Monday, October 17, 2005

Chris' Reviews, 10/12 Pt. 2

Housekeeping note: I'm trying to space out the reviews and opinion pieces in the interest of giving y'all a reason to come back and read this here blog more than once a week. Just so ya know. Also, Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


Well, well, well. Brian Michael Bendis. We meet again, my old nemesis. You, Bendis, who hath milked the teat of pop culture and indie kewl until it soured into the turned cottage cheese of the familiar, the static panels, and the meta. Bendis.

In the penultimate (that word always sounds dirty to me) issue of the House of M, the heroes (such as they are) have a half-assed battle, and Wanda finally shows up. See, apparently Quicksilver was the one who convinced Wanda to remake reality so that they could be a family again and so the Avengers wouldn't kill her, which means that this whole exercise was brought on by Bendis mis-characterization in the first place.


During this exposition, Hawkeye shows up, gets pissed at Wanda, and gets re-disassembled(?) by her. For those of you counting, that's twice Hawkeye's died in a year. Magneto gets royally (har!) pissed at Quicksilver and Wanda about the whole thing. Finally, in a Very Special Episode of House of M, Wanda decides that to do right by her friends and the whole human race, that she will remake reality again---with, and I quote, "No more mutants". Fade to white.

Dear readers, you're going to hate me. I'll tell you that right now. You will hate me with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. You're not going to believe this.

I thought this comic was great.

(Pause to let that sink in for a minute.)

(Ready? OK, those of you that are still here can keep reading and send hate mail at your leisure.)

The fact of the matter is, Bendis hit the home run with the talky-talk here, and damned if it wasn't scene after scene of powerful emotion. Hawkeye's rage of betrayal? Spot on, and a voice for the reader. Magneto's righteous fury? Hell, yeah. Even the reprint (that's what it was) of the Mags-Quicksilver scene from issue #1 was perfectly placed to remind us of, well, the fact that that scene was a great one too. And Wanda's final solution was chilling and appropriate given the circumstances.

Loyal readers will know how much scorn I've heaped on this series for the last 4 issues and Bendis-speak/style in general, and all I can say is that this issue really comes close to making the payoff. I know I'm being manipulated. I know that it's hackery of the highest order. But dammit, if a tearjerker manages to jerk tears, then hasn't it been successful? I'm not saying the whole series has been worth it --- and let's face it, it could have been done in a 4 issue series instead of 8--- but damn if this didn't affect me.

And believe me, I was all set up to savage this comic like no other. I was lining up on it like a fat kid at a shrimp buffet. I was convinced that this would be the easiest review of my blogging career (next to All-Star Batman and Robin, of course. That comic was shit.)

Fuck you, Bendis. For pulling this one out.

Best Moment: "No more mutants." It reminds me of the classic moment in John Carpenter's Escape From L.A. at the end when Snake Plissken fires the EMP blast and the girl looks up at the globally darkened sky and marvels, "He shut down the world".

(By the way, Escape from L.A. is the EXACT same movie as Escape from New York, cameo for cameo, plot point for plot point. I may have to post on this separately.)

(Shut up.)

Worst Moment: Seeing Hawkeye disassembled AGAIN. Man, that really shocked me. I mean, for a second I actually thought we'd get Clint and His Purple Costume back. It was like losing him all over again. Fuck you, Wanda.

Comic Book Goodness: 4/5. I can't believe it either, but man. This one really got me and almost made up for the dreck in between issues 2 and 6. Not a rating for the series overall, but this issue is a must-read. It also makes me ashamed that I read comics in a weird way.


So, the final battle between damn near the entire Society and the Six takes place. Cheshire gets killed by Deathstroke, Luthor shoots Pariah, Scandal's lesbian lover turns out to be Knockout, everyone gets some nice fight scenes, and Catman and Deadshot each decide that the other one's not so bad after all. Catman gives Green Arrow a harsh talking-to (take that!), and Mockingbird is revealed.

As Lex Luthor.

No, not that one. The other one.

No, the real one.

See, the Luthor that's been running the Society all this time is actually a Multivers-----er, alternate universe Luthor. The REAL Luthor is actually Mockingbird, leading the revolt against the other Luthor, and hell, I have no idea what this means, since I always thought one poorly characterized bald supervillain with no real powers was enough for one comic company, but apparently there are multiple versions of said Kojak analogue.

Damn, that was wordy.

I haven't read Crisis on Infinite Earths in damn near 10 years, and I'm not about to go back through that mess and try and figure out which Luthor is running things here.

(Was that heresy? Because I didn't read Crisis when it first came out, and when I did at the tender age of 20 I thought it was pretty much an incomprehensible bag of plot devices. So sue me.)

Despite all the baggage, this was a fun wrap-up to what was clearly the best of the Countdown miniseries, and if there's a God in Heaven then Gail Simone will be handed a new Suicide Squad series. Don't let me down on this one, DC.

Best Moment: Catman punching Ollie and pointing out that "good guys don't mindwipe people who are already in handcuffs".

Worst Moment: The whole Luthor thing was OK, but...meh. I was hoping for the Joker. (By the way, where is that devilish little trickster here?)

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Strong ending to a strong series, and one that actually seemed to serve a purpose. New villains! New allegiances! Fight scenes! Larger story points! Good stuff.

Final reviews tomorrow. Infinite Crisis! Showcase:Green Lantern!


Blogger kelvingreen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:38 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Yeah, I quite enjoyed HoM#7, but my gosh it has its problems and my gosh it should have been #3.

So, which Luthor was it that became president and has been hanging about in Superman/Batman?

10:44 AM  
Blogger Scipio said...

"Because I didn't read Crisis when it first came out, and when I did at the tender age of 20 I thought it was pretty much an incomprehensible bag of plot devices."

That what's I thought when I read it at the tender age of 20 ... and I STILL think so.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous jake said...

No need to apologize for liking a comic that might be less than high art. Entertainment doesn't always follow the same path as class. I mean, if you gave me free tickets to hear the symphony on the same night TNT was showing a marathon of Rockys 3-5, I know where I'd be and it would feature a lot more Carl Weathers dancing around in an Uncle Sam costume with James Brown than it would listening to Tchaikovsky.

12:16 AM  
Blogger CalvinPitt said...

I can't say much about House of M, as the whole series has just seemed kind of annoying and disjointed (maybe that was the point, it was disassembled, I don't know). I've tried to stick to the "regular" Spider-Man and Punisher titles that have been free of all this.

I did like Villains United, and the Infinite Crisis thing confused me too. I did believe Luthor was behind the Six, just that it was the same Luthor running the Society. You know he formed the Six as sort of a boogeyman to scare all the others into joining the Society.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Ragnell said...

Can't bring myself to read the rest of House of M. Too much money and the only character in it I like is Quicksilver, anyway, and it sounds like he's ruined like his sister.

It's good that you liked it, but I'll be over in the DCU until this blows over. Guess I just enjoy all the confusing craziness right now.

I loved Villains United, it explains away all the wierd characterization in DC lately if there are multiple copies running around. Two Luthors. Okay, I can keep track of that. If not, I can usually pick up on the second read what's going on.

But I'm not going to shuffle through Crisis on Infinite Earths to figure out exactly what's going on.
It's not worth rereading, and I'll always have the internet to answer questions. And I can handle jsut riding the roller coaster. I am a fan of Morrison's JLA, after all.

That, and I barely have time to keep up my own bog this month, let alone reread the monster continuity miniseries.

10:46 PM  
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