03.9.2010

Spent Time Reading Comics This Past Weekend

Hey Kids Comics!Instead of blogging about comics, this weekend I actually read some! I’ve literally got stacks and stacks of comics I’m behind on reading. I only got through 17 comics this weekend, most of which were Marvel Siege-related titles.

Here are the titles I read and some quick thoughts on them (and they do contain SPOILERS):

Blackest Night #7 – Pretty good issue.  Overall the Blackest Night storyline has been great, but I was somewhat disappointed with the previous issue.  I didn’t care for the idea of Earth “deputies” for the various colored lanterns.  Now that I have accepted the “deputies” as part of the story, I thought they were handled quite well in issue #7.  I especially loved how Luthor and Scarecrow turned on everyone.  That’s exactly what would happen.  The arrival of the white entity was no shocker, but I liked the selection of the White Lantern.  Glad it wasn’t Jordan.  I hope next issue provides a strong closing.

Siege #1 & #2 – Ignore the haters, this is a good story.  To boil it down for you, it’s a story of one man’s hubris thinking he can take on the gods.  Norman Osborn (arguably the most politically powerful man in America) has decided to declare war on Asgard.  Many Thor comic fans are outraged saying there is no way humans could take on the gods, and they are right.  I have no doubt that Osborn’s forces are going to get spanked.  However, Osborn starts Siege with two god-worthy tools in his arsenal: the Sentry and Ares.  Those two guys open the door for Osborn’s forces to make an initial assault.  When things start to fall apart, there is a battle between the Sentry and Ares… OMG!  That was shocking and pretty freakin’ awesome!  One more random thought.. I like the idea that Osborn manufactures the incident at Soldier Field in order to gain more power.  It’s a nice play off the Stamford incident and the kind of thing people do when absolute power corrupts.  Osborn’s going down and the fall is going to be fun to watch.

Siege Embedded #1 & #2 – If you enjoyed Civil War Frontline, then you’ll like this book.  It’s a journalistic view of a major Marvel event through the eyes of Ben Urich.  I’ve enjoyed nearly everything written by Brian Reed, so while this series isn’t critical to Siege I’ll be sticking with it.

Avengers: The Initiative #32 & #33 – By all rights I should not enjoy this book.  In its current incarnation, it’s about really terrible people running the Initiative.  I don’t typically like books about villains with no redeemable qualities.  That’s why I dropped Thunderbolts during Warren Ellis’ run.  The other storyline is about the Avengers Resistance, which is essentially the New Warriors.  I stopped caring about the New Warriors a long time ago, so seeing Night Thrasher in action really puts me off.  With all that said, writer Christos Gage has managed to keep this book engaging.  Bizarrely enough, I enjoy reading about Taskmaster. Who would have guessed.

New Avengers #61 & #62 – Great issues.  I’ve loved New Avengers since the beginning and it continues to be a good read.  In these issues I especially liked the interplay between Spider-Man and Spider-Woman.  It was also nice to see the recently-returned Steve Rogers along with Captain America Bucky back-to-back in battle.  Two small disappointments.. 1) Steve Rogers saying, “Son of a bitch.”  That seemed out of character.  2) The insanely tiny print of Steve Rogers whispering to Carol Danvers turned out to be gibberish after I search 30 minutes for a magnifying glass in my house.

Dark Avengers #13 & #14 – Again, by all rights I should not like this book.  It’s about terrible people posing as Avengers.  These guys are the definition of irredeemable.  Yet, Brian Michael Bendis has managed to spin a great series that I’m disappointed is coming to an end soon.  These issues were Sentry-centric.  For the first time since New Avengers began, Sentry was worth reading about.  We’re beginning to find out more about the character.  My biggest worry the last few weeks was that Sentry would turn out to be Marvelman.  I’m so glad that isn’t the case!

Mighty Avengers #33 & #34 – Probably the weakest of all the Avengers current titles.  Hank Pym is an unlikeable hero and not someone you can relate to.  It’s such a huge departure from his previous depictions that it’s hard to swallow. The only thing I’m looking forward to with this title is the coming of Ultron. Dan Slott’s Avengers: The Initiative was pure gold, so this series is a bit of a disappointment.  Especially since this team has the most classic-like line-up of Avengers.  I won’t be sorry to see this series go.

Ms. Marvel #43 – #46 – This has consistently been one of Marvel’s best superhero comics.  It’s a real shame it’s coming to an end.  I’m not sure whether its poor sales or Marvel has other plans for the character, but I’m bummed about this going away.  These issues conclude the “War of the Marvels” in which the Moonstone Ms. Marvel is battling the recently-resurrected Carol Danvers Ms. Marvel.  They’ve already published the last issue (#50), but I’m still catching up.  Brian Reed has been writing this comic since it’s inception and he’s been graced with a number of fantastic artists.  If you’ve missed it, start picking up the trades.  It’s a great straight-forward superhero story with a strong female lead.

There you go!  Have you read anything good lately?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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3 Responses to “Spent Time Reading Comics This Past Weekend”

  1. Chocotaco Says:

    FYI – I’m trying to eliminate emotion and whatnot, but it’s not working very well. ;)

    Siege is terrible. There’s absolutely no way that Osborn’s forces would even be able to invade Asgard with Heimdall keeping watch. They wouldn’t even be able to talk about an invasion of Asgard anywhere in the physical universe without Heimdall knowing about it. His supersenses are ridiculously powerful, and it’s not like he goes on break from keeping watch over Asgard.

