A lot of previews this week, plus a little something extra: IMAGE previews! Didn't get ot them though, so we'll make an extra special addition to the reviews tomorrow. Otherwise, enjoy!
- American Way #3
- Well, surprise, surprise, being a 'fake' superhero sucks. The African-American hero, now known as 'The New American' takes his job seriously and becomes the golden boy of the superhero set, bristling at not being able to show he's black due to political climate. The book continues along predictably as some rather interesting characters fall into either the 'spoiled and jaded actor' to the 'longing to do right idealist' categories. One even turns out to be homicidally crazy, killing his family and has to be taken down. In the middle of the battle, the New American's faceplate cracks and everybody gasps in shock. Let's see where they take it from here, but this might be a 'wait on a trade' story.
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #204
- I just don't feel it from those cover zombies. I mean, I have seen some zombies in my comics these days, those guys look sort of bored. At least Batman looks mad. We open with a tale about a 'Gotham' under the reign of King John in Nottingham, England, where the populace decided to act crazy, thus putting their town under quarantine lest the madness spread, to keep from being taxed. Back in our Gotham, Bruce Wayne finds a secret door with secret info in his stately mansion that tells of a group called 'The Madmen of Gotham' which was sort of a covert group of high public officials that would help lead Gotham into a new enlightened future. One of these guys wanted to put chemicals in the water to even everyone out. Apparently the rest of the committee has seen Serenity, knew it was a bad idea, but the guy remained adamant. Cut back to now again and we find random super-powered lunatics in Gotham (new ones this time instead of the old standards) trying to control Gotham's populace in one way or another. It's well-written and well-paced and certainly worth a look, maybe two with the next issue.
- Catwoman #54
- Continuing the good. Holly gets out of her jam in the tradition of desperate survival. Selina breast feeds. Slam Bradley gets drunk and Wildcat shows up just in time to be seen in a bar brawl, get a phone call from Holly and dispense a bit of advice to 'keep fighting'. Looks like a late night TV host of all things seems to be more than he appears, especially since he has footage of a unmasked (but still vaguely anonymous) Catwoman kicking a man when he's down. Not too much happens here, plot creeps along on little cat feet but it does do one thing and that's remind you that this job is hard. Being Catwoman is tough and Holly just might be tough enough to do it right.
- Ion #1
- ... uhm, excuse me? Really, why do we need this book again? Not that Kyle Rayner isn't a good character who made a passable Green Lantern, but his time is done now, isn't it? And, didn't we already have this story? Kyle Rayner is 'Ion' now, a 'torch bearer' for the Guardians who aren't sure if he can handle all this awesome power- no really, I'm sure this is familiar... what isn't familiar is the flashback-now cut scenes with flashbacks of Kyle really wimping out in space, possibility annihilating a bunch of GLs (including one 'Torquemada') and then it's back to now with him chilling out at an artist's retreat. He meets a chick who doesn't talk. He meets a chick who wants to collect them bounty on him, causing him to understandably 'power up' in a nice splash page of eminent battle on the last page. Still, it leaves you with that 'why are we here again?' kind of feeling.
- Lucifer #73
- With it's Hellboyish charms, this book can bring in the bigger issues of why were create stories about where we're going and what we're doing here when they came come at it from both sides, the lofty heights and the everyman sort of state, which is what Gaudium, Spera and Lumen are for. The book pretty much made a restart for the idea of God, Heaven and Hell, et al. and is still cleaning things up in preparations for the final issue. We get a tour of the forgotten Hells and Heavens that Elaine has to dust off, erase or take care of and meet Remiel, the angel that used to rule Heaven with Duma back when there was a Hell. Lumen laments the fact that everything has been reset and feels a bit cheated out of all the hard work that had been done since time out of mind, while Spera gives hope that the best really is yet to come. Amazing how a simply written book can make you smile on a philosophical level.
- Skye Runner #1
- Don't worry if you feel like you're missing something from the first part of the book, it's supposed to be that way. Otherwise, Battle Chasers fans this way! We have the cute sword and sorcery tale of a young busty lass who's got a warrior's spirit despite her problem of being a woman. Lady Skye, instead of being a knight as she's always dreamed, is a 'runner' a sort of page/herald combo deal. At least she would be this if the kingdom she came from wasn't reduced to a small village. She's got 'the strength of three men and the outfit of three whores' (the latter of which she's rather embarrassed by, making me wonder why she doesn't just get a shirt), a sister, a moppet-like niece and nephew, as well as a flintlock and sword. Alex Garcia's art is pretty cool, very Jamie Hewlett in some places, and gets extra points for getting the story across when the art doesn't. The story really starts towards the end of the book where we get an inkling of were we're going on this adventure, when Skye kills a god. This is an epic level adventure, folks.
- Solo #10 (Damion Scott)
- Whoa, heavy hip hop art. Did anyone else even know these things are numbered? I kind of like them as single shot of art. And this shot is way too cool. Warning, this won't be everyone's cup of tea, but the work is vivid, dynamic and feels pulled off of someone's high school notebook or the underside of a cement bridge. This guy apparently used to do Batgirl, a style he revisits for a 'Cassie' era Robin/Batgirl story the only way I really see the short lived girl Robin. There's a incredible Flash story, some great portraits of Superman and a future story about Tim Drake and Cassandra Cain that's well done and slick. Again, you really got a dig the funky art, but if you do, get two copies. It's worth it.
- Warlord #3
- Sing along if you know this one: amnesiatic tough guy lands in a barbaric land that mistakes him for their savior. The guy who has been bested by our hero doesn't buy it, has ambition and hooks up with some conflicted royalty. Bart Sears's artwork is very thickly inked, which combined with the rather thick language Bruce Jones uses, it just tends to make you want to skip pages. There is a dinosaur in the book, so it can't be bad, but you'd still be better off with an issue of Red Sonja or Conan.
- Amazing Spider-Man #531
- Spider-Man fights the Titanium Man! Good ol' Russian stereotypes are in place with just a little bit of a twist at the end. He goes on an on about how terrible the fall of the USSR is and how the US government will eliminate its own heroes because he's gotten word of this 'Superhero Registration Act' and so have all his evil buddies. Yeah, you're right, that is a little too convenient. Turns out Tony Stark put him up to the attack and write that little speech for him in order to buy him some time with the committee. Forget the Civil War historical analogies, Spider-Man's appearance in the hearing the next day with his everyman sort of speech, the best moment in the book comes from the hired Titanium Man, who asks Iron Man as he hands him his payment, 'When your government turns against you... when you are hunted down and drawn out... I wonder -- how will you feel the day you run errands for other people... for briefcases full of money?' The end of the book dovetails right into Civil War #1. Folks, it begins.
- Annihilation: Ronan #1
- Like the Super Skrull issue, but not as solid. Months after the Annihilation wave (instead of the previous 'right after' issues), Ronan is a sort of Judge Dredd on a payback mission, dispensing hard justice along the way. Tana-Nile is the name of the witness who testified against him and sold him up the river, so he's hunting her down. He fights folk along the way and is a general sort of bad ass and on the last page, sort of squeezed in is a Gamora cameo. Simon Furman may need some room to get this all together.
