Weekly Comic Book Review http://weeklycomicbookreview.com Your source for comic book commentary Sat, 28 Feb 2015 19:11:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Amazing Spider-Man #15http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/28/amazing-spider-man-15/ http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/28/amazing-spider-man-15/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 19:11:04 +0000 http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/?p=45462 Amazing Spider-Man 15

Now it's time
To say goodbye
To all our family…
S- P- I-  (I see things are back to normal!)
D- E- R- (Are they ever, really?)
V- E- R- S- E!

This is the epilogue for the Spider-Verse event, and it's appropriately extended out so our "Act Five" can get give every major player a proper denouement. (Except maybe our breakout star Spider-Ham, who just gets to walk into the light with a punny quip.) It kind of makes up for the break-neck pace of the slugfest of last issue, but there are a few elements that are just as forced.

Foremost, the Spider-assemblage basically leaves the entire dimension in the hands of one of its own, Karn, a character so incidental that I had to scour the pages to double-check if my memory of his name was correct. As far as regime changes go, that's not so bad, I suppose, especially since it reveals that the Master Weaver was, actually, an alternate version of Karn all along, and not some Peter Parker analogue which frankly would make more sense. You remember Karn? The guy set up to be some über-villain in the very beginning, in a spin-off series, and never seen again until last issue? Yeah, he becomes the new lynchpin and custodian of all reality or something.

It's all a lot of arbitrary drama, as if the end of the Master Weaver and the big Web of Destiny has to be such a big deal. But even though Spider-Man says it will affect his spider-sense powers, they were never really tied to the Big Web at any point before this, so I suspect it won't really be addressed at any point later, either. And if it's all to say that there won't be any Spider-Analogues appearing in other dimensions, well, 90% of them all were created for this storyline anyway, so again, why is that a big deal?

It is used to some effect from Octavius/Superior Spider-Man's point of view-- the one Spider-Man who would logically rant and rail against his predestined fate. And thus Spider-Man and Superior can actually come to physical blows, which should be a very cathartic fight for Peter Parker and couldn't happen any other way-- Spider-Man is able to affirm that Octavius proclaimed Parker as the true "superior" version before knocking him back.    

Other opportunities are taken to establish new status quos for characters, including a happy ending for Spider-Girl (now Spider-Woman VII, or maybe VIII?) and Not-Uncle Ben. Even Araña/Spider-Girl II (or maybe III?) gets to use her totem-powers to help the new Weaver and Spider-U.K. as Warriors of the Web, a.k.a. TimeSpace Guardian Force a.k.a. Future Secret Wars MiniSeries Stars or something. It's too bad that opportunities like this last one weren't more important in the story before this. Up until now, Spider-Girl just happened to be able to read important runes when it was needed to drop a clue to our team, when more naturally she could have filled the role for which Silk seemed to be created out of whole cloth instead.

Guiseppe Camuncoli provides pencil art again, but this time it requires too many characters standing around and talking to play to his strengths. All facial expressions seem fairly stock, bland, and the poses and panel layouts are similarly basic and undynamic. Things pick up a bit with the action scenes involving Octavious/Superior, including a dramatic page turn and dramatic pose as Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman gets clocked pretty hard by Superior. Unfortunately, Camuncoli's line work overall is (as always) fairly thin and scratchy, and here often out of proportion. For example, when Not-Uncle Ben holds Spider-Woman's baby brother, it's way too stiff and almost looks like two different pictures. And the last panel, in what could have been a very funny and incongruous situation, it's drawn in a typical quarter-panel page, and also one with conflicting POV angles, a generic Spider-Man pose, and an awkward civilian depiction, all following some disconnected choreography in the previous panels.       

The post Amazing Spider-Man #15 appeared first on Weekly Comic Book Review.

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Amazing Spider-Man 15

Now it's time To say goodbye To all our family… S- P- I-  (I see things are back to normal!) D- E- R- (Are they ever, really?) V- E- R- S- E!

This is the epilogue for the Spider-Verse event, and it's appropriately extended out so our "Act Five" can get give every major player a proper denouement. (Except maybe our breakout star Spider-Ham, who just gets to walk into the light with a punny quip.) It kind of makes up for the break-neck pace of the slugfest of last issue, but there are a few elements that are just as forced.

Foremost, the Spider-assemblage basically leaves the entire dimension in the hands of one of its own, Karn, a character so incidental that I had to scour the pages to double-check if my memory of his name was correct. As far as regime changes go, that's not so bad, I suppose, especially since it reveals that the Master Weaver was, actually, an alternate version of Karn all along, and not some Peter Parker analogue which frankly would make more sense. You remember Karn? The guy set up to be some über-villain in the very beginning, in a spin-off series, and never seen again until last issue? Yeah, he becomes the new lynchpin and custodian of all reality or something.

It's all a lot of arbitrary drama, as if the end of the Master Weaver and the big Web of Destiny has to be such a big deal. But even though Spider-Man says it will affect his spider-sense powers, they were never really tied to the Big Web at any point before this, so I suspect it won't really be addressed at any point later, either. And if it's all to say that there won't be any Spider-Analogues appearing in other dimensions, well, 90% of them all were created for this storyline anyway, so again, why is that a big deal?

It is used to some effect from Octavius/Superior Spider-Man's point of view-- the one Spider-Man who would logically rant and rail against his predestined fate. And thus Spider-Man and Superior can actually come to physical blows, which should be a very cathartic fight for Peter Parker and couldn't happen any other way-- Spider-Man is able to affirm that Octavius proclaimed Parker as the true "superior" version before knocking him back.    

Other opportunities are taken to establish new status quos for characters, including a happy ending for Spider-Girl (now Spider-Woman VII, or maybe VIII?) and Not-Uncle Ben. Even Araña/Spider-Girl II (or maybe III?) gets to use her totem-powers to help the new Weaver and Spider-U.K. as Warriors of the Web, a.k.a. TimeSpace Guardian Force a.k.a. Future Secret Wars MiniSeries Stars or something. It's too bad that opportunities like this last one weren't more important in the story before this. Up until now, Spider-Girl just happened to be able to read important runes when it was needed to drop a clue to our team, when more naturally she could have filled the role for which Silk seemed to be created out of whole cloth instead.

Guiseppe Camuncoli provides pencil art again, but this time it requires too many characters standing around and talking to play to his strengths. All facial expressions seem fairly stock, bland, and the poses and panel layouts are similarly basic and undynamic. Things pick up a bit with the action scenes involving Octavious/Superior, including a dramatic page turn and dramatic pose as Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman gets clocked pretty hard by Superior. Unfortunately, Camuncoli's line work overall is (as always) fairly thin and scratchy, and here often out of proportion. For example, when Not-Uncle Ben holds Spider-Woman's baby brother, it's way too stiff and almost looks like two different pictures. And the last panel, in what could have been a very funny and incongruous situation, it's drawn in a typical quarter-panel page, and also one with conflicting POV angles, a generic Spider-Man pose, and an awkward civilian depiction, all following some disconnected choreography in the previous panels.       

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Arrow: Nanda Parbathttp://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/28/arrow-nanda-parbat/ http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/28/arrow-nanda-parbat/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 19:00:57 +0000 http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/?p=45460 Arrow Nanda Parbat

One of the reasons why I’ve come to love this show is its sense of daring. Even when it does the predictable thing, Arrow can take the story into exciting, unexpected directions just by skewing the timing. It will take something you expect to come towards the end and drag it to the top of the episode, devoting most of its time to the fallout instead of merely the prelude. Best of all, the show will replace the original cliffhanger with an even bigger one, making the next episode that much harder to resist.

You can easily see the average show saving Thea’s confession of Sara’s murder until the last possible second, to squeeze out its maximum drama. And while you do experience a bit of anticlimax when Thea tells Dinah and Dinah takes it in stride, the resulting chain of events quickly picks up thrust until even pure dialogue takes on a force of its own. Still fresh and raw from hearing the truth about her sister’s death, Dinah’s confrontation with Ollie feels that much more powerful and his instinctive lies that much more of a betrayal, when both are really par for the course.

