Infinity #3: That, My Friends, is Why You Call Him Captain. SPOILERS

Infinity #3 did not spend much time atop the pile. As soon as the kid was in bed, I crept off to my reading chair to dig in. Wow. The Alliance of Galactic Badasses is licking its wounds and they are  ready: some are ready  to surrender and others are ready to die.  The Avengers don’t like those options, and Cap has a plan. Of course he does. He’s Captain America.

The Kree and the Spartax are a bunch of weenies. The Skrull and Gladiator-led Shi’ar are ready to die. Cap is ready to win. He lays out a plan, and it doesn’t go strictly by the numbers, but “Surrender” isn’t in the man’s vocabulary, except in its imperative form. Here’s my favorite panel from the book:

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And that, my friends, is why you call the man “Captain.” Shortly hereafter he hands the Builders their first serious Ass-Whupping, probably, well, ever.

Here’s my second favorite frame from Infinity #3:
Screenshot 2013-09-19 at 9.33.01 AMLook! It’s the Kymellians! From Power Pack! Yay! Is Hickman pulling out all the stops or isn’t he? Too much awesome. Here’s a refresher for you…Lord Kofi Whitemane himself from, oh it’s gotta be around 1986 or 87. I’m too lazy to go downstairs in and look in the box right now. 

kofi

Love it. Leave a Comment. Later.

Infinite Howard the Duck

“Greetings, culture lovers.” Have you been reading the Infinity Event? I have, and it’s shaping up to be the biggest interdimensional cross rip since the Tunguska blast of 1909! I’m digging Mr. HIckman’s Opus, to say the least. I just finished reading Avengers #18, which made its way to the top of the pile via my Avengers subscription. New Avengers #9, which I picked up at Annex Comics,  is waiting downstairs, but there were just a couple of things I wanted to point out about the first Avengers full-on installment in Infinity.

1. Still the worst Iron Man mask ever. 

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2. Shang Chi has a mini-statue of Howard the Duck on his dashboard.

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There’s a lot more going on with this issue (like Cannonball hitting on Smasher), but it’s not my job to spoil the read for you.

OK, I’ve Got a Beef with Avengers Assemble #16. And 15, sorta, but not as much.

OK, so, if you read a few of Marvel’s titles, it’s pretty clear that continuity is….spread pretty thin. For example, Captain America is in Dimension Z in his own mag, Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers Assemble, Uncanny X Men…..and doing different things at different times in all of ’em.

I’m OK with that.

There are a lot of crossovers and “big picture” stories that will perhaps enrich your experience of the Marvel Universe if you read them all. Age of Ultron, I’m looking at you.

But I’m OK with that too.

What I’m not OK with is making a single Title impossible to follow by requiring that crossover issues of other titles be read. If somebody wants to read only one title per month, they should be able to do that with a reasonable expectation of not getting “lost” or having story-critical information be missed because it happened in another title.

Captain Marvel’s Brain Lesion, I’m looking at you.

~SPOILERS~

In Avengers Assemble 15, Captain Marvel battled alongside the heroes of Britain against the Ultrons. She mentions the brain lesion that makes flying a health risk for her. As I’m reading, I’m thinking, “OK, that didn’t happen in Avengers Assemble. That’s slightly douche, but I’ll give them a pass.” At the end of #15, Captain Marvel is inside Ultron Brittania’s HQ when it explodes. Nice cliffhanger! Neato-Keen! Can’t wait for the next issue!

In #16, Captain Marvel is in her apartment. In New York. Yes, still with a brain lesion, but dude…what if the only title you read was Avengers Assemble? I still don’t know why, when or how Captain Marvel got the lesion, or escaped the exploding building or GOT FROM LONDON TO NEW YORK. I’m assuming the answers are in Age of Ultron, or Captain Marvel, or Avengers Enemy Within, but story arcs shouldn’t be crafted such that one MUST read other issues to “get it”. Reading other arcs/titles should enhance the experience, but not be required just for a basic understanding of the story.

