Monday, January 25, 2010

What You Should Have Read #10

Is 2010 over yet? I think I’m ready for a fresh start. Let’s see if comics can yet again bring my spirits up.

Amazing Spider-Man #618
Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas #1
Blackest Night: The Flash #2
Brave and the Bold #31
Captain America #602
Dark Avengers #13
Green Lantern Corps #44
Hulk #19
Incorruptible #2
Incredible Hercules #140
Incredible Hulk #606
Mighty Avengers #33
Nova #33
Spider-Woman #5
Starman #81
Supernatural: Beginnings End #1
Thunderbolts #140
Web of Spider-Man #4

This actually looks like a wonderful week. We’ve got some heavy hitters in some major crossovers (Dark Avengers for Siege, Hulk for Fall of the Hulks, and Green Lantern Corps for Blackest Night), some consistently entertaining books (Amazing Spider-Man, Incredible Hercules/Hulk, Mighty Avengers, Nova, and Thunderbolts), and some promising new additions.

I’m usually wary of TV or movie tie-in books, but I’m such a fan of Supernatural that I’ve got to read the comics, too. I guess I’ve got to go back and pick up the previous ones that I missed.

The pants-wetting book of the week, though, is Starman. It’s written by Robinson (who, I just learned, has a deal with DC that they won’t use Jack Knight without his permission, so that’s all kinds of awesome) with a cover by original Starman artist Tony Harris. This might be the closest we get to the reunion of the two creators and their creation (even though Jack isn’t in the issue), so I’ll take it!

Stuff That I Loved

Starman. Oh, thank God this didn’t let me down. And this worked well as a stand-alone issue, even if you weren’t reading Blackest Night. The book quickly touched upon the main characters of Opal City and where they currently are. The book then centers in on the Shade, and it’s like the series never ended. Robinson was able to capture what few characters were still around (Clarence, Mason and Hope O’Dare and the Shade being the only ones) as if the series hadn’t ended, what, almost a decade ago. That can’t be right, can it? Hmm, 2001, so it’s close. Even though he said a return to Jack Knight didn’t look likely, I would love to see a Shade series written by Robinson. There’s a wealth of possibilities there, and I don’t think we’ve ever gotten a full origin story for him. Who’s with me?!?

Thunderbolts. I was going to put this in the like section, but as I thought about it, I realized that this was a damn good book. The ‘Bolts didn’t beat the Agents of Atlas, but they sure as hell gave them a beating. And let’s not forget the poison. Then there’s the Ghost who is still doing his own thing, but we saw how he got away to attempt to kill Stark. But this issue’s holy crap moment came at the end with Scourge’s new programming and the Headsman standing in the wrong spot.

Amazing Spider-Man. Well, this was more of a Hammerhead/Mr. Negative issue than a Mysterio one, but I guess since Mysterio is the classic villain, he gets top billing. It was still a great story, regardless of page time for the cover villain. I care not one whit for Silvermane, but enjoyed watching the recap about how the entire Maggia was decimated and was now run by a buffoon. It’ll also be neat to see an evil Aunt May for another issue or two.

Stuff That I Liked

Mighty Avengers. “I’ve been “reality-punched?” That’s the stupidest @#%* thing I’ve ever heard of.” Not as awesome as last issue, but still pretty good. I’m sick, though, of Osborn as a good guy. Let’s get into the Siege and get him taken down a peg or two. Or all of the pegs. As evidenced by this issue and other recent events, he’d be nothing without Loki, and it looks like Pym already has something brewing.

Hulk. Good start to another Marvel event. This wasn’t so much a Hulk story, though, as an Intelligencia one. I like the idea of these guys taking out all the big brains in the Marvel Universe so they can operate with impunity. The actual Hulk stuff wasn’t all that great.

Incredible Hulk. This should be read before this week’s Hulk issue. This issue’s goodness comes from the fight with Dr. Doom, both with Banner and Skaar. I also enjoyed how the Intelligencia was able to take out Doom’s intelligence. I imagine that was a sweet victory for them, since he was supposed to be in the group.

