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Good comics week: Ronan, Avengers, ASM

Would be great if it weren't for Ronan dragging things down, but even that wasn't as bad as i thought it would be...

Ronan The Accuser #4
Well, the final Annihilation mini-within-a-mini is over, and while they've definitely been mixed, i'm still pretty excited to start getting the rest of the story now that it's been streamlined. Ronan was probably the worst of the four, both because the story had very little to do with Annihilation and because what it was about wasn't very good on its own, either. Interestingly, of the four of them, this was the only one i had any real expectations for, since it was written by Simon Furman. Furman wrote a very good and funny Death's Head a while back, and his UK Transformers comics are also well regarded (I have a few Transformers trades and they're pretty good). But this story didn't work very well at all.

It started off pretty strongly in the Prologue, with Ronan being falsely accused of treason to the Kree empire, and him having to go off and defend his name (it had nothing to do with the Annihilation wave, but it was a good enough concept that i was willing to go with it). But when Ronan arrives on a planet that has basically been taken over by all of Marvel's "space" women, working for Gamora, who last i read was A) dead and B) a good guy, things got a little weird. Nebula, major bad-ass who has taken on the Avengers multiple times and claims to be the grand-daughter of Thanos, working as a goon for Gamora was really odd.

But instead of really going into an explanation of what they were all doing there, we switch over to Glorian, of all people (unless the explanation is that everyone was mind-controlled by Glorian That's what i'm going with, but that's not a very good story). So who is Glorian? Glorain is gold-skinned rainbow boy. He makes your dreams come true. He's sort of the herald of the Shaper of Worlds, who is a pasty white skrull stuck in a box (Amazingly, that's the best picture of the Shaper I could find on the internets. I'll have to scan one in later.) Glorian is tired of being the herald and wants to Shape his own Worlds. So he gathers the necessary energy by, umm, mind controlling people to fight each other. That's cheesey. That's, like, Contest of Champions "let's think of a reason to have fight scenes" cheesey.

And it doesn't really go anywhere. Whatever Glorian was up to gets interrupted by the Annihilation wave, rushing in at the end of issue #3 to drag Ronan back into the main plot. Glorian sacrifices his newly created world to defeat the Annihilation wave. Ronan... fights some bugs, and finally hunts down the person who falsely accused him, who of course dies before she can tell him anything. Useless. Ronan decides he needs to warn the Kree about the bugs, which means the point of this mini-series was basically "here's what's been happening with Ronan before he finds out about the bugs". The only way this plot could somehow be relevant to Annihilation is if Annihilus himself arranged for Ronan to be falsely accused, and we don't find out about it until the main story. That's way too much subtlety for the big bugger so i don't see that happening. Which means this story was both bad and pointless.

So why do i say that this issue wasn't all that bad? Well, it was basically a big fight scene, with all the various factions fighting the bugs until Glorian's big deus ex moment, and as it turns out, the art is by Jorge Lucas (i did that joke already), who is quite good and detailed in a Future Imperfect George Perez sort of way. Additionally, the coloring is interesting. So from a visual perspective, i liked it a lot, and for a big battle scene, that makes up for a lot, even if the plot isn't very strong.

Avengers #22
I have a confession to make. Marvel says that the whole point of the Civil War concept is that both sides have valid points and it isn't a clear case of good versus evil. While they say that, it's pretty clear that Iron Man and Reed Richards are acting a little funny and Cap is the good guy (and even those going along with IM's side, like Spidey and the Thing, are having serious doubts). So unless they're setting us up for a twist, i think it's fairly clear that Cap's side is going to be shown as correct. However, i'm not with Cap on this. Oh, i don't think anyone with super powers should be forced to register with the government (that would be closer to the Mutant Registration Act). But i do think that if this were the real world, i would want anyone acting as a vigilante to be arrested. And i could accept that if there were vigilantes out there that were doing good, that they could be offered a clean slate in return for an official government job. I don't see this as a "safety vs. civil liberties" issue the way Quesada frames it (actually, he flubs it and says "freedom vs. civil liberties" but we know what he means). It's really a question of, should people be allowed to operate outside the law? Of course, that's basically the whole premise of super-hero comics, so if you question that, the way this series is, you're tearing at one of the foundations of the genre - which i think is great, as long as they realize that (and i think they are, but the framing suggests otherwise).

Anyway, this issue did a lot to make me see it from the other side, and also to make the law look alot more like an MRA than an SRA. Luke Cage, doing nothing but sitting in his home, was to be arrested because he had not registered, simply because he has powers. Which means the law is wrong.

Even regardless of that, it was a great issue. Good characterization of Luke, and the relationship between Luke and Jessica. And i like the approach of the New Avengers during Civil War - i don't know if it will continue but it seems like each issue will focus on one of the team members and their reaction to the law. That's a really good way to deal with a crossover, and it lets focus on one of Bendis' strengths - characterization - while the main action takes place elsewhere.

Amazing Spider-Man #534
Another great issue, focusing on Spider-Man's doubts about the side he's chosen. I loved the Cap/Spidey fight. I liked Spidey being kind of creeped out about Iron Man knowing about his spider-sense (in the old days, Spider-Man would jump out of the way or shout "Look out!" and everyone would be like, "how did he know we were about to be attacked?" because SM never made a point of advertising that power. I like that being referenced/acknowledged). I also liked the sort-of old-school "Want to find out what The Thing is doing here? Check out the current issue of FF!" footnote. My only complaint is that this issue takes place after the resolution of the cliff-hanger in Civil War #3, so we have a pretty good idea of how that ended up (i.e. minor spoilers for Civil War 4), but that's not a big deal.

By fnord12 | July 31, 2006, 1:13 PM | Comics


All five New Avengers Civil War cross-over issues are character focused all by a different artist. Spider-Woman, Sentry, then Iron Man.

at least the artist chose to draw glorian without the ballet slippers and flowing blond hair.

quesada either needs to work on public speaking or he really does think civil liberties and freedom are opposites. in which case, there's something wrong with his brain and he should prolly not do so much of the speaking.

i concur with the Cap side looking like the "good" side. esp when they have Cage doing the slavery analogy to Iron Man.

interesting how Cap (who some like to tell me is not a mutant hating specie-ist) felt so strongly about the Super-Hero Registration Act that he had to go against the government on this and become a vigilante, but was hardly this opposed to the Mutant Registration Act.

Peter Parker is so slow on the uptake it's painful to watch.

As administrator of this post, i've deleted a whole bunch of off-topic nastiness. C'mon guys, can't we just talk about comic books?

Did somebody say comics? I like comics!