Friday, May 02, 2008

New Comics Wednesday part II (New Comics Thursday)

Overall, I am pleased. It was a small week, but I pretty much enjoyed it all with minor exception.

Shall we?

Action Comics #864 - The follow up to the the last story, this one entitled Batman and the Legion of Superheroes. It follows Superman, Batman and...fucking...Lightning Lad? I can never keep track. The narrative is told from the point of view of a hidden villain that will, I suppose, have a major part to play in Final Crisis. It was a fucking cool issue. Really, Geoff Johns writes the best Superman stories I've ever read. Batman is bitching at Superman over not answering the JLA's calls while Supes and Lightning Lad laugh it up in the Fortress of Solitude. Batman tells Superman his concerns about dealing with people from the future saying he's encountered three different iterations of the Legion himself. There's also some closure involving Karate Kid and Una who died a few weeks back in Countdown. More continuity issues since Karate Kid and Una died on Earth 51 (I think it was Earth 51...Kamandie Earth). But whatever. So Lightning Lad ends up taking the bodies back to the 31st century to give them a proper burial. Also a cameo by Starman and more hinting at the fact that he knows all sorts of shit about what's gonna happen but can't make sense of it cause he's fucking nuts. But really, I enjoyed the shit out of this issue. Clark lightens up while Batman is as tight assed as ever and Lightning Lad oscillates between being mr. cool and a total asshole. Definitely a lead in to Final Crisis. Or I should say one of the Final Crisis spin-off minis. Superman and the Legion of Three Earths or some shit. The villain...I can't remember his damn name. But at the very last page you see him from behind and he looks exactly like Mumm-Ra. No shit. I fucking cracked up. Great issue, I had a smile on my face the entire time. As an aside, this is how you decompress. You do a tight and tense and awesome story like Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes and then after all that you wind it down a bit before winding it back up.

Blue Beetle #26 - Garbage! My one low point. I bitched about this last month when I learned that this issue would be an all spanish language issue. Man, it was worse then I expected. I expected a fairly actionless issue, but there was a fight between Blue Beetle and the Parasite. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The issue starts out and it's Jaime and his girly going to meet his extended family at a family get together in the park. Jaime explains (okay, not entirely in spanish) that his extended family doesn't speak a word of English. Okay, okay, s'cool. So it goes on and him and the girly are putzing around with his family, having a good time, and the script is alternating spanish and English. This is fine, no big. Actually, it could be a really endearing thing. But then the action bits kick in. Beetle is called off to take on the Parasite. Now this is where it gets absurd. There is absolutely no fucking reason for the dialogue to remain in spanish. At this point the writer is just wanting to hammer you over the head with multi-culti bullshit. Jaime Reyes is one of DCs efforts at "diversity." As stupid as I think DC's efforts at racially and ethnically diversifying classic characters by killing off perfectly viable classics was, I felt that they succeeded fairly well with Jaime Reyes. His character is a simple everyman and underdog and the book gets by on the strength of its supporting cast. Jaime Reyes is like Peter Parker but he's not heroing out of a sense of obligation to past failures. His family is still alive. He's a hero cause he wants to be while his immediate family knows. So while the situation doesn't lead to any serious complexity, its simple approach makes it a fun title to read. This issue takes everything you know and uses it to bludgeon you over the head with culture war bullshit. Yeah, great, I paid $3.50 (they added the original English script) for left-wing propaganda. And it fucking kills me. See, if the only spanish bits were the stuff with his family, I think that would have been endearing. It would have been about him introducing his girly to his extended family who don't conform exactly to American culture but in the broader sense still share similar family values. Hey, can't understand the words? Well, it should be evident by what's going on on the page. Yeah, that would have been touchy feely nonsense, but it would have been alright. Instead, the fight with Parasite (who knew he spoke spanish?) turned the whole thing into a slap in the face to the reader and to the character cause they had to basically pull him out of character to fit the writer and editor's own pre-conceived notions. The whole thing becomes a waste of $3.50. I would have not picked it up, but Andy works on a subscription basis so I had to. Didn't bother with trying to read the script. Why? Who buys comics to read artless scripts? Though it should be noted that the script was written in English and, apparently, translated into spanish by Sergio Aragones of Groo the Wanderer fame. HA!

