Thursday, April 27, 2006

Weekly Comic Round-Up

It's been a very good week for comic books. Very good indeed. But you don't want to hear about it in general. You want to read my specific thoughts on the comics, so let's dive in, shall we?

Amazing Spider-Man 531
An amusing thought: Spider-Man was created at roughly the same time as the Avengers, so Peter has been at the hero thing just as long as Stark. But somehow, Tony just seems so much older, and worldly. Significantly so. Maybe it's because of the age they were when they began as heroes (Stark was already an adult when he built his first suit of armor, Peter was in high school), maybe it's the circles they move in, but their worldviews are so different.

It shouldn't be surprising then that, while Spidey is able to fight Stark's enemies, such as Titanium Man in this issue, he is completely out of his depth when dealing with Congress. For the second issue in a row, Peter tries to speak truth to power, and is smacked down.

I thought it appropriate that Stark was willing to lie to Peter about Titanium Man, but at the same time, Peter was cagey enough to suspect.

Astonishing X-Men 14
Ok. Look over to the side at the cover. Take it in for a moment.

Are you done? Good.

If you're like me, you don't like the idea that Scott is with Emma. Scott's one true love is Jean Grey. They shared a love that could literally overcome death. But Whedon has made it work for me, and this issue really digs into the guts of that.

Emma either really, really, really understands and gets Scott, or doesn't even come close. I'm not entirely sure which it is. And the final page of this issue has me utterly puzzled. Utterly, utterly puzzled.

But I really want to avoid the spoiler effect, so I won't talk about the mind games Emma plays with Scott, and the possible repercussions. Instead, I will share two incredibly cute moments.

A nude Kitty Pryde phases through the floor, startling several students. She runs back upstairs to find a probably nude Collossus holding the door slightly ajar. She says, "Oh my god. I phased. Right when we were. That's never happened before. This is your fault you know," to which he replies "I would like to think so, yes."

Later on, Kitty and Piotyr come downstairs for breakfast. Logan is sitting at the kitchen table, and looks at one. Sniffs. Looks at the other. Sniffs. And then says "Bout time."

Whedon rocks.

Blue Beetle 2
Ok, now, maybe it's just me, but I never thought of the Scarab as sinister. But here we go with it playing havock with other magic users, and controlling every aspect of this poor kids life.

I don't know what to think anymore. My previous comments about the similarities with the Guyver suit apply all the more now, however. I hope he gets it under control. I really do.

And the end was interesting. So, he's been gone for an entire year, huh? Well, that does solve the issue of where this comic fits into continuity (whether or not it's part of One Year Later, or still contemporary with Infinite Crisis). But it raises questions too. Where was he for that last year?

As for the posse, I suppose there's a palce for them. And it'll give the new Beetle people to team with. Every character needs a supporting cast. We'll see how this goes.

Fantastic Four 537
A while back, someone did something incredibly stupid. They had Doom cast off his technology to focus on magic. This was dumb. Dumb dumb dumb. Doom will use any path to power, and his will is unmatched, but he shouldn't ever abandon his great technological achievements. (Frightening tangent, imagine Doom with a Power Ring).

So, I was glad to see him back in the traditional armor, rather than that monstrosity of magic. And I loved that he tried to claim Thor's hammer.

I have no clue what the burst of energy was at the end. I have no idea what it signifies. But I love that Thor's hammer would not budge for Doom. There never should have been any doubt, but somehow there was. And I loved watching Ben try to pick it up as well.

Incredible Hulk 94




Hulk is a gladiator. Hulk is strongest one there is. Hulk doesn't want to deal with people. Hulk is selfish.

I get it.

I haven't been keeping up with the Silver Surfer, but it also seems really weird to think he has been forced into gladiatorhood.

At least at the end the Surfer can take the Hulk back to Earth and we can leave this stupid story behind.

Ion 1
Ok, time to confess. I was part of the Team Rayner camp. I always liked Kyle, right from the beginning. And that liking for Kyle remained even through Hal's return.

So why does this first issue of Ion leave me feeling cold?

The mystery just isn't exciting for me. The idea that he is having trouble controlling the power, even though it's now in him instead of being in a ring is, well, laughable. And the way he's losing control seems all too familiar with Hal's descent, but less thought through. Also the art leaves much to be desired, and considering that Kyle is an artist, that's just unforgivable.

They will get another few issues out of me. But if it doesn't do something special, I won't make it through all twelve. And it just might take the other Green Lantern books with it off my reading list, which would be a damn shame.

Lucifer 73
Hmmm, this issue didn't work for me. Part of that is that I've never liked those little imps. Part of it is that the Godhead figures work best when they are distant and incomprehensible. Elaine was far too hands-on in this issue, I think.

That out of the way, the idea raised in the issue about what Yahewh's departure means for the greater beings was interesting.

If you accept the premise introduced that He knew He would one day step aside, and that Elaine's creation is His chance to watch His children be adults, it casts everything, from Lucifer's fall, to Lucifer's creation, to Elaine accepting the Godhead in a very different light.

And one I think I rather enjoy.

New Avengers Annual 1
Adorable baby? Check!

Wedding sequence between Cage and Jessica Jones? Check!

Obligatory cameo from Stan Lee as the minister? Check!

Peter making a rookie mistake that shows he isn't really in his element working with the Avengers? Check!

Peter than using his brain to figure out exactly how to beat the new Super-Adaptoid? Check!

The weirdness that is the Sentry and the Void having a major impact on the story? Check!

Tony Stark showing the strain of realizing that the Civil War is coming? Check!

Great issue. Just wonderful, really. If this had been a role-playing game, I would have been so jealous if I missed that session. I did have one Huh? moment, however. Aunt May and MJ are at Avengers Tower. Does Aunt May know that Peter is Spider-Man now?

Tron 1
No, don't adjust your monitor. That is, in fact, Tron.

Tron. Disney movie. Still holding up today. Rebooted with Tron 2.0, the video game that sadly never led to a new film.

Well, this comic picks up after the end of Tron 2.0, and follows Alan's kid, Jet as he finds himself, once again, pulled back into the computer world.

I never played Tron 2.0. I think I need to fix that. But this issue does a nice job of pulling everything together so I didn't feel lost. And the artwork... my god.

It's only $3.50. Go to your local comic book store and buy it. Right now. Come back and read my thoughts on the Ultimate Fantastic Four and the Villains United Special later. Really.

