Thursday, May 04, 2006

Weekly Comic Round-Up

Hey gang, we’re going to get an abbreviated round-up here. Because, you see, there were two major comic events that released issues today. The first one is the final issue of Infinite Crisis. The second one is the first issue of Civil War.

These two comics need more than a brief bit in my round-up, so they’ll get their own entry. Probably Monday, to avoid putting off the Top Five Supervillains for too much longer.

In the meantime, here are the comics for the week that aren’t part of a world-changing crossover.

Action Comics 838
Up, Up and Away continues. Clark is still without his powers, and life seems to be going well for him as far as that goes. His career as a reporter has never been better, his relationship with Lois is going strong, he has time to hang out with Jimmy, Supergirl is on hand to protect Metropolis, Luthor is still plotting something big with all of the Kryptonite in the world, and Intergang is sending superpowered assassins after him.

Hmmm. Ok, maybe all is not well in the world. It turns out that Clark’s physiology is still that of a Kryptonian, but following the Crisis it resisted absorbing solar radiation. Maybe it just got supercharged with red solar energy. Meanwhile, Lex’s plan involves focusing the kryptonite radiation into an ancient buried Kryptonian artifact. This can’t be a Good Thing. And, in the midst of being attacked by Neutron and Radion, Clark’s powers seem to be returning.

Or at least, that was the impression I got from his arm surviving a radiation blast, and him being unhurt by the train that hit him.

JSA 85
The assault by the Gentleman Ghost continues apace, and the casualties are rising. What is the JSA to do when Power Girl seems to be the only one who can touch him? Why, Jakeem will use the Thunderbolt, obviously.

Incidentally, isn't it nice that, even deprived of Dr. Fate and the Spectre, the JSA still has one deus ex machine available to them?

I actually quite liked seeing the ghosts of the JSA brought back to battle the Ghost, even if Batman was in there. It looks like we’re going to have some odd continuity issues that have now arisen from the ashes of Infinite Crisis.

And you know what? I’m fine with that. The opportunity for Jenny to come and say goodbye to Alan was rather touching as well.

Supergirl 6
I was always fond of the “Batman and Superman masquerading as Flamebird and Nightwing inside of Kandor” stories. So, it should come as no surprise that when I saw that Power Girl and Supergirl are now in the new continuity Kandor as Nightwing and Flamebird, I was excited.

There’s a lot weird going on here. The implications of this story suggest that there are numerous Kryptonians inside Kandor, which I didn’t think was the case in current continuity.

Of course, post Infinite Crisis, there’s a whole new continuity to learn.

Now, the biggest mystery is who is the Kal-El ruling Kandor? It clearly isn’t Clark. It might be the Eradicator, but I’m not willing to make a prediction on that.

Swamp Thing 27
Swamp Thing remains moody and contemplative, which is exactly what we’ve grown to expect with this book. Abigail is having trouble coping with the strangeness that is Alec’s life, and Tefe is glad to see that her father visited.

I consider the Toad-King to be a minor character, and not terribly interesting, but he does give Alec something to do battle with, so that's ok.

But there are two story elements introduced which matter. The first is that Alec’s utopia in the swamp is now going to come under attack due to the Toad-King’s minions. Swamp Thing versus the World is going to happen, and soon. Which, when you get right down to it, is darn ironic.

For me, the bigger surprise and the more interesting development is that the little wood creatures are the fragments of the Floronic Man returning. It makes sense that people would assume the pieces of living wood were a part of the Swamp Thing, but personally I’m happy to see Dr. Woodrue return from the Green.

Teen Titans 35
This may be the best book that DC is putting out today, at least in my opinion. And a lot of the mysteries of last month’s issue are now beginning to be revealed. Incidentally, if you avoided the spoilers from last month, then you don’t want to keep reading this.

Wonder-Girl is probably going to rejoin the team, which I’m happy and excited about. Beast Boy and the Doom Patrol have reappeared, which has Cyborg happy. Ravager is not dating Robin, but based on her showing up naked in his bedroom, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that she sure wants to.

(Personally, I hope that Tim removes the stick from his butt and lets her in. It'll be good for her, and good for him. Besides, we need to continue the tradition of Tim dating the children of supervillains who were once villains themselves. And Rose has potential.)

But the major issue is that Tim’s attempts to re-clone Superboy may have unexpected success. Wonder-Girl is trying to track down the Brotherhood, and the Brotherhood is trying to get cloning equipment to make a new body for the Brain. It seems that no one has been able to clone a human being since the Crisis, but the researcher the Brotherhood was after has the knowledge.

If the Titans play their cards right, Tim may find out what he was doing wrong. Superboy will be back, but it still won’t be Connor. And what, exactly, will Cassie’s reaction to Tim’s cloning attempts be? I don't think she's going to be thrilled, truthfully.

Ultimate Spider-Man 94
Well, of course Deadpool wasn’t Xavier. It was a disguise. The same disguise Deadpool used to ambush the X-Men and get them into Genosha in the first place.

The battle proceeds, and an increasingly angered group of teenaged superhumans take the Reavers apart, little by little. Mojo gets an unpleasant surprise when Jean (or should I say Phoenix?) releases the Professor, and Bendis handles that with just the right touch. We have no idea what the Professor did to Mojo, and I think we’re happier not knowing the details.

And the relationship between Peter and Kitty seems to be going strong. I don’t know how well they’re going to manage to keep this story going. The urge to get Peter back together with MJ must be overwhelming. But I hope they manage to make it happen. I really like them together.

The issue ends on a tragic note, however. Peter may have dodged a bullet with Aunt May being out all night. His secret identity is still safe, at least for now. But with the identity of May’s date revealed, readers familiar with the 616 continuity are now filled with dread.

No clones. No Ultimate Clones. Please, please, please.

Of course, Bendis has earned enough trust that I’ll keep reading. At least to begin with. Heck, if he could write a story with Carnage that I managed to not hate, he deserves a chance to make clones palatable. But only one chance. That’s it.

So, other than Infinite Crisis and Civil War, that’s this week in the world of my comic book collection. Tune in tomorrow for the remainder of the Top Ten Supervillains, and then on Monday, we’ll take a look at the Mega-Crossovers.


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