Dr Manolis Vamvounis writes for Bleeding Cool;
This is what happened last week in comics:
In the much-hyped AVENGERS VS X-MEN #1, the main event seems to be the new Nova’s crash-landing into New York (that apparently has even a god like Thor declaring “MADNESS”). Nova brings with him warning of the Phoenix Force’s imminent arrival on Earth that in turn brings Captain America to Utopia for an audience with Cyclops, and some serious finger-pointing:
Everyone from Cyclops to Captain America and even President Obama seem to have concluded beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Phoenix is coming for Hope Summers, the “mutant messiah” (and she does produce a familiar light-show to prove them right in this issue).
Captain America wants to restrain the girl (I assume), Cyclops is hoping the Phoenix might reignite the muted mutant genome and undo the Decimation effect. They fight. My main issue of the book isn’t with the fortunately absolute “schism” in opinions between the two teams, but with how conveniently the writers (Marvel’s combined team of Architects) play fast and loose with the Phoenix’s continuity.
[MINI-RANT] Noone expects them to reference the Ultraverse fiasco, or the Phoenix force inhabiting Prime of all people, but stating that Jean “killed herself” to stop the Phoenix is… over-simplifying it. Rachel Summers (currently a teacher at Logan’s new mutant school) was the host to the Phoenix force for DECADES, and she was even running around as the Phoenix until as recently as three years ago in the KINGBREAKER crossover, with noone batting an eyelid or punching each other over her fate. Quentin Quire, Emma Frost and Stepford Cuckoos were also recent hosts of the Phoenix Force during Marvel’s previous attempts to resurrect the fiery cash cow. This Phoenix paranoia that has swept the entire Marvel super-heroic community reeks of convenience. It’s the current editorial office that green-lit most of these recent Phoenix stories, you’d expect them to at least keep their runs self-consistent. [/MINI-RANT]
In AGE OF APOCALYPSE #2 Rick Remender seems intent to leave no tomb unturned, using a fickle plot device involving the Celestial Seed to resurrect every single character that had perished in the finale of the original storyline. Wolverine, Jean and Cyclops are already back, Banshee, Havok, Colossus, Shadowcat, Quicksilver and Madrox look ready to join them. The choice to focus the new series on the human “x-terminated” (euch) team remains greatly unjustified.
NEW MUTANTS #40 sees the geek-tastic return of DOUGLOCK — sort of. Warlock and Doug Ramsey’s deaths and resurrections are possibly even more convoluted than the history of Jean Grey and the Phoenix, so DnA wisely play very loose with their references here, as BFFs Doug and Warlock once more join up into one.
The resurrected Doug Ramsey has been the creepiest and most fascinating part of the most recent NEW MUTANTS reviva. DnA seem to have very exciting plans in store for him, with the reach of his language powers and his intellect growing exponentially with each issue, as his humanity and empathy slowly dissipate. This is the sleeper hit of the X-men books.
In the self-contained adventure of WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #8, Jason Aaron pumps a insane amount of action and awesomeness inside mere 20 pages. The students invade an alien casino to cure the recently (hilariously) wheelchair-bound Wolverine, while a feral Beast battles Sabretooth… in outer space! Is it too soon to start comparing Jason Aaron’s run to Morrison’s? The only thing holding me back is Aaron’s dependence on themes Morrison dealt with in his first run.
In THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #683 Spidey crashes the U.N. building and lands a punch on… Al Gore?!? You bet there’s a twist to this, but I still respect the spoiler wrath of Slott. The issue also guest-stars President Obama, Stephen Hawking — and the Avengers versus the Sinister Six in one of the best super-team throwdowns in recent memory, with great planning and battle strategies from both sides, instead of those endless Bendis-y generic double-page battle spreads (that I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot of in the upcoming AvX issues).
In AVENGERS ACADEMY #28, the second part of the RUNAWAYS guest-arc, Marvel’s resident blonde rainbow-powered flying teen lesbians (well, ok, one lesbian and one bi-sexual if we need to get technical about it) officially start dating each other. If it wasn’t so cute, it would be a bit sad. Plus, after Old Lace’s resurrection last issue, Christos Gage teases one more much-missed bespectacled, purple-haired face coming back in the near future. I miss Gert Stein like crazy, and BKV did leave that particular door open during his run.
In DAREDEVIL #10.1, Matt Murdock is called to defend a pyrokinetic criminal that he helped put away as Daredevil, but ends up trapped inside his cell, with the super- and hyper-sonics used to keep the prisoner off-balance playing havoc with his super-senses. A clever done-in-one with a cute twist premise that Mark Waid uses wisely as an introduction to Daredevil and his ongoing storyline for new readers.
In ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #9 we get our first look at the new Ultimate Scorpion in action, against Miles’ good-for-nothing uncle the Prowler (sporting some fab Vulture gear) — and he’s quite the… hmmm… GRRRRRR.
In THUNDERBOLTS #172, just in time for the team’s 15th anniversary, the modern-day team of T-bolts find themselves trapped in the past, around the time when the very first team of villains-in-disguise, led by Citizen V / Zemo, made their first appearance. Back to the Future hijinx ensue.
In ACTION COMICS #8, Superman loses his jean and t-shirts for his DCNu Kryptonian armour (boo), battles Brainiac for the fate of the bottled cities of Kandor and Metropolis, and in the process gains the key to the city and a new (that’s DCNu) Fortress of Solitude.The more the series progresses, the more disjointed Morrison’s storytelling becomes, it’s getting very difficult to get the bigger picture at this point. There’s still many great ideas and plot concepts in there, but they tend to get muddled together.
In STORMWATCH #8, Midnighter refuses to save little Jenny Quantum’s life at the end of one of their missions, due to his fear of… her teenage hormones and how they could cloud her sense of responsibility over her increasingly unpredictable powers. And to think, in a previous (Wildstorm) continuity, this man was her foster daddy.
In GREEN ARROW #8, Ann Nocenti gets a little sloppy with the (hilarious) innuendo — and her plot. The Frankenstein-ish villain Leer saves Arrow from the cold (where he himself threw him last issue to be eaten by wolves, after he first had his three daughters trap him, bed him and poison him) because Arrow showed kindness to animals and doesn’t have a bent “arrow”… Leer then treats Arrow to a nice meal and another night with the daughter of his choosing, until Queen (ungrateful guest that he is) goes snooping around and discovers a cyborg “bi-polar” bear (sheesh) and attacks Leer yet again for risking destroying the eco-system if the animal ever escaped. It makes even less sense in the actual issue. And to think last month had given me hope for this title.
If it’s (rather enjoyable) graphic cruelty against animals that you’re craving though, ANIMAL MAN #8 more than fills our gore quote for the week with a whole lot of gruesome Animal (Vs) Man action, as well as a thankfully concealed scene where Animal Man’s daughter gets torn apart by a pack of zombie beasties. Oops.