Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What I Bought 1/27/2014 - Part 1

Yes, comics! Finally. Can't believe forwarding takes so long.

The Rocketeer & the Spirit: Pulp Friction #4, by Mark Waid (writer), J Bone (art), Rom Fajardo (colors), Tom B. Long (letters) - Is that a Mauser the Octopus is using on the cover? Interesting choice. I've fired one of those before. Not really my thing.

I had thought Betty was faking being mind-wiped last issue. You know, using her acting skills to gain an advantage, help out the Spirit. Nope, never mind, she really was made highly suggestible, and the Spirit has to snap her out of it, by mentioning her acting career, and how killing him on camera will negatively impact that. Feels like a missed opportunity.

Betty frees the Spirit, but there's still the matter of all the goons, but that's when the cops and the Rocketeer show up. Then the Spirit kind of trash talks Cliff, stating that Cliff's made it abundantly clear you can't fight crime and have a personal life. Oh swell, we're dealing with the new 52 version of the Spirit here. He does seem to recognize that's a silly attitude to take, or maybe just that he was too harsh on Cliff. Not that he's wrong about Cliff making things more difficult for himself, but trouble finds him most of the time.

Eventually the guys figure out Trask and Octopus were going to show off their invention by using it to teleport a bullet into FDR during some televised speech Trask arranged (big campaign contributor). So they use the set-up they found to bring FDR to safety. And then the Nazis storm in, so Cliff hooks up Roosevelt with the rocket pack, so he can escape, since running isn't in the picture. Nazis defeated, FDR plays party-pooper and tries to confiscate the rocket, so Cliff has to threaten to blow FDR's little polio secret. I'd say that's fighting dirty, but the President started it.

This is one of those issues that almost seems too stuffed, that there's so much going on, none of it has a chance to make an impact. The actual Nazi soldiers showing up seemed out of place. I had Germany pegged as a potential buyer, just like any number of other interested parties. That Trask and the Octopus were the movers, shakers, and financial bedrock of the teleportation stuff. So there being actual German soldiers involved, that they had booby-trapped some of the equipment (which they used to dispose of Trask), it was out of left field. Plus, German soldiers running around on U.S. soil trying to kill the President seems a bit overtly hostile. It's February of 1941, little early for that, not that I imagine FDR would complain, if he could leverage it into getting Congress to declare war on Germany that much sooner.

Fajardo's colors blunt Bone's lines some. Things don't look as crisp as they usually do, and the fight scenes are kind of weak. I imagine J Bone was a little rushed on things, since this wasn't supposed to be his project anyway, but the action bits definitely aren't his strongest work.

Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe #4, by Christopher Hastings (writer), Jacopo Camagni (penciler/inker), Victor Calderon-Zurita (penciler), Terry Pallot (inker), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - Man, that cover is the weirdest version of Atlas Shrugged I've ever seen. *pause* Look, it was the best I could do without making a "weight of the world on your shoulders" crack.

Reality is falling apart! Dr. Dipson has realized the possessed teddy bear is actually the Cosmic Cube, ruptured by the splitting of the In-Betweener. He and SpideyOck work to build something that will restore the Cube to its normal state, but Order has sent his pawn Deadpool to retrieve the bear and kill everyone. So Longshot needs to deal with that. Which he does, with tacos. I can buy that. Longshot's arrival helps the Cube to reform, and Longshot uses it to undo the damage he's done, at which point he meets the In-Betweener in his typical, robe-wearing form, and we learn that the Cube was shielded itself from his perceptions, and that it was the combination of the Cube and Longshot that was the threat, not Longshot by himself, and now that the two are separated again, the In-Betweener doesn't need to kill Longshot. Um, great? And so everything is restored to as it was, more or less, and Longshot ends the series helping the police use their jet packs to catch thieves on hover boards.

It took me the second read through to understand the reason the Cube wants to reform when it's around Longshot, and the reason Miss Dapples - the teddy bear - kept helping him is because a Cosmic Cube is a sentient being, and so like every other sentient being in the Marvel Universe, it wants to bone Longshot. Once I pieced that together, things made a little more sense. Note I said "a little".

The one thing I really liked Hastings did with this mini-series was explore those unintended results of Longshot's powers. I want to go more in-depth later (though with the backlog of posts, it may be after President's Day before I get to it), but this idea that even when Longshot does something to help a person, it can hurt someone else, or that seemingly innocuous actions can have great consequences.

Camagni and Calderon-Zurita do a pretty good job on the art chores. One thing is how stiffly they draw Deadpool's movements while he's under Order's control and fighting Longshot. Everything's sort of mechnical, restrained, he only uses a weapon when he has to. And it makes perfect sense, because Order has either wiped out or constrained all the madness that makes Deadpool who he is. Take that away from him, and he'd behave completely differently.

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