Not cool, Marvel. A fan of 35 years and change has lost a lot of respect for you with this tactic.

Avengers Assemble was put out to capitalize on the fever-pitched excitement surrounding the Avengers Film–it’s “Avengers Light”. Suppose some young fan collects that title, and only that title–which, at $3.99 a whack is completely feasible. You have done this young reader a great disservice with the complete discontinuity between issues 15 and 16 of Avengers Assemble.

Welcome Back to Astro City!

Very happy to see Kurt Busiek’s writing back on store shelves. Just read Issue #1, “Through Open Doors”, which was a lukewarm re-introduction to the City but I understand that new readers need an in. I’m definitely in for this entire run. That said, I have to say that I read Astro City on the strength of the Kurt Busiek’s writing. Brent Anderson’s art has never done it for me. He as a lot of trouble drawing children and females in general–their features often look pinched and a bit masculine.

Mr. Busiek declares in his afterword that he’s got 10 issues in the can, so I’m looking forward to a nice long run of an old favorite.

One little nit to pick–17 years have passed in the City–a wonderful old story is revisited and two girls that were young in that story are now in college (one) and out of college & working (the other); Crackerjack is looking a bit spry for 17 years swinging at the end of a rope is all I can say.

Welcome Back to Astro City!! Strongly recommend you put this title on top of the Pile.

Absolutely CELESTIAL Cover Art from Alex Ross!

Absolutely CELESTIAL Cover Art from Alex Ross!

Dyson Sphere, Assemble! ~or~ ‘How Stark’s Sphere became Sol’s Hammer’.

I’ll keep this short. When I read Avengers #9, I was underwhelmed with the way this arc wrapped up. Back in the day, entire issues would be dedicated to a good old fashioned donnybrook, and while I’m not terribly excited by the way today’s writers are penning the pugilistics, that is not the focus of this post. Underwhelmed, remember?

~SPOILERS~

The current Star Brand and  Nightmask chosen after the most recent White Event were battling it out with Earth’s Mightiest, and then…it was over, and Manifold whooshed them away to…where? I didn’t know. Some weird honey-combed habitat. What? That’s it? WEAK!!

Flash forward a couple of days and I drop by Annex Comics in Newport ostensibly to treat my daughter to a couple of Archies, in reality to grab the latest issue of New Avengers, the only book I’m currently reading to which I do not subscribe. Got home and put it on the pile to read after dinner. When I got around to reading it, it did not take long to impress. I was happy just seeing Tony Stark, Reed Richards and T’Challa in the same Engineering Lab. That’s some serious brain-power, tell you what. Then Stark takes the other two on a virtual tour of his latest invention. Turn the page and…

BA-BAM!! Tony Stark is building a damn Dyson Sphere, with the help of “the best Shi’ar contractors precious metals can buy.” WOW. Better yet, recognize those honeycombs? Yep, that’s where Manifold tucked away the Star Brand and the Nightmask. Dang that is sweet. I have no idea what the significance is, but I think it is totally freakin’ cool. I’m very glad that I happened to read those books in the sequence that I did. My jaw doesn’t often drop…but page 4 of New Avengers #4 did exactly that. Well played, Mr. Hickman, well played indeed.

T’Challa: You’re going to weaponize a star?
Stark: I figure if our situation is forcing me back into the arms business…why not get exotic?

"Well, I like 'Stark Sphere'  but apparently the company is already using that for something else."

“Well, I like ‘Stark Sphere’ but apparently the company is already using that for something else.”

Uncanny X-Men #3: A Preponderance of Pouches.

Ah, the life of a Subscriber. 2 Days ago, I received Uncanny X-Men #2 in the mail. Today, #3. Nevertheless.

Today we indulge in a study of..pouches. Let’s begin.

Genuine 1940 Leather. One does not question Cap's need for pouches.

