As promised, 3 weeks worth of comic reviews, most of which are sure to infuriate!
(Mainly because I seem to have the exact opposite opinion of everyone else about most of these.) As always, Massive Spoilers Ahoy!JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1
Yes, I liked Identity Crisis
. Yes, I liked this issue. No, it didn't have any punching. Yes, it had a lot of in-character narration. Yes, a lot of people are going to not like this. And I'm not sure why, although Greg Hatcher
from Comics Should Be Good shares his reasons.
Quite honestly, the "who gets in" issues from the old Avengers
were always the most interesting for me as a kid, so I'm delighted
to see one here, especially since it's a really well done one. Red Tornado gets a lot of screen time, and the flashback panels with Kathy Sutton are a nice touch as well.
Also, Mr. Miracle's opposite twin (Dr. Impossible?) decapitates two of the Metal Men. Sweeeeeeeet. Bonus points
for a "Hush Tube"!
I am in fact one of those people with a double standard --- or 'humans', as I call them. It's OK to kill robots. Every. Single. Time.)
In fact, in seeming response to bloggers who posted about how Red Tornado's entire purpose seems to be blowing up
, it's a major plot point here! Take THAT, comicsblogoweb!
So we get what anyone who's remotely familiar with Meltzer's work probably should have expected: a set-up issue with good character bits, no action, and a hint of a deeper mystery. Also, I quite liked the art.Best Moment:
Batman and Superman's immediate rejection of Supergirl as a League member: "No." "No." Funny, because that was the same reaction I had when I saw the panel.Worst Moment:
The Red Tornado/Deadman conversation was plodding. But hey, Felix Faust showed up at the end!Comic Book Goodness:
I'm giving this one a solid 3/5. Maybe I'm a sucker, but there were more than enough nods to the various eras of JLA-ness to keep me happy, and as I said: I really think Meltzer's characterization of the Big Three works. Between liking this and Identity Crisis
, I am now officially a comicsblogoweb leper
.ULTIMATES ANNUAL #2
Captain America and the Falcon team up to take care of a white supremacist group that's using Ultimate Arnim Zola (who's an AI program in the Ultiverse) to concoct a Super Soldier Death Powder
to, um, make Super Soldiers. Intercut with flashbacks to Cap's WWII adventure wherein he took down --- shock!
--- Zola's Super Soldier back in the day, and saddled with a
heavy, heavy message on race relations.
This was at times clunky and hard-to-follow, but I can't deny that this made for some compelling reading. From Cap's monologue on just how he's still painfully aware
that he's got a 60-year chunk of history missing to Falcon's refusal to be the subservient soldier under Cap's command, there are a few really interesting bits of characterization.
Also, Cap and Falcon get a sweet ride in a Trans Am
, and said panel is overflowing with cool-osity.
But the race message (which is admittedly hard to do well in comics anyway) drops thuddingly
every time the action heats up. And the beginning would seem to give away the end of Ultimates
2 (not that we were predicting anything differently anyway).
But I really enjoyed Ryan Sook's art in the flashbacks, Mike Deodato's art in the present, and the cover. So it wins on those counts.Best Moment:
"So, for the permanent
record, do not treat me like your Step-and-Fetchit noncom ever again. Understood?" --- Falcon to Cap
This was my first exposure to Ultimate Falcon, so, I didn't know those wings could decapitate folks. Huh. Also, ew.Comic Book Goodness: 3/5
. Interesting vignette, decent action and good art. Probably would have been better if it hadn't tried to be so "Message"-y.WONDER WOMAN #2
In this issue, we learn that Diana's new role as Agent of Whatever was supplied to her by Batman (more about this later), Tim Drake's known the whole time where she's been, Cassie gets pissed about it, then Giganta shows up wearing Donna Troy as a necklace
(heh) and Nemesis, Cassie, Tim and Diana try to take down Giganta, Cheetah, and Dr. Psycho.
Just as Diana's ready to transform back into Wonder Woman via an absolutely WONDERFUL Lynda Carter twirl-around
, she's stopped by Hercules.
I had several problems with this comic.
First off, the idea that Batman gave WW a new identity after she's made so much out of finding out who she really is kind of counterintuitive.
"Having trouble discovering what you're really all about? Here's a fake ID, made-up past and new job in which you get to live a lie!" Also, apparently her time during the year off didn't provide the answers she was looking for? Disappointing.
I didn't go back and read issue #1, but I forget why all the bad guys are looking for Diana.
I'm not well versed in the DCU's version of Hercules, but here's hoping he's much like the Marvel version (e.g., strong, arrogant, and a little bit naive). Someone feel free to illuminate me!
But the biggest problem here is... drumroll please... lateness
. We already know that Diana's going back to being Wonder Woman thanks to Justice League of America
. So it becomes a question of "when", not "if", and I naively thought that there was a real chance
for a status quo change here. (Not that I was rooting against
Diana, but that question was a story hook
for me.) So my interest level in seeing Diana not
being WW for the rest of the arc is greatly diminished.Best Moment:
The twirl. Man, what a tease!Worst Moment:
I still can't get over the Batman-supplied new life. I thought that was SO not the point.
