Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wednesdaybusiness 5/1/13

Okay. Comics. Yeah.


Age of Ultron #7 by Brian Michael Bendis, Brandon Peterson, and Carlos Pacheco

Okay. I guess I'll come right out and say it. This isn't easy for me, you guys. Give me a second.

Alright. Here we go:

I liked this one.

Wolverine and Sue Storm went back in time and killed Hank Pym before he could build Ultron, thus preventing... the Age of Ultron, I guess. Now they've returned to the present, where of course everything and everyone is massively different and sporting some gnarly new costumes, which is frankly what I EXPECT from something with "Age of..." in the title. The Defenders of this new reality show up and kick the hell out of the two newly-displaced heroes, and then a creepy Iron Man shows up with a massive army of robots.

I don't really know where Ultron is during all of this, or if they successfully removed him from existence (making this the Age of Not-Ultron I guess), but things actually happened and we got a little glimpse of fun and colors in this issue, which is a HUGE departure for this series. Frankly, if the book had started with #6, I probably would be hailing it as a really fun crossover event.

There, I said it.

I hope they don't whiz it, but I hear Neil Gaiman's on his way, so...

"Oh no! We succeeded! It's terrible!"

All-New X-Men #11 by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen

"Which of the All-New X-Men will join Cyclops' mutant revolution?" It's Angel. Sorry. But he was one of the Uncanny X-Men in the last issue of that title. It's weird when release schedules blow a Big Reveal, but I guess that's what they get for having multiple comics about the exact same characters.

Most of the issue is taken up by a big fight between the two X-Men teams: Wolverine and the Jean Grey School staff versus Cyclops and the Xavier School staff. You know, if my highschool had violent showdowns with the teachers from our "rival" school, I would have actually cared about highschool. Instead we just got sports, which is BULLSHIT.

Young Jean Grey tries to start mentally commanding people, but she gets shut down by the Stepford Cuckoos. Later, Kitty Pryde sits her down for a "It's not right to force people to do things without their consent" speech, and seriously, HUGE props to Bendis for including that. In the current rape-filled comics climate, it was GREAT to see a few pages devoted to a conversation like that. Kitty even busted out Spidey's "With great power comes great responsibility" line. Afterwards they hugged it out.

Then everyone got into a plane to go fight Mystique. I like this comic.

You'd think he's stop attacking Magneto, but nope.

Animal Man #20 by Jeff Lemire and John Paul Leon

I can't comment on the story at all here, as I haven't read the first 19 issues so nothing made any sense at all. Not a complaint, just a fact: This isn't a good jumping-on point, and that's not its fault.

However, I did want to point out that this book is doing its absolute damnedest to look exactly like David Aja's work on Hawkeye. Like... EXACTLY like it.

Hawkguy? Why you in DC, Hawkguy?

Aquaman #19 by Geoff Johns and Paul Pelletier

I've been very leery of this book, since everyone seems to describe it as the first book to ever make Aquaman "cool". I've always though Aquaman was plenty cool, thanks. Not every hero needs to be a badass; Aquaman was at his best in the old days, riding a seahorse around.

In this issue, they've retconned Topo - Aquaman's bow-and-arrow-firing, musical octopus pal, into some sort of giant tentacled crab monster. That's just not okay. Thankfully, he has to summon Topo with a goofy conch shell that he somehow blows into underwater, so at least it's still failing to be cool no matter how hard it tries. Aquaman is uncool and we like it that way.

As for the actual plot... It was pretty good. I don't really care too much about any of it, but it was well-written, had some action, and seems to have enough stuff going on to warrant the idea that the king of the ocean would be a busy dude.

But I can't get over the Topo thing. C'mon now, Nü52.


 Dial H #12 by China Miéville, Alberto Ponticelli, and Dan Green

There's a lot going on in this book, so I can't really say much more than what I said last month when I first got caught up on it:

This comic is delightfully strange. It takes a high concept that I've always loved - a rotary telephone dial that can turn anybody into a seemingly random superhero - pulls it from the realm of Silver Age wackiness, and gives it a decidedly 1980s Vertigo feeling. The crazy Brian Bolland covers only add to that bit of Animal Man nostalgia for me.