- Black Panther #15
- Flip through it fast to get the basics. Not really worth your $2.99 considering the endings not all that surprising. What is surprising is the first three pages where we, out of nowhere, get a new/another 'Arabian Knight' from a unmentioned Middle Eastern country. They even seem to think this isn't the best idea, but if the Vatican can have a 'Black Knight' go attack Wakanda, why not them? Indeed, why not have this poor guy show up with his one little word bubble of 'Die Infidels! For I am...' sort of speech, can't hurt? Well, it can when it's right in the middle of some Black Panther & Storm relationship drama. As if Reginald Hudlin didn't trust himself to write the scene all that well, so he just sort of threw in some action to keep our interest. This miserable stereotype gets his ass handed to him while Black Panther tries to woo Storm, who's rightly a little put off by this sudden proposal. They don't spare this Arabian Knight a second look as he's trounced. Poor guy. Storm agrees to think about it and Black Panther takes her back to Wakanda when the inhabitants seem shocked and awed by the sight of their monarch holding hands with her. Meeting the Panther's momma, she finally sets things straight. Storm is a very powerful and strong character, the kind of woman you want co-leading a country. The question she poses to Ororo is simple: do you really want this crossover to last... forever? Well, you know the answer.
- Daughters of the Dragon #4
- Now that there's a Heroes For Hire book in the works, looks like this is the issue to tune into. And, believe it or not, it all sort of fits in to the recently announced title. Misty Knight gets her cybernetic arm (and The Chip) stolen back by Belladonna amidst some textbook references about psychology and masks (yeah, just go with it). Then its Humbug to the rescue! You heard me. HUMBUG. We get some 'How did Misty Knight lose her arm' flashback sequence and Stark shows up for a quickie cameo and upgraded arm-aments (Ha ha). Humbug looks to be going legit as he helps Colleen Wing find out that this book could really use some Ninjas. This book would be a lot better if they took themselves a little less seriously. I'm not saying they want to make a operatic epic, I'm saying they still want to come across as 'cool'.
- Fantastic Four #537
- Doom with hammer on the cover. Do we get it inside? HELL NO! Inside, we get Doctor Doom getting asked how he made it out of hell, only to sort of drift off for a moment to recount a fairly slap/dash explanation of how it all went down. Hammer coming crashing back to earth apparently opened up a gate between hell and earth, he hopped through, the end. Try not to think about it too much says Marvel and I don't mind agreeing with them on this one. I mean, come on, who wants to live in a world without Dr. Doom? Exposition over, he fights the FF, tries to pick up the hammer, unsurprisingly FAILS and goes home to clean house in Latveria. We get another stupid 'flash of blinding light' when Doom tried though, which apparently sent a signal to perhaps the heir to Mjolnir? Someone with the initial 'DB' or... who just likes wearing those initials? A lot of in-betweens here, just points to get to the next points. Though there is one monumental thing: THE RETURN OF THE EDITOR'S NOTE! My favorite tiny yellow boxes are back as Tom Brevoort reminds us all that Ragnarok actually happened. Not the best of notes, but still! Nice to see them back.
- Incredible Hulk #94
- Hrm, lost my notes on this one, let's see what we can pull from memory. More Gladiator action! More aliens with complex backgrounds and political structures! And finally the Hulk concedes to being in the book. I mean really, we're on our way to Planet Hulk and what is sure to be his eventual return to the Marvel Universe, this is just the slow boat. However, there are some pretty cute retro flashbacks regarding his rag tag crew's personal origins, including one from the perspective of the Hulk. Apparently, the gamma bomb was Banner's way of trying to kill the Hulk. So ... so it seems this week. Eh. This is pretty much trade fodder, considering the arcs slated for a year.
- Runaways #15
- Oh! Last issue, when Alex Wilder's old MMORPG group tries to resurrect him, they wound up getting his dad from the 80's! Somehow, that's really cool. He takes the rag tag group and goes about getting revenge for the kid he never even got to sire. Meanwhile, the Runaways deal with personal feelings and issues in a way that doesn't seem trite or whiney, we learn a little more about them through the little touches and never forget that these are kids in a really big world. That's why they go down like a tons of bricks to the right amount of tactic trickery. This book never tries to make them more than who they are and I appreciate that.
- Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #5
- Mary Jane gets her dream date with Spider-Man, who takes true nerdy care to be romantic and sweep her off her feet. Skyscraper views, a picnic beside city lights, a carriage ride in the park, not to mention a few swing bys to rescue those in need. The only thing missing is, well, a personal connection. Realizing the perils of loving a man behind a mask, MJ asks to go home, giving Spidey a peck for his troubles and pours her heart out to Liz the next day. Realizing her mistake, Liz doesn't bother telling her 'I told you so', just acts like a good friend and reminds her that Peter Parker is head over heels for her, and Mary Jane decides to give him a second chance. But it seems Peter's hitting it off with the new girl in school, a girl by the name of Gwen Stacy. God, I love this book.
- Storm #3
- And as if in contrast, we have the young love of Storm and T'Challa. The young prince is actually portrayed pretty well as he brings back Ororo and her rival to the little thief camp led by 'the Teacher'. Both share there awe and distaste for one another because of class and wealth. The rest of the orphans are in awe of T'Challa, who seemed a little more like a kid and less like some big great destined prince. His eye on Ororo, she laments being a girl, not et a woman and walks off to visit treasures that remind her of her dead parents. T'Challa follows, they talk and the rival girl gets even more jealous. Oh, and a white guy wrestled a bull. Maybe it's me, but there's just something kind of uncomfortable about reading a comic about a young girl and her blossoming womanhood.
- Wolverine #41
- Double sized, probably was slated to be an annual or some such. But this, this is the kind of Wolverine story I can get into, just a hard man doing hard work the hard way. Zwarthied, classily labeled by the UN 'world's worst country', is pretty much a little bit of everything going wrong in Africa right now. One good man cleans things up as bets he can, is assassinated for his troubles, leaving an heir in the form of a tiny baby girl who needs to get out of the country. Enter Black Panther first, who can't get involved due to the fact this book is called 'Wolverine', so he calls the New Avengers and Wolvie takes up the cause. Never been to the world's worst country, apparently. In some well illustrated scenes, Wolverine straps the baby to his chest and fights his way out. Good, moody, warmly silhouetted art, it's not too preachy on the political stuff, but it's honest as well. It's nice to see some problems with doing what he does best from Wolverine, especially when things are this messed up. Also, that is one good baby.
- X-Factor #6
- Aw. My pet theory was that Layla Miller was actually Charles Xavier after House of M. Instead, in this rather 'settling in' sort of issue, we learn as much about her origin as we learned from Wolverine's in Origin, a.k.a. just enough to keep us interested. Turns out she's an orphan and been sort of 'hanging out' at the X-Factor Detective Agency when she should be in foster care. Most of the cast still seems a little mixed on her being there, as well as sorting out what to do in lieu of the attack on Siryn and being generally snarky. Jamie and Rahne (orphans themselves) go and check this thing out and we find out Layla has some sort of 'chaos theory' power in which she can choose to do something or not and affect the future outcome of things. Think the character 'Destiny', only younger and with more butterflies. They eventually decide to take her in and only Rictor seems to think the girl is still more than she seems. It's a nice series of moments to give our heroes some credibility or detail as needed. Heck, it's been what six issues now and the little moment between Jamie and Guido (buds since the old X-Factor days) has that nice worn sweater feel. We know these characters, David's just reminding us and adding something new and different to the mix. Now whether this new and different turns out to be something more than a Deux ex Machina... we'll see.
