Or – “Major Spoilers, Major Time Crunch!  I Blame Stephen!”

 

There’s a couple of reasons why I do what I do here at Major Spoilers…  The first is, I love comics, and I know you do, too.  (See what I did there?)  I want you to look at Wednesdays the same way I do, with a combination of joy, expectation, and “What in the world will they do next?”  Basically, I want to share the love.

Also, and possibly more importantly, I’m an attention whore.  Problem is, I actually have two jobs other than this one, both of which tend to suck a lot of time out of my day.  I’ve fallen waaaaaay behind in my daily reviews (or, honestly, my thrice-a-week reviews, lately) and in order to keep from reviewing things that came out three or four weeks ago, I’ve decided to give you some extra bang for your buck, with a smorgasbord of reviews that I’ve fallen behind on.  It’s something like Friday nights when I was a kid, where you’d have whatever was in the fridge for supper, because nobody’s going to waste their time cooking for ya.  Heck, if it works out, we may do this on a semi-regular basis to remind you of the comics that I probably couldn’t honestly see devoting a whole review to.  And now, ON WE GO!

Previously, on Virtually Every Title Known To Man:  Good fought evil, in an endless spectacle of pageantry, where golden hearted heroes went toe to toe with black-souled villains.  Many girls, puppies, and schoolchildren were saved, possibly even a busload of nuns.  Some gave their lives in pursuit of justice, while others found their lives transformed in ways unheard of.  Many young men took up the mantles of their lost fathers/mentors/brothers in arms, while some of the heroes fell prey to evil, becoming villains themselves.  Depending on the title, there may also have been some sex.  Also: SKRULLS!  And crises of some varying finality.  Also: The law firm of Likes, Boucher, McFadden and Mephisto is there for all your divorce needs! 

The Twelve #4:  Stracynski and Weston deliver again, as Mastermind Excello shows uncommon planning, The Black Widow shows some skin, and The Laughing Mask shows a great deal of restraint.  After he busts up of robbery, the police insist on a report and forensic evidence from his handguns, and the Mask (a former district attorney) calmly complies.  For his part, The Blue Blade tries to convince Rockman to join him in his quest for fame.  Rocky isn’t interested, instead waiting for his people to find him.  He tells a very touching tale of how his wife and daughter were left behind as he and his army went to war…  “They WILL come…  Someday, my princess will find me.  WE will once more be a family.  And I will be happy again.”  Phantom Reporter makes the mistake of crossing Dynamic Man, but Captain Wonder intercedes, setting up the inevitable conflict between the two powerhouses.  Black Widow finds that she fits in with the Goth culture, while Phantom Reporter writes his first piece for the Daily Bugle.  It’s compelling, confusing, interesting, but all in all, its a better read than Project: Superpowers.  3 stars out of 5.

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The Trials of Shazam #12:  For 12 issues over the space of approximately six and a half years, Freddy Freeman has been battling against his rival Sabina, trying to gather the seven powers of Shazam.  Twists, turns, substitutions and fistfighting have led to this: Sabina and the monstrous creations of Merlin versus Freddy and the heroes of Earth.  Billy Batson, now a while garbed wizard ala old Shazam himself, leads the charge, and Freddy saves the day when he realizes that the only way to keep Sabina from seizing the power is to make sure that NOBODY has it.  He throws Sabina through an “Emergsion Portal,” a mystical gewgaw designed only to be exited, and carries himself through with her when the other shoe drops.  His sidekick Zares is really Zeus himself, and at the last moment, Freddy says the magic word and solves one of DC’s oldest copyright problems.  “Today I died…  And I was reborn.  I am Freddy Freeman. I am SHAZAM!”  Now the title of the book will be the same as the name of the character!   Yay!  It’s well-drawn, a little odd, and the word Emergsion makes my eyes hurt.  2.5 out of 5 stars.

