Friday, May 14, 2010

Prince of Power #1

Cho is a legacy character, in a sense. It is presented in this book he is the inheriter of the role Hercules played in the Marvel U. Cho stands apart from most legacy characters because his skill and power set are so different from his heroic mentor. He has a great chance of seperating himself from his heroic mentor and becoming a unique hero. This isn't a legacy charcater who is just a change in personality from his mentor, such as Wally West and Dick Grayson. Cho is drasticly different from Hercules, but the mission statement for the character remains the same. A whole new space of storytelling is opening up to fill this role of fighter of mythological monsters.

The book moves at a break neck speed, which is good. Events moved from a fight with The Griffin, to Banner's work to locate Hercules, to Vali's plan to work towards god-hood. Each story has its own unique undertones and threads laid out that will, hopefully, intersect with each other before the series finishes up. The Griffin fight lays out a larger story of the impending appearance of the Chaos King. The work by Banner features a second story about the quest to find Hercules, and Vali's plan to attain godhood is a third arc that will, most likely, require Cho to visit, and anger, several pantheons over the course of the series. The art is gorgeous, and I wish I could enjoy it more without the purple information boxes. For some reason those things are irritating to me.

Finally, there is an everpresent undertone of the gods vs man . In the Chaos King story Athena leaves a message for Cho that Mankind should learn to depend on themselves rather than look tot he gods for help in their monumental battles. In the Quest for Hercules story, as Cho is talkign to Delphyne, the Gorgon, she is reading a book titled "How to Kill a God"while Cho voices suspicions of trusting Athena, and there is the rise of Godhodd story, which was started through Vali Halflings desire to raise mortals into godhood because of the gods' indifference to their mortal followers. There is, also, an intersting scene where people donate goods to help the Norse Gods after the events of Siege. It is a nice juxtaposition of how mortals look to the gods and help them after reading Athena's and Vali's speeches on the relations of mortals to the gods. Artistically, this is a juxtaposition to an earlier panel regarding the horrors the god's have bestowed upon the world. War, Destruction, and the "kindness" of the one day only free health clinic.

This is a great book, all around. Cho has the personality of a self-assured teenager, and reminds me of some of my most problematic A students, as a teacher. The heavy mythological lean of the book is right up my alley and I'll be returning again to continue reading this series next month.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Siege 4

I truly hate becoming a comic nerd, but, after 2.5 solid issues of work (I refuse to consider the 1st half of Siege #1 as being good), Bendis just dropped the ball on the ending of this book.

Two scenes effectively sink this book. First, we have the Loki begging Odin for strength scene. This does a lot to undercut Loki's machinations that have been present throughout Kieron Gillen's run of Thor and the Siege: Loki one shot. I get that Loki can shrug off being killed. That was the point of his dealings in Siege: Loki. I have a problem with the sincerity he displays in his astonishment at the destructive power of The Sentry. There's no reason for Loki to not be sincere in thoughts. So you have to assume that those thoughts he has are true. He is not vocalizing them. He's not trying to hide from mind readers. These are presented as true feelings that Loki is experiencing, at that moment. In that moment Bendis completely castrates everything we knew of Loki over the past few months. It's great Loki took back the Norn stones because he certainly acts like he lost his stones in these first few pages.

Most of the fight we get against The Void is solid. The Avengers, powered up by Norn Stones, Asgard's "Power Thirst", try to beat up The Void. Not working. Iron Man drops a Helicarrier on The Void. Not working. Its building up to the point where something awesome needs to happen to beat The Void, and we get Thor calling down a Lightning bolt on him. Which he tried doing, to little effect, at the beginning of the fight. This doesnt look like Bendis running out of ideas, this smells more like the page count was gettign too high for the fight and needed to be wrapped up, quickly. Again, The Sentry lost the fight because the page count was going up!

Lets also remember how many times the damn guy DIED in Dark Avengers! And he stays down from that? And being dumped into the sun? Wasn't the BIG SCARY thing about the man that he was unbeatable because his molecules were under conplete control of his will, ever if he died? Didn't he have the equivalent of a molecular healing factor? WHY THE HELL IS A LIGHTNING BOLT BEATING HIM?!

Throw in a 10 page epilogue to this story and we end Marvels great crossover with a pretty pathetic whimper.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Vengeance of the Moon Knight 8

I am constantly amazed Moon Knight has his own series.

This week was a fairly light week for me in comics. I only picked up 8 books. While I, normally, gush glowingly about titles such as Batman and Robin, Spider-Man: Fever, and Amazing Spider-Man, I found this book to be my favorite one of the week. It is not that it is as innovative or potentially exciting as the three books mentioned previously, but it was an enjoyable read and concluded a story. I like having endings in books.

So this story is, essentially, a 22 page epilogue to the McGuffin of the contract killing on a Russian Mobster. Deadpool was hired to kill this man. Moon Knight was not going to let that happen. Moon Knight runs off to dismantle the man's operation himself. By page 5 that whole thing is wrapped up. Then we get a 13 page throw down of Moon Knight and Deadpool for, really, no reason, now. Deadpool is a synonym, in story, for the illogical, so fighing for no reason at all is right up his alley. The other 4 pages? Well, the lady that hired Deadpool decides to be more proactive in her mission to kill the Russian mobster after the Merc with the Mouth fails to do the job.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

iZombie 1

Witness that I do not just read Marvel comics or Green Lantern tie in books.