Genuine 1940 Leather. One does not question Cap’s need for pouches.

hawk1

Clint Barton is a man of many facets. And many pouches. Secret Avengers use Dark Pouches.

slim1

Cyclops, aka Slim Pouch-body, uses his pouches for spare Ruby Quartz Lenses, Snapshots of Jean Grey, tampons, etc.

Magneto: Master of Pouches.

And Magneto’s Pouches? Spare Change, obviously.

Avengers #6 and 1986. What Do they Have in Common? ~SPOILERS~

Dude…The Marvel Now! Avengers title has been good from the start. The first arc wrapped up nicely but with sinister little eggs laid for future hatching. Issue #5 gave us the origin of Earth’s first Smasher, and that was fine. I figured on more of the same when I saw Captain Universe on the cover of #6…and for the most part that’s what I got, apart from the rather….odd squabbling between Spiderman, Cannonball and Sunspot.

And then ol’ Captain Universe drops a FREAKIN’ RETRO BOMB, reprogramming Tony Stark‘s workstation to correctly translate “Blackveil’s” name.

nmasknew

Nightmask. The White Event. The New Universe. Remember the Summer of 1986? Nightmask, D.P. 7, Star Brand, Psi Force…did I leave any out? Probably, because I write this crap from memory. It’s the New Universe! This doesn’t seem to be some one-off re-hash circa 2006. This is pretty mainstream stuff! Super neato.

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1986 Ad for the New Universe, scanned from the back cover of Thor #371

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Scan from the cover of Nightmask #1, 1986

So this is a New White Event? Apparently. Nightmask is reborn from Ex Nihilo‘s Adam…I don’t know how that works at all (Builder’s Machine Code notwithstanding), but it’s cool. It’s really cool! Bring it on, Mr. Hickman!!

whiteeventnew

The New White Event, apparently heading for Earth in Avengers #7!

Marvel Now! Iron Man #6: or..the Wrath of Princess Unibrow

Hmmmm.

Hmmmm.

I was so excited for this title. I really was. In the aftermath of AvX I subscribed to a number of Now! Titles. Iron Man was probably the one I was most excited for. Having just read issue #6, I’m ready to give Kieron Gillen the stink-eye. This title is going nowhere. The first five issues were stand-alone missions that were tenuously linked to Extremis. There was no arc; just 5 stories that didn’t even need to involve Extremis. Finally, at the end of #5, Tony broke the bonds of Earth and headed to meet a new destiny among the stars.

My excitement was rekindled! Finally, a connection to the time that the Golden Avenger will clearly be spending with the Guardians of the Galaxy! Issue #6 arrived in the mail yesterday and went straight to the top of the pile.

What a disappointment was Godkiller 1 of 3.  The “battle” alluded to on the first 3 pages was glossed over when it could’ve been the focus of an entire issue. I want to know more about this “Mechanoid Pirate Fleet” and why the Voldi are warring with them…to say nothing of how Tony found them…why he is fighting for them, etc. Nah, quick 3 pages and then we’re in some Alien Cantina and Mr. Stark is hitting on an Alien Princess with a serious Unibrow..situation.

12 pages of stale dialogue later, Princess Unibrow throws Tony out of her boudoir because of…facial hair? More like Irony Man.

Finally in the last couple of pages, Mr. Gillen decides to try and cobble together some semblance of a story and tie it into the AvX Aftermath. OK, so Tony is going on trial for his part in the murder of the Phoenix. This title has 2 issues (Godkiller 2/3 and 3/3) to get me back..to make itself worthy of the title Iron Man. Otherwise I’m sure I’ll be seeing plenty of Mr. Stark in Avengers and Avengers Assemble!, both of which are rockin’ it!

Issue #6 gets a 1 out of 5 Arc Reactors and would’ve gotten a ZERO POINT ZERO if not for the cool force field P.E.P.P.E.R. throws up when the Robots attack. Sheesh!

Honey, shave that thing off. Or pluck it..shed it..whatever.

Honey, shave that thing off. Or pluck it..shed it..whatever.