Every Wednesday to geeks like me across the country is the best day of the week. Being able to go through a long day of school or work and then coming home to read adventures of your favorite heroes and villains is a reward in and of itself. It only makes sense that every Thursday, then, we have a weekly article talking about what we’ve read that week. While I can’t speak for the other writers of this site, I, your humble host, will most definitely be writing every Thursday my impressions of the books I’ve been reading.
For the record, I usually spend about $30-$60 on comics a week, so forgive me if I am a little slow. I promise I will always deliver, though. I’ll just have to do it in small bits and pieces and write as I read. So without further ado,
Captain America #600
Talk about a hype behind an issue. It was ridiculous! You couldn’t turn anywhere without reading Captain America this, or Captain America that. And when it all comes down to it, was the issue as good as everyone in the media was leading us to believe? Well… not really. Let’s face it, this all was just a huge prelude for Captain America: Reborn, which comes out July 1st with Bryan Hitch taking over artistic duties. This big story that we’ve been building up for so long now with Red Skull and his plot to take out Captain America is moving out of the Cap book, and the Cap book is going to be left to shambles because of it. Don’t get me wrong, I think Brubaker is a great writer. I am HIGHLY anticipating the return of Steve Rogers to the Marvel U due to whatever this deus ex machina item really is, but the main book will suffer with the huge plot being outsourced like this. On top of that, the extra stories (even the one by my personal favorite Mark Waid) are pretty lack luster. It seems for a while now we’ve been stuck in this stagnant “remember Steve Rogers” mode in the book. I loved Cap for it’s intriguing thriller aspects and it would appear that all of those are back, except this book acts as a huge a) publicity stunt and b) tease. Through out the whole thing we see bits of characters who have played large parts in this book and how they’re reacting a year after Steve’s death. All of this leads to the highly anticipated Reborn book, and I’m thankful to have Steve back in the Marvel U. I just wish that we could do without the filler in between the awesome stuff.
Wolverine: Origins #37
Daniel Way had a difficult task ahead of him when he started Origins. Not only did he have to pick up the pieces left after Loeb’s crazy and thankfully short run on Wolverine, but he had to figure out what to do with Bendis’ Universe altering actions. So far, he’s been doing a really good job of that within this book, and all of it leads us to this issue: Romulus. Romulus had been revealed as the one manipulating Wolverine for centuries, and Wolvie not only wants answers but also some payback. We are slowly but surely pushing towards some truth now, and I couldn’t be happier. One of the things I’ve always liked about Wolverine: Origins is it took classic Wolverine villains and used them on the center stage, as opposed to what other Wolverine books do with modern day villains. People like Cyber and Omega Red were always favorites to me, and this one brings back not only plot lines left unanswered from earlier in the series but also Omega Red in all his great and evil Russian glory. I think this is my favorite thing about Daniel Way – his appreciation for the classic stuff. So while I’m not a huge fan of the new art direction (although it does make Wolverine look much more brutish), I’m looking forward to the resolution of this arc, I’m more than thankful to have yet another smash up between Omega Red and Wolverine, this time absolutely one on one with no holds barred. It’s looking to be a good one.
Ultimatum – Spider-Man: Requiem #1
So Jeph Loeb decided to kill Spider-Man. Like, for real. Who does that?! Seriously though. I think the thing about Ultimatum is that, while ultimately it’s terrible, it’s doing a good job of wiping the slate clean. Bendis is so wrapped up in the normal Marvel U that he gave Ultimate Spider-Man, the book that arguably helped launch his career, much less attention. He forgot about his previous plot lines and let things get messy and hazy so that, by the end of it, Spider-Man was full of fail. Being allowed to re-start the Ultimate Spidey franchise is like a second chance he so earnestly deserves, because we all know his love for the character and the series. The thing that kills me is that despite this, he still manages to write in continuity errors. The big one I’m referring to is the guest appearance of Iron Man in the wrong suit. It was one thing when Jeph Loeb completely ignored the change of Thor’s hammer in Ultimates 3. It’s a, for all intents and purposes, minute detail. But a whole costume screw up? Come on now. While I love the return of Bagley as the artist and the introduction of Hydra into the Ultimate world (a group that Bendis is clearly in love with lately), this is just something that really bugs me. I feel like this could have been easily avoided by, oh I dunno, looking at any poster for Ultimates? I have one! I’m sure the Marvel offices and other areas he works has one too. It’s a good start of a finale, though. I’m interested to see where the second half will lead, and I’m greatly looking forward to the new Spider-Man series. I suppose I can forgive these little discretion’s for now, but I hope that Bendis puts more thought into the new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man book. I’m tired of all the plot mix ups.
