Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Comics for 12/5

Howard the Duck 3

Basic Plot: After being jailed, Howard has his lawyer, She-Hulk help him to get bail and to clear his name, after he has become the biggest news story since Paris Hilton.

I like Howard the Duck although I do think it is a little bizarre and hard to place in the regular MU. He just doesn't fit very well. By trying to make him fit with tiny references and other scenarios, things get out of hand and craziness ensues. Not necessarily good craziness either. At least it is crazy and funny and that is really all I want and expect out of Howard the Duck. He has to register with the US as being super-powered, even though he has no actual powers and given that he was denied being able to register before (in Civil War, they had a single issue with stuff about Venom, Iron Fist/Daredevil, Ant-Man and Howard). Sigh, I guess it is good that this is a mini-series because that is all it looks like it will be and I do think Howard is unfortunately too crazy for an ongoing.

X-Men: Die by the Sword 4

Basic Plot: Excalibur recruits Albion to help them. More fighting.

This one felt less like filler, but was kind of bleh. Jasper is bizarre and I don't know exactly how to describe him other than godly. When heroes are fighting him, it is sad, because they can't do anything to him and he has crazy powers (both in what they are and how powerful) that make it a bizarre fight that is somewhat interesting, but not really. Although I did like the fight between Rouge (not Rogue, but Rouge, one of the villains) and Dazzler and everything Longshot does. Over all, it is good, but I don't know what to expect really. Oh, and Captain Britain is back again. Woo hoo.

Avengers: The Initiative Annual 1

Basic Plot: Origins of Guantlet, Armory, Hardball and MVP along with one more story.

I really liked this issue, as it gave us hints and clues and other such craziness things. Apparently, Gauntlet's gauntlet and Armory's arm cannon both belonged to incredibly powerful aliens who fought and eventually fell to Earth, where Gauntlet got his gauntlet and a power source the alien with the gauntlet had. Then Armory, a depressed girl, tried to commit suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. The arm cannon, sensing her loneliness (or something, it was bizarre) decided to merge with her and latch on. With the cannon, she felt like she could help people and that her life had meaning. Then, after she accidentally killed MVP because of Gyrich and Trauma (Trauma caused, but because of Gyrich), she lost her arm cannon and her sense of purpose. While talking to a therapist who works for Gyrich, she doesn't disclose the secrets of the Initiative, and is said to be able to keep secrets. I just really like what they did with Armory (who I liked and was disappointed they got rid of her after the first issue) and Gauntlet. It was really good and makes a lot of sense. The story with Hardball makes a lot of sense and I also think it was good. Basically, he made a deal with the Power Broker to gain super powers, and the first time he tried to rob an armored car, he stopped it right before it hit a little girl and everybody praised him, including Wonder Man who was flying by. Then, Power Broker, not being able to do anything because the Initiative is too closely knit, sold his contract to HYDRA, who plan on using him later. Dan Slott is really making a lot of things come together and fit well and I really like it. MVP's story isn't as "OMG!" just because we already knew that the Scarlet Spiders are clones of the original MVP, although we do learn that the ultimate diet and training can make a person into a Captain America, so that was awesome. Oh, and the end is awesome. Does it fit into continuity? Who knows? But it was awesome and a hint at Secret Invasion. A Skrull in every state, with every Initiative team and back at Camp Hammond. Yay Skrulls! I personally welcome the Skrull invasion. Thank you for coming to Earth to prove how bad ass Skrulls are (something I have been trying to convince people of for years).

Ultimate X-Men 88

Basic Plot: The X-Men deal with Beast's return. Xavier's School fights the Academy of Tomorrow (in baseball). And Cable(Wolverine) deals with Prof X some more. Oh, and Gerald and Shinobi make their move.

Yay for Robert Kirkman! I love Kirkman and I love this arc and what Kirkman is doing. I read in Ultimate Marvel (the free thing they had around Thanksgiving) what Robert Kirkman's plans for UXM were and I think he is great at doing what he does. The AOA time thing they have with Cable/Wolverine's future is awesome. The dealing with Beast is awesome. Storm and Wolverine are together now, as opposed to Storm and Beast, so it is awkward. Are Wolverine and Beast going to fight? Who knows? Robert Kirkman does and he will continue to make UXM really good. Something I am not as fond of is that they are trying to make the Ultimate Universe a little too much like the MU. Emma is with the Hellfire Club, like she was originally, and while I do appreciate her outfit (like the original with her X-Men outfit, leaving little to the imagination), but I don't think that the way they had portrayed Emma before would lead to her being with the Hellfire Club. Oh, and now Jean knows that she is the Phoenix, so that sounds like fun.

What if? Uncanny X-Men: Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire

Basic Plot: What if Vulcan gained the power of the Phoenix?

God, I hate this artist. Larry Stroman's art just...ugggh! Eyes are too far apart at times and things are too abstract without even being good like Bill Sienkiewicz (Who I also dislike, but can appreciate). I do like the story to an extent, as it reminds me a lot of "What if Phoenix had not died?" when Jean Grey was originally thought dead after shooting herself on the moon. I also like that Jahf is the narrator. I have always liked Jahf since I saw him originally in Essential X-Men vol 1, when Phoenix helped to repair the M'Kraan crystal. One of the guardians of the M'Kraan crystal, Jahf is awesome as he is basically a small alien, who is incredibly intelligent and incredibly powerful. He knocked Wolverine into orbit for taking him too lightly and didn't blink when Phoenix dropped a meteorite on his head. He is awesome and I love him. Okay, so the story I mostly liked because it was similar in that with the power of the Phoenix, most people end up destroying the universe. It seems to just happen. They somewhat tied it into other stories like Annihilation (although it didn't make sense). All in all, I was disappointed with this story as it made me disappointed with What if? stories. I love them, but this wasn't great or even that good. Sigh...