But it’s the League of Assassins’ sudden capture of Merlyn that really makes things interesting. You’re thinking, Okay—problem solved! The bastard’s out of the picture and so, seemingly, is Ra’s. That’s the attitude most of the characters take, anyway, except Ollie. As always, he sees things from a different angle, this time arguing that he can’t let Merlyn die lest it stain the soul of his sister, who essentially doomed her father by calling the League on him. It’s a more defensible position than letting Merlyn just walk free in the first place, especially once Thea herself realizes what she’s done.

All of a sudden, we have Ollie versus Ra’s, round two, in itself an event you expected to come way later in the season, perhaps in its finale, not just six episodes after their first bout. The show justifies his haste not only with saving Thea, but also by his confession that he still feels the sting of his defeat. Luckily, he has Diggle with him to frame it not as ego, but as a mental block to his ability to do what he needs to do. This would be more convincing if we had actually seen Ollie struggle with anything like that since he came back, but as is, you feel like he’s making up this trauma out of whole cloth.

Some surprises are actually worthwhile, however. [Spoiler alert!] I’m pretty sure few people, if anybody, could have predicted that instead of destroying Ollie for defying their sacred duel and invading his home, Ra’s would reward Ollie with the offer to take his place. It’s not the first time my head nearly exploded watching this show, but it’s probably the closest I’ve come to making it literal. Suddenly, Ollie has an opportunity to reform a dark institution (or be corrupted by it) or further stoke the enmity of Ra’s—and Nyssa, should she discover her father just handing out inheritances to supposed nemeses.

It might sound like the episode’s strengths are loaded onto both of its ends, but honestly, it’s one of the smarter scripts the show’s produced in some time. It’s rare that everyone gets something notable to do in a single episode, but everyone does, even Diggle and Roy. By empathizing with Thea, Roy’s more emotionally present than he’s ever been, proving he may be, oddly enough, the most well-adjusted of Team Arrow. Diggle, who’s always been at risk of getting lost in everyone else’s assertiveness, pushes his way to becoming Ollie’s sole back-up in Nanda Parbat. In that context, his readiness to follow rather than lead makes him the perfect partner for a suicide mission, although you get a hint of desperation in his blunt reminder that he knows Ollie better than he knows himself.

The episode has also finally sold me on the whole Feliciray (Raylicity?) fling, and all it took was reversing their usual roles. Ray’s incessant invasions of Felicity’s life, home, and choices have always felt borderline creepy, partly because he’s a man asserting dominance over a woman, which is always risky, partly because she was often pressured into doing things she didn’t want to do, which is downright dangerous. When Felicity turns the tables, however, your shoulders relax and you can enjoy the rom-com material because you know he’s enjoying relinquishing control as much as she does exercising it.

Some Musings:

- I’m on the fence about the A.T.O.M. suit. Besides being kind of an Iron Man rip-off, it’s also bulkier than I’d like. On the other hand, this Ray Palmer has the musculature to support it.

The post Arrow: Nanda Parbat appeared first on Weekly Comic Book Review.

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Arrow Nanda Parbat

One of the reasons why I’ve come to love this show is its sense of daring. Even when it does the predictable thing, Arrow can take the story into exciting, unexpected directions just by skewing the timing. It will take something you expect to come towards the end and drag it to the top of the episode, devoting most of its time to the fallout instead of merely the prelude. Best of all, the show will replace the original cliffhanger with an even bigger one, making the next episode that much harder to resist.You can easily see the average show saving Thea’s confession of Sara’s murder until the last possible second, to squeeze out its maximum drama. And while you do experience a bit of anticlimax when Thea tells Dinah and Dinah takes it in stride, the resulting chain of events quickly picks up thrust until even pure dialogue takes on a force of its own. Still fresh and raw from hearing the truth about her sister’s death, Dinah’s confrontation with Ollie feels that much more powerful and his instinctive lies that much more of a betrayal, when both are really par for the course.But it’s the League of Assassins’ sudden capture of Merlyn that really makes things interesting. You’re thinking, Okay—problem solved! The bastard’s out of the picture and so, seemingly, is Ra’s. That’s the attitude most of the characters take, anyway, except Ollie. As always, he sees things from a different angle, this time arguing that he can’t let Merlyn die lest it stain the soul of his sister, who essentially doomed her father by calling the League on him. It’s a more defensible position than letting Merlyn just walk free in the first place, especially once Thea herself realizes what she’s done.All of a sudden, we have Ollie versus Ra’s, round two, in itself an event you expected to come way later in the season, perhaps in its finale, not just six episodes after their first bout. The show justifies his haste not only with saving Thea, but also by his confession that he still feels the sting of his defeat. Luckily, he has Diggle with him to frame it not as ego, but as a mental block to his ability to do what he needs to do. This would be more convincing if we had actually seen Ollie struggle with anything like that since he came back, but as is, you feel like he’s making up this trauma out of whole cloth.Some surprises are actually worthwhile, however. [Spoiler alert!] I’m pretty sure few people, if anybody, could have predicted that instead of destroying Ollie for defying their sacred duel and invading his home, Ra’s would reward Ollie with the offer to take his place. It’s not the first time my head nearly exploded watching this show, but it’s probably the closest I’ve come to making it literal. Suddenly, Ollie has an opportunity to reform a dark institution (or be corrupted by it) or further stoke the enmity of Ra’s—and Nyssa, should she discover her father just handing out inheritances to supposed nemeses.It might sound like the episode’s strengths are loaded onto both of its ends, but honestly, it’s one of the smarter scripts the show’s produced in some time. It’s rare that everyone gets something notable to do in a single episode, but everyone does, even Diggle and Roy. By empathizing with Thea, Roy’s more emotionally present than he’s ever been, proving he may be, oddly enough, the most well-adjusted of Team Arrow. Diggle, who’s always been at risk of getting lost in everyone else’s assertiveness, pushes his way to becoming Ollie’s sole back-up in Nanda Parbat. In that context, his readiness to follow rather than lead makes him the perfect partner for a suicide mission, although you get a hint of desperation in his blunt reminder that he knows Ollie better than he knows himself.The episode has also finally sold me on the whole Feliciray (Raylicity?) fling, and all it took was reversing their usual roles. Ray’s incessant invasions of Felicity’s life, home, and choices have always felt borderline creepy, partly because he’s a man asserting dominance over a woman, which is always risky, partly because she was often pressured into doing things she didn’t want to do, which is downright dangerous. When Felicity turns the tables, however, your shoulders relax and you can enjoy the rom-com material because you know he’s enjoying relinquishing control as much as she does exercising it.Some Musings:- I’m on the fence about the A.T.O.M. suit. Besides being kind of an Iron Man rip-off, it’s also bulkier than I’d like. On the other hand, this Ray Palmer has the musculature to support it.

The post Arrow: Nanda Parbat appeared first on Weekly Comic Book Review.

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Spider-Man And The X-Men #3http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/27/spider-man-x-men-3-2/ http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/27/spider-man-x-men-3-2/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:43:35 +0000 http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/?p=45451 Spider-Man And The X-Men #3

I was sadly disappointed by the first two issues of Spider-Man and the X-Men. I’ve said it before ,but how could Spider-Man and a team of teen mutants, including one called Shark Girl, fighting Stegron the Dinosaur Man as seen by the head writer of the Daily Show not be everything I ever wanted in life? Regardless, though the second issue upped the quality of the series, it still failed to live up to its potential.

How strange then that a visit to the Mojoverse, one of the least interesting X-Men locales in my opinion, should prove so perfect for the series. With the task of justifying our heroes’ predicament handled in the last issue, Elliott Kalan is free to dive straight into his tale, and it does seem a rather perfect one for him. While the team up of the Chameleon and Mojo isn’t as natural as Sauron and Stegron, the world of late night television is a perfect place to put Kalan’s talents to use. Perhaps I just came to the series in a different mood or with lower expectations but I found this issue to be easily funnier than the last two combined.

