Friday, June 02, 2006

Weekly Comic Round-Up (One day later)

You know, to tie into One Year Later.

Or not. Just because of the holiday, really.

So, let's make with the superheroes, shall we?

52: Week Four
(I decided to label the comic this way, the pure numeral description was bugging me.)
The missing year continues to be filled in, and we have a couple of distinct storylines we're following here. This issue only touches on the Booster Gold story, as he has a fight with Bea (Fire) about whether or not he'll go into space to help find the other heroes. He's too busy working on his own fame and fortune, and when called on it, uses the standard defense of "I've given up enough. It's my turn now." Poor Booster, someone is going to hit him really hard with a clue-by-four soon.

John Henry Irons (Steel) is trying to give up being Steel, but something weird is going on with Steel refusing to let go. This issue just teased us with it, I suspect next week will be more informative.

Plot number three involves the Challengers of the Unknown and their attempt to find the missing heroes, the ones who were battling near the Rann-Thanagar conflict. They find a Zeta beam with the heroes, who come back at the end. Sort of. Several heroes are severely wounded, it looks like Atom Smasher and Wildcat are physically merged, and Hawkgirl is giant-sized. Yikes.

But the main plot this issue goes back to the Question and Detective Montoya. The Question has her on stakeout, and the two end up fighting a monster underneath Gotham. They really are writing the Question to be very similar to his JLU incarnation. Yay!

Finally, the mystery over the Superboy cult deepens, as Dibny goes through a strange baptism-esque ritual, and loses his wedding ring in the process. I am deeply puzzled by this sequence.

Action Comics 839
Two major things happen in this issue. The first is that we get more of an explanation of Clark's power loss. We get the recap of the end of Infinite Crisis (for those who didn't read the crossover, I presume), and the description of the year without his powers, and how that affected Clark mentally.

We also get a nice little description in his mind about what it's like to be Superman. It really touched on some of the issues of "What makes Superman the hero that he is?"

The other major event is the subtle touches that are bringing the comic to more closely resemble the movie. We discover that the Kryptonian artifact Lex has been trying to get is a Kryptonian ship, which causes crystals to sprout through Metropolis, much like we've seen in the trailers for Superman Returns.

They also do some work to change his look to more resemble the film. The colors of the costume seemed just a little darker, and they raised up the shield on his chest, giving it the same 3D look that Brandon Routh sports.

Oh, incidentally, Superman finishes defeating the villlains from last issue. Like that was ever in doubt.

Amazing Spider-Man 532
I've said it before, if they don't wimp out, Civil War will change Marvel Comics forever. Forever. This issue takes place during Civil War 1. It's after the Stamford incident, and right about the time that the Registration Act is about to pass. The issue begins with Peter talking to Aunt May and MJ about the act, and what it will mean.

After the clean-up at Stamford, Stark meets with the President, who asks him straight up: Are you Iron Man? And Stark tells him. Tony then asks Peter if Peter is really going to stand with him, and that if he is, that means unmasking. Peter, obviously, is troubled by this. And so to Aunt May and MJ he goes.

MJ raises some important points. If Peter stands by Tony, will he then have to help take down heroes who refuse to unmask? Will the heroes be forced to name names? And would Tony reveal Peter's name to the government if Peter refuses to unmask?

Then we get to a moment that just about made me cry, as Aunt May talks about why she was angry when she found out that Peter was Spider-Man. Because she was mad that the world would think bad of her nephew, like people do think of Spider-Man. MJ and Aunt May tell Peter to unmask, and that they will stand beside them.

Morning comes, and Peter is getting close to running out. He just doesn't think he can do it, not after all the work he has done hiding his identity. And then May comes into the room, with a version of his original costume which she made. She mentions the key phrase to Peter's life, "With great power comes great responsibility." And so Peter goes to the press conference with Tony.

The issue ends with Spider-Man addressing the crowd, prepared to make an announcement. It is going to be a long month waiting for this resolution.

If they don't wimp out... wow.

Incredible Hulk 95
I'm not going to make you suffer through any more rants about how much I hate Planet Hulk. I'm just not going to make you deal with it.

The Silver Surfer went through a portal to get to this planet that weakened him, and made him vulnerable to the disks that the Empire implants in everyone to enforce obedience. The Hulk and his gladiators fight the Surfer, and destroy his disk. Hulk and crew have won their freedom, but before they can be freed, they need to kill a girl who is tied to one of the gladiators.

They refuse, but before the Emperor can kill them, the Surfer destroys the disks of everyone on the planet, and then the Surfer, the Hulk and the gladiators tear down society.

The Surfer offers to take the Hulk back to Earth, but Hulk refuses, saying he finally found a world where he fits in. So the Surfer leaves, and we get more Planet Hulk to look forward to. Yay.

Lucifer 74
Have you ever imagined what it must be like to be God? I mean really thought about it? If you weren't able to be detached from it all, how could you possibly manage? How incredibly lonely it must be, and there would be no peers, no one to talk to that understood.

Lucifer has left, and Elaine is now in this position. So she handles it the only way you can, by becoming detached. By leaving her life behind.

