Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wednesdaybusiness 5/22/13

I think I had all the Nü52 I could handle with that Green Lantern thing, so I'ma just stick to Marvel this week. Yup.


A+X #8 by Gerry Duggan, Salvador Larroca, Christopher Hastings, and Reilly Brown

I'm a fan of this comic largely because it is pure FUN. It doesn't skimp on the action, but it is definitely short on melodrama, and I like that.

As usual, the comic is divided into two short stories. The first features Spider-Woman and Shadowcat fighting the Absorbing Man, and has some genuinely funny moments in it. The second stars Hawkguy Hawkeye and Deadpool fighting pirates, and likewise has a lot of laughs.

This isn't a book you go to for depth of storytelling, but if you - like me - sometimes just need to see superheroes beating up bad guys and making witty banter, this is probably a comic you should be buying.

There probably WAS a "Ninja Spider-Man" in the 1990s...

Avengers #12 by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer, and Mike Deodato

After last issue's capering, this one's kind of gently easing us back into the main plot, wherein the omnipotent-ish Ex Nihilo has seeded the Earth with new life, with the eventual goal of turning the planet itself sentient.

It turns out some new little humanoids have been popping up in the Savage Land, and they're seemingly far beyond human. They age to adulthood in about a month, they don't need to sleep, eat, or breathe, and they're fairly strong and quick. Iron Man worries:

"At some point, someone's going to need to integrate these kids into a larger system. And when we do that? Look - scarcity, need, desire - ugly as those things can be, they're the fundamental building blocks of most any societal structure. With nothing to lose, there's no sacrifice. When you need for nothing, do you dream of anything? From struggle comes virtue. It's part of our nature. And if it's not part of theirs..."

He brings this concern up to Thor and Hyperion, because they might have a special insight into this particular set of problems. They decide that the best way is to have a bunch of Avengers travel to the Savage Land to try and teach these kids some lessons about the joy of superheroics. The lessons are separated into little vignettes to showcase the attitudes of various Avengers, and are all quite fun, and "school" ends with Captain Universe and Hyperion giving a very nice speech on how Virtue is its own reward.

The thing that really struck me about this issue is that - at this particular point in time - Hyperion is a way better Superman than Superman is.

And then the High Evolutionary turns up with an army of his weird manimals to try and kidnap the kids. The end.

Friendly Hyperion isn't quite as fun as Murderous Hyperion, but I like him anyway.

Fantastic Four #8 by Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley

Thanks to the kids in the Future Foundation, the Thing now has one day a year where he spontaneously reverts to his human form and gets a brief vacation as a "normal" person. This year, as the FF are traveling through time and space, he decides to take his day of normalcy in the New York City of his childhood... in order to stop the Puppet Master from blinding his young stepdaughter, Alicia Masters, aka the Thing's girlfriend.

However, he gets sidetracked by the Yancy Street Gang, who were apparently proper mobsters at the time instead of the loveable tomato-throwing rascals they've always been depicted at. They're shaking down local businesses, and the superhero in Ben Grimm can't abide by that. He defends a local shopkeeper and beats up a handful of mob goons, telling them that he'll take them all on. That night, when the entire gang shows up to kill him and torch the shop, he reverts to the Thing and smashes all of them, thus securing Yancy Street and transforming it into the no-nonsense neighborhood that he himself grew up in.

It's a nice bit of insight into the mind of a superhero. Ben Grimm went back in time to stop a specific incident (which probably would've warped the space/time continuum but whatever), but his natural desire to protect people and face down bullies took over almost against his will. He can't NOT be a superhero, even when he's trying to.

As more and more superhero comics dive into bleak grey areas, an issue like this is actually very reassuring, to be a little more emotionally honest than I usually am on this blog.

I love a good facepunch.

Fearless Defenders #4(AU) by Cullen Bunn and Phil Jimenez

I believe this is the first Age of Ultron tie-in book to take place in the new Ultron-free Age of Ultron, which I've been calling the Age of Morgan le Fay.

So I guess Doctor Doom's nation of Latveria is now centered around a giant arena where hot super-powered babes fight to the death. Warrior Woman goes there, and it turns out it wasn't really Doctor Doom, but Ares hiding behind a Doombot (like, literally right behind one). They fight. Warrior Woman wins.

