Thursday, June 14, 2012

What You Should Have Read #64

Comic Book Reviews 
for the Week of June 13, 2012

I thought this week’s issue of Amazing Spider-Man was a good ending to the “Ends of the Earth” storyline. We got some good scenes with Mysterio. The Rhino with nothing to live for was truly a man to be afraid of. Doc Ock, as always, was defeated by his own hubris. Two things stuck with me, though. First, the Rhino. When did the Rhino stop being stupid? He was always just muscle that screwed everything up. He wasn’t a joke because he was so powerful, but I always got the impression that he could barely string two thoughts together. He was always a lackey, and his Russian background was either forgotten or ignored. Then, after Brand New Day, he’s VERY Russian and seems to be of average intelligence. What happened? I hit up Wikipedia, and it mentioned a Tangled Web story where he regained his intelligence but ended up having it taken away because it ultimately bored him. So really, what happened? The other thing had to do with the ending. Who exactly was Spidey upset about? He said, “Someone died.” By my count, there are four characters who might have died during this storyline: two from the Ends of the Earth one-shot and two from this issue. I guess that’ll be explained in next week’s issue of Avenging Spider-Man.

There is very little I’m enjoying about the Avengers side of the “Avengers vs. X-Men” crossover. This week’s issue of Avengers did nothing to change that. My complaints against focusing on Noh-Varr remain: nothing has been done with him to get us to care about him. Now he’s not allowed back on Earth. Big whoop. Also, why was he accepted so easily by the Kree? He’s not from this universe. I really liked Grant Morrison’s Marvel Boy mini, but the character has just been absorbed into continuity and left to grow stale. I’ll not shed a tear if we never see Noh-Varr/Marvel Boy/Protector again.

On to Avengers Assemble, which I AM enjoying. Maybe I’ve just got a soft spot in my heart for Bendis/Bagley collaborations. Although I don’t necessarily like WHY this specific team of Avengers has their own book, I am enjoying the story. My biggest gripe with this issue specifically ties into this week’s Amazing Spider-Man. In it, Thor, whose mind was being controlled by Doc Ock, could no longer lift his hammer. But in this issue, Hulk, whose mind was being controlled by Thanos, COULD lift Thor’s hammer. Bit of a continuity gaffe there, considering I don’t think Hulk has lifted Mjolnir even in his right mind.

There’s not much I can say about this week’s Batman without spoiling something that probably shouldn’t be spoiled if you haven’t read the issue yet. Personally, I loved it, but I can understand how long-time Batman fans might be put off a bit. This is a BIG thing, and I think Snyder is doing a wonderful job at making this Batman his own. He’s also done a great job of pulling his version of Owlman over into DC’s new continuity. I can’t wait to see how this ends next month. I ended up getting the regular cover for this issue, but I thought long and hard about picking up the Rafael Albuquerque variant. With as much as I’m loving this book, though, I’ve decided that it’s good enough to warrant me buying a copy of each cover in the future, as long as the variant is being sold for cover price.

I’m enjoying Robinson’s Earth 2, but I’m LOVING The Shade. It’s not a superhero book, although there are powers and “good” vs. “evil.” It’s not necessarily an origin book, although we are learning things about the Shade’s past. What this IS is a great story. It’s a great character on a quest. This is also Robinson at his best. Like I said, I’m enjoying Earth 2, and I really think it’ll get even better as the book goes on, but that’s a book that HAS to have some high-adrenaline action to keep it moving. Not so with The Shade. It’s a bit of a wordy book, but that’s perfectly alright. The words draw you into the wonderful pictures that adorn each issue. This issue had wonderful artwork by Frazer Irving. The faces are full of expression, the backgrounds are wonderfully textured, and the pages are expertly set up. I did have to go back to see if we’ve seen Dudley before, because it seems like we should know him, but I guess not. It just seems as if this is the Caldecott that’s gone after the Shade. I can’t wait to see WHY ol’ Dickie was targeted by his…great great grandson? I also bought both versions of this book, the Tony Harris cover and the Frazer Irving cover. If I can buy a variant cover for regular cover price, I’ll usually go that route unless I just really like the regular cover better. But in some instances, I want to lend as much support as possible to a book, so I’ll buy the regular cover AND the variants. I want the Shade to get another limited series after this, so I’ll buy all the covers as long as my LCS makes them available for cover price.

The comic I was most looking forward to this week was Spider-Men, and it didn’t disappoint. I never thought there needed to be a crossover between the 616 Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Marvel Universe, but so far I like what little interaction we’ve had with the 616 Spidey in the Ultimate New York. Bendis is a great Spider-Man writer, and I bet I wouldn’t have enjoyed his run on the Avengers titles as much had Spidey not been included, and now he’s finally getting his chance to write a solo 616 Web-Slinger story. The biggest question for me to come out of this issue is how long Mysterio has known about the Ultimate Universe (and tangentially, when this takes place in relation to “Ends of the Earth”). The best thing about the issue was the short interaction between Peter and the mugging victim he rescued. Bendis was able to get his “poor taste” running gag in the issue, and that was a gag I’ve loved in the new Ultimate Spider-Man book. Is it wrong that I want the next issue to consist of nothing but 9-panel pages of Pete and Miles talking with each other?

Ennis is really cleaning house with this last storyline in The Boys. Two of the team’s supporters are now gone, either directly or indirectly dispatched by Butcher. Hughie and MM are starting to piece together that Butcher has finally cracked and that some superpowered shit is hitting an incredibly massive fan. This isn’t shaping up to be a happy ending for anybody.

There’s a LOT of stuff going on in Uncanny X-Force. You’ve got two separate people after Fantomex, and I think it might be safe to say that they aren’t working together. Nightcrawler and Wolverine have been brought down by clones of Omega Red, and Wade, well, Wade has some fun with homemade assassin program at White Sky. Then you’ve got some X-kids on a field trip in Genosha, and it looks like they’re being tailed by Sabertooth. Also, Kitty’s father was in Genosha when the Sentinels destroyed it? Why? And it looks like Amahl Farouk is still alive and kicking, and I’d like to see that explained. I was under the impression that that body of the Shadow King was dead and gone. Also, bonus points for the Arrested Development reference. That’s quite a bit to absorb, but it’s still less confusing that the Otherworld adventure from a few issues ago.

My back issue buys this week were Amazing Spider-Man #s 661 and 662.

It looks like next week is an all Marvel week for me:

Avengers vs. X-Men #6
Dark Avengers #176
Invincible Iron Man #519
Journey into Mystery #640
New Avengers #27
X-Factor #238

And now for something a little different. I subscribe to a daily emailer called Daily Steal. They usually have some damn fine deals, although I haven’t bought much at all from them. A couple of weeks ago, though, they had a listing for some comic books. The pitch was 50-65 comics plus a handful of trading cards with a total value of $500…for only $29.95! Plus, it was Free Shipping Friday! Now, they had some stock pictures of various ‘90s comics (the only one that I can recall was Superman #75), so I knew not to expect much, but I was curious as to what this site thought $500 worth of comic books looked like. And, worst comes to worst, I bought a bunch of comics for $.60/book.

Here are my unbox videos from this purchase. Don’t expect this to ever happen again, because I generally don’t like these types of videos, but I wanted this experience recorded for posterity. And spoiler, there was nowhere near $500 worth of comics in this badly packaged box. Every single issue included would be lucky to find itself in a quarter bin at any reputable comic shop.

Also, huge apologies for the bad synching between the audio and the video. I have no idea how that happened.

No comments: