Monday, January 22, 2007

Comics: Week of Jan. 17, 2007

52 Week 37 - At first I though it was silly to have such a spoiler cover, but then I quickly reversed myself and thought it was clever. Dispensing with the long-running mystery of Super Nova's identity just leads to more questions, and what better way to get it out of the way than to feature him on the cover. I've been loving 52 so far, but this issue felt more kick-ass than usual. Now that we know who he is and how he is, we now turn to who or what the hell is Skeets anyway? My guess? I'm thinking he's another villain in disguise... Given the penchant the writers have for rehabilitating forgotten and under-appreciated characters, would it be impossible for the Time Trapper to make a come-back?

Also, the last page went far to gain my confidence back in the handling of Buddy's death. As always, Morrison rules the school.

Astonishing X-Men #19 - Everything is coming together. Whedon looks like he's going to tie up all the loose ends on the run to the finish.

Fantastic Four: The End #2-4 - I've been a fan of Davis since he was on Batman and the Outsiders. I always marveled at his ability to maintain an uncanny consistency in characters, even incidental ones. I can't think of a better artist to handle Marvel's flagship title. I'm unfamiliar with the The End series that they've been doing, and whether they always involve such a large cast, but this book has everyone, and it's nice to see an artist who can handle drawing so much.

The story seems pretty straightforward. With the family broken up, I can only assume it's all leading to one last reunion to defeat the big bad. I like how the story seems to be dropping in on all of the various foes the Four has had over the years, though by the fourth issue, it was getting a bit predictable, especially the Super Skrull reveal and the Mole Man. Given the simplicity of the story so far, I'm thinking that the whole Kree/Skrull breach of the quarantine zone is a red herring, and that it's all Doom and one of his patented contingency plans from beyond the grave.

I loved the bit with Johnny and Ben, and the sly reversal of personality. Ben always been so fearless and bombastic, and to see him worry now that he's a family man was touching. For Johnny to give Ben the speech he's undoubtedly heard so many times before from Ben himself captured the very essence of their bond.

Irredeemable Ant-Man #4 - I like how this title has woven in other events in the Marvel universe. It's something that Marvel always kind of excelled at, until recently. Clearly I'm up for a series with an unlikeable protagonist awash in black humor. The payoff may be that this guy actually does some good, whether he realizes it or not. My only criticism is that I'm anxious to move beyond the origin story and the SHIELD stuff. It's a small one, and due to the appeal to the character. They've managed to actually make Ant-Man cool, and I want to see him out there in the larger Marvel U.

Manhunter: Trial by Fire TPB - Finally the second trade makes it to the stands, just in time for the series cancellation. I wonder, if this second trade was made available a year ago, would it have made a difference. Between hunting down back issues and the trades, I've read the entire series now, and Trial by Fire finds it hitting its stride.

It's a beefy trade that covers the period between Identity Crisis and includes some buildup to Infinite Crisis. Andreyko, in the tradition of Alan Moore and James Robinson, takes the intrusion of a company crossover and turns it into an opportunity to expand his corner of the DCU. The trial of the Shadow Thief, even though it stems from Identity Crisis, seems natural, and uses the themes of the miniseries to build on its own. The appearance of an Omac later in the trade likewise feels like a clever way to tie the series into the rest of DCU, but also tie a nice bow on the Manhunter continuity, and gives the various title holders a connection.

I'm going to miss this series.




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