There will be SPOILERS
There was a time when I was a Marvel Zombie. Looking back at my review list now, many of you may find that hard to believe, but it’s the truth: up until the ceaseless push of hack events began to swallow every decent idea the company produced in an effort to become increasingly grim to push a faux-realism, I really did not see the appeal of DC Comics. Every so often, Marvel will do something great – Patsy Walker: Hellcat, for example, or The Immortal Iron Fist. Brief genre projects less concerned with fitting in with the overarching company-wide directive of misery than with telling fun, fast-paced stories.
Incredible Hercules, while far more wildly uneven than either of the previously mentioned books, fits the same mold. Despite bearing the “Dark Reign” banner and being hip-deep in the whole Osborn schtick, remains a quick, clever book. Ryan Stegman’s art is competent and dynamic, capturing the fun and the action in equal measures – and if Incredible Hercules has anything, its action and comedy.
Though the book in general is wildly uneven, #129 is an great entry for the middle of the arc, as Herc, Amadeus and Athena travel together into the Underworld in an effort to free Zeus and overthrow the scheming of Hera and Hades. Despite the “Dark Reign” banner, the issue doesn’t touch on the metaplot of the MU in any significant way. The series is never quite as funny as it wants to be and has some underlying issues, but strong characterization and a breezy plot help keep the book fun and relevant.
WAY too many books to review from this last shipment, so I’m going to split this up into three installments. After this one will come the Avengers books, followed by whatever’s left over.
Incredible Hercules #120 (*****)
I love the way that everything going on with the Eternals matters. The Dreaming Celestial is standing in the outskirts of San Francisco, and every book I’ve read that has involved San Francisco in some way have either explicitly mentioned his presence or at least shown him in the background of a panel (we’ve seen this in both Uncanny X-Men and this very book). Hell, the Eternals are all up in Hercules’ bidness, and I’m not just talking about Ajak being a member of the God Squad. Let’s put it this way: HE is not the Beyonder. HE is not anyone we’ve ever seen before. But the concept behind HE and who HE is caught me completely by surprise, but makes a whole lot of sense in a super awesome way. It’s not hard to make the claim that the Eternals are the true movers and shakers of the Marvel Universe right now. Not the Illuminati. Not Tony Stark. Not SHIELD or the Red Skull or any of these people. It’s groovy. And as a whole five issue arc that starts with the Eternals thinking Hercules is Gilgamesh and ends the way it does, this will stand as masterful comic work regardless of its affiliation with a major event going on at the same time.
This is a book that shows the true potential of a shared universe, because it brings in ideas completely alien to its original concept borrowed from other books that allow new avenues of storytelling to unite and divide. Stories like this are why we NEED these big earth shattering crossover events, whether we like them or not. Because it’s all about potential. And I’m not the type of person that’s just going to assume that it’s going to fail or not sync up because there’s no specific reason for it to do that. I don’t need these books to be validated by having their story threads show up in the main Secret Invasion title. Because I know there’s no room for it, and I’d rather Bendis focus on the story he wants to tell and pace it the way he wants to without having to worry about the added pressure of filling in the gaps or making sure everything gets mentioned. After reading this issue, I’m going to know exactly whom the Skrulls are referring to when they say “He loves you.” Do I care whether it’s mentioned there or not? Hell no! Because I have the information. I’ve been saying this from the beginning, but Secret Invasion as an event is too big not to have this many crossovers. Does it suck for those who don’t have the time or resources to read it all? Maybe. But I’ve read 67 Secret Invasion books (counting the Infiltration prologues), and all of them but one have been solid to great reads (sorry, X-Factor #33. Even though the rest of the arc was good, you still sucked). So what’s to complain about? Not a thing.