The Punisher #6
Rick Remender’s a new guy on the block over at Marvel, and putting the Punisher in his hands was a very smart move. The Punisher versus the Hood has got to be one of the most entertaining arcs in the Dark Reign world. It’s pretty much a perfect match up, too. The Hood is the new Kingpin of crime, and the Punisher hates crime, and while Frank isn’t going after him directly, I love that the the Hood has a center spotlight as the villain, as opposed to how it seemed in the first few issues that there would be a new bad guy for the Punisher every time. Add on top of that the Hood’s latest and greatest insidious plan to take down Frank and you’ve got all the right ingredients for a really explosive finale to come. The Punisher is a character I think a lot of people overlook due to the very basic nature of his character in that he is just a guy with guns who punishes the wicked. There is, in theory, nothing special to him. But Rick Remender does an amazing job of re-inventing the creativity behind the character, and this book couldn’t come any more highly recommended as a jump point for the character.
Granted, the best Punisher stuff you can ever read and will ever read is the extensive work of Garth Ennis, but still.
The Mighty Avengers #26
Well that was fast! No sooner than the Fantastic Four arc began did it end. I gotta say, I really love the Mighty Avengers. I think the new team is a great collection of characters and it’s an amazingly fun read (Valerie defeating Cho with an EPIC FAIL stunned me). The past issues have all essentially been build up, though. At first we had to assemble the team, and now we have to establish for them a base. I don’t really have a problem with this, but I just know where the series is ultimately heading (a showdown with Loki, for starters) and I’m really anxious to see it. Plus, all of the teasing that this issue gives about the new base has me on the edge of my seat! I should have prefaced any discussion on an Avengers property with the fact that the Avengers are my all-time favorite team, and while I miss the trinity of Cap, Thor, and Iron Man, I do enjoy the formations of new teams in their wake (and who knows? Maybe the ultimate goal of Dark Reign is to fix this?). I just wish the story moved more quickly to this final goal. I’m a very impatient person. I think that the Mighty Avengers, as a whole, is a very well written book though. A lot is crammed into this one issue and it shows Slott’s talents. He’s done amazing with this run so far. The twists, the jokes, the revelations… all of it. And while I agree with David about the art, it doesn’t bother me as much. The Mighty Avengers is definitely a book to watch, though.
The Man With No Name #11
And so we have the “finale” of the Man With No Name. It seems so soon, but the series is moving on from The Good, The Bad, and the Uglier to a straight up recreation of Sergio Leone’s film The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (backwards, I know). Considering this is the end, I can’t help but be disappointed. I really enjoyed the character in the books and felt that there were still many more stories to tell. Granted, we’ve had two arcs, and while the first was great the second was meh over all, but that doesn’t mean there is no redemption for the book. We have no really great and original cowboy characters out there aside from Jonah Hex, and does he totally count as a classic western character? Yeah, I don’t think so either. I guess Dynamite decided that this wasn’t that profitable of a book and decided to switch it out for something more recognizable, which is fair on their part but disappointing for those of us who were big fans of it. So we didn’t go out with as much of a bang as I would’ve hoped, and I’m going to stay away from the comic interpretation of the movie because, let’s face it, if you’ve seen the movie you don’t need to read the comic. But I’ll miss the Man with No Name. It was a fun 11 issues for me. While this might not be most graceful ride off into the sunset, at least the character will still exist in some capacity.