On some level it makes sense, Mojo and the Chameleon fit naturally into the odd, almost Loony Toons take on Spider-Man that Kalan is crafting with this series. The Chameleon’s limited power set becomes fodder for great comedy as his brilliant disguises are swiftly and repeatedly torn to shreds by Spider-Man and Rockslide and Kalan clearly gets Mojo’s voice, even if he feels a little too controlled by it at times, rather than the other way around.

This is indicative of the remaining flaws with the title. While Kalan has stepped up his game in a pretty significant way, there are still a few places where the feeling of inexperience creeps in. Spider-Man’s intentionally bad jokes still feel off and there are some moments where attempts to hide narrative patches under humor can’t fully disguise the problems in the plot. Still, Kalan has accomplished that rare feat, the single issue story, and he’s done it beautifully. The first two issues felt like they were reaching out for the Marvel comics of Kalan’s childhood, but this actually has something of that classic Marvel atmosphere and it’s a great benefit to the issue.

One other thing that really stands out in this issue is the credit Kalan gives his characters. It would be easy for the humorless among us to say that this sort of series debases the characters, turning them into fools, but Kalan actually does a fine job of laughing with and not at his characters. The Chameleon, for instance, keeps his edge even as he’s seen through again and again. Kalan also gives some of his ‘lesser’ characters a day in the sun as No-Girl and Eye-Boy each prove capable adversaries to Mojo on their own. We also get at least one good moment with each of the kids, which is great, as plenty of other team books can go months without hearing from some of their team members. It’s nice to see that Kalan is building these characters up as he’s cracking jokes.

Marco Failla is our artist once again and, as ever, his energetic and angular sensibility is a great boon to the series. There’s a great energy to Failla’s work this month. Failla uses classic blocking tropes to great effect. You know exactly what motions Spidey is making as he delivers his opening monologue or confronts the cameraman as his make-up person swoops in to touch him up.

Failla also does some solid design work. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mojo look like this before, but I kind of like it. Admittedly it’s harder to see the Clockwork Orange apparatus that’s been the character’s trademark but the strange, alien eyes are a cool look. Failla’s Mojo walks a careful line between the realistic and the simplified. He fits in well with the other geometric characters, but there’s something about the way that his folds sit that’s all too real. It’s a Mojo that captures the eerie grossness of the character without being hard to look at. Of course not all the characters fair so well. Gambit has a slightly vampiric and/or Michael Jackson-esque pallor about him and some cameos from Doctor Octopus and Hammerhead look noticeably off.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention an incredible spread near the beginning of the issue featuring, at least part of, the Sinister Sixty-Six. From an impressively fierce Lizard to an  awesome technological Rhino to a seemingly Spectacular Spider-Man inspired Venom to a cameo from Vermin(!) Failla does an incredible job of rendering Spider-Man’s rogues gallery.

 

A Note:

  • Nick Bradshaw and Ian Herring did a really great job on the cover for this issue. It’s eye-catching and represents the events of the issue as well as the format of the series.

The post Spider-Man And The X-Men #3 appeared first on Weekly Comic Book Review.

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Spider-Man And The X-Men #3

I was sadly disappointed by the first two issues of Spider-Man and the X-Men. I’ve said it before ,but how could Spider-Man and a team of teen mutants, including one called Shark Girl, fighting Stegron the Dinosaur Man as seen by the head writer of the Daily Show not be everything I ever wanted in life? Regardless, though the second issue upped the quality of the series, it still failed to live up to its potential.How strange then that a visit to the Mojoverse, one of the least interesting X-Men locales in my opinion, should prove so perfect for the series. With the task of justifying our heroes’ predicament handled in the last issue, Elliott Kalan is free to dive straight into his tale, and it does seem a rather perfect one for him. While the team up of the Chameleon and Mojo isn’t as natural as Sauron and Stegron, the world of late night television is a perfect place to put Kalan’s talents to use. Perhaps I just came to the series in a different mood or with lower expectations but I found this issue to be easily funnier than the last two combined.On some level it makes sense, Mojo and the Chameleon fit naturally into the odd, almost Loony Toons take on Spider-Man that Kalan is crafting with this series. The Chameleon’s limited power set becomes fodder for great comedy as his brilliant disguises are swiftly and repeatedly torn to shreds by Spider-Man and Rockslide and Kalan clearly gets Mojo’s voice, even if he feels a little too controlled by it at times, rather than the other way around.This is indicative of the remaining flaws with the title. While Kalan has stepped up his game in a pretty significant way, there are still a few places where the feeling of inexperience creeps in. Spider-Man’s intentionally bad jokes still feel off and there are some moments where attempts to hide narrative patches under humor can’t fully disguise the problems in the plot. Still, Kalan has accomplished that rare feat, the single issue story, and he’s done it beautifully. The first two issues felt like they were reaching out for the Marvel comics of Kalan’s childhood, but this actually has something of that classic Marvel atmosphere and it’s a great benefit to the issue.One other thing that really stands out in this issue is the credit Kalan gives his characters. It would be easy for the humorless among us to say that this sort of series debases the characters, turning them into fools, but Kalan actually does a fine job of laughing with and not at his characters. The Chameleon, for instance, keeps his edge even as he’s seen through again and again. Kalan also gives some of his ‘lesser’ characters a day in the sun as No-Girl and Eye-Boy each prove capable adversaries to Mojo on their own. We also get at least one good moment with each of the kids, which is great, as plenty of other team books can go months without hearing from some of their team members. It’s nice to see that Kalan is building these characters up as he’s cracking jokes.Marco Failla is our artist once again and, as ever, his energetic and angular sensibility is a great boon to the series. There’s a great energy to Failla’s work this month. Failla uses classic blocking tropes to great effect. You know exactly what motions Spidey is making as he delivers his opening monologue or confronts the cameraman as his make-up person swoops in to touch him up.Failla also does some solid design work. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mojo look like this before, but I kind of like it. Admittedly it’s harder to see the Clockwork Orange apparatus that’s been the character’s trademark but the strange, alien eyes are a cool look. Failla’s Mojo walks a careful line between the realistic and the simplified. He fits in well with the other geometric characters, but there’s something about the way that his folds sit that’s all too real. It’s a Mojo that captures the eerie grossness of the character without being hard to look at. Of course not all the characters fair so well. Gambit has a slightly vampiric and/or Michael Jackson-esque pallor about him and some cameos from Doctor Octopus and Hammerhead look noticeably off.I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention an incredible spread near the beginning of the issue featuring, at least part of, the Sinister Sixty-Six. From an impressively fierce Lizard to an  awesome technological Rhino to a seemingly Spectacular Spider-Man inspired Venom to a cameo from Vermin(!) Failla does an incredible job of rendering Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. A Note:
  • Nick Bradshaw and Ian Herring did a really great job on the cover for this issue. It’s eye-catching and represents the events of the issue as well as the format of the series.

The post Spider-Man And The X-Men #3 appeared first on Weekly Comic Book Review.

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Agent Carter: Valedictionhttp://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/27/agent-carter-valediction/ http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/27/agent-carter-valediction/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:41:37 +0000 http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/?p=45453 Agent Carter Valediction

So what do we all think of Agent Carter? It’s been a fun period piece, certainly, and Hayley Atwell proves she should be a star if this show doesn’t make her one. But the show as a whole has been built on wobbly scaffolding, at times threatening to send the plot tumbling to the ground in an unconvincing heap. I’m not saying that accounts for the significant decline in ratings, nor that the show doesn’t deserve to come back, but it does mean Agent Carter was often not as good as it looked.

Blame Howard Stark. I’ve already grilled the guy for his stunning lack of common sense, which is the source of this entire season’s conflict. Commenter Ronald Caterisano saw it more as a matter of pride, which I can subscribe to. That is, until Howard reveals in this episode that the whole fiasco at Finow was the result of his creating something with dangerous applications, which someone stole from his lab and misused. Sound familiar?

