Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Siege Books for 3-24

Thunderbolts 142

Good god, this is what everyone needs to look at over at Marvel and DC if they need to know how to do a tie-in to a crossover book. My god, Jeff Parker tells a fantastic story. Let us count why this is awesome:

1) It is a tie-in that advances a plot and seems as if it has some importance to the main title. I know the Spear of Odin is not going to show up in Siege 4, but that doesn't mean the books can't act like they're some important piece to the over-all story, and this plot about the Thunderbolts getting the Spear of Odin to Osborn to help him defeat the Asgardians is exactly that. You have some real tangible proof that if something bad happens in this book, then people in the main story could be in serious trouble.

2) It has The Mighty Avengers

2.5) U.S.Agent vs Scourge. you never knew you would want this fight to happen until it actually happened.

3) "You've blown my cover. That's another demerit." God bless you, Nuke.

New Avengers 63

This, thankfully, is one of the better Bendis written tie-ins to Siege. It is not ALL flashback. In fact, the only thing the flashback sequences accomplish is to provide characterization of Cage, Jessica, Hawkeye, and Mocking Bird. I don't mind knowing how each of these respective characters feel about the Siege of Asgard and it's aftermath. Do I wish that, perhaps, there were no flashbacks? Sure. Hakeye and Mockingbird's little story could have taken place inside Asgard, but I'm just too happy over the fact this entire issue isn't ALL flashback.

Mighty Avengers 35

OK. First the bad. As much as I bang on Bendis for his tie ins to Siege, at least his boks help, a bit, in characterizing the major players of the event. Dan Slott's first of a 2 part tie-in doesn't really matter much in the grand scheme of Siege. Its not right to call this a tie-in and probably anyone just lookign to pick up all Siege books will be disappointed in this book.

Now, for the good. this is a book written by Dan Slott. That's instant credibility in my eyes and a sure fire guarantee of "having a hoot." As a person who started reading Avengers books with New Avengers, and neve rpicked up Mighty Avengers until Dan Slott's run, I'm happy to be reading my first Ultron story, now. The book features its daily requirements of Pym science and does enough to tangentially tie itself into the Siege event.

Now, just some general reactions to things in the book:

1) Hank Pym is straight up getting creepy with his real(er) doll mods he keeps doing to Jocasta.

2) I forgot about G.R.A.N.D.P.A.

3) Hank Pym is kinda a dick.

4) I HATE speculating on the future, but hear me out on this because I think this whole train of thought has a special pay off of insanity. So, The Wasp looks kind of like Eternity in the Underspace. I can only surmise that when Thor teleported the Wasp to underspace so she could blow up at the end of Secret Invasion, she was the new Big Bang of Underspace, and she became the Eternity of Underspace.

Now, Eternity in the Marvel U is the personification of the Universe. To recap-The Universe is actually a living biped. Now, Eternity must have been born in the big bang. There was a universe that existed before the Big Bang in the Marvel U. Galactus is its last survivor. So, Eternity, the personification of space, has a tiny Galactus floating aroud inside him eating planets. Its like a virus in the bloodstream, or a hook worm.

So, If Eternity, the embodiment of the Marvel U, has Galactus, the last survivor of the universe before the big bang, foating around inside him, then does Janet Van Dyne, the Eternity of Underspace, has a tiny Galactus floating around inside her, too, from the universe she destroyed when she blew up?

Avengers: The Initiative 34

Christos Gage keeps doing what many people find to be amazing: Give adequate page time to about several different plot threads and stories in a 22 page book. We have the New Warriors, Taskmaster, Constrictor, Diamondback, Penance, and The Hood as the books main characters and Gage utilizes what little page time each character can have to their maximum efficiency. Night Thrasher decides whose side he will be fighting on by the 2nd page. Tigra gets her chance to tear into the Hood for about 3 pages. Justice worries as only a leader can worry for about 2 pages. Penance comes around within 3 pages, Taskmaster gets his chance to shine for about 6 pages, Constrictor and Diamondback get all emotional for another 3 pages, the remainder is tied into timing the events of Siege 3: The appearance of The Hood, The Avengers attacking Osborn, and the Sentry's destruction of Asgard. There's is a LOT going on in this book and Gage deftly handles it all.

