Lots of books to go through and i'm doing even less than my usual minimal proofreading, so i apologize in advance, yadda yadda, you've heard it all before...
Exiled #1, Journey Into Mystery #637, New Mutants #42, Journey Into Mystery #638 - Got these all at once, so i might as well review them all together. I really liked this! Young Loki the RPG-er was great, and the other Asgardians-as-regular-people were fun, too. I was a little concerned because i feel like (this might not even be true, but it feels true) the Dsir, having been introduced recently, have suddenly been in a lot of stories and i was getting sick of them , but i really enjoyed the twist on the known origin for them, and i like the way the resolution is shaping up. Paul O'Brien has been sort of struggling with whether or not this crossover has any real relevance to whatever themes the New Mutants are supposed to have. My take is that in the Marvel Universe it's ok to occasionally just have a nice random event that breaks from a particular book's normal topics. Plus Dani Moonstar is a Valkyrie and Warlock has a pet hellhound (and i could read a whole series about just that), and that's enough for me.
Hulk Smash Avengers #3 - It's definitely true that the covers of this books are their biggest selling point. It's probably at least partially why i felt drawn to them (that, and to torture myself when i get to adding these to my project). Now this issue is by Roger Stern, so i had higher hopes for it and i guess i can say they were met. Certainly the pardoned, Mantlo-intelligent Hulk era is one where the Hulk/Avengers meetings could have used some expansion, and Stern was the one to do it. But, while the story was well written, i don't think the plot gave a great opportunity for the Avengers to reconcile with the idea of the Hulk as a hero. Nor did it deliver on "Hulk Smash Avengers", but i guess i'm taking the series title too literally. I have no problem watching the Hulk and the Avengers fight the Leader's Humanoids, so this was fine. I think the tribute to Gruenwald and Buscema was a little strange and distracting. I see on the Marvel Chronology Project message boards that this one requires us to gloss over some temporal references ("The other day", "Yesterday") to make this fit in the intended spot, but due to Marvel's sliding timescale i tend to ignore those anyway. On the topic of sliding timescale, however, it's really not necessary to rub it in our faces with comments about the Wasp dating George Clooney and Sean Combs.
Hulk Smash Avengers #4 - Again going by the MCP boards (especially Michael, who also sometimes comments here), it seems we're going to have to assume that the West Coast Avengers decided that it was "old costume" day before going to Vegas, and it definitely won't fit where the editors intended. Although wherever Tigra is hiding her tail must be a little uncomfortable. On the plus side, this issue does actually feature the Hulk smashing. But of all the Hulks to smash the Avengers, the grey version is the least likely to do so, especially on a team containing Wonder Man and Iron Man. That scene with Iron Man failing to pick up the scrawny little grey Hulk (what is he, .75 tons?) had me thinking of an older issue i reviewed recently, when Stark picked up *Godzilla* while wearing a replica of his original grey suit. I did like how this one ended, with Stark and Mr. Fixit coming to terms.
Winter Soldier #5 - If only the whole world could have been in the car with us when Wanyas presented his opinion of this series. My caps lock button would need a caps lock button to do it justice. And i certainly agree with him. It's inconceivable that you could publish a Dr. Doom vs. Super Apes story that was this boring. I will admit that towards the back of the issue there was a panel with Dr. Doom actually fighting a gorilla with a gun. Yeah. The monkey's ass was facing the camera, and the rest of the fight happened off panel. Thanks. Ugh. And this issue ends with the exciting teaser: Whatever happened to some other assassin schmuck that the Red Ghost trained? Who cares? Whatever happened to the gorillas that he trained? Oh, and who the hell is in charge of Latveria these days? Kristoff? I hope Mark Waid over on Daredevil knows that. No, it must be Doom, right? Otherwise he wouldn't have been in the embassy. So what's this about missiles pointed at Kristoff? I guess i missed something by not reading Hickman's FF(s)?
X-Factor #236 - I guess Peter David has a point to make here about reality television, but it's worth remembering that just because you can make Mojo relevant again doesn't mean you should make Mojo relevant again. Based on the cover and the clearly satirical villain i was expecting more of a straight-up parody issue, but this was a straightforward fight and i should probably be happy about that knowing my dislike of modern PAD's humor.
