Hey there X-Maniacs. I bizarrely decided to pick up Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 the other day, and I'll be damned if I'm not enjoying the hell out of it! When it first came out a few years back I was put off by the whole Civil War storyline(being an unrepentant Captain America mark and all), but after playing it I have to say, even with the Civil War junk surrounding it, it's not bad! I just finished the first playthrough today(I was anti-registration, naturally), and figure I'll start the second go-round tomorrow... Which is kinda/sorta a problem for the blog... See, if I spend my free time playing comic book based video games, I don't have that much time to read and review actual comic books... And that's why I'm going back to the old, lazy X standby, Quick Hits! I'll do 4 Marvel reviews tonight, 4 DC reviews tomorrow, and... something on Monday. I don't really know. Meh, I'll know when I get there. So there you have it. Now, on to the shoddy, half-assed “reviews”!
The Invincible Iron Man #507(Fear Itself tie-in):
What Happened: We're following two stories here, one dealing with Pepper Parks(as Rescue) running afoul one of the Hammer girls in Paris. I don't know which one. Hammer tells her armor-clad goons to attack Pepper, which causes the Serpent possessed Grey Gargoyle to wander over, squash one of Hammer's goons(causing the others to run away... HA!), and snatch Pepper and the Hammer girl. The other story deals with Tony Stark and those damned, drunken, treacherous dwarfs. One of the dwarfs betrays his fellow dwarfs(as well as Tony and Odin) by making a deal with one of the Serpent's henchmen. The dwarf gives the Serpent's henchman a piece of Tony's hair, and the Serpent's goon(after killing the dwarf), creates an evil, magical Tony golem, which promptly attacks half-drunk Tony.
Thoughts: Well, I've definitely read better issues of this series. This was the first Invincible Iron Man/Fear Itself tie-in that just didn't do it for me. The pacing seemed off, and Tony spent the whole issue hanging out with dwarfs... Seeing as that I've always hated dwarfs, that's a bit of a problem. Oh well, hopefully things will pick back up again next issue as we race towards the conclusion of Fear Itself.
Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Yeah, that's not gonna work...
Venom #6(Spider-Island tie-in):
What Happened: The Jackal sends one of his mutated spider-creatures to break through the quarantine Mayor Jameson had put Manhattan under. Venom arrives on the scene and helps Gravity and Firestar take the creature down(glad to see those two are still hanging out after the cancellation of the Young Allies series). Venom brings the creature back to base, which is exactly what it wanted. It proceeds to break out of the tube it was placed in and runs amok, at least until Flash is able to re-bond with the Venom symbiote and take the creature down. The army now locks the creature in something more secure than a tube, and discover that the creature was actually Steve Rogers?!
Thoughts: This issue definitely deserved better than a Quick Hits review. It was really good! As usual. It seems that the Spider-books are really bringing the awesome these past couple of months. The story was really good, the art matched the strong story, the dialogue was solid, and the tie-in to Spider-Island wasn't huge, but was enough to justify the “Spider-Island” logo on this issue... Unlike about 70% of the Fear Itself tie-ins that have NOTHING to do with the main Fear story. The Steve Rogers reveal at the end was kind of strange, but I figure the Jackal managed to get a hold of Steve's DNA and made a creepy spider-clone, since that's what he does.
Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.And Steve thought losing Bucky again was bad!
Avengers #16(Fear Itself tie-in):
What Happened: Steve Rogers(with Bucky's shield but not in Captain America garb), Sharon Carter, Maria Hill(who I hate) and Victoria Hand(who I simply dislike) head to a castle in Sweden on some intelligence stating that Sin was there... Even though we know Sin is either in Washington DC, New York City, or Dayton, Ohio... That last location still puzzles me, but whatever, the point is that Steve is apparently an idiot. Needless to say, Steve and the ladies walk into a trap and run afoul Master Man and the Exiles(the Red Skull version, not the reality hopping version). Before Steve and his women can fully defeat the Nazis, Daisy Johnson(really?!?) arrives on the scene and topples the castle. Steve is pissed that Sin hadn't been there, but come on, he should have known better!
Thoughts: My thoughts on this comic can be summed up in one word... Meh. This comic wasn't actively horrible or anything, it just wasn't necessary. Seriously, how could Steve POSSIBLY think Sin was in Sweden? Did he think that she attacked DC, headed to NYC(after a quick pit stop in Dayton), and then figured, “What the hey, I'm gonna cool my heels in my castle in Sweden for a bit, and then I'll head back to NYC to continue with the whole, 'spreading fear!!' thing.” The logic here was a bit wonky, which I can forgive if the story was a) really good, or b) furthered something. This comic didn't accomplish either of those. The story was mediocre, and Steve is sad over Bucky's death. We get that. The sooner Bendis gets away from the Fear Itself tie-ins the better, because this series was WAY better before the crossovers began.
Score: 6 out of 10.This is the best dialogued page Bendis has EVER done!!
Fear Itself: The Home Front #5(of 7):
What Happened: Great. THIS comic... Last issue St. John's, Newfoundland was buried under waves of water by Attuma after Attuma defeated Speedball. This issue the people of St. John's help each other out, which is inspiring to Speedball. He decides to take a video of the people to show the world that even after being drowned, those hearty Canadians weren't afraid(yes, really!). Speedball sends the video back to Miriam Sharpe in Stanford, Connecticut, who posts it online to show that there were people who WEREN'T scared of the Serpent. The Sisters of Sin see the video and decide to teach Miriam fear or something. The second story included Amadeus Cho, who I hate more than any other comic book character NOT named Barry Allen, which says a lot! As such, I didn't read it. The third story dealt with Mr. Fear who seemed bummed that he wasn't the one spreading fear, while the last story starred some guy named American Eagle...
Thoughts: This was about as bad a comic as I've read all month. Usually the first story, the Speedball one, carries this comic for me, while the other three stories range from lackluster to god-awful. The problem here was that the Speedball story was really bad. Since the first story started me off on the wrong foot, and the second story had Amadeus Cho in it, this comic was sunk for me. I just couldn't get into the Speedball story at all. What the hell was the point of Robbie staying in St. John's to play cameraman? If the people were taking care of themselves(plus Jocasta was there helping too), shouldn't he be elsewhere, doing something useful?! Robbie bravely standing up to Juggernaut or battling Attuma was what I enjoyed about the first four issues of this mini. This issue? I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it was only a one issue aberration, but I don't think it's going to get any better with the next issue probably giving us the epic showdown the world has been clamoring to see, the Sisters of Sin vs Miriam Sharpe...
Score: 1 1/2 out of 10.Help the drowning people or videotape them... Hmm, if I was a hero, I know which move I'D make...