Thursday, July 13, 2006

Chris' Reviews 7/12 Pt. I

Holy Hell, this was a light week for me, with only 4 comics (no, I didn't end up getting any of the ones I asked for advice for yesterday; my LCS had no copies of either Scarlet Traces, the Scarlet Traces sequel, or Revere, and I flipped through Ghost Rider and immediately decided to wait for the consensus comicsblogoweb opinion).

Additionally, Boom! Studios were gracious enough to send me a preview copy of Hero Squared #2, which like an idiot I completely forgot about until yesterday afternoon, so that was a late addition (but a welcome one --- I'll have more on this later).

But what an excellent 4 comics these were --- you'll only find two reviews here, though, because I need to dedicate Green Lantern Corps #2 and Hero Squared #2 their own post later. Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


I've given Geoff Johns some grief on the blog here, from comparing him to toast to wishing he'd stop wallowing in continuity.

Geoff Johns, as far as I'm concerned, should write Green Lantern for the next 2 years, minimum.

In this issue, he explains Cyborg Superman to new readers, illuminates his devious (and oddly sensical) plan, and deals with the ramifications of Parallax Hal meeting those GLs he betrayed oh so many years ago.

And Goddamn if he doesn't make it work.

There's little plot advancement here --- Cyborg Superman is collecting GLs to fuel a new kind of Manhunter robot to take his revenge on Oa, and ends up capturing Guy Gardner for that purpose --- but there's the satisfying feeling of putting the next-to-last piece in place when you're doing an especially complicated jigsaw puzzle.

Which is to say that Hal ends up having to "revive" a lot of the Lanterns he was responsible for killing and betraying, and not knowing what's going on, they naturally proceed to kick Hal's ass.

Why is this good? Because Johns realizes that this is a very necessary part of Hal's continuity, and that these major ramifications need to be dealt with before we can accept with any sort of confidence that Hal is truly a kickass GL. And it's in character, makes sense, and flows perfectly with continuity.

In short, this is the perfect character for Johns: riddled with continuity problems, enough leeway to not have to have other DC heroes involved in every adventure, and an established set of "rules" as far as powers and responsibilities.

And it's a prime example of Johns doing what he does best: providing the "glue" that makes all those wacky comics seem to fit together for 22 pages. Well done, sir.

Best Moment: I enjoyed the concept of the "Willhunters", nanites that embed themselves in a GL's brain searching for the exact right spots to control so that Cyborg Supes can manipulate them.

Worst Moment: I still can't not laugh over the fact that Cyborg Superman, a twisted horrific corruption of the Ultimate Superhero, has the first name "Hank".

Comic Book Goodness: 4/5 if you're a GL fan, 2/5 if you're not. For those of us who love the concept of Green Lantern and the GL Corps, it's a great way of connecting the dots. For everyone else, the reaction will likely be similar to that of a hog staring at a wristwatch.


OK, if you had told me yesterday that the latest Iron Man comic would feature the Goddamned Sentry, Tony Stark shaving all his facial hair off and bleaching his hair blond, heavy dependence on Ellis' Extremis arc, and crappy fight scenes, I would have said one or more of the three following answers:

A) Goddamnit. Looks like I'm cancelling Iron Man for at least 3 months.

B) Marvel really is content to let an icon stew in shit until the movie comes out, aren't they? Stupid Marvel.

C) Alan Moore's writing for Marvel?

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this comic.

Charlie and Daniel Knauf take the two supporting characters from Ellis' arc --- Sal, Tony's "mentor" and half-crazy hippie futurist, and Maya Hansen --- arrested for being responsible for unleashing Extremis in the first place --- and make them a necessary part of Tony's supporting cast, as the three of them try to figure out what's making Tony kill unconsciously.

And they do it well, while writing an engaging scene that puts Tony's engineering mind to great use, the way Paul Dini put Batman's detective mind to use so effectively in the latest issue of, um, Detective Comics.

Meanwhile, we do get a lame fight with the Goddamn Sentry at the end (though it ends with Iron Man getting his butt kicked, which actually seems right to me at this point) and we learn that Tony's problem is some low-tech tumor-esque thing in his brain making him kill these people.

And I think I've got this whole thing figured out. If true, it will add a cool twist on Iron Man's origin. If false, well, it's only the 938,144,467th comicsblogoweb prediction that turned out wrong, so no big deal.

Here it is:

FACT 1: Tony's controlling "tumor" is built from low-ish technology, which is to say older.
FACT 2: The "tumor" relies on bio-magnetism.
FACT 3: The person controlling Tony has assassinated people relating directly to the captors in his origin, the same ones who gunned down Ho Yinsen when Tony escaped.
FACT 4: The "tumor" is NOT a result of the Extremis virus.

I think the villain is none other than Ho Yinsen himself.

When operating on Tony lo those many years ago to help him recover, Yinsen realized while watching Stark construct the original Iron Man armor (and performing surgery on him) that it would be beneficial to be plugged into this guy's brain. To that end, he implanted a viral growth, one that when sufficiently grown would allow him to plug into the genius intellect that is Tony Stark.

At first, Yinsen had only the best intentions. But when Tony apparently left him for dead, Yinsen took it personally and vowed that one day he would have his revenge not only on his captors but on the man who abandoned him. Long has he waited for this day.

(Add to that the fact that in the Marvel Universe there's a group of techno-cultists called the Sons of Yinsen, and there's another viable candidate with similar motives.)

Either way, the Knaufs have me interested and guessing about the next Iron Man comic in a long, long time, and that's a good thing.

Best Moment: Tony breaking down under the realization that he is in fact doing the killings.

Worst Moment: My hate for the Goddamned Sentry as a plot device only deepens with this issue.

Comic Book Goodness: 4/5 if you've read the arc thus far, 2/5 if you haven't because you'll be totally lost. As an IM fan, I got armor scenes, Tony being brilliant scenes, and a deepening mystery. Excellent work, guys!


Blogger googum said...

Iron Man shaved? Man, Tony always looks just wrong without the mustache. Luckily, he can apparently grow it back in fifteen minutes...I'm in the middle of Iron Man week over at my dumb blog, come on down!

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Nick said...

Two things:

1.) GL kicked mucho butt, and Jack T. Chance shows up, what's not to love.

2.) I had the same first impressions you did upon seeing the cover of Iron Man, The Sentry, WTF? BOO. It was a good issue though.

I thought about Ho Yinsen being a villian way back when they started to rego into Iron Man's origin, I thought "Hmm, why are they doing this....hmm maybe to bring it up later with Ho Yinsen". Honestly though I think it's almost too predictable to do it that way but rather, maybe it's an actual son of Ho Yinsen.

11:47 AM  
Blogger The Fortress Keeper said...

Loved GL, but still not sure if I should pick up Iron Man again or not.

Tony being manipulated to kill just reminds me of The Crossing, which in turn reminds me of a bunch of bad stuff.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait for your GLC #2 review. I had alot of problems with it.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous carla said...

I'd put money on your idea of who the villain is in Iron Man. Flawless logic.

10:57 PM  

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