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?