Monday, June 25, 2007

Catching Up: Marvel Edition

Well, I cleared the backlog of comics waiting for me at the LCS, and boy howdy: the comics, she do take a bite! Over a hundred bucks worth of stuff (I told you it had been awhile), and surprisingly, most of it was not awful.

Instead of reviewing individual issues, I'll give you capsule run-downs on what I read, because otherwise we'll be here forever, and as The Purple One once preached, "that's a mighty long time". Marvel today, DC tomorrow, odds and ends Wednesday, kay? Kay. Massive Spoilers Ahoy!

(Man, it feels good to say that again. Even though the spoilers in question might be a month old.)

CAPTAIN AMERICA #26/27 --- Well, I must say that the whole "Bucky wants to kill Tony Stark" plot is something I'm down with, mainly for cathartic reasons, and I didn't even mind the whole Black Widow/Bucky bow-chicka-bow-bow retcon. Some odd moments, though, like the New Avengers "wake" and the Falcon's conversation with Sharon Carter that just felt... off, somehow, like they needed more space to breathe or something. And we got the obligatory "Sharon Thinks About Cashing It In" scene, so at least that's out of the way.

(Side Note: Speaking of breathing, Sharon Carter's shoulders have plenty of breathing space thanks to her Casual Spywear she just happened to have lying around. Is she designing her own line? Casual Spywear by Carter --- For The Former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Who Doesn't Want Covered Shoulders! Coming soon to a Wal-Mart near you!)

But hey, we get Arnim Zola, the Red Skull, and Faustus together with DoomTechâ„¢ in an alliance that has "short-term" written all over it, and there's very little wrong with that. CBG: 3/5.

X-FACTOR #18/19 --- OK, the X-Cell "storyline" continues --- sorta --- here, but really it's all setup for the Messiah Complex event, and you know what? Peter David has me considering buying an X-Event. Mainly because:

A) it's nice to see a Marvel writer who actually, you know, went back and read about what happened to Quicksilver after House of M and bothered to use it instead of ignore it, and

B) I have a strange feeling that Messiah Complex is where we'll find out the real reason behind Jamie's Haywire Duplicates.

A lovely clockwork setpiece from Layla Miller (who we find out gets rattled when flies show up in the ointment), the Blob shows up and is appropriately disgusting, and the pieces are being moved into place. The only thing I didn't like is the art from Khoi Phan; this is a book built on dialogue, and you need someone who can nail facial expressions for that --- Phan isn't doing that for me. Pablo Raimondi to the White Courtesy Phone please! CBG: 4/5.

IRON MAN: HYPERVELOCITY #5-6 --- Did the Sopranos-style ending ruin the rest of the series? Hell, no. This was one for the technogeeks, and if even half of the ideas in here find their way into the Marvel Universe, it'll be a better place. Failed personality uploads gone rogue and banding together in robot suits? Fantastic. The U.S.S. Samuel Sawyer? Terrific. Tonyghost's personality chess match between him and Absynthe? Delightfully tense.

None of it makes any sense if you slow down to stop and think about it, but I'm not sure "slowing down" is on the agenda for a series called "Hypervelocity". Things get confusing from a panel-and-art perspective in the last issue, but after all's said and done this was a nice slice of non-continuity Iron Man with some neat ideas. CBG: 4/5, but I tend to skew high on these sorts of things these days.

MOON KNIGHT #9/10/11 --- Well, this has gone right off the rails, hasn't it? Decent idea behind the villain (though it only really matters if you've read the old Moon Knight series), but terrible execution. Issue #11 in particular was entirely incomprehensible from an art/narration perspective, and quite frankly even I'm getting a little tired of the whole swearing/graphic violence thing --- mainly because the plot isn't going anywhere.

Between the odd censoring ("shit" is "####" but they print "prick"?) and the fact that no one can agree on what Marc Spector's face is supposed to look like from panel to panel, I may be done with this, and frankly I'm a little embarrassed that I hung on this long. And why isn't this a MAX title, again? CBG: 1/5.

IRON MAN #17/18/19 --- I'm of two minds here, because between #17 and #18 I enjoy the way that they're bringing back the Ten Rings Back Piercings Of The Mandarin and Mandy himself, even if I think that the new(ish) supporting characters may be ruined just when they were starting to get interesting, and nobody seems to care that Happy Hogan's dead.