The Invincible Iron Man #14
Matt Fraction’s Iron Man seems like an attempt to redeem Tony Stark for the well deserved hate from the public he’s garnered thanks to Civil War. It also seems like the easiest way to represent Jon Favreau’s Tony Stark in comic book form. I am very fearful for this book, though. I think that, of all the status quo changes that have come of recently, this one is a little bit too much. I mean, Tony Stark is deleting his brain. What’s up with that? While Fraction’s writing is great, this plot is a big crazy. I adore the reappearance of Crimson Dynamo and his interaction with Norman Osborn, but I’m not sure where Fraction is planning to go with this. While Dark Reign obviously won’t be forever, is this really somehow the end of the Tony Stark we know and love? I miss the confident Tony Stark whose main problem was a bottle of alcohol and a few super powered villains operating off stolen Stark tech. I can see that Fraction is putting people in place for a finale, but I just can’t tell what that outcome is going to be really. I feel that the way Fraction chooses to conclude this arc will either make or break the series for me because it’s going to be a love it or hate it situation. The best part about this book is definitely the artwork, though. It’s absolutely gorgeous to look at. I might just be partial to this particular work, but I really can’t get enough of it. When the whole arc is said and done, it’s going to be wonderful to look at it page by page in a store while admiring the trade. I’m dead serious, though – wherever Fraction is leading us to, it’s a huge change, and it could very well make me lose interest in the adventures of Tony Stark. Especially without that luxurious hair and goatee!
The second Ed Brubaker book of the week, Incognito continues to be a treat. One of my favorite things about it is that even though we have a group of characters we’ve never met before, Brubaker doesn’t take the time to flesh out every little character history. Rather, bits and pieces of the events are presented through dialogue. It’s an excellent story telling technique on his part. The artwork never ceases to entertain either. Very pulp, and very comic. This is the only issue that, as far as story is concerned, lulled a bit along in my mind. In this issue, we face the consequences of the fight from the previous one and only one really new bit of information is ascertained at the very end in a nice little twist. These characters are dark and unforgiving, but I wouldn’t have them any other way, and this story is shaping up nicely. While I don’t think this is Brubaker’s best original work, at least in comparison to the stuff he has done in Sleeper and Criminal, it’s definitely a great read, and it comes highly recommended from yours truly. It might be a little late to hop on the Incognito bandwagon, but still. I think that, by the end of it, it’ll be a very satisfying story. Like I said, this issue lulled a bit, but it’s clearly all build up for an ending with this amazing villain he has created for the story. I’m psyched.
Jack Of Fables #35
It took 7 issues, but as I said before, the Great Fables Crossover is finally getting good. This issue was great and featured the final showdown with the Genres. The book does a great job of conveying it’s story while maintaining a mostly comic frontage. While I still prefer the Fables book to this one, I’m taking a bit more of a shine towards it’s writing style (only took 35 issues!). I think my main complaint still, though, is that in the grand scheme very little happens. We’re relying on one more issue to wrap everything up, and that includes a big and epic showdown between the Fables and Kevin Thorn as this is something we still have not reached. I worry that leaving everything to one final book rather than including a showdown in the penultimate that results in an epic cliffhanger for the finale makes the ending rushed. And let’s face it, they’ve had plenty of time to insert this in. There was so much in the crossover that we could have done without, or at least saved for another time. Especially the stuff with Jack and the farm animals. I know I can’t be the only one to think that! So while the Crossover is ultimately a disappointment, this ending is shaping up nicely, and it does leave me anticipating the rather explosive end that is sure to come out of it. Either that, or the ending will simply be Deus Ex Machina, as implied in this issue. We’ll see.
Either way, I hope that after this Fables returns to it’s normally scheduled programming with some more Mr. Dark. Enough Literal stuff. It feels like they’re taking a great concept and trying to explain it too much. The Literals are a cool concept in theory, but they’re highly unnecessary. Fables exist because we tell their stories. That was all we ever needed to know.
