|Tuesday, August 11, 2009 12:43 AM|
| by Fëanor|
Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.
This post covers new releases from 7/22. These days I'm trying hard to omit the plot synopses, but I still might slip in a spoiler now and then, so be warned.
As I suspected, the only survivor of last issue's massacre is the ship's artificial person, but I had so little time to get to know the characters that I don't remember which guy he is. There's a pretty weak and rather contrived explanation for how he ends up getting in contact with the girl who's trapped and surrounded by aliens - without thinking, he just follows the basic procedure for taking off in a landing craft and tries to contact the "tower" first, but of course there is no tower, and he knows that. The girl picks up his random transmission and asks him to come save her - which he stupidly agrees to do! Dude, wtf? The planet is full of people who want to kill you (and who succeeded in killing all of your friends) and monsters that want to kill you. Get out while the getting's good! But of course, if he did that, there wouldn't be a story, so out he goes. We get a little more backstory on what happened to the people on the planet, but there's still no real solid explanation for why they all went crazy. Then our hero mistakenly saves the murderers instead of the little girl he was trying to find. Whoops! That should make next issue rather awkward.
I'm still not sure about this series. The story seems a bit clumsily written and I'm having a hard time mustering up any interest in the characters. But I'll hang in there for a bit longer. Maybe it'll go somewhere eventually.
The Amazing Spider-Man #600
I haven't bought a Spider-Man comic in a while, but I figured since it was the giant-sized, super-special 600th issue, I should make an exception. Believe it or not, there are actually seven separate stories in this thing. The first is the longest and tells the tale of the return of Doctor Octopus and the marriage of Aunt May to J. Jonah Jameson's dad (this is another one of those times in comics where it's hard not to stop and think, "Wait a minute, how old are these people now?!" But it's usually best to think of the characters as ageless and timeless and leave it at that). Dan Slott takes on writing duties, and John Romita, Jr. provides the pencils. I usually really dislike Slott's work, but he's not terrible here, and I always love John Romita, Jr.'s stuff. I like that there's actually consequences to an average human like Doc Ock getting bashed about all the time by superhumans. I'm a little sad that The Bar With No Name got trashed, but then again, it's happened before and the place has come back. I enjoy the scene where Blindside thinks he's got the drop on Daredevil when he uses special chemicals to make him... blind. Whoops! I also like the idea of the city of New York rising up to try to kill Spider-Man, and to try to stop Aunt May's wedding, all because Doc Ock is plugged into the infrastructure and his subconscious is full of hate and jealousy. Spider-Man has a few amusing comments, too, like his argument with Ronin over what the team is called, since there are three or four or five different "Avengers" these days. Also funny and effective is the relationship between the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, especially between Spider-Man and the Human Torch. I like that they remind us that Peter Parker is actually a pretty damn smart guy with some pretty mighty brainwave patterns of his own. In the end it's hard not to feel bad for Doc Ock; after all, he just wanted to do something great before his time ran out. Sure, he went about doing it in a psychopathic, megalomaniacal way, but he tried. Aww, and the FF gave Spider-Man an FF hoodie to cover up his burned off costume! I wish I had one of those. The marriage scene is actually quite touching, and I really enjoyed the classic byplay between Parker and JJJ. And then of course there's the rather dramatic return of MJ, which is fun. It's actually a surprisingly good story.
In between stories are a series of comedic illustrations: "Amazing Spider-Man Covers You'll Never See." The last one, which features a team-up between Batman and Spider-Man, is probably the best, but they're all reasonably clever and funny.
The next story is "Identity Crisis" by Stan Lee, with art by Marcos Martin, and is done totally for laughs. Spider-Man visits a psychiatrist named Dr. Gray Madder (who looks a bit like Stan Lee, actually) and tells him about all the craziest stuff that's happened to him through the years, in the hopes that the doctor can help him understand it and get past it. But Spider-Man's stories are so insane, they just end up driving the doctor crazy, too! It's not the best story ever, but it's fun for what it is.
"My Brother's Son," by Mark Waid with art by Colleen Doran, might be my favorite story in the book. It's about the relationship between Uncle Ben and a young Peter, and even though I saw the end coming, it's still a really sweet and moving story. The next one is also pretty cute. It's "If I Was Spider-Man..." by Bob Gale with art by Mario Alberti. Pete is sitting by a playground jungle gym and hears a bunch of kids discussing what it'd be like to be Spider-Man. At first one of them thinks it would be awesome, but the others convince him it would actually be a huge pain in the ass. Pete quietly, laughingly agrees, and wanders off to wash his costume at the laundromat.
Another rather sweet and moving story is "The Blessing" by Marc Guggenheim with art by Mitch Breitweiser. It's about Aunt May learning not to feel guilty about moving on and loving someone else now that Uncle Ben is gone. It's a bit corny, but still effective for all that.
"Fight at the Museum" by Zeb Wells with art by Derec Donovan is pretty funny, offering some meta, postmodern commentary on the history of Spider-Man. Pete and his friend are visiting a museum exhibit on superhero design when Pete is embarrassed to discover a bunch of folks standing around making fun of the Spider-Mobile (including a dude on a Segway who is clearly the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons). But he is moved to tears when one of the kids gets yelled at by his mom for making fun of Spider-Man; she points out that Spider-Man is a national hero and even saved the kid's father from a burning building.
The final story in the book I didn't really get, but it's possible I wasn't really supposed to. It's called "Violent Visions" and stars some character I've never heard of named Madame Web. She has some disturbing visions about the various spider-related characters of the Marvel Universe and their enemies, and then has an unfortunate run-in with a mysterious, and seemingly villainous, mother/daughter pair. The inset text at the end suggests this story is meant to be a prologue or setup for what's to come in future issues of Amazing Spider-Man, so it was probably meant to leave me confused and intrigued. Although I'm more the former than the latter.
But overall, this was really not a bad comic.
Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #2
We open with Geoff Johns' tale of how a sexy, winged alien princess went from being a sex slave to the Sinestro Corps to being the newest member of the Red Lantern Corps. Besides the gratuitous shower sequence, it's pretty lame. Johns also provides the words for the next story, "Lost Love," which is about how Carol Ferris is once again convinced to become a Star Sapphire. There are some flashbacks and some dime store psychoanalysis, and then Ferris is popping out of a pink crystal in a ridiculously revealing swimsuit screaming like she's having an orgasm. Jesus Christ I hate this Star Sapphire shit.