X-Factor #34 (***)
Does the art still suck? Pretty much. I know some people enjoy this Larry Stroman art because he’s basically the diametric opposite of the Greg Lands and Salvador Laroccas of the world, but I think there’s a breaking point when you can’t actually recognize characters easily. And when it gets in the way of actually being able to easily follow and enjoy the story, you’ve got a problem. But as for the book itself, we have the continuation of the X-Factor/She-Hulk/Secret Invasion Detroit series (which Nova actually gets sucked into a bit, but more on that later) with Jazinda and Nogor’s dealings with Darwin (the Talisman of the Skrull gods introduced in She-Hulk 31) at its center. We also get a little more of the new “Embrace Change” aspect of the series, as Nogor is convinced that Darwin is the evolutionary missing link between humans and Skrulls (the idea being that Darwin’s ability to adapt to any situation on the fly is not far removed from the Skrulls’ ability to shape shift to fit any situation), and he could be the one to unite them all. Of course, it doesn’t take, and Nogor is tied up and taken away (where is he taken? Why, She-Hulk #32, of course). I think Nogor is a wonderful premise and a fantastic character, and for that reason and that reason alone, I think these issues are well worth reading (though you can probably just skip X-Factor 33. You might be a little lost, but that issue is pretty painful).
Nova #16 (****)
Not as good as our Galactus storyline, but that’s a pretty high water mark to deal with, and a bit of a recession should be expected. Kl’rt enters the Secret Invasion scene here (took him long enough, eh?) and the results are not exactly what Nova would expect. There are some great moments afoot, however. I particularly enjoyed a little interaction where Nova is shocked and dismayed that the Skrulls disguise themselves as children in order to set a trap, and Kl’rt points out that when you’re a shapeshifter, subterfuge is really your only option. We also deal with the continuation of Nova coping without the Worldmind and how difficult it has become for him to do even the most mundane things due to his internal suit mechanics being the equivalent of a prerecorded customer service phone chain. There’s a lot of good here, and most of it comes from Kl’rt’s characterization as the grizzled veteran that’s been forgotten by the Skrull invasion forces, partly because he’s been busy with all these Annihilations that keep popping up and partly because he can’t win a fight to save his life. He’s the outmoded old tech that sits in a corner and rots. He’s the old Pentium 1 PC that’s been in your garage for fifteen years. But he still wants to be part of the action, and he needs to find his daughter. And that leads us to…
She-Hulk #32 (****)
Woo! Shared universes! Kl’rt shows up fresh from Nova to confront Jazinda in this issue, as we have more interactions with Nogor the Talisman, who is still written very well by Peter David. I just really like this character and the tension between his fate and the fate of the Skrull invaders. You threaten him and the Skrulls just might relent, thinking their plans are not ordained by the gods, but if you kill him, they’ll launch into such a religious fervor that they’d probably completely exterminate the human race. So She Hulk and Jazinda are stuck with this guy, and they can’t trust Tony Stark enough to let him deal with the problem. Kl’rt’s arrival really mucks up the works as well. These She Hulk issues have really shown the strength of a lot of these crossovers, in that we’re getting all kinds of ancillary benefits that there would never be room for in the main mini.
Sky Doll #3 (****)
It’s not a full review, but I am not resizing a cover that is that gorgeous.
So we’ve reached the end of the first Marvel/Soleil reprint mini series. You know, I’m still not sure why I ordered the series in the first place. Maybe it was a light month, maybe it was the cover, but I’m glad I did (and my worries were allayed when I finally got the Soleil sampler and really dug the style and what they were showing in the preview). I think I do need to go back and reread this thing at some point. CB Cebulski adapted this from the original script written by Barbucci and Canepa, and as with all translations, it’s not perfect and can get a little clunky at times. It doesn’t help Mr. Cebulski’s task that this is a seriously complex story about religion, sexual politics, regular politics class stratification and censorship. It’s pretty heady stuff. I think Cebulski does more than an adequate job of translating despite a couple of moments here or there where the dialogue or word choice might read a little off or hollow. It certainly doesn’t ruin the story, but I think this issue is a bit harder to read than the first two, which makes sense considering how everything comes to a head. The art is still undeniably fantastic and expressive and imaginative in every way possible. This thing is worth a read simply for the art’s sake, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the story behind it. Not going into plot details because it’s going to be completely indecipherable for anyone that didn’t read the first two issues, but it all comes together in a very interesting and unexpected way. Some questions are raised and answered in cryptic ways, and the tension and mystery surrounding some of the set pieces is very engaging. I highly recommend that folks pick this up in the trade format.
