Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Villainous Comic-Round Up

It's a week of heroic villains and villainous heroes. Quite an odd week, really.

Black Adam 1
It's no secret that I've always liked the Marvel family - Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, CM3 and Black Adam too. I was quite happy when Adam became a hero, of sorts, through the Justice Society and the flashback to Egypt. I enjoyed his stint as a hero in 52, and was bummed when it was put to an end with the death of Isis and Osiris. So, with him having his own comic, I had no choice but to pick it up.

Overall? Not a disappointment. I knew going into it that we weren't going to see Black Adam in his superpowered form, since he gave his powers up in 52, and Mary has them at the present in Countdown. But I was thrilled at the intensity of this issue. Adam's disfigurement at the hands of his followers, his desperate struggle to get Isis' remains, and then her resurrection all had a great speed and emotional depth.

Countdown 38
It's not the best comic I'm reading. It's a little disjointed, and a little uneven. There isn't enough time to focus on each story, and it doesn't flow real well from week to week. But this might be the comic I had the most fun with this week. Why?

We got to see Batwoman and the Question working together to catch the Trickster and Piper.

We got to watch an epic computer battle between the Calculator and Oracle, tying into the mystery of Karate Kid.

We got to find out more about Mary Marvel's new powers, how she deals with it, and that it's connected to Eclipso.

With this much good, plus Jimmy Olsen and his involvement with the Titans, and then Darkseid and his plot to remove the New Gods, I could handle the lack of coherency and just enjoy the moments.

New Avengers 33
I feel this book has gotten unfair criticism. I dig the stories, and the characters a lot, even if some think the New Avengers are an unfit superteam. But I think the storytelling has been very tight, and the characterization has been dead on. I'm already a little tired of the mystery of "Who's the Skrull?" and the suspicion it's causing. I also kind of doubt that any of them are Skrulls, despite their paranoia about such in the wake of discovering that Elektra was a Skrull.

The highlight of this issue, without a doubt, would be the flashback to Captain America training the Avengers. I like the fact that Hawkeye has been shown to be a devastatingly effective hand-to-hand fighter. It's something we've always known, but has often been ignored. I'm also very interested in seeing who this new crime boss is.

Green Lantern 22
I am a big, big Green Lantern fan. Always have been - at least, ever since the mid-90's with the introduction of Kyle Rayner. And as mentioned earlier, I really dug the first issue of The Sinestro Corps. I've also always dug the Cyborg (the Superman villain one, Hank Henshaw). So, needless to say, this issue was just about perfect for me. Finding out that Hank Henshaw's motivation is actually to find a being powerful enough to kill him (such as the Anti-Monitor) was awesome, and honestly, something I should have seen coming. It's also kind of nice to see the connection between Parallax and the Cyborg - since it was by the Cyborg's actions that Parallax was able to possess Hal Jordan. The battle between the two Corps was also just as epic and amazing as it should have been. And the cliffhanger ending, with Hal facing Lyssa Drak?

Where's the next issue already?

Hulk 109
The character of Amadeus Cho, frankly, bores the heck out of me. I don't need to see the world's smartest teenage genius. For one thing, there are enough people in the Marvel Universe who claim to be the world's smartest man - we don't need another. Further, we don't need it to be an irritating teenager - we had that done with Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation (no offense meant to Wil Wheton, it wasn't his fault).

But despite that, I really enjoyed this issue. Because it focused on, what for me, will make the difference between whether the Hulk is a hero or not. Does he kill?

So far, the Hulk has never directly, intentionally killed anyone - although he has tried. He certainly hasn't done so while Banner was in charge. This issue brings that conflict to a head, in the discussions between Cho and Rick Jones, in the interactions between the Hulk's human allies and his Warbound, and finally in Cho's discovery of the Illuminati fitted with the Gladiator discs.

Marvel has shown themselves willing to make brave choices that change their landscape. The Registration Act. The unmasking of Peter Parker. The death of Captain America. This could be another one - determining once and for all whether the Hulk belongs on the roster of Earth's heroes or not. I have no doubt he'll keep his own comic either way. I have no doubt he will continue to do things which, overall, help mankind. But if he crosses this line he will remove himself from the status of "superhero", at least in my mind - which is something I will grieve for. I'm not saying that if Marvel does make him kill someone I'll hate him, or the company, or anything along those lines. It just means that they will have forever altered their continuity, and the five year old kid inside me who used to love the Hulk, and get chased around a comic book store by the owner, a friend of the family, who would shout "Hulk smash puny human!", will shed a tear or two.

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Blogger Tom said...

Wait, what is Karate Kid doing back in the 21st Century? Isn't he still a current member in the Legion of Superheroes roster?

Okay, okay, I suppose if he's time traveling again then he could be in both books at once.

I would love to see Karate Kid take on Deathstroke. I love Deathstroke as one of my favorite villains but it would be fun to see him get whupped on by an unenhanced teenage kid who's the top rank of DC's martial artists.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Karate Kid is still a member of the Legion. A large contingent of them have been time travelling, for various Crisis related reasons.

2:50 PM  

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