Iron Man 2020 (2020) #4 by Dan Slott

Iron Man 2020 (2020) #4 (of 6)Iron Man 2020 (2020) #4 by Dan Slott

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With the announcement of new Iron Man book by Christopher Cantwell and Cfau it’s starting to feel like Slott’s frankly disappointing Iron Man run is being left to limp to a close.

It’s not bad, it’s not good, it just is. It had a lot of promise, there’s scope here to explore just what advances in AI might mean for the future of human consciousness and notions of personhood. But, well, it just hasn’t lived up to that promise.

Part of the problem is the art, and I’ve talked about it before. There’s nothing wrong with the art, but when you’re building off a groundbreaking mini series by Barry Windsor Smith, you need something special, really special, and this is not that.

Slott has two more issues to pull something out of the bag and avoid this run dying with a whimper.

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Power Pack (1984-1991) #2 by Louise Simonson

Power Pack (1984-1991) #2Power Pack (1984-1991) #2 by Louise Simonson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This issue picks up right where #1 left off, as the Power kids set off to destroy their father’s machine, which, if tested, will destroy the world. But first, they need costumes…mainly because Jack’s clothes fall off every time he uses his powers (I’m not sure you could put that in a comic about pre-teen kids these days). So, let’s talk about those costumes…they’re amazing! these are simply iconic costume designs by June Brigman that have stood the test of time. Instantly recognisable, and with icons on their chests that correspond to each kid’s powers that look incredibly modern. You could imagine these symbols as iPhone app icons today.

As for the writing, we continue to get to know the kids and their world. They feel like real kids, rather than adults writing kids the way they think kids are. That’s how the felt to me when was eight and that’s how they still feel to me now. The Snarks are genuinely scary while being just incompetent enough to not scare children too much. Of course, the real villain here is corporate America, in the form of the kids’ dad’s boss, who wants to weaponize their father’s research.

This is a simply superb comic, and I’m really loving reading (or, I suppose, re-reading) this series.

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Daredevil #240 by Ann Nocenti

Daredevil #240Daredevil #240 by Ann Nocenti

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is really good. Continuing and concluding Daredevil’s encounter with Rotgut, a twisted albino African American, warped by his upbringing and by the decay of the society he lives in. Rotgut sees the apartment block he lives in as a sort of body, the pipes that run through the building akin to veins, and through his twisted logic the only way to purify that body is to inject poison into it.

There’s a lot of talk of antibodies, and here Nocenti cleverly uses the kids who idolise Daredevil as the building’s antibodies, as they run throughout warning the residents about the poison. Except one of the residents abuses one of the kids verbally, so the kid chooses not to warn him and he dies. Something the kid will be forever changed by. So the cancer, the disease, has corrupted the child.

This is a very tightly written issue, perhaps the strongest issue in this run yet. Louis Williams’ art is also great, both gritty and atmospheric. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of this run.

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Mirka Andolfo’s Mercy #2 by Mirka Andolfo

Mirka Andolfo's Mercy #2Mirka Andolfo’s Mercy #2 by Mirka Andolfo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Much like the first issue, this issue is gorgeous. Andolfo’s art is stunning, but her writing is not as good…and yet…I really enjoyed it, and I’m left intrigued enough to keep reading. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but I think there’s just enough mystery here to grab me.

Plus, as I said, it’s very, very pretty.

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Defenders (1972-1986) #149 by Peter B. Gillis

Defenders (1972-1986) #149Defenders (1972-1986) #149 by Peter B. Gillis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s exposition ahoy as we not only delve into Cloud’s backstory but also get an explanation of who Andromeda is and what on Earth she’s doing with the Defenders. Not that this is a bad things, really, especially after the previous issue’s mess of a fill-in issue, but for all that exposition we’re really still none the wiser in regards to who, or what, Cloud really is.

But that’s fine, I mean, we’re clearly saving that for the big anniversary issue that’s coming up next. What we do learn is that Cloud seems to have taken on the identities, or appearances, at least, of a couple who were left comatose after a car accident that Cloud witnessed…as a cloud. Oh, and that there’s a danger!

Also, the Interloper, whoever he might be, is heading for New Mexico. Hopefully it won’t take him too long to get there from Siberia…on foot…because this series only has three issues left!

The cover art by Kevin Nowlan is also rather lovely.

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Avengers (2018-) #33 by Jason Aaron

Avengers (2018-) #33Avengers (2018-) #33 by Jason Aaron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this was all kind of awesome. I’m not hugely familiar with Moon Knight, I’ve read a few bits here and there, enough to be intrigued. This was…not what I was expecting from this issue. This raises this character to a whole new level and…wow…it’s really good.

Moon Knight is one of those characters that I’ve always felt had a lot of potential that never really got realised, but it seems like Jason Aaron is maybe the person to do it. Or maybe he’s just good at getting me to engage with characters that I’ve only ever been vaguely aware of before, like Ghost Rider and Blade.

Anyway, this is good and it’s the start of a new arc, so a good place to jump onboard.

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Defenders (1972-1986) #145 by Peter B. Gillis

Defenders (1972-1986) #145Defenders (1972-1986) #145 by Peter B. Gillis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one’s mostly filler, not that it makes it a bad comic, but this is the team winding down and licking their wounds after the battle with Moondragaon/the Dragon of the Moon. The cover teases Wolverine and the Hulk, but they’re not really in it…a Ghost Rider free Johnny Blaze is, however (but he’s mostly here to borrow money from Angel). It looks to be setting up an exploration of Cloud’s mysterious origins in coming issues, but I guess we’ll find out in time…

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