Let's try DC first, shall we?
- Justice #5
- It's beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. I mean, open it up, first page, BAM! Probably the classiest the Elongated Man has looked in awhile. The story continues it's epic rock god plot as the villains continue to work behind the public scenes to incapacitate or kill the members of the Justice League, bringing in second stringers to the rescue. Second stringers like... the GODDAMNED CAPTAIN MARVEL! Oh yeah! There's a lot of tragedy and tears in this one, from Jean Lorring's tears at the hospital bed of the Atom (everybody 'ooooooh!'), Wonder Woman unable to understand why she can't help Priscilla, Dinah horrified by the thought of a dead Ollie, even Aquaman lying on a horrifically clean examination table while Braniac and that monkey hover near by... hoo. All really does seem pretty lost here. And when Superman's only solution is to be THROWN INTO THE SUN, you know you have a quality book in your hands.
- Ex Machina Special #1
- Okay, folks, help me out: is it 'Mah-KEY-nah' or 'Mah-SHEEN-nah'? I'm going with number one until someone tells me different. Anyhoo. So, what does Mayor Hundred think about the Death Penalty? Let's tell you in flashback detail! Part of The Great Machine's super-heroing career apparently dealt with a strange young man who got ... powers over animals going a little bit crazy, confronting The Great Machine and giving us all the feeling that this guy's gonna have to be put down. Then again, this is Ex Machina. They may be trying to tell us something here.
- Manhunter #21
- Now, I'm not too up on my lawyer specifics, but I think this is a pretty interesting little court case. Chilling in more ways than one. Doctor Psycho allegedly had random passers by at a big heist tear his accomplices, the Hangmen, limb from limb in a bloodbath. Yeah, not something you'd want to defend either, but she does it. She even refutes some evidence brought in by Dr. Midnight, whom later she has to get past armed guard to get to as he heads for the JSA 'copter. Armed guards for a superhero, whodathunk? Not to mention that they looked like secret service men. Hrmmm. Anyway, there's going to be some DNA testing done on her to see if she's a carrier for a disease her father died from which will no doubt also tell us something a little more fascinating. Also in this issue, a jogger gets tranq'd and a cheating man gets a fist put through his chest.
- Sgt. Rock: the Prophecy #4
- Now, this is how I picture historical WWII comic-ry. Even if the base plot doesn't do it for you (Easy Company escorts a young Jewish prophet and winds up leading them on through trouble and war atrocities), the art alone is worth price of admission. Solid work from a solid guy. Moments of history, moments of personality and moments of faith. Makes you wonder what's up with Team Zero. A fine example of storytelling.
- Man-Bat #1
- Just to let you know ahead of time, I have issues with Mr. Jones. Bruce Jones wrote some of the worst Hulk comics I was ever convinced to buy, so we don't see eye to eye on a lot of things. So I find myself in a little more level a position this time thanks to the fact I don't know a thing about Man-Bat outside of the Batman Animated series. The first issue isn't going to tell us a thing, just show us some creepy and traditionally paced horror stories, one victim after another, all the while looking back at Dr. Langstrom with one eyebrow lifted. Also, we have Hush. Yeah, I know, not the guy I was expecting either, but he takes an interest in the brutal 'serial killer' reports and goes to see another spooky guy about it. Batman's more of a shadowy figure in this, background noise to the victim's gruesome reports on TV, so I figure we might get him more towards the end of the book. Not much to go by, but at least a couple good spooky shots.
- Hellblazer #219
- I hope we get some confrontation this issue. While I'm not knocking the last issues for taking their time to provide some back story and show the route taken, my internal clock wants some action. Not like Constantine is Bruce Willis, but something. At least they reach their destination, finding the guy's home to poke about what seems to be painting's of Constantine's subconscious. More back story is included and apparently there exists a third place for the soul to go once it's slipped the mortal coil and it's 'Enemy is Empathy'. We have a title, folks! I'm getting the feeling this storyline might be more enjoyable in trade format, where you can link up all the back story at once, follow the office working guy who seems to be behind the evil inherent, the praexis that seem to be heralding something and our man's journey. It's good story, just starting to have that decompressed feeling.
- Bite Club: Vampire Crime Unit #1
- A return to Howard Chaykin's vampire world last seen in th Bite Club mini from a year or some back. It's got grit, I can tell you that much. There's drugs, murder, sex, dirty cops, the works. Warning, though, when you do read it your head will be full of swear words for awhile after. Blue language is littered liberally throughout the book so thickly that you have to say a few of the word bubbles aloud to make sure you know what they're trying to get across. Do not read in polite company. A woman is killed at a ironically named Vampire Club and there's foul play suspected from page three. The woman on the cover is some terribly hip mafia head who's also a very sexy lesbian, a stone cold bitch stereotype and a vampire to boot. There's a naive cop who's totally falling for her hook, line and sinker and some double crossing dealing between cops and crooks. 100 Bullets, but more fangly and a lot less subtle. Howard Chaykin I hear is 'The Man', but maybe I'm not reading the right work first.
- Iron Man #7
- Hey! I remember this book... at least they didn't start renumbering again with this new creative team. Recap is once again appreciated at the beginning of the book and reminding me that Tony's now got a special link between himself and 'computers and any digital system worldwide'. Plus he's 'biologically integrated' into the Iron Man armor. No, when Warren Ellis took over the book six issues ago, he did say that Iron Man should update his tech for the times, and I agree. But... 'biologically integrated'? I'm sketchy. In fact, I'm sketchy all through this issue before I get an idea I hope they wanted to give me. We see a spooky hooded figure logging into what I assume to be a secret net work and 'executing' a list of names. Something kills the person on the list and, for all intents and purposes, it seems to be Iron Man. Iron Man, who's gotten to be quite the douchebag as he's multitasking during a brawl with the Crimson Dynamo, not to mention mocking him openly. The Avengers are put off by Tony's 'tude, not to mention SHIELD and Nick Fury, who's not up for taking that kind of crap. It seems Tony Stark might be more 'under the influence' of the Extremis Virus than we thought. I think another issue should settle things in.
- Daredevil #84
- Well. when the title character can't get to his rogues' gallery, we bring the rogues' gallery to the title character. In a very cheesy, but strangely well played intro, it looks like Brubaker's bringing Bullseye into the mix, completely with Hannibal Lechter faceplate-thingie. Daredevil continues to play 'innocent little blind lawyer' during the day and total ninja bad ass under cover of night. The fact that no one seems to be calling him on this seems to be odd until you remember that one, this is storytelling here, unclench, and two, well Matt Murdock is a lawyer and can put himself in situations that wouldn't be admissible in court and strikes enough fear into the already weakened prison staff, so... I buy it. It's a good story. Trying to find out who did in Foggy takes him right up to Hammerhead, through the Dick Tracy-esque crime boss and to 'Ivan Murphy', tangling the plot in with the Kingpin. On the outside, Dakota North gets similar info and takes Ben Ulrich to investigate. (When he expressed his thanks for the tip, Dakota North tells him to join her fanlisting. I looked it up: she doesn't have one. Now'd be a good time to start, though... Just sayin'.) And just when you thought Ryker's couldn't get any worse or complicated... the Punisher shows up. I have to admit, Marvel puts out a fine street level crime story these days. Maybe it says something that capes aren't exactly a mainstay. Maybe it makes things more grounded.
