Friday, March 16, 2012

Comic Review -- Avengers X-Sanction #3: Noon / Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines, and Morry Hollowell

Alright, so I've got the all-red variant cover for this one, which doesn't look too bad, given the content of the issue, but I do have some issues here.  First of all, the all red feels like a lazy cop-out.  I can understand altering some of the tones to give the cover a different look, but really?  One-tone red, for 99% of the shot?  Give me a break.

I'll save my commentary for how he's fighting Red Hulk for my analysis below.

Cable has taken down Falcon, Captain America, and Iron Man, all because he's convinced the Avengers are directly responsible for the inability of his adopted daughter Hope Summers to save the world at the dramatically appropriate time it needs saving.  This has had a serious effect on his timeline and future, so he travels back in time, with tech from his time, to take on Earth's greatest heroes.  He's dying as the techno-virus overtakes and destroys his body, and he's fought alongside the Avengers innumerable times, but neither of these things will stop him from destroying them so that his daughter may live.

But things have hit a serious snag.  Red Hulk has shown up, and he's no pushover.  With the help of Blaquesmith, whose version of the future is what brought him back to assassinate the Avengers, a final psi-blast, and one seriously weird power stunt to take him down.  Cyclops and Hope show up, brought by Blaquesmith, but before they can contain the situation, two more Avengers show up, who will presumably feature in next month's final fight: Spider-Man and Wolverine.

To say I'm feeling let down by this story at this point is something of an understatement.  First of all, there's very little action going on in this chapter--which actually makes sense, as any kind of sustained fight with Red Hulk would surely end in Cable's destruction or death.  Instead, we see more flashbacks of what led us here, and how Cable got some of the tech that's allowed him to beat and capture some of the most premier heroes of the day.  When Red Hulk finally gets Cable in position to grapple and crush him into submission, readers get the most surprising and ridiculous display of power yet...!

Cable PORCUPINES a bunch of metallic spines out of himself and THROUGH Red Hulk's steel-like hide and body, apparently infecting him with the techno-virus!

Now, I'll admit, I've not read many of Cable's recent exploits.  It's perfectly possible that he's developed this power over time, even if it doesn't seem like something that would match his power set by anything I have read.  But the idea that this situation--you know, the one in which he's on his last legs, and being consumed by his own illness--and his love for Hope alone is what triggers this "unthinkable" turnabout in the tussle, just comes off as contrived and downright ridiculous.  I also think the paucity of action scenes between Cable and Red Hulk was a major cop-out.  At this point I really would have preferred to watch Red Hulk just pound on Cable until he shattered, bent, or broke.

I can't find much more to comment about with the art that I haven't already said.  Cable and Red Hulk look big and impressive enough in the few action scenes where they're actually fighting each other, but I was underwhelmed by the appearances of Scott and Hope, visually.  I don't know why exactly, but Hope in particular looked a little too wide-eyed and cartoony in her appearances.  Maybe that's simply emphasizing her youth, but it just didn't work for me.  And Scott just looked wooden and flat.  Oh, wait, never mind, McGuinness nailed him perfectly!  Even Spidey and Wolverine seemed a bit off in their one appearance.  Not a great setup for your final smackdown.

Overall, I'm really starting to get pissed at this story.  Unless something fan-frickin'-tastic turns things around in the last issue, I'm going to see this as simply a puerile, pointless piece of fluff fiction that's not even passable as a setup for the next story arc.  I don't want to have to say that about Jeph Loeb's story, and I'm willing to acknowledge again that this might not all be his fault, but this entire experience has been nothing short of disappointing, thus far.  NOT recommended.

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