Monday, February 13, 2017

Not-Very-Deep Thoughts: The December 28 Edition (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

All-Star Batman #5:  Snyder not only takes the easy road here, but has the chutzpah to try to convince us it was the difficult one.  By claiming Harvey's brain chemistry can never be altered, he shows the hubris of every author who thinks he can quickly but permanently change a character's status quo.  It's only the slow changes that stick, like Cyclops' evolution into a villain over the course of years of storylines.  For every "you're Two-Face forever now!" moment, I can point to dozens of similar ones:  Otto Octavius as Spider-Man forever!, every permanent! Jean Gray death, Colossus as Juggernaut/Phoenix/Horseman of Apocalypse, etc.  Snyder doesn't even really properly end the issue.  We're never shown Harvey calling off the attacks on Batman.  Batman believes the crowd won't attack him now that he's defeated Two-Face, but they don't really know that he has:  they're just there for the money.  The larger struggle is irrelevant to them.  But, Bruce and Duke just waltz through the crowd, and we're done.  I think I'm done with this series, too.

Batgirl #6: Son of the Penguin?  Color me excited!

Captain America:  Steve Rogers #8-#9:  The problem with Maria Hill's Jack Nicholson moment here -- as she pitches the idea of the a planetary defense shield to save her from getting ousted as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. -- is that she never explains why she's the only person capable of building it.  If S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists were the ones who invented it, Sharon Carter could just as easily build the Shield, couldn't she?  My main issue right now is that I don't also want to have to start reading "Thunderbolts" to understand everything happening here.  For example, in issue #8, Steve wants to use the new Quasar to get in touch with Bucky, but it isn't clear why he does.  Presumably I'd understand if I were reading "Thunderbolts," but I can't read every series on the shelves, Marvel.

Civil War II #8:  I honestly don't know if the ending here is brilliant or the greatest cop-out of all time.  In the end, Ulysses "ascends," becoming a celestial being.  Before he does so, he confirms -- with his newfound insight -- that he really was seeing multiple futures, not a linear one.  However, no one seems to care Tony was proven correct.  Carol is somehow seen as the winner, despite beating Tony into a coma as he (correctly) tried to save Miles from her.  In fact, Beast tells Carol that Tony himself didn't see the issue as one between him and Carol:  he trusted Carol to use Ulysses' visions responsibly, but he didn't trust the person after her to do so.  I don't really buy that, to be honest.  Tony didn't believe Ulysses' visions were actionable, period; it didn't matter who interpreted them.  But, I guess it doesn't matter because Tony's in a coma.  In the end, Ulysses was the MacGuffin he always seemed to be.  The only real outcome of this event is the launch of "Champions," and I can't say that development alone was worth the $30+ I spent on this series.

Detective Comics #947:  Batman doesn't lose often, but Tynion lets him lose here.  More importantly, he has him learn from that loss.  Spoiler leaves the team, believing the team members' lives would be better if they left behind their costumes and Gotham's citizens' lives would be better if the police were the ones to protect them.  Tynion clearly doesn't feel that way.  He uses Luke to give the dissenting opinion:  the heroes aren't perfect but they hold a line the police can't hold.  But, Tynion also acknowledges Spoiler may have a point:  Steph disables the Batsignal, and Bruce is shaken when he realizes no one got hurt in a gun fight between two gangs that the team missed as a result.  It'll be interesting to see the role Spoiler will play in the next few months.  After all, it'll be hard for her to "spoil" the team's activities without actually helping criminals.  Does she help the cops instead?  I guess we'll see.  But, it's a reminder of how nuanced of a story Tynion is telling.  It's no longer just black hats versus white hats.  Stephanie has identified a gray area, and we'll see how she operates in it.

Extraordinary X-Men #17:  For all the faults of the main series, Lemire does a great job here of showing us Storm's path to war:  she realizes she has to act after holding the hand of little girl who idolized her as she dies of M-Pox.  Despite the fact that the science driving this war has always been poorly explained, Lemire helps us move past that point.  He encourages us just to buy what he and Soule are selling:  the X-Men have to fight this war for survival.  I don't care about the Inhumans, so I'm not collecting any of their series.  As such, I don't know how they're spinning their side.  But, it's hard to see how they'd argue their religious beliefs justify the extermination of a race and the death of a girl, as we see here.  That's always been the other problem with this event, but I guess I have to get past that part, too.

Mighty Thor #14:  Just in case we didn't think Malekith was enough of an asshole, he burns Alfheim to the ground  and maims Queen Aelsa in this issue.  Yeah, he's a dick.  Jane pledges the League of Realms will end the War of Realms in its favor but, honestly, it's hard to see betting against Malekith at this point. 

Prowler #3:  I can't say I understand why Electro (Electra?) has singled out Hobie for abuse, other than the possibility she's just a bully.  But, it makes for an entertaining fight.  But, my real question is why Hobie believes he can only ever rely on himself when he's saved by Julia at the end of the issue.  Is it supposed to show us he's barely conscious and unaware of what she's doing?  Otherwise, it sounds pretty ungrateful, to say the least. 

Spider-Man #10:  I waited to read this issue until I had read "Civil War II" #8, since I had heard online that it spoiled that issue.  (Sometimes it's good to have a several week backlog of issues.)  Having now read it, two things struck me.  First, Bendis really does get Miles.  I mean, it makes sense, since he created Miles.  But, he delivers a really moving portrait of a young man struggling to be a better person than he thinks he is.  Miles is worried he's going to go the way of his father and uncle, and he confesses to his friends that he struggles with murderous impulses every time he fights.  It's a reminder of how young he is and how you want someone like Luke Cage or Peter Parker to take him under his wing to explain how normal that is, that his concern over those feelings is what makes him a good person.  But, I was also struck by how terribly Marvel has screwed up "Civil War II."  If you read this issue, you would believe Tony Stark died at the end of "Civil War II."  He doesn't, but you'd think he did.  It's not exactly service to the reader to preemptively spoil the ending of another series, only for said spoiling not actually happening.

Also Read:  Black Panther #9; Mighty Captain Marvel #0; Spider-Man #11; Star Wars #26; Titans #6; Uncanny Avengers #18

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