Maybe locking away his “bad babies” in a private underground vault was his way of learning from past mistakes, but this seems insufficient for someone who claims to feel so guilty that he’s willing to die to redeem himself. This latest revelation only reinforces how dumb it was for Howard to keep such things around after realizing the threat they pose, just like how his sudden decision to turn himself into the S.S.R. reinforces how dumb it was for him to run in the first place.

No one mentions any of this, of course; that’d be coming way too close to admitting the show doesn’t quite have its act together. Instead, Howard is played mostly for comedy, sternly telling off the S.S.R. for not hiring him to do their security system, huffily rearranging his “bad babies” in the lab like a put-upon housewife, and trying to buy/flirt his way out of trouble once things go to the crapper. Aside from some initial distrust, everyone’s willing to gloss over his role in past and present disasters, Peggy especially.

So I say Dr. Ivchenko, a.k.a. Johann Fenhoff, is doing the story a necessary favor by shaming Howard into submission. Whereas Peggy and even a chauvinist pig like Thompson are instantly convincing in their guilt over lost lives, Howard’s not so emotional about the burdens he supposedly feels. It takes Fenhoff’s psychological deconstruction of Howard’s intellectual exterior to expose the raw turmoil inside. “I am not a bad person,” Howard almost tearfully protests as Fenhoff regales him with the suffering he personally suffered at Finow (in itself a necessary rounding of Fenhoff’s character).

“Yes,” is Fenhoff’s cool response. “Yes, you are.” While Fenhoff is wrong on that point, he’s the only one who addresses the matter of blame when it comes to dangerous inventions. When Howard insists that it was someone else who stole and used the Midnight Oil, the gas that sent all those moviegoers into a fatal, violent rage last episode, Fenhoff answers, “And yet it only exists because of you.” Yup.

All this is to force Peggy into a situation where she has to relive her traumatic radio conversation with Steve Rogers in his last moments, which Atwell plays with great sincerity but feels narratively forced anyway. Between that scene and Peggy dropping the last of Steve’s blood into the drink, it almost makes you feel like the point of this entire season has been about her moving on from her great love.

But really, it’s been all about her standing as an agent. This episode should have put that question to bed forever, what with her constantly flanked by Sousa and Thompson (who look great as a trio) and applauded by the entire agency when it’s all over. But the episode also reverses course a bit by having Thompson accept the credit for success (losing much of the progress he made this season along the way) and Peggy’s future at the S.S.R. uncertain. It’s a good position to spring back from should the show return, and it’d be nice if it does. Hopefully, it can come back with a tighter storyline, with a real contribution from Jarvis (who gets to almost shoot down Howard this episode), and with even more action from Peggy, which has always been the selling point of the series as you see from her intense showdown with Dottie.

Some Musings:

- “Howard, you are the one person on this Earth who believes in me.” Really? So the Howling Commandoes are just chopped liver?

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Agent Carter Valediction

So what do we all think of Agent Carter? It’s been a fun period piece, certainly, and Hayley Atwell proves she should be a star if this show doesn’t make her one. But the show as a whole has been built on wobbly scaffolding, at times threatening to send the plot tumbling to the ground in an unconvincing heap. I’m not saying that accounts for the significant decline in ratings, nor that the show doesn’t deserve to come back, but it does mean Agent Carter was often not as good as it looked.Blame Howard Stark. I’ve already grilled the guy for his stunning lack of common sense, which is the source of this entire season’s conflict. Commenter Ronald Caterisano saw it more as a matter of pride, which I can subscribe to. That is, until Howard reveals in this episode that the whole fiasco at Finow was the result of his creating something with dangerous applications, which someone stole from his lab and misused. Sound familiar?Maybe locking away his “bad babies” in a private underground vault was his way of learning from past mistakes, but this seems insufficient for someone who claims to feel so guilty that he’s willing to die to redeem himself. This latest revelation only reinforces how dumb it was for Howard to keep such things around after realizing the threat they pose, just like how his sudden decision to turn himself into the S.S.R. reinforces how dumb it was for him to run in the first place.No one mentions any of this, of course; that’d be coming way too close to admitting the show doesn’t quite have its act together. Instead, Howard is played mostly for comedy, sternly telling off the S.S.R. for not hiring him to do their security system, huffily rearranging his “bad babies” in the lab like a put-upon housewife, and trying to buy/flirt his way out of trouble once things go to the crapper. Aside from some initial distrust, everyone’s willing to gloss over his role in past and present disasters, Peggy especially.So I say Dr. Ivchenko, a.k.a. Johann Fenhoff, is doing the story a necessary favor by shaming Howard into submission. Whereas Peggy and even a chauvinist pig like Thompson are instantly convincing in their guilt over lost lives, Howard’s not so emotional about the burdens he supposedly feels. It takes Fenhoff’s psychological deconstruction of Howard’s intellectual exterior to expose the raw turmoil inside. “I am not a bad person,” Howard almost tearfully protests as Fenhoff regales him with the suffering he personally suffered at Finow (in itself a necessary rounding of Fenhoff’s character).“Yes,” is Fenhoff’s cool response. “Yes, you are.” While Fenhoff is wrong on that point, he’s the only one who addresses the matter of blame when it comes to dangerous inventions. When Howard insists that it was someone else who stole and used the Midnight Oil, the gas that sent all those moviegoers into a fatal, violent rage last episode, Fenhoff answers, “And yet it only exists because of you.” Yup.All this is to force Peggy into a situation where she has to relive her traumatic radio conversation with Steve Rogers in his last moments, which Atwell plays with great sincerity but feels narratively forced anyway. Between that scene and Peggy dropping the last of Steve’s blood into the drink, it almost makes you feel like the point of this entire season has been about her moving on from her great love.But really, it’s been all about her standing as an agent. This episode should have put that question to bed forever, what with her constantly flanked by Sousa and Thompson (who look great as a trio) and applauded by the entire agency when it’s all over. But the episode also reverses course a bit by having Thompson accept the credit for success (losing much of the progress he made this season along the way) and Peggy’s future at the S.S.R. uncertain. It’s a good position to spring back from should the show return, and it’d be nice if it does. Hopefully, it can come back with a tighter storyline, with a real contribution from Jarvis (who gets to almost shoot down Howard this episode), and with even more action from Peggy, which has always been the selling point of the series as you see from her intense showdown with Dottie.Some Musings:- “Howard, you are the one person on this Earth who believes in me.” Really? So the Howling Commandoes are just chopped liver?

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Moon Knight #12http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/26/moon-knight-12/ http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/26/moon-knight-12/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 00:30:28 +0000 http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/?p=45329 Moon Knight 12

It’s bad timing on my part to pick up a title just when its current creative era is coming to an end. Had I known this issue would be Wood and Smallwood’s last, I might have thought twice about reviewing the series, but not about following it. While I’m still pondering whether to stay on for the next writer-artist team, I can say with confidence that I don’t regret my time with Moon Knight, even if at the end, it proves not quite as daring as it started off being.

There’s no way to get through a critique of the issue without spoilers, so be on high alert. I had high hopes for the idea of General Lor being a radical dictator and Warsame an innocent victim of his revolution. That would have required a high moral accounting from all parties, including Marc to make a case as to why someone like Lor shouldn’t pay, even outside a legitimate court of law. I say “would have” because Wood flips around the entire premise, making a judgment call a whole lot easier.

I guess it’s an interesting twist for Warsame to be revealed as no poor village girl, but the daughter of a corrupt governor from Akima’s colonial days, a man who bled the country dry for him and his own to live high and mighty. That in itself doesn’t destroy Warsame’s credibility; she’s partially redeemed by the fact that regardless of her class, she was still an innocent victim who had her life as she knew it taken from her. But the fact that all she’s done thus far—swaying Khonshu, plotting Lor’s capture and eventual assassination—was just to get back her former riches does make your sympathy vanish.