Ultimate Fantastic Four 29
You're still here? Fine. But now you must promise to go buy Tron once you finish reading this post.

Anyhow, back to the Ultimate FF. I enjoyed the idea behind President Thor. I cringed watching as the Skrull claim the power of every superpowered being on the planet. And it was absolutely chilling to watch as every one of them died except for Ben, the only human on a planet of supermen.

Oh, wait. The Skrull's powers come from the other superhumans, and they're all dead? Whoops.

I'm glad the universe got reset. I like the Ultimate Universe. I don't really understand how the teleporter created the other timeline, or how Ben came back, but I'm happy with the results, and the story of that ill-fated world.

And one week until the Zombie Fantastic Four break out? Watch me shiver, with antici................pation.

Villains United Special 1
This was good. It really was. But it wasn't what I was expecting. The plot as Luthor's Society frees all the worlds supervillains to prepare a massive assault on Metropolis was beautiful to watch.

I loved watching the Calculator (and Luthor, of course) outmanuever Oracle. Barbara's frustration was beautiful to watch. She and J'onn did an amazing job of adapting to the Crisis. The heroism of the DCU, missing their marquee heroes, was incredible. And when Doomsday appeared next to Doctor Psycho you could feel the suddent tension. I never cared for Doomsday, but he's a part of the DCU, so I've learned to accept him. But like Barbara said, there might have been more powerful villains already among their number, but his appearance immediately brings to mind the shattered body of Superman, and a flag-draped coffin.

So, where was my problem with this issue? Frankly, I wanted to see more of the Six. I want to see the relationship between Knockout and Scandal. I want to watch the buddy story between Deadshot and Catman. And I want them to make a decision. At the end of the Villains United miniseries, it was obvious that Catman wanted more than just to be a mercenary, so the idea that they'll stay in the middle just didn't quite work for me.

Ah well, there will be a Secret Six miniseries soon. We'll see what develops from there.

So, even with my minor disapointments, it was a good week. Lots of good stuff to read.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Greatest Superheroes of All

Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children.

This line struck me as being especially powerful when I first heard it uttered in The Crow. At the time, I was a teenager, who had a less than wonderful relationship with my mother, but I was still struck by the potency of the line.

I heard it again this weekend, when I went to see Silent Hill. I am now a parent, and the line therefore hit me in an entirely different fashion. (And yes, I realize the line originated with William Makepeace Thackeray. But I heard it from these two movies.)

So, let's talk about the greatest of superheroes, shall we? Parents.

In the real world, parents are the primary superheroes for their children. Think back to when you were little. There was nothing that Mommy or Daddy couldn't make better. Mommy and Daddy fit into that great pantheon with Superman, Jesus and the President (not a specific President, but the concept of such), as the people who had the power to fix ANYTHING.

Of course, we eventually grow up, and see our parents for who they are. We understand that Mommy and Daddy are really just Charlie and Ginger. Charlie and Ginger may be wonderful people, who do the best that they can for their children, but they are human, and therefore limited.

As a parent, I want to be the World's Greatest Superhero for my daughter for as long as I can, but just as she will eventually disbelieve in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, someday I know she will look at me and say, "Oh. Daddy is just a person."

But what about the other side of the equation? Something that doesn't get looked at all too often is when superheroes have children. The creators of superheroes have gone to greater depths to make our superhumans human, and as such, we're beginning to see more and more superheroes who get married, or having children. And, much as in the real world, these two are not always linked.

Unsurprisingly, there aren't many superheroic families that resemble the Huxtables or Seavers. When Mommy's day job involves saving the universe, one does not have a normal childhood.

Nearly every case of a second-generation superhero, where the child has followed their parent into being a superhero, has been filled with Parental Issues. Just take a look at the relationship between Jack and Ted Knight in Starman. Or the relationship between Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne. And don't even get me started on the twelve-hundred and ninety-seven different versions of Nathan Grey-Summers.

Amazingly, the most functional family in comic books seems to be the one where the peril of raising a child in a world of superheroes is tackled head on. From it's earliest days, Fantastic Four was a book about a family, and so it should be no surprise that Franklin Richards is the child of a superhero who has the closest thing resembling a functional family.

Sure, Mom, Dad and both Uncles are superheroes. No question that sometimes he has to go stay with other people while they're in another dimension. But Reed and Sue's relationship with their son has been a focal point of the book ever since the character was introduced.

All of which goes to show that parents really are the world's greatest superheroes.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Theatre of the Mind's Eye, Part 2

The Fox logo appears, spotlights flashing across the famous logo. It is replaced by the flipping pages of a comic book which resolve themselves into the Marvel Comics. As it fades away, we see a pair of hands are soldering a circuit board. We see the man from the chest down. Behind him a high tech workshop can be seen. Hands and tools are illuminated, but the rest of the scene is in shadows. A narrated voice speaks "Man has always tried to make more of himself then he was."

We cut away, and are looking down onto the roof of a building. A helicopter sits on a helipad. Standing next to the helicopter there is a powerfully built black man, wearing a radio headset. His hair is cut short, military style. A man walks from a door on the rooftop towards the helicopter, his tie flapping in the breeze. The man is smiling, confident, the look of a man who has everything. He wears a perfectly tailored suit, and a thin mustache sits on his face. The man shouts to be heard over the roar of the helicopter blade, "They approved us, Rhodey!"

In the workshop, we see the man's hand slide into a metallic gauntlet. The fingers are gunmetal grey, and articulated perfectly." We created tools which let us go beyond the limits of our bodies. Unsurprisingly, our first tools were weapons. Tools designed to hurt. And kill."

The helicopter is now flying over a dessert. We move inside the cabin, and see Rhodey piloting the helicopter. Behind him, we see the same fashionably dressed man, sitting next to a man in an army uniform. The soldier speaks, "We're coming up to the base now, Mr. Stark. The new body armor you designed has been working wonders, it's saved the lives of countless soldiers." Stark smiles and says "Well Lieutenant, that's what I made it for. That and the contract from Uncle Sam." Laughter fills the cockpit, until Rhodey shouts, "Incoming!" We cut to the outside of the helicopter just in time to see a shell impact the tail of the helicopter, causing it to spiral out of control. The screen flashes to blackness, and we see Rhodey carrying the bloody form of Mr. Stark into an army base.