The final story, by Peter J. Tomasi, is actually a pretty neat, almost Twilight Zone-style parable about hunger and greed and what is considered valuable. If this story weren't here, the book would be a complete loss. In the back is a short essay by artist Ethan Van Sciver about the symbols of the various Lantern Corps - how they were designed, what they mean, etc. Kind of interesting.
I never thought I'd enjoy Peter J. Tomasi's writing more than Geoff Johns', but that definitely happened here. I think maybe the problem with Johns is that he's taken so many projects on, he can't afford to spend much time on any of them, so they all end up coming out half-assed.
Captain Britain and MI13 #15
Sadly this is the final issue of this great series, but the good news is that Cornell takes us out with a bang, tying up all the loose ends in a very satisfying and effective manner. The complete nature of Wisdom's incredibly clever and bad-ass plan is finally revealed, and Dracula and his friends don't weather it well. Some more British heroes I've never heard of show up to help out. I like the use of holy water mist, the cold way Blade dispatches Ken, and the absolutely awesome way Faiza dispatches Dracula. I also found myself powerfully moved by Captain Britain getting back together with his wife. "Brian — all I ever needed of you — my hope in hell — was that you'd stay the same." Then there's a very pleasant, appropriately British conclusion to everything. It's excellent stuff.
Dark Wolverine #76
We open with a discussion of meetings and what they mean philosophically and strategically, while Daken and Osborn continue to play a little chess game with each other, using the other Avengers and the Fantastic Four as their pawns. Daken is even trying to manipulate Osborn directly. His ultimate goal seems to be to turn everyone against each other and then sit back and watch while everything explodes. Daken is so convincing even I almost believed what he told the Fantastic Four. But it's not clear at the end whether Daken or Osborn has gotten the best of things.
I'm really loving Giuseppe Camuncoli's art here, and Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu's clever writing. I particularly like the way the FF are written.
Dethklok Versus The Goon
I've been looking forward to this rather unlikely one-shot since it was first announced. It's a combination of two of my favorite things: the brutal metal band from Cartoon Network's insane animated series Metalocalypse and Eric Powell's zombie-fighting anti-hero, The Goon. Powell does the writing and the art, with Brendon Small (creator of Metalocalypse) providing some dialog and plot assists. The colors are by Dave Stewart. The book opens with a warning (written in that special Dethklok way) for nerds and fanboys to not try to fit the story contained within into any existing continuity. Fair enough. The story itself begins as any episode of Metalocalypse begins: with a meeting of the secret group who are keeping a careful eye on the actions of everybody's favorite metal band. Hilariously, it turns out that William Murderface is the ultimate outcome of a secret breeding program attempting to create the perfect anti-human. Reminds me a bit of the Bene Gesserit breeding program attempting to create the perfect being: the Kwisatz Haderach. Anyway, to keep the anti-human from destroying everything, a programmed assassin dressed like a creepy clown is sent in to take out Dethklok once and for all, but ironically the code phrase chosen to toggle his killer programming is "peaches valentine," which any Goon fan knows is going to lead to hilarity down the line. I love Dethklok's marketing idea of shooting a thousand bald eagles out of a cannon into George Washington's face on Mt. Rushmore, and their belief that this is somehow patriotic. Anyway, a wizard dude shows up to activate Murderface's perfect anti-humanity and thereby take over the world, but he's shot dead in the middle of the act by the security people at the Dethklok castle. This somehow causes a space-time vortex that sucks Dethklok's castle into the Goon's universe. Despite the fact that something really weird has happened, the band isn't even interested in going outside and looking around until they realize the cable is out and they have no booze. And once they do go outside, they mistake the Goon's town for Cleveland. When they go into Norton's, they see the various monsters and decide a costume party is going on, which gives one band member the chance to finally use the inflatable Incredible Hulk chest muscles that he apparently always wears under his shirt, just in case. Heh.
Anyway, the collision of these two universes leads to some really horrible, awful things, like Franky taking cocaine and going wild; a member of Dethklok sleeping with Ma Norton; other members of Dethklok getting horrible things done to them by the Hairy Walnuts Gang; the townspeople becoming suicidal upon hearing the music of Dethklok; and lots and lots of people being mutilated or killed, including a couple of the main characters. Also, the Goon gets to have a thought balloon, which he decides is a first for him.
This is a pretty clever and funny comic that's true to the spirit of both the franchises that spawned it. That being said, I can't say I enjoyed it as much as I could have. It was just a little too disgusting and disturbing for me. Maybe if I read it again in a little while I'll feel differently, but for now...
Final Crisis: Aftermath - Dance #3
This issue came out during Comic-Con, which I hope was on purpose, because the story works as a very clever and funny satire of fan conventions like Comic-Con. It opens with the team visiting a convention celebrating them: the first Super Young Team Fanfest Extravaganza. They find themselves distracted by all the pretty people dressed like them. Perpetually unable to make any headway with the real Shiny Happy Aquazon, Big Atomic Lantern Boy sneaks off for a dalliance with a fake one, while the real Aquazon has a similar encounter with a Sonic Lightning Flash impersonator. But funniest of all is when Superbat makes out with a girl dressed like him and tweets, "Sometimes dreams can come true." Meanwhile, an evil Nazi-like secret society called The Parasitic Teutons of Assimilation (the P.T.A. - heh) are planning to take over the world, starting with the con. They're very appropriate enemies, given the context; they're a horde of zealots able to copy the powers of the Super Young Team. It amuses me that there are multiple people podcasting from the floor of the Extravaganza, and that Superbat misses the entire fight while making out with his own double. Interestingly, that old Japanese superhero seems to have made some kind of deal with a great and mysterious power, and may have just taken down the villains who have been trying to distract the Super Young Team from doing their duty. Although oddly enough that doesn't look like it's really a good thing. And now the team appears to be breaking up!
Really loving this book. This may have been one of my favorite issues yet. Very smart, very funny, very exciting, and lots of effective character development.
In the back is a preview for Adventure Comics #1. It's Conner Kent, the reborn Superclone, trying to catch up on all the life he's missed by doing all the stuff the real Superman did. It looks kind of cute. I'll probably pick up the book when it comes out.
Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5
Geoff Johns' long-delayed Final Crisis tie-in miniseries finally comes to an end. And good lord is that end crazy and confusing, and accompanied by plenty of corny, melodramatic dialog. I thought all the Legions had already been pulled together in previous issues, but in this one, even more Legionnaires are called in for an even more insanely huge and epic battle against the Time Trapper and Superboy Prime. But ironically ultimate victory is only gained when our heroes bring their two enemies together, who neatly destroy each other. Prime is somehow sent back to his own planet, before it was destroyed. Mindbendingly, on this planet, this comic book miniseries also exists, and by reading it, Superboy Prime's disappointed and horrified parents have learned about all the terrible things he's done. Superboy Prime reads it, too, and makes some amusing meta commentary. Referring to the book's infamous difficulty with sticking to its release schedule, he complains, "I've been waiting for this stupid thing to end." On the next page he looks back over his shoulder at us and says, "Stop staring at me! This isn't right! You all know it. I was supposed to be the real Superboy! No, I'm not going away! You go away! Get out of here! They think I'm powerless. They think I can't do anything from here. They're wrong. They'll never get rid of me. I always survive." As he's saying these last few lines, he's visiting the DC website and typing something on his keyboard. It's a pretty hilarious and clever ending. The comic book fans and the Legion both hate Superboy Prime and want him to go away, but now he's become one of those annoying fans himself, hanging around in his parents' basement and cursing people off on the internet. Fantastic.
Overall this was a pretty fun and impressive series, but it kept one-upping itself so many times that it got a little ridiculous by the end. Plus the writing really did get quite corny and melodramatic.
Gotham City Sirens #2
A convenient (but reasonably believable) retcon saves Selina from giving up the true identity of Batman; instead, she offers an actually far more realistic explanation - that Batman is a part that's been played by many different people over the years. Then Harley gets herself kidnapped by the new Bruce Wayne, who's actually Hush. Ugh! Hush is going to come into this? I'm starting to lose my taste for this series. It's okay, but it's not great, and the writing's a little clumsy. I might just give up on it.
Green Lantern #44
Blackest Night continues! Hal Jordan and Barry Allen have a big fight with the newly resurrected Martian Manhunter. Interestingly, something weird happens to Barry when he touches that icky residue the Black Lanterns leave behind. Also, when J'onn looks at them, he sees Hal outlined in green ("Will") and Barry outlined in blue ("Hope"). He tries manipulating the two of them by bringing up the dark things from their past; when he scares Barry, he suddenly senses "Fear" in the same way he earlier sensed Hope. Apparently he can see in the emotional spectrum now. Does this mean Barry will be getting a blue or yellow ring later on? Or is J'onn just seeing the emotion Barry happens to feeling the strongest at the moment? Hmm. I like when J'onn says, "I'm as powerful as Superman. Why doesn't anyone ever remember that?" Then Scar points out he's not really betraying the Guardians - he's actually finally fulfilling their purpose. He's bringing order to the universe. Emotions cause chaos, so why not destroy them all? He goes on, "I learned this as my body died from the poisonous burn of the Anti-Monitor." Ah, so he's been dead and secretly a zombie for some time! He also says, "The Black Lanterns are collecting hearts full of the splintered light." That explains some things - it's the people who are most full of conflicted emotion that they're going after first. Next episode it looks like a whole planet full of dead people are coming back! I have to admit, Blackest Night is growing on me. This was a pretty interesting issue.
Immortal Weapons #1
Each issue of this new miniseries will focus on another member of the titular group of eternal warriors, of which the Iron Fist is the best known member. This first issue, written by Jason Aaron and with art by a whole team of folks, takes a look at Fat Cobra. Cobra is a rather ridiculous character, so I guess I was expecting a rather ridiculous story - fun and silly - but with Aaron at the wheel, I should have known better. Many parts of it are indeed darkly funny, but ultimately it takes the form of a rather horrific tragedy. It turns out Fat Cobra has lived so long and drank so much, he's forgotten most of the details of his life, so he's hired a man to research his past for him and write his biography. But Cobra's life story is not the glamorous, impressive tale of adventure and success he expected. Instead, it's full of shame, defeat, and dirty deeds. Some of the best sequences: Fat Cobra serves as a sidekick for Ulysses Bloodstone, and is the sole survivor of a team of kung fu commandos put together by Union Jack to take down "Hitler's secret death squad of S.S. ninjas led by the notorious butcher Herr Samurai." Later he beats Hercules, Volstagg, and what looks like Goom in an eating contest on Olympus, then joins Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. in defeating a team of Russian werewolves who'd overrun the American moon base. A quick glimpse of Fat Cobra's various romantic conquests reveals a Skrull and somebody who looks like Lilandra. A more detailed romantic sequence starts as a fight, with each of the kung fu moves named in narrative boxes, as is traditional (Diamond Slow Knife-Hand, Elbow of a Thousand Agonies), but then things take a turn for the passionate and the scene continues with each of the love-making moves being named in the same way (Kneading the Golden Dough, The Peddling Tortoise).
What Cobra really wants to hear, of course, is the story of his greatest triumph: how he defeated the Great Dragon and became an Immortal Weapon. But it turns out that wrapped up in the story of his greatest triumph is the story of his most shameful and terrible act. It's a powerful and moving tale. And in the end Cobra chooses to once again forget all about it, as he must have done many times before. Excellent stuff.
Next up is a backup story which will probably continue throughout each issue of this series. It's called "Caretakers," and it's about the Iron Fist trying to help a troubled student. It's by Duane Swierczynski, with art by Travel Foreman. It's okay so far, although I have the bad feeling it's going to get a bit preachy later on.
The Incredible Hercules #131
It's Hercules vs. Hercules, in a fight full of the clever sound effects and melodramatic, cheesy dialog I've come to expect from this book. As far as sound effects go, a couple of my favorites are BOSCH and ARDHISDOREE; these describe the noise of the twins kicking each other through and over a scene that looks like it's straight out of The Garden of Earthly Delights. Plotwise, Cho makes an exciting and disturbing discovery about his sister, which turns him against Athena and Hercules, and Zeus sort of reboots himself by drinking the waters of Lethe. These events should lead to some interesting new directions for the story. Although I again find myself tiring of Pak's writing, I'll probably hang in there for at least one more issue, just to see what this whole "Thorcules" thing is about, and to see if Cho ends up going anywhere interesting in the search for his sister (hey wait - this didn't just become The X-Files, did it??)
