Friday, June 29, 2007

June 27th Release Reviews

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A little late this week, for a couple reasons. First I was dumb and did not have Sinestro Corps held for me, so by the time I got to my LCS it was sold out and I had to wait an extra day. Second, a lot of good reading this week and a couple 64 page issues. And finally (I said a couple, but you'll take three and like it), I taught my daughter how to play soccer this morning, and some things are more important than comics. On to the comics!

I am going to start out with the two biggies. X-Men #200 and GL: Sinestro Corps. Spoilers blah blah blah, you know the deal by now. It's Friday, and if you haven't read these by now, you shouldn't be online, you should be sitting in your favorite chair reading two of the best issues released so far this year.

X-Men #200

This is the X-Men issue that many others will be compared to for some time. If this doesn't excite you as an X-Fan you need to take that 1/8th scale Blackbird model you just bought back to the store. The highlights of what happened:

  • Gambit and Sunfire mess up the Askani-son pretty bad. They are working for someone that isn't being revealed yet, and are after all of Cable's data, but he obviously isn' going to let that happen and blows all his shit up to prevent it. Pretty good story here, and if you want to see a little bit more of it from a different angle, check out Cable and Deadpool #42 this week. The art here is better, but C&D #42 shows the before and after of it all.

  • Rogue has 8 billion twisted minds stuck inside her from defeating the Hecatomb, and her true personality is hidden deep in there. Emma likens it to "sifting a desert for a single grain of sand, except that sand doesn't scream". Spooky. Fortunately, Rogue won't have to deal with that much longer...

  • ...because Omega Sentinel and Lady Mastermind attack the rest of the X-Men and when they go after an enraged Rogue, Mystique steps in and shoots Rogue right through the heart. She then reveals herself to be the new leader of the Marauders. Bad days for the X-Men are ahead
I don't do this story justice, it is pretty well written and the art looks great. And then on top of that, there is the first Endangered Species backup story. I am not going to go into detail right now about it, mostly because I have something bigger planned in the near future, but mainly the story tells the beginning of the end for mutants when Wanda Maximoff whispered "No... More... Mutants..." Bitch. And it shows the efforts Hank McCoy has been going through to try to solve the problem, how he has enlisted the help of all the heroes and come up short. The final frame sets up what I would imagine the other 16 parts to this are going to involve:

Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special

Another very good book here, with what appears to be some very long lasting changes to the GLCorps and more specifically Kyle Rayner. Geoff Johns continues as one of my favorite writers out there right now, and actually creates a Sinestro that you hate a little less than you usually do.
  • I thought one of the really cool things added in was Sinestro's oath. I love how he has mirrored the GLC in almost every way, this is what adds depth to a character.
    In blackest day,
    In brightest night,
    Beware your fears made into light,
    Let those who try to stop what's right,
    Burn like my power
    Sinestro's Might!

  • We get a cool little sidestory where Batman reveals one of the yellow power rings sought him out because he "has the ability to instill great fear". Damn, can you imagine Batman of all people with a power ring? He would be using Hal Jordan's dead body as a broom to sweep up the path of destruction he left behind him. I hope we get to see an Elseworlds exploring this someday, good or bad.

  • A lot of other stuff going on in this issue before the big shocker. We see the yellow power rings searching out bearers, a whole bunch of Green Lanterns trying to stop them and failing, and the Guardians discussing Hank Henshaw and his knowledge of the 52. All worth reading, but there is a reason it is 64 pags long, and I am not even thinking about getting into all that.

  • And finally we get to the meat of the story. Hal, John, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner are sitting around waiting to tell the Guardians about the yellow ring coming o earth to find Batman when the one they captured gets loose and takes Kyle! Bad news. A shit-ton of Sinestro Corps show up outside Oa, and a pretty typical melee proceeds. Not to say it's boring, but we have seen the hundreds vs. hundreds type fight many many times in GLC. It works well to show off a lot of different characters without having to showcase them, so I am not really complaining.

    One very interesting GL I think I saw in there was C'hp and Marisa, who were on the very edge of a panel. They show C'hp as he shoots an acorn at one of the bad guys. I am sure they will say he is not C'hp but rather a relative or someone who is just the same race, or maybe nothing at all, but it was good to see them pay a little homage to GLC's of the past.

