Rapid-Fire Reviews III: This Time It’s Personal!

by

Or – “Comics Move Pretty Fast. If Ya Don’t Slow Down Once In A While, You Could Miss ‘Em.

So, how YOU doin?  When I joined the intrepid staff here at Stately Spoilers Manor, I was a carefree young lad, temping at a dog food company and literally finding myself with hours at work to stare into space.  Ahh, those were the heady days of cafeteria food and three-a-day reviews.  Now that I have a *real* job, my first in several years, I’m horrified to find that I have to spend 8 or 9 hours per day ACTUALLY WORKING.  Uncool, to say the least.  But, the faithful Spoilerites continue to call their siren call, and the review pile continues to expand like the waistline of an Atlantic City call girl (those all-you-can-eat buffets can really add up.)  Thus, I bring you another episode of…  RAPID FIRE REVIEWS!

Previously, on Everything: Our hero was horrified to see that his or her own best friend was the man behind the mask of the mysterious villain.  Add to that the stresses on his or her family (including his or her sickly aunt/mother/cousin/grandmother) as well as the inherent clashes that come with belonging to his or her given super-team, and of course, the torrid love affair with his or her crimefighting partner/childhood sweetheart/former villain or villainess with a heart of gold.  Luckily, he or she was able to muster up enough testicular and/or ovarian fortitude to triumph over evil, unless he/she didn’t, at which point, tragedy probably inevitably struck.  Either way, we’re looking forward to this summer’s big event during which he or she will find that his/her mentor is back from the dead, or possibly that his/her marriage never happened, or perhaps even that his or her butler/best friend/pilot/ninja/pirate/zombie/robot has been replaced by an alien and/or sixteen year old psychotic with buck teeth.  Oh, the huge manatee!

 

Legion of Superheroes #41:  The M.A.S.H. (Manapul And Shooter Handled) era of the Legion has apparently been killed in the shell, with reports that Jim will be leaving the book, since many of the plot points he reportedly wanted to handle are allegedly being done in the separate ‘Legion of 3 Worlds’ limited series.  This issue is atypical, with the characters receiving new uniforms with little fanfare or explanation (although Chameleon transforming into a new suit and making Star Boy uncomfortable with his costume being essentially naked Cham is cute) and the story is a little bit odd.  Trouble on Rimbor leads Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Colossal, Star and Ultra Boys into an issue of Fighty McFightington, while Invisible Kid finally gets a little respect from his ‘rents, Brainiac shows a little bit of human ego, and Minister Popoff of the United Planets thinks the Legion will go for blood.  It’s telling that a book like Legion is here, rather than in it’s own review, as this issue is another “hey, look what just happened!” issue, without a lot of explanation or deep thought.  Fine for what it is, paling in comparison to the Big Event on the horizon.  I suspect we’re looking at a lame duck incarnation of the LSH, and the art and story don’t do much to dissuade me.  2 Stars.

 2stars.jpg

 

The Immortal Iron Fist #15:  A stand alone tale of Bei Bang-Wen, a previous holder (circa 1850 or so) of the power of Shou Lao the undying.  Bei (or is it Bang?) uses the ower of his chi in a different manner than many of the Fists we’ve seen, using it to boost his mental acumen and tactical skills.  Unfortunately for him, even the power of the dragon’s heart isn’t infallible, and he ends up in an Indian prison under British guard.  He is beaten over and over, eventually meeting a fellow Immortal Weapon (sort of) named Vivatma Visvajit.  The twosome overthrow the guards, stage a prison break, and steal a boat to sail to Burma, with some nice character moments thrown in (seeing as how Bei can’t swim.)  They find Vivatma’s king dead, and his throne occupied by Tiger Jani, another superhuman type, and battle ensues, during which both Bei and Vivatma regain their abilities (denied them due to their feelings of inadequacy) and find their destinies.  It’s an interesting issue, but I have no idea what it means.  It’s a nice change of pace, similar to the old “Times Past” issues of Starman, and is quite well done.  I’m not as worried about what will happen without Brubaker and Fraction on this title.  3.5 Stars.

 35stars.jpg

 

The All-New Atom #24:  The foreshadowing has shown us a dead Ryan Choi in the clutches of a dead woman in a Chronos costume, and now we meet the real deal, clock-face and all.  We see the origin of Lady Chronos, in the year 1745 (though it’s not clear if she’s a native of that time period or not) as the original Chronos, David Clinton arrives to give her something: the Atom’s size-changing belt.  Her face is shadowed throughout, but it’s obvious that she may be someone we know.  (My vote is for Ryan’s former crush, Xia.)  Either way, Lady C draws Atom out of the micro-dimension he’s been stuck in, fighting an enlarged virus from his own bloodstream, and tries to talk him into coming to the dark side.  He fights her off, and she suddenly gets a message from her future self, under attack from Booster Gold and someone who looks suspiciously like Ray Palmer.  She laments that he should have more life left, that Chronos manipulated him, but can’t kill him before Booster pulls him back home.  Ryan returns to find Dwarfstar slandering his name, blaming all the ills of Ivy Town on him, but Ryan knocks him the hell out, takes the size belt back, and heads home to find a way to save all the people shrunk due to his bloodworms, when, suddenly, Ray Palmer shows up!  Next issue is the last, and no matter how it ends, somebody’s going to be disappointed.  There can be only one Atom, and sadly, Palmer has tenure.  This issue is well drawn by Pat Oliffe, and Rick Remender’s story is good, but it’s another lame duck incarnation, and you can feel it in the story.  2.5 stars. 

