Saturday, August 02, 2008
MARVEL ADVENTURES THE AVENGERS #26
(Jeff Parker / Ig Guara / Sandro Ribeiro)
Jeff Parker's return to this book has launched it out of the 'amusing, funny, light-hearted kids' book' niche, and into an exciting, no holds barred irreverent and often ridiculously hilarious direction; the only books I could really compare this to are Ellis' Nextwave and the original Giffen JLI/JLE.
The Avengers encounter a mouthy, annoying alien race (gotta love the Avengers' alien translator, from way back to last year's Ego the Loving Planet story) who require their help to protect their planet against Galactus.
Parker uses a far-fetched continuity plot-device to basically f**k reality up and give us a series of increasingly ludicrous and LMAO situations:
the Avengers challenge Galactus to a chess match (with the Avengers as the pieces - duh - and the most imaginative way of making Captain America a Queen),
and finally invite him to a cosmic diner with planets on the menu and the Silver Surfer busing the tables!
Absolutely the most enjoyable, value-for-your-buck, kitsch, quotable book of the week/month/year, which doesn't take itself too seriously and unapologetically takes advantage of every last bit of absurdity the super-hero medium affords it!
Too fun to be legal! Tell your friends!
Friday, August 01, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Batman can be such a sweetheart when he lets himself - and twice this week! Meanwhile, Brainiac is on a bottling spree, the Penguin finds his lovebird, Rip Hunter's identity is revealed, Hush returns, Martian Manhunter is celebrated, Arm-Fall-Off Boy tries out for the Legion, the Justice Society meets God, Wonder Woman goes Savage, and a Young Liar loses his jewels...
ACTION COMICS #867
(Geoff Johns / Gary Frank / Jon Sibal)
'Brainiac' part 2. I'll admit it... the forced likenesses to the cast of the Donner Superman movie are getting more than a bit creepy. Still, Gary Frank is an amazing asset on the title, showing in the way he portrays the body language of the teenage Supergirl (now finally a proper member of the title's cast). Between her intensely real and personal outburst in this issue, and the touching characterisation in her title just last week, I'm happy to see the character finally growing out of the original annoying Jeph Loeb placebo.
Johns takes an issue to prepare the ground for the eventual brawl between Superman and Brainiac, establish the threat he poses and the villain's history, through Supergirl's narration (I love love love how he's believably established as Krypton's answer to the boogeyman) and the flashback scenes, and let Clark spend some quality time with his dad in a heavy-handed, yes, cheesy, yes, but also touching rummage through the memory chest) (yeah, we all figure where this is headed... poor Pa).
BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #19
(Fabian Nicieza / Kevin Maguire)
'The Cat & The Bat' part 3. The "cat-fight / misunderstanding / naked fight in an S&M club" part of this Catwoman / Batgirl team-up is over, and I find it difficult to keep my interest in the storyline now that it's all about fighting snipers on the roof and going after the Russian mafia. -Yawn-
Nicieza tries to keep things fresh with another surprise last page, and giving each issue its own feel; ultimately, maybe this 5-parter should have stopped while it was still ahead... at part 2.
BOOSTER GOLD #1,000,000
(Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz / Dan Jurgens / Norm Rapmund)
'Blue & Gold' Conclusion. Oh wow.
Johns finishes his run on Booster Gold on an amazing high note. After a quick stop in year 1,000,000, and a cameo from Peter Platinum (the kind of opportunistic brainless joke of a character that would model himself after Booster's earlier career), Booster decides to quit his unrewarding and altruistic secret partnership with Rip Hunter.
It really takes the Batman (and a very Batman moment and jaw-dropping retcon putting their relationship in a surprising light) to set him back on the right path. After that the surprises keep coming like a cascade of dominoes: the (heavily foreshadowed) return of a supporting character, the utter head-spinner reveal of Rip's real identity and an ironic quirky last note in DC's most fun solo super-hero run of the year. Damn you Johns!
DETECTIVE COMICS #846
(Paul Dini / Dustin Nguyen / Derek Fridolfs)
'Heart of Hush' part 1. I never held Hush in any regard; My experience from the original Loeb/Jim Lee run left me the impression he was nothing more than a convenient plot device - a way to get all of the Bat-villains organised against the Bat (so Jim Lee could draw them of course), and a convenient scapegoat to hint at bringing back Jason Todd, without actually being foolish enough to really do it (that came later).
