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Fantastic Four #587, Age of X Alpha and more comic-book reviews

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 2:40 pm •  Published: January 27, 2011

This was a decent week for comic-book releases, after several lighter weeks, and “Fantastic Four” #587 was the most-hyped book of the bunch.

Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting put forth the death of a major Marvel character here, and do so with poignance and taste… it’s a heroic ending that works well.  The rest of the book isn’t 100 percent smooth, but overall it’s a very strong issue that will probably draw more attention to what’s been a very good run so far.  One more issue of “Fantastic Four” before Hickman relaunches the book as “FF.”

Also out this week:

Age of X Alpha
Though it’s not exactly a slam-bang start to the crossover, this Mike Carey issue with several artists does a good job setting up the world of the “Age of X” while still leaving plenty of mysteries to be explored.

In this alternate universe, the X-Men never formed, and mutants have been hunted to near-extinction.  The first story shows what this world is going to feel like. Scott Summers, called the Basilisk, has had his eyelids removed, and he’s used by Arcade as an execution machine, destroying his fellow mutants.  The darkness and fear of this world are set up well in this storyline.  The others aren’t as memorable, but still acceptable storylines that orient the reader to the condition of several familiar characters in this world.

Uncanny X-Force #4
Another dark story, as the X-Force invades Apocalypse’s stronghold and must determine if they will pull the trigger on a young Apocalypse.
Moody, dark and unpleasant, this storyline by Rick Remender and Jerome Opena has been memorable and well-executed.

X-Men #7
Spider-Man makes a guest cameo  in this first part of “To Serve and Protect,” by Victor Gischler and Chris Bachalo.  Cyclops and Emma Frost are working on the X-Men’s image with a PR firm; as such they’re taking on more mundane menaces that put them in the public eye.   Though still based in San Francisco, they take a trip to New York to deal with a reported reptilian creature in the sewers.   The set-up is a little dodgy, but the pieces are in play for a potentially fun Spidey/X-Men crossover.

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command #1
Darth Vader is called on to find the missing son of Grand Moff Tarkin.  The issue opens very strong, showing the conflict in Vader and what he is going through as the Emperor’s apprentice.  Written by Haden Blackman with pencils by the always-adept Rick Leonardi.

Avengers #9
Captain America and Iron Man again find themselves at loggerheads, this time over the existence of the Illuminati group, which includes Namor, Iron Man, Reed Richards, Doctor Strange, Professor X and Medusa of the Inhumans.   The heroes decide on a strategy to find out who has been taking the Infinity Gems and what the next step might be. Meanwhile, readers get some clues about how the Hood began his quest for the gems.

Secret Avengers #9
Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato explore the background of John Steele as this story arc, featuring Shang-Chi and his evil father, continues.   The black-ops Avengers title continues to be action-packed reading.

Captain America #614
The trial of Bucky Barnes, the new Captain America, for his crimes as the Winter Soldier, continues.  Meanwhile, the new Red Skull kidnaps the Falcon and Black Widow, and wants to make a deal for Captain America.   Continuing the fantastic series by Ed Brubaker and Butch Guice.

Infestation #1
The kick-off of IDW’s non-crossover crossover, in which zombies are sent to four worlds of IDW’s licensed characters.
In a secret government base in New Mexico, scientists work on an interdimensional portal.  When it opens, the undead spill out, taking over the base.  The CVO (Covert Vampiric Operations) are called in to clean up the mess, but the situation deteriorates.  By issue’s end, the zombies have been scattered to four alternate realities – which will continue in the Infestation mini-series featuring Star Trek, GI Joe, Transformers and Ghostbusters.
A good and gory kick-off to this zombie epic, written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, with art by David Messina.

- Matt Price

Comics read in 2011: 188.  Still to go: 1823.

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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