Weekly Comic Book Discussion 7/19/2007

Here 'tis.

The only Marvel books I picked up this week were World War Hulk #2, and World War Hulk : X-Men #2. Both of which were fairly entertaining, but I didn’t care for the art on WWH, really. Romita’s pencils usually appeal, but not this time.

The comic shop had run out on Countdown. No visit to the land of torpedo bozooms for me. Can’t say as I’m missing it. We’ll see if I pick up a copy next week.

All-Flash – Wally is back and, sadly, after only one book it’s already an improvement on the Flash. And, what’s that on the end splash pages? Super-strength? The bat-cowl out of a flash-ring?

JLA #11 – Why did I get this? I thought I’d decided to drop it after the Lightning Saga. I really, really should have.

Birds of Prey # 108 – Well, finally.

Action Comics #852 – Nice recounting of Jimmy’s watch, but this was mostly more filler. Don’t recall Jimmy as Big Brain Boy, though. It would be annoying in that the next Countdown won’t have any of the development on Jimmy referenced in it (as in every other Countdown storyline) – but there was no development. He just decided to do what he’d already decided to do in Countdown.

Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil #4 – Finally comes to an end. Still fun. Needed a bit more of Captain Marvel pounding on monsters, tho.

the Bold & the Brave #5 – This is one of my favorites nowadays. Supergirl’s characterization is much better than in her own book or in LSH. They kind of had Batman back to being a dick, but for a reason and at least he was a fun dick (that’s important with dicks). Oh! And what’s that? Yes, an Editor’s Note telling when the story occurs! Didn’t know that DC still knew how to do those. (although could’ve used a hint as to when it occurs in LSH continuity, too). Obviously, it’s after Dream Girl dies (and Dream Boy is in the group shot), and Mon-El is in the group shot, but weirdly no one mentions Supergirl…

All-Flash #1: The prophecy is true, in our time of greatest need, he has returned! It’s pretty good, but really it’s just putting away some loose ends before moving on with Wally’s family. Much of what happened here should have happened in Countdown. Except Waid wrote the Rogues a bit better than the Countdown boys have been. Speaking of which, yeah, that’s definitely the Suicide Squad. But how did Deadshot and Boomer Jr. get back on it?

Birds of Prey #108: This Simone’s final issue? Felt like it. Very good stuff. It was pretty funny that Oracle’s solution to Spy Smasher’s Machiavellian scheming and political contacts was Brute force and intimidation of even more brute force. Oracle has more friends, and they can all break you. Lady Shiva is a pal, for Christ’s sake! By the way, if you got both, read this before Checkmate. There’s a brief mention in Checkmate that spoils the outcome of this issue.

Black Canary #2: Way too much Green Arrow here. Dinah’s always been paired with the JSA, JLA, and BoP, and will now be sharing GA’s title. That’s all great, but couldn’t her solo title just be hers alone? It’s like a bachelorette party, you know, one last fling as an unattached person before settling down to wedded bliss. Now, given all that, as a BC/GA story, it’s not bad.

Countdown 41: There’s a very small but certain uptick in quality here. I like what they’re doing with the Piper/Trickster storyline. If this contonues, this will be a pretty good read by issue 10 or so.

Checkmate #16: We were owed this after the torture-riffic last issue, and Rucka picks up Simone’s lead and burns away some of his bad JLI karma. The new knight is good (Shen was boring anyway). The last page looks like a setup to blackmail, but that’s just Mirror Master’s hobby. He’s like Ceiling Cat.

Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #54: Art’s still pretty bad and The Human Flying Fish is incredibly lame. That’s a hell of a big bad to end the series with, though. Too bad that this thing is ending. I’ve always felt that Aquaman works better as Sword and Sorcery rather than superheroes, but this book never lived up to its promise.

Gargoyles #5: I really liked this one. The Illuminati are just pretty cool, now that it appears that they’re doing something, rather than just standing around saying numbers.

Action Comics #852: It’s a tie-In if you’re reading Countdown, it’s a corssover if you’re here for Action. This is the kind of mess that’s holding back Countdown. Plus, the inability to finish the Donner/Johns story in a timely fashion is really just shameful. A huge embarrassment to DC. That said… This story has drunken robot Scotsmen and radioactive monkies. How could I not like it?