Cut back to the workshop. On a table, we see an armored chestplate, the same gunmetal color. A raised circle sits in the middle of the chest. "But we moved beyond that. And developed ways to protect life. Extend it."

Stark is sitting in a hospital room. Under his hospital gown, we see a metallic mesh across his chest. A doctor is pointing to an X-Ray on the wall. "As you can see, Tony, the shrapnel is lodged in your heart. That regulator you made is the only thing that is keeping you going, short of a heart transplant."

Back to the workshop, we see the hands placing the circuit board into the back half of a helmet. "Our science made the world a better place. We banished the myths and monsters of ages past."

Deep inside the bowels of the Earth, we see two men exploring a cave. The first speaks, "I don't feel good about this. We shouldn't be here." "Nonsense, Jack. We're close to finding the last resting place of Fin Fang Foom." As he finishes speaking, we heard several loud thuds.

"What was that?" Jack asks, as the sound is heard again, louder and closer this time. "I'm sure it's nothing. Now come," the second man says as he strides deeper into the cave. The sound is heard a third time, and the cave shakes violently. Jack drops the flashlight he carried, and the cave is plunged into blackness. "Professor!" Jack shouts, as he drops to his knees, feeling for the flashlight. He fumbles it back on, and sweeps the light across the cave. The Professor is nowhere to be seen. Jack turns back, and the light flashes across an impossibly large, monstrous green face. The mouth opens and the creature bellows before the cave goes black once more. We then watch as a jet of flame erupts from the mouth of the cave, followed shortly by a humanoid dragon-figure which flies into the sky.

Back in the workshop the completed suit of armor lies on a table. The steel grey is dull and lifeless looking. A device lowers over the armor, attached to two canisters of liquid, one red, one yellow. "Now the monsters are back. And we must show them what it means to be men."

The device lifts off the armor, and the armor is now a brilliant red and gold. Another cut, as we see the breastplate fitting over a chest, a chest that wears the same circuit covered matrix that Stark wore in the hospital. "Men of heart."

Another cut, as the gauntlets are once more donned. We can see that in addition to the breastplate, there is now a sheen of golden metal on the man's arms. He slides his hand into the gauntlet, and flexes it, so that it forms a fist. "Men of strength."

Once more the camera cuts, and we see that it is Tony Stark inside the suit. He reaches for the helmet, a red helmet with a golden face, the eyes and mouths circuitry covered slits. "Men of learning and knowledge," the narrator says as Stark places the helmet over his head. A moment passes and then the eyes light up. The camera pulls back, and we see Stark in full view, wearing the suit. "Men of iron." the narrator says. The helmet turns to look at the camera, and a computerized voice says "Well, Rhodey, what do you think?"

We cut away to see Rhodey sitting at a console. "I think it's time to go get that thing, boss." He punches a button and the skylight opens up. The Iron Man armor flies up and out the skylight, propelled by jets in its boots.

The dragon creature breathes fire on a tank, causing it to explode. -cut- Iron Man fires a blast from his gauntlet. -cut- The dragon is flying through a canyon, pursuing the flying Iron Man. We see that the dragon is nearly fifty feet in length, dwarfing the figure of Iron Man. -cut- Iron Man is caught in a burst of flame.

Another cut, and we see a close up shot of the dragon's face. "You don't actually think you can beat Fin Fang Foom, do you, little man?" it sneers.

Cut to Iron Man's facemask. "Think it? I can scientifically prove it."

The screen cuts to black. With a metallic clank, the text clamps together on the screen.

The Invincible

Monday, April 24, 2006

Aliens and Dinosaurs

I want to see Superman battle Godzilla.

It'll never happen, of course.

Godzilla has been licensed to several different comic book companies in the past, but DC hasn't been one of them. I think that Dark Horse probably still has the license, but I wouldn't put a bet on it.

That said, I want to see it. Why? Because this weekend I saw Godzilla: Final Wars at the 23rd Annual Ohio Science Fiction Marathon (which is actually in it's 19th year, but due to some time travel mishaps, is where we are.) I also got to see Tim Burton's Batman and trailers for the upcoming Superman Returns.

So, obviously, I have a lot of different fandoms bouncing around in my head. You see how coherant your thoughts are after watching science fiction movies for twenty-four hours straight.

Anyhow, in Godzilla: Final Wars mankind has developed tools to fight the giant monsters. Most of these are giant war machines, of the kind that pop up every third Godzilla movie. But there is a scene where a group of mutants (not X-Men mutants, just strong, fast humans wearing futuristic body armor) fight and defeat Ebriah. Ebriah, horror of the deep. Ebriah, the weakest kaiju in Toho's stable.

But regardless, humans with ray guns and superhuman martial arts skills fought a giant monster and defeated it. And it looked great.

Now, Godzilla is a lot stronger, tougher, and bigger than Ebriah. So those mutants would've been trashed. But Superman... Superman could do it.

And we now have the technology to make it happen.

So, I want to see Superman fight Godzilla. And not just in the pages of a comic book, but on the big screen. I want to watch Godzilla cross the Atlantic and watch as the Man of Steel tries to keep the King of the Monsters from reaching, and destroying, Metropolis.

An alien menance will take Superman away from Earth, and then Godzilla will begin his trek to Metropolis. From there, we'll see Luthor team up with the G-Team to build a super-robot to fight Godzilla. The robot, of course, will fail. Meanwhile, Lois will investigate the aliens who are in fact, controlling Godzilla, and who are behind the threat which called Superman away. And then, as Godzilla enters Metropolis Bay, Clark Kent will fly back to protect the city he loves from the greatest threat it has ever known.

This is my dream. And has led to a final decision about something I've been working on. Expect another Theatre of the Mind's Eye tomorrow.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Weekly comic book round-up

Things have been crazy-go nuts around here, so I apologize for my scarcity. I'll get back in the swing of things next week, but I wouldn't expect to see anything here tomorrow. So, without further ado...

All-Star Superman 3
This series has been kind of fun. I realize that the whole thing is building to Lex Luthor killing Superman, once and for all, but it's just been a fun ride getting there. The All-Star books happen out of continuity, using an almost archetypical version of the characters. This isn't "Pre-Crisis" Superman from Earth-1. This isn't "Pre-Crisis" Superman from Earth-2. This isn't post-Crisis or One Year Later Superman, and it's not the version of Superman from the animated series. Or Lois and Clark. Or the version portrayed by either Christopher Reeve or Brandon Routh.