It... doesn't really seem to have anything to do with anything?

Jimenez draws cool-looking Doombots tho.

Journey Into Mystery #652 by Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti

Gaea is sick. Nobody in Asgard has been able to help her. Sif takes her to Jane Foster, but Earth medicine can't help her either. They go to Iron Man, who sends them off to the Avengers Deep Space Monitoring Station to use the equipment there. Suddenly, Beta Ray Bill shows up, on the run from some vague alien threat. It looks like next issue we'll get sword-fights in space.

I fucking love this comic so much.

Sif is such a badass.

Scarlet Spider #17 by Chris Yost and Carlo Barberi

Chris Yost's Scarlet Spider was a book I hadn't really gotten around to reading. I was interested, but it was already pretty deep into the story, so it took me some time to decide to commit to catching up on it.

I'm really glad I did.

This is easily one of the best books Marvel is putting out right now. It's equal parts funny and tragic. It has a great lead in Kaine, a flawed Spider-Man clone and former assassin, who is looking for redemption. It's introduced Houston, Texas into the Marvel Universe. It has a solid and diverse supporting cast. It slides easily from the serious, like Kaine fighting terrorists, to the ridiculous, like Kaine teaming up with the Micronauts to fight Carnage. It's really, really great.

The only real problem I have with the series is the "all of the power, none of the responsibility" tagline. The entire tone of the book is based around Kaine learning responsibility, so it doesn't really fit.

Anyway, since I'm mainly urging people who haven't been following this book to start from the beginning and give it a solid chance, I don't want to spoil anything by getting too into the WHY of this issue. Let's just say that Kaine goes to the Jean Grey School to fight Wolverine and the X-Men, and gets his ass kicked by Shadowcat, and leave it there.

I feel like I haven't heard anybody talking about this comic at all, and I genuinely urge everyone to pick up all seventeen issues. It's great.

This is how Kitty takes down Absorbing Man is this month's A+X too. It's a good trick.

Superior Spider-Man #10 by Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman

Doc Ock is fully in charge of Spider-Man's body now, and is basically trying to act like Batman, except that he's too petty and arrogant to do it successfully. That's essentially the whole premise of this issue, though I don't want to undersell it, because it's a lot of fun. He's using his new Spider-Man powers to settle old scores, savagely beat criminals, and boost his own ego. He's also developing his own supporting cast separate from Peter Parker's, which I think is a good idea.

Oh, and Green Goblin's back, it would seem.

I know a lot of people who refuse to read this comic on principle alone, and I think that's a terrible idea. Live a little, take some chances on something weird, and you might end up having a good time. Don't let nerd-rage stop you from enjoying things.

I never get sick of seeing The Owl get beaten up.

Uncanny Avengers #8(AU) by Rick Remender, Gerry Duggan, and Adam Kubert

More Age of Ultron Morgan le Fay stuff.

However, the presence of Kang makes it so this alternate timeline doesn't actually get in the way of the current storyline of the book. What we get here is basically a "flashback" - if anything involving time travel can actually be called a "flashback" - to when the Apocalypse Twins were young, and Kang brought them to the Age of Morgan le Fay universe to hone their killin' skills.

They wipe out Havok, Rogue, and a couple other characters, but who cares because it's in another dimension. Wevs. They're spending way too much time establishing the history of a world that has only been around for a few issues of a crossover event, and I still just don't really care.

Words words words words...

Uncanny X-Men #6 by Brian Michael Bendis and Frazer Irving

There are new mutants popping up all over the world, but Cyclops and his X-Men are trapped in Limbo fighting Dormammu so they can't do anything to help.

I often complain that Bendis doesn't write enough action into his books, so I'm certainly not going to complain about this issue basically being one long fight scene. But it does make it difficult to review, aside from just saying that it's pretty cool.

Still not used to Bald Magneto.

Young Avengers #5 by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

This is the final issue of a storyarc, and I love this comic so much that I actually don't want to spoil it. All I'll say is that the whole team is finally gathered together, and it's a lot of fun.

Just go pick up this comic. It's awesome.

Marvel Boy and Hawkeye Forever.