Bottom of the Pile - February 18th, 2015

And we back, and we back....

Babs Tarr's art is awesome; she's great at everything from layouts to character expressions.  Look at Dinah in the third panel--that's a "fuck that was close" look if I've ever seen one.

Anyway, one of Barbara's key characteristics has always been her photographic, or eidetic, memory.  It's one of those things that made her unique but also made sense, given that she was for quite some time the information center of the entire DC superhero network.  That was really cool, and a standout element that nobody else has, right?  Well...

Captain America and the Mighty Avengers

Okay, but this makes sense.  Monica Rambeau (a.k.a. Spectrum, or "the real Captain Marvel") started out with a good memory.  It got better when she got her powers--and then upgraded when she got this new power boost.   Plus, that's an entirely different universe!  Surely no one else is like that.  Or, well...

....Maybe you ladies should form a club.

Batman Eternal
.....So, a few thoughts here.

1.) Those last two panels make a really strong argument for that "Batman's totally gay" group.
2.)  Why, exactly, are Batman and Ra's talking like they're old friends?   I mean, the least Bruce could do here is slug the guy before he leaves. 
3.) I cannot believe we went through all this for yet another red herring. When this book gears up for season two, they'll still be teasing who the mastermind behind all this is.  We've run short on's going to fuck around and be the Condiment King or the original Ventriloquist. 

Black Widow
Bucky continues a slow, sad descent into mediocrity and irrelevancy.  I like the guy, but c'mon.  You're supposed to be Doctor Who with assassin powers--you travel across space to other galaxies and dimensions to fuck up enormously powerful threats to the planet before they even know they are threats, but you can't stop Obama with glowy-eyes wearing a pair of scrubs?  Trash. 

In case you're wondering, that's Kyle from five years in the future--where his absolute power corrupted absolutely and he flew from planet to planet "purifying" them and making them into peaceful races, whether they wanted it or not.   Now, this actually raises a number of interesting philosophical questions that I'd love for Justin Jordan to delve into...but unfortunately he's leaving as of next issue.  So right now I'm just happy that he's following up on the one Futures End one-shot that had nothing to do with the Darkseid war.  

Justice League
When you really think about it, Wonder Woman is overall the best member of the Justice League.   Superman's stronger, but he's so strong he never actually learned how to fight so his approach to every battle is to hit whatever the problem is until it stops moving.   Shazam lacks experience.  Batman has the intelligence and martial ability but no powers to back it up.  Green Lantern spends too much time showing off, and Flash is basically a normal dude the second he stops moving.  (Which, if you watch the show or read the comic, he does WAY too often.)

Wonder Woman though?   She's got the total package--speed, strength, a degree of invulnerability, plus training from one of the greatest armies there ever was.   Which explains quite handily why she's able to make short work of all of these guys--and could've done so if they weren't mind-controlled, too. 

Anyway, as a whole the Amazo War was a pretty fantastic story.   If Geoff can keep this level of quality up for another two or three arcs, there's a good chance people will forget those first two really, really dull arcs.

Miles Morales - The Ultimate Spider-Man

An important moral quandary that every hero has to tackle at least once: Why break up a fight between supervillains?   Looks like Miles has finished Basic Heroing 101 and its about time to step it up to the big leagues.  Right on time too, because in about two months he's going to be stuck on a completely different planet.

Loki: Agent of Asgard
Between the Inversion from Axis and this random truth spell, Loki's been the most ineffectual lord of lying ever, lately.    That said, good on Ms. Wilson for using a crossover to add something meaningful to her comic's world--I've got a feeling this magic ward's going to come in handy for the duration of her run.  (Y'know, until that ward's shattered to pieces when the Earth explodes.)

Well, one supposes you can't be a 1920's-esque P.I. in a clean office.   I'm going to miss She-Hulk, though.   Aside from doing things like finding a use for Patty Walker and sneaking a stealth Howard the Duck crossover in, it also happened to be one of the more entertaining and tightly-written books I read every month.  I look forward to seeing her on A-Force (presumably), Charles Soule on the Inhumans, and Howard the Duck in his own solo book next week. 

Multiversity - Mastermen
Oh man.  This is probably the most chilling Superman story I've ever read.  In this one-shot, Grant posits that one way or another, the morals of Superman will rise to the top...even when it's too late to matter.  (There's also the point that should be made that, being raised "wrong", his morals lead him to a completely different conclusion of how to fix the problem than what they would had he landed in the yard of the Kents.) The guilt of carrying out the will of his father, Adolf Hitler, and bringing all the "mongrel races" to heel eventually pushes Overman into doing some truly horrific things.  

And the entire thing makes me remember that at one point, Geoff, Mark, Greg, and Grant were each meant to write ongoing series that focused on different Earths in the multiverse after 52 ended.   It never happened for who knows what reason, but reading this makes me hope once Grant's done with this and Wonder Woman Earth One that he can return to this world, which is rife with potential. 

I....I don't understand.  Is Cyborg taking this very serious time as an opportunity to make a joke?   Did the Director's Cut look like this?

"Cyborg, that thing killed Hawkman and the Atom!"  "Well Equinox, if a guy who flies and hits things with a 1600's-like mace and a guy who's only power is to shrink were killed jumping at this giant, laser firing robotic skull didn't stance a chance, I guess everyone's doomed!"  Then I guess he rolled his eyes and told her to quit wasting time and get someone with real powers on the phone? 

Uncanny X-Men
Hopefully I'm not alone in thinking that this story has a highly uncomfortable ending.  Okay Matthew Maloy got the fuck out of here and I'm okay with that, but I remain confused as to how exactly this was Scott's fault.    Matthew couldn't be killed and if you tried he killed you.    And plus it was a complete betrayal of everything he'd ever been taught by Xavier in the first place.   I mean, yes Scott's incredibly damaged and all that but his decision-making process was as solid as it had ever been here--he couldn't control the guy's powers or the humans' incomprehensible levels of hatred that lead to them hacking SHIELD and raining down missiles on him and Magik. 

Lastly, now we have a rogue mutant with time control powers out there who's decided she's going to make Scott's parents not meet if he doesn't "screw his head on straight" (meaning act the way she wants him to, I guess), which would many catastrophic effects on time I can't even quantify them all.  If they never meet, then no Scott.  No Alex Summers.  No Starjammers.  The X-Men is out one of its best leaders.  Empress Lilandra doesn't have Corsair's help when she needs it, which means now we're affecting an intergalactic empire that's light-years away.   Just thinking about it makes my head hurt, and this is why nobody likes time travel. 

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman has, since the mid-2000's, been defined as the one in the Trinity who's "willing to do what's necessary".  And that's cool.  I love Diana, and I don't begrudge her for being a warrior.  But I've never bought the garbage argument above.   "Well, if you were to just kill the Joker, he wouldn't be able to take anymore lives, so you're responsible for everyone he kills now Bruce."

Fuck that.  If that's the case, then we've all got blood on our hands because we're indirectly responsible for every murder that happens.  But that's absurd, isn't it?  You can't blame everyone for every single decision they've made that you didn't agree with--particularly when you're talking about doing something like "sacrificing the few for the good of the many" like this argument leans toward.

(Plus no one ever just asks--how come Gotham's courts don't just have these guys killed instead of constantly sending them to the revolving door that is Arkham Asylum, which is completely bogus.)

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.


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