Thursday, May 19, 2016

Weekly Comic Pull #6: Civil War II Edition!

Welcome one and all to this week's Weekly Comic Pull, the show where I tell you about everything I've been reading this week. It's a big week over at the House of Ideas, better known as Marvel Comics with the big issue this week being Civil War II #0. Don't worry, DC will have it's day in the spotlight next week with Rebirth finally getting underway. This week, though, it's going to mostly be Marvel issues.

I want to first start out with a notice that next week, due to being on a plane, my Weekly Comic Pull will not be posted on it's regular time slot. Next week, I'll try my best to have it up sometime later in the week, and I wanted to let you guys know before hand.

It's also worth noting that, again, there was some kind of error with my pull (my store said there was a bix that ended up misplaced), so there's issues of the Legend of Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman I'll need to go back to at a later date. For now, though, let's start out with the big one.

Civil War II #0

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Olivier Coipel

And so it begins, Marvel's big Summer event kicks off after an explosive Free Comic Book Day preview. With the writing talents of Brian Michael Bendis and the art stylings of Olivier Coipel on hand, it's sure to be a massive event. Eventually, anyways. Not much actually happens in this issue. It's actually kinda disappointing, especially since this issue is an extra dollar on top of what Marvel usually charges for their books. Somewhat confusingly, this issue actually takes place BEFORE the Free Comic Book Day preview (which I believe was a preview of #1). In this issue, we see the beginnings of the issue that will be the core point of debate in this conflict, the idea of preemptive action, and whether or not people should be punished for crimes they have not committed yet. This is actually pretty well realized in an interesting court scene with She-Hulk. The rest of the issue consists of setting up Captain Marvel's desire to be able to make these kind of preemptive strikes, as well as the birth of Ulysses, an Inhuman who will seemingly be at the core of this Civil War. If anything, the main problem with this issue is all the talking. Not to say that there shouldn't be any, but, while the Captain Marvel conversation with Doc Samson establishes her point and the She-Hulk case lays the major themes, not much else really gets done apart from the small bit devoted to Ulysses at the end. We don't even meet Iron Man in this issue, who supposedly is set to be the leader of the group opposing Captain Marvel's plans. It's an issue that tickles the mind, but doesn't go as far as I'd maybe have hoped. Let's hope the #1, coming in June, will be more substantive than this. And Marvel, I want my extra dollar back.

Tony's Score: 7.5/10

Superman: American Alien #7

Written by Max Landis
Art by Jock

Max Landis' American Alien has been something of an opus for the screenwriter/minor internet celebrity, and the fact that it's gone over as well as it has is a small miracle in and of itself. Telling seven stories that are explicitly about the human aspects of Superman could have gone wrong in a lot of ways, and this issue is a testament to how brilliant this series has been. This issue takes place after Superman has been firmly established with his suit, but before he's really faced any kind of real threat aside from thugs and bank robbers. This issue sees the Man of Steel facing off with Lobo in their first encounter, with the real emotional heart of the story being the relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane. It's not a slugfest of an issue, though what little action there is is very well done, with Jock turning in some stunning panels showing Superman or Lobo being smacked around. The place where Jock's art really shines, though, is in the slower moments. The scene at the end between a beat up Clark and Lois is probably one of the most tender scenes I've seen in a comic in a long time, and it's all in the faces. The issue also makes a point about this being the first time Clark really finds out about the fate of his race, and uses it as a very profound moment for Clark. A moment where he finally decides who he really is. It's not the big smash finale that some may have been hoping for, but for what this series intended to do, it's just the kind of conclusion this series needed. How appropriate that a series about Clark Kent ends with the love of his life in his arms.

Tony's Score: 9/10

Spider-Man #4

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Sarah Pichelli

Miles just cannot catch a break today. This issue really sorta just focuses on Miles being screwed over by his best friend for seemingly no real reason. Miles and his friend, Ganke, are talking about a new student at their school, former X-Man, Goldballs (insert joke here), and Ganke uses the fact that Miles is Spider-Man to seemingly try to impress Goldballs. There's a bit towards the end of the scene about him wanting Miles to be more open to being friends with other heroes which doesn't make much sense since he's an Avenger and hangs out with heroes all the time. In the end, it really just makes Ganke look bad. Meanwhile, Black Cat and Hammerhead plot against Miles, in a plot that really kinda comes off as a little too easy to pull off. Just a few issues ago, we saw Miles taking on Blackheart, the son of Mephisto, and here he's having trouble dealing with one or two heat-seeking missiles. It doesn't exactly compute entirely. It's a strangely off kilter issue. Nothing's quite working like it should, for some reason.