AND NOW…THE LIGHTNING ROUND!!!!!
Incredible Hercules #119 (****1/2) – Still great. So many enjoyable moments in this series. I seem to say this every time a new issue comes out, but I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW GOOD THIS SERIES IS. Hercules is a hilarious and fantastically written character. His interactions with the rest of the God Squad are AWESOME. The art is AWESOME (especially the facial expressions). Hell, even the recap page is AWESOME. Woo hoo!
Captain Britain and MI:13 (*****) – This is now the best Secret Invasion book. Soooooooooo good. I love the way Captain Britain came back with a sort of Bucky Cap version of his costume. Awesome awesome awesome.
X-Factor #33 (*1/2) – This is certainly not the right issue to use as a starting point for X-Factor . The only X-Factor characters I’m truly familiar with (Quicksilver and Layla Miller) aren’t in the book right now, and Larry Stroman’s art does not help me from the perspective of a new book with characters I don’t know. Bad fit for me. Hoping the She Hulk issue will be an improvement.
Secret Invasion: Front Line #1 (***1/2) – Good start. I like the idea behind the Front Line books. Still haven’t read Civil War Front Line, but I enjoyed World War Hulk Front Line well enough, and this is pretty good time. No Sally Floyd though, which isn’t exactly a bad thing. Cover’s pretty neat too.
Mighty Avengers #16 (***1/2) – I dug it. Weakest of the Mighty Avengers issues, but I still like the slowly unfolding Skrull mythos that we’re seeing.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #16 (****) – This is a solid Buffy issue. I should probably read Fray.
Terry Moore’s Echo #4 (*****) – Awesome. I love the little world that Moore’s putting together around this story. This thing is big, and it’s just going to get bigger.
Invincible Iron Man #3 (****) – Another solid issue. I REALLY like Ezekiel Stane as a character. I love the way that he’s pissed off he has to make a suit for himself because he had to lower himself to Tony’s level.
Angel After the Fall #10 (**1/2) – If I weren’t getting this for a discount, there’s no way in hell I’d still be reading it. I think it’s going places, and I generally like it okay, and having Franco Urru off the book helps, but it’s still not worth four bucks.
Spike After the Fall #1 (**) – See my review for Angel. Except Urru’s on this one now. Lop off a half star for that.
100 Bullets #93 (****)
Finally! Something awesome happened that doesn’t require tons of back-story for the uninitiated to understand!!! Or, does it…
This is the minuteman.
This is the girl he wants to kill.
Here is the man who wishes to protect her.
This is his breathing machine.
This is the entrance to the panic room where girl and protector are hiding. That is the assassin approaching.
…and, also this. OUCH, and yet very, very awesome!
What a fricking cliffhanger, right?? This was just a great little action issue and it was more than welcome. I’m hoping the final seven issues are this good or better.
Captain Britain and MI13 #3 (*****)
Three issues, Bendis! Three mother-effing issues!! Look at all the shit that Cornell has accomplished in three issues!!! Bendis, you hack.
That’s it. No need to beat a dead horse. Go away. Now.
The Incredible Hercules #119 (****1/2)
I love this book. LOOOOOOOOOOOVE IT. Besides all the awesome god action and the interesting way this book ties into the Secret Invasion event, this page perfectly sums up why I love Hercules and also why I couldn’t give two shits about the Hulk anymore.
• Amazing Spider-Man #565-566 (**1/2): Kraven’s daughter? Sister? Cousin? Who gives a shit? I like the switcheroo device, or mistaken identity as “they” say, between Vin and Peter. The art by Phil P. is excellent of course, but beyond that, I’m kind of bored with this idea. Part 3 needs to wow my socks off to salvage this arc in my eyes.
• Brit #7 (**): Didn’t I cancel this book? This issue was fun, but it was basically your garden variety hero vs. hero misunderstanding plot. WHOA, how original. If not for the fairly well-done scene between Brit and his ex-wife, this issue has absolutely no value in any quantifiable form. Stop sending these to me, DCBS!!!
