Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Not-Very-Deep Thoughts: The August 31 Edition (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Amazing Spider-Man #17:  This series is a lot better now that we have an actual plot and not constant shenanigans related to Peter trying to balance his role as Spider-Man with his responsibilities at Parker Industries.  Slott imbues this issue with legitimate suspense as Peter has Hobie spy on the Jackal and his crew.  (Can I just say how thrilled I am to see Hobie every time he appears?)  Plus, Slott adds intrigue as he fills in another piece of the puzzle:  the people he resurrects need to take a pill every day only he can provide.  It explains why anyone he's resurrected (or anyone whose loved one he resurrected) is beholden to him.  But, Slott doesn't make it that simple.  The Jackal keeps insisting he's the good guy here.  It's not his usual paranoid schemes of destruction.  He resurrects Hobie after the new Electro accidentally kills him, and Hobie is seemingly convinced of the Jackal's bona fides after the Jackal shows him his grand plan.  Is Hobie really convinced the Jackal is building a better world?  Or, does he have to say he is to keep the pills coming?  Only time will tell, I guess.  At any rate, for the first time in a while, I'm legitimately intrigued where Slott is going with this series.  It feels like a Spider-Man story and not a reductive Iron Man one.  Color me a happy camper (for now).

Ms. Marvel #10:  Given the backlog I'm currently trying to address, I've trying to identify books I can drop.  Since "Ms. Marvel" is one of my newer series, it's always on the list, since we don't have as much of a history.  Then, I read an issue like this one, where Bruno's injuries provide Kamala her Uncle Ben moment, and I realize this series isn't going anywhere.  The best moment of the issue is when Kamala realizes everything before Bruno getting hurt felt like make-believe, as if she was just playing hero.  It's a sentiment to which we can all relate.  We've all had the moment when it's time to put on our big-boy pants.  It's particularly profound when it happens because you can no longer listen to a person you admired or trusted (as Kamala experiences with Carol here).  At some point, you have to find your own way, and Wilson does an amazing job of showing us Kamala getting to that point here.

Spider-Gwen #11:  The problem with this series right now is we're still dealing with the hangover of "Spider-Women."  Despite having read this series from the beginning, I have no idea who some of the characters we see here are.  Reed Richards knows Gwen's secret identity and designs her tech, but we're not given any insight into how she met him.  Did they go to high school together?  It seems that way, but it's unclear.  We also have Jesse Drew the spy.  I vaguely recognize him from previous issues, but I don't really care enough to research it.  The unfortunate part is that these questions distract from the larger story, namely Frank Castle's pursuit of Spider-Woman.  Latour has infused this plot with all sorts of drama, from the fact that Castle isn't wrong about his suspicions about Spider-Woman and Captain Stacy to the difficult position Jeanne DeWolff faces as a result of Castle's dogged pursuit of Gwen and her father.  But, "Spider-Women" keeps getting in the way, and I hope we can put behind the "powerless" shtick and resume the great story Latour was telling.

Spider-Man 2099 #14:  During his long run on "X-Factor," David proved to me over and over again to trust him.  Every time we seemed to get far from where I thought we were going, we wound up getting there brilliantly.  This issue is no different.  Since Marvel brought back Miguel, I've wondered whether an already complicated timeline would be further complicated to the point of absurdity.  However, David has made it clear that we're beyond that concern now.  I can't count how many timelines we've already seen since Miguel has returned -- I think we're on our fourth, after the "original" one, the Maestro one, the "Secret Wars 2099" one, and the current reality.  But, David seems to be ready to use "Civil War II" to create a definitive one.  Similar to what DC did with "Flashpoint," it's not going to matter what came before.  He'll be able to take the better parts of the previous series -- like bringing back great supporting characters we haven't seen in a while  -- and ditch the worse parts -- like ignoring the disastrous developments of "2099World of Tomorrow" and "Manifest Destiny."  For example, great characters like Ghost Rider 2099, Hulk 2099, and Punisher 2099 are returned to us (after, I believe, they were all killed in "2099:  World of Tomorrow").  In other words, David is using the unintended consequences of time travel to correct the editorial mistakes of the past.  Moreover, the story at hand is just as interesting -- if not more -- than the larger continuity developments.  Alchemax and its fellow corporations have used an Anti-Powers Act to neuter the heroes, an homage to the original "Civil War" event.  In a way, I can see these tie-in issues feeling more genuinely like the continuation of "Civil War" than "Civil War II" does.  Leave it to Peter David to accomplish that.

Tokyo Ghost #10:  This series has been, without a doubt, one of the best I've ever read.  It's the one I keep telling people who don't read comics to read.  I've been struggling with its core message of unplugging -- from the Internet, from negativity -- since the election, and I'm glad I wound up reading this issue after it.  I really do wonder if it'll take someone like Debbie to save us, to unplug us forcibly, because no matter how much I say I want to get off Facebook or stop obsessively reading the news I just can't do it.  Davey Trauma is always there, lurking.  Debbie is the hero we need, but, as someone mentions in the letters page, we may never really get her.

Also Read:  Bloodshot Reborn #17; Spider-Man #7; Star Wars:  Han Solo #3; Uncanny Avengers #13

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