All right, we have an all-Marvel Quick Hits to get through tonight. With how lackluster just about EVERYTHING coming out of DC has been these past several months, I'm definitely glad to get a few Marvel books in a row, which I know should at least be mediocre. But I'm expecting better than mediocre out of this batch of comics. We have Daken, THREE Captain America comics and this year's Uncanny X-Men annual. Basically this SHOULD be good... Let's find out though...
Daken: Dark Wolverine #7:
Summary: We get started by learning that Malcolm Colcord(of the Weapon X Program) has set up in Madripoor. Who else is in Madripoor? Why that would be Daken, who has managed to force Tiger Tyger into serving as the lieutenant in his burgeoning crime empire. Tyger isn't pleased with having to serve Daken, but she realizes that the only shot she'll ever have at throwing Daken out of Madripoor is to stay close to him. Daken realizes that's the only reason Tyger is sticking with him as well, but since he does need a public face for his criminal empire, he knows he's stuck with her... For now. With Tyger under his thumb, Daken manages to take control of the Madripoor police force by kidnapping the daughter of its commissioner, while taking over the few remaining gang leaders. In other words, Daken's well orchestrated conquest of Madripoor is complete. This issue ends with us learning that Daken was working WITH Colcord(Wha?!) as X-23 and Gambit arrive in Madripoor for some reason.
Thoughts: Um, what? When the hell did Daken hook up with Colcord? And for what reason? Weird... I can appreciate what Daken accomplished over the course of this storyline(consolidating all of the crime in Madripoor), but I still can't say I care much about Madripoor... Anyway, the end events of this issue are setting up the upcoming Daken/X-23 crossover, which should be interesting, to say the least.
Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.I don't! Or at least not yet...
Captain America: Man Out of Time #5(of 5):
Summary: Having been sent back to his proper time period by Kang, Captain America(Steve Rogers) decides to try to settle back down in the mid-1940's, but soon realizes that the “good old days” weren't exactly as idyllic as he remembered. After seeing just how ugly the 40's were(for everybody who wasn't a middle class white male), Cap decides he has to get back to the present to save his Avengers teammates from Kang. To this end, Cap places his Avengers card in a picture that he knows he'll find in the future, writes a note and sets off the emergency alert. Back in the present, Rick Jones hears the alert coming from Cap's room in Avengers mansion, finds the picture and discovers the card and the letter telling Rick to have Reed Richards pick him up. Reed does just that, and Cap returns to the present, breaks his teammates out of captivity and helps them topple Kang. The Avengers are appreciative, and Cap finally realizes that his place is with them, not in the 1940's.
Thoughts: This was one fantastic mini-series. Mark Waid did a wonderful job of capturing the inner turmoil of somebody like Steve Rogers, who was trying to decide where he belonged. Over the course of this mini, Cap went from being impressed by the future/present, being disgusted by it, longing to get back to his proper time period/the past, getting back to the past and then realizing that things weren't as great as he remembered back in the day. The only gripe I had with this issue is that the Kang battle was basically a foregone conclusion, and was pretty much treated as such. We all KNEW that Kang was going to lose, and this story never bothered to give us the illusion that MAYBE Kang would pull it off. So yeah, the battle was inconsequential, but the psychological stuff with Cap was top notch.
Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.Poor, poor Kang... Will he ever learn?
Captain America #615.1:
Summary: With Bucky no longer serving as Captain America(there's a reason to read this series!), and Steve Rogers being the commander of SHIELD(and the Avengers), there isn't a Captain America anymore. To rectify that, a former US soldier meets up with Dr. Malus and the Power Broker, and is given enhanced strength and speed so he could become the new Captain America. Fake Cap manages to publicly halt a crime, and gives an interview stating that America needs a Captain America, and he was going to take up the mantle. Needless to say, this angers Steve, who doesn't want to see another untrained person die while wearing his former uniform. Steve begins to track Fake Cap and discovers some AIM goons kidnapping Fake Cap and loading him onto a airplane. Steve sneaks onto the ship and learns that the AIM agents were trying to turn Fake Cap into a new MODOK. Steve manages to halt the process and brings down the AIM ship. SHIELD swings by to mop up the mess, and Steve tells Fake Cap that his short career as Captain America was finished. Fake Cap tells Steve that he'll stop, but that America needed a Captain America to look up to, and that somebody had to take up the mantle... From there we head to one of Nick Fury's hideouts where we find Sharon Carter waiting for him. Sharon reveals that she knew Nick was posing as the Power Broker(!), and that she knew that Nick tipped off the AIM agents to kidnap Fake Cap. Needless to say, Sharon wants to know why Nick did these things, at which point Nick tells Sharon that he was trying to manipulate Steve into taking up the Captain America mantle again. Sharon asks Nick what makes him think that she wouldn't tell Steve what Nick was up to, and Nick plainly states that Sharon wants Steve back as Captain America as much as he does. This issue ends with Steve standing in Avengers Tower staring at the shield of Captain America, pondering the future.