Dark Reign: Hawkeye #3
After Warren Ellis’ amazing run on Thunderbolts, Andy Diggle came in post-SI to wrap things up and make way for a new era of Thunderbolts. It was a good call to throw him on the reigns for the Hawkeye book, in my opinion, because he is clearly good at writing solid evil characters who are put in a “heroes” position. Furthermore, here we have one of the most evil characters in the Marvel U because Bullseye never had any remorse for his actions. Last issue I remarked that this was heading in a weird direction, and truth be told it greatly is. The series, which I had presumed originally to be Bullseye vs. Clint Barton, is really just Bullseye vs Bullseye. It makes for an interesting conundrum when you have the world’s deadliest assassin routinely fighting himself through out the issue. The best part of the issue is when Bullseye talks to Moonstone about his splintering psyche and compares it to Norman Osborn. It’s an interesting turn of events from how the book originally started, which was just Bullseye taking out some extra aggression on sinners and saints alike. It also helps to further drive the question, “What happens when you put a villain in a heroes mask?”, and that’s the whole point of Dark Reign. We have a world run in the shadows by villains, and how could anyone think this was a good idea at all? So congrats to Diggle for making a compelling read on the subject. So far, in comparison, Dark Avengers has simply showed us how the new “heroes” act in heroic deeds but they haven’t really tried to get down to the real drama of it all. That’s precisely why we have books like this and writers like Andy Diggle to help flesh it out for us.
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4
Dark Reign FF acts as a segue between Mark Millar’s Fantastic Four run and the upcoming run by Jonathan Hickman, and it is shaping up to be awesome. The book has been a little bit esoteric so far, but considering that three out of the four have been trapped in a trans-dimensional bridge, it’s to be expected. This issue makes it much more clear what the plot behind that really was and what was actually happening. On top of that, Mr. Fantastic brings us to the horribly depressing fact that, no matter what, the Dark Reign was inevitable. It’s an intriguing thought and it makes me wonder where Hickman is going to go when he takes over Fantastic Four in a couple issues at #570. I know that the arc is called “Solve Everything” and it features Reeds attempt to bring the Marvel U back to it’s normal SHIELD-run days where Nick Fury was on top of the world (and I can’t wait for that day to come). The artwork by Sean Chen is also top notch. There are very few books that I go out of my way to mention the artwork for, but this is definitely one of them. It makes me kind of sad that Chen won’t be the main artist for Fantastic Four when the writer title switches over. While a lot of the Dark Reign stuff has been hit or miss, Dark Reign Fantastic Four has been all hit in my opinion. Jonathan Hickman truly is a writer to watch as he makes his way throughout the Marvel Universe. Mark Millar made me care about who the Fantastic Four were with his crazy and intense run, but it’s Jonathan Hickman who really makes me want to read it as a serious book.
Batman: Streets of Gotham #1
Here is the fourth entry into our new era of Batman, and this is arguably the second best. I think that, for starters, I never should have doubted wether or not I wanted to read it. For those that loved Dini’s run on Detective Comics, this is definitely the book to continue reading. It picks up right where the Heart of Hush arc and follow up story leave off. Hush is actually one of the main characters in the book (which is reason to pick it up alone) and through a very interesting scene featuring him and Damien, I can’t help but be reminded of the I Am Batman poster and it’s looming foreshadow. On top of that, Dini is still partnered up with the same artist from that run, and I always loved Dustin Nguyen’s art. It works very well. What I think is really great about the story, though, is that while we have the growth of the new Batman and Robin in Morisson’s book, this book shows us the new dynamic duo from a street level perspective, as we have main interactions with Commissioner Gordon and others. I will go on record as stating that I believe this book to be better than the actual Batman title with Judd Winnick, and I would recommend that if you want to follow the new Batman world, stick with this book and Morrison’s book, because these two are really all you need: two great writers with great history on Batman books still telling great stories. What more could you ask for?
This is the penultimate issue of Messiah War, and I gotta say, it’s a good one. I’m not a fan of the Cable books and I should state that right off the bat. As far as this story goes, most of the Cable books haven’t hit the mark for me. And while Messiah War clearly will not be as good or concept shattering as Messiah CompleX, it’s definitely ending on a high note. This issue does what Fables should have done, and that is feature a “final battle” that leads up to a cliffhanger for an explosive ending. While Deadpool has been a definite highlight of the whole story, this issue alone features a pretty amazing action by him which I won’t spoil, but it definitely had me laughing. On top of that, all the characters are now in place for where they need to be for the ending, including the official return of one of the most maniacal and badass mutants of all time. While X-Force and Christopher Yost have definitely been carrying this book along on it’s mighty back, it’s nice to see Cable step up to bat and actually hit one out of the park finally. I’m really looking forward to seeing this all wrap up, despite a solicit accidentally ruining what happens in the end. I also haven’t really enjoyed Ariel Olivetti artwork so far, because compared to Clayton Crain it just looks messy and blurry, but this week’s issue was really on the ball. The artwork was much more clear and it looks like Olivetti took more time with it, and the end result is great. So it’s nice to see a good issue of Cable in this crossover finally. I can only hope that post-Messiah War it manages to somehow stay this good.
