Bottom of the Pile: April 22nd, 2015

All-New X-Men

I won't lie--when I first read this news on CBR, I didn't approve.  Not because I have a problem with gay people, or gay characters--but because I've been reading comics too long and that means I usually hate when you fundamentally change a character like this.   Especially through stories that use such...specious logic as Bendis' X-Men run has.  (The, "no, this is really our timeline" deal he's been pushing since Age of Ultron.)   

But reading the issue as a whole, it's well done.  Though at this point I definitely understand why Professor X suppressed Jean's psychic powers--she seems utterly incapable of minding her own business--I get it.  The scene makes sense with proper context, and if this helps some dorky teenage comic book fan to find the courage to accept and be more comfortable who they are, then that's wonderful.

(Also, once I read this panel from the original Stan Lee X-Men I realized he's been gay since the 60's, we just never wanted to have him admit it.)

All that having been said, it might be nice if they introduce adult Bobby as bisexual, the rarest of all male hero-types.  I guess because it's not as "sexy". 

Amazing X-Men
The biggest thing I've gotten from this arc is that telepaths are useless.  Because while that new Juggernaut look is certainly unique, it's not gonna stick.  They'll either revert it shortly after Secret Wars, or worse, forget he actually had it.  Like Iron Man and his hall of armors that keeps appearing even though several writers have actually gotten rid of it before. 

This story is probably the most inaccessible crossover I've read in a while.  The guy in blue is Monarch--he's the major villain of DC's 1991 crossover Armageddon 2001.  The guy with the giant "D" on his chest is Per Degaton, a time traveling super-villain known for plaguing the Justice Society.   This book is constantly throwing characters at you like that--giving you maybe a name and just deciding you should know who they are from there.  It's...weird.

That said, again with this uber-powerful damping field that can apparently drain everyone of their powers.  Even people who should in theory be able to just time-travel back before any of this happened and stop it.  It's, remarkable honestly.   I get where DC is going with this, but for the life of me I can't understand why most of these characters had to be included at all--they mostly just seem to inflate an already bloated cast. 

At any rate, let's go see how the heroes of Pre-Crisis are doing!

Convergence - Adventures of Superman
DC has this unfortunate problem with its female heroes--they're far too often associated with moments of great tragedy.  Barbara Gordon with being shot by the Joker.  Supergirl with being killed during Crisis.   Now, Barbara is (for better or worse) Batgirl again and Kara's on her...third(?) incarnation, but it's still an issue that I wish they'd learn from.

That said, this book did do an excellent job of making Kara Zor-El look like what she is: a brave hero with the strength to know that even though she's dying, in doing so she saves everyone else.  Alongside Barry Allen she's essentially the quintessential hero. 

Convergence - Green Lantern Corps
Away from the dark spectres of the multiple Lantern Corps, "Parallax", and even Kyle Rayner--we finally get to see the three Green Lanterns working together again.   ....Sort of.   Basically aside from John Stewart, these guys are a complete mess without their Power Rings--shadows of their former selves, attempting to make some sense of their lives.   It's a good story nonetheless, I just wish Hal didn't always have to look like a nutbar.  Speaking OF Hal Jordan, I've known the dude to be a lot of things in my days...but someone capable of complex engineering and monitoring for alien life isn't really one of them.   Was Pre-Crisis Hal actually smart, or is this one of those "all heroes are pretty much omni-capable when the situation calls for it" deals of the Silver Age?

Convergence - Hawkman
No major comments to be made here, save that I'm realizing now that although classic Hawkman's look is cool, it probably isn't the best idea when you're caught up in a fight with any foe who wields claws or bladed weapons.

Also, it's pretty cool to have a look at Hawkman when he's not "savage" or whatever, and is just an unassuming museum curator alongside his wife/girlfriend, Shayera.  It's a huge difference between the far more complex origins the guy had to undergo following Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Convergence - New Teen Titans
I couldn't help myself--this panel isn't particularly expressive of the issue itself, but it does seem to perfectly encapsulate the Wolfman/Perez run, where the emotional drama always seemed to run side-by-side with the superhero derring-do.   Characters looking longingly at one another, "wishing they would understand the other's feelings".   It may seem like I'm trolling, but it's actually pretty great.  Superheroes are sorely missing this now that everything has to be THE MOST IMPORTANT CHAPTER IN [THIS CHARACTER'S] HISTORY.   Not that everything has to be soap-y like CW's Arrow, but there's just not nearly enough relationship-y, non-costume-related drama.

Anyway, it's awesome to have the New Teen Titans back, even for a little while.  I have this theory that they're basically the only people who should be calling themselves the Teen Titans, and its only reinforced with this great Wolfman/Scott story.   If anything should be allowed to make a return post-Convergence, this version of the Titans should be #1 on the list.

Convergence - Wonder Woman
In Convergence: Wonder Woman, Diana gets her powers back and is forced to go up against the vampires of Earth-43, the Batman: Red Rain universe.  And I chose this panel because reveals that Wonder Woman is pretty much the most consistent character DC has.  All these other characters have these major moments in history where they're considerably different--electric Superman, Jean-Paul Valley Batman--but Wonder Woman is always the same.   She'll have minor changes from time to time--this issue even referenced her "white costume" phase--but they never last long enough to have a major impact.   They're fleeting moments, which I suppose is why she's only seen during pre-Crisis--more than that and you'd start to notice that there aren't any major differences between the different versions. 

Guardians of the Galaxy

I can't help being bummed out by this.  The Black Vortex was a mediocre story told with awful art (I apologize, but Sorrentino just does not do it for me) and yet it still had this tremendous effect on Marvel Cosmic.   Now Pratt Lord is basically the most important person in the Marvel Cosmic U, which just wrong.
Transformers: Windblade

It's official: Combiner Wars is just an excuse to make all the gestalt teams get together and fight.  There's some political stuff behind the scenes, but all that's taking a huge backseat to this very toyetic mini-series.   And, unfortunately, since I'm such a Transformers and combiner geek...this is actually working all too well on me.

Now where the heck are Abominus and Computron?!

I apologize for being, literally, a month late with these things.  I'm going to try to do two a week, every week, until I'm all caught up.  


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