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Thursday, March 29, 2012

3/27/12 Reviews - AvsX, Avengers, Aquaman, Daredevil

The hits, they just keep on coming. Week # 2 in my return to buying funny books on a regular basis. Let's dive in and review some books because this is a blog about comics.


I know this was the week that AvX # 0 came out and that's the only thing worth reading reviews about but all of us comic fans are slaves to continuity and making you read a review of AvX before Avengers 24.1 would make your brain explode with frothing, irrational rage and I'm trying to be better about that this time around. I am going to save that special Fanboy Rampage (RIP) for the actual comics.

Major Spoilers, I know, but the Vision is back. And that is not the same Vision from the Young Avengers. Nah, it's the original Vision, back from the grave, all existential on your ass about what it means to have been on, then shut off, then turned back on again. The Vision was never really alive, right? He's a super-powered computer shaped like a man who fell in love with the Chaos Magicks wielding mutant daughter of Magneto. There's nothing alive about that last statement at all. He was turned on, hung out for a bunch of years, only to get a virus and be subsequently shutdown by the android malware that was the Sensational She-Hulk way back when in Avengers Disassembled. Remember that? That was the beginning of an end that really hasn't stopped for a lot of us. 

The Vision. Once he was dead, now he's not. Welcome Back, Vision! 

When you're an android back from the dead, the first order of business is asking questions. You start with Tony Stark, move on to Magento, and then end with Captain America telling you to buck up, soldier, because today is not yesterday and all we have to look forward to is tomorrow. 

I wonder what it's like to write about costume wearing robots. Do you channel Arthur C. Clark or Philip K. Dick? These are the tough decisions facing modern day comic book storytelling. 

Also, Hawkeye and Spider-woman are trying navigate the turbulent seas of "hey, we've done it a few times and I kind of like you, are we together or what?" thing. That is always tough, especially when your dead wife is not so dead and hanging around somewhere. Then again, there probably was an issue where things were really complicated for Mockingbird and Clint needed to give her time to figure it all out. Knowing Jessica Drew, she most certainly moved in before the corpse was even warm. 

Trifling girls being all trifling.

AvsX # 1

It all begins here! The Avengers! Versus the X-men! In a knock-down, drag out fight that's sure to have you hanging by your seat, because really, EVERYTHING AFTER THIS WILL NOT BE THE SAME.

I know, I know. Dumb comic book blogger coming out of blogging retirement, and already, he's being a mouthy little SOB about the next big cross-over that he has not read yet. So typical, us comic fans. We are as predictable as the story lines that unfold before us.

The Avengers are going to fight the X-men because the Phoenix Force is rearing its ugly head in the Marvel U again and its next host is Hope, the first mutant born since M-Day who was whisked away into the future, grew up, and then came back. Also, Hope has red hair and the Phoenix Force is a sucker for red headed girls. And the Avengers are not okay with that. Actually, from reading this issue you would never guess that but this is a zero issue so it is okay if we skip over those little details. 

This isn't about establishing the why and when we are all gonna tussle. This issue is about setting up the stage for the major players of the storyline which are the Scarlet Witch and Hope. The Scarlet Witch is back and she's fighting MODOK because that's what you do when you are trying to sort out the kind of emotions that come with being the reason behind both Avengers Disassembled AND House Of M. Life is hard when you got a glowing va jay jay. Naturally, you find MODOK and throw some salt in his super-villain-y game. 

Ms. Marvel and Spider-woman show up, lend a hand, and take her back to the Avengers Mansion for a reunion that obviously goes bad when the Vision lets her know that she is not welcome. For a robot, that Vision sure is emotional. That is not what is important here, though. This part of the issue is about setting up the Scarlet Witch for her big comeback. At the end of all of this, Wanda will get her chance to save the world and rejoin her place alongside Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Brian Michael Bendis is leaving the Avengers franchise and it is only natural that he finally gives the Scarlet Witch her chance to redeem herself once and for all. 

I'm calling it. You probably did, too. The Scarlet Witch will save the day and everyone will rejoice and dance and do whatever else it is that we do when things like that happen in super-hero comics. 

Do you think anyone told the Vision that the first thing that Hawkeye did when he came back from the dead was sleep his wife? That Hawkeye; such a man-whore, he is.