Dark Reign: Mister Negative #1
Mr. Negative was part of the new Spider-Man world created in One More Day/Brand New Day, and he’s always been a meh character to me. I’ve never found anything about him particularly enthralling or exciting, and the “revelation” that he was Martin Li didn’t come as a really big reveal to me as it was what I had assumed due to the physical similarities. Mr. Negative’s Dark Reign book focuses on him vs the Hood, though, so it obviously catches my initial interest as I love the Hood. The Hood wants control of China Town, and Mr. Negative rejects and deflects all advancement he makes. The Hood then retaliates by sending in a whole mess of C-List super villains to destroy China Town and take it by force. As far as Dark Reign goes, the only thing this really adds to the saga is showing the Hood’s range of power as well as how HAMMER acts versus SHIELD. In this, HAMMER quarantines off China Town so that the villains can feel free to destroy it, spouting off that this is a routine training exercise. All in all this issue didn’t really do much for me, though. We learned a little bit about Mr. Negative’s past, and the ending had a pretty interesting twist featuring a guest apperance by a character too obvious not to include. This is definitely a skippable book in the whole Dark Reign world, though.
Air is a good book, but I’ve always feared that it just wasn’t sure what direction it wanted to head in. I feel like there is a point to it all and there is a definitive goal, but G. Willow Wilson isn’t entirely sure how to get there yet. This issue brings us a bit more on focus and shows us the origin of the mysterious device that most of the action in the past 10 issues has managed to inadvertently center around. It kind of reminds me of the last episode of LOST, the finale to season 5, in which we see a big chunk of the past which helps bring the future into light. I like that a lot, and I feel that compared to the last issue, which was decidedly subpar, this is a big step back in the correct direction the series needs to head in order to become a classic. There is no doubt in my mind that Air is destined for bigger things. The last full arc with Amelia Airheart was awesome and really drew me into the story. After that, though, it began losing me again, and this is unfortunately the very essence of Air: it’s more miss than hit, but when it hits, it hits hard. This issue makes me anticipate the next again, and I’m very happy about that. I’d really love to see this book succeed in the end.
Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #2
When the Super young Team appeared in Final Crisis, I bet most people, like myself, said “Who?” and “Why?” Well, I still can’t say I’m a fan of the characters at all, but this book is actually fairly entertaining in it’s concept. The basic premise of this issue (and series) is this: we have a team that wants to be famous for being heroes, but doesn’t know how because no one cares about them. This is why they get a manager to take charge of this for them and propel them into the spotlight. What ends up happening is a reality show and product endorsements, and while the team is somewhat against this, it leads to their first real villain battle (even if it isn’t publisized). I think that, though this book is somewhat of a waste, it does bring up some intriguing ideas. In today’s real world, where everyone (including me) Twitters and updates their websites on a non-stop basis to be in contact with the whole world all day every day, what would a super hero do? Wouldn’t an average kid looking to be famous as a crime fighter opt for product endorsements and a reality show? Part of it ties in with the book I just reviewed, Ultra, where the heroes are all professionally managed and do product endorsements frequently as well as other aspects of celebrity life. The book doesn’t touch on it all that much other than the fact the endorsement turns out to be an evil plot, but regardless. The whole of Final Crisis Aftermath has been very skippable, and Dance is no different. This issue did go for a better read than Run and made more sense than Escape, though.