But first, a goodbye. And so Elaine arranges a girls night out. Jill, Maziken, Mona, Spera, Rachel. All of them for one last night. A chance to say "Goodbye."

Elaine also changes her mother's memory, and brings her brother back, to give her mother a happy ending.

Incredibly moving, and incredibly touching. DC's Vertigo imprint is about this stuff. Not just monsters and breasts and violence and magic and gore. Vertigo allows these things, but that's not what it's for. The Vertigo titles, at their best, explore what the world is about.

Spectre 1
We meet the new Spectre, Crispus Allen, a cop who was killed by Jim Corrigan. No, not the original Jim Corrigan. When the Spectre approaches him to be his new host, Crispus refuses. He spends a year wandering the Earth as a ghost, and then the Spectre returns to offer again. This time, Crispus accepts.

Crispus isn't sure about the Spectre, and doesn't really approve of his method of dispensing justice. Too ironic, not swift enough is his take on it. Maybe he'll be able to affect that.

The continuity is a bit confusing, however. The story starts in the aftermath of Infinite Crisis, since Allen saw the Spectre destroying people over Gotham. But Crispus doesn't merge with the Spectre for a year. So this should be concurrent with One Year Later. But it doesn't have the logo on it, and during the year, Allen watches Bruce Wayne as Batman. But Batman was absent from Gotham during the missing year. So I'm a bit confused.

It's not a bad book, but I'm not sure if it's good either.

Ultimate Extinction 5
This would have made such a great action movie. We get to watch as the Ultimates and the X-Men fight against the Moon Dragon clones, in an incredible action sequence.

Then there is Jean and Xavier using the Vision and Cerebro to channel the human mind against Gah Lak Tus. Gah Lak Tus can't handle humanities dreams, thoughts and feelings, so Xavier and Jean make that a weapon against it. A beautiful, subtle, moment as Jean pleads to mankind. She speaks of thoughts as weapons, of using your thoughts like a bullet, like a fist, or like fire. Go Phoenix.

But most importantly, we discover the secret behind Reed Richards ultimate weapon. He opens a gate into a baby Universe, a new one, right before its Big Bang. He drops a nuke in there, and then channels the energy of that Big Bang towards Gah Lak Tus. It doesn't destroy Gah Lak Tus, but it destroys 20% of it, which between that and the mental assault, are enough to scare the Destroyer off.

But at what a cost...

Ultimate Fantastic Four 30
There is so much good here. So much good.

Apparently when they were in the N-Zone, Johnny picked up a parasite, which is slowly eating him. And if it breaks free, it'll eat the Earth. Obviously, this is a problem. Incidentally, there is a lot of Earth-eating going on in comics right now.

No one seems able to help either. Reed tries every doctor on Earth, and no one has any solutions. He even tries to get the "Frightful Four" to help, but they refuse, even when Reed tells them that he alone has argued against their extermination. He was even working on transporting them back to their planet.

Of course, there is one person Reed has not talked to yet. The monarch of Latveria. With a heavy heart, Reed and company go to meet with Doom.

Doom now has Johnny and Sue's mother working for him. This is scary. Doom is also wearing the armor and cloak that make him resemble the 616 Doom more. This is a Good Thing. I love Doom when he's handled correctly.

Professor Storm doesn't share Reed's opinions of the Frightful Four, and so with the FF in Latveria, he moves to exterminate the zombies. The last image we see is the zombies noticing the extermination squad, and zombie-Sue saying "Boys, it's time we made our move."

The good side is that the Zombie FF shouldn't be as able to destroy Earth as quickly as zombie Sentinel did. But this still spells serious trouble for the Ultimate Universe.

Ultimate Spider-Man 95
It makes me very sad each week as I post covers. Inevitably, there is one or two covers I cannot find the cover art for, and so I am forced to show the entire cover, with logo, issue number and barcode.

But I digress. Bendis once more delivers a great multi-tiered story. Peter's personal life continues to be disasterous. As a result of Genosha, everyone knows that Spider-Man is involved with Kitty Pryde, which means that Peter Parker can't be, not unless they want to reveal his identity.

It also means that MJ knows about Peter's new relationship, and that of course makes for happiness and light between Peter and MJ. MJ is obviously upset, and asks all those questions that no one wants to be asked by their ex, especially not their ex they still have feelings for.

And clearly Peter has feelings for MJ still. He broke up with her for her protection, not because he didn't want her. It's interesting that Kitty Pryde has taken on the Black-Cat role for the Ultimate version of Peter. (Not precisely, of course, since Kitty does care about the Peter Parker side to Spider-Man.)

If this wasn't enough for Spider-Man to deal with, and obviously it isn't, there are vampires in New York. Vampires. Ben Urich has interviewed a vampire's victim, and then went missing. When Peter goes to investigate, he ends up in the middle of a fight between an unrevealed vampire, the vampire's victim, who is now a vampire herself, and Morbius. Morbius isn't identified by name, but clearly it's him.

Well, we turned this week into another spooky week. Zombies, vampires, and world-eating monsters. What a week.


Anonymous OJ said...

Detective Montoya becoming the new Bat woman? What are your thoughts? A possible set up for the incarnation. I came by this blog from AlBehere, loving the reviews.

6:24 PM  

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