The Incredible Hulk #600
Because I like the Hulk, and because this was a big, historic issue, I decided to buy it, despite the fact that most of it is written by the archenemy of all that is good, Jeph Loeb. Loeb's first utterly ridiculous tale, which is also the main story in the book, is narrated by Ben Urich. In the story, he and Peter Parker play the parts of Woodward and Bernstein, and She-Hulk plays the part of Deep Throat. The Watergate comparison isn't my idea, by the way; Loeb actually makes the comparison himself in the text, despite the fact that it's completely inappropriate. In this case, the conspiracy that Urich and Pete are investigating reaches all the way back to the end of World War Hulk. It turns out that M.O.D.O.K. and General Ross, as part of yet another top secret super soldier program (sigh. Don't they have enough super soldiers yet?), had the presence of mind to tamper with the beam that Tony Stark shot the Hulk with, somehow creating the Red Hulk. She-Hulk starts Urich on the path to discovering all this by calling him and meeting him in a parking garage, where she tells him some tantalizing secrets from the shadows, but then almost immediately reveals her identity to him despite all her paranoia. This is all accompanied by plenty of brilliant Jeph Loeb dialog. Later, Parker and Urich are asked to put on A.I.M. beekeeper outfits, and She-Hulk says, "They're not for bees. They never were." Really?? I never would have guessed. I figured all A.I.M. did was keep bees! "What then?" Urich asks. "Radiation," she says. Dun dun dun! Or, more appropriately, duh duh duh! She-Hulk and Doc Samson keep speaking of Red Hulk as "he," like he's this horrible, unnameable thing. They see M.O.D.O.K. and Parker says, "Some guy with a big head is blocking the view." Samson responds, "That guy isn't with a big head... that guy is the big head." Wow. How long did it take you to come up with that one, Jeph? Then it turns out Samson has been brainwashed and has his own split personality now. "The good doctor is out," he says. "The bad doctor is in." Really? I mean... really? Also, the bad doctor is apparently somehow stronger and faster than the good doctor, even though that makes no sense. Spider-Man has equally stupid things to say - which are apparently meant to be funny - about rats and spiders and Albuquerque and the film adaptation of Watchmen. Later he tries to say a well known cliche, but messes it up. Then the Red Hulk somehow sucks the Hulk out of Banner. So I guess Banner isn't going to be the Hulk anymore. Which is lame.
Later Urich is walking in that parking garage again and this time the Red Hulk peeks out of the shadows to threaten him and his friends with death if he prints his story about all this madness. Seriously? The Red Hulk is hiding in a parking garage to threaten Ben Urich? Why exactly would he not just kill him? In fact, why wouldn't he just kill all of them? Why is he hiding? Since when do supervillains care about keeping their villainy secret? The story is stupid, nonsensical, and incredibly poorly written.
The next story is a very silly comedic story called "A Hulk of Many Colors." It's written by Stan Lee with art by Rodney Buchemi. As usual, Lee cameos in his own story, this time as a random military guy in a helicopter. The story itself is about the Hulk and the Red Hulk fighting. Something called the Wendihulk also shows up briefly. Galactus arrives just in time for the punchline - when asked if he can help by smashing the Red Hulk and saving the green Hulk, he says he won't be able to, because he's color blind. Argh! (I should point out that despite the fact that this is just a pointless bit of fluff full of weak jokes that only occasionally illicit a mild chuckle, it's still better than Loeb's story.)
The next bad story is by Fred Van Lente, and it's about "The All New Savage She-Hulk," Lyra. I've never been able to dredge up much interest in this character, and this story didn't help. It's about how she beats some techno-mages who are trying to take over the world by interpreting a prophecy. To put it another way, she solves a rather dumb riddle which reveals that she needs to punch a dude's heart out to kill him. Uh, regardless of what any prophecies might say, punching a dude's heart out usually is a good thing to try if you want to kill him.
I really wanted to like the final story. It's the first part of a six part series called Hulk: Gray, retelling the origin story of the Hulk. It has beautiful art throughout by Tim Sale, but sadly it also has terrible writing throughout by Jeph Loeb. In the frame story, Bruce has come to see Doc Samson on his wedding anniversary, and Samson seeks to help him by having him talk about his past. There's a really lame bit where Doc has Banner look at pictures of people he knows and say the first word that comes to mind. It's just a really weak excuse to get in some backstory and exposition. Then we finally get into a full-on flashback and the origin story begins in earnest. My favorite part is when Banner transforms in the doctor's office and we get to see the Hulk for the first time. The art here is just fantastic. Later there's a great panel that spreads across the entire width of the page, filled completely with the Hulk's massive back and shoulder, with just the corner of his face and his eye peeking up at the top right corner. Directly after this is a two-page splash of him smashing an army jeep. It's good stuff. It helps that during this sequence there is hardly any dialog - just the Hulk doing his thing. If only Jeph Loeb hadn't been the writer on this title, it might have turned out really well.
The rest of the book is a series of ads for future Hulk-related books. Loeb's Hulk #13 is advertised with the phrase "Hulk no more!" What the point is of a book called Hulk with no Hulk in it, I don't know. Incredible Hulk #601's teaser phrase is "Banner and son!" So it looks like this book will be focusing on Skaar as well as Banner from now on. Meanwhile, Incredible Hercules #133 promises to tell the "Secret Origin of Amadeus Cho." In the very back of the book is the traditional (by now, anyway) cover gallery, giving you little thumbnail-sized reprints of every cover of every book that Hulk ever starred in (although I believe they've gone a bit overboard and also included early issues of Tales to Astonish that didn't include him at all). This is kind of a cool feature, but it's hard to really get much out of it, as the covers have been made so tiny in order to fit them all in that it's almost impossible to get a good look at any of them.
After all of this are two final comedic one-page stories with fun cartoon art by Chris Giarrusso and writing by Jeph Loeb's daughter, Audrey Loeb. The first story is Green Hulk trying to pass his driver's test while Red Hulk and Blue Hulk sit in the back seat. Then Green Hulk tries working at HulkDonald's, but Red Hulk and Blue Hulk take too long ordering food. Needless to say, both stories end with disaster. They're kind of cute, but not as fun as it seems like they could be.
There are some moments of brilliance in this extra-large comic, but they're few and far between. The great majority of it is just garbage. It's really a shame.
The Incredibles #4
The first of what I hope will be multiple Incredibles miniseries comes to an end with this issue. It's action-packed and exciting, with moving character development, cool ideas, and amusing comedy. I love that the villain turns out to be, not an old enemy of Mr. Incredible as he suspected, but an old enemy of Elastigirl who tracked her down and became her neighbor, biding her time and planning to weaken her with power-stealing cookies, then strike when she was powerless. But Mr. Incredible unknowingly foiled her plan by eating all the food she sent over! Heh. Now Mr. Incredible has to foil her again, this time on purpose, and he does so brilliantly by having Dash sneak the defused devolution bomb into Futurion's prison cell so he'll fix it and Dash can run it back and use it to save them all. Both families, of course, have learned an important lesson: keeping big secrets from each other can get you all in serious trouble. There's also a really sweet ending where Violet has a cute chat with her boyfriend. Aww.