Dini attempts to give the character more of an individual villain identity. It's a known recipe: every respectable and enduring Bat-villain needs to be a) thoroughly messed up in the head, and b) have a 'shtick' - a calling card. Penguins, clowns, riddles, cats, mummies, plants, cold... For Hush, Dini decides to play up the surgical angle; we see him setting up a zombie hospital, slicing himself up with a scalpel, stitching up and re-bandaging his face, while recounting the story of how he plotted and planned the death of his parents as a little boy.
Dini most likely pokes fun of this strategy, by concurrently introducing a blatantly 'themed' new bat-villain: Doctor Aesop; with his 'killing by using twisted Aesop's Fables brought to life', the prop-like giant Aesop's bible, and his 'Muses' hench-women, he's corny enough to make it into the original Adam West Bat-serial!
FINAL CRISIS: REQUIEM #1
(Peter J. Tomasi / Doug Mahnke / Christian Alamy)
After universal fan discontent at Martian Manhunter's quick and unceremonious offing at the hands of the villain Libra in Final Crisis #1, Peter Tomasi is racing to make amends by sneakily working a whole lot of retcon backstory into the very brief execution we saw on panel.
Sooooo, it turns out, Manhunter was actually drugged out of his mind right before going on-panel in Final Crisis, since "if he regained full consciousness, [the villains] would have no hope of stopping him" and "[Libra]'d hate to take this one on in a fair fight". Of course they make sure to remove all signs of the tranq darts before stepping onto the stage/panel, while as soon as Morrison's scene ends, Tomasi throws in a deathcry/final wowser of a fight between MM and the villains, just to really give MM a hero's death. I could almost see Tomasi reaching out through the fourth wall and consoling the MM fans "don't cry, your hero really isn't a pushover like that bad man Morrison showed, he's a real hard-ass!".
The funeral service is handled with proper pomp and circumstance, and Tomasi replaces a traditional eulogy with a clever plot device to recount J'onn's lifestory - with his death, MM transfers his memories to the minds of his 5 closest friends, according to his planet's traditions, so that he can live on in them. I'm not familiar with any of his backstory, but I'm guessing it ought to be a rare treat for his fans. The one bit I did recognise and pleasantly surprised me was the incorporation of even the quirkiest bits of J'onn's characterisation over the years: his Oreos addiction during his stint in Giffen's JLI - one of his most humanising traits - now used as the final closing twist of his end story.
From start to finish, this was an impeccable send-off to Martian Manhunter, beautifully complimented by Mahnke's hauntingly gothic, and deeply emotive artwork.
GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY #10
(Judd Winnick / Mike Norton / Wayne Faucher)
'A League of their own' part 2.
Green Arrow, Black Canary, Speedy, her annoying new cardboard-cut boyfriend, Plastic Man and Batman (whew) face off against the 'League of Assassins'. It's an ok issue, with really nothing to moan about (wow). It's good to see the art team stop trying to ape a Cliff Chiang effect and just do their own thing, but I'm confused about what happened to Cliff - I was udner the impression he was merely taking a few issues off but he's been gone from the title for months.
HUNTRESS: YEAR ONE #5
(Ivory Madison / Cliff Richards / Norm Rapmund & Rebecca Buchman)
Batman, Batgirl and Catwoman... Boy, you're really in the capes' world now, Helena!
The Huntress comes head to head with Wayne and his girls during her headhunt for the mobster she loves (bleh). Ivory pushes for a special mirror dynamic between Barbara Gordon and the Huntress, but she never ventures beyond the surface - a shame, considering the amazing dynamic and friendship these two develop later in Birds of Prey. Instead, their fistfight ends early, with the focus moving to Helena meeting with Catwoman (sidenote: the original Earth-2 pre-Crisis Huntress was the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, later replaced post-Crisis with original character Helena Bertinelli, whose lengthy origins we've been plowing through for weeks) and poking inside jokes at their would-be relationship.
THE JOKER'S ASYLUM: THE PENGUIN #1
(Jason Aaron / Jason Pearson)
Beautiful, touching, melancholic...
Not necessarily the first things you'd expect to see when reading about a Penguin story, let's be honest.
Also: dark, twisted, violent. But that's inevitable to keep the balances.
Jason Aaron takes his first baby step into the DC universe pool, and makes an impressive splash, giving us the best single-issue story so far this year!
His approach to the Penguin (a mostly 2-dimensional gimmick villain that noone has had much intelligent use for, ever) takes a page from the Tim Burton 'Batman Returns' version; he is a sad, unloved, and ridiculed disfigured boy who grows into a resentful, vengeful, hidden behind a short, frail, melancholic facade. Jason Pearson perfectly captures every element of this through his design: a cuddly wide-eyed bird who can instantly transform into a haunting sharp-toothed cackling predator at the first perceived sign of provocation.
