Monday, February 21, 2011

Quick Hits: 2/21/11

Since I just did two DC Quick Hits in a row, I think it's high time for me to head back to the House of Ideas and do a Marvel post. So that's what I'll be doing. A few good books, a few okay ones, and one perfect score(wow, Marvel is REALLY impressing me lately!) should make this a must read post!

Avengers Academy #9:

Summary: We pick up here with Tigra reiterating that Veil, Striker and Hazmat were being tossed out of the Academy for their assault on the Hood. The kids go to pack, and Pym decides to call a meeting with the rest of the faculty to discuss the expulsions. Finesse heads to Quicksilver and explains that she wanted to meet the Taskmaster, since they shared the same powers and she suspected that he was her father. Quicksilver agrees to take Finesse to the Taskmaster's last known base, if only to avoid what he figured would be a terribly boring and sanctimonious meeting with the other Academy advisors. Finesse and Quicksilver arrive at the base and beat up on some cannon fodder, but don't find Taskmaster there. Finesse asks to remain behind to see if she could find something that would tell her where Taskmaster had gone, so Quicksilver takes off. Once Quicksilver is out of sight, Taskmaster jumps down and attacks Finesse. The two talk and fight for a while, until Taskmaster has had enough and tells Finesse that the fight was over. Taskmaster tells Finesse that he had no idea if he was her father or not, that he wouldn't give her any hair or DNA samples, and that the only reason he wanted to fight her was to see if there was anything he could pick up from her fighting style to remember her by, since his brain could pretty much only remember movements and not conversations. Since Finesse was just like him, she only fought by melding several different fighting styles together, meaning that most likely Taskmaster would end up forgetting about her in short order. Before he leaves, Taskmaster tells Finesse that her best bet was to stay with the Avengers, live off of Tony Stark's fortune and learn as many Avengers secrets as she could. Taskmaster tells her that every day she'll get better and better and that that was all life was about for people like them, before leaving Finesse behind. Back at the Academy, the rest of the faculty members overrule Tigra and bring the expelled students back, since it seemed more risky to leave potentially dangerous teenagers out in the world with no supervision. In the end, Tigra comes to accept their decision(after talking to Quicksilver of all people!) and she heads back to her room where she watches the tape of the students brutalizing the Hood over and over again.

Thoughts: Christos Gage is really putting together one hell of a good series here! As always I enjoyed any scene that Quicksilver was in, being a huge, and unabashed fan of Pietro. I also REALLY enjoyed the scene with Taskmaster and Finesse. Gage did a great job of making Taskmaster into a more sympathetic figure, which really took me by surprise. I've always liked Taskmaster, and the way he was portrayed here went a long way in further strengthening his character. As for the expulsion stuff, it ended the way I expected it to. I mean we all knew we weren't going to lose three main characters this early in the series, so all of that stuff was kind of anticlimactic. But everything else here was REALLY good, and definitely worth checking out, whether you're a fan of the Avengers or not.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Fatherly advice from Taskmaster?? Weird...

Silver Surfer #1(of 5):

Summary: With Galactus recuperating from the Thanos Imperative mini-series, the Silver Surfer finds himself with some free time on his hands. He ends up drifting back to Earth, where he happens across two people being shot by drug smugglers. The Surfer blasts the smugglers and heads to the woman who was shot by the smugglers and tries to heal her with the Power Cosmic. While he is doing this, the smugglers hire the Cybermancer to try to try to talk to the Surfer for some reason. Anyway, the Surfer manages to heal the woman, and happens to touch Cybermancer, who feels the Power Cosmic and is overcome with emotion, something the Surfer can no longer feel. Before the Surfer can leave, he is suddenly attacked by several machines, before being ambushed by the High Evolutionary, who apologizes to the Surfer for what he was doing. The Surfer summons his surfboard to him and tries to make some distance between himself and the High Evolutionary, but his board drops him and he crashes to the ground. The High Evolutionary teleports away and the Surfer finds himself surrounded by the drug smugglers from earlier. He warns the smugglers to get back, but they open fire instead, and the Surfer is shocked to not only feel the bullets, but to see his silver coating slide off of his body.

Thoughts: Hmm... I've always been a fan of the Surfer, so seeing him in a solo adventure once again was a treat. There were parts of this story that made me very happy(I LOVED seeing the High Evolutionary show up!) but there were also things that happened here that I could have done without. A simple Surfer vs the High Evolutionary story where the High Evolutionary steals the Surfer's powers for some mysterious and possibly nefarious purpose, leading to the Surfer being tasked with hunting down the High Evolutionary and regaining his powers would have been fine. I don't get why this Cybermancer woman is being included in this story at all... The only thing I can think is that she'll become some sort of romantic interest to the Surfer(they did feel a “spark”) who assists him against the smugglers and the High Evolutionary. I'm REALLY not interested in reading a romantic tale here... That's not why I read Silver Surfer books. Hopefully I'm wrong, but I doubt Greg Pak would have gone through all of the trouble introducing the Cybermancer if he didn't have lofty plans for her.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Would you believe that I didn't realize that the High Evolutionary was even in this comic until this scene, even though he was right on the cover?!