Daredevil #13 - I'm glad this is wrapped up (unless Daredevil's arrival in Latveria is a continuation), and i thought the ploy with the Avengers was really cool, and if nothing else i appreciate the introduction of the word Megacrime into our lexicon. But i still say DD should have publicly handed the drive over to the Avengers and let them say, "That's right, we have it. Come and get it."
Avengers vs. X-Men #4 - It's dawning on me that this book is not what i thought it was going to be. I knew it would have no plot, and it's meeting my expectations on that front. So clearly it was going to be a big fight series, right? Nope. That's apparently what AvX is. If you haven't read this Wall Street Journal book review that goes off on a wild ranty tangent about comics in general yet, you should (i don't necessarily agree with all of it), but for now i'll quote this:
The story is told in two titles, one called "Avengers vs. X-Men," with a big "AvX" logo on the front, and the other called "AvX," with a big "Avengers vs. X-Men" logo on the front, presumably so you can keep them straight.
So, nothing happens in this book. Meanwhile, there's a million tie-ins, all of which tread water so as to not step on the toes of the main book or the other tie-ins. And then there's the supplemental book which is where all the action's been segregated to. If you took all of that and squeezed it down into, say, a nine issue mini-series, you might actually have a story. And while i'm all riled up, how come Wolverine can re-grow his entire body from charred cinders last issue but this issue he has to wear a dead polar bear to keep warm?
Avengers #26 - I feel like it's mean to say that the cover was really bad, but it was. The interior art was better, but why does Simonson draw all those lines all over Thor's face and no one else's? As for the plot, we all know this "we've captured some of the Phoenix essence in Thor's hammer" plotline is going nowhere relevant to the main series, right? I guess i still like Marvel Boy's conflicting loyalties plotline, although we have to admit that this character is just miles and miles away from what he started at under Morrison, and i have no idea yet why he's so loyal to a Supreme Intelligence that isn't even from his own dimension. And i guess here is as good a place as any to ask why the Phoenix is an actual big flaming bird that's flying very visibly to Earth in a way that it never has done before?
Avengers Academy #30 - I don't know if Shaw's revelation about his powers will satisfy min's earlier questions or send her back to her college physics textbooks, but it doesn't seem consistent with how his powers were depicted in the past. I guess it's fair for power creep to affect bad guys too, in any event. I really love this book, by the way. X-23 and Finesse's conversation was just great, Taki's "No! He's a good sentinel! We play basketball." was brilliant, and Hercules was awesome as always (although i wish he had gotten a few more licks in). I think Gage is amazing. If i were his editor, at this point every month i'd randomly pick 20 characters out of the Marvel Handbook at random and demand that he write a good story about them that gave each character time to shine and developed some overall theme (like, is it ok to imprison kids with dangerous powers and questionable loyalty during a time of war), and i'd be confident that he'd do it. He deserves a higher profile book. I hear Bendis is leaving the Avengers...
Captain America #12 - Hello, imaginary person who has picked up a Captain America comic because he liked him in the recent Avengers movie. I feel very sorry for you because you don't know who Scourge is, you don't know who Henry Gyrich is, and you don't know who D-Man is. You have my assurance that if you did know all of that, this book would be awesome. I can tell you that the writer, Brubaker, has nailed Gyrich's personality and is using him in a really cool way. And this Scourge plotline has nice callbacks to ancient comics history but is doing it in an innovative new way. So i feel bad for you, imaginary new reader, but quite frankly, i wouldn't change a thing in this book, so you're just going to have to do what i did when i first started reading comics, and just stick around and go with the flow until you start picking stuff up, and then start picking up back issues to fill in the blanks. (That's my answer to the parts of the WSJ article above that i don't agree with.)
Hulk #52 - Yeah, i was right. This issue was much better than the last one, thanks to the Legion of Monsters. I don't know who "Manphibian" is, and i'm not sure if he belongs in a comic that kids might buy, but this issue was a lot of fun. Now, i didn't know that Doc Samson was dead, and i don't think he should have been killed (really? After turning three supporting characters into Hulks, you kill off the one guy that actually has had established Hulk powers for decades?) and i'm hoping this issue doesn't in any way prevent his eventual resurrection, but that aside, i liked this. Also, i can't stop thinking the words "Doc Samson" in the voice of Molotov Cocktease from the Venture Bros.
