Or – “Turkey Fact #12: If You Leave A Turkey Out In The Rain, He’ll Drown… Stupid Bird.”
Every year, I tell myself that I’m going to take it easy on Thanksgiving, and every year, I pretty much feel like a python who swallowed a wild boar. Yesterday, I had three slices of pie, an enormous wedge of ham, and half a bag of crackers with cheese spread, and that was the day BEFORE the holiday feasting. In order to help you digest YOUR Thanksgiving dinner, (Disclaimer: May not be valid in all areas!) we’ve got another line-up of things to be thankful for in the comics world… To Infinity – And BEYOND!!!!!
Previously, on Everything: Dante Hicks is a clerk at the Quick Stop, a local convenience store in Leonardo, New Jersey. On Dante’s day off, his boss calls him in to cover a few hours for another employee. Arriving at the store, he finds that security shutters are jammed closed with chewing gum, so he hangs a sheet over them with a message in shoe polish: €œI ASSURE YOU; WE’RE OPEN.€ Dante€™s day is spent in the purgatory of serving a succession of customers while bemoaning the fact that €œI’m not even supposed to be here today.€ IntDante passes time in wide-ranging conversations with his slacker friend, Randal Graves. They converse about many things to pass time, such as if the contractors working on the second Death Star when it was destroyed at the end of Return of the Jedi were innocent victims or not. Further contributing to Dante’s misery is an announcement in the local newspaper that his unfaithful ex-girlfriend, Caitlin, is engaged to be married. Dante also finds out one of his ex-girlfriends has died and her memorial service is today. Randal talks him into closing the store again and going to the wake. Though the audience doesn€™t see what transpires during the memorial service, a later conversation between the two reveals that Randal knocked over the casket. Jay and Silent Bob, a pair of stoners who€™ve spent all day hanging out outside the Quick Stop, enter the store to shoplift. Dante turns down Jay€™s offer to party with them. Knowing Dante’s predicament, Silent Bob pauses before following Jay outside and offers the following wisdom: €œYou know, there’s a million fine-looking women in the world, dude. But they don’t all bring you lasagna at work. Most of ’em just cheat on you.€ Dante then realizes that he loves Veronica. When she returns to the Quick Stop, though, Randal complicates things by revealing that Dante was in love with Caitlin and is planning to date his ex again. Veronica angrily breaks up with Dante and reveals to him that Randal told her of his plans to be with Caitlin. Dante loses his temper and fights with Randal, though the two end up worn out and reconcile. The film ends with Randal walking out of the store, popping back in briefly to toss Dante’s sign at him stating, “You’re closed!”
Assault On New Olympus One-Shot: So, Hera and the Olympian Gods of the Marvel Universe all work for a company called The Olympus Group, working their usual evil machinations on a corporate rather than celestial level. With a rogue Japanese god running through various pantheons, Hera has decided that it’s time for her to unleash CONTINUUM, her secret evil plot to destroy the universe. Hercules’ ex-wife, daughter of Hera, has been working with May Parker in her efforts to feed the homeless of New York City, and has been set up on a blind date with Pete “Spider-Man” Parker, leading Herc and Spidey to clash. This time, though, nobody drags Manhattan back into place wearing giant chains, which is a bit disappointing. Once things are taken care of in the “misunderstanding causes fight” department, Athena, Hercules and Amadeus Cho are reunited, and Hercules calls in a few Avenger friends to help them in their assault on New Olympus. In the backup story, the much-beloved Agents of Atlas find that Venus has been manipulated by her godly namesake into working for her evil former master, the Phorcys, again and we end with Venus seemingly willing to slaughter thousands of innocents to save her boss. This issue makes me thankful for clever use of myth, and for the attempts to make certain that the Agents of Atlas aren’t really cancelled. 4 stars.
Mighty Avengers #31: Henry Pym’s team of Avengers has called up the reserves from the New and Young teams, and all the Avengers are fighting off The Unspoken, a lost king of the Inhumans. Hank leaps in to save the day, and it is his team (Hercules, Amadeus Cho, Stature, The Vision, Quicksilver and himself) that manage to take down the evil Unspoken with a deux ex machina time machine ray that ages him past the point of his being a threat. Hawkeye (Clint Barton, also known as Ronin) tells Hank that he could use the machine to wipe away his own mistakes, but Hank destroys it, vowing never to look backwards again. Quicksilver returns the Xerogen Crystals to the Inhumans, swearing that his own recent actions were those of a Skrull, earning the trust of the Royal Family and losing the respect of his daughter. Hank also reveals that he know Loki isn’t Wanda Maximoff, which makes me think something is up there, as well. This issue makes me thankful for flat-out hero stuff and what may be the final end to America’s Favorite Gameshow, “CRAP! ON! YELLOWJACKET!!” 2.5 stars.
