Thursday, June 14, 2007

This Week's Haul: I Wanna Hear You Scream!

I think that Marvel beat DC this week. Also unprecedented: I read more Marvel titles than DC this week. I read Avengers #31 because of all the hype, and because it's a title that I've been mostly following. I'm not going to review it because the big ol' surprise didn't mean that much to me. I mean, I get it. I just don't know if I care.

Again I have failed to get caught up on Green Lantern Corps. Bah. And I haven't read the Avengers Classic #1 comic yet, but it looks like fun.

World War Hulk #1

Oh hell yes. This was not only very fun and exciting, it was also tremendously satisfying. I love that Marvel understands that what fans really want to see right now is each of their biggest heroes having the holy living shit kicked out of them. THEY ALL DESERVE IT.

This premise is so great. Hulk gets shot into space by the Illuminati, Hulk figures shit out, gets really angry, and comes back to Earth with a list of names and his murder clothes on. The Illuminati realize he's coming back and are like "Oh, Jesus."

Here he comes:

He makes a quick stop on the Moon first to have a chat with Illuminati punching bag #1, Black Bolt. I know we all saw this scene in Marvel Previews months ago, but seriously. It's the greatest.

So. Awesome.

The next time we see Black Bolt, Hulk is holding his battered body up for all the world to see as a warning. Not bad, Hulk.

He lands in Manhattan to tell Earth a little story...about how everyone is going to die.

So Manhattan gets evacuated, and Iron Man puts on an enormous suit in preparation for battle. It does not go well for Iron Man, despite the massive missile strike that rains down on Hulk. It turns out that Hulk does not like missiles, and what doesn't kill him literally makes him stronger. Iron Man is afraid.

Is there anything more satisfying than this:

Nope.

Marvel has what could potentially be the perfect summer blockbuster crossover series. It's fun, it's straightforward, it involves a lot of characters, but pretty much only the biggest and most recognizable ones. There are quite a few issues on the checklist if you want to read everything, but not nearly as many as most cross-overs. Plus, the story is probably not going to get that complicated. ("So, I missed it. What did Hulk do to Professor X?" "Oh, he smashed him.").

I am all the way down with this series. Don't prove me wrong, Marvel. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.
Countdown Week 46

I don't say it enough, so I'm saying it now: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are awesome and deserve all the high fives in the world. Jonah Hex is one of my favourite comics, but it's one of the ones that usually gets bumped when I am deciding which comics to write reviews of.
I wish I could get into Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters as a concept, because I love their writing so much, but I just get confused and frightened when I read those comics.

What I am saying is, good writing is saving Countdown, which is teetering on the brink of just being a total mess. Every issue has whole pages that I just don't understand, but there are little pockets of radness too. The beauty of these weekly books is that they take characters that I otherwise don't really think about, like, say, Piper and Trickster, and make me love them. Let's hear it for minor characters!

Hey, look who Jimmy runs into:

It's our old pal, Sleez! Porno agent to the stars! I have no idea what he's doing here, or what is going on, but it seems that Jimmy doesn't either, so that's cool.

Mary Marvel (Black Mary?) has also run into a disgusting weirdo. He is the harvester of stillborn souls, and he's made of dead babies. It's really gross.

Oh, Fredric Wertham. Were you only alive to see this.

Moving on, there's a great Reservoir Dogs-style scene with the Flash Rogues:

As usual, the Rogues scene is the best part of the comic. I would love a comic that is just called Rogue Gallery Follies that follows these guys around.

Watch as they bet on each other in fights:

Aw, Trickster is betting on Piper. That's nice.

Watch as Inertia drinks a shot off Mirror Master's frozen fist!

That's just awesome.

Oh, some stuff happens with Donna and Jason and the Monitors too.

Green Arrow #75

Final issue!

Mostly it's just a cool fight that pits Mia and Connor against Drakon, and Oliver and Dinah against Deathstroke. It almost ends badly for everyone:

Hardcore, Deathstroke.

