Review: Rapid-Fire Reviews Part MCMLXXXVII
Or – “Freakin’ In The Purple Rain With A Flying Hippo!”
Hey, kids!Â What time is it?
Time to get a new watch!
Return with us now to those glorious days of yesteryear, when comics came out every Wednesday, there was a new car in every a garage, a chicken in every pot, and a pot calling the kettle collect!Â When the review pile gets high enough to fall over, it’s time for Rapid-Fire REVIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWÂ Â OOOOooooOOOOOO!
Previously, on Everything:Â Crises were final, invasions were secret, and everybody ran around with the punching and the kicking and the FOYNLOYVEN! NICE LADEEEE!
New Avengers #52:Â Â Parker Robbins.Â Parker, Parker, Parker, Parker Robbins.Â Of all the Jemas-era Marvel stars, he is the most annoying, outstripping Marvel Boy, The Sentry, the absolutely unnecessary 2nd Black Widow, even managing to be more irritating that the star of Marville.Â Possessed by Dormammu, attacks Doctor Strange in pursuit of the Eye of Agamotto, and still sucks.Â Bendis has no ear for magical dialogue, as usual, with phrases like “Flasta Ryyamama” serving as incantations, Billy Tan’s art reaching new levels of scratchy and stiff.Â Madame Masque makes a mysterious revelation, (I wonder what IS behind that shiny gold mask) Ms. Marvel steals a Quinjet from the other Avengers, and the Son of Satan gets yet another new look (this is five of them in recent memory, if I recall correctly) just in time to get shot at by Parker.Â I wonder if I would like this a bit more if it weren’t so Hood-centric?Â Either way,Â the search for a new Sorceror Supreme isÂ an interesting notionÂ and this issue hasÂ some problematic aspects, but it ain’t the worst Avengers comics in recent memory.Â 2.5 stars.
Avengers – The Initiative #23:Â This one isn’t terrible either, despite some shakiness in the art.Â Humberto Ramos draws the way he draws, though, and it’s at least a style that looks FINISHED.Â Justice of the New WarriorsÂ blows the MVP secret wide open, The Shadow InitiativeÂ is left high and dryÂ in Madripoor, Ultragirl rejoins her former teammates, and Stormin’ Norman Osborn swoops in to give the public what they want: an end to Camp Hammond.Â Â This issue obviously takes place BEFORE the advent of the Dark Avengers, during the point where he was still implementing his plan to out-Iron-Man Tony Stark in both the armor and overbearing departments.Â Komodo isÂ depowered by SPIN-tech, and capturedÂ by her ex-boyfriend (now an agent of Hydra) andÂ two old Wolverine adversaries make their return to infamy.Â Â Again, good stuff happens, but it’s damagedÂ both by not feeling timely and by not feeling all that important. Â Â 2.5 stars.
Buck Rogers #0:Â Â Based entirely on Stephen’s review, I decided to check this one out…Â Â As a fan of the television series, butÂ someone lessÂ familiar with the comic strips of the characters heydey (Hey, even I have to have things I’m notÂ conversant in) I found myself enjoying thisÂ as a sci-fi adventure story with charcters who bear only a name in common with the character I remember.Â Some old-school gelatinous aliens,Â some impressiveÂ costuming and coloring, and an ending that implies the hero had to sacrifice himself have me wondering what all I may have missed, and I’m at least willing to give this new take a shot.Â Some solid art completes the package, as Dynamite againÂ revamps and revives a character I didn’tÂ know I wanted to like.Â Â 3.5 stars.
