I work tomorrow. So reviews will go up on Thursday, instead, most likely. I’ll still go to the store tomorrow, though.
I’ll go to the store for: All-New Ghost Rider #9, by Felipe Smith and Damion Scott; Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #2, by Al Ewing and Luke Ross; New Warriors #12, by Chris Yost, Erick Burnham and Marcus To; Spider-Man 2099 #6, by Peter David and Rick Leonardi.
I’ll also review: Amazing X-Men #13, by Craig Kyle, Chris Yost and Carlo Barberi; Cyclops #7, by Greg Rucka and Javi Garron; Logan Legacy #5, by someone; Deathlok #2, by Nathan Edmondson and Mike Perkins; Superior Iron Man #2, by Tom Taylor and Yildiray Cinar; Wolverine and the X-Men #12, by Frank Tieri and Jorge Jimenez.
So that’s four comics I’ll be picking up, and 6 reviews. Not a particularly heavy week.
I’m most looking forward to All-New Ghost Rider. Smith’s been doing some phenomenal work on this series, and I’m always excited to see what’s next.
I should also note that Nelvana of the Northern Lights will be coming out Wednesday. It’s being published by IDW. I’ve talked about it in the past. Nelvana of the Northern Lights was Canada’s first national superhero, one of the earlier female superheroes, and a surprisingly good comic, considering it was originally published back in the 1940s. I’d definitely recommend giving it a look.
February solicits came out last Tuesday. Some thoughts:
The cover for Black Vortex: Alpha has Magik in a stupid brokeback tits-and-ass pose. Dammit, McGuinness, that shit stopped being acceptable years ago, so why the hell did you do it here? A much better cover is Storm #8. Stephanie Hans is amazing. And Avengers #41’s cover is going to be an homage to Ultimates #1, which is kinda neat.
Mighty Avengers #5 looks like it’s going to have White Tiger fighting some weird creature. That should be cool. I like White Tiger. I’d love for her to get a bigger profile. Squirrel Girl #2 has Galactus, which is a little disappointing. I was hoping the book would play down the insanely powerful threats. I was hoping she’d be facing threats that were more just bizarre. Ah, well. I’m sure it’ll still be fun. Captain Marvel looks like it’s coming to a big action-filled arc, which should be awesome. Ms. Marvel is doing a Valentine’s Day issue. Which is awesome. With special guest star Loki! Yay! All-New Ghost Rider is going to have problems for Gabe. Nooo! Not Gabe! Gabe’s awesome.
Inhuman is going to have a Medusa vs. Black Bolt fight. I’m rooting for Medusa. She’s been a hardcore badass for the past few years. Way, way cooler than Black Bolt ever was. And way cooler than she ever was when Black Bolt was around. Nikki will finally be showing up in Guardians 3000. She’d better be sticking around, not just doing a guest appearance thing. Nikki’s cool, she needs to be kept around. And I still call bullshit on the excuse that Abnett was just “following the history” of the original Guardians, because he gave Vance Astro the shield, even though he only got it in the ’90s.
The Hulk solicit makes it look like something bad will happen to Lyra. Which sucks. Lyra’s cool. I like her. Elektra’s done, and it looks like X-Force might also be ending that month. That’s how the solicit read to me, anyway. Mark Waid will apparently be leaving Daredevil soon, which is a shame.
Uncanny X-Men looks like it’ll have a big issue for Scott. It talks about him being driven to the edge of disaster. Bendis has been doing some great work with Scott, so I’m excited for that issue. X-Men is going to have Storm dealing with her claustrophobia again. I’m sure Wilson will do a good job with it.
My February pull list from Marvel is: All-New X-Men #38, Spider-Man 2099 #9, Operation SIN #2 (maybe), Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #5, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2, Angela #3, Rocket Raccoon #8, Loki #11, Captain Marvel #12, Silver Surfer #10, Ms. Marvel #12, All-New Ghost Rider #11, X-Force #12, Uncanny X-Men #32, possibly Storm #8, X-Men #24. 14-16 comics, which is actually less than usual for me.
So, I didn’t talk about this on Wednesday, but Avengers #38 did finally reveal the LGBT member of Hickman’s Avengers. It’s Pod. Who’s Pod? Well, a year or so ago, the Avengers fought some alien-robot-looking thing, and it beat them up on behalf of AIM. And then it disappeared until this issue. It turns out that one of Ex Nihilo’s Origin Bombs landed on a Norwegian lesbian, and she became the ultimate self-defence system. So, meh. I am underwhelmed by this character.
I read The Heroic Legend of Arslan. It’s the first manga I’ve read. Not my thing. It was OK, but not great.