New Avengers #59: Brian Bendis’ guy-crush on Luke Cage continues here, as the New Avengers struggle to find a way to get their partner back from Norman Osborn’s evil clutches, only to find that Luke’s OTHER friends (The Thing, Misty Knight, Iron Fist, Hellcat, The Valkyrie, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, as well as Doctors Strange and Voodoo, but where’s Colleen Wing?) are ready to get in on the plan as well. Bait and switch ensues, and the Friends of Cage easily retrieve the big man, the Avengers run through Camp HAMMER like corn through a goose, and nobody thinks to wonder if an evil bastard like Norman might have, say, I don’t know, planted a tracker inside Luke’s body? What’s most amazing to me in all of this is that Power Man just had major cardiac surgery, and his steel-hard skin doesn’t even show the slightest wrinkling of scar tissue. That’s hardcore. This issue made me thankful for loyal friends, for 70’s Marvel, especially old-school Defenders, and the fact that Power Man is finally getting his due as a major player in the Marvel Universe. 4 stars.
Booster Gold #26: First and second features collide here, as Ted Kord returns fromthe grave, Booster deals with his own inadequacies as a hero and as a man, and Jaime Reyes steps up to protect his legacy from an undead usurper. This issue features the return of Supernova in a black costume that completely ruins how cool the color balance of his suit was, and there’s even a ‘Bwah-ha-ha’ moment that rings incredibly creepy. Dan Jurgens work on recent issues of this book has been a little lackluster for me, so the sudden influx of strong character and plot is a little bit jarring, but in a good way. Both creative teams provide art for the issue, with the first appearance of Jaime in the book handled by the art team from the regular Blue Beetle feature. This issue is a nice outing for Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, and I’m anticipating next issue’s Blue and Gold reunion to be more than a little bit horrifying. This book makes me thankful for the JLI, for Bwah-ha-ha, for Kooey Kooey Kooey, and for the remembrance of times past. 3.5 stars.
Brave And The Bold #29: J. Michael Straczynksi came to DC on the heels of a very successful run of Thor, and my manager, Deon, wants to know why they put him on a book like B&B. This issue tells me that I don’t really CARE what he’s writing, so long as it’s this good to read. Joe Simon creation Brother Power returns in this issue, and brings with him an analysis of the 60’s, the hippie movement, and the politics of the era, contrasting it with a very human Batman (probably Bruce Wayne, as B&B is not strictly in current continuity.) There’s an analysis of monster stories and their real meanings, a well-handled Frankenstein metaphor, and some wonderful moments with Thomas Wayne and baby Bruce enjoying classic monster movies together. The art is moody and well-done, and the overall effect works very well for me. This issue make me thankful for nostalgia, for the lost ideals of times past, and the realization that just because something isn’t the next big thing, it isn’t automatically irrelevant. 3.5 stars.
Doom Patrol #4:This issue points out the irony of the Doom Patrol, in that the original four members are now back from the dead, but almost all of the New Doom Patrol members are dead, a distinction shared by the Teen Titans. Revelations about the new nature of Robotman are given, The Chief’s ex wife appears as a Black Lantern, and the body of Cliff Steele returns, trying to reclaim his brain. All of the main Doom Patrol members have had up close and personal interactions with their own mortality, but this is a new level of creepy ever for them, especially in that Cliff’s body has most of it’s skull missing, the result of Niles Caulder’s brain transplanting procedure. Gyaaah! In the Metal Men backup, mannequins come to life and attempt to take over the world, sort of like an Old Navy ad gone wrong, although this earns double points just because it doesn’t contain the meaningless nonsense phrase “party cardies” delivered in a fake British accent. This issue makes me thankful for Robotman, for Keith Giffen’s no-nonsense plotting, and for remembering Celsius, Negative Woman and Tempest ever existed. 3.5 stars.
