Friday, December 23, 2016

Not-Very-Deep Thoughts: The August 17 Edition (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Batman #5:  The twist here isn't the death of Gotham, since comic-book rules require that a hero-gone-bad has to die.  It isn't even that Gotham Girl is the one to do it or that their powers are based on depleting their life energy.  It's that Gotham Girl will one day kill Batman to save him and/or Gotham (the city or the person).  In presenting us with this revelation, King refers to a point in the future where Gotham Girl has married Duke, so it's unclear to me if DC intends for Gotham Girl to be a permanent character.  It all feels a little "Elseworlds"-y to me.  Either way, I really hope we don't spend too much time on a dead Bruce story, since, by Rao, we've had enough of them.  (I will throw in a nod here for King in having Alfred comment on the ridiculousness of Thomas Wayne taking his bepearled wife and precocious son through Crime Alley at night.  Seriously, talk about an idiot.)

Civil War II:  Amazing Spider-Man #3:  This issue is solid.  Harry does a great job of laying out the ways Peter has helped Clayton and foreshadows Clayton not being able to stop himself from screwing up his latest chance to change.  His need to be special is his addiction, and Gage frequently compares it to alcoholism to drive home the point.  When Spidey makes it clear Clayton has to give up the vehicle for his addiction -- his sonics -- for Peter to save him, it's finally too much for Clayton.  As sad as this turn of events is, it feels true, a testament to how carefully Gage has constructed the story.  Gage isn't just tearing down Clayton; his experiences and personality lead him  to this point, like Cyclops' lead him down the path he chose.  That said, I'm still wondering how Peter emerges from this experience convinced Carol is correct.  It seems to me the obvious lesson is that acting on Ulysses' visions can cause events to happen instead of preventing them.

Captain America:  Sam Wilson #12:  Reading this issue after the election, I have to think Spencer deserves an award for being the only pundit to predict the results.  Using John Walker as the agent of the shadowy group of conservative leaders seeking to take the shield from Sam is brilliant.  Spencer tries to treat them fairly, though it's clear they're the villains of the story -- the Charles Koch, Rush Limbaugh, and Jeff Sessions of the Marvel Universe.  But, after all the ink spilled on this election season, it's still probably some of the most insightful commentary I've read about our differing perspectives.  As I've said previously, this series is the best one on the stands now.

Nightwing #3:  I'm still not buying this idea of Raptor as Nightwing's mentor.  Even if you buy the idea Bruce didn't teach Dick everything he needed to know because their moral codes didn't align (with Dick hewing more Robin Hood than Bruce), it ignores the years Dick spent on his own as Nightwing.  I don't understand why Raptor just can't be his partner.  Along those lines, I also don't buy this idea of Raptor wanting to betray the Parliament of Owls, but Seeley is hopefully going somewhere with this revelation.  At least, I hope he is, because it's all feeling like a mess right now.

Uncanny Avengers #12:  This arc was heading for a pretty solid conclusion.  Although Duggan seemed to skip a few steps in getting Ultron onto the Quinjet that the Avengers plan on sending into the sun, he compensates by giving us a pretty stellar (heh) battle royale. The Avengers' plan goes pear-shaped pretty quickly as Ultron manages to trap Rogue, Torch, Voodoo, and Wasp on the Quinjet with Vision, upping the drama.  Even though it seemed unlikely Duggan would kill five of the more prominent members of the Marvel Universe, he does a good job of showing the Avengers struggle with their plan now that they're directly confronted with its goal.  In other words, it's a lot harder to kill someone who sounds like your friend when you actually have to hear him begging for mercy.  Moreover, Duggan changes the stakes at the last minute:  we learn Ultron has murdered billions of people throughout the galaxy, keeping alive enough people so they could hear him blame it on the Avengers each time.  It's the perfect beyond-the-grave revenge.  But, it's cheapened when Duggan saves Ultron at the last minute, hiding him in a neutrino.  (Yeah, I have no idea either.)  I thought Duggan was going to give Ultron the greatest gift possible - a legacy of generations of victims visiting their revenge on Earth.  Instead, it's just another Ultron story, with him yet again magically avoiding death.  The only log Duggan added to this fire was the most nonsensical save in a long history of nonsensical saves.  But, I guess now Ultron can return at the right moment so the Avengers can make it clear he acted on his own.  Do we even have to go through the story if we know how it's going to end?

Also Read:  Civil War II:  X-Men #3; Mighty Thor #10; Star Wars:  Poe Dameron #5

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