Thursday, March 7, 2013

Wednesdaybusiness 3/6/13

I don't know how much rant I've got in me right now. I had a fairly involved argument regarding the corruption and racism inherent to the prison-industrial complex and the "war on drugs" before I had even eaten breakfast today, so I'm a little worn down. But I'll power through this week's comics for you, my lovely readers.

You really are lovely, by the way. Yes, you. I adore the way your eyes sparkle. Mmmmm.


A+X #5 by Kathryn Immonen and David Lafuente / Kieron Gillen and Joe Bennett

A+X #5 was everything that I hoped it would be. Ridiculous, sort of surreal, and full of action. I actually hadn't checked out any issues of A+X before, but if they're all this fun I may go back and read the whole series.

I basically picked this up because Kathryn Immonen's name was on the cover alongside a picture of Doop and Iron Fist.

That's all I really needed. But Kieron Gillen also provided a very fun story about Mr. Sinister and Kid Loki trying to invade Latveria. If there's nothing you like in that sentence, you might as well give up on comics.


Cable and X-Force #5 by Dennis Hopeless and Salvador Larroca

I'm just going to come out and say it: Cable and X-Force is stupid and I don't like it.

After winning their war against The Deadly Threat of Fat People, Cable and his fakey X-Force are hiding out in Mexico.

That's it. That's the whole story.

Domino and Colossus got drunk on Tequila and fucked, Dr. Nemesis and Forge built giant robots and fought each other for no reason, Cable drove around on a motorcycle. And NONE of that stuff was as fun as it sounds when I just say it like that.

I should maybe have tapped out after the OMG FAT PEOPLE WILL DESTROY US story last issue, but I think I'm for-realsies bailing on this book. Dennis Hopeless still has me hooked with Avengers Arena despite myself, but I don't think I can really call him... good.


Superior Spider-Man #5 by Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli

This issue was a good summary of everything that this book is basically about. Otto Octavius is - in a lot of ways - a much better superhero than Peter Parker, and is thus a "Superior" Spider-Man. However, he's also still a villain, and takes his violence a little too far. I said in my review of the last issue that I hoped the Massacre arc wouldn't last very long, and (as is suggested by this issue's cover) it totally didn't. Slott's also starting to insert some new supporting characters into this mix, and I like that.

I still feel compelled to grumble about the first two issues to balance out any praise I give this book, because reasons, but the series HAS been coming along very nicely, and lately I've been quite enjoying it.


All-New X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez

The cover of this issue had me thinking Stuart Immonen had come back to the title, so I was a bit let down to find out he ONLY did the cover. As I said last month, I think David Marquez is very talented, but Immonen was providing my main reason for reading this one every month.

However, one of my main complaints about this series - and really, most comics by Bendis - is that nothing really happens, and this issue managed to counter that by being basically nothing but much-needed action.

There's none of the Avengers versus X-Men fighting that the cover would suggest, and that's a good thing, because I think I speak for everyone everywhere when I say we're a little burnt out on that. But the Avengers HAVE learned that the Teenaged X-Men are living in the present, and Cap's a little pissy at Beast for fucking with the timeline, as he probably ought to be.

The best part of this issue for me, though, was that it was largely focused on the new, kind-of-dopey Angel who appeared in Rick Remender's amazing Uncanny X-Force run (I know I bring that comic up a lot, but seriously, it was really fantastic and you should all buy it right now. I'll still be here when you get back.). Angel and Iceman are the characters that have outwardly changed the least between 1963 and 2013, and it was interesting to see the young Angel realize that he's actually the character that's been fucked around with the MOST in all this time. Bendis even made a nod to the healing powers Angel picked up in Chuck Austen's godawful run on Uncanny X-Men, which most other writers - and most fans - try to pretend never happened.

So yeah. Cynical young rich kid Angel and doofy addle-brained ex-harbinger-of-death Angel team up and fight the hordes of HYDRA, and it was a lot of fun. I don't say this too often, so here it goes: Well done, Mr. Bendis.


