WHAT UP WORLD!
This week is nothing short of awesome, not only was it a huge week and a great week to be a Marvel Comics fan but Joe Kelly and Phil Jimenez graced Comic Book Jones on Wednesday with their presence. Sadly, I couldn't make it down to the signing but I heard nothing but good things about the abundance of people that did. I'm always happy to hear about stuff like that because I love CBJ and I love that it just goes to show that one man's dream can become such an incredible reality. SASQUATCH!!! (if you don't know what that means, ask Socko or any one who works at the store.)
So, like I said, this week was huge and if you're a Marvel Comics fan you walked away with a lot to read. So many Siege tie-ins this week it was like Avengers Christmas.
I can't wait to talk about it so lets do it!
First up "FALL OF THE HULKS"
FALL OF THE HULKS: RED HULK #3
Slowly but surely all of the mystery behind the Red Hulk and everything he's done since he first showed up is being peeled away. In this issue we find out why Rick Jones became "A-Bomb" and what ramifications it was supposed to have on Bruce Banner.
We come to find out that The Intelligencia had planned on using Rick Jones as a "Manchurian Candidate" or in layman's terms; a sleeper agent, programmed to kill Bruce Banner at some point in time with some kind of trigger word or action. We also come to find out that the reason the Red Hulk had killed The Abomination was to get a sample of his blood to use in changing Rick into their secret agent.
Rick doesn't remember any of this because it all takes place right after "World War Hulk" when he was knocked out after being almost killed by Miek. Due to the fact that Rick was their at the initial bombardment of Gamma radiation makes him the perfect candidate for further Gamma radiation to become A-Bomb.
Bruce realizes this and forces Rick to attempt to complete his masters scheme.
On the verge of being killed, Bruce tells Rick that he doesn't have to feel guilty about what happened to him all those years ago and it's not his fault. It all sinks in and Rick is now free of The Intelligencia's influence or so we all think.
I've said it about all of the "FALL OF THE HULK" issues and the storyline itself; It's amazing, so many people were hooked from the get go and so many were ready to drop The Hulk because they didn't understand what the grand scheme of things was, yet now it's all being revealed and it's really been worth the rocky ride. This series has put The Hulk and all his supporting characters back into the spotlight where in my opinion they belong. The fact that all these clues are being layed out for us readers in plain sight and we're not seeing them is actually a good thing. It makes for good story telling and keeps the big reveals that much more shocking because then it's a "damn it was right in front of my face and I never saw it coming!" moment.
5 out of 5 "A-BOMB SMASH BANNER!"
As I said in the beginning of this weeks blog, Marvel dropped all of the Siege tie-ins this week and it was like Avengers Christmas in March.
AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #34
MIGHTY AVENGERS #35
NEW AVENGERS #63
With the clock counting down towards the end of these three great titles and the launching of a new set of Avengers books, these said books are going out with a bang!
In Avengers: The Initiative, at Camp H.A.M.M.E.R, Donyell aka Night Thrasher is being goaded by The Hood to kill Tigra in exchange for him bringing back his brother Dwayne. The Avengers resistance are fighting The Hoods powered up goons and Penance and the rest of the Shadow Initiative finally takes a stand against their captors. That's all just in the first five pages of the book, writer Christos Gage really takes this one and knocks it out of the park. Not only do we see these characters who have been struggling for so long with their own internal conflicts and the conflicts of the current state of the world finally take a stand, They actually make that stand mean something more than just rebelling against the current norm when Penance reveals to everyone that he's actually Robbie Baldwin. This in turn, makes this issue into an unexpected NEW WARRIORS reunion and it psyches everyone up to fight the good fight just like the NEW WARRIORS used to do, which I personally loved!
The call comes over the line that Norman Osborn needs The Hood and his heavy hitters to come to Asgard and quick, this is where the initiatives portion of SIEGE fills in the blanks as to how and when The Hood showed up in issue three. Taskmaster gets his ass beat by both Captain Americas and Norman has The Sentry bring down the house around everyone's head.
In The Mighty Avengers, Ultron has infected all of the Jocasta robots and the entire Infinite Mansion's systems. Agents of G.R.A.N.P.A show up to tell Hank Pym that he and his "Mighty Avengers" no longer has backing from this agency when Steve Rogers calls and tells Pym that he needs him and his Avengers to come to Asgard and help in the battle. Pym declines Steve's need for him and tells him to contact the other members himself. As things seem to go from bad to worse, the one true Jocasta informs Pym and the agents that Ultron is back and has taken over.