That was only part one of AvsX # 0. Part two has Hope, getting all riled up and having one those fights that only happens so we can move the story along. It's a Mulligan Fight. Kind of like how Scarlet Witch fought MODOK. That didn't do anything but give the writer a reason for two Avengers to show up, fight, chat, and then bring her back to the Mansion in order for us to see the exchange between Wanda and the Vision. In this case, it's the Serpent Society robbing a bank and Hope shows up to stop them because she's moonlighting as San Francisco's vigilante. 

What we are really seeing is Hope, getting all angry, letting loose and showing her darker side so we can all say "man, she's got a temper and is a little off-the-chain with that unchecked aggression, I wonder what's gonna happen when she's possessed by the Phoenix Force? I should keep reading." It's all set up and it makes sense for a zero issue. These are the major players and they are all being put in their place for them to be so. 

Was it a good issue? Nope but the boobs are nice. That's what we're all here for, right?

Aquaman # 7

I know. Me, buying an Aquaman comic? I must have been high. 

I've heard stories that this New 52 Aquaman is uber-boss and that it's time for me to give this a try. I know that once upon a time I may have had it out with a certain DC blogger about Aquaman and how lame he was but at the ripe old age of 32 I'm fairly certain that anybody who shows up in a super-hero comic book wearing a costume is just as lame as Aquaman has ever been. 

I have been too far removed from all of this to have any preference. DC or Marvel, it's all white noise to me. My second week in a row buying weekly comics and it is tough to say whether things have gotten better or worse. Other than my hard-earned cash, there is no emotional investment in this for me. Do I like reading dramatic stories about men and women in capes punching each other while trying to save the day from the likes of Doctor Doom and Lex Luthor? Sure. I'm only human. Is it possible that those same super-hero comics are capable of delivering a story that actually says something beyond Spandex Man hits Professor Bad Guy? Of course. Is Aquaman # 7 the issue where that happens? Not really.

Aquaman and Aquawoman do just that and it's business as usual. Ancient relics from Atlantis are stolen, people die, and heroes go looking for answers. My ignorance towards all the above make it hard for this issue to stand out but being that this is issue # 7 in a series that came from a major retcon, it is possible that I'm 7 months too late. 

Either way, as a new reader, color me still emotional uninvested. 

Daredevil # 10

In my absense, I still paid a little attention. From what I heard, Mark Waid's Daredevil has been up to some good. Graves have been robbed. One of them belonged to Matt's dad, therefore Daredevil is on the case.

The art in this issue is great. Just great. And Daredevil, he goes toe-to-toe with Mole Man, which we get to see in a nice little fight between the two. For a second, you almost think that Mole Man is kind of a bad ass, going punch-for-punch with Daredevil. When it is all said and done, it is another fight amongst a million super-hero comic book fights. That's not what makes this issue intriguing but it helps. 

No, what makes this intriguing is the Daredevil who was dating the Black Cat and the machinations of villians like Megacrime and the Black Spectre. None of those names are familiar to me yet the little bits about them dropped in this issue, mostly revealed from a break-up letter from the Black Cat to Daredevil, are enough to make me want to pick up a trade or two. Good stuff, indeed.

Weekly comics: it's a wonder that I ever left you.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

OMG, I bought some comics!

And now I'm going to blog about them on my blog that nobody reads.

So yes. Comics. Its been awhile. Well, not that long. I did pick up the first two issues of Wolverine and the X-men which were great. I really should pick up the rest. Instead of buying those, I bought these.

I know, I know. Justice League # 7? I must have been high. Anyhoo, let's get to talk about some comics, shall we?

Justice League # 7

So DC did a big ol' reboot and now we have all these books that are kicking around and Rob Liefeld is plotting three of them, up is down and cats and dogs are attending tea parties hosted by the mailman. Since I missed the bus on that whole first issue thing, I figured I would go with the next jumping-on point.

And that's good because this issue has Gene Ha on art which is a million times better than Jim Lee's superbly technical yet stiff pencil work. And that's not easy for me to say because I was raised on some Jim Lee. At one point, I had all of his issues of Uncanny X-men and Wildcats. Jim Lee was my boy for a long, long time. That dude can draw very well, for sure. Just not when it comes to side boob.

Not that it really matters but does not look right at all. And don't worry, its not only side boob that he has a problem with. Its super-crotch, too.

That right leg is sticking out, all stiff and wooden like. Doesn't look right. The composition on this whole thing is a little weird. Go see for yourself.