The Brave and the Bold #5: If you want a good intro to the DCU, this is the book you should be reading, not Countdown. Sure, it’s not as “important”, but it’s infinitely better drawn and written and you get to see the big guns! This issue is no exception. Waid’s Batman is just awesome.

I can’t believe I forgot to mention the drunken Scottish robots! Gold, pure gold. Superman does better with a little zaniness around, although I suspect they were in there because this was a Jimmy Olson story, and that’s just how Jimmy Olson stories go.

I have to admit… I’m a Marvel guy, but I hated WWH and WWH:X-Men. I’m not much of a Hulk fan, but I did really enjoy the Planet Hulk arc. However, when it comes to a massive story event, I’m afraid that I need a little more than having the MU heroes jobbing to the Hulk and the Warbound (seriously… Ms. Marvel can’t take down a single Brood? Spider-Man loses to a nobody?)

Kitty’s attack should have totally crippled the Hulk, I don’t care how “angry” he is.

After Civil War, my Marvel expectations are pretty low, so WWH is equal to the task of entertaining me. At least people seem in character.

My store didn’t receive BOP. Have to wait till next week. Also, after I heard who the Big Bad in Aquaman was, I had to call my shop owner to get him to pull me a copy.

All-Flash : The punishment was a bit harsh. Wally’s guilt was interesting, hope it doesn’t dampen him too much. LOVE the Kerschl art. HE should draw the new Flash books, not Acuna. I’m guessing this takes place prior to this week’s Checkmate. Mr. Waid, please bring back Bart.

Checkmate : Hell yeah.

JLA : I don’t know, guys, I liked it. It explained a Vixen-related plothole from the Lightning Saga, and it was a unique story.

Somebody want to spoil the Aquaman Big Bad’s identity? I don’t read that book, but I’m really nosy. Is it the abovementioned Human Flying Fish?

I just heard about Sinestro Corp. What issues (other than Sinestro Corp, duh :)) do I need to get the whole story?

It looked like the woman had gold armor similar to the emperor or whatever his position was on that planet, so it’s possible that she could take down Spidey. I’m with you on the brood though. It’s just one brood.

As for Kitty, I figured the hulk pulled himself out whole, or if he was bonded to the ground, he pulled himself out and healed quickly. Hulk is supposed to be more all around powerful now, and not just from the anger. IIRC, Hulk can absorb radiation like the two nuclear missles fired at him or the ship explosion that destroyed the planet. Come to think of it, he held together a planet in Planet Hulk. I’m thinking that pulling himself out of the dirt isn’t a problem.

What is a problem (for me at any rate) is the Sentry. The Hulk is rampaging through NYC and beating down every hero in sight and the man with the power of a bajillion exploding suns is sitting at home on his couch like a man with the ambition of a lit fart. He’s a cross between Superman and a really over the top anti-marijuana commercial. Add this with his complete inaction during Civil War and you have the biggest waste of ink ever. Twinkie the Kid has fought and beaten more evil than this lump. Why does he even exist? To balance the Marvel U in case of a JLA vs. Avengers fan debate?

In other World War Hulk news:

Avengers:The Initative #4: Now we know why Stark’s special nanites didn’t work against the Hulk.[spoiler]Hardball stole and sold a tube of Stark’s special bits and replaced the one that was eventually used on the Hulk with a blank. After his speech about this being the threat that reunites the heroes under himself, it was pretty funny.

In the brief non-hulk bit, Cloud 9 and Justice go to the home of the late MVP to pay their respects only to find MVP alive and well. Spooky Nootchies.[/spoiler] All in all, still not enough Slapstick. Looks like he gets to take on Hulk next issue though. Hope somebody brought an extension cord for him.

Ghost Rider #13: Johnny Blaze as Ghost Rider fights and loses to the Hulk. Ghost Rider himself takes over, powers up, and…leaves. Why? Because as Dr. Strange put’s it to Reed Richards “The Ghost Rider only avenges the innocent which we, all of us, are not.”

All in all, I’m digging WWH. Much better writing than Marvel’s last event. It’s also nice to see the Hulk finally taking down everyone in sight. No long drawn out battles. No reasoning with him. Just a pure force of destruction. How will they beat him? Thor’s back. The Sentry could knock him out on his way to score some munchies before Desperate Housewives comes on. Me? My money’s on Squirrel Girl.