You know what this means? Its a comic that doesn't slow down. God Bless Jorge Molina for keeping the action going on the page, too. Outstanding work.

This book is a tie-in with plot hreads that are independent of main story, yet have real repercussions to the over-all tale. We're back to why I liked Thunderbolts so much and this book is another example of point 1 from that review.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Red Hulk 3

I know squat about Rick Jones. It makes it kind of hard, initially, to get into this book, then. However, Jeff Parker does enough to fill you in on the history of Marvel's greatest-support-character-other-than-Jarvis. My only thoughts on this book, as a whole, is wondering where it is going. Issues 1 and 2 did a good enough job filling in some gaps in stories from the Hulk book and how Red Hulk and Banner get together to attempt to take down the Intelligencia. This story really doesn't do much other than fill in the origin of A-Bomb and extrapolate 22 pages of story from it as A-Bomb was created to be a manchurian candidate by the Intelligencia against Bruce Banner.
The book is mostly characterization of Rick Jones as A-Bomb, which is sad since the title of the comic is "Red Hulk". Yet, Parker's analysis of Jones' psychology is pretty nifty. The big question about how Rick should actually be feeling about being a Hulk-thing, and why he should feel that way was a nice bit of drama injected into Rick's character. Sadly, I liked Rick as the guy that was enjoying being a Hulk-thing more than most people. I suppose it is because I felt more like Rick was a representative of the readers. I don't think i'm going on a limb to say the readers would think it was pretty awesome to be a Hulk-thing. Rick has his A-Bomb form. He can change back into Rick. H eis still kind of the same guy in either form. Now, because of Parker's characterization of Rick, that analogue is gone, but it doesn't make Rick a worse character for it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man 625 and 626

Joe Kelly wraps up his contributions to Gauntlet so far by bringing the Rhino story to a further close than I feel it really needed. I'm glad, I guess, that status quo is upheld and old Rhino is back to being Rhino, but I don't see the reason why outside of retaining status quo. I was fine with a new Rhino as much as I was fine that old Rhino was completely emasculated by his wife. So, instead, readers get a rather predictable story where Old Rhino's wife dies because of new Rhino and Old Rhino becomes Rhino again because he can't properly channel the tragedy of death towards positive improvement. Also, the story is narrated by what seems to be a teenage girl, and Peter Parker gets kinda emo.

One of the better things that I am noticing in these books is that writers haven't dwelled on Peter's emotional state, most of the time. Specifically, the reader knows Peter's having a rough time, but I am not reading the thoughts Pity Party Peter Parker. Kelly gives us a helpful helping of that, though.

Look, on the whole, it is not a bad story. However, as part of the genre of graphic serialized ficition this chapter highlights what a lot of people complain about regarding the medium and what some fans complain about Spider-Man. We had a good character progression moment for old Rhino and perhaps some potential for stories about the new Rhino before he shuffled off this mortal coil. Instead those possabilities for new stories were taken off the table for a plot that has been told enough in just Spider-Man books themselves. Additionally, one of the harder things to do in comics is probably making Spider-Man entertaining without the character of Peter Parker being a whiny shell of a man the whole book. I always figure one of the defining traits of the character was his ability to continue to bounce back from adversity and in this installment, it seems more like he's letting adversity defeat him. That's not a character I want to read about.

Being an ex-teacher, the events between Michele and Lucas make me think of too many bad memories from emtionally investing myself in the wrong kids from that time in my life. So, on a personal level, Fred van Lente grabs me and hooks me into this story, which I'm sure is something all writers want to have happen to their readers.

High level of engagement aside, FVL tells a great Spider-man story that has the tale of Michele and Lucas as one of many threads running through it. What's most important is that it is a Spider-man story and not a tale that also features Spider-Man, which I could say is very different than what I read in 625. This is a story that forces Peter to have to use his resourcefulness instead of his spider powers, which was an enjoyment to read given Peter's humility and pragmatacism. The reader gets a self deprecating Spider-Man without me getting the impression he was going to have to cut himself once he got home.