DC Universe #0 - Taken on its own, I really liked it. This has absolutely zero connection to Countdown (thank God!) and nothing really happens except to serve as a massive cocktease. But what a cocktease! It sets forth the stories that are going to be told in Final Crisis. It should be noted, Final Crisis is gonna be more then the main series. It will actually be a series of mini-series published concurrently. Not a lot of, if any, crossover action with main line DC books so far as I know. Maybe Superman, maybe Wonder Woman.....but nothing direct I hope. Grant Morrison last tried his hand at an event series with DC One Million and I fucking hated it. It corssed over into everything and the main mini-series itself sucked ass. Or at least it did without reading the tie-ins. But I digress. The issue just glances over everything with a narrative hinted at the end to be told from the point of view of Captain Marvel. He doesn't actually come out at the end, but it's made obvious for the reader. I think DC plans on killing him. Daring! The issue is written by Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns, the two guys basically leading everything in the DCU. Man, these fuckers better not disappoint. Now I said this has nothing to do with Countdown. This is good, cause Countdown sucked. This is also bad, cause this was supposed to be where Countdown was leading. Fucking bastards. All that for nothing. Not so much as an acknowledgement of anything that happened in Countdown. Nada. Zip. It was originally going to be titled Final Crisis #0, ut for whatever reason DC changed their minds. It absolutely was Final Crisis #0 though. Didio was going on saying, yeah, this is gonna be the new starting point for the DCU! Bullshit. I took that to mean this was gonna go over the major events of the DCU for the past 30 years. Thankfully not, cause even though the issue was only $0.50 cents that still would have been a rip-off. Like I said, this was a massive cocktease. This is hinting at the events that are gonna drive Final Crisis and even goes so far as to look into next year's Green Lantern event. Like I said, DC has to deliver or their reputation is fucked.

Green Lantern #30 - Continuing with Secret Origins, part II! Man, three books written by Geoff Johns. I ain't complaining! Abin Sur crashlands to Earth carrying a prisoner from...some...prison planet...the name of which escapes me. The prisoner starts talking trash to Abin Sur in order to break his confidence and succeeds. A fight breaks out damaging the ship and sends it plummeting to Earth where it lands in the desert. Abin Sur, mortally wounded, puts out the call for his replacement. The ring scans around immediately picks up Hal Jordan, dragging him from his job at an aircraft hangar and drafts him. Bad ass, Hal has the ring. This issue had a lot of cool character moments. Hal, having just gotten thrown out of the airface, is a grounded pilot. He works as a mechanic on aircraft, but his heart is in flying the things, not fixing them up. He's miserable. He argues with the owner of the company to let him take out a plane just once but the owner shoots him down before telling him he sold the company to Ferris Air, the same company Hal's dad worked for when he died. The same company Hal has vowed never to work for as well. So there he is, on his ass, unable to fly, dealing with another asshole pilot who doesn't have even a fraction of the talent Hal does and then he sees this beat up piece of shit. There's this moment when Hal walks over to the remains of this crashed plane and just steps in the remains of the cockpit. He's fucked up. He's thrown so much away. He's thrown away his family, his career, nothing left for him and then it seems like God has more plans to fuck him harder in the ass. So when he finally gets a hold of that ring it's just fucking magic. And all this shown with Ivan Reis's masterful framing and layouts. Seriously, this guy should be paid in hot, wet vaginas. I also like the fact that even though this is probably the ten billionth retelling of Green Lantern's origin, Johns does it without making the sotry feel cynical, or doing it just to cash in for an easy paycheck. It feels fresh. He's putting his stamp on the story. This is the origin that's gonna be used for the next generation of comic writers. I know, I know, it's basically the same damn story told since the 50s but this is a far more character driven story (though I should admit I never read Emerald Dawn). Also, one minor change. Since the 80s, part of the origin of Green Lantern was that it was supposed to be Guy Gardner that was supposed to be chosen, but didn't cause Hal Jordan was closer to the crash site. Not anymore! The ring specifically chooses Hal Jordan in this story. Looks like poor Guy Gardner is pretty much left out of the equation entirely now. (Though maybe not entirely, as the ring is used to draw Hal to it instead of the ring being drawn to its new wearer.) Green Lantern does seem to have its ups and down, but this is probably the best overall title on the market right now, easily. Readable in both serial and collected formats with excellent character work and action. Highly recommended.