- Wolverine: Origins #1
- I'm going to borrow something from Star Trek V, if you can forgive me for a moment. You see, the intro (which is very well written and a nice place to start if you never caught 'Wolverine Fever' and want to take a peek) tells us that now that Wolverine remembers the majority of his life thus far, he wants payback on all those that did him wrong. To aid him in this mission, he has a blade of 'unimaginable power', a Muramasa katana. And as Kirk once asked, 'What does God need with a starship?', I pose to you this question: 'What does Wolverine need with a magic sword?' I mean, really. Adamantium cuts through near everything, right? He's sort of made a living off of being a one-man army, a scrapper who can take them all himself, a loner, Dottie, a rebel. And now... he needs a magic sword? Oh well. Dum Dum Dugan takes center stage for most of our tale, playing narrator and SHIELD director while Fury's gone (wait, isn't he back in another book? Editor?), demanding answers when Wolverine and someone else attacks the White House. The President's evacuated, of course, but Wolverine's only there to shake down Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. Stopped from getting a straight answer out of Condi by the sudden appearance of a 'Shiva' robot, designed by Weapon X to 'neutralize and take down rogue agents'. I hope these are a new development because it doesn't even scratch Wolverine, but does turn Dr. Rice to ash. Wolverine takes down the robot and continues on his dark hunt. Everyone calls up SHIELD to tell them they're being played, but not really how or by whom exactly. I'd say the story feels a bit crowded, just too many elements on what could have been a very streamlined and direct plot. The sword, the robot, all the stuff unsaid but hinted at, all I really want is Wolverine is doing what he does best. Steve Dillon is great for that kind of stuff (see Preacher) and I fear might not jibe well with the type of story they're wanting to tell. Ah, well. It's only issue #1.
- Captain America #17
- A quick recap of everything we've already figured out from last issue (the town Sharon and Cap are in is a secret underground AIM base, Crossbones and Lady Sin are here to do evil) from a escaped AIM agent who fears this new splinter group that our two villains have hooked up with: RAID (Radically Advanced Ideas in Destruction). Our heroes call for backup and go in to what is obviously going to be a big trap and fight sequence, during which the 'MODOK Squad' is unleashed. Sharon has just enough time to explain that they used to be human and now they're just weapons, letting Cap give the G. Gordon Liddy line of 'Aim for the head'. Many things are beaten. Cap explains his ability to dodge bullets comes from the fact he sees faster. The bad guys are to be confronted just yet, so they get an escape. Before chase is given however, our two heroes go to check on the Bucky storyline, and it looks like he's visiting the girl from the 65th Anniversary issue. And by visiting, I mean paying respects to her grave and freaking out her daughter. It seems the Winter Soldier villain Lukin is next on his list and he just wanted to say goodbye. Seeing how Lukin also killed the Red Skull, Crossbones and Lady Sin want to see him too. They're on a collision course to wackiness.
- Annihilation: Nova #1
- No Giffen on this one, we're on our own. Richard Ryder gets woken up by the Xandarian Worldmind, the collection of the entire world's history and culture and intelligence (plus keeper of the Nova Force). It needs to get off the world before the Annihilation folks get to it and Nova is an entire civilization's last hope. So what does he do? Well, he gets tired, angry, cocky, makes two huge mistakes and tries to balance the right thing to do with all the stupid, foolish instincts that come with being human. Well played and well written. Seeing how he finds Drax the Destroyer at the last page, I really think it's going to be a terrible shame if people miss out on the Annihilation books in the wake of Civil War.
- Avengers Power Pack Assembled #1
- Second verse, same as the first; if you remember how the Power Pack X-Men books went, you have general idea of how these Avengers books are going to go. Captain America is in town to visit an old folks' home full of his old war buddies, when he runs a favor for Tony Stark and checks in on an alarm at the local Stark Industries place. Turns out Taskmaster's been hired to take something important and fights Captain America to make his escape. Power Pack, visiting their local library, sees the battle overhead, joins in and ... gets mocked mercilessly by Taskmaster. He becomes the MVP of the issue as he's not only beaten down by Captain America, but Power Pack and the old timers that Cap was going to visit in the first place. Poor guy. He does escape though, gets his job done for AIM and everyone learns a little something in the end. Kind of funny, kind of cute, good for the really small set.
- The Sensational Spider-Man #25
- There was a 'The' in that title? Must have not noticed before. So, Spidey and the Black Cat bust in on Reed Richards and Sue Storm, apparently in evening wear. They've got the little boy who was shot last issue (the Lizard's son), pop him in a Bacta Tank and start in on the explications of 'weird animal ju-ju'. Reed demands 'tests', which is comic lingo for 'stall the characters' and so we cut to MJ and Aunt May waiting for and then getting attacked by Man-Wolf. Thankfully, Aunt May comes to the rescue, thankfully losing that 'old biddy' routine she was in last issue and rescues her daughter-in-law, not to mention turns on the Avengers Tower security. Delay over, Spider-Man gets a Spider Sense that something's wrong at the homestead and runs away to show up right at the nick after the nick of time. Changing into the Iron Spidey duds, he heads off to find out what's going on. Black Cat figures there's no reason to stay with the guest stars, also ditches. Last pages leads us to believe they're bringing back Madame Web. Wow.
- X-Men #185
- The quick version: Shock continues from last issue's revelation (Gambit's new job as 'Death' Horseman for Apocalypse), Rogue takes the stereotypical route of 'there has to be a part of mah Remy still in there!', there's some fighting, Cyclops save Emma Frost from the Horseman 'War' with the blood chilling phrase 'Get away from my girlfriend' and a well placed optic blast, Sunfire is 'saved' from Apocalypse's brainwashing and the latest session of the UN is interrupted by our favorite Egyptian madman demanding that 90% of the human stock be 'culled'. With a dramatic sweep of his cape (or lack thereof), he leaves them in shock and we later hear that some countries are CONSIDERING IT. 'Some leaders would quite happily do away with most of humanity.' says a mysterious word bubble talking with Val Cooper. The O*N*E Sentinel squad out of commission, we get two new robots. And the Horseman 'Pestilence'? Polaris! There's even a little back story at the end to let us know that Apocalypse turned down the Leper Queen for the job! 'She wanted it too badly'. Man, it must suck to be Loran Dane.
- Spider-Woman: Origin #5
- Some days, I wish I was kalinara, so I could get my point of about poorly portrayed female comic book characters across in that 'hit the nail on the head' style she's got. But, I do the best I can. From the wikipedia entry on Mary Sue - Characters most commonly labeled Mary Sues are often characterized by their unusual and dramatic traits and experiences, ... and, most especially, the trait of extreme superiority in comparison to other characters.. Just thought I'd share. Anyhoo, Spider-Woman! Her father doesn't really love her, just sees her as a project. Spider-Woman! Her mother died a 'noble' death by fleeing the nasty Hydra and getting assassinated tragically without ever getting to prove herself as a real character. Spider-Woman! She's so brain-washed and confused, she just has to beat up everyone all by herself. Even the other 'Athena Project' subjects (obviously not as good as she turned out), they don't get mercy, just a fist to the face, but only long enough for SHIELD to blow the whole thing to smithereens. Which she survives. As she pleads pitifully for death, SHIELD makes the big arrest and the big rescue. And in the end, she doesn't want Nick Fury's lame-o 'lecture' about how 'pushing yourself to that point' just shows how super-strong she is, she doesn't need a frikkin' engraved invitation into SHIELD and a surrogate father through Fury. No. She's a goddamn Mary Sue and now she's gonna be a detective all by herself. As far as I'm concerned, this book hated me first.
- Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #4
- ... But this book brought me flowers and candy and rubbed my shoulders and stayed over all night watching quirky movies on the TV with me. Ah, Nextwave. What would I do without you? From the quickie primer in the front, you know this book is for you. The evil cop guy from lst issue continues to get cooler by turning into an evil giant robot cop by eating through a junkyard. All of Nextwave make many many many things explode. The Captain is explained and it's so very simple. Eventually the explode limit is reached (could there even be such a thing), the evil cop guy left bare and Tabitha and Machine-Man kick him in the street. Chastised by their team leader, they stop and let other people do it for them. In the end, 'Nextwave would like to remind the audience that dragging, insane, corrupt police officers who change into giant killer robots into an alleyway and shooting them a lot is very bad and not the Marvel way. And still illegal in most states.' And I would like you to remember that Nextwave is pure love.
Happy Wednesday everybody.
Aw, man! Did you know it's First Comic Week! (at least unofficially)? Neat.
Now, I was pretty darn nerdy by the time I got my first comic, so I can't say that it's what 'did me in', so to speak. It was for graduating 6th grade and they were from my brother, a good 13 years older than me. I still have all the books bagged, boarded and boxed somewhere, a selection of Spider-Mans (including the disco Peter Parker issue), some Uncanny X-Mens and only one of them blew me away. Reaching into the shoebox, the one second to the last was Uncanny X-Men #152.
My tiny little 7th grader jaw dropped at the two half-naked women wrestling in the sky on the cover. My mother let my brother pick this book up or was I getting the wrong box? I mean, the guy in the wheelchair looks to be having a heartattack and I didn't blame him! What was I getting into? Were these really 'boys' books'?
And then... like a beacon of shining hope, like a gift from angels above, I picked that one up, set it outside the box and found one of my mst treasured books to date: Gold Key's Star Trek #41.
A huge Trekkie, this was like mana from heaven as I'd collected tons of paperback pocket books of the adventures of the Enterprise and had run dry in my supply. The very idea of Star Trek comic books was opening a whole new door to me, one that made me step foot in my first comic shop and I've never looked back.
I eventually read that issue of Uncanny X-Men instead of making faces at it's leggy cover and came to know and love Storm as one kick ass lady (no matter her fashion choices).
X-Men #24 was my first non-Trek book, purchased off the shelves at the store I'm proud to work at now. I'm still a huge fan of the X-Men (a fact that causes me great distress some days, trust me) while Star Trek fandom is on the decline. Gene Roddenberry's idea of a future utopia just wasn't 'real' enough for modern audiences, so they got darker, got lost, and lost viewers. Comics these days also seem to be taking on that 'we need to be more real attitude, hopefully for a better effect.
Or will I be looking at a box of comics somewhere down the road and be starstruck by something entirely different than the industry provides?
Welp, Tuesday night almost seems to be my regular thing by now. It's not a bad time, doesn't really take into advantage the idea of 'preview books', but balances spoilers pretty well, or so I think. Hrm.
- Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #7
- Okay, so more Mexican wrestler madness ensues this issue as when Spidey goes back to check in on El Muerto (the guy he hideously stabbed... in the knee apparently... last issue) both of them get to tangle with El Dorado, another uninspired luchador name. Spidey uses science to defeat El Dorado's magic gold suit and doesn't answer the more interesting question of the issue. And no, it's not why on Earth Tony didn't know about the 'stingers' Spider-Man now has after all that testing he seemed to have gone through. You see, Iron Man and Spider-Man are sort of hovering around town and Spidey's having it out about all his new 'mystical'-ness. Iron Man says that magic has just as much relevance as science and Spidey fires back with the idea that, if that's the case, intelligent design should be taught along with evolution. And then... Iron Man just flies off. That's it. Dammit. Anyways, Tony talks to MJ about how guarded she is around him since the papers said they were dating (which makes me long for the helpful editor's notes they used to have in comics. I bought so many issues because of those...) and May and Jarvis (don't call him Eddie) go on a date where what looks like Uncle Ben looks in from the windows. Does anyone really care anymore when a character looks to have come back from the dead?
- New X-Men #25
- Wait, what's this on the cover about an 'ending'? Hrm. Well, inside it looks like more Danger Room fighting (special guest star Colossus!), more Stryker and his shadowy evil plot, there's a nice nod to Evangelion at the end of the book and oh yeah... Wallflower gets shot pretty violently in the head. This makes it official: Sentinel Squad sucks. These big giant robots ain't doing squat but standing around and watching cable inside their mecha if one phone call and one sniper can get through their defence and pop a cap in a child's head. Sure, they might save her by some miracle next issue but this is ridiculous. And Elixir just got done giving his 'Everyone I care about is dead' speech, too. The book isn't half bad, it's just... I wish it got the right kind of attention.
- Uncanny X-Men #472
- Funny, hoorah for Chris Bachalo getting to do what he does best as far as intricate and stylish reality... but kind of anti-climatic. By the way, the story in the front of UXM these days still has my attention, as Storm is out there hunting down mutant hunters in Africa and being strong, bad ass and a hero. I don't care that there's no reason she should be hanging out with tigers, she's on a mission! Besides, it looks cool and Storm's kick ass enough to get a posse. Back at the mansion, people are still giving off that 'killing time' vibe when Jamie Braddock shows up like a child's birthday clown! He's wild, he's wacky, he's a merry prankster sort of reality-warper and he explains a little bit about why Psylocke is such a weird little character. Apparently, something big is going to happen, enough for a Watcher to show up at the Westchester Internment Camp (oh, the giant Apoco-Sphinx that's all over X-Men? Uhm. It's on vacation.) and just when Jamie gets down to business, just when he's about to reveal something about 'The Foursaken', mean looking green hands burst out of his stomach and implode him. It was so close! Plot was right there! Something was going to happen! The X-Men reflect while the Watcher wonders, like the reader, if that was it, on whether this was the end of the world or just the end of everything.
- Cable/Deadpool #27
- Buh-Whaa? Well, the first pages continue to state a fine fourth wall breaking and honest story and again I give thanks to Joe Kelly for starting that clever little trend in the book. There's a nice nod to Cable being both very futuristic and kind of barbarous at the same time, good touch. And then we get the weird. As far as I ever knew (and a quick search on the 'net seems to agree with) is that Cable was originally created to defeat Apocalypse, right? Well, get this: according to Fabian Nicieza, Cable is responsible is constant 'resurrections' of Apocalypse because long, long ago, Cable infected Apocalypse with the Techno-Organic Virus and that made Apocalypse (possibly not En Sabah Nur) immortal. In the present, Cable helps Ozmandius bring back Apocalypse, a genocidal madman he'd sort of been opposed to since birth, because 'We need something dramatic and urgent to bring us [mutants] together.' That's... pretty urgent there, guy. Cable throws his weight around Apocalypse (rather weakened and mummy-like since he was popped out of his resurrection cycle too soon) and threatens to bleed on everyone (wait- WAIT! This might be a reference to all that nonsense in X-Men right now!) and thus infect everyone with his ju-ju, making them just as special as Apocalypse and ending his little tirade on 'survival of the fittest' as everyone will be 'fit'. Though, doesn't that sound like a good idea? Apocalypse kind of shakes a knobby fist at Mr. Man Cable and goes back to his incubator. I like Ozmandius here, he seems a little time weary as a guy made of rock who has to babysit a returning maniac eon after eon. But on the whole, I like the book too. I mean, the theory's not all that sound, but I'll run with it. There's a lot to chew on here.
