Schachat's Occasional Breakdown
Schachat often rubs two good books together.
it just figures. After last week’s smorgasbord of
frikkin’ awesome comics, this week’s a doldrums.
A few choice titles aside, Marvel largely gives us a bunch
of Trade Paperbacks. DC’s fielding the b-team, Image
can’t find two good books to rub together and Dark
Horse only put out one actual comic amidst a flurry of collected
the only bad thing I can really say about Cable
& Deadpool #31 is, damn, I miss Patrick
Zircher. Not like the guy got gunned down, but the chemistry
he had with Fabian Nicieza’s scripts made this book
a gem. Staz Johnson’s art is passable, but the storytelling
and laughs aren’t quite as strong.
This is still
one of the better “Civil War” tie-ins, comedically
addressing how this Mercenary and Messiah duo would be divided
by the Superhuman Registration Act. Or whatever the hell
they’re calling it now. I think I’ve seen a
few different wordings in recent months...
Not the point.
The issue opens
with hero-hunting Deadpool facing down the all-star team-up
of Captain America, Falcon, Daredevil, Hercules, and Goliath.
K, the Goliath formerly known as Black Goliath, so it’s
not entirely devoid of Z-list heroes. Deadpool does well
for the 5 seconds he can jump around, but it’s up
to freedom-fighting Cable (fighting FOR freedom, to be clear)
to save his hide. A crate of duct tape later, the situation
is well in hand, so Cable decides it’s time they talk
to the President.
in two issues, Cable & Deadpool, the court
jester of the Marvel catalog, does more to salvage the Civil
War than a few series put together. Kinda sad.
this book may lack the stellar production of Civil War,
Fabian Nicieza’s solid head for entertaining stories
keeps the series all but Liefeld-proof. Even when dealing
with a crossover as thoroughly unmovable as Civil War,
this comic bravely trudges on like it’s all according
Oh, and seeing
Deadpool mummified in duct tape is worth the price of admission
Mythos: Hulk #1 is probably the
most beautifully illustrated boring re-hash to be put out
in a while. Over the course of 22 pages, we get the same
old craptacular Hulk origin story decompressed to the point
where even the SMASH!ing doesn’t wake us up.
you've got a heart, then Hulky's a part of you...
Unlike the repressed
characterizations of Bruce Banner or even the severely trod
upon Ultimates incarnation, this one doesn’t really
seem to have enough repressed emotions to justify his alter
ego. Mention is made of his psychological problems, but
there’s nothing pent up about this man’s dark
side. He’s too well adjusted to have Hulk stomping
through his cerebellum.
As if that weren’t
enough, writer Paul Jenkins tries to update the story with
almost insultingly tacked on nods to modern society. Rick
Jones, still decked out in gear from an episode of “Dobie
Gillis”, is listening to an iPod when Banner saves
him. Bruce uses a cell phone to call up Betty. Humvees and
M-16s abound. Betty wears sensible pants to work.
But they do nothing
to justify how a man survives a nuclear explosion. Hell,
they even let him out of observation as soon as he wakes
up, rather than dissecting him open like any real god-fearing
American institution would.
artist Paolo Rivera paints some beautiful pictures. There
are gloriously Kirby-esque poses, onomatopoeias aplenty,
and a nice helping of rubble. Still, this only lures readers
into an otherwise tepid and worthless purchase. Look for
the art online, if you can, but pay this book no mind.
#29 is a field trip through the land of confusion
(minus the puppets from the Genesis video). From the last
issue, we know J’onn J’onzz is up to something.
Then we get suspicious that some other shapeshifter may
be at work. THEN it looks like mind control is involved.
a head-to-head with the newly militant Martian Man-hater,
we take a detour with John Stewart to examine his power
ring. It goes all wacky, as ultimate weapons focusing the
will of heroes are wont to do. Then John gets laid out by
a giant green fist (glowy power-ring variety, not Martian).
finally makes an appearance, fending off an old school Lois
Lane who wants to... speak cryptically... or something else
non-threatening. Then she turns into the Caveman from Krypton
and rampages through the Daily Planet offices. Hal Jordan
shows up to save the day– BUT IS IT REALLY HIM!? WHOSE
SIDE IS HE ON!?!?!
I don’t give a damn. There’s no intrigue to
this limp plot, no matter how many guest appearances you
wedge in. Even though J’onn’s evil costume establishes
this as a post-Crisis 2.0 story, Batman’s back to
being dark and impenetrable. For a really good Batman story,
you’d be far better off checking out last week’s
Batman #656 where Grant Morrison had him fighting
a legion of Man-Bat ninjas. For a better Superman story...
well, anywhere but here.
