Hey all, I think it's way past time for a new installment of the Best of the Rest! Since I've been on vacation I've had the time to do full reviews, meaning I really haven't had the need to do the abbreviated, BotR-type reviews. Well, after reading a bunch of comics last night, and realizing that I really didn't want to do full reviews for them for various reasons, I figured now was as good a time as any to do the first BotR post of 2011. There's some bad(well, mainly bad)as well as some mediocre reviews here, so yeah, I wouldn't blame you for skipping this post entirely! Anyway, before we get to the reviews, let's see what other random comic related things I can think of...
Redheads have more fun?
It seems the return of Saint Barry Allen has been affecting the DCU in more bizarre ways than I could have ever imagined... First things first, in case you're new around here, I HATE Saint Barry Allen. I mean I hate him as much as a(somewhat)sane human being can hate a fictional character. Trust me, if I simply didn't like Saint Barry, I'd say “I don't like him.” Instead, I'm using the word HATE here. I hate the character, I hate the way his return was explained(he wasn't really dead, just running for years), I hate what his return did the the newer members of the Flash comics(Capt. Boomerang II, dead. Inertia/Kid Zoom, dead. Zoom, de-powered.), and most of all, I hate the way Wally West(the former and rightful Flash)has been treated. So there, we've established that I hate Saint Barry, and why. But it seems that the Saint Barry affect isn't going to stop there... No, the return of Saint Barry also seems to be having a rather bizarre and unexpected influence on one of(if not my favorite)DC character, Bart Allen/Kid Flash/Impulse. It seems that in an attempt to show us that Wally West NEVER HAPPENED, Bart is slowly BECOMING Wally! It's sort of like something out of a bad science-fiction movie... First things first, here's a pic of Bart as Impulse:Next, here's one of Bart as Kid Flash before he died:Next up, here's a shot of Bart after he was aged and took over the Flash mantle:Finally, here's Bart as he's been looking lately in the most recent issue of Superboy:What is up with Bart's suddenly red hair?! I mean seriously? And it's not like this was a snafu only taking place in Superboy... No, since his return to life, Bart's hair really HAS turned red! Which other speedster and former Kid Flash also has red hair? WALLY WEST!!! Yep, my guess is that DC is slowly turning Bart INTO a younger version of Wally, so that they can simply strike Wally from the DCU altogether, thus cementing the evil Saint Barry Allen as the one and only Flash... Well besides Jay Garrick, but really, who counts him? Madness you say? Ha. We'll see... Remember you read this two years from now when Wally West is nothing more than a faded memory, Saint Barry is still fighting the same old rogues, and Bart is acting EXACTLY like Wally circa 1965...
DC: Deception Comics?
Hey, since I'm already in attack mode, I might as well keep attacking, no? A few months back, DC came out and said that they were going to lower the price of all of their standard comic books back to $2.99 from $3.99. They did state that over-sized comics and a few mini-series would still be placed at $3.99, but for the most part, DC fans rejoiced. Right after the announcement was made, DC began putting the $2.99 price in the upper left-hand corner of each comic(in larger font then before), instead of hiding the price down by the bar code, which is a tactic that both DC and Marvel had been using(and Marvel still uses with all of their books to this day). When you buy as many comics as I do, you tend to notice these little things. Anyway, this past Wednesday I picked up the first issue of the Weird Worlds mini-series and immediately noticed that the price wasn't in the upper left-hand corner like it was all of my other DC books. After a closer look, I realized that this was one of DC's $3.99 priced comics, and that low and behold, the price was hidden back by the bar code. Now this might not seem like much, but it really annoyed me... I mean, DC received a lot of positive press(and deservedly so)for reducing the price of many of their comics, and DC themselves made sure to put the $2.99 price tag RIGHT at the top of the book so there was no missing it. But to basically hide the price of the $3.99 comics, while proudly displaying the $2.99 price just seems like an underhanded move to me... Either put ALL of your prices in the top left hand corner, or put them ALL hidden at the bottom. Going both ways, in my opinion at least, makes it seem as if DC is trying to trick consumers into buying the more expensive comics, figuring(incorrectly)that ALL of DC's comics are priced at $2.99 now. So while DC should be lauded for putting an overwhelming majority of their comic books at $2.99, they also deserve to be scolded for trying to pull a fast one by playing “Hide the Price” with their $3.99 books.