I, sadly, did not read World War Hulk. I have no prior knowledge of who the new Scorpion is. I suppose I wish for more conflict between her and Spider-Man, but c'est la vie. I'll take a Tombstone appearance, though. Now, if only the comics could build him up the way the Spectacular Spider-Man TV show did.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Uncanny X-Men 522

Nation X comes to a close and Matt Fraction leaves the story on about as good a note as you can for the X-Men. This month's book leaves a sugary sweet feeling within the reader in the end, if you discount the fact Kitty pryde is perpetually intangible for the moment. If the concept behind "Nation X" was that it was to be the place for all the mutants in the world to gather, Fraction pulled in the last piece he could, with Kitty Pryde being the final mutant to call Utopia home.
Perhaps the only knock on the story was that it seems there is much more that could be told about living on Asteroid M than what Fraction covered given the page and monthly limitations. Now, if Nation X becomes more of a setting change than just a storyline, the possabilities are still there, but until the end of Second Coming we'll have to wait to read more about the 200 some-odd mutants living on a rock in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

The only other negatives generally are with charcaterization, specifically how much of a dick Reed Richards comes off as. But, c'est la vie.

The backup story was pretty good. The plot goes, "What if you knew when your world was going to die, and there was an appreciable amount of time. Could society keep itself together in the face of that knowledge?" Its always an interesting story because it is almost akin the the zombie movie genre in that if you focus on just a few characters it turns into them trying to maintain their ethics and a sensible morality in the face of the world going mad. The story adds a layer of irony because we know Kitty is in the giant space bullet and the aliens will actually survive the coming apocalypse just fine. I am actually pleasantly surprised with the ending to the story, too, as it maintains the sugary sweet feelings the whole book coaxes from the reader.

X-Factor 203

Sometimes I wonder if I should stick with X-Factor, given how niche it is within the X-Books. Then Peter David reminds me why I'm such a moron for thinking these things. We got Baron Mordo up in this book, man! Plus, there's some mindless ones, too.

Now, time for vaguely critiquing the writing of the book. Peter David probably uses a bit too many pages to get across the story he wants to here. The opening scene could probably have been done in 1 page. Readers can all see that something weird is going on with Monet by the end of that page. Guido's assault of the drug cartel could have been lessened by a few pages, and generally I seem to be frustrated with scenes I feel are going a bit too long than they need to be. I just get the impression that David had the idea of where he wanted to end the book and just kinda drug out scenes as much as he can until he had enough pages for a whole comic.

Now, one final note. Is it wrong that I can totally relate to Guido and the advice he got from "Legs"? 'Cause that's totally why I asked out my current paramour. Just another comic from this week that is enhanced by me having an emotional resonance with the characters.

Nation X 4

With this issue, the anthology comes to a close. Nothing truly advanced, nothing truly altered, but, over-all, some good stories and a chance for some talent to shine in a limited space.

In the frist story Michael Allred turns in some fabulous art for a story written by Peter Milligan that features Doop. WTF is a Doop?

Harvey Tolibad turns in som nice art for a good story about the Stepford Cuckoos and they give teaching a better name than it deserves by claiming how much it fulfilled Emma's life and can fulfill the lives of the three mischevious minxes.

Best story, bar none, was "Ice Cream Alamo". Though I question the sanity of kids willing to stab people just for Ice Cream. Not cool Loa. You lost, suck it up and learn from it.

"The King and Queen of Utopia" was a fine story, but Niko Henrichon's art is just a bit off for me. Check the chin on Namor. He's ready for Late Night. However, a good little wrap up of what was a very obvious theme between most of the stories in Nation X, the problem of food. Plus it spotlights Namor, who just doesn't get enough nods in Uncanny.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Green Lantern 52

I'm going to put it out there: this book really didn't do much for me.
Now, it has some nice extras in it for those that want a complete story. The threat of Xanshi is resolved. We get a peek at all the different embodiments of the colored corps. Geoff Johns also gets to provide his take on the whole creation of the DC Universe.
One problem I have with this is that, given that Johns has to write this book so that it is completely unnecessary for a reader to pick up if they are only buying the Blackest night event book, the book kinda moves in a circle. Where the book started is about the point the books ends.