#19, though, was a complete waste, as it's essentially a reprint of the latter half of World War Hulk #1, complete with the same dialogue and everything, and that's just wrong. Nice to see the Hulkbuster armor, but I don't like the fact that the Mandarin story gets put on hold for WWH. CBG: 3/5 for the first two issues, 1/5 for the last.

WORLD WAR HULK #1 --- Regardless, I enjoyed this despite the fact that most of it was spoiled because I read Iron Man #19 first. Not much to say about it --- Hulk kicks the crap out of Black Bolt and comes to New York demanding the members of the Illuminati Hulk Rocketry Society show their faces before he levels the planet. Nothing overly offensive, and I thought the art was just OK, and it certainly accomplishes the first-ish mish, which of course is to set up the series. CBG: 3/5.

MARVEL COMICS I FORGOT TO PICK UP: Avengers Classic, Marvel Adventures Iron Man, Marvel Adventures Avengers, and I'll be getting those this week.

Till tomorrow!

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Anonymous cinephile said...

I know you blogged a little about this awhile back, but I was wondering if you could offer advice about which current Iron Man titles to read. I'm just getting into reading superhero comics again after more than a decade away. IM was my second-favorite hero (after Spider-Man) back in the day, and I was a huge fan of the two Michelinie-Layton runs, and the Denny O'Neill run in-between (although I have mixed feelings about it). My comics shop is pretty good, and seems to carry everything, but I'm a little confused, esp. post-civil war, about where this character is (I know I sound like an old fogey, but how many reboots has the marvel universe HAD, anyway? (:). I've picked up the Inevitable and Extremis collections in TPB form (big warren ellis fan, anyway), although I just got them and thus haven't had a chance to read them yet. Anyway, for an "old school" fan, would you recommend this "director of shield" comic I see, IM adventures, or what? Sorry for the length of the post, but I supposed from all the great IM-related posts on this blog that you "2 guys" would be good folks to ask. Thanks for a great blog.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Thanks for the kind words, Cinephile!

I'm late on the Marvel Adventures Iron Man (I'll be getting it this week), but I know two things:

1) The all-ages Adventures line can be really refreshing and old school

2) Fred Van Lente is a damn fine writer.

So I'll know more about that later this week.

As far as The Inevitable goes, it started strong but completely runs out of gas, and ends up being a waste of time (sadly).

Extremis is vital, because it's the reboot that quasi-establishes Tony's Stupid New Powers™ and they play a big part in current IM continuity.

So far, I've really liked the bulk of the Knaufs' run on the series; I'd recommend starting with #15 for the current Mandarin story.

Also of interest:

Orson Scott Card's Ultimate Iron Man miniseries from last year is out in trade, and I thought that was kinda neat; also, as mentioned in the post, I thought Hypervelocity was great, dark fun with nonstop action.

Hope this helps!

3:29 PM  
Blogger joncormier said...

I totally agree with Chris here on the Marvel Adventures line and on Hypervelocity.

There are only 2 issues of the Marvel Adventures story out so far, but it's really comics as you remember them but created for adults as much as for kids. I keep comparing the line to Pixar of comics since they were the company that realized parents need to watch those movies they bring their kids to, so goes this line of comics. You can read them to/with a younger audience but totally enjoy them yourself.

But it could just be that I'm cross over weary and just want my comics to reflect the summer weather.

5:45 AM  
Anonymous cinephile said...

It does help-- thanks! I might have to find a copy of the Adventures issue, and the hypervelocity series, if my local shop has it, when I head in tomorrow.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Julio Oliveira said...

My problem with the Black Widow/Bucky retcon is just that shows how inconsistent is continuity nowadays: how can she met Bucky as adult and met post-weapon-X Wolverine as child? (I know, I should just ignore Wolverine:Origins like everyone else, but sure is sloppy).

10:18 PM  
Anonymous cinephile said...

Just wanted to thank you for the recommendations from yesterday-- I picked up IM Adventures, and you're right-- it's great fun, and a very smart revamping of the history. Nice to see a funny, concerned and truly heroic tony stark again, and I liked how they even manage the "tony or rhodey" debates about who should wear the armor that cropped up in the mid-80s: they are both "iron man" in different ways. Good stuff, and good rec!

9:14 PM  

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