• Cable #5 (*): Gets one star for the good art. Loses four for everything else.
• Dreamwar #4 (**1/2): So, I was right. The DC characters were pulled from some kid’s dreams. They are not real people. Wow. Great reveal. At least the dialogue is good. Keith Giffen, what a master. Oh wait, the plot still blows.
• Powers #29 (**): Um, what’s going? Honestly, I don’t know why I still read this book. It’s actually terrible. It’s tired and it’s terrible and it’s boring. Bendis is taking his sweet ass time with this “powers virus” bullshit. Hasn’t it been like 12 issues so far? Is anyone still reading this book? Why am I here!?!?! Maybe I’ll switch to trade. Maybe it reads better that way.
• Wolfskin Annual #1 (*): Once again, completely forgettable. What is Ellis doing with this idea? Is he just writing a cheap Conan knock-off? Does he even have plans for this character? It must be nice to be able to scratch an artistic itch in public and have people pay you massive amounts of money for it. You know, like what Frank Miller did with The Dark Knight Strikes Again. But Ellis is a better writer so why is this shit so bad? This has got to be the most half-assed idea he’s written since, since… Strange Kiss (but I do like the Gravel character). I should stop buying these. They’re not even remotely good or entertaining. Why am I such an Ellis-whore?
Well, I guess I’m really slow on this one. Desiato and Billy already reviewed this. This makes my review near obsolete. But damn it, I’m going to review it anyway! I actually have to thank Billy on this one. His opening paragraph on his review is what hooked me, when he compared this to Conan. I have always loved Conan and….well, more on that in a bit.
This issue was awesome! A coming of age story with monsters, dragons, and gore oh my! I didn’t pick up this issue when it came out. It had sold out at my local comic shop. Thankfully, a friend of mine is an employee there and he had set aside a copy for himself but decided he didn’t really want it. Well, luckily when I went to pick up my copy of the Planet Hulk HC, he asked if I had picked up Skaar yet. He said a kid came in earlier and wanted a copy and he considered giving it to him, but that kid isn’t friends with the guy and I am so ha ha little kid! Ok, maybe too much barbarian reading today has turned me into a jerk.
Sorry to bore you guys with that story, but it seemed apropos of this review. This issue was indeed very good. I do however, have two complaints. One is that (I never thought I’d say this) Pak packed too much into this issue. I love the fact that I definitely got my money’s worth, but it seems that more stories could have been told about Skaar growing up. I guess this is a minor complaint, but it still seems a valid one to me. I suppose that maybe Pak had wanted to, but if this is indeed a maxi-series, perhaps Pak has too much story to tell to dwell on kid Skaar, oh well.
The other complaint is Garney’s pencils. His art seems to have gotten worse since the last arc of Wolverine he just did! Oh well, I heard in an interview that Garney admitted himself that the pencils were very rushed. He thought that he didn’t have a good enough feel for the character yet and that his art will improve. I can buy that, I mean most every art style changes over time, whether it be comic or cartoon. So I guess these aren’t really complaints, since there seem to be valid explanations, I guess they’re more observations. Anyway, great first issue and I hope Pak can keep it up. This definitely seems more like Planet Hulk than World War Hulk which to me is a good thing.
3 and a half stars
By Crom! I must read more Conan! I once heard a story about Robert E. Howard and his creation of Conan. I heard that when he was writing the story, that he actually imagined Conan standing over him with a battle axe forcing him to write about Conan more! That’s kind of how I feel right now. I have always loved Conan. My father has all 275 of the first series of Conan comics. I started to collect the new dark horse comic myself. Sadly, I quit reading it a little while after Busiek left in an attempt to cut back on my comics. But it seems the mighty Cimmerian could not lie dormant in my mind forever and I fear he is now forcing me to read all of his comics with his fierce barbaric rage!
“Conan! What is best in life?”
“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women.”
I was worried that my love of barbarian comics would wither away and die after the cancellation of the epic Conan book from Darkhorse.* Boy was I wrong! Steve (Desiato) already gave a pretty strong review of this book last week, so don’t expect the same from me. I’m here to show you the awesome art and tone of this book in the hope it will convince the uninitiated to give it a shot.
