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.
Action Comics #3
The situation continues to get more real and more dire as Clark finds the citizens of Metropolis being turned against him. What better way to deal with a Robin Hood-esque Superman than to inflame the xenophobia around him? Of course, at this point, the audience is still trying to figure out whether or not Clark even knows of his alien origins, so what could have been a major point comes off as being unclear.
We also start to see more of Krypton, which dovetails nicely with how the story is developing in Supergirl. It looks like this version of Krypton is going to be done in by Brainiac, following the pattern established by the Animated Series. I’m good with that, although it does make it seem like having Brainiac try to eat the Earth is coming on just a little too soon.
This issue also gives us the beginnings of transforming Corbin into Metallo. It’s a horrific scene, but one undermined by the fact that we knew it was going to happen, and we didn’t particularly like Corbin to begin with.
All in all, this issue tells a story, but it never does more than feel like it’s connecting the dots that need to be there for Clark to become Superman. Contrast it to the issue of Superman, where the villains are totally inconsequential, but the story seems to matter. There might be a reason to pick this issue up, but there are many more reasons to just skip it.
Avengers Academy #21
Last issue, we were introduced to the idea of new students joining Avengers Academy. This issue, we get to meet some of them. But the elephant in the room becomes “What happens to the original full-time class?” It turns out that they’re convinced they’re being replaced and eliminated, and this makes them none too happy.
While there is a bit of a meta-plot being established involving a future threat, the murder of Jocasta, and Reptil; along with the introduction of new full-time staff members Hawkeye, Julie Powers and White Tiger, this issue is really about getting in to the mind of these kids. It’s important to remember that they have been through several levels of hell, not least of which revolve around their origins at Osborn’s hands. So, while the superheroic action in this issue is great (and it really is), the moments that stick with you are the interpersonal ones. Hawkeye’s decision to join the staff perfectly mirrors his old decision to lead the Thunderbolts. Cap’s discussion with Mettle about killing someone and how it changes you feels 100% authentic, and the intimate moments between Hazmat and Mettle could have come from an after-school special, but without the lameness those shows often contained.
This isn’t the strongest title on the shelves this week, but it may be one of the most memorable.
Fear Itself #7.1: Captain America
Among the many complaints about Fear Itself are the fact that it never felt like any of the big moments was truly significant. Bucky’s death, Thor’s death, Cap’s shield breaking – they all felt forced, and none of them ever seemed like they would really matter in the long run.
And, of course, we were right. Thor already has a replacement lined up (who won’t stick around). Cap’s shield is repired, even if it has a scar (and that will be forgotten by 85% of all artists). And Bucky?
Well, Bucky isn’t dead. Nick Fury and Natasha spirited him away, used an LMD to fake out everyone, and now everyone other than Fury, the Widow and (now) Steve, think Bucky is dead. All of which leads us to a new Winter Soldier series starting up soon.
Is this a bad thing? No, not really. We all kind of expected Bucky to go back to being the Winter Soldier once Steve reclaimed the Captain America name. And we all knew Steve would reclaim it before the film came out.
It’s a decent enough story, but again, it’s a rote “connect the dots” kind of tale.
Why, oh why, couldn’t this series have been given twelve issues to develop? The new tapestry for Mystic is intriguing as all get out. The new Genevieve and Giselle are much more fully developed than the originals were four issues in. And Giselle’s classmates were fascinating.
All of which means that I am incredibly disappointed with Issue #4 of Mystic. They were creating a really rich tale and world. And then it all gets compressed into one final issue.
Don’t get me wrong, I still liked the story. Giselle’s plan was great. Seeing her rival named Head Apprentice, only to then have the honor go to her was awesome. Viv’s ascension through the rebels was done perfectly. But it could have used another several issues to develop.
More Mystic. Please. If you are only going to make one Crossgen title an ongoing… ok, make it Ruse. But if you’re going to do two, the second one needs to be Mystic.
Swamp Thing #3
Abigail Arcane returns, and we start to really learn about the enemy that Holland must face – who is, of course, an Arcane himself. The backstory of the Swamp Thing is truly confusing right now; again it seems like most of the old series has remained. Fortunately, Holland doesn’t know most of it, so we get to learn about it as he does.
I like the idea that the Arcane’s are as tied to an elemental force as the Swamp Thing himself is. And I like that it is so diametrically opposed. The best villains are always mirrors of the heroes they battle, so seeing a richer backstory go in to the Arcane family and why they are so tied to the Swamp Thing brings things nicely full-circle.
And the new enemy? He is creepy. Don’t be fooled by the lack of a Vertigo imprint on the cover. This is just as much a darkly supernatural book as any issue of Swamp Thing from the bast two decades. And that is very much a Good Thing.
Meanwhile, in Detective Comics #3 the mystery of the Dollmaker and his relationship to the Joker continues, Fear Itself: The Fearless #2 has both Valkyrie and Sin (and Crossbones) retrieving the Serpent’s hammers from Dracula and Paris, Hulk #44 has Ross and Machine Man enter the realm of Sharzad, Justice League International #3 allows Booster’s team to try to exert themselves against the giant robots as the real villain is revealed, Moon Knight #7 has Moon Knight and his ally face down Count Nefaria, Red Lanterns #3 shows the transformation of Bleeze from raving Red Lantern into Attrocitus’ right-hand – and possibly his replacement, and in Villains for Hire #.01 we see the beginnings of Kilgrave’s plan to create his counterpart to Misty Knight’s operation.
Thoughts? Disagreements? Want to offer up ideas on what books you’re reading this week? Let us know in the comments!