Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Not-Very-Deep Thoughts: The July 27 Non-"Civil War II" Marvel Edition (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

All-New, All-Different Avengers #12:  Waid spends this issue driving home the point that the team is starting to act like one, as each member takes a turn fighting Annihilus in the Negative Zone.  But, it's Vision immediately finding the second Nega-Band to switch places with Miles that got me.  For too long, authors have written Vision as little more than a robot, unrecognizable from his days with the West Coast Avengers.  Waid uses this moment of loyalty and selflessness to remind us why he's been such an enduring character for so long.

Amazing Spider-Man #1.6:  In 30 years of reading "Amazing Spider-Man," this arc is the greatest assassination of Peter Parker's character that I've ever read.  Amazingly, Molina even admits in the letters page that the editors probably should've been more involved in the series than they were, since he's never written a comic book before.  It's not even just that Peter acted uncharacteristically.  It's that he often just acted insane.  For example, he berates the Santerians for "killing" Julio to sever the link to the demon trying to enter our world through him.  Although he insists that they could've found another way, he has no suggestion what it could've been.  Is he such a genius that he can now suddenly cure death?  It seems the only other way would've been for God himself to resurrect him, but Molina goes to great lengths to show us Peter doesn't believe in God.  Except maybe he does now?  Also, is Peter Catholic?  Have we established that?  Even if he is, he doesn't have a parish priest?  He just heads to a miraculously empty St. Pat's?  I could continue, but I don't think that it's necessary.  Given how weak the main series also is, I just wonder if the editors are coming to work anymore.

Black Panther #4:  I could really just read Ramonda arguing with Changamire every issue.  Changamire believes himself to be morally superior to the kings and refuses to provide information on the Great Mound massacre to Ramonda, asserting that he won't do the work of her agents.  In other words, he's the pacifist who relies on others to keep him safe and refuses to acknowledge that.  But, Ramonda isn't having any of it, lecturing him that philosophy never built a well or fed a child.  Changamire laments a lack of wisdom in Wakanda and the fact that it was supposed to be a "Golden City."  However, he provides no roadmap on how to make it so.  As we learn, even his pupil, Tetu, has resorted to Zeke Stane providing him (I think) with the technology that grants him his powers.  How will Changamire feel about that?  He is essentially alone atop the hill.  That said, Coates doesn't make it that simple, as we're also seeing the results of Ramonda being too operational.  After all, her by-the-book condemnation of Aneka inspired the revolution that she and Ayo are now leading.  The fact that I haven't even mentioned T'Challa yet in this review just shows what a complex and detailed story Coates is weaving.

Captain America:  Steve Rogers #3:  Spencer ups the ante in this issue, as we settle into the reality that Kobik has rewritten Steve's history to make him a HYDRA sleeper agent.  Here, Darth Steve communicates via hologram with an Emperor-like Red Skull, explaining his success in killing Baron Zemo and Dr. Selvig (after sending their jet into a building) but acknowledging his failure to eliminate Jack Flag.  The Skull obviously orders Steve to take out Flag, but Spencer shows that Steve is bucking his programming:  he crushes the communications device and then asks Dr. Selvig, revealed to be alive, if he's ready to do what needs to be done.  That said, we don't know what Steve thinks needs to be done.  Does he think that the Skull lacks honor?  (He mentions that he was upset that the Skull's plan wouldn't let Flag have a proper funeral and that he tried to save the agent sent to blow up the train because he felt that it was the waste of a good agent.)  Even if he's rebelling against the Red Skull because he doesn't agree with his methods, he is still likely seeing HYDRA as a tool to take down S.H.I.E.L.D.  In other words, we're not wrapping up this story quite yet.

Extraordinary X-Men #12:  The "Apocalypse Wars" have been...odd.  They were seemingly billed as a cross-over event, but the three series involved in the "event" never actually connected.  "All-New X-Men" told the story of Evan trying to save En Sabah Nur in the past, "Uncanny X-Men" told some sort of story about Archangel and Warren in the present, and this title focused on stopping Apocalypse in the future.  However, Lemire seems almost to run out the clock quicker than he expected.  Storm is forced to bring a dying Apocalypse to the present with the team to save Colossus, but Apocalypse transports Colossus into Clan Akkaba's clutches.  However, it's unclear when this Clan Akkaba exists.  Plus, I'm really, really, really tired of Colossus always playing the patsy.  First it was Juggernaut then it was Phoenix and now it's Apocalypse.  Enough.  Really.  We also get some dark vision of a future that Sapna creates when she breaks bad, but I'm really struggling to care about that story.  It might be interesting on its own, but Illyana's tutoring of her in magic has been mostly a distraction.  I'd rather Lemire have taken the time to tie up the Colossus story before leaping into yet another story about an apocalyptic future.

Mighty Thor #9:  I don't remember the Silver Samurai being anywhere near as cool of a villain as he is here, but I invite him to return as often as he wants!  He's particularly awesome considering that he's part of the Sinister Six (or so) that Aaron has assembled here, working with Oubliette to learn all of Dario's secrets.  In fact, this issue is all about excellent pairings:  Jane and Roz are a fun (and tense) duo looking to save New York from the Agger Imperative, and Dario and Oubliette hate each other so much I expect that they'll be dating when the dust settles.  We've been a little wobbly in this series lately, but I think Aaron is at his best when he leaves behind the Asgard shenanigans and focuses on Jane operating in the real world.

Spider-Gwen #10:  This issue is a confusing jumble, in part because Latour is struggling to tell the Punisher story and explain the events of "Spider-Women," particularly as they relate to Gwen's powers.  In this issue, Castle recruits Kraven the Hunter to capture Gwen so he can photograph her without her mask.  While Gwen fights Kraven and his animal minions, George manages to stop Castle (and destroy the film).  After Castle and Kraven flee, George tells Gwen that he called the police, to reveal how over the edge Castle is.  However, Gwen panics, knocks George unconscious, and then flees.  I more or less get this part, particularly since it's hard to see how George is going to explain why Castle was after Gwen without revealing her identity.  It's the part about her powers that left me lost.  First, Gwen tells George at breakfast that "she" is the only one that can make the isotope that runs her doodad.  I think she's referring to the Earth-65 version of Cindy Moon, but I'm not sure.  Given her connection with Captain America, can't Gwen get S.H.I.E.L.D. or somebody to reverse engineer the isotope?  At any rate, Kraven managed to swipe the isotope and break the doodad, leaving Gwen powerless.  He seems to have swiped it for Castle, since he refers to the isotope as paying his old debt to Castle.  But, how did Kraven know to swipe the isotope?  Did he realize that Gwen was using the device just in the short time that he spied on Gwen?  Did Frank notice it when she used it at the hot-dog shop?  What good does the isotope do Frank, particularly if even Gwen can't get it reverse-engineered?  It's not like knowing how Gwen gets her powers is going to help him prove that she's Spider-Woman.  As I said, it's messy (and not just because the copy on the bio page for Kraven needed serious editing).

Also Read:  Uncanny Avengers #11

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