This is just Superman. Superman doing fun, Silver Age adventures. In this particular case, giving Lois Lane superpowers for a day for her birthday. And incidentally, trying to convince her that he's Clark Kent, but failing miserably.

I wouldn't want to read on ongoing series based around this version of Superman. I like continuity, and stories that progress forward. Much of what has happened in the comics I would miss the ramifications of. But it really is a fun side-trip.

Captain America 17
This is what it's all about. Fighting against A.I.M. Fighting alongside A.I.M. Fighting alongside S.H.I.E.L.D. Flirting with Sharon. Fighting Crossbones and Sin. An army of psudeo-MODOCs. And a revelation about the future of Bucky. It's just been a great ride, and I can't wait to see where we go from here.

But Bucky is closing in on Luskin. Crossbones and Sin, courtesy of one highly tortured and now dead S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, are going on the hunt for Luskin. Cap and Sharon are undoubtedly headed there as well, and, of course, the Red Skull resides within Luskin now. Fireworks are bound to fly, and I think it'll be a lot of fun.

And now, it's time for another edition of Predictions I make here that will be proven totally wrong in the future! I'm starting to think that the Winter Soldier/Bucky is not long for this Earth. And I think that's ok.

That said, why must we keep giving Captain America superpowers? He's already the pinacle of human achievement. This means that an ordinary person should be able to achieve everything Cap is, if they worked hard enough at it. But his glib answer to Sharon about how he can dodge bullets, "I see faster than you" just rubbed me the wrong way. Because if that's how he does it, how can someone like the Falcon, or Hawkeye, or Zemo dodge a bullet? The answer is they can't. But they do. Usually it's described as predicting where the person is going to shoot and not being there, as opposed to literally dodging the bullet. And that would've worked for Cap too.

Daredevil 84
I'm not trapped in here with you. You're trapped in here with me.

Bonus points to the first person who identifies where that quote came from. Hint: It wasn't Matt Murdock who said it.

However, based on this issue, it really could be. Matt is on the warpath, and people are going to be hurt, or possibly die. Something we often overlook is that Matt was trained by Ninja. Ninja, even comic book Ninja, don't teach you to fight in a way that leaves nice prisoners for the police. They assasinate. They kill. They terrify. And that's what Matt is doing here. He even says so himself when he puts the nerve strike on Hammerhead. "This is the kind of thing Daredevil doesn't do. It's torture." And then he does it.

I love how he's playing them. The guards, the prisoners, everyone. People will be hurt. And they deserve it.

And the mystery behind the new "Daredevil" thickens. Despite my previous prediction, I am now less certain that the fake DD is Peter Parker. But then, that would be why I say they "will be proven totally wrong in the future."

Justice 5
Another out-of-continuity storyline, but also fun. The Legion of Doom really ought to be scary. And in the Superfriends, they just weren't.

That's ok. It was a kids cartoon. It shouldn't be that scary.

But now, I'm loving watching them take apart the Justice League. They're even using Mr. Mind worms, which is lots of fun.

And they brought in Captain Marvel. So they get a big mark in the "win" column in my book. Especially since Superman believes that the only way to get the mind controlling worms out of his body is to be thrown into the sun. By Captain Marvel.

Heh. Heh heh.

The book has also redeemed itself for me, since Aquaman is not dead, which we thought might be the case after the first issue. Stories with villains are good. Killing off major iconic characters for no reason? Not so much, even if it is an Elseworlds setting.

New Avengers 18
Alright now, I did not read the whole House of M/Decimation/X-Men: The 198 thing. And I'm not going to go back and read them in collected trades either. Joss Whedon gets me to buy X-Men. The Ultimate continuity gets me to read X-Men. That's it.

But I did read the Wikipedia entry for it, and I remember the observation that power on that scale can't just vanish. Those mutant powers had to go somewhere.

And now we know where. This poor Michael is nothing more than the vessel for all the mutant powers that the Scarlet Witch pulled away from most of mutantkind.

I can only assume that his fate is going to be tied to the beginnings of the Civil War. It's a shame. I like this incarnation of the Avengers. I'm going to hate seeing it torn apart. Especially now that they're really interracting with the rest of the Marvel Universe. We even got a guest apperance by the Young Avengers in this issue!

Spider-Woman 5
Ok. Jessica's dad was hardcore Hydra. Jessica fights Hydra. Jessica rejects employment by S.H.I.E.L.D. Jessica goes to the West Coast to become a superheroine.

Are we done yet?

Oh, wait. We are.


I wanted to like this book. I didn't. I will not be getting the ongoing series when it starts this summer.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Brief note

I have a half-day off work today, which I will be spending with my wife, daughter and some good friends at the Columbus Zoo.

I've got some thoughts regarding superheroes and their weapons that should be up later tonight.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Weekly Comic Round-Up

After several weeks of DC barely poking their head onto my pull list, the DCU strikes back this week. So, let's not wait any longer and dive right in, shall we?

Green Arrow 61
Alright, so after last month, it's time to actually deal with Ollie, instead of just talking around him. And I have to say, I approve. Ollie's provoking the media and the government to get assistance for Star City was absolutely perfect, and exactly what I would expect from him. I certainly approve of his stance on gay marriage, and appreciate how he intends to use that controversy.

I also approve of the "reappearance" of Green Arrow as well, although there is something woefully cliche about "The hero ID is wanted by the police while the Mayor is the secret ID." Still, there's some potential there, and I'll give it a chance.

It looks like they slightly altered the costume, and I'm fine with that. But, of course, the shining moment is the last page, with Deathstroke waiting in the office. One more issue, and then we get the next throwdown between Slade and Queen. I can't wait.

The OMAC Project Special
You may have realized this about me by now, but I am a sucker for special events, even when I try to avoid them. As such, I purchased each and every issue tie-in to Infinite Crisis, including all of The OMAC Project.

What a waste of money. And this special wasn't much better. We could've gotten everything we needed from simply saying "Batman made a spy computer that is now going mad."

I understand they made it useful in Infinite Crisis, by having Luthor co-opt it to spy on his new Earths, but it was still extraneous. And this special largely just re-set the status quo. Sasha becomes human again, Brother Eye gets blown to itty bitty bits. Amanda Waller takes over Checkmate, and Fire joins it as an assassin. Six-issues and a special, and I don't care about any of it.