X-Men Legacy #210 - See, I've been reading MIke Carey's work on X-Men for the past year and was by far disappointed up until recently. Messiah Complex was a typical X crossover with the routine massive chaos and major character death and all manner of whatever nonsense is needed to drive the X titles forward. A good story, mind you, but it hardly helps Mike Carey as there were like five writers involved. Before, it was crap. I mean I just didn't see where Carey was going with the book. X-Men #200 came and went. Big shit happens! And you don't care. Carey I think wanted to put forward these big ideas and then failed in every regard. Maybe cause everything was being pushed towards Messiah Complex? I don't know. But since they retitled the book and Carey started telling more personal stories I've been pretty impressed. So Professor Xavier was shot in the head and then immediately kidnapped by the Acolytes for whatever sinister purpose. Since then Carey has dived into Xavier's fractured head and kicked stuff around to see what he can make of it all. And it's been great! Carey is not a big time action comic writer. He's just not. Doing more intimate character stuff is much more suitable for him. So in this issue Xavier and Exodus has a massive telepathic fight. Just massive. Exodus is whooping Xavier around the remains of his guilty conscience, doing whatever he can to make him submit. He tries to make Xavier dwell on all the people who have died in his care over the years and we're taken back to moments such as the death of Illyana Rasputin and Colussus' suicide. Really fucked up shit for a man to deal with. Given that, the fact Xavier manages to win was kind of anti-climactic. He just...does. Exodus reveals the purpose of the fight was to convince Xavier to take over as leader of the Acolytes which Xavier rejects. While he's leaving he tells the girl Sentinal the reason Exodus lost the fight was because, simply, that Xavier had no recollections. None, whatsoever. He was shot in the head, his brain was rebuilt by Exodus (finally a bit of explanation on that) but his memory is too fractured. Sure, he has these memories. Sort of. Bits and pieces but nothing to string them together. Why are they important? Who knows. That Xavier is dead. Now he's a blank slate with a new opportunity to define himself. Awesome. Xavier has been an asshat for a while now. The ramifications of Messiah Complex was that the X-Men were no more and that Xavier's dream was no more. Looks like Carey wants to make that last bit final and take the opportunity to redefine what that dream is. Excellent. Now that's the kind of story I'm eager to see a guy like Carey tell. He's an accomplished writer, here's hoping he can pull it off in an X book. There are two epilogues in the book. The first involving Rogue, wandering around the Southwest. The second involving the Hellfire club and some sort of experiment. I didn't know Sunspot was a member of the Hellfire Club. Huh. Gonna have to hit up Wikipedia now. How these stories are going to connect with each other is anyone's guess. Rogue story is supposed to involve Gambit in some fashion. I can also see how her story could intersect with Xavier's in that Xavier is in search of identity and Rogue's power involves that very thing. Hhhmmmm.....It'll also be interesting to see if, since her being "healed" by the mutant messiah baby, if she retained her powers stolen from Ms. Marvel. Anyway, this wasn't a perfect issue. The arc overall was a bit flawed in some regards. It was quite enjoyable though and I would recommend it.

And that's it. It was a small week, but I think I got my bang for my buck. After stopping by the shop I went and picked up my ticket for Iron Man at 8:30 Friday. I haven't read any reviews but the headlines at least have been gushing. Can't wait!


Post a Comment

<< Home