Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What I Bought 6/21/06

Wow. I don't think that since I've actually had a pull list, that I've ever had a week where I dropped two books. So I guess there's a first time for everything. One title's life was contingent on how a character was portrayed, and though I'd originally said the other depended on how the current arc did, it's been doomed for the last couple of months. Believe me, there will be spoilers, so consider this a warning.

Robin #151 - I suppose that if there is an advantage to being in the comic blog community, it's that I get forewarning about upcoming developments. That's really the only way I can explain my reaction to this. I don't feel like hitting a door, or jamming ferrets into Didio's colon, or even cursing. Whether it was actually Beechen's call (which I doubt), or DC Editorial's decision, Cassandra has been marked pretty clearly as Tim's enemy, which basically says "villain". Not "anti-hero", villain. I changed my mind. I am angry enough to curse, so DC, pay attention: Damn it all to hell, you rat bastard mother killing pieces of garbage, I hope this forevermore curses your lineage to an uncurable case of genital herpes. Ok, I'm better.

So, question, does Cassandra's pistol look like it can fire twice consecutively? Because it was, once by Tim into the air, and once by Cassandra into her father. But she didn't reload, and it certainly looks like the kind of gun that would require that. Maybe that means something other than Williams should have drawn a different gun, I doubt it. What else? Well, Robin blew up some ninjas, sure they got a couple stories up an oil derrick, then knocked off by an explosion, which likely left them too stunned to save themselves, but you haven't killed anybody, right Boy Wonder? I really think I hate Robin now. Tim can apparently fight Cassandra to a standstill for four pages, which is roughly how long it took her to break Lady Shiva's neck last year. Yeah, I hate him now. Go ahead and become Batman, you little pissant.

In the "future developments" file, David Cain isn't dead, a teleporting teenager is fighting crime, Tim got Boomer's message, and the Joker is going to kill everyone without realizing it. I couldn't care less. Looking at it as an objective reader, I'll give it a 2 out of 5. As a fan of Cassandra Cain, I give it a 0 out of 5, and two upraised middle fingers towards DC. Let's move on. . .

New Avengers #20 - . . . to our next selection of dreck. Well, the threat is certainly something worthy of the Avengers, though I can't make heads or tails of it. OK, so Xorn is behind all the mutant powers flowing into "Michael". OK, I thought there were 2 Xorns, one that sucked Juggernaut, Nocturne and himself into the black hole in his skull, and the other that was Magneto in disguise, so what the hell is this about? The Sentry got his ass kicked, again, so that was nice. Most of the Avengers were relegated to standing around, or fighting zombies (I'm not joking, zombies), which is lame. Even when Ant-Man and Wasp were on the team, fighting Red Ronin, they at least got to make a token effort to attack the main threat. Luke Cage and Spider-Woman haven't done jack in this story. I know, I know, it's New Avengers, I know it sucks, quit bitching. Well, I'll stop bitching when I finish this review.

That SHIELD agent Cap requested several issues ago finally shows up. She helped, I guess. And The Sentry threw the malevolent energy into the sun, because that's how he deals with all his problems. I'm sure it sucks if you have to tell him he's behind on his electric bills. Into the Sun you go, no one must ever know The Sentry is actually. . . a deadbeat! Why I'm not sure, given it's not any worse than the fact we know he's a gigantic loser, but it makes sense to him I guess. Commander Hill was actually nice to the Avengers, so maybe she's taking my advice about not trying to out-Nick Fury Nick Fury. Or maybe she just didn't want to waste potential soldiers. Whatever. Magneto gets his powers back, but I'm doubting any of the other mutants will. Stupid, elitist Marvel. 1.3 out of 5, and farewell to thee.

Annihilation: Nova #3 - OK, I promise to try and be nice this review. Let's see, Quasar wants Nova to help him evacuate the people on Nycos Aristedes. Drax thinks that's dumb, and that they should be getting ready to fight. Cammie disses wearing a cape. Great, Fantastic Four has introduced the idea of publicists for superheroes, apparently Abnett and Lanning are bringing in the fashion critic to go along with the tailor JMS premiered. What, I'm not criticizing, merely commentating.

