Or – “I Honestly Have NO Idea When These Books Came Out…”
Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends…Â much like the harassment you get when you wear the pizza suit and dance on the corner in front of a Cici’s.Â Even when you’re cutting back on comics purchases, like I have, the urge to review more comics than thereÂ is time to review themÂ is strong.Â Makes me with there were 8 days a week, actually.Â Thus, we at Stately Spoilers Manor have created this handy, dandy method of touching upon things going on at Penny Lane, down the long and winding road, even across the universe.Â So why don’t we do it in the road, throw some Norwegian wood on the fire, cause it’s a helter skelter ride through a day in the life of comics!
Previously, on Everything: It was all Didio and Quesada’s fault.
Did you know that everytime I doÂ a Rapid-Fire Review, I swear this one will be the last one?
Ambush Bug – Year None #3: The lack of coherence evident in issue #2 of this book continues, which saddens me quite a bit.Â The Bug wakes up after a night in Vegas and discovers that he’s married to Dumb Bunny of the Inferior Five (one of DC’s last great un-Vertigo’d campy 60’s concepts.)Â Riffs ensue on 52, Infinite Crisis, and even Reign in Hell before the Bug ends up stuck in Aithch-Ee-Double Hockey Sticks with Earth 2 Superman and Lois, and their son, (played by Super-Turtle) nearly gets seduced by Lois, goes out for karaoke with Darkseid, and encounters Major Spoiler of the 27th Brigade (a shout out, perhaps) before confronting Go-Go Chex again, talking about being in limbo with the Odd Man, and Cheeks becomes an OMAC.Â It’s all high-speed antics, with punchline following punchling, and the Bug finally decides to become a house-husband for Bunny, who proves that she ain’t quite as dumb as she looks when she meets Irwin’s baby boy.Â “This is a doll, right?”Â It’s cute, occasionally funny, but it’s also as scattershot as all hell.Â 2 stars.
Avengers – The Initiative #18: Speaking of things that are less than coherent, the Secret Invasion crossover continues apace, but at least this book has something unique to say about the Skrullish influx.Â With a Skrull in every pot, the 3-D Man and the ever-expanding Skrull Kill KrewÂ makes their way back across this great nation, reuniting most of the cadets from the first Initiative graduating class, including Cloud 9, Hardball as well as picking up Gravity, Devil-Slayer and a trio of super-speedsters that even I’m not obscure enough to recognize right off the bat.Â Ant-Man continues unintentionally infiltrating the Skrull command ship.Â Geekstravaganza continues with appearances by Crimebuster, Stuntmaster, Frog-Man, and the Order (Weren’t they all supposed to die in a year?Â Or am I thinking of Strikeforce: Mozzarella?)Â Thor Girl is revealed to be a Skrull (which kinda breaks my heart) and Ryder brings out his secret weapon: the pickled heads of the original Skrull Kill Krew, still living.Â Sorta.Â The assembled heroes break into groups, each carrying a Kill Krew head to identify who the aliens are, they set off to finally kill everybody, but the strain causes Devil-Slayer to collapse, leaving them with no way home…Â Â It’s a nicely done issue, full of geekery and “Hey, it’s THAT GUY!” and makes the crossover blues a bit more palatable.Â 3.5 stars.
Captain Britain and MI:13Â #6: Last issue ended with one team member impaling another, not exactly the best way to make a good first impression.Â A London apartment building is overrun by something called a “Dream Corridor” which promises everyone their hearts’ desire, while Blade runs mostly amuck.Â Pete Wisdom shows that he does have a heart,Â sending his soldiers toÂ keep Blade from killing his old friend, Â while Spitfire redeems herself to the man who staked her through the heart, and Captain Britain finds the mind behind it all: Doctor Plokta.Â Captain Midlands fistfights the Mindless Ones of the Dark Dimension, and the upshot of it all is that even someone like Captain Britain has something that he wants more than anything, as Plokta shows him a portal through which a woman is seen floating in space.Â “I believe that’s your wife?”Â Some of the characterization is pretty opaque, notably the Blade/Spitfire interactions, but overall, it’s a strong issue.Â 3 stars.
