Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What You Should Have Read #21

Wow. I take two weeks off and I come back to a week that’s probably got as many comics to read as the past two weeks combined. Well, let’s get to it.


Well, if nothing else, the storyline “Two Americas” wrapped up more or less nicely and neatly. Granted, no body means no death, so I’m sure we can expect crazy Captain America to show up in the future, but Falcon and Bucky/Cap saved the day and ended up pretty much unscathed. I’m a bit torn as to what to hope for with the future of this comic. I like Bucky/Cap, and I feel he’s earned the mantle. This is a legacy character who I got into on the ground floor with…well, not when he FIRST started being Bucky, but when he was brought back as the Winter Soldier. I’m okay if Steve/Cap only shows up in the Avengers. But, if we have to suffer back-up stories, I’d rather see two caps in the book than Nomad. That was just kind of brutal to endure. The tone was so different from the main story that it was just jarring and hard to get into.

I have absolutely no problem with books that are more talk and less action. I’m totally okay with that, but up to a point. The talk needs to still move the book. That’s where books like The Walking Dead fail, and where Invincible Iron Man thrives. This issue was Tony talking…a lot…but it didn’t keep the status quo. The talk moved the book and the plot along wonderfully. Tony Stark is back. Iron Man is back (“Who wants to ride in a stupid helicopter anyways?”). I can’t even begin to fathom where this book is going, and I’m so excited for the new journey it promises. For the last 25 months, this book has been one of the best books on the shelves, and I don’t see that ending any time soon.


Fall of the Hulks

Well, Fall of the Hulks: Red Hulk ended pretty well, and it’s got the failure of the Intelligencia all set up. There was actually precious little of the Red Hulk in the issue, but what he did was pretty important. I’d like to see him go up against Professor Hulk (I think that’s the correct name for the merged personalities of Banner and the other Hulks). Both are strong, but where Prof. is smart, Red Hulk is crafty. It’s been made painfully clear these past few months that crafty tends to beat smart.


Hulked-Out Heroes was both a misleading title and a big waste of time. First of all, there’s one Hulked-Out hero, not multiples. It’s all about Hulkpool and his quest through time to kill Deadpool. And it’s not even “our” time, just an alternate timeline. So he has this wacky adventure and returns to help out Red Hulk, and nothing at all was accomplished. Waste. Of. Time.


Second Coming

Peter David is one of my favorite comic book writers, and I know that he likes to throw out a some pretty cool “Holy shit!” moments, but I’m not buying the end of X-Factor. I’m calling dupes. They’re all dupes in that vehicle, just made up to look like Longshot and Rictor and whoever else was in the vehicle. Other than that, this was another great issue. I liked how Bastion was controlling Trask, and the beginning of the book DID throw me for a bit of a loop.

With the little skirmishes between the X-Men and Bastion’s various minions going pretty well, you knew things would get absolutely horrible once the other shoe dropped. And if you don’t count Karma’s injury and Ariel’s (who?) death, X-Force is definitely where the shoe drops. Cerebra has already been knocked out of commission, and now Bastion cuts off communication between the mutants. Then he locates and goes after Hope. Rogue does a pretty awesome job of being bad ass, but she gets her but handed to her. We get another death (really…who was Ariel?) this issue, and it’s pretty major. I won’t spoil it, but Craig Kyle and Chris Yost do a great job of giving the death meaning and weight. It wasn’t pointless, like most of the deaths in Blackest Night. This will be felt for quite some time. I’d also like to give some kudos to artist Mike Choi and colorist Sonia Oback. While the art in this series has always been top notch, I’ve often complained that the coloring was way too dark and made the book a bit difficult to understand. No such complaint with this issue. Choi kept up the quality art that we came to expect from Clayton Crain, and Oback’s colors made everything pop out, even the darker pages with Wolverine’s group. This might be my favorite X-related book being published at the moment, or at least tied with X-Factor.


So between Mighty Avengers and New Avengers, we learn that in the final issue of Siege, Loki will fight the Void and aid the Avengers by granting them a power upgrade via the Norn Stones. Dammit! Stop the spoilers! Also, all the tech stuff that Pym was spewing just went over my head, therefore I didn’t much care for it. I think I kind of liked him better when he was a whiny bitch.

Unless I completely misunderstood what happened, and I don’t think I did, Bendis just ruined the final issue of Siege for everyone in New Avengers. So Loki takes the Norn Stones away from Parker, gives their powers to the Avengers, and they kick the crap out of the Sentry. I guess that’s how Siege ends. Thanks Bendis. I hope you have something else in that issue that redeems this massive spoiler. And lately this shouldn’t even be titled New Avengers. This has been more about the Hood for quite a while now. Looks as though that’s about over, though. I’m just kinda pissed about the Siege thing, though.