Nova is continuing to dither about using his power, but finally, when the Annihilation Wave reaches the planet he gets moving and helps Quasar defend the ships that will build stargates so people can flee. I'd say the impetus was Quasar telling him 'That with great power comes great responsibility', a quote Nova mistakenly attributes to Captain America, which is funny because Nova spent a lot of time around Spider-Man in the '90s (more than Quasar anyway), so you'd think he would have heard it by now. Still not criticizing!

Anyway, Nova unleashes the Nova Force to open a stargate large enough for all the refugee ships to escape through. Which, unfortunately gets the attention of Annihilus, and brings him and his main fleet into the fray. Hoo boy. At least the Worldmind seems to understand Richard well enough to know it's got a better chance of survival if it helps him, rather nag him. 3.7 out of 5, I'm not sure why it's not scored higher, it just doesn't feel like it was any better. Maybe it's leftover anger.

New Excalibur #8 - I'm not sure what to say about this, other than I think it pretty well confirms at least some of my Grand Unified Marvel Theory. Apparently, Wanda's phrase has most definitely screwed up more than just the number of people with mutant abilities on Earth. It gave an old friend a way back into their reality, namely The Shadow King, who has been nestled inside of the Evil Xavier's brain who is, in fact, from an alternate reality. Shadow King wound up there after Psylocke's death, and beat that Xavier and controlled his X-Men. How nice. It doesn't jibe with X-treme X-Men Annual, where we learned Rouge, having retained some of Psylocke's memories, was the one left to keep Shadow King imprisoned wherever the hell it was she was doing that. But, it's X-Men, and perhaps more critically, Claremont X-Men, so why am I expecting it to make sense? Don't mean that in a bad way, just in that "give in to the absurd" thing.

Any rate, Psylocke deals with Shadow King, and thus begins her journey to the Exiles. See ya there Bets! Of course, this means Captain Britain is going to be all mopey and stoic like he was before Lionheart threatened Courtney Ross. That could be a downer. The scene in the night club was fun, and Pete Wisdom using the same like holo-transmitter thing Nick Fury used in New Avengers #14, was a nice touch, especially with Peter comparing himself to said former head of SHIELD. But what did he mean "imaginary sister"? Psylocke's real, she's alive, she's just been modified by her brother Jamie to be immune to manipulation. Or does he mean she isn't really Brian's sister? I feel X-Continuity Confusion Syndrome settling in, so I better wrap this up before I get grumpy again. Um, I liked this, I'm glad they brought up Lionheart and Albion again, because it means they'll be revisited (hopefully Kelsey Leigh doesn't wind up a full-out villain like Cassandra), Michael Ryan's art is very nice, and I'm very curious to see how the heck Chamber is going to show up next month. Plus, since it's taking place in England, I think this book is immune to Civil War, yee-haw! 4.1 out of 5.


Chris said...

You have no idea how liberating it was to go into the comic shop, stare at New Avengers on the rack, flip it the middle finger, then leave with zero copies of said comic.

And now you tell me that in addition to the traditional suckiness of NA I now have to be up on my X-Men continuity to understand it?

Fuck off, Marvel.

I was also going to mention that not buying NA gives me a Sentry-free pull list...until I read Iron Man.

I'm not even kidding about that.

CalvinPitt said...

Yeah, I saw his appearence at the end of the book. With any luck, he'll continue the trend I've seen in new Avengers - and get his tail kicked by out-of-control Iron Man.

Anonymous said...

The thing that really pissed me off about New Avengers (Xorneto headache aside) was how, in the middle of fighting a collective of lost mutant powers that had just killed Alpha Flight and was trying to possess Magneto in the middle of Genosha, apart from a token "yeah, this seems familiar and the Alphans were people," Wolverine appeared to have no connection to anything whatsoever. HE'S THE ONLY X-MUTANT ON THE TEAM! I understand trying to downplay his omnipresence, but did Bendis have to do it in this arc? If any New Avengers story deserves the full Wolverine treatment, this was it.

And speaking of characters seemingly forgetting their histories, shouldn't Carol have had a more visceral reaction to Magneto? I'm blanking on how Carol regained her autonomy, but shouldn't Magneto apparently killing her to save Rogue in UXM #273 be sort of a big deal that sends her in a berserker rage against him? Hell, shouldn't Logan still be pissed about X-MEN #25? Do Carol and Logan remember that they used to know each other? Did Wanda erase the 90s X-Universe while I wasn't looking?