I thought we were looking at a more independent, free-willed WW who's determining her own fate from now on.Comic Book Goodness: 2/5
. Serviceable art, but I just can't say I'm interested in Diana Prince: Agent of Whatever --- once she's back to being WW and can be the focus of her own book, I'll jump back on. Maybe I'll give the next issue a shot. I dunno.HEROES FOR HIRE #1
Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray's relaunch of Heroes for Hire
starts us smack dab in the middle of the action, as we're introduced to Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Tarantula, Humbug, and Shang Chi.
(Black Cat is also a member, but for some reason she doesn't get her own text-heavy explanatory splash page like the others.)
The setup is fairly simple: these folks are hired guns, hunting down bad guys for cash, and don't answer to anyone but themselves.
Of course, this being a Marvel comic, it's saddled with Civil War baggage. Surprisingly, it ends up being the closest any CW-related comic I've read has come yet to actually discussing the issues
that Marvel so desperately wants us to think about.
Bottom line is that HFH decides to go all "Wyatt Earp on the criminal underworld", but won't be hunting down heroes. Which is cool with me.
Not as funny
as I'd have expected, but there's not a lot wrong with this comic --- plus I gets me some Shang Chi!
(I have a completely irrational fascination with Shang Chi. I cannot explain this.)
So here's hoping that P&G can keep the 70's-action-flick vibe going in subequent issues, with the snappy dialogue and mercenary nature of the team taking center stage. Personally, I'm confident it will, and this cheesecake-and-punch laden comic
is a guilty pleasure already.
The other thing I like about it is this is a perfect
opportunity for Marvel to bring in B- through D- List characters on a rotating one or two issue basis, since they can be hired and fired at will.Best Moment:
HFH is referred to as "Kung Fu sex bombs". Nice bit of self-awareness there. Plus: the explanation of why Humbug is a valuable member of the team (insect spy network).Worst Moment:
Paladin and Orka show up that the end (yeeesh), but I think they were just contracted for a specific job, so hopefully they won't be back next ish.Comic Book Goodness:
3/5. I can dig it; trashy fun.ANNIHILATION #1 (of 6)
In what I greeted with derision and scorn
upon hearing it announced, I hath found humility and a lesson.
That lesson?Don't underestimate my ability to misdirect snark.
Holy hell, I loved
It's all-out war between the Annihilus/Thanos axis and, well, pretty much the rest of the galaxy as an older, war-torn Nova and Drax, Ronan, and Starlord (F#$% yeah!
) fight valiantly to mount some sort of resistance. Helped by former heralds, no less. Yep, those
Oh, and Galactus shows up at the end and gets his world-devourin' ass
kicked by Aegis and Tenebrous.
Don't be fooled for one minute: this is a war
comic, narrated as such by Nova and very intensive with the cosmic smashy-smash.
But it's all brilliantly done, and feels more like an episode of Band of Brothers
than anything else. Did I mention that Giffen promised us SpaceKnights? Hell yeah. This is exciting, action-packed stuff, and it's hard not to feel like very bad things are going to happen next issue.
Now if we could just figure out why Marvel keeps pretending this series doesn't exist
"They took down Galactus. God help us." --- Nova
I can't decide if the fact that Drax the Destroyer's costume consists of slacks, shoes, and no shirt is incredibly cool or incredibly dopey.Comic Book Goodness:
4/5. Great work.MINI-REVIEWSIRON MAN #11
--- Yep, I was more or less right
, which is just fine by me. This ish does the reveal nicely, and features a cool takedown of the Sentry by IM (overloading the Cloc thing to give Bob a nervous breakdown
), a nice fakeout with an I-should-have-seen-it-coming Tony-less armor, and momentum for the last ish of the arc, in which Yinsen activates the Iron Mega-Robots mentioned in the first issue. I'm not lying when I say that as a fan if the next issue doesn't falter, this will have been the best IM story in three years. CBG: 4/5
--- Everyone else seems to like this comic a lot more than I do. It's one big fight with ninja Man-bats in an art museum, yes the pop-art backgrounds are clever, yes the name "Jezebel Jet" sucks (what, "Tramp Steamer" was already taken?
), but overall so far this is a less compelling Batman read than Detective
. I can't explain why I don't like this more. CBG: 2/5
.SECRET SIX #3 (of 6)
--- A little emotion, a little humor, and scads of betrayal mark the halfway point here, as we see that Vandal Savage has been acting the puppetmaster, the team stuggles to sort things out, and bonds between comrades are put to the test (figuratively and literally). Good stuff, all round. CBG: 3/5.GREEN LANTERN CORPS #3
--- Holy Compression, Batman! A 3-issue arc! And one that wraps up nicely, as the mystery and motives behind the warrior-killing is exposed (and makes sense), the Hill Street Blues
vibe gets even stronger, and Guy Gardner gets a deserved vacation (one that if future covers are any indication will not go well). Top-notch story and art, and quickly becoming one of my top 5 comics
. CBG: 4/5
--- I won't say anything that I haven't said before; this is just an excellent comic. Either you're buying this or you're not. I am, and glad for it.