Thursday, May 17, 2012

What You Should Have Read #60

Comic Book Reviews for the Week of May 16, 2012

Big week this week. Almost too big. So big that I decided not to get the Fantastic Four Point One issue that I had planned on getting.

Also, spoilers, because it’s hard to have a spoiler-free discussion.

I thought the Ends of the Earth one-shot was pointless. I kind of wish I would have flipped through it before just buying it sight unseen. Spidey recruits some international heroes to thwart Doc Ock’s plans in their respective countries, but personally, I would have been fine with this all happening between the panels of the regular ASM comic. If you read the most recent issue of Amazing Spider-Man, you know that ONE of these international heroes died. This comic was a smidge vague. I assume both Kangroo and Sabra were killed by Lady Deathstrike and Crossbones, but there’s no confirmation. Sure, Lady D slashes Kangaroo in the midsection and we see some decent blood spatter, but that’s it. And it sure looks like Crossbones hit Sabra with a headshot, but all we see is her face-down in a bit of blood. Out of the two ambiguous deaths, I’d say hers is the least ambiguous.

I hated Walt Simonson’s artwork in the previous issue, and his work in Avengers #26 is only marginally better. The stuff with Noh-Varr was pointless. He was character that Bendis did nothing with other than give him a new identity and a girlfriend. He wasn’t fleshed out at all, and he’s on my deadpool as the guy to get whacked in this crossover. He was great in Grant Morrison’s Marvel Boy mini-series, and he was decent in the Secret Invasion crossover. Since then, though, he’s been pretty useless. I also don’t understand why he’s so loyal to the Kree. These aren’t his Kree. He’s from an alternate dimension/universe. I really think Bendis is dropping the ball with the crossover issues in both this title and New Avengers.

So far this was my favorite issue of the mini-series. From the opening with Wolverine wearing a polar bear (not a polar bear pelt, but the whole damn animal), to the end with Thor crashing to the moon and the Phoenix showing up, it was all pretty solid. I like that they didn’t draw out the Phoenix’s arrival. With such a big thing happening so early in the series, I’m really interested in seeing how this is going to play out. The Thor stuff doesn’t quite line up with what happened in Avengers #26 this week, so it looks like we’ve got to wait another week to see how that ended. He WAS the only one to return to Earth (the Moon) though. I was okay with Wolverine duping Hope, but I’m wondering why he didn’t just try and end her right there. Scared? I don’t need to read Versus to know how the fights turn out. I don’t really care. I thought the first issue was poorly thought out, and I’m okay with just seeing a couple panels for the fights. I’m enjoying John Romita, Jr.’s artwork, but I think Colossunaut looks stupid. I don’t have a problem with the Peter possessing the power or anything like that, I just think is a cumbersome look, and that isn’t JRJr.’s fault.

Did anyone really believe Tony was going to quit being Iron Man? Nope, didn’t think so. Although solicits for this issue touted a new man in the armor, I don’t think the identity was much of a surprise, especially if you’ve seen the cover for the next issue. Flip to the back of this issue and you get the cover for the next issue. The suit is black and silver/gray. The suit has a ghost mode. The suit…well, other than it looking very Tron-ish, there’s nothing else that might betray the wearer’s identity, but c’mon, it HAD to be Rhodey. Fraction is doing his part to rehash (in a good way, I’m truly loving the series) old storylines. Tony loses his company. Tony gets drunk. Tony isn’t Iron Man anymore. It’s his greatest hits. So who subbed for Tony before, had a suit of his own that was black and silver/gray, and who’s latest suit had a ghost mode that was heavily used? James Rhodes, War Machine, of course. The same James Rhodes who was fake killed…last issue? So the last page shouldn’t have been a surprise to anybody. Rehashing or not, like I said, I’m still loving the book. I loved Tony’s scenes with the extraction of his current armor and the revelation of his latest armor. I loved Stane’s determination and the flashbacks of both men. I loved the Spymaster stuff and how Cabe was such a badass. The only thing that threw me for a loop were the Detroit Steel pages. It looked like some sexual roleplay gone wrong. I guess we’ll learn more about that later.