They've really captured everything that was great about The Incredibles and taken the story in a fun new direction. I hope more is one the way and soon!
Jack of Fables #36
This is a one-off tale from guest writer Chris Roberson about a time in Jack's life when he happened to stumble upon an enclave of Fable apes living together in the African jungle. When he first meets them, he quotes Planet of the Apes ("Get your paws off me, you damned dirty ape!"), and later another ape nicknames him "Bright Eyes." The apes have among their ranks pretty much every famous fictional ape: Curious George, the orangutans from those Clint Eastwood movies, King Kong, Magilla Gorilla, and so forth. Jack becomes their Tarzan, accepting an ape named Jane as his companion. (Yes, that kind of companion. Eeww.) Naturally, because he's Jack, he treats all the apes terribly and eventually abandons them. The story is reasonably amusing, and Tony Akins' art is excellent as always, but overall it's definitely not my favorite Jack of Fables tale ever.
In the back is a sneak preview of an upcoming graphic novel by Brian Azzarello and Victor Santos called Filthy Rich. It looks to be a classic crime noir story about a guy hired to keep a rich man's femme fatale daughter out of the papers. But it's clear from the very beginning she's going to pull him in over his head. Azzarello seems to be taking the classic archetypes and doing them up right. I'm tempted to check it out.
Star Trek: Spock - Reflections #1
This interesting new miniseries from IDW is set some time late in the Next Generation era (although presumably before the events of the recent movie prequel miniseries). It opens with Spock, having spent some time on Romulus as a teacher, leaving the planet to return to Earth, for reasons not yet explained. During the journey, a conversation with a rather pesky fellow passenger causes him to flash back to various moments throughout his past. A particularly fascinating scene sees him meeting with Captain Harriman, the man who took over the Enterprise B after the events of Star Trek: Generations. There are some fascinating emotions at play in the scene. Harriman, who was little more than a stereotype in the film, becomes a whole person in this book, with complex feelings of guilt and shame swirling in him, while Spock fights back his own set of complex emotions. Then we get to see another telling flashback, this time from Spock's childhood, developing his character further and illuminating the complicated relationship between him and his father. This is a surprisingly good comic, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes next.
Wednesday Comics #3
In the first two entries of the latest episode of Wednesday Comics, Batman listens in on an interesting conversation, while Kamandi meets up with another of his buddies and makes a startling discovery: a human girl! Superman, which took a dip in quality last week, is slightly better this week, as Clark decides to cure his ennui by flying back home to Smallville and hanging out with Ma and Pa. Deadman gets more interesting and more surreal as our title character falls through the swirling nightmare effect from Vertigo and into a flaming hell where he gains the solidity of the living again - although perhaps only for a brief time. I'm still surprised to be enjoying Green Lantern as much as I am. Hal has barely gotten through being fawned over by the crowd in the bar when he sees his buddy transform into a hideous alien on live TV and has to fly out again. It's great stuff. Metamorpho is following the same format as last week, with one big panel up top depicting all the action occurring simultaneously, and tiny panels down the bottom feature another amusing message from "The Metamorpho Fans of America." I could wish this one was moving along a little faster, but it's so pretty and so intriguing I'll give it a pass. As for Teen Titans... yep, still sucks. And Strange Adventures is still ridiculously awesome. The lush, beautiful art; the totally fun, over-the-top pulp sci-fi dialog - it's brilliant. The cutesy Supergirl and the bland, though unobjectionable, Metal Men both fail to interest me. And I just can't believe how poorly done Wonder Woman is. There are so many tiny panels, so tightly packed, that you practically need a magnifying glass to follow what's going on. And once you figure it out, you realize it wasn't worth the effort. Dull and dumb. I had high hopes for Sgt. Rock and Easy Co., but I'm starting to get a little frustrated with it. It really needs to start going somewhere soon. I feel like Rock has been getting beaten and Easy Company has been wandering randomly in caves forever. Meanwhile, the dynamic duo of Iris West and The Flash just keeps getting better. When Iris leaves both past Flash and future Flash again, they put their heads together and try to go even further into the past to give it another go, but find themselves instead zipping into the far future by mistake, and meeting yet another version of the Flash, who uses "Ether-Wiki" to fill them in on what's going to happen to Iris. It's totally brilliant. The real villain shows up in The Demon and Catwoman and Catwoman's name suddenly gets a bit more appropriate. Fun. Hawkman has gotten a bit better now that our titular character is fighting an alien, but it's still pretty clumsily written.
As usual, I find myself charmed by the overall experience of Wednesday Comics, even though some of its individual parts are less than great.
|Tagged (?): Aliens (Not), Blackest Night (Not), Captain Britain (Not), Comic books (Not), Duane Swierczynski (Not), Eric Powell (Not), Fables (Not), Final Crisis (Not), Geoff Johns (Not), Green Lantern (Not), Hulk (Not), Jack of Fables (Not), Jason Aaron (Not), John Arcudi (Not), Legion of Super-Heroes (Not), Paul Cornell (Not), Pixar (Not), Spider-Man (Not), Star Trek (Not), The Goon (Not), The Take (Not), Wednesday Comics (Not), Wolverine (Not)|
|Tuesday, June 30, 2009 07:32 PM|
| by Fëanor|
Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.
This post covers new releases from 6/17.
(I should mention that, as usual, this post contains many spoilers.)