A second problem I feel the book has is that its kinda falling beneath its own weight. I can buy complete darkness and silence in the world before the white being showed up. I get that. Then the reader is told that the white being made Earth. Then the reader finds out all the different colored entities of the corps: ion, parallax, etc, are all mutated animals from earth themselves. That doesnt quite jive, I guess, with some things. Is a flying bug really the first thing to feel fear? No protozoic sea bugs or fish? And while I find the attempt at using the serpent from The Garden of Eden cute for the being of avarice, do we have to throw in some biblical creation stories as well into this? Plus, I'm sure the serpent didn't eat the apple, and I'm an avowed Atheist. Is Johns simply hinting at the serpent's part in getting Adam and Eve to eat the apple, without showing the two? Having that question just leads me into what I'm seeing with all of these references. Johns has just made a muddled mess of various creaton tales and what it does is make inconsistencies that I have to spend time deciphering how all the pieces fit together and that really takes me out of the story.

The wrestling equivalent of this is the show before a Pay per view. That's known as the "going home" show. Well, this is the going home book and while it sets up Blackest Night 8 to be, possibly, a slobber knocking fight book, this book does more to set up future arcs than truly resolve anything in the Blackest Night event.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The DC books from me 3-17

Green Lantern Corps 46

No picture for this one because of difficulties getting one :(

The end of Blackest Night, part 1. All of the various multi colored lantern corps begin converging onto Earth and the black lantern Anti-Monitor makes an appearance, as well as black lantern Ice, for the first time. Things then start to get really wacky as a black lantern refrigerator full of Kyle Raynor's first girlfriend appears in space and we get to relive Major Force's now reviled act of aggression against sensability in comics. It is probably sad to say I am de-sensitized enough to violence to not be ashamed of my favorite medium for allowing such a scene to be put into ink back in the 90s, or be reminded of it, again, today.

Its nice to see Dove continue to make appearances, though. Blackest Night: Titans is continuing to show its one of the few tie-ins people honestly should have bought into for story purposes

Fables 93

I love Fables to death. Month after month Bll Willingham knocks it out of the park. However, given that his main narrative is the ever-present doom of Mr. Dark in the mundy world, I find it annoying that we get these 2-5 month side tales every once in a while. With the Adversary as the antagonist, the threat of danger against the protagonists and suspense raised because of that was lower due to the relative proximity of the two. It was fine to have these arcs spread across the tales of the Fables war against the Adversary because there was no great sense of urgency to resolve the conflicts in story. However, I find that, in story, there is a greater sense of urgency to resolve the issue of Mr. Dark and, thus, these side trips to Bufkin's fights against Baba Yaga and Fly's kingdom, while entertaining, become frustrating.

That aside, this story was pretty good. John's idea of using the story of a fable to help him locate his only witness for the trial ahead was an inventive, meta, use of the characters' nature. I do not think I've seen this use of the fact that the character's are fictional beings, before, in such a way by the character's themselves. It was quite inventive and helped in telling a larger story of nature vs. law and to what degree society should provide leeway and excuse the actions of people due to their customs. In the end, Willingham sets up a future story to tell that will center on the possible decline of Fly's kingdom.

Doomwar 2

Issue 1 was a hoot for me and issue 2 of Marvel's comic book adaptation to Kissinger's idea of Realpolitik keeps on trucking along just fine.
I am thoroughly enjoying this type of Doctor Doom than some of the others. This is one that is not driven by revenge or slights agaisnt his personage. This Doom is a political thinker and Machiavellian manipulator. The only thing off putting about him is his use of a gun, which seems suplerfuous given the number of lasers his armor houses. So, really, the only gripe I have about Doom is that he's misuing his armor. Personality wise, this flavor of Doom is the best one I have tasted yet. The ending is a bit confusing but given the rest of the story, that's a small complaint since I am aware that the ending will be better hashed out come issue 3. Something tells me it will be along the lines of Doom proving his purity by being merciful.