Tony's Score: 7.5/10

Red Sonja #5

Written by Marguerite Bennett
Art by Aneke & Diego Galindo

In this issue, the penultimate of this arc, Sonja is mostly on a journey to tame a great beast known as a roc, while her old friend begins dismantling the evil king's reign from within. This issue is mostly held up by Sonja's friend behind enemy lines, while any and all of the action is Sonja and the roc in an encounter that is visually stunning, with Aneke turning in some great work. The roc being a fire based bird, it's easy to see the opportunity for striking splash pages. The story is a tad lighter, and unfortunately, it's not entirely waterproof. Much of it centers around Sonja's friend writing a play that is subtly being used as a propaganda piece to stir rebellion among the people, which happens far too easily than I think it should. And by the end, when we find out why Sonja went to tame the roc, the answer seems to mostly be "because it looks cool." It's an okay issue, but it's somewhat disappointing considering Marguerite Bennett is usually so tight in her storytelling. The end sets up the final confrontation between Sonja and the wicked king, and hopefully, that will be better.

Tony's Score: 7/10

Power Man and Iron Fist #4

Written by David Walker
Art by Sanford Greene

Power Man and Iron Fist feels like a breath of fresh air to me. Not to say that it's the most innovative or groundbreaking comic out there or anything, but it's rare to find a comic so comfortable with itself. Power Man and Iron Fist feels so much like it's having laid back fun with itself, and this issue deals a lot in that tone. As the conclusion of this arc, The titular duo are trying to protect people from their old friend, Jeanine, who was corrupted by an amulet that uses rage to turn people into monsters. The issue is sprinkled with flashbacks to Jeanine's time as the Heroes for Hire's secretary back in the day, her prison time, and some very tender moments between her and the people in her life, as well as some traumatic moments in her life. It feels like the comic acknowledging that life is hard, but it's worth meeting each day with a new smile. Throughout all the action, the stakes don't usually feel too high, and that's a good thing in this case. This is an issue about friendship, and this battle feels a lot more like an overblown spat between friends, especially since Jeanine's friend, Mariah, also known as the criminal, Black Mariah, is along for the proceedings. The issue ends on the words "The Beginning!" instead of your typical "The End", and it really does feel like the start of a great new adventure featuring two best friends. It's pleasant. And it's rare to find that in comics nowadays, which either go for deep darkness or zany cartoony action. It's a breath of fresh air.

Tony's Score: 9/10

Old Man Logan #6

Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Andrea Sorrentino

Logan has a knack for attracting trouble, and when he ventures to the town where his once-future wife lives as a child to protect her, none should be surprised that villains soon come a-knocking. Seeing as this universe's Wolverine is dead, when his old enemies hear that Logan is somehow alive up north, they understandably all want a piece of him. It's a sad bit of irony, really. Logan traveled here to protect someone, and yet his very presence puts her in danger. The issue makes this all the sadder by starting out with a very tender moment between the two. Logan, being from a different time where he was married to a grown-up version of her, is comfortable acting as an almost grandfatherly neighbor to the little girl. It's a moment that tugs at the heartstrings and raises the stakes once the villains, called the Reavers, show up. Andrea Sorrentino once again turns in some great work that makes the softer moments feel warm despite the town's Alaskan setting, while still keeping the darker moments as gritty and violent as they should be. It's more than a solid outing from Jeff Lemire, it's a sign that he knows exactly how this character should be handled and how to make the tragedy of this man all the more heart-wrenching. I have big hopes for this arc.

Tony's Score: 9/10

Uncanny Avengers #9

Written by Jerry Duggan
Art by Pepe Larraz

Pop Quiz: What do you do when an old friend, thought dead, turns up alive wearing the skin of one of your greatest nemesis in your team's and your universe's history? If you're Captain America, you do the smart thing and start planning for everything to go south real fast. If you're Rogue...well, you just roll with it. In this new arc, the Man Who Fell to Earth, we see the return of former Avenger, Hank Pym, decked out in the metal frame of his creation and former-Avengers villain, Ultron. Unsurprisingly, Captain America and Cable are very suspicious, partly because Pym has always had a reputation of being kind of a jerk, but mainly just about the whole "wearing Ultron" thing, and I don't blame them. The rest of the Avengers seem to just go with it, especially Rogue, who takes Pym on a tour to show him how things have changed since Pym was last seen in the Age of Ultron event. There's actually a pretty cool scene with Pym and Rogue visiting the former Avengers Mansion, which is now a tourist attraction and museum, and having Pym face his own memorial. Aside from that, there's an interesting follow-up to a storyline from a few issues ago of the Red Skull impersonating Gambit to gain access to the Avengers Mansion. It's not a HIGE development, but it sets up the real Gambit potentially coming into this series in a big way. Generally, this was a solid issue with a great premise that could go somewhere very interesting, especially if teasers of Janet Van Dyne, the former Wasp, entering the fray are followed up on in the future.

Tony's Score: 8.5/10

And with that, we end this week's Weekly Comic Pull. As always, let me know below what you're reading. Again, I won't be returning next week at our regularly scheduled time, but I will try to get something up later in the week depending on when I have the chance. Until then, see you guys later.

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