When Ultron is finally re-constituted, the taken over Jocosta robots ask him what his designation will be Ultron 15, 16 or 17 and he says "I'm beyond designations, I will take the name Ultron Pym after my father."This is a prime example of why Dan Slott is writing this book, the sheer fact that he is an Avengers encyclopedia and a true fan.
The other Avengers are informed about the goings on in Asgard after Amadeus gets the information from Ghost (last issue of Thunderbolts) and head out to stop the Thunderbolts from locating and using Odin's Spear. Another example of Slott's writing at it's best. He's filling in the blanks of how the Mighty Avengers show up on Asgard tasked with the duty of stopping specifically The Thunderbolts.
Pym unhinges The Infinite Mansion from Earth to stop Ultron from escaping. The only door left out of there is into the Underspace, it's a dimension below the Microverse and it's the dimension where Janet Pym had been sent by the Skrulls!
Lastly, but certainly not least, In New Avengers; the crew is in Asgard, alongside the Asgardians fighting Norman Osborn, The Fake Avengers, The Hood and his gang and a slew of H.A.M.M.E.R agents.
Everyone is rallied behind Steve Rogers and the true Avengers cause. They all believe in one way or another that the fact that he's back and fighting against Osborn is a sign that everything is going to return back to normal. No more hiding, no more worrying that they'll be arrested for being heroes. This issue gives a very much needed return to humanizing these characters. It starts with Luke and Jessica talking about how they don't want to hide anymore and they want to be able to raise their daughter in a world where Osborn isn't in charge. Bobbi and Clint run out into the middle of the night to talk and fight the randomly place female Doctor Octopus. In their conversation, they decide that once things are back to "normal", they'll go on vacation and get away from everything for a while and work on making things between the two of them right once and for all.
Bendis is the great conversationalist of the Marvel writers. He really gives depth and feeling to these characters that he loves so much. With the end of this title coming and with the relaunch on the horizon, he isn't letting this book go without one last major bang, Mockingbird being covered in debris when The Sentry crashes into Asgard!
I give all three Avengers books 5 out of 5 "damn i'm glad I got this Avengers tattoo!"
Alerted by Ghost last issue, Amadeus Cho and the rest of the Mighty Avengers (minus Hank Pym and Jocasta) show up on Asgard just in time to stop The Thunderbolts from getting their hands on Odin's Spear, a weapon of great power that any person can hold and use. Paladin and Ant-Man are trying to get the spear so that they can make sure Norman Osborn doesn't get it while Mr. X and Scourge attempt to get it and follow through with their orders.
That's about it for the issue. It's pretty lack luster as far as anything else goes. There is a complete lack of The Asgardians, whose artillery The Thunderbolts invaded to get the spear and Norman Osborn has already been taken down in issue three of Siege. This issue just fills in the blanks as to the Thunderbolts location during The Sentry crashing into Asgard and smashing it into Oklahoma.
I personally think The Thunderbolts could have been used better in the overall SIEGE story but to just kinda sideline them from the main fight and use them as a weak cannon fodder for three issues is sad and really unworthy of the SIEGE banner. Hopefully next issue does something memorable with these characters before the big revamp.
3 out of 5 I wish you were better.
Volstagg vs. Ragnarok aka The Thor Clone while The Asgardians deal with the death and destruction of their people and home.
This issue was really good and for many reasons. The Asgardians were tricked by Loki and too late to stop Osborn and his attacking forces from doing any damage. As the battle has hit the mid-point, their numbers are decreasing as the number of injured or dying is exponentially increasing as the battle continues. There is little they can do because it seems that no matter what they're going to lose. Thor is fighting The Sentry high above Asgard, The Avengers are helping fight back Osborn and the seemingly endless forces of H.A.M.M.E.R and Loki is nowhere to be found. On the ground in Broxton, Volstagg is fighting Ragnarok. He's actually getting his ass kicked because he won't fight back and possibly hurt innocent people since the events in Siege #1. He continues to draw the Thor clone out into the open and eventually under Asgard. He finally fights back and it's almost a stale mate because reguardless of the fact that Volstagg is an Asgardian, he doesn't have the strength of Thor.
Another issue that humanizes seemingly god like characters. The fact that Volstagg won't fight back because he's afraid of injuring other people really gives you a sense that even though it wasn't his fault, Volstagg still feels responsible for the deaths of all those people in Soldiers Field. This issue also humanizes the Asgardians themselves because with the strength and power of gods, they're being crushed by mere mortals in their own home.
