Comic Book Reviews: 04/09/2014 All-New Ultimates #1 Marvel | Michael Fiffe | Amilcar Pinna | Nolan Woodard What can I say, I’m a sucker for a jumping on point, and the Ultimate Universe used to have the best stories published. With an All-New Ultimates #1, new creative team and a grouping of heroes never before seen, I had to give it a shot. And the results were fine. This issue is nothing special and was not good enough for me to pick up the second, but it wasn’t abysmal by any stretch. The scenes are all part of the same story but come across disjointed and out of order, especially in the the beginning. There are a lot of exposition dumps and opportunities for the cast to tell the reader about themselves, but they don’t really say anything. Most of the issue is spent with the characters in costume, talking about the new team and discussing what they will do next, instead of actually doing anything. The action is framed oddly and required multiple scans of the panel to understand what occurred or who showed up off panel. The team is tested by a new street level gang, that seems like they should be beneath them. Didn’t Spider-Woman wipe the floor with Peter Parker back in the day and outwit Doc Ock? Why is she having trouble with rejects from the Serpent Society? The team’s interaction with each other is well done and creates an interesting dynamic but the lackluster action and ho-hum cliffhanger drag the issue down. Score: 4.5 /10 All-New X-Men #25 Marvel | Brian Michael Bendis This issue is a series of one to two page “What If…” segments strung together in a monologue about potential futures. Each story switches artists and is obviously different from the piece that precedes it; except for a few tales in the middle which would be better suited at the end of the book. The art talent here is on point and does an amazing job; many of these spreads would make excellent posters. But the great art is not able to save what is a poorly crafted, weak story that’s only redeeming quality is the final page reveal (though even with that the reader is purposely mislead). This issue has no context to it and just reads like a stream of consciousness message board post of what All-new X-men #250 could be. There is no follow up from the fallout of the Trial of Jean Grey crossover and no setup to what will happen next to the time-displaced X-Men. This issue would have been better served as a promo for Free Comic Book Day for what this book could be than a premium $4.99 entry. Score: 2.0 /10 Batman Eternal #1 DC | Scott Snyder | James Tynion | Jason Fabok | Brad Anderson Scott Snyder built up a lot of good-will and trust with his excellent work on Detective Comics, then Batman in the New 52. Now he and Tynion are doing the story and script of a new weekly Batman series that opens with a huge cliffhanger that will be felt throughout this series run. First the opening scene itself, it is a flash forward sequence to a dark fate for Bruce. This is a blatant storytelling hook to make the reader excited and curious how Batman ended up in this situation; it is almost like a leaked spoiler to get fans excited. This is a cheap mechanic and weakens the debut issue. What follows is a quickly paced story, with new characters introduced, lives saved, heroes fallen and a greater mystery setup. Fabok and Anderson do an amazing job on art duties. This issue looks as good as the blockbuster-event style books and if they can keep this up on a weekly, Holy Eisner Nominees Batman! A focus is placed on the GCPD within this issue as cops are mentioned by name. I am sure these reoccurring characters will have weight to this story, but as a Batman fan there are only two cops whose names you need to know (Gordon and Bullock). The cliffhanger ending feels forced, in a world with so many costumed freaks and superpowers I can’t believe everyone would turn on a known hero so quickly, but it is there to set the drama and bring Bruce closer to that mysterious dark future seen in the opening. Score: 7.0 /10 Superior Foes of Spider-Man #11 Marvel | Tom Peyer | Elliot Kalan | Cameron Canero | Terry Pallot Another filler issue!? Multiple artists and writers!? Superior Foes is able to turn in a decent product despite these hurdles, but still not to the caliber expected from Spencer and Lieber. Peyer is in charge of writing duties for the first segment of the story which contains a lot of hit-and-miss humor, mostly misses. The background for the character arc is not well established and the jokes just try too hard. Canero’s art does a good job framing the story and gives a sense of power to the villain, but this contradicts with the feeling of helplessness that the story conveys. Kalan takes over for the second part of the story which has a similar arc to the first but feels like it is told better. Ultimately, the framework of the entire issue ends up hurting both sections and revealing their conclusion as soon as they are introduced. People say it’s the journey that matters, but a heavy usage of flashbacks doesn’t do these pieces any favors. Hopefully the next issue will return to full force with the standard team, but this speed bump did cost them momentum. Score: 5.0 /10 Level Up, Friends!