Fortunately for Green Arrow (and, kinda unfortunately for the readers), the ENTIRE Justice League shows up and puts a stop to the fight. I just...aw forget it. The book is done.

So Oliver resigns as Mayor of Star City, and symbolically tears down the wall that has been dividing his city since the City Walls series. This is where the writing starts to get very cheesy:

And what do the arrows do to the wall?

I'm sorry, Batman invented what? The concept here is so insane that I can't decide if I love it or hate it. A big part of me can't help but love the idea of Batman in his lab, on the phone with Ollie, saying "Wall, eh? I might have just the thing to take care of that. Now, a lesser man might tell you to just tear it down, but let me ask you, Oliver, how do you the citizens of Star City feel about getting unexpectedly buried in a massive wave of sweet-smelling water?"

And then, gazing down at Star City with its new rivers of milk and honey, and soggy residents, Oliver asks Dinah to marry him. But we don't get to find out the answer until the Black Canary mini-series. Bah. (I'm putting good money on "Yes").

Sub-Mariner #1

If you can get past the cover (this may take awhile), this is a pretty good comic.

Oh, Namor. You don't just rule Atlantis. You rule everything. You just rule.

Iron Man is involved in yet another tense situation, this time with Atlantis as a potential enemy. A town in Kansas gets blown up, and there are victims with gills carved in their necks and traces of Atalantean DNA on the bodies. This all points to Namor, the sharp-dressed Prince of Atlantis, and full-time human-hating snob. Iron Man calls him up:

I really like that little emotional slip-up where Namor calls Iron Man 'Tony.' Very nice.

Namor is pissed. He gathers up his council and drills them for information. They aren't saying anything, which makes Namor angry.

He ends up killing a guy when he learns that he has betrayed him. It turns out that there are a number of Atlanteans who want to destroy the surface world, and they are responsible for the recent attack. Namor is not happy about this, especially since it means America, lead by S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to war against Atlantis in response.

It's a comic full of war, treachery, and political intrigue! And it ends with Namor putting his battle suit on. This could be fun. I'm glad he has his own title again. Obviously it's important if the Sub-Mariner movie is actually getting made.

Justice #12

It takes me a really long time to read an issue of this series. This is not only because there is a lot of art to look at, but because it's very hard to follow. I really liked this series, though. It's definitely a little heavy-handed in places, and overly nostalgic and glowing, with the whole "We are heroes. We are here to save the world. We are the the perfect line-up of beautiful, perfect heroes. See how we shine! You are hideous by comparison! Your comic books are also hideous by comparison, with their bastard heroes of today. Your Flash is garbage! Barry Allan is a beautiful glowing ball of perfection! When he returns you will not be fit to receive him!"

Hal is looking good:

Ray's looking good:

Bruce is looking good:

Arthur is looking really good:

Yum.

Wonder Woman, not so much:

Yargh! Put it back on!

I thought the scene where Superman was giving Zatanna mouth-to-mouth was really sweet.

I especially love how he reminds himself to be gentle when trying to get her heart started. Zatanna looks very cute in this series.

Well, that's the end of that. Twelve issues, two years. It was good. I liked it. Even if it made my brain hurt.

Betty & Veronica Double Digest #152

Alright, I have to admit. This is just terrible.

The thing is, they have updated the art without updating the writing. The kids are all super lame, with super lame jokes and insults. They are into super lame things, and maybe it's because I also read the very good Re-Gifters this week, but there is nothing even vaguely realistic about this high school drama. I'm not saying that there needs to be, but it seems that they are going for that, and failing. Hard.

Ok, so last we left the gang, Veronica had a new "bad boy" boyfriend named Nick. Nick is superbad. How bad? Check this out:

Chicken noises! Badasssss!! (oh, and check out Moose, Jughead and Dilton as they make their updated debut. I like that they kept the crosshatching in Archie's hair, too).