  • Back to Kyle. Where does he go when he is abducted? To the anti-matter universe of course. And to make a long story short, he does his best to kick as much ass as he can, but in the end, he is stopped by the Sinestro Corps. Sinestro himself shows up and after Kyle talks some smack, Sinestro tells him
    "Where the living embodiment of fear controls, the living embodiment of willpower simply supports."

    And then he promptly rips Ion right out of his chest, leaving Kyle as merely a man.

    This all leads up to Kyle being introduced as the new Parallax, which means bad, bad times for the GLC, yet again. To make things even worse, during their attack on Oa, the rest of the Sinestro Corps have rescued two of the more powerful being imprisoned there and brought them back to the anti-matter universe. The final shot sees Sinestro standing there with Parallax (Kyle), the Anti-Monitor, Hank Henshaw and Superboy Prime! Holy shit!

WWH: X-Men #1

The new X-Men are more less all alone when the Hulk comes-a-knocking at their door. The younguns actually put up a good fight, but obviously they aren't going to stop him. So we get to see a pretty good fight showing off their different skills for those who aren't familiar, but in the end, the Hulk wins out. Showing more of his current frame of mind, the Hulk tells Hank to call off the kiddies or they are going to get hurt. An intelligent, cunning and strategic Hulk has always been the most dangerous, and it seems this one is all of those attributes and more.

Not an especially deep book this month as they are setting up the story for them to have 5 more of these, but at the end Charles Xavier comes walking out and the big question of the day is dropped. He tells the Hulk that he was not there when the decision was made, but the HUlk is smarter than that, and he asks Chuck "How would you have voted?"

This will set the tone of the series, and with Endangered Species gaining steam, I don't see Charles purposely pissing him off and dragging his X-Men into it. So what will likely happen is he will tell Hulk he wouldn't have shot him into space and offer the services of the nubile New X-Men to he Hulk's cause. Looks like the Marvel Universe will be pretty X-centric this summer and fall if this plays out like that.

WWH: Frontline #1

Short and sweet. Not as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was pretty harsh on this title earlier. And I stand by all that still, however, this issue is what Heroes For Hire should have been this month, but they blew it. In Frontline #1, we get to finally see what is going on with the Warbound as they take over NYC under the Hulk's orders. There were actually some funny moments in this issue, and if they focus on the Costume Division cop more than the two reporters they could save this and make it worth reading.

Other than that storyline though, it is spotty as they explain how they got from quitting the Bugle and the Alternative to running their own rag. Again, Ben Urich is nothing more than a supporting character trying to be a lead in a monthly book, and this part of the story doesn't hold it's own water. As I have said, I am buying anything and everything WWH, so I really hope they make this better, or it is going to be (a slightly less) painful 3 dollars each month.

Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #31

I am going to do something I haven't done before. I am going to defer to a fellow blogger for this review, because I agree with everything he says, and don't think I stand a chance of doing any better or adding anything new or different.

Matthew at Legion Abstract is the guru of all things Legion in my eyes. I am going to highlight a couple things he has to say, then head over to his Legion blog for the full review.

On Tony Bedard's writing:
Tony Bedard delivers us a nice straightforward storyline. It's a perfectly conventional way to kick off an arc of several issues. But... it's called a 'prologue'. I'm a fairly patient reader, but when I open a comic book and I see that it's a prologue, the message I get from that is, "thanks for buying this comic book, but the one you really want is the next one."

On Supergirl being named the new LSH leader:
I was hoping Theena would become the leader, but Supergirl is a sensible choice. I don't mean she's going to be a good leader... I think she'd be terrible at it. Anyway, it could be fun with her in charge; a bad leader can make for a good story.

His final thoughts on the issue:
I wanted this comic book to be better than this. Bringing Calero aboard for the art might help. Bedard may acquire enough of a rapport with the characters that he can cut loose more than he did here. And this was, after all, only a prologue. This issue wasn't bad. But I'm tired of the Legion being 'not bad'.

There is a lot more information at the Legion Abstract blog, make sure you read through his archives too for a fair and indepth look at not only this Legion, but pretty much every incarnation they have thrown at us.

Countdown #44

I keep saying it every week. I want to see more out of Countdown, and I still am not sure I have seen enough. So far the piecemeal format is starting to wear on me. I want more than 3 pages of each story, and I don't know why they can't just tell two stories a week or something and give us some more meat. The snippets they gave us this week:
  • Mary Marvel meets up with Billy at the Rock of Eternity and they catch up on old times. Not really. Billy tells her he is now not only Captain Marvel, but also Shazam, and maybe more. He says "I am the Rock of Eternity, and the Rock is me." He lets her know that Freddy is off on a series of trials (in Trials of Shazam! no less) and that he is destined to be the new Cap.

