Screw introductions. Four books, spoilers ahead, BEWARE!
Annihilation: Prologue - I wasn't even planning to buy this, but I was trying to skim it, and Ken was trying to get me involved in a conversation about baseball, and I'd already snapped at him once in the five minutes I'd been there, so I figured it'd be best to just buy it and get out before I really made an ass of myself. The saving grace for this book? The nice little entries at the end explaining the Nova Corps, and relative locations of the major space empires, and so on. Because I have no clue what the hell the "Kyln" is or where it is relative to Nova Corps headquarters. I didn't even know the Nova Corps had headquarters.
So weird bug ships show up. Between this and Ultimate Extinction what's with the bug ships? Why not ships that look like penguins? The bug ships appear, lay waste to the Kyln, attack Nova Corps, and keep rolling. Meanwhile, Ronan is being arrested, Super-Skrull is infiltrating, Silver Surfer is, um chilling out, and Thanos is just watching all this. Personally I can't see Thanos sitting back and letting the big baddy - who is revealed at the end, but I won't ruin it - wipe out all life. That's Thanos' job. And when the hell did Death become a small, gothic child? She used to be an adult in a purple cloak.
I did not like the art, it felt kind of, well "muddled" is the best word I can use. Is this the same person who drew that Avengers storyline where She-Hulk destroyed a town? I think as far as the other titles for this "event" go, I'm probably going to take it on a case by case basis. If an issue looks good, fine, I'll buy it, if not, well, it's not like this is going to change things in any significant way, just like always. 3 out of 5.
Teen Titans Annual #1 - Look at that cover. Diana's about to castrate Connor isn't she? And has Wonder Girl always had that little star in her navel? It seems so, trashy.
Yet again we flashback to Conner's beatdown from Whiny Superboy, Killer of Unloved Titans. Then Luthor starts monolouging. The Titans barge in, and Luthor mouths off a bit before leaving. So the rest of the team -what's left anyway - heads to Bludhaven. Their rescue efforts are less than coherent. Was this a commentary on Hurricane Katrina relief efforts? The heroes are utterly confused as to who can do what (Metamorpho can't make water), and where people who can make water (Firestorm) are, demonstrating that someone needs to step up and start giving orders. The Society is also there trying to collect Chemo, but the four of them get beat down by Robin and Superman. Tim mouths off to Superman (everybody is really mouthy in this issue), and Superman agrees to play figurehead so everyone will follow the smartest hero present - that'd be our boy Tim - as he gives them marching orders. Hmm, maybe he should have put out that call for heroes in Infinite Crisis #5 instead of Nightwing?
You may notice I've ignored the main crux of this: Cass and Conner's night for luvvvv. Well, what do you want me to say? There was reminiscing, there were laughs. Conner reveals he figured out telescopic vision while moping on the farm. Then he reveals more. Then Cassie does the same. Cue Barry White. And the Kents took it all in stride. 3.5 out of 5.
Ultimate X-Men #68 - Oh bloody hell, they're getting set to kick the Phoenix Saga into full swing. Get to crash positions! I also get the distinct feeling that Jean Grey is messing with a whole bunch of people's minds these days. Nick Fury was acting really weird. Perhaps the new arrival is part of some greater plan the Phoenix has?
I will admit that I don't know the origin for the Phoenix Force in the Marvel Universe. Still, I'm not sure it could be much dorkier than the Ultimate version. Didn't I see this in one of those "Earth X" series? I'm wonder if it means something that Rogue found it so simple that she and Bobby would be back together, while Bobby seemed unsure of where they went from here. It could be some part of whatever's left of Gambit, who seems to be asserting an influence if that "You're such a loser line" is any indication. Or maybe Rogue was supposed to be joking. If so, the artist did a crap job of depicting it.
I can't say I will buy this book next month. I mean it just can't be good when I'm more interested in what appears to be the beginnings of Ultimate X-23 than I am in the storyline approaching. I guess we'll see. 2 out of 5.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #6 - Hmm, I think Peter David is still missing that the word "friendly" is in the title.
Pro:A wrestling match between Spider-Man and some masked wrestler, with Jameson donating 1 million dolars to charity? That's alright.
Con:The loser gets unmasked in front of everyone? Not so much.
Pro:Flash Thompson is back rooting on his hero Spider-Man? That's cool.
Con:Flash Thomspon is back to being Peter Parker's personal bully? Eh, not so much.
I preferred a Flash that had grown out of that, had become someone that could confide in Peter, and maybe have Peter confide in him. Peter is sorely lacking in friends who don't dress in stupid costumes. That's been the case to some extent since Howard Mackie moved aside for JMS' "vision". It's really been the case since Paul Jenkins was kicked out, as he was the only one trying to give Peter a personal life. Peter really needs some friends, much like Tim Drake needed some the last year or so in Robin. This appears, at least for right now, to be a missed opporunity. And the Jarvis/Aunt May romance heats up! I'm sure one of this year's Spider-Man annuals will have them consumating it within Edwin Jarvis' broom closet. And now I'm blind.
Should I mention Jameson thought his son was Spider-Man? No Jonah, your son is the one who turns into a werewolf, Aunt May's nephew is the one who dresses in the stupid costume, and swings on webs.
The fight scene wasn't bad. Nice back-and-forth, though I can't tell whether Peter was holding back or not, and I doubt El Muerto is really "the best Logan's ever seen". What, he's never watched himself fight in the mirror? What about Captain America? Or Iron Fist? Shang Chi? And what the heck is the Shroud doing there, besides the obvious answer he had nothing better to do (Note: I'm pretty sure that it's not really the Shroud. Unless it is, and then I totally called it with my ESP, bitches)? 3 out of 5.