Weekly Comic Book Discussion 7/20/2006

Here 'tis.

Civil War. Spoilers.

The fight at the end is extremely one-sided in power level to begin with. Then, Thor? Also, was it necessary to retcon Emma and Tony into being sex-buddies? Reed’s gross mischaracterization continues - and hey, the Pro-Reg guys prove themselves to be scum by luring the anti-regs with a fake disaster. Smart? Sure. Below the belt? Unquestionably.

Shadowpact #3: That’s it? That’s the end of the first story arc? Not even a hint at what Strega was summoning? What an anticlimax. Well, that made the decision easy for me. I’m done here.

Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #43: Hmm… Yeah, the pacing’s off here. We didn’t need an issue to sum up what’s already happened, and take a breath. But hopefully it’ll kick into gear soon enough

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #20: Something’s off here. I think it’s the art. It’s just not clicking for me. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’m liking the blowback from the alliance with the UP.

The Flash The Fastest Man Alive #2: Oh my.

The Flash is my favorite superhero. Where Superman has a list of powers the length of my arm, the Flash ahs one, but he knows so many interesting ways to use it. Plus, it’s a chance to have some fun with science. His entire Rogue’s gallery is like an 8th Grade science class gone horribly wrong. And also Captain Boomerrang. Barry, Jay, Wally, they’re all awesome. I’m willing to get Bart a shot.

But this is just awful. Angsty, confused, poorly drawn, and frankly, boring. We’re shown a new cast of characters, including a suddenly adult main character, and expected to care about them without any development. And what happened to Wally and his family? That should be addressed. Why is everyone trying to push Bart into being the Flash? It doesn’t make sense.

Sigh. I’ve got a fantastic amount of loyalty for the Flash franchise, but this is pretty bad. I’ll give them the rest of the arc, but it’s going to be an uphill battle.

52 Week 11: Ah, sweet 52. I can also depend on you. A lesbian fighting a werewolf? I’m there dude. And Straw Sue is just creepy as hell. Plus, the backup fesature fnally goes somewhere interesting!

Superman/Batman #28: A bit clunky, but serviceable. Anything with a giant ape is aces as far as I’m concerned. Don’t skip the DC Nation. I can kind of see DiDio’s point. Although fixing the character is a better solution.

Checkmate #4: I love the character conflict here, and the Great Ten is all kinds of awesome. Folks, check this one out!

Justice League of America #0: I shouldn’t like this one nearly as much as I do. It’s all flashbacks, mostly to events I haven’t read myself. It’s flash frwards to events that probably won’t ever happen, and frankly I don’t want most of them to happen. But, damn it, it works. This is good stuff.

Shadowpact - as vocal a critic as I am of Willingham’s superhero work, this ending smacked of outside interference. It feels “off”. I think it was a dumb idea to break from the OYL formula for this title, in the first place, though. I’ll probably hang around a while longer for Phantom Stranger cameos.

Supergirl and the LOSH - I liked the nod to L.E.G.I.O.N. and the prommise of more insight into Colossal Boy.

Flash - What I mainly want to see is “Where’s Wally?” and #4’s preview promises to reveal the secret of the Speed Force, so I expect we’ll get some answers around then. I also have a good theory as to what’s going on. I like the art, and I can totally get encouraging him to take up the mantle.

Superman/Batman - I dig it. Spoil the DC Nations for me, though, as I’m not sure if it was the one I bothered to read?

Checkmate - Yes, is muy awesome. Insight into the source of the Great Tens powers rock, and I find myself curious about what else Accomplished Perfect Physician can do.

JLA #0 - Brad Meltzer : All is forgiven for the bad parts of Identity Crisis. You have my blessing. You have hinted at the restoration of that which I miss most in the DCU, and I thank you for it.

Unboxed, because if you’re upset about revalations from the DC Nation column, you really need to get a life. :wink:

Didio talks about his reasons for wanting to kill Nightwing (if you didn’t know, Didio was pushing for Dick to die in Infinite Crisis, you can see where it fits in Infinite Crisis and the last few pre-OYL issues of Nightwing, but Geoff Johns eventually talked him out of it). Basically, Dick wasn’t going anywhere. He wasn’t Robin anymore, he wasn’t Batman. He wasn’t really a necessary part of the Titans anymore. He didn’t have a place in the DCU. (In another interview I read, he also talked about how he wanted to kill Dick before he got older than Bruce)

So, since he was convinced not to kill him, Dick’s getting a more central role on New Earth. Those Monitors from Brave New World? Dick will be front and center in their story. And Marv Wolfman’s telling it.

Shame they can’t or won’t retire Bruce Wayne and replace him with Dick. Easy set up: have Dick get married, have kids, have them shamelessly and brutally killed off. (Goodbye Koriand’r.) Bruce does the General Patton thing the character does so well, seen best in Kingdom Come, while Dick does Batman the tormented loner.

Ah, that was the single one I actually read this month. But thanks!

I hear a lot about Mr. Fantastic’s mischaracterizations, but I seem to recall (without the benefits of cites) that he has often been portrayed as perpetually wrapped up in his work, sometimes at the expense of his heart. I’ll concede that this arc is showing this behavior at a level I’ve never seen before, but I don’t think it’s turning a 180° so much as cranking it up the level. I’m not a huge FF reader, so if you have a more informed take on Reed’s character, let me know.

And I think Cap’s handshake buzzer was even more below the belt than Stark’s set-up. I mean… very Batman of him, but… wow.

Reed gets distracted, but he’s not negligent. Never. Plus he shouldn’t be siding with the government, because he knows the government can’t keep superhero secrets. He learned this about six issues ago in FF. Social workers wanted to take the kids to a foster home. He persuaded them to try a “fake out” - pretend they’d been taken there, and try to keep the information as secret as possible. Within the hour, the fake foster home was blown up by one of the FF’s enemies. Six issues ago. Around the same time, he sabotaged a secret government project to manufacture more superhumans.

As for Cap - look what Tony does first.

And the rest - Battle for Bludhaven wraps up - giving me two delightful geeky nods towards the end; Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters begins and looks decent so far; Catwoman … eh. Just hanging around for the fatherly revelation. Ion continues to disappoint… very decompressed. She-Hulk! There’s an excellent book for the week. Robin is solid, still. Bite Club … meh.

The big news was Twisted Toyfare Theatre.

Oh, and 52, I guess.

But Tony was honestly trying to get Cap and the others to sit down and talk rather than fight. He was giving him a chance to avoid fighting each other. Cap instead chose a cheap shot. Horrible, horrible mischaracterization of just about every character in this entire arc.

That’s Micro Lad!


[spoiler]I noticed the power level thing too. It’s amazing how the pro-reg folks have just about every hero in the marvel universe while the anti-regs have something like eight guys, nine if you count Willie Lumpkin.

The power levels weren’t that far off between the two sides. They just weren’t used properly. Cable has enough power to do a lot of damage, but he was strangely silent as the battle started. Hercules also could’ve done more than yell when Cap was getting stomped. The Vision was also useless. Maybe he forgot that he can alter his density (I blame Windows).

Reed isn’t the only one being mischaracterized. There were a lot of heroes strangely silent as Iron Man pounded the shit out of Captain America - and good luck selling that to the press. That’s practically desecrating the flag. I’m sure Spider Mans qualms will be crammed in in the next issue of Amazing Spider Man, but I’m still not buying it. Nearly every character that has touched this Civil War garbage has been mischaracterized.[/spoiler]

Tony started the discussion by tranqing two of Cap’s team. He’s proved himself untrustworthy and dishonorable before the ambush (such as threatening to out all the secret IDs he’s learned over the years), and opens the “discussion” by cutting off Cap’s main avenue of escape?

Yeah, I’m very sure that, had Cap listened and still disagreed, Tony would’ve let him walk. The bottom line is that Cap’s team was to be taken in one way or another, and if there was any hope of escape, Cap had to reclaim an element of surprise. Excellent tactical move and very appropriate to the character,

Not using spoiler window, as these are hardly shocking points I’m going to make. Cable’s been depowered - his telepathy and telekinesis replaced by technopathy and technokinesis. This occurred in recent arcs of Cable/Deadpool.

Hercules did do more than yell. He was on his way like a freight train, bowling over She-Hulk, among others, when the pro-reg “Secret weapon” stepped in.

Rebooted Vision doesn’t seem to be using his powers with the adeptness of his predecessor.

And about that “secret weapon”

Why hasn’t anyone mentioned Thor is back among the living? I know his hammer fell to Earth in FF a few months back, but is this the first we’ve seen of the god himself since his “death”?

Well, yeah. I’m assuming everybody’s assuming that little backstory is going to be unravelled in forthcoming issues.

It’s hard to try to talk to someone if they’ve already teleported away.

Not especially. Iron Man is capable of sending a message to Cap to arrange for Cap to pick up a dossier on just what Tony’s grand plan is. The only reason to do it in person, in force, and by leading off with an attack is to add the “capture” factor.

If the plan is supposed to be somewhat secret, however, leaving it laying around for him to pick up might not be an option.
Either way, the whole story arc sucks ass since it’s totally out of character for almost everyone involved.

Justice League of America 0: Wow, someone finally depicted Batman as an actual human being, and the world didn’t end.

Although I guess it did, technically… So now I’m not sure what my point was, other than to say that I liked this setup immensely. Of all the various ‘tomorrow’ scenes depicted, I wonder which ones are currently planned to occur? I’m guessing three:[spoiler]–“HE. WAS. MY. SON!” Luthor’s son = the late Conner/Superboy? Maybe this is a scene from the climax of the “One Year Later” plot thread about the missing scientists-- Luthor’s battling the League over whatever cloning technology they’ve developed?

–The New Satellite, “after the funeral,” when only Clark shows up. Whose funeral? I’m gonna take a shot in the dark and say J’onn’s.

–Smallville. What with “Superman Returns” freshly in theaters, and Pa Kent having cacked it in “Smallville,” I reckon his days are numbered in the comics too. That tunnel out of Clark’s room, though… is that from when Conner was staying with the Kents, or is it a relic of Clark’s Post-Post-Crisis-Crisis Superboy days?
Any hoo… I’m not hugely familiar with the Seven Soldiers storyline depicted in the one flashback, but I’d have expected Diana to have a little more empathy for the Red Tornado’s sacrifice. “It’s better we lost a machine than one of our own.” Mighty cold words, given that she’s basically a living dirt robot herself.[/spoiler]

Superman/Batman 28: Didn’t somebody once say that the best way to sell a comic is to have an ape on the cover, spewing radiation from its monstrous eyes? Or maybe I’m misremembering part of that. Anyway, it sure worked here. But which version of the Parasite is appearing here? I thought he was always purple, not green. And any ideas who’s depicted in the final panel?

Twisted Toyfare Theatre 7: Ya know… I don’t laugh much. Not right out loud, anyway. But I can count on at least a few when reading TTT. Issue 7 isn’t the most hilarious of the series, but it’s still reasonably funny overall. The bit with “Lord Vader’s isolation chamber” totally cracked me up. I could live without the Mad Magazine-style hand-drawn parodies of comic strips though; they just aren’t as intrinsically entertaining as action figures with little Play-doh scowling eyes mocking the franchises that produced them. Possibly I’m deranged.