Tuesday, November 24, 2015

comics for the week of 11/11/15 & 11/18/15.

Happy Veteran's Day. And Happy Pedro Zamora Day.

Avengers 1 – Well, it's a start. There's not a lot to say about a first issue that doesn't even feature all the members of the team. I get that they're beginning, but there's so much going on in this universe that it's hard to think that this team will ever actually become a big deal, especially with this minimal start. It wasn't bad, but Miles was the best part of the first story and the Ms. Marvel and Nova back-up was better than anything in the former, so...

Hawkeye 1 – And there's another new one. That's fine and all, but the art's not great, the story's cool, but the way it bounces back and forth, and the memory of how good it's been in the recent past...All these things conspire to make me think that I'll never care about Hawk-guy the way I once did. And that's fine. For me. But as a company, it's gotta be a little worrying for Marvel, huh?

Illuminati 1 - Honestly, this was the book I got that I thought was going to suck the most, but it was great. The art was just the right side of cartoony for me and I card about the C-List villains way more than I thought I would. Luke Cage and Iron Fist were happy accidental co-stars, and the Hood is always an interesting player. This has potential, but I can't see it being an ongoing. Fun for little stories about the other side, though. Also, the sound effects with the noises (Krakoom, etc.) were amazing touches, as well as the non-cartoony aspect of Iron Fist's dragon. There were some seriously great things about this issue. (Not to mention Luke's RTJ shirt!)

Secret Wars 7 – It was both better and worse than 6? It felt like he was taking the piss out of himself multiple times; the tone was totally different than I've ever heard from a Hickman book, like he was mocking himself. He can be funny, there's no doubt, he's not all serious all the time, but this was the first time I remember thinking, boy, that's weird. It wasn't just the bits with Sinister, nor the first reveal of the Prophet, but littered throughout the book. But, the action did move forward, so that was better than the last issue. But it pulled up short. I know this is what they're talking about when they say they split 7 into two issues, as opposed to the conclusion being elongated, but it feels like it wasn't even a full issue. Also: the text reads, the ultimate sacrifice, but we didn't see anyone give up anything. We just saw the beginning of the most ferocious battle. That's all well and good, but I'm not sure it's a proper issue. The art was good (except for the panel with T'Challa's head in blank space – and there was another instance of Hickman's mocking: Namor making fun of Reed's conversation with the King of the Dead, but then he turned it around and showed how the Panther needed that extra push from his old friend to actually assert his authority over the zombies) and the cover was beautiful and next issue looks great, but I want this to be over so we can fully embrace the new universe. It's too bad that Hickman's swan song is being delayed in this way; it could have been great. Now it'll just be another crossover that we dismissively remember.

Spider-Gwen 2 – Not great. Just fine. Can't imagine that I'm keeping this. It's fun, but it's not for me. Loved the Cap, the Falcon, and the interaction between Captain Stacy and the Parkers. But there's nothing connecting it to the real shit. At least not for me.

Twilight Children 2 – Strangely, this had even less info than the last issue? But I now see it's only a four issue mini-series, so my hope is that its already done and they're now just marketing it. It's great, it's beautiful, but I'm not sure what it's about yet. It'll read better as a whole (as almost everything does) but I'm really glad it exists and that I'm checking it out for now.

Ultimates 1 – This is the one that SHOULD have sucked the most. But it was fun. America Chavez deserves a better book, but maybe this has a chance of being one. I didn't see the end coming, it was a nice reversal, and I think the idea of T'Challa being involved in the Triskelion-based Ultimates in 616 new MU is a cool touch. Blue Marvel is weak, but Captain Marvel makes up for it. Spectrum is an unknown, but seems to demonstrate potential. I hope they find a place in the new U.

The Walking Dead 148 – LOOOOOOOOL. Rick would never go to Negan for help. Never. (I mean, let me clarify: fictional characters can do whatever the fuck their creator says/makes them do. I don't give a shit. You do you, Kirkman. But IMO, from what I've seen, he'd never go to Negan in full faith. I have total trust that Rick's got at least four fucking aces in his back pocket. And if he doesn't, that's weird as fuck.) Anyway, the big spoiler out of comic group for this issue was the Alpah bit, but I'm actually way more interested in the society angle and how Rick's dealing with it, and how Negan will play in to it, and how Maggie is supporting Rick, and how Andrea and Carl (and that girl...) are out on the road together. It's good.

Wolverine 1 – I thought I wasn't gonna care enough about this one to actually review it and it'd just be in the top line. But to see those old X-Force costumes, and to have Logan as the memory advisor, and to see her in the new costume... Damn. That was worth it. The villain's mask looked dope as hell, too. I love that Laura is working with young Warren (let's keep those characters relevant!) and I forgot that she has toe claws. But really, this is a cool new Marvel comic. It's a legacy, none of the characters are who we think they are, but it still works. It's the best of what a superhero reboot can be? (Other than the sub-par art?) And the ending, with the reveal of who the villain was sets up a nice long-term arc. It's cool.

Book of the week goes to Illuminati. And if you had bet me 100 dollars against that, you'd be winning at least a G. But it was so much fun.

*

Next week, sorry, got behind. Happy early Thanksgiving.

Buffy 21 - This issue started shit and really worked its way into something hilarious. Clem taking keyfabe, the dig at GRRM, and Satsu calling out Buffy and Spike as far less mysterious and cool than they used to be were all highlights. But the underlying message, the fact that the vamps were basically just using the Army recruitment as a chance to drive a wedge between Spike and Buffy, is worrisome. I mean, they're maturing. Just let that chill for a while. Unless you're going to send him away, which you're not. He's a vital part of the puzzle now. And I didn't get the end because I don't remember who Dylan is. Le sigh.