The plot itself is simple and elegant, with a very mockingly didactic tone. The Penguin falls in love with a beautiful caged slave girl, whom he takes under his wing; she loves him back, despite his ugly appearance; when she discovers the ugliness inside of him, she attempts to leave him, triggering the reveal of his darker nature.
The two Jasons achieve here in part what Moore and Gibbons managed to accomplish for the Joker with 'Killing Joke': make the Penguin at once into a more relateable and an infinitely more frightening character.
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #17
(Geoff Johns & Alex Ross / Fernando Pasarin / Prentis Rrollins & John Stanisci)
'One World, Under Gog' part 2.
Gog (the ginormous God of the Third World, freshly arrived into the DCU) continues to serenely stomp the line between 'Joy of music' benevolence and downright creepy. His peaceful smile and keen intent to fix everyone's problems, solve hunger, stop war, end famine etc (blah blah dude, we like suffering) feels like nails on a chalkboard as I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and the carnage to begin! Johns brilliantly plays off that feeling and gives us the most terrifyingly kind and helpful adversary in DC's history.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES IN THE 31ST CENTURY #16
(Matthew K. Manning / Shawn McManus)
'The Untold Legend of Arm-Fall-Off Boy'. It does exactly what it says on the label. Arm-Fall-Off Boy is a young Legion hopeful with the power to detach his arm and still control all its motor/muscle functions.
Matter-Eater Lad, Infectious Lass and Bouncing Boy have surely just breathed a collective sigh of relief - they're no longer the lamest legionnaires.
The story is -of course- meant for laughs, following the drama of A-F-Off Boy's everyday life, his dreams and his crime-fighting career! Shawn McManus (Sandman, Thessally) provides the art, starting off amazingly but deteriorating into almost-doodles by the end of the issue... Time constraints? Sudden realisation he is too good for this d-list title? (well, he actually is)
(Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza / Mark Bagley & Scott McDaniel / Art Thibert & Andy Owens)
Out of all the writers at DC, Busiek really gets these three icons, their dynamics and their relationships, better than anyone.
That's the good news.
The bad news, now, is that he is aware of this, and plans to hammer it home to the reader, every chance he gets, in every blunt and obvious way; he's simply telling the reader all this, when he should be using the story to show it through the action and interactions. The result is so sternly structured and formulaic, I might as well have been reading a (very well-researched and thoughtful) thesis on DC's Trinity. The three gather around for Wonder-Woman to unfurl her riveting exposition about how their dynamic forms a trinity, how they each correspond to the Moon/Sun/Earth (an impressive notion), how they're different, and how they fit together; at the same time the young Tarot is having visions of how each of the three uniquely represents 'Truth, Justice & the American Way".
In the second story, Nicieza tries to jolt the reader awake with a typical action piece featuring Hawkman and our new D-list supporting hero Gangbuster. Yawn.
WONDER WOMAN #22
(Gail Simone / Aaron Lopresti / Matt Ryan)
'Ends of the Earth' part 3.
Aaron Lopresti, there might be hope for you, yet!
I've never been an avid fan of mr. Lopresti,as he's stumbled from fill-in project to fill-in project, always with the same 'almost A-list', 'barely Dodson/Cho' pretty girl art style that was too shackled to common super-hero trappings to go anywhere. In this issue, I saw something more. He dabbles in a light, loose pencil and textured style for a few panels (I really would have loved seeing the entire story in this style, it would suit the sword & sorcery theme impeccably); he experiments with the panel borders a bit more, making them more ornate to fit the theme and the situation; he creates absolutely stunning 'Tolkien' redesigns for the DC heroes and imposing architecture for Wonder Woman's palace, all for a simple 5-page dream sequence... I firmly believe, Lopresti's meant for greatness if only he could let go of the tight-finished pencils and experiment with his loose style and maybe even a digital inking / colour straight over pencils technique.
Bah, enough about him! Gail Simone is obviously working Lord of the Rings, Beowulf, Conan (and every other Swords&Dragons property imaginable) out of her system with this storyline. I couldn't care less for this genre, but thankfully, she is wise enough to cater even to all the books' fans even while doing her little epic saga - she sprinkles the story in unexpected moments with trademark Simone humour, and she interjects the more whimsical and super-hero-ey fight between Diana's 'boyfriend' and her new magic gorilla flatmates. Cos, you know, whatever you do, you gotta have Apes!