Enough ranting, let's get this party started! First up is Widowmaker #2, which stars Black Widow, Hawkeye and Mockingbird, meaning I SHOULD love it... This issue opens with the Supreme Soviets(think the Russian Avengers)fighting Widow, Hawkeye and Mockingbird, since they believe that Hawkeye is the leader of a Japanese crime organization. Why would they believe that? Because the leader of the evil Japanese society is named Ronin, a name Hawkeye used up until recently. Eventually the heroes defeat the Russians, but get separated in the process. Mockingbird winds up with Dominick Fortune(who came by to help Mock out), while Widow and Hawkeye get away together. Widow manages to save a Russian diplomat from the evil Japanese crime organization after a phone call to Steve Rogers, and this issue ends with the real Ronin looking at pictures of Black Widow and Mockingbird, who he had marked for death. Ugh. I didn't like this comic much at all. Actually, the only thing it really had going for it was the three main characters. I don't get the story, other then the whole, “Evil Ronin is killing spies.” thing, which might just be all you need to know about this mini. I'd kind of like a bit more to the story than that, but maybe that'll come next issue. I mean it has to come soon, there are only two issues left! Score-wise, I'll go with a 5 out of 10.
Next up is Vampire Superman #706... Oh wait, that's actually Superman #706, but seriously, what is up with Superman on this cover?!Weird. Anyway, the story in this comic is ALLLLL about Perry White, editor extraordinaire of the Daily Planet. Basically some political blog has been eating into the Planet's readership, and the blog is promising to reveal a photo of Superman getting busy with Lois Lane. Upon learning this, Perry sends a young Planet photographer(thankfully not Jimmy Olsen)to infiltrate the blog while he tries to verify the photo. He calls Lois, who denies that she's ever been anything less than professional with Supes(HA!), and Supes himself takes time off from his stroll across America to fly over to the Daily Planet building to tell Perry that he would NEVER have relations with that woman. In the end, the photographer brings back evidence that the photo the blog had was simply a Photoshop job, and Perry offers the head of the blog the chance to work for the Planet... Zuh-huh?! What was this all about?! I mean yeah, I've been very vocal in my displeasure with the whole, “Supes walks around the country for some reason” story, but I'd rather read about that then the adventures of Perry White! If you're a fan of Perry White then this was the issue of Superman for you. Then again, if you're a fan of Perry White, you probably already brought and read this comic already. Oh well, for those of us who aren't obsessed with Perry this was a very skippable issue of Supes, one which I'll score 5 1/2 out of 10.
Moving back to Marvel it's time to check out Invincible Iron Man #33, or as the folks at Marvel call it, “The issue before Iron Man #500!” Only at Marvel do they count 31, 32, 33, 500... Anyway, I'm going to really fly through this review, but for a very good reason... Tony Stark(with some help from Maria Hill)manages to shut down the Detroit Steel drones that were trying to kill him. This angers the Hammer girls, who want Detroit Steel to kill Stark anyway. General Babbage, who is an ally of the Hammer girls, tells them to call off the attack, since he didn't want Steel to be seen murdering Stark, which the women reluctantly agree to do. However, they do get Babbage to release Ezekiel Stane from US custody, after which time they send Stane to their other ally, the Mandarin. See, this was a 9(!)part storyline that I began reading at about part 4 or 5... So there was A LOT about this story that I didn't fully grasp. But that's really no fault of Matt Fraction, who seems to have a definite idea of where he wants this series to go. So while this story left me REALLY confused at times, the future looks good. Now I know the Hammer girls are in cahoots with a US general, as well as the Mandarin, and that the Mandarin has Stane working for him. So I'll be looking forward to the start of this next storyline, which I'll be reading from the start. As for a score, I'll go with a 6 1/2 out of 10, which is basically for the stuff that I did understand, as well as the promise for the future.
