Bottom of the Pile - Feb. 11th, 2015
Are you kidding me? Didn't this whole thing start because the Present Hank McCoy was going to "fix everything"? Since then it's just been one long-ass list of "This is why I hate time travel" cliches strung together in an attempt to prove that time travel fixes nothing, which is something that any X-Men should know if they live through their first year.
Now "Past Hank" has an idea? You know, for all the Scott Summers is evil insults/jokes, it sure seems like the biggest problem the X-Men has right now is their mad scientist friend.
And that's cool. I enjoyed Spider-Verse (and Dan Slott's Spider-Man in general) enough that a weak ending doesn't bug me too much. So instead we're going to focus on the positives--like Marvel Solicits confirming more Spider-Ham in the near future. (Plus there's an epilogue to come that will hopefully tie up all the loose ends properly.)
Astro City's still killing it. Throughout this Quarrel arc we've been seeing the backstory of Jessica Taggart, and what lead her to start believing she couldn't keep up with other heroes any longer--but we hadn't really seen much in how age was taking it's toll on her boyfriend, Crackerjack until now.
This is where you have to hand it to series artist Brent Andersen. Crackerjack looks like someone dragged a male model out of a Calvin Klein ad and into a three-on-one fight scene from The Raid--a busted eye, his chest's been slashed to shit, he can barely stand up straight. It's consistent, too--none of that "he looks basically healed in the next panel" stuff.
Like I've said before, it's a story you couldn't actually get in mainstream superhero comics. Not because they're bad or whatever, but because they're never going to get to age like this. And even if they did? Who do you tell this with? Spider-Man loses a step? It goes from "Great Power, Great Responsibility" to "Great...chance to sit my ass down", because for one he's always a step away from quitting anyway, and two he knows being off your game in this line of work can endanger citizens just as well as it could kill them.
Batman would just grunt and groan and "Hh" his way into dying in a hail of bullets or putting on a gigantic suit of battle armor like he has in Futures End. But Crackerjack? He's grown addicted to the thrill of being a hero, the rush of adrenaline he gets from chasing down bad guys--the fact that whether people hate or love him, he's always an important topic of conversation, and he just can't let that conversation be "Yeah, I remember that guy". Its sympathetic, its endearingly bittersweet, but that's Astro City.
And so, Batman Eternal's long-ass chain of "Who's the mastermind" comes to an end, and much like Batman I can't believe it took me this long to guess who it was when he should've been the first guy to come to mind.
The last time Ra's Al Ghul was really relevant instead of just his daughter being the thorn in Bruce's side was 2007's Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul, a pretty kick-ass story by Grant Morrison that lead to an all-too-brief line revival where the Bat-comics were actually pretty good for a couple years. But even though it's been...eight years since his last major appearance, I'm still not really interested in having the guy pop up again. Oh well. Long as it's not the fucking Joker again, I guess.
Dan Abnett is doing an amazing job on Guardians 3000 right now. It's got enough of the Marvel universe to be recognizable, but also enough seldom-used characters and its set so far in the future that the guy can pretty much do whatever he wants. The only issue is the art (which changes as of next month), and the fact that I'm bugged he stole my idea for a Legion of Super-Heroes story--where memories and events keep altering and changing because the future's constantly in flux.
On the bright side, he's handled it far better than I ever could.
Justice League United
The thing about this is that Blyth doesn't even have a typical humanoid form, so the desire for a queen is actually really strange.
Also, this makes me wonder why Kara's just chilling out with the Justice League. I mean, she's totally Teen Titans material; what's the issue here? Is it the "S" on her chest? Because apparently alien space princesses, human-demon hybrids from other realms and clones of Superman can all join the Titans, but Robin's supposed to go, "Whoa, you're actually from Krypton? You're too big for us--Justice League's that way" for Supergirl?
What I don't understand is why you had to shit on her current costume. And I really don't understand why you chose Captain Marvel, a character who ran around wearing a bikini in space for something like two decades before coming back to Earth and joining up with the Earth's premiere super-team in that same outfit for another decade. People in glass houses.
But what bugs me most about this conversation? The costume change hasn't even happened yet. The rule of the universe is that things tend toward entropy, right? Well the rule of superhero comics is that things tend toward their origin point. In other words, no matter what you change on a character, eventually they'll end up how they were when they were first introduced. That's why Professor X can't stay out of the wheelchair. That's why The Thing keeps being stuck in his body, even though he's been cured like five times. And on and on. This costume change could be what takes Jessica Drew to the next level. I can't see the future, and I'm not even the target audience for this. But ten years from now if she's back in her old digs, this is just going to look silly to a Spider-Woman fan.
New 52: Futures End
I don't actually have any comments for this, I just wanted to show off a cool splash page of a bunch of way cooler, past versions of the DCU.
Fuck. Outta. Here. This is what frustrates me the most about reading comic books. Like, there's a female Thor? No problem, I think she's pretty cool. But this? From a story perspective, it doesn't even make sense.
It's a big deal to us in the real world. (It shouldn't be. Even the comic itself acknowledges this Thor isn't permanent, so she's basically the next Bucky Barnes, James Rhodes, and Eric Masterson.) But in universe? Storm's the leader of the X-Men. Captain Marvel's been leader of the Avengers before and is at the point where she's always going to be a senior member on whatever version of the team she's on. Maria Hill heads up SHIELD and her best agent is the Black Widow. We just had a team of Valkyries go around kicking bad guys in the face in Fearless Defenders, there's currently an all-woman team of X-Men and A-Force launches this year which is basically Lady Avengers.
So. Explain to me. What about this particular instance is so important that Titania's like, "Nah, fuck robbing this bank. I'm going to let you take me to jail this time because girl power."? Or were we just trying to help with the Absorbing Man's role in this issue as "strawman"?
There's a scene later in the issue, where the Odinson's mother confronts the new Thor. It's a wonderful moment that sets the scene for upcoming issues, makes plain Thor's status as a friend to Asgard while also making her not look like a pushover, and if that was the only overall reaction to her in this issue, this might have been one of my favorite comic books this week. Instead the book had to get "cute", so while it's still an otherwise great issue, it's held back from excellence.
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 reading stack, thus being the "best". Since bog standard reviews can be found literally anywhere, coverage here 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.