I can tell you now that while I will be getting Shadowpact, which was born from Day of Vengeance, and I will get Secret Six, born from Villains Unlimited, I will not be touching Checkmate.

Superman 651
Well, we now have an answer. Clark won't take the ring. This isn't a terrible surprise. He's Superman, not Green Lantern Kal-El. And Lois appreciates having an equal partner. I will say that Clark used the ring pretty effortlessly though, which says something. In Green Lantern: Rebirth, Green Arrow used the ring, put all of his will into it, and managed to make an arrow. But Clark can fly and project an aura. Pretty impressive.

The plot with the Prankster was fun, but pointless. Then again, it was just a distraction for the breakout of the Kryptonite Man. But here is the real question: Why is Luthor collecting all the Kryptonite? In theory he no longer cares about Superman, so what will the Kryptonite be used for? There are hints that he's studied it, along with the Sunstone (which I assume to be the crystal), and that it has a lot of potential, but what are his plans?

That's also a LOT of Kryptonite. Clearly something changed during Infinite Crisis, because there shouldn't be that much of it on Earth.

Teen Titans 34
What better way to handle a time jump and a change in teams that use a character who was unconscious for most of it? Perfect.

By seeing the world through Cyborg's eyes, we get to learn about what 52 did to the Titans at the same time that Vic does. And aren't there mysteries a-plenty to discover. Kid Devil is an unimpressive addition, but not objectionable. But, how did Ravager join the team, especially considering that her dad is still a mercenary assassin? (As Green Arrow knows all too well). Also, based on the frames where Robin asks Wonder-Girl to rejoin the team, it looks like Rose and Tim are an item, which raises all sorts of questions. (Ravager and Spoiler... I'm seeing a pattern here Tim).

I also wonder where Tim went with Bruce, but I guess I'll have to read 52 to discover that. But there are so many other questions. Why did Raven and Gar break up? When were they dating? Why is Bart retired? Where are Connor and Mia?

Two final notes. The first is that bringing in Marvin and Wendy as super-geniuses was a nice homage to the Superfriends cartoons. Bravo. The second is a major spoiler, so highlight the below text if you don't mind being spoiled. Conner is really dead. That is absolutely tragic. But what is even more tragic is how Tim is handling it, by trying to clone him in the "Robin Cave". Doesn't he realize that even if he does manage to remerge the DNA of Luthor and Superman, that the clone won't really be Conner?

Thunderbolts 101
I haven't mentioned this before, but I love the Thunderbolts. I always have. I was suckered by the Masters of Evil masquerading as heroes all the way back in Issue 1 of the first series, and I remained loyal ever since. So this issue intrigues me. And there was a lot of good here.

While we weave in and out of Zemo explaining his plan to Songbird, we get to see Melissa talking to each team-member. I like seeing the Radioactive Man as the suspicious one, I enjoyed seeing the reunion of Erik and Connie Josten. I was sad to watch as they brushed off Nighthawk, and was amused at the interaction between Zemo and Joystick.

But there are some serious questions too. Why does Songbird want to kill Zemo? And how much power does Zemo have with these two moonstones?

Of course, the real question is what did Melissa mean when she said this: "I've seen.. the entire planet will need the T-bolts - more than that - how do I explain it? It's going to need what the T-bolts stand for.. without that, the world will be lost." Could this be a preview of Civil War?

Ultimate Extinction 4
There isn't a lot to say about this, not until it wraps up anyhow. Watching Reed and Sue snap as they build the Ultimate Ultimate Nulifier is fascinating, and more than a little tragic. No kid should have to do this, and they are still teenagers.

I find the very idea of hordes of Silver Surfers utterly terrifying, but not half as terrifying as their purpose as doomsday cult starters. I wonder whether the Moon Dragon clones are going to be helpful in the long run, or if they will assist Gah Lak Tus.

And it will be very interesting to see if the Professor and Jean can use the Vision as a conduit for their mega-Cerebro. As an observation, based on the way the story is progressing, I'm going to assume that Jean isn't Phoenix as far as this story is concerned. Otherwise, we should have seen Gah Lak Tus and Phoenix throw down in outer space.

Ultimate Spider-Man 93
Hmm, now this was interesting. Using the camera shots as the method for viewing this episode was rather brilliant, and made for a great storytelling device. That said, poor Spidey isn't cut out for this kind of work. He fights criminals, not ideologies.

Right now, Peter doesn't really have a stake in the mutant vs. human issue. Maybe he should, especially if he's going to stay with Kitty. (Incidentally, Kitty's secret identity thing to let her date Peter while Spider-intangible-girl dates Spider-Man is now officially blown, although her "You're going to break up with me." comments were hilarious.) Considering the issues that the Ultimate Marvel Universe has put on mutants vs. unlawful genetic alterations, it might be a good thing for Peter to get more involved.

As for the final page? There's no way that Deadpool is Professor X. Wadey is either shapechanged or did a last second teleportation with Charles. Besides, the Ultimate Xavier can't walk. I'm not making a prediction here, I think it's just too obvious that something weird is going on, but what it is I'm not sure.

So, one more week down. And I am already on the edge of my seat for the next issue in each of these series (other than OMAC Project, of course.) See you next time!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Why is this superhero different than all other superheroes?

What do Shadowcat, the Thing, Songbird, Doc Samson, Sasquatch, Ragman, Vance Astro, Atom Smasher, Arthur (Not in the face!), Nite-Owl II, the Atom (Ray Palmer) and one half of the original Firestorm all have in common?

They, like me, will be sitting down to the family seder tonight to celebrate Passover.

Religion in superheroic comic books is a complicated subject, even more than it is in the really real world. As a people, we can be strongly divided on our religious beliefs. Wars have been fought over people's different interpretation of the divine. Now, imagine how this subject becomes clouded when you have literal gods, angels and devils roaming the earth?

In the Marvel Universe, Thor doesn't claim to be a superhuman inspired by the ancient Norse god. He is Thor, God of Thunder. Ghost Rider is a demon merged with Johnny Blaze. Wonder Woman has had regular discourse with the Greek Gods and Goddesses, and the Spectre is the Angel of Vengeance.

The presence of superhumans simply must have had an impact on the religious institutions of their respective realities. If Thor walks down the street, talking about his father and the world tree Yggdrasil, then the church must address the inconsistency between that and the idea that the Earth was created in seven days.

It's easy enough for a priest to simply say, "Well, he's wrong. He's deluded. He's just a mutant with mental problems," but when the Frost Giants invade Manhatten, the issue becomes a little harder to avoid.