    In the second part of their story, the only one with any depth this week, Billy voices his disapproval with Mary acquiring Black Adam's powers and gets understandably concerned. Instead of consoling and reassuring Billy that she is aas wholesome as ever, she gets a wicked look in her eye, tells Billy where he can put it, and takes off through the Rock. Only two things can happen with this new Mary Marvel. Either a huge showdown with Billy and Freddy as the new Cap around Countdown 30 or so, or... a super-powered threesome, as not only is Mary's judgment lowered, but so are her inhibitions. I am crossing my fingers for the second option.

  • Forerunner learns a tiny bit more of her story as some dude named Monarch shows up. I wish I could tell you more, especially since the guy is on the cover, but he doesn't really reveal much about himself. They walk off down the alley together and I guess we are supposed to care where the story goes from here. This is the kind of story snippet that is pissing me off about Countdown. I liked what I saw, but was left wholly unfulfilled by it.

  • Jimmy frickin Olsen is in Suicide Slum trying to pick a fight to test out his powers, because he feels they only show up when he is in danger. So he talks some smack to a set of thugs that it looks like DC ordered out of Thuggery Weekly magazine. I know they are dealing with hundreds of characters, but does the dialogue have to be the same for every thug ever shown in comics? Yes, I am officially nitpicking now. Oh yeah, and Jimmy displays yet another Golden Age power manifestation, this time with porcupine quills shooting out of him. An explanation anytime now would be nice. Moving on...

  • I have nothing to say about Holly Robinson. We don't know her, and at 2 pages an issue, we won't for a long time. Besides the only Holly Robinson I ever cared about was the one on "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper", she was hot.

  • Then we move on to the Rogues. By this point in he book, I just don't care anymore. They killed Bart Allen, they are worried that they are going to get their asses kicked by the JLA, and vow to stick together. Blah, blah, blah. There's another wasted 3 pages. Take those and the 2 they wasted on what's her name, and they could have given us more Forerunne, or hell, even more Jimmy frickin Olsen would have been better.
I'm a sucker, I'll be reading this again next week, but that doesn't mean I have to like it! Actually I like half of it, and that is still worth my money to bank on them really pulling something good off with this series. A fanboy can hope, can't he?

The rest of the stuff

I didn't end up buying anything involving Amazon Attacks. Between Marvel and DC, I am in series overload an this one I care the least about. If I get a chance to read it I will, but I just didn't have an extra 9 dollars this week to spend on a story I just can't get into.

I flipped through X-Men First Class Vol. 2 #1 off the rack, but again, I had to make a choice. I thought I would buy this one, but it was a last minute decision not to, and from other reviews I have read, I didn't miss much.

Tell me what you want to see

Interactivity is what makes the internet great. Let me know what you want to see here each week. Tell me about an independent title you think is good. Tell me about an offbeat mainstream title you think I am missing out on. Either way, tell me, and I'll make it happen one way or another.

Sorry for the lack of good pictures this week, a little technical difficulty, it'll be back to normal in the next couple days.



Spencer said...

Marvel has hit a new low with their "Front Line" run. What a worthless comic. Who gives a shit about Ben fucking Urich.

I'm tired of the "Mystery" with Jimmy Olsen. I wish we could move past that and get to something more interesting.

And ooooh Mary Marvel is hot with her goth costume and her mean attitude. Or not. Why is it such a commonly used plot device in both Marvel and DC when re-vamping a character to just switch the gender? It's annoying. I guess I'll hold out for a chick version of Juggernaut.

Spencerf said...

I really liked Sinestro Corps. I'm a little biased though as Sinestro has always been one of my favorite villains going all the way back to Superfriends.

Seeing Hank Henshaw, Anti-Monitor, and Superboy Prime all getting dolled up in Sinestro Corp uniforms sent a shiver down my spine. I've always hated those asshole Oans anyway. Even the hot chick one.

Tom Mattson said...

You're right that the summer is turning out to be rather X-centric, which is totally fine by me if they are able to keep up this type of quality they seem to have developed in the last...I don't know, two weeks.

Honestly, even though some lameness is still around, I'm starting to have some faith in Marvel's plans for the next year or so. Things seem to be coming together strongly and everyone seems to have a direction and focus that's working well with what other authors are doing. Good stuff ahead!

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