Weekly Comic Round-Up
Death of the New Gods 1
Ok, I know that this takes away all of my geek cred, but I have to say it. I have never been that amazed with Jack Kirby.
I know. I know. Send in the hounds.
In all fairness, I admire his work. Kirby is to comic books what Orson Welles was to cinema. He revolutionized ways of doing things, and took the bare bones laid by those who came before him and redefined how things would be done forever after him.
But that doesn’t change the fact that since he redefined things, some folks have done it better. There are plenty of artists who I think are better, and certainly there are superior writers. So, with that said and upfront, let’s just start off by saying I’ve never been that impressed with the New Gods. In fact, the only reason I even looked at this book was because it ties in to Countdown, even if it doesn’t do so explicitly.
Man, I almost passed on a really good thing. The action is tightly paced, and the art is really crisp and clean. A device is used to show who is narrating each section with a small symbol placed in the narration boxes, and it works really well.
Case in point? I have absolutely nothing invested in any of the three gods who died this issue. But each death hit me.
And Darkseid getting one-step ahead of Metron? Priceless.
Captain America 31
Bucky is still my personal pick to be the new Captain America. But they’re sure doing their level best to make it hard for him. Having been captured in the last issue by the Red Skull and Dr. Faustus (remember, the guy who brainwashed Sharon Carter into shooting Steve Rogers, and to convince a huge percentage of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to quit?), they’re doing their best to break Bucky, by convincing him that Steve Rogers abandoned him.
The fantasies they create are interesting, though a bit unsubtle. And I don’t really understand why it is that the last one worked on Bucky when the others didn’t. (If it did at all – that’s still left to some debate, depending on whether or not next month’s issue opens up with a dead Agent 13.)
Meanwhile, Tony Stark is having a really bad month. We’ll see more of his bad month in the other books on the round-up, but having to deal with a S.H.I.E.L.D. organization he can’t rely on, and a Falcon and Black Widow who were stunned by a rogue Agent 13, to say nothing of the looming threat of the Red Skull, makes for a rough time for Iron Man.
Brubecker is quickly becoming my favorite Cap author, and that’s not an easy task to accomplish.
In other Captain America news, I picked up Captain America: The Chosen 3 this week as well. Just… don’t. And if they make that guy the new Captain America, I may be as done with Cap as I will be with Spider-Man once One More Day is finished.
(And yes, I know that the idea of using a perfectly new hero to replace the dead/missing/retired icon has worked well in comics before. I still really dig Kyle Rayner, Steel and Connor Kent. But Knightfall would’ve made me happier if Dick Grayson had become Batman, and I’m going to be really upset if the new Cap is a random soldier.)
Booster Gold 3
A comic book where a hero has disgraced himself in order to be able to save the timestream, but who will never be able to get the credit for it, is not what people would expect to be among the more “fun” titles out there today.
People would be wrong.
Booster, Rip and Skeets continue to bounce through time to make reality come together as it’s supposed to. And along the way (in this issue alone), Booster gets drunk alongside Jonah Hex, saved the doctor who will deliver Johnathan Kent’s father, deals with his ancestor Daniel and the double issue of discovering that the Supernova suit was stolen and the fact that he needs to get Daniel together with his future wife, and meets Barry Allen and Wally West – when Wally was still Kid Flash.
This book may be the best title published today. It’s fun, it’s fast-paced, the action is good, and it turns a character who had been little more than a joke into a major part of the DCU.
If you’re not reading this title, close your computer, walk or drive to your nearest comic book store, and pick up all three issues.
Marvel Zombies 2 1
I am so very, very, very torn about this book.
Why? Well, because on the one hand, I want to like it. And it had moments that I found absolutely perfect. The Galactus/Marvel zombies finding Ego, the Living Planet? That was so beautiful it brought a tear to my eye.
And there were other parts of it I enjoyed too. I liked the idea that Janet Van Dyne’s zombie head, now in control of her hunger, was still a part of the leading council. I liked the idea that, even after the zombie decimation, humans and mutants would still have differing opinions on how life should go on. It even worked for me that Cortez’s son would want to usurp T’Challa.
But the plot holes… dear god, the plot holes. If all it took was a week or so of the zombies not feeding for them to get back in control of themselves, then why did the zombie FF not regain control while they were trapped in the Baxter Building?
And of all the minds who are with the Galactus zombies, would it really be Peter Parker who first noticed that the hunger became less terrible with time? Really? Heck, if anything, I would think it would be Wolverine, with his heightened awareness of his body.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ll keep reading it. But I was really hoping for better from this series, and Issue 1 isn’t as promising as I’d have liked.
Birds of Prey 111
Another one-off issue, but one that I think hit the nail on the head a little better than last month’s. (Not that there was anything wrong with the Helena issue, it just wasn’t quite as amazing.) Barbara needs to get to a localized Intranet to recover information about her identity from when the Watchtower was destroyed. Unfortunately, the Calculator had the same idea, and so both of them have infiltrated a convention taking place at the company’s HQ.
At the convention, Oracle and the Calculator end up bumping into one another while each is trying to get to the intranet, and so they both decide to distract the other by going to lunch together. There’s some cute flirtation between the two, and then they go back to their attempts to hack the intranet.
As these things must, a fight develops, though due to clever writing about a supervillain’s blind spots, despite the fact that Oracle breaks the Calculator’s leg, he doesn’t believe that Barbara is Oracle. The way that Misfit and the Huntress send the cavalry in when Barbara gets in trouble is nothing short of brilliant either.
Booster Gold may be my favorite ongoing title at the moment, but it’s a close contest with Birds of Prey.
A few books which don’t deserve an entire write-up, but are worth picking up if you get the chance. Penance 2 continues on just as strongly as the first issue did, with Robbie going after the Robot Master, for one reason and one reason only. He wants to get Nitro. And the secret of the numbers he’s been writing? They’re revealed. This issue would be another part of Tony Stark’s bad day. In all fairness, this book does deserve a full write-up, but I didn’t want to spoil any part of it. Meanwhile, Justice League 14 continues the battle between the Injustice Gang (or Legion of Doom, if we want to be honest) and the League, and does so wonderfully. I only had two complaints with it – the first being that things are happening so fast that they lack some of the attention they deserve. A new Shaggy Man? Grodd trying to break Geo-Force? Kryptonite paint? They’re all great ideas, and I just would have liked them to get a little more attention. My second complaint, and this is minor, is that in the splash page where Luthor shows Superman and Black Lightning the captured League is a bit too overtly sexualized in how it shows the captured heroines. Trust me, I know that superheroines in bondage is a common nerd fantasy, and has been ever since the early days of Wonder Woman. But I don’t need to be beat over the head with it. Finally, Mighty Avengers 5 manages to earn a little bit of respect from me in how Ares’ handles Ultron. The problem is how flawed other elements of the comic were. Frankly, Ultron shouldn’t be able to stand up to a pissed-off Sentry. “Power of a thousand exploding suns”, remember? Going to be going toe-to-toe with the Hulk in a week or so. And Ultron just killed his wife (maybe). Ultron should’ve been pulped. And I still think that the thought balloons seem more reflective of an editorial voice than that of the character they’re attached to.
So, that’s what I found noteworthy this week in comics. And if you’re not reading over there already, keep up with the developments in the world of superhero film and television at Superheroflix.