Friday, April 8, 2011

Uncanny X-Men #534.1, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #38, Thunderbolts: From the Marvel Vault #1

Three comics today, all three of them from the House of Ideas. Before I actually get to the first review, I should probably explain exactly what it is...

The first comic I'm looking at is actually an interesting one, as it's an inventory story from back when Fabian Nicieza was writing Thunderbolts. What's an inventory story you might be asking? That's a story that a comic writer writes a script for and submits to their editor in the event that the artist and/or the writer can't make their monthly deadline. Nowadays since the comic industry seems like they could care less if a comic runs late since they'll just delay it for MONTHS(I'm looking at YOU, Ultimate X!), but back in the day, if a comic wasn't going to make the deadline, boom, you'd whip out an inventory story(which was usually just a one-off, stand-alone issue)and publish that. Since it's obvious Marvel(AND DC) could care less about delays, most of these inventory type stories just go to waste, so I'd actually like to see both companies publish those inventory tales in a trade or something... Well, now I bet you all know more about inventory stories and how I feel about them then you did before! Man do I get off on weird tangents sometimes... Anyway, let's get to that Thunderbolt's review!

Thunderbolts: From the Marvel Vault #1:

Summary: This is back when Nomad(Jack Monroe, not that annoying girl) was still alive, and just after he had been freed from the Scourge persona, so this was probably from about T-Bolts #40-55 or so. Anyway, Jack wants to see if it's REALLY possible for a villain to reform, so he travels across the country(with the help of an image inducer) to meet with people who knew the Thunderbolts, both from before and after they became villains/heroes, to help him decide if the T-Bolts were truly reformed. Jack visits Songbird's old trailer park, an old colleague of Moonstone's, Atlas's high school coach, and some cops who knew Mach-V. From all of these meetings, Jack realizes that yes, it does seem that if somebody wants to, they actually CAN reform. We then learn that Jack had spotted former villain Rock Python(yes really, that's his name) working as a security guard at a bank that was across the street from a factory that processed adamantium. Nomad figures Python was casing the factory, and approaches him, telling him that he knew what he was thinking, and that he'd be better off keeping the job as a security guard, since he was earning a decent paycheck, and wasn't being pummeled by heroes or sent to jail. Jack then leaves Python to ponder things, and that's a wrap.

Thoughts: Well, I can understand why this was an inventory tale... I mean it wasn't horrible, but it wasn't exactly stellar either. But enough of that, the intro for this comic actually was my favorite part of this thing... The intro is written by Fabian Nicieza, who they credit with writing from “Gotham City” in an awesome nod to his current Red Robin run. Anyway, Nicieza talks about how the story came into being, and gives his thoughts on the Nomad character. As you read his words, it's pretty clear Nicieza was DEFINITELY not happy with Ed Brubaker killing Nomad off in an early issue of Brubaker's Captain America run. And you know what? I couldn't agree with Nicieza more! Don't get me wrong, I honestly feel Brubaker is one of, if not THE best comic book writer out there today, but killing off Nomad always left a bad taste in my mouth, and is probably the ONLY black mark from Brubaker's entire 60+ issue Cap run. So while this story didn't rock my world or anything, it DID feature a character who I wish was still alive, thus making it at the very least readable to me.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.I miss Jack Monroe...

Uncanny X-Men #534.1:

Summary: Lord Summers the First and The Whore call their Public Relations representative to Crazy Mutie Island to try to get her to smooth over the fact that known mutant terrorist and MASS murderer Magneto was living with them, right off the coast of California. Mags acts like an ass most of the time, doing his whole mutant superiority spiel to the PR rep, but reveals that he was joking with her, which is kind of a problem, since most people AREN'T going to take Magneto's “humor” as a joke. Anyway, the rep tries to convince Mags to be more contrite, as well as recommending he change his costume color scheme from red and purple to pink and white(!!!!). Needless to say, Mags shoots down ALL of the rep's ideas down, and eventually gets a call from Lord Summers telling him he was needed in San Fran to halt an impending earthquake(don't ask how Lord Summers knew there'd be an earthquake, suffice to say it involves AIM, and a lengthy side-story). Mags heads to San Fran, does his thing, saves a whole load of people, and goes back to Crazy Mutie Island, his actions doing better PR work then the rep ever could have done herself.

Thoughts: There were a lot of things that bothered me about this story. Now if I was a newcomer to the X-books, I probably would have liked this issue a lot. It spotlighted Magneto, who is, and always will be AWESOME, and hardly had The Whore in it at all. Both very good things. But unfortunately for me, I know nearly ALL of Magneto's past, which is where my troubles with this comic began... There's NO WAY ANYBODY would be fine with Magneto living on Crazy Mutie Island... NO WAY!!! Now, the PR rep mentioned the time Mags tore apart New York City during the end of Grant Morrison's New X-Men run, to which Mags responded that wasn't him, but an impostor. Now that IS true(although I have SO many issues with the way Marvel handled THAT I could probably write a book!), but it ignores every other vile thing Mags did! Right off the top of my head I can recall Mags sinking a Soviet submarine and killing hundreds of Russian naval officers. Okay, so you might be thinking, “That was just some commies, right? No biggie.” Okay fine then, let's ignore that for now. During the Fatal Attractions storyline, Magneto knocked out ALL electricity the world over with an electro-magnetic pulse wave. This pulse wave crashed every airplane that was in the sky, as well as killing power to EVERY hospital all over the world... Now just let the enormity of that sink in for a moment... I LOVED Fatal Attractions, it's probably my second favorite X-story, but the one thing that was really glossed over was the fact that with that one simple act, Magneto killed THOUSANDS of people! Thousands!! So yeah, I don't care WHAT he does or how many times he saves the world, I can NEVER look at Mags as a purely “good” character. An anti-hero? Sure. A mutant savior? Definitely. But a hero? An X-Man? NEVER!!! And that right there was the crux of my problem with this comic. I don't care that Mags saved San Fran from that earthquake. That act can never atone for all of the other terrible things he's done in the name of mutantkind. There's NO way the world should be okay with the fact that Mags is happily living on Crazy Mutie Island. Plain and simple.