I read The Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks. It’s great. It’s funny and adorable and delightful. Superhero Girl is a very relatable character, with all sorts of familiar problems. And she’s also awesome. The art is just so totally cute. The book is an utter delight. Read it.
In personal news: My work schedule this week is 5-9 tomorrow, 5:30-9:30 Thursday, 11-7 Friday, 4:30-8:30 Sunday, 10-6:30 Monday. So I should be able to do posts on Saturday and Tuesday. I’ll work next Wednesday, off the Thursday, so my reviews next week will be a day late.
Last week, one of my exes came through my cash register. A girl I dated in high school. She’s got three kids now. None of them are mine.
There’s a new set of My Little Pony figures, so I picked up a few of them. I got Rainbow Dash, Candy Apples, Flash Sentry, Buttonbelle, Ruby Splash and Sunny Breezie. Candy Apples is an Applejack clone, Buttonbelle and Ruby Splash are both Pinkie Pie clones. Sunny Breezie is cool. It looks like there’s three Breezies in the set. I probably only need the one. It is a bit of a pain to keep standing. Now that I have a Rainbow Dash figure, the only one of the Mane Six I don’t have is Rarity. Unfortunately, she doesn’t come in this set. So I’ll need to wait until they do another set before I can get her. I hope I get another Fluttershy, too – the one I have is from kind of a lame set. The current one’s OK. It’s solid colours, no sparkles. I like sparkly ponies. I did get sparkly Twilight Sparkle, so that’s something. I still need to get around to watching the Rainbow Rocks movie.
My friend and I did our Christmas gift exchange on Friday. Yes, over a month before Christmas. She lives an hour away, so it’s tough to tell when we would’ve had another chance to get together. So we did it when we got the chance. I got her some bath stuff from Lush, a homemade cosmetics company. I got her this, a set of bath stuff that came in a box wrapped with a Rudolph fabric. It looked adorable, so it was really my only choice.
She got me three books. There’s Dungeons & Drag-Queens, a fantasy novel with drag queens. There’s The Law of Superheroes, a book that looks at how the law would apply to superheroes. That should be really interesting. I turned to a random page that showed a scene of Lex Luthor torturing Superman, and underneath, it asked if it would count as aggravated assault or as animal abuse. After all, Superman’s not actually human. It’s an interesting question. The third book was The Adventures of Superhero Girl, which I talked about above. Just so frigging adorable and fun and great. Also, Canadian! Hicks is Canadian, and the book is set in Canada! Woot for Canada!
Man. Last week I had nothing to talk about. This week, I had tons. But that’s it for now.
I’ve finally finished 1984. Now I can start on 1984. And it’s another long year. It’ll be around 60 posts. But for today, by Claremont and JRJr, “Two Girls Out To Have Fun.”
Rachel and Amara are out in New York, taking in the view from the Statue of Liberty. Rachel has memories of the Twin Towers being destroyed. She was a hound, and she found some fleeing mutants, who were then gunned down.
Down at the docks, Storm is on a cruise ship, being seen off by the X-Men. She’s got one hell of a cabin. She’s going back to Africa, to reconnect with her roots. Back on the streets, Rachel and Amara go shopping. Elsewhere, a guy shipping crates of fish sees a couple guys busting into his locker for the necklace he’s got stored there. A voice from the necklace talks to him. The guy’s name is Jaime Rodriguez, and the necklace wants his soul. Jaime feels he should get rid of the necklace.
Rachel and Amara take in an Ancient Rome exhibit a the Met. Rachel senses some thought patterns, and rushes outside. It’s Selene, and the girls both want her dead. They sneak into the back of the Hellfire Club and put on some servant outfits. Rachel hates putting on the collar, and Amara has no idea how women wear high heels. In the basement, Selene is introduced to Sebastian Shaw. She shows off her power by nearly killing him with his own throne. Then she offers to bring a gift, and departs to retrieve it.
Upstairs, Rachel leaves a room, and then laughs to herself at whatever she saw inside. Then she slaps Selene with her tray, and a telekinetic blast. Turns out it was Amara, and Selene only made Rachel think it was her. Both girls are put under Selene’s control, and handed to Shaw. Tessa notices how similar Rachel looks to Jean Grey.
Rachel wakes up, believing herself to be a hound again. But then she remembers who and where she is. She doesn’t know if she’s strong enough to break Selene’s hold, so instead, she slips into Amara’s mind. Amara’s angry and attacks, which makes her snap out of Selene’s control, which also frees Rachel. Back in the real world, Amara’s causing some major earthquakes in the building. Selene fights back against them.
