Bottom of the Pile: Oct. 21st, 2015

1872
If you can't guess what happens, Fisk is killed on the next page.  This is actually pretty frustrating, as a storyteller.  This whole story was meant to be about how righteous people have to live within the law--even when it'd be more convenient for them not to.  Steve Rogers, "A Good Man", literally dies for this ideal.  Red Wolf actually has the chance to kill him but changes his mind because he learned the value of working for an ideal, and what's good and just rather than placing himself above the law...only for Natasha to just pop up and go "lol fuck that".  And Red Wolf's cool with it, which is the really maddening part.  If the point is to set up that these two are on the same side but won't always get along due to a difference in ideology, I get it.  But if its just "I could have done that", then it raises the question of why didn't Red Wolf just put a bullet in him to begin with. 

Either way, 1872's ending sets us up for what I was always hoping for: Steampunk Avengers. Bring it.



Amazing Spider-Man
In case you were wondering the difference between Peter Parker as a world-famous entrepreneur and inventor and say....Tony Stark.   Tony would just make a practical "Invisicar", while Peter creates holograms that become humpback whales.  The Parker humor and luck shines through, even when he's in positions you think he doesn't belong.

Overall though, I'm still with this general direction.  We talk about the "illusion of change", but it's nice to see Peter actually in control of his own life.  He's not in over his head, and his decisions still make sense: he's been put in this position of great power, and so he gets to work with SHIELD on projects, try to make the world a better place and be the "general" of all the Spider-people running around NYC.  I love it.


Astro City

Being honest, this issue kinda settles into a lot of familiar Astro City storytelling tropes.  A likable schmuck with a bittersweet origin story reminiscent of a mixture of DC and Marvel superheroes who gets in way over their head but still manages to snag the happy ending.   It's not bad--if every comic were this good I think most fans would lose their shit 'cause there wouldn't be anything to complain about every Wednesday--it's just not quite as stellar as what the comic usually is.   But at the same time, Kurt managed to perfectly combine 80's and 90's Saturday Morning Cartoon characters with their 2D comic book counterparts, and I just can't find fault with that.

Black Canary
I love that even though Dinah's already had it explained to her that this is a "battle....of the bands" her first response is still to try to beat the hell out of everything.   She...might not be cut out for this band stuff. 

Danger Girl

You know it's bad when someone kicks the ninja thoughts out of you. 

Doctor Fate
I'll admit it: I've always wondered why criminals don't at least try to shoot at heroes after they first show up.  They just run off terrified, even though bullets are most likely to work and the hero is least likely to kill you.

Either way, as much as I'm enjoying this run on Fate so far, I'll be glad when they start properly delving into the (obviously new) mythology that we've spent five issues now referring to.

Invincible Iron Man
Ktang.  Honestly, try as I might, I just can't find fault with Bendis' Iron Man so far.  There's very little wonky characterization and the way he utilizes the armor in this issue is legitimately cool as shit.  In fact, this is probably a lot closer to Silver Age Iron Man than anyone's been since Kurt Busiek left the title in the early 2000s.  Sure, Tony's more of a smart-ass here, but that's a permanent Added Personality Trait stemming from the movie--you're not getting rid of that.   But Madame Masque?  Mixing being an inventor with being a world-famous playboy? Potential adventures with Doctor Doom?  All classic Iron Man stuff.  We're a Maggia or a Count Nefaria appearance away from my thinking this is actually taking place in the 80's.  

 Justice League

I'll say it if no one else will: Geoff is one of the only people actually making use of the New 52's streamlined history.  In the aftermath of Darkseid versus the Anti-Monitor, the universe is attempting to correct itself...and as such it's been gradually creating gods..."New" gods, if you will...from mortals who got too close to these events.   It's such a unique turn in a story that otherwise was looking fairly pat that I'm not only impressed, I'm legitimately intrigued as I wonder where things are going next.

The early part of Geoff's run was more than a little weak, but he course-corrected over a year ago and since then this has frequently been one of the best comics to come out of DC every month.  I'm only sad there's not more of it.

 Martian Manhunter
Martian Manhunter is a lot of things right now: an alien invasion story, a thriller, somewhat of a horror story, and it works on a lot of levels.  Particularly the idea that Martian Manhunter can use his combined aptitudes for shapeshifting and telepathy and split himself up into multiple different personas.  It's the kind of idea that one reads and immediately wonders why it hasn't been done ages ago.

But this, though...?  Only one planet in the solar system can support life at a time?  How does that even make sense?   Is there a magical being placing a limit on how much life our solar system can sustain?    And if you knew that, why would you have allowed Earth to live in the first place if you had a perfectly working planet? 

Plus, this isn't even true.   We saw J'onn's planet being just fine until some random jerk murdered everyone while he was on a very MODERN Earth.   The two planets were both alive and well then, so your ancient Martian blood mages suck.


Titans Hunt

When did Aqualad/Garth get heat vision??   It doesn't even make sense.  He spends all his time underwater, so he can light people on fire?  

Either way, while Titans Hunt isn't bad, I'm not especially impressed.   One of the Post-Convergence spin-off books (that should've hit shelves the month after Convergence ended), this one seeks to restore some of the ties between the original Titans team that vanished when they retconned every Titans team except the current one from existing.    Excited as I am, I can't help wondering what the point of it all is: the more you make this universe resemble the old one, the more you make the reboot pointless.

Plus in all honesty, the more you let this happen, the more likely we're headed towards a situation in which we just undo everything and that's...actually, never mind.  Carry on. 


Transformers
I'll confess to missing a few issues that I'll have to go back and read...but apparently now the ghost of Bumblebee is haunting Starscream, the precarious "ruler" of Cybertron proper.  

People honestly don't give John Barber enough credit.  Yeah, James Roberts is tearing it up over on The Best Ongoing Comic Book--it's got everything from romance to hilarious comedy to a poetry-writing Megatron.  It's not just good, it's...well, like I said, the best comic book to come out every month.   But John Barber has been doing a bang-up job on Transformers for just as long, and for just as many issues.  (The mess that was Dark Cybertron aside.)  The inter-factional drama between the Autobots, Decepticons, and Neutralists...the backstabbing and political in-fighting...and now we have a legitimately "mad" king?   This book has been the Transformers version of Game of Thrones before aping Game of Thrones was even a thing. 

Now, Hasbro has been trying to make a larger universe between the comics, a Machinima cartoon, and their video games under the "Combiner Wars" banner.   But honestly?  I kinda don't want it. Both of these comics have been some of the most solid world-building and character development I've had the pleasure of reading in all my years as a comic book fan, and I'd be bummed if they messed it all up so they could hock a few more toys from a line that already sells like new iPhones on Black Friday.

Uncanny Inhumans
This is one of those "change for the sake of change" things that we're going to look back on in a couple months (or years, if you wanna be optimistic) and call stupid.  Black Bolt, in a rare moment of  actually doing something against his wife's wishes rather than just allowing her to "interpret" for him", did something during Marvel's "Infinity" event that caused destruction of Attilan and the creation of "New Attilan".  This, apparently, caused a fraction between one of Marvel's longest-standing couples--Medusa basically refused to allow him to reclaim his rightful throne, and now that we've returned from Secret Wars, we find that she's basically dating the Human Torch.  Does no one else find this creepy?   Human Torch dated Medusa's sister Crystal for a long time.   So the first guy she hooks up with after she decides she's done with Black Bolt is her sister's ex?   Ewww. 

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