The book is too oddball for me to summarize without spoiling all the twists and turns it's taken, but suffice it to say that it has my heartiest endorsement. This is the first thing from the Nü52 that I've considered genuinely GOOD, and not just good-for-the-Nü52.

I will say that when Open-Window Man yelled "DEFENESTRATION PUNCH!" and knocked all the baddies out of the building, it made me really happy.

If you've been going around saying that DC has absolutely no good comics right now, you should check this one out. It is like finding a diamond in somebody's garbage.


Hawkeye #10 by Matt Fraction and Francesco Francavilla

This issue provides the backstory of Janek, a new villain who I will henceforth be referring to as The-Bastard-Who-Shot-Grills. The-Bastard-Who-Shot-Grills is apparently an assassin working for the Tracksuit Draculas, and has a deeply troubled past. The-Bastard-Who-Shot-Grills is also apparently putting the moves on Kate Hawkeye-not-the-Hawkguy in their civilian identities, and that is troubling.

I'm eager to see where this is headed, but in all honesty, The-Bastard-Who-Shot-Grills seems a little too dark for this book. He has the air of a Daredevil villain about him. But I'm along for the ride now.

This issue was illustrated by Francesco Francavilla, who is a tremendous artist. While I admire that this series is trying to maintain a consistent look, I also sort of with they'd have just let him go wild.

Spoiler: He's not doing very well.

Indestructible Hulk #7 by Mark Waid and Walter Simonson

Oh man, this comic's fun.

Bruce Banner and his team have apparently not only traveled to the mythical land of Jǫtunheimr, but also to its PAST. That's why Thor is acting like he's never seen Hulk before. Also, the big cliffhanger from last issue, showing Hulk wielding Thor's hammer? Turns out that he just grabbed it as Thor was summoning it back to him, and Hulk just went flying along with it.

Meanwhile, the Frost Giants are trying to get through the portal that Banner's team left open, so S.H.I.E.L.D. had to close it. Now Banner and his team are stranded in the past AND in Jǫtunheimr, with a goofball Thor who hasn't been sent to Earth to be humbled yet, and one of Banner's team of scientists has confessed to him that she intends to commit suicide via Hulk.

Simonson's art is predictably excellent. If I was writing a story with Thor and Frost Giants, there is absolutely nobody else I would want drawing it.

It's an old joke, but I still laughed.

Iron Man #9 by Kieron Gillen and Dale Eaglesham

This is a comic about Iron Man and Death's Head teaming up to chase a genocidal robot across space. It turns out that the genocidal robot was friends with Iron Man's dad. If this is not appealing to you, then you probably need to take a nap.

Death's Head: The last living reminder that The Transformers used to be Marvel characters.

Iron Man #258.1 by David Michelinie, Dave Ross, and Bob Layton

This is a really odd one. Apparently, this will be an entire miniseries set within the confines of 1990's Iron Man #258 - the beginning of the Armor Wars II storyline - written and drawn by the original artists from that period.

I assume this is meant as a bit of a tie-in to the new movie, though a reprint of Warren Ellis' Extremis storyline would probably be more apt.

At any rate, I've read Armor Wars but not Armor Wars II, and was 7 years old when it came out, so I have very little idea of what's going on.

However, the one thing that is really fun about this comic is that the pencils, inks, and dialogue (though not the coloring or lettering) are straight out of 1990. I don't know if it's an intentional move, or if it's just how these guys write and draw still, but it's a bit of nostalgic fun. It's also the first comic I've seen in years that has actual thought-bubbles, which are mostly a dead piece of comic narrative.


The Movement #1 by Gail Simone and Freddie Williams II 

This is honestly the kind of thing I'd like to see more of in the Nü52: a brand-new corner of the DC Universe with a brand-new cast of characters. It's too early to say if this comic is going to go anywhere, or simply get cancelled after four or five issues like so many other Nü52 books have before it, but I'll be following it closely. This seems like exactly the type of oddball book Gail Simone excels at.

