Want to keep up with the ever-advancing continuity porn of the DC and Marvel universes, but simply don’t have the time or money to buy every ongoing? We’re here to help. The Weekend Week In Review aims to give you ((usually) very) brief synopses of what happened in a select few of DC and Marvel’s titles – with a helping of sarcastic commentary – so that when some nasty old writer wants to punish you by heavily referencing a title you didn’t pick up, you won’t be left in the dark. Of course, that means that spoilers are in abundance, but I figure that you could figure that out.
Before Watchmen has given us a break this week, for better or for worse (hint: it’s for the better), so let’s start with “Batman Incorporated” #4. Before Matches, a.k.a. Bruce, had a plastic bag dropped on his head to suffocate him in the previous issue, it appears he had been trailing a slight trail of gunpowder so he could light a trail in case something happened. Even so, Bruce was able to escape from the [insert regionally appropriate grocery chain name here] bag and noose combo after throwing off his assailant. Now, were he in his Batman persona, he’d just free himself and go. Matches, though? Not so much.
The aforementioned gunpowder trail wasn’t just a last-ditch effort relying on someone looking at a specific spot at just the right moment — as it wended its way through Bruce’s assailants, the trail eventually ended with a big boom, blowing a hole open for Wingman, El Gaucho, and the Hood to come to their boss’s rescue. While those three were distracted by the not-at-all-magical Merlyn, Redbird (remember: Damian) climbed his way into the same building, post dog-beating. I guess Morrison has had enough controversy with the latest volume of this book; it isn’t worth it to delay it further because of PETA. Damian impaled Merlyn’s hand with an arrow, thus saving Wingman, and the two mysterious characters made their way to Bruce. Figuring that his cover was blown, Bruce gave the signal (the Bat-signal, even) to have the rest of Inc. arrive and take out Leviathan’s goons and ninja Man-Bats out of the picture. Even though Batman’s super team won the day, though, Bruce thought it best if he went ahead and returned Damian to his mother in order to prevent further carnage. Don’t worry, he still gets weekends.
Oh, and Wingman is Jason Todd, but you knew that from “Batman Incorporated” Vol. 1 #1, right?
“National Comics: Madame X” introduced a new Madame Xanadu — well, not explicitly, since the word “Xanadu” is not in the comic once, and because she’s already in “Justice League Dark,” and… well, you get the idea. I’m glad to see DC is using their new continuity to help clear up confusing character overlaps. The title character, Nima X, has the ability to see the future when consulting her tarot cars, but only snippets — often without context, and, as we all know, context is key. After a bout of celebrity that ended spectacularly when she predicted a wealthy man was going to be robbed, she now works as a consulting psychic for a defense firm. This issue began with the death of a New Orleans councilman, and Nima being asked to prove voodoo queen Lauren Goucuff innocent of his murder.The fact that she poured blood on him and cursed him at a public event after he publicly denounced her made the matter… well, difficult.
She even went through the trouble of sending him a tricked-out voodoo knife! That’s some hate boner. Nima knew, though, that Goucuff did not kill the councilman, because she saw what killed him in a vision that morning: a one-armed zombie (even though she insists she doesn’t believe in them (even though she lives in a world with Superman))! Her doubts were slightly thrown even more into question when a witness confirmed that he, too, saw a zombie. After threatening Goucuff with a glimpse of the future if she did not cooperate, the voodoo queen gave Nima directions to her “hidden city” — or, more accurately, junkie city, as the psychic and her partner Mr. Salinger soon found out, complete with one guy sans an arm. It was a Scooby-Doo case after all… only, zombie man admitted to being at the house, but not to killing the councilman. Answers came quickly, though: Councilman Meachum had actually been a regular guest at these voodoo ceremonies, until his wife, strolling through the swamp as New Orleans-ers do, walked in on him with another woman. Back at their home, Mrs. Meachum used the same knife Goucuff mailed Mr. Meachum to do the deed, and… cased closed, I guess. There was, however, an epilogue where Nima saw herself dead at the hands of her friend and partner, Mr. Salinger. Wait… this sounds familiar.Continued below
Jonathan Hickman’s “Fantastic Four” run (and a billion other long-running Marvel books) finally finally ended in “FF” #23. With a solicit promising “Old Franklin teaches Young Franklin how to be a god,” you knew things were about to get heavy for everyone’s favorite omnipotent kid. You know, they’d be doing super serious stuff.
