Comic Book Reviews: 03/12/2014 All-New X-Men #24 Marvel | Brian MichaelBendis | Stuart Immonen | Wade Von Grawbadger | Marte Gracia Each character in the robust cast is given a moment to shine. The key players are still Jean Grey, Gladiator, Cyclops and King J-Son, but it is refreshing for Angela, Gamora and Drax do more than stand in the background. This issue contains the most action sequences out of the crossover to date. It is frustrating to have, not one, but two scenes with capable female characters dispatch their foes entirely off panel. Bendis’s dialogue remains spot on for the self-rightous Gladiator, conflicted pre-Phoenix Jean Grey and the driven Cyclops. It is surprising, however, that no light is shed on Beast’s feelings in all this, seeing as he is currently dating Jean (I’m pretty sure…it gets lost in the shuffle). Immonen’s art takes the time to bring to life details during the court scenes or city landscapes, and displays the action perfectly in the final showdown. The budding relationship between Cyclops and his father makes me excited about the ongoing series that will continue this plot line…but it does feel like a tease that could have been addressed more in this crossover. The only problems with this issue are the continual tendency to ignore all previous space stories that came before and a lackluster cliffhanger that is out of place for the character. For how much power and purpose the Shi’ar demonstrate to destroy Jean Grey, it will be difficult for Bendis to tie everything up in a single issue with a satisfying conclusion. Score: 8.0 /10 Batman #29 DC Comics| Scott Snyder | Greg Capullo | Danny Miki Capullo’s art is amazing. Every panel is bristling with details, from the menacing storm, a balding hairline, Batman’s fists breaking bone or a grotesque monster, it all looks great. Batman’s showdown with Riddler continues, and it is refreshing to see Bruce not know all the answers immediately. As a rookie, Batman is capable and brave but is still able to make mistakes and learn his enemies. Last month’s, ‘jump forward’, issue did the Zero Year arc no favors. Snyder’s telling of Batman’s first zero year in Gotham felt disjointed after two months away. The issue opens with over-the-top imagery of the Waynes in a police station and a mysterious armed man in a poster above them. It is too much to dangle their fate in front of readers; this story has played out numerous times. Batman Zero Year is at its best when it shows Bruce learning how to be Batman, but at its worse when trying to emulate Batman Year One but not contradict the classic story. Jim Gordon plays a heavy role in this issue as Batman’s begrudging sidekick (maybe they’ll retcon the origin so he is the first Robin). Alfred offers advice, but is really a naysayer, throughout the issue in Batman’s ear. Ultimately, Gordon and Alfred are playing the same role in Batman’s life at this point and are redundant in this narrative. There are couple instances of ‘fan service’ throughout the issue, which felt more like “hey, hey see what we did there” than subtle nods to the source material. Score: 7.0 /10 Hawkeye #17 Marvel | Matt Fraction | Chris Eliopoulos | David Aja This is not an issue of Hawkeye. This is an issue of Hawkeye daydreaming about a dog that is like Hawkeye with analogies to his current situation and the Avengers. And this issue takes place after issue six. For a comic series with two protagonists, that switches who the focal character is every month, there is no excuse for a throwaway issue like this. Score: 1.0 /10 The Superior Spider-Man #29 Marvel | Dan Slott | Christos Gage | Giuseppe Camuncoli | John Dell | Antonio Fabela There is a fair bit of activity within this book, but I don’t know if it truly amounts to anything. Readers continue to see Peter struggle within Otto-Spidey’s brain, but nothing really happens other than filling up a couple pages. Watching the Green Goblin (identity unrevealed still) destroy Otto’s childhood home and locations from his previous life doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t leave much impact on Otto, and it doesn’t leave any impact on the readers. Even the inclusion of fan-favorite Spider-Man 2099 doesn’t move the story in any meaningful way; he is as quickly dispatched as he arrives. This issue never takes the time to show why all of the action matters and simply jumps from plot point to plot point. Camuncoli’s art looks best when depicting masked heroes and robots duke it out, facial expressions and civilians are muddled and feel rushed. Score: 5.0 /10 Level Up, Friends!