Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wednesdaybusiness 5/29/13

I only read one DC book this week, but it was the only one anybody was talking about so whatever.



Captain America #7 by Rick Remender and John Romita Jr.

Cap is still stuck in Dimension Z, as he has been for years. He's making his final stand against Arnim Zola, who kidnapped his son back from Cap, who kidnapped him from Zola and raised him as his own. Zola's army of mutates now includes a legion of monstrous Cap clones. Zola's entire castle has been revealed to be an interdimensional rocket ship, and he is planning to launch it at Earth, and only Cap can stop him. Rick Remender is telling a hell of a story here, is what I'm saying. He's woven a pretty epic science fiction world in just seven issues.

I think my favorite thing to come out of this series is the character of Jet Black, Arnim Zola's morally-conflicted super-powered daughter. They basically introduced her with the line "Let this killer of helpless children feel the furious future premonition of my TACHYON FU STYLE," which - as you might be able to guess - won me over instantly. I honestly have no idea where this series is going next (a good thing), but I hope she sticks around in the Marvel Universe because she is rad as fuck.

This comic is crazy and unpredictable and feels more Flash Gordon than Captain America and I really like it a lot.


Dark Avengers #190 by Jeff Parker and Neil Edwards

Sadly, this is the end of a 3-year run of consistently awesome comics. I've been a fan of the Thunderbolts in almost all of their various forms, but when Jeff Parker took over the book I had a special interest in it... because he's totes one of my faves OMG.

The transition over to the book being about a new team of Dark Avengers has been an engrossing and entertaining one, and their adventures in an AIM-created dystopian alternate reality have been fantastic.

The series ends with (most of) the team returning to Earth-616, of course. Parker has used alternate reality super-science to make some interesting changes - or maybe even fixes - to let the characters more comfortably integrate back into the Marvel Universe. Trickshot, a.k.a. Hawkguy's brother Barney, has finally found some level of genuine confidence instead of his usual bluster. US Agent got his missing arm and leg regrown and got his costume back. Most importantly, in my opinion, Ragnarok has been quite literally transformed into his own character; No longer a doofy cyborg clone of Thor, he's now a conflicted quasi-Asgardian wielding an alternate reality's Mjolnir. I hope that all these changes stick, and that these characters get used again soon.

I'm bummed to see this book go. I feel like the team could have just continued their adventures. And while he's still writing the awesome Red She-Hulk book, I hope that Jeff Parker's given some more stuff to do around the Marvel Bullpen.

Bye, guys.

Indestructible Hulk #8 by Mark Waid and Walter Simonson

The whole "teaming up with Thor in the distant past to fight frost giants and shit" storyline is coming to a close, which is kind of a bummer because it means Walt Simonson isn't going to be on the book anymore. While his depiction of the Hulk isn't my favorite, I could watch that guy draw Thor all damned day. Putting him on these issues was a brilliant move, because quite frankly, nobody else should be allowed to draw Thor but Simonson.

Anyway, they manage to keep the frost giants from invading Earth, obviously. Thor and Hulk smash faces, Agent Coulson gets in a few quips, and it's all good fun.

I don't want to undersell this comic, because it's great, but one of the reasons the comic is great is that it's keeping things pretty simple and entertaining. There's enough drama and character development to keep it interesting, but the story doesn't let itself get bogged down by it. I appreciate that.

Fun Comic is Fun.

Justice League of America #4 by Geoff Johns and Brett Booth

Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is the comic where Catwoman gets shot in the head. You've already heard about it in every form of news media because OMG THE DEATH OF A CHARACTER THIS WILL CHANGE COMICS FOREVER BLAH BLAH BLAH. Except that publishers print solicitations for future issues well in advance and Catwoman is on the cover of upcoming issues of this book, so she clearly didn't die like the end of this thing would have you believe. DC is so big on the media pandering, and it's frankly pretty annoying.

I was much more interested in the concept that Professor Ivo invented the Shaggy Man instead of Amazo in the NĂ¼52, which is a weird and pointless mad-scientist-shuffle. I feel like a lot of these comics are trying to be different just for the sake of being different, instead of for any sort of storytelling reasons. I don't really get the point?

Not sure how she's gonna' survive this, but she obviously is.

Morbius the Living Vampire #5 by Joe Keatinge, Richard Elson, and Carlos Rodriguez

Honestly, this book has a perfect plot synopsis at the beginning of the issue, so I'ma just quote it:

After accidentally killing the gang leader of Brownsville, Noah St. Germaine, Morbius initiates a gang war. As various factions scramble to take control of the coveted territory, Morbius must find a way to clean up his mess.

Morbius' arrival in Brownsville, however, was not by accident. Little does he know that there's been a plan for him all along - one carefully designed by the criminal mastermind... The Rose!
So yeah. I'm not sure exactly which The Rose we're actually dealing with, but I guess it doesn't totally matter because I like all of them. Anyway, after Morbius vampires up and kicks the crap out of a bajillion gangsters, The Rose takes him aside and explains to him that this has all been planned, and that Morbius has been set up - for currently mysterious reasons - to be the new protector of Brownsville. Having nothing better to do, really, Morbius basically just goes with it and starts work on a secret hideout.