Well, the events in Siege: Secret Warriors were not what I was expecting. Phobos is a god. I figured he’d go after the Sentry when he found out his dad had been killed, not beat a bunch of Secret Service agents up and leave a note for the president. And the stuff between Nick Fury and Captain America just seemed forced and out of place. Especially when Fury stopped fighting to have a drink. I think this has been by far the weakest one-shot to come out of this event.

The action was light in Thor, but the set-up for the next issue (or the final issue of Siege, maybe) is set up and dripping with eventual mayhem. Kelda and the rest of the Asgardians get their second wind, and Loki admits to pretty much everything. He’s exiled, but think no one would have blamed Balder if he had just jammed a sword through his throat. I really like that the focus hasn’t been just on Thor, but on Asgard in general. I don’t find Thor all that interesting, but what we’ve seen lately has just been fascinating.

Well, this was an excellent end to an excellent chapter of the Thunderbolts. I was surprised that the end also had it set up for the new status quo, with Luke Cage in charge. I’m expecting some more good stories from this title. But looking back at this issue, again, it was excellent. Quicksilver handing Mr. X his ass. Ant-Man growing up…huh…I just got that. Paladin tasking himself with protecting the Spear of Odin. I can’t wait to see who Cage keeps around on the new team, who is brought in, and how everything is handled. This book has been consistently awesome since Stark gave the reins of the team to Osborn.


First off, I’d like to say how disappointed I was that Captain Universe turned out NOT to be Professor X. I think that was a deliberate mislead, and I fell for it. I seem to recall reading that Juggernaut was going to be in Luke Cage’s Thunderbolts. The ending of his story in this issue of Amazing Spider-Man would do well to feed directly into that, so I hope its referenced. This was a good little storyline to provide a bit of a breather before we get to the return of the Lizard next month. And the back-up this issue was a short and curiosity-piquing story that looks to lead right into what I’m assuming is the final piece of The Gauntlet before The Grim Hunt starts.


I liked most of Ultimate Avengers 2. I liked the Punisher cutting a swath through organized crime. I liked his methods. I even liked his capture. But then it just got weird. Now, I’m not a big fan of the Punisher. I’ve enjoyed his book from time to time, but that’s when it is smartly written, pretty much all of his current series before it went sideways and he was remade into Franken-Castle. But I think some of the character’s appeal comes from the fact that he’s not dependent on bells and whistles. Well, super bells and whistles. He’s a man with guns. He’s not a man with a…wait a minute, I’ve just invalidated myself. I liked his current series when he was using the…reclaimed…villain tech. But I just don’t like Shield outfitting him like a super-Punisher. It’s weird. And let’s not get into the pre-Banner Hulk. I’ll reserve judgment on that until we get a little more info on him next issue.


All the deep Southern slang in Deadpool made it somewhat of a difficult read, but it was a well-done one-off issue. Are all of the other half-assed Deadpool titles put out to really make us appreciate this one more? This one wasn’t as full of the funny as it has been in the past, but it’s just so much more well-written than the others, and it uses his personalities better. I could live very happily without the other titles as long as this one was going strong.

There was a lot of talking framed by a bit of a fight and ruses and double crossing in Wolverine: Origins. This series has been nothing but double-crosses and sleights of hand for quite some time. It seems like this story is going to be one where, in the penultimate issue, all will be revealed. But it’ll be confusing until then, and the final issue will be a fight. It’s a good story technique, but it’s been happening a lot lately. It’s getting kind of old. Can’t we just get a straight story some time?

Random Marvel Books

I’m fascinated with Fantastic Four because it looks like something grand and wonderful is happening or about to happen, but I’ve got no clue what it is, and frankly, I’m totally confused. There’s no flow from one issue to the next, and that makes things a bit confusing when you know everything is supposed to be linked in some way. I’m prepared to be blown away, though, when this plan comes together.

I’ll say this about Marvel Zombies 5, at least they’re doing something different. I like that they’re visiting other Marvel realities, but I’m done with these zombies. I really hope that Stack and Howard are able to deliver this cure to Morbius and we can finally get past this zombie business.

Um, did Secret Warriors all of the sudden turn into a romance book? Nick and Contessa, Daisy and James, Yo-Yo and…other guy. The only interesting bit about this issue was the Viper stuff. Is Hickman borrowing an idea from Jim Krueger and Alex Ross? I’d have to dig my Earth X issues out, but I’m pretty sure Madame Hyrda showed up just like this. Now lets see if she’ll end up controlling people by putting octopi, a la Starro, on them.


Brightest Day

I like how a bunch of the Green Lantern Corps are standing up to the Guardians, but really, how often does that happen and how often does it change things? And the law they repealed is new, so that doesn’t count. It just seems like impotent posturing on the part of the Lanterns. But the epilogue to Blackest Night was still told well. Mogo and the Perennial Tree was a nice touch, as was Kilowog’s leave-of absence as drill instructor. It’ll be nice to see him on the front lines and maybe get another story or two devoted to him. And Guy and Kyle have some rebuilding to do. Here’s hoping for some more excellent stories about the Corps in the future.


