Picks of the Week March 9-15

Just a reminder: our final Marvel Moments poll is still open! Get your votes in if you haven’t already.

Mark it on your calendar, folks. This is the week Emma talks about someone new. Rick Remender, the guy responsible for Frankencastle who is reuniting with The Walking Dead‘s Tony Moore to reinvigorate my least favorite Spider-Man villain ever, Venom for Venom #1. I feel like it should say something about my faith in Remender that I’m buying a Venom comic, but I should probably back that up with something. The new Venom is Flash Thompson, Peter Parker’s high school classmate who in recent times has struggled with alcohol abuse and lost his legs in Iraq and now plays host to the alien symbiote for a covert branch of the US military. What’s drawing me in aside from Moore’s fantastic artwork is that the tone and execution of the title are very reminiscent of John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad. I’m cautiously optimistic.

Also on tap from Remender this week is Uncanny X-Force Marvel Must Have #1, which collects the first three issues of the series. UXF is a radical retooling of X-Force that scraps everything from the previous volume except for Wolverine which was a smart move given how wrong headed it was. It’s certainly intense and darkly comedic enough to put it in the same league as Secret Six and it ought to appeal to fans of the Sixers, but there’s a looming tension in UXF that sets it apart. The members of X-Force (Fantomex and Deadpool notwithstanding) aren’t mercenaries out for a dollar, they’re members of an endangered species fighting a losing war for survival. It’s a brutally effective team book that balances an impossible mix of pathos, humour, desperation, and romance.

X-23 #7 Adorable pirate cover aside, X-23 remains a dark book and does not promise to go the way of kittens and rainbows any time soon. Another top notch issue for Marjorie Liu though, especially given that in an issue where Laura fights sharks the stand out material is her interactions with Gambit. I’ve never been and likely will never be a fan of the Ragin’ Cajun but their dynamic is nothing short of perfect. Remy isn’t just there to teach Laura the ins and outs of morality, their relationship is a two way street which exactly what keeps the book not just floating but vital to Marvel’s line up. Sana Takeda brings the fire to art duties, firing up X-23 artistically for the first time since the Women of Marvel one shot with expressive lines and gorgeous colours that light up the page. I’m really hoping that by now you’re just skipping over my constant effusive praise of Marjorie Liu and X-23 because you’re reading it too. I am basically frothing at the mouth, what more do you want from me to make you buy this comic?

I’m really glad that Batman Inc. #3 finally came out. It’s a pretty sexy issue, Gaucho goes hard, and Jorge Luis Borges gets name dropped but I feel like I will have a lot more to say about #4 and #5 because #4 is where Kate and Kathy come to the forefront and #5 goes back to Argentina where Bruce will have to face the problematic elements of Batman Inc. (ie: US centrism and cultural/corporate imperialism) head on. Even so, it’s a long fucking time since I’ve had a fresh Morrison issue in my paws. Sexy-deadly tangos, exploding scorpions, and nailing people in the face with the front tire of a motorcycle all happen in this issue and none of those things are ever bad unless it’s your face under the tire at which point I have to wonder how you got yourself into that situation.

Dee: I’ll admit it.  With the post con exhaustion, I haven’t read ANY comics this week.  What I have read is an absolutely adorable webcomic that has just started, by Mike Norton, called Battle Pug.  That’s right.  Battle Pug.  I mean why not? They ARE the fiercest of dogs, aren’t they? 

Anyway, check it out.  You can start with the series here, it’s weekly and only a few weeks in!

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