Incredible Hercules. Excellent, if not a bit predictable in parts, bit of storytelling. It was good to see Herc and Amadeus at each others’ side again. It was the sacrifice that was pretty predictable, though. I also liked the changes of heart for Delphine and Hera, and the twist with Typhon was NOT predictable…at least to me. I also enjoyed the Agents of Atlas backup and how it mirrored what was going on in the main story.

Green Lantern Corps. I liked the idea of keeping the red ring on Guy as long as possible since he had two rings on and could successfully rekill the Black Lanterns. I also liked the way Mogo was used, I just didn’t like the timeframe. Time permitting, I think it would have been more suspenseful or more of a “Hell yeah!!!” moment if this had been built up a bit more, maybe just show Mogo travelling through space for a few issues before he shows up and saves the day. I bet he’ll be used to heal/cure Guy, too.

Gravel. Nice little done-in-one story. I like the magic portrayed here rather than the stuff usually portrayed in the Marvel or DC universes (DC proper, that is. Some of the stuff over at the Vertigo offices could fit in quite nicely here. I’d like to see a meeting between Gravel and Constantine. That’d be fun.). The “superhero magic” is all showy and theatrical with waving arms and exotic tongues. The stuff here is down-and-dirty. That’s the way it should be done.

Dark Avengers. I liked this issue. I’m confused as hell about what happened in it, but I liked it. I think. I might be too confused to know if I liked it or not. Everything I know about the Sentry I learned after he joined the Avengers. I haven’t read any of his mini series, so I don’t really know what was originally said about his origin and what Bendis retconned away. So I’m very confused as to what the hell happened in this issue.

Fables. This actually almost ended up in the Meh Pile, but it was saved by the few pages of sexual tension between Red Riding Hood and Flycatcher. The rest, having to do with a baseball game where the Goblin team won the Haven pennant, was somewhat boring. I’m looking forward to the next big story, which will hopefully be the battle with the villain who has taken over Fabletown. Issue #100 is coming up later in the year, so I’m guessing we’re just taking a break before everything gets going.

Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth. “So how was your first experience with inter-dimensional self-incest?” Okay, so I still check out this book, and this issue was funny. I don’t think I could stand a series of nothing but alternate Deadpools, but this issue did it right.

Brave and the Bold. Joker stories CAN be good. The Killing Game. That issue of JLA where Martian Manhunter got into his mind. This issue of Brave and the Bold. This time it’s the Atom who has to decide whether or not to live the Joker live or die. And he’s pretty gung-ho for letting him die. But he’s a hero, and heroes don’t do that. It sounds corny, but it comes across pretty well in the issue.

Blackest Night: The Flash. This is by far the best of the minis to come out of this event. Johns is doing such a good job balancing all of these characters he helped to mold when he had his legendary run on the Flash. Now he gets to take his two greatest revamps and combine them (sort of) into something new: Barry Allen as a Blue Lantern! Both threads of this issue, the Rogues and Barry, were expertly woven into a great story that I’m looking forward to finishing up next month.

Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas. Solid first issue that pretty quickly (once they were together, that is) settled the misunderstanding of their last meeting. I’m worried about the rest of the crossover, though, because time-based stories have a tendency to get overcomplicated. It’s the problem I had with the Avengers/Invaders series. The best thing about the backup story was its length. It was mercifully short, and incredibly gag inducing.

Stuff That Was Meh

Nova (Time-travel stories seem so pointless), Project Superpowers (Now I’m just getting it for the pretty, pretty Alex Ross covers), Supernatural (Gah, I’m still not a fan of licensed properties), Web of Spider-Man (Got it only for the Mysterio “origin” story and wasn’t impressed), Spider-Woman (I’m disappointed that there’s a Bendis book out there I’m not absolutely loving), Incorruptible (I’m enjoying the main series rather than this mirrored counterpart), and Captain America (more Cap, less crappy backup).

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