Captain America: Man out of Time #4(of 5):

Summary: Captain America(Steve Rogers) is still trying to come to terms with being brought out of suspended animation some 60 years displaced from his proper time period. Cap goes about helping the Avengers and trying to assimilate to modern society the best he can, but during his free time he spends his days trying to find somebody from his past to reconnect with. After a lot of searching, Cap discovers that his old commanding officer during the war was still alive, so Cap heads to the nursing home to visit. Cap explains his story to the general, and eventually manages to convince the older man that he really was who he claimed to be. Cap spends most of his free time with the general being filled in on what he missed the last 60 years, getting a counterbalance to Tony Stark's much more rosy picture of America. Cap's conversations with the general tend to be way more about what was wrong with America than what was right, leaving Cap with an increasingly pessimistic outlook of the country he sacrificed so much for. Eventually the general dies, and Cap heads to his room one final time to pick up some mementos the general wanted him to have. Cap speaks to the general's private caretaker and the two discuss things, with the caretaker(an immigrant) eventually telling a confused Cap that there was no other country she'd rather be living in. Cap heads to Avengers Mansion and is told to suit up since the Avengers were heading to Washington to confront some mysterious craft that had landed there. The craft belongs to Kang, and he explains to the Avengers that he intended on conquering the Earth of this time period, the same as he had done in the distant future from whence he came. Tiring of the battle with the Avengers, Kang blasts all of them except for Cap to prison cells. Cap attacks Kang and Kang realizes that much like himself, Cap was also from another time. Cap keeps fighting back against Kang, so Kang sends Cap back to 1945, which is where Cap wanted to go all along.

Thoughts: Wooo, Mark Waid sure can tell a great story, can't he?! I loved every single page of this comic book. Every page. Waid did such a fantastic job of writing how out of place Cap felt in a world that had moved on 60 years with out him. And the character of the general really did a great job of telling Cap all about the America that Iron Man had neglected last issue. Sure America was all about the great accomplishments that Iron Man had told Cap about last issue, but there were also the warts that the general brought to light. As this comic went on you could see how the general's words were influencing Cap's own views and opinions on everything that he was experiencing. That's what was so great Cap's conversation with the caretaker. After Cap had been told how terrible America had become, she still wouldn't want to be back in her home country, leaving Cap confused to which America was reality, the general's or Iron Man's. The cliffhanger at the end was also the perfect place to end this comic, with Cap finally getting back “home” but knowing that remaining where he most wanted to be would mean possibly dooming his Avengers teammates to imprisonment or death at the hands of Kang. Yes, much like Man Out of Time #3, this was a perfect comic.

Score: 10 out of 10.Wait, Kang can tell all of that by SMELLING Cap?!

Uncanny X-Force #5:

Summary: This is NOT an easy comic to recap... Basically the World, which is where Fantomex was created, has been infiltrated by some unknown force and had been evolved some one million years. Fantomex wants to learn the identity of this mystery foe, and ends up heading home to his “mother” to tell her about his recent adventures. Several heroes who look like Deathlok show up, kill Fantomex's mother and try to do the same to him. Fantomex barely manages to escape, mainly thanks to EVA and this issue ends with Fantomex and EVA crashing right in front of Deathlok himself. Okay, that was the main storyline running through this comic, let's get to the good stuff. There was also a scene with the rest of X-Force, who were responding to a meeting called by Deadpool. It seems Deadpool is really upset about Fantomex killing Kid Apocalypse on the moon last issue. Wolvie basically tells DP that was what happened on X-Force, and that if he didn't like it he shouldn't have signed up. Deadpool winds up storming away leaving Wolvie behind to call Pool a bloodsucking mercenary who only cared about the money. Archangel tells Wolvie that Pool never cashed a single check, meaning he was on X-Force because he thought the team was really trying to do good. Psylocke tries to comfort Wolvie, who she sensed was also having trouble coming to terms with what happened on the moon, but Wolvie pushes her away, stating that Fantomex did what had to be done.