    Plus, the whole Soldier Field incident is sort of retarded as well. We see the friggin’ U-Foes attack Volstagg on television. Aren’t they known members of the Initiative? Even if they’re not, we see them as members of Osborn’s team at the invasion of Asgard. Isn’t that sort of stupid? If you’re going try to be all sneaky and stage an incident, doesn’t it behoove you to make sure that you don’t have any evidence linking you to said incident, like having your agents seen with you on national television? Am I taking crazy pills?

    Also there’s no way that Norman Osborn and, like, 5 energy-projecting supervillains could possibly bring Thor to his knees. And having Osborn punch him in order to knock him down? Bitch, please. Thor has taken blasts from f&$%ing Galactus and has taken the Hulk’s best haymakers, and he still managed to come back swinging his hammer into their jugulars.

    Now I think that having superheroes and supervillains fighting the Asgardian gods sounds like a fun idea, but I shouldn’t have to turn off my brain in order to be able to accept what happens in the story. That’s one of my biggest problems with the work of Brian Michael Bendis – I have to willingly ignore all logic, reason, and past character development in order to be able to accept his narrative.

  2. Shag Says:

    Chocotaco – Thanks for the comment! I knew from the start that you and I weren’t going to see eye-to-eye on this one. That was part of my fun in writing the post. :)

    In regard to Heimdall, I think there are possible explanations. First, I checked the Walt Simonson Thor trade for Heimdall scenes. In that trade (the best Thor interpretation ever by your own account), Heimdall wasn’t all-knowing. In one scene, Heimdall didn’t see this big black mass until it was right on top of him. So it appears he can be fallible. Second, and more likely, Loki has done something to allow the humans to get the drop on the Asgardians. Loki has orchestrated this entire invasion attempt, so I gotta think he’s helping the humans somehow.

    In regard to the U-Foes, they are the North Carolina Initiative team. As far as the general public is concerned, the U-Foes are heroes. So the general public would see the Soldier Field incident as the heroic U-Foes trying to subdue the destructive Volstagg. Volstagg caused the major explosion, so the blame is pinned on him, not the U-Foes. That’s why the U-Foes are able to join the assault on Asgard. And don’t feel bad, I had to go back and re-examine this myself. I was thinking the same thing you were until I researched it.

    Regarding taking Thor down, I agree with you on this one. They should not have been able to take Thor down, at least not that easily. Sentry helped but it looked like he only got one punch in on Thor. Now Thor did get back up in the beginning of issue #2, so they didn’t really take him down. They just knocked the wind out of him. But again, they should not have been able to do that.

    With all that said, you’ve got to accept that in any given comic there are plot points that are directed by the writers discretion. For example, if you can’t accept Thor being taken down by Osborn and lackeys, then you need to deny TONS of classic Avengers issues where the entire team was easily taken down (including Thor). It’s just a matter of the writer trying to tell the best story possible. Sure characters sometimes don’t live up to their full abilities (like Heimdall and Thor), but that is common in any comic. Superman should pretty much never lose a fight, but he does all the time because the writers know it’s more interesting for Superman to struggle. In Blackest Night there are tons of characters making bad decisions that they normally wouldn’t make, but it works well for the story.

    I know you are not alone in your dislike for Bendis, but for me I just don’t see the problems you do.

    I guess it’s just Diff’rent Strokes for Diff’rent folks. (like how I tried to disarm you with a Gary Coleman reference?)

    Shag

  3. Chocotaco Says:

    I figured that when you referred to “Many Thor comic fans,” you were referring to me, in particular. :)

    Heimdall’s not omniscient, but to get past his senses a foe has to pull some kind of magical shenanigans in order to avoid him knowing what they’re doing beforehand. I’m not sure what scene you’re referring to in Simonson’s run, but I’m willing to bet that whatever sneak-attack scenario that got by Heimdall’s senses was either due to magic or the villains coming from some other dimension or something.

    I shouldn’t have to take it on faith that Loki “did something” in order to be able to accept the story. BMB should show me that Loki “did something” in the story itself. Anyway, we see Ares planning their attack in Avenger’s Tower – all of which Heimdall would have heard.

    The Soldier Field incident is still retarded as it was Vector’s and X-Ray’s energy blasts that killed everyone. Seriously, all Volstagg did was hold up his sword to block what they were throwing at him. Every bit of that was made evident during the television broadcast of the incident. Plus, if we’re going to assume that the public is operating by the same rules as they did in Civil War, they should blame the Initiative anyway, as such an event is what caused the Initiative’s formation in the first place. As I recall, the New Warriors were the recipients of all of the blame for Nitro’s blowing up a city block. The Initiative would most likely be held to the same standard, if not a more intense level of scrutiny.

    Sentry did nothing of significance to Thor, other than getting swatted away… which I really, really liked, by the way. ;)

    Dude, BMB had Thor taken down. In the second issue, the only reason that he was able to get up was due to the intervention of Maria Hill and some random Oklahoma dude giving him enough time to recover. Didn’t they attempt to drag his unconscious body in that very issue? Lame³.

    I get what you’re saying about plot points and stuff, and I sort of agree to a point. A writer shouldn’t have to punk out a character by having him suddenly be unable to operate at his normal level of capability in order for his story to work. I get that heroes aren’t always operating at maximum efficiency at all times, but having Norman Osborn, Moonstone, and a couple of U-Foes be able to beat up Thor is retarded. It’s the Marvel equivalent of having the Royal Flush Gang overwhelm Superman by punching him.

    I don’t expect heroes to win every fight all of the time, and I don’t want that either, as all comics would be as boring as 80% of the Superman stories are, but a writer needs to make their defeat believable, which BMB utterly failed to do even by your own account.

    I think that you don’t see the problems that I do (or that lots of other people do) because you don’t hold BMB to the same standards that you hold other writers to.

    I enjoyed your Gary Coleman reference, by the way. :)

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