Ethan Van Sciver’s
art does give this issue some appeal, but the whole thing
is just a mess. Just keep away.
serial plots are tons of fun and can even be called the
underpinning of the comic book medium, but it gets really
annoying when you drag things out like Geoff Johns and crew
do in Teen Ttitans #38. The cover
tells you that Red Star is going to make a guest appearance,
so you can already imagine what you’re in for. Then
it takes nearly half the book for the Titans to finally
bump into him.
rather fight than develop...
outing largely plays out as another “we’re not
getting along, and the team’s in trouble” issue.
They take down Girder in the beginning, sign some autographs,
squabble, go home, squabble, try to find Raven to learn
about the spoooooky mystery she’s covering up, squabble,
track down Red Star, and – but that would be giving
a plot that’s almost insultingly drawn out. I’d
guess the people who enjoy seeing this ragtag version of
the Titans constantly at each others’ throats might
enjoy it. After a few years of this in Outsiders
and various Teen Titans arcs, I’ve had my
fill. The situation isn’t helped out much by Carlos
Ferreira’s hit and miss pencilling, either.
story DOES hint at the post-Crisis events that “One
Year Later” has kept us in the dark on: we’re
presented with a yearbook of all the team members to join
during Cyborg’s nap. These pictures add to the confusion,
but they at least open up our minds to just how different
this universe is since its near-destruction.
just hope 52 doesn’t steal all of Teen
teen supergroup circles, things seem to be coalescing in
Civil War: Young Avengers & Runaways #2.
The first issue was like library paste force-fed down our
gullets as to introduce unfamiliar readers to the two teams
and the global conflict, but the creative team taps into
an actual story this month.
the stone cold biznatch in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D., sends
out a further suped-up Kree super soldier from another dimension
to track down the oh-so hard to find Runaways. Meanwhile,
the aforementioned dysfunctional family squares off with
the Young Avengers when misunderstandings about who’s
on whose side explode (with loud report).
The fight itself
isn’t that interesting, but the miniseries finally
finds its footing when the two teams just sit down and talk
it out. Sure, the characterizations are a bit far from those
in the original books. The constant reminders about who
has what unique power and twisted origin get old, too. But
the chemistry these kids find with each other is remarkably
Wells’ writing may not be firing on all cylinders,
but the miniseries now has some hope. The events are small
in the larger scheme of Civil War, so we probably
shouldn’t expect significant repercussions. It’s
become an enjoyable read, though. With Stefano Caselli’s
expressive artwork pushing it along, this series is worth
the price of admission.
#10 makes for a good buy, too, but how couldn’t
it when you have Peter David at the helm? Well, new artist
Renato Arlem brings a grittier, more angular look to the
book that... well, it doesn’t help out Mr. David’s
work. The backgrounds are either oversimplified or painfully
photo-referenced. The look would be more welcome on a book
like Daredevil; X-Factor needs a softer hand. But,
hey– it’s goddamn Peter David!
a one of them has tried the purple pill...
Madrox’s standoff with the X-Men, the team find themselves
caught in the middle of the Superhuman Registration Act
with nowhere to turn to. Par for the course, these days.
This issue peeks
further into the machinations of Singularity Investigations
and the origins of mutantkind. Buried under the usual detective
story (this time dealing with yet another mutant-killing
virus), we feel the rumblings of much larger events.
That, or Quicksilver’s
totally full of crap. As usual. Entertaining either way.
of the great things this story does is bring up the whole
issue of taking a stand. Sure, Civil War and so
many stories these days are meant to reflect our own situation.
How we need to stand up to the powers that be when they
call us unpatriotic or accuse us of being on “the
wrong side." Funny how it’s always the overly
emotional retards who start up the name-calling...
can’t help but feel the message is tainted a little
when you look at the date, though. People were labeling
each other as un-American, traitorous, and “on the
terrorists' side” mere weeks after 9-11. That’s
when the arts and entertainment should’ve lashed out
against the fearmongers. Now, it just rings of opportunism.
David’s been an avid Bush-hater for a long time, so
I don’t blame him. Nah, it’s Marvel editorial
I wanna see bitch-slapped. DC aren’t innocent either.
If these people wanna define heroism for our culture, they
shouldn’t have to wait for market research to tell
them what good timing is.