Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What You Should Have Read #11

Here’s what I’m looking forward to this week:

Amazing Spider-Man #619
Avengers: Initiative #32
Blackest Night: JSA #2
Captain America: Reborn #6
Daredevil #504
Fall of the Hulks: Red Hulk #1
Green Lantern #50
Guardians of the Galaxy #22
Irredeemable #10
Justice League: Cry for Justice #6
Kick Ass #8
New Avengers #61
Thor #606
Ultimate Comics Enemy #1
X-Factor #201
X-Force #23
X-Men: Legacy #232

First of all, this is a very daunting list. But it’s a very promising one. There are a bunch of titles on here (Amazing Spider-Man, Green Lantern, New Avengers, X-Factor) that never disappoint, and I can always expect some nice sarcastic humor in X-Factor.

We’ve also got probably the biggest “FINALLY!!!” of the past few months with the final issue of Captain America: Reborn. Oh, I wonder how it’ll end? Will Steve be brought back in his body in the present? Sigh. Spoiler (and it’s only a spoiler if you haven’t read just about any Marvel title this month), he will be.

I’d like to ask a favor of DC (‘cause they read this…sure they do.): please stagger your Justice [insert League or Society here] titles please. Three in the same week? That seems a bit counter productive in a struggling economy.

It’s been awhile since Kick Ass has hit the stands, and I’d like for the series to finish up before the movie comes out, so seeing another issue is nice. Also, seeing some John Romita, Jr. artwork is nice.

We’ve got two new Necrosha-X (or is it X-Necrosha?) issues, and that’s good because it’s been a couple of weeks since that particular crossover has been visited and I’ve forgotten what’s been going on.

Necrosha-X Books

As stated earlier (hmm, last paragraph, I guess), I had pretty much forgotten what had happened previously in the Necrosha-X saga. It didn’t take long after beginning the current issue of X-Men: Legacy to remember the emergence of Proteus, but I felt like I missed an issue. I usually don’t mind the literary trick of starting something toward the middle of the story (it worked extremely well with this latest episode of Supernatural [Swap Meet]), but I was actually taken out of the story, not drawn into it. I caught up quickly, though, and ended up enjoying the issue. I’ll be very interested to see how the fight between Magneto and Proteus ends next issue.

I’m starting to feel that X-Force is just too dark of a book. I don’t mean in tone; the book works as the wetworks arm of the X-Men. I mean visually, it’s just a dark book and it’s often hard to follow what’s going on. I couldn’t tell who was fighting who. And when did Diamond Lil show up? Has she always been on Utopia? I’m pretty sure this is the first I’ve seen of her since I picked the X-books back up.

Other X-Books

What did I like about X-Factor? I liked the completely random-but-it’s-working team-up with the Fantastic Four (or ¼ of the FF), the cute Peter Pan moment that PAD threw in there, the constant comparison of Layla and Valeria, and Monet. I didn’t like her in the little bit of Generation X that I read, but PAD writes her wonderfully in this book.

Siege Books

The Storming Asgard: Heroes and Villains one-shot was pretty much just a scorecard of the major players in the crossover. Invaluable if you’re unsure of who’s fighting who, and fun if you just like handbook-type comics.

The Spider-Man/Spider-Woman scene in New Avengers was priceless. Brian Michael Bendis’ gets Spider-Man so perfectly, which is evidenced by his tenure on the Ultimate book. I’d love it if he were given a turn on Amazing Spider-Man for a storyline or two. And it was great to see Spider-Woman’s day job with S.W.O.R.D. referenced. I also think that Bendis did a great job showcasing the Norn Stones’ abilities by sending so EXTREMELY lame villains up against these four Avengers.

Avengers: The Initiative was all about the Taskmaster, his origin, his rise to power, and what he’s willing to do to play with the big boys. In essence, Taskmaster SHOULD be a major player. He just lacks ambition. His photographic reflexes should put him on top of any fight, but I guess that’s pretty useless if you don’t really have the smarts plan and pull off grand schemes. I guess that makes him a dumber version of Prometheus (or vice versa since Taskmaster was on the scene first). He really stepped up when fighting the Asgardians, though, so let’s see how far he’ll be able to ride this horse.

Avengers Books

The fight between Thor and Doom was pretty awesome, and I’m glad that the Asgardians are back in Okalahoma…y’know, so they can be invaded by Osborn and his goons, what, two weeks ago? MARVEL!! WORK ON THE TIMING OF YOUR RELEASES!! (‘cause they read this…sure they do.) I feel sorry for Balder, because WE know he’s being manipulated, and it’s by Loki, so HE should also know that he’s being manipulated.

I hate misleading covers, and the scene depicted on the cover (of which I have no .jpg of) of Ms. Marvel doesn’t even come close to happening. Captain and Ms. Marvel don’t even cross paths. Also, the story is bad and the art is ugly.

