Review: X-Men God Loves Man Kills by Chris Claremont

X-Men: God Loves, Man KillsX-Men: God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Early Thoughts:

Lately, I have been reading many “X-Men” comics, especially the ones from the 70s and 80s and I have stumbled upon this unique little story. Since I had heard so many good things about this story, I decided to check it out myself and what I got was probably the darkest, most disturbing, most engaging and most brilliant piece of work I have ever read from any comic! This story is called “God Loves Man Kills” and it was an “X-Men” story written by Chris Claremont along with artwork by Brent Anderson, which was created without the constraints of the comic industry. So expect some really shocking moments awaiting you in this volume!


What is the story?

Basically, this story is about Reverend William Stryker, a well respected religious man who has done many televangelists programming around the country. Unfortunately, William Stryker is actually a truly evil man who wants nothing more than to exterminate the mutant race by sending out his assassins, the Purifiers, to eliminate anyone who is a mutant while preaching to the world about how mutants have no place in the world. So, when the X-Men find out about William Stryker’s devious plan in exterminating the mutant race, they have to do everything in their power to stop William Stryker’s plan from succeeding!


What I loved about this comic:

The story itself: Oh my goodness! After I had heard how harsh this story was, I was a little reluctant in reading this story. However, once I had read this story, I was totally blown away by the truly effective storytelling this story had to offer! Chris Claremont has certainly done an excellent job at comparing the X-Men’s situation in being mistreated by the public because they are different from the humans to how the minority community is being treated in society as they are also mistreated because of their skin colors or their different religious affiliations. Even though this idea has always been the norm for the “X-Men,” Chris Claremont had made this story truly memorable as it was one of the few “X-Men” stories to actually capture the realistic and harsh view of racism and prejudice in our society in a very compelling way. I will admit that there were some very harsh and disturbing moments in this book, especially with the opening scene of two mutant children being killed by the Purifiers and being hung by the swing sets to be shown as an example about what would happen to other mutants like them (personally, anything that deals with innocent children being killed for no reason is disturbing to me) and it is moments like that that really makes you think about the disturbing nature of racism and prejudice. I also loved the way that the X-Men not only try to save mutant kind from threats like William Stryker, but how they try to explain to the audience about the importance of being different and how no matter how different you are from other people, you are still human and that message was brought out in a very compelling way that made me root for the X-Men all the way. I also loved the way that Chris Claremont had written the villain William Stryker. William Stryker was not written as your usual “trying to take over the world” villain, but he was written as a villain who had a past that will horrify you and shaped what he has become and uses religion as a way to exterminate a race that he believes is evil. Also, the fact that William Stryker was a normal human being, but was able to cause harm to the X-Men made him a truly formidable villain in the “X-Men” universe.

Brent Anderson’s artwork: I loved Brent Anderson’s artwork because it has that retro 70s/early 80s look that I have always enjoyed looking at when I was small. I loved how Brent Anderson’s artwork has that scratchy look and it really complements the story extremely well and captures the dark scenes in this story, especially with the opening scene of the two mutant children being killed and while this event takes place during the night, you can see the blue colorings giving an eerie feel to this scene.


What made me feel uncomfortable about this book:

Since this story was written without the advisory of the comic industry and is not really within the X-Men continuity, there are many disturbing and harsh elements throughout this book. There are many deaths throughout this story, especially with the disturbing opening scene of the two mutant children being killed and hung by the swing sets. Also, there is some strong language in this book that might offend some readers, especially since they are used in a way to describe how certain words can hurt people if used in an offensive manner. Also, this story is a bit too dark for younger teens since it deals with racism and prejudice in a very realistic and disturbing manner and because of this, this story is often not really counted as apart of the X-Men stories although it inspired a movie and some stories in the future, however, it is one of the most popular and well-written stories ever created.


Final Thoughts:

All in all, despite the very dark nature of this story, “God Loves Man Kills” will remain to be one of the most inspirational stories ever created! It was one of the few stories that actually shows the true dark side of racism and prejudice and even though there were some harsh moments in this story, those moments clearly show us the true nature of racism and prejudice and I think that this story will always stand the test of time no matter what generation reads it.