In this wrap up to the Superwoman arc, Sterling Gates shows how to properly do an epilogue. Wrapping up all loose ends and setting up the future, Gates shows why Supergirl is the best Superman book on the market in the World Without Superman section of the New Krypton arc. This is something I never thought I’d say, but I love the Supergirl book. This whole arc has been absolute dynamite compared to what it has gone up against with Superman and Action Comics. This ending is both satisfying and it feels very rewarding to the mysterious tale of Superwoman. I feel like, as the book continues in to the future, it’ll maintain this high without a doubt. And with the next Superbook crossover looming in the distance, it’s pretty clear that this one will definitely be one of my favorites in the story.
War Machine #7
I really wish I liked this more, but I’m afraid I don’t. I have huge respect for Greg Pak as a writer as he is definitely writing some comics that I highly enjoy, i.e. Incredible Hercules, but War Machine just drags on for me. This issue is a bit better than the book has tended to be in the past couple months, but it doesn’t do anything to me to make me really want to keep it on my pull list anymore. I find that I read it only because I started to read it in the first place. The new artwork doesn’t do anything for me, as well as the whole Ultimo storyline. I miss the old character of Rhodes as opposed to this jaded and angry one who is looking to run around and destroy things in Norman Osborn’s world. I think I’m in a minority as I say this too, because as far as I can see everyone else in the world is enjoying the book. There’s just a huge difference in feeling when I read this and I read some of Pak’s other work. It lacks the charm and charisma his characters bring, and I suppose that’s because Rhodes is not an egotistical character. I definitely feel at a loss when I read this book, though. I don’t see myself following it much longer if the storyline keeps down this same road. There just isn’t much for me there.
War Of Kings: Ascension #3
Poor Darkhawk. It just doesn’t get easier for him. Not only is he a D-List character, but now his suit has been stripped from him and he is trapped in an alternate dimension. Or is he? War Of Kings has done a great job of not only creating intriguing tie-ins that actually tie-in, but also reinvigorating certain characters with life. Darkhawk is definitely one of those characters. As far as this tie-in goes, it seems to be doing an excellent job of placing Darkhawk in to where he appeared in the actual storyline of War of Kings recently. It also adds an interesting twist to one of the events that we had previously not realized he was involved in. Ascension also gives us the first sympathetic Skrull character to be seen in years, if there ever was one to begin with. I feel like, following War Of Kings, Darkhawk could return to the Marvel U as a much bigger character than he is now. Not a major character, but definitely someone who matters a bit more in the galactic parts of Marvel. War of Kings: Darkhawk and Ascension has done a good job of reinvigorating the character into someone relatable and mildly important, and I think that’s admirable of a tie-in, aside from the fact that it really does act as a legitimate tie-in for the story.
X-Men Origins: Gambit
I’m not a huge Mike Carey fan, so I usually approach his stuff with mild caution. Granted, I love Unwritten, but stuff he’s done with other people’s characters? Not a huge fan. This short spotlight on Gambit doesn’t really offer anything quite fulfilling to be quite honest. We see three spots of Gambits life: early life in New Orelans as a member of the Guild of Thieves, time as a Marauder, and a brief finale. But it’s nothing really new. We see that Gambit is a character who looks to be redeemed for his sins, but in the book, what sin does he really committ? He falls in love, he gets help for his powers, and then he attempts to save a womans life. I mean, granted, the whole Morlock thing is obviously not a plus on his “Reasons to go to Heaven” list, but still. The character is portrayed overly broody and restless for no real reason. I don’t find anything about Gambit appealing really, but I know that many people have a soft spot for the Cajun. This book won’t quite do anything for them, I’m afraid. One thing about the book I think I should mention in a positive light is that the artwork is really great. Looking at the panels, I found they were a real treat for the eyes. I just wish that the story matched up to the quality of the art in the end.
Action Comics Annual #12
Finally, an issue of Action Comics that I enjoy since the departure of Geoff Johns! This issue tells the anticipated origin of Nightwing and Flamebird, as it were, and I thought it was much more entertaining than the book itself has been so far. As far as an annual goes, this was the perfect time to throw thw story out there. It makes the characters much more compelling. We had already loved Chris for a while due to his involvement in the Last Son arc, but we never felt much for his lady friend. Or, at least, I didn’t, because I never read Supergirl until now. Now I feel there is something a bit more compelling about the character to make me want to care about her, and it makes there positions as Nightwing and Flamebird from ancient Kryptonian lore much more interesting. As far as Annuals go, it’s definitely a good one, worthwhile to pick up and read. I feel that, for the most part, Action Comics as been stale lately, but perhaps a re-read of the recent arc with all of the revelations brought about in this issue could perhaps make it a bit more compelling. That’s up for debate, though, because my main problem with the story is it’s lack of focus. I gotta give props to this issue, though. Very nicely done.
