A whopping ten comics that I give a shit about came out today, luckily, four of them were released on the internet a few weeks ago, so I'll just re-post my old reviews and maybe make a few new observations.
Starting off the week is Captain America #3
I'm thinking that this is the best book Marvel puts out. A while ago, I said that Brubaker is becoming one of my favorite writers; today he cracked the top 3. International forces begin to take down the other WMD's that the Red Skull planned on setting off to fuel the cosmic cube. Union Jack discovers AIM agents have already taken out the London site, and Cap shows up just in time to catch them as they were escaping. This makes for a very cool CAP BEATING ASS scene, where he actually uses something in his utility belt (!!!) and then kicks ass some more. Afterwards, Cap and Sharon Carter enjoy some time off in Paris, while S.H.I.E.L.D. searches for the other bomb. Cap has been noticing lately that his memories are getting jumbled together; he isn't remembering things like he used to, and is having false memories pop up at weird times. I'm sure this will all eventually go somewhere important, but now it’s just something intriguing going on the background. Finally, an ending that is perhaps more shocking than #1, because it has almost no set-up, but it works because it is so shocking. Remember Nomad? Jack Monroe? He gets capped like a pussy this issue, and the plot thickens...
Resurrecting its self on my care-o-meter is Gotham Central #28
I dunno what it was with the last few issues, maybe the art just wasn't working for me, but I really dig this issue. No, Michael Lark hasn't returned, but someone doing a very good Lark impersonation is on art duties, and the book is suddenly good again. So, some fighting kids stumble upon some chemicals in some vacant basement, and the chemicals spill and hijinks ensue. Actually, a police officer gets burned alive by the end of it, but it's intriguing either way. All signs point to one of the Flash's rogues concerning who owns the chemicals, so it's off to Keystone city next issue. The staying power of this book is seriously in question. With Lark gone and Brubaker now Marvel exclusive, my two biggest reasons to buy the book are now gone, but if Rucka and this new guy can keep the quality of this issue up, I'll stick with the book until it gets cancelled.
Also surprisingly good is The Incredible Hulk #78
This wasn't good in the "boy, that was really thought provoking" way, but in the "it's cool to see Hulk smash things" way. Hulk fights something that looks like the classic grey Hulk, but kills him and it turns out to be... something else. Maybe a guy in a suit. All the while, he's watched by someone sitting behind a bank of monitors, sorta creepy, but haven't we just been through this with Bruce Jones' tedious mega-arc?
In keeping with the theme of big fights is JLA #111
So, the JLA and the CSA finally go at it, but they prove to be a little more capable than they were in JLA: Earth 2, and they actually win the fight. Busiek does give an explanation for why Ultraman can put up a fight, but the JLA (with more members) should have been able to take them. I dunno, maybe the CSA just had more time to prepare. Anyway, there is a sub plot with the quardians which only serves to complicate things, and Ron Garney just ain't my cup of tea. While reading this, I couldn't help but have flashbacks to the brilliant JLA: Earth 2 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, and I lament about how great this series would be if those two were back on it. Oh well, it's still an alright book.
Getting a little darker is The Punisher MAX #17
So, we find out what the deal was with the terrorist sub plot. Lots of people won't be happy with it, and although I think it stretches plausibility, I still buy it. In the world of the Punisher, the government is run by fuck ups, I can live with it. Anyway, after getting his ass handed to him by the Mongolian last issue, Frank gets a second wind courtesy of a well-timed flashback about how his family got killed. Frank freaks out and literally swings the Mongolian by his foot until his leg comes off. Sick stuff. At the end, Frank devises a plan to get out of the silo with the girl, it's risky and it shows that Frank has incredible balls, but it might just work. I'm loving this book.
