Friday, February 19, 2010

Comics I Read: Catching Up #18

There are some spoilers below, because it’s impossible to talk about current Marvels without giving some surprises away, so beware if you’re not up to date.

Dark Avengers 12-14: This seems to be the beginning of Bendis’ endgame for The Sentry (and continuing in “Siege”, which I’ll talk about in a minute). He goes into some of the nature of Sentry’s powers and sets him on a path that may piss some people off, but I like the idea of the Sentry’s story having a beginning, middle and end so I’m interested so far. In #14, Bendis shows Victoria Hand to be a character of much greater wit (“Take her to her room, please. After she’s done spasming.”) and conviction than has been shown so far, so much so that I hope she’s still around after Osborn gets defeated.

Captain America Reborn 5-6, Who Will Wield the Shield?: The end of “Reborn” is a little anticlimactic, since there’s never any doubt who will win and the question of who will carry on as Cap is left for the special. Still, the art is amazing and I’m sure the story will read well collected. As far as the special goes, I like the idea that Bucky will continue as Cap because I’m invested in him and it gives Steve back the “man out of his time” role that he hasn’t had in a long time.

Siege 1-2: I like that this is faster paced than most events, given that it’s half the length. Also, the Steve Rogers scenes here are very satisfying, as we get to see him be upset by the state of the world and resolute about fixing it. To be fair, Bendis gets to just play with the toy instead of having to figure out how to put it back in the box so I’m not saying this is better than what Brubaker did. Continuing whatever he’s got planned for the Sentry, Bendis seems to take him past the point of no return in #2 in a, um, let’s call it lavishly illustrated scene by Olivier Coipel (although the final page of #2 is actually my favorite). It’s arguable whether the other character involved should have been killable, but the ramifications of it are cool enough that I don’t care.

Siege: Embedded 1-2: I like this a lot better than I did the previous “Frontline” companion series. In the opening pages of both issues, writer Brian Reed does a great job at evoking the creepy real-world political parallels that have been such a big part of “Dark Reign” (Store clerk: “…the President of the United States – a man I did not vote for, mind you… – does not have the guts to stand up for his people!”) and all the characterizations are spot on. Volstagg just wants to do the right thing by his moral code, and Ben Urich and his partner think the Asgard invasion might be a way to fix Norman Osborn for good. (“We’re gonna kick Norman Osborn’s ass. With journalism.”) I’m also starting to love the art of Chris Samnee, who previously drew “The Mighty” for DC. (He has a sketch blog you might like – my favorite piece is here.)

Amazing Spider-Man 617-621: The “Gauntlet” reintroductions of the classic Spidey villains are going well. Joe Kelly’s Rhino vs. Rhino story in #617 has some light moments, but shows some real heart from both Peter and the original Rhino. Dan Slott and Marcos Martin reinvent Mysterio in #618-620 as a guy who fakes criminals’ deaths for a living, explaining his various reappearances over the years and guest-starring some characters you never thought you’d see in a Spidey comic again. (Some fake, some not.) Also, the Mr. Negative subplot (also the main plot in #621) well serves the same purpose for Aunt May as the Chameleon story from a while back did for Peter: it highlights her essential character by showing us how someone not as nice might react to the people in her life.

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