Bottom of the Pile - Mar. 27th, 2014

Author's Note: Bottom of the Pile is a weekly column (or at least, my attempt at said) in which I cover the comics that found their way to the bottom of my pile, thus being the best as I've always been a proponent of "saving the best for last".   Since bog standard reviews can be found literally anywhere, coverage can range from mini-reviews to funny comments to commentary on a creator's run or comics as a whole, depending on a wide range of factors including the comic itself, the amount of time I have, and my general mood. 
 
 


All-New X-Factor
Two things stick out to me with this panel.  First, that is not how you react to being told you're wrong more than twice in a day.  Second?  Of the two female characters in this book, two of them are suffering from serious mental instabilities, and both are being looked after by men who want to help them "get better".   I'm not the type to throw insults over things like this, particularly not at one of my favorite writers, but I do think this sets a terrible precedent.

Amazing X-Men

So, let's get this straight.  Heaven and hell won't hold Nightcrawler's dad, but somehow Nightcrawler himself can?  What the...how in the....*sigh*   Next comic, please.  (Yes, it's explained in issue.  The explanation just makes my head hurt.)

Aquaman
Aquaman 29 proving villains were more polite in the ancient past!  This one just came back from being sealed for several millenia, but she's still kind enough to explain just how this guy unleashed all these monsters on the planet before they go on to massacre everyone.   It's a small courtesy, but it's the thought that counts.

Avengers

This is a great point.  Not really much of a god if you can't stop heat vision from carving you a new one.  And while we're at it, this is quite the rarity.  Usually the "evil" team is more ruthless and cunning and stomps the good one into paste.  But here the Avengers' superior numbers kind of makes that null.   

The Flash
 
Hm.  Aquaman has "The Monster Queen from the land of Exposition".  The Flash has two ghosts doing a modern day version of "Duck Season/Wabbit Season".   This is not the strongest week for competent villains at DC, I see.


 Guardians of the Galaxy

Jean Grey gets a new superpower that's separate from the Phoenix.  I've been watching a lot of anime lately so this is just akin to a shonen power-up to me.  Can she go Super Saiyan Three, or is this more like Naruto's Sage mode?  And does she get a different hairstyle when she does it?

Also, she goes head-to-head with Gladiator, a guy who's closer to Pre-Crisis (I can juggle planets) Superman than the actual Superman.   So that's a thing that can happen now.  

Hawkeye
A friend of mine and I once came up with the theory of "Hero Luck".  Essentially, all of a hero's luck, or good karma, or whatever it is that makes things go your way even though you expect it shouldn't, is channeled almost entirely into their career as a superhero, into something called "Hero Luck".  This is why heroes are able to make impossible saves or complete plans that always seem to have "less than one percent chance of working".  Consequently, this means that anything involving luck that doesn't have anything to do with being a superhero tends to work out in often comically bad ways.  So no, friendly older black gentleman, heroes do not have good luck.

Indestructible Hulk 
Password: "Smashtony".  In this final issue of Indestructible Hulk, Bruce Banner realizes a lot of his problems from this run can be blamed on his own immaturity.   Given how Bruce's feelings on Tony Stark are made painfully clear during the run even from the first issue, I'd definitely agree. 


Iron Patriot

Iron Patriot is showing us the difference between James Rhodes and Tony Stark: lack of ingenuity.  "I used two incredibly basic options, I don't know what else to do!", is probably not Rhodes' proudest moment.   But really, I just spent the whole issue wondering why they're trying to make a villain concept work for a hero.   Just bring back War Machine.  Also, stop separating him from Tony Stark.  It's okay to make Tony a supporting character in James' book.

New Avengers

One of the things I love most about parallel universe stories is how the heroes from other worlds always seem so much more interesting than our own. These guys for instance, seem to be an odd mix of the New Avengers and the Justice League/Squadron Supreme, forced to go through the events of all of Marvel's big stories from the last few years--the Secret Invasion, the Civil War, etc...  The lady is even a version of Doctor Spectrum.   What's most interesting though, is the obvious Batman analogue who decided to become a knight instead.   I do hope we'll see them all again.

Revolutionary War: Omega
Panel of the week goes to Revolutionary War: Omega for the Groot scene alone.   This is meant to be a sort of "the real heroes never get proper thanks" type of panel, but any fan of the Guardians knows they've saved several galaxies (and, actually, the universe itself)  so this is kind of just balancing out all those times they've actually done the work and got no credit for it.   Though I'm a little sad the whole team isn't there to get the thanks, only the stripped down "film-ready" version.

 Silver Surfer

The weird thing about Silver Surfer is that I never know if he's a herald of Galactus or not.  One of the biggest things about the ending of 2007's Annihilation was that the Surfer had once again become the herald of Galactus.  I also vaguely recall him standing by Galactus' side during the battle against the Asgardians in Fraction's Mighty Thor.  That relationship has either since ended again, or has been ignored in favor of keeping the original status quo.  

Either way, I think the "no absolution" thing is a bit much, considering the Surfer has indeed saved billions upon billions of lives.  Plus the selection process for being a herald is kind of unfair anyway.  Get chosen, save your planet, lose your memories and become pre-programmed.   Hard to blame a guy for that.

Superior Spider-Man
There are a ton of great moments in this comic book, that I could've picked.  Most of which I had to skip because I didn't want to spoil this for anyone who hadn't read it.  I will say Dan Slott is doing the work of his career writing Spider-Man, and that this is basically the equivalent to Geoff Johns' Green Lantern.

I also want to point out that a few months back I talked about how Doc Ock had, in some ways, actually been a Superior Spider-Man to Peter Parker.  I said that Slott would have to point out why Peter coming back was an improvement.  And here it is.  In a single panel.  SpOck, having relied on his lackeys, and his robots, and his inventions, has now had them all torn away from him, and he has no idea what to do.   Having relied on it all too much, he's now handicapped in a way Peter never was, even when he worked for Horizon Labs and made custom suits and weapons for Spider-Man.   Excellent job, Dan.

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up

You know, combine this with the fact that he was probably made fun of a lot in school for being a chubby geeky kid, and suddenly Otto's turn to super-villainy makes infinitely more sense.   
Transformers: Dark Cybertron Finale
And finally, we come to what Dark Cybertron was about.   Megatron was always the unpredictable element.  Decepticons and Autobots working together--that was always something that could only happen because they weren't under the iron-clad rule of one of the most terrifying villains in cartoon history.  So for various reasons Megatron was never around--they kept him off the board.

Until now.   Dark Cybertron has been about tying up loose ends to long-standing plot lines, and while a number of people have found it lacking compared to Robots in Disguise and More than Meets the Eye's regular stories, with this issue we come to the heart of matters, cutting away all the crossover nonsense to tell a story of two characters and how betrayal and power had twisted and corrupted them away from what they once were.

This is the final bit of transformation left to take the Transformers from simple backstories made to push toys into full-fledged characters, as three-dimensional as you could find in any other universe.  I'll admit it wasn't done perfectly. There's a bit of a stretch to make it truly believable, and there's a lot more groundwork to be laid for this to work without grousing from a large number of fans, but this was a great start and for once I'm actually looking forward to what a post-crossover landscape will look like in comics.


Author's Note: Bottom of the Pile is a weekly column (or at least, my attempt at said) in which I cover the comics that found their way to the bottom of my pile, thus being the best as I've always been a proponent of "saving the best for last".   Since bog standard reviews can be found literally anywhere, coverage can range from mini-reviews to funny comments to commentary on a creator's run or comics as a whole, depending on a wide range of factors including the comic itself, the amount of time I have, and my general mood.
 

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