YOUNG LIARS #5
There's one thing above all I appreciate about David Lapham.
Here he is trying an ongoing series with an actual main narrative instead of anthology self-contained stories, for (I think) the first time. The difference here is that you're bound by the rule of 'living with consequences'; unlike short stories where you can freely do anything perverse you want and then just declare 'The End', in this scenario you have to stick with your characters as they go through the choices you make for them and continue to live their lives even after (say, for example) you decide to castrate them or get them raped by a dwarf assassin dressed in a gondolier/toreador outfit.
How can you not want to see what happens next?
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
So... I've been trying to streamline the blog's design and move further away from the standard template. The banner is now in the sidebar (with Future Feline headlining the top of the page), and I've tweaked the colors a bit. I'm not very capable in color theory, or blog design, so any pointers and colour suggestions are most welcome!
Are you ready for trashy Greek Hip-Hop?
(the Greek band Imiskoumpria, poking fun at the stereotypical summer island 'Greek Lover' predators)
Inspired by Hercules' (the Marvel superhero version of the Greek God ) recent string of... conquests.
First, a cameo (that's comics speak for one-night stand) in She-Hulk #30...
...credited as taking place between Incredible Hercules #115 and 116.
The timing is of course amusing, since only 2 issues later, in Incredible Hercules #118-119 (is that like a week Marvel-time?), the Greek Lover strikes again:
Monday, July 28, 2008
Captain Britain returns, Starhawk joins the guardians of the Galaxy reunion, Cyclops is revealed for the hack he is, Captain America reveals his origin (twice in the same week), Kraven gets a boob (and bleach) -job, Claremont hits tilt, Stark goes Skrully -- and yet it all pales before the awesomeness of... MARVEL MUMMIES!!
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #565
(Mark Guggenheim / Phil Jimenez / Andy Lanning)
'Kraven's First Hunt' part 1. There's a new young, sexy, dimunitive, girly Kraven in town - yes, she looks like Eva Longoria in a bad bleach job and she's decided to go 'Born Again' (Frank Miller reference, not religious proselytizing) on Spidey's derriere. Guggenheim surprised me pleasantly with this showing: the rant-tastic Spidey/DD team-up versus lame-villain Fracture (why not Breaker, really?), Pete's hyper-referential short stint as comics store staff, and the wacky offbeat close-calls of his identity compromise, all leading to that whopper of a twist ending! Bravo!
Jimenez does feel over-qualified for his gig, but Wacker is intent on wowing us with his talent-grabbing skills each week, a very showy contrast to DC's usual band of D-listers usually employed on their weekly books (not counting Mark Bagley of course) to make deadlines.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE #0
(Jeph Loeb / Tim Sale / Dave Stewart)
A special preview chapter before the launch of Loeb & Sale's latest entry of their 'colour' series (following Daredevil: Yellow, Spider-man: Blue and Hulk: Gray), taking a stylish look into Captain America's WWII adventures and Bucky's origins. It's a treat to see these two working together, as they complement each other perfectly; Loeb's slow, paced plotting, being the ideal vessel for Sale's knack for making every moment and page important and impressive even if it's just (usually) a lone imposing character figure.
The issue includes a main story, an in-depth interview and concept sketches.
CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI: 13 #3 (SI)
(Paul Cornell / Leonard Kirk / Jesse Delperdang & Scott Hanna)
'The Guns of Avalon' part 3. The Skrulls have invaded Avalon and seized control of all magic, but Merlin has an ace up his puffy wizard sleeve. To noone's surprise, Captain Britain returns; I have to say Cornell handled the fact with such awe-inducing pomp and grandeur that even I bought it that this was a significant event.
I'm initially not too crazy about the new threads - a drastic step away from the classic famous Alan Davis design and too reminiscent of the 'Britannic' mess from the Lobdell/Ellis era on the title.
Still, I'll admire the irony that the first time the actual sword Excalibur is a big part of the title, the book's name is changed to something else entirely!
(Charles & Daniel Knauf / Daniel Acuna )
The Eternals have been divided into two camps after their 'rebirth'/reactivation, both sides competing to recruit the remaining amnesiac Eternals hiding across the globe. Meanwhile Makkari gets the crash-course on the real reasons behind the Big Bang from the Dreaming celestial, Ajak throws a jealous fit, and Sersi meets with Iron Man to discuss superhero registration.
