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.

Avengers Vol.5 Issue 11: Avengers Out of Uniform!

A.I.M. is selling the bioweapon S7…or are they? This issue features Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Spider Woman, Cannonball, Sunspot and Shang Chi. It’s nice to see a few B-Listers getting some love, but what really grabbed me about this story was that our heroes spend the entire issue out of uniform. No costumes, no masks. Civvies and a (not-so) secret mission for S.H.I.E.L.D. with a gripping plot. I want more of this–great story with just an occasional glimpse of the fantastic.

That, and A.I.M. guys partying their asses off in their tuxes & bucket helmets. You absolutely cannot have too much of that, ever.

Sunspot, Cannonball and a couple of hard-partying A.I.M. dudes.

Sunspot, Cannonball and a couple of hard-partying Beekeepers.

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!

AvX Consequences TPB

 

Sitting atop the pile & ripe for cracking is the AvX Consequences TPB. In the wake of the war between The Avengers & The Phoenix 5 (and to a lesser extent, the X-Men) I see this as a

AvX Consequences Trade Paperback

AvX Consequences Trade Paperback

precursor to the Marvel Now! Uncanny X Men series. Issue one of that arrived in the mail the other day, so I figure I’d better read Consequences first. Despite a long tenure as an X-Men fan, even I’m growing weary of Scott Summers’ incessant moody whining. Will he truly be and stay a Marvel “Villain” now? Gotta put “Villain” in quotes because he’ll never intentionally harm the innocent, but I’m confident he’ll Zzark! any Hero that tries to stand in his way.

I’m just wondering where it is he’s trying to go.  Time to crack AvX Consequences!

The Subscriber’s Dilemma-Avengers # 4

Avengers-4-large-coverGot home the other day and Marvel Now!’s Avengers #4 was on my desk. Immediately I had mixed feelings. When I bought Avengers 1 & 2 at The Annex in Newport RI, I loved ’em, and so immediately subscribed. I subscribe because it costs less, and because it comes right to my house so that I don’t have to keep track of what is coming out when (I know it’s not that hard, but I stink at it and always end up missing stuff).

So, there it was, Issue #4, the first of my subscription issues to arrive. But I haven’t read #3. I can’t be skipping stuff and missing plot points! It’s impure! It’s not right! What will I do? The Annex doesn’t have a back issue of #3, so I only have a couple of options:

1. Buy Digital. Yuck. I like to press the pulp! This will be a last resort solution only.
2. Stop in at the Time Capsule in Cranston. This will take some strategizing, and some cash because I always feel guilty buying small amounts of stuff with my credit card from fellow small business owners. This will hopefully yield results.
3. Buy the individual issue online. Never tried this. Seems like it would be easy, but I’ll have to do some waiting. I hate waiting.

*Sigh* It’s going to be a tough haul. Until I acquire issue #3, however, #4 shall remain, uncracked, atop the pile. I’ll let you know how I make out.