Saturday, July 30, 2016

Not-Very-Deep Thoughts: The July 13 Edition (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

All-New X-Men #11:  From a character perspective, Hopeless does a great job here with Evan.  He shows his anguish in a way that reminds us that he's a teenager:  he's not thinking through the ramifications of his actions as he seeks to save En Sabah Nur from his future.  When Hank is forced to return them home lest they do more damage, Evan is despondent, his chance at redemption lost.  That said, from a plot perspective, Hopeless leaves so much on the table here that I have to assume we'll revisit this story one day.  First, Hank trades a story of the future with the Mystic to get back the Mask of Horus, though we don't learn what story Hank tells him.  Does Hank give the Mystic information that helps him mold En Sabah Nur into Apocalypse?  Does he do it intentionally, given his belief he and Evan shouldn't change the past?  Second, Hank tells Evan that the Mask showed him something on their journey to the present, but Evan refuses to hear what it is.  It's presumably more important than the winning lottery numbers, so I'm assuming that we'll hear what it is one day.  Finally, Hopeless more or less leaves us hanging when it comes to En Sabah Nur himself.  His father pledges to basically brutalize him until he becomes a man.  However, Hopeless did such a good job of showing us En Sabah Nur's decency that it's hard to believe that his father could ever be so successful.  How does En Sabah Nur finally break?  We really need another arc (or mini-series) to close this circle.

Civil War II #3:  I don't have much to say except that I'm Team Tony all the way here.  As Tony himself says to Carol, we're basically at the point where she could justify murdering everyone with powers, because Ulysses could, at some point, predict them going off the deep end.  Bendis also makes Tony's position compatible with his position in the original "Civil War:"  he believes that they need to be protecting people, but that also means protecting each other.  Moreover, Bendis did a great job keeping the denouement of this issue a surprise.  I was really expecting Carol to force Ulysses' vision of a rampaging Hulk to come true.  When Hawkeye does what he did here, I was as confused as the characters, adding to the drama.  I legitimately can't wait to see where we go from here.

Detective Comics #936:  We get a surprising amount of answers here, given that I assumed we'd spend at least a year not knowing the identity of the organization hunting the team.  Tynion gets right to it, though:  it's called the Colony, Kate's dad is at least one of its leaders (if not the leader), and he's been training her explicitly for the purpose of joining him.  He claims that it's an altruistic organization fighting global threats that Batman has ignored due to his singular focus on Gotham.  They've got a target in Gotham, and they had to take down Batman since he'd likely try to stop them from eliminating it.  That shadiness -- in addition to the years of lying -- leads Kate (and the reader) to conclude that they're probably not as altruistic as Kate's dad is pretending they are.  Kate and the team escape, and we're really cruising for a bruising now.  For me, the great part is that Tynion shows that he's playing for keeps here.  The revelation that Kate's dad has betrayed her isn't something that a future author is just going to be able to ignore.  Plus, Tynion digs into Kate herself; this story is about addressing her own self-doubts.  He brilliantly uses Renée to reveal these doubts, as she notes that Kate seems all business to most people but the few people that know her well know that she needs direction.  But, without Batman to lead, she's going to have to trust herself and her teammates.  We're three issues into this relaunch, but it already feels like this team has been together for years.  Team Belfry all the way, man.

New Avengers #13:  You know, I'm really happy I hung in here.  With the focus shifting to Bobby and Sam, I feel like we're getting the old band together again.  They even have a secret "mutual friend" on the island!  I was a little surprised when I learned that Sam is married with a kid, but a little Internet research reveals that it happened during the time period where the Avengers jumped eight months into the future.  (If I'm not mistaken, we're now 16 months from that original point, since we're eight months after "Secret Wars."  Maybe?  Or is it the same eight months?  Whatever.)  Also, I'm starting to feel invested in the other characters, particularly Songbird.  She really compliments Bobby, and I have to wonder, after all this time, if he hasn't met his match (other than Sam, obviously).  When you add in there the Maker and a rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent as enemies, every issue is really a series of unpredictable events.  It was a slow, uneven start, but Ewing is finding his footing here.  Score one for an event keeping me engaged in a series (he says, shocked).

Nightwing:  Rebirth #1:  Seeley somehow manages to wrap up every loose end from "Grayson" in a coherent narrative that unfolds naturally.  The frame of the story has Dick on the hunt for a device that can disable the bomb that the Court of Owl put in Damian's brain at the end of "Robin War."  Although Tiger isn't able to help him, Midnighter is, providing him with such a device.  To warm up an unaware Damian, Dick brings him to the arcade to play his favorite video game ("Cheese Vikings").  Seeing the two of them together made me long for the days when they were a team, since their banter is so naturally good.  As always, Dick brings out the best in Damian as a character (moving him beyond his often one-dimensional portrayal):  when Dick tells him about the bombs, Damian demands more ice cream and video games, acting almost as a normal kid.  With the bomb eventually defused, Dick is now freed from the Court of Owls.  However, we learn that he's actually beholden to the Parliament of Owls, a more global group.  (I had no idea they were two different entities, and I can't tell if we're learning that for the first time here or if we've known about it for a while.) At any rate, Lincoln March is crowing over his success in securing Dick to the Parliament, but he's seemingly killed by a Talon, expositing that they really want more direct access to Nightwing.  They're going to get it, too, because Dick takes up the Nightwing persona again at the end of this issue specifically to take down the Parliament.  As thrilled as I am with Seeley tying up all these loose ends, it was really Dick's brotherly time with Damian that I enjoyed the most.  I hope that we see him frequently in the coming series.

Also Read:  Bloodshot Reborn #15; Dungeons & Dragons:  Shadows of the Vampire #3

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