking book. Clayton Cowles’ letters are impeccable. Not once was I confused by the dialogue and wordballoon placement (you can’t be a lousy letterer if you’re working on a Bendis script).
While this issue is mostly set-up and dialogue, we are treated to some great character development, and the possibility of a new Avengers couple in addition to some beautiful art. Bendis puts a more human side to the big conflict in Fear Itself, and his great characterization gets you to invest in the characters, strengthening the main story in the main book.
Buy this book!
Uncanny X-Force # 10
Writer: Rick Remender
Artists: Billy Tan & Rich Elson
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
The ramifications of the Shadow King’s attack are felt as Archangel’s problems get worse! This issue is the prologue to the Dark Angel saga, addressing the presence of Apocalypse’s programming in Archangel’s psyche which was worsened by the Shadow King’s tampering two issues ago.
You have to give Rick Remender a lot of credit for this book, for writing great characters who are all damaged, and forced to make difficult choices. He gives all his characters very distinct voices, distinct enough that you can tell who’s who based on the dialogue alone. This is a very intense issue, as Remender intertwines the Archangel plot with the threat of the team being publicly outed in a very believable way. His characterization continues to be his strong suit as the big conflict of the issue took place, as some members of the team aren’t quite sure how to deal with the problem they’re facing…and how some are more than ready to do what has to be done. We are also left with a fantastic cliffhanger that fans of the 90’s X-Men will surely love.
The art team of Rich Elson, Billy Tan and Paul Mounts supply the visuals, and they do a tremendous job. Elson and Tan’s art styles are completely different, but Mounts tempers them, making the transitions between artists nearly seamless. Tan’s work continues to improve with this issue, where handled the action sequences. Elson’s sequences were great as well, and it got me excited to see what he’s capable of down the road. Paul Mounts, in my opinion, did most of the heavy lifting in the issue. Not only did he stick with the same palette that Dean White established in earlier issues, he used to great effect to keep the art looking consistent. Clayton Cowles, as always, does a great job with the page design and keeping the book together. Every bit of dialogue is at the right place and the book reads well.
Rick Remender and puts the team in a very compromising position in the beginning of the issue, and ends the book by putting them in a possibly worse situation. All in a day’s work for X-Force…which is a must read.
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