The only thing I wish differently, now, is if the book just did not have the Dora Milaje story. I figured that once the Desturi leader was killed in issue 1 that the X-Men-T'Challa-Shuri forces would defeat the Wakandan-Desturi and Doombot army. Instead of the panels and pages devoted to the Dora Milaje, more of a spolight could have been placed on T'Challa.


Incredible Hulk 608

It is wrong for me to probably say this, but some of my thoughts while reading books that are part of a giant shared universe revolve around where a story fits in that world. For the longest time I have had the impression, unfounded, really, that Hulk books tend to exist seperately from the rest of the Marvel U. I know those stories are supposed to be in the same shared world, but I find that the Hulk tends to operate in his own little corner away from the rest of the Marvel books.

I have found that with Pak's writing of the Hulk, and since Big Green's return to Earth 616 after Planet Hulk, the character has been mixing in and integrating within the Marvel world more than I was initially under the impression he was. I'm unsure if that was Pak's intention writing the character for the past couple of years, but I can say it has broadened the accessability of the character in my eyes.

As for this issue, Fall of the Hulks comes to an end and sets the table for World War Hulks. Most of my comments regarding the event will be better detailed when I begin to talk about the other book in the series...

Hulk 21

You know what you are getting, relatively, with Jeph Loeb's "Hulk" book. Red Hulk is kind of an ass. He prefers to do things the destructive, bombastic way. The book is low on subtlety and sometimes I find Red Hulk tends to always have to justify why he does things in, perhaps, a less than efficient way. However, Red Hulk represents something to me in the way he goes about his business. He's having fun as a hulk and I would probably settle things the same way as him if I had his power set, too. The Red Hulk has hubris and, also, a bit of moxy, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Now, as for the Fall of the Hulks event. I believe that this is how events need to be run. The relevant books, "Incredible Hulk" and "Hulk" all contained stories that advanced the plot of the event. The tie-ins, She-Hulks and Red Hulk, reveal some pretty relevant information to the over-all story. I can honestly say that every part of this event I purchased has not made me feel like I have wasted my money.

Best thing about this issue, though? Thor-Hulk!

Hercules: all of an Avenger 1

I'll state now, and probably be wrong, but I do expect Hercules to return, eventually. That said, that viewpoint does not prevent me from enjoying this book.

I don't have much to say that has not aleady been better said at the ISB. I loved this book. Pak and Van Lente don't wallow too much in the stories and write them as tiny comedic beats. My first impression of this was that it would be an anthology and I was very pleasantly surprised to see it was not. Thor's story runs the longest at about 5 pages. Plus, we also get the return of the editorial box reminding readers of what issues events in the stories happened in! I LOVE those things. Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, but apparently 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Even better than the main story, though, was Paul Tobin's Agents of Atlas backup which puts the new Venus and Namora on the job of settling matters of Herc's rather large estate. It is a rather fun read as, once again, Tobin doesn't dwell on any particular job during this process. To keep an activity like this entertianing, Tobin keeps it moving on the page.

Comics don't make a good medium to illustrate quiet contemplation which is broght to the front when juxtaposed with the content of these stories. The nature of these events for most of humanity is that they are solemn, quiet, or contemplative times. The world slows down a bit, for me, when I have to deal with death. Both of these stories don't slow down and, because of that, the tone of the book is definitely more celebratory and less boring. A character such as Marvel's Hercules deserves such a memorial.

One last thing to mention. In Tobin's story Venus and Namora discuss how the gods of this Marvel world can be so mortal. The Greek Pantheon has not had the best of times, recently, in the Marvel World given, now, that Zeus, Hera, Ares, and Hercules are now dead and a new Venus has risen to take the place of an abdicating Aphrodite. I am curious to know if there is a specifically concerted effort to dismantle the Greek Pantheon of deities in Marvel and where it will eventually lead to in the future.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Deadpool Books for 3-17

Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth 9

Victor Gischler turns in a two-fer this week.
In Merc with a Mouth number 9 adventures in the zombie world continue as the remaining humans from the past 6-30 miniseries that haven't been discovered do all they can but strap a siren to their base to antagonize their comfy situation. No better irritant is needed than Deadpool to help expedite that process.

