Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What You Should Have Read #14

I think I’ve got a sinus headache that morphed into a migraine, and I am not a happy camper. Comics? Sure, whatever.

Amazing Spider-Man #621
Angel #30
Avengers vs. Atlas #2
Blackest Night: The Flash #3
Captain America #603
Daredevil #505
Dark Avengers #14
Deadpool #19
Doomwar #1
Ender’s Shadow: Command School #5
G.I. Joe: Cobra II #2
Green Lantern #51
Green Lantern Corps #45
Guardians of the Galaxy #23
Hulk #20
Incorruptible #3
Incredible Hercules #141
Incredible Hulk #607
Justice League of America #42
Locke and Key: Crown of Shadows #3
Spider-Woman #6
Stand: Soul Survivors #4

Ohhhh, no. That is a huge list. Hey, publishers…can’t we stagger the stuff I read a little better? Also, where applicable, the covers for this week's books will be interrupted by Deadpool.

Avengers Books

Avengers vs. Atlas was your basic two-superhero-teams-fight-because-of-a-misunderstanding issue. It was a fine issue as far as those types of battles go. Nobody won, nobody lost. The fun in this issue came in the Jimmy Woo back-up story. The short story is totally unremarkable except for the end, and that really makes the entire book worth the price of admission. The dragon is wonderful.

Y’know, after reading about Dr. Doom attempting to steal 10,000 tons of vibranium, extracting a bit of it our of Falcon’s harness doesn’t seem all that threatening. A crazy Captain America is kind of scary, but leading a small contingent of Watchdog “soldiers” doesn’t seem all that threatening. I’m not worried about Cap or Falcon, and therefore the story is falling flat for me.

Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural did very well on his first solo mission as Earth’s new Sorcerer Supreme. But his brother gets the award for best quote: “Can we focus, for just a second, on kicking the snot out of Nightmare and Doctor Doom before we move onto the next terrible threat?” I’ve never been that much of a fan of the mystical side of superheroics because it seems too easy. I know there are rules, but they seem to be more malleable than those of science-based superheroics. But this was a mini that started strong, stalled a bit in the middle, and finished on a high note. I like that this new Sorcerer Supreme is not a copy of Dr. Strange. This is a vastly different character with a different power set and mythology behind him. Great and original stories could be created from this.

Now THIS is how you end a series. This book has been top-notch since it took over the numbering of the previous Hulk series. The Incredible Hercules and Amadeus have been a wonderful team to follow, and the banter puts a smile on the Spider-Man fan’s face. This issue wrapped up just about everything we could wish for (except for Amadeus’ sister miraculously showing up…hopefully we’ll still see his search for her). The betrayal and death made sense, but they were well-concealed and not really telegraphed. I was genuinely surprised by them. Since Amadeus is only the 10th smartest person, I guess he won’t be kidnapped by the Intelligencia, but I’m hoping Bruce brings him in to help out. As for the Agents of Atlas backup, I thought as a whole it was just a big mess.

I’ve never really had a problem with the way Brian Michael Bendis writes. His books can often be extremely quick reads, but I usually feel satisfied with them. I haven’t really gotten that with Spider-Woman. This confrontation with the Thunderbolts seemed somewhat unnecessary. And the issue just seemed to end too abruptly. Where is Jessica going? Will the Thunderbolts have to walk home from Madripoor? I just felt a bit cheated out of a real story. Oh, and I just realized that the front of her costume is a giant arrow that points to her...well, you'll just have to look.

Books Based on Other Books

Well, Ender’s Shadow: Command School didn’t suffer fully in the end the way Ender’s Game did, but it was still a little too quick for my tastes. It seemed rushed and hastily put together, and had I not read Ender’s Game (the book, not the comic) already, I would have thought that it was the fault of the comic’s creative team, but it’s not. Now, I don’t know if Ender’s Shadow (the book) suffered the same fate, but the comic sure did. I’d still like to read the book, though. See if Bean is really smarter than Ender. I don’t think that sits well with me.

I always feel excited for people who The Stand for the first time. I’m also a little jealous, because I’ll never get that chance again, that feeling of discovering something so wonderful. Reading it in comic form like this is good, because it’s a slightly different experience. And this issue of Soul Survivors, with the “secret origin” of Mother Abigail, was excellent. I finished the issue with a little bit of that feeling, excitement and wonder at what might happen next in the story, even though I already know what will happen.