All New Savage She-Hulk #3
This book keeps getting more and more silly as it progresses. Obviously this isn’t a highly anticipated title in my book but rather something I’m reading just for completionists sake. I want to know what goes on with all the Dark Reign tie-ins (except for Agents of Atlas). Does this really add something to it all though? Well, yes and no. I’ll do the yes first: for one, we have a possible future that results in Norman Osborn’s reign. From visions of the future that come through flashbacks we see what has happened and how the men and women are divided, and furthermore how factions of the men take off of Norman’s Avengers. On the no part, it’s only a possible future, one of many (as is the case with time travel in the Marvel universe). So in reality, all this might be for nothing. And in the big scheme of things, when the next big event book happens to put Norman and his Avenegers dead center against everyone in the Marvel U who wants Nick Fury back, somehow I don’t think that this She-Hulk is going to matter at all. In fact, I know. All that’s going to come from this story is a goofball little side story about Norman and how he’s the most powerful man right now. Nothing more, nothing less. So should you skip this? Most definitely. Unless you have a thing for green women, of course. Then go ahead and read it.
I had my doubts that anything that comes from this story will actually impact the Boys in anyway. I figured it would be just a fun little excuse for the artists to draw naked super hero boobs. I was wrong though. In this issue, the plot begins to take more of a center stage. Previously, we had only glimpses of what the Boys would have to do with this, but by the end of this issue there is no question what is supposed to go down. Don’t get me wrong, this issue is still filled with enough decadent sex and drugs to make it extremely not safe to read at your office, but still. It seems like this is going to have a bigger impact on the plot of the Boys than I could have imagined. The thing is, I can think of about a million ways to avoid any real connection despite the ending of this book. There are still plenty of escape loop holes Ennis can write in to leave this as sort of a stand alone event that happens in the time line, and it clearly happens before what took place in the last issue of the Boys (as any regular reader of the series will undoubtedly recognize). Despite that, I still have to admit that I don’t particularly care for any of it. I mean, I enjoy the boys, but I don’t find the over-sexing of it all that entertaining. I like the Boys when they fight supes, it’s much mor entertaining. This to me is just filler. It is, however, neccesarry to the climate of the world depicted in the Boys, so it’s kind of required reading to get the whole story regardless. And it’s not terrible! It’s still definitely Ennis, and Ennis is good. I just wish the Boys could move away from all the sex and stay with one of the more entertaining plots in it.
Dark Reign: Young Avengers #2
I gotta say, Young Avengers is surprisingly great. I didn’t expect anything from it but I’ve ended up enjoying this a lot. In this issue we learn more about the formation of the new Young Avengers (the Dark Young Avengers? The Young Dark Avengers?) and how it ties in to Norman Osborn. There is one particularly entertaining scene where one of the new Young Avengers, Coat of Arms, meets with Norman and shows him a triptych of her artwork of him. Seriously, though, this has ended up highly entertaining. While I praised the first book to asking high depth super hero questions, the second book follows up with a similar question: what’s in a name? While the real Young Avengers see on TV the announcement of the new team, they begin to get upset until one of them asks, “Well, how do you think the Avengers felt when we stole their name?” This is a big part of what Dark Reign is. Norman came in and stole all that was good and made it his own. HIS Avengers. Soon, HIS X-Men. And he moves further into trying to take over other big times, like the Fantastic Four. Dark Reign Young Avengers, while surprisingly ignored, ends up being one of the better of the tie-ins in all of this mess, right up near the top of my list with Fantastic Four and the Hood.
