Friday, October 21, 2005

4-Color Fri - The Crisis Is Here, And I Have Read It!

On my way back from seeing Wicked in Dallas, I was stuck in rush hour traffic. When I got to the Lewisville exit, I decided to go ahead and head on to Plano, figuring that by the time I picked up my comics and headed back to I-35, traffic would have cleared up a bit. Plus, I was about to go crazy trying to avoided Infinite Crisis spoilers. And speaking of spoilers, they abound in the following reviews, so readers beware.

Villains United #6: Still my favorite of the Infinite Crisis prequels. The big reveal of there being two Lexes was a great twist; I'm very curious which reality the other Lex is from. Was going to be ticked if they'd bumped off Deadshot, who is one of the best anti-heroes around.

Birds of Prey #87: One of the best things to come out of all of the recent Crisis shenanigans, apart from all the alternate reality stuff, has been the reinvention of The Calculator (who was formerly a really, really dorky looking villain) as the anti-Oracle. So, it's only fitting that he's finally getting to match wits with Babs. Once again, Simone is doing a bang-up job on this book, and I'm curious about the teaser of an ex-JLA member joining the cast soon.

JLA #120: Oh good grief, what a stinky pile of cheese this issue was. The whole "cleansing ceremony to put the old league behind us" thing was painful. Did like having the gang getting some of their beefs off their chests, even if it did get a little overboard at times. Hoping that the recruiting of new members and conflict with The Key (whose identity was pretty veiled throughout the issue itself, but spoiled by the next issue blurb) will improve things. The one downside to pre-ordering the comics is that you've usually paid for half of a story arc before you find out it's crap. I offer up any single issues of any series by Chuck Austen that I own as evidence.

Manhunter #15: Fun standalone issue that explores the history of the super-powered items Kate pilfered from evidence lockers for her vigilante activities. Knew that the staff was tied into Mark Shaw's days as Manhunter, and was pleased to see that they tied in the death of the fake Shaw from the Eclipso series, but was surprised by the origin of the armor and claws. Next issue promises to bring the DEO more firmly into focus, which means more Chase, which means the book is probably doomed *sigh*

Gravity #5 (of 5): This was a nice little mini from McKeever of Sentinel prestige. Loved that Black Death's master plan was basically to use Gravity's powers to wreak havoc on his alma mater because of the way he was mistreated by the profs and classmates. It's always refreshing to see a villain who's just plain nuts.

She-Hulk #1: Some people might find the "waiting for the trades" jokes in this issue to be a bit too nudge-nudge-wink-wink, but for me, that self-aware aspect has been one of this series' strengths. Plus, the whole "the trades saved me, I'd have been dead without them" payoff was worth it. The whole "bringing Hawkeye back" thing has me confused: is he going to be brought back through time travel here? Or resurrected in House of M? Or have the bastages just been teasing us, and Clint's really on the K.I.A. list for good?

Runaways #9: The strength of this series is its character interactions, and after a couple of so-so issues, it's back in top form. Not sure I liked how ready the Avengers were to assume that Cloak had gone bad; then again, we only have his word that they were only going off a grainy video. Poor Tyrone: one of the eternal whipping boys of the Marvel Universe.
Astro City: The Dark Age Book One #4: Good to have Astro City back on the scene, just wish Busiek could pump the issues out a little more often. As usual, the things that jump out at me are the throwaway characters and concepts; I really want a Bouncing Beatnik origin story sometime soon. Overall, haven't cared for this story arc all that much, am hoping the next one grabs me more.

House of M #7: Honestly, after all the hype about the big twist of who was really behind everything, finding out that it was Pietro whispering in Wanda's ear and not Magneto was a pretty big let-down. And don't get me started on how badly Bendis has butchered Wanda; will never forgive him for the whole mess.

Firestorm #18: Interesting to see that Stuart Moore set up a whole batch of supporting characters, only to effectively remove them a few issues later; it's usually the replacement writer who scraps the old cast. Guessing this was all to set up Jason's involvement with the Donna Troy subplot in Infinite Crisis. The blurb promises he'll merge with an "unexpected partner"; I wonder if it could be Firehawk, who didn't take too kindly to it last time, or possibly that odd sentient energy cloud that was apparently tied to him last issue; could that be Professor Stein? And does anyone reading this have any clue what I'm talking about? I thought not.

Infinite Crisis #1: Okay, here it is, after months of speculation and a couple of weeks of spoiler-avoidage, the first issue of the defining DC event of the decade. Was it worth all the hype? For my money, I say "yes." Even having had the big reveal of the return of the Earth-2 Superman and Earth-Prime Superboy spoiled a while back, the issue had enough other good action to hold my interest. The deaths of Phantom Lady and Human Bomb didn't affect me all that much, but I had much relief when Psycho Pirate spared The Ray, whose short-lived series by Priest is sorely missed. I also got geek-bumps (look goose-bumps, only geekier) from the shot of the L.E.G.I.O.N. flagship crewed not just by Dox, who is almost always the only member that pops up anymore, but also Telepath, Garyn Bek, Lydia Mallor, Strata, and Garv; would have been better to see them in action, but getting to hear Garyn be snarky was good enough. And was I the only one to find Alex Luthor to be just a bit too over-eager for Old Man Supes to bust through the barrier? Looking forward to the next issue of JSA Classified to see how Power Girl ties into all of this, and also looking forward to finding out just what the heck is going on.