Dynamo 5 #17: Last issue, team telepath Scatterbrain agreed to go into the mind of Dynamo 5’s mentor, Maddie Warner, and see if anything can be done about her persistent vegetative state.Â He finds himself travelling through her memories of his father, the late Cap’n Dynamo, coaxing her mind out ofÂ the trauma caused by the villain attack several months ago.Â Maddie remembers how painful it was to know he was cheating on her, and even that Cap once let innocent civilians be put into danger because he chose to save HER instead.Â The running theme of her life turns out to be blaming herself for all that happened around her, even blaming herself for the murder of her late hubby.Â He tells her that she has to get to the next stage of grief, to get angry at her lost husband in order to process his loss.Â It’s a different kind of issue for Dynamo 5, and works very well, especially in the art of Mahmud Asrar, still a revelation in layout and facial expression.Â If you’re not reading this, you should be.Â 4.5 stars.
Fantastic Four #217: The Richards/Grimm/Storm family have returned from their long space trek to combat the Sphinx, only to find that the Baxter Building needs some serious repair.Â Reed sets out to put things back in order, while Johnny heads to a night club and meets the Disco Dazzler, mutant roller disco queen.Â Meanwhile, HERBIE the robot is up to something sinister, capturing Sue Storm, knocking the Thing into the Negative Zone, and confronting his maker before revealing himself to be possessed by the cybernetic nasty Doctor Sun, who wants to download his mind into the Baxter Building’s computer network.Â Reed manages to rereout the systems with a stretchy finger or two, forcing Doc’s mind back into HERBIE, who heroically sacrifices himself by throwing his body into a wall of circuitry with explosive results.Â The villain is thwarted, the foursome safe and sound, and best of all?Â HERBIE is d-e-a-d.Â Impressive art this month by some new kid named John Byrne, but it’s mostly squashed by the inking of Joe Sinnott.Â Still and all, it’s a nicely done issue, and, again, HERBIE has ceased to be.Â 3 stars.
Green Arrow/Black Canary #14: Connor Hawke is among the living once again, but some things have changed.Â Doctor Sivana has spliced his DNA with that of Plastic Man, and giving him a healing factor but cost him most of his memories.Â Connor isn’t sure if he’s ever going to be Green Arrow again, especially after it is revealed that he can no longer shoot straight.Â His ninja-like fightin’ skills are still there, though, as he proves by mowing through a den of drug-dealers like Sherman through Georgia.Â He actually takes a bullet in the chest (it kind of itches, a little) before Oliver “Green Arrow I” Queen arrives for the save.Â Ollie and Connor discuss his new life, and how Connor is about to become something new, but Hawke doesn’t WANT to change.Â “Fate has an ugly way of DRAGGING us through doors,” replies dear old dad.Â They return home, Connor to contemplate his new world, and Ollie to conssumate his new wife (the utterly delicious Black Canary.)Â Judd Winick’s run on this book has been solid, but the changes to Connor seem too much like a conscious attempt to make Oliver seem more unique in the world.Â Even so, it’s a good book, and MIke Norton’s art makes it very nice to look at.Â 3 stars.
Marvel Zombies 3 #2: Not to be confused with Marvel Zombies 2 #3, an issue that, frankly, wasn’t all that good.Â Aaron Stack is reunited with his long lost love, Jocasta, and the metal heroes head into the zombie universe to find a cure for the plague that now threatens their world.Â Aaron is obviously still in love with her,but they find themselves a bit busy being under attack from flesh-eaters.Â Lacking flesh, they get off pretty easy, even though Jocasta is damaged.Â They track the zoms to find that Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, has once again become a central figure in New York.Â How, you ask?Â by controlling an undead Jackal (the mastermind behind the Spider-clone), who clones humansÂ as a food supply.Â Eww…Â Kingpin’s also protecting a secret, an unbitten wife (ironically making him able to resist doing what Spider-Man could not) who provides them with the genetic material they need.Â As they exit, Aaron watches the last humans being devoured, and flashes back to the deaths of the rest of the X-series robots, a story told 30 years ago in his origin.Â “Those clones… they’re being treated… like robots.”Â Aaron recaptures his inner hero, and leaps into action against Kingpins assembled minions, laying the smackdown with air to ground missiles and a mighty rage.Â It’s great to see Machine Man in action again, and the art (from Kev Walker) is first rate.Â Writer Fred Van Lente really knows how to make obscure characters shine again, and I love him for it.Â 4 stars.