Future Franklin set about teaching Present Franklin in their pocket universe that imagination always trumps intelligence in a calvacade of everything that makes kids the best until the kid was finally tuckered out. Putting his younger self to bed, Future Franklin then went around saying his goodbyes to the rest of the family, first going out for drinks and shooting the shit with Johnny and Ben before facing his parents. Even when you’re grown up and from the future, they’re such a pain.
Explaining how reality itself would notice if there were two of the same hyper-powerful being, such as himself, in the same universe, Franklin waved goodbye to his Past Parents. Before he left, though, his parents asked him the one question every parent wants to know: did they do a good job?
There’s… there’s, uh, something in my eye. Yeah.
Lets keep this finale train rolling as we get into the other incredibly sad book, of the week, “Journey into Mystery.” I will do my best to make some jokes here, if I can manage to see the keyboard through all these tears.
So, as it turns out, time has run out for Little Loki. With all of his actions having come full circle and Ikol having been revealed as a figment of his imagination (or rather, a visual manifestation of his former self, keeping an eye on him), Loki confronts his past self quite literally in a showdown of the mind. Evil Loki reveals that at the beginning of the series, when the various magpies went out into the world, one of them went to someone known as The Teller, who it turns out had been narrating the entire series all along. The magpie, as old Loki, informed the Teller that Little Loki would eventually create a crown powered by his thoughts, and that come the next great war of the Nine Realms (‘Everything Burns’), a letter should be delivered to Mephisto informing him that he can use this crown to take over all of Hell. That being now in motion, Evil Loki informs Little Loki that the only way to save everything is to allow Evil Loki to take over his mind, erasing Little Loki and thus taking the power away from the crown. The true trick of it is is that now, the good name Little Loki has made will be assumed by the Old Loki, and no one will ever know. Evil Loki will have gotten what he wants, and the character we grew with for this entire run will be … gone.
Well, shit. Turns out Loki was fucking with us the whole time. And what’s worse, somehow this is still shocking, even after 50 years of him doing so. GILLEN!!!!!
As a “gift”, Evil Loki allows Little Loki to go and hav three final conversations with people of his choosing. Once these conversations end, Little Loki will have to die in order to save everything. So Loki goes out and has his final conversations. Meeting Leah in her cave, he promptly ignores her, tricking her into opening a portal to Hel (with one L) by monologuing his needs. He travels to Hel and meets with Brun, ignoring everyone else he encounters. Hoping to use her as a final Ace up his sleeve, Loki is informed that Brun and the Sisterhood no longer devour the dead at all, meaning he couldn’t play one final gambit against his former self. This is what we get when we allow a writer like Gillen free reign to do what he wants, am I right, tumblr?
Loki meets with Hela and informs her that he needs his BFF Leah sent far into the ancient past, where there are no milkshakes and no friendship. Without batting an eyelash, Hela agrees and Leah disappears, leaving a crying Loki alone in Hel and allowing the reader a moment to put together that the logic of Loki being Leah’s father is somewhat applicable, although not in the traditional sense of giving birth. Stew on that a moment.Continued below
Finally, Loki meets with Thor to have his final conversation, during which he asks Thor to promise him that if Loki goes “bad”, Thor will put him down. Thor denies Loki this, insisting that no matter what happens Thor will be able to help him. Loki smiles, cries and calls him an idiot. Typical family reunion.