- X-Men: the 198 #4
- Absolon Mercator. Say it with me: Absolon Mercator. Wow. What a name. So if one of them just got killed, why do they have a flag with '198' on it? Shouldn't it be '197'? Anyhoo, finally the refugees are sick and tired and not going to take it anymore, confronting the X-Men on all this oppression. They try and calm the masses down for Val and in the end, it doesn't work. The Man continues to be evil and Val is given at least the opportunity not to have known how miserable this was all going to get. Mister M removes the tags from His People and leads them on an exodus out of the Internment Camp. In the middle of this exodus, we take the time to not only show Squid-Stomach Guy (Johnny-Dee) flushing his dead guy doll down the toilet and getting rid of the evidence (or clogging up the pipes and calling attention to the little doo-dad) but a full page of random plot convenience where Johnny-Dee speaks to Leech who was nice enough to explain how his powers work, then leave. Back to the story- wait, one last thing. If I were Empath, I would not wear that costume. Not because it's purple and has a big triangle on it, but... okay, actually because of that. They walk to an island Mister M saw on a map once and he leads His People to walk on water to this tiny little place. The X-Men show up and continue to try and reason with them, Emma notes that Mister M is not controlling them and Erg is a little empty of mind. We're left on the cliffhanger of Mister M making a big showy blue lightning of himself.
- Ms. Marvel #2
- So, with rather strong feelings about the first issue, I belly up to Number Two with little hope. Right away, we see an ad for a 'Super-Talk-Show' in which Carol Danvers will be featured as Ms. Marvel. So, guess Civil War won't really be all that a problem for her. Her publicist calls to gloat and name drop Peter Coyote. This shows that her apartment is empty, since she's fighting the Brood right now and can't kibitz. Mind you, fighting the Brood isn't working out too well, no matter how many things she smashes. They eventually overwhelm her and just when things look dark, there a sort of bluey-white flash and there's 'Cru', our sort of blue insectoid Predator type of antagonist. He grabs up Ms. Marvel, who tries to get assure this guy that she's 'a friend', grabs some info from her brain that Ms. Marvel seems rather confused by and helpless to stop and takes off. Staying behind to clean up the Brood, she learns that 'Cru' is looking for Cavorite Crystals, which should he get to, will blow everything up. Rushing to the scene, she gets there not in time and we're left to see everything go explody white. Again. With lines like 'God, I'm so weak' and 'How could I have been so stupid?' and that last minute 'I'm too late!' I wonder how this woman has survived so long...
- Thunderbolts #101
- Featuring Songbird, the Thunderbolt's doorknob! I have seen that chick kiss so many characters.... anyhoo, it's actually a pretty good book. Once all the blarg of last issue's incredible fight-o-rama, I can kind of get into this. I love aftermath issues that help restructure a book and settle the characters down for the reader and this one is no exception: half flashback on what the Hell Songbird's doing with Baron Zemo while the other half is little moments with each other the team members to see where they stand. It starts and ends with the same question, 'Why are we doing this?' A fine question to ask in this day and age and the characters tackle it head on. This is a pretty good place to start if you're new to the book and want to see some action in a well-motivated team book. Go Nicieza.
- Annihilation: Super Skrull #1
- Take Garth Ennis, then just suck all the alcohol out of the man, maybe make him from Jersey. Maybe Newport. I think this kind of fits somewhere around there. Old war-horse and snickered-at alien threat, the Super Skrull shows up to kick butt and chew bubblegum. Seeing this 'Annihilation Wave' first hand, he goes to his government as demands actions. They have no time for his jibber-jabber, so he opens up a can of whoop ass on them. They declare him a wanted man and he nearly goes down swinging when he's rescued by a plucky young engineer who knows how totally awesome the Super Skrull really is. Reluctantly, he takes the kid on as his ally and charts a course for the Negative Zoe. A course that takes him straight to the Baxter Building and his sworn enemy, Reed Richards. After telling Mr. Fantastic of the terrible doom that's destroying entire planets, Reed reluctantly and sort of snarkily agrees to this crazy scheme. Don't think too hard or you won't have fun.
- Exiles #79
- World Tour continues. And I am such a sucker for Dystopia-verse. The point seems to be that Proteus, now using the body of Hulk 2099, has hopped to the Maestro ruled word to hop to the next most powerful host... I guess. Rick Jones, tired and abused, gives him the low-down and the method and means to do so unwittingly when the Exiles skip ahead, tell Maestro who certainly doesn't want his body stolen. A fight ensues. I can't really say if it's good or not, but I can say this 'World Tour' thing has gone on forever.
So, you're wondering where the DC books are. Turns out they didn't ship them this week, making me wonder about the 'Preview Book' process. Marvel seems perfectly content to throw you any old thing while DC tends to send books they haven't promoted that much. Like leftovers. Mind you, the books are often awesome, which makes me wonder if they just want a more grassroots effect instead of big articles and posters.
Just a thought.
One thing I would be remiss in mentioning (since a review of #2 is due up in a couple hours) is the rather well-recieved Ms. Marvel #1. Now, let me start by saying: YES! ROCK ON! Go Marvel for FINALLY stepping up and putting a super powered heroine in her very own ongoing book! Not that this is a new thing, but still, it's a beautiful thing. For a company that during the 80's had a rough looking black woman in charge of a small underground army and one of the most power groups of
teens, err, twenty-somethings, this is a step back into the right direction. Heck, if you think about it Shanna the She-Devil was a pretty rough and tumble book outside of the cheesecake.
And Carol Danvers is AWESOME! Seriously, go over to Sufferingsappho.com, and see their salute. Did you know she's was romantically linked to Wolverine... and she's STILL ALIVE? Not to mention the Head of Security for NASA, Editor in Chief of a premiere women's magazine, and freakin' Chief of Tactical Operations and Superhuman Liaison for the Department of Homeland Security pre-9/11 folks. Wow. Sure, she's had some horrifying things happen to her, but she's candid about them and still stronger for them (or so I like to tell myself). She's a recovering alcoholic, former military pilot, she can check 'rape' off her list and she had cosmic powers (possibly cosmic awareness too, but that might have been an allusion to 'women's intuition' apparently) and now, after years of inactivity, she's being brought back forward into the spotlight. A 'Woman of Wonder' for Marvel, so to speak, someone to balance out the lack of using Jessica Drew for anything particularly meaningful or encouraging in New Avengers (let's face it folks, she's there for big pin-up shots and to be a total tool for both Hydra and SHIELD, though a personality's in there somewhere, I'm sure of it), a team Ms. Marvel had the balls to TURN DOWN, even with Captain FRIKKIN' America giving her the offer personally, saying that she needed to get out there and do this on her own. That's courage. That's someone I want to read about. No teams, no setbacks, just her, some incredible gams and a will that is set on justice.