(One must also avoid the feet of said Frost Giants, but that's another matter entirely.)

This doesn't even address superheroes who set themselves up as gods. Brother Blood has his own cult who worship him as a deity, and Cobra from Marvel has done the same.

And truthfully, when an invulnerable being who can throw a tank halfway around the world floats into the oval office and says "Zod, not God", how many of us are really going to argue?

Fortunately for the inhabitants of comic book Earths, for each of these psychopaths who try to set themselves up as gods, we have a superhero who is there to say "Not so much." There but for the grace of Kal-El...

Comic creators have tended to shy away from confronting this head-on. A being identifiable as the Judeo-Christian diety has shown his presence in both Marvel and DC comic, while the Greek, Norse and many other pantheons of gods exist as well. No one seems willing to address the issue of conflicting creation myths in these situations. Indeed, both Marvel and DC have shown theories that don't include the actions of any recognizable diety. And DC's Vertigo imprint has an entire series dedicated to Lucifer.

There are lots of reasons to dance around the issue. The last thing any publisher wants to do is alienate their readers who have strong religious faith, and any definitive "This is the right answer" would do that. But I think there's another reason. Superheroes have created their own mythology. Superhero stories don't serve the primary function of any religion's myths, in that they don't (usually) explain where we came from, or what happens when we die. But the lessons in their pages are just as applicable as the lessons that the ancient Greeks learned from hearing the tale of Odysseus.

And that's why if you look on my bookshelf, you'll see the The Iliad and The Epic of Gilgamesh sitting proudly next to Kingdom Come.

(And a special thank you to the people who put together this list of superheroes and their religious beliefs.)

A few random thoughts

Sorry I didn't get a chance to put anything up here yesterday.

Things are stupid busy.

I will try to get something else up later today, but I don't know that I'll get anything new up before tomorrow's Round-Up.

In the meantime, a few random thoughts:

Theatre is cool: Part of why I'm so busy right now is that I'm directing a play as part of the Columbus Fringe Festival. The theatre company I work with most often, Miscreant Productions, will be producing the show Alone Together as one half of In Flux. If you're in the Columbus area between May 11th and 20th, come see the show.

Spider-Man 3: Thomas Hayden Church revealed that, yes, in fact, Venom is in this coming movie. Ok Sam, I'm with you so far. Don't screw up. Angry fanboys with pitchforks do not make for a pleasant sight.

Being a nerd: A few people commented that I should be proud of my nerdhood, and wear it openly. I'd like to reiterate that I don't go to great pains to hide it. My comment likening my hiding of it to Peter Parker was more a cut on how often Toby got unmasked in the two Spider-Man movies than a statement on how hard I hide my inner-nerd. I don't care who knows I'm a nerd, I just got tired of explaining it, so I no longer shout it from the rooftops.

Ok, that's all I've got at the moment. Like I said, I'll try to get something of substance on here this evening. If not, then there'll be the round-up tomorrow.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Secret Identity

I have a Superman watch.

I wear this watch almost every single day. It's a very nice watch. There's nothing garish or brightly colored about it. It's a silver finish watch with a black leather watchband. On the face of the watch, there is a silver Superman S-shield.

From a few feet away, all you would see looking at it is the fact that I'm wearing a standard watch with a black leather band. If you look closely, the watch will identify that, Yes, I am in fact, a nerd.

I like the fact that my nerd-hood is there for anyone who cares to look, but that it doesn't define every element of my life. I purchase over $100 of comic books a month. I own several thousand comics in longboxes in my garage and my library. I play role-playing games at least once a month, and I play a superhero on City of Heroes almost every day. Once a year, I go to a 24-hour Science Fiction movie marathon, Origins and GenCon, and I occasionally go to other conventions as well.

But at the same time, I have a regular full-time job that has nothing to do with comics, role-playing or science fiction. I am married to a wonderful woman, who shares some of my geekish tendancies, but is also someone I can sit down and watch American Idol with. I have a beautiful daughter, and I am heavilly involved in theatre, both as an actor, a director and a stage combat choreographer/instructor.

My life as a geek is almost a secret identity, and I guard it at least as well as Peter Parker does in Spider-Man. I unmask it far more often than I should, but I do take some effort not to display it to everyone on the street.

But sometimes I wish that I could be more like the Fantastic Four, and wear my geekdom on my sleeve. I wish that I lived in a world where reading comic books didn't make me a "freak." I have no desire to change who I am, but like a Marvel Comics mutant, the world isn't ready to accept us yet.

We have people like Bryan Singer, Christopher Nolan and Joss Whedon who are doing their best Charles Xavier impression, trying to create a world where the hard-core comic geek can live openly in their admiration for superheroes, alongside the mundanes who watch X-Men for a chance to admire Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry.

Sadly, for now, if I want to mix in to everyday society, my love for superheroes must remain a secret, hid beneath the veneer of an everyday worker, husband and father.

But I do have a Superman watch.

Friday, April 07, 2006

What do we want? Braaainsss. When do we want them? Braainnss.

You hear your heart beating loudly as you run down the dark alleyway. Each footstep seems to thunder in your head, and you splash noisily through the shallow puddles.

It started hours ago, and since that time, the freaks have been devouring everyone they find. At first their attacks were restricted to men and women on the street, but within an hour they began invading homes, apartments and offices.

You watched as the monster with metal claws tore apart and ate your sister. Mercifully, you were spared seeing what happened to your parents, but you know that their screams will haunt you for the remainder of your life. For however long that may be.

You fled the apartment, but you know you are being followed. Even if you evade the creature chasing you, how long will it be before another one finds you?

You live in a world of marvels. These were supposed to be the ones who would protect you when the monsters came, like they always had before. But what can humanity do when the protectors become the thing to fear?

Suddenly, you fall to the ground, face first. Your hands reach out to catch yourself, and you scrape them against the rough surface, tearing the flesh of your palms. You look back to see what made you trip, and have a moment to note that there is a long silken line attached to your heel. Then you find yourself flying through the air, back the way you came, yanked by the web on your foot. A hand capable of tearing through steel catches you by the throat, and you stare in horror at the sight in front of your eyes.

