Well, only three books for me this week and one of them may have been one from last week that I forgot to pick up. So let's just get right to it shall we. The comics in question are: World War Hulk: X-Men #3 (of 3), Mice Templar #1, and Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #1 of 6. I also picked up volume 3 of the manga series "Monster" but haven't read it yet.
WWH: X-Men #3 -- Fans of the X-Men may have been better off looking away because the Hulk goes through them like he used to go through the Avengers. Sure, a few of them get some shots in here and there but for the most part, the Hulk totally dismantles all the X-teams. It's even kinda sad how Nightcrawler's last ditch effort of flying the blackhawk into him just seems pointless at this stage of the story. If nothing else stopped him then there's not much that will do. Fans hoping for Wolverine to save the day will be disappointed as he puts up even less of a showing than before. And as for Juggernaut, that's where things get interesting. Basically selling his soul to try and stop the Hulk and leaving the X-Men with the line (though I'm paraphrasing) "Don't come looking for me, you won't like what you'll find", it's signs of an interesting future to that character. Now the debate rages on, did the Hulk "stop" Juggernaut? I say "who cares?" It was just a really cool fight to watch. Two of the biggest, strongest, powerhouses in the Marvel Universe going toe to toe, punch for punch, and doing what they do best. I didn't feel the least bit cheated in how that fight ended either. And as for the ending to the story, yeah, for a moment I did almost seem disappointed but on the other hand, I liked it. For me, it's not about the Hulk smashing people, it's about making sure those who have wronged him and those close to him are made to suffer in the same way they've made others suffer. And for Xavier, he's already suffering. That's why he was willing to surrender and face the penalty for his actions, he already feels the guilt of it and has seen what his actions have led to. He's already living that hell. There's nothing more the Hulk needs to do to him than what's already been done. So yeah, the writing was pretty solid and this was a great series to go along with the whole WWH storyline. Not essential reading for the main story but a nice sidebar. And the art was solid with a lot of great action. It definitely makes my recommended reading list.
Mice Templar #1 -- As much as I want to avoid bringing the Mouse Guard into this, there are some common issues I have with reading both stories. And these may be just my issues so take them as you will. I seem to have a tough time differentiating characters in both these books. I think part of it is the mice aspect, it's just harder for me to find characteristics I can recognize to differentiate one from the other. And then there are the names, "Steve", "Tony", "Bruce", etc are easy for me to pick out and attach to a character. "Deishun", "Karic", "Leito"? Not so much. Now they make more sense than "Tony", "Steve", "Bruce", etc. so there's no real way around it but it's still an issue for me. But getting beyond my issues, after reading the book twice to try and manage all the characters and map out their relations, I think I got a handle on it. The story is pretty quick to move along with a lot happening in this first issue (a flashback history lesson of the Templar, a spider attack, a rat attack, and a bunch of stuff to make the main character stand out as someone special). It's enough to pique some interest even if the whole "finding the one mouse and he being blessed by the gods" thing seems a little .... I don't know the right word but "off" seems to be right for me. But the story was strong enough to make me care about these mice and feel for them. The art was pretty solid and fit the tone of the book. It does make my recommended reading list as something you should probably check out. And I get the feeling it'll only take the one issue before you know whether you're into the series or not.
Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #1 -- I was a little worried that I'd have some trouble with the characters here. I know I had trouble keeping track of them in the last series and it's been a little while since I read that. Fortunately, I didn't find it too bad. I may not have connected them with the previous story but this issue sets out the characters pretty well by itself. You see right away the different personalities of the mice. The art is beautiful in this book. I'm not sure if it's just me or if it's actually improved from the last series but it's really amazing. The settings are beautifully drawn and coloured. It's almost worth it for the pictures alone. And the story is yet again, a slow moving one but it's engrossing enough to keep you interested. For fans of the first series, it's pretty clear you should pick this book up. For people who didn't read the first series, you may want to check it out to see what all the talk is about. It may not be for you but it's worth taking a peak into. It also makes my recommended reading list.
So the three books go three for three this week. A good week of comics for me.