He loves this gag:

Good one, Nick! Did you learn that one on the streets?

Well, Reggie liked it:

At least, I assume that's Reggie.

As usual, the best character is Dilton. I love Dilton. So much.

Seriously. Somebody date that guy. Betty, I'm looking at you.

Re-Gifters

Minx does it again! Another delightful, intelligent all-ages book that starred a cool, realistic teenage girl. Boiled down, it's a romance story, as it centers on the massive crush that the lead character, a Korean-American high school girl named Dixie, has on a boy named Adam. The reader can tell pretty much immediately that Adam is not worth Dixie's affections, but that's just the way these things go in high school. Who hasn't had an all-encompassing crush on a complete idiot? Especially as a teenager.

I liked this book because it didn't omit any of the completely embarrassing, and, again, absolutely realistic things that a teen girl does when she has a crazy crush on someone. Her actions and thoughts were so familiar, that I wanted to bury my face in a pillow several times while reading this. Not bad, considering the entire creative team is male.

Mike Carey, who is better known for his...not quite all ages appropriate work at Vertigo...creates a likable, layered character with Dixie. She's a black belt in Hapkido, she has an Orlando Bloom poster on her bedroom wall and a Kill Bill alarm clock, she's tough, and she makes some bad decisions. The book is funny, and the art, by Sonny Liew and Mark Hempel suits the writing really well. Good stuff, Minx!

17 comments:

Johnathan said...

Lord. The new art just underscores the lameness of the Archie plotlines - keep it cartoony, guy! It's the only way it works.

And Tony Stark: finding Atlantean DNA on some dead guys and then immediately calling up Namor to accuse him? That's like eating some bad sushi and then punching out your friend Yoshi. There's more than one Atlantean, you racist douchebag.

J said...

I haven't read Green Arrow #75 yet, but I'm not surprised it's to be continued in the BC mini--at least my GA fix is continued in the Year One mini and BC. I'm just waiting for the inevitable GA/BC launch (I'd love to see Gail Simone write the book).

I completely agree with you about WW Hulk. It's summertime, so why not have a big, brash punch out between the Hulk and everybody else? It may wash away the awful taste of Civil War. As much as I like Iron Man, it's been fun to see him depicted as a fascist prick. Comeuppance, thy name is Tony Stark!

rachelle said...

I like to think that WW HUlk is going to wipe clean the sins of Civil War. I also hope he brings Steve Rogers back to life...by punching him.

Jonathan: excellent point about Tony being a huge racist. Just add it to an ever-growing list of flaws.

I'll tell you who isn't going to rate well as a superhunk: Tony. Stark.

John Foley said...

WWH was pretty good. But I mean, honestly, how does Hulk beat up on Black Bolt? Hulk can't fly. He's just really strong. He has nothing to brace himself against except a bunch of lousy moon rocks. Black Bolt's voice should have blown the Hulk into space, just like Medusa said. It doesn't matter how strong Hulk is, he still has the same mass as always. His mass is substantial, to be sure. But if BB is unleashing the master blast on it, it shouldn't matter. So that was disappointing.

Anonymous said...

You missed the best part of World War Hulk #1: the greatest onomatopoeia ever in a comic book:

KRAKKABA-
THROOM!

(Also the sound of the world's most bad-ass toilet.)

paperghost said...

To be honest, my eyes roll at the thought of that Re-Gifters comic.

Quick, we have aa Asian in a comic so she MUST be a black belt in something - yeah, Hapkido!

(do they still call it an "ancient" art like they did in the solicitation, by the way?)

I dunno, it just annoys me when a comic (or anything else for that matter) automatically equates "Asian" with "FLYING! FIST! OF! JUDAH!!! BAM!!!!!!!!!!"

Batmanisgrim said...

That Wonder Woman reveal made me gasp. It was more shocking then the Avengers page.

