OK, so there were two books I was hoping to get in this shipment that weren't there, so they'll be arriving separately next week. I get those reviewed and then hopefully, I'll get the Year In Review posts done before Valentine's Day rolls around. Probably.
Atomic Robo: The Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur #4, by Brian Clevinger (words), Scott Wegener (art), Nick Filardi (colors), Jeff Powell (letters) - C'mon Robo, you have to twist at the waist more than that. We can only see half your butt, and your boobs are almost totally obscured by your arm. Get in the spirit of things here.
Bernard and the other two action scientist have been drafted to help free the subterranean rock people from Dr. Dinosaur's control. Bernard's the only one that seems really on board with it, probably because that crystal he tasted last issue told him the story of these people. Unfortunately the assault doesn't go so well, because the rock people are holding back against their loved ones, and the crystal helmets the scientists are wearing may keep the good rock people from being controlled, but it isn't freeing the ones Dr. D already has. About that time, Robo shows up on the back of that giant rock-gorilla thing that's been chasing him for the last 2 issues, and it collides with the, how did Dr. Dinosaur put it, 'big freaky crab thing' Dr. D summoned. None of which stops Dr. Dinosaur from triggering his time bomb, which he finished rebuilding sometime before the start of this issue. Also, Majestic 12's assault on Tesladyne seems to be going well. They've even captured Jenkins, although it took 3 guys in Mandroid style armor to do it.
For an issue where pretty much everything is going wrong for the heroes, this was surprisingly funny. Atomic Robo is usually humorous, but there were a lot of things that made me smile. Some of that is Dr. Dinosaur, who gets a steady supply of stupid lines, which Wegener draws with good comic timing. 'From Hollow Earth's heart, I stab at thee!' *pause* 'Also in the heart. Ha!' Something about that way he always feels the need to clarify, to go one sentence longer amuses me endlessly. Also, the combination of Jenkins and all those scientists who really aren't cut out for fighting works well. Clevinger and Wegener have gotten a lot of mileage over the years out of the scientists trying to muster up the nerve to do something heroic, and then Jenkins appears and kicks everything in the face.
Daredevil #34, by Mark Waid & Javier Rodriguez (storytellers), Alvaro Lopez (inker), Javier Rodriguez (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - See, this is how it goes with superheroes, a constant game of one-upsmanship. Daredevil hears about the time Iron Fist punched a train to death, and now he just has to try it. If all your friends jumped off a bridge Matt, would you do it too?
OK, bad question, of course you would, because they were probably thrown off by Mr. Fear or something, and heck, you'd jump off the bridge anyway, just for kicks.
Matt's back in New York, with those pages from the Darkhold. Dr. Strange comes by for a consult and tells him several things. One, the name of the alleged original serpent is written on the pages, and speaking it aloud allegedly gives the speaker persuasive abilities. Two, it was a bad idea for Matt to lie to Russell and the others about these pages being destroyed. Mostly, it's Satana he should be worried about. Three, no, there isn't anything in those pages that can cure Foggy's cancer. Gee, Matt, maybe you should have been nicer to Deadpool when he was trying to kill that dude who soul his soul for shape-shifting powers last year in his book. But noooo, you had to be all, "He's crazy, he smells bad, he's trying to kill people."
Matt experiences a brief moment of despair, then shrugs and gets on with his day. Which involves a nice jog through the park with Kirsten McDuffie, with lots of flirting, and then a plan. Matt borrows some equipment from the Avengers, and gets Nate (that old acquaintance he defended 6 issues ago) to hook up a nice transmitter on the roof. Then Matt tells the Serpents to hand over the Jester, or he burns their precious book. The Serpents do truss up the Jester for him, though they're trying to trap Daredevil, which works about as well as you'd expect. Unfortunately, Kirsten has taken it upon herself to escalate things, using the transmitter to implore New Yorkers to unite against the Serpents in their midst, which nearly gets her head blown off from a police chopper.
It's interesting that the Serpents are telling people to look with suspicion on those different than themselves, and Kirsten's suggested response is for New Yorkers to look with suspicion on those who make such suggestions. There's a fair amount of petard hoisting involved, but I guess the idea is if these beliefs are brought out into the open, if the primary motivation is exposed, they lose their power. People have to examine what the people saying it are really after, and why they were proving to be a receptive audience. Man, am I glad I reread the sequence. I had a part in here about worrying about a witch hunt, then noticed the panel where she specifically says not to start a witch hunt.
How great is it that Javier Rodriguez, in addition to be the colorist, is also the guest/fill-in penciler. it's like those 49ers teams that had Joe Montana at QB, and then, oh yeah, here's his backup Steve Young. The way he draws the Serpents in the four panels of reactions to Kirsten speaking the name of their god, those stark white outlines for their eyes, set against the heavy shadows over their faces. Keeps their faces from having too much detail, playing up the idea their hidden throughout the system, not easily noticed or detected. Plus the two page spread where Matt and Kirsten are in the park, and Matt stops a couple of purse snatchers, without really breaking stride in the conversation. The reaction shots of people to Matt's moves, the lady looking through her purse and Matt keeps talking to Kirsten, the smile on Kirsten's face as she catches up, which is friendly and impressed, but not overly so.
One of the books I'm waiting on is Amazing Spider-Man 700.4, and part of the reason I wanted it is because Rodriguez draws one of the stories in it. Timothy Green II and Emma Rios draw the other two, which are the other 2 reasons I wanted it. Marvel employs a lot of artists whose work I really love these days. Then again, with all the double-shipping, they'd have to just to keep up.