Also, I didn't fuck around with any DC books this week, because I couldn't handle that sort of grumpyfeels. But friends are starting to recommend some DC books to me that they think won't send me to The Bad Place. If you can think of any current DC shit that you're enjoying, let me know in comments, otherwise I'll have to start reviewing old stuff just to prove I'm not one of those obnoxious Marvel fanboys who just hates DC on principle, because that is SO not the case.
Avengers Arena #5 by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker
This book remains strangely readable, even though I don't know who half these kids are and I think they got the character of Arcade completely wrong and the story is an obvious cash-in on the popularity of The Hunger Games. I'm quite enjoying it, and would definitely recommend it... but really I have no idea why.
Take that however you want to take it, I guess.
FF #4 by Matt Fraction and Mike Allred
You guys, I fucking love this comic.
I'm not entirely sure why, but Marvel dropped a few Valentine's Day issues this week. DC dropped their Valentine's Day special the week before Valentine's Day. Neither released any the week OF Valentine's Day. Publishing is weird, y'all.
Anyways, the main story arc has been relegated to about four pages in this issue, to make room for an extremely fun story about She-Hulk going on a date with ex-lover Wyatt Wingfoot... while the Future Foundation's resident Moloid Kids try and fail to spoil said date, due to their love for "The Jen".
The only problem I really see with this book is that it would make very little sense to somebody who didn't basically follow the entirety of Hickman's FF run. And you also need to possess a bit of knowledge about She-Hulk's romantic life as well, I guess. However, if you like comics and HAVEN'T read Hickman's FF run, you're missing out anyway, so you'd better get on that, for real.
And Mike Allred is killing it on the art as well. I've always been a fan of his work, and he is really on top of his game here.
I haven't implemented any kind of rating system on this blog, but fuck it: I give this book 5 of 5 stars. Jyeah!
Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven
You know that stupid bullshit thing that Bendis does that I hate? That thing where he retcons a character's origin and fucks around with basic facts about their past and personality, just so he can tell the story he wants to tell? Like the way he removed all that stuff with the High Evolutionary from Spider-Woman's past, or the way he wiped out anything noble about The Sentry and turned him into an insecure mess with fakey comicbook schizophrenia, or the way he decided that The Hood was actually powered by Dormammu, or the way he randomly gave the Scarlet Witch godlike powers she didn't have before, or the way he turned Namor, Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, and Professor X all into a bunch of short-sighted narcissistic assholes? Yeah, I hate it when he fucking does that.
So this book is a retelling of Star-Lord's origin story that completely ignores or completely changes roughly 90% of what happened in his ACTUAL origin story. And now Star-Lord's been a noble hero like, since birth, instead of being kind of an arrogant prick, which is his only defining character trait!
This is all leading up to a new GotG ongoing, I guess, which is leading up to the GotG movie.
I once heard this bit of sage wisdom from a fella who works at my local comic shop: "Bendis is only good when he's playing with his own toys." And it's completely true. A lot of his independent work is top-notch, and Alias is genuinely one of my favorite Marvel comics of all time, but Christ I hate it when he writes mainstream superhero books.
Hawkeye #8 by Matt Fraction and David Aja
This morning, the homie Dale of Pine Cone Comics Club said on his Facebook page simply "New Hawkguy Day!" That's all that needs to be said, really.
This continues to be an excellent comic, and I love it to itty bitty bits. There are plenty of critical analyses of this book all over the interweb, but I find that the best way to recommend it to people is to just show them a panel or two. They usually end up hooked.
|This is how Hawkguy's Valentine's Day went down.|
Journey Into Mystery #649 by Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti
Another comic that I love love love. Kathryn Immonen has this beautiful blend of silly and surreal to her writing, and a real talent for brief, hyper-kinetic action scenes. This comic is also one of the best onomatopoeia delivery-systems available.
There was a brief and not-terribly-necessary cameo wherein The Superior Spider-Man tries to put the moves on the newly-berserkerfied Lady Sif. They made an editor's note on the page, indicating why exactly Spidey was acting so strangely; something they probably ought to have done in last week's issue of Avengers, where he simply came across as a bully for no good reason.
This was balanced out by a glorious montage of a few of my favorite Marvel characters (Photon! Hellcat!) fighting off various 1950s Marvel and Proto-Marvel monsters, which has become a recurring theme of this story (and was an important piece of Journey Into Mystery back in those days as well).
This comic is pure fun, and this issue in particular had one gag that I genuinely laughed out loud at. Don't let the #649 scare you off this book: The current story has only been running since #646, and you should absolutely read it.
