Thursday, March 30, 2006

Weekly Comic Round-up

Well, once again, Marvel is over-represented. Blame it on the Captain America Special, the New Avengers Special, and the fact that one box arrived to my local comic shop late, so I didn't get to pick up either All-Star Superman or Action Comics this week. Don't worry, I'll include them next week. But you didn't come here to read about problems with UPS. You came here because it's Thursday and therefore time for the Weekly Comic Round-up!

As always, there are spoilers below. Be aware.

Blue Beetle 1
So, I decided to give this a shot, and I'm glad that I did. I've always thought Blue Beetle was an underused character, and his death in Countdown really hit me hard. I want to like this new Blue Beetle, and I think I'm going to. I liked how they cut between his fight with Guy Gardner and his life leading up to finding the scarab. There's a lot of questions introduced in this issue, such as what happened in outer space during Infinite Crisis? And why does the scarab have such a strange effect on the Lantern rings? Why can't he control what the scarab does?

Oh, and bonus creepy points for the fact that the scarab burrows inside of him when it isn't wrapped around him like a suit of armor. There's a very strong Guyver feeling I get from the scarab now, which is a marked contrast to how the scarab worked for both Ted Kord and Dan Garrett.

Captain America 65th Anniversary Special
So, we have a lot of good in this issue. Flashing back to WWII and seeing Cap and Bucky working alongside the Hollowing Commandos is always a blast. The girl who Bucky falls for is a nice tragic touch, especially with the flashback to the present and Cap and Sharon talking about whether or not Bucky would have gone back for her. Seeing the Nazis working with a 50-foot tall robot is cool, and of course if there's a robot in WWII that has been buried for 500 years, of course it originated from Dr. Doom. He does have a time machine, after all.

What I didn't need was the bit about Cap running a mile in a minute. He's supposed to be as good as a human can be. The world record for running a mile is at just under 3 minutes, 45 seconds. I'm willing to accept that Cap is a little better than that, so having him run a three-minute mile I'd accept. But a one-minute mile? There was just no call for that.

Fantastic Four 536
Well, we're leading up to Civil War, and dammit, I'm intrigued. This was a real nice, solid issue of the Fantastic Four. Great character interaction in the midst of good action, including the highlights of Reed giving Ben the "We need to be in the air in five minutes" countdown, Sue trying to get answers from Reed about the Illuminati meeting (read my description of New Avengers: Illuminati to find out more about that) and Ben loudly announcing "Flame Off" for Johnny's benefit. Of course, anytime Doombots and Doctor Doom is involved, things only get better. I love the fact that Doom is trying to claim Thor's hammer. It's not like he's going to be able to pick it up. But again, people, coordinate your mysteries better. The cover of the comic shows Thor's hammer (in Doom's hand if you're observant). Why try to maintain the mystery of "What was that meteorite?" for the entire issue if you're going to put it on the cover? It's a beautiful cover, no question, but if you want it to be a mystery, that should've been next month's cover.

Green Lantern 10
Here we go. Finally, an issue of One Year Later that got it right. We start with action as Hal crosses into Russian airspace to catch a supervillain. Within a few pages we see the Rocket Reds trying to take him down, and we get teased with the Freedom of Power treaty. The issue doesn't build to a single shocking "Surprise" moment, it introduces mysteries throughout. And they're intriguing mysteries. What were Hal and the two others doing when they crashed, and why should Hal have worn the damn ring? Who is trying to kill Hal Jordan, instead of Green Lantern? And why doesn't Alan trust Hal anymore? All of this, wrapped around two good fight scenes, great character interaction between Hal and Ollie, and touching on the biggest mystery in the wake of Infinite Crisis: Where have Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman been?

Oh, and the appearance of a Green Lantern that Hal thought he'd killed. But in the overall scheme of things, that's a minor mystery.

New Avengers: Illuminati
If you read one Marvel comic this week, it should be this one. Go. Read this comic. Right now. We first saw this shadowy group in New Avengers, and I've been intrigued by the idea ever since. Seeing that this group first met in the wake of the Kree-Skrull war is frighteningly obvious. There may be some places it hurts continuity, but I'm willing to deal with the hiccups because of how cool the idea is. The warring personalities in this group really do represent the greatest powers in the Marvel Universe, at least on the heroic side. Namor's reaction to their ideas is beautifully idealistic, and speaks to the liberal side of many of us. But Tony's speech regarding Superhero registration is absolutely beautiful. The prediction is based in logic, perfectly rational and chilling. The groundwork for the Civil War has been laid, and a storm is coming.

Sentry 7
So much about The Sentry hurts my brain, which is fitting for Marvel's Superman. Is the Sentry Rob Reynolds? Is he a figment of Reynold's mind? What does the Void represent? What are the limits to their powers? Question after question after question. This issue has the Sentry in an asylum, making us once again doubt the reality of his existence, and leading up to him returning to face the Void. Will we get answers in issue 8? I kind of doubt it, but I'm certainly going to read it and see.

It's scary to think that the Sentry represents a greater threat to the Marvel Universe Earth than the Hulk, or than Hyperion did to the Squadron Supreme's earth. The answers to his origin scare Dr. Strange, and that alone should unsettle everyone.

Ultimate Spider Man 92
This issue had some of the best banter between Spider-Man and the characters around him that I have ever seen. Of course, while it was great fun to read, I'm amazed that the X-Men haven't decided to just hit him. I love the fact that the relationship between Peter and Kitty has led to Spidey getting caught up with the foes of the X-Men. Those who read Ultimate X-Men knew that we'd see Krakoa again, and using that as a way to introduce the Ultimate versions of both Deadpool and the Reavers was a nice, nice touch.

Two shining moments from this issue, and there were a lot to choose from, would be the following. Deadpool's statement about leaving Peter's mask on was a nice touch "Masks mean something. Respect the mask." Here we have someone willing to kill Spidey for mass-entertainment, who thinks he's a disgusting genetic freak, but he still respects the mask. That tells you something about who this Deadpool is. The other golden touch this issue would be how Kitty convinces Peter that it's really her. I would love to know what she whispered to him...

So, another week down. Mostly. Like I said, I missed two Superman titles this week, and I'll include those next week. I also picked up two issues of another title, which deserve their own post. All I'm going to say about it for now is that there is an excellent science fiction writer who now works in comics, and this man is a bastard who turned me into a lying hypocrite.


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