My Rating?

5 pows

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Review: Daredevil Volume 1 by Mark Waid

Daredevil, Volume 1Daredevil, Volume 1 by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daredevil


Introduction:

Now, I will admit that the first “Daredevil” comic I had actually picked up was Frank Miller’s “Daredevil: The Man without Fear” comic, which I enjoyed immensely! Now, I am diving into Mark Waid’s portrayal of the legendary superhero Daredevil and I will admit that I found this version of “Daredevil” pretty interesting so far!


What is this story about?

After the events of “Shadowland,” Matt Murdock has finally returned to New York City at his old law firm. But due to outing himself as Daredevil, Matt is finding it more difficult to hide his secret identity as everyone at his law firm are starting to take advantage of this secret and making Matt give up various cases due to the court not supporting his secret identity as “Daredevil.” Later on however, Matt soon discovers that there are some mysterious crimes at work in New York City. First, the Klaw, Master of Sound, ends up returning to the city and then, Matt ends up trying to help out a blind kid who is accidentally thrown into danger when the kid overhears the plans of an international criminal organization, that involves the world’s most fearsome supervillain groups like H.Y.D.R.A, and the organization is looking to kill the blind kid in order to keep their plans a secret.


What I loved about this story:

Mark Waid’s writing: I must admit that Mark Waid’s portrayal of “Daredevil” was pretty interesting and hilarious to read since I was so used to reading about “brooding and dark” Matt Murdock! I loved the way that Mark Waid made Matt Murdock into a more fun-loving and witty character as it had been years since we had seen a more laid back Matt Murdock and it really made reading about him more interesting and fun! I also liked the fact that Mark Waid made some references to Matt’s past events in “Shadowland” as it does indeed affect Matt’s current life, especially with the whole city knowing that he is Daredevil and Matt repenting for his actions in “Shadowland.” But probably the best thing about this volume is the fact that even if you have not read “Shadowland” (and I definitely have not read “Shadowland” yet), this volume makes it easier to jump into the story without having to learn so much about “Shadowland” to completely understand the story.

Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin’s artwork: Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin’s artwork are truly creative and colorful to look at and greatly complements the mood of the story! I loved the way that both Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin detailed the sound waves and effects that Matt Murdock sees in order to sense when people are nearby due to his blindness as it was truly creative! I often wonder how the artists would be able to portray Daredevil’s senses through the art and it was done so beautifully in this volume as you can actually see the sound waves coming from the person that Matt senses which makes the reader actually feel the senses that Matt is sensing. I also loved the way that the fighting scenes are drawn as they made the fighting sequences extremely interesting to look at!

Daredevil


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The reason why I gave this volume a four star rating was because I felt that the story tend to jump all over the place, mainly during the first half of the volume. I actually felt that the second half of the volume was much more superior as we had a straight forward story than we did in the first half of the volume. Also, I will admit that because I did not read “Shadowland” before I dived into this volume, I was a bit confused about how everyone found out about Matt’s secret or how Matt went out of control during “Shadowland.”


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Daredevil Volume One” is a great volume to read if you are a huge fan of “Daredevil” and if you want to read a comic book that is full of fun and action!

My Rating?

4 pows

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The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank

The Punisher, Vol. 1: Welcome Back, FrankThe Punisher, Vol. 1: Welcome Back, Frank by Garth Ennis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank was my first exposure to the wonderfully twisted and violently deranged mind of Garth Ennis. The Punisher was always a character I wanted to like, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. All I could picture forever was Dolph Lundgren’s corny ass. That monosyllabic version of Frank still gives me the shits. Frank always fell at least a little short of the hardcore killer I wanted him to be. Dirty Harry wouldn’t use rubber bullets. Rubber bullets are for pussys. I thought I had forever labeled Frank Castle as a B-list character with sporadic glimmers of potential greatness.

