I don't know how I missed this. Actually I do; I haven't been reading voraciously for awhile now. But rectifying that a bit and going through the latest iteration of Moon Knight, written by the incomparable Warren Ellis and the up-and-coming Declan Shalvey.
5 Reasons This Version of Moon Knight is better than Batman:
Moon Knight has always been viewed as a second-rate Batman. Sure, Tony Stark/Iron Man matches well with Bruce Wayne as the playboy intelligent billionaire with a gazillion gadgets and a heart of gold. But for gritty vigilantism and the iron will to see justice done whatever it takes, Moon Knight is the real equivalent. Marc Spector also has his shiny toys, dammit.
So far there's been 12-issues, and Ellis writes the first six in mostly self-contained chapters that work out quite well. The last Moon Knight series by Brian Michael Bendis had promise, but Ellis takes that and runs away with it. Working with the cops and assuming a role of "protector of the travelers of the night", Moon Knight takes on the regular bad guys and elements of the supernatural and weird a la "Global Frequency". "Sniper" has an opening narrative of interconnected stories which works well in a movie, and ends in a twist. "Box" has "Mr. Knight" taking on punk ghosts. In "Scarlet", he clears a building floor by floor (reminiscent of the Indonesian hit "The Raid") to rescue a young girl. He almost breaks a sweat in "Spectre" where a character from the first issue ends up attempting to replace him. Ellis though, never fails to reference the past, as the supporting cast shows up in cameos, although they never really interact with him. He has been diagnosed as having brain damage, but the new diagnosis is he does not have disassociative identity disorder (or multiple personalities), as we have known him to be. Regardless, it doesn't dull his sense of duty to do justice. Its much more fun this way.
This is how Moon Knight should be written - simple, uncomplicated, direct.
whoa. lookit. once decapitated by Logan, he's now going to be the new Logan. all hail Victor Creed!
- Axis #9
Axis, Book One: Red Supremacy and Book Two: Inversion
i actually prefer Book Two, where the insanity goes sideways and upside down and who knows where, than Book One, where Red Skull + Xavier's mind + Magneto's hate = Red Onslaught (yeah, that thing again). the thing with heroes is that they're also learning on the fly that a solution to a problem could create the next problem. i imagine some readers will take exception to Rick Remender's writing here, as he (gleefully perhaps) writes the second black Captain America as an angry revolutionary who's quick to violence (thug?). the X-Men just fast forwarded the coming of Apocalypse themselves, and the Avengers want to play God. and Kluh is the Hulk within the Hulk. i am Kluh-less what's gonna happen next. i didn't even know there was a Book Three coming.
art-wise, Adam Kubert's best days are in the rear view mirror, and you can see how event books show the rushed artwork. its good to see kababayans Leinil and Gerry back, but its just one issue in Book Two and the Dodsons take over.
just finished Cullen Bunn's 12-issue run of "Magneto". Mags has come a long way since taking on the X-Men and Avengers as a two-dimensional villain in the late 60s/70s. even with his diminished powers, he is a much more interesting character interacting with a changing world. it looks like Xavier (dead? not dead? who knows?) will leave the leadership of mutants in general to him, but where does that leave Cyclops? and how does his "Axis" alliance with the selected supervillains (specifically Mystique) dovetail with the knowledge that Mystique is a damn dirty traitor (not to mention, "Mrs. Xavier")? more questions down the pike, but its an enjoyable trip to have Magneto as the Frank Castle of the mutant cause. punish me, baby!
and just like that, one of the most annoying X-Men characters of the '90s bites the dust hehehe. babooosh, Bennet du Paris. i don't even know how you came to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. contractor (money's too tight to mention, especially for a 12th century man). your former master Magneto didn't even think of you.
Scott Lobdell's characters are being mowed down by Bendis hahaha. where the hell is Sugar Man? lol
and Brian Michael Bendis pulls out the rug from under me again. well, not really. my #1 suspect was the Dark Beast. finally closed the book on that one (hello Scott Lobdell).
the only possible reasons why Magneto didn't detect the nano-sentinels inside Cyclops was (a) it was too high tech for his broken powers or (b) he was too busy with his own agenda.
that was rollicking fun! let's do it again!