I think the way to explain how the Hulk was able to defeat Black Bolt was that he was never given a chance to say another word after the Hulk pounced on him. Black Bolt should have used his full voice not just a whisper.

I assume the full fight will be in next week's issue of Incredible Hulk.

Mory said...

I like that we never saw the battle between Hulk and Black Bolt. It puts us in the minds of the Marvel Universe citizens rather than Hulk's. Here's one of the most powerful heroes in the world, and his defeat is off-panel. Rather than diminishing the significance of the event, I think it makes it scarier. The Hulk defeated Black Bolt like it was nothing. It's not even an important part of his day. And now he's coming after everyone else. In other words, "oh sh**". It's a good dramatic trick.


About Tony Stark blaming Namor- He was right to. Namor's not just a random Atlantean, he's the Atlantean ruler. Namor was the one who put the sleeper cells in America. When one of those sleeper cells attacks, why shouldn't Namor be held responsible?

Anonymous said...

Whaaaaa? No final Strangers in Paradise review? You do read it, right?

The Faulk said...

GA #75 started strong and ended...blah.

We got to see the whole GA crew throwing down with some bad ass villians...and GA had a really good bit about how Deathstroke should kill him and let Black Canary go.

Then the JLA shows up to save everybody. In the last issue of his solo title GA doesn't even get to beat the bad guys.

I know they were wrapping up the series but it just felt completely forced to see the JLA. I don't even think they explained why they were even there. I guess they all go on patrol together now.

Carl Walker said...

The funny thing about a shared universe is that, if you think about it too much, it takes a certain suspension of disbelief to believe that a JLA member, particularly an active one, wouldn't at least call some of his or her teammates more often. Just think of all the enemies and disasters that are very difficult to deal with alone, but fairly easy for the JLA. Of course, if you don't care about the shared universe, it's nothing more than an inexcusable deus ex machina for the JLA to show up. Maybe the implied in-story reason that the League doesn't get called in more often is that you have to have an enormous ego to be a superhero, and always calling for backup would really undercut that. :P

rachelle said...

Yeah, I found it really disappointing that Green Arrow had to be rescued by the JLA in his final issue. I mean, I'm sure it's trying to give us a larger message, like no man has to fight his battles alone. Or something. Or maybe it means that GA is going to change his mind and re-join the JLA eventually. I dunno.

I'm still getting over those arrows that turn concrete into milk and honey.

Paperghost - If it makes you feel better, most of the main characters in Re-Gifters are into Hapkido, but Dixie is the only one of Asian descent.

Mory - I agree. The fact that Hulk beat Black Bolt so easily, and that we don't get to see it, makes it more frightening and, also, pretty funny. I am thinking that we will see the fight eventually, but for now, that's just fun storytelling.

SallyP said...

GAH! Go get Green Lantern Corps! It's the finale for heaven's sake!

Oh, and Justice was nice, poor Diana's having something of a bad day. I'm not too sure about that milky watery wall in Green Arrow, it's a nice idea, but do you want it flooding into your basement?

Hulk smashing Stark just equals fun.

Poor Namor just can't win.

Son of Blog-El said...

"Wall, eh? I might have just the thing to take care of that. Now, a lesser man might tell you to just tear it down, but let me ask you, Oliver, how do you the citizens of Star City feel about getting unexpectedly buried in a massive wave of sweet-smelling water?"

Sweet God, woman! You made me spit coffee all over the screen!

Jon Hex said...

I'm thinking Hulk broke Black Bolt's jaw with his first hit, preventing the Inhuman King from saying anything. That or gave him a quick gutshot.

Strannik said...

paperghost:

I think it's all about context. If her martial arts expertise were portrayed with the cliched quasi-mystical reverence, then I would be inclined to agree with you. However, in this case, it's just something she studies at a neighborhood school. Nothing mystical or stereotypical about that.

Viagra said...

World War Hulk has some of the best pieces of art I've seen in quite a while, i wish there were more drawings like this one more often.