The end for the series of Locke and Key series is quickly coming to an end. I have yet to read a bad issue. Hell, one of them made me cry. In the last issue of the Clockworks mini, we get the resolution to Rendell and Dodge’s (and their best buds’) adventures with the keys. It satisfying, and it does a good job of setting up the final mini-series. Man, I HATE that the pilot didn’t get picked up by FX. If anybody reading this has run across a copy of it (or, if maybe Joe Hill is reading this and wants to drop a brother a tweet?), I’d love to see it.

I won’t lie, this is not a normal book for me. I got it only because of the crossover with Journey into Mystery. I probably won’t continue to get the book after the crossover ends, but I was not unhappy with having to purchase this issue. As crossovers go, it’s working well for me. It’s pulling on threads exposed earlier in Journey into Mystery, and the tie-in with New Mutants is logical what with them having a Valkyrie and some sort of Hel dog in their group. I also like that the writers of both series are noted in the credits. Just because Gillen writes JiM and not NM doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a bunch of input on what’s going on in this title, and vice versa. Also, even though Thor is in this, this could KIND OF be an unofficial AVX crossover. Kind of. Also also, the ending caught me by surprise. I like it when that happens.

I guess I’m okay with the way Thunderbolts ended. I haven’t been reading the title for the last 174 issues, only since Warren Ellis took over the writing chores. I think it’s because of that that I didn’t really have any feelings for the Fixer’s fate one way or the other. I mean, it sucks what happened, but dude brought it on himself. At least he had the wherewithal to man up and take one for the team. I’m more interested in seeing how this is going to transition into Dark Avengers. I like the idea of a dark Avengers team, and while I liked Osborn’s original team more than the most recent iteration, I’m interested in seeing where Jeff Parker is going to take the team and how quickly he’ll be able to get rid of Clor. Seriously, get rid of that shit.

One of the highlights of James Robinson’s Starman was the Times Past issues. The fact that he’s bringing the concept over to The Shade is a treat. This series is slightly odd. We’re learning so much about the Shade’s history, but as of yet we still haven’t learned how he got his powers, and I don’t think we will. Despite the murder and demonic possession, this was actually a sweet comic. The Shade meets his grandson and sees his wife one last time. There wasn’t much action, but I find that Robinson doesn’t really excel at that. His forte is history and storytelling. The thing I’m wondering most about this series is how it fits in to DC’s New 52. Although the Knight family hasn’t been mentioned, it seems like everything that we know about the Shade from that series is still in continuity. But there is absolutely no way the Knight legacy can still exist. If I understand the new continuity correctly (and the only two series I’m reading are Batman and The Shade, so I could be totally wrong with this), but Superman was the first superhero to show up, right? So there were no mystery men during World War II? So Ted Knight wasn’t Starman, and there is no Starman legacy. I don’t know, I’m just confused. In my mind, it’s all good though because I can enjoy all of those stories regardless of current continuity. But, if there’s a chance Mr. Robinson is reading this (‘cause imma tag you on Twitter, yo), please please PLEASE explain how the Shade and the Knights fit into The New 52.

Wow. X-Factor was kind of depressing, and Shatterstar and Madrox were almost useless. I mean, sure, Shatterstar saved the day and killed the bad guy, but how many innocents were killed first, some of them while Shatterstar was RIGHT THERE? I’m not 100% familiar with X-Factor’s recent history. I originally started reading the title when Peter David first came on board in the ‘90s, and I was pleased. I stopped reading it when I stopped reading all X-books, right in the middle of the Phalanx Covenant. I got back in when the current series was renumbered starting with issue #200. I need to go back and get the David issues that I missed. Anyways, all that to say…is that Mr. Tryp manipulating Far Sight? I’ve only seen him when Jamie was bouncing around the alternate timelines, and I have no idea who he is or what he can do. Like I said, I’ve got some back issues to find.

My two back issues for this week were, Ultimate Spider-Man #s 158 and 159, and I picked up a small packet of Justice League Adventures comics, issues 4, 6 and 8, for my son. He was happy.

Here’s my list for next week:

Fables #117
Amazing Spider-Man #686
Journey into Mystery #638

Oh thank God this is a small week. The past two were horrible. Hmm, that’s going to make for a small blog entry. At least I should be able to get it posted at a reasonable time. Grr.

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