4 out of 5 "some things are blocking my view and some things are my view."
Now to the DCU for one of if not the best "BLACKEST NIGHT" TIE-IN EVER!
GREEN LANTERN #52
This issue should have been called "BLACKEST NIGHT # 7.5" because it picks up right where issue number seven leaves off and goes right into issue number 8.
Sinestro now in possession of "The Entity" is the first White Lantern. We the readers are finally taken through the birth of the universe and the birth of the Spectral Entities themselves. From the first flash of light in the universe to the compassion for all things life and death, each emotion and power spectrum is finally given a host and a face.
While all of this is going on Xanshi is high above Earth flooding the skies with every Black Lantern on their way to Coast City. Not only is Xanshi directing the Black Lantern hordes but it's also firing into the ocean around Coast City causing major tidal waves capable of wiping out everyone in the city.
John Stewart and others must fly into the heart of Xanshi and attempt to stop it before the tide of battle has overcome them and everyone on Earth.
Inside Xanshi, they learn that the planet is being controlled by a host of Black Rings, with the combined might of all the color rings, they bring the Black Lantern planet down once and for all. In doing so they also defeat all of the Black Lanterns. It's the same effect as if someone destroyed Mogo, all of the Green Lantern's would lose their powers because Mogo creates the rings.
After almost losing, the tide of battle seems to be shifting in favor of our heroes. Thought dead because of a fatal attack by Nekron, Sinestro is back as the one true guardian of the universe, leading straight into next weeks BLACKEST NIGHT #8!
Geoff Johns is by far one of my favorite writers and this series and everything involved in it is a sign of his mastery at his craft. Time and again, I myself thought that this series couldn't get any better than it has and time and again are we thrown a curve ball that just makes the story and characters that much more interesting and the overall want for the next issue so much more prevalent.
5 out of 5 I WISH I HAD A HIGH RATING SCALE FOR THIS BOOK!
Another book from DC that dropped this week you should totally pick up even if you have no idea who ARSENAL is...
Prometheus attacked Red Arrow during "The Cry For Justice" mini-series, disfiguring him and cutting off his right arm. Now in the care of the JLA at Star Labs, Roy is just waking up into the nightmare that is his life. He awakes to find that he's missing his right arm and that his daughter Lian died during the bombs that Prometheus set off in Opal City. Enraged by it, Roy heads off into Opal City and sees the carnage and ruin the city has become.
Roy is now haunted by the ghost/memory of his dead friend Corey who was his best friend and fellow heroin addict. Before he left Star Labs, Roy took a bottle of pain killers to deal with the pain caused by his missing appendage. It's unsaid but obvious that Corey is Roy's subconscious telling him that he's leading back down the road of becoming a junkie once more.
Roy was one of the first comic characters dealing with addiction and the fact that now after the tragedy he's dealing with is going back to coping with the pain of everything with pills just brings the character back to the start of one of his darkest times.
J.T. Krul is off to a great start dealing with the "Arrow Family" and I can't wait to see what's in story for Roy, Ollie, Dinah and Mia. If you've never read any of the old Green Arrow / Green Lantern stories dealing with Roy and his addiction, now is as good a time as any to get your hands on the trade and see how far Roy has come and how far he could fall.
5 out of 5 " you're dead!"
Mark Millar and Steve McNiven dropped the first issue of their new creator owned Icon series NEMESIS...
Nemesis is the name of the main character and villain in this mini-series about a Batman styled vigilante who uses his skills and money to cause chaos and carnage instead of saving innocent lives.
Mark Millar attempts to really out do himself this time around with over the top scenes of death and destruction; from the death by train scene to the take over and destruction of Air Force One, Millar tries and succeeds.
His usual usage of verbal descriptiveness this time around is exchanged for the support of artist Steve McNiven and his strong story telling through his artwork.
If you just breezed through the book and actually didn't read it you would still enjoy the issue.
The premise of this issue is that Nemesis is looking for someone to challenge him and his abilities, this is where top cop Chief Blake Morrow comes into play. This is how Millar creates a very head to head use of these characters. Between Nemesis' extreme use of time and location and Morrow's by the numbers quick wit makes for a superb show down between the two. It's Batman vs. Batman so to speak.
The really cool thing about this comic is the fact that Millar and McNiven aren't getting paid for this book and in doing so retain the rights to the characters. They are also taking all the profit they do get from this book and donating it to Millar's brother's job where he works with special needs children.
4 out of 5 "Hail your new f***ing Chief."
and that's all for me folks!