The well known and prototypical zombie works of fiction revolve around main characters/survivors interactions between each other as zombies congregate around them. Most conflicts tend to be within the group of main charcaters rather than people vs. zombies. Zombies are a stressor that provoke people into extreme forms of behavior. This book takes that archetype and removes the existence of the zombies as a stressor on the characters. The reader certainly knows super-powered zombies exist outside the human's home base, but I, personally, don't feel any tension from their existence. Perhaps it just comes from past useage of the zombies, which establish them more as a vehicle for black humor rather than terror.

Now, at some point, the mystery of Zombie Deadpool sprouting a body is going to have to be addressed.

Prelude to Deadpool Corps 3

No picture because I don't have a scanner nor a reliable websource to pluck the image from.

Gischler has been doing his consistently best Deadpool work with this Prelude series. The ablity to exaggerate the acceptability of the cruelties of these worlds that form these various Deadpools has allowed Gischler to plum the depths of parody and return with precious gems suchs as Dog-Wolverine, which is much funnier in the context of the story than it has any right to be.

One-liners become essential to the montage of panels that illustrate the despair of Dog-pool's life. "Dogs should be cute!" was, indeed, a cut above the rest.

I also should mention Phillip Bond's art work on this story. Bond's work first makes me thin kof Crumb and in a comic that is not meant to be taken with much seriousness set in a pretty surreal world, the art matches up perfectly with that intent.

Plus, I may be reading too much into this, but Gischler harkens to a Looney Tunes classic punchline after Deadpool abscoonds away with Dog-pool and leaving the circus the dog performed in with the quandry that they have performed the finest act possible and, yet, have no hope of repeating it.

Siege Books for 3-17

Dark Avengers 15
I've stated that I do not mind flashback sequences that are tie-ins as long as they reveal something new to the story. The ones I dispise are the ones that just fill in gaps that could easily be filled in by the reader. This book is a case of the former, not the latter. That said, the reveals really just trivialize one of the better mysteries of Osborn's ability to secure power as leader of "The Cabal". I don't mind spoiling this because, really, Bendis just as well threw away the reveal in a flashback sequence. The Void was Osborn's ace in the hole to keep "The Cabal" in line.
The issue now tries to fill in some of the holes left in the Siege: the Cabal one-shot. Last issue Bullseye was placed in charge of killing The Sentry's wife, and he goes about that mission. I do not see the need to address this particular plot thread other than the fact it extends Bendis' story another month. As far as I knew, I was cool just thinking The Sentry was insane, like he has been patterned to be since his first appearance. I don't need to see that, now, his wife's dead since it has not been brought up or mattered AT ALL in the Siege event. The only reason this needs to be addressed is if, at some point, her spirit comes back to wreck vengeance as a 3rd Ghost Rider or Bendis is taking apart everything that is tied to the existence of The Sentry in preparation for the character's death and leaving no loose story ends behind.

Siege: Embedded 3
Crazy Glenn Beck representation goes crazy in this issue. By the way, this is a GOOD tie-in. No flashbacks, some action, and we get a spotlight on characters that we know are around during this event, but can't have time devoted to them in the main book.

Siege 3
No joking, this book was awesome. Great one-liners coming from Evil Ms. Marvel, "Well I sure as @#$% saw this coming." A cool fight between Thor and The Sentry. Play by play by Obama and Robert Gates, and Osborn's Green Goblin face paint. Olivier Coipel pays attention to detail by making sure Norman has two rows of teeth around his mouth, one for the face paint, the other for his real teeth. That is dedication to making good art.
I'd, perhaps, be a bit more worried over the arrival of The Void if it wasn't for me delving into my back issues of New Avengers and re-reading the story where the heroes of the Marvel U fought The Void before. It kind of cuts down on the drama, there, no matter how many gods he kills.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Prelude to Deadpool Corps 2

The origin of Kidpool revealed!

A nice story with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Seriously, I laughed hardily when I saw a lecherous Chuck Xavier try out toupees to try and impress Emma Frost. Chuck needs to be in more Afros. And his statement that he'll have to find his look and then plant a false memory in her mind was classic. And that's screech a few pages until the end of the book. "WILSON!!" indeed.

