Welcome phantom readers!
I present for your edification, the latest edition of my weekly report on the newest comic offerings to be found at your local retailer or through digital download! As always, I direct interested parties to The Time Capsule: Route 6 in Seekonk Mass (next door to the speedway) to get their fix! Tell Jeff that Mike Ponte sent you! He will promptly reply with a healthy slap to your face and order you to get out before he sticks the dogs on you and calls the cops.
I apologize for the lack of uniformity in the images, I just grabbed what I could find on the interwebs.
Worst of the Week:
This is the last week for the “Stink” category. I may have finally found a good balance of titles to read, that has completely (for now) eradicated the garbage.
Acceptable of the Week
Buffy The Vampire Slayer 3:
“Season 9” of Buffy continues as she finds herself wanted by the Police for murdering Vampires…yup. Vamps are now “pop icons” in the Buffy-verse. Of course, there is always a catch, as a new villain called “The Siphon” is after Buffy and her powers. It appears that when Buffy destroyed “The seed”: Source of all magic and power in the Earth (which miraculously is also central to the Dark Angel Saga in Uncanny X-Force: covered below), she did something that makes all new Vampires into Zombies…Zompires as Xander so eloquently put it. Another “OK” issue, but I cannot help but wonder if the magic of Buffy is wearing off a bit (correlations of the preceding statement to the events of Season 8 are totally intentional).
Superboy is out in the world, and N.O.W.H.E.R.E. wants him back! I hope that made sense. N.O.W.H.E.R.E. is a shadowy group that is the creator of Superboy. The future “Connor Kent” (if he will use that name in the DCnU) is getting his first taste of the real world, and his introduction to normal humans. Of course he happens across some sort of alien fire monster who conveniently reveals to him that he is a clone, containing both Kryptonian and Human DNA. Overall, a decent issue, but I think this, and Teen Titans, are in danger of becoming very boring…very quickly. They are both essentially covering the same ground- N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and it’s desire to control all of the young Meta-Humans, and the few teen heroes that stand against them.
Resurrection Man #3
The story of the undying “Mitch” continues, as the two sexy assassins fail in kidnapping him from the Nursing home! hehe. That was a funny sentence to write. “Resurrection Man”, the guy who rises from death, each time with a new superpower, is being hunted! Last issue, two beautiful women were dispatched to find and retrieve him. This issue shows the remainder of their epic battle, as Mitch discovers that these two girls have a very Wolverine-like Healing factor! Just when he thinks these sexy babes have him licked, a senile old man puts on a super-suit and prepares to fight them! hehe. This comic is funny.
Batman and Robin #3
Tomasi delivers another great issue of Bruce/Damian awesomeness. Bruce is worried about this “Morgan” character coming after him, and his bat-family. He orders Damian to stay home and play with their new dog, but as Damian is an ass, he disobeys his father (never do that, especially if your dad is the goddamn Batman), and is promptly left helpless at the hands of Morgan. By the end of the story, we have a good old fashioned “Same bat-time, same bat-channel” cliffhanger, where the dynamic duo are strapped into a convertible, in a field, and a drive-in movie is about to start. Methinks the next issue will be a lot of exposition… good stuff though. The characterizations are there, and it all flows well. Of special interest is that great Chess scene where Alfred the Butler shows child Genius Robin, just why Batman keeps him around.
This issue finds Slade attacked by a strange Green and Purple suited assassin- pictured on the cover. This new villain. “Legacy”, seems solid enough as a recurring foil, but the cover could use some work. I guess I am just picky. The story inside the cover was another great tale. Following the slaughterfest of issue 2, Slade now finds himself back in the public eye as the “Go-to” Assassin. After dispatching Legacy, he goes off to Colorado to kill an arms manufacturer and meets…Legacy?! He kills him…again, but is beaten to the punch as someone else kills his mark. This was another solid issue from this surprisingly readable comic. I have a feeling that sales will get it cancelled in the next few months, but I will enjoy the blood soaked rise while it lasts.
Now that we have the standard issues out of the way, it’s time for:
Best of the week!
Magneto: Not a Hero #1:
Whoa nelly! This mini series could be a great one. The story starts with an anti mutant rally in NY. Magneto (who has been an X-Men member for a while) walks in and kills everyone in attendance. The President of the US pretty much rips Steve “Cpt America” Rogers a new asshole, and demands Magneto be brought to justice. He and Iron Man end up meeting with Cyclops and Magneto over it. The catch: Magneto did not do it. Using a type of Cerebro, he discovers the culprit is his clone: Joseph! apparently flanked by his children: Wanda and Quicksilver! Not sure how that will play out, but I like this start. I kinda suspect that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were a sort of hallucination, or subconscious prodding that Joe is gonna try to take Daddy’s place as leader of some sort of new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. We’ll see.
As Barbara adjusts to her new life back as Batgirl, we take a pause in the action to get some character development. Barbara is still mentally suffering from her “miracle” recovery from paralysis. Over the course of this story, she feels great anger and resentment in the idea that all of her friends and family see her not as the strong willed woman persona she had while in the wheelchair, but as a weak fragile girl to be protected from all harm and unnecessary exertion. This is a tough thing for her to wrap her mind around, and I applaud Simone for telling this story. There was so much fear and anger over the end of the “Oracle” character, that I am happy to see Gail delve into the mental instability in such a change (as opposed to “YAY! I can walk! Let’s never mention the wheelchair again!”). It culminates with Babs, and Nightwing (former, and possibly future paramour- Dick Grayson) slugging it out over her belief that he and Batman don’t think she is up to the task of being Batgirl. Overall, a great comic. We also get some reference points as it is told that her shooting was three years in the past. I loves me some reference.