Garth changed all of that. As far as I am concerned, Garth Ennis created the Punisher. A merciless, unrelenting soldier that is single mindedly focused on his mission to kill as many criminals as possible by any means necessary before meeting his own fated end. Warms my heart.

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Review: A vs. X by Brian Michael Bendis and Friends.

Avengers vs. X-MenAvengers vs. X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Underwhelming.

I am glad I didn’t hold off reading all the stuff that comes after this (pretty much all of AvsX leads into the Marvel NOW! Relaunch-y-ish-type thing. Makes a bit more sense now, but I had already pieced it together based on HOW GODDAMN OFTEN THEY TELL US THAT THE PHOENIX FORCE WENT INTO THE X-MEN IT DID!

UGH.

You know what? The story served it’s purpose. I can see how some think it’s a bit lazy to bring Scarlet Witch out of nowhere to be part of this, but I enjoyed it. Even the characters are like WTF is SHE doing here? I’m willing to see this as a cyclical karmic balancing of House of M. However, I like that the answer has to do with Hope AND Scarlet Witch, not just one of them. It’s the cooperation fostered that I think should be the telling moment of the series.

Instead, it’s how quickly can shit escalate to 11.

Cap and Cyclops are pretty much the same character. “I will take the burden of leadership. I am a great leader of people, everyone counts on me”
Except then they both shit the bed in terms of actually sitting down and TALKING about this.

Of course the fighting is very cool.
The FIRST time…
The other problem is that NONE of the characters outside of about a dozen actually factor in at all.
(Cap, Tony, Logan, Cyke, Emma, Namor, the Rasputins, and a few others).
I was pleased to see Iron Fist get an actual speaking role! With some importance! It’s a first for Danny Rand in a real event book.

However, other than the 5 X-Men who get the Phoenix force, the rest of them are just shunned to the fringes of irrelevancy.
Maybe they’re more present in other AVX books? But, other than a little bit of Storm, and a touch of Rogue, all we get is the 5 of them going all supernova.

This is a spot where I feel like they lost the chance to give Magneto a much more crucial part (even though they did in a way).

There should have been a LOT more focus on Logan and his pull between the 2, especially since both Scott AND Steve treat him like a loose cannon asshole, when in fact, he’s probably the most realistic about the whole issue.

The thing is, this book misses a LOT of opportunities to actually go into character relationships. Other than Black Panther/Storm and a little bit of Scarlet Witch/Vision, we don’t get much on the relationships here, much is just thrown out the window so the artists can do punchy mcpunchersons again.

I think with the writers here (Bendis, Aaron, Brubaker, Hickman and Fraction), they have the Top of Marvel’s heap, yet it seems like they were forced to do this one, and the different voices actually take away from the cohesion of the whole story. I would like to blame some of this on editorial staff, because otherwise it means some of my favourites actually wrote some horridly turgid shit here.

There’s just such a rich history to delve into here, and it just turns into: how many ways can Cap throw Avengers at Cyke and the Phoenix 5 until Tony Stark figures some shit out?

Oh ya, and where the F was the FF? (Other than Benny) You think Reed is going to let this all happen without involving himself or his brain? The FF is the perfect go between here, because they’ve served as Avengers, but they’re separate and they understand what changes like mutations do (ESPECIALLY BENNY!).

Oh and, I’m hoping someone will explain why Hulk doesn’t show up until the end? They make a huge deal of Cap asking him for help, and then he’s barely used at all…was this a point at which Banner was unavailable? Because otherwise, he, Pym, McCoy and Stark should have been working on some answer.

In the end, what might have been will never be known, because this milquetoast shit happened instead. Other than making Scotty into the biggest badguy since Magneto (irony of ironies, Erik was the one trying to talk him down). I am glad to see that they took the events here and used them to the best they could (Scott/Logans X-Men, Uncanny Avengers, etc.)