Iron Man #7 by Kieron Gillen and Greg Land

I'm finding it a little tricky to review this one, as it's number two of a three-part story. Basically, Tony Stark's being put on trial by a society who worshipped the Phoenix Force... which he killed. Facing charges of straight-up deicide, he manages to find a loophole involving an ancient rite of hand-to-hand gladiatorial combat, which he is so far doing very well at. But the end of the issue reveals his next and final opponent... Motherfuckin' Death's Head Fuck Yeah.

So what I'm basically saying is that I'm glad I got caught up on this series.


Age of Ultron #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch

Marvel's launching it's next ZOMG HUGE EVENT COMIC and... I guess I didn't take the solicitations as literally as I should have? Like, I didn't actually realize this was literally just going to be the Age of Apocalypse but with Ultron instead of Apocalypse, and the Avengers instead of the X-Men. That's... not that great. I mean, Jeff Parker basically already tackled this idea in one issue of Exiles like four years ago.

So um, all the prerequisites apply. Everybody is covered in dirt, everything's really violent, nobody knows who to trust, the heroes are operating underground and losing faith in themselves. Um. It's... pretty bad.

Also, Hawkguy kills a LOT of people in this comic. Back when Dan Slott first started writing She-Hulk and making her extremely light and fun, I felt like Bendis went out of his way to make her darkity-dark and filled with unbridled rage in his Avengers comics. Now I'm wondering if this is a trend, as Matt Fraction's Hawkeye is a loveable goofball who gets into antics that can only be described as "zany", so now Bendis has him straight up shooting people in the neck and cursing and grimacing and playing by his own rules, MAN.

Also, any comic that features Captain America just sitting in the corner and crying for an entire issue is not my cup of tea. To quote Aziz Ansari: "...mostly because I don't like huge lumps of shit floating in my tea."


Avengers #7 by Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver

So I've been saying for the past few issues that Hickman really needed to get back to the plot on this one, and he finally did. And it's going in a direction that I really, truly, thoroughly didn't expect at all.

He's bringing back the motherfuckin' New Universe, y'all.

I somehow missed the reference to the new Nightmask last issue, but Hickman has been quietly building his character since the very beginning of this series, dropping subtle hints but never revealing just what the heck he was doing. This issue drops all the subtlety when The White Event occurs and a new Star Brand shows up.

Having been a fan of some of the New Universe titles as a youngster, and being a really big fan of the Warren Ellis-penned newuniversal series a few years ago, this is a really exciting development to me.

What Hickman is doing here is writing comics for comics-lovers: He's pulling in nostalgic things from the past while also creating brand new, exciting contexts for them. And I am fucking stoked about it. I wanted to high-five somebody after reading this book, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.


Red She-Hulk #63 by Jeff Parker and Carlo Pagulayan

All the things I've already said about this comic still stand. I have absurdly high expectations of it, and it's not QUITE living up to them, but it's still one of the funnest concept-comics out there right now.

Machine Man and Betty Ross are searching for the missing Holographic Nikola Tesla, so they can rescue a little girl who is also a conduit to a supercomputer than can tell the future, and SHIELD is still chasing them down for trying to destroy the U.S. Government's new, somewhat corrupt Super-Soldier Program before it could bring about the end of the world.

As I mentioned the last time I talked about this comic, I really love the direction that Matt Fraction, and now Jeff Parker, are taking the character of Betty Ross in. She is positively gleeful about having superpowers, and given her character's harrowing backstory it's very clear why. Even when things are dire and the entire world is on the line, she is still having a ton of fun, and that makes me really happy. Comics nowadays don't often focus on the "Wouldn't it be cool if..." aspects of having superpowers, but they've found a character whose previous history as a perpetual supporting character/victim makes that attitude a perfect fit.

I don't normally just straight-up post a whole page, preferring to suss out one funny or relevant panel, but I thought this moment summed up everything I am loving about this book, and Red She-Hulk as a character. Suffice it to say that these SHIELD agents have a pretty bad time:

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