Things are moving along slowly, the characters are mildly interesting, but the series' hook isn't really doing anything for me - just a lot of standing around, talking and rehashing the same info over and over again. I remain unsure about the writers' real intentions in regards to the title. The forced tie-in to current continuity aren't helping the book establish an independent identity, though the cameo of the Order brought a smile to my face!
(Chris Claremont / Patrick Scherberger / Norman Lee)
Is this making sense to anyone?
No-Name disappears (well, good riddance), Val Cooper comes in to investigate, the kids decide to go find their friend, they sorta take a break from that to have another Danger Room training session (cos everyone loooooves reading those), they eventually make it out, while Emma Frost goes bonkers, dresses up like Lady Mastermind and calls herself Janine Grey, 'the Evil-X from another dimension who calls herself the Black Marvel'.
And simply because I love this so much, take a look at this gem of a panel:
um, Cyclops, you do realise half the people on the board are not X-Men (some are not even mutants) and very few of them actually have parents for you to call? I can just imagine the scene of Cyclops calling Magneto on Asteroid-M or whereever to tell him the Scarlet Witch died... Weren't there other more relevant pics of mutants to ape from google?
And of course, some standard, beloved Claremontisms are never absent:
The issue is accompanied with a reprint (from what looks to be bad-quality scans of tattered aged copies) from What The featuring an X-Men parody by Kurt Busiek and art from Kyle Byker. I'd just skip the main story and just enjoy this little diamond.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #3
(Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning / Paul Pelletier / Rick Magyar)
Space Cardinals, fueled by the extracted faith energy of their followers, using the energies to make their beliefs universal truth? Round 3 goes to Marvel yet again, in this unofficial match of space-team titles.
This issue: a gruesome battle against organised religion (who seem to be the odder of the day in both here, the X-Universe and even DC's space titles), Groot speaks (but what is he saying?), the return of Starhawk (and GOTG fans rejoiced - though why doesn't Mantis recognise him from their Avengers days?) and another shocker of a last page.
Great writing, solid-stylish superhero art, an amazing cast with amusing dynamics that make every page and dialogue exchange a treat, mysteries that keep expanding... Marvel's Cosmic titles have never been this fun - about time!
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #3
(Matt Fraction / Salvador Larroca)
'The Five Nightmares of Tony Stark' part 3. I guess not even Matt Fraction can escape mid-arc story slump.
Both adversaries get back to their bases to regroup and lick their wounds/shine their circuits, and get back to round 2. Pepper's severe injuries forcing her to undergo the same surgery of Iron Man's origin was a big (pleasant) surprise; I can't wait to see where Fraction intends to run with this plot. We know Fraction likes to see her in a more active action role since her casting as 'Hera' in the Order... 'Iron Woman' anyone? Despite this snippet, I could have done without the utter filler of a battle against generic Chinese law enforcement robots.
The news from the convention circuit this weekend were that soon this will be the only continuity Iron Man book, with 'Director of SHIELD being turned into a War Machine vehicle (similarly to the recent success of the Hulk/Incredible Hercules swap), surprising noone as Invincible proved right out of the gates which of the two titles had the real bite.
MARVEL ADVENTURES HULK #13
(Peter David / Juan Santacruz / Raul Fernandez)
PAD tries his hand at starting a new fad, after the success of Marvel Zombies and the buzz around the upcoming Marvel Apes...
Hulk, Rick Jones and Monkey (the monkey) return to NY to find it deserted and the heroes transformed into (you guessed it...) the great dead and sloppily bandaged! PAD gets to showcase a great array of transformed heroes, from mummy Cap and mummy Thor, to the Silver Surfer and the entire ensemble casts of the various Marvel Adventures titles.
The concept still has too much meat left in it, and I feel he may have just scratched the surface, even if it's just using it to poke fun at the other trends with the 'mummy edition' special variant covers. It's fun, but not as entertaining as I would have wished with the writer attached - he's written the Hulk better than anyone, but I got the vibe he was maybe treating this as more of a 'hit-and-grab' than his other titles.
Still, the story IS called 'Are You My Mummy?'!
NEW EXILES #8
(Chris Claremont / Tom Grummett / Vicente Cifuentes)
'Soul Awakening' part 2. I'll limit myself to three rants this issue:
Rant #1: Why take an already convoluted character like Psylocke, who has finally found some modicum of simplicity post-resurrection, and after Crimson Dawn, body-swaps, asian-isations, clones, dupes, Legacy Virus, etc etc etc - and decide to dump her into the same lot of mess again, only this time combining elements from every past mess (Ogun, Slaymaster, Crimson Dawn, Lady Mandarin and soul transferrance, all rolled into one confusing mystery!