Doomwar Books

There is a LOT of stuff going on in the Marvel Universe. Spidey is running a Gauntlet, the Hulks are Falling, Asgard is under Siege, and now there’s a Doomwar. I thought everything was handled extremely well in this issue. Storm’s trial in a kangaroo court excellently showed the xenophobia of the new rulers of Wakanda. Doom was portrayed as a power-hungry villain who is smarter and more ruthless than anybody in the room. I appreciate Scott’s position as leader of a new “nation” and not wanting to get embroiled in a political powderkeg. It still came as no surprise that a handful of X-Men would go off with T’Challa and help their friend and teammate. The last page, though, with Shuri’s action…that was the money shot of the issue. She and T’Challa aren’t messing around at retaking their country and home from these usurpers. Good for them. Let’s hope this show of strength doesn’t backfire, though.

Hulk Books

Well, overall I’m enjoying Fall of the Hulks, but it’s getting a little crowded. I’d be okay with just the Hulk family, but since the Intelligencia is kidnapping smart people, we’re inundated with their support groups also. Since Hank Pym was the target in Incredible Hulk, we’ve got a handful of Avengers facing off against Skaar and Banner, most of whom agree to help him on his quest to save Betty.

While I am enjoying the storyline, I wish we could get through the smart-guy kidnappings a bit quicker and actually get to the Fall of the Hulks. I guess things go a bit quicker in Hulk since two brainiacs are nabbed instead of just one. The X-Men just seemed a bit pointless here. And are Bobby and Warran that close to Ororo? I know Scott is, but aren’t there a couple X-Men who were better friends with her?

Realm of Kings Books

Well, I guess it’s good that half of the Guardians of the Galaxy weren’t actually killed by the Magus. The only time I’ve ever run across this guy was during the Infinity War crossover about 15 years or so ago. He had an afro, then. I guess his return was inevitable after Adam’s return. I mean, he is the dark side of that coin. I don’t like Phylla. Ever since I was made aware of her, I guess that was during the Annihilation, she’s been nothing but whiny and needy. Visually, she looks pretty cool. But I can’t get behind her as a character, especially one who’s supposed to be so powerful.

Siege Books

Okay, books containing characters who are in Siege shouldn’t automatically get the Siege label. At the moment, Dark Avengers has nothing to do with that crossover. Sure, this could be considered a bit of a prologue, because it’s the events from this book that directly lead in to what the Sentry does to Ares in the second Siege issue, why he would do something like that. But if I’m reading a Siege book, I want it to have something to do directly with the war on Asgard. Despite that, though, it was another excellent issue. Ms. Hand steps up and gets to smack down a couple of high-and-might Avengers AND give Osborn a stern talking to…and he doesn’t even kill her! I think somebody is growing into a better person.

Spider-Man Books

Hmm, Amazing Spider-Man had a bit of a Lizard tease at the end, but we find out that the next issue has Morbius in it. Since we had a Vulture origin in this month’s Web of Spider-Man, I would have expected a Vulture story. But this issue did apparently close up the plot about Carlie’s dad, which is good, and we got some good, uncomfortable fun with the Black Cat/Spidey team-up. If Peter weren’t such a nice guy, he’d surely have some sort of friends-with-benefits arrangement going on with Felicia. She’d be up for it. I’m also liking this new, “evil” Aunt May. Who knows where that particular thread is going, but it looks to be an interesting ride.

If I never read another story about Ben Reilly, it’ll be too soon. The clone garbage was most of the reason I quit comics for a few years. Now, the Vulture vignette that started off Web of Spider-Man was short, sweet, and pretty awesome. I’m looking forward to his confrontation with the new, bloodthirsty Vulture. I think Marvel would be passing up quite a little trade paperback opportunity if they didn’t collect all of these origins into one volume after all of the Gauntlet business is finished…or right before it really gets going. I would assume a lot of people are passing this book up because of the price tag.

X Books

Screw Cable, Deadpool should have a regular book with Spider-Man. Cable is supposed to be a straight-man. With Spidey taking that role, hi-jinks and hilarity would be assured. I love it that it was Deadpool’s responses to the voices in his head that really got him in trouble with Spidey…y’know, besides the misunderstanding of Spidey thinking ‘Pool killed the shop keeper. I also loved the Hit-Monkey origin last week, so having him show up in Deadpool is awesome. Deadpool and Spider-Man vs. a monkey hitman. It’s legendary.

Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth still isn’t as funny as the regular series, but it’s still better than the team-up book. Deadpool has finally gotten his alternate zombie head home and is kicking around in the zombie world. I guess that’s what he does for a vacation. I’m expecting the funny stuff and great gags to revolve around the zombiefied characters we’ll see in this ‘verse, but this issue only gave us a clever resolution to a lame character (‘Pool’s solution to dealing with Shamrock’s luck power). Where is Deadpool’s multiple personality disorder? Is that something only allowed in the main book? I miss it.

