Schachat's Weekly Breakdowns
Schachat laughs through the tears.
February 17, 2005
have equal reason to cry and rejoice this week, kiddies.
First, She-Hulk comes to an end, as does any hope
that Marvel can keep a moderately creative book running.
But then we get the news they’re putting out the Mary
Jane: Homecoming miniseries is coming out to complete
the story started in the recently canned Mary Jane
Gotta hand it to the folks at Marvel: they
really are trying.
example, unlike so many X-books, Astonishing
X-Men #8 treats you right. The last issue
might be what you’d call a one-shot, but writer Joss
Whedon flows right from the events of a month ago into a
new story arc that tingles with all the magic of “Gifted”.
A student has died in the Danger Room, but
no one seems to know about it. Worse yet, all the psychics
in the Mansion are suddenly taken out of commission by an
unknown force. The Danger Room starts humming wildly, S.H.I.E.L.D.
finds all their bugs and transmitters inside Xavier’s
have gone dead, and a half-demolished Sentinel has come
to life and started dragging itself through the woods.
Ah, life is good…
pushes the humor of the last issue (which should’ve
been titled “X-Men vs. Godzilla”) to one side
and pulls us into the drama of the situation. But, for the
most part, he sits back and lets artist John Cassaday flood
the page with stunning artwork. As with the last arc, he
leaves a few more empty backgrounds than I’d like
to see, but, damn, what an amazing foreground.
an X-fan and haven’t been following Astonishing
X-Men, you’re doing yourself and your collection
a tremendous disservice. This may very well be the best
balance of masterful art and smart storytelling to ever
grace the franchise. Definitely recommended.
quickly shaped-up to be one of the most important Green
Lantern stories ever told, Green Lantern: Rebirth
#4 gives us the moment we’ve all been
waiting for: Hal Jordan’s return to grace. The last
issue explained the nature of Parallax and how Jordan’s
fall began long before the destruction of Coast City, but
this issue explains who was behind it all—Sinestro!
back to the hard-travelin' heroes...
Yeah, kinda had to be him, didn’t
Ol’ Sinny shows up in the demolished
JLA Watchtower and further trashes the place as he fights
Green Arrow and Kyle Rayner (current Green Lantern of Earth).
Meanwhile, Parallax and Spectre rage on in their battle
for Hal Jordan’s soul. Parallax gets the upper hand,
but Ganthet (last of the Guardians) arrives with former
Lanterns John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kilowog in tow.
Naturally, Parallax laughs in their faces,
but doesn’t seem so happy when the JLA, JSA, Teen
Titans, and Outsiders show up behind him. Back in the Watchtower,
Kyle continues getting mashed into a fine pulp by Sinestro.
Then Green Arrow puts on Hal Jordan’s old Lantern
ring and powers it up. You can probably guess what follows.
the first issue of Rebirth came out, I slammed
it into the ground as hard as I could. It was the worst
of both worlds: Hal was still weak and Kyle’s head
was on the chopping block. But the last two issues made
amazing strides, forever changing the Green Lantern saga
and forcing us to rethink its continuity going as far back
as the seventies.
This outing proves rather satisfying, but
hauling Sinestro out of mothballs may be pushing it too
far. We’re still loaded with unanswered questions
(How’s Sinestro back? Why did Parallax come back now?
Why did the Guardians try to kill Kyle?), and, even though
this issue gives us some of those great superheroic moments,
it doesn’t blow me away like last month’s did.
Ethan Van Sciver’s art isn’t
as intricate and eye-popping as it was in the last few issues,
and Geoff John’s story… well, I think we got
the best of it already. What’s left to us are huge
power battles and the fate of Kyle Rayner. It’s both
exciting and terrifying. Recommended.
#1 kicks off a new Marvel Next! miniseries
(whatever the hell that means) that will confuse the hell
out of you, spend lots of time trying to look cute/cool,
and play to the weaknesses of fanboys everywhere (cleavage,
reference humor, big explosions, etc.). Not bad material
for a first issue, if the story weren’t so limited…
Writer Adam Warren tosses us right into
the middle of the action. The situation: a young girl wakes
up in the back of a humvee where an android driver named
Cornfed is eating another android in the passenger seat.
He reassures her that it’s just a dream, and this
explanation seems like enough to justify the people milling
around outside a burning building in the middle of nowhere
as their humvee roars by.
Then we see the zonked-out people getting
mesmerized by Social Butterfly, another android, and things
start making too much sense for a dream. Cornfed dumps the
girl on Social, and they charge into the burning building
for some reason. Or it’s a dream. Hard to say. It’s
even harder to figure out when they find themselves in the
hands of a giant flaming mecha.
This is a book that’s hindered by
its extreme efforts to be witty. It almost feels like what
you’d get if you threw Warren Ellis, Brian Vaughan,
and a quart of nitroglycerin into a blender: Sure, some
cool ideas went in there, but the damn thing blew itself
to hell now, didn’t it?
This issue does provide a creative introduction
to the team, their personalities, and overall purpose, but
it’s so confusing in the early pages that you don’t
really catch up until the end. And then it’s over.
The next issue may pull things together and start us on
an actual story arc, but this one doesn’t do more
than set the stage.
almost wager this was an attempt on Marvel’s part
to tempt Runaways readers into picking up another
title. Almost. Rick Mays’ pencils seem geared more
toward the pseudo-manga crowd. And the script is more about
androids than teenage androids. Though it may be fun next
month, Livewires is pretty hit-or-miss on this
are few comics out there that keep up the pace from issue
to issue. Fewer still that never let you down. And it’s
almost unheard of for a title to get cancelled before completing
a one year run and, nevertheless, coming up with a satisfying
conclusion. She-Hulk has been one of those books,
and She-Hulk #12 is that final
funnier than a subpoena.
Last time around, Titania appeared wielding
an Infinity Gem and a gnawing hatred for She-Hulk, but something
interesting happened: Shulkie turned back into Jen Walters
and Titania could no longer see her. Now, Jen remembers
that Scarlet Witch cast a spell on her that prevented anyone
looking to harm She-Hulk from seeing her in human form.
Unfortunately, this means she still can’t
face Titania, who happens to be tearing New York apart looking
for her nemesis. Thinking outside of the box, Jen looks
to her law firm’s comic book enyclopedist Stu to help
her come up with a strategy for taking down someone wielding
an Infinity Gem.
In the meantime, Jen gets every hero in
town to dogpile her psychotic foe. When Amazing Andy shows
up, everyone figures his ability to match any opponent’s
power will be enough—until Titania knocks his head
clean off and leaves him dying in the street. Things do
not bode well…
has been one of those rare joys in superhero comics; a title
that pushes every button. Pushes ‘em real damn hard.
It’s consistently been one of the smartest, funniest,
most exciting, and most satisfying reads in all of comicdom,
and, even if it’s just a short break, seeing it end
is extremely depressing.
wow, what a great way to end it. This issue ties up so many
of the themes introduced in the first issue, yet it still
leaves enough threads dangling for Dan Slott to start weaving
his tale again. The sooner, the better. Very highly recommended.