Bottom of the Pile: Oct. 20th, 2013

This is late, so I apologize, becomes more annoying the longer you take it.  Anyway.

Aquaman 24

One of my biggest problems with Geoff Johns lately doesn't quite match up with the problems other fanboys have with him.  The guy appears to be full of ideas on what to do with each character in the DC Universe--so full, in fact, that he pings about from character to character, unearthing a well of potential in them before moving on without ever really tapping into it.  Aquaman is yet another unfortunate instance of this problem--after helping the character outsell every Marvel book on the stands for not one, but two months, issue 24 is where Geoff finally shows us the key idea behind his plans for the character...and after issue 25 he's off the book.    It's really a shame as with this issue all the plot points were coming together for the character and I could finally see things heading in an interesting direction that would help to elevate the character for good.
Still and all, on its own merits issue 24 is great, revealing the true story of Arthur's lineage and of Atlantis, with Paul Pelletier's beautiful pencils bringing to life the high fantasy nature of Atlantis' ancient historyThe issue brings forward shocking reveal after reveal, tying together everything Geoff Johns has done so far into a single narrative, with my only real complaint being that, much like Geoff's run itself, this issue is far too short. 

Daredevil 32
Fuck life right now.

That's how I felt when I heard this issue was all of four months away from ending.  One of the most consistently entertaining superhero titles on the stands, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee knock it out of the park again, somehow manging to tie a white supremacy group to Marvel's collection of movie monster characters (that are for some reason dwelling in the South) without making any of it seem ridiculous or out of place. 

Chris Samnee's artwork looks fantastic as usual, managing to take the shift from superhero action to spooky monsters perfectly, with the issue almost taking on a classic, 60's pulp feel in the latter half of the issue. 

Usually I can't stand Halloween issues as they try too hard to be "dark" or "edgy" or whatever, but this one managed to not only strike a perfect tone for Mark Waid's Daredevil, but also effortlessly link to the story Mark was already telling.   The fact that this title ends early next year already disgusts me.

Justice League 24

Okay, to address the haters: Yeah, this comic was a little hilarious.  At least, the earlier parts that delved into Earth-3 Krypton's destruction.  But once Geoff starts giving us a look into Ultraman's mind, things really take off.   With Earth-3 largely a wreck, rather than make the entire issue a flashback, the issue instead starts to show contrast, with Ultraman visiting our Earth's Daily Planet, showing us what it must be like when the villains are truly in charge, ruthlessly tearing through the Daily Planet's employees.

Equally as interesting are the hints dropped about the larger DC Universe.  From the mention of a Doom Patrol to the foreboding, one-panel "BOOM!" we see that leads to the eventual abandoning of Earth-3,  Geoff seeds this issue with ton of plot threads--some that will undoubtedly play out in Forever Evil, but others that may yet have a future in the later years of this new DCU. 

Admittedly, Ultraman can come off like a bit of a caricature, but it makes sense given the context.  There's no "grey" to be had here: the new Earth-3 is the "birthplace of evil" itself.  Everything you see is a twisted, dark reflection of our heroes, and if Superman is the greatest good guy to the extent of being seen as a goody two-shoes, what else can Ultraman be but something that would seem equally as flat to most people?   Solid release, and I look forward to what Geoff has planned with this book for the remainder of Forever Evil.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man 28

Even though this series never FELT all that slow or poorly paced, it bears mentioning that for the original Ultimate Spider-Man, it took nineteen issues for Peter to truly become Spider-Man.  For Miles Morales?  28.  Still, the ironically-titled "Spider-Man No More" arc ends not only with Miles finally accepting who he is and taking on the costume and role of Spider-Man once and for all, but with a nice capstone on the series so far, finally revealing to Miles just where his powers came from and how he got them. 

It's no secret that I'm not the biggest fan of Bendis, but Ultimate Comics Spider-Man has been on point from the very first issue, giving us a believable transition of a boy going from normal pre-teen to someone worthy of inheriting the title of one of the greatest superheroes on the planet.  Bendis even sets up another "team" in the same way the last USM often had Iceman and the Human Torch, with a larger team that boasts both more diversity and a greater potential.  It's actually got me hoping they don't end the Ultimate Universe with whatever's happening in Catacylsm.

Young Avengers 11

Nnngh.  Any week in which this book comes out is automatically a winner, even if the week was already pretty awesome.  As we seem to be barreling towards a final confrontation with the arc villain Mother, our team begins to resort to more desperate measures to battle this gigantic multiverse-level threat.  

Every issue of Young Avengers has been near-perfection, and the largest (and only) complaint I can level towards this issue really comes down to the fact that its doubtful Loki will be sticking around for much longer.  It's not often a supervillain manages to graduate from major/minor annoyance to likable character, but Gillen managed the transition for Loki quite well, and while I doubt we've seen the last of him in this book, there's a good chance the next time we see him it will be in a far more antagonistic role.  Shame.

All in all, while this issue is mostly a "calm before the storm" kind of deal, there's some great moments in this book, from Noh-Varr's...interesting conversations with his exes to Prodigy's planning providing our heroes with a suitable army for what I have to assume is an all-out brawl happening next issue.   It could be easy to accuse this book of being filler, but honestly at this point if you're not in it to see what's happening in these characters' lives as much or more than for the superhero action, you may be missing the point of this book. 

Also: In my dreams I wish I could draw like Jamie McKelvie.  Everything he does always seems to come out so beautifully.  Unfortunately, dreams don't always come true, but at the least I get to pour over the guy's pages in reality every month. 


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