Released this week and available at all quality comic stores in the metro Atlanta area. Galaxyman, hero of Galactic Quest comic shop, where I get all of my comic needs taken care of, chose the following as this week’s hottest books for the week of December 15, 2010:
Avengers Academy #7: Christos Gage and Mike McKone bring the return of Hank Pym as Giant Man. Beginning with Pym reminiscing of his prior days as Giant Man with the Wasp at his side he is approached by Tigra with questions about her son’s health. Pym informs her that the Skrull who took his place left no alien DNA with her son but had duplicated Pym down to the molecular level so the baby is genetically Pym’s. They break into an argument about custody when Tigra asserts she does not want a relationship with him only to father the boy if she should be killed. Still thinking of the Wasp he talks about his identities as Yellowjacket and Dr. Pym as he explains he’s ready to revive her body even though he has not revived her mind and had no idea how to. Mean time the Avenger trainees are helping NYPD transport the Absorbing Man. Justice and Jocasta also discuss Pym’s plan to revive the Wasp. As the transport is moving through Manhattan his Ball & Chain begins to stir and breaks his containment unit and he immediately assumes giant form and multiple materials. He zaps Veil with energy transferred from Stryker and is about to grab Hazmat when Pym equals his size and blasts him. While they are both in NY harbor near Liberty Island, Creel zaps Giant Man also but as the battle rages into southern Manhattan he first shrinks Creel to sub-atomic size then enlarges him into the Oververse where he see the entities of the Living Tribunal, Lord Chaos, Epoch, and the Inbetweener which shatters his mind. On his return to Earth he turns over a complacent and depowered Creel to authorities. After beings chastised by Jocasta for abusing his powers Creel begs him to be incarcerated so it does not affect his mind. Pym sets up a special containment unit for him. On his return to the Academy he informs Justice and Jocasta he is not going to revive Wasp until he can fully revive her mind as her mother passed in a vegetative state and would not want to be in the same position. His act is witnessed by Veil.
A good story, focused on a long term character going through changes that we are finally made privy to. Great twist on the Tigra/Skrull baby also. The cover is what got me as it is an homage to Avengers #63, one of the first issues I ever bought with my allowance and was featured in the Oral History of the Avengers in this month’s New Avengers by John Buscema and George Klein.
Chaos War #5: Greg Pak andFred Van Lente withKhoi Pham bring the war closer to its conclusion as we witness Thor, Alpha Flight, the Hulk and the Dead Avengers fighting a losing battle against the Chaos King. Hercules sister Athena has joined forces with Chaos and begins manipulating him. Hercules and Amadeus Cho appear with Pele in a Hawaiian volcano and are joined by Hercules wife Hebe and Gaia and the few surviving gods. Cho comes up with a plan tomove the population of Earth to the Continuum but Hercules objects when a defeated Galactus agrees but questions where the power would come from when Hercules begins to see the plan might work. Athena appears and spears Hercules In Manhattan as Galactus is setting up his elemental converter as the Negative Zone is breached and Meik leads the escape. To help Cho Galactus releases his Punisher. Gaia begins to fall, Cho falls and Hercules finds the All-Father ability in him and destroys Athena leading to the final confrontation with the Chaos King.
It’s difficult not to compare this to the just completed Thanos Imparative but as cosmic sagas go this one’s pacing needs work but not so bad that I’m not enjoying it, There is too much with the heroes and not enough of the villain. It could be Pak and Van Lente are trying to make the Chaos King more mysterious but I’m having trouble identifying with what started as a great villain slaying Nightmare and now seems very lost among the other happenings.
Brightest Day #16: Johns, Tomasi andCompany focus on Aquaman and the new Aqualad, as Aqualad sees pictures Mera and Arthur Jr. as Aquaman explains his father killed his son and explains his role in preventing war between the surface and Mera’s people. Meanwhile in the JLA Watchtower as Mr. Terrific, Dr. Mid-nite and the Atom work to stop Firestorm from recreating the Big Bang and destroying the universe as Deathstorm tempts Jason Rausch’ father to commit suicide. Aquaman leads Aqualad into the deep and schools him on using his powers and shows him his origins and his deceased mother as he presents him with his costume. He freaks out and attacks Aquaman with powers similar to Mera’s and forces him to use his telepathy to calm him down. Aquaman tells him about how he found out his own origins and as Jackson comes to accept his destiny he explains his costume is a soldier’s uniform and he learns to form swords made from water. As he embraces being Aqualad, Firestorm explodes.
I’m sorry, new isn’t always better, Why Tempest had to die (or Dolphin for that matter) after so much work had been invested in making them interesting characters but the new Aqualad show promise if DC does spmething with Aquaman after Brightest Day, maybe resole the mysteries surrounding the end of the last series?
