Last night was just full of weird dreams. One involved rattlesnakes, a spider the size of a medium dog (with a scorpion tail), and me trying to kill a person with poisoned fish and a walking stick. Yeah, I don't understand it either. Compared to that, the one with Deadpool in it was positively relaxing. For today, you get two reviews, with a teaser for a third, and the assurances that I'll be giving you a fourth review sometime this weekend as well. So, with that out of the way, we can proceed. . . to the part where I remind you that there could be spoilers, so that now we can begin.
Warbird #18 - This issue can be summed up in two sentences. Sentence #1: Carol Danvers meets the new members of her team. Sentence #2: Villain who is revealed at the end of the issue is kidnapping women for really skeevy purposes. I mean, the villainous plot of this story arc makes me uncomfortable, you know? Just nasty. Hmm, I've gone more than two sentences. Well, might as well keep going then.
Also, before anyone else mentions it, I wanted to direct your attention to the cover. See, a lot of people were disappointed (or maybe just confused) when it looked like Citizen Steel got a "reduction" on that recent Justice Society cover. Well, have no fears, because Greg Horn is here to present his latest work, Machine Man With Noticeable Bulge! No wonder Carol looks so embarrassed. While this makes me wonder about Machine Man joining the book, Reed is trying to stay true to the NextWave characterization, and does a good enough job of it, so the book provides a lot more levity than it used to.
Anyway, not much actually happens in this issue with the main plot, but there are some interesting subplots, as Carol tries to get in touch with her boyfriend (not Wonder Man), and Jonah squares off with Carol's publicist over a photo he ran of her kissing Simon (which took place in Seattle; why so prominently featured in a New York paper?) Also, Arana returns to the book for the first time since her run in with Doomsday Man. Since I like her interactions with Ms. Marvel, that's a plus in my book. What else to say? Reed's writing is about as usual; witty banter and clever lines abound, and Carol continues to be placed on the defensive. She's always reacting to what goes on around her, never initiating it seems. Lopresti's art is still nice, conveys the action well, makes emotions clear. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it serves the story well, so no complaints. 2.8 out of 5, as it wasn't entirely gripping or anything.
The Punisher #50 - Can I just say that I'm not a huge fan of the Howard Chaykin art? It's too rough for my tastes. I will give him credit, his Frank Castle looks old. Heavily lined and saggy in the face, particularly the close-up on page 13. Probably meant to be a combination of age and the emotional place he's in. That's right, Frank Castle is a little shook up by a dream he had, one of those wonderful "what if?" dreams. It's got him off his game, and that's gonna put him in a vulnerable position given who's taking aim at him. Yes, Barracuda's back. Down to one eye, and missing several fingers, but still as foul-mouthed and viciously effective as they come.
And he's got just the thing to mess with Punisher, given his state of mind. Of course, someone is pulling Barracuda's strings, but he's doesn't care about that, and right now, Castle probably shouldn't either. I'm not sure how this is going to go, but I have to give Ennis credit, he keeps finding new things, new ways to examine Frank Castle, which is probably why I'm still interested in this book, even though it is very much the same from month-to-month. 3.5 out of 5.
Thor #2 - Sorry, you'll have to wait until this weekend for this review, because I'm the guest reviewer over at The Legion of Doom this weekend. So you can find out what I thought about it then. Plus, I'll have another review to put up here by then, so you know, good times.