Fantastic Force #3
I gotta say, Fantastic Force would be a whole lot better if they didn’t spoil every ending on the cover of the book. I’m not saying that it would be worthy of it’s own series instead of a mini, but COME ON. They’re taking away any sense of shock that was ever possible! It’s a slow moving book involving characters we don’t know that well and a screwed up time stream. Do they have to give everything away ASAP? While this issue gives explanations to many of the oddities that have been occuring in this series, it’s not really helping. These characters and this world just doesn’t work as well out of context. That and the fact that, when not drawn by Hitch, the characters definitely lose a little something. Not only that, but the big reveal at the end is a big “who cares?” I hate to be mean when reviewing a book, but I feel like someone just really had the misguided idea to continue to tell the story of the Fantastic Force and Marvel denied them the allowance to use most of the good characters. Either that or Joe Ahearne is somehow the worlds biggest fan of Ego the Living Planet, because honestly it makes as much sense to bring him back for use like it does to try and jam your vinyl records into a CD player. This isn’t the first time someone else has taken a great idea by Mark Millar and tried to use it for their own in a continuation that never needed to happen. Something tells me this won’t be the last time either, although it really clearly should.
And don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against Ego the Living Planet. But come on, even I had to actually Google his name.
EDIT: I realize that, due to some kind of crazy fluke error, the issue that I was provided with had the wrong cover. I have made sure that I posted the right cover on this blog, and apologize to anyone for whom this spoiled the entry of Ego the Living Planet. I still think my article and points remain somewhat valid, though.
Marvel Zombies 4 #3
Speaking of Mark Millar concepts that didn’t need any futher storytelling, we have the latest issue of volume 4 of Marvel Zombies. See, I read this for two reasons: 1) I read everything and have read all previous Marvel Zombie books, even if I haven’t liked them, and 2) the Hood is in it, and I’ll pretty much read anything with the Hood. What happens in this issue pretty much reminds me of what happened with the Hood in Beyond!, where he had to put his own wants and needs aside in order to do an unexpected team up. The thing is, this book has seriously jumped it’s own shark if that were possible. For starters, putting the Midnight Sons front and center as a team again in a mini is a definite shark jumper, but even more so is the fact that the book provides constant deus ex machinas for the team to escape from impossible situations in more and more ridiculous manuerisms. It gets to the point where we don’t even really have a zombie infestation book anymore but rather a ridiculous mash up of horror elements into something that features a zombie virus as more of a side note than anything else. What made Mark Millar’s reboot/redoing of the Frightful Four is that it was limited in scope and it was fresh. The more it’s done, the less entertaining it becomes. All in all, this book makes me pretty sad, because I’m sure there are people out there who pick up the Zombie books on a regular basis, and I know what they have to go through. It also makes me sad that the Hood is a central character in this, because he’s so much better than this. And finally, what makes me sad the most, is that zombie Deadpool’s head is getting a spin-off series. Because, you know, we don’t have enough Deadpool on the market today. I know I love Deadpool, but three different series with his name on it? Plus guest appearances in all the hot titles? And an upcoming Deadpool #900? It’s getting to be a bit much, even for a fan like myself.
Despite it’s big name, Vigilante just can’t quite seem to make it so far. We’ve had a slow first few issues, and even the inclusion of Deathtrap (even though it was the best part of Deathtrap) was pretty pointless. I wanted to write this and say this issue changed all that, but I can’t. It’s not true. This issue, however, is a big step in the right direction. The problem with this book is it’s been too unfocused because the tie-in for Deathtrap was coming, so Wolfman obviously had to fit that in. Now that’s over with, we are reminded of the point of the book in the first place: Vigilante is hunting criminals and taking down mob bosses. This book offers us more of a back story on the character and offering of explanation towards his actions, and leaves us with him fully going after the Whale, essentially as the Punisher’s less brutal twin. I think that, when reading this book as a Punisher-type story, it becomes a lot better, and hopefully with the stronger focus placed in the mob instead of tie-ins, the book will continue to flourish after this point. I’d really like to see Marv Wolfman pump out some more great works, although I do understand that Vigilante will never ever be at the same heights as a work like Crisis on Infinite Earths. Still, you can’t help but feel bad that someone as important as him is doing something so menial. I look forward to future issues with a great hope from this issue and can only hope that with a talented writer like Wolfman, it gets better.