by Aaron Einhorn
Every week Aaron goes to The Laughing Ogre in Columbus, Ohio and spends far more money than his wife would prefer. He then comes back here and writes about the comics he reads that he thought were noteworthy. This isn’t everything he picks up, just the things that he feels merit discussion – either for being really good, or for having something really wrong with them.
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8
I’ve always been a fan of teen hero books. New Mutants, Power Pack, A-Next, I’ve read ‘em all and generally been a fan. And Young Avengers was always one of the ones I liked. I thought that there was a really interesting core of characters in there. The relationship between Wiccan and Hulkling was a great one, and the budding triad between Stature, Vision and Iron Lad was just as compelling as the one between the Scarlet Witch, the Vision and Wonder Man.
So, a story involving Wiccan and Speed finding the Scarlet Witch, bringing them into conflict with both the Avengers and the X-Men? That should have been great.
Sadly, it hasn’t been. And after several months of delays, we finally get issue eight of the miniseries, and all it really gives us is a rehash of the Beyonder-empowered Doctor Doom from Secret Wars. There is some other things in this issue – some mildly interesting moments from Wiccan and Speed, and a surprising death (that I don’t expect to see stick for the next issue). But all in all, this was a disappointment.
Captain America & Bucky #625
Of all the men who have worn the cowl of Captain America, I have always found Bill Naslund, the former Spirit of ’76, to be one of the most intriguing. This wasn’t a deluded madman who thought he was better than Steve Rogers or that he could replace him (or worse, that he was him). No, this was a guy who was already doing the work, who when he realized that his government needed him to be a symbol, answered the call – even knowing that he likely wasn’t going to live up to it.
That, my friends, is a fine example of heroism.
So, I’ve enjoyed seeing Naslund’s life and legacy be explored in this arc. And I sincerely hope that Will Naslund III will end up being a hero, or an ally to Cap, perhaps even becoming the new Spirit of ’76. If he’s a clone, or a doppleganger, or an evil dupe, I’m going to be really miffed.
Asmus and Brubaker do this one absolutely right, with a great sense of the legacies involved, and seeing the return of Jim Hammond was great. I’m looking forward to more of this arc.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #4
I like Kyle Rayner. I like Green Lantern, and I like the other colored rings. Therefore, I should like this issue. And while I like where this series is headed, for some reason, this whole issue felt rushed.
The battle between the “New Guardians” and the Guardians felt incredibly forced and awkward, and Larfleeze and Sayid felt more like exposition than characters. Ganthet’s impassioned (?) plea to Kyle to change his ways, and his argument about how clearly deranged the other ring-slingers were was spot-on, and the new threat revealed by Sayid is actually intriguing.
So why doesn’t this issue work? Something about the way the elements come together just is missing. It is sadly a case of the sum not being greater than the whole of the parts. Because the plot works, there are dialogue moments that are brilliant, and Kirkham’s art is consistent.
Maybe I was just in a bad mood when I read it?
Justice League Dark #4
From the first issue, Justice League Dark has given us a good, moody book, with amazingly high stakes. High enough, in fact, that they make you really wonder why the rest of the DC Universe isn’t responding. And that, perhaps, helps explain why pre-New 52, we had most of the magical heroes off in Vertigo most of the time.
But aside from that, this comic consistently hits the right marks. Each character has well-defined moments, motivations and dialogue, and if you don’t feel something for June Moon, then you have no soul. Boston Brand, particularly, shines in this title, which is ironic since he’s the one who has his own book (for the moment).
If there’s a weak spot, it’s Zatanna. Magic in comics has always been really arbitrary – when does it work and when does it not work? This issue highlights that when Zatanna uses her invocation and it doesn’t work for her. It’s nice to see there are limits to her power – but it unfortunately does more to show off why magic doesn’t work well in superhero comics.
Meanwhile, in Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive #527 T’Challa and his allies move their offensive against the Kingpin in to high gear as the Hand moves against Wakanda, Captain America #5 & #6 continues the tale of Hydra-out-of-time and tries to destroy Steve Rogers’ confidence in a storyline that was overplayed decades ago, The Flash #4 finally starts to explain the story behind Barry’s “friend” and his army of duplicates in a decent enough story that could have just as easily been about Wally West, Secret Avengers #20 is a surprisingly good story about the Black Widow, time-travel, Xanatos Gambits and other neat moments that still failed to make me enjoy Ellis’ writing, Superman #4 makes Clark Kent more interesting than the Man of Steel as his employment woes occupy more pages – and more interest – than Superman against the elemental aliens he’s faced for the past three issues, Teen Titans #4 pits Superboy against Wonder Girl as the Titans actually begin to form into a team, The Mighty Thor #9 reminds us again how implausible Tanarus is, even as it tries to suggest that Karnilla’s magic is somehow able to trick Gaia, Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #5 has the team floundering around, and is probably best in the pages where we see the minor crossover with Ultimate Spider-Man, and Ultimate Comics: X-Men #5 drags its feet in letting the team confront Stryker and tries to surprise us with Rogue’s inevitable betrayal.
Thoughts? Disagreements? Want to offer up ideas on what books you’re reading this week? Let us know in the comments!