Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Comics Recap 11/13

Another grab bag of comics that I bought in the last month or so.  Let's start with a couple of Marvel ones.

Thor #364-366:  I remember Rusty mentioned that in a couple of issues Thor was turned into a frog.  So when there was a sale and I saw those issues I thought what the heck and bought them.  Basically thanks to Loki, Thor is turned into a frog, though holding true to form he's larger and more powerful than a normal frog.  He unites with some other frogs in order to defeat an army of rats who are going to poison a reservoir in New York.  So if you think the Sewer Rat and his rat minions in the Scarlet Knight stories are totally ridiculous, I would point you to this storyline.  And then Frog Thor manages to lift his hammer:
This actually happened.
That was some pretty epic weirdness.  Right up there with the brief run of Peter Porker, Spider-Ham comics.  Maybe by 2025 Marvel will get so desperate those will become movies. (5/5)

Captain America:  Man Out of Time by Mark Waid:  Rusty reviewed this on Goodreads and it sounded interesting so when it was conveniently on sale a week or so later I bought it and read it.  It's a fairly interesting book that focuses on Captain America trying to adjust to life in the 21st Century, something that's been a little lacking in the first two movies that have involved him.  In this case he's unthawed by the Avengers and at first thinks he must be in some terrible dream, but slowly comes to realize he's not.  When a villain called Kang sends him back to 1945, though, Cap realizes that maybe things weren't as good in the 40s as he thought.  It's great this book doesn't shy away from subjects like segregation that I'm sure would be too risque for any movies to deal with.  But I couldn't help feeling the story was biting off more than it could really chew in just 5 issues. (4/5)

Ultimate Captain America by Jason Aaron:  A little bit of retconning here maybe where the Captain America during the Vietnam War wasn't the real one but an impostor. He's more like Bane from the Batman universe in that they gave him some serum and then some surgeries to enhance his body.  The story is sort of like "Apocalypse Now" with Steve Rogers as Martin Sheen and Frank Simpson Captain America as Marlon Brando.  Anyway, I didn't like these.  The way Steve Rogers Captain America was all pissed-off and cussing and whatnot he seemed more like the Punisher than the Captain America we're familiar with.  It just struck me as wrong. I didn't really find anything in this 4-issue series to enjoy.  (1/5)

Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher by Jonathon Maberry:  Hey speaking of the Punisher, I read this series where he does battle against superheroes turned to primitive cannibals.  NOT zombies as the Walking Dead guy did like a year or two earlier with the Marvel Universe.  There's like a huge distinction there...not really.  Anyway, this format works really well for the Punisher because you don't have any moral quandries, which means even a liberal like me can root for him as he kills Deadpool (several times), the Hulk, and numerous other Marvel Universe characters.  In the end the main point is that the Punisher isn't much better than the "monsters" he's slaughtering.  Well, duh.  (4/5)

Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine by Jonathon Maberry:  Then like a year later they did another series apparently that focused on Wolverine fighting the cannibals.  This mostly takes place before the Punisher ones.  As people start turning into cannibals, starting with Spider-Man, Wolverine tries to track down a cure and protect Reed Richards and other scientists from the cannibals.  There's an inevitable clash with the Hulk which answers the question of whether Wolverine's parts grow back if they're torn off.  I think the Punisher one was slightly better but this wasn't bad.  (4/5)

Marvel Universe vs. The Avengers by Jonathon Maberry:  And then just for the hell of it another year later or so let's have another series focusing on the Avengers fighting cannibals!  At this point it's kind of silly because some of this stuff we've already covered in 2 series.  Most of it focuses on Dr. Doom's scheme to use science and magic to "cure" the cannibal plague.  Since it's Doom you know there's gotta be a catch.  Anyway, since it focuses on Hawkeye, one of the lamest Avengers, and covers a lot of stuff we already know about it wasn't that great.  I think the idea's pretty played out now.  I suppose the problem was with the Punisher one they pretty much killed everyone off so they can only mine the same ground over and over again.  The only sequel option left I think would be to have a Thor one to see how the plague affects Asgard.  I have to say though one of the most clever things is how Iron Man ends up like the Iron Man of the Black Sabbath song for the most part. (3/5)  Instead of Ozzy, you can listen to Bill Shatner covering the song:

Avengers Assemble by Brian Bendis:  This came out around the time of the movie as I guess a way to try to do some cross-marketing.  Though it really has nothing to do with the movie.  Basically some people calling themselves the Zodiac (because they all have the identity of a Zodiac sign; there are no clever references to the Zodiac killer though) start making trouble, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.  The problem becomes so large that it requires the Avengers to team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to save the day.  Which the Guardians are pretty cheesy with the raccoon and talking tree and whatnot.  And you sort of need to know who the hell Thanos is and all that good stuff. (4/5)

Justice League of America Vol 1 (New 52) by Geoff Johns:  I bought this a couple months ago but then forgot I'd bought it until I saw a giveaway for the hardcover version on Goodreads and thought, "Wait, don't I own this already?"  D'OH.  Anyway, it wasn't that great.  Basically it's kind of a "JLA, Assemble!" thing where a new team is formed by the US government in large part because they worry the Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.) might go rogue.  In the meantime the new JLA made up of luminaries like Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, Catwoman, Green Arrow, etc. have to track down some evil Secret Society of villains.  Which they sort of half-assed do.  New Green Lantern Simon Baz (like the 17th human Lantern by now) is supposed to be on the team but isn't involved with anything, which was pretty damned lame.  Maybe this series got better once they were all assembled.  Or not.  (3/5)