... oh wait. Let's see, #1 has her fighting Stilt-Man (oh yeah, running gag of the MU giving her some credibility there), engages in a moment of 'girl talk' at a cafe in which not only does she put her hair in a scrunchie, but talks about eating ice cream after saving the world. All they had to do was put in a comment about a guy's butt and you would have your typical 'how guys think girls talk' trifecta. Turns out she's insecure about getting out there again, and goes to hire a PUBLISIST to help her with her image. Not 'Well, I'm not sure how people will remember me, maybe I should go out and do some heroic deeds to put me in the public eye', no. A Publicist. These people also apparently handle the FF (which, I will admit, makes sense because they are practically a business team and have marketing and whatnot) and the 'Astonishing' X-Men (in a world that 'hates and fears them', I guess they need spin). Out on patrol, she gets wind of something strange happening and gets nervous enough to actually make a cell phone call in the air to Captain America (you know, the guy in New Avengers she told she could do it on her own?) for advice. He's too busy busting Hydra heads to really help (and she drops the cell phone from flight), so the poor little girl's on her own. Brood show up. She'll probably punch them.
While I understand the idea of humanizing characters to make them more empathetic ... but this has so much potential for good. This could be a different book, a better book, a book I want to put on my pull because the character is engaging and strong, not just because she's a chick and I like promoting super heroes that are female (not 'female super heroes', thanks turning me on to the distinction, kalinara). Greg Rucka got it on his Wonder Woman run, making the character not only a philosophical premise, but making the world around her rich and entertaining. Sitting at a cafe and chatting with Jessica Drew on 'Oh, I don't know what I'm going to be', not as much.
And as much s we may snicker at the use of 'Ms.', let's take a look at what that might mean. Ms. shows that she is not married, but not a younger woman, someone who is old enough to adopt her own title, but doesn't attribute it to marriage. Then again, I could just be over thinking things here, but does that at least sound like a good idea?
We'll see what the next issues hold. Maybe some self-assured strength, maybe binging on bon-bons.
or 'Surprise! You Already Know! - the Problems with Promoting Three Months Ahead'
What really sunk it in there for me was the most recent cover of Black Panther. Not shown at the Marvel site is the tagline that is set along the bottom of the image which is something to the effect of 'Who will be the Bride of the Panther?'. Ridiculousness aside, you have to wonder, '... who's the one in the skirt in the shadows?' Or, what they'd want, 'which one of those chicks is it going to be?'
Which would be a fine question and certainly would sell a few curious issues... if IT WASN'T SUCH A MEDIA BLITZ MONTHS AGO! If next to that cover, our store hadn't put the little 'faux invitations' Marvel had sent us to the 'Wedding of the Century' with Storm and BP right there in living sepia tones. Not to mention Newsarama, full page ads in CSN, the Ororo mini-series just put out with the 'Wedding of the Century' tagline right on the front cover! People, we're not expecting Storm to be a bridesmaid here. We already know. Why bother trying to hype a book as it comes out when there's already been a push for advertising months ago?
What got me typing here was a post by Mike''s Progressive Ruin, talking about the reoccurring switch in Marvel's stand on this whole 'Dark Tower' book they're planning on putting out. So we've gone from "Stephen King is gonna write comics!" to "Stephen King will perhaps be collaborating on comics with a creative partner" to "Leonard Nimoy's Primortals," it seems. he says and I have to agree. It started out as the biggest announcement of the year from Marvel then sort of slipped down to 'it'll be really cool later, so just remember all this!' to 'hey, hey, don't look behind the curtain, we're not done yet!'
Sure, it's nice to know what's up and coming in the Marvel Universe, but when one of your 'Big Tent' story arcs is going to stretch into January of the next year? Maybe you might want to wait until the issues are coming out in order to get people interested as to not lose your momentum. Maybe you might want to wait on that press release until you look at Stephen King's day-planner to make sure he won't be swamped the month you're going to release his comics. Maybe you might want to check to see how involved he'll be in the project before you go putting his name all over the place.
And maybe, just maybe, people will care more about who Black Panther is marrying if we're given a little surprise to the moment instead of having it sung ot the high heavens months before the issue actually comes out to read.
Then again, I could be wrong.
Blame it on the rain! It took me a bit to get home today, so the reviews come in just under the wire. You'd think I'd be better at getting to them early...
- X-Men Unlimited #14
- This is the anthology series, right? I hear that the 'Unlimited' books are going to turn into something else, but the idea of a bunch of short stories outside of continuity and clean up isn't that bad an idea. You just need... good writers. And surprisingly, this is a very good issue. Colossus fans, here ya go! Two short, sweet and very dark stories about the metal man, with varying results. CB Cebulse writes a tragic and very touching story regarding Piotr Rasputin and his family, not to mention the bastardish nature of death in the Marvel Universe. David Aja is also a guy I've never heard of, but his art brings just the right weight to the story as a gap is fill in from Piotr's welcome return from Astonishing X-Men. Then there's the second story, not as good as the first, but not that bad either. Mostly, writers try to write Colossus's dialogue like he's reading from a thesaurus sometimes, to get that 'artistic soul who's first language isn't English!' feel and this one's no exception. Come on, people, he was a teenager when he came to America, he knows how to use contractions and the odd slang term now and then. But pet peeve aside and moving through the pretense, it's an artist's story and kind of cool. Michael Oeming (do we say 'Avon Oeming' anymore?) channels some David Mack into Piotr's sketchbook, a little frightening and the last page is... well, you figure it out. On the whole, a pretty fine issue and worth your $2.99 especially if you like Colossus.
- Ahhh, the quiet beauty of a Jae Lee cover hides the strange and interesting conclusions this book is sneaking past you. Very clever, Mr. Tieri. While you maybe gleefully reading about the front cover story (that is Apocalypse vs. Dracula), watching The First One have to cut down his own Clan 'Acaba' (or at least the British chapter) and then prepare for a final showdown, you might not be noticing the powers of various mutants of Apocalypse's bloodline. Such as the metal skin hinting at a popular Russian, Chamber's obvious great-great-granddaddy and cult favorite Blink! Yes, stay for the pretty honest battle between two straightforwardly villainy characters, stay for the subtext!
- Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1
- How are we going to file these things? Under Annihilation? Silver Surfer? We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Anyways, skip the toner assault on first few pages and find yourself three pages in with a handy recap, telling you everything you need to know to jump right into things, where I learn that Giffen has personality on a cosmic scale. Now, I've said before that some of these 'Kree-Skrull War' kind of situations can go right over reader's heads, mostly because it's a whole new universe you're pretty much forced to like to get to the guy on the cover. Look at Planet Hulk. Considering the scope and breadth of this Annihilation thing, I figured it'd be skippable in the face of the onslaught of the Marvel Universe's BIG EVENTS (no, really, it's an Onslaught, they're bringing him back.) But as the flunkies of The Annihilation Wave put the question to not just the Silver Surfer, but all the Heralds of Galacticus, as to what makes them better than the villains of this series, you're suddenly stuck for an answer. And so is the Silver Surfer. And that becomes the story you want to read.
