Bottom of the Pile: April 12th, 2017
Welcome back to an admittedly late edition of Bottom of the Pile. If you didn't know, Bottom of the Pile is an article where I take some of my favorite comics of the week and do commentary on them--it can range from funny remarks to discussing the comic in context of the world around it both in-universe and in a meta sense, or full on mini-reviews, depending on what I'm feeling about it. When your comic is so excellent that I want to save it until the end, you wind up...at the Bottom of the Pile.
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows
But everything comes with a price, and here it appears to be...Cyclops still being a wet fucking blanket. I'm not even sure how this works exactly--the incident that sparked the Civil War itself happened long after Scott had broken up with Jean and was dating Emma, the OTP for all Cyke fans. I guess it just exists so there can be a rift between Scott and Xavier that (hopefully) doesn't involve Scott killing Charles. It's not so bad, I guess it's just frustrating to see my favorite mutant hero walking around whining about a relationship that's gone on long enough for Jean and Logan to have had a little tyke running about.
It's pretty awesome to see the team together again without all the weird time travel-y complications. Peter and Mary Jane head to Xavier's school with an invite after their daughter is revealed to have powers, and are asked if they'd like to enroll her in the school. They're absolutely going to end up saying no, but I hope they can visit the school again from time to time, because it'd be pretty awesome if Annie had a bunch of young mutant friends.
While this book has plenty of time to get all ham-fisted on me, so far it's a fairly nuanced take on things on the complex relationship black neighborhoods have with the police. Misty's not just blaming the cops because that's just what we do now. She was a cop, and she's seen the city get cleaned up from the days where they were actually a war-zone. As a result, instead of just blaming the NYPD she's actually investigating--taking this case apart bit by bit and looking into every loose end, and it's making for a compelling read, so far. The twist at the end where Misty gets the first teammate to join her "Crew" is nice too--I didn't see it coming, even if I totally should've because the writer made it so painfully obvious for anyone who was paying attention.
There's a lot more to tell to this story, and I hope it lasts longer than a few issues. There are a lot of potential characters being left out of this arc that I'd love to see get a bigger spotlight in the future--Blue Marvel and his family alone could get an arc to themselves, for instance...
Having said that, I kind of hope there's some fallout from this. Ra's has been playing with Bruce's memories--the last time someone did that, he invented a giant big brother-y eye in the sky that generated a ton of dangerous power-neutralizing androids that eventually launched an attack on the super-powered community as a whole. I'm not asking for anything that drastic this time, but I would like to see that Bruce isn't exactly taking the fact that someone can set up shop in his mind easy. If I can't get that, I'd at least like a Black Casebook mention--Bruce used to keep track of the things that happened that he couldn't easily explain, and I'd love to see him go back to that. The fact that he believed Ra's and just wrote the League of Shadows off as a fairy tale (basically the same thing he did with the Court of Owls) just doesn't feel like proper protocol for a guy who once kept a back-up personality in his head "just in case" someone hacked his brain.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps
Here, they just describe them as "guns", which doesn't even make sense. For you to use any of these rings, you have to prove yourself capable of exerting excess levels of a certain emotion: if you have a red ring you're a rage-a-holic, if you've got a green ring you have superhuman levels of will. And if you're a Sinestro Corps member, you're capable of inflicting great fear, which honestly isn't a GOOD thing. Like even in my head the difference between a Green Lantern Corps member and a Sinestro Corps member is the difference between someone who was a good cop and the "bad cop" that used excessive force all the time to get his job done. Some of these emotions aren't ones you'd want to experience so powerfully you'd be able to use their Rings.
That's not to say this book isn't otherwise good--there are a lot of great moments, not the least of which being Rip Hunter randomly appearing at the end wearing a GL ring--I'm just concerned that we're going to take away what makes each individual Corps special.
Second, I love how they're gradually building up the superhero community again. The New 52 seemed so afraid of having heroes know each other, but ever so gradually (and in a way that seems purposeful but not overbearing), each hero is reaching out and creating their own ties in the N52. From Green Arrow showing up over in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, to what Batman's doing over in Detective, all the way up to Superman meeting up with his Chinese counterpart Kenan, it's slowly starting to remind me of that post-Identity Crisis/pre-Flashpoint era of DC where the heroes worked together to solve problems they couldn't deal with alone. And hopefully going forward into whatever Rebirth is finally leading to next year we'll see them all be better heroes for it, instead of allowing the bad guys to just utterly wreck the Earth like they did when Darkseid and the Crime Syndicate popped up.
Justice League of America
Of course, it's most likely that this is just set-up for Metal in August, but I'm still kinda hoping it has even greater implications down the line. For now though, I guess we all just get to see Killer Frost and Black Canary learn to make nice? If you're concerned that they're too worried about re-covering already tread ground, I'm pretty certain this is a new (albeit shaky) friendship sparking up. I'm sure Frost's Birds of Prey membership card is in the mail already.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Both of these run pretty directly counter to his "with great power, great responsibility" act, though. Particularly when here all he has to do is...y'know...scrape the Parker Industries logo off the plane? It's gotten to the point where he isn't just being careless, he's being flippant. It's obvious he cares more about being Spider-Man than keeping his company going. Which is a shame, since I'm sure Pete was making sure this was a "good" corporation and it was employing hundreds (possibly thousands) in multiple nations across the world. In a world where corporations abuse their workers by overworking and underpaying them, the fact that Pete would rather play hero than be a proper businessman actually makes him look pretty irresponsible.
...And all because everyone wants him to go back to having that Old Parker Luck. SMH.
The plan goes off without a hitch, only...as it turns out, Deimos and Phobos lost Cale's daughter some time ago and the only way to recover it (conveniently) is by freeing Ares from his prison on Themyscira. What's such a bummer about this is that there's obviously so much story that Rucka has left to tell--right now most of the gods are completely shrouded from Diana and the rest of the world, but what would they look like? Ares was captured for a reason, doubtless they'd want to show themselves if he got free, right? How does the world deal with that, and more importantly; how does Diana? There's so many bases left to touch before even beginning to claim that he's done everything he can with the character...but unfortunately both Greg and Liam Sharp are taking their leave of the Amazonian Princess within the next few months, citing the heavy schedule as their major issues. It's understandable, but man I'm going to miss them both--I haven't enjoyed Wonder Woman's book this much since Rucka's original run.
Check back with me on Thursday for this week's installment, where we'll talk about (amongst other things): Astro City, Deathstroke, Royals, U.S. Avengers, and finally get to the opening of the Batman/Flash crossover, The Button!