So this week was a triple shot espresso courtesy of Marvel. First, they gave us ...
Oh wait, that's not the female Thor they were rolling out soon. So apparently, Thor (the Thor we all know and love, that lout) will become unworthy of Mjolnir, and thus another hammer-bearer is needed. Apparently also, Beta Ray Bill was not answering his phone.
All bets are on the recently-acquired comic character/property Angela as the new Goddess of Thunder (what if it was Sif all along?). And although they say she "... isn't a temporary female substitute", how many issues or months would you bet before Thor Odinson regains the hammer? I'll wager less than 3 years, for one big crossover again.
Not too surprising is the ascension of Sam Wilson as the new (albeit temporary, i dare you challenge me) Captain America. I was thinking they would find a cure for Steve Rogers' dilemma in time, but I guess this was one of those insidious long-term plans concocted during one of those Marvel retreats. And why not? Marvel's batting average has been on the rise in the last 14 years.
Lastly, we are going to have an Iron Man that's "... hard to root for." Yes, the return of Drunk Tony!! Oh, wait, its going to be a Superior Iron Man. Hubris will be the norm, as Tony apparently continues the legacy of Steve Jobs (in more ways than one) and kind of forces his vision on the world (or in this case, San Francisco) because he knows he's right. You know he's always right. He may have gone too far with his Illuminati machinations, but .... you know he's right.
October can't be too far away. Enough time to grab the popcorn eh?
How this cover ever got greenlighted, I don't know. Rob Liefeld's influence has been pervasive. Quite a disservice to the character, to say the least.
Let's call out the heads: Steve Lightle (cover artist), Tom Breevort (editor), Marc Sumerak (assistant editor) and under Joe Q's reign as EIC, to boot.
Haven't done a good job on catching up on my reading, but when i can, i find gems like Saga. So good that i have recommended it to my friends. Welcome back, BKV!
Leaks and spoilers notwithstanding, this new direction is something I find a lot more appealing than One More Day/Brand New Day. Doctor Octopus has done something Norman Osborn could not - defeat Peter Parker. But did he? We all know Peter is coming back at some point - the only question is when. The only thing I find icky is that he could be doing the horizontal mambo for real with MJ, which echoes that distasteful time when Osborn impregnated Gwen Stacy! With twins! Let's hope it doesn't go down that road, or else we'll think some deviant shipper took control of Dan Slott's body. As the man says, this is for the dra. ma.
Adi Granov/Pasqual Ferry/Hollingsworth (variant cover)
Iron Fist revivalists Matt Fraction and David Aja reunite to chronicle a few off-the-beaten-path adventures of the 616's premiere marksman and longtime swashbuckling Avenger. And before you compare it the recent stuff by Jim McCann, let's just say this is more Frank Miller-esque territory (with Fraction's sly humor) rather than straight-up superheroics. Clint's not even in his duds for the most part. As the intro says, this is what happens when he's off the clock.
Though it rather seems odd that Clint would be slumming it in Bed-Stuy, he is definitely the human angle of the Avengers, and it would make sense he'd be more down to earth than the rest (despite all the things that he's experienced). It also seems he's taken a bit of his DCU counterpart here and is on a "gonna take care of my people" bent. But deep in his (post-villain) heart, Barton has a sense of justice, a bit dirty, but justice all the same. You have to if you're dealing with real-world (and possibly legally untouchable) scumbags like the Russian tracksuit mafia (i fell off my chair laughing ... no, really).
There are a lot of elements from other characters like Gambit and Bullseye (or maybe they're the ones copping off Clint huh) - Clint never gets to be in costume, so forget about his usual weapons (but its true, the only 'arrow' in this book is an animal). We see Clint as a real street brawler, fresh welcome air to take away the been-there-done-that schtick of fighting Skrulls, X-Men and Norman Osborn (a promise unkept).
Despite some cover elements reminiscent of Target (duh), this is a pick-me-up please.
I haven't blogged comics in a while, but i've kept an eye on the current crop of books out recently (slightly disappointed by AvX). I don't get to read on a regular basis, and its a sweet thing to be able to read a story arc in one sitting (like stockpiling your candy - sort of a emotional maturity test). As i mentioned, blogging regularly is in the distant past, but i would be remiss not to blow praise for Scott Snyder's Batman and his current masterpiece "Court of Owls/Night of the Owls" storyline.
It all starts with "Gates of Gotham" of course, and that was a neat setup. under Snyder, who cut his Bat teeth on Detective Comics, Gotham City becomes a much more valued supporting character, not just the city that Batman strives to keep safe every single day. It has become a legendary jungle of secrets and lies, with Snyder's stories breathing life into it in full glory, a whole new fleshed-out character in itself.
With the introduction of the Owls, a subtle nod to a secret government within the government, controlling the fate of a city, Batman has met a bigger, worthier opponent than the most recent additions to his rogues gallery. Neither is he not fully prepared to take them down easily, nor does he manage to avoid injury. The issue where he gets captured by the Court is worthy of a cinematic psycho-horror experience, that he hasn't been subjected to for quite a while (the Joker notwithstanding). There's actually a feeling that Batman might not win.
Of course, Batman's greatest weapon is his mind, and he has to use every single ounce of cranium power he has to escape the clutches of the Court. But time is a luxury Snyder does not afford him, as he is set back on his heels and forced to confront the Talons, regenerating assassins of the Owls, in one hellish night in Gotham City (imagine taking down all relevant public officials and notable citizens). The inevitable crossover has to involve the extended Batman family (of course), but it is handled quite elegantly, and isn't that much baggage for the average reader (you can stick with the Batman issues and be quite happy). There are some interesting side trips which you might want to indulge, like Nightwing's stunning backstory (anyone want to be a Talon?), or Damian leading National Guard troops against a lone assassin.
And just when you think its over, Snyder pulls out the rug from under you (as if you were steadily standing on it in the first place). Not only does he get to tip his hat at 9/11, the ultimate villain behind it all turns out to be the one in plain sight, as the best whodunits have it, and fits in a twisty backstory that leaves you reeling, and getting the feeling that there's more to it than just red herrings. For me the story holds up mostly (you do have to indulge in a bit of the fantastic, after all) - Snyder has taken what is there and painted a whole new, if terrifying, narrative to it that enriches the Batman mythos forevermore.
Thank you, Scott Snyder. Greg Capullo, welcome back.
(spoilers: i don't give a crap about these at this point, because no one reads this page anyway hahahaha)
With proof that big time spandex movies can do well (sorry, 2000's X-Men) - $200M opening weekend as of latest news crawl/this writing - we can only expect that the door is open for more comic book movies on the horizon, whether its a good idea or not (i'm already holding my breath for the inevitable backlash and saturation). to cap my movie review on the appropriate section of this website, here are my little notes and extra fanboy comments on The Avengers: