I wrote you all what I thought was a witty write-up on PAX East, but my computer apparently liked it so much that it ate it. I apologize that I don’t have the patience to re-create from memory what was quite a long post, so I offer you blurb reviews in its place. Not quite the same, I know, but we make do with what we have. Off we go!
I’ve never read the original Ruse title, or any other Crossgen series for that matter. But when I heard about this book coming back along with Sigil under Marvel’s takeover of Crossgen as an imprint, I figured there wouldn’t be a better time for me to jump in, and Ruse sounded pretty intriguing from the solicits. The first issue didn’t let me down, and I liked that it was easy to get into as a new reader without needing to look up years of back story. I like Mark Waid’s manner of storytelling, and the artwork creates a great tone for the book as we follow a grand detective and his “assistant” (small joke) solve a murder. Waid opens the book right in the thick of things, and it only gets better from there. I have to say, I was a little worried that the female character in this series was going to come off as some helpless, futile figure only along for the sake of “bettering” the male character. My fears aren’t entirely subsided from the first issue—but there’s reason for hope. I’m on board.
When I first saw the solicitation for this in Previews, my reaction was something along the lines of “OMG ANOTHER ONE WHAT THE HELL I HATE YOU MARVEL.” I really didn’t, and still don’t, see a reason for this issue to exist, other than to try to fill the absurd gap between current issues of Children’s Crusade, and even then, it’s pointless. Also, what’s with the title? That’s honestly the best they could come up with? You shock me, guys. Anyway, if you’re reading Children’s Crusade, you can pretty much skip over this entirely with no consequences whatsoever. The only thing we learn from this one-shot is that Kang the Conqueror (Iron Lad of the future) tricks his past/current self (Iron Lad of the present) to go back and try to stop the Young Avengers from rescuing the Scarlet Witch so that they don’t get killed by the real Avengers … or something like that. Yeah, I can’t even explain it, basically because it makes no sense and has no value to the story whatsoever. Cheap gimmicks all around. Also not a fan of Davis’ art. Avoid this like the plague, but pick up the next issue of Children’s Crusade (which I have yet to get to).
I’m still debating how I feel about this one. You know what? It really wasn’t bad. It wasn’t the BEST thing I’ve read lately, not by a long shot, but it was entertaining and kind of a breezy read. I like the duo of Black Widow and Agent 13, and I loved the comedic and witty interplay instituted by Deconnick. It’s a bit campy, a bit short, but overall a different flavor to the other books in the pile. Natasha and Sharon Carter walk into a trap in order to rescue a girl from … um … some other girls. Trained assassins. Hi-jinks ensue. Witty comebacks are delivered. And Steve Rogers is stuck at a desk doing paperwork while the ladies are out there rather swiftly kicking some ass. The art is a bit stylized and “sketchy” as opposed to “clean,” which worked for me. Hmm. I’ve decided I like this. It’s a one-shot, and that’s enough.
*High-pitched voice* AWESOMENEEESSSSSSSSSSS! I read this during my train commute in the ungodly hours of the morning, half groggy when I opened to the first page. It quickly woke me up. This story was not at all what I expected, particularly by the end. One look at that front cover and you’re kind of sick from all the hearts, right? But don’t judge a book—at least, THIS book—by its cover. This is a one-issue story, and in it, Gail Simone crafts yet another tale of action peppered with comedy, a little bit of tenderness, and some seriously solid badassery (sans Hawk and Dove, which was admittedly a nice breather). I’ll tell you what we have here: a jewel heist. A hostage. A tense romance. A full-grown man in a cat suit. And, come the final pages, one seriously pissed off Huntress. It shouldn’t need any more convincing than that. PICK THIS UP!
Wow. First of all, this was gorgeous. Absolutely beautiful to look at—eye candy in a pure sense, rather than the usual cheesecake sense. Do you ever read a comic where you’re stuck looking at the same page—same panel—for minutes on end, just to make sure you’ve caught all the details and intricacies? That’s what this book was like. I’d read a lot of hype online about this miniseries, and I was hooked on the “MMO” angle it sounded like it was going to take. It’s actually so much more than that, though. The story is set a world apart from the one we know, and it’s clear by the first issue that the gaming setting is going to be secondary to what’s really happening here. The notion that this is Nate Simpson’s first comic work is surprising—his simple, direct writing and his artistic layouts are spectacular and echo the experience of someone who you’d think has been in the industry for a while. Hopeful that the rest of the series continues this level of excellence. The book is already on a second printing; definitely check this one out if you can get your hands on it.