Score: 6 out of 10.That is the worst Magneto outfit ever!

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #38:

Summary: Deadpool breaks into Horizon Labs because he was hired by some goons who wanted to steal a device that could conceivably teleport somebody from one dimension to another. Pool and the goons get into the lab containing the device with no real troubles, but Pool is almost immediately betrayed by the goons, who want to use Pool as a guinea pig to see what would happen if the device was used. Unfortunately for the goons, Bruce Banner was working at the building at the time as a special consultant, and when he gets accosted by the goons he gets mad, and when Banner gets angry, he turns into the Hulk! Peter Parker's(that would be Spider-Man to any newbies out there) day job is at the lab, so needless to say he hears the commotion and rushes to the scene as Spidey. The fight causes the dimensional device to overload, which sends Spidey, Banner and Deadpool to an alternate Horizon Labs(or in this world, Parker Labs), where Spidey discovers his counterpart, the Amazing Spider, as well as Deadpool's counterpart, Death Wish laying on the ground. As for Banner, he doesn't find his counterpart and quickly realizes that in this world he can't turn into the Hulk. The cops arrest Pool and Wish, while Spidey helps the Spider to his Web(think the Batcave) where he can try to recuperate. With Spider hurt, he asks Spidey to step in for him and police the city, which Spidey happily does, at least until he realizes that the criminals seem petrified to see him and immediately surrender. A few days pass and Pool and Wish break out of prison and decide that they enjoy each other's company so much they'd stick together, while Banner realizes that this world was perfect for him, since he couldn't become the Hulk. Spidey isn't as happy in this world, and learns that Uncle Ben was still alive in this world, immediately heading to see his beloved uncle. Spidey learns that Ben knows the Spider's secret identity, and thus knows that Spidey is Peter Parker, and Spidey begins to realize that something was off with this particular Uncle Ben. Before Spidey can think about it though, he passes out after drinking some drugged tea. Upon waking up, Spidey finds himself back at the Web where he finds dozens of dead Peter Parker's from alternate realities. Ben and the Spider tell Spidey that they would lure the alternate Peter's from other dimensions, where they then drain their life force and put it into the Spider, enhancing his powers. Spidey says nuts to that idea and manages to get free, attacking the Spider, but quickly realizing that the Spider was WAY more powerful then Spidey himself. Spidey tries to talk some sense into the Spider, and begins to succeed, which causes Ben to take a run at Spidey with the power draining device. The Spider pushes Spidey out of the way and Ben accidentally drains the Spider, leaving him near dead. Ben is devastated by his actions and rushes to Spider's side, while Spidey walks away from that grim sight, still having no way to get back home.

Thoughts: This issue is continued in the Incredible Hulks Annual and concluded in the Deadpool annual, so that's why those characters were in this issue in case anybody was wondering. If I said it once, I've said it a thousand times... I am a sucker for alternate dimensional stories, so this annual was right up my alley. I liked the Spider(an obvious rip-off of Batman), and I loved the reveal that Uncle Ben was basically the brains behind the Spider killing his other-dimensional counterparts. My only real complaint would probably have to be the fact that Pool and Banner basically vanished during the second half of this one(although that is kind of understandable since this was Spidey's annual), and that the ending didn't exactly set up anything... This one kind of ended as if it were a “What If” story and Spidey was trapped in that other dimension forever. Overall though? I definitely enjoyed this story, and look forward to getting my hands on the other two parts.

Score: 8 out of 10.Deadpool + Death Wish = Win!


  1. Too bad about that "Point One" issue of Uncanny X-Men. I picked it up thinking it might be a good jumping-on point, but I haven't read it yet. I too am familiar with Magneto's history, so I have the feeling it might be a bit of a bore.

  2. You'd think that this would have been a good issue to jump into Uncanny with... Instead it was a PR consultant trying to make Magneto more palatable to the American public... Weird.

  3. I also miss Nomad, but the stain of disassembled & civil war drove me away from Brubaker's cap (even though I loved his Red Skull), nothing against Bucky but hanestly If Steve had an actual EPIC death, I'd definitely let Bucky replace him (well you know I intend to give Wolverine an ending, But just you wait for my fanon x-men, in 20 members take a guess ;) )


  4. Ah, I hear you, Saidi. For me it was Brubaker's Cap that actually kept me reading Marvel during those awful Decimation/Civil War/Secret Invasion/Dark Reign days. Brubaker's Cap run was one of the few good things coming out of Marvel at the time. Even Steve's death didn't bug me that much in retrospect... In an odd way, it fit. I mean Steve could have died during some huge x-over or something, but being gunned down as a part of some extravagant Red Skull concocted plot worked for me. It was decidedly non-cosmic, which is the way I'd expect a hero like Cap to go.