I had a chance recently to at least glance through some recently released comics I don't normally read, and wow, the current Iron Fist book did nothing to make me think I made a mistake giving it a pass. I'm not really a fan of Andrews' art to begin with, but the story was basically taking everything I remembered from Immortal Iron Fist, and burning it to the ground. No thanks.
Deadpool #30, by Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn (writers), John Lucas (artist), Val Staples (colorist), Joe Sabino (letterer) - Mark Brooks does some really excellent cover work these days. I'm not sure how he is as a interior artist - the last time I saw his stuff was the late stages of the first volume of Ultimate X-Men, and it was solid if unspectacular, but that was many years ago. He may have moved forward considerably.
Deadpool and '70s Dazzler rush around killing Dracula's enhanced vampires. Agent Preston tacks down Eleanor using the clues she got from the thing that happened in Original Sin with the eyeball. Adsit is still shook up and hostile from what he saw, but at least we know Butler did trick Wade into killing his own daughter at some point in the past. I was concerned that would be the case.
That's about it for the plot, really. I mean, there are some details, like Deadpool switching into the same gear he wore in that '70s "lost issue" where he teamed up with Power Man and Iron Fist to fight The White Man, and Preston reflecting on how hanging around Wade has changed her, but for the broad strokes, there's not much. Which makes me think I'm going to give Deadpool's Axis tie-ins a pass. Getting really tired of Marvel's next big event hitting the solicits before the current big event has even finished.
Lucas' art is still not to my liking. He has some good panels here and there - I think he's pretty good at sinister or ominous faces, especially when he can use the approach of putting them mostly in shadow, with just their teeth or eyes highlighted. But the anatomy is wonky sometimes, Adsit's head still looks too squashed (though that stupid SHIELD neck brace thing isn't helping), and he doesn't nail the expressions often enough. At one point, Shiklah is negotiating with Dracula's emissary as a stall tactic. He says one thing and in the same panel she laughs and waves her hand dismissively. In the next panel she stands up and slams her fists against the table, but she doesn't really look angry enough or outraged to go with her body language.
Harley Quinn #7, by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti (writers), Chad Hardin (art), Alex Sinclair and Paul Mounts (colors), John J. Hill (letters) - When I was going through my collection, I found out Hardin drew some of those Bloodrayne comics I bought many years ago, a fact I'd completely forgotten. His work's loosened up some since then, though I can't help being a little disappointed when I go from the Amanda Conner drawn cover to the not-Amanda Conner drawn interiors. But that would be true with the majority of artists out there.
Ivy has found out (with some help from Syborg) that the bounty placed on Harley is being posted from Harley's own laptop. It's updated every five days, which means the next update should be that night. Ivy proposes to hide in Harley's closet and wait for them to arrive. Which takes longer than she'd like because Harley takes awhile to go to sleep. Once she does we find out that Harley's the one posting the bounty. She's subconsciously worried that her new life will be ruined, and so had decided to cut the problem off before it starts. Thus, a bounty on herself to lure out potential threats so she can kill them. Instead, she nearly gets Ivy killed dealing with a couple of them who come swinging through the window, but the girls dispatch this latest threat. Not before Harley upped the bounty to $3 million, though. The good news is that one of the now dead assassins had a phone with a message about a big meeting of local hired guns, so our protagonists travel there to tell everyone there is no bounty. Ivy enlists a tree's help to keep everyone tied up while Harley collects their wallets so she can threaten to kill their loved ones if they come after her. Which mostly works, and the one who won't play ball gets killed then and there.
Darn, I really liked my theory that the person gunning for Harley was the mysterious, recently deceased former patient who left her that building. Oh well. Harley setting hundreds of bounty killers loose on herself is perhaps too on the nose that she's her own worst enemy, but it is accurate for her. Historically, any time she starts getting her act together, Mistah J shows up and she pitches everything else down the incinerator to be treated like garbage by the insane clown.
Hardin tries a cool layout on page 9, but I'm not sure it works. When Ivy hits the killer's gun so it fires into the floor, Hardin goes with a vertical panel running from the top of the page to the bottom, showing the bullets rushing through different rooms in the building. It's a nice idea, but the firing of the gun takes place three-quarters of the way down the page, and then there's one more panel below it (of Ivy kicking the guy in the face), so it forces the reader's eyes to jump all over the place. Do you finish the actual fight panels, then look at the bullets, or jump to the top of the page, follow the bullets' path to the bottom, then hop to the left for that last panel? The idea is good in theory, but the execution isn't quite there. Might have been better for the bullet firing to take place in the first panel, at the top of the page, so it would be like the bullets are traveling down through the building simultaneous to whatever is happening in the fight scene upstairs (which will be running parallel to it.