This book was a great excuse to go bananas with the characters of the X-Men and Gischler does a good enough job. Is his world horribly dark given the callousness of the "adults" in the book? Absolutely. However, its humor more reminiscent of Clerks than anything else.

Amazing Spider-Man 624

Not a bad book. There's not a lot to mention, critically, about the book. Well written and the story was fine. The reaction is mostly to just the story events.

So, I didn't expect Peter being fired like that. I was betting on "You didn't SAVE me! You took pictures!" Not, "You photoshopped and now you're fired!" It makes sense for JJJ, believe me it does, but it wasn't my first option. Nice to see I can be surprised. Nice way to get your required kick Peter when he's flying high moment, too. Bonus for us not having to see him turn emo and whiny to try and wring out a few more panels of emotionalism.

My real only misgiving over this whole thing is that the impact of Peter being fired from working with the Mayor isn't really that big. Considering he was fielding offers from "Frontline" to be a photogarapher there, it is not as if he's now faced with dire financial straits and no job pospects. I'll expect a fall out of that at some point given Jonah's remark to have Parker blackballed from the news industry. Whether "Frontline" pays heed to Jameson's words or not, I don't know, but that is something that I suspect will have to be brought up in a future issue.

Batman and Robin 10

Before "Battle for the Cowl" I was not a Batman fan. I just didn't really want to read the comics. Nothing against Batman. I LOVE "Dark Knight". Then I read Batman R.I.P. Then i got "Battle for the Cowl", "Heart of Hush", "Hush", "The Black Glove". I enjoyed them all. So I started buying into the monthlies. Then I started getting kinda frustrated. I figure the cause was that in "Batman" and "Streets of Gotham" there's about 6-7 plots hanging out there to address in a shared universe. Sometimes it seems the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Plus, and this is purely my perception, Batman isn't really being a great detective in these books. And what I mean is that the actual detective process in these books is so stripped down and seemingly cast aside to get to the action sequences that they become distracting, confusing, and unsatisfying.

Now, for the first few issues of this book, I figured Grant Morrison was at least paying less lip service to the detective work Batman does and highlighted more of the action. I was fine with it. No clumsy investigative scenes. Then, this book pops up and Morrison choreographs a delightful detective sequence. He engages the reader and moves from point A to B to C and plays them out. Meanwhile, we get, as a way to fill the time of Dick Grayson deciphering clues with Damien's conflicting thoughts of what would happen if Bruce Wayne were to return to become Batman. The flashbacks to Damien's past serve as a way to break up the investigative sequences and foreshadow conflict to come.

I also now demand Oberon Sexton gets his own mini, or backup.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

R.E.B.E.L.S. 14

Tony Bedard wraps up his Starro opus and I must say it was kinda not as explosive as I expected. Nothing goes according to Vril Dox's plan, but in the end he is able to use his wits to defeat the intergalactic menace. Starro goes out more with a whimper than a bang and without his starfish companion, in the end, he's just not anything to be afraid of. I suppose I get more enjoyment when the villain is backed into a corner and that is the moment he becomes the most dangerous. Not so in this case.

All thats left, now, is whether this expansion of Starro mythos sticks and what is the future of the book, considering Dox is no longer a R.E.B.E.L.

Dark X-Men 5

For 5 solid months Paul Cornell has banged out a script that would make anyone who's a fan of "Office Space" proud. I've gone on enough about how this team resembles the most toxic of work place environments so nothing more needs to be said.

To everyone saying there was no drama because you knew Norman was going to make it out of this book alive and okay: Well, yeah. Thats not the point. This series is about an X-Men team that, quite frankly, no longer has a true purpose in the Marvel world. Utopia happened. The reason for Norman to have an X-team, to stroke Emma's pride, is no longer applicable. This team needed a reason to show Osborn why they are still needed, and, in the end, they coudn't even do that.