The Darkness #81: In my mind, Jackie Estacado is just that guy who looks like the male version of Witchblade. While Rodrigo has explained to me enough that I feel like I have a handle on the current status of Witchblade and Angelus and such, I was still uncertain as to where The Darkness fell in the scheme of Top Cow’s armored magicky guys. This issue is an entertaining melange of several things, with a Man-Thing type character and the woman he protects, a very out-of-place Jackie in the swamps, and a contract killer who seems to be either immortal or have a relatively weak healing factor. Phil Hester’s script is fun, in a not-so-deep action movie sense, and the art is quite good, as well. I still have little to no idea what the power of The Darkness are, but there was enough here that I wouldn’t be averse to coming back and figuring out what the deal is… This issue makes me thankful for tales of swamp creatures past, and for some pretty lovely art… 2.5 stars.
Guardians of the Galaxy #20: Last issue’s bloodbath didn’t just take out Adam Warlock, it left the team at half-strength, and this issue deals mostly with the fallout of that. Moondragon misses her lover, Phyla, Rocket Raccoon finds himself missing Cosmo the telepathic dog, and Star-Lord has lost his most trusted ally in Mantis. The Luminals, a rival super-team, try to investigate the rift created by Black Bolt and Vulcan’s final battle, only to end up bringing back bigger monsters to deal with. This is a pretty powerful issue, showing off the characters and their various ways of dealing with grief, and maintaining the “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” vibe that makes me enjoy the book every month. Guardians of the Galaxy makes me thankful for lost friends, for Marvel’s long runs of awesome cosmic stories (with the exception of Infinity War, which made me mad) and especially thankful for Rocket Raccoon and Groot. 3.5 stars.
Hercules – The Knives of Kush #4 (of 5): Starting off with a killer cover (Hercules, in the skin of the Nemean lion, squeezing a viper that either just bit him or is about to bite him) is always a plus in my book… Steve Moore, whom I know best from his work with Alan Moore (no relation) gives us a tale of a much more traditional Hercules, with his squire Iolaus, who begins the issue undercover at an orgy. Accompanying him is Autolycus, and while all the names are familiar from the old Kevin Sorbo Action Pack television show, this is overall a stronger narrative. Hercules and company end up playing a game of intrigue and spycraft, and the strongman finds himself in unfamiliar territory. There’s a pretty impressive “Hell, Yeah!” moment here as well (hint: the son of Zeus might not be the best man to hit with lightning) and some nicely handled bronze age combat scenes. This book makes me thankful for myths and legends, and brand new takes on familiar names… 4 stars.
The Incredibles #2: The adventures of Mr. Incredible, Elasti-Girl, Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack continue, and the first question that I (and probably many new readers, as well) want to know is: Do they look right? The answer, I’m happy to say, is yes, as the Incredibles are taken into custody by the evil Confederacy of Crime (Roller Grrl, Shifty, Centsus, Tronosaurus and Mr. Pixel) seemingly with the help of Mr. I’s government agent pal Rick. Of course, it’s all a ruse, as the villains only want baby Jack-Jack, trying to recapture their macguffin, a specially tailored virus. Violet shows her initiative, Dash shows his heroism, Mr. Incredible and Elasti-Girl show that they truly are good parents, and Boom Studios show that they have the misapprehension that kids don’t ever read comics on the ropes. When your villain team contains a robot dinosaur in a monacle and top hat, you’ve got my attention, and Mark Waid and Marcio Takara manage to deliver on that entertaining premise. Looking good, and reading crisp, this issue made me thankful for family dynamics and good storytelling… 3.5 stars.
Irredeemable #8: So, the Plutonian is kind of a Superman analogue, and he has completely flipped his gizzard. His friends in the Paradigm, a sort of Justice League organization, have broken into his citadel (in the heart of a volcano) to try and find a clue to take him out, but find only more questions. Most interesting of all, Charybdis, a hero thought dead and/or depowered, actually comes across stronger and more unstable than even the Plutonian himself. Turns out that Cary was the one with the power, and he easily (and brutally) overcomes Plutonian in combat. The remaining heroes struggle with internal conflict while searching for Modeus (or at least his android duplicate) while searching for the key. Turns out that the reason that Plutonian snapped was that scientists told his pal Samsara the truth about the virus that killed an entire city: It’s Plutonian’s fault. We end with an injured Plutonian digging into the ground and lying next to the body of Samsara, apparently his only real friend, and you almost feel sad for the mega-powered psycho-killer… This issue is a little odd, but still a strong outing, and makes me thankful for unconventional stories and for the realization that not every one is cut out to be a hero, powers or not. 3.5 stars.
Invincible #68: Invincible is one of those titles that continually impresses me with new takes on old tropes, notably done here with the villain (Dinosaurus) raging that, without the superheroes, the world would have been forced to come together and work through their differences while rebuilding, causing a global climate change and a better world for humanity in the long run. He’s partly right, of course, but the real shocker comes when he reverts to human form, bagging Invincible to just kill him, and Invincible actually considers it. Mark heads home, sheds his costume and meets his girlfriend’s parents, both of whom are pretty awful people, really. After a long discussion with Eve’s dad about Eve’s dating history, the importance of virginity in a relationship (!!) and how much he appreciates Mark accepting his “soiled” child, Conquest escapes custody, the sequids prepare to attack, and Samantha Eve Wilkins turns up very pregnant. This issue makes me thankful for Kirkman’s unique take on heroes and on families, for not having an idiot father-in-law, and for the detailed and loving remembrance of soiled women past. 3 stars.
Jonah Hex #49: Jonah’s first multi-part epic comes to a close here, as Bat Lash, El Diablo, and Talullah Black join the scarred gunslinger in his final assault on Quentin Turnbull, who blames Jonah for the death of his son. Blood flows, bullets fly, and Jonah and Quentin have a final showdown which leaves nobody happy. With his need for vengeance at least temporarily staunched, Jonah uses his charming nature at the end of the issue to remind his colleagues that he rides alone, and how that’s just better for everybody. This six-part series series was interesting, but the lack of a resolution in the expected Western fashion (i.e., a bullet through Quentin’s skull) weakens the overall effect of the story for me. This issue makes me thankful for Weird Western Tales, for the odd ghost story/western crossover that is El Diablo, and for Jonah Hex continually being involved in crossovers whether he wants to or not. 3 stars.
Justice Society of America #33: When a writer joins an established title, there will always be a few issues where you have to get acclimated to the new plan… It has been obvious from day one of the new Bill Willingham era that we were heading for a split in the team, and this issue delivers on that expectation, as Magog’s theory of a military strike force takes shape, while Doctor Fate comes into his own as a sorcerer, Power Girl chooses a surprising side, and the JSA brownstone is leveled again. The traitor within the team is flushed out, Mr. Terrific is NOT dead (as I have predicted all along), and I still wonder why it is that Cyclone flies around in a high-slitted skirt without underwear. It seems like such an odd character bit, based on what they’ve revealed about her thus far. Jesus Merino rocks the JSA, and the story finishes strong, as the JSA should. This issue makes me thankful for Alan and Jay and what they stand for after 7 centuries of knees-bent running around and punching out neanderthals… 3.5 stars.
Justice Society of America 80-Page Giant #1: Speaking of odd character moments for the JSA, here’s one of my favorite issues of Justice Society since the relaunch, as we finally get inside the heads of the new kids in ways that we just haven’t been able to with a 24 member team hopping about. Mr. America is worried about living up to his legacy, Cyclone is adorable and much more astute than her motor-mouth hero-groupie facade woul reveal, Citizen Steel deals with old wounds, Amazing Man III puts in an appearance after a long absence from the home title, and the secrets of Tomcat’s powers are finally revealed. Power Girl’s story is my favorite, as it gives both Kara and Cyclone a couple of “Hell, Yeah!” moments and Damage comes to terms with old wounds and old grudges. It’s a nice way to tell some long-awaited stories, all wrapped up in dream logic and disassociative storytelling, but it’s also more characterization than many of the new JSAers have ever had. Doctor Fate ends the issue with ominous warnings that change is on it’s way, referring to the previous review, a book that came out after this one. Why don’t I change the order? Because I don’t want to, that’s why. Neener. This issue makes me thankful for characters who have depth and soul far beyond the trappings of shiny Alex Ross costume-design-as-character schools of thought. 4 stars.
Last Days of Animal Man #6 (of 6): So, it’s the future. Buddy Baker has been losing his animal powers as his link to the morphogenic field weakens, and he is trapped in a life or death struggle with two killer villains. With the last vestiges of his power, he manages to duplicate the powers of one of the tiniest animals he can find, and infects both the bad guys with BUBONIC PLAGUE, before his powers go away for good. Buddy apologizes to his family, retires from heroing and tries to be Mr. Normal, before wife Ellen reminds him that HE is part of the family as well, and that losing his powers doesn’t lose HIM. Buddy ends up working for the Justice League as their permanent monitor duty/adminstrative guy, having made peace with the loss of his abilities, and made good with his friends and family. It’s a nice ending, and the art is extremely attractive throughout the entire miniseries. This issue makes me thankful for family who understand me, even when I’m being an idiot… 4 stars.
