Monday, March 8, 2010

What You Should Have Read #16

Ugh, I’ve been sick for most of the week, but now it’s Wednesday and I’m feeling TONS better and it’s new comic day.

Amazing Spider-Man #623
Boys #40
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #33
Invincible Iron Man #24
Justice League: Cry for Justice #7
Mighty Avengers #34
New Ultimates #1
Prelude to Deadpool Corps
Stephen King’s N #1
Ultimate Avengers #5

What, by Jove, is Stephen King’s N? This is something I must have. It’s what I’m most interested in this week.

Avengers Books

So that’s how the rift between Captain America and Iron Man post Civil War is going to be repaired? He doesn’t remember because he backed himself up on a hard drive before Stamford and the Civil War happened? Gah, big cheat! Invincible Iron Man is consistently one of my favorite books each month, mainly because of how smart it is, but this issue didn’t really prove that. It just took the easy way out of a difficult and uncomfortable situation. Does everybody just forgive and forget now, because technically this Tony Stark is not the same one that was a proponent of the Superhero Registration Act and who was director of Shield. Sigh.

Well, that was not a direction I saw coming in Mighty Avengers. It seems like writer Dan Slott had to do something quick to get rid of everyone on the team except for Jarvis and Jocasta, and I guess everybody had other things they could be doing, so that’s why nobody else stayed around to argue about Pym’s stability. It seems like a bit of a cheat, though. Too easy. And there’s no telling if Loki was lying or not about Hank being Scientist Supreme. I mean, that would be great if he’s not because the title is extremely cheesy and it would make him look like such a fool for going around and bragging about it so much. But who can really tell when Loki is lying and when he isn’t?


Books Based on Other Books

Okay, Stephen King’s N. is incredibly creepy, and I want to read the short story that it is based on. According to the afterward by writer Marc Guggenheim, it was as yet unpublished in February, so I’m guessing it still is. I’ve never been afflicted with OCD or paranoia, but I’ve experienced them through a loved one, so N.’s story to his therapist is just, well, creepy. And Guggenheim did an excellent job, as other King adaptors before him at Marvel, of making this feel like a King book. This was the surprise of the week, and it was a good one.

Fall of the Hulks Books

Is it a coincidence that Fall of the Hulks: Savage She-Hulks is coming out the same week as Girl Comics? The female part of this whole Hulk story has been the least interesting so far. I DO want to know who the Red She-Hulk is, but that’s about as far as my interest extends. I’m assuming this series won’t deal with that, though. It looks like this is going to tell the story of how the Wizard was able to recruit Thundra’s daughter to be a member of his Frightful Four team and help take down the Fantastic Four at the beginning of the Fall of the Hulks.

Realm of Kings Books

Well, Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk is not doing anything to make me like this kid any more. What is going to be interesting, though, is what happens with the Enigma Force. I’ve been somewhat intrigued by it ever since Spider-Man was hit by it and became Cosmic Spider-Man for a while. It’s a fascinating thing that makes each wielder pretty much omnipotent. I never realized that somebody controlled it for a thousand years or so. Screw Hiro-Kala, let’s focus on this.

Spider-Man Books

Yet another amazing Spider-Man tale (see what I did there?). Electro’s breakout of the new Vulture was nice. And does anyone who is reading this (assuming anyone IS reading it) actually remember the original Electric Company? I used to have a subscription to its magazine, and it always had a Spider-Man comic in it (I hope I’m not misremembering 3-2-1 Contact). I thought that I recognized Simple Simon, and now I’m wondering if the look of the character actually came from one of those strips. As for the mob using JJJ to throw the Vulture off of them, I’m going to let it play out a bit more before I judge it. It’s got potential, though.

Ultimate Books

Ultimate Avengers was about two pages of story stretched out to an entire issue. It was kind of like Superman Returns: a few good scenes, but not a good overall movie (or issue, in this case). I think we’ve had plenty of examples of how ruthless, amoral and purely evil the Red Skull is, so the bit with the wife and the baby in the beginning was a bit unnecessary. And the Kennedy stuff seemed to be pandering. Then, when we’re being force fed about how evil the Red Skull is, after having an entire building full of A.I.M. commandoes eat themselves, he lets the Avengers have their way with him for a bit. I enjoyed the French guards standing up for their nation, but then Millar came back and portrayed them as pussies. It’s a lame call-back from his first run with the team. I can’t say enough good stuff about the art, though. Carlos Pacheco will probably always be in my top three.

First, the title of this book is horrendous. Ultimate New Ultimates? Is this supposed to be a joke? Did they have to throw Ultimates in front just so it would fall nicely in alphabetical order with the rest of the OCD fanboys’ longbox collections? Second, I feel bad that writer Jeph Loeb lost his teenage son to cancer, and the support they both received from the comic book community was phenomenal. Heck, the boy even got a story published and illustrated by the top artists in the business (Superman/Batman #26), and Jeph had a very touching back-up in that issue where a young Clark Kent befriends a boy named Sam. But I think having Tony Stark talk about this Sam he met while going through chemo was somewhat crass. THIS is the type of book you want to immortalize your son in? A violent, somewhat amoral book of celebrity superheroes? Maybe I’m looking at it too deeply, but I’d find another way if it were one of my kids. Aside from that, the writing isn’t nearly as bad as the previous series, so yea for that. The art is just meh and a little stiff. I’ll stick around for this big Defenders mystery and to see if Thor is going to sire an offspring, but I’m digging Ultimate Avengers a LOT more than this book.

