Bottom of the Pile: May 10th, 2017

The week before last's is still coming, hopefully tomorrow.  But Road to E3 is also a thing so that might slow me up a bit.

Amazing Spider Man

It's funny because Pete literally brought toys to fight against an unjust occupation of Silver Sable's nation.  Seriously, why on Earth are so many of these vehicles color-coded? 
You can hear Peter coming from a mile away with all the puns and bad jokes, but now you have to see him from a mile off too?
Still, as much as I'm overall annoyed that Peter's about to go from multibillionaire good guy to working for a digital version of the Daily Bugle or whatever, this is actually a great way to close out Pete's billionaire phase, going head to head with Norman Osborn's army with one of his own.  He's basically serving as the Big Good here, arming a resistance force with the means to fight back against their oppressors literally single-handed.  There's even a bit of subterfuge at the start of the issue where he manages to outsmart SHIELD to even go on this mission in the first place.  


Avengers

This raised a question rather than actually answered it: if Spider-Man can sense evil intentions rather than just immediate danger, then has all this tingling Spider-Sense just been nonsense from the jump and he's actually a low-level pre-cog?  

And if not, why would Spider-Man immediately sense danger from Doom if he wasn't prepping to attack them yet.  Plus, if Doom can build an Iron Man suit, why wouldn't he also be capable of dodging Spidey's Spider-Sense.   Tony did that no problem.  

Anyhow, surprisingly Doom didn't seem to add that much friction to the team, outside of the expected "we don't trust you", but apparently he's so "centered" right now that he couldn't even respond with a "I don't care, now do what I tell you because I'm smarter than all of you combined".  

In any case, nothing against Avengers writer Mark Waid because he's got nothing to do with Doom being Iron Man, but this is partially why Marvel can't seem to get their shit together.  Because their characters are all over the place.  Doom's supposedly an actual good guy now?  Up is down, right is left, and your customers have too because no one understands the canon anymore.    The status quo shake-ups happening constantly have left people in a state of apathy, and that's the worst possible spot you can be in.
 
Black Panther and the Crew

I was going to write a post about how good Black Panther and the Crew was.  I was going to talk about how it was cool the way the book was building the team up, each issue focusing on a solo character's voice even if it featured multiple team members, so you could see the story from every angle of the main characters involved.

I was going to point out that it was pretty freaking cool that writer Ta-Nehisi Coates was tying Storm's history as a mutant and as a black woman together, how she's this woman of two completely separate minorities that in the Marvel Universe basically go through the same thing.  And how difficult it was to serve both groups of people properly and equally at the same time.

I was going to talk about all that, then I was going to say how much I was looking forward to this book and what they could do with "The Crew" as a concept going forward, hopefully including Sam Wilson, Miles Morales, the new Nick Fury, Riri Williams and more.  As corny as it can be to do a "black hero book", the reality is many of these characters come from entirely different backgrounds and to see how they interact with each other, agreeing on certain things while clashing on others--that could have been a unique book to the Marvel Universe and easily one of my favorite comics month to month.

...But nope!  'Cause before we could even get past the first fucking arc this thing is canceled, which basically means it didn't get enough pre-orders to justify its existence to Marvel.  Ugh.  All these "diversity's not your problem, Marvel" articles and yet this book didn't sell enough, so somebody's lying.  And I don't think its the numbers.   Dammit, I was really getting into this book, too...

Detective Comics
I'm kind of torn about this book.  The arc as a whole was good, with Cassandra finally starting to embrace her humanity and the fact that the people around her do care about her and see her as more than just a weapon for killing.  But the story closes with a lack of focus on what's changed in Cassandra's life going forward when the costumes are off.  Instead we focus on Bruce and Kate, Detective Comics' two "main characters".  That's kind of a bummer.

Having said that, I'm also not sure how I feel about the fact that this book was changed at the last second.  We were technically robbed of Bruce's desire to go and save Tim Drake, instead setting up for the part where he tries to recruit Zatanna.  And as much as I like the fact that there is set-up instead of him just randomly trying to get her on the team, ultimately I feel kinda bummed that the Tim Drake storyline has been put on hold for so long and would've liked to have it addressed at least a little.

Future Quest
I'll admit, I just posted this panel because it was cute.  It's kind of a bummer that the one Hanna-Barbera revival story that isn't depressing or dystopian or overly adult is the one that didn't get much in the way of rave reviews and is basically the first story to come to a premature end, only receiving twelve issues before being canceled, but I get it.

Future Quest was too much, too fast.  They basically threw all of these characters together into one gigantic story and barely allowed us time to learn who they all were and learn to care about them.  As a result, the story felt more like an adventure between all the pulp heroes out of a child's toybox than an actual saga that fans could sink their teeth into.  After all, most of these characters at this point are better known from the Williams Street parodies from the early 2000's-era than their actual stories from Saturday Morning toons.   I'm just a nostalgia geek, so seeing these characters revived and put to use in actual stories appealed to me from the jump, but I realize now if they really wanted to sell these characters it would have been far better to build them up individually before throwing them all together.

Something to think about next time, I suppose...

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps
Just in case you thought Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps didn't have enough cool-ass constructs, this issue they build a massive planetary tactical missile launcher/laser cannon!

