S.W.O.R.D #2- I admit; I only intended to pick up the first issue of S.W.O.R.D. The idea behind S.W.O.R.D was great but I had concerns about how long it would last. No big-name writer; no big-name artist; no big-name characters; even with an interesting concept, in this day and age that’s a death sentence. However Marvel may have hit on a hidden gem in S.W.O.R.D. After the first issue where everyone was introduced, S.W.O.R.D #2 showed what delicious stories are available to it. I don’t know much about writer Kieron Gillen but he got his characters right. Abigail Brand (tough but funny), Beast (witty and funny), Henry Gyrich (funny because he is heading towards a car crash and he don’t even know it); all rang true to their characters and the story itself was delightful. The scenes where all the aliens were rounded up showed the sheer amount of stories available to S.W.O.R.D. Hopefully the series will last long enough to make use of them.
Secret Six #16 – After Savage Scandal got herself addicted to Venom, Bane promptly kicked her off the team and took over leadership of the Secret Six. Writer Gail Simone waste no time filling up the open spot with Black Alice joining the team. The issue starts with Deadshot and Catman breaking a child molester/killer out of jail and then delivering him to one of his victims’ father for torture. When the father started to break down, Catman then gave him advice on how torture should be done…correctly. After that they talked about dinner and went to a strip club. Having a young girl joining this group of hardened criminals will open up some interesting dilemmas as this issue showed. However what I found most interesting was Bane’s leadership. The way he handled the Black Alice situation and the fallout from the other members was different from how Scandal would have done it and it would be interesting to see how he would handle the group in a battle in the future.
X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain #1- Of Marvel's Noir line, I found the X-Men to be the most interesting. Whereas the other Noir series were mostly rethread Marvel heroes in a bad world without superpowers, X-Men Noir turned everything on its head. X-Men as psycho criminals? X-Men with guns killing enemies in droves? I love stuff like this. However as much as I liked X-Men Noir, X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain was another matter. Picking up after the last series, the surviving X-Men are now Madripoor, hunting the very valuable Crimson Gem of Cyttorak under the command of Marko Cain, the Juggernaut. Once again, writer Fred Van Lente took a chance and set Thomas Halloway/Angel as the main character. In itself that’s not a problem because I found him to be interesting but the action was a different matter. There were 2 main battles in this issue; the battle to get the gem, and the getaway from the Madripoor police. In both sequence, the action was disjointed with jumps in the action. In the previous series, Fred Van Lente was able to strike a balance between action, atmosphere, and X-Men lore. He didn’t manage to do it here. Eugenics, a side-note in the previous series, now become an important plot as the prison of Genosha Bay is introduced. Having Emma Frost as its warden was cute but the portrayal of Xavier as the criminal mastermind was not. I can see Xavier as a villainous father figure but this is totally at odds with his portrayal in the previous X-Men Noir series. In the previous series, he was the creator of the X-Men, now he’s out of prison and gunning for Angel and the X-Men? What happened? Still there were a lot of interesting ideas in this issue (almost too many), so I’ll be staying for the ride