Thoughts: You know, this was a strange comic. The main story, with the Fake Cap was alright, but not great. However, the last few pages, especially the reveal that Nick Fury was trying to manipulate events, and Steve's actions in the Tower, pushed this comic from an okay issue to a really good/great issue. I've always been a sucker for Nick Fury's cloak and dagger dealings, so yeah, this issue definitely pleased me. Then again, whenever you have Ed Brubaker writing a Captain America comic, what's not to like?
Score: 9 out of 10.Damn that Nick Fury and his mind games!
Captain America and Batroc the Leaper #1:
Summary: Some mercenaries have hired Batroc to keep Captain America(in this case, Bucky) off their backs while they steal something. While meeting with the mercs, one of them taunts Batroc for having never beat Cap, to which Batroc tells the merc that nobody has ever beaten Cap, because if they did, there'd be no Cap(good point there...). Anyway, the mercs commit their crime, and Cap attempts to stop them, at which point Batroc... um, leaps into the fray. Batroc fights with Cap, and actually manages to trick Cap into a trap, which would have allowed Batroc the opportunity to escape. However, Batroc can't pass up the opportunity and instead of escaping, goes back after Cap, moving in for the kill. By this point Cap is back up, and slaps Batroc around, causing Batroc to go back into retreat mode. Batroc endangers some bystanders, which draws Cap's attention, allowing Batroc to make good his escape. Back in his hotel, Batroc learns that the mercs ended up being captured by Cap(which doesn't surprise him), while he revels in the fact that he escaped Cap, which he considers a draw.
Thoughts: I actually REALLY enjoyed this comic... I mean, I expected nothing going into it(it was about Batroc!!!), but Kieron Gillen turned this into a fun little romp. Batroc has always had a bit of a respectability streak, and Gillen really showcased that here. Yes, Batroc is a scuzzy mercenary, but he's a respectable scuzzy mercenary, which is what this one-shot hammered home. On top of that, there was also a reprint of a Stan Lee/Jack Kirby Tales of Suspense issue featuring an early Cap/Batroc battle. As a fan of Captain America, what more could I ask for?
Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.That middle panel REALLY needed a comical sound effect.
Uncanny X-Men Annual #3(2011):
Summary: Tired of being invaded by the denizens of Limbo, Lord Summers the First tells Madison Jeffries and Dr. Nemesis to build a gateway to Limbo. Somehow Jeffries miscalculates and the gateway explodes, sucking Nemesis, Lord Summers, Hope “Worship Me” Summers and Namor into the portal before it closes. Lord Summers immediately realizes that the four mutants weren't in Limbo, so he decides to split into two teams to try to figure out where they were/how to get out, with himself and Hope one one team and Namor and Nemesis on the other. Namor rapidly grows tired of Nemesis and ditches him, while Lord Summers and Hope get attacked and knocked out by strange aliens. Back on Crazy Mutie Island(Utopia), Emma Frost decides to head to New York to ask for assistance in finding the missing muties. This issue ends with Lord Summers and Hope waking up before Blastarr, who wants to know how the two mutants made it into the Negative Zone so he could use it to get out.
Thoughts: Hey, you know what? I really enjoyed this comic! Sure it had Lord Summers, his whore and Messiah Hope in it, but the story was really strong, strong enough to help me forget all about my blinding hatred of all things mutant. So kudos to writer James Asmus for that. The second part of this story takes place in the Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier Annual #1, which is sort of weird since there isn't a Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier ongoing series... I mean why would a mini-series that ended months ago need an annual? Marvel's odd title choices aside, this was a really good comic, that should only get better with the inclusion of Steve Rogers... Who knew?!
Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.You see, this is what we need more of, Cyclops laying bloodied on the ground.