Seriously, this is what the art on Ultimates devolved into? Are they serious? I mean, seriously serious?
And I thought Bryan Hitch completely lost it. Its "Giannis Milonogiannis". Holy crap. I can do the same quality of artwork and I haven't drawn anything in years.
I'm sorry, its just ... just ugly.
Ultimates v1 #5, All-New Ultimates #8
I call dibs on Frank Castle or Bucky!
seriously, the real Nick Fury has no relationship with the Jr. (only a prop Marvel is forcing on us because of Sammy Jackson).
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:
you would think that its been already so long since Cap was revived and assimilated into our Brave New World, that he'd stop being surprised by this time.
what in reintarnation?!?!? i knew it was coming and i still fell off my chair. yes, it feels like a cop-out. Agent Coulson finally gets integrated into the 616.
"what, we're movie stars now?"
Battle Scars #6
a quick scan of the latest Marvel Previews.
Right on the cover promoting the much-hyped AvX event (and for issue #3 or 4), we see Hope being chased by members of both teams like she shit on their beds and never cleaned up. even the gentle Hank McCoy is up in arms. redheads are always getting the short end of the stick. no wonder they get picked to host cosmic universe-destroying entities.
In Avengers #26, a member is said to betray the team ... and its not who you think. So I guess its not Penis Head above, who's fighting with Thor on the cover. right. also this book marks the return of Walt Simonson, who judging by the drawing of Thor's hand holding his hammer, seems to be finally getting long in the tooth.
Are these two girls still fighting? (Wolverine and the X-Men #10-11)
Oh, its really not Penis Head. Danny Rand takes Hope on a date, infuriating Cable, Cyclops, the Avengers, and Misty Knight. (New Avengers #26)
Cancer can only kill you so long. Looks like the Marvels got recruited for the Secret Avengers. At this rate, everyone in the Marvel Universe will be a Secret Avenger. Yes, even Willie Lumpkin.
Admittedly, the introduction of a new Spidey piqued my interest, and judging from this excellent cover by Kaare Andrews, this is a brawl the fanbase has been waiting for.
In Amazing Spider-Man: Ends of the Earth #1, Spidey meets up with Big Hero Six and Union Jack to thwart Doc Ock's final plans before presumably dying. It has actually taken him this long to sniff the grave, and knowing Marvel, the Octopus legacy will live on (a nephew?). I kind of miss the goggle-glassed socially-inept nerd that harassed Peter Parker and Aunt May repeatedly through the '70s and the '80s. And come to think of it, I also miss Alfred Molina's portrayal.
Oh. Just plug in the Black Cat and it'll be perfect. Hmm-mmm! (Amazing Spider-Man #685)
Crap. Are we having another Clone Saga??
Why am I seeing The Comedian in this picture? (Winter Soldier #5)
Apparently, the mole being referred here is in "Start Resilient", so no damage will be done to Tony because the rat is in the WRONG COMPANY. So how come Iron Man is "no more"? Because he's going to be the next Crossbones!!! (Invincible Iron Man #516)
New title coming soon: The Conjoined Banners (Incredible Hulk 7.1). In other news, Marvel just can't get enough of the decimal places. They will soon be coming out with issues like Black Widow 0.005 and Toad 1.75. No, those are not the cover prices.
The Internet has already deemed Frank stupid for shooting at Hulk's chest. Also how can you stay angry all the time? (Incredible Hulk #8)
In Fantastic Four #605.1, the secret history of the FF "starts just like you remember ... and ends like something completely different." What could it be? I know, I know! They all switch powers - Reed is the rocky one, Ben is afire, Johnny is invisible and Sue gets all elastic-y. Ugh.
Matt Murdock finally gets a new love. And lest you think its unique, it always starts like the above anyway. (Daredevil #12)
... and the walking time bomb that is the Avengers will then be Assembled. Who are the Bad Guys (aside from Loki, of course)? Metal drones and snakes? I thought they were fighting the Skrulls/Chitauri?
may contain comic-like substance. spoilers guaranteed. getting offended, optional.