The Lone Ranger #19: So, we all know the basics… “A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty ‘Hi-yo, Silver!’, The Lone Ranger!” It’s long been conventional wisdom that cowboy books just don’t sell, but Dynamite Entertainment is working on two years with both this and Zorro, an achievement in today’s comic book market. Looking at the issue, it’s not hard to tell why, as Sergio Cariello delivers a very strong art job, reminding me of both Tim Truman and Joe Kubert at different points in the story. Someone has been using silver bullets to frame the Ranger and Tonto for murder, but the meat of the issue comes with a ‘High Noon’ homage, as a villain and a sheriff prepare for their oncoming standoff. The issue ends with a wonderful moment, what I believe to be a first for Tonto, who is a strong protagonist, a true partner, and a hero in his own right here. I like that a lot. This issue makes me thankful for genre stories, and for the breaking of old stereotypes for the benefit of new stories. 3 stars.
Metal Men #37: When DC raised the price of their comics to 12 cents, they also made some changes in editorial and creative teams that have led to some interesting new issues. With this one, The Metal Men give up their careers as vaguely comic heroes with a strong science background, as well as their ever-present creator Doc Magnus. In his place stands the mysterious Mr. Conan, who gives the metallic ones human identities, thanks to a realistic false epidermis and some surgical alterations. Gold becomes Guy Gilden, philanthropist and playboy; Platinum becomes Tina Platt, supermodel and sex kitten; Iron becomes Jon Mann, industrialist and popular architect; Mercury becomes a bohemian painter named Mercurio; while Lead and Tin become folk-rock duo Ledby and Tinker. It’s a creative premise, and Mike Sekowsky steps away from his JLA art style to deliver a fine job throughout the issue. I’m really interested to see what happens with the all-new Metal Men, and wonder if this means that other characters could be in for similar makeovers? Can you imagine what would happen if the Teen Titans gave up their costumes and took a more realistic bent? Or even someone like Wonder Woman? That kind of thing could be a collector’s item comic 30 or 40 years from now. This issue makes me thankful for wild hairs and weird ideas, the wellspring from which all the best comics truly derive. 4 stars.
Monsters, Inc. #3: This is a fun story, constituting a semi-crossover between Pixar properties, as little girl Boo finds her Jessie doll (Woody’s female counterpart from Toy Story 2) stolen by a kid whom I believe is Sid from Toy Story. Mike and Sully haveto chase her down as she tries to retrieve her dolly, leading to a chase through Monsters, Inc., a panic about human children, and some comeuppance for the young thief. He yells at Sully swearing that some toys come to life, and gets sent back to reality through his sister’s closet door (which is then shredded.) It’s a nice take on the standard comic-book staple of the crossover, done with a wink and a nod to the intelligence of the reader, something that I really appreciate from a comic aimed at kids. This book makes me thankful for John Goodman, and for remembering that you don’t have to be condescending or overtly edumacational to entertain, even if you’re targeting the little ones. 3 stars.
Project Superpowers – Meet The Bad Guys #4: I have been less than charitable about previous issues of this limited series, and have felt the need to come back and give the book another chance, given Stacy B’s more positive opinions of the book. We open with a meeting of the Supremacy (which seems to contain Lex Luthor, a midget Joker, Mark Twain, and Raiden), The Scarab (who is clearly not Blue Beetle at all fights ED-209, and makes a serious tactical error. If you have a secret power, announcing it loudly during battle isn’t the best way to protect it, Scarab. This series is predicated upon the modernization of Golden Age heroes, but over and over, I find that the relatively shallow characters aren’t quite strong enough to hold up the layers of blah blah blah that seem to be necessary in modern characters. Having the villain be a Middle Eastern oil baron/warlord doesn’t really make things any more interesting. The Scarab’s gimmick continually reminds me of what DC has done with Jaime Reyes, likewise drawn from the Golden Age rBlue Beetle, which comes across as a bit too coincidental for my tastes. This book makes me thankful for the Golden Age, and having a choice of WHICH revived old-school characters I can read about. 2 stars.