Punisher: War Zone #5 (of 5) by Greg Rucka and Carmine Di Giandomenico
This is a series that I really didn't want to see end. I feel like Greg Rucka is one of the best - and most underemployed - writers in the business. Like, how can this dude have won four Eisner Awards, one Harvey Award, and a GLAAD Media Award, and still only get tossed a miniseries here and there by both Marvel and DC?
Anyway, this miniseries was a genuinely fascinating look at the Punisher and how he fits into the Marvel Universe as a whole. It's actually not so much a Punisher story as it is an Avengers story: Spider-Man (pre-brainswitch) convinces his fellow Avengers that it's finally time to go after Frank Castle and find some way to detain him (because if you put him in jail he just kills everybody in the jail). Wolverine is actively against it, and essentially defects to the Punisher's side. Black Widow has a grudging respect for the Punisher, though doesn't shy away from her duties as an Avenger. Iron Man thinks it's beneath him, essentially brushing off the street-level side of the Marvel U as unworthy of the Avengers' time. Thor brings Frank a six-pack of beer and tries to chat with him, warrior-to-warrior. And Captain America is morally conflicted, because all the best stories are about Captain America being morally conflicted.
I think the best character-moment of this series was between Spider-Man and the Punisher, when Spidey says "You're not the only person to have lost people you love; You're just the guy who turned it into an excuse to commit murder!" It doesn't quite put Frank in his place like Spidey wants it to - and it shouldn't - but it does do a very good job of explaining why Peter Parker would find what Frank Castle does so damned offensive.
This being the final issue of the miniseries, I don't really want to spoil the ending. Granted, the big ending of this miniseries has already been undone a couple months ago, and Frank is starring in the new Thunderbolts series now, but still. Suffice it to say that all of the Avengers attack Frank at once, and he gives them a solid fight, and it's a really fun and powerful read. Go get it.
|Iron Man: Not Better Than The Punisher|
Thunderbolts #5 by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon
And that leads us to the new book that the Punisher is in, Thunderbolts. I'm gonna' be real here: I still have no fucking idea what's happening in this book. It is really taking its sweet-ass time to get around to the plot.
Also, at one point, Elektra and the Punisher have hot makeouts after a killing spree, and that is not how the Punisher operates in my version of things. This shit's not supposed to be fun for him.
Steve Dillon's art is still perfect for what this book is trying to do, though. I just wish the book would hurry up and do something.
Uncanny X-Force #2 by Sam Humphries and Ron Garney
So far, this comic has not won me over, even with the presence of FuckYeahMohawkStorm. The characters have mostly just been complaining for two issues, except for Puck, who has been turned into an obnoxious pervert.
The previous Uncanny X-Force series was fucking brilliant, so this new book has a lot to live up to, and so far it's not doing so well. It's still early, though.
Uncanny X-Men #2 by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo
Everybody stood around talking. The end.
Uncanny Avengers #4 by Rick Remender and John Cassaday
While Uncanny X-Men has no action, Uncanny Avengers is ALL action. The Red Skull stole Charles Xavier's brain and is trying to use it to mind-control all of NYC into a violent anti-mutant mob. Captain America has put Havok in charge of a small group of Avengers and X-Men, and they are fighting the Red Skull. That's it.
And I don't mean to make this comic sound boring, because it isn't at all. It's terrific. However, there really isn't a whole lot I can say about it without resorting to "And then so-and-so punched this guy and it was all like BAM and he was all like 'UGH' and then everyone EXPLODED!"
There is also a disarmingly sweet, tender moment between Wolverine and Thor at the end of this issue. It was wonderful and unexpected, which is something I've come to love about Rick Remender's comics.
Young Avengers #2 by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
So far, this is a very fun comic. Like a lot of the other Marvel NOW! books, it's spending a lot of time establishing its characters, and trying to slowly build up a team dynamic. Unlike a lot of the other Marvel NOW! books, it's not being FUCKING BORING about it.
This is an ultra-stylized book, and it cribs a little bit from other ultra-stylized books from the past - this issue cribbed pretty excessively from the Morrison/Hazlewood Animal Man run - but it never gets overpowering or distracts from the story. And so far the story is pretty solid: We've already got a small Skrull invasion, a demon from another dimension, and some Asgardian Frost Giants, just in two issues. The characters are tightly-written and very distinct, and their interactions are fun and clever.
In a kind of rare case, this is a book where I love the characters, love the writer, and love the artist. That may give me some unrealistic expectations for this series, but I'll try to keep it in check as we move ahead.
|Not important to the plot, but I thought it was pretty funny.|