June 15th 2016, Bottom of the Pile: The Hulk is Going to Kill You All...

I've got a different thing planned to finish talking about the rest of E3, but first...comics!



Alright, let's just go ahead and get this week's Civil War stuff front and center.

Civil War II - X-Men
I wasn't even going to put this comic book in, but sometimes commentary overrides quality.  This is your run of the mill ancilliary tie-in book, where the X-Men learn about the Inhumans' newest recruit.  If you're not keeping up with the X-Men lately, they and the Inhumans are MORTAL ENEMIES.  Well, not really, but kinda.

The Inhumans get their powers from something called the Terrigen Mists, and a while back their "king" Black Bolt set off a chain of events that lead to the Mists being spread all over the world.  And, due to the X-Men being in the proverbial doghouse from being one of the only two franchises Marvel can't monetize in the form of big blockbuster films, the Terrigen Mists are now deadly to all mutants.  It sterilizes them if they get a small dose, continued exposure kills quicker than Kryptonite turns Superman worthless.   So whatever tie the mutants had to Inhumans is now strained at best, violent at worst--and this issue is about Magneto's team of "deadly" X-Men discovering the existence of Ulysses, the tie-in created Inhuman that can predict the future. 

He figures this out through Psylocke reading minds--a surface reading initially, which eventually becomes a more deeper reading...until young Jean Grey decides "enough is enough" and forces her out.  This is why I can't stand Jean.  Everytime SHE reads a mind it's always "an accident" and "she can't help herself", and yet as soon as the tables are turned its an issue.  It probably wouldn't bother me if she were looked on with the same distrust as Emma Frost or (sometimes) Xavier can be, but since the older version died Jean's been turned into the patron saint of the X-Men who can literally do no wrong...even when she's being a giant hypocrite.   It wouldn't bother me if someone would at least call her on it, but they're too busy throwing all their rage at Cyclops.

Civil War II
Ulysses' powers appear to be "growing".  Where he once saw the future all on his own, he can now display it to other people, which makes him more convincing than ever...but also makes me believe his powers are fake/implants or that he's definitely going to be dead by the end of this.

Setting that aside, fortunately at only two issues in Iron Man hasn't turned into a complete jerkface yet, he's just kinda skirting the line by having an unreasonable response to his best friend's death.  (Though admittedly there's probably not a reasonable response to begin with.)  At any rate, in Civil War #0 James Rhodes (War Machine) was killed while Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk) lies in critical condition from a fight with Thanos...and no one's told Bruce Banner yet.  Hence the "Hulk is going to kill you" panel, complete with a scene just one page prior where a nude Hulk has utterly wrecked every superhero within smashing distance. 

It's at this point I wonder why they don't just trick the guy onto a space ship and launch him to a planet in another galax...hm.  That idea sounds familiar.  ...Nnnnevermind.

International Iron Man
In sharp contrast to Bendis' other Iron Man book, Invincible, I kinda hate this comic.  It's not a bad thing that Tony Stark's looking for his birth parents, but it IS a bad thing to have Howard Stark have this much of a presence in adult Tony's life.

Not to go too Donald Trump with it, but Tony is kind of a self-made man.  Yes, he started out a millionaire...but his parents died when he was young.  His own inventions took the company to greater heights than his father could've imagined.  Then, when he got injured investigating one of his own factories by one of his own weapons, he had a sea change in his approach to life.  He got out of the weapons business.  He became a visionary, a "futurist" that created the inventions of tomorrow, today--raising the profile of Stark Industries even further.  And that's leaving out the part where he became a world-renowned superhero. 

But here...it's a sharp change.  His dad's yelling at him, yanking him about and ordering him to do this and that while Tony just mopes and acts like a helpless simp.  It's robbing the character of the agency and much of coolness he's had for years.  Maybe all this stuff happened with him and his father, but I don't know that we ever needed to see it.

Batman

Though new writer Tom King's first issue is a lot less disjointed than I felt the Rebirth issue was, this first issue still kinda bugs the hell out of me.  It sets up a mystery that I'm assuming we'll hear more about later (and good on the guy for re-introducing Kobra into DC canon), but that's in the opening pages, and the rest of the issue is about Batman stopping a plane crash. 

There's some cool bits here and there where Bruce is basically using gadgets and math to help him steer a plane with its engines blown into an empty area of Gotham, but...I guess its the execution that bugs me.  Where the hell is his Batplane, for one.   As heroic as it looked watching him try to do it with nothing but what he keeps in his Batmobile and utility belt, I couldn't get that particular question out of my head.