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KICK-ASS #2:  The cover promises “Sickening Violence Just The Way You Like It,” and it delivers on the first part of it, anyway.  We find out that last issue’s beating left Dave Lizewski beaten and bloody, but his father thinks that he was mugged.  Turns out that our insane protagonist had (apparently) found the strength to hide his tights under a parked car… maybe.  Dave hallucinates his dead mother talking to him, realizes that he could have been killed, crippled, or even worse, and spends literally months in rehab.  When he can walk again, he finds that he’s a minor celebrity for “fighting off his attackers.”  He burns his comics in a puritan rage, but ends up back in costume as soon as he can walk again.  The boy…  is a moron.  He immediately finds trouble again, but this time, he manages to beat his attackers down by a miracle of tenacity more than anything else.  “Man,” says one of the onlookers, recording the beating on his cell phone, “this is SO going on YouTube.”  It’s confounding, with a main character who may be heroic or may be stupid, but it’s different, in the good way.  3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Noble Causes #32:  It’s a whole new world, as the issue starts five years after the last.  The Noble family gets a whole new status quo, with Doc taking a new wife, Slate Blackthorne joining up, and Zephyr Noble annoyed with someone who acts just like she used to.  We get a lot of exposition, a horde of somewhat indistinguishable villains, and quite a few unanswered questions. 
The expository scenes are at least somewhat artfully done, through the device of a camera crew covering the Nobles fight a group of minor villains.  The twist at the end (Is Frost Noble really a traitor to his pater familias?  Is the obvious Liz analogue going to do them all in?) is well done, but right now, new characters Olympia, Minutiae, and Surge are more than a little bit cardboardy.  The art by Yildiray Cinar (whose name, I SWEAR is an anagram for something) is sorta Erik Larsen, sorta Todd Nauck, but servicable, I suppose.  I can’t say for sure if I’m going to enjoy it based on this “first issue,” but the new status quo for Noble Causes is at least a step in the right direction for a title that had lost a lot of it’s zing.  2.5 stars out of 5.

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Salvation Run #6:  Vandal Savage apparently needs a lot of queens to survive, and lies to each of them in the same vein, as the rest of the villains come to grips with the nothingness of their new existence.  Heat Wave is kinda creepy (“I like to watch stuff burn.  Duh-Hyuk!”)  Thunder and Lightning show their true colors, J’onn J’onzz is trapped in a cage of flame, and Lex Luthor fistfights the Joker.  Take that in for a moment.  The former president of the United States in mano a mano combat with a crazed skinny birthday clown gone wrong.  You’d think this fight was Lex’s from the get-go, but Joker brings the pain.  It’s sad that the dialogue falls very flat in very many places, and I never thought that bald jerk versus crazy chalk-skinned jerk could be so… bland.  Sean Chen’s art is much more non-descript than I’m used to from him, and the ending swerve (“Parademons IN THE SKIIIIIIIES!”) was pretty much telegraphed months ago.  Also, I’m unclear as to when the villainous camps re-combined into one…  It’s pretty disappointing, and the loss of Bill Willingham as contributing writer has really hurt this book’s momentum.  1.5 out of 5 stars.

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Nova #12:  A touching return of an old New Mutant last issue is capped off this issue by a shocker, as a giant Technarch Siredam (?) attacks, forcing Nova and Warlock (not Adam, mind you) into a fight.  The presence of the technological being makes Nova’s Phalanx infection that much worse, nearly overwhelming him.  Warlock gives his life to purge the virus from Nova’s system, and Nova attacks the siredam at full power (which still isn’t enough.)  Warlock’s adoptive son Tyro saves the day by getting consumed by, then taking over the programming of the giant Siredam, and then saving Warlock (a surprise, since I figured the return of Adam Warlock was why they brought him back and killed him.  Marvel hates having two characters with the same name, right Captain Marv– I mean Phot–  Pulsa–  Monica!  Monica Rambeau!)  Nova manages to free Drax the Destroyer and Gamora, and the threesome (plus Warlock and Tyro) head to Phalanx space for some headcracking.  I really enjoyed the issue, with Nova and Worldmind’s relationship unconsciously echoing Tyro and Warlock’s, and some nice nostalgia for the old days.  Good issue from Abnett, Lanning, and Pelletier.  4 out of 5 stars.

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The Brave And The Bold #12:  Superman!  The Flash!  Wonder Woman!  The Challengers of the Unknown!  Ultraman! Pretty much everybody else in the entire freakin’ DCU!  It’s what my pal Bruce would call a big ol’ cluster-schmozz as everyone who has appeared in the first year (figuratively speaking, since the book hasn’t come out monthly for the last eleven issues) of the book comes together to stop Megistus (sounds like a condom brand to me…)  who proves himself to be powerful, but dumb as a bag of hammers.  Superman thinks his way through part of a jam, and Challenger June saves the day by pulling a Ferro Lad.  Luckily, as the issue wraps up, we find that she isn’t in the Book of Eternity, which means (as we learned in previous issues) that she somehow cheated death.  George Perez has gone missing this time ‘roung, replaced by the very able Jerry Ordway, but a combination of delays between issues and coherence of plot slow this issue down.  It’s not bad, but it’s not the titanic tale that the sheer number of heroes in the issue would seem to warrant.  2.5 out of 5 stars.