Nova #18: Back home, Richard Ryder finds himself and his little brother under siege at Project: Pegasus, with old friends Darkhawk and the original Quasar along for the ride.Â The Q-man returned to life (sorta) last issue, and between them them manages to hold off the army of attacking Super-Skrulls.Â The now revived Worldmind activates the Minion project, an army of Death’s Head robots, evening up the odds, until the Skrulls decide that they have to nuke the site from orbit.Â (It’s the only way to be sure.)Â A giant ship comes out of the sky, and Nova and company debate how to fix the problem, when the ship suddenly implodes in the sky and several figures fly down and hover over Nova.Â “Salutations, Nova Prime,” says one of the five Nova centurions in greeting.Â “Nova Corps Centurions reporting for duty.”Â Rich’s jaw hits the ground, faced with five new recruits (I recognize a Shi’ar andÂ Rigellian among their number…)Â It’s a compelling little plot-hook, and a nice issue overall.Â 3.5 stars.
Proof #13: Proof’s feverish hallucinations continue this issue, as he faces dragons both savage and mythical, and Ginger Brown chases giant albino alligators in the sewers of New York.Â The cop who may or may not be the Savage Dragon is terribly wounded, and Proof is upset to learn that one of his co-workers got killed.Â Ginger and Elvis reunite to track down the lost Golem (which is why they’re in the sewers in the first place) but Golly has already found a mysterious robed man named Mi-Chen-Po who greets him warmly, as if expecting him…Â Both main stories seem to cut off short, but a nice backup with Lodge psycho-analystÂ Doctor Isabella Bay visiting her OWN therapist and revealing her her “origin,” the death of her husband by what seems to be a zombie bite.Â A second backup tale casts Leander White as a Tales from the Crypt type narrator of a cute Halloween tale, and yet ANOTHER two-page backup tells a chapter of the adventures of Archie Snow, who is apparently an anthropomorphized leopard.Â It’s a good issue, but there’s a LOT going on here, perhaps even too much.Â I would have liked to see more of the main storyline continuing, giving us a throughline more able to support the backups…Â 3 stars.
Thunderbolts #125: I’ve come to a realization about Marvel Comics…Â They want us to root for the psychopaths.Â Wolverine…Â Punisher…Â Venom…Â Â And now, Norman Osborn.Â This issue opens with a wonderful piece of propaganda, as Norm single-handedly reenacts the Iwo Jima flag-raising (albeit by impaling a Skrull with the flagpole, but still.Â The Thunderbolts manage to defend Washington DC against alien invaders, Radioactive man gets sidelined for the benefit of the press, and manages to meet up with the main superhero strikeforce moments before the end of Secret Invasion #7, Bullseye actually gets to use a big ol’ gun, and we revisit several moments word for word from the Secre Invasion issue.Â Iron Man is forced to turn tail, and the heads of state seem ready to replace him with… Norman frickin’ Osborn.Â As creative team swan songs go, I’ve seen worse, and the overall issue isn’t bad, it just spends a bit too much time revisiting what we’ve already seen in another comic.Â 2.5 stars.
True Believers #4 (of 5): Paul Gulacy continues to burns the house down with his art, while the backgrounds of the characters are revealed to be…Â not quite as unique as one might have hoped.Â Payback is captured by Hydra, Batallus reveals he got fired by SHIELD, Headtrip impresses, while Red Zone is a tin-hat wearing conspiracy theorist who got struck by lightning while wearing his special headgear.Â The team reclaims their girl, but Hydra fights back with a drugged-out Armadillo (last seen in MODOK’S 11) but the team gets lucky and/or clever enough to stop the guys in green, and we find out that the villain is SHIELD.Â Which should be no surprise to anyone who has been reading Iron Man for the last two years or so, but still…Â This book hasn’t quite lived up to the high hopes I had after issue #1, but it’s not a bad little book, and it’s gorgeously drawn to boot.Â 3 stars.