I just really wish they’d DONE something instead of throw every character at the books and hope things would stick. We really didn’t need Luke Cage, Daredevil, Red Hulk, and a lot of others if they weren’t doing anything. It should really have been called “The entire roster of Avengers and reserves from the last decade+ versus the Mutant Power Couple, Namor and the Ruskie Sibs.
(speaking of that, who decided that Peter would have ABSOLUTELY NO PERSONALITY WHATSOEVER???? Based on who he is/was, he should have been the first one to reject the Phoenix power. There’s some few lines about not liking Ilyana’s angry rage, but that’s about it).

OK I’m going to stop, because I realize I could go on and on raging about what went wrong here forever. That’s not the best result for a major event book like this.

Do yourself a favour and focus on the aftermath instead:

Prof X is dead at Cyclops’ hand, which opens the door to him being the badguy mutant outlaw, which actually suits him better and makes him more interesting. So in that regard, SUCCESS! Now to wait for the return.

Miss this and save the headaches.

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Review: Green Lantern Vol. 3 – The End. by Geoff Johns

Green Lantern, Vol. 3: The EndGreen Lantern, Vol. 3: The End by Geoff Johns
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m pleased to say, this is a bounce back for Papa Johns after the turd dumping that was Trinity War.

He’s had a hard-on for GL forever; and here, he’s able to close the chapter on a very respectable run for the Emerald Knights.

When last we left our hero, he (and on again GL/Nemesis Sinestro) were killed by Black Hand. We know that Black Hand killing doesn’t quite work, and Hal’s been dead before, so would they go back that way? Who knows, but we do see Hal and Sinestro stuck in the Black/Afterworld with a GL from the past.

Meanwhile, Sinestro’s Construct/Shared ring with Hal, goes for Simon Baz, a Muslim-American living in Deerborn, Michigan (my Great Uncle lived there too, lovely little place lol). There’s some well-meaning but heavy handed “we’re all good people” bit, a sort of Johns apologism for American foreign policy, torture, racism etc…OK moving on.

Simon gets guided by Squirrel/Chipmunk Lantern, who’s very entertaining, and is his Yoda. He ends up going on a quest (shockingly) with very little backup and training. It also turns out that he’s more powerful with his emotional lack of fear than some of the great ones!

This being the end of it, of course John and Guy show up, and I don’t mind them at all, but they don’t have a huge part to play (That would be the GL Corps books). Also, Kyle shows up with his rainbow brigade…ugh.

But this is Hal’s book. Hal’s the hero, he makes some gigantic sacrifices and leaps of faith to save the universe. The best part? Sinestro ends up making different sacrifices for different reasons, but when we see the end result, Sinestro is about as close to heroic as he will ever be.

So it’s a nice finish up, and everyone lives happily ever after…except the bad guys…and the people that die.

The Coda/Epilogue follows what happens to each of the lanterns, looking back many years later, and we see Guy, John, Kyle, and Hal, and what they ended up moving on to, all doing well.

However, for me, the best part of the whole thing was the relationship between Hal and Sinestro. They got to a point where they understand each other, won’t ever agree about the means, but agree to the same ends, and each makes a personal sacrifice to try and reach those ends. Hal is a hero, the greatest GL of them all, but Sinestro, I feel like his actions were even more heroic given the context, and the aftermath.

So, a very enjoyable, sentimental journery. Johns is forgiven here, because you know it’s his baby. It’s a good enough job, it stands out, the universe mumbo-jumbo cosmic shit is minimized, and the fact that it focuses on relationships and people instead of that helps a lot.

Well done.

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Review: Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell, by Paul Dini

Black Canary/Zatanna: BloodspellBlack Canary/Zatanna: Bloodspell by Paul Dini
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I agree with both Anne and Sam on this one.

Pros: they both look like ’em. Streetwalkers I mean…Hookers, Super-skanks. Prostitutes, ladies of the night, escorts, Lono? Help me out here with more slutty synonyms…

Fishnets abound. That’s usually lovely, but a bit tiresome here.
The artwork is cartoon-y, like Anne said. I feel like this is perfectly suited to 9-12 yr olds looking to get into comics, maybe even girls? It’s definitely a silly one, but it provides a doorway for kids who have no imagination and this helps. (Sadly, this is imaginative to someone under 15).

