Skaar #10

May 7, 2009
Daddy issues

Daddy issues

Skaar #10

Greg Pak

Ron Lim

Skaar symbolically drops the “son of The Hulk” tag from the logo in the same issue that he finally steps out from his dad’s shadow and becomes his own man.Whether or not the title can stand out on its own will remain to be seen.
Continue reading…

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The New Avengers #52

April 27, 2009

Eye spy.

Eye spy.

The New Avengers #52

Brian Bendis
Billy Tan
Chris Bachalo

Marvel’s Dark Reign flows into this “Sorcerer Quest”* story line. The characters are all still clearly under the influence of Dark Reign’s new status quo, but the world is moving on. Regardless of what conditions restrain them, there will always be work for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. In this case, it is an unbalance in Marvel’s often overlooked magical sub-verse. The dimension needs a new Sorcerer Supreme and all the major magic players are out to get their hooks into whomever that will be.

What worked:
This book really feels like part of a larger universe. Doctor Strange is not an Avenger, but he is the Avengers circle. He was a member recently, and he knows these people. So, he is more than a guest star, but less than a cast member. He really feels like a friend who came by because he was in a moment of need. It makes sense with the logic of this book’s universe. These people know eachother and can count on eachother.
The “call to action” in this story comes about unlike you will find in any other super-hero comic. There is no alarm bell, or shouting of orders. Rather, a bunch of friends sit around a (rather large) table and talk about the problem. It less about the immediate peril, and more about pride, humility, and loyalty.
If you just count the number of pages and panels where nothing seems to be happening, you would say this was a fairly boring comic book. But, when you read what is actually going on in those scenes, the story is never slow or dull. Those scenes have meaning because you care about the characters. But they are also, strangely, exactly what makes you care about them in the first place.
Luke Cage and Peter Parker explaining simple morality and team ethics to the high-and-mighty Dr. Strange makes for a really nice scene.
Billy Tan is really stepping up for the art on these issues. And though i love Chris Bachalo’s work, his action can just get confusing. Which brings us to…

What did not work:
All of the action in this issue was in the demonic/mystical sections, which were done by the amazingly talented Mr. Bachalo. And though I really do love his work for its energy and beauty…he forces it. He will push a shot in too close, or exploe an effect too far and a panel or two will simply be lost.
Though I do trust this arc to pick up the pace in the next issue or two, it is off to a rather slow start.

*My name for it.


Beta Ray Bill: The Green of Eden

April 20, 2009

HAVE AT THEE!

HAVE AT THEE!

Beta Ray Bill: The Green of Eden

Kieron Gillen
Dan Brereton

Beta Ray Bill is a constant favorite of mine. He is one of the things that is so cool about comics. He makes just about no sense. Try explaining him to an outsider. However, within the complex Marvel Universe, he makes so much sense that he is almost essential to validate the complexity of the universe. If there is really THAT MUCH strangeness going on, of course there are going to be bizarre hybrids. Their world has gods and aliens and robots and monsters, it only makes sense for them to all come together. The “fact” of his existence makes the Marvel Universe one big thing rather than isolated story pockets. What could drive this point even further home? If Bill married Rogue from the X-Men. No really, actually think about that for a second. It would be SO awesome. It would be another firm tie between story worlds, and it would just be awesome. Picture the bachelor party!

Anyway, Bill played a great part in Secret Invasion: Thor. There were cool oathes sworn and bad-ass declarations. A follow up wasn’t demanded b any unresolved plotlines in that story. But, it did shine an big light on Bill on he huge stage of Secret Invasion and may have left a whole bunch of potential new fans clamoring for more. If this book is a test run, to see if there is enough interest to support a Bill book….count me in. THIS would finally be the cosmic Marvel book that I would actually buy.

What worked: The story was straight-forward, exciting, and plotted specifically around Bill. This stor could only be about a kinda-god in a universe of god-like beings. Sometimes these one-shots feel like they may have been pitched for a different character, and altered to fit which ever character had an opening in an editor’s agenda. This is NOT just a warmed-over Black Bolt story.
The main conflict arises directly from who the character is, and he resolves in a similarly suitable fashion.
This story spun out of Secret Invasion, but stands on its own strength.

What did not work: A common problem with the even expanding scale of super-heroic comics is the lack of plausible villains. The real character conflict of this story would have been just as relevant if Beta Ray Bill did not have an Nth-class bad ass to throw down with….But, as fans, we demand some throw down! We need to see Bill brawl! So, it is really our fault that the physical threat posed to him seems a bit tacked on. It wasn’t exactly a flaw in the story, it just didn’t really flow naturally from the more emotional central conflict.
Though, perhaps this is simply a genre conceit. Like in a kung-fu story, each world-view and perspective is embodied by a different kung-fu master…maybe in a Cosmic/Norse story, each point-of-view will be expressed by some slightly-random cosmic bad-ass.