There’s an open question, one I’m not sure Wood meant to leave open since he never addresses it, as to why no one makes a big deal about Lor’s violent, extralegal means of punishing Warsame’s father, yet everyone brings the hammer down on Warsame’s head for wanting to do the same thing to Lor. Is it just because Lor did end up stabilizing the country, or so everyone says? No one’s claimed that absolves him of his crimes, but it’s significant that he does go free in the end. Marc had good counterpoints to Warsame’s grievances, as Khonshu acknowledges, but that doesn’t mean she’s entirely wrong, either.

As I said, Wood doesn’t take on these considerations, but rather rushes to condemn Warsame. It’s a somewhat humiliating defeat as she gradually loses her powers, then her back-up, then her dignity as Marc stops her with nothing more than a crescent boomerang to her hand.* The scene is saved from total anticlimax by Warsame’s helpless, traumatized rage, in which her demands for her family’s money seem to mask a desperation to bring back the life she should have had.

Smallwood’s art doesn’t go out of its way to impress, but has such emotional precision that it’s striking anyway. There’s nothing showy about his storytelling, but every panel works to narrow your focus to the most essential elements of the page. It’s not surprising that some of the most evocative sequences are ones in which Smallwood zooms in on a certain movement or facial expression, revealing the psychology at work underneath. Nothing excess comes off his art, just the necessary intensity, which is all the more affecting. Like the best acting, Smallwood’s art succeeds in what it doesn’t do than what it does, and what it doesn’t do is make drama out of a headache, so to speak. Bellaire’s coloring smoothly supports his efforts, its flatness taming colors that might otherwise have seemed too vibrant for the series. Most impressive is the accuracy of Bellaire’s lighting, able to easily distinguish the edgy, yellow afternoon sun from midair and the frosty, almost white daylight in a Northern European fjord.

Some Musings:

* Which immediately brought to mind Sailor Moon. Yeah, I said it.

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Moon Knight 12

It’s bad timing on my part to pick up a title just when its current creative era is coming to an end. Had I known this issue would be Wood and Smallwood’s last, I might have thought twice about reviewing the series, but not about following it. While I’m still pondering whether to stay on for the next writer-artist team, I can say with confidence that I don’t regret my time with Moon Knight, even if at the end, it proves not quite as daring as it started off being.There’s no way to get through a critique of the issue without spoilers, so be on high alert. I had high hopes for the idea of General Lor being a radical dictator and Warsame an innocent victim of his revolution. That would have required a high moral accounting from all parties, including Marc to make a case as to why someone like Lor shouldn’t pay, even outside a legitimate court of law. I say “would have” because Wood flips around the entire premise, making a judgment call a whole lot easier.I guess it’s an interesting twist for Warsame to be revealed as no poor village girl, but the daughter of a corrupt governor from Akima’s colonial days, a man who bled the country dry for him and his own to live high and mighty. That in itself doesn’t destroy Warsame’s credibility; she’s partially redeemed by the fact that regardless of her class, she was still an innocent victim who had her life as she knew it taken from her. But the fact that all she’s done thus far—swaying Khonshu, plotting Lor’s capture and eventual assassination—was just to get back her former riches does make your sympathy vanish.There’s an open question, one I’m not sure Wood meant to leave open since he never addresses it, as to why no one makes a big deal about Lor’s violent, extralegal means of punishing Warsame’s father, yet everyone brings the hammer down on Warsame’s head for wanting to do the same thing to Lor. Is it just because Lor did end up stabilizing the country, or so everyone says? No one’s claimed that absolves him of his crimes, but it’s significant that he does go free in the end. Marc had good counterpoints to Warsame’s grievances, as Khonshu acknowledges, but that doesn’t mean she’s entirely wrong, either.As I said, Wood doesn’t take on these considerations, but rather rushes to condemn Warsame. It’s a somewhat humiliating defeat as she gradually loses her powers, then her back-up, then her dignity as Marc stops her with nothing more than a crescent boomerang to her hand.* The scene is saved from total anticlimax by Warsame’s helpless, traumatized rage, in which her demands for her family’s money seem to mask a desperation to bring back the life she should have had.Smallwood’s art doesn’t go out of its way to impress, but has such emotional precision that it’s striking anyway. There’s nothing showy about his storytelling, but every panel works to narrow your focus to the most essential elements of the page. It’s not surprising that some of the most evocative sequences are ones in which Smallwood zooms in on a certain movement or facial expression, revealing the psychology at work underneath. Nothing excess comes off his art, just the necessary intensity, which is all the more affecting. Like the best acting, Smallwood’s art succeeds in what it doesn’t do than what it does, and what it doesn’t do is make drama out of a headache, so to speak. Bellaire’s coloring smoothly supports his efforts, its flatness taming colors that might otherwise have seemed too vibrant for the series. Most impressive is the accuracy of Bellaire’s lighting, able to easily distinguish the edgy, yellow afternoon sun from midair and the frosty, almost white daylight in a Northern European fjord.Some Musings:* Which immediately brought to mind Sailor Moon. Yeah, I said it.

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Ms. Marvel #12http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/26/ms-marvel-12/ http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/26/ms-marvel-12/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 00:06:46 +0000 http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/?p=45415 Ms. Marvel 12

It’s Valentine’s Day for Midgard, Jersey City, and Ms. Marvel and all three are getting a visit from a certain Agent of Asgard. As the first Ms. Marvel adventure to follow its lengthy first arc, “Loki in Love” has a little bit to prove. G. Willow Wilson does a nice job of quickly and efficiently justifying Loki’s presence in the book and manages to add some gravitas to the plot we’ve been enjoying at the same time.

Wilson’s interpretation of Loki is noticeably different from Al Ewing’s, but it shines with the truth of the same myth differently told. I honestly prefer Ewing’s take, I suppose I should if it’s his lead character, but Wilson’s version is in some ways even more classic. He’s a broader character than in Loki: AoA but there’s both a greater whimsy and a greater sense of his connection to the traditional ‘god of lies’ Loki.

As for the usual Jersey City crowd, this issue is particularly nice for giving us a little more time with Kamala’s friends. Bruno is thinking of asking Kamala to the Valentine’s dance even though her parents would never allow it. I’m personally uninterested in seeing Bruno’s affection for Kamala spiral into a mush of overfamiliar man-feels but Wilson uses the opportunity to unpack some of the nonsense we like to believe about Valentine’s Day, teenagers, and romance.

To be honest, one of the greatest strengths of the issue is the way that it challenges such assumptions, however one of the greatest weaknesses is the superficial nature of that criticism. I know that Wilson had more to say but it feels like she pulled many of her punches, whether for the sake of marketability or, more likely, in order to keep the story within twenty pages. Despite attempts to be real, there’s something of a corporate feeling that undermines the themes of the issue. That said, there will be readers, especially young readers, for whom this issue will seem revolutionary, and that’s an important thing.

As for the execution itself, Wilson does a great job of writing Kamala’s turbulent feelings and her protective instincts toward her friends and her community. Once we hit the dance itself, things play out extremely naturally and Wilson does a fine job of creating an engaging and believable fight between Kamala and the god of mischief.

It’s also great fun to see Loki running around Jersey City. Admittedly the issue plays its Hipster Viking shtick a little too freely, but it is pretty funny and there’s something charming about the way Loki gets himself involved in our principals’ affairs. That said, it is more than a little weird how no one minds ‘Hipster Viking’ consistently asking how to go to a high school dance, especially considering how old he looks in this issue.

Elmo Bondoc is a different taste for Ms. Marvel, but not necessarily a bad one. There are definitely places where Bondoc’s work feels off, the fight between Ms. Marvel and Loki moves well but is notably awkward in the details. It seems like Bondoc is better suited to the restrained and the simple, I love his dialogue scenes. The first page in the Circle Q is excellent, as is Kamala’s sleepover. It feels like he’s aching to do something a little more different, something you might connect more quickly to a web comic aesthetic, but there’s a pull of ‘traditional super hero art’ that strands it between identities.