Nightcrawler teleports in, grabs Selene, and teleports away. The other X-Men bust into the basement. Shaw agrees to let the X-Men leave, with the girls. Upstairs, Rachel figures they can’t leave dressed the way they are, so she telekinetically changes all their clothes to something normal.
Later, Jaime is in the subway, ready to get rid of the necklace. He’s attacked by a thug who grabs the necklace, and releases Kulan Gath.
The letters page has one of the most ’90s letters I’ve ever read, which is impressive for a comic released in 1984. It’s a pretty amazing letter, even if I totally disagree with what they’re saying. (They were criticizing Storm’s Mohawk. The Mohawk was awesome and I will accept no disagreement on that point.)
This is a really good issue. It was nice seeing Amara interacting with Rachel. Those two actually have some interesting things in common, both being young women who are out of place in the world they’ve stepped into. They’ve also got a bit of a ruthless streak to them. They make a cool pairing. Sadly, this friendship never gets explored after this issue. Also, Rachel telekinetically rearranging the clothes is neat.
Selene joins the Hellfire Club in this issue, and that’s where she’ll primarily remain as an antagonist for the next few years. Right off the bat, we see her making a power play against Shaw. Again, that’s something we see plenty of going forward. Which is a lot of fun. Storm’s adventures in Africa wind up being pretty cool. It doesn’t last very long, and gets only a little bit of focus as a subplot, but it’s cool.
The art is OK. It’s pretty meh, really. It’s standard John Romita, Jr. work. Nothing special.
I may as well also mention Secret Wars #9, by Shooter and Zeck. Colossus thinks about how much he loves Zsaji, then prepares to fight Galactus. Storm shoots some lightning at Galactus’ machine, but he doesn’t notice. Xavier sends the other X-Men into battle. They attack one of Galactus’ defence drones, and it blows up pretty big. But later, they’re found alive. It’s a meh issue for the X-Men. They do some fighting, but they’re still mostly bit players.
Song of the day: Love 3 by Lucky Soul.
I’m finally finishing up with 1984. By Byrne, “Dreams Die Hard.”
We start with a flashback, to Mac first trying on the costume. Heather thought it looked great, but she was concerned for him. Other superheroes had more experience than he did, so she’s worried what’ll happen to him. I always found that argument a little weird. All superheroes start off as rookies, after all. Anyway, Mac hopes he won’t have to fight anyone, since he figures Canada doesn’t breed world-conquerors. Anyway, she wishes someone else would lead Alpha Flight, specifically Wolverine. Mac says Wolverine’s idea of subtlety is to use one claw instead of all six. Heh. I love me some good Wolverine-bashing.
Then Mac gets a call from Major Chasen about Wolverine slicing Chasen’s tie and leaving with Xavier. Chasen thinks Wolverine’s a psychopath. I can’t say I disagree. In the present, Heather tells Wolverine Mac was the only one who could talk shit about him, and Wolverine agrees that Mac was his closest friend, even if he never would’ve said it to Mac. She reflects that Wolverine was like their child.
Back in the flashback, Mac feels betrayed by Wolverine leaving them. He gets called to a meeting with the Prime Minister’s office, where he’s told that Wolverine is the property of the Canadian government, and Mac is told to bring him in. Then we get to X-Men #109, from way way way back in 1978. Wolverine asking for a ride out to the woods so he can do some hunting, and Mac, as Weapon Alpha, goes after him. The fight is actually directly lifted from X-Men #109.
Then we get to Mac disappearing, setting himself “at rest” relative to the turning of the Earth below him, letting him travel at ridiculous speeds. He feels bad about losing the fight, and more, about nearly killing Moira.
Back in the present, Heather and Wolverine reflect on Mac always caring too much about the little people, and how, when other heroes end up in a fight, they don’t have much chance to get any civilians out of the way. That gives me an amusing mental image of a Canadian supervillain letting everyone know what he’s going to be doing, and apologizing for the inconvenience. “Hey, I’m going to be trying to take over Parliament. I’m sorry, but would you all mind stepping outside? I don’t mean to be a bother, but, you know, just doing my thing. Sorry.” Anyway, Heather feels like she killed Mac when she interrupted him when he was trying to deactivate his suit’s power supply. He tells her Mac died because he had a dream, and some jerkwad fought against that dream.
Puck walks in, and they become instant friends, and decide to get together for coffee later to talk old times. Heather figures it’s time for Alpha Flight to end, but Puck and Wolverine say she can’t let it end. Alpha just needs a new leader. And Puck nominates Heather. She agrees.
