Cream of the Crop
Amazing Spider-Man #574
Truth be told, I didn’t have high hopes for this story going into it. A war story about Flash Thompson? Whoop de frickin’ do. But it was very well written, very good. Actually, the only problem I had with it were the Spider-Man panels used to mirror what Flash was going through. I don’t think they were necessary. Spider-Man has always been almost as much about his supporting cast as it is about him. A Flash story like this could definitely stand on its own without any assistance from the title character. But I will be happy when Spidey’s revised history is explained. Last I knew, Flash had amnesia resulting from Norman Osborn trying to kill him. Yeah, he was the gym instructor at Midtown High while Peter taught there, but he didn’t remember being good friends with him. He still treated him like Puny Parker. I hope this fact is explained, or I hope somebody sets me straight if I’m forgetting about Flash getting his memory back. I like that they brought up Flash’s military background. Some of the oldest ASM comics I have were in the early 100s, when he first got back from Viet Nam.
We finally get a taste of current happenings in the Marvel Universe as we get a flashback of a Hand soldier witnessing the reveal of Elektra as a Skrull. And Daredevil isn’t necessarily the reason for Lady Bullseye’s excursion to America, he just seems to be a distraction. The Black Tarantula and Iron Fist are also targeted by the Hand, but right now we’re not sure why. They’re just told they’re being tested for something. Matt and Dakota both feel bad about what happened the previous night, but I bet it’s pretty easy to guess who feels the guiltiest. All this plus Matt’s arrest for a murder Lady Bullseye framed him for. I wonder if this book would be any good if Matt just had a day off, or at least a day when the world didn’t shit on him. I don’t think that’s happened at all since Smith started this series.
G.I. Joe #0
Okay, this is how you tease for a series. I grew up with the Joes. I saw all the cartoons, watched the movie, and collected the action figures. I didn’t follow the original Marvel series, but I picked up a few issues here and there. When Devil’s Due picked up the series I stayed around for a bit, but it was a bit corny for me. I ended up watching some old episodes of the cartoon on Cartoon Network, and realized that the show didn’t grow with me. The three stories in this preview issue show that they’re getting a bit away from corniness. We’ve still got the codenames, but this is looking more like CBS’s "The Unit." I’ll definitely be around for the first issue to see how this plays out. Yo Joe!
I usually don’t care too much to regular sized comics with back-up stories because that means I’m getting less of the main story. And this time that meant less Art Adams artwork, which I see far too little of as it is. But it worked this time. Since Banner doesn’t have his own book, I guess he needs to be featured too. His transformation into Joe Fixit doesn’t sit well with me, though. Just because he’s in Vegas, that’s the Hulk that is called forth from Banner’s shattered psyche? I hope Moon Knight takes the hint and packs it up. I’ve never liked the character, and I don’t think he’d be anything but a distraction to any color Hulk. I liked the back-up story. Again, Loeb is pulling from earlier events and building on it to have a bit of a girl’s night out with Shulkie, Thundra and Valkyrie to find Rulk, which they do, and they promptly get their rock-hard tushies handed to them.
Superman: New Krypton Special #1
What a surprisingly good read. And I didn’t have to be knee-deep in recent Superman knowledge to follow it. It starts off with Jonathan Kent’s funeral and Martha telling Clark to go be Superman. Supes then travels to Kandor and speaks with Zor and Alura about the future of all the new Kryptonians on Earth. I think having all these Supermen and Superwomen on Earth should make for some very interesting stories and should touch every corner of the DC universe. The book starts with death and ends with life, as someone who was thought to be dead recruits Luthor into a special anti-Kryptonian group. There was good flow between the stories, and the artwork was vastly different, so there were no jarring scene changes. Looks like Superman has interesting times ahead.
Ultimate Spider-Man #127
This book is mostly Peter thinking to himself, so it’s pretty wordy. Eddie goes to Peter to make him get the symbiote back for him, and Peter spends most of the issue trying to figure out what to do. Oh yeah, and Gwen is apparently not dead. That should cause all kinds of craziness and hilarity...and carnage. She’s not dead and she’s Carnage. Peter just can NOT catch a break.
Unknown Soldier #1
Wow, this is powerful and moving stuff. I think I can safely say that I do not have the constitution, the right frame of mind to be a relief work in a war-torn country like Uganda. I just wouldn’t be able to handle it. I’ve never read a story with the Unknown Soldier in it before, but I always assumed it was one person. It actually looks like a sort of Captain Universe thing, where the instincts, the knowledge comes to the person who needs it most. It’s going to be interesting to see how it uses the doctor, and what if anything can be accomplished.