Too bad, as Sam and I agree, Paul Dini is a great Batman writer, and usually more dependable than this. Also, he did the Zatanna mini-series’ which are the most attention she ever gets…(Anne go read these, and let us both hope she gets a bigger role post-Trinity War).

All in all, it’s Okay…I guess…but nothing memorable, just not utter shite like other 2 star books.

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Review: Harley Quinn, Vol. 1: Hot in the City by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti

Harley Quinn, Vol. 1: Hot in the CityHarley Quinn, Vol. 1: Hot in the City by Amanda Conner

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Read as a digital arc. Thank you NetGalley and the publishers!

 

So, I didn’t like it.
The first issue was this somewhat interesting Dream Sequence, in which Harley has this ‘conversation with the writers’, and together they try out artists for her comic book.
I say somewhat interesting, because there was no real story here, but it was fun to see the different artists switch things up from page to page.
Here are a few examples:

Art Baltazar
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Adam Hughes
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Darwyn Cooke
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So. There was that. And even though it didn’t do anything plot-wise, I had fun Googling some of the artists that I didn’t recognize.
In fact, that first little bit is the only reason I’m not give the entire volume 1 star, because after that it quickly went downhill.

Quick test.
Do you like slapstick?
Yes? Then you might enjoy this one.
Unfortunately, I have a low tolerance for sight gags.
So, after a while?
This:
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Started to look like, well…
This:
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And, hey, if you like that sort of thing?
Then, by all means, grab your poncho and pull up a seat.

Alrighty, the next question you need to ask yourself is this:
How badly do you want to see Harley and Ivy make out?
Again, personally, I liked that these two were friends (without benefits), but there’s enough lesbian H&I fanfic out there to convince me that I may be in the minority with this one.
Whoa!
Down boys! And girls!
It’s not like you’re going to get to see a money shot. However, lots and lots of innuendo later, it looks like these ladies have taken their relationship to the ‘next level’.

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Anyway.
Harley befriends a psychotic old man, gets a bunch of pets, sleepwalks, and accidentally swallows some of Ivy’s date rape seeds.
Yum.
There are a few funny/memorable scenes, but not enough to make me want to recommend it to anyone.
I’m sure plenty of readers will love this, but it just wasn’t my cuppa.

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Review: East of West Vol. 2 by Jonathan Hickman

East of West, Vol. 2: We Are All OneEast of West, Vol. 2: We Are All One by Jonathan Hickman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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W.H.A.T.

T.H.E.

F.U.C.K.

Pretty much sums it up.

SO: Death and his wife had a kid. The Kid ain’t dead. He’s on a quest to save the kid. He’ll take down everyone on the way.
The 7 States of the US and their alliance is falling apart, everyone turns on everyone. The Message is a crock of shit. The interesting part will be to see how they rip each other apart.
We get some more background on the Texas people, this includes a BRUTALLY OBVIOUS ripoff of Judge Dredd. Like I’m serious, how is this not Copyright infringement???

Anyhoo…then there’s a creature with no eyes in the bottom of the ocean, which opens because Death said so. Then the creature steal’s Death’s eye as payback. Then gives him no real info.

I thought Death would be smarter than this.

There’s some more side story about the Kingdom of New Orleans, the United section, the Republic, and the Oracle type dude who’s the head of the Message religion.
Oh and the stupid 3 Horsemen of the Apocalypse kids are still doing stuff.

WHERE THE FUCK IS THIS GOING? Or is this just proof that Hickman drops more acid than Grant Morrison? Seriously. I wonder.

The colours sure are pretty. Especially when high.

It wasn’t boring.

Take it with a grain of salt and a handful of pills…

I think I liked Vol. 1 more.