Captain America #600
Holy crap is this a big comic book! It took me forever to finish it. It contains six separate stories and a cover gallery in the back. The first story is a reprint called "Origin" by Alex Ross and Paul Dini. It's just a two-page summary of Captain America's origin story, written in simple, rather corny phrases, and in first person from Cap's perspective. It's all done up in red, white, and blue, with your typical Ross-style art (his work is technically impressive, but I'm just not a fan). It's nothing special, but something like this almost had to be included, so okay. Next up is "One Year After" by Ed Brubaker with art by Butch Guice, Howard Chaykin, Rafael Albuquerque, David Aja, and Mitch Breitweiser. This part of the book is itself split up into parts. The important things that Sharon is starting to remember about the day Steve died are suspiciously like retcons, but they're clever and believable, so I'm willing to go along. I was glad to get a look at what the fake Cap has been doing lately - but he apparently hasn't been doing much of anything, and all he has to say is some ancient cliches about how the world was different in his day, and kids these days have no respect. Boring! I was also glad to finally get a look at the "girl without a world" from the Captain America promo ads I've been seeing in all my Marvel comics, but I remain confused as to who she is, exactly. Apparently some young woman from another planet who used to hang out with Cap? But the thing about the secret black Captain America and where he's ended up is sad and moving, and it's rather touching how Patriot welcomes her to join him and the Young Avengers at the vigil for Steve. I particularly like the story about Crossbones and Sin, and how he plows through a bunch of guards to get to her in a twisted romantic gesture. The couple of pages we spend with the Red Skull are fun, as he thinks back on his long and painful relationship with Cap, and suggests there's still more to be revealed about what he did to Steve. And hey, did we already know that he was in one of Zola's robot bodies now? Because I didn't remember that. Creepy! The scene at the vigil at the end of this story is the highlight, however. I love the way Osborn is really blossoming as a character throughout this whole Dark Reign thing; how he cleverly does not turn the vigil into a war zone, but instead manages to use it as a way to make himself look good to the crowd. And the bit where he follows up his show-stealing announcement by bringing out Simon and Garfunkel for a reunion show is really hilarious. Then the big bombshell: Sharon arrives to tell them Steve could still be saved. I think I've said before that I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of them bringing Steve back. On the one hand I like it because I love the character and I'd love to see him return. But on the other hand, dude only just died! I only just got used to Bucky as the new Cap! And I like how Bucky's character is developing now that he's wearing the uniform. Can't anybody stay dead for at least a couple of years around here? Well, anyway, I'll just have to see how they do the resurrection. Maybe it'll be really cool.
The next story, "In Memoriam" (whose title is misspelled as "In Memorium" in the table of contents) is probably the worst one in the book. It's two people having a really clumsy, cheesy conversation that's nothing but thinly veiled backstory and exposition. Blargh. So corny and unsubtle. Roger Stern is the writer, so he is to be blamed (although oddly he also wrote a really good Captain America story in another comic I read this week). It's a shame because Kalman Andrasofszky's art is actually quite good.
Mark Waid provides the words and Dale Eaglesham provides the art for the next story, which is cleverly titled "The Persistence of Memorabilia." Interestingly, Marvel comics about Captain America exist within the Marvel Universe, as well, but in the MU they're fictionalized accounts of real events. It's neat seeing how the auctioning off of the largest collection of Captain America memorabilia in the world brings out many people that Cap helped over the years, hoping to purchase a memory - a piece of the man who touched them. And I'm pretty sure they modeled that old soldier after Stan Lee! Of course, the auction also brings out scumbags and villains. The guy who plans to publish a series of comics painting Steve Rogers as a traitor is a bit ridiculous and over-the-top, but it is fun seeing him get what he deserves. I also love that Tony Stark purchased one of the items.
The next piece is rather odd. It's just a non-fiction essay by Joe Simon, reflecting back on the old days when he and Jack Kirby were working together at Timely. But most of the stuff he has to say about Kirby is not particularly complimentary. He focuses on the guy's absent-mindedness. It is interesting to learn that legal troubles led to the decision to change the shape of Cap's shield to a circle, and how that actually ended up adding to the character and his abilities. But mostly this essay just made me uncomfortable.
The last story in the book is a reprint of a tale called "Red Skull's Deadly Revenge," first published in Captain America Comics #16 in July of 1942, written by Stan Lee with art by Al Avison. This is a pretty cool artifact: an old school Red Skull story! It opens with the Nazi villain busting out of prison in brutal fashion. Next we cut to Steve and Bucky getting into some hijinks at the army base, and then randomly meeting a goofy-looking archer in a beret and short pants doing target practice. But that's no normal archer! It's the Red Skull in disguise! There's a pretty hilarious panel of him prancing along with bow in hand and arrows on his back, screaming threats at America. The Skull ends up horribly wounding Bucky with his arrows, and Cap must rush the boy to a doctor to get him treated. The Skull ambushes and traps Captain America, and then learns his secret identity! Although how he does this is really quite ridiculous. Of course just taking the mask off and looking at Cap's face doesn't do much for him (it's not like Steve Rogers is famous), so he actually takes Cap's wallet out of his back pocket, and learns his enemy's real name from his driver's license! Steve, what the hell?! You carry your wallet and driver's license around with you when you're dressed as Captain America?! That is just plain stupid. Anyway, with Cap imprisoned in the Red Skull's basement, the Skull is free to go on a crime spree. Then, to make things even worse, he steals Cap's uniform and, masquerading as him, steals the nation's defense plans!
At this point, Bucky is finally well enough to get out of bed and go looking for Cap. Naturally he finds his buddy almost immediately and releases him. Then they get spare costumes at a costume shop (heh), and run off after the Red Skull, who's just about to fly back home with America's defense plans. They scare the Skull into falling out of his own plane to his death. The end!
I don't know what the later explanation was for how the Skull survived his tumble to Earth at the end of this story, but I'm sure it was a doozie! This story has a lot of ridiculous moments, and Avison's art is quite odd (his people look gangly and awkward), but it's still fun, and certainly an important and fascinating moment in the history of the conflict between Captain America and the Red Skull.
The last thing in the comic is an impressive and fascinating gallery of what appears to be the cover of every comic ever printed that prominently featured Captain America. I'm amused that for at least a couple of issues during the Golden Age of Timely Comics, Captain America became Captain America's Weird Tales.
So #600 turns out to be a rather uneven collection of Cap stories, featuring moments both powerful and lame. Here's hoping there's more and better to come!
Captain Britain and MI13 #14
WOW! Paul Cornell totally tricked me. And even though it was a variation on the old "it was all just a dream" gimmick, I still think it was terribly clever and I really enjoyed it. That's because it fits into the plot in a believable fashion, and it doesn't feel lame or unfair; a smart reader probably could have guessed what was going on, just as Dracula did, if he'd been reading more carefully than I was.
It's fascinating to see, not only Dracula's reaction to the deception, but also the heroes' reaction. After all, they just got a glimpse of Dracula's perception of them. Blade is particularly disturbed to realize that Dracula likes fighting him so much that in the Count's ultimate fantasy of victory, Blade was the only one left alive. Of course, besides being disturbed, getting a look at Dracula's vision of ultimate victory also gives the heroes' a glimpse at his strategy and his plan. Good stuff! I love when Pete is about to give Cap his orders, but then breaks off and says, "Nah, I don't need to say a word to you. You're Captain Britain." Cap responds, "I believe we've met," and they fist bump. Heh heh. Awesome. But the good guys have even more cleverness up their sleeves; in another fantastic and exciting sequence a couple of sleeper agents aboard Dracula's vessel are activated and wreak havoc. Excellent. Unfortunately, this doesn't lead to ultimate victory for our heroes. Instead, Doom makes a move that will give Dracula a powerful bargaining chip in the conflict - although Dracula is of two minds about the whole thing: "A gift from [Doom] is a sword - a sword without a hilt!"