But Gene Ha? Fantastic. Go read Top Ten for some good Gene Ha art. This issue has some good Gene Ha art, too. Everyone's face look a little long and pointy-ish which is not something I remember from his Top Ten days but then again, those were some crazy days, amirite or amirite???!? High five, brah. The pointy faces are okay because it's Gene Ha and he can draw the Justice League for me any day. Personally, I would rather he draw another book because this comic was not so good.

Not that I have a horse in this race, but this is not a Justice League I can get behind. Green Lantern has gone from being the smug, arrogant hot dogging flyboy to an obnoxious douche who thinks he's funny when he's clearly not. Batman whining about property damage to the other Leaguers? Batman doesn't whine. He fucking reprimands your ass and then takes off back to Gotham to punch the Joker in his face for the 3rd time that week. At no point did I see Superman in a panel and get the sense that he's the greatest super hero that ever lived.

But this issue was not really about the Justice League. It was about Steve Trevor who thinks that threatening some senate sub-committee for prying into the lives of the Justice League is exactly what the World's Finest want him to be doing on his behalf. Its fairly obvious in this issue that this guy is having a tough time being the human liaison for the Justice League. Its like being friends with Brad Pitt.   When you're friends with Brad Pitt, all people ever want to talk to you about is Brad Pitt.
Does Brad Pitt eat cereal for breakfast? I eat cereal for breakfast. I wonder if we like the same kind of cereal. Oh man, can you ask for me the next time you're hanging out with Brad Pitt, what kind of cereal he eats? Thanks, person who is friends with Brad Pitt. You're the best.
I would get sick of that too.

Everyone in this comic sucked. Except for Wonder Woman. Even though her slight touch of tenderness towards Steve over Skype seems out of character for the Wonder Woman that lives in my head, it was actually the only part where I didn't feel like I was watching morons converse.
And tell my dad to stop trying to tap into our computer systems up here, whine whine whine.
Put a cork in it, Cyborg.

Uncanny X-men # 9

I read issues # 1 and 2 of this series. They weren't so good. For one, can we stop it with this "we need to be super heroes" take that's been kicking around the X-books for the past 10 years? Also, can we all stop trying to be Grant Morrison and start putting our own voice on these books? Whedon did a fantastic job of taking all of those lingering trails of Morrison's run and making it all feel a little more human. Mike Carey was the only guy good enough to run with all that New X-men weirdness and make it his own. But you, Mr. Gillen?
The Acute Reflection, freed of its Prism-Prison, creates refracted copies of its interdimensional Ur-Alien source to infest Central Vancouver. 
Following an X-Club suggestion, The Protector manages to recode the Voidian's weapons into a temporary Infinite Mirror Trap.
Morrison is getting royalty checks for this stuff, right?

In this issue the space prison that hovers above Earth at the S.W.O.R.D.'s headquarters get destroyed and bunch of aliens fall to earth, causing an "Extinction-Scale Event" and Cyclops gets his kitten back in the form of a "big mission" that he was pining for earlier in this issue.  The X-men go and beat up a bunch of aliens with the Avengers help and all is fine and well until Hope gets summoned away to recruit a new mutant. Oh wait, its a trap by one of the aliens! Interesting! Also, the Phoenix Force is back according to the preview of the forthcoming Avengers / X-men cross-over and its host is Hope because she has red hair . Everyone knows that the Phoenix Force is way into gingers.

I like this X-men line-up. It has Magneto and Namor, the Avenging Son. Colossus is the Juggernaut. Emma Frost is still super catty and dressing like a high class hooker. Magik is back. Gillen needs to leave and give this line-up to someone who knows how to write a decent X-book, ie something that reminds me of my childhood and my childhood only.

Super Crooks # 1

Mark Millar and Leinil Yu doing a book where the super villians leave America and go to Spain because there are no heroes there to beat them up. And yes, its exactly as bad as you expect it to be but it had been awhile since someone took a crap in my skull so I figured why not. Yu's art has gotten much better than I remember but that's not enough for me to stick around. Maybe with that one he does with Quietly? Definitely have to get that one. This one? Not so much.

Saga # 1

This is confusing and good so just get it. I wrote more but then this WYSIWYG editor deleted it and I'm about to jump off a building, I'm so upset, and blogging is hard so we'll just go with this:

2 cyber-thumbs up.

Man. That was a little painful for BOTH of us.

I'm fairly certain that there will be more of this kind of stuff because what's the internet for if I'm not on it, running my mouth about how much Brian Michael Bendis is ruining my life. Right?