Monday, April 12, 2010

What You Should Have Read #20


I’m a little surprised that Avengers: The Origin hasn’t happened before this. If you’re familiar with the Avengers and how they got together, then this isn’t new for anybody. This just updates the team’s origin and let’s us know it’s updated by throwing in computers and email. Also, and maybe this was already known and maybe not, but apparently Stark Industries developed Shield’s helicarrier. It is a good read, though, and it’s pretty to look at.

I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of Our Fathers. I didn’t notice Cap’s shield on the cover, or else WWII as the setting wouldn’t have been such a shock. Well, I guess the title was a bit of a hint, too. So this is the first meeting of Cap and the Black Panther, but I think we can safely assume that this isn’t T’Challa, but most likely his father or grandfather. It’s a good story. I like how Gabe (that’s his name, right?) is getting some panel time, but he’s not being exploited by writer Reginald Hudlin as the only black member of the Howling Commandoes. I like the limited use of color (hmm, that phrase seems to take on a new meaning) by Pete Pantazis. It really makes Denys Cowan’s art pop when we eventually do get a bright splash of color. So yeah, I guess I like this book.

I normally don’t enjoy solo mini-series for characters I enjoy so much on a team. Sometimes a character works better as a member of the X-Men or the Avengers rather than fighting the good fight solo. But I thought I’d check out New Avengers: Luke Cage before dismissing it, and I liked the first issue. It’s Cage dealing with something in his past, which seems to be the default theme of mini-series like this. But it’s brought to the here-and-now by throwing in a couple of Spider-Man baddies and respecting the current continuity. So kudos to writer John Arcudi for that. I don’t recall ever having seen artist Eric Canete’s work before, but so far I’m impressed. He does a good job of not making all of the background/minor characters look the same, and there’s an energy to the work that I like. Hopefully I’ll be just as impressed with the remaining two issues of the mini.

Realm of Kings

Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk seems to have nothing to do with the rest of the crossover. Whereas the other books deal with creatures in or from the Fault, this is only tangentially related. It’s also done nothing to make me like this character any more. It looks like the only thing decent that might come from this series is the “resurrection” of the Micronauts.

Second Coming

Although it’s set during the events of Messiah Complex, I’m putting Cable here since Second Coming is a direct result of MC. I never read the Cable/Deadpool series, but now I’m thinking I need to go back and do just that. This issue was great. The chemistry between these characteristically polar opposites was great. These two characters need to get together again. I’d love to see what happens when Deadpool meets a grown-up Hope. That could be fun.

If this issue of Uncanny X-Men is doing what I think it’s doing, it’s doing a good job of it. Sure, it’s throwing a bunch of stuff at Cable and Hope, but we’re seeing Cyclops functioning as a competent and able leader with talented and ready crew. It’s like we’re being set up for an easy win early in the game, so I’m expecting that, within another issue or two, the shit is going to hit the fan and our mutant heroes will be taken down a few pegs. That’s a good way to handle a story like this, so kudos to writer Matt Fraction. I really like the use of Cypher here. I always thought he was a useless character, but the upgrades he’s been given have made him pretty indispensable to Cyclops.


Uhhhhh, Spider-Man: Fever was just a bit too trippy for me. I have no idea who Brendan McCarthy is, but his style is pretty reminiscent of an underground comic creator, and his artwork at times reminds me of Peter Bagge. Half the book is a crazy LSD trip, and I’m assuming that all of the next issue will be similar. Good effort, but no thanks.



Well, I guess we learned who one of the characters is on one of the variant covers to issue #1 of Ultimate X. I don’t like this look for Jean Grey and hopes she goes back to something a bit more normal. Other than that, though, this was a good issue showing us what Jean has been doing since Scott’s death. Special people just can’t live mundane lives, at least not in comic books. I wonder if this first arc will introduce us to one of those cover characters each issue. I’m okay with that. I guess next issue we’ll learn how Jimmy found Jean and if Kitty is with him.


From one Captain America in last month’s Wolverine: Weapon X to another one in this month’s. As with last month’s bar hopping of Logan and Steve, it wasn’t the action that really brought this book home (although the fight with the Deathloks was good). It was one tiny thing: Bucky having dinner and talking about food in Russia. It’s the little things like that that humanize these characters and make them just a teensy bit more relatable and a lot more likable. I have no speculations on the identity of The General. I don’t often like to do that. It tends to ruin the revelation for me whether I’m right or not. If I’m right, then the surprise is ruined, and if I’m wrong, I’m disappointed because I’m wrong. I’ll just enjoy it for what it is.

World War Hulks

The last time I paid any attention to Rick and Marlo, Marlo had moved on to women and was seeing Moondragon. What happened with that? Eh, I guess it’s moot. Did we really have to see them taking a relationship break? That could have been covered off panel. The Talbot story was a good way of showing what kind of a soldier he is and what we might expect from him. The Cosmic Hulk (blech) story was more of a Betty/Glenn story. I thought the Samson story in a recent issue of Hulk was much more illustrative of Leonard than this small story. The Red She-Hulk story was a good continuation from her Hulk back-ups, but I don’t really like her as a character. The Hulkpool story could have been better. Arguing Hulk monologues would have been a plus. But at least we learned how Red Hulk got Deadpool into a duffel bag. I was really hoping for more from the first issue of World War Hulks, maybe of the actual war rather than some vignettes.

Other Marvel Books

Just when I thought Marvel milked their zombies for all they were worth, Marvel Zombies 5 comes along, and I’m still interested. So far, I like the premise. Machine Man and Howard the Duck are traversing parallel worlds that have been infected by zombie plagues in the hopes of finding the cure for the plague on their world. Wait, is their world the 616 Marvel Universe? Does Deadpool’s decapitated zombie head count as an infestation, or am I forgetting something from the ending of the last zombie mini-series? Either way, I think I’m going to enjoy their trip through the multiverse, hopefully in ways that I didn’t enjoy Deadpool’s recent jaunt in Prelude to Deadpool Corps.

Stephen King’s N. is freaking me the fuck out. And Alex Maleev’s art is doing a great job of giving it that extremely spooky ambiance. It’s weird. I don’t like horror stuff. I’m very easily scared. But I’ve been a fan of Stephen King since I was in middle school, maybe a bit earlier. He hasn’t helped in my trials as a scaredy cat. This book isn’t helping either. Lately king’s work has been less spooky and a bit more suspenseful. This has got classic King. Spooky creature. Ordinary people struggling to keep this creature at bay. Ordinary people failing. I’m loving this and getting freaked out at the same time.

For right now, I’m just assuming that S.H.I.E.L.D. takes place in an alternate reality. That has to be the only reason why we’ve never heard of the Brood attacking ancient Egypt of Galileo taking out Galactus. And Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic’s dads working for “S.H.I.E.L.D.” in a secret city deep under Rome in the ‘50s? Yeah, it’s gotta be an alternate reality. Doesn’t it? And who’s the guy with the Eternity or Captain Universe-like body?

Justice League/Society

Flash Secret Files and Origins is a pretty handy book, and it’s got a good tease for the new Flash series about to be released. The story is pretty forgettable, but it throws in a couple of interesting nuggets. First, apparently all the speedsters connected to the speed force are now drawn to Barry and his emotions. Ooooookay. Second, the Rogues have a contingency plan should Barry ever return…which he has. So let the speculations on what that play is…begin! The rest of the book is filled with dossiers on just about everybody important in the Flash’s world. Regular readers get to bone up, and new readers get a quick introduction to everyone. It’s kind of win-win.

Can somebody clear something up for me? Does JSA All-Stars take place before or after Blackest Night? If it’s before, then this story needs to wrap up quickly so it can get back into continuity. If it’s after, I guess Damage was resurrected along with a bunch of the other heroes via the White Lantern. My biggest problem with this issue was the relative ease with which Anna Fortune captured the King of Tears. He was a pretty big deal for the JSA when the team re-formed and we were first introduced to Johnny Sorrow. He took out the Spectre, right? And this girl shoots him and captures him? I don’t think so. I liked the Stargirl and Atom Smasher scenes, though. I hope those crazy kids can make it.

Last Stand of New Krypton

All this just to have Kandor rebottled in Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton? That seems like a colossal waste of comic book pages. It looks as though Zod has planned for this. Will this actually end up being master tactician Zod against brilliant Coluan and strategist Brainiac-5? Or the two teaming up against Brainiac? Ugh, I still don’t care at all. I just want to see this through.


As much as I like the writing and art of Superman: Secret Origin, I don’t like the fact that it’s here. I mean, I understand the need to revise a character’s origin every now and then. I just question the need to do that to Superman now. I like Metallo’s previous origin. I don’t like that Perry White is the editor of a tabloid rag and not a respected paper. I don’t like that Johns is shoehorning General Lane into Superman’s origin to better fit his current xenophobia. When John Byrne did this in the mid-‘80s, Crisis had just happened and this was an easy thing to do. Superman was pretty much a new hero. Now he’s just an existing hero who is being changed. But still, great art by Gary Frank.

Other Books

I don’t know which issue of The Boys it’ll happen in, but Hughie’s going to get an ass whooping from Butcher, and he’s not even going to know why. Y’know, lately I’ve been so tired of Garth Ennis, from his war stuff to his Avatar-published books, but I’m still enjoying The Boys. There’s still a lot of shock value in the book, but there’s a point to it. There’s still a good story behind it, and it’s not the sole purpose for the book.

I don’t know if I should be, but I’m confused as hell after reading this month’s issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8. I understand that explanations about this entire “season” were attempted, but they just didn’t click with me. I still don’t understand what Twilight is or really what the connection is between Angel and Buffy. I don’t like to admit when comic book concepts are over my head, so I’d rather just blame it on poor or vague writing. I’m going to hope that it all comes together for me in the end.

I’d like to do all I can to forget the G.I. Joe movie. But it seems IDW has gone and given Ripcord a bit of the movie treatment when focusing on him in G.I. Joe: Origins. Surprisingly, I’m okay with this. These past two issues did a great job of showing why Weems was chosen to be a Joe and how resourceful he is. It was a great story, regardless of the movie influence.

This Week's Prospects

Action Comics #888
Adventure Comics #10
Brightest Day #0
Daredevil #506
Ender's Game: The League War
Fables #94
Flash #1
Irredeemable Special #1
Siege: Captain America #1
Siege: Loki #1
Siege: Young Avengers #1
Spider-Man: Origin of Hunter #1
Ultimate Enemy #3
World War Hulks: Hulked-Out Heroes #1

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