Captain Britain and MI:13 #12:Â Â I missed an issue somewhere along the way, so I’m being thrown headfirst into a mystery involving Spitfire and her lost son (the new Baron blood, as seen in the Union Jack miniseries of a couple years ago) under the thrall of Dracula himself, and somehow on the frickin’ moon.Â MI:13 deals with vampire infestation (hint: Blade stakes people) and the skull of Quincy Harker is shown to be a powerful mystical artifact.Â Best moment of the issue:Â Blade explains toÂ Cap’n BritainÂ whatÂ happens next…Â “We’ll find [Spitfire.]Â I’ll kill everything in the way…Â So what’s to say?”Â The Captain’s response:Â “Well…Â You really ARE British.”Â (Fun fact: Blade was born and bitten in Britain in his original stories.Â A stunning move by Dracula leaves us with a cliffhanger tha implies that everything has just changed, and leaves me wanting toÂ know what’s next…Â Good read, with good characters, andÂ the art ain’t bad either.Â 3.5 stars.
Detective Comics #604:Â Â Preston Payne, the third Clayface starts off this issue with a bad day, accidentally beheading his “girlfriend” Helena, a department store mannequin, he busts out of Arkham in a rage.Â At the same time, the original Clayface, Basil Karlo puts into play his secret plan to unite all the Clayfaces (himself,; the dead Matt Hagen, Clayface II; Preston Payne, Clayface III; and Lady Clayface, pawn of Kobra) as oen evil “Mud Pack,” dedicated to the death of the Batman.Â It’s good to see thisÂ kind of continuity nod,Â especially givenÂ how obscure Clayface IV is, and I suspect that Karlo has more than just parliamentary procedure on his mind.Â Hilariously, he lets the dead blob that comprises the remains of MattÂ Hagen sit at the table as he calls them to order.Â Norm Breyfogle does a nice-looking Dark Knight, and some awesome squishy Clayface work, and Alan Grant’s Gotham City is like a character unto itself.Â Â It’s a compelling start, and makes me wonder where it’s going…Â Â Â 4 stars.
Freedom Collective #1:Â Â I have a serious weakness for nostalgia stories…Â 1963, Big Bang Comics,Â Femforce, I’m probably on board (at least until the book reaches the 7 dollar mark.)Â So, this one was a no-brainer, written as thought Stan andÂ Jack were Communists working for the greater good of the party, with a super-villainous JFK called “The Chief” as bete noire of the whole thing.Â Â It’s a loving pastiche, with art that effectively captures Kirby back in the day, and clever takes on characters like Mig-4 and the KrimsonÂ Kommisar, and a relatively cute story.Â The only real downside of it all comes in the black and white interiors, and the fact that one-shots, no matter how awesome, alwaysÂ leave me feeling incomplete afterwards.Â Â Â Â 3 stars.
Guardians of the Galaxy #13:Â Â There’s just something odd about Havok and Jack Flag fighting in an interstellar battle sequence, something disconcerting…Â The issue starst with a Bar fight, (somebody insulted Captain Marvel, which caused his daughter Phyla to start throwin’ punches) and returns the group together, reluctantly, to try and stop Black Bolt from using the Kree Empire to destroy Vulcan and his Shi’ar warriors.Â The Guardians split into two team, with Star-Lord, Jack Flag, Martyr (Phyla’s new name), Bug and Gamora heading for Hala, while Groot, Draw, Major Victory, Warlock and Rocket Raccoon head for the Shi’ar empire.Â Â Both missions go bad, but in good ways, and Rocket proves that he’s old-school, while three telepaths stay behind and laugh at a private joke.Â This is good stuff, and is slowly evolving in Marvel’s Legion of Super-Heroes.Â That’s a very good thing.Â Â 4 stars.
Hellblazer #254:Â Â John has returned to form after his “skin condition,” which means bad behaviorÂ (breaking up with hisÂ latest girlfriend Phoebe) poor health (ending up in hospital after passing out on a bender) and a healthy dose ofÂ ‘holy crap, what’d going on here?’Â Repeatedly having visions of a plague-era London, John ends up involved in aÂ situation involving Olympic protestors, aÂ lostÂ pit of buried plague bodies, andÂ a resurrected monster physician who looks likeÂ half of Spy Vs. Spy.Â Â It’s a nicely creepy issue, andÂ John isÂ rightfully bastardy throughout, with unusually crisp and clear art for this title.Â I’d love to see more from this team, andÂ it’s nice to see John looking good again.Â Â Â Â Â 4 stars.