The hand which grabs you is wearing a red glove, with a distinctive pattern of webbing stitched across it. The pattern continues up the arm, and you find yourself staring at an all-too familiar red and blue costume, with a spider-pattern on the chest. The costume has been ripped in places, and you can see the damaged and decaying flesh through the holes in the fabric. The smell of decay overwhelms you as you struggle, futilely to free yourself from the monster's grip. Your eyes go up, and the mirrored white lenses of the mask betray no emotion, but the bottom of the mask has been torn away, revealing a maw of yellowed and decaying teeth.

A flash of movement and then pain overtakes you as the one-time hero rips away your throat and part of your upper chest with a vicious bite. Before the world goes black, your last thought is that this is no longer the world of Marvel Heroes. This is the world of Marvel Zombies.

Heh. Ok, that was self-indulgent. But dang, it was fun.

We first met this universe in the Crossover storyline from Ultimate Fantastic Four. After months of being teased with the idea that Ultimate Reed would meet his 616 counterpart, we were instead thrown into a nightmare world where the Sentry inflicted a zombifying plague, infecting the superhumans who then consumed most of humanity. With the assistance of Magneto, Reed managed to escape this world, although he brought the zombie Fantastic Four with him, back to his reality. Those zombies remain there, confined for now, to be dealt with eventually.

But the idea had been planted, the fans wanted more, and so Marvel created the Marvel Zombies mini-series. And I loved it. Absolutely loved it. It wasn't always the best written series, it was rife with inconsistencies, and the places where it differed from the 616 continuity were confusing without adding meaning to the story. But it was fun.

Should the zombies have been able to actually eat the Silver Surfer or Galactus? Of course not. They're creatures of energy, and Galactus doesn't even really exist as a giant humanoid, that's simply how our minds can conceive of him. But who cares?

The Marvel Zombies book represented a chance to cut loose and have some fun, and that's something we need more of in our comic books. We need to see moments where the Hulk can bellow "Hulk is hungriest one there is!" We can all be amused at the idea that when the Hulk returns to being Banner that the food the Hulk eats will burst through Banner's stomach. We can laugh as Peter Parker whines about eating his Aunt and wife and the other heroes tell him to shut it. There are moments of poignancy as well. The final confrontation between Parker and Brock is a surprisingly tender moment in the midst of the mayhem.

And there's a fun possibility I see at the end. In the final pages of Issue 5, when the Power Cosmic enabled zombies become Galactus, we see a Galactus who is made of multiple beings, and a Galactus whose hunger we understand. This is a Galactus whose relentless hunger is painted in terms that any fan of any zombie movie can comprehend.

Zombies are terrifying because they are never sated in their hunger, nothing matters to them but their hunger, and they will not stop. Ever. This Galactus is a nice transition from the Galactus familiar to readers of Marvel comics to the version of Gah Lak Tus who is coming for the Ultimate Universe. Reed is developing a weapon to use against Gah Lak Tus in Ultimate Extinction, and perhaps this will help him defeat the zombie Fantastic Four who are still within the Baxter Building.

One part of the Marvel Zombiverse story still lays before us, back in the pages of Ultimate Fantastic Four. I can't wait. After all, what better image is there than a zombified Reed Richards triumphantly gloating over his young counterpart, reaching for the head with impossibly elongated fingers as it groans out "Braaains"?

The heroes will win, of course. But it will be wonderful watching the horror until that moment arrives.

Time to act like a hero

Hey guys,

If you're half as geeky as I am, (and I have to assume that you are, otherwise why are you reading this?) then you grew up watching Alex Toth's superheroes.

For those who don't immediately get a bell of recognition ringing there, Toth was the character designer for Space Ghost and the different incarnations of the Superfriends. He also illustrated comic books for DC.

Well, Mr. Toth is currently hospitalized. Over here, there is the contact information to send him well wishes, posted with his permission. It's not the most heroic thing in the world to do, but sending the man a few words of thanks, as well as hopes for his recovery couldn't hurt.

Don't be a jerk. Don't ask for autographs, sketches or even expect correspondence. But if you'd like to, thank Mr. Toth for the work he has done in making superheroes take flight on the television screen. Before I ever thrilled to Christopher Reeve, or laughed at Adam West, I watched as Superman, Bat-Man, Wonder Woman and the others fought the Legion of Doom. The man deserves a few words of thanks.

(And don't worry, the zombies are coming. But Hulk's foot broke off, so he's walking slow. And no one is brave enough to leave the Hulk behind. Because Hulk is hungriest one there is! So, the Marvel Zombies review is on its way.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A question about the round-ups.

Right now, I'm writing these to be similar to the way I would talk about the comics I'm reading with other people who regularly read the titles.

Is this useful or helpful to people? Would it be more useful if I were to include more synopsis about each issue?

Let me know.

A very spooky weekly comic round-up

The end of the world. Ghosts. Devils. Zombies. Ancient Gods. Goblins. And swamp monsters. Is this my weekly superhero comic round-up? Or an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Believe it or not, Joss Whedon had nothing to do with the writing of this entry. So, ignore the scratching at the door, light the candle, and follow me down in the darkly lit basement. What could possibly go wrong?

Action Comics 837
This was a good follow-up to Superman 650. Some of the mystery is now being dispelled, as Clark lets us know that his powers left during Infinite Crisis, and have stubbornly refused to return, despite intense UV treatments. (Although Lois likes him with a tan.) There were some parts of it I found a bit odd, such as the idea that he now actually needs his glasses. Losing one's superpowers should not make you lose your ordinary vision, and Clark seemed to have perfectly fine sight before his powers developed.

Regardless, a very good issue, and it was nice seeing Clark be heroic while he tracked down the Intergang wanna-be's. Hal and Hawkwoman could see that, superpowers or not, Clark Kent is the man who made Superman the Eath's greatest hero. As a result, I am very curious to see what happens in the next part of Up, Up and Away! Will Clark take the ring Hal offered him?

Infinite Crisis 6
Hmmm. I don't know what to say here. There were some incredible moments, and some incredibly odd ones as well. Highlights would include watching Kal-El and Kal-L reconcile, the rebirth of the Spectre, Batman confronting Brother I, the battle of the Superboys and watching Black Adam take out Psycho Pirate. (I won't ruin it for anyone who hasn't read the issue yet. But wow.) And the possible death of Superboy.

I am deeply curious to find out why Black Adam's magic didn't hurt Superboy the way that the power of Shazam has been shown to hurt Kryptonians in the past. And where, exactly, did the Flashes take Superboy-Prime? And how did he escape? I'd also like to figure out how Cassie even got there.

