Thursday, April 06, 2006

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.

Squeee!

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.

3 Comments:

Blogger Paul McElligott said...

Interesting blog. Just checking in to say hey because you and I have the same day job.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Paul,

I've come across your movie review blog a few times while bouncing around BlogMad. I rather enjoy your reviews, and went ahead and added you to my blogroll.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Gaymosexual said...

Couldn't agree more about Young Avengers. This title makes me war within myself every tiem I pick up my stash of books every month. Do I read it first or do I save it until last. Inevitably I end up doing both as it is THAT good.

I nearly wet mysewlf at the end of this issue though. The tension is almost unbearable!

11:00 PM  

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