A problem that can plague #1 issues is the writer attempts to set something up in the issue rather than provide anything dynamic in the book. What is great about this book is that, while it is a set-up piece, at $1 for the book, it is a cheap entry way into the world of Supernatural Eugene, Oregon.

Boy does this book set up the world too. We get our protagonist, Gwen, her best friend Ellie, their 3rd wheel hangeron Spot, the Vampire paintball ref, and some monster hunters. Nobody is really doing anything in this issue except establishing themselves and what their role is in the book. They are all interesting characters. I'm excited for these people. But, again, this issue is just meant to set up the world. I suspect issue #2 will be where some action will begin.

Now, for the real critiquing. While this book was good, I'm sure we don't need to wait until story page 20 to find out Gwen is a zombie nor story pages 21-22 to find out what the purpose of the book is. What is most frustrating about this, though, is that 18-22 were the previews of the damn book. Your big reveal is not clever if the last 5 pages of your comic were the preview of your book in just about every DC comic printed over the past month. That makes you a giant waste of my time. Why the hell can we not get these five pages as the beginning of the story, and then the next 17 is Gwen and the gang solving the mystery of the murdered man? Can the reader not be introduced to them over the course of an investigation? I hate asking rhetorical questions because these should not be asked. There is no reason to hide the fact Gwen is a zombie until page 20 if everyone who has seen an advertisement for the book already knows this.

Now, on the plus side, Allred's art is beautiful. It is interesting to see a zombie rendered in his pop-style art work and how the fact that there is a zombie rendered in this way can expand on the possabilities of zombies in a person's eyes. While Roberson has changed the myth of the zombie slightly to suit this book, Allred's work on the physical appearance of the zombie does the same, and for the better. It is not as if Zombies haven been featured in comics before.

*cough*Marvel Zombies

However, I cannot remember a recent comic that uses zombies in this fashion. Bravo to the creative team of Roberson and Allred for that.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Siege: Secret Warriors

I cannot find a better picture, so you people may have to squint to see that one.

This book follows two different stories. One is Captaina nd America and Nick Fury catching up with each other, sinc ethey have not had a team up since Cap's death. The other story is more important. Ever since Siege 2, i'm sure i'm not the only person to have wondered how Alex, Phobos, God of Fear, Son of Ares, God of War, would react to The Sentry ripping him in two. Now, we get that reaction.

I was thrown for a loop when the kid decided to go after the President. The story reason is not so bad. Osborn would not have been in power if the President had not given it to him. So going after the President as the real man who is responsable for the madness in the Marvel world is not that far fetched. However, I don't quite agree with that reasoning. Alex is a child, so don't get me wrong, this is a child's way of lashing out at a situation he had no control over. In the story, though, Ares is as responsable for his death as the President, Norman Osborn, or The Sentry are. All 4 men could be held accountable for this particular death. This leads me to think Hickman is trying to draw attention to the Iraq War, a war started through the office of the Presidency.

I absolutely love the letter Phobos writes to the President at the end of this book. My favorite lines being "You sacrificed honor for expediency. You traded intent for quick action. You were wrong...and we all suffered for it. So, do better now, mortal man...for if not I, then surely some god somewhere will some day find you wanting."

If Jonathan Hickman is indeed echoing the war in Iraq with those lines, then he essentially called W. out, because, surely, W.'s Christian God may find him wanting for starting such a war. But that assumes Hickman believes the War in Iraq to be started for the sake of expediency and quick action, rather than to protect our country's honor or for a true intent.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Captain America 605

"Two Americas" comes to an end. American cnservatives have not been fully eviscerated. All the gnashing of teeth is pretty moot. Lets not beat around the bush, though. Brubaker took conservative anger at our government and used it to tell a story whose villains are examples of extreme conservative ideology. To be petty, Captain America arose out of anger at a form of extreme conservative idology, Nazism.
By the third act the arc has veered off of the the path of conservative anger at the current government and shifted to the culture wars. The real moral of this story is that, given we live in such a diverse country, we, sometimes, have to compromise some of our principals in order for us to interact with our fellow man. As long as people can exist and do not cause physical or devastating financial harm to each other, then you may have to give up the dream of homogeny. To tell that story necessitates a villain that may have a bit of a conservative lean to him. The culture wars are a conservative rallying point. The 1950s Captain America is a culture warrior taken to an illogical extreme. That comes into its sharpest focus when, atop the Hoover Dam, 1950s Cap begins screaming, "I don't want to look at this world and think it's right!" shortly before he attempts to blow it up.

I'm fine with Ed Brubaker using Captain America as a soap box for his ideals. It would not be a Cap comic without him fighting for something the writer views as an American concept. When Bill Willingham gets ahold of this comic, I won't begrudge him giving us stories with Flag Smasher on them. We live in a country, today, where audiences don't want to be given unbiased news reporting. Audiences actively seek out news that fits into their own world view or form opinions based on what they read out of the rare source of unbiased news. That is perfectly fine. Its how news has to survive, now. If people feel you do not accuratey report the news, they will find someone who they believe will, and that tends to be someone who presents news with a slant that they agree with. People like being informed, but also like being advised, and they respond to advice given by people they agree with.
If conservatives want a Captain America of their own, they are more than welcome to read Mark Millar's Cap in Ultimate Comics.