Of course, it bears mentioning that it’s not entirely Bondoc’s fault. For perhaps the first time on this series, Ian Herring has some noticeably weak pages, particularly in Asgardia, where, what one assumes to be, an attempt to demonstrate the mystical nature of the realm leaves the panel more than a little oversaturated and Bondoc’s lines feeling much too heavy for my taste. Still, Herring does some great stuff with the lighting of the dance and Kamala’s room and most of the issue is still strong, it’s just surprising to see such a reliable colorist make a clear first misstep.

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Ms. Marvel 12

It’s Valentine’s Day for Midgard, Jersey City, and Ms. Marvel and all three are getting a visit from a certain Agent of Asgard. As the first Ms. Marvel adventure to follow its lengthy first arc, “Loki in Love” has a little bit to prove. G. Willow Wilson does a nice job of quickly and efficiently justifying Loki’s presence in the book and manages to add some gravitas to the plot we’ve been enjoying at the same time.Wilson’s interpretation of Loki is noticeably different from Al Ewing’s, but it shines with the truth of the same myth differently told. I honestly prefer Ewing’s take, I suppose I should if it’s his lead character, but Wilson’s version is in some ways even more classic. He’s a broader character than in Loki: AoA but there’s both a greater whimsy and a greater sense of his connection to the traditional ‘god of lies’ Loki.As for the usual Jersey City crowd, this issue is particularly nice for giving us a little more time with Kamala’s friends. Bruno is thinking of asking Kamala to the Valentine’s dance even though her parents would never allow it. I’m personally uninterested in seeing Bruno’s affection for Kamala spiral into a mush of overfamiliar man-feels but Wilson uses the opportunity to unpack some of the nonsense we like to believe about Valentine’s Day, teenagers, and romance.To be honest, one of the greatest strengths of the issue is the way that it challenges such assumptions, however one of the greatest weaknesses is the superficial nature of that criticism. I know that Wilson had more to say but it feels like she pulled many of her punches, whether for the sake of marketability or, more likely, in order to keep the story within twenty pages. Despite attempts to be real, there’s something of a corporate feeling that undermines the themes of the issue. That said, there will be readers, especially young readers, for whom this issue will seem revolutionary, and that’s an important thing.As for the execution itself, Wilson does a great job of writing Kamala’s turbulent feelings and her protective instincts toward her friends and her community. Once we hit the dance itself, things play out extremely naturally and Wilson does a fine job of creating an engaging and believable fight between Kamala and the god of mischief.It’s also great fun to see Loki running around Jersey City. Admittedly the issue plays its Hipster Viking shtick a little too freely, but it is pretty funny and there’s something charming about the way Loki gets himself involved in our principals’ affairs. That said, it is more than a little weird how no one minds ‘Hipster Viking’ consistently asking how to go to a high school dance, especially considering how old he looks in this issue.Elmo Bondoc is a different taste for Ms. Marvel, but not necessarily a bad one. There are definitely places where Bondoc’s work feels off, the fight between Ms. Marvel and Loki moves well but is notably awkward in the details. It seems like Bondoc is better suited to the restrained and the simple, I love his dialogue scenes. The first page in the Circle Q is excellent, as is Kamala’s sleepover. It feels like he’s aching to do something a little more different, something you might connect more quickly to a web comic aesthetic, but there’s a pull of ‘traditional super hero art’ that strands it between identities.Of course, it bears mentioning that it’s not entirely Bondoc’s fault. For perhaps the first time on this series, Ian Herring has some noticeably weak pages, particularly in Asgardia, where, what one assumes to be, an attempt to demonstrate the mystical nature of the realm leaves the panel more than a little oversaturated and Bondoc’s lines feeling much too heavy for my taste. Still, Herring does some great stuff with the lighting of the dance and Kamala’s room and most of the issue is still strong, it’s just surprising to see such a reliable colorist make a clear first misstep.

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Wonder Woman #39http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/25/wonder-woman-39/ http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/25/wonder-woman-39/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 07:26:10 +0000 http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/?p=45341 Wonder Woman 39

Meredith Finch's stories are too short.  That isn't because they are so good readers gnash their teeth in frustration at coming to the twentieth page of one of her Wonder Woman stories.  Nor is it because David Finch's art is so glorious that readers spend four weeks dreaming of more after finishing each issue of Diana Prince's adventures.  The stories are too short because they manage, in twenty pages, to say so very little.

That isn't to say that Meredith Finch hasn't settled into her themes.  The various lines of development she has begun since issue #36 are continued here.  Wonder Woman continues to struggle to find balance among the demands of her positions as god war, queen of the Amazons, and member of the Justice League.  She continues to explore the implications of her relationships with her Justice League compatriots, especially Superman.  The meaning of War, and what it means to be the divine incarnation of that concept, provides a theme in this issue.  And family, its importance and influence, remains an important idea in the book.

No, the problem isn't that Meredith Finch has abandoned any of her ideas.  The problem is that she clings so tightly to all of them at once.  She has no time to explore any one concept, or even any two.  Rather, she spends the entire issue moving at rapidly from one plotline to the next, touching lightly on each in turn before arriving breathlessly at the end having done almost nothing with any of these interesting and important notions.

The book begins with the discovery of a new insectoid race that has been kidnapping and cocooning humans from the surface, evidently as a source of food.  We learn next to nothing about them, as this revelation is only used as an excuse of Diana to become enraged and call on the power of War.  She is stopped by Batman, leading to a brief discussion of very familiar themes concerning just killing.  However, that is not explored, either, before she heads off to her home island to discover that her mother's spirit has become infused into the fabric of the place.  There is a very brief conversation about how her job as queen and god is to manage conflict, an idea once again unexplored, before she discovers that the political climate on the island is deteriorating, including the relationship between the Amazons and their Hephaestus-raised brothers.  The book concludes when she confronts the Amazon council only to be challenged by the newly-created Donna Troy for leadership of her people.

All of that, and it's not even dinner time yet.  No wonder Diana's feeling the stress.

The post Wonder Woman #39 appeared first on Weekly Comic Book Review.

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Wonder Woman 39

Meredith Finch's stories are too short.  That isn't because they are so good readers gnash their teeth in frustration at coming to the twentieth page of one of her Wonder Woman stories.  Nor is it because David Finch's art is so glorious that readers spend four weeks dreaming of more after finishing each issue of Diana Prince's adventures.  The stories are too short because they manage, in twenty pages, to say so very little.That isn't to say that Meredith Finch hasn't settled into her themes.  The various lines of development she has begun since issue #36 are continued here.  Wonder Woman continues to struggle to find balance among the demands of her positions as god war, queen of the Amazons, and member of the Justice League.  She continues to explore the implications of her relationships with her Justice League compatriots, especially Superman.  The meaning of War, and what it means to be the divine incarnation of that concept, provides a theme in this issue.  And family, its importance and influence, remains an important idea in the book.No, the problem isn't that Meredith Finch has abandoned any of her ideas.  The problem is that she clings so tightly to all of them at once.  She has no time to explore any one concept, or even any two.  Rather, she spends the entire issue moving at rapidly from one plotline to the next, touching lightly on each in turn before arriving breathlessly at the end having done almost nothing with any of these interesting and important notions.The book begins with the discovery of a new insectoid race that has been kidnapping and cocooning humans from the surface, evidently as a source of food.  We learn next to nothing about them, as this revelation is only used as an excuse of Diana to become enraged and call on the power of War.  She is stopped by Batman, leading to a brief discussion of very familiar themes concerning just killing.  However, that is not explored, either, before she heads off to her home island to discover that her mother's spirit has become infused into the fabric of the place.  There is a very brief conversation about how her job as queen and god is to manage conflict, an idea once again unexplored, before she discovers that the political climate on the island is deteriorating, including the relationship between the Amazons and their Hephaestus-raised brothers.  The book concludes when she confronts the Amazon council only to be challenged by the newly-created Donna Troy for leadership of her people.All of that, and it's not even dinner time yet.  No wonder Diana's feeling the stress.

