Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Reviews of Comics from May 16, 2012

Fantastic Four 605.1 is a testament of perfection in comics.

With one single issue of Fantastic Four, Jonathan Hickman does wonders.  We're given a Nazi Reed Richards that ended up with an Infinity Gauntlet, one of the Council of Reed Richards that built Bridges to seek out other universes.  Yeah, the guy with a beard that a mad Celestial killed a little while back. This is set up for the forthcoming Doom storyline, which given Hickman's forthcoming departure for the series is likely to be grand.  Doom has the Nazi Reed Richard's Infinite Gauntlet now.  Great read. Buy it. Buy it forever. Or at least until Hickman has moved on to his next project. 

Avengers vs. X-Men delivers exactly what it promises and a bit more.

Avengers vs. X-Men 4 was a bit like a hectic hyped-up world tour issue, but the important thing is that it ends in the Blue Area of the Moon.  As ever, the fighting that is reserved for AvX is cut down to basics, here. Captain America's off-handed dismissal of Gambit is particularly disappointing comparatively, but perhaps that's understandable. The Avengers have won most of the battles, and the cover for the next issue indicates that the Phoenix, after brutally beating Thor into a crater, has arrived. And there's Hope. We'll see where all this macho posturing and plot twistiness gets us into, on a large scale.

Incredible Hulk 7.1 lets Hulk sow some wild oats.

Meanwhile, The Incredible Hulk 7.1 shows great strides in dealing with the serious heaviness of preceding issues.  The tortured soul of Banner lives on in Hulk, even though Hulk made a deal with Dr. Doom to separate the two of them in body and mind.  Banner went all Island of Dr. Moreau and ended up dying in Hulk's arms at the heart of a Gamma Bomb explosion.  But now Hulk is independent of Banner. And he spends weeks just cooking sharks and riding Triceratops in the Savage Land.  Good enough to be a point one comic, anyday.  But they cooked up something special for us, specifically Betty (Red She-Hulk) Ross beating Hulk down and sexing him in the wreckage they created in their fight, making an eyeball-hunting villain watch while they do.  It seems like Hulk writers always have had the dilemma of Banner, but just this once, Hulk, not Banner, got what he'd yelled for for years.  He got to be alone. Then he got to bone. Red and green Hulk baby, anyone?

JLA will get better soon, I should hope.

Justice League of America is a convoluted mess, in terms of plot, and the art still feels like the failed universe of Wildstorm got ahold of icons.  It seems bereft of years of DC history, and rather than adding to the myths of these characters we have a Steve Trevor subplot indicating the military's extreme role in the JLA's sanctioned actions, the old villain The Key in a confusing role with none of the brilliance exhibited, only the crazy, and a dying writer who apparently wants to get the JLA's attention. It feels like a lot is packed in, but it doesn't pull through, too clogged with splash page battles and pointless confrontations and demotivating motives.  The back-up storyline with Shazam! seems somehow bitter and mean, with no hint of the frivolity and gee shucks attitude that Captain Marvel once possessed.

Green Lantern Corps 9 just reinforces that the Guardians are scum.

 Green Lantern Corps. has recently seen shakeups, and out of all the Green Lantern titles it is the one that, until recently, directly addressed the fact that the Guardians of the Universe are complete scheming monster scumbags that must be stopped at any cost.  John Stewart, or if you like, the black Green Lantern, recently killed a fellow Corps. member that was about to divulge secret codes to Oa's power battery to save himself. Snapped his neck, only brief hesitation and fair warning. The Alpha Lanterns bring him in, and the truth of his actions come out.  Green Lantern Corps. is an intriguing continuation of the political and the military bounds that are part and parcel for the Green Lantern's mythology and position in the Universe. The Green Lantern titles as a whole show a certain stability of universe somewhat lacking from a few other titles in the New 52, approaching the Second Wave.

Captain Atom 9 is a very well composed work.

The storyline in Captain Atom continues to grow and pique interest, thanks to an stable writer J.T. Wells and an evolving artist in Freddie Williams III.  Arguably the most powerful superhuman in terms of potential, the character has come into his own since several attempts over the years to revamp him from his Silver Age roots have failed or been rendered moot. Currently, the Captain is meeting his future selves, and the world that they have turned into a virtual paradise.  To cultivate such a powerful hero is to often to court editorial disaster. When split open in Kingdom Come he took out the midwest. When transported to the Wildstorm Universe he heralded its imminent destruction. Cosmically, if he can expand beyond brainwashed militarism or perhaps even team up with Firestorm, his powers could prove most interesting, especially given that The Doctor of the Wildstorm Universe has yet to appear in the New 52. The Captain would have an interesting lesson to learn, there.

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