Extraordinary X-Men 2 - Young Jean is getting great, Ramos draws her well, Forge is ACTUALLY back, not just his presence, but most importantly: this X-Book feels like the ooooolllllllllddddd X books: people are terrified of mutants. This is going to change the whole lineup. In a good way. But even cooler? There's a lot of potential in this book. Between the Rasputin siblings (always good together) plus Nightcrawler (always good interactions with both Colossus and Magik) that's a solid line. But we have so much more: Bobby is mature, he's working with Storm. Storm's now worried about legacy, she's the new Scott. Scott appears to be really dead, so he's joined the ranks of Xavier and old Jean. And, of course, that ending. Jean, of course, will be the one to bring Logan in. This makes sense. My only worry is that they'll tease a romance between these two. It should never be that. Logan always has the mentor role with young women, but he's always loved Jean. Let's not let that get in the way of what could be one of the most solid X-relationships in a long time. (Bonus, the back page showed the covers of books I didn't know were coming because I don't read previews and both All New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men look good!)

Huck 1 - Huh. Well, that was the surprise of the week. It was totally, totally different than I was expecting, in both good and bad ways? I mean, the whole issue is people promising not to tell, and then someone does? For almost no reason? After he goes over there? For almost no reason? As though this is the first disaster he's ever seen on TV? As though this is the first time that he thought maybe doing things for the world would be better than mowing peoples' lawns? Just a super strange start. But what a concept. Smalltown Superman who's never come out to the world gets hauled out? And he's....special? A blue-eyed orphan? Yeah, we've seen all this before, but it's a novel take on an old trope and the art is beautiful and that's a good thing. The only thing that worries me is that it's Millar and he might take this into trigger word fantasy territory real quick, if only for the shock value. Here's to hoping it can stay away from there.

I Hate Fairyland 2 - That was a bunch of fun but I'm going to stop reviewing it here and now because there's not much substance. That's fine and all, I still enjoy it but there's not much to say.

Invincible 125 - It was fun, but not as much so as last issue? I mean...it's obviously still going somewhere and I'm still super excited to find out where that is, but...it feels kinda pointless at this point? Last issue was fun to see the changes, but this issue was just sad? I'm not sure that I believe Nolan either, not at this point. We'll see. Not bad.

Ms. Marvel 1 - Kamala Kahn continues her streak of being the coolest, most fun, most self-aware young person's comic out there. Bougie Foods and majority-minority neighborhoods aside, this has the formula of old school Spidey down pat: young person gets awesome powers, uses them, has fun, gets in over their head. It's great. It's small time storytelling that'll never be as monumentally fun as other books, but it's super important.

New Avengers 3 - Still a bizarre book, still fun. The contrast between the evil magic of the old dimension and the traditional Marvel space of Kree and Skrull, along with stupid Squirrel Girl being there, Hulkling calling himself a Dagwood and Power Man going all social justice warrior on Wiccan's name makes this book the oddest of combinations. With the in-jokes (Hawkeye admitting he flew into a Kree engine once, and the hybrids using "Uatu's eyes!" as a curse) and the references to Dr. Doom and Alpha Flight, this is a great book that'll reflect some of the new, broad status. POD seems to be in trouble, but I can't say I have any idea who the person inside is (or even that I knew there was a person inside, so....) so it's hard to really care. But when it makes mistakes, it'll be bad. (Also, just as my last note here, but as a 90s X-Kid, I'm a huge fan of Sunfire and Robert DaCosta is doing great things with his money and this team. But when Songbird says he's leaning into the villain thing, it got me SO EXCITED about a Reignfire possibility!)

Spider-Woman 1 - It wasn't great, but it was solid character building. And that single splash in the middle of the issue with the maternity leave party was excellent. Spidey and Spidey, Carol and Iron Man. So good. We also got to see plenty of people on that page, and they were interacting in interesting ways. (Shoutout Kamala, Ms. America, and Nova, as well as Miles. And THEN! On her maternity leave, does she GO TO ANOTHER UNIVERSE AND HANG OUT WITH GWEN STACY? Great little touch.) At the end, when she goes to see Alpha Flight, though, is when it gets good. I thought I was gonna just glaze right over this book, but it was fun. It's fun in the way books should be fun, not fun like the forced integration of Deadpool and Squirrel Girl into mainstream titles. But here we've got Ben Urich and a guy calling himself Porcupine Man and it feels quirky and different, but authentic. The aliens are just gonna be a continuation of that. Good stuff.

Thor 1 - Still fun, but not magic. I'm interested in Jane as Thor, the art is good, and the characters are almost all likable, but I've never been a Thor fan. In JMS' run, I didn't even consider it. It's only Jason Aaron that's keeping me on this book and I'll stay with it as long as he's plotting, because I have faith in his work, but as soon as he's gone, I am too. This issue we see a bit more of the Thor goodness that helps Jane, the madness of Odin, and the changes in Asgard. The ending is surprising, but not too much. The biggest takeaway for me was the lack of Odinson. He'll be a player in the new Marvel U, I'm sure, but his role is TBD. Jane's got her own merry band of pranksters by her side, so that's great enough for now. Who needs the men?

Book of the week goes to Ms. Marvel. Small ball still wins.

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