Ultimates 3 #1

Basic Plot: A year after Ultimates 2, the Ultimates face new threats or something.

Sigh. I was looking forward to this so much. Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch did such a great job on Ultimates and Ultimates 2 that I was excited for Ultimates 3 even though Jeph Loeb and Joe Madureira were the creators. Don't get me wrong. I love Jeph Loeb. His work on Wolverine, Batman: Hush (as you know) and Fallen Son was amazing. His writing is really good. Joe Madureira is also an amazing artist. I loved his work on Deadpool: The Circle Chase and everything else he has done. He is a great artist. But, and that is a big but, they did not do a good job on Ultimates. They had better explain things in the future, but either way, this issue was not good. God, I hate Hawkeye's new outfit and mood. Apparently, after his family died in Ultimates 2 #7, he became depressed and suicidal and wears a bullseye on his head, but he wasn't like that in the issues where he returned in Ultimates 2. Maybe it was the pressure of saving the world, but I just don't think it is a good character re-write. Some stuff made sense, although I don't know if they should have completely just outright said that Wanda and Pietro are in love with each other (not just sibling love, but love as in between partners). It was always implied heavily, but I guess it was okay to just say it. Oh, and what the heck was up with Venom. They will explain it eventually, but it was bizarre. I do think it was nice that the doctor that looks at Wanda after she gets shot by some magic bullet that goes directly at her and curves just to hit her looks a lot like Donald Blake (original Thor). They need to explain a lot and make things a lot better. Come one Jeph and Joe! Make this at least a little like Ultimates and Ultimates 2 in terms of how good it is.

World War Hulk: Aftersmash

Basic Plot: Let's see what happens with the Warbound, Tom Foster, Hercules and Amadeus, Iron Man and the Death's Head robots after WWH. Basically, what is everybody's reaction to the end of WWH.

I thought it was really good, although there was a lot to cover. They just did a great job covering all the big bases. I don't really know what to say. There is a lot, as I said, and it is all great. Misty Knight deals with killing, Iron Man deals with everything, Tom gets his uncle's formula and grows, Herc tries to keep Manhattan from sinking, the Warbound deals with traitors because of Miek, and it is just really good. I can't say much without saying everything in the story and I don't feel like writing that much. I do like the previews though for the WWH aftershots, like Incredible Herc, Warbound and Damage Control (which looks like Ryan Ottley's art, but is apparently Salvador Espin). I also loved the Chris Giarusso back-up three page finish that just is awesome. I love Chris Giarusso and his mini-Marvels. I literally laughed out loud after reading it.

Annihilation: Conquest 2

Basic Plot: Blastaar resists torture, the High Evolutionary, Quasar, Moondragon, Warlock discuss their situation, Kl'rt, Ronan, Praxagora, Wraith and Ra-Venn go to recruit Ravenous to help fight the Phalanx and Starlord's team plan an assault on the Phalanx.

I love Tom Raney's art, although it isn't great with this inker or colorist, as I said last time. It is easier to deal with now, but I still don't like it all that much. I love the story though. It is really good, and while it isn't quite Annihilation, it is still really good. Ultron is a bad-ass like he should be. Kl'rt and Ronan argue a lot, which is awesome. Yay for Kl'rt! I look forward to see where this series goes, although I don't think it can be as good as Annihilation unfortunately.


dirk.mancuso said...

I like Howard as well, but think he works best in a non-traditional universe. I have the same problem with She-Hulk. She's a joke in her own book, yet treated as a serious character in mainstream titles. Doesn't work for me.

The whole Wanda-Pietro love thing has me very curious (not that I groove on that sort of thing, but I am curious as to how that particular storyline will be handled in future issues).

Picked up the first Ultimate X-Men Collection in trade paperback, and enjoyed it, but am worried it will suffer from the multiple changes in writers. Ultimate Spidey has been so much fun in my opinion because of a single writer's vision for the book. (But Cyclops is my fav and I love me some Jean Grey as Phoenix...)

Pi_3.14159... said...

Exactly how I feel about Howard and She-Hulk! Her series, when written by Byrne was amazing and I loved the humor in it. She is a serious character in general, but in her own series, she is not, so it gets confusing. Howard isn't in many other comics, but he doesn't work when dealing with semi-real things, like the post Civil War universe.

What storyline are you referring to in regards to Wanda-Pietro? The whole thing with them is so creepy, but I do like how they took what was in the MU (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are really close and Quicksilver wants to protect her) and blew it up in the Ultimate Universe (Quicksilver loves her and she loves him in a way that isn't quite as sibling-ish).

The change in writers is somewhat noticeable, although I still enjoy Ultimate X-Men a lot. UXM was pretty much the first Ultimate book I started with (got the first hardcover somewhere) and I enjoyed it a lot, and continued to read them. They were all good to me, so I was never disappointed with UXM. I never really liked Cyclops until the Return of the King arc in Ultimate X-Men, and then I liked Ultimate Cyclops in the Astonishing X-Men current arc, although I do love Phoenix as well.

David said...

You know, I saw Ultimates 3 the other and said to myself. "Hey, why not start Ultimates?" So I picked it up and my eyeballs melted as I read it... As you said, Issue 2 better make some more sense.

Pi_3.14159... said...

I am so sorry you had to get into Ultimates with Ultimates 3. I swear, it isn't nearly as good as Ultimates and Ultimates 2. Those are good, as opposed to Ultimates 3. And I am upset that things don't make sense since I was looking forward immensely to Ultimates 3. Sigh...

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