The Sinestro Corps War has really only been going on so far in Sinestro Corps Special and in Green Lantern #21. It’ll continue in the next Green Lantern Corps issue (next week, IIRC).

However. They’ve been laying the groundwork for this for a while, particularly in Green Lantern. The “Tales of the Sinestro Corps” back-up storylets started in GL #18, and they’re pretty darn good. I’m hoping that GL #19-20 will also be relevant to the Sinestro Corps storyline, but we’ll see.

Earlier GL issues involving the Cyborg Superman and the Manhunters tell some of the backstory, too. And the fate of Superboy Prime is briefly mentioned in a GL Corps issue. Alas, I don’t have those issue numbers at hand. There may’ve been some other hints scattered through the GL Corps and Ion books, but I don’t think any of these will prove vital to getting the whole story – they’re more backstory.

Brave and the Bold #5 had a nod to the classic Adam West Batman TV series.

A siamese human knot. Heh.

I enjoyed Countdown more this week. Bob the Monitor - heh. Painkiller Jane #2 amuses, but I don’t know if I’ll stick with it long term.

Superman/Batman is actually decent for the first time in a long while, and it is definitely a tie-in to some of the plot threads in Countdown. The current arc began with the previous issue.

Robin - As one comics-blogger put it - the Robin Revenge Squad! I like.

Amazons Attack. Not bad at all. Some fun bits.

Action - Silver Age-y awesome fun.

Book of the Week : Brave and the Bold. Easily. This is the best DC title on the stands.

Surprisingly. I’ve kept reading it just so I don’t run into something unexpected in another title, and the first three issues have mostly resulted in me bitching about continuity errors and OOC behaviour (particularly Diana’s), but this issue had none of it. (Other than continuing Diana’s OOC thread from last issue, but since the Bat called her on it, I’m not so bothered by it this time.)

Cool. Thanks.

I haven’t participated in this thread in a while because I get my comics monthly (at best), but since I have a couple with me while I wait for my plane, I’ll briefly recap what I have:

Brave and Bold #5: I agree, one of the best books on the rack today. I love Batman taking on the LSH, and I love how Brainiac is as paranoid as the Batman.
New Avengers 30-32: I think Bendis has too many commitments, the writing is uneven. Yu’s pencils annoy me…can you be any more sketchy? It got better as the arc drew near. Did I read the last panel correctly in #32: Is that a Skrull? Another Skrull/Skree war in the making?

All Star Superman #7 This and Brave and Bold, and the two Whedon books are all that I should be picking up now. If Benis returns to form, I’ll stick with New Avengers for a while longer. This was a great take on Bizarro, and I can’t wait to read about Zibarro (#8 is back at my house), the mutation :wink:

I have a bunch of others, I will read those later in my hotel, if I don’t go out tonight.

There was question that was raised for me while reading Annihilation - Quasar this week… who is the current Protector of the Universe? Recently in Fantastic Four Epoch gave that title to Gravity but in Quasar Phyla claims to be the Protector. Does anyone know if she just gave herself the title after putting on the quantum bands or is it Marvel just ignoring the Annihilation stuff in their main books?

As far as I know they aren’t ignoring it. Nova even returned to Earth long enough to spook his family, hand the Thunderbolts their asses, and blow off Iron Man and his registration before heading back out into space.

My guess is that Phyla gave herself the title, not realizing that it takes more than accessories to be POTU. Takes a chatty rancid brussel sprout to give you the title.

I consider Nova an Annihilation book and that’s the only place I’ve seen where the current MU earth has bumped into the Annihilation books. There have been other instances where people who should have been dealing with the effects of Annihilation are on Earth not really noticing it. As far as I can tell if the title hasn’t been part of the Annihilation line (and at this point I think of it more as a line than a crossover) then the events just aren’t referenced even when they should have been. It’s like the X-Books thing where no one in the regular Marvel universe notices when a major, world-shattering event takes place over there.

OK, one minor, and slightly spoilery question about BoP:

In the big splash (and note to Jim Lee and Brian Hitch - see this? Not only did Nicola Scott use the splash effectively, she STILL GOT THE ISSUE IN ON TIME!):

Who are the guy in red and black behind Nightwing, and the chick in white behind Judomaster?

I guess this is a good place to remind everyone that the Marvel Comics stamps from the USPS will be released next Thursday, July 26.