Also, it has a distinct Fuck The Police bent so far, which I can totally get behind.

Alright, then.


Red She-Hulk #65 by Jeff Parker, Carlo Pagulayan, Ray-Anthony Height, and Wellington Alves

Betty goes inside of a computer and fights a villain with the power of Ultron and the combined intellect of Ultron, Dr. Doom, Loki, and the Red Skull. He's called The Yologarch, and it appears he's somehow escaped the computer and is now running around the Marvel Universe Proper.

The next issue promises Man-Thing and regular She-Hulk. I am so in love with this comic, you guys.

Great villain, or GREATEST VILLAIN?

Superior Spider-Man #9 by Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman

Boy. This issue is going to ruffle some feathers. Doc Ock has discovered that Peter Parker's consciousness is still in his head, so he goes inside his own mind to fight him. And seemingly wins.

Pretty high-stakes stuff when the Nerdosphere is already totally hostile to your comic. But I admire it. It's pushing the old mind-switch trope to a thoroughly epic extreme, and I'm really enjoying it.

I sort of wouldn't mind if this was the comic that finally got all the rageboner nerdlings to finally give up on comics. In fact... I'd probably applaud it for that.

Nothing interesting to say here, I just thought it was a great moment.

Swamp Thing #20 by Charles Soule and Kano

In some ways, this was a really good comic. The idea of the Swamp Thing getting a dose of Scarecrow's fear gas and going on a rampage through Metropolis is great stuff, and it was well-executed. But I just can't get over the Nü52 thing. I'm sorry, I really can't. All the dialogue between Swamp Thing and Superman is about how new they are at their jobs, and it's just weird.

I've actually seen some nasty things written about this blog on messageboards because I'm still so aggressive towards the Nü52 after all this time, and how I need to just get used to it and whatever, but I genuinely can't. Even when I read one of their comics that is good - and this one was definitely good - I still feel like I'm reading some alternate universe story and things will eventually go back to making sense to me again. All this stuff about The Green and The Red, the kneepads on Superman, the idea of a newbie Swamp Thing... It's all way too foreign for me to appreciate as anything other than a novelty. So flame away, I guess, but understand that I am trying here.

Heat vision n00b is such a n00b.

Thanos Rising #2 by Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi

In this issue of The Adventures of Lil' Thanos, we get to see The Mad Titan's awkward teenage years. That's a comic people were begging for, right?

Anyway, his teenage years mostly consisted of killing people. Not terribly surprising?

So far this series hasn't told us anything new about Thanos, to my knowledge. He is the son A'Lars, Mentor of Titan. He's the brother of Eros, the Avenger known as Starfox. He was born to the Eternals, but carries the genes of the Deviants, thus leading to his strange appearance and withdrawn youth. At an early age he developed a fascination with death, first the concept, then the actual living personification of said concept, who he later attempted to court by killing half of the universe. This is all stuff we already knew years ago.

All I can think is that they're doing this miniseries to explain who the fuck the purple guy at the end of the Avengers movie was. But it doesn't seem totally necessary to show us his entire childhood if it can still be summed up in one paragraph.

Teenagers, AMIRITE?

World's Finest #12 by Paul Levitz, Kevin Maguire, Geraldo Borges, and Robson Rocha.

To be completely frank, I only picked this comic up because the first few pages were illustrated by Kevin Maguire. I love his art so much.

But... it's wasted on a scene of attempted rape, because OF COURSE IT WAS. You can't have a Nü52 comic without some sort of sexual assault at least every three issues: It's an editorial mandate.

So we get Desaad trying to rape Power Girl while disguised as Mister Terrific. But it's not the Desaad from the past 40 years, who is a terrifying little man, obsessed with pain, and Darkseid's lead torturer. Nope, the Nü52 Desaad is just a generic demon-thing.

I don't know where the rest of the story went because I stopped reading. To hell with the Nü52 and its one storytelling tactic.

Yeah, Karen's hit a new low. Because rape is always the woman's fault. SMH.

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