A great, great issue of what is shaping up to be a really fantastic series. It's really a shame the thing is canceled. Still, I'm excited to see how it all wraps up.
This is actually not a comic, but a freebie done up in the style of a newspaper - and printed on newsprint, no less. It's actually quite clever. The premise is that you're looking at the actual issue of the Daily Bugle paper that was released on Friday, October 13th, 1939 on Earth-616. (Btw, I checked and October 13th was indeed a Friday in 1939. Nice touch!) Throughout are references to the mysterious "Marvels" that at the time were just beginning to appear around the world, especially in and around New York City. The writing here is quite subtle and clever; the first article is clearly about Namor the Submariner, but he is never mentioned by name because the reporters didn't know his name at this point, or even whether he was real or not. There are even subtler and cleverer references like this throughout: an article about a new and accomplished female member of the NYPD named Betty Dean; a piece about sightings of a mysterious, beast-like man along the Canadian border (clearly Wolverine, but the artist's sketch accompanying the story shows the man carrying a three-pronged knife because no one has guessed yet that his claws are a part of his body); an article about a young, patriotic artist named Steve Rogers; a piece about a cocky, precocious young kid named Nicholas Fury; a description of a Wild West exhibit containing information on lots of old gunfighters including Kid Colt, the Two-Gun Kid, the Rawhide Kid, and the Masked Raider; then there's the fashion section, with articles about Van Dyne's latest line, the winner of this year's Little Miss Brisket (Miss Patsy Walker), and the latest on the Hanover Agency; intriguing letters to the editor, including one from a patriotic little boy named James Barnes, and another from a man with some rather frightening ideas named Andrew Stryker; and a list of births, which include Ben Parker, Daniel Grimm, and Thaddeus Ross. And that's just a sampling of the stuff I "got;" there are plenty of other little references and allusions in here that went completely over my head. It's a brilliant little in-universe construct and I really enjoy both the concept and the execution.
Dark Reign: Young Avengers #2
I love the clever ways comics are doing their recap/credits pages these days. This one does it as a post on a superhero gossip website. I enjoy that Coat of Arms starts the two teams fighting just because that's what happens in comics when two teams meet like this. It's also interesting to see the various surprising connections that exist between these two teams. Coat of Arms knows Speed! And Executioner knows Hawkeye! And the Executioner's mom is... some kind of snake-themed supervillain! Woah! Enchantress wants to be a part of the real Avengers team, and is even more tongue-tied than usual to find herself fighting its members. She's also way more powerful than she realizes, which is intriguing; she's even able to use her power to alter the other team member's viewpoints without them noticing. Some favorite moments: Coat of Arms' triptych of the Green Goblin - "Pop," "Crackle," and a very famous "SNAP!" So wrong, and yet so right. The conversation between Hulkling and Wiccan about Big Zero: "I could do without the one with the I-can't-believe-it's-not-Nazi-tattoos." "Maybe she just likes Cabaret." Melter's disturbing nightmare. And Executioner's creepy relationship with his creepy Mom. Now the plot's taking an interesting turn, with the real Young Avengers demanding that the new ones try out to join the team. This ought to be good.
Really enjoying this series! It's so twisted and clever. Excellent work again, Mr. Cornell!
Man, this is one brutal and bloody series! And the most brutal character of all is the hero. I mean, dude tortures villains to death for information! And when he gets caught in a trap set by Scar, his arch enemy, he sets one of his own; he lets himself be beat to a bloody pulp by the Scar's henchmen, saving up all his energy and waiting for the right moment to use it on Scar himself. And how does he kill Scar? He rips the dude's arm off with his bare hands and shoves it down his throat. Then he punches him over and over and over until everything in the immediate vicinity is bright red with blood.
This seems like the end of the story, but as Destroyer points out, he's still alive, so nothing's over yet! He's going to kill and keep killing until he can't kill anymore! God bless him.
This was a slightly less interesting issue of this series than the previous ones have been - perhaps because the ending was a bit anticlimactic, and the story had fewer twists - but it was still pretty freaking awesome. I'm confused as to how there can still be two issues left, but I'm looking forward to reading them regardless.
Final Crisis: Aftermath - Dance #2
Now our heroes are in Vegas, and are being filmed for their own reality show! But it's all part of another attempt to keep them from realizing what's actually going on in the world - especially what's going on in Japan. Their PR guy says, "Take a look around," and the speedster replies, "I already did. Saw all the rooms. Just now. Not bad. Seen better." I love that guy. The team finds a supervillain nearby, so they attack him, just for the hell of it, but eventually a truce is called ("Not the face! Not the face!") and he actually ends up helping them out. Great scene. Meanwhile, Shiny Happy Aquazon decides to accept the chance to endorse a product, but the thing turns out to be a drug created by Brain Drain to take over the minds of the populace. Luckily the rest of the team swoops in and together they save the day. "Did something unusual happen?" "Nothing too complex. Forced binary fission via sonic death wail." Nice. I'm also still really loving Most Excellent Superbat's constant Twitter commentary. I can't believe this miniseries is so good! Looking forward to the next issue.
Hmm. Turns out the good guys are maybe not so good after all. They've apparently been doing mind-altering surgeries on the bad guys, often lobotomizing them by mistake. But their attempt to alter the mind of Black Death didn't take. (Funny fact: I'm pretty sure Colonel von Chance, the dude with the one bionic eye, is this universe's version of Nick Fury.) At first it seems like Overkill's going to be in even worse shape than before - stuck back into his old life, powerless, just waiting for the bad guys to show up and tear him to pieces. Then an unlikely savior swoops in to take him away from all of that. But is he really any better off with her?
It's a pretty harsh and darkly funny irony that Zack is identified as the guy who knew Farmer best and is asked to say a few words at a memorial for him at work. Zack is the one who got Farmer killed, and he never even knew the guy's first name!
I really love the scenes where the Black Death's lawyer comes to talk to him in prison, and their real conversation occurs telepathically. This time it looks like Black Death has some nasty plans for Zack that involve someone called The Sleeper. He starts laughing menacingly, and one of the guards listening says, "Okay, now that is fucking creepy." Heh. At the end we get a fascinating clue as to how powerful and special the Black Death really is: apparently he's 200 years old and it's taking enough energy to light the eastern seaboard just to keep his powers from working.