How cute is mini-Hulk?!? I love the un-inked pencils. They give it that dirty, “Conan” feel. The bug/brood hybrids are kind of scary too. When Pak said this would be a Sakaar more savage than you remember, he wasn’t lying. I wonder how long he had this planned. From before Planet Hulk started? Was this always the goal? Or was this something that grew organically from the story?
Ultra-violence? CHECK. The above panel is only a tiny fraction of the savagery that was this premier issue. Can’t wait for more.
BANG! Our hero. The first few pages opened with little Skaar and by the end, some time passes and we get big Skaar, complete with Shadow Priest tattoos and Hulked-out physique… and big FREAKING stone axe! Damn, I’m already really digging this book. I can see now why Pak decided not to continue writing the Hulk after World War Hulk concluded. This idea is just so much more exciting. The legs it has, the possibilities… it’s a great time to be a Hulk fan.
*Yeah, I know they’re relaunching it, but it sucks without Busiek. So, I’m out for now.
I was a big fan of Planet Hulk. I’ve got that big awesome oversized hardcover on my shelf, and I think it stands quite well as the sort of superhero book that isn’t really a superhero book. Not to mention the Warbound’s notion of honor through battle, which is a literary trope that I’ve loved ever since I became enamored with the work of Homer, Plato and Sophocles. It was a book that had everything going for it. But nothing lasts forever, and Planet Hulk ended on a high note, with issue 105 being one of the best of the entire 14 issue run.
Then World War Hulk showed up. It was pretty good for what it was, but it was also boiled down to the absolute lowest common Hulk Smash denominator. Which is fine, but not exactly something to be considered transcendent. The ending was a bit of a head scratcher, but I think it worked overall. Of course, it’s going to be seen in the future as one of those non events, because nothing really changed. Bruce was still the Hulk, and he was already on the loose by issue three of the series I choose not to name (*ahem* FUCK YOU JEPH LOEB), and Sentry sure hasn’t seemed much worse for wear through Mighty Avengers and Secret Invasion (One of these days they’re going to get the Sentry right again, and it’s going to be fantastic. Maybe we should give him back to Jenkins?). The conspiratorial part of me wants to think that Greg Pak agreed to do World War Hulk only if they would let him continue to play in the sandbox of Sakaar on his own terms. Sure, I’m probably completely off base and crazy, but considering the quality of Planet Hulk at 14 issues and the spurious nature of World War Hulk at 5 issues, you get some hope from part three of his “Hulk trilogy” being originally solicited as a twelve issue mini which may or may not be ongoing now.
But what about the issue itself? It’s pretty good. Similar to those early moments in Planet Hulk with a main character dealing with a harsh and unfamiliar terrain. We get some vague notions of how Skaar is already fully grown, and quite some time has passed. Not a whole lot happens. Skaar kills some indigenous wild life, meets some holdovers from the Red King’s reign (more on that in sec) and generally acts like a badass. We’ve got a big bad set up that’ll take us through this opening arc. All is pretty much as one would expect. This is basically Conan in space. Big powerful brute that isn’t the brightest guy on Sakaar beating stuff up. What’s not to love?
Well, one thing does bother me. Wasn’t the whole reason Hulk and the Warbound left Sakaar in the first place because the explosion of Hulk’s ship make the planet uninhabitable thanks to some irreparable shifts in the plate tectonics? Seem to be quite a lot of people, vegetation and wildlife on this supposedly dead planet. I’m not saying this is an oversight, and I’m intrigued to see if Pak gives a reasoning for the rejuvenation of the planet (perhaps Caiera becoming one with the planet healed it? Just an example). I mean, it’s a necessity to tell just about any kind of possible story, as there’s only so much that can be done with Hulk’s kid when he’s walking a dead planet alone. Also, I miss the Warbound as a presence in this book. Maybe not the Warbound specifically, but some kind of external cast of characters, but that of course will come in time.