Also out this week is MK Spider-Man #11
Remember when I said that shit was really gonna get good with this issue? Well, I was only semi-right. There is an excellent fight scene in the book, but it's not the HUGE fight against the sinister twelve that I thought would be there. Spidey finally gets some support, as the Avengers (pre-disassembled), Fantastic Four, and Daredevil show up to kick the shit out of the baddies. This leaves Spidey with an opportunity to go after the Goblin. What slows him down is Mac Gargan AKA the Scorpion in the Venom costume. I'm not entirely sure what to call him, but they have a big ol' fight, and Spidey drops a building on him. Finally, Spidey confronts the Goblin on the top of the same bridge where he killed Gwen Stacy (and the same bridge where he confronted Gwen's kids, but continuity is screwy these days, so I don't mind) except this time he's got Mary Jane. Next issue promises a big Spidey/Goblin fight that should be very cool. I like.
Millar continues to deliver some good reading with The Ultimates 2 #3
This book keeps getting better with every issue. The whole issue is devoted to the Trial of the Hulk, and it moves at a pretty brisk pace. Matt Murdock is his attorney, and does the best job he can to save the life of Bruce Banner, but it just isn't enough. The jury wants to punish the monster that killed those hundreds of people, so an elaborate execution is set up. Banner is drugged by Pym to sleep through the NUCLEAR BLAST designed to kill him while he's left on an abandoned aircraft carrier somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. When you think the deed is done, Pym gets a call from a scruffy haired drifter, somewhere in Miami or LA, it seems, thanking him. So, HOORAY! The Hulk lives! So, I really liked this issue. It reads better while holding it as opposed to reading it off a computer screen. Just a solid one-issue story with a very satisfying ending. This is the reason I love comics.
The Ultimate universe continues with Ultimate X-Men #56
So, while Millar used shock, and Bendis used introspection, they were both new takes on the X-Men, they both were about a team that was different than how you've seen the X-Men before. Brian K Vaughan, on the other hand, delivers an X-Men team that is very classic and familiar. He's basically doing a straight X-Men book, which might be why I find it so pedestrian, but by virtue of the fact that it's Vaughan who's writing it, it manages to be the best X-Men book on the stands currently. Yes, better than the very pretty but far too fanboy-pandering Astonishing X-Men. So, in this issue the Longshot story continues. The Spiral fight is cut short by the Phoenix making an appearance, and the "is Colossus gay?" sub plot rears it's head again, and takes Longshot along for the ride. A fun book.
Moving on, it's the third of the Grant Morrison Vertigo mini's, Vimanarama #1
Wow, this is a fun and fast paced book. Like a lot of other Morrison books, it just moves like a bat out of hell, never bothers with that exposition bullshit, and only bothers to give you the information you'll need at that moment. So, the book's about Ali, an Indian teen/twenty something that is facing down an arranged marriage. Before he can meet his intended bride, he helps his uncle out of a hole he fell in. Upon investigating the hole and looking for his brother, he discovers a hidden city underground, with some hibernating aliens that his brother accidentally awakens. A very fun ride, even if I have to re-read it a few times.
And finally, last but certainly not least is Young Avengers #1
So, I really liked this book. I appreciated that they skipped the "lets get the team together" thing that is currently taking six issues in New Avengers. When the book starts, the team is already formed and has already gotten some press. Now, the press part is the one thing that irks me. Ten pages of Jessica Jones before we see the actual team is a bit much. Yeah, I like Jessica Jones, and the ten pages were spent talking about the Young Avengers, but the whole Jessica and J Jonah Jameson and Kat Farrel could have been accomplished in maybe 5 pages, we would have got more Young Avengers action that way. What I dig about the team is they have a clear goal, the book is about something more specific than "lets just watch the team do what the do" which is really gonna come in handy if the book's sales slide and they need to wrap it up, but really, the book is so good that I doubt that'll happen any time soon (then again, the comic industry is really good at canceling good books, so I dunno). So, what is the book about? What's its clear goal? Well, it all hasn't been revealed yet, but it seems Iron Lad (yes, it's a lame name, something they point out in the book, so there has to be a point to it) is convinced that Kang the conqueror is gonna strike some time, and only this team is gonna be able to take him. What is so special about this team? Well, we don't know what secrets Patriot, Hulkling, and Asgardian hold, but Iron Lad has a doozy. He's really from the 30th century, and his name is Kang. Cool, huh? Can't wait for the next issue to see what the next secret is.