So five books, because I think Ken may have run out of Ms. Marvel. I didn't remember it came out this week until a little while ago, so I can wait to ask him another time. Hmm, that's probably not a good sign for my continued readership. We'll see though. On the odd chance you've ignored all other reviews while breathlessly awaiting my thoughts, there will probably be spoilers.
Amazing Spider-Man #539 - This issue can be summed up thusly with two sentences. Aunt May is shot, and in intensive care. Peter is angry about it. Garney does what I'd consider a pretty good job getting Peter's emotions (none of them pleasant) across through facial expressions. The most common emotion seems to be rage, as Peter's getting down and dirty about finding who did this, willingly inflicting considerable pain on various criminal types. We're talking bone-breaking torture stuff. And therein lies my hang-up with this issue.
I don't like angry Spider-Man. I know, I know, it was called "Back in Black", did I think it was going to be a happy story? No I didn't, it just seems that now that it's here, it bothers me more than when it was just something that was gonna happen some time in the future.
I went through all this in the '90s, when Harry Osborn toyed with Peter by creating fake parents for him, and Peter started calling himself "The Spider". I get why he's doing this, with everything Marvel has seen fit to heap on him in the last year or so (destruction of his home, his death, unmasking, criminal attacks on his loved ones, Cap's surrender and death), throwing Aunt May into near death (For what? the 673rd time?) could quite easily be the point that makes him snap. I understand that, I just wish they wouldn't do it. I don't actually think Peter will kill Kingpin when he finds out Fisk is responsible, but I'm kind of worried he will. Maybe that's what Marvel wants, us hanging on our seat edges, waiting to see if Peter gladly crosses that line.
I guess for what the issue wants to accomplish it pulls it off (questions of how that costume stayed webbed to that building for at least the last couple of years aside), but obviously it's a note I'd prefer they weren't trying to hit, so I'll say 2.6 out of 5.
Cable/Deadpool #38 - So, did Skottie Young draw Scud (skud?): Disposable Assassin? I've only seen images of it in Wizard or on various blogs, but Wade's head looks pretty similar to Skud's (Scud's?) on that cover.
Agent X wants to steal a morphogenic activator from A.I.M, but lo and behold, someone at A.I.M. actually demonstrated competence. I am stunned by this turn of events, as Agent X fails at his mission and is captured. His two associates turn to TinyPool to save X, which he agrees to do out of the kindness of his - oh I can't even attempt to say that with a straight face.
So Ant-Wade inflicts harm on a few AIM guys, including Bob, the Blogging AIM Agent, who may soon rival Karl, Throughly Inept AIM Agent from that Marvel Adventures: Avengers MODOK issue. But even Bob cannot prepare Wade for what had been done to Agent X. The issue wasn't great, X's inner monologues aren't as amusing to me as Deadpool's somehow. Maybe I was just tired. 3.4 out of 5.
Exiles #92 - Wow, Claremont really did a radical personality shift on Morph. He's acting a lot like a small child, rather than a goofy adult jokester type I'd gotten used to. Maybe a merging of Morph's personality with a Kevin McTaggert that was still relatively young? Either way, the Exiles are trying to contend with lots of Hand Ninja, an evil Captain America and brainwashed teammates (ah, a Claremont staple if there ever was one).
Of more pressing concern is that the Exiles mission still appears to be to kill Reed Richards (a good guy) so the bad guys can't escape their dimension. Seems killing the bad guys would be a better option but probably more difficult and messy too. Claremont's still using caption boxes from Psylocke's point of view, though they've been reduced since last issue, presumably since she's more acclimated to the team, we don't need to see her adjustment as much. I don't really have a whole lot else to say right now, so let's just grade it out at a 3.0 out of 5, and leave it at that.
Shadowpact #11 - One of these days, Phantom Stranger is gonna have to do something other than intro how dire things are for the team. At least bring the Enchantress some special coffee or something, man! Who do you think you are, Uatu?
The Destiniedly(?) Damned Duo of Nightshade and Blue Devil have brought their three reservists to Hell, to get Blue's trident away from Etrigan. Acheron and Nightshade handle most of the demonic army Etrigan is leading, leaving Blue Devil free to challenge their leader himself. Quick aside, does a trident seem a bit too nautical of a weapon for a realm of fire like Hell? The team ultimately takes its leave of Hell, but acquire a tagalong, which they have to deal with. Personally, I don't think their solution is particularly wise. Don't poke the rabid dog, people.
Oh, and Jim Rook is still in bad shape. I keep saying, if you want him to get better, take out the damn sword!!! That would probably be a great help on his road to recovery. Still, it was a pretty good issue from where I stand. 4.3 out of 5.
X-Factor #17 - "Near death by stuffed elephant" is how the issue kicks off, which should probably be considered a portent or oddness yet to come. Sure enough, Jamie enters the story shortly afterward having found the stereotypical broken-down, drunken, given-up-on-life detective. Who just so happens to be himself. Drunk Detective Dupe, like Layla Miller, knows stuff. Stuff about Jamie, and about Uber, whatever the hell that is. Things end poorly for dupe guy. Or maybe by his accounting, they end well. Guess we'll never know.
Meanwhile, Rahne and Rictor do something ill-advised. It's done with good intentions, but it's one of those times when it probably would have paid to wait longer before interceeding. Thus, X-Factor finds itself in a mess involving angry, depowered mutants, and the federal government. Hmm, I just realized we didn't see Siryn, Monet, or the soon to be illegal immigrant girl they've got with them. Well, I'm sure they'll pop up at the most inconvenient moment for Madrox. 3.9 out of 5.