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Captain Action #0:  Moonstone Comics is in a race with IDW to see who can revive and revamp the most obscure characters with cult followings, and this issue proves it.  We see the original Captain Action murdered (even though he’s narrating the issue AFTER his death ((?))) by a Superman analogue, and we find that the Earth’s JLA analogue (Again?) has been under the control of alien insects from beyond space.  Captain Action’s son, the former Action Boy, is forced to take up his father’s mantle, including his distinctive cap and sword, in order to destroy the superheroes from within.  There a bit of ‘The Boys,’ a healthy chunk of ‘The Authority,’ some ‘Planetary,’ and a pseudo-Superman who looks like Maynard G. Krebs.  It’s intriguing, if not terribly original, but I feel there’s some potential here.  I came on board because I was a fan of DC’s 5-issue Captain Action comic from 1968, with work from Wally Wood, Gil Kane, and Jim Shooter in his prime, but I think this one could be a sleeper, presuming that they can take the pastiches and give us something new.  I’m interested, and awaiting the chance to be amazed.  3.5 out of 5 stars.

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It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for comics, and I am now going to work hard to cover ONE title per day, but now that I’m done here, I wonder if I couldn’t do a little game of “Catch-Up” like this every once in a while, presuming that nobody thinks I’m ripping off other Internet sites…  Of course, much as with my other jobs, now that I’m caught up, I’ll have to keep on top of things to not get behind the eight-ball again.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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10 Comments

  1. Ken
    April 18, 2008 at 12:23 am — Reply

    Short, crisp and well done.

  2. Rodrigo
    April 18, 2008 at 12:28 am — Reply

    I Rain Day Lyric

  3. mosdef
    April 18, 2008 at 1:13 am — Reply

    my head is spinning, hold on……. GOOD JOB. im impressed

  4. April 18, 2008 at 3:14 am — Reply

    Agreed, The Twelve has been a better read that the other public domain project.

    Hate the name change to Shazam. No reason for it other than legal/trademark/copyright issues. The Zues reveal was obvious way in the beginning. I kept hoping that this title would somehow return Billy where he needed to be, as Captain Marvel, not Gandalf.

    Kick-Ass has turned me off due to the violence and the mediocre story. Mreh.

    Your Nova score has only 4 out of 4 stars in the graphic. :-P

    You where generous on Salvation Run.

    I like the mini-reviews! They are bite size and easy to carry in your pocket!

  5. Josh P.
    April 18, 2008 at 7:43 am — Reply

    I like the mini-reviews too.

    Not every book needs a full length review.

    I feel like we get more bang for our non-existent-buck this way.

  6. Mark I.
    April 18, 2008 at 9:28 am — Reply

    I like the mini-reviews too…I’d rather have one or two minis every day or two than wait several days for long reviews of books I may not even care about (though I diligently read every “big two” review whether I like the book or not.)

    Hate the name change on Shazam, but what can you do?

    Nova was great though, even if the ending was telegraphed from a mile away. Warlock’s been 99.999% dead what, twenty times? But Warlock’s also somewhat of a personal favorite so I’m good. Always liked that New Mutants annual where he got into an argument with the Impossible Man.

  7. Sanlear
    April 18, 2008 at 10:17 am — Reply

    I like the mini-reviews, although Nova deserves a full one. :)

  8. Michael
    April 18, 2008 at 11:16 am — Reply

    Wait, Nova’s adopted son?!?!!? I need to go pick those issues up now.

  9. nu
    April 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm — Reply

    try checking out weeklycrisis.com he has reviews and quick-shot reviews

  10. April 18, 2008 at 5:26 pm — Reply

    Why would I do that? I read my comics, and review the ones that I choose to. :)

    Wait, Nova’s adopted son?!?!!? I need to go pick those issues up now.

    That’s should read (and now DOES read) “Warlock’s adoptive son.” Please return the stewardess to her original upright position.

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