The post Wonder Woman #39 appeared first on Weekly Comic Book Review.

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Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #9http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/25/iron-fist-living-weapon-9/ http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/25/iron-fist-living-weapon-9/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 07:25:03 +0000 http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/?p=45327 Iron Fist- The Living Weapon 9

I’ve said this on more than one occasion, but when an issue offers you little to nothing but non-stop action, sometimes it’s best to let the brain take a break and just enjoy the ride. Iron Fist started out looking like an atypical comic, in hindsight largely because of Andrews’ unconventional style of art, but also because of its tone. Unlike a lot of comics, it had a legitimate darkness that wasn’t just for the sake of being “dark.” But ever since Danny stepped onto the road toward recovery, things have gradually lightened up and now we’re back to a comic that runs on thrills rather than introspection.

Basically the only real point worth thinking about is the nature of Fooh’s existence. [Spoiler alert!] Exiled from K’un L’un just to cover up the leadership’s unsavory deeds, Fooh winds up in a place between life and death, thus only visible to Danny, who’s in the same place. It’s your typical “He was dead the whole time” twist, which isn’t really so much of a twist anymore. I mean, you’re surprised, but in the same way you’d be if your friend came out to you. You’d be interested, maybe have some follow-up questions, but then it just becomes another fact of life—or death, as the case may be.

It’s not like we get anything out of the revelation other than yet another call for Danny to do as T.I. says and live his life. After so many entreaties, how can he do otherwise? And he starts by confronting the last dead monster from his past, the creature who seems to really be Danny’s dad, twisted by the One’s leftovers after Danny finished with it. Now that we know what it is, there’s really nothing left for Danny to do but defeat it, though he’ll have to take some drastic measures to do so.

Honestly, there are more stakes to the impending duel between Sparrow and Davos because there’s a long history of rivalry and personal grievances between them. Danny might suggest an unresolved conflict with his dad, but we didn’t see any part of their relationship before the disastrous trip to K’un L’un, so you just have to take Danny’s word for it.

For an issue that’s almost all action, you might wish for more martial art goodness than you actually get, but Andrews does deliver a high-speed fest of superheroes doing what they do best: performing prodigious physical feats and beating down the bad guys. The last vestige of darkness in the title is embodied in Danny’s dad, who in his mecha form looms over Danny in ominous fashion, but is even creepier in human form. There’s an image of Danny’s dad that sears itself into your mind: lying in a state just before death on a frozen patch of mountain, staring into the sky with a crazed, bared grin and eyes wide with madness and terror.

Some Musings:

- I know Sparrow’s just taunting Davos, but I’m betting he really did piss his pants.

The post Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #9 appeared first on Weekly Comic Book Review.

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Iron Fist- The Living Weapon 9

I’ve said this on more than one occasion, but when an issue offers you little to nothing but non-stop action, sometimes it’s best to let the brain take a break and just enjoy the ride. Iron Fist started out looking like an atypical comic, in hindsight largely because of Andrews’ unconventional style of art, but also because of its tone. Unlike a lot of comics, it had a legitimate darkness that wasn’t just for the sake of being “dark.” But ever since Danny stepped onto the road toward recovery, things have gradually lightened up and now we’re back to a comic that runs on thrills rather than introspection.Basically the only real point worth thinking about is the nature of Fooh’s existence. [Spoiler alert!] Exiled from K’un L’un just to cover up the leadership’s unsavory deeds, Fooh winds up in a place between life and death, thus only visible to Danny, who’s in the same place. It’s your typical “He was dead the whole time” twist, which isn’t really so much of a twist anymore. I mean, you’re surprised, but in the same way you’d be if your friend came out to you. You’d be interested, maybe have some follow-up questions, but then it just becomes another fact of life—or death, as the case may be.It’s not like we get anything out of the revelation other than yet another call for Danny to do as T.I. says and live his life. After so many entreaties, how can he do otherwise? And he starts by confronting the last dead monster from his past, the creature who seems to really be Danny’s dad, twisted by the One’s leftovers after Danny finished with it. Now that we know what it is, there’s really nothing left for Danny to do but defeat it, though he’ll have to take some drastic measures to do so.Honestly, there are more stakes to the impending duel between Sparrow and Davos because there’s a long history of rivalry and personal grievances between them. Danny might suggest an unresolved conflict with his dad, but we didn’t see any part of their relationship before the disastrous trip to K’un L’un, so you just have to take Danny’s word for it.For an issue that’s almost all action, you might wish for more martial art goodness than you actually get, but Andrews does deliver a high-speed fest of superheroes doing what they do best: performing prodigious physical feats and beating down the bad guys. The last vestige of darkness in the title is embodied in Danny’s dad, who in his mecha form looms over Danny in ominous fashion, but is even creepier in human form. There’s an image of Danny’s dad that sears itself into your mind: lying in a state just before death on a frozen patch of mountain, staring into the sky with a crazed, bared grin and eyes wide with madness and terror.Some Musings:- I know Sparrow’s just taunting Davos, but I’m betting he really did piss his pants.

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The New 52: Futures End #42http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/25/new-52-futures-end-42/ http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/25/new-52-futures-end-42/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 07:23:38 +0000 http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/?p=45339 The New 52- Futures End 42

What does a memory look like?  Not what is the experience of a memory.  Not what is it like to have a memory.  What is the physical reality of a memory?  What is the actual manifestation of the past in the  corner of space and time that we inhabit?  In the world of The New 52: Futures End, memory exists as faceted crystals inside the mechanical mind of Braniac's enormous, space-bound avatar.  The heart of the issue consists of Ray Palmer, the Atom, infiltrating the Braniac-ship in a bid to find and save Angie, the Stormwatch engineer, who has been absorbed into the entity's fabric.  His adventure plays out against the background of flickering images from the multiple histories of the DCU, like a play staged in God's private cinema.

Dramatic as the scenes are, they encapsulate the odd nature of this issue.  This is a book that points beyond itself.  Here we see the coming of the Convergence event, a two-month celebration of the history of the DCU in its various iterations.  It is as if the authors of Futures End paused for a moment and, as their own story gathered breath, drew aside a curtain to give a bright, brief view of things to come.

And the vision is not without irony, for even as the Atom is experiencing the breadth and depth of DCU's time, Superman and friends are defeating the giant Earth-bound avatar of Braniac, in effect slamming the door on the possibility of this timeline joining the others in that alien being's library of forever.  The roar of anguish that Braniac emits as he realizes what has happened is some of the most genuine, and convincing, emotion of the entire series.

But even as Braniac rages in defeat, the situation darkens.  Terry McGinnis manages to take advantage of Braniac's assault on Manhattan to defeat BatJoker, but in a way not yet explained this allows Brother Eye's awareness to re-emerge into the world's information grid.  And Batman and Tim Drake discover that Mr. Terrific is trembling on the edge of insanity, his decisions paving the way for an apocalypse.

The post The New 52: Futures End #42 appeared first on Weekly Comic Book Review.