The New Avengers 18:
Well, well, well. My favorite run of Avengers from the last several years has returned! Following “Secret Invasion”, Norman “Green Goblin” Osborne became the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and made his own team of evil Avengers- the Dark Avengers. Newly escaped from prison, Norman (Looking suspiciously like Tommy Lee Jones), is now leading H.A.M.M.E.R., and has teamed up with Hydra, The Hand, and A.I.M. to create a new Dark Avenger team! Yup, Norman is getting the band back together! The kicker- they have the “Clone Thor” from Civil War in their arsenal. Outstanding.Well played Bendis…well played.
Green Lantern #3:
The lackluster first 2 issues begin to pay off a bit in this issue of Green Lantern. Now that Sinestro has cajoled Hal into helping him free his home planet of Korugar from the Sinestro Corps, they head off to get the job done. Things go instantly fubar, and Hal is disintegrated?!! That’s not even the coolest part of the comic. The Guardians, who began to show signs of going apeshit crazy when they lobotomized fellow Guardian Ganthet (for having emotions), have decided to make a move. First came the Manhunter robots, who were flawed. The Guardians shut them down and created the Green Lantern Corps. Now, they being emotional sentient beings are not perfect either. So the Guardians are gonna scrap them all and create a THIRD ARMY! Some do not like Geoff Johns, but his run on these comics has been terrific. The concept of some new Corps of Robots/Machines/whatever trying to replace the GL Corps is very cool. I look forward to it playing out.
Avenging Spider-Man #1:
The first issue of the new Spidey title! I was a bit wary of this, but after some thinking, decided to give it a shot. Despite the title, this is essentially the new “Marvel Team-up” comic. Back in the day, “team-up” was always Spider-Man having adventures with the hero of the week. This time, we see Spidey and the Red Hulk team up to fight the Moloids, and discover that the Mole man has been defeated! Those stories were always some of my favorite Spider-Man adventures back in the day. I welcome it back with open arms. In addition, this comic comes polybagged with a code to download a free digital edition of the comic! My first “same day as print” comic! This title looks to be a keeper.
Demon Knights #3:
Best of the Awesomesauce titles. The only thing keeping this out of the top tier this month was the lack of Vandal Savage eating dinosaur for the first time in millenniums. That scene was the essence of fantastic. This month, the story of the Medieval superhero team continues as they prepare for an attack by The Horde on the small village they have decided to protect. Demons, flying horses, Vandal Savage, evil sorceresses, Mechanical Dragons, Walls of flame, and crispy demon-burnt priests all come together to form a stunning story by Paul Cornell. I do not know where in his ass he pulled this comic out of, but I hope it runs forever.
Marvel Point One
While not the cover to this issue, it pretty much sums it up. Point One is a special one shot comic that drops several cool things in our laps. The idea is this: make a comic that will tease all of the big 2012 comic events. Holy crap did they do just that. The skeleton of this title is a couple of spacemen have sneaked into Uatu the Watcher’s house to download some information on the future! Of the things covered: Ultron taking over the Earth in Avengers, Doctor Strange leading the Defenders, The rise of X-Terminated- an Age of Apoocalypse story, Kaine becoming the new Scarlet Spider in his own title, AND…..
The return of the fucking Phoenix. Phoenix destroys an entire planet in this particular vignette and is tearing its way across the universe (presumably heading to earth, because…that’s where all these alien things head for some reason.) They also drop a thread that these 2 guys stealing Uatu’s information have a plan- to kill him! Marvel in 2012 is looking very very good.
Runner up of the week
Batwoman #3: by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
This is quite the comic. The writing is near perfection, and the art is breathtaking. Looking at the cover, you get the sense that this is a special style of comic. What many do not understand is that while a cover is frequently more dynamic that the interior art (to make you buy it), this comic’s interiors frequently match or EXCEED the covers. Williams is a master of his craft. The art here is the best I have ever seen in a comic. He makes it his own, and never looks back. This is a title that people will be talking about for many years as a prime example of what the comics art medium can accomplish.
Pick of the Week!
Uncanny X-Force 17: by Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña
Simply perfection. Selecting this title as the pick of 11-9-11 was a no brainer. Rick Remender is on a tear in this title that I cannot believe. 17 issues in 12 months… SEVENTEEN!
Right from the start, he has made this new iteration of the X-Force something amazing to behold. The Mutant Hit Squad concept was very weak, and I had zero interest in the previous iteration of this team. He took that team, added Deadpool and Fantomex (who has become one of my favorite X-Men) and gave us the best comic produced by Marvel.
The Dark Angel Saga reaches it’s penultimate issue as Psylocke is transformed into the new Horseman of Death! Archangel prepares to use “The Seed” (same idea from Buffy really) to wipe out all life on Earth and remake it in a Mutant Utopian image. The team manage to turn Psylocke back to normal just in time to face off against Warren in a final battle. The last damn thing we needed was another Age of Apocalypse storyline where one of the heroes gets possessed by the power of Apocalypse and tries to take over the Earth. Its been done… a lot. Remender wisely takes this comic on another course, one with tremendous power, great twists, and possibly the best story Angel/Archangel has ever had.
The art is exceptional, as we have come to expect from Jerome Opeña. The story is easily best X-story since Grant Morrison’s work on New X-Men, and possibly further back. Remender has joined Jason Aaron, and Cullen Bunn as my favorite writers of the past year. I was aware of them, and their work, but this is the year I really jumped into their stuff. I have no doubt that this run on Uncanny X-Force will be looked back on by future readers as one of the best in the history of X-Men…and that is saying quite a bit.