Then we cut to Walter Langowski doing a procedure on Aurora, to separate her powers from Northstar’s (and also, secretly, to make her no longer technically a mutant, to protect her from anti-mutant sentiment). She also shows off her new costume, though we don’t really get to see it here.
This is a pretty good issue. But the fact that a chunk of it is just a reprint is a little lame. I mean, they’re cool pages, but still. Meh. The rest of the issue is decent enough. A bit of a eulogy for James Hudson. Heather becoming the new leader, despite having no powers, is kind of a neat idea. Funnily enough, J.M. DeMatteis did the exact same thing the exact same month in Defenders #138, with the non-powered Candy Southern being elected the team’s leader. That didn’t actually amount to anything, though. Heather continued to play a major role in Alpha Flight, while Candy did little in Defenders. Oh well.
Byrne’s art is always excellent. Really, there are only so many ways to talk about how great an artist Byrne was. And still is, I suppose, but I’m talking about his ’80s work here.
Song of the day: Talk To Me, Dance With Me by Hot Hot Heat.
OK, new set of comics.
First, Uncanny X-Men #28, by Brian Bendis and Kris Anka. Scott invites Matthew out to breakfast (Magik knows a good place), and Maria Hill’s a bit freaked out that the guy who’s declared a mutant revolution just left with the most powerful mutant in the world. Beast is in his lab, and Storm visits him. He says he contacted the world powers about Matthew, and no one responded. He feels like Scott was right, that humans are more interested in distancing themselves from mutants than working together to solve mutual problems. Storm tells him about Scott and Matthew, and Beast doesn’t know what to do. Scott and Matthew are out on a butte – far away from civilians – and Scott shares his mind with Matthew. Matthew starts to lose control of his power, and Scott fights to keep him calm. With limited success. This is an intense character-focused issue. It does more to explore Scott’s mindset, and sets him up as a little more extreme than I thought. Magik gets a nice moment with Scott, too. The scene between Beast and Storm is interesting. But mostly, this issue is Scott doing a lot of talking. And it’s very compelling stuff. It feels like Bendis really is moving him to the edge. Anka’s art is good.I like his style. It looks nice, and he does a very good job at setting tones and moods. This is a great issue.
X-Force #12, by Simon Spurrier and Rock-He Kim. Psylocke’s telepathically searching for Hope’s consciousness. She finds her in the surveillance system, which is showing a whole lot of violence. Back outside, Domino’s pissed at Cable for sending her on a mission and then never following up on her. More bad guys come running, and Psylocke starts to lose herself in the violence, until Hope tells her to stop. The main bad guy says he knows all sorts of secrets that could make him useful, but Psylocke finds his mind disgusting, so she slices him in half. And out pops Mojo! He gives a quick exposition dump of why he’s there (his ratings fell so he got kicked out of Mojoworld), and then he starts revealing more secrets, including Meme being Hope. On the team’s way out, they find Nemesis with another Cable clone. More anger! And then – Fantomex! Another awesome issue. So much drama. Psylocke’s narration does end up feeling like a bit much at times. But the comic’s generally fun. Spurrier seems to be trying to build up Hope a bit more, which is nice. Kim’s art is awesome. So damned good. I love this series.
Storm #5, by Greg Pak and Victor Ibanez. Kuva of Breakworld challenges Yukio for leadership, and Yukio chooses Storm as her champion. Storm wants to get Yukio out of there, but Yukio refuses, and says that if Kuva takes over, a lot of people will die. They go out to the Mojave Desert for the fight. The Breakworld champion is huge and has a big warhammer. Storm is unimpressed. She wishes him luck. She also tries to convince him not to fight, but he says he has no choice. So they fight. Storm wins, obviously, because he’s a thug, and she controls the weather. Meh. As I said a couple days ago, this series just isn’t doing much for me. It’s really bland. I’m giving it one more issue. Pak has one more chance to impress me. After that, I stop picking it up. Honestly? I don’t think he can do it. Ibanez does good work, though. The art looks really nice. The fight, short as it is, looks really cool and intense.
Magneto #12, by Cullen Bunn and Roland Boschi. Magneto is happy to be wrecking some Sentinels, and Loki can’t not be sarcastic and devious. He frees Wanda and Strange, and tells them to cast a spell to bring Xavier’s mind to the forefront of the Red Skull. Then Magneto has some memories of Xavier. He remembers Israel, him, Charles and Gabrielle Haller having a pleasant day, with Magneto and Xavier debating as usual. In the present, Magneto has to buy Wanda and Strange time, even though the MGH in his bloodstream is burning up, and his power’s fading. Another flashback, to rescuing Gabrielle from Strucker. After the inversion spell is cast, Magneto and Xavier’s ghost have another talk. An interesting issue, but a lot of it is just showing what happened in Axis #3. I suppose it’s useful for people who’ve been reading Magneto, but not reading Axis. But still, it feels a bit wasteful. The flashbacks were nice. This issue did have less narration, which was a nice break. It made the issue a lot more enjoyable. The art was OK. Not really my style. A bit too sharp.