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Review: East of West Vol. 1 by Jonathan Hickman

East of West, Vol. 1: The PromiseEast of West, Vol. 1: The Promise by Jonathan Hickman

I read this last night, followed right after by Vol. 2…I must disclose this to you my loyal followers and Shallows…I was high as fuck on Percs.

Therefore, I’m not sure, but I think this made it far more interesting to me than it had any right to be.
I woke up this afternoon to explain the basic plot to my wife, and afterwards, even I thought I was a raving lunatic…

In a parallel Earth, the American Civil War had an entirely different outcome. There were then 7 sectors that the US was divided into (Texas, New Shanghai, New Orleans, Dead Lands (Native) and some other shit.) The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse came to Earth minus Death, who didn’t show up. They’re reincarnated as Children this time…and all different colours…ya. So they’re actually the figureheads of a Religion called “The Message”.
Death is like the Clint Eastwood character, from Josey Wales/Unforgiven. Going around and revenging for being killed…wait…Death was killed? Umm…huh?
Turns out the heads of the 7 families/sections of US didn’t like him. He’s Tarantinoing them. With the help of his 2 trusty Native helpers, Wolf and Crow (these characters are black and white.) Death is all White instead of black, so we know with the cowboy hat, he’s the good guy…I think…
Then we discover he’s super pissed because they took his wife…Death had a wife…yup.
She’s this Asian girl, who’s the daughter of MAO V, the 5th descendant of Mao Zedong…ya.
Then he gets info, and goes and with his 2 helpers, destroys the ENTIRE New Shanghai army.
She’s not happy to see him, because she blames him for the death of their child…ya…Death has a kid!
Then he reveals something, and goes on a quest…

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Ya. Me too Slim. Me too…

If I hadn’t been high this might have hurt my head. Instead, it’s like when you’re super exhausted but you stay up to watch a shitty B-movie on late night TV, and are very amused by it.
I was amused, I smirked, and was like…OK sure why not.

However…this is a derivative piece of writing which I’m amazed hasn’t got Hickman sued 10 ways til Tuesday. It’s a ripoff of just about EVERYTHING.

So I’m very conflicted, because I see that, but yet, my altered state found it amusing, but not enjoyable…I mean, it was better than Justice League Trinity War…(sorry Anne!) but still…I’m not going to say it was good. It wasn’t bad. It just was.

I read part 2 as well…because I got high.

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I don’t feel like I should recommend this, but I also feel like it’s a trip…Kinda like watching The Wall movie…same rules: DON’T DO IT SOBER!

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Review: Fables Vol. 4 – March of the Wooden Soldiers, by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers (Fables, #4)Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, so it’s been a bit of a gap since I read Vol. 3, but this was a very solid book, and marks the point at which we go dark and gritty (not in the stupid DC way though).

Upheaval is in motion in Fabletown: Prince Charming, after dispatching Bluebeard, is ready to make a run for Mayor, and control. We get a history lesson from Boy Blue about the last days of the resistance against the Adversary. (Actually a pretty cool story, featuring an appearance from Robin Hood and some others, and also showing Red Riding Hood, who I had mistakenly assumed was Rose Red, Snow White’s sister…turns out they’re 2 different women!).
There’s also an invasion, through Canada of all places (which has a gate leading to the old lands), and Bigby Wolf goes all Wolverine on it (I think it was intentional, and if not, well then, good job anyhow. I liked it).

Wolf and Snow’s relationship develops, and we get to see him…Hulk Up for lack of a better term. We also see Boy Blue show some mettle, espionage, and the death of a poor boy. The invasion is from the Wooden Soldiers, who we discover come from the same source as a boy with a long nose…

There’s some pretty solid stuff here, good storytelling and world building, and I like where they’ve left it, with Fabletown pulling together as one, working and proving they’re a pretty smart bunch of folks, even when it costs them some of their friends.

There’s also a fantastic line, from one of the main Wooden Soldiers, where he expresses his desire “To go forth and bust off caps” or something to that effect…it’s quite funny, like a British stuffy person trying to talk Gangsta.

Either way, a very solid volume.

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