Free Falling

Snarked #9

The Walrus, the Carpenter, Queen Scarlett, and Prince Rusty have finally found the dreaded Snark Island. But of course, one of the big problems with Snark Island is that it’s got a Snark on it, and no one wants to mess with a Snark. It’s has plenty of other problems, too, including treacherous cliffs, deadly traps, and a Lion and a Unicorn who are guarding the king’s prison. Once they persuade the Lion and the Unicorn to let them pass, they discover that they king not only doesn’t want to leave his cave, he doesn’t even remember his own daughter! Plus the monstrous Snark is still out there on the island somewhere…

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was a joy to read from beginning to end. Characterization, humor, danger, dialogue, artwork, you name it. Go get it, people, come on.

Daredevil #14

Matt Murdock has been captured and imprisoned in Latveria, home of Doctor Doom — but his captor isn’t Doom, it’s Chancellor Beltane, Minister of the Bank of Latveria, and he’s not happy that Daredevil stole the Omega Drive with all the secrets of the world’s Megacrime organizations. Beltane hits him with some kind of gas before Matt makes his escape, but while he’s on the run, he realizes that the gas is slowly eliminating his senses. Can Daredevil escape from Latveria and get help before all his senses disappear permanently?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Outstanding action and dialogue. Seriously, it’s amazingly thrilling stuff, and nice and tense, too, as Matt’s amplified senses vanish one by one. All that plus a cool twist ending that leaves me very interested in where the next issue will go…

Avengers Academy #32

Juston Seyfert, the kid with his own reprogrammed Sentinel robot, joins the main cast in this issue, as he has to deal with various people who are unhappy about there being a Sentinel at a school where there are several mutant students. X-23 tries to get Juston to shut it down, and he tells her that, despite its tendency to occasionally bellow “Destroy all mutants!” most of its other directives override that one. Juston discovered that it’s not actually possible to erase that part of its programming, and rather than destroy what he thinks is a living mind, he’s chosen to make sure that its “destroy all mutants” directive is its lowest priority.

Meanwhile, the Avengers vs. X-Men war is still going on, and the X-Men have basically won because the Phoenix Force has bonded with five mutants — including Emma Frost, who shows up ready to destroy Juston’s Sentinel — the last Sentinel on the planet. Will the students try to stand against one of the most powerful, destructive beings in the universe? Should they even try?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good dialogue and characterization — it’s nice to learn more about Juston, who’s been a background character for the past several issues, and we also continue to get a good focus on X-23’s hellish past and how she’s dealing with that. I have one serious complaint — the art is pretty alarmingly horrendous. Everyone’s poses look mostly unnatural, and every female character has the exact same body type and stance. It’s just astonishingly unattractive, and I hope they get the regular artist back very soon.

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