Justice League/Society

So, Chesire’s a bit of a whore, right? Kid with Roy, kid with Catman. I like Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal story better than Green Arrow’s, but that might just be because I can sympathize with Roy as a father. With his past, though, I’m surprised that no one is worried about him and the pain meds. Relapse would be the first thing I’d think about in a situation like this.

I’m pretty confused with the events in this month’s Justice Society of America. I mean, I understand all that happened, I’m just having a hard time seeing the bigger picture, I guess. Were the deaths actually part of the big plan? Am I wrong in thinking that the end was pretty abrupt? And I hate being blatantly mislead by covers. I’m okay with being teased, but the cover was a big fat lie. In no way was that “T-Day.” I’m guessing, though, since Dr. Fate is still trapped outside of the power dampeners, that he’s going to be the one to save the day. He’ll allow everyone (or a select few) to travel back in time and stop the Darkness Engine. I betcha.


Last Stand of New Krypton

Okay, be sure to read Superman before Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton. I didn’t do that, but really, I wasn’t all that lost. I know I sound like a broken record, but really, I’m ready to move on from this over-long plot. And really, when this is over, it’s still not over. We’ve still got Lane to deal with. Gah.

Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton was nothing if not disappointing. Did it accomplish anything? Well, it got rid of Mon-El. It got Luthor pardoned. Superman is Superman again. Lane and his forces are still angling for a war against the Kryptonians, which Zod is all to happy to facilitate. Brainiac is…somewhere with Brainiac 5. All this time spent for this storyline which was supposed to be so big…ALL THIS…and we’ve really got nothing. I can only hope that what comes next for Superman is better than what we’ve been given. I don’t see how it can be much worse.

War of the Supermen

Rather than creating another Superman section for Action Comics, I’ll put it here since it leads into War of the Supermen slightly. The writing for this book has been better than what’s been going on with Last Stand of New Krypton, but I’m liking the actual story less. I know how weird that is. I DO like how each book has focused on a different aspect of the Superman universe as Kal has been on New Krypton. I’d like to see that continue even after he returns to Earth.

As much as I didn’t like the ending (and most of the storyline in general) of Last Days of New Krypton, the Free Comic Book Day edition of War of the Supermen has me hoping for good things from this storyline. First of all, Zod isn’t wasting any time. While stalling Superman and admitting that he hasn’t changed at all, Zod has already unleashed his troops to invade Earth. So no beating about the bush; it’s on. The back-up that gave possible new readers a quick (very quick) recap on the past few year of Superman stories (minus the recent Last Stand of New Krypton) was well done and it set up the coming war nicely. Oh, please don’t let me down War of the Superman. I really want to like Superman, but the stories never hold me for long. Will this change that?

IDW Comics

I’ve got nothing against a relaunch of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. I enjoyed the comic immensely when I was a kid. But I got over my nostalgia for those Joes with the Devil’s Due series. Now I’m really loving the current take on the Joes. I see the market for this type of comic and don’t disparage against it, but right now it’s just not my thing.

As much as I’m enjoying G.I. Joe and G.I. Joe: Origins, those two titles are blown away by G.I. Joe: Cobra II. And apparently I’m not the only person who thinks that, because the title is now going from a mini to a monthly. If the quality keeps up, that’s awesome news. The only thing that’s going to confuse me is how to reconcile this with my collection’s spreadsheet, because the title will be dropping the II from its name. Oh well; insignificant. There’s so much intrigue and mystery surrounding Cobra, which is the opposite of what we’re getting from the main Joe book. I like being kept in the dark when I’m teased with tiny tidbits and the hope of something great is around the corner. So yea that this book is going monthly.

Ah, we’re treated with another wonderful issue of Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows. I loved how the book used nothing but splash pages for the first half of the book when Tyler was fighting the giant shadow monster. That was pretty damn cool. And I’m loving how it’s going to be these kids vs. this massive evil. That’s definitely something Hill is taking away from his father; shades of It. Kinsey and Tyler are also finally settling into their new school and community, and that’s awesome. Angst and melancholy is only fun to read for a bit; everybody needs some happiness and stability.

Image Comics

Walking Dead has been an odd little duck for quite a while now. I get that the book isn’t about the zombies, but about this group of people trying survive in this new world. So there’s not a lot of action, and there is a lot of talking. And this issue, along with a lot of recent issues, keeps reiterating the same things over and over again until you get to the final, shocking panel. It always makes me want to get into the next issue, but I’m always disappointed…until that final, shocking panel. I do like the twist, though. After all the worry and skepticism and pessimism about this new place they’ve been welcomed into, our group may actually turn out to be the bad guys.

Looking Forward To:

Amazing Spider-Man #630
Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine #1
Avengers: The Origin #2
Boys #42
Brightest Day #1
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 #35
N. #3
Secret Six #21
Superman: War of the Supermen #1
Ultimate New Ultimates #2
Uncanny X-Men #524
X-Men: Second Coming Revelations – Hellbound #1

No comments: