AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
3.5 out of 5
(Art by David Lopez and Fernando Blanco)
In the corrupt city of Bete Noire those in need seek out Lee, a woman also known as the Fallen Angel. Lee walks the shadowy line between justice and Bete Noire's criminal underworld, her origins mysterious, but her superhuman power clear to anyone who gets in her way.
Although published by DC Comics, this book feels more of a Vertigo imprint style of story (and certainly doesn't appear to be part of the same universe as Batman or Superman). It's a far more adult book than standard DC fare, with sex and violence threaded throughout. However, it still feels like a superhero story. Sure, Lee is probably more of an anti-hero than outright hero, but her late night meetings with informants on rooftops was very reminiscent of the like of Batman. At times it goes as far as to feel almost a pastiche or parody of gothic superheroes, although the book never comes close to being considered comedic.
Despite the slightly derivative tone of the book, I nevertheless found it an enjoyable read. Lee is a compellingly direct protagonist, who refuses to be intimidated by the criminal men who view her as little more than a pretty face. There are also hints of a tragic and mysterious backstory to her which suggest she may actually be a literal fallen angel. Unfortunately we get nothing more than hints, but it still makes Lee feel like a character with depth.
4 out of 5
House Of M: The Incredible Hulk
(Art by Jorge Lucas, Adam Kubert, John Dell and Scott Hanna)
This is a tie-in to Brian Michael Bendis' 'House Of M', in which the Scarlet Witch uses her power to create an alternate reality. In this reality the world is ruled by mutants (led by Magneto's House of M) and the world's superheroes have been granted idyllic lifestyles.
This book begins with Bruce Banner finally having found peace among an aboriginal tribe in Australia. However, that peace is interrupted by A.I.M, who recruit the Hulk for their war against the mutants. When A.I.M proves untrustworthy, Banner decides to rule the human-haven of Australia on his own.
Unlike the Spider-Man and Wolverine equivalent tie-ins, this book also shows us the immediate aftermath of when the Scarlet Witch returns the world to normal (albeit minus 99% of the world's mutants). Once more the Hulk has the chance of peace with the aboriginies, but it is disturbed by conflict between A.I.M and S.H.I.E.L.D, represented by mother and daughter Dr Rappaccini and Scorpion respectively.
I felt that the 'what if?' scenario presented here just wasn't strong enough to make the most of its potential. So, I found that much like the first Hulk movie, it's fine when the large green fella is smashing stuff, but it becomes ponderous when he's not. That said, it's worth reading for the scene in which Hulk throws chunks of the Sydney Opera House at an enemy and then proceeds to flatten the rest of the building. When asked why he did that for no reason, he amusingly responds "Had a reason. Can't stand opera."
3 out of 5