Sticking with the House of Ideas, here's Namor #5! Hey, check it out, this series actually made it 5 issues! With the way Marvel cancels books, that's almost cause for celebration! Now if Namor makes it to a seventh issue, I'll be gobsmacked! This issue took a look at Namor through the years. We start pre-WWII where Namor would occasionally attack the surface world because it seemed like the thing to do. I mean when you live under the sea and only have that one green speedo, what else do you have to do for amusement? Fast forward to the middle of WWII where Namor had become an American hero due to his opposition of the Axis forces. Besides being respected and not attacking the surface anymore, Namor has also started dating a surface woman named Betty. Moving past WWII, Betty has become upset with Namor's frequent absences, and confronts Namor about it. Namor basically blows her off, and gets a tongue-lashing from Betty's friend, Alice. From there we move all the way up to four years ago where young X-Man Loa and her father are being assaulted by some petty criminal who could control sharks. Loa's mutant powers manifest for the first time and she manages to kill a shark, but is nearly eaten by another one. Namor saves the girl and her father from the sharks and tosses the criminal back to the shore, where Namor spots an elderly Alice. Alice introduces Loa as her granddaughter, and reveals that she had lost contact with Betty years ago and that Betty had left a necklace that Namor had given Betty to Alice. Alice offers to return the necklace, but Namor insists that Alice keeps it before leaving. We then head back three weeks ago where Loa is at the funeral of Alice. Alice leaves the Namor-necklace to Loa and soon thereafter she realizes that the necklace allows her to breathe underwater. This issue ends with Loa swimming to New Atlantis where she is welcomed by Namor. Hey, I actually liked this issue. Due to my extensive Fantastic Four comic collection, I would count myself as a fan of Namor. I personally like crazy, surface-dweller bashing Namor to kinder, gentler King Namor, which is why I enjoyed this issue. You kind of got both sides of the Namor coin. There was crazy, jerky Namor and calmer, mature Namor. So however you like your Namor, you got a taste of it here! For a score, let's go with a 7 out of 10.
Let's finish this post up by looking at the What If Venom possessed Deadpool story that ran through this years What If? comics. Basically Marvel broke this story into four parts and put a part in the back of the four What If? comics, I'd guess with the hopes that fans would buy all of the What If? books in order to get the full Deadpool/Venom story. This story gets started back in the mid 1980's with Galactus hiring Deadpool to destroy the Beyonder with a gun that would wipe the Beyonder from continuity. DP goes to do the deed, but becomes enamored by the Beyonder and decides to hang out with him instead. Eventually, Spidey(back when he was the host for the Venom symbiote)tries to attack the Beyonder and DP, but loses and gets separated from the symbiote, which merges with DP, as dreadlocks... Time passes and the Beyonder gets tired of hanging out with DP and ditches him, which leads to DP wanting to shoot the Beyonder with the retcon gun. DP also ditches the symbiote dreadlocks(but seems to keep the symbiote itself somehow), and the dreadlocks become his mortal enemy, Carnage. The Beyonder and Carnage hook up and Carnage gets pregnant, which bums out DP. Moving forward, Galactus comes to Earth and announces that he had impregnated Carnage, which leads to the Beyonder and Galactus fighting and destroying the Earth. With the Earth gone, DP uses the retcon gun on both the Beyonder and Galactus, getting rid of them both, while returning the Earth. With his foe the Beyonder gone, DP becomes depressed and decides to use the retcon gun on the entire universe, ending this story... Now THIS was a train wreck! I mean, needless to say, this story was supposed to be funny, but MAN did Rick Remender miss the mark for me... I didn't find the story funny in the least, and with no humor there was just the story, which was, as you could probably tell from my write-up for it, REALLY bad. An unfunny comedy, coupled with a bad story gets a 1 out of 10 score from me. Comedy is a very subjective thing, so maybe you'd like this story. Me, I couldn't have liked it less.