Infinite Crisis is definitely going to need it's own discussion once it finishes. I promise, it'll happen.

JSA 84
You know what? It's kind of nice to see a DCU comic that is only marginally involved with the Crisis. This comic is simply the Justice Society facing off against the Gentlemen Ghost, and I'm totally fine with that. Some nice character moments involving Jay and Alan, and Jakeem's talk with the ghosts of his family was really touching.

Clearly the Thunderbolt has some limits, but I haven't the slightest idea what they actually are. And with the Spectre and Dr. Fate both... indisposed, the Society has a real shortage of ways to handle magical, intangible villains other than the Thunderbolt, so this should be interesting.

I do feel kind of bad for Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific though. Ghostly villains don't really fit into their worldview.

Lucifer 72
If there is one comic on my pull that sticks out like a sore thumb, it's Lucifer. Lucifer is not a superhero book. It's not even a "I used to be a superhero but now I'm dark and moody and mystical" book. (Like Swamp Thing, or Sandman Mystery Theatre). No, it's the Devil, taking on the metaphysical underpinnings of reality. And it is utterly fascinating. Not because of Lucifer himself, but because even 72 issues in, the Adversary remains a bit of an enigma. But because of his dealings with Elaine Beloc, Mazikeen and the others. And now, he is doing his level best to leave this reality, without leaving a trace behind.

Which he is utterly incapable of doing. Traces are left in Elaine's design, Mazikeen's face, and his lover, now clad in gold.

I really dig this comic. More than The Dreaming ever was, this is a worthy successor to Gaiman's Sandman.

Marvel Zombies 5
Check back tomorrow. Since this is the last issue of the mini-series, it deserves a fuller treatment than the little one-paragraph assessment I usually do here.

But, I will say this...

I love superheroes.

Obviously. I have a blog about them.

I love zombies.

Less obvious, but equally true.


Moon Knight 1
Moon Knight has often been compared to Batman, which I think is an unfair comparison to both characters. I mean, sure, they're both dark, gritty, grim vigilantes who are more than willing to kick the beejezus out of the people they fight. They both operate primarily at night, and use gadgets with a motif central to the character. They both believe in using intimidation as a primary weapon, and are both batshit insane...

Ok, fine, it is a fair comparison.

Regardless, Moon Knight is a very different beast than Batman, and not just because he wears white. He has never received the level of respect that Bruce gets, for one. But he's also a bit more nuts. He believes he works for a god, and he suffers from MPD.

This issue starts off like any superhero book, and it isn't until we reach the end that Marc Spector has fallen. Hard. Khonshu has brought him back from the dead before, but will he restore Spector's ability to be a hero? After what we saw in the flashback, it's hard to say.

Spider-Girl 97
This isn't going to make me popular, but I'll confess. I loved the MC2 setting. I really did. J2 was just a fun character, the A-Next Avengers were a nice mix of homages, and it was just fun to see the heroes we're used to dealing with older and wiser. Sometimes. Except when they're not.

Well, MC2 has gone the way of the dodo, all except for Spider-Girl. This gives the book the unfortunate task of keeping an entire continuity alive, and as such, we often don't get to spend as much time with May as I'd like. But the writing has remained consistent, and the art is good. Not great, but good.

This issue started with a training exercise between May and Phil Urich, the current heroic Green Goblin, who was briefly the Green Goblin in the 616 Marvel Universe. What is interesting is that Urich fought the Hobgoblin at one point in his original brief career, and this issue features the return of Roderick Kingsly. Incidentally, I don't remember Kingsly, or any of the Goblins, being quite that strong, but whatever. Oh, and May changed back into the black costume to avoid the prophecy of being killed. Sure. To quote Kitty from That 70's Show "I'm sure that fooled God."

And now, it's time for another edition of Predictions I make here that will be proven totally wrong in the future! Black costume or not, I think that May is going to be stabbed, as Kaine saw in his prophecy. She may survive it, but she will get stabbed, near-fatally.

Swamp Thing 26
I loved the finale of the original Swamp Thing series. I had a great deal of fun watching as the Swamp Thing met with the other Parlimants.

I have not enjoyed either of the Swamp Thing series that followed it. I keep reading it, hoping it will get good.

I'm about to give up hope. The huge metaphysical battles with faceless embodiments has utterly failed to hold my attention. And Tefe was a bitch in her series. But these last two issues have brought the Swamp Thing back to being more like Alec again, and has him reaching out to Abigail. They're also drawing him to look more humanoid, which was sorely needed. So, they get a couple more issues from me.

For now.

Ultimate X-Men 69
In my first weekly round-up, I mentioned that Ultimate X-Men 68 failed to provoke a reaction from me. Well, they redeemed themselves. This reality warping mutant is damn interesting, and is so going to become a villain. The teases at Scott and Jean and Bobby and Rouge are much more interesting then the explicit examples we got in the last issue, and I really want to know what Fury wants to talk to Logan about.

The scene between Xavier and Jean regarding her status as the Phoenix was really nice, especially when she called him Charles. The scene at the dance between Colossus and Northstar was also nice, right up until the Brotherhood attacked.

What didn't work for me is Scott's acceptance of the idea of taking the new kid out on a mission. Emergency or not, the kid has no experience or training. And Scott isn't that stupid. I hope they explain it with him being messed with by the kid's powers. Otherwise, I'm going to be very irked with Kirkman.

Young Avengers 11
I'm a sucker for "Young Superhero" books. New Warriors, Power Pack, Teen Titans, Outsiders, Young Justice, you name it, and I gave it at least a few issues. Other than Titans, I have never been as happy with that decision as I have been with Young Avengers. Originally, the team looked like a bunch of second-rate knock-offs of the Avengers. Iron Lad, Patriot, Asgardian and Hulkling, quickly joined by Cassie Lang and the others. As time has gone by, we've seen the truth behind these characters.

They're still tied into the Avenger's continuity, but not just cheap knock-offs. Patriot struggled with an addiction to MGH, Asgardian and his brother are now revealed to be the remnants of the souls that Wanda used to make her children, Iron Lad was revealed to be a young Kang, and then has his brain patterns uploaded to the newly rebuilt Vision after his death. And now we find that the Hulkling is the son of Mar-Vell and a Kree Princess? Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

So, one more week down. Come back tomorrow to talk about superheroic zombies.