This week, DC Comics gets all cerebral, Buffy is back for “season 9”, and Marvel gives the devils their due, also, the biggest story: the all new Ultimate Spider-Man launches!
In the hold: Buffy Season 9 #1, All-New Ultimate Spider-Man #1, Journey Into Mystery #627, Fear Itself #6 and New Avengers #16. But this is also DC’s month of all new, so I grabbed three of those off the rack, Superboy #1, Mister Terrific #1 and Batman and Robin #1. From off the Marvel racks I grabbed my namesake: John Carter: A Princess of Mars #1, and The Monkey King one-shot.
The All-New DC
For those sleeping under a rock, DC, after discovering fans wouldn’t just let them kill off their classic heroes and let their former teenage side-kicks take over (believe me, they tried), they’ve instead decided to reboot their universe in order to tell fresh stories of their classic heroes. In doing this they’re launching/re-launching 52 first issues, which thus far have given vague clues as to exactly how the DC universe has changed since it’s last re-boot in the 1980s. I expect we’ll have most questions answered by the sixth issues of the major lines (at least those that last). I’ve already picked up Justice League #1, Green Arrow #1, Static Shock #1, and Justice League: International #1. Of those, I plan on getting #2 of Justice League, because it’s Johns and Lee and the best way to learn what’s going on, and Green Arrow, because it rocks (even if he’s no longer sporting his goatee).
Connor Kent, the clone created using both Superman’s and Lex Luthor’s DNA gets a reboot, and even a somewhat origin story that leads into Teen Titans #1, that’s out later this month.
What’s great about this book is how Scott Lobdell chose to write it. Nearly all of the dialogue is in Superboy’s head, and we learn that his consciousness extends to his entire body, every cell, and isn’t limited to only his cerebrum. The story is strong, in spite of compressing nearly 20 years of continuity into a single story. Oh, and Ravager get’s a cameo here, and looks like she’ll stick around for a while.
I’ll likely check out issue #2 next month, but really look forward to seeing Superboy in Teen Titans.
Mister Terrific #1
Michael Holt is the worlds 3rd smartest man, an Olympic level athlete, and a super-hero. This is yet another relaunch, complete with part of an origin story and a really good mystery that’s perfect for our super-smart super-hero. It’s even a little political, which makes it even more fun, considering the anti-science chatter that’s emerging from the GOP lately. But more of that on The Left Show.
The writing in this could have been a bit smarter, but that criticism comes primarily from my reading Superboy before reading this issue, and I think writer Eric Wallace just doesn’t quite reach the level that Scott Lobdell reached in Superboy. Gianluca Gugliotta’s artwork, however, is simply elegant, and well worth the read.
I think I’m going to add Mister Terrific to my pull list.
Batman and Robin #1
I knew three heroes that wouldn’t be getting a reboot: Batman, Green Lantern and the Flash, but they were all restarted at #1, so new readers who are familiar with Batman’s origins and history may be confused if they jump in right now. I think they need a little primer at least as to exactly who Robin is now… The first Robin, Dick Grayson, has grown up and is now working out of New York as Nightwing. He even got to be Batman for a short time, but now Bruce is back. The second Robin, Jason Todd, was killed by the Joker and Ras Al Ghul, then managed to come back as the Red Hood. The third Robin, Tim Drake, has grown up, graduated from Batman U, and is now flying solo as Red Robin (at least until the restaurant chain successfully sues DC for copyright infringement). This new Robin is Damien Wayne, Bruce’s biological son, and the grandson of Ras Al Ghul… He’s a cold-blooded little monster, and frankly makes Jason Todd look sane by comparison, but he’s Bruce’s kid, so what can he do?
Bruce celebrates getting a numbering reboot by telling Robin that he no longer wants to dwell on his parents’ death, but rather wants to celebrate their life. Pretty-much this means he’s going to stop heading over to Crime Alley on the anniversary of their death, and will instead remember them on their anniversary. Though, to me, he wasn’t so much remember their deaths on the day they died, but rather giving Batman a birthday observation.
Frankly Damien Wayne bugs me, and it’s only a matter of time before he betrays Bruce, so I don’t plan on getting any more issues of this.
For those who were rabid fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you know the show only made it to Season 7. A few years later, Joss Whedon was able to give us an 8th season via the medium of comics, after 40 successful issues, Season 8 ended (all available in graphic novel format from Darkhorse Comics). Now we get the new Season. I’d love to say Joss got us off to a rocking start, but it pretty-much fizzled for me. It’s great to see how Buffy and the gang have settled in San Francisco and it was fun to see Buffy slowly remembering a blackout from a night of heavy partying. But still, it was all setup with nothing happening. I will continue picking this up, because in Joss we trust, but still, it was disappointing after waiting all summer for the new adventure of Buffy Summers.