Deadpool #37, by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn and Mike Hawthorne. On Thanksgiving morning, while everyone’s watching a parade, a couple guys rob a bank. Deadpool stops them. Mostly peacefully. Though he does bash one of them in the mouth with a turkey. At the Prestons, everyone’s gathered, including Shiklah and Ellie’s grandmother, who bashes Deadpool with a mallet. At the table, Preston asks Deadpool to carve the turkey, but he can’t do it. He feels out of place. Later, on the train, Batroc and Trapster are chatting when Deadpool and Shiklah come in. Deadpool says hi. His mind reminds him he promised to kill them, and tells him to do it. He doesn’t. He gets a message from Kim saying the X-Men are acting weird. Deadpool sneaks into the JGS, and says he doesn’t want to give them a drubbing. His own mind starts rooting for the X-Men. I kinda like that he still has a violent side in his head, and I like how annoyed hsi violent side is with his new pacifist style. The story’s pretty fun. I don’t like the art. I’ve never liked the art on this book, and I’m forced to conclude I probably never will.
Weapon X Program #2, by Charles Soule and Salvador Larroca. “Sharp” – aka the clone of Wolverine – has a flashback to flying with Kitty Pryde, then snaps back to the present, where he’s flying with some other girl. Their helicopter comes under attack, and Sharp comes up with an idea. He has speedy girl drop a fire extinguisher on the other ‘copter’s propellers. Sharp lands the ‘copter on a train, then they jump out into some water. The strong guy misses the water, but survives hitting the ground. The team all gets codenames. Sharp, of course. Speed girl is Endo, animal guy is Junk, strong guy is Skel, smart guy is Neuro. Later, they get found and attacked again. Sharp slaughters the guys sent after them. Neuro figures the team has trackers in their bodies, so he takes them out. Meh. Don’t care. Don’t care about Wolverine, and it’s hard to care about any of these characters so far, especially since, let’s face it, at least two are probably going to die, and the rest will just wind up in limbo. These aren’t characters who will matter once this mini ends. The art’s OK. Larroca isn’t one of my favourites. He has a history of tracing, for one thing. But beyond that, he’s just kinda mediocre.
Axis #6, by Rick Remender and the Dodsons. The X-Men have taken Manhattan (in a much less friendly manner than the Muppets did), and Apocalypse says any more forces sent to retake it will be slaughtered. A gene-bomb has been prepared, and Mystique pays a visit. Nightcrawler and Rogue are sent to talk to her. She tries to talk them out of their current path. Doesn’t work. Sabretooth saves her and they escape into the Morlock tunnels. Out in San Francisco, Daredevil shows up at Stark’s place to shut him down. Stark ejects him from the party. In Latveria, Doom apologizes for exploiting his people, and declares the nation a democracy. Wanda shows up to kick his ass. Quicksilver and Magneto rescue him. In Las Vegas, a dickish Thor is gambling, and scaring the casino into letting him keep winning. Loki shows up to stop him. Then Loki has to be rescued by Spider-Man and the remaining sane Avengers. As hard as I’ve been on Remender over the past couple years, I’m forced to admit: This has been a very good event. There’s still the third act, he could blow it there, but at this point, it’s looking promising. This is genuinely good writing. There’s some good inverted character work, some nice comedic bits, an interesting story. It’s all quite good. The Dodsons do a great job on art, as usual. The Dodsons are a great art team. Among the best in the business, I’d say. Terry does great faces. He also does really big boobs, but that’s not important. The important thing is he does a great job on faces, so characters have clear expressions. The art is just really, really pretty. I like them much more than the other standard event artists – guys like Hitch or Acuna.