Reading Captain America: Reborn was a waste of time. The art was pretty, and I’m sure the story would have had an impact about a month or so ago, before it was revealed in a bunch of other Marvel books that Steve Rogers was back. The one consistent thing about this series was the awesomeness of Bryan Hitch’s artwork. I’ll buy anything that guy draws.

Realm of Kings Books

I guess Guardians of the Galaxy was okay. If one of your teammates is handcuffed to a member of another team, I guess it’s only natural to bring that team to help out, but I like it when the Guardians can handle problems on their own. I did, however, like the revelation on the last page.

Fall of the Hulks Books

Fall of the Hulks: Red Hulk was pretty much just an origin story for the Cosmic Hulk creature that was used in last week’s Incredible Hulk issue. Red Hulk and A-Bomb were patsies used by the Intelligencia (I’m getting the name right, right?) to active the Cosmic Hulk so they could use it against Doom. It also set up the next issue by letting Banner know he’s got a daughter running around out there.

Ultimate Books

I still don’t know what Ultimate Enemy is all about, but it was a good book. I thought the Fantastic Four moments were incredible in their mundanity, and Grimm’s revelation was awesome and heartbreaking. After seeing Johnny in Ultimate Spider-Man for the past few months, it’s good to finally know what’s going on with the rest of the team. The Spider-Woman and Nick Fury scenes were just too short to comment on. We need more of both.

Random Marvel Books

Secret Warriors lately has been too much espionage and not enough action. Sure, there was the bit with Gorgon, but there’s nothing going on with the heroes. And it’s about as bad as the most recent New Warriors series because I’m not attached enough to the characters to remember who any of them are. I know that the armless girl is Yo-Yo because the other guy said her name, but who’s the other guy (besides Absorbing Man’s son, that is)?

I remember when Punisher was a good book. It wasn’t that long ago. Now it’s beyond ridiculous. Let me know when he’s either dead or somehow not this stupid Frankencastle thing.

I feel a bit conflicted. While everything I’ve seen about the movie looks incredibly awesome, I was thoroughly unimpressed with the Kick-Ass comic book. Now, if you would have told me that a high-school freshman wrote this and got John Romita, Jr. to draw it, I’d be suitably impressed. Because this reads like nothing more than a geeky teenager’s masturbatory comic book fetish fantasy. Knowing that it’s written by an adult puts it in somewhat of an embarrassing light.

Fantastic Four seemed to have a lot of story crammed into such a tiny space. You’ve got Subterranea, evolved Moloids with their own subterranean city, the corpse of an alternate universe Galactus, and a devolved Ben Grimm. There was so much that happened that the book needed an endcap page, just to let us know what happened afterward. That didn’t sit well with me.

I wish we would have been shown the Hand vs. H.A.M.M.E.R. fight in Daredevil. I would have loved to have seen those ninjas mowing through those soldiers. Matt just can’t make up his mind about what kind of hero he wants to be, or if he actually WANTS to be a hero. A while back he declared himself the new Kingpin of Hell’s Kitchen, now he’s the leader of the Hand, which has now claimed jurisdiction over Hell’s Kitchen. Okay, we get that he likes the area, but I kinda think he’s going about its protection all wrong.

Mysterio in charge of the Maggia? Mmm, maybe, but I think he might be overstepping his bounds a bit. I think our friendly neighborhood Amazing Spider-Man might also think that. There are just some things about Spidey that you don’t mess around with, one of which is the good name of the Stacy family. I expect that Mr. Beck might be getting a beat down next issue.

Justice League/Society

I love the way Bill Willingham writes. Fables is consistently one of my favorite reads each month. But I don’t think his writing style suits the Justice Society of America all that well. I felt that just about every character talked WAAAY too much. I’m okay with that in Fables; it didn’t sit well with me in this book. I liked just about everything else, though. From Dr. Fate coming up with a plan to stop Mordru (who seemed to be much more of a threat when James Robinson and David Goyer started up this latest incarnation of the JSA, what, a decade or so ago?), to the different worlds that the JSAers were banished to (I especially loved how Mr. Terrific dealt with the Sphinx), the story itself was great. I think it’ll just take a bit of time for Willingham to get comfortable with the characters.

Is Prometheus really that much of a badass? Well, I guess he wasn’t taking down the cream of the Justice League crop in Justice League: Cry for Justice, but everything did seem a bit too easy. And I’m slightly disappointed that he took the Shade down so easily. The artwork for this series has been nothing short of stellar. I hope this guy doesn’t fall off the grid like Gabrielle Dell’Otto did. Where is that guy?