His mission seems like it's about to succeed, but at the cost of his own life, which causes him to question Alfred as to whether or not "it's a good death".  It's a sweet moment, but honestly a tad too emotional for a Bruce that, even in this truncated timeline, should be way too experienced with the job.  And all of that to set up the page above, where two super-powered individuals pop up to save him, rendering all his work moot from the beginning.

As usual with King, I'm sure there's some brilliance here that I'm missing and the rest of the internet will remind me of, but for now I'm just here for the gorgeous David Finch art.

Green Arrow
The first official issue of Green Arrow and I have two thoughts:

- The artist behind this run, Otto Schmidt, offers a unique style that's a mixture of realistic and cartoony that'll probably keep me reading unless he leaves or the story gets downright stupid.
- Black Canary still sounds like a putz.  Like I mentioned, Ollie is capable of (and apparently doing) much more good with his money than without it, and still somehow she finds a problem.   Foolishness.

She has half a decent point, though.  Ollie's basically shoved Roy out of his life (as usual), and while there was a comic Diggle he's nowhere to be found.  And the rest of his family got retconned away, which leaves Ollie somehow more alone than Bruce, which really isn't right.  In any case, this issue set up enough mysteries for the rest of the book that I'm in for now.  Great work.

 Green Lanterns
There was a lot of concern about this title online given the creative team, but from this first issue so far so good.  Simon and Jessica have excellent chemistry, and are playing a role not often seen in fiction: an odd couple of rookie cops.  Usually the "odd couple" aspect causes the writer to make one of the characters a veteran, but Simon's been on the job maybe a few months longer than Jessica so that's obviously out.

This issue is pretty busy too, setting up the upcoming battle against the Red Lanterns, adding to the mythology of both the Red and Green Lanterns, showing how these two play off of each other, and giving us a glimpse into each of their lives off-duty.  I'm pretty excited for the next issue now.

I will say I'm a little more fond of the Green Sight (apparently some sort of GL future-sight) than the Hell Seed, though.  The Red Lanterns already walk a tight-rope between dark edgy and cornball edgy, and I'm hoping this doesn't send them over it.  On the flipside...there's something to giving the Ring new abilities.  It's supposed to be the Most Powerful Weapon in the Universe and yet more often than not it just feels like something that generates lasers and force shields, almost like it's obeying the Rule of Inverse Ninja.  Well, right now there's only two of them so they should be the biggest bad-asses on the scene, held back only by their own inexperience.

 Justice League
Want to know how I know I'm too close to these characters and this universe?  I nearly chucked my laptop across my bedroom when I read this issue.  Having Dick Grayson stand in awe of the League is neat, but Cyborg?  By the time Vic had come along, Tim had been Robin for years, formed and lead a version of the Teen Titans for years, and was halfway into a Nightwing costume.   If anyone is "one of them", it should be Grayson, and yet...ugh. 

How far away is the proper reboot?  Two years from DCU Rebirth, you say?  Well, twenty-two more months to go...


Superman
This is going to end up being Pete Tomasi's chance at bringing the same father/son conflicts and storytelling to Superman that he popularized doing Batman and Robin.  But one issue in and I'm already a much bigger fan of Clark being "Pa Kent" and Jon being a troubled kid struggling to learn his powers than I ever was of seeing Bruce and Damian together.  That might be because Jon's not a little shit, but who can tell?  Maybe I just couldn't stomach the idea of Bat-Cow.

More seriously, this is a much stronger first issue than Action Comics.  Clark actually feels like himself, even if its hard to get used to him being fully domesticated with a wife and kids.  He's a responsible adult doing responsible adult things, up to and including sending an obviously disturbed but undeniably rude l'il Superboy up to his room without dessert for talking back.  It's cute, and the only thing I'm even slightly upset by is that I wish we could've seen the actual discussion between him, Bats, and Wonder Woman.  But that's why this thing ships bi-weekly, I guess.  

Titans Rebirth
Titans Rebirth is guilty of much of the same problems most other Rebirth comics were.  It's short, it doesn't point much to what the actual Titans book will be about, and to be honest the main purpose of it is: Wally's back, guys! 

It's cheesy, and almost overly simplistic...and I loved every second of it.   Much like DC Universe: Rebirth said, for years there's been a pervading, almost never-ending darkness that overwhelms characters that should be about light, happiness, and hope.   And that DC is letting some of their comics convey that again is something my brain won't let me perceive as anything other than a good thing.  

Plus!  This is one of the few comics that has a direct reference to the events of DCU Rebirth, and is basically the "third" part of it (with Flash being part 2).  Barry got the word to Bruce, now Wally gets the word to the Titans.  Gradually evidence of what's wrong with the world is being spread to others, and hopefully building to a crescendo--even if we can't see where the dam eventually bursts and the entire DC Universe gets in on it.

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