Hey all, it's time for the first of FIVE Best of the Rest posts in May! Yep, May is one of those months where we're gonna end up with five Wednesdays, so I'll be getting even more comics, which means you guys will be getting even more reviews! So it's a win/win! Or a lose/lose, depending on your prerogative. Anyway, the usual rules apply here. I'll get this party started with a few reviews, and then JT will take over with a few reviews of his own, but in blue text. And if the last few BotR posts are any indication, much longer reviews than I've been busting out... Seriously, JT, when did you become Mr. Wordsmith!? I'm gonna hear it for that remark... Anyway, let's get this party started.
Thanos Rising #2: This issue brings us a 15 (or so) year old Thanos, who is on a quest to discover why he is different from all of his fellow Eternals. To that end, he's been dissecting various creatures, but has yet to find anything. The girl who is still hanging around him(who I STILL say is Death), recommends Thanos ply his trade on something more complex... To that end, Thanos kidnaps and kills two of his classmates, in the name of science. Or at least that's what Thanos tells himself at first. However, he soon realizes that he enjoys the torture and murder, and that when he is killing, he doesn't feel alone. Still, Thanos craves answers about why he's different, so this issue ends with Thanos capturing and preparing to dissect his own mother. Now THIS is more like the Thanos I remember! Sure, the stuff with the girl/Death probably doesn't need to be in here(I don't like the idea that Death had a role in Thanos's obsession with her), but I still could be wrong about her being Death... Who knows, maybe she's actually the woman who ends up bearing Nebula... Regardless, this mini-series is still hitting almost all the right notes for me. Score: 8 out of 10.
X-Factor #255: Mephisto ends up defeating the other Hell Lords and puts an end to the Hell on Earth war. He makes himself a palace and has apparently become the ruler of not only Hell, but the entire world. Tier decides that instead of hanging back he'd go and face Mephisto. Mephisto is aware of this and relishes Tier's challenge. Plus, Monet apparently dies while fighting Guido and Madrox is still a demon. I enjoyed this issue way more than the past few Hell war issues. Maybe that's because this storyline is coming to a close... I don't know. Anyway, this storyline is actually what the Age of Ultron SHOULD be. A self contained story in one of the Avengers titles... Just sayin'. Score: 8 out of 10.
Iron Man #9: Iron Man hires Death's Head to help him track down 451. However, it turns out 451 hired Death's Head first, and Death's Head leads Iron Man into 451's clutches. This one ends with 451 revealing he had been working with Tony's old man... Wha?! Um, yeah, this one was weird... I'm not even going to say anything about that ending yet... I'll give Kieron Gillen another issue before I flip out about Tony's father working with an alien who hadn't even been around until 3 issues ago... THIS is the story they wanted to coincide with Iron Man 3!? Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.
Indestructible Hulk #7: After some brawling between the Frost Giants and Thor and Hulk, one of the Frost Giants transforms into one of Bruce Banner's assistants and infiltrates the group... Didn't know Frost Giants could do that... The Frost Giants want access to Banner's portal technology, thus the ruse. However, SHIELD shut the portal down, which has left Banner and company stranded. Oh, and it turns out that Hulk actually didn't lift Thor's hammer last issue, it was only moving because Thor was calling it back to him... Which is what I was hoping to see here. Besides that, not much to say here. I'm not really feeling this storyline... It's not horrible or anything, it's just not my cup of tea. Score: 6 out of 10.
Ultimate X-Men #26: The all-female power struggle continues!!! Kitty and Mach 2 join forces since the US government wanted to take Utopia's land back. Jean decides to help them since she didn't want Utopia toppled by the government, because Jean wanted to absorb the Utopia mutants into Tian. And we find out that Psylocke has been manipulating both sides to her own ends. I don't know what the hell Brian Wood is going for here... He's already writing one X-Women book, why is he turning this series into another!? And how is Psylocke able to spy on, and mask her actions from Jean, who is, presumably, more powerful that Psylocke?! Seriously, if it wasn't for Jimmy Hudson, I would be SO done with this series... Score: 6 out of 10.
Invincible Universe #2: Stedman's forces manage to hold off the dragon long enough for Robot to fix up Liu. Liu manages to reabsorb the dragon and teleports away, not even thanking an irked Stedman. On top of that, Stedman's assistant dies during the dragon attack, which leads to us seeing a softer side of Cecil. So I liked this comic... Sue me. What can I say, I was always a mark for Cecil, so yeah, this comic hits just the right notes for me. Plus I've been a fan of Todd Nauck's work since Young Justice, so that helps. Anyway, if you're a fan of little known, obscure characters, like I am, then this is a series you should definitely check out. Score: 7 out of 10.
Detective Comics #20: In this issue we see Batman finally pursue Ignatius "Emperor Penguin" Oglivy after robbing a bank. Batman arrives at the former home of the Oswald Cobblepot and is met by the Emperor Penguin who is now a monster of a man. Having tampered with and used Man-Bat serum for speed, a serum from Poison Ivy to give him tough, bark-like skin, and venom to make him extremely strong. Emperor Penguin surprisingly beats the hell out of Batman and then ties a chain around his neck and hangs him from a tree. Batman is then saved by Cobblepot of all people, who wants his life back and is willing to help Batman to beat Oglivy. Batman takes the fight to Emperor Penguin a second time, this time fighting him as a monster instead of a man, and manages to take him down with acid and a high-powered taser. Afterwards, we see Cobblepot give Bruce Wayne back the building he'd stole from under him, renaming it after Martha Wayne, then telling Bruce he can have the spotlight, he just wants the shadows. In the epilogue we see Emperor Penguin take out the main boss in Blackgate Prison and deems himself "Emperor Blackgate". I liked this issue, Emperor Blackgate's backstory made sense, he's been built as a threat and I can easily see him taking the role Black Mask once had. This has been a pretty awesome first arc by Layman and I'm interested in what he has planned next. Score: 8/10
Earth 2 #12: In the most recent issue of Earth 2 we see the newly christened Doctor Fate finally engage in battle with Wotan. Across the world in China, Hawkgirl and Green Lantern investigate the death of GL's dead boyfriend and stumble upon a shipping container full of a bunch of dead Parademons. GL's ring notifies him that he's needed elsewhere and he heads off to join Flash in Boston while Hawkgirl continues the investigation. While the two mystical beings face off, Flash and Green Lantern run interference and keep the peace while protecting civilians and taking down the government officials that attack the heroes. Fate eventually takes down Wotan and banishes him to another dimension. Afterwards, Fate, Flash, Flash's Mom and Green Lantern, who reveals his identity of Alan Scott to his allies, offers them a place to stay, since the government knows who Jay and his mother are and are after them. Before they can take him up on his offer, Fate informs them that the evil Steppenwolf has taken control of a dangerous country named Dherain. This was a fine issue, nothing great but far from bad. My only problem was how Wotan was built as a threat in the last few issues and talked about how much better he'd become to best Doctor Fate, then he's easily dispatched in Fate's first battle as the new Doctor Fate. It hurt the credibility they'd used the past issues to establish. Score: 6.5/10
And that's it for Mr. Wordsmith! I planned on reviewing Green Arrow but due to an extremely busy weekend that leads into an extremely busy week, I didn't have the time. But it was my last issue, so sadly I don't plan on reviewing anymore issues. Now let me end this post before I give X more ammo to call me names for giving you guys detailed reviews. Speaking of which, be sure to check X's Throwback Tuesday post tomorrow for a good laugh. Til next time, this is JT, signing off!