I've heard folks complain about this comic being short on the mad science, but I'm still enjoying it. I understand where Marvel's coming from, since vampires with low self-esteem are sort of all the rage right now, and honestly they're doing more to establish motivations and supporting cast for Morbius than anyone has since the mid-nineties.

It's not my favorite book that Marvel is putting out right now, but it's still readable and clever, has decent enough art, and could certainly be a lot worse.


New Avengers #6 by Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting

Hickman's universe-destroying epicness is still running at a full sprint in this book. The most recent "incursion" into our universe has occurred in Latveria, and man, I wish Marvel would just give Hickman an entire series about Doctor Doom. I felt this way during his long run on Fantastic Four as well. The man writes an awesome Doom. I also love that Hickman always remembers to include Kristoff Vernard in his Doom stories, something a lot of writers forget.

Steve Epting is still knocking the artwork out of the park as well.

It's hard for me to sum up this book, because it's taking place on a hugely cosmic scale and Hickman has such a knack for cramming a ton of story into every issue. But suffice it to say that if you're not reading Jonathan Hickman's two Avengers books, you really ought to be.

You're in Doom's house now.

Savage Wolverine #5 by Frank Cho

This is apparently a month for endings, as Frank Cho's run on this book has drawn to a close as well. I'm sad to see Wolverine's zany adventures with Mastermind Excello and Shanna the She-Devil in the Savage Land come to an end.

However, Marvel has announced that from this point, Savage Wolverine will essentially be a book where writers and artists can tell whatever crazyass non-canon Wolverine stories that they want to, and THAT is a thing that I can really get behind.

Anyway, this issue has the Hulk, giant gorillas, Cthulhu, dinosaurs, and doomsday devices. If that doesn't sell you on it, then you're no son of mine.

Frank Cho really pays a lot of attention to making Wolvey as hairy as possible.

Uncanny X-Force #5 by Sam Humphries, Adrian Alphona, and Dexter Soy

I'm not hugely into this series, and - much like the stuff Bendis is doing - it seems to be taking place in a sort of slightly-different universe than some of the other X-Men books. I don't particularly mind that sort of thing most of the time, since focusing on Continuity over Story is typically a bad idea, but it makes reading every X-Book every month into a confusing task.

HOWEVER, this book is finally taking on the task of mending the character of Bishop, who has spent the last few years as a crazed baby-killing monster supervillain. We're finally starting to get some backstory for WHY he was that way, and Psylocke is taking action to fix it. For some reason it involves killing a giant bear inside Bishop's mind, but whatever. I'm still glad they're doing it.

This book gets the gold star this week for attempting to return one of my favorite X-Men to likability.

Hint: It was lazy writing!

Wolverine and the X-Men #30 by Jason Aaron, Pasqual Ferry, Pepe Larraz, and Salva Espin

This is the prologue issue to THE HELLFIRE SAGA, which I think is a pretty funny idea. It's such an overwrought and melodramatic title for what essentially boils down to the villains forming their own school.

I think my only real objection to this comic is that Husk is turning kind of insane and evil, and I've always really liked Husk. But the writing is solid and Aaron's been fleshing it out for a while, so it's really more a problem I have with the character as a person than with Aaron's writing. Which, ultimately, means he's doing his job right as a writer.

Wolverine and the X-Men remains my favorite X-Title. You should be reading it.

Teenagers always admit to every stupid thing they do on Twitter. For real.

X-Men #1 by Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel

X-Men #1 is sort of this week's Big Issue, having been delayed for a while and premiering the first all-woman X-Men team. And it's pretty good, though the hype is maybe a bit premature?

The art is beautiful, as I totally expected. Olivier Coipel does great work. In a book like this one especially, I really appreciate his ability to draw attractive women without them being hyper-sexualized. This is a great comic to look at, and I hope he stays on-board.

As for the plot, well... It's just getting started. Jubilee is headed to the Jean Grey school with a baby that she apparently found? And the baby is apparently the host body of Arkea, a malicious technological virus and sister of John Sublime? We have sufficient tension built up for this to be a pretty great story. It feels very Claremont-y, which is a good thing, and is very likely intentional.

The issue does fail as a #1, though. If you don't know these characters and haven't been following all the X-Men books for the past decade or so, the context and framing of this book will make no sense at all. I honestly didn't even remember who John Sublime was, and had to dig through some old trades on my bookshelf to refresh my memory after having looked him up on Wikipedia. This isn't a series where you can just watch a few episodes of the 1990s X-Men cartoon and then jump in, which is what a #1 ought to be.

As somebody who DOES follow all eight zillion X-Men books, however, I'm excited to see where this story goes. It seems very promising so far.

Also, Storm's new costume is really rad.

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