Bottom of the Pile #5: June 19, 2013
New writer/artist team Justin Jordan and Brad Walker take over with this issue, and honestly the promise of something new is what truly landed this book on this list. Green Lantern: New Guardians has slowly but surely turned into a Kyle-centric title, and with this issue it has fully taken on that role in the DC Universe, finally granting me and hopefully twenty thousand other fans what we've wanted since 2005's Green Lantern: Rebirth, a Kyle Rayner solo ongoing.
Still, I personally feel Kyle always did better on Earth (or at the very least without a bunch of little blue tagalongs) so New Guardians is a long way from where I'd prefer it to be, but the goodwill Jordan built up on Team 7 and Brad Walker's beautiful pencils that naturally lend itself to science fiction means I'll probably pick the book up for at least the rest of the year to see where it goes. For now, welcome to the bottom of the pile, New Guardians. I hope you have an extended stay.
The concept of "inevitability" is something superhero fiction generally embraces pretty warmly, but usually from the perspective of the hero. IE, no matter what permutations a hero's history may go through on another world, they are generally destined to do good, even if its with their last dying moments.
What rarely happens however, is the idea that a villain is inevitable. Fantastic Four #9 however, examines the idea with a look at Doom's early life, and I have to say its one of my favorite issues that came out this week. Fraction's Fantastic Four is pretty much what I expect it to be from the guy that wrote the amazing but short-lived Defenders comic last year, but its never really done anything stand out until this issue. The idea of Victor not only being aware of his eventual fate, but that other versions of Doom from the future and presumably even other timelines all travel backwards to watch his transformation as if it were some kind of dark, twisted nativity scene is one that was truly fascinating to read. And Mark Bagley's art nails every scene, especially when combined with colorist Paul Mounts' vibrant colors.
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #24
For a comic I only started reading on a bet (I said if Bendis made the rumored new Spider-Man after Peter's death black, I'd pick the book up), Ultimate Comics Spider-Man is consistently surprises me with the high quality of the title. This newest arc, Spider-Man No More, has been about dealing with the aftermath of Miles' loss during the Venom arc and him coping with the fact that whether he likes it or not, the super-hero world is absolutely going to drag him back into things. Of course, while we're telling that story, Bendis also seems to have time to introduce Ultimate Cloak and Dagger, with a story that's both heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once. People normally complain about his work being de-compressed, but when it involves introducing a pair of new superheroes and giving us their origins all in 22 pages I honestly can't get too mad at the guy.
Never has an issue filled with talking heads and exposition felt so bad-ass to me. Jonathan Hickman continues his build-up to Infinity with New Avengers 7 (and Avengers 14, which I'll get to shortly) and its glorious to read. Everything from the animosity between Namor and Black Panther (and by proxy, Atlantis and Wakanda) to the scene with Reed, Strange and Doom is dripping with tension, as if at any second things could explode. Speaking of the scene between Reed, Strange and Doom, this issue goes a long way towards doing two things: 1.) Making Marvel's Illuminati seem like the bad-asses they're supposed to be (seriously, talking like that to Doom and then just teleporting away??), and 2.) Keeping up with continuity pretty amazingly. Its obvious to keep the bits with Wakanda and Atlantis from AvX, but keeping track of the fact that Reed Richards and Iron Man are supposed to be in space? It's a nice touch from a bygone era, before we just decided "Oh this takes place before/in between/just after/we don't really care how it fits in just shut up and by the comic" were all considered decent answers.
The Avengers finally stop with the talking (mostly) and start with the smashing. That's what everybody wanted, right? Well, here it is. With this issue nearly every member of this gigantic team putting themselves to use saving lives from imminent disaster, and next issue likely to be devoted to lots of superpowered punches, we're finally back to the Avengers that has supposedly been "missing" from this title since Hickman started his run. And it feels good. We're definitely headed somewhere interesting, and I look forward to seeing what they have planned with the Infinity event.
Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #18
My favorite Transformers series is back with another issue detailing the exploits of the crew of the Lost Light. I honestly don't have much to say about this issue, other than: Holy crap I hope nobody else dies. The Lost Light's expedition to discover what happened to Ultra Magnus takes one half of the crew to the strange planet of Luna 1, where some truly insane twists occur that will leave readers guessing until next month's issue 19. Meanwhile, for the half of the crew that remained on the ship, things get hectic as they deal with more of the robots from early in the series that were chasing Skids, which brings me back to: Holy crap I REEEEALLY hope no one else dies.
The twist with Ultra Magnus was interesting, but it occurred to me while I was writing this BOTP that its not really a new one, as it happened in Dreamwave's The War Within. Still, this one feels more true to the character and has far more story potential than the last one, so I'm curious to see how it all plays out. (Y'know, it's actually a lot harder to talk about a perfect book than I thought.)
I think that does it for this edition. Also of note was Superior Spider-Man 13, but I don't think its fair to put that on the list considering I'm really just waiting for it all to come crashing down on Spock, which we all know it will (eventually). Hopefully I'll have BOTP 6 up by the weekend.