X Books

Deadpool Team-Up contained a pretty excellent idea, but, as with every complaint I make with this book, it just wasn’t Deadpool funny. I love that ‘Pool was using the comatose guy’s body as a sort of voodoo doll for It! The Living Colossus! But where were the wisecracks? Well, the attempt was there, they just weren’t funny. Leave Deadpool his one main book and cancel the others, or at least hire somebody funny to write this spin-off.

I have no shame in the fact that I was a huge Rob Liefeld fan in the early ‘90s. I’ve grown since then, though, and as an artist, Mr. Liefeld really hasn’t. Big guns, sketchy lines everywhere, and characters with ridiculously thin waists. But it’s Prelude to Deadpool Corps, so I’ve gotta get it. Ugh, it wasn’t worth it, though. This was not funny Deadpool. This was like a bad parody of Deadpool. If the rest of this mini is as bad as this first issue, then I’m going to be yet again disappointed by a Deadpool spin-off.

Sometimes the Wolverine buddy stories, where he’s out bar hopping and drinking and having meaningful conversations, those are some of the best Wolverine stories around. Now, with Captain America back, Wolvie takes him on an around-the-world pub crawl in the latest issue of Wolverine: Weapon X. It’s funny, and it’s poignant, and it ends in a bar brawl. Oh, and there are multiple Deathloks running around killing what seem to be future heroes. Maybe. Maybe we’ll get a bit of an explanation next issue as they go after Captain America.

X-Men: Hope is a reprint book. It collects the back-up stories that ran through some of the X-books, what, a month or so ago? Get this only if you haven’t read those stories already. Nothing new to see here.

Justice Books

I like team books that have members who can think and not just hit things. JSA All-Stars seems to be a hitting book, not much of a thinking one. Sand is back, so I guess he’s the resident thinker. I would assume he told Courtney to go with Johnny Sorrow, probably to rescue Al from the Subtle Realms. Hopefully we’ll learn next issue how he got there, and won’t be all punch this and kick that.

After getting so excited about Justice League: Cry for Justice, with Robinson writing and one of the Starmen and the Shade appearing, I feel let down. What was accomplished? The heroes got punked, a city was destroyed, one of their own was maimed and his daughter killed in the destruction, and all for what? I’ve got no problem with the final scene. I think that’s perfectly within character. But the whole thing just seems pointless. There was a big deal in the beginning about making everyone know that the lame Prometheus running around wasn’t the real deal. Now the real deal is back, he’s badass, and shit’s going to happen. And now there can be no follow-up. It just seems like a wasted idea, and not an original one at that (Coast City and Gotham have already been destroyed).

Superman Books

Two out of the three stories in Adventure Comics were passable. The Brainiac 5 tidbit was nice, but the rest of that Legion story was meh. Oh dear, we’ve got to go back in time and save Superman. That’s pretty much an impotent threat. The Espionage Squad was a bit better. It looks like Last Stand of New Krypton is going to answer a LOT of questions, questions that have been lingering just a little too long. I am SOOO ready to move on to something new.


Other DC Books

If you like mysteries, I would suggest giving First Wave a try. At first glance, it might seem like DC’s answer to Marvels Project, a story dealing with the company’s Golden Age characters…and Batman (who actually doesn’t show up in this issue). But it’s a good mystery. We’re given three separate head scratchers, and you wonder how everything is going to fit together in just six short issues. I’m also looking forward to learning about some classic characters that I’ve never given a chance.


Buffy Books

Oh, wow, Bill Willingham is owning Angel. He is taking everything I liked about the show and making it his own. He’s also adding to the mythology. I never realized that vamps could lose body parts and regrow them. I loved everything about the main story. Of course, it was very Spike-heavy, so that’s definitely a plus, but the “conversation” between Angel and Illyria was great, too. As for the back-up, that was just meh. But was the guy at the end, was that the guy who tried to cook and serve Nina the Werewolf to a room full of people during the last season of Angel?

I can’t say that I understand what’s going on in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8, but I don’t think I like it. Angel is Twilight? And they have some primal connection or power? I think Buffy’s original appeal was that, yeah, she had a bit of power, but she was trying to be a normal girl. Now she’s mythic. The bit with Andrew as an amalgam of superheroes, though, was quite funny and enjoyable. Oh, and how is character whose publishing rights are owned by a different company allowed to appear here? Does Joss have a bit of pull since he created them both? Or is this not actually Angel?


Other Books

As a somewhat omniscient reader of The Boys, I hate that Butcher has the wrong idea about Hughie. Dude just found something that makes him happy, but to the leader of a group of anti-superhero commandoes, it does look slightly bad when your newest recruit is dating a cape. I hope that Butcher discovers the truth before doing something awful, but I’m not counting on it. I like Super Duper. It’s nice to see some innocent capes in this book, but I assume that they’ll be torn apart by the end of this story. And the pictures of the Homelander made me a bit sick. Thanks for the shock, Ennis.

Well, I gave Green Hornet a try based solely on Kevin Smith, and I found it lacking. I loved what the man did with his View Askewniverse movies, but other than that, I don’t enjoy him as a comic book writer. I thought the book was boring, and as a new reader to Green Hornet, watching a passing-of-the-torch ceremony does not interest me at all, especially with a character whose history I know nothing about. Pass.

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