CalvinPitt said...

cove: Well, I know earlier in this arc, Logan helped Carol out when she was freaking out over having absorbed some of "Michael's" energy (it apparently overwhelemed her). he was holding her and talking to her in a familiar tone, so Benids remembered that.

As for the rest, I get the feeling that Wolverine regards what magneto did to him as simply a particularly extreme attempt to try and kill him, and seeing as how that's pretty common in his life, he doesn't take it too personally. I mean to be fair, Logan had tried to gut Magneto seconds before the Adamantium was ripped from his skeleton, so I'd say fair is fair.

I din't know about the Carol/Magneto thing, but she strikes me as less ruled by emotion as Logan, so she'd probably try extra hard to remain under control seeing as it was a pretty serious situation. Just a guess.

LEN! said...

Xorneto... an element that decent Magneto writers forget about. Xorn was just Grant Morrison weirdness gone crazy and left for someone else to clean up.

And what's the army of zombies??? Why does Magneto need an army of zombies? Why not, I don't know, maybe, mutants?

Unknown said...

Don't feel too bad about Cassandra. As you said, it was probably due to an editorial mandate that Tim lose everything and anything that he considered important.

It, you know, makes him a "better" hero. (I swear, it's like Professor Zoom is running DC these days.)

Anyway, mandate can always change and Cassandra could always come back, at least, as a kick-ass anti-hero.

It's a role that probably suits her best, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Dude, my humble apologies you broke down and bought the goddamned issue. That's three bucks that could have gone to better use.
And might I say that Cove there gets points for saying 'Xorneto'. That's just fun to say.
Ah, well. Disassemble away, guys.

CalvinPitt said...

len: Ah but they were mutant zombies. Or zombies that used to be mutants. I don't know, i'm sure that matters somehow. Though you would think somewhere in that mess of mutant powers there would be comeone would could resurrect people.

fortress: I can only hope she'll get a second chance. I just won't see it if it happens in Robin.

carla: it's OK, I'd said when "The Collective" began, it was Bendis' last chance to impress me, and I'd give him the full arc. I did, and he didn't, thus I'm gone. Besides, I've spent three bucks on stupider things than this.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Carol/Ms. Marvel Magneto killed way back in Uncanny X-Men #269 was a clone created by the Seige Perilous- the real Carol was still out in space with the Starjammers at that time. The thrust of the story was that SP had spilt the personalities of Carol and Rogue into two beings, but they shared a life force and only one could survive. Not-Carol had the upper hand on Rogue before being gutted by Magneto, and I assume the body just ceased to exist with Rogue's life force returning to full power. That's why she wouldn't remember it.

Anonymous said...

Oh PLEASE. Why is everyone being so easy on Adam Beechen? Why does everybody have to say "I really hate this story, but I guess it might be DC editorial's fault". Come on. Bludhaven, the place filled with everyone she cared about, got blown up. Now DC might have given him a memo that said "Make Batgirl head of the League of Assassins".

But there's no way they sent him a memo that said:

1) Have an unarmed Robin beat up and hogtie David Cain, with nothing but sheer kungfu badassness.
2) Ignore that story that ended one month ago, where she knew she had "siblings", didn't care, and was willing to die rather than kill one of them.
3) For that matter, ignore the destruction of Bldhaven one month ago. Make her turn evil because she's so jealous that Cain trained another kid.
4) When she tries to convince Tim to join her, she should totally use lines like "Batman is happy Spoiler and your dad are dead. It makes it easier to control you."
5) Oh, and all those stories about her not being able to read or write, and her having trouble talking... could you retcon them away? Say that she knew how to read and write, and Batman taught her navajo too. And make her give long speaches, all that stuff with her having trouble talking was annoying.

Come on. DC might deserve the blame for the idea of Cassandra being a killer, but there's no way they told Beechen to do all the things that made this unreadably stupid.

CalvinPitt said...

anonymous: Am I being too easy on beechen? Probably. But there's this old saying "it's not the destination, it's the journey."

Now to me, that is a load of crap. So for me, it's less a matter of how Beechen got us to the end of the story, and much more about the end result of the story.

And the end result is Cassandra is a batshit crazy villain now. That's really all that's of any importance to me. The fact that are holes in the plot large enough to float Mogo through doesn't interest me much. And given that I've dropped the book, this is all kind of irrelevant.