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!

11 Comments:

Anonymous Nico said...

When Checkmate first came out I loved it. It was wonderful! But it didn't take them long to jump off-track. I knew they were on the way to ruin when personalized armor for the knights started showing up. The Janus Directive was their last great hurrah and after that they went from being a black ops group of unknown numbers or means to being a gimpy DC version of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I'm sad to see it's still languishing in that state.

Is there a pool to see how long it takes Deathstroke to kill his latest child? He's two for two so far.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Os said...

I'm unsure what to make of GA's new costume. Of course, your pic is the only one I've seen of it, but I really liked the old one. But, I'm excited by what you're saying and can't wait for the trades.

Ravager's in the Ttians? Mia wasn't mentioned in either GA or Titans? And after they finally hook-up, Superboy and Wonder-Girl are over? My interest is definitely piqued.

Thank for the warning on OMAC. Secret Six seems promising, though.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Os,

Yeah, considering the last we saw of Ravager before this she was trying to kill the Titans, that is rather interesting. And I mentioned Mia, she's on an island with Connor.

No bet Nico, on how long Ravager manages to live.

The new GA costume is, at least, still close enough. It's cosmetic, not a major overhaul.

And as for Superboy and Wonder-Girl, the ansewer is there, if you're willing to deal with the spoilers.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Os said...

It may be cosmetic, but the loss of the hat really pushes the suspension of my diselief now that he's mayor. Hey, let's make it even harder to buy the fact that nobody sees through the secret ID!

(I do have to say though, you're passing comment about his stance on gay marriage makes me really impatient to read it.)

8:13 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Oh, you can't tell from the cover. But while the hat is gone, it's been replaced by the Longbow-hunters style hood. The hood just is pushed back on the cover I posted above.

As for his stance on gay marriage, I'm sure you can guess what it would be. He is, after all, the ultimate liberal.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Yeah, so I don't read comics really now. But...

Ultimate Peter's dating Kitty Pryde? Wow. I don't know how I feel about that. I almost hate to admit that it strikes me as having potential.

Aaron, I'd like to know you feel about the whole mutant depowering thing. I know it's kinda old news, but I'd dig seeing a blog from you on it.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Dave,

Regarding Peter and Kitty dating: In the Ultimate Universe, Peter decided it was too dangerous for MJ to keep dating him. This came on the heels of Gwen Stacy dying (not from being thrown off a bridge, but by the Carnage symbiote, which was an entirely different beast than the 616 one), and then her getting herself almost killed, IIRC, by Harry Osborn who was, against his own will, the Hobgoblin. So, he broke up with her.

Meanwhile, Kitty was watching all of the other X-Men pair off, and, well, wanted a boyfriend. So, since Jean had been inside his head, got together with him. And Peter doesn't worry about her getting killed accidentally, because, you know, intangible.

It's not *real* serious yet, but they are dating.

As for the mutant-depowering thing, are you talking about the whole House of M thing?

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Os said...

A hood? Ok, that allays my fears. As far as his stance, it's not so much that I can't guess, it's that I can't wait to see how he puts it.



Dave,
I don't want to claim to be a final judge, but I really liked the way they're working with Kitty and Peter. In my opinion, it works really well for both characters. I also like that it is yet another way of showing that this is not just a reprint of the 616 with more up-to-date cultural references.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Os,

I won't ruin it for you then by telling you. But it's worth waiting for. And yeah, the hood is there. I think it's viewable on the cover from last month.

Good point also about how the Kitty/Peter relationship is a nice way of showing that the Ultimate universe is it's own creature. Of course, amusingly enough, it works well for Kitty, since in the 616 Universe she's still involved with a Peter. It just happens to be Piotyr Rasputin, not Peter Parker.

(And Ultimate Collosus is a homosexual, so he couldn't really date Kitty anyhow.)

11:53 AM  
Anonymous dave said...

Thanks for the Pryde/Parker info and perspectives. You know, those two... it seems to me like they're one of the few comic couples who could potentially have a normal, healthy relationship. Shared interests, both work-related and un-, different spheres but plenty to talk about, both geniuses and about equally smart in different fields, both of them willing to talk and to listen, both people of intense feeling but not prone to rapid shifts of affection. I also think they'd be really good at confronting each other with things and remaining calm about it and dedicated to a relationship. Dang, I wish that would work out. Comics needs *one* of those. Pretty much every SH couple I've seen is thoroughly dysfunctional in some way.

But this being comics, I'm sure Peter will grow mandibles and Kitty will somehow partially shift into six different dimensions simultaneously before that happens. That, or Peter will end up realizing that he really still loves MJ and can never love anyone else. I'd really like to NOT see that be the outcome.

And yeah, I do in fact mean the House of M thing. Dang. I mean, who was cruel enough to depower the Blob? Talk about being mean for meanness' sake.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Nico said...

It's not necessarily that the stable couples aren't there, they just don't tend to stay stable over the course of the years.

For a long time Kitty and Colossus were one of THE stable couples. So were Peter and MJ and Reed and Susan (eventually). I don't know their various statuses these days.

Oh, and Banshee and Moira were solid for a very long time, although with Banshee loosing his powers all the time he wasn't a core character for X-Men.

3:25 PM  

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