What’s good though, is the continuation of one of the highlights of both Planet Hulk and World War Hulk: the narrative. You know the one. The slate gray caption boxes that talk in prophecies and give a lot of flavor to the mythology of Sakaar and the Sakaar’son. We saw them quite a lot in Planet Hulk, and not nearly as much in World War Hulk. Well, they’re back here, as Caiera continues to chronicle the legend of the Green Scar, this time through his son. And I love it. I’m a sucker for mythology, and this is the type of slow burn creation of an entire culture that I can really get behind. It’s why I was so sad to see Planet Hulk end.
There’s potential here. I think it’s going to take a bit of time for this book to really get going. It’s certainly not a bad start, but I think at least for issue one it’s still a bit too much World War Hulk and not enough Planet Hulk. Hopefully things will settle down and we’ll get the chance to see some good solid characterization of this new entry into the Marvel universe. He can’t simply get along being the Hulk’s kid. There are differences, and I want to see them explored. I expect Greg Pak will not let me down.
Three and a half stars out of five for this one
So, these next two Secret Invasion tie-ins have been reviewed to death, but they still leave me with a few questions I’d like to address here. First, for Mighty it’s really only one question with a bunch of sub-questions: Was this issue written as fan wank or does it actually figure prominently into the overall SI plot? Like, is Bendis only answering “The Sentry Question” because he thinks the fans will call him on it, as they did with Greg Pak and World War Hulk? That question being, “If The Sentry is so EFFing powerful, couldn’t he single-handedly repel the entire Skrull invasion force?” Judging by the way he’s been built up in the last few years, then the answer has to be a resounding “yes, he could.” If Bendis is indeed answering this fanboy-ish question, then it’s my opinion that he is handling it… awkwardly? Seriously, the whole “just shapeshift into the Void” is equal parts logical and cheesy. I guess I’ll reserve final judgment on the matter until Bendis reveals whether of not Robert’s reversion to the Void will have any true impact on the plot of Secret Invasion. Heh, such a cop-out.
New Avengers #41 (***)
You know, it’s nice that after almost five years of waiting Bendis finally explains what the hell was going on in the Savage Land way back in New Avengers #6. But for me, it’s kind of too late. I don’t actually care anymore. I want to move forward, damn it! Now putting that aside, what I do still want to know is: Why the hell did Maria Hill blow up those Skrulls? Did she know they were Skrulls? If not, then who did she think they were? Was she trying to nuke the Avengers as well? Does this in fact make her a Skrull? Was she ordered by a third Skrull party to cover the incident up? WTF?!?! I hope these lingering questions are addressed eventually… until then, it’s kind of a huge gaping plot hole, dudes.
The Incredible Hercules #117 (*****)
Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente = Masterful Storytellers.
Things I liked about this issue of Herc:
• Skrull Gods look sweet!!!
• Hercules gets angry and kicks a tree.
• Hercules gets angrier and kicks a bunch of trees.
• Hercules knows his limitations.
• The Ego of the Gods on full display.
• Oh, snap! She fooled us all!
I’m convinced it’s not possible to keep this level of quality up. Someday the bottom will fall out… it has to! But, every day, I pray to Zeus it doesn’t.
Ms. Marvel #27 (**)
This issue blows and really the only reason I put it in the feature area of this Roundup is that I wanted to show you this:
Yes, that is another ####ING Helicarrier getting blown the #### up. GAH! Oh, and this really pissed me off. Carol, you suck. All things considered, we readers have to think that Simon might actually be in love with you. How dare you use him like that? UGH. I want to be done with this book, but I love Carol and every month I give it another chance to impress me. Sigh.
• Black Panther #36 (*): What happened Hudlin? Why have you led us astray?
• Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #29 (**): Knaufs!!! Why have you forsaken us!? Heh, getting biblical with this shit. Moore is competent enough, but it’s just not as good. And why the heck does this plot feel so much like what’s going on over in Invincible Iron Man? LAME.
• Number of the Beast #4 (****): Alright, shit is heating up. I’m really like this series. THE HIGH!
• She-Hulk #29 (*): David finally pulls back the curtain and explains about the missing time between his and Slott’s run. And you know what? Don’t care. DON’T CARE! Why? Your explanation sucked, Peter. Like your (current) writing.