Thoughts: I really didn't like the Fantomex portions of this story at all, but I have a reason for that. I haven't read Fantomex's origin in YEARS(probably not since he was first introduced by Grant Morrison all those years ago) so my knowledge of the World wasn't where it needed to be. On top of that, I still haven't read those Wolverine: Weapon X issues with Deathlok, meaning I have NO idea what Deathlok's connection to Wolverine/the Weapon X program is... Now I do have those Weapon X back issues laying around, I just haven't read them yet... I guess I probably should though. So yeah, the Fantomex stuff didn't do much for me. I did enjoy the X-Force meeting though. It went a long way in showing how leading the team was affecting Wolvie, as well as showing a kinder side of Deadpool... I know, how weird is that?! Deadpool(like myself) seemed to be really bothered by Fantomex killing Kid Apocalypse, and tells the team as much, which leads to Wolverine getting very defensive about the way things went down. Everybody else on the team can see that the stress of leading X-Force(along with the 700 other things Wolvie does in a month) was getting to Wolvie, with the exception of Wolvie it seems. So that one little scene went a long way in developing the characters of Wolverine, Deadpool and even Fantomex, even though he wasn't there. So in closing, I really liked the X-Force meeting(which was like 4 pages), while I wasn't that pleased with everything else.

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.Fantomex sure did a lot of talking this issue...

Thunderbolts #153:

Summary: We begin with Hyperion stealing the wristband from the drowning Songbird that allowed the non-criminal members of the Thunderbolts to shock the criminal members of the team into complying with their orders. Juggernaut climbs out from the rubble he was buried under last issue and spots Hyperion trying to figure out how to get the wristband to work. Juggernaut asks Hyperion where the rest of the team was and Hyperion calmly explains that they were either missing, eaten or drowning. Juggernaut hops into the water and pulls Moonstone and Songbird out, spotting Ghost who was examining one of the monsters the team had encountered upon reemerging from the water. Since Juggernaut couldn't preform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the two women because of his size and strength, he leaves them with Ghost while he heads off to set Hyperion straight. Meanwhile, Mach-V and Luke Cage manage to climb out of the mouth of one of those pesky sea monsters from last issue and try to figure out just how the mission went so bad. Juggernaut catches up to Hyperion and tries to smack some sense into him, but is jolted by the wristband Hyperion stole and is pummeled by Hyperion. Juggernaut tries to hold his own, but the combined might of Hyperion, plus the wristband is too much and Hyperion moves in for the kill, being stopped by the timely arrival of Moonstone and Ghost. Hyperion prepares to laugh off the duo, but realizes too late that he had dropped the wristband during the fight with Juggernaut, and that Ghost had retrieved it. Ghost activates it, shocking Hyperion, and Moonstone, Juggernaut and Ghost beat Hyperion into a quivering mass of Jello. After having their fun, Ghost contacts Luke and tells him that the monsters were being controlled by nanites, and that Songbird could counter the frequency with her own sonic powers. This issue ends with Man-Thing walking over to the defeated Hyperion and burning him for destroying Man-Thing last issue.

Thoughts: This was one of those perfectly acceptable comic books I tend to talk about every now and then. Nothing earth-shattering happened, I probably won't remember it a month from now, but it was a fine way to kill a couple of minutes. The battle between Juggernaut and Hyperion, which dominated this issue was a fun little romp, and went on to show that the criminal members of the T-Bolts are beginning to act more as a team and less as individuals. After reading this issue I can honestly say that there isn't a character on this team that I don't like. And THAT is very rare for me, as there always seems to be a character on every team book I read that I completely detest. So kudos to Jeff Parker for turning me into a fan of Ghost, Man-Thing and Luke Cage, who is written WAY better here than he was(is) in New Avengers. Sorry Bendis, but I HATE the way you write Luke!

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Sometimes a little mindless violence is just what the doctor ordered.


  1. YES! So I'm not the only person in the world that didn't like X-Force #5. Everybody else seems to think it was amazing for some reason. Btw, I though that the Deathlok story was pretty good. Let me know what you think if you go back and read it.

  2. Huh, I don't get how somebody could call this issue "amazing" especially considering how good the last storyline was. This issue seemed a substantial step down to me... Go figure! Yeah, I think I'll dig that Deathlok storyline out and give it a read possibly as soon as tonight.

  3. Too bad about X-Force, which sounded like it was riding pretty high after that first storyline. I don't think anyone other than Morrison has really done well when they've tried to develop Fantomex's character or give him very much to do.

  4. Yeah, tht first storyline was quite good, but I guess everything can't be gold! I can't think of Fantomex really popping up that much since Morrison indroduced him actually... I think he showed up in the Mystique series, there was a one-shot with Wolvie and Marvel Boy I believe, some X-Men appearances, but nothing really substantial... Unless I'm missing something somewhere...

  5. He was in the Weapon X ongoing for a while, which was decent. They've only collected the first half of that series in trade, unfortunately.

  6. I actually have all of the singles for the Weapon X series after the first two trades, Marc. It's just one of the (many) comics I haven't been able to get around to reading. I mean I have like 12 issues of Gen Lost to read still!

  7. I thought that was a pretty good series. Almost like they were testing Jason Aaron to see if he was the guy they wanted to take over Wolverine after the Origins crossover.

  8. One of these days I'll get to those Wolvie: Weapon X comics... :P