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The New 52- Futures End 42

What does a memory look like?  Not what is the experience of a memory.  Not what is it like to have a memory.  What is the physical reality of a memory?  What is the actual manifestation of the past in the  corner of space and time that we inhabit?  In the world of The New 52: Futures End, memory exists as faceted crystals inside the mechanical mind of Braniac's enormous, space-bound avatar.  The heart of the issue consists of Ray Palmer, the Atom, infiltrating the Braniac-ship in a bid to find and save Angie, the Stormwatch engineer, who has been absorbed into the entity's fabric.  His adventure plays out against the background of flickering images from the multiple histories of the DCU, like a play staged in God's private cinema.Dramatic as the scenes are, they encapsulate the odd nature of this issue.  This is a book that points beyond itself.  Here we see the coming of the Convergence event, a two-month celebration of the history of the DCU in its various iterations.  It is as if the authors of Futures End paused for a moment and, as their own story gathered breath, drew aside a curtain to give a bright, brief view of things to come.And the vision is not without irony, for even as the Atom is experiencing the breadth and depth of DCU's time, Superman and friends are defeating the giant Earth-bound avatar of Braniac, in effect slamming the door on the possibility of this timeline joining the others in that alien being's library of forever.  The roar of anguish that Braniac emits as he realizes what has happened is some of the most genuine, and convincing, emotion of the entire series.But even as Braniac rages in defeat, the situation darkens.  Terry McGinnis manages to take advantage of Braniac's assault on Manhattan to defeat BatJoker, but in a way not yet explained this allows Brother Eye's awareness to re-emerge into the world's information grid.  And Batman and Tim Drake discover that Mr. Terrific is trembling on the edge of insanity, his decisions paving the way for an apocalypse.

The post The New 52: Futures End #42 appeared first on Weekly Comic Book Review.

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The Kitchen #4http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/25/kitchen-4/ http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2015/02/25/kitchen-4/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 07:22:05 +0000 http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/?p=45325 The Kitchen 4

It’s easy to judge women who get involved with bad-news guys and wonder why they don’t just get away as fast as they can. I work in a line of business where I see women who not only hook up with these bad boys, but come back to them again and again. I don’t think I have any special insight into the problem, but what I see is it doesn’t matter how much support the woman gets from her friends and family; unless she feels strong and secure in herself, she can’t break free from that relationship.

And yeah, sometimes that strength has to be physical so she can literally escape with her life. Certainly when we’re talking about Kath, Angie, and Raven’s husbands, the kind of men who’d rather kill a body than negotiate with him, the lady’s got to be prepared for that drastic scenario. The only wrinkle is their men get out a bit sooner than expected, and while our trio of ladies have clearly made strides in the business, it’s not entirely clear if they can handle such cutthroat threats one-on-one.

By this point, all three have experience bringing a man down, and Angie in particular has awakened a sadistic streak. It’s true that even without Tommy as their surprisingly supportive hound (“Remember, just ‘cause you ain’t got a dick don’t mean you gotta be treated like one.”), they can handle a lot of crap on their own. But there’s a difference between getting the surprise jump on someone, as Angie does with the conservative Herb and Raven with husband Johnny, and grappling with a direct attack. At some point, Rob is going to feel the sting of his helpless adoration for Angie; Johnny’s going to catch Raven without Tony to serve as unwanted back-up; and Jimmy will begin to act on his menacingly silent plans.

While all this is going on, Masters delves into the relationships between the women and their men, letting us into how they got together in the first place. Unsurprisingly, given how meek she started out in the series, Angie rewarded Rob not so much for his affection as for the safety he provided. Now that she can do that for herself, she reveals the possibility that she never had much capacity to love anyone in the first place, even if the likes of Tommy excites her. With Raven, it’s not that she’s incapable of love, but that her loveless marriage chilled her heart, leading her to push away Tony’s well-meaning protection. That leaves Kath and Jimmy with the closest to a mutual connection, although Masters is careful to clarify that Jimmy’s feelings aren’t what we consider love in the conventional sense. So in an interesting twist, the woman who pushed her friends into all this is now the most emotionally vulnerable while they seem readier to face the fatal consequences of their actions.

At this point, I’ve got to mention the craft of Masters’ writing, which has grown crisper and punchier with every issue. The characters definitely don’t mince words (“How is that crazy fuck still alive?” Raven queries after Tommy drives off), and neither does Masters. I’m a big fan of the “Less is more” movement,* and sometimes just saying it like it is packs more meaning than all the exposition you can provide. As Raven and Johnny’s relationship, Masters narrates, “She resented him for not letting her go back to college. He resented her for not being able to give him a son. And that had been their life.” Short and blunt, but within you can sense the years of sullen silences, the waspish conflicts, the cause of their immediately bitter dynamic.

Doyle’s work isn’t lacking in emotion, but it doesn’t exude much, which makes sense for a world in which deep attachment is counterproductive to survival. Even when Raven’s admitting that she likes what she has with Tony, there’s only the most cautious of warmth in her expression and body language. More visceral is the chill that enters the room once Johnny comes home and lingers even after he leaves. At times, you wish Doyle’s linework was a little tighter, but with Bellaire’s mellow coloring, the art does the title right, even if it could stand to be a bit better.

Some Musings:

* Even though I’ve never been able to do it myself very consistently.

The post The Kitchen #4 appeared first on Weekly Comic Book Review.

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The Kitchen 4

It’s easy to judge women who get involved with bad-news guys and wonder why they don’t just get away as fast as they can. I work in a line of business where I see women who not only hook up with these bad boys, but come back to them again and again. I don’t think I have any special insight into the problem, but what I see is it doesn’t matter how much support the woman gets from her friends and family; unless she feels strong and secure in herself, she can’t break free from that relationship.And yeah, sometimes that strength has to be physical so she can literally escape with her life. Certainly when we’re talking about Kath, Angie, and Raven’s husbands, the kind of men who’d rather kill a body than negotiate with him, the lady’s got to be prepared for that drastic scenario. The only wrinkle is their men get out a bit sooner than expected, and while our trio of ladies have clearly made strides in the business, it’s not entirely clear if they can handle such cutthroat threats one-on-one.By this point, all three have experience bringing a man down, and Angie in particular has awakened a sadistic streak. It’s true that even without Tommy as their surprisingly supportive hound (“Remember, just ‘cause you ain’t got a dick don’t mean you gotta be treated like one.”), they can handle a lot of crap on their own. But there’s a difference between getting the surprise jump on someone, as Angie does with the conservative Herb and Raven with husband Johnny, and grappling with a direct attack. At some point, Rob is going to feel the sting of his helpless adoration for Angie; Johnny’s going to catch Raven without Tony to serve as unwanted back-up; and Jimmy will begin to act on his menacingly silent plans.While all this is going on, Masters delves into the relationships between the women and their men, letting us into how they got together in the first place. Unsurprisingly, given how meek she started out in the series, Angie rewarded Rob not so much for his affection as for the safety he provided. Now that she can do that for herself, she reveals the possibility that she never had much capacity to love anyone in the first place, even if the likes of Tommy excites her. With Raven, it’s not that she’s incapable of love, but that her loveless marriage chilled her heart, leading her to push away Tony’s well-meaning protection. That leaves Kath and Jimmy with the closest to a mutual connection, although Masters is careful to clarify that Jimmy’s feelings aren’t what we consider love in the conventional sense. So in an interesting twist, the woman who pushed her friends into all this is now the most emotionally vulnerable while they seem readier to face the fatal consequences of their actions.At this point, I’ve got to mention the craft of Masters’ writing, which has grown crisper and punchier with every issue. The characters definitely don’t mince words (“How is that crazy fuck still alive?” Raven queries after Tommy drives off), and neither does Masters. I’m a big fan of the “Less is more” movement,* and sometimes just saying it like it is packs more meaning than all the exposition you can provide. As Raven and Johnny’s relationship, Masters narrates, “She resented him for not letting her go back to college. He resented her for not being able to give him a son. And that had been their life.” Short and blunt, but within you can sense the years of sullen silences, the waspish conflicts, the cause of their immediately bitter dynamic.Doyle’s work isn’t lacking in emotion, but it doesn’t exude much, which makes sense for a world in which deep attachment is counterproductive to survival. Even when Raven’s admitting that she likes what she has with Tony, there’s only the most cautious of warmth in her expression and body language. More visceral is the chill that enters the room once Johnny comes home and lingers even after he leaves. At times, you wish Doyle’s linework was a little tighter, but with Bellaire’s mellow coloring, the art does the title right, even if it could stand to be a bit better.Some Musings:* Even though I’ve never been able to do it myself very consistently.

The post The Kitchen #4 appeared first on Weekly Comic Book Review.

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