So the stage is set for the final confrontation. Loki and Loki face off, and Little Loki asks what will happen to him after he is gon. This leads to Evil Loki telling a story meant only for causing tears, as it is revealed that Mephisto’s coup will fail, Thori and his father will frolic happily in Hel, Brun and Tyr will have some sweet relations, Wilson will get a second chance at the whole Manchester Gods thing, Volstagg will step down as king of Asgardia and be with his family, all the grievances that caused ‘Everything Burns’ will be patched up, Thor will grow into an even greater hero, and that Little Loki will be sent to wherever Hela went to be together forever. The End.
Except, no. Little Loki will really just be dead. There is nothing we can do to change this, he tells us, as a million tumblr users prepare angry gif-based posts to cry hatred for Gillen. And as the time comes, Loki smirks and claims he won, which is true, because since Evil Loki has shown that he can not move beyond his basic nature, it means that his wish for change will never occur. Since Little Loki was able to change, it just proves that Loki is beyond such things, and that no matter how hard he tries, he will never be as good as Little Loki is. Yeah! You sure showed him, from that bloody pile on the floor…
… Alright, give me a minute. There are a few somethings in my eye now. Dammit, Gillen.
The finales to “Invincible Iron Man” and “Captain America” are decidedly less emotional, specifically because they don’t end with the main character being killed by himself. In fact, there is honestly decidedly less to talk about, which is a weird occurrence. We’ll try to come up with something regardless.
As “Captain America” ends, Steve visits William Burnside in the hospital, whom you may remember from earlier in Brubaker’s run when he (the Cap of 1950) came back as a crazy person, kidnapping Bucky and threatening to kill Sam. The issue is then more or less a recap of Captain America’s career (again) as Cap discusses his role as a symbol, which has been a central theme of Brubaker’s entire run. Cap goes through his time as a nobody skinny guy through all the history we are now more than familiar with, attempting to explain the burden of his lot in life to this man in the hospital, who gave up his life and sanity being an iteration of him. Cap then rides off into the sunset of an American flag and …
Well, that’s really about it. I mean, unless you want a history lesson about Captain America, there is literally nothing more to discuss, now is there?
“Iron Man” is closer to “JiM”, as story elements that Fraction had been working on are now closed off, ready for Gillen to take over. Most loose ends are addressed:
- All the Stark tech loose in the world has been retrofitted to contain an algorithm that would recognize when it was being used to nefarious purposes, shut down and call Iron Man. Apparently you agree to this in the the Terms and Conditions, which explains why my iPhone won’t let me use it to power my laser gun.
- Stark’s relationship with Maria Hill is dead, as Stark is now somewhat considered a danger and a traitor, having been used by the Mandarin as a weapon when his body was infected with malware. Hey, what’s the difference between my virus infected PC and Tony Stark? My virus infected PC isn’t considered an enemy of the state! LOL!
- Rhodey is allowed to come back to life, specifically because no on bought that he was dead. Continued below
- Justine Hammer is murdered Zeke and Sasha, thus ending the Hammer line at the government. And Zeke was, for the record, able to arrange her murder by just having access to a cell phone, which proves the age old addage true: never give your cell phone to a psychopath.
- Tony breaks up with all his friends and Resilient, because he needs to experience the new and “Earth is for other people.” Sounds like someone is getting ready to be a Guardian of the Galaxy!
And with that, Tony flies off into the sunset with new armor because the stars are his destination, and Matt Fraction likes Alfred Bester. “Goodbye, Tony,” tweets Matt, and so we go on.
Oh, and Tony finally takes a bath. Why?
This Week’s Contributors were:
Walt – “Batman Incorporated” #4, “National Comics – Madame X”, “FF” #23
Matthew – “Captain America” #19, “Invincible Iron Man” #527, “Journey into Mystery” #645
Anything we didn’t get to that you’re interested in? Email me at the link below! This also applies for if you read something that we didn’t and want to share it with others, as I, too, have only so much money and time to spend on comics. Don’t worry, we’ll give you credit.