Incredible Hercules #128:Â Â The Olympus group wantsÂ Hercules and Athena dead.Â The Dark Avengers want Hercules and Athena jailed for beingÂ unregistered combatants.Â Unfortunately, theyÂ are both groups of untrustworthy loony-tunes, and end up fighting one another as much as Herc, Amadeus and Big Sis.Â Daken impales Pluto, and theÂ Lord of the Underworld smiles.Â “You really don’t know who I am, do you?”Â Â Hercules takes out The Sentry by hitting him WITH Venom, and Amadeus Cho finds an even better use of Aegis’ breastplate than becoming a superhero (he uses it to incapacitateÂ Ms Moonstone) Â and Athena makes good on their escape by having Herc sink a nearby ship.Â We end the issueÂ with the revelation of the mole inside the Olumpus Group is someone very dear to Hercules, andÂ Â I gain a little bit more love for this book.Â Â It’s right up at the top of Marvel’s offerings every month…Â Â 3.5 stars.
Invincible #61:Â Â Last issue’s “Invincible War” one-issue-event has changed the entire world.Â All the heroes of the Image Universe have shown up to help with clean-up, andÂ Invincible and Kid Omni-Man end up working for Cecil Steadman again.Â When Powerplex arrives to castigate him again, it casts doubts in some onlookers minds as to whetherÂ ‘Vince isÂ what he seems, or if he is as dark as his old man.Â Â Â Atom Eve’s condition worsens, the Sequid Martians break free at last, and Brit ends upÂ ramrodding a new version of the Guardians of the Globe.Â Invincible ends the issue being confronted with Conquest, a ViltrumiteÂ warrior of legendary status, and finding himself happytÂ to finally have something that he can actually let loose on.Â It’s a bit confusing, but interesting enough. Â 2.5 stars.
Marvels – Eye of the Camera #5 (of 6):Â Â It’s a very specialÂ 80′s flashback episode, as Phil Sheldon deals with a downturn in his health, and witnesses the Marvel Universe darkening even more.Â He realizes, even when no one else does that X-FactorÂ are the original X-Men, and is horrified at a new wave of anti-mutant sentiment, thinking back to the little mutant girl that hisÂ daughters befriended in the original miniseries. The X-Men return to the forefront of public fears (with Wolverine andÂ mohawk Storm and the like, and Phil is saddened to have to watch the trial of Magneto from home.Â He collapses from the stress of it all, and ends up in the hospital, only to be visited by Maggie, the ghost of mutant little girls past.Â I have been waiting for her to show up in this series, and this issue kind of telegraphed her return a little awkwardly.Â Hopefully, she doesn’t turn out to have cancer-healing powers next issue.Â It’s lovely to read, and pretty to look at, but the overal effect of the issue is somewhat off.Â 2.5 stars.
Reign In Hell #5-8:Â Â The mystical heroes of the DC Universe (and Lobo) have all been pulled into a grand tapestry of war in the neitherworld, and Satanus and Neron battle for superiority.Â (My spellcheckÂ wants to make that sentence “Santa Claus and Neon” which is quite funny.)Â Zatanna hasÂ badass moments, DoctorÂ Occult finds his lost better half, Blue Devil is onceÂ again cursed into demon form, Ragman flips his lid, Black Alice isÂ depowered, and then depowered again completely,Â while Ibis, Doctor Fate and Sargon slowly morph into their previous incarnations.Â The biggest change in this mini is the revelation that the real Lobo has been inÂ Hell for years, leaving poor shadowsÂ of himself to cavort through the DCU.Â This is a good thing for me, and I don’t even care for Lobo.Â Overall, though, the grand scope makesÂ the characters’ struggles seem a bit insignificantÂ in the greaterÂ scheme.Â These issues aren’t bad at all, though.Â Â 3 stars.