Thor: First Thunder #4: The thunder god joins theheroes having their origins retold courtesy ofBrian J.L. Glass andTan Eng Huat have told the early Journey Into Mystery tales of Thor’s origin and early battle with the mutant sorcerer Sandu. Thor is being examined by Reed Richards and Tony Stark. Stark’s attitude offends Thor as Richards explains that the world is threatened by the new Arms Race, meta-humans. In Beijing, the Communists are discussing that very thing when Dr. Chen Lu volunteers to head a project to create super humans. Don Blake is volunteering on the India/China border when his U.N. team comes under fire and he transforms into Thor when Dr Chen Lu appears as the green skinned Radioactive Man and the battle begins. He uses his power to influence Thor to relive his most humiliating memory of being cast out of Asgard and changes back to Blake. Blake realizes he is speaking and understanding Chinese and sends Dr Lu on a wild goose chase and changes back to Thor and banishes Chen Lu to a different dimension. Days later he is confronted by Stark just before Stark leaves on his own ill-fated trip where he becomes Iron Man. Loki also tries and succeeds in getting Thor to go on a destructive rampage
With the Thor and Captain America movies on the horizon, both characters are having their early Silver Age appearances retold with more modern references in them although Thor is staying closer to a Cold War story than Cap is. I recommend both series to those young pups who need a diluted dose of Lee/Kirby magic.
Green Lantern #60: Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke continue the New Guardians story line as Parallax possesses the Flash who attacks GL. GL defends himself and tries not to injure Flash before offering to host the Parallax entity once more. When a Guardian-ike being approaches and prevents it from happening explaining that the War of Light has disrupted the universe and he has Ion and Parallax and attacks. Blue Lantern Saint Walker attacks and the creature absorbs blue, orange and indigo entities as the story shifts and Sinestro leaves Earth to deal with the story running in Green Lantern Corps. In the final pages, the Guardian figure reveals himself to be the mad Krona!
How could you have a GL story like Darkest Night/Brightest Day without Krona? I mean he’s the Maltusian/Oan that started the Crisis in the first place! Johns knows his stuff and is probably going to be the writer most identified with the character when all is said and done.
Captain America: Man Out of Time #2: Mark Waid and Jorge Molina are telling the second tale of the early days of the Marvel heroes as Captain America, fresh off the Avengers’ sub is shot by the victim of a mugging and revives in an ER. The doctor tells him how lucky he was and is slow in realizing he may be speaking to the real Captain. He shows his inexperience by calling an Afro-American woman ‘nurse’ and seemed pleasantly surprised to be corrected when she claimed to be a doctor. He also shows the doctor a photo of the doctor’s father with him on the WW II battlefield and walks into the multi-cultured waiting room. As he leaves the hospital he is approached by Rick Jones who he mistakes as James “Bucky’ Barnes (currently and unknown to be the Winter Soldier and presumed dead). Jonnes takes him to a ‘Storebucks’ for coffee and tries to reason with him. Rick loses his temper and walks out as Cap gives a flashy shield throwing, acrobatic display to convince him. Rick explains there was an incident on the docks and after a flash of light the Avengers disappeared and left statues behind. Rick takes him to a friend’s apartment and introduces Cap to computers and television and hacks into traffic cameras until he finds a strange person on the dock. Cap googles FDR and finds his death notice as Jonah Jameson sends Ben Urich, Ned Leeds and Peter Parker to cover the Cap revival story starting to break across town. Cameos of Reed Richards and President Obama watching the news coverage as Cap tracks down the mystery man and takes him down revealing him to be an alien (a D’Bari) and is thrashed until Rick arrives finding the beaten alien and a hysterically disbelieving Cap. Rick calms him down and Cap reveals what he saw on the internet and that he has to go home.
Setting Cap’s revival closed to 2000 than 1964 is evident in the Y2K headline on the newstand. It makes more sense in his future shock scenes than the original story in ‘64. At the time of that story Cap was barely 20 years out of time, now he’s 55 years out and advances in nearly every aspect of human endeavor have increased exponentialy since. Talk to someone 50 or older about change in our lifetimes and then talk to someone from the Greatest Generation to fully understand what Cap is going through here. Great work Mark!