R.E.B.E.L.S. #10: I read the first issue of R.E.B.E.L.S. when it came out last year, and really haven’t been inclined to pick up subsequent ones, so when this issue came free with my purple power ring, I figured I could give it a shot. Brainiac 2, Adam Strange, and Captain Comet meet to discuss what’s happening throughout the galaxy with the dead rising and the variously-hued power rings flying about and all, when B2 suddenly gets the news that his son Lyrl Dox has disappeared. Much panic ensues, as the R.E.B.E.L.S. go after him, and end up facing a Black Lantern Stealth, coincidentally also Lyrl’s mother, a Black Lantern Harbinger, getting involved in a skirmish with the Yellow Lanterns, and generally getting their head handed to them until something momentous happens. “Vril Dox of Colu,” says a yellow ring out of the blue, “You have the ability to instill great fear. Welcome to the Sinestro Corps.” Uh oh. While there are a LOT of characters in play, and a lot that’s unclear, it’s an interesting issue with some compelling ideas in it… This issue makes me thankful that it’s never too late to jump back into the back issue bins and see what you missed by not picking up a title. 2 stars.
Secret Six #15: Floyd Lawton, Deadshot, is a study in contrasts. He comes from old money, a family of high standing, but enjoys the simplicity of beer, guns, and general mayhem. Floyd contacts an old friends from his Suicide Squad days (Father Richard Craemer was the chaplain at Belle Reve when Amanda Waller bases the Squad there) for some assistance with his soul and moral guidance. Deadshot explains that he’sfeeling more and more out of control, tells his origin, the story of his first meeting with Batman and how he became the relentless magnum-wristed killing machine that he has become. Father Craemer explains that this whole thing is related to the disappearance of the Batman, which ties into guilt about his brother, the son he lost, and a giant guilt spiral that will take him down if he doesn’t stop himself. Floyd chooses NOT to kill TODAY, ala Jim Kirk, and thanks the Padre for his assistance. Craemer tries to convince him that he needs years of therapy to stay on top of his neuroses, and asks what happens if he loses control again? “You’ll probably read about it,” says Floyd, sauntering off into the night. Great story and very well-rendered art from Jim Calafiore. This issue makes me thankful that older creators like Jon Ostrander are still willing and able to ply their craft and remind us of days gone by… 4 stars.
Teen Titans #77: It has been said that Deathstroke the Terminator is the villain’s version of Batman, and this issue proves it true, at least in terms of retcons and the whole “fifteen minutes to prepare” ridiculousness. Slade’s long and contradictory history is laid bare, as he faces the difficult realization that dead people walking again could be extra dangerous for someone who has left as many corpses in his wake as ‘Stroke has. His daughter, the newest Ravager arrives to kick Daddy’s butt, followed by his son, the first Ravager, and his brother, the second Ravager (both now dead, mind you.) Father and daughter mend fences just long enough to fight off the returning dead, while Slade is forced to face the bodies of best friend Wintergreen and wife Adeline. It’s not a bad story, by any means, just kind of confusing, and an odd choice to fill an entire issue of a book that is ostensibly about the Teen Titans. It also ends with the return of Slade’s other son, a moment I have already gotten tired of seeing. This issue makes me thankful that Rose Wilson is a strong enough character to carry her portion of the book, and also for my original Wolfman/Perez Titans run, which made all of this fooferaw possible. 2 stars.
X-Men Vs. Agents of Atlas #2 (of 2): Last time ’round, the AoA stole Cerebra from the X-Men, with the hopes of finding their lost Agent, Venus. Unfortunately, the X-Men tend to be a bit protective of their technology, and fighty fighty ensues, with the Beast and Gorilla-Man hilariously conflicting, M-11 saving the X-Men from the fury of his own dragon emperor, and Namor and Namora face to face for the first time since their odd breakup in Agents of Atlas. We have a pseudo-flashback wherein the original 5 X-Men and the core Agents are drawn into an illusion of battle in the 1950’s, while The Uranian and Professor X come to a psychic agreement to loan Cerebra to the agents. Venus turns out to have been stolen by Aphrodite, who wants to punish her for taking her name and aspect (Aphrodite also being known as Venus) and draws up the Phorcys to control her once again. Venus follows his commands, leading to the events of the first review in this column. This issue makes me thankful that Marvel is willing to devote energy to making sure that a quality title like Agents of Atlas finds it’s following, rather than letting it die like so many strong concepts have. 3.5 stars.