• Teen Titans #59 (**): Hey, it’s the Dark Side Club! Other than that, I’m so lost.
• Thor #9 (*****): Still. So. Good. Loki? You rock.
• Ultimate Fantastic Four #54 (*): Still. So. Bad. Why are we sexualizing Old Lady Harkness? Cancel please!!!
• Uncanny X-Men #498 (****): Yeah, I happen to like the SF thread, and yeah, the Russian part of the story is better. But who cares, when’s the last time Brubaker wrote the X-Men so well? (This takes for granted that the “Rise & Fall” arc was not very good.)
5 Stars: Superplex!
4 Stars: Power Bomb!
3 Stars: Drop Kick… to the balls!!!
2 Stars: Sleeper Hold…
1 Star: Dirty Low Blow… to the balls!!!
Action Comics #864 (****)
Some nagging continuity is finally explained. We get answers regarding some questions about the Legion, the Lightning Saga, the murdered Karate Kid and Duo Damsel… blah blah blah. I’m not entirely interested in any of this, but Johns writes it so well, I can’t help but be entertained. And then Starman shows up and the fun factor spikes again! Who’s the douche on that last page? Hey, it’s the Time Trapper talking about trapping time. YAY. The entire issue basically works as an advertisement for the new Legion of Three Worlds book by Johns and Perez and it does one hell of a job selling me. Touché Mr. Johns, touché.
Hulk vs Hercules #1 (*****)
This page… right here. CLICK THE LINK! Are you kidding me? I could not stop laughing for a full minute. 5 Stars, just for that!
Young Avengers Presents: Vision #4 (***1/2)
I don’t actually remember this, but were Iron Lad and Stature an item? Seriously? So Vision, whose mind is a copy of Iron Lad’s, a.k.a Kang, tries to put the movies on Cassie Young, Stature. Um, you know you’re a machine right? I know your previous self knocked the booters out of the Scarlet Witch, but this the 2000’s, man, we don’t roll like that no more. Or do we? Here’s another awkward series of panels. Gosh I miss Allan Heinberg.
• Batman #675 (*): This was the first truly awful issue of Batman in Grant Morrison’s run.
• Checkmate #25 (**): Not with a bang, but a whimper. In a time when big event comics hit every few months, this 3-parter felt bland and had more than just a whiff of “we’ve seen this before.” Lucky for us, it’s not awful enough to make us forget how great the first 22 issues were.
• New Warriors #11 (-): Could not be more done here.
• Number of the Beast #2 (**): Still no clue what’s what and losing interest fast.
• Project Superpowers: FCBD Edition (*): Not great. But shit… it was free, right?
• Spawn #177 (***): I wish the writer would make up his mind. He sets up this new status quo… no angels or demons on Earth… and then he continually violates it. Lame.
I’ve been wanting to write up full reviews of a bunch of stuff, but I keep getting side tracked. So I’m going the mini review route to catch myself up a bit.
World War Hulk Aftersmash: Damage Control #3
First, a recap page. All caught up? Basically, Ares and Hercules are having a fight. A feud. A skirmish. A misunderstanding. Oh yeah, were talking about the gods from the Greek myths here (right in my wheelhouse), not just superheroes… although they are heroes. This chapter begins with… crap; let me back up some more. I think I need to explain how this title used to be called “The Incredible Hulk” about three issues ago. And now it’s not. Now, it’s the Incredible Hercules. There, all explained. It’s now a story about Hercules and his giant-brained sidekick, Amadeus Cho (Mastermind Excello to the initiated). Cho wants revenge on the government, namely S.H.I.E.L.D. (represented by Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man), for what they did to the Hulk, namely shooting him off into space to die and then imprisoning him upon his return and cataclysmic defeat in last summer’s World War Hulk event. Jeez, so much exposition… anyways, the point is, Hercules is Cho’s friend, best friend, perhaps only friend, and he doesn’t want to see the little guy get hurt. Soooooo, the pair of them head off on a series of misadventures and predictably, hijinks ensue and comedy is born.