My Namesake Returns to Comics
Man, you tell one relation your life story… This is a comic-book adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ first John Carter story: A Princess of Mars. As adaptations go, it’s actually really good, starting well into the book and using flashbacks to get us back to the important parts of the first few chapters. I hadn’t planned on picking up the series, primarily as I’m not really into Filipe Andrade’s artwork, but it’s hard to turn down a good story about myself, so here it is.
As it turns out, the artwork isn’t terrible, and it’s scheduled only for 6 issues, so I’ll give it a try. I only hope that if they continue the rest of the “Warlord of Mars” series, that they pick different artists for each one. I’d love to see Georges Jeanty or even John Byrne on the next adaptations.
Matt Fraction Destroys the Marvel Universe
Every summer Marvel has an event that pretty-much decimates the MCU as we know it. I’m surprised any buildings are still standing in New York, as there is so little time between events. This summer it was writer Matt Fraction’s turn to destroy New York, and I must say he’s doing a splendid job with the Fear Itself storyline.
The Monkey King
One fun character to arrive thanks to Fear Itself is Sun Wukong, the Monkey King. When he was first introduced in the pages of all things, Iron Man 2.0 (re: War Machine), I assumed he was the actual Monkey King of Chinese mythology. This one-shot that introduces the character reveals that’s not totally the case, but still manages to make him likeable. We get a couple of dick jokes, and the ending seemed a little forced, but it’s still a good read with great artwork. If the Monkey King gets an ongoing, I’ll definitely check it out.
Journey Into Mystery #627
I’ve been picking up this series primarily because it’s a direct tie-in to Fear Itself, but haven’t really enjoyed it until this issue. Normally the main character is a reborn and youthened Loki, and frankly, watching a pre-teen Loki running around trying to con other people just hasn’t worked for me. This issue, though, we get Mephisto (the MCU’s devil) taking the reins and giving us enormous insight into Fear Itself. I would love more issues like this, and less with Loki running around.
The New Avengers #16
When we have these events, the Avengers are typically right in the middle of things and are featured in the event’s comics, leaving writer Brian Michael Bendis telling us one-off stories. One of the great devices he introduced into the Avengers and New Avengers books that he writes is a verbal history of the Avengers, being told from each team member’s point of view. He’s let this spill over during Fear Itself, so we get to see panels of the Avengers talking, telling the story, then we get to see the major action. In this issue, we get to see Matt Murdock’s triumphant return as Daredevil, taking on the Nazi mechanoids from Fear Itself and rescuing Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ baby. His reward for doing this? He is invited to join the New Avengers. I look forward to many months of Matt on the team.
Fear Itself #6
The Serpent struck a mortal blow to our heroes in the last issue. Thor was down after fighting amped-up versions of the Thing and the Hulk, and Captain America’s shield was shattered along with our hopes that the Avengers could sweep in and save the day.
In this issue, Cap chews out Odin. Thor gets some help from his father and we finally get to see what Stark was up to in Svartleheim (realm of the dwarves, where he learned to swear in runic). The final issue looks like it will be a blow-out. If you missed it, I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to pick up the graphic novel in December. Great writing and fantastic artwork.
And Finally… Ultimate Spider-Man
It’s pre-wrapped in a plastic sleeve that you have to cut open. Once you have it out, it’s 22 pages of tremendous writing from Brian Michael Bendis and stunning artwork from Sara Pichelli. We don’t get to see Miles in the full costume yet (unless you count the cover), but we do get to see him get bitten by the spider that will lead to him becoming the new Spider-Man.
Seriously, though, why didn’t the spider-studies lab in the Spider-Man movie have researchers crawling around on the walls?How could researchers that work with and handle spiders every day not get accidentally bit at least once? The same question could be asked of the labs at Oscorp in this issue. Still, I think it’s funny that the spider is labeled as “42”, essentially Miles gets the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything as well as nifty spider powers. Also, the first (and only) power we see in this issue is not one Peter Parker ever had. So we can truly expect an all-new all-DIFFERENT Spider-Man.
I haven’t read that Miles is gay yet, which was a hot topic for discussion over on Fox News a few weeks ago, but the story is just starting.
That’s it for this week. Next week, a podcast.