Axis Revolutions #2 has two stories. First, by Frank Tieri and Paul Davidson, is about Sabretooth. He’s walking in the rain, and hands a woman a scarf she dropped. Nightcrawler attacks him. This includes a huge kick to the groin. Dirty, Kurt. I don’t care how evil you are, that’s not cool. Anyway, Nightcrawler wants some payback for all the pain Sabretooth caused Wolverine over the years. He teleports off some of Sabretooth’s fingers, then an ear. Then he starts dropping stuff on him – a car, a food cart, a delivery van, a construction vehicle. Then he teleports a sword into Sabretooth’s neck. And a whole bunch more. Sabretooth finally manages to bitch-slap Nightcrawler, but refuses to kill him. It’s a cool story. It shows just how dangerous Nightcrawler is if he goes all-out. Actually, it might not be an accurate presentation of his power – since when can he teleport a delivery van? That seems a little outside his weight range. Oh well. It’s still an awesome fight. Really good art from Davidson. The second story, by Kevin Maurer and David Lafuente, is about Thor. A journalist gets a message from his girlfriend asking him to help get Thor out of her bar. He keeps demanding mead, and nothing will shut him up. The journalist asks him what’s wrong, and Thor talks about his woes. The reporter suggests going to Vegas. Thor calls up his ride – his flying goats – and they head off. They pass a plane that requests permission for another go around, due to a near-miss with Thor. A world with superheroes would be so ridiculous, and I love seeing that stuff. Seriously, I want a whole series about ordinary people dealing with a world full of superheroes. Anyway, it’s an awesome road trip. This story’s really fun. Just lots of hilarious stuff.
That’s the X-titles. Only one non-X.
Spider-Woman #1, by Dennis Hopeless and Greg frigging Land. (Yes, I do need to include the “frigging” every time I say his name, because he’s a hack and I want him to not draw comics any more.) Spider-Woman is leading her team – which includes Silk and Spider-Man Noir – through an alien landscape. The other two are excited, she’s jaded. She says she can be plenty fun, but they’re on a mission, and she thinks that the weirder a place looks, the more likely everyone dies. A couple jerks on hoverboards harass a woman with food, so Silk and Noir kick their asses. Spider-Woman is annoyed. The Twin Inheritors how up, so Spider-Woman grabs Silk and Noir and they teleport out of that world. They go to Earth-90214, and Felicia Hardy’s speakeasy, so Noir can be taken care of by his friends. Spider-Woman yells at Silk, then feels guilty. Spider-Man, Spider-Anya and Spider-Gwen show up. Land you giant frigging hack I hate your work I want you gone dammit Marvel why do you keep giving him work how could anyone like his work how why why whyyyyyy? Yeah, this issue’s full of Land’s bullshit face-recycling bullshit. And I know I just called it bullshit twice, because seriously guys it is just such complete and utter bullshit. Land is awful. Awful awful awful. Hopeless does a good job with the writing, but it’s genuinely hard to even notice it when I’m so distracted by Land’s recycled faces in every single panel that has any part of a face showing. I want this series to bomb horribly, just to prove that Land’s shit doesn’t sell.
It’s an incredibly rare double-post! Because both of these minis kinda suck, so this way, I can spend less time on them both. First up, by Ann Nocenti and Don Perlin, “Beauty and the Beast Part 1.”
We start with Doom in his castle’s art gallery, when one of his aides lets him know about some news regarding a guy who claims to be Doom’s son, living in California. Also in California, the Beast! Taking some time off from the Defenders. He thinks to himself about the anti-mutant hysteria sweeping the country.
That night, at a party, Alison meets a fan, Alexander Flynn. She’s bitter about her career being ruined, and the guy tells her things will work out. He knows a producer who’ll hire her. And he does! Over the next few nights, she does more parties with Alex. She starts leaking light from her fingertips. She feels things are moving too fast, and she starts getting all confused.
At one party, Alison meets a guy with a horse face. Beast and Wonder Man are also there. Beast starts to pick a fight with horse-face, Rocker. Alison leaves with the sleazy producer, which bothers Beast. Wonder Man says the producer’s sleazy, and runs weird shows. Alison starts glowing again, and runs away in a panic.
The next day, Beast reads a newspaper headline about her disappearing, and feels he has to save her. He tracks down Rocker and they fight. Rocker reveals he’s a professional fighter, but Beast still beats him and makes him call the sleazy producer. Meanwhile, Alison’s passed out on a beach, and found by some people. Beast tracks her to their house, Heartbreak. She’s glowing brightly, and Beast promises to take care of her.
Ann Nocenti wrote some good stuff in the ’80s. This is not good. It’s over-wrought, melodramatic garbage. The art is likewise mediocre. I’ll have more bad stuff to say about this mini in later issues.
But that’s not all! By J.M. DeMatteis and Alan Kupperberg, “The Fuse!”
We get two opening splash pages of a war and its aftermath, then some Dark and Mysterious Bad Guy sends his two henchmen to do something no doubt nefarious.
