Duke City Marathon weekend. Loving the world right now.
Avengers 21 - "Emancipation" is the best of the big ideas that Hickman's had building (no pun intended) in these titles for the duration of his run. This is what I want to see: some gnarly changes to the Marvel Universe via amazing new characters who can literally change worlds. Here's to hoping some of them survive Infinity. Beyond the cosmic ramifications of the Builders and Engineers and Ex Nihilo and the Abyss, we get a little mini-Kree drama: Ronan smashed the Supremor with his hammer! Man, that's not gonna play well after this war is over. And then...it gets truly insane. They're winning, but not enough. So they turn to the suicide play, the Hail Mary: they unleash the Annihilation Wave. I know this was talked about before, but I literally put my head in my hands when I saw it. I can't believe that Cap would make this decision and I think it might do good things for the good guys, but boy is this planting some serious seeds that are going to come back and bite them all on the collective ass later on. Holy poop. And then, just pages later, my regret turned to absolute shock. The Annihilation Wave didn't do shit. But...lucky for the good guys, they've got God on their side. Not just Thor, a God. But maybe, perhaps, just maybe, what we all mean when we actually say GOD. The one who made everything. And when she wakes up, everything changes. The Builders know they're beat, but they won't leave without a little spite thrown in for good measure. Infinity finally seems to be living up to its name and its promise and I'm happy to be reading this.
Batwoman 24 - Amidst all the stupid drama going on with this title, I actually kind of forgot that it was being put out, which is a shame, because it was THE best thing about The New 52 for quite a while. For now, though, McCarthy is still on art and, if it finishes that way, it'll have to go down as kind of a failed experiment. I'm such a JH Williams III fan, and he's proved his writing chops (although the use of simps as a real word here is crazy), but the book is so much less of an entity when Williams isn't doing the art. And, ultimately, I don't want to talk about what could have been, just about what it is for now. The plan, drawn up by Bones, gone through with by Batwoman, to get Batman, the white whale, goes wrong. Of course it does. But Kate has some tricks up her sleeve and the fight gets GREAT and we've got the split panels with Flamebird's rescue reaching its climax and THEN..... nothing. It ends. We have the promise of Zero Year, which was so bad I stopped reading Batman because of, and then, they'll be gone. Man. What a disappointment of a book, what a horrible way to end this issue, this run and this promise from The New 52.
Fables 134 - God! Fables covers are one of the modern marvels of our art world. Seriously. They're fucking beautiful, month after month, and no one talks about it! And then, inside? OK, the tears fell. Yep. I want to give this issue to so many people. I love the way Blue talks, I love the start, I love the maturity with which Bigby handles it all, and I love the fact that he also questions not only going back but the big picture, too. And the ending? Holy moly. Almost perfect. This was a bizarre issue; if you had described it to me, I'm not sure I would have thought I was going to be a fan. But sometimes those turn out to be the best.
Hawkeye 13 - So glad to actually have it! I love this comic and you would too if you were reading it. And if you're not reading it, you're going to feel really stupid once you do start reading it. Because it's so so so so so so so so good, it's so personal, it's so close up, it's so worthwhile. This issue, we get to see the resolution of some things (Barney, Grills) and the beginning of some others that we've already seen play out a bit (Kate and her departure) but the main focus is on Clint Barton just generally not being a great human. He's a really cool hero, and he does amazing things, but he's very, very ordinary. He drinks too much and he makes mean comments and his friends are all usually pretty mad at him. And that's great. That's something we need more of in comics. So if you're not buying this comic, you need to. It's one of the few truly GREAT titles that's coming out nowadays. Support it.
Invincible 106 - A bunch of different threads, this is a set-up kind of issue, which is cool with me, but none of the threads felt particularly compelling. We start with Battle Beast being a badass, then have some silly drama with Mark and Eve and his mom and dad. Then we get to see Dr. Seismic (have we met him before?) and he gets taken out in an ambiguous manner. And last but not least, we get to see Monster Girl, still looking fine as usual, and start to worry about Rex more than we have even in the past. He seems totally at ease with the fact that his girlfriend looks at him with more than a handful of hesitation. While that's all we get from Robot and Amanda, the scene that's promised on the cover gets delivered and it's amazingly cheesy. I literally rolled my eyes as it was happening, but it did provide an intriguing end, which is always nice. Doc Seismic's story promises more in the long-term future, but the end of the book, with Battle Beast, is the story that I'm most looking forward to. It's clear that Thragg is going to destroy him and then it's going to be serious trouble time. Or, it could be that this will be Nolan's breaking point with Allen, which will be cool, too. Just a so-so issue, sure, but they can't all be home runs.
New Avengers 11 - "In our seemingly unending string of bad choices, this one, I think, has the potential to be our worst." I love the concept of the Illuminati. I like the Thanos' son stuff. I like the fact that Earth is at the center of two cosmic events and that Hickman's walking that line pretty well. But I hate the fact that this book, so solid a premise has faltered so badly. While mainline Avengers and the Infinity books themselves are getting great, this one is falling off HARD. I almost don't even want to read the next couple issues, just come back post-Infinity and see where the chips have fallen. Here we get alternate universe Builders and Engineers as well as alternate Ex Nihilo (and maybe an Abyss?) while Thanos finds the Black Swan and recognizes her as dangerous. After that...I don't really know? The alternate universe Builders decide to throw the Illuminati through the Incursion point? Or ask them to blow up their own world? I don't even know, but it's so dense that I'm not convinced it matters or that I should care about it. This started as an incredibly ambitious world-building project and a redefinition of a group that was bound for trouble. Instead, they're just a meandering, almost purposeless group of whiners.
Book of the week goes to Fables. I love the fact that they went for the gusto, so I have to give it to Vertigo over Marvel's (arguably) second best book and the resurgence of Avengers.