Captain America #43
I wasn’t a fan of Captain America before this current series started, so I don’t know much about the intricacies of his history. Before Brubaker made him the Winter Soldier, was Bucky this much of a badass, or is continuity being rewritten? I notice it most in the Avengers/Invaders mini-series, but we get a bit of it here, too, with flashbacks. I find Batroc the Leaper to be a ridiculous concept and character. So he’s a master of a French martial art. Big whoop. Okay, I couldn’t take him in a fight, granted, but I would expect almost any hero to be able to take him. He doesn’t even have a utility belt, a shield, an iron fist, nothing. He’s just a normal guy who can jump and kick. I think had Bucky not been sucker-zapped, the fight wouldn’t have lasted much longer.
Decent issue. It’s refreshing every now and then to read a comic book without any superheroes or villains in it. All the pieces fall into place this issue, and we’re left waiting for a resolution. This isn’t a book that I just have to read first each week that it arrives, but I’m usually never disappointed by the story.
DC Universe Halloween Special #1
I’ll say it every chance I can: season 5 of Angel was the best season of television ever! And what do we get in the first story, none other than Cinco, the Luchadore/Wolfram and Hart intra-office mailman! Of course, that was the most interesting thing about that story. It was weird. It had a beginning, and it had an ending, but I think someone forgot the middle. All in all, these stories are really too short to accomplish anything. The story with Felix Faust and his dad was decent, as was the Elongated Man story, but I find it’s difficult to do more than an average story in these types of books.
Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch #1
Okay, I’m slightly hooked for the moment. Danny Ketch was always my Ghost Rider, never Johnny Blaze. By the time I started reading comics, Johnny had already come and gone, and it wasn’t long before Danny came on the scene. That being said, I was never a big fan. The grim-and-gritty heroes never did it for me. So I never knew what happened with him. I never knew that Blaze was a long-lost brother. I never knew that he was never Zarathos. Even not knowing that, the taste of GR we got this issue whetted my appetite for a little more. Who knows, this may get me to do a little back-issue research to bone up (no pun intended) on my GR history.
New Avengers #46
This is another flashback before the Invasion. The story focuses on the Skrulls’ infiltration of the Hood’s criminal group. Really, the only relevant piece of information is where the Hood’s hood comes from. It’s still a solid script by Bendis and some good looking artwork by Billy Tan.
New Warriors #17
Passable story. I still can’t get everyone’s codenames straight, let alone who they really are. It might help if the codenames were used at some point in the comic rather than only on the credits page. There’s a bit too much bitching and in-fighting and not really enough story. Okay, we get it, Jubilee, sorry, Wondra, doesn’t trust Thrash. Do they have to fight about it every single issue? Let’s just see more reasons why we don’t want this Stark-controlled fascist future.
It’s an origin story, so it’s not all that great, but Despero is found out by Enigma and Morgaine, and John Stewart is fighting himself in order to control what’s inside him. I think there was definitely more meat in the back-up story, but Bagley’s art sold the main story for me. He gets more and more comfortable in the DC universe with each issue.
Wolverine: Manifest Destiny #1
I think this issue might have been better had I been reading Wolverine since he got his memory back. Or maybe not. Maybe all I need to know is that he got his memory back and remembered something that happened in San Francisco’s Chinatown. So if that’s all I need to know, then the comic does a great job of conveying that in only a few pages. The art looks like a blatant ripoff of Leinel Francis Yu. I had to check the credits to make sure it WASN’T him.
Xena/Army of Darkness: What, Again? #1
This series picks up right after the previous mini, and it’s pure campy fun. Any fan of the Evil Dead movies or the Xena TV show should like these. Brandon Jerwa and Elliott Serrano do a great job of really getting the feel and voices for these characters. And Miguel Montenegro draws a very good Bruce Campbell. Xena and Gabrielle could be stock character faces, but you can definitely tell Ash and Autolycus are Bruce Campbell. If you’re looking for a high-brow story, though, pick up something else. This is just pure fun.
Guardians of the Galaxy #6
What a letdown from something I had such high hopes for. When I got to the end, I thought I had skipped some pages. That all happened that quickly? Where did Major Astro end up after everyone was revived? We only saw him in two panels when Aleeta was knocked out by Quill (really? Isn’t he/she pretty powerful?). What was really cheap, though, was the same schtick being used four times! Did we have to go through EVERYONE barging in and attacking everyone with the Skrull defectors? I’m hoping the next issue will pick it back up. I want to see what Vance and Starhawk are doing here.
Thor: The Truth of History #1
This was a decent enough story, but the underlying premise made it crap to me. Which is too bad, because Alan Davis is surely doing his best work ever, at least in regards to his pencil work. But seriously, Laurel and Hardy arguing over the age of the Great Sphinx? Thor immortalized in hieroglyphics on it? No, no thanks, sir.
It almost seems like Gage was coasting on this one. Hell, the last half of the book was cribbed word-for-word from scenes from Secret Invasion #7. It’s almost like he was doing as little as possible since someone else is taking over next month. And Fernando Blanco wasn’t much better. Frankly, his characters were somewhat ugly. Backgrounds were almost non-existent. Was this work by a lame-duck creative team?
Listening to: Weezer - King