Mystic Hands of Doctor Strange

I'm not a guy that follows writers. I mostly attempt to follow characters. That has led me to make some bad decisions before, such as buying Jimmy Palmiotti's "Deadpool" run. I'm a fan of Doctor Strange, mostly because his Hero Clix figure was a giant swiss army knife.
Eugene on War Rocket Ajax remarked, recently, that it seems anthologies are on the rise. I might be inclined to agree with him. As an anthology book of Doctor Strange, in B&W, the book is what you expect from it, a mixed bag.
Kieron Gillen leads off spectacularly with "The Cure". The gentle nudges to the makeup of the world at the beginning that tip Strange off to problems of the magical kind are clever and subtle, up until that point where Clara is going to rob a bank. The placement of it on the right page, bottom corner, gives it a forced pause to snap the reader out of the motions of reading and give them a moment of sudden realization akin to, perhaps, what Strange felt.
Whats of particular notice to me is the time of the setting. The story is set in 1975. It takes advantage of the turmoil of that time. I suppose my only critique to that date is that we see a Dr. Strange that looks much like the one used in 2010. Strange apparently ages very well.
But still, the story, itself, is marvelous.
Peter Milligan tackles the second story with "Melancholia". Here, instead of Strange, protector of the real, we have Strange presented as a man able to cure exotic problems. While not bad, I suppose I am burned out on Strange stories that deal with him entering a man's mind to fix him in some way. I can't help but compare this to Fraction's use of Strange in Invincible Iron Man. That was excellent. Without as much space as Fraction had to use Strange Milligan's story just comes up a bit short.
Ted McKeever brings his fabulous art with him to the third tale "So this is how it feels..." In this story, Strange is just as fallable as any man, and I think this Strange has the most potential to carry his own ongoing series. While the story is not the best of them, it is another twist on Strange, and makes him a more accessible character for readers.
Finally, there's Mike Carey's "Duel in the Dark Dimension" which is a prose piece. Its 2 pages of words and a single picture. I tried doing something like that in College, Dave Simms did that in Cerebus, and "Poison Elves" started in this format. There's a reason why 1)I'm not a comic writer, 2) a lot of Cerebus readers HATE Jaka's story, and 3) Poison Elves switched to a more conventional comic format.
In all, the anthology did do one thing for me, it made me want to go out and write my own Dr. Strange script.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mighty Avengers 34

It would not surprise me if a few months ago Dan Slott was givena checklist of things to accomplish by the time Siege rolls around.
-Wrap up Loki's involvement with the series
-Tie the book into New Avengers, Captain America Reborn, Incredible Hercules, and Thor
-Lead into Siege and the end of the Mighty Avengers book
Perhaps many more things, too. The point, though, is that within a single issue out of a year of story telling and halfway into Marvel's Siege event, Dan Slott accomplishes this goal. Most importantly, he makes the most use of 22 pages that I have seen from anyone. Slott's writing is concise and conveys exactly the information he needs to tell the reader. It is a special talent that I have seen the man exhibit throughout his run on Mighty Avengers and is on full display here. For the rest of Marvel the Heroic Age may be approaching, but the fun and whimsy of a brighter, new age of Marvel Comics has been on display for a solid year in this book.

It may not be a flagship book. It may have to bow to the continuity concerns of several other books, too. However, it has a true master of the comic medium leading it to its end, and given the limitations placed on him with the direction of all of these characters, Slott has exercised and explored more than enough space. To use a different analogy, he's made a tiny home seem bigger than it is from the inside.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ultimate Comics Avengers 5

The big knock on this book is going to be the consistency at which it comes out, which is completely inconsistent. When the advertsement for th enext issue is supposed to be for 04/14/2010, I'd believe itd be the 4th day fo the 14th month of the year that we see issue 6.
Despite late releases, it remains a pretty ypical Mark Millar Ultimates book, which slots it in its own respective "good" category. The dialog is full of bravado, grandstanding, and machismo. If right wing reactionaries want a Captain America that is theirs, they should turn to this book instead of worrying about bleeding hearted 616 Cap.
Pacheco's art is great, but it should be given how long the waits between books are for him to get his art in.
Finally, just a rhetorical question regarding comic book science. If the Red Skull is a guy who cut his own face off with a knife, did it hurt like crazy to get a tatto placed on what is essentially muscle and scabbing?