John Byrne Next Men #1: Originally running 31 issues from1991-1995 byDark Horse, John Byrne returns to his freak series with IDW. Picking up from the end of the last series, the team awakens from an enhanced induced coma. The team is in pain and had thought the slumber. Changes appear to have taken place. Jack is not over muscled, Nathan’s eyes are normal and their handler Tony is now bound to a wheelchair. Jasmine tries to flee only to find they are high in the atmosphere. Taken to the infirmary, Jasmine and Nathan recall the event of the previous series how they were in an idyllic world and awoke to a different world where they were caged but escaped until they became part of project Next Men and made super heroes. Danny escaped and went to find his birth mother and ended up working with a man named Horowitz. Danny ‘danced’ (had sex) with his assistant, who then developed super powers as well. Caught and arrested for their initial escape. They were tried and found guilty of murder. Jasmine became pregnant with Nathan’s child and became involved with a man named Duccumen who convinced her to have an abortion thinking the child would be a monster but found out it was normal afterwards. She escaped was captured by a man named Axelrod and then awoke again where she was married to Aldus Hilltop who was also Sathanas. As she relates this Hilltop reveals Axelrod and is betrayed by the rest of the team. She awakes yet again in a jungle setting cave with Nathan. We flash 40 years in the future and Jack, now a priest has been telling children his history.
At some point I hope John is going to look behind the curtain and unravel the mysteries behind all of these seemingly implanted memories here. I missed this title and it took me a couple of read throughs to remind me why I liked it when it first came out other than Byrne’s outstanding art
Time Masters: Vanishing Point #4: Dan Jurgens andNorm Rapmund continue the Search for Batman, lost in time. Rip Hunter and Superman, Booster and Hal Jordan, Starfire, Claw the Unconquered and Skeets are falling in a time vortex as Hunter remembers his father Booster Gold creating Vanishing Point. Superman cannot affect an escape but Green Lantern can and does pull them back to Castle Serhatuu. The heroes determine Serhatuu is going to steal the first Atomic bomb at Alamagordo NM in 1945. They send Starfire and Claw back to their respective worlds and leave destroying the Castle and the Time Pool inside. Supernova tracks Black Beetle and the Linear Men to the grave of Waverider. Supernova remarks this is something new that was previously unrecorded as Black Beetle retrieves the costume of Waverider and attacks the Linear Men. Superman catches Serhatuu and Skyle as the bomb test goes off as recorded and Hunter returns them to the ruins of his castle. As they attempt to return to Vanishing Point they are diverted and attacked by Professor Zoom, the Reverse Flash who takes down everyone until Superman clotheslines him.
Okay nearly every time travelling hero or villain is accounted for (except Abra Kadabra) now. The series is less focused on recovering Batman and more on Rip Hunter and the Linear Men and Black Beetle stories. Nice bait and switch.
What If: Spider-man: Grim Hunt #1: Mark Sable andPaul Azaceta tell a tale of What If Spider-man had had changed during the Grim Hunt. A quick recap of the Grim Hunt by Madame Web follows with Spider-man slaying Kravin. He then takes out the rest of the Kravinoffs viciously, so much so he frightens Arana and Electro to the point Electro tries to break into prison for safety. After the battle Mary Jane is awakened by Peter being violently sick following his actions. He tells her he’s ready to quit being Spider-man and wants to reconcile. In the morning the Front Line had a headline of “Spider-man Murderer?” where MJ confronts him about the veracity of the story and slaps him when he admits it’s true. Her slap sends him over the edge and he quits being Parker altogether. He starts by violently killing the lions the Kravin’s let loose. Arana awakes from a nightmare and the new Madame Web (the former Spider Woman II) who asks her to take over Spider-man’s mantle.. MJ finds Peter atop the George Washington Bridge where Gwen was killed and invites him home for an intervention. While they wait the TV announces Norman Osborn was murdered in prison, found strangled by Spider-man’s webs. Peter arrives as Harry rushes to confront him and MJ pushes him out the door and he walks away. Peter abandons the pider-man identity and begins to wear the costume of the Hunter with the Kravinoffs chained to his throne and he is confronted by Madame Web, Venom and Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) before he is surprised by Anti-Venom. Madame Kravinoff stabs Madame Web and the heroes and Kravinoffs slay one another until Arana arrives and battles Parker until his rifle misfires and blinds him. He reunites with Mary Jane and becomes Master Web as Arana become Spider-Girl
The second story is one spanning all of the What If? one-shots with Venom possessing Deadpool, a tongue in cheek (it IS Deadpool after all) where a Jerry Springer Watcher tells an escalatingly ridiculous story. When will this Deadpool nonsense end?
Alittle hard to swallow that Peter Parker would change that radically, despite the mental wear down of the Gauntlet he is not without a support system, I mean he’s an Avenger now but the story had some funny twists Electro breaking into the Raft to hide when Osborn is murdered inside it.
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #5, Loki #2, Black Panther #513, Titans #30, Thunderbolts #151 andUncanny X-Force #3 were also among the good reads from this week.
Galaxymancan be found patrolling the streets of Lawrenceville and Buford and yet oddly always near one of the Galactic Quest store locations. Stop in and tell Kyle “Bruce sent you!” Watch for Galaxyman’s Top Five Picks of the Week!!