Namor:  Curse of the Mutants by Stuart Moore:  At this point of the Marvel Universe Namor (aka the Submariner) is tangentially a part of the X-Men.  There was apparently a whole big story about vampires fighting the X-Men.  Namor and the Atlanteans end up battling underwater vampires first to find Dracula's head (seriously) and then to stop the underwater vampires from killing everyone.  It was OK but not particularly scary or anything.  Namor at this point is less of a dick than at some points but...still a bit of a dick.  The artwork by Ariel Olivetti is reminiscent of Alex Ross's in books like Justice and Kingdom Come, which I enjoyed.  For some reason the paper book version uses issues #1-6 but issue 5 is more of an epilogue and issue 6 is actually the start of a new story arc so if you bought that it would seem weird to break it there. (3.5/5)

I was happy that around Halloween Marvel put the real Zombies titles on sale finally.  The first two series were written by Robert Kirkman of The Walking Dead fame, so as you may have figured out he's pretty much doing the same thing only with superheroes.  There are like 6 series altogether but I only bought the first 3.  The one I really want yet has Ash of the Evil Dead series battling the Marvel Zombies.  That sounds like fun.

Marvel Zombies Vol 1 by Robert Kirkman:  It might have helped if they'd put the Fantastic Four titles that preface this on sale too since it starts when all the heroes are already zombies.  I was really disappointed with how boring most of this was.  Most of the 5 comics seemed dedicated to the former Avengers whining about how hungry they are.  (Because the zombies in this aren't the shuffling wordless Walking Dead/George A Romero kind.)  The appearance of the Silver Surfer and then Galactus livens things up (punny!) a little bit, but it still wasn't as good as I was hoping for. (3/5)

Marvel Zombies Vol 2 by Robert Kirkman:  Volume 2 is a bit better than Volume 1.  After using the power of Galactus to eat most everything in the universe, the former Avengers return to Earth to find Black Panther, Forge, and some other humans still there.  There's a battle then over a machine that would allow the zombies to come into other universes (ours for instance) so they can eat all them up too.  It was a little more action-packed it seemed but the idea of the zombies "curing" themselves by not eating was a little too simplistic.  Come on, Kirkman, cold turkey hardly ever works!  Maybe he'll try that on The Walking Dead at some point.  The other thing that kind of annoys me is how Giant-Man Hank Pym is always in charge.  What's up with that?  Anyway, there's a sort of cliffhanger ending I don't think has been resolved, probably because Kirkman is too busy now to get back to it. (4/5)

Marvel Zombies Vol 3 by Fred van Lente:  Volume 3 is not a sequel to Volume 2.  It's more of a midquel, fitting in between the 5-year-period in Volume 1 when the superhero zombies have left Earth and Black Panther and company have reclaimed the planet.  Zombie Deadpool shows up in our universe in Florida and so it's decided to send an expedition to the Zombieverse to find some untainted human blood so that maybe a vaccine can be made.  Since they aren't idiots they send in Machine Man and another robot who obviously can't turn into zombies.  This was more fun than the Kirkman books with Machine Man blasting zombies with guns and cutting them up with a chain saw and such, but it obviously doesn't really move the overall story forward at all.  There was another sequel about the Midnight Sons that picks up from this, but I didn't care about that.  And then there was a fifth one involving Howard the Duck that I weren't touching with a ten-foot-pole.  (4/5)

This is enough to give me a death wish...
At the same time as Marvel was having a sale on zombies, DC was having a sale on Sandman comics.  I'm not sure who got the better end of that exchange.  Anyway, I didn't feel like buying all 75 Sandman issues, so I just bought the one based on Shakespeare's The Tempest I heard about in a History Channel special and then I bought a graphic novel focusing on Death.  Which it's important to note that in the Sandman universe Death is a hot Goth chick.  Which I suppose would make dying a bit nicer, though really you're dead so it's not like you could probably DO much if you know what I mean--intercourse!

Death the High Cost of Living by Neil Gaiman:  It's the old story of Death takes a holiday.  Once every 100 years Death takes human form.  This time she's a 16-year-old girl named Didi who goes out with a whiny depressed boy to a club and such.  It's a fun story but afterwards I realized the whole point was the same sentimental tripe you'd get out of a Hallmark Channel movie:  life is precious, appreciate the small moments, blah blah blah.  But since Death looks like that and they're hanging out at nightclubs in New York it's more like a hipster version of the Hallmark Channel.  When Terry Pratchett's Death took a holiday in the Discworld a bit more happened in terms of plot.  I'm just saying. (3/5)


  1. I wish you'd read New Titans issues #50-55 called "Who is Wonder Girl?" Those are some of my favorites of all time. Also "Batman: The Killing Joke" and the graphic novel "Arkham Asylum."

  2. Great list of Comics!

  3. There's a lot of writing and reading at play here. Where do you find the time?

  4. Thor the mighty frog. That does look a lot better than it deserved to be. Captain America cannot be Punisher. That's why they hate each other.

  5. Practically none of this I would have read myself. I did read Death, and enjoyed that, plus the debut of Justice League of America. All that Marvel stuff still seems pretty extraneous. Marvel being Marvel, I guess. But don't you ever badmouth Peter Porker again. You have been warned.

  6. Glad our streams cross on occasion. I haven't been reading much lately and honestly, it feels weird. Maybe I'll do another graphic novel over the weekend.

    Good reviews.



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