Thursday, June 10, 2010


Man, that was great. This was a small week, but a powerful one, with a lot of great books and strong characters and gorgeous artwork. I mean, really, wow. It's Let's get into it:

HERO OF THE WEEK: This makes my last post curiously foreshadowing, but it goes to FDA special agent Tony Chu. Chew #11 starts off the newest arc by introducing new food-based villains: an elite billionaires club that annually gets together to dine on the rarest of the rare cuisines, usually using crime to do it. This time around, it was wooly mammoth, stolen and reconstituted from fossils (think Jurassic Park meets...weirdos who like food). Naturally, Tony goes undercover and brings the lovely Amelia Mintz. He is totally badass, even in the face of dangerous crazly rich folk. And the final page is just funny and even a little heartwarming. If this is anything like Whedonesque storytelling, everything's about to go to hell. Still it's nice while it lasts, and as a standalone story it's just great.

VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: This is weird. Secret Six has won this the last three issues, in as story that hilights Catman as a troubled but brutal warrior. Issue #22 was the conclusion to this story, and while Thomas Blake does shine again, it's just not as powerful as the other issues. Catman's final kills are not as brutal or epic as the last few and the final plot twist with him has little impact. Really, in my mind at least, the show is stolen by Ragdoll. Since Black Alice joined the team, she's had this creepy friendship with Ragdoll (then again, everything Ragdoll does is creepy). However, her troubled mind and emotional baggage and youthful stupidity led her to believe the Scandal Savage was interested in him (despite the fact that she is a lesbian). At the end of the fight, Deadshot makes the usual lewd comment you'd come to expect from him. However, Ragdoll gets indignant, actually calling out Deadshot for being a dick, defending his friend, and, for the first time ever, standing up straight.

This is an incredibly significant development for Ragdoll. This is the first time he's ever demonstrated any semblance of empathy, the first time he's actually cared about others. He's been a creature of pure id up until this point, but Alice's genuine (and genuinely creepy) attraction to him has actually changed him. Ragdoll is the breakout character of this series and this is one of his finest moments. Bravo, Gail Simone. Bravo.

ISSUE OF THE WEEK: I'm genuinely surprised by this. Really, I just picked up this issue not knowing if i'd follow the series or not. But now I am because of this. And by this, I mean Young Allies #1. This issue was a coming together for the new team, bringing young superheroes together against a common threat. Their introductions don't have equal calibur, but that's actually okay. Toro gets the most development, as he is a mostly unheard of character and needs an origin and motivation, which is clear. Next is Firestar, who we learn is trying to pull a Peter Parker and balance superheroing and grad school, as well as maintaining a ties with her friends from Marvel Divas. Then comes Nomad and Arana, who are BFFs and are cute and fun. Finally, there's Gravity, but writer Sean McKeever's given him enough development. All of them are well set up and come together nicely to become...well, allies.

The villains are probably the best idea to ever come out of a bad pun. The Masters of Evil are a long running villain team in the Marvel universe, and the line-up has changed a lot over their 40-year tenure. McKeever presents the idea that these villains have had illegitamate kids, that those kids developed similar powers to their parents, and that those kids have banded together to form...wait for it...the Bastards of Evil. Yeah, I know, right? The Bastards (that's so fun to write) have just an okay start; the members are established, but not their motivations exactly. I suppose that'll wait til future issues, but i'm on the edge of my seat.

And now on to the art: It's gorgeous. David Baldeon is a lot like Frances Manapul; his art style is accessable and great in it's simplicity; focused and tight during quiet moments and dynamic during action sequences. It's really, really nice and matches the book perfectly.

I don't know why I love this so much. Maybe it's just cause of when I read it. It's fluff, i'll admit that. It's just pure, light fun. But after reading a stack of deep, brutal, confusing, and even somewhat tragic books, the fluff was really refreshing and really nice to see. Regardless, Young Allies was a great read and I highly recommend it.

OTHER THINGS OF NOTE: Avengers Academy #1 was also a strong start to a new young team of heroes, but not as strong as it could have been. The team is made up of superhumans captured by Norman Osborn during the Dark Reign and experimented upon. However, we don't learn much about them beyond basic character traits: Striker's a gloryhound, Hazmat's a bitch, Finesse is cocky, and Reptil has no personality and is pretty lame all around. The best of the team are Veil and Mettle, and the former only gets more development because she's narrating. The theme, however, is very clear from the get-go. For the staff, it's about redemption, especially for Hank Pym, Robbie Baldwin, and Pietro Maximoff. For the kids, however, it's about predemption. The kids were chosen because they were at the greatest risk for becoming supervillains. This is a brilliant idea from writer Christos Gage, and while the execution doesn't live up to what the concept promises, i'm definately hooked.

Ultimate Avengers 2 #3 was alright. I was hoping Ultimate Ghost Rider would get more development, but i'm cool with what we got. He's apparently the devil's hitman, and chooses methods of executions based on the answers to crossword puzzles (It's really lucky he gets words like 'heartless' and 'beheaded'). Pimp Hulk and the American Punisher are blending in uncomfortably to the team, which is good for them and for us. I'm looking forward to what happens here.

Cowboy Ninja Viking #6 was a very wordy issue. It's also different for two reasons. For one, the artwork. In previous issues, the coloring has been limited to one color. This issue stops being monochromatic. The change is unexpected, but actually adds more legitamacy to the comic. Second, we start a new story arc. Duncan's emotional baggage finally comes to a head here, as his feelings for Nix clash with his addiction to his ex-wife Grear. Dr. Ghislain sends him to a shrink, who, after 30 or so sessions, suggests that he could remove Duncan's alternate personalities. While this issue is tough to read dialogue-wise, it is more interesting to look at and sets up a cool story-arc (although I already miss the commentary from CNV).

And now it's time for QUOTE OF THE WEEK! This week's quote comes from Secret Six #22:

"From Hell's black heart to desert haunt
This rage still crawls between us
And don't pretend that you don't want
My boyfriends bendy &^*%^%!"

Well, that was fun. I feel sorry for the week of June 16th. It has to follow this. But, here's hoping it puts up a good fight. Until then, thanks for reading, i'll see you next time.

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