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.
Captain America and Bucky #626
It’s interesting how two comics can both explore the same basic idea – that Captain America stories tend to be strongest when you deal with him being a man out of time – and pull them off so differently. I’ve been really unhappy with the story running through Captain America of late, but in this title, James Asmus and Ed Brubaker have pulled the Bill Naslund-era of Captain America, the Golden Age Human Torch, and the modern day Cap all together in a great story.
As Cap, Bill Naslund III and the Human Torch investigate the old Adam II androids, Fred Davis watches a “new” Bucky shooting up the streets. Steve goes to stop him, as Will and the Torch look at the remains of Adam II. And then it all goes wrong.
This is a great high-adventure comic that deals with legacy heroes – a favorite topic of mine, and something I figured we’d see a lot less of with DC abandoning their long-running continuity and the connection between the modern heroes and the JSA. Asmus and Brubaker are in fine form here, and while Francavilla’s art isn’t my favorite, the stylized figures add an interesting sense of retro to this comic.
Easily the best book I read this week, in the midst of a week full of enjoyable reads.
Justice League #5
Finally, we have the entire team together. Superman. Batman. Wonder Woman. Green Lantern. The Flash. Aquaman. Cyborg. And Darkseid is here. Time for the team to band together and fight evil, right?
Well, not so much. This is still a fractured team. Cyborg has just discovered his new self (and he isn’t happy about it). Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Superman still haven’t the slightest idea how to coordinate with anyone. Green Lantern is still arrogant. And Batman hasn’t yet had the chance to show everyone that they really ought to listen to his plans.
This is actually a much more solid read than I’ve come to expect from this title, and while we’re seeing a team in their infancy, this is the Justice League. We’re starting to see their abilities and personalities come through, and the idea that the world would trust these people to be the front line of defense is almost beginning to make sense.
And, of course, Jim Lee’s art is beautiful to look at.
This doesn’t mean the book is perfect, of course. Darkseid is much more of a personality-less monster than the Evil God he needs to be. And it shouldn’t have taken this long to get the team together. I can accept a slow build in a book about a single character, but for a team book, we need to start off strong. Justice League should be the flagship of the New 52, and right now, it is firmly in the middle-tier of titles coming from the line.
Teen Titans #5
Alright, so I’m not digging the whole “Superboy is a bad guy” thing. Sure, the old version of Superboy had the potential to be nothing more than a weapon, something we saw explored more in the animated Young Justice, but the whole point was that he has become a hero despite that.
This version of Superboy hasn’t, and in fact, I’ve seen very little to suggest he ever will. Every time there’s an opening for someone to actually reach him, he acts like the programmed bioweapon he is. And seeing him take down the Teen Titans the way he has only reinforces that.
The other issue, of course, is that if Superboy can defeat the team so easily, why would he ever need them if he does become a part of the team? Sure, Red Robin is smarter, and Kid Flash is faster, but Superboy clearly outpowers them all – and since Bunker and Wonder Girl don’t bring anything other than physical power to the table, it makes for an odd fit if Superboy does reform.
I’m still enjoying this book, for the most part. But I’m waiting for the pieces to really click – because right now, they’re not. There are good ideas here, but they don’t fit together. Not yet, anyhow.
Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #6
With the relaunch of the Ultimate Comics line, this has been the book I have been the least interested in. While it’s great to see superheroes have a global effect on the world, it also becomes tedious. Watching the Ultimates be utterly bested by both the Eternals/Deviants, and Reed Richards’ tomorrow people has become tedious.
I read The Avengers because I want to see Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and the like triumph. I like seeing heroes. In The Ultimates, the heroes are jerks. Their opponents are, ultimately, right. And I don’t like anyone.
It’s a shame, because Ultimate Spider-Man is one of my favorite comics on the market. And I feel like I need to read the other Ultimate books in order to stay current on the continuity. But the cast of The Ultimates reminds me more of The Authority than The Avengers, and that is not a good thing.
It’s mildly interesting to see Richards make his pitch to the Falcon. I’m almost intrigued by watching Jamie Bradock become Captain Britain, and watching Steve refuse the shield almost makes up for what a fascist jerk he’s been under Mark Millar’s writing. But overall, I can’t recommend this issue – or this title – to just about anyone.
Meanwhile, in The Flash #5, Manny attempts to sacrifice himself to save his duplicates, Barry stops him, and we discover that the Speed Force may be destroying the world, Green Lantern: The New Guardians #5 has Kyle and his renegade legion discover who is behind the stealing of the Power Rings as we see the coming of our new Big Bad Invictus, Justice League Dark #5 gives us a “team” who doesn’t want to work together, and even as the June Moon/Enchantress situation is resolved, goes their separate ways – despite Madame Xanadu’s insistance they do otherwise, The Mighty Thor #10 shows us how much of a lout Tanarus can be, as Loki and the Silver Surfer reactivate Mjolnir – sending it to Thor, who starts to rouse the “dead” gods against Demiurge, Secret Avengers #21.1 acts as a transition from the leadership of Captain America to Hawkeye and works as a good jumping on point for the series – although it does make the relationship between Clint and Steve much more strained than it should be, and Superman #5 shows an out-of-control Man of Steel taking over Metropolis – as a result of the aliens from the earlier issues, while the real Kal-El awakens in deep space.
Thoughts? Disagreements? Want to offer up ideas on what books you’re reading this week? Let us know in the comments!