 25stars_1.jpg

 

The Boys Nineteen:   This issue starts to unravel some of the hidden secrets of Butcher and his crusade, with Wee Huey sitting down for a long talk with The Legend.  He relates the tale of Vought American, and their history of crappy products that get soldiers and innocents killed by the score, while Butcher has a face-to-face with the Homelander.  Starlight and A-Train find that the Lamplighter isn’t as dead as people want them to believe (though he’s unsuccessful in lighting his power lamp with his own feces) and we find that the entire membership of The Seven consists of genetically altered jackasses whom the government created at great cost, the first weapon that Vought hasn’t #&$!ed up.  The Legend reminds Hughie of the truth that makes the world go around: the Military Industrial complex that keeps the world spinning.  “[They’re] defense contractors… That’s where the real money is…  An’ that, eventually, by a long an’ twisted trial, is why there ain’t no goddamn Brooklyn Bridge no more.”  This issue offers tantalizing glimpses at the truth behind Butcher’s rage, beautifully drawn by Darick Robertson, and a bit of political commentary from Ennis.  It’s $*!#ing good.  4 stars.

 4stars_1.jpg

 

Young Avengers Presents – Stature #5 (of 6):  Okay.  I can get behind the concept of the legacy hero, the character who carries on in the footsteps of one who has gone before.  But the legacy of ANT-MAN?  Anyway…  this issue starts with Cassie Lang, the Young Avenger known as Stature, shrunken to near-microscopic size and despondent.  Hawkeye, Wiccan, and Patriot try to pull her out of it, thanks to some tough love and a size-changing magic spell, and we find that Cassie’s pain comes from having nearly killed her police officer step-father.  Eli talks to her about their legacies (his being former Captain America Isaiah Bradley who is, oddly, not dead) before she snaps out of it, returns to giant size and comes to terms with herself.  The most annoying thing about the issue, other than some teen angst bull$#!+, is the appearance of Cassie’s iPhone, an obvious piece of what feels like advertising.  Not much happens here, but it’s a vaguely compelling nothing, with art that reminds me of Butch Guice, but doesn’t quite hit the mark.  2.5 stars.

 25stars.jpg

 

Omega The Unknown #9 (of 10):   Omega version 2.0 has been a very odd experience, but one that is clearly a labor of love.  This issue finally shows us what we’ve been waiting for, as Titus Alexander Island puts on the blue and red costume of an Omega himself.  He starts off on his fundamental journey of transformation, only to find that the Mink wants to stop him.  that’s going on, the real Omega has a battle with fast-food employees that uses snippets of dialogue from Steve Gerber’s original Omega series (something I’m not entirely sure I’m cool with.)  Mink is forced to fight his severed right hand, now mutated into a giant creature, and ends up giving his life to stop it.  Titus takes over the MInk’s resources and lackeys, and gathers his various friends together to put a plan in place, having to do with table salt and countering alien mutating viruses.  Omega fights his way through hordes of robots to try and stop them from sending the viruses out via overnight delivery, but encounters the mysterious stone-headed Overthinker, and sets off what looks from a distance to be a nuclear explosion…  The issue fades to black with the seeming death of Omega the Unknown.  As a fan of the original, I’m glad they didn’t just remake it outright, and it’s good to see another intensely personal storyline around a character this personal, but I still don’t know what all is going on here.  It’s good, but mystifying.  3 stars.

4stars_1.jpg

 

Kick-Ass #3:   Dave Lizewski finds himself a full-fledged internet phenomenon, thanks to the bootleg video of him fighting off three criminals with only a couple of sticks and a wetsuit.  The global village adopts him as their new poster child, even giving him props on Letterman and Leno, causing him to redouble his superhero efforts, and giving him his name: Kick-Ass!  He even enjoys what he suspects is a romantic entanglement with the hottest girl in school before his best friend lets the other shoe drop: She thinks that he’s gay, and that his repeated beatings have been earned while turning tricks in the city.  After a nice moment where he blatantly lies to his dad, Kick-Ass goes on patrol (wisely deciding NOT to jump across the rooftops) engaging a hardcase named Eddie Lomas, a tip sent in to his Myspace page.  When he finds Eddie, he ends up getting his ass handed to him (again) before a young girl shows up with a costume of her own, and starts slashing everyone to bits with a sword.  She killed three of them before wiping her blade clean and intoning, “Okay, you *****, let’s see what you can do.”  Ultra-violence, some toplessness, horrid language, and teenage violence.  Must be Mark Millar.  This issue is the best of the lot, introducing the first of “The Others” referenced in the first issue, and giving us some stunningly rendered murders.  4 stars.

4stars_1.jpg

As an aside, is anybody else irritated with Marvel’s new “Four Pages of Advertising Stuck In The Back Of The Book” crap?  Last month it was Eternals, this month Moon Knight, but it always makes the book end pages earlier than you expect it to, and making you feel inexplicably cheated that your story ended before the book did.  Either way, it annoys the crap out of me.  Good haul of books this week, though, with a little something for everybody, even if the Legion did disappoint a little bit…