Then Iceman arrives in his hometown, running a bit late and dreading his dad yelling at him for it. He sees his cousin Mary getting off a bus, and he grabs her. They flirt a little bit. Um, OK then. Is it normal for cousins to call each other “gorgeous” and “cute”? Because it feels to me like that’s supposed to be weird. Anyway, he tells her he’s been feeling really anxious about the family reunion, and how his parents feel about him leaving accounting to be a superhero. Then he sees a cute girl walking down the street, and decides he has to talk to her. He makes an ass of himself and she runs off. Her family disappears, too. Then Iceman’s hassled by a mutant-hating cop, so Iceman freezes him solid. He ducks into a yard to de-ice and put on his civilian clothes, and an old lady yells at him for being a sexual deviant.
As he walks down the street, he reflects on how his parents smothered him as a kid, and then he bumps into the girl again. It’s the Smith family. And the girl’s name is Marge. And they live right next door to his parents. He heads inside, and his parents hug him, then criticize him.
Across town, the two minions show up and mind-wipe two cops. The minions are named White Light and Idiot.
At the party, Bobby heads outside with his cousin to talk some more. Another cousin comes out and offers some advice, but Bobby tells him off and walks off. He bumps into Marge again, and they talk. Bobby says his dad’s Irish-Catholic, and his mom’s Jewish. He admires how normal Marge’s family is, and talks about how tough it is seeing his own parents as normal people. Then they say they like each other. Aww, how sweet.
Then White Light and the Idiot attack. Upstairs, Marge and her brother head through a portal in a closet. The Idiot collapses the house on Iceman, but he protects himself with an ice-dome, and captures the bad guys. Who then teleport away.
I think JM DeMatteis is one of the most under-appreciated of Marvel’s ’80s writers. That decade had a lot of fantastic talent doing amazing runs. Claremont, Miller, Byrne and more – it was a strong decade. DeMatteis tends to be overlooked, as he did fantastic runs on a lot of books. This, once again, is not one of them. This is crap.
It doesn’t help that I don’t like Iceman in general. But DeMatteis doesn’t make him any easier to like here. He’s a whine-ass, and it gets tiring really fast. Yeah yeah, we can all relate to blah blah blah, but he’s the friend we all have who constantly complains about his life. He doesn’t even ask you about how you’re doing, he just keeps going on about how much things suck for him. The story also suffers from the fairly common problem in fiction of two people meeting and immediately being practically in love. There’s no build-up with the Bobby-Marge relationship, so it’s hard to care about it.
The art is OK, for the most part. It’s very much conventional. It’s exactly what ’80s comic book art looked like. It’s not the least bit interesting, one way or the other, aside from a few panels that look odd.
So, two comics, neither of them actually worth bothering with. And I’ve got 3 more issues of both. Ugh.
Song of the day: Guggenheim by the Ting Tings.
I’m off this Wednesday. So reviews will go up then.
I’ll go to the store for: Loki: Agent of Asgard #8, by Al Ewing and Jorge Coelho; My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #25, by Katie Cook and Andy Price; Storm #5, by Greg Pak and Victor Ibanez; Uncanny X-Men #28, by Brian Bendis and Kris Anka; X-Force #12, by Simon Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat.
I’ll also review: Axis #6, by Rick Remender and Leinil Yu; Axis Revolutions #2, by a few people; Deadpool #37, by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn and Mike Hawthorne; Weapon X Program #2, by Charles Soule and Salvador Larroca; Magneto #12, by Cullen Bunn and Roland Boschi; Spider-Woman #1, by Dennis Hopeless and Greg frigging Land.
So that’s 5 comics I’m buying, and 9 reviews.
I’m most looking forward to Uncanny X-Men and X-Force. Magneto’s making his return to UXM, so that should be fun, plus there’s presumably still some more of the current arc, with the uber-powerful mutant and such. X-Force has just been a really fun series all along, and while I don’t like Huat’s art, I’m sure the current arc will continue to be great.
Storm, on the other hand . . . I think I’m getting close to dropping Storm. I started pulling it because I wanted to support a minority-led title by a minority writer. I thought Storm deserved an ongoing, so I put my money where my mouth is. But the series has just not been anywhere near as good as it should be. I feel like I’m pulling it out of a sense of obligation, and that’s not the feeling the audience should have. I don’t see the point of it, beyond giving Storm an ongoing. What does Pak have to say about the character? What stories does he have to tell that can’t be told elsewhere? So far, it’s been nothing. The series needs to get a direction, and it needs a direction now. But for now, I’m close to dropping it.
I finished reading Land of Nod: The Prophet. Here’s my review from Goodreads:
The second book in the Land of Nod trilogy is much like the first. This one does split the perspective, with one side of the story focusing on Jeff’s search for his father, and the other side on Artimus trying to get the city ready for war with the pheerions. Both sides are fairly well-done and interesting. The writing style remains very simple and straightforward, and the book is a quick read. It’s not a great book, but it’s a pretty good middle-school-age story.