- New Excalibur #6
- Ah, the stories we're going to get about ex-mutants we've never heard of. This one (right above the rather cheezy story about the team interacting) is about a family of British super-heroes who saw a 'White Flash' (making me wonder what the rest of the world remembers about House of M considering all we've seen is the side of 'those who remember') and suddenly *blip!* no powers. Sucks because they were all in the air at the time on a rescue mission. The lone survivor of this tragedy is furious about how no one else seems to see this mysterious White Flash as a tragedy and blows up a train station. New Excalibur is on the scene for clean-up and gets waylaid by Black Tom, now with even more strange and plot-appropriate plant powers. Meanwhile, Pete Wisdom and Sage deal with the Dark/Shadow X-Men (pick an adjective!) and Sage gets .... something'd by Dark/Shadow Xavier. It's like I'm waiting for the point to show up, any minute now, or just to let go and let the book do whatever the heck it wants in absence of continuity. At least one thing remains the same: Juggernaut is an idiot under Claremont.
- Book of Lost Souls #6
- Wait, wasn't this book over with? Straczynski said on Newsarama that this book came out of Joe Q.'s need for a female audience. So, I'm right, it is Sandman Light. We got it all for your Manga-Reading-Gaiman-Spouting-Wicca-Testing audience! We got angels! Who cry! A talking fluffy cat who rebels against God! Mean animals and good animals! I'm pretty sure this issue was built to explain the premise of the book and the characters and that seems, to me at least, to be that between people who conform and people who live in the past are the Special People they call 'lost'. Because it's got that romantic fantasy flair that appeals to my demographic. And the kitty and the bishonen on the cover and the angel (who cries!) are there to foster the
pretty peopleThe Lost. The girl who asked the fluffy kitty about what the deal is with this place actually FALLS ASLEEP during the telling of it all and Mr. Kitty gets all smug about it. Me? I envied that chick.
- Marvel Team-Up #19
- Reset your head back to the '90's, people, it's on! Wolverine and Jubilee (complete with yellow/pink/blue outfit that's hard on the eyes) go into a HYDRA base to steal a piece of the Cosmic Cube. Cable's just there to make sure that Wolverine doesn't die (since ... he's watches over time?) and the Mandarin shows up to menace the whole damned show. Nice and simple, so much so the fight scenes seem to have that 'passing across the TV in your living room' feel. Don't mind us, we're just moving plot along, keep reading! I could have personally lived without the 'Quicksilver/Excess Baggage' crack, but an old fashioned (to me, at least) story done with interesting results.
- The End: X-Men - Book Three: Men and X-Men #4
- He still didn't get the memo about the title yet, did he? Ah well. Dr. Maureen Lysznski, the therapist, takes her place as part of Claremont's favorite supporting human character crew, showing up in this issue for the plot that probably would make a lot more sense if it wasn't for the absolute mess that's going on in space. He waxes on and on poetically about Psylocke for a moment that makes me wonder if he even looks at what he's saying anymore: 'To know her is to instantly fall in love. And be horrified at having done so.' Maybe this book's getting to him, too. Well, it's got a tattooed and leather panted Xavier on the last page, so I really hope the end is near.
- Justice League Adventures #20
- From an absolute mess to a little bit of heaven. Seriously, go get this issue tomorrow. It's in with the kids' books and is only $2.25, so add it in. You'll be glad you did. Sure, the cover seems to reek of 'Girl Power!' but it's actually not about that at all. May Marvel goes looking for Wonder Woman on advice about being a redundant superhero. She runs into Supergirl instead and they bond, both being the adorable version of a well-known male hero, and decide to go watch Diana at work with an all-chick crew against the 'New Olympians'. After their foiled, Mary Marvel admits that, yes, girls can be anything they put their minds to in that well-worn fashion, when Supergirl pulls the truth out. You see, the Martian Manhunter put together this team based on their skill and ability, not the 'girl' factor at all. 'He probably didn't even [notice]', notes Supergirl. It all makes sense to Mary. 'In the end, it's not the powers that make the hero, it's the person using them.' And that is awesome.
- Batman: Secrets #2
- I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one out there thinking of the Conan O'Brian segments. The Joker continues to try and blackmail Batman through the media to seed doubt in Gotham's public. The artwork is great, Sam Kieth delivers on every page with some off-the wall mood or depth of story where the pictures themselves actually seem more like words than the captions. I'm just not so keen on this premise. I mean, if you let go of the fact that a portion of the Gothamites are willing to watch the Joker on TV and have an iota of belief in this guy, you can also understand the faith people have in American politics these days. So there you go. Good, evocative story and you know those conversations between the Joker and Batman in the dark are going to be stellar.
- Batman and the Monster Men: Dark Moon Rising #6
- Weep with me for this, the last issue. Hand to God, I totally forgot that it was a mini-series, even forgetting the little subtitle on the cover. But trust me, Batman and the Monster Men delivers on every page. I am so glad I committed myself to reading all the Preview Books or I would have never gotten to this fun little gem. Batman using wits, skill and scare tactics, defeats the Monster Men, gets his gal-pal's dad off the hook with the mob and Hugo Strange is left loose on the streets. Then again, so it Batman. It's like an episode of the Bruce Timm Animated Adventures. A treat.
- Swamp Thing #26
- A rather beautiful little tale. Joshua Dysart wins a second look in my book as this could almost be a self-contained issue on it's own, if not a fine place to hook a new reader, based on emotional content alone. Swamp Thing angsts on his current relationship with the woman he loves while the shadowy antagonists call him on it. Going back to people who are still used to him as a god-like character, he learns that in blind rage, the Swamp Thing is responsible for the death of an 8 month old child. The artwork nearly cries with you as the Swamp Thing laments the loss and honors the tragic loss in the only way he can.
- Team Zero #5
- Someone out there loves this book. Someone is following it with great excitement. This book was even pitched with favorable results, so someone has to want this books. It's just not me. I think I'm not the target audience here and I get that feeling pretty quick. Not to knock Chuck Dixon at all, but... not my bag, baby. Team Zero is heading off the Evil Ruskies in a very macho 'five men against an army' kind of way that seems more posturing than actually thought out. Everyone looks really cool, a supporting character dies in a nobly tragic (and very quick) fashion and a rat reveals himself (he thought code names like 'Deathblow' and 'Cowboy' were 'queer'). Go read Sgt. Rock.
- Jonah Hex #6
- I like cowboy stories. Quick, bad ass, full of great catchy lines, honestly brutal and just. Call me a sucker for the typical 'cowboy cool', but the grit fits. Jonah faces both crazy nun ladies, Apaches and love in this quick and dirty little tale.
- Ex Machina #19
- Sorry, Civil War. Wildstorm's doing topical fiction better, faster, stronger and less heavy-handedly than you. This issue is chock-full of moral character and topical debate, one following the other fast enough to keep you interested and intent enough to hold your interest as they go. Personal honor and security investigations are debated ferociously, only to end on two poor cops who shoot a man in a moment of terrorist tension, only to find he had drugs instead of weapons. Topical without being preachy about it, it's even a decent 'first look through', enough time is spent on the matters at hand as to drawn the reader i without jogging their memory for last issue's plot.
Happy Wednesday, everyone.