Thunderbolts #174 - There's a very timely (heh) satirical post on MightyGodKing on the "rules" of time travel, but i actually liked all the sideline conversations during these time travel stories about the mechanics of time travel. I didn't expect it to boil into an actual plot point, but i'm glad it did. I thought this plot was interesting and the Fixer-loop will be a nice additional layer when i get to re-reading my older Thunderbolts issues. I know i was more tolerant of the meandering time-travel plotline than most, but i didn't realize that it was going to last until the end of the series, and knowing that, i might have joined the voices calling for an earlier return to the present. But it was nice to see the series end in a story re-visiting the beginning. And i'm glad that Parker got Ghost back into the past as well, because i really do like this final cast. Mr. Hyde, Troll, Centurius, Ghost, and Satana have all been great characters along with the more traditional ones (the double-Moonstones were enjoyably devious, too). Great stuff. I haven't looked at any previews, so i don't know if the reboot to Dark Avengers will really be Osborn's Dark Avengers redux #3 or a continuation/evolution with these characters, but here's hoping that if we do stick the word "Avengers" into the title that it'll keep a Parker-written book going longer (although it doesn't seem to be working for Gage on Academy).
By fnord12 | May 30, 2012, 7:58 PM | Comics
Exiled, JIM, NM: more Warlock! more hellhound!
HS#3: well, this was the least douchey of the Avengers/Hulk encounters. they only beat on him for a few minutes instead of the whole issue.
HS#4: storytelling in the art is bad. if Hawkeye hadn't actually said "hey, see what attacked us" would anyone have known from the art that the aircraft had been hit? Mockingbird mentioning S.H.I.E.L.D.'s alert system and "WRRNNN" noises don't translate to "we've been hit!". it could have simply meant something was detected. and, really, if it only alerts you after the impact, it's not much of a warning system.
also, is Wonder Man's flight powered by explosive farts?
WS: i know i've previously said that despite his inability to make clear action panels, Guice can obviously draw. let me amend that to "Guice can obviously draw humans." i think, like Toho, he's not quite up to speed on gorilla physiology.
and the scene where Bucky's wrassling with the Russian agent? i can't figure out what the hell they're supposed to be doing. has Guice any idea what a fight looks like?
stick to portraits, man. go with your strengths.
DD: it's just not Daredevil if Foggy isn't miserable in some way or another, is it? poor Foggy. he needs to dump Murdock.
AvX & Avengers: gee, i can't imagine why a bunch of comics where nothing happens isn't grabbing the attention of potential new readers. it just boggles the mind.
if you can't even figure out that the actual title of the book should be the thing that's in the biggest font on the cover, there's just no hope for you.
AA: once again, i need to ask WHY IS X-23 WEARING A GODDAMNED BRA FOR A SHIRT???
CA: well, at least D-Man wasn't pathetic and sad in this.
TB: do we not employ proofreaders at Marvel anymore?
1) after present day Fixer is all dressed up as past Fixer, he says "Going straight didn't work out did for me like it for Abe and Melissa."
2) on the last page, past Mockingbird says "What could have happened to us in during that?"
i really hated this time travel plot and for it to be the only plot in this run makes me feel like i've wasted all this time reading it at all.
Reference from SuperMegaMonkey : chronocomicAnd it does sort of answer the question of why the Avengers never investigated reports of a grey monster working for the mob in Vegas (although this issue now raises the question of why they never investigated the town of 5,000 that was blown up by the Leader with a gamma bomb). Here's my original Speed Review on this issue. Read More: Hulk Smash Avengers #4
Reference from SuperMegaMonkey : chronocomicAnd as for Roger Stern, i'm happy to take him wherever i can get him. I think this issue shows that his writing ability is still strong. It's a little disappointing that he would get relegated to stuff like this in 2012; if i were running Marvel he'd be writing and/or editing whatever he wanted to. Here's my original Speed Review on this issue, but it doesn't seem my opinion has changed much. Read More: Hulk Smash Avengers #3