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.
Here we get the second part of last week’s crossover with Amazing Spider-Man, and if I have any complaint about these two issues, it’s that it is very obvious that Mark Waid (who wrote both issues), is the writer for Daredevil and not Spider-Man. Spidey, although he gets plenty of good quips in both comics, is definitely the junior partner in this relationship – which while it was appropriate when Peter and Matt first met, is no longer the case.
But that’s minor griping, because what we have here is the reason that Marvel dominated the sales charts for as long as they did. DC has the iconic characters. And both companies make the frequent misstep of relying on big events to drive sales. But Marvel’s character have heart and personality. And we see that here – both Spidey and Daredevil have amazingly strong voices and reasons for what they do, and the hook-up between DD and Black Cat is awesome. The set-up for the next arc? Strikes to the heart of Matt Murdock, and I can’t wait to read it.
Faustian bargains are always a hard read. Either the “hero” will get away scott free, which kind of sends the wrong message, or the devil will get his due, which is kind of depressing. Throwing that in to the idea of a disabled kid who becomes the world’s only superhero could have been a disaster.
Now that we get to the conclusion, I have to say that overall, it isn’t all bad. The way they get out of the bargain is a little cheap, considering that we know that Ormon can turn Superior’s powers off at will, but the story overall is a good, fun read. And the really important part is that Millar shows a surprising understanding of what makes the Superman archetype so important.
At the end of the day, this isn’t a story about Superior (or more precisely, Simon) fighting evil. It isn’t about the Faustian bargain. It’s about how a character like Superman or Superior can inspire us to our greatest selves. And amazingly, that’s the take-away at the end of the issue.
It’s not the greatest story ever told. It might have been better told by someone other than Millar and Yu. But it’s a solid Superman-pastiche, and the takeaway message makes it a worthwhile read.
I’ve always liked the Thunderbolts, and the Thunderbolts-in-time story started off kind of fun. The cross-time encounter with the Invaders was classic, and gets back to what has always made the idea of the Thunderbolts the best – seeing these villains both pretend to be, and somehow acting like, heroes.
We drifted away from that as we went into Victorian times and saw Hyde become his namesake.
Now that we’re in Camelot? Meh.
I feel like we’re just waiting for the inevitable meet-up between the lost-time Thunderbolts and the present team. And until then, we’re spinning our wheels. This bums me out, being a book that I really have enjoyed in the past.
The truth is that the Thunderbolts work best when you stay close to the base concept – villains who are trying to act like heroes, either in pretense or because they’ve changed. With the lost-time team, none of whom really are heroically motivated (other than maybe Troll), we don’t have anything approaching that.
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #6
I’ve really grown to love Sara Pichelli’s artwork on this title – and with this issue, her absence is sorely felt. Chris Samnee has a more stylized look, and it doesn’t convey the personal emotions that Bendis’ script calls for. Fortunately, Pichelli is only gone for two issues, and she’ll be back with Issue #8.
That said, if you’ve been reading this column for any length of time, you know that story is what motivates me to read comics, not the art, and Bendis is still delivering. Miles is still discovering his place as Spider-Man, and at the same time, Uncle “Prowler” Aaron is down in Mexico, dealing with the Scorpion. (No, not that Scorpion. Or at least, probably not.)
Miles has more to deal with than just learning to be a superhero, however. He is also dealing with the realization that his parents haven’t been entirely honest with him about Uncle Aaron, or his own dad’s past. At the same time, Ganke has a new mission for Miles – learn how to be Spider-Man by watching tapes of Peter. It’s not bad advice, and considering that Peter never had formal training (until… well… yeah, when he died), it might not be bad for Miles to learn from Peter’s mistakes. On the other hand, Miles doesn’t have webs…
Finally, JJJ and the Bugle have noticed that there’s a new Spider-Man. And that’s news. The last important thing to note is that this issue marks the beginning of every Ultimate book coming with a free download copy – which I immediately used.
Meanwhile, in Avengers #21 the main team is dissected by H.A.M.M.E.R, Avenging Spider-Man #3 concludes the Red Hulk/Spidey team-up against the moloids, Birds of Prey #5 shows the team deal with the mind-wipe they experienced last issue, Blue Beetle #5 brings Jaime and the suit into direct conflict over keeping Paco alive, and we possibly see the birth of the New 52 Black Beetle, DC Universe Presents: Deadman #5 wraps up the Deadman “origin” episode as he and Rama come to an agreement, Fear Itself: The Fearless #7 gives us more of Wolverine vs. Crossbones and Cap vs. Sin with a betrayal of the Avengers by Hellstorm, Green Lantern Corps #5 shows Guy’s new team of grizzled Lanterns as they prepare to go after the Keepers – and we see more of the untrustworthy nature of the Guardians, Moon Knight #9 takes us well into the madness of Marc Spector as he kits himself out as a One-Man Avengers team against Count Nefaria, Nightwing #5 brings us into a world of betrayal and lies surrounding the circus, Supergirl #5 introduces us to Supergirl’s Doomsday in the ruins of Argo City, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #3 has the super-agents move in for the rescue to discover that Emil Jennings is, perhaps, not as dead as was suspected and in Wonder Woman #5, Diana uses the fight for Zeus’ throne as a way to pit Poseidon against Hera.
Thoughts? Disagreements? Want to offer up ideas on what books you’re reading this week? Let us know in the comments!