Monday, July 11, 2016

Not-Very-Deep Thoughts: The May 11 Edition (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

All-New X-Men #9:  Hopeless does a great job with Evan here as he celebrates his 16th birthday.  He shows us Evan's birthday wish, that he could return to his idyllic childhood in Kansas.  But, it turns out Evan didn't actually have that childhood; his cloners simply implanted those memories.  (Even after reading "Wolverine and the X-Men" for as long as I did, I still didn't know that.)  Hopeless also lets us know that Evan feels pressure to be "the smiley guy in the corner," as Bobby describes him:  he's afraid that his friends will panic if they ever see him angry or sad, since he is, after all, Apocalypse's clone.  However, before he can spend too long at this pity party, he visits Hank in his lab and absently puts on the mask that Dr. Strange gave Hank.  Hank is testing a time-travel device at the time, and the two items interact.  Evan and Hank find themselves in ancient Egypt, where Evan comes face-to-face with the young (and significantly less evil) Apocalypse.  Although I still have no idea how these "Apocalypse Wars" stories are linked, this installment is just as interesting as the other ones that I've read.

All-New, All-Different Avengers #9:  If you read "Free Comic Book Day:  Civil War II" #1, you were left to conclude that the new Wasp was going to be an enemy, since she appears to take down the Vision in that issue.  However, she isn't, by a long shot.  She comes to the Avengers to inform them that she's Hank Pym's daughter:  his first wife, Maria, was pregnant the Soviets kidnapped her.  Nadia was raised in the Red Room, but she was able to escape after reverse-engineering a black-market Pym Particle that the Soviets had acquired.  Of all the crazy "child of a superhero" stories, I have to say that this one is actually one of the more believable ones.  It also perfectly shows what Waid is trying to do here:  create a book that feels like an old-school Avengers comic while bringing the cast and stories into the modern era.  Throughout this issue, I felt like I was reading something from the mid-200s, so I'd say that Waid is really doing a solid job implementing his vision.

Speaking of Vizh, he provides the action of the issue, as he begins to randomly displace in time and, in those moments, attack the Avengers.  Nadia eventually uses her abilities to fix the problem (explaining what we saw in the "FCBD" story).  Although the Vision is worried that Kang might still control him, Tony decides that the group is first going to help Sam find his still-lost father.  Meanwhile, Jarvis provides the heart of the issue (as he usually does).  When the Wasp initially appears, he berates her for daring to use Janet Pym's name, but relents when Nadia reveals the truth.  In fact, after struggling at the start of the issue with the fact that he finds himself making tea on a hotpot, Jarvis decides to embrace change and take Nadia to meet her step-mother.

It's pretty clear that Waid has a lot of different stories on the burners here, and I'll admit that I'm surprised that he decided to go with helping Sam track down his father next.  But, in some way, this narrative chaos might be the thing that makes this series, and particularly this issue, actually feel like an old-school Avengers story, so I'm hesitant to complain.  We'll see where we go from here.

Batman #52:  Tynion manages somehow to take yet another story about Bruce's decade of training and put an original spin on it.  He focuses on a journal that Leslie Tompkins gave to a young Bruce use to explore ways to move past his parents' death.  Bruce filled the book with all sorts of creepy lessons that explain the modern Batman, like "disappear" or "feel nothing."  Alfred finds the journal and adds, "remember that your parents will always be proud of you."  A young Bruce is outraged, but an older Bruce admits to Alfred that it's the one lesson that he struggles to learn.  It's a touching message that manages to humanize Bruce, reminding us that he isn't the machine that we're always led to believe he is.  Moreover, Rossmo is a great find.  He's got a markedly different style than Capullo, but it's the same high quality.  He not only does a great job portraying emotions, but he shows younger versions of Bruce that don't just make him into a miniature version of his adult self.  I'd love it to see Tynion and he take over the series, since I enjoyed this installment of "Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told" even more than Snyder and Capullo's entry in the previous issue.  The plot device that gets us to the emotional ending is a little forced (how exactly did the villain discover that Bruce was keeping the journal in a safety deposit box in a bank in the poor part of town, I wonder), but I'll happily suspend disbelief given how pleased I am with the issue overall.

Black Panther #2:  Not surprisingly, Coates is telling a multilayered story here, based around a central theme:  how do you recover what it is that you lost?  For T'Challa, the answer to this question will force him to find a way to consider himself legitimate in his own mind.  After many setbacks, he does not view himself to be the ruler that he once was, and he seems to believe that his sister, Shuri, would do better.  But, she's currently dead-ish, so she's not an option:  he has to find his way to redemption on his own.  But, Coates isn't making it that easy for him.  Wakanda is a broken place, full of thieves and warlords.  The escaped Midnight Angels, Aneka and Ayo, free a group of women from confinement here and set their sights on overturning the patriarchal system of chieftains that so corrupts Wakanda.  Meanwhile, Tetu from Niganda appears ready to overthrow T'Challa, arguing that he sits atop this corrupt system.  Based on the attempted rapes that Aneka and Ayo stop, it's hard to disagree with him.  In other words, T'Challa may be the only person not happy that Coates is at the helm of his story.

Dungeons & Dragons:  Shadows of the Vampire #1:  I really liked this crowd from Zub's "Legacy of Baldur's Gate" story, so I was excited to see them return.  Minsc is as engaging as ever, though I'm excited for Zub to spend more with his three companions, particularly the blond rogue whose name I can't remember.  However, Zub goes one better, dragging the characters to Ravenloft!  The premise of the issue is that a group of wererats steals a relic from a church of Kelemvor that allegedly will hide them from Strahd, the master that they fear.  The head priest of the church has hired the team to defend the relice, much to the annoyance of one of his paladins.  However, the time on the clock expires, and they all find themselves in Ravenloft.  As Zub says in his note at the end, this combination of fear and fun promises to be a great story.

Also Read:  Darth Vader #20; FCBD - Civil War II #1

1 comment:

  1. Actually if you want to know Evan full story you have to read Remenders Uncanny X-Force its great.

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