Thursday, May 13, 2010


Wow. Wow. That was a big week. With Siege #4 coming out this week, Marvel's Dark Reign is over, the Heroic Age is starting up, and several Avengers titles are ending with a bang. But it wasn't all violence and heroics; some other very nice titles made it into my bag. So, without further adieu, let's review.

HERO OF THE WEEK: Siege #4 had many heroes. Iron Man shut down Norman Osborn. Thor gave the Sentry a proper funeral. Hell, even Loki tried to be good for five seconds before getting disintegrated. But in the end, I have to give it to the big guy, Steve Rogers. In the aftermath of the Siege, the former Captain America was summoned by the President and formally asked to take over Osborn's spot as head of national security. Steve accepted, on the grounds that his demands were met, starting with repealing the registration act.

Making Rogers that top cop is actually a brilliant move by Marvel. For one thing, if you're going to have something called "The Heroic Age", the guy in charge better be the poster boy for heroism. For another, people have been asking why Bucky has remained as Captain America now that Steve's back and why Steve didn't pick up the shield and keep fighting the good fight. Now we know why. Finally, it just makes sense. Steve Rogers has tactical military knowledge, a strong sense of virtue, knowledge of what it means to be a superhero, and good relations with pretty much every good guy on Earth. Nice job, Marvel. Way to be.

VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: If the hero of Siege gets HotW, then the villain of Siege gets VotW. No, not the Void. Even as an omnipotent crazy motherkcufer, he still doesn't do anything (except kill Loki and look menacing). The real villain of Siege, of the whole Dark Reign, is the one, the only, Norman Osborn. Dark Avengers #16, the closer to Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato's awesome series, sees the DA captured by the heroes and taken in for their unlawful attack on Asgard. Moonstone and Bullseye attempt escape, but are captured. Daken attemps escape, and succeeds (unfortunately). Victoria Hand is offered a position as Steve Rogers's new right-hand girl. And Norman is put in the Raft, Ryker's Island double-maximum security istallation, in a sub-basement level where he will be the only prisoner. While there, he has a conversation with an unknown person, outlining that everything he did over the past year was to save the world a protect it in a way that the superheroes could not, and it could have worked, if only the other person in the room didn't get in his way. The reveal is that Norman is talking to his own psychosis and inner demon, the Green Goblin, and he then realizes that he will likely spend the rest of his days alone with this monster. It almost makes us feel pity for Norman, and is a relly nice sendoff to a character who has become one of Marvel's best villains. Excellent.

ISSUE OF THE WEEK: Believe it or not, it's not a Siege tie-in (although most will be mentioned). No, it's The Flash #2. Picking up where last issue left off, Barry is hunted by the Renegades, time cops based on the modern-day Rogues, so that he can be arrested for a murder he hasn't commited yet. A brief fight ensues, which ends with the Renegades retreating due to a malfunction of their time-travel devices. However, this also leads to a nearby apartment building collapsing. Flash, of course saves everyone, but the accident leaves them homeless. So what does the Flash do? In one of the most amusing displays of superpowers ever, the Flash speed-reads entire books on architecture, gathers materials, and builds a new apartment, all in the span of a few minutes. It's actually pretty darn funny. Afterwards, the Central City crime lab finds traces of Barry Allen's blood on the corpse of Mirror Monarch, making for an awkward situation. Also, we see that Captain Boomerang is going to break himself out of Iron Heights prison (somehow) and rejoin the Rogues afterwards.

Geoff Johns loves the Flash and like last issue, he shows it here. Barry as a good sense of humor to him and a fun chemistry with his wife, Iris. The Rogues, particularly Captain Cold, remain badass and brutal villains. And Frances Manapul's art is still kcufing gorgeous. You guys should really be following this series.

OTHER THINGS OF NOTE: New Avengers Finale. The title pretty much says it all. Since the Disassembled storyline, New Avengers has pretty much been Marvel's A-list team. They've seen mutants decimated, Civil Wars fought, Skrulls invade, and been fugitives in the Dark Reign. This is a great closer to it, giving us both an end to the current story and the series as a whole. The story picks up after Siege, as the New Avengers hunt down the Hood and Madame Masque. It's a fun little romp, but the meat of the issue is the ending, where Luke Cage goes over what being a New Avenger has meant to him, what his experiences have been, and how happy he is that they are no longer fugitives ion the world. Had I read more of the series, this would have been really touching. As it stands, I get why it's supposed to be really touching and I think it does a good job of conveying it's message.

Avengers: The Initiative #35 is another closer. It starts with Taskmaster escaping Asgard with Constrictor, including a very tragic moment where Frank leaves Diamondback behind. After that, the Counter-Initiative beats back the Hood's syndicate and the first class at the Initiative reunites, including Komodo getting her powers back. The next day, Tigra confronts the newly captured Hood and, instead of killing him, leaves him to face his wife and daughter. We also meet Tigra's son, who was apparently born when we weren't looking thanks to her cat-physiology or some such nonsense. Then, the New Warriors decide that in the Heroic Age, the idea of the Avengers Initiative would flourish. Finally, we see a few snippets of what happened to other characters in the series. It's a great closer, with nice emotional beats and a clear love of these characters. I'm really looking forward to seeing Christos Gage's next project, Avengers Academy.

Alright, enough Siege. Ultimate Spider-Man #10 is next. It's honestly not the best issue, but it's still nice. When we last left our heroes, Kitty Pryde was in a classroom with federal agents pointing guns at her and demanding she come with them. While Johnny Storm and Bobby Drake want to do something about it, Peter Parker warns them about making the whole thing an incident. And guess who does something about it? KONG! That's right, Kitty's ex, the big bully turned big softie Kenny Macfarlane punches one of the agents. Kitty decides that enough is enough and she escapes with Kong into the sewers. The rest's just drama. It's Kitty, as the Shroud, fighting the Spider-friends and saying that Magneto was right. It's well written, it's just wholly unoriginal and not really that interesting. It's something of a misstep, but establishing what it's like for mutants in a post-Ultimatum world was necessary, and Bendis pulled it off as well as he could.

Birds of Prey #1 puts us back on the DC train. Gail Simone's group of female superheroes reunites in this Brightest Day crossover with something unexepcted: a dude! The recently resurrected Hawk, of the duo Hawk and Dove, will be joining the team, which should make for tons of awkward but probably funny situations. The storyline is basically reintroduction to the principle characters: Black Canary, Huntress, and Oracle. We also get some stuff with Lady Blackhawk, but she's sort of relegated to being a source of out-of-date dialogue. It's pretty by-the-books, but Simone's dialogue and Ed Benes's artwork keeps it interesting. I'll keep on this series to see what happens.

And now it's time for the QUOTE OF THE WEEK! This weeks quote comes from Avengers: The Initiative #36:

"You think I changed my mind because I saw you? No. It's what I saw in the hall. I'm letting you live because you'll never get to hold your baby again. And because I want to spend a lifetime holding mine."

Whew. That was exhausting. Thanks for sticking it out, guys. I'll see you next time!

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