That was a darned fine Uncanny X-Men. I’ve been wondering when and how they were going to bring Kitty Pride back, and now I know. I have to say, I’m very impressed with Magneto, but bringing a giant, planet-killing bullet back to Earth is probably not the smartest move. We’ve got her coming back now, but I guess we’ve still got the same problem of getting her out of the bullet without destroying the Earth. Oh, and the fight with the new breed of designer mutants was fun to watch, especially after Fantomex showed up. Right now I like him more than when Morrison introduced him.

Other Marvel Books

I know virtually nothing about The Hand, so it was nice to get a glimpse into the inner circle in Daredevil. Matt has been walking down a very dark road for quite a long time now, but he claims he wants to use the Hand to achieve good. I guess it’s kind of like Angel agreeing to run Wolfram & Hart. But we saw what happened to the gang in that, right? SPIKE was the lone voice of reason pretty much the entire time. I guess that role falls on the White Tiger, here. She’s doing her best to keep Matt grounded, but it doesn’t seem to be working all that well. And it may not matter since it seems that the rest of the Daimyo have their own plans for Daredevil, and that can’t possibly be a good thing for Matt.

Blackest Night Books

I’d like to know who, besides Sandblast (is he an existing character, or was he created to be cannon fodder in this issue?), Owen fed to his dad in Blackest Night: The Flash. I also wonder how Owen actually kept him chained up down there. I thought the black rings were supposed be pretty powerful, at least more powerful than some chains. Hell, they’ll regrow limbs and keep these undead monstrosities alive. But apparently they can be stopped by chains and ice. That…makes no sense at all. I hope at some point we’ll learn why the Rogue Black Lanterns were transfixed by Thawne. Is it because there were two of him flitting about, one alive and one dead? And the freezing of alive-Thawne in Iron Heights stops dead-Thawne in his tracks. Again, that makes no sense. Still, this was a better read than the Wonder Woman book.

The fighting between Lex and the Orange Lantern (whose name eludes me at the moment) in Green Lantern was good, if not too short. The fight between Parallax and the Spectre, however, was epic. I hate that Parallax had to be brought in to rescue the Spectre from Nekron’s grip, but it made sense to me. I didn’t know that Parallax was THAT powerful, though. I mean, he tore off the Spectre’s face! And Spectre as a red lantern was pretty neat, too. I’m enjoying this event, and I’m excited to see how it all plays out and what the ramifications will be.

One of the reviewers I read has not been enjoying the Green Lantern books and their tie-ins to Blackest Night. I’ve thought they’ve been pretty fun and impressive. I like Guy Gardner, who has been angry ever since I’ve known about him, struggling between his rage and his will in Green Lantern Corps. I also like Mogo’s creative solution to the problem, and that it wasn’t a permanent solution. I hope it’s something that is brought up again after Blackest Night is over. I like the possibility of ring wielders wielding more than just one ring.

Justice Books

Since Final Crisis, has there been any mention of what happens after the Fourth World is destroyed, or at least all the New Gods? The Justice League of America is about to go up against some foes with Fourth World technology, as evidenced by fakers with the weapons of Metron, Orion, Barda, Miracle Man and Lightray. Now, are these the ACTUAL weapons or just knock-offs? And where did the Shade take Green Arrow before he showed up back at headquarters. I would love for the Shade to be a recurring character with Robinson at the helm. That guy needs his own book.

Hmm, I guess I shouldn’t list Magog as a Justice book anymore. This whole storyline was longer than it needed to be, in more books than it needed to be, and out of order. First, the Justice Society annual, where Magog initiated the prison break. Then, a couple weeks later, JSA All-Stars, which contained the story leading up to the fight. Now, in Magog’s own book, the ramifications of the prison break. The timing could have been handled better. Magog does not come off as a sympathetic character. Kind of like a super-powered Punisher, but he still manages to have less of a body count. I don’t like that type of character.

Other DC Books

There’s obviously some emotion/mind-controlling shenanigans going on with the Outsiders, but I don’t know enough about the group’s history to speculate on a culprit. I’ve been reading all of the Superman books, and I don’t recall the Kryptonians using the Eradicator as an ambassador. Considering his checkered past with Earth, I would think that would be a wise idea.

Other Books

I think, if I had to choose between a book about a villain giving up the life and going straight or a book about a villain being an awesome dick and just being himself, I’d choose the latter. It sounds more fun. And Incorruptible is not fun. It’s about a villain who is moping around, not really into what he’s attempting to do, and that is to go straight. I’d rather this be a small subplot, maybe a back-up story, in Irredeemable rather than it’s own series or mini-series, whatever this is.

I’d say that Locke and Key: Crown of Shadows is shaping up to be a great book, but it started out like that, so let’s just say it’s continuing to be a great book. I like that Hill is taking his time in regards to the various types of keys that litter the house. I also liked the big key in the floor. Not your normal key.

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