Wednesday has come and gone. The heroes have fought their battles and villains have hinted at things to come. Now it’s time to review the game tape…
This was a mostly good week for comics. Two Jeff Parker books will give anybody that warm and fuzzy feeling. We’ll start there then.
Spider-Man 1602 #5 was the end to the mini. It’s actually the only spin-off to the Gaiman series that I’ve read. I seem to recall that Jesse wasn’t so keen on the incorporation of so much Spider-Mania, but the development of the “pumpkin” bombs here was nice. The best part of this series for me was seeing Osborne. Long before he became an all powerful NSA adviser and head of S.H.I.E.L.D/ H.A.M.M.E.R., Norman was my favorite of Spider-Man’s villains. Here we see why: he’s unrepentantly self-serving and despicable. The guy can’t help but torment Peter. Nothing else really matters. Jeff Parker brings this out in the grotesque character here. Speaking of grotesque, Otto’s smile is not something to cherish. Turns out being part octopus turns your frown sideways. Yikes… In addition to the great characterization, Parker neatly wraps everything up into a tight bundle. Villains are dispatched; hope is promised, and everything seems to reset itself to something we recognize as Marvel U continuity.
You’re probably all sick of hearing how great we think Jeff Parker is. I’m not going to make this another love letter to the man. Instead, I give you evidence. Here are some quotes from the book that should make you want to rush out, break into a comic book store, and read Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas #2.
“I make my own rules, Mr. Name-everything-after-myself.”
“I’m just gonna bite you again, Hoss.” (As a side note, I feel compelled to incorporate “Hoss” into my daily vernacular.)
“Because his armor is filled with more machinery instead of boozy millionaire, bum!”
Oddly enough (not really) the best lines in the main story all belong to Ken Hale.
The best line of the book is in the back-up story, and it belongs to Mr. Lao:
“Not just any dumplings. These are made from the rarest of sea creatures. A shame they can only be prepared by evil chefs.”
Moving on, Justice League of America #42 was miles and away more readable than the last one. This one wasn’t playing clean-up from “events.” It’s much of what I would expect from a Robinson helmed book. The dialogue is fairly sharp; there’s a great respect for the past; there’s a respectful treatment of ideas that seemed trapped in their own time. It also looks like we might finally get some answers to why Green Arrow and the Shade are thick as thieves.
Remember Dr. Impossible? Yeah, he was pretty forgettable back at the beginning of this series. Here, Robinson takes him and brings in other reverse New Gods (Earth – 3 perhaps?). Throw in some interesting moments inside Donna Troy’s head…I know those ideas shouldn’t go together…and we’ve got a book that’s quite readable. All this in spite of the fact that it’s missing Wally, Roy, and Garth to round out the Titans. It’s faster and sharper than anything Robinson’s written lately.
I also picked up GI Joe: Cobra II #2, and it continues to tell a good story. The more I read, the more I like Chuckles. For the longest time, I thought he had to be some sort of joke. Here’s a guy whose only special skills seemed to be wearing a Hawiian shirt and being blonde. In the same way that Dr. Mindbender got a revamp, Crystal Ball (speaking of GI Jokes) gets a new look and purpose. It works here. Well done all around. Worth getting in trade it you like Joes.
Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers was pretty good too. Apparently there are Decepticon’s scarier than Megatron.
That’ll wrap things up for this week.