I need to be careful with the Giveaways I enter. I’m not the target audience at all for a book like this. Middle-grade books aren’t for me. They never really have been. I was never much for those kinds of books, I think. The next book I’ll be reading is Legend of Arslan, which is a manga. I’ve never actually read a manga before. So we’ll see how I like that. No more winds from Goodreads. It’s been a while. October 7 was the last time I won a book, so it’s been over a month now. Though I still haven’t received one of the books I won in September. I get the feeling I probably won’t be receiving it. Oh well.
In personal news: Work has been pretty crazy lately. Friday night, starting at around 10, it was just insanely busy for the entire last hour. I don’t know why, but just that hour was crazy. Then Saturday was pretty much constant all day. My schedule for this week is 4-8 Thursday, 8:30-5 Friday, 10-6:30 next Monday, 7-11 pm next Tuesday. And 5-9 next Wednesday, so my weekly review post will probably go up next Thursday, instead. For this week, I’ll do review posts Saturday and Sunday, and I might do them Friday and Monday. See how I feel on those days.
I still need to get around to watching My Little Pony: Equestria Rocks.
No luck finding a library job. Not many postings I’m actually qualified for, and it’s hard finding the time and energy to do much searching. I really, really need to do a better job of it.
I don’t have much to talk about this week. It’s been a really boring week for me. Maybe I’ll have more next week.
Kitty Pryde! Today’s story, by Claremont and Milgrom, is “Terror”
Kitty’s been caught in the Yakuza boss’ audience, and he orders his guards to grab her. But, bad as she feels, she’s still a superhero, so she makes her escape, even without using her powers. The boss gets annoyed at Ogun for not stopping her, but Ogun says he’s not a bodyguard. He does agree to capture her, though, and even says her life will count as payment for service Ogun’s rendered. Kitty’s dad tells Ogun to stay away from Kitty, but Ogun says she’s his now, and if her dad tries to interfere, he’ll die.
Kitty’s phasing her way out of the building, and decides she needs to make it to Mariko to hide. Ogun catches her and knocks her out before she even has a chance to start.
Back at JFK airport, Wolverine goes through a metal scanner, and tells them it’s his bones. He’s got a medical certificate for it.
Kitty’s standing in the darkness, and a spotlight hits her. She can’t move. A sword slices through the air, and she screams. The sword slices her sleeves. It tapes her throat, and she can’t speak. It taps the back of her legs, and she drops to her knees. Then the sword starts slicing off hair. Her ears are tapped, and she can no longer hear. All she can see is darkness. Then it taps her head, and she falls onto her back. So she’s left looking straight up into the light, and Ogun, with his signature mask, leans in, and Kitty starts falling.
She’s reduced to a baby. Ogun, without his mask, trains her in martial arts. She grows up, through her whole life, doing nothing but training. Unarmed combat, shuriken, bo staff, sai, tiger claws. And, of course, the sword. They move perfectly in sync. They merge, and only Kitty’s left. And she puts on the demon mask.
Wolverine finds the Yakuza boss. After dealing with the bodyguards, he tells the boss to get Kitty. The boss calls Ogun, who has some ninjas try to kill Kitty. She beats them up, and Ogun arranges to have her meet Wolverine the next night. Ogun seems to have a past with Wolverine. They were friends once. And now Kitty’s being sent to kill him.
This is a really cool story. It’s weird and mystical and neat. The whole sequence with Kitty and Ogun in darkness was really well-done. Claremont did a good job writing her fear, and her subsequent near-worship of Ogun. Milgrom’s art was pretty good during the sequence, too. Much better than the first issue. Fewer panels with an open mouth, I suppose. It’s still not great art, but it’s not bad at all. Another scene I actually kinda liked, oddly enough, was Wolverine at the airport. I like simple scenes like that. Just a mundane reality of normal life for Wolverine. A later story does something similar, but plays it much more for laughs, as Wolverine and Gambit are going through a metal detector, and Wolverine is forced to strip down to his underwear before he explains it. Here, Claremont shows that he’s done some research, as Wolverine has a medical certificate that gets him through. Which he would. I mean, there are people in the real world with steel plates in their skulls or steel pins in their bones or things like that, and those people use airplanes, and they don’t have to strip down to their underwear. So it’s realistic that Wolverine – who is, after all, a former secret agent – would know how to deal with airport scanners easily.
So, good issue.
Song of the day: Ghetto Love by Spinnerette.