Still loving this book! In the back is an interesting essay by Jess Nevins (who's an interesting guy himself; I follow him on Twitter, where he's known, appropriately enough, as @jessnevins). It's about a pulp hero called Operator #5 who had some unique and epic battles with the "Yellow Peril." As usual, a fascinating look at the literary tradition that this comic comes out of.
Jack of Fables #35
Poor Old Sam. Turns out he isn't up to destroying the pen after all. Babe gets two pages this issue; he spends the first trashing Snoopy, and the second doing some meta-commentary on how he's not used to having two pages. Then he wanders off. Deux Ex Machina drops in again for a little more tantalizing foreshadowing, there's some further amusing literary parody involving the genres... and then Bigby flies in and gets positively beast-like, tearing the genres to bloody bits! Wow, that was unexpectedly brutal! Anyway, now that that's taken care of, and Frost has joined the team, it's time for a final assault on Ken, which will take place in the last part of the crossover: Literals #3. It's been entertaining, and exciting.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Official Movie Adaptation #1
I'm happy to say I did not pay money for this; I got it for free at the preview screening I attended. Stunningly, the comic is even more rushed, clumsy, confusing, and poorly written than the film. For some reason, even though they weren't able to fit the entire plot of the movie into this comic (it ends just as Megatron is resurrected), and there is apparently no follow-up comic (the message on the final page says "To be continued in the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," and not "To be continued in issue #2"), they apparently were obligated to fit in a certain amount of the story in the 24 pages allotted them, and in order to do so, they cut out details left and right, making things even more puzzling than they already were. It's hard to blame writer Simon Furman too much, as he had little to work with here, but... wow. This is bad.
X-Men Origins: Gambit #1
Speaking of bad, here's this comic! I'm fascinated by the character of Gambit - his cool abilities; the fact that he can use playing cards as weapons - but I didn't know a lot about him, so I figured this would be a good comic to pick up. But no. Even though this is supposed to be an origin story, it turns out it's the kind of origin story where you have to already know the character's origin to understand it! It takes huge leaps through time to various selected scenes in Gambit's life, and assumes you'll be able to fill in the blanks yourself. Which would be annoying enough. But then there's the painfully clumsy, melodramatic dialog; the choppy, poorly paced plot; and, perhaps worst of all, Gambit's painfully awful accent. And that's not to mention Gambit's irritating habit of randomly dropping into French occasionally (um, I can't read French! Dick). I've also never been a fan of Mister Sinister. He's just so ridiculous, with his huge cape and his silly makeup.
I'm really disappointed in author Mike Carey. I don't understand how this guy can be such an uneven talent. I know I've read good things by him in the past, but how could somebody who's any good put out a piece of rubbish like this? If he'd settled down and chosen to tell just one story from Gambit's life, and if he'd also taken the time to polish the dialog a lot more than he has, he might have been able to make it interesting and moving. But this comic jumps around so much, and is written so very poorly, you don't even get to know the characters' names before he's moving you on to something else entirely. You don't have time to get involved as a reader, and consequently you don't care about anything that happens. It doesn't help that artists David Yardin and Ibraim Roberson do some pretty clumsy and ugly work, especially on the characters' faces. Just a tremendously bad comic.
Young Allies 70th Anniversary Special #1
Yes, it's time for another 70th anniversary one-shot special! This one focuses on some characters I'd never heard of before: a band of regular kids who fought alongside Cap, Bucky, and Toro, and who were known as the Young Allies. Contained in this collection is one new story, followed by reprints of three old stories. The new story is by Roger Stern with art by Paolo Rivera and it's quite moving and excellent. I love the page of old school art that leads into Bucky's flashback to when he first met the Young Allies, followed by another great little flashback about one of their adventures fighting the Red Skull. This story once again brings up the interesting fact, mentioned further up this post, that Marvel comics, including the old ones about Bucky and the Young Allies, are supposed to exist on Earth-616 as well as on our Earth. Bucky and his friends add another interesting dimension to this postmodern concept when they say here that the comics exaggerate the truth, "inventing wild fantasies about us." That's a rather neat way to retcon! Now they can deny and remove from canon any events they don't like from the old comics.
But anyway. Bucky's reunion with his old pals is really quite powerful. It's great seeing the flashback to their final mission together, and then reading a quick catchup on what the Young Allies have been up to since then. Bucky gets a chance to confess all his sins to his old friends, and receives in return a measure of closure and redemption. I have to say I choked up a bit at the very end, when he pours the last of the brandy out, salutes the monument, and says, "It was a privilege to serve with you." Excellent writing by Stern - who manages to include lots of exposition and recapping without being boring - and lovely, classical art by Rivera.
Next up is a vintage ad for the Sentinels of Liberty fan club, then a short text story about the Young Allies by Stan Lee. Wash mentioned in the previous story that he was made out to be some kind of ridiculous stereotype in these old comics, and boy was he right! I'm surprised Marvel had the guts to reprint this story, in which Wash is horribly stereotyped before he's even named: "'Hey, look where you-all am goin'!' cried one of the boys, as he dropped a piece of watermelon out of his hand." Argh! With the watermelon, even! The story itself is a simple and even rather dull adventure involving the Allies overhearing a plot to steal American secrets and thwarting said plot with the help of Captain America. Next up is another ad for the Sentinels of Liberty fan club, and then a comic starring "The School Boy Sleuth, Terry Vance." I'd never heard of this character before, but he turns out to be your typical young amateur detective, who happens to be accompanied by a real live monkey sidekick named Dr. Watson. Like a lot of Golden Age comics, it's a simple, ridiculous story, clumsily plotted, but fun in its own way. The last story in the book is another prose piece by Stan Lee about the Young Allies and Bucky helping Captain America stop people who are trying to steal American secrets. It's practically the same story we already read a handful of pages ago. The very end of the book is more interesting: it's a collection of vintage ads, puzzles, and games, including a wonderful ad for All Winners #4, which starred Captain America, Human Torch, Sub Mariner, Destroyer, and Whizzer. Sweet!
I really enjoyed the modern story in this comic, and the reprints and accompanying material are, as usual, vaguely entertaining, but more interesting as historical curiosities than anything else.
|Tagged (?): Avengers (Not), Captain America (Not), Captain Britain (Not), Comic books (Not), Ed Brubaker (Not), Fables (Not), Final Crisis (Not), Jack of Fables (Not), Mike Carey (Not), Paul Cornell (Not), The Take (Not), Transformers (Not), X-Men (Not)|
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