Monday, September 10, 2007

A Marvelous Weekly Comic Round-Up

Every week (roughly) Aaron goes to the Laughing Ogre in Columbus, Ohio and spends far more money than his wife would prefer. He then comes back here and writes about the comics he reads that he thought were noteworthy. This isn't everything he picks up, just the things that he feels merit discussion - either for being really good, or for having something really wrong with them.

Hey, true believers! (I have always wanted to say that). This past week books were delayed for Labor Day, and it was a light week, with almost no DC titles to speak of. More than that, my store got shorted by Diamond, so I missed half of my pull anyhow. So, we're just going to get to the Marvel books this week that seemed worthwhile.

She-Hulk 21
She-Hulk’s own title has always kind of floated out on the fringe of 616-Marvel continuity. It breaks the fourth wall routinely and makes self-referential jokes about being a comic book. It’s also light, fun, and doesn’t depress you to read, which is why I read it.

In this issue, Jen gets her powers back due to a P.L.O.T. device that brings people from another reality (one where no one has super-powers) to the mainstream 616 universe, where they are temporarily transformed into a duplicate of their 616 counterpart. It’s an extreme vacation, of sorts. And before they arrive, they’re given a copy of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, so that they know what it is they’re supposed to know in this reality.

But of course, they don’t always pay that much attention.

And in one fell swoop, they have explained away every continuity glitch in all of the Marvel Universe. Carnage shows up in X-Men, even though the Sentry ripped him in half? It’s actually Cletus Cassidy from Earth A on vacation.

I love this book.

Hulk 110
Is the Hulk a monster, or a hero?

It’s a question that has never been definitively answered in Marvel Comics, and rightly so, I think. But I never thought I’d see it pushed to quite this level. Genius kid, Amadeus Cho, puts forth the argument that Banner’s brain sees the world in numbers, the same way that he does. For that reason, the Hulk has nearly always avoided killing, except when brainless or in the most extreme circumstances.

This is Cho’s argument for why the Hulk won’t go through with making the Illuminati fight to the death against one another.

I’m not sure I buy it, and I’m not sure that it was needed, really. I was willing to accept that the Hulk had caused a minimal loss of life simply as a convention of comic books. Still, it made an interesting argument, and one I look forward to seeing how it plays out in the conclusion of World War Hulk. What I do wonder though is why we needed a new, and really annoying, character to fill the role of Cho. I’d have preferred to see these arguments put forward by an existing member of the Marvel Universe. Now, it’s true that most of the “big brains” of the Marvel Universe are a part of the Illuminati, but not all of them. How hard would it have been for Rick Jones and, in a surprise move, the Leader, to put forth the same observation? Still, a fun issue, with a lot riding on the edge of “Will the Hulk kill or not?”

Amazing Spider-Man 544
“One More Day” is here, as Peter makes a last ditch effort to save Aunt May’s life. A doctor who feels that he owes Spider-Man something has made it possible for May to stay in the hospital, so long as there is some way to pay for it. “Insurance would be good. A bottomless checkbook would be better.”

Which leads Mr. Parker to pay a visit to Tony Stark, a man who has a bottomless checkbook. The physical fight between Iron Man and Spidey is short, and ultimately not the important part of their confrontation. Instead, we get to see Peter crack into Tony’s “whatever we do is justified” armor, and ultimately this forces Tony to send Jarvis over with a check for 2 million dollars, to take care of his “cousin.”

Sadly, medical care may only be enough to keep May comfortable until her final hour, which sends Peter off to find someone who can help. In the circles he travels in, death is routinely cheated. Why can’t May be saved as well?

JMS is a great writer, and takes what might be a cliché in other author’s hands into a deeply moving story. I think that May is not going to make it through this, and while that saddens me, I think I’m ok with it too. Just so long as we don’t see the Clone of Aunt May with spider-powers two years down the road. Let her death mean something, in the way that the unmasking has, and I’ll remain interested.

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Blogger Matt said...

Now if only DC could explain away their continuity glitches that easily instead of resorting to major crossover events like the coming Final Crisis, everything would be good.

9:13 PM  

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