Rant #2: What's the point of this new Gambit character? He is the son of Namor and the Invisible Woman, but for some reason he's named Remy, nicknamed Gambit, he speaks French and Atlantean, and has a thing for Rogue. WHAT?
Rant #3: Could we do with a little less exposition, less narrative and please God less thought bubbles? Weren't they outlawed anyhow? Why does Claremont get to overuse/abuse them in such sadistic fashion in every issue? Is he so ashamed of Tom Grummett's (really gorgeous actually) art?
(Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning / Wellinton Alves & Geraldo Burges / Scott Hanna)
Nova fails to save a planet from Galactus' cosmic spork, who even ends up saving his metal-plated space bacon in the current storyline's disappointing conclusion.
Why bring out the ultimate Big Gun himself, if you're not going to do anything new or even exciting with him...
SECRET INVASION #4
(Brian Bendis / Leinil Francis Yu)
For all of Marvel's loud protests that Secret Invasion is slef-contained, I can't imagine any readers not scratching their heads wondering what is going on with all these new 'Commandos'/Secret Warriors swooping in, kicking ass, taking names and departing in a flash.
Introduced in Mighty Avengers #13 as Nick Fury's new recruits, they get the briefest intros here; instead they hit the invading Skrulls in a typical Bendis mess of an action sequence (a bunch of random splash-y panels of everyone running around punching crazy, without choreography or purpose) and are gone with no explanation of who they are, and what they're doing here.
In the rest of the issue, we catch up with Agent Brand (from #0, and the Who Do You Trust oneshot?) who's witnessing the torture of the abducted Reed Richards (from Secret Invasion: FF), we see Black Widow rescue Tony Stark from Spider-Skrull-Woman's lame attempt at ambivalence, we learn that 70s Beast and Phoenix are Skrulls (what, really? wow) and finish with a teaser at next issue's Avengers proper reunion with the new Cap and Thor.
Secret Invasion's losing steam fast (they're STILL fighting in NY? they're STILL stuck in the Savage Land?), and my Hype-o-meter's already running empty.
THE LAST DEFENDERS #5
(Joe Casey / Jim Muniz / Cam Smith)
It does make some kinda sense. In the sadly inevitable exposition issue, major Defenders baddie Yandroth abducts former Nighthawk Kyle Richmond in his lowest hour (what with the Defenders disbanding and getting sacked from the Initiative) and proceeds to torture him with endless monologuing and some nifty continuity lessons.
As for the last page. At long last, indeed, the Last Defenders are revealed - and I can't wait to see what happens last!
ULTIMATE ORIGINS #2
(Brian Bendis / Butch Guice / Justin Ponsor)
Yet another re-telling of Cap's origins (after Mythos last week, and Cap: White this one, I never imagined WWII comics would be some in demand), this time in the Ultimate Universe. It's only that...
...well, they're suspiciously (and disappointingly) exactly the same as the actual origins we already knew. Weakling Steve Rogers, Project Rebirth (supposedly linked to Wolverine's genes and Weapon-X as last issue hinted, though there's no allusions to that in this issue), Erskine, the traitor and the shooting and blah blah blah. Why go to the trouble of retelling this particular piece of tired origin if you have nothing new and interesting to add to it?
Mark Millar's addition to the mythos, Cap's girlfriend Gail (who later went on to marry Bucky and show up in Ultimates) makes an appearance, only now Bendis reveals that she really wasn't the girlfriend at all; instead she's this amazing dim young lady (who doesn't even question how the weakling Steve suddenly grew to Rambo-size overnight when she meets him) whom rogers had a crush on and revealed his feelings moments before shipping off to war. Huzzuh?
YOUNG X-MEN #4
(Mark Guggenheim / Yannick Paquette / Ray Snyder)
Well, we saw that coming miles away. The confirmation that the 'Cyclops' who put together this throw-away excuse of a Young X-Men team isn't the real deal hardly caught anyone by surprise, but at least it came as a relief - knowing that Guggenheim hadn't gone completely off his rocker. The misleading 'revelations' about 'Cyclops's new teaching methods, the New Mutants' turn to evil and the rest were an unfortunate diversion which only helped to infuriate fans instead of pique anyone's interest.
Reading the convention reports, I'm happy to see more and more fans in Marvel panels voicing their distaste for this title and how everyone misses the New X-Men kids; hopefully Marvel will take note and make things right after this storyline wraps.