I don’t like the new Justice League of America line-up. With four of the seven (so far) members being Titans, this is looking more like another Titans team than the Justice League. I realize that Superman and Batman are otherwise occupied at the moment, but you’ve got replacement heroes for them AND Wonder Woman. Those are the Big Three right there, the cornerstones of the JLA…and we’re getting stand-ins. Of course, I’m putting a lot of trust into James Robinson, because I want to see where he takes this team of lesser JLAers. I want to see if he can pull it off, and I hope he can. He’s already intrigued me with throwing Tomahawk into the mix. I also want to say that Mark Bagley’s work is still incredible. The new character looks incredibly cool, even if he does look like a bit of a reject for a late-‘90s Wildstorm comic.

Blackest Night

As a Blackest Night issue, Green Lantern wasn’t bad. As a 50th issue, I was somewhat let down. You expect big things from anniversary issues, and I didn’t think this brought anything exceptional to the table. I liked the new Lanterns battling it out with the Black Lanterns and the Spectre. But Hal’s plan was to bring back Parralax? Really? Meh. Not all that impressed or awed. What did impress and awe me was Doug Mahnke’s art. It was detailed and expressive without sacrificing any of the story. Everything was clear and readable and easy to follow, and still looked pretty.

A couple things about Blackest Night: JSA. First, are all of the young heroes so stupid as to trust zombies with black power rings? Really? I can understand Jessie wanting her dad to be back, but Atom Smasher should have known better. He’s been around the block a bit. Second, were Superman and Lois not destroyed in the Blackest Night: Superman mini? I thought so, but I guess I could be wrong.

Next to last week’s Starman, Atom and Hawkman is the next best of the resurrected titles appearing through the Blackest Night. Ray’s origin was handled quickly and well, and I love his look as an Indigo Lantern. Very reminiscent of the Sword of the Atom days. I liked the comparison of his and Jean’s love with Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s. I kind of wish that these new ring slingers would be able to keep the rings once Blackest Night is over, but I know that won’t happen.


Superman: Secret Origin is giving us great stories that feel like the first two Christopher Reeve Superman movies. I guess that makes sense; writer Geoff Johns was assistant to Superman director Richard Donner for a bit. Superman and Batman are funny creatures. Writers can get away with severely tweaking their origins every 15 to 20 years, and I guess no one really cares. I guess it’s got to be done, though. Superman was introduced in 1938, and he’s still, what, in his early 30s? His origin has to make sense to today’s audience.

Superman went by extremely quickly. We got to the revelation at the end and I was expecting a couple of more pages, but nothing. I like that the Legion sleeper agents are slowly being revealed; now I’d just like to know what they’re doing. Issue #700 of this series is coming up in a few months, so I expect that to be answered soon, as well as this whole deal with Superman not appearing in his own book taken care of.

I can’t seem to bring myself to care about Supergirl unless she’s involved in a bigger Superman story. I’m slightly intrigued about what’s going on with Lana, though. It looks like Adam Warlock is about to find his way into the DCU through her.

Random DC Books

Teen Titans has not been readable since Geoff Johns left. I don’t have a problem with the line-up (I love Beetle and Static together), I just don’t care for the writing at all.

Random Books

I remember really liking Stephen King and Peter Straub’s The Talisman, but I’m not liking this Del Rey series as much as I’m liking Marvel’s Stand and Gunslinger books. It’s too choppy.

I used to think that Robert Kirkman was the next Brian Michael Bendis. Not quite as good, but his output is impressive, and he’s pretty consistent with his quality. Now I’m thinking he’s spread himself too thin. Pilot Season: Demonic was not gripping enough for me to buy another issue should one hit the stands. The ending was incredibly telegraphed, and there’s no way I can feel sympathy for somebody who sacrifices countless people just to save two. Spock would not be proud.

Irredeemable is still a decent book, but it’s lost some of the wow factor that it had when it started. I think trying to do more than just show a Superman-type character that goes crazy is where it’s going wrong. I don’t need to know about inter-group relationship problems. It doesn’t really help the story. And now there’s this new character that was thrown in last issue, and we have no clue who he is or what he can do. I did like the little glimpse of the Plutonian’s childhood that we saw. It showed us that he’s kind of always been a little crazy and scary.

The best thing to come out of IDW’s purchase of the G.I. Joe license was the Cobra mini from last year. That was an excellent bit of double agent, undercover story. And now we’ve got a follow up to it with G.I. Joe: Cobra II. The art is simple but effective. The story, though, is anything but simple. Chuckles is MIA and so the Joes send in someone to find him and extract him. Along the way we’re reintroduced to Xamot and Tomax, have a run-in with the Baroness, and we meet Croc Master, whose physique is pretty different from his original look, but that’s explained very quickly and it makes sense. This is a re-imagining of a childhood love that I can get behind, because it’s making the Joes into something badass, not cartoony.

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