....What, is that not enough to sell you?  Ridiculous.  *sighs*  Fine, the rest of the issue sees our heroes learn where these mysterious monsters are coming from that are somehow impervious to harm from Green or Yellow rings; they're constructs, made by a guy from the future who discovered Krona's glove.  A former Guardian of the Universe himself, this glove allowed Hal to imitate the powers of a Lantern himself, but he put it down because it was eventually altering his own body, making him less human.  At this point he's basically pure willpower personified, which is a form of stanning I'm not entirely comfortable with but there we are.

Still, as annoying as it is to see the Lanterns helpless for once, I suppose there has to be some kind of tension rather than the Lanterns just steamrolling over everyone who threatens them.  Still, it's rather weird that the plot here consists of outsmarting this villain by going to a location he's already at to steal a past version of an item he already wields, when it seems like it'd just be easier to go to the recent past and steal it before he ever landed on that planet and circumvent it without all the drama.

New Super-Man

And so once again the Superman/Flash debate is settled, with the only reason that matters.  There's never been any reason why Superman should be faster than the fastest person alive--he's got a million other things, let the Flash have one, y'know?

In any case, New Super Man is an exercise in how to do compressed storytelling.  So many things happen this issue it's almost hard to keep track of them all it happens to fast.  Fitting then, that most of the story centers around Kenan learning to use his super-speed.   There's the race here, complete with the most adorable panda scene you'll see all month.  Then there's Lex interacting with Amanda Waller, with Suicide Squad implications.   An attack by the China White Triad at the beginning of the issue leads to the Justice League of China having to face off against a former sorcerer monk turned giant Doomsday Turtle while hinting at some of the origins of the Wonder Woman of China, and finally we get the appearance of "Super Man Zero", who's almost certainly going to end up as an antagonist sooner rather than later.  Potentially Kenan's Bizarro?

One of the coolest things about Superman lately is just how solid the line has been.  Action Comics gives you Superman dealing with his normal Superman crises, while Superman balances his life as a superhero with his family life.  But what's amazing is despite the quality of those books, New Super Man almost routinely outpaces them both every month.   Just reading this makes me actually kind of long for a crossover between the Justice League of China and the Justice League proper.   Perhaps after our characters here have separated themselves from the Ministry of Self-Reliance and become their own heroes?    They could be incorporated into a more global, or International version of the Justice League, perhaps?  Just a thought.

Rocket
 I've sworn off most things Guardians related because I'm pissed at the comedic bent the characters have taken since the films got popular.   But Rocket was the character that changed the least and when his ongoing was announced, it had one of the best writers currently working for Marvel, Al Ewing on it.  So I figured I'd check it out, and...sold.

Casting Rocket as a former crook turned foul-mouthed part-time superhero in a space noir-esque story, complete with him getting together a gang that includes a former love interest that betrayed him in the past and doing a heist while wearing fashionable suits?   Fuck all these trash panda jokes, this is probably the coolest thing they're going to let anyone do with these characters for awhile, and I'm loving it.    I'm also loving the additional prose Al's using to help him further the story, getting the exposition out of the way in the side bar while the artist is free to tell the rest of the story.  It's not the way your dad used to write comics, but it's as valid a way as any other. 

Superwoman
This is probably the most complicated way for a character to keep their super-powers ever.  The armor that Lana Lang wore like...twice, kept a remnant of the powers?  Why not simply say being imbued with Superman's energy like that altered her cells permanently, and made them capable of absorbing energy--solar or otherwise--same as Clark?   The difference in powers can come from her being human.  Ah well.

This is still a good book, and it's nice to see Lana back on her feet and being less of a jerk to everyone.

Wonder Woman



And with this issue, Rebirth Veronica Cale goes right off the rails.  She's basically a "good" person now, compared to the original version that was genuinely an awful person.  She'd let her ambition and troubled past turn her into someone who believed that power was the only way you ever mattered in the world, and that Wonder Woman's message of love and hope was misleading to young women everywhere in actual dire straits, in situations that Diana had no idea what they were like.  She literally was the woman version of Lex Luthor.

But ten years is a long time, and things have taken a huge change.  This Veronica seems like a genuinely nice person who was ruined by the actions of gods.  If she has any hatred of Diana its because of her connection to the people who stole her daughter from her.  That kinda bums me out, since it makes Wonder Woman's best villain sympathetic in a way that simply doesn't exist for Batman or Superman's best villains, but its understandable for the story that Rucka's telling.

And also, stepping away from that subject for a second.  This is probably the most queer they've allowed Diana to be in a very, very long time.  Not only does she go out on a date with Veronica, but their date ends with a kiss!  It breaks my rule of never wanting to see superheroes and supervillains do anything romantic together, but it was kinda sweet and reminds us all it's past time Diana had a girlfriend.  Rucka claimed she was bi, so hopefully they actually make that more than just a thing he said and stick with it when he's gone.  Also, though artist Mirka Andolfo isn't Liam Sharp or Nicola Scott, they're still incredibly talented.  Every single one of the facial expressions in the excerpt above speaks volumes about the hidden meanings behind the words of these two characters.  Though I don't think they'll be on the book when Rucka leaves, I kinda wish they would. 

This Week: The Button concludes, The Wild Storm continues, more X-Men stuff, and more!

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