It was another slow week, but we were treated to some great books, yet again. While I didn't review it, Sky Doll #3 was simply amazing and if you haven't been picking it up, I don't think you'll regret grabbing the eventual trade or hardcover.
Final Crisis: Rogue's Revenge was a horrible Final Crisis tie-in, having almost nothing to do with said event. Thankfully it was an amazing comic nonetheless and a testament to Johns' talent. While
While not a comic book released this week, I was quite happy to pick up my copy of I Kill Giants #1 that I had to have re-ordered in. Well worth checking out if you are looking for a quirky, off the beaten path comic book. I'll leave today's reviews to this week's comics, but look for a review of this tomorrow.
It's late enough as it is, so I'll cut things short for now. Hit the jump for this week's Weekly Crisis Comic Book Reviews!
Written by Adam Beechen
Art by Jim Calafiore and Jonathan Glapion
I swear, DC just wants to troll its fanbase with books like this. Did they not get the memo about people not liking Adam Beechan nor his take on Batgirl the first time around? Suffice to say, this was not a good start to the "redemption" of Batgirl's character.
This issues only purpose was to summarize what's happened to Batgirl over the past couple of years - mainly Beechan and DC crapping all over the character. The only bits of new story consist of Batgirl telling us she wants to hunt down and kill her father, Cain, and Deathstroke for everything they've done to her.
The rest of the issue consists of Nightwing acting like a complete tool and starting a cliched super-hero fight with Batgirl before having it broken up by Batman and Robin. After that, we get page after page consisting of walls of text explaining Batgirl's backstory.
Verdict - Avoid It. I don't think anyone wants to be reminded of how badly this character has been treated recently. They should have spent the issue developing that little thing called the plot instead of wasting so many pages with recaps and pointless fight scenes that go nowhere.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #40
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Steve Epting
I want to praise this comic and gush about how great it was and the shock ending and everything that happened in between, but I can't help but think that this is also a prime example of what's been wrong with the title since Bucky took over as Captain America and that is the pacing.
It's as if Brubaker has these spectacular moments mapped out, such as the Cap vs Cap fight, but he's either being forced or has decided on his own to write for the trade, as they say, resulting in several issues where, while still enjoyable reads, we are subjected to what amounts to filler before we hit an issue, like this one, where it's non-stop balls to the wall action and story progression.
I'm sure most of these concerns would be moot if I was reading this in a trade or omnibus, but, on a month to month basis, this is quite disconcerting, to say the least.
Now, let me just dispell all that doom and gloom preamble by saying that I still love this book and there hasn't been a bad issue in the entire 40 issue run. It's more of a "you're hardest on the ones you love" type of deal where I want this book to be as good as it is in this month's offering every single month, which is probably asking a bit much of any book, even one as good as Captain America.
To talk about the actual book for a minute, this issue features the 1950's Captain America versus Bucky, in his shiny Cap costume, in a shocking fight that sees the Grand Director Cap laying a beat down on Bucky. It seems the Director is much stronger than I thought and Bucky even comments that he's faster and hits harder than Steve Rogers ever did. I have no experience with the 1950's version of Cap, so this came as a shock to me. I figured he was similar to Bucky since he lacked the Super Soldier serum.
Not only is the 50's Cap stronger and faster than Bucky, but he can take a licking and keep on ticking, as evidenced by him taking one of Bucky's bionic arm powered haymakers to the face and shrugging it off like it was nothing.
The only thing that saves Bucky is what appears to be a running theme in this title lately - mainly Dr Faustus' mental programming failing. The Grand Director believes this "fake" Captain America was responsible for killing Bucky and is out for revenge. However, when Bucky reveals who he is, the mental programming of Faustus' breaks down and the Red Skull is forced to recall the Director immediately, which results him the Director, disoriented by the mental lapse, sending Bucky flying off the building with a single punch. Fortunately, Bucky was saved by Falcon, who expected Bucky to disobey and confront this fake Cap.
The rest of the issue focused on Sharon Carter and her attempt to escape from the Red Skull - again. This time she has Sin as her hostage and plans to use her to voice activate the final set of doors and to help guarantee her freedom. Unfortunately for her, she's still not fully recovered from the drugs in her system and Sin manages to break free of her.
Sin pulls a Rambo-sized knife out in an attempt to take revenge on Carter. As expected, nothing came of it and Sharon quickly knocked it out of her hands as the two girls continued to grapple with each other. However, after a quick scene switch to the Red Skull and the Grand Director's mental breakdown, we are quickly informed that there's been a problem with Sin and Sharon Carter. As we cut back to the duo, the issue ends with Sharon lying on the floor with the knife stuck in her stomach and the Red Skull and his men scrambling to try and save her, most likely only for the Steve Rogers child she was carrying. Shocking? To me, it was almost as shocking as Captain America being killed back in Cap #25. This came out of nowhere and I hope Brubaker isn't resorting to a cheap "abortion" tactic to take care of the baby Cap subplot.
Verdict - Must Read. This issue was amazing in everyway and, despite my little tangent to start the review off, I cannot recommend this issue enough. It's issues like this that cause everyone to call Captain America one of the best books on the market.
FINAL CRISIS: ROGUES' REVENGE #1 (OF 3)
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Scott Kolins
Let me preface this review by confessing that I have never read Geoff Johns' critically acclaimed Flash run and, as such, I don't have the same love or understanding of the Rogues or the Flash mythos as other people. I am aware of the events and know the characters, but have little first hand experience with any of their stories.
Furthermore, I picked up Rogues' Revenge mainly for the Final Crisis tagline on the book. On that regard, this was a wasted purchase. There is a panel or two with Libra and the Rogues rejecting his offer to join the new Secret Society and that's about it for Final Crisis related material. Yes, that also means there was no Barry Allen featured in this issue either.
However, as a comic book, this was an excellent read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will happily be picking up the remaining issues of this storyline.
As odd as this sounds, Rogues' Revenge is about Flash's Rogues getting their revenge. The catch, however, is that it's not revenge on the Flash. After spending months on the run and trapped on the prison planet, as seen in Salvation Run, the Rogues are back on Earth (completely unexplained and no indication of how they escaped the JLA and JSA at the super villain protest in Final Crisis #1) and have had enough of the super villain game and have all decided to hang up their tights and retire.
Unfortunately for them, they see a news report that Inertia, who the reporter describes as the Rogues' leader, was mysteriously freed from his motionless prison in the Flash Museum and is currently at large. Captain Cold doesn't take this news well and, combined with the Rogues' displeasure over being used by Inertia to kill Bart Allen, he proclaims they will be breaking their number one rule and killing a speedster, in this case, Inertia.
The scene showing off Inertia's escape was intense and fairly graphic, showing Intertia tearing one officer's head clean off while telling another he is going to to rip his intenstines out and see how far they can stretch. For some reason, I don't think he's been rehabilitated. Intertia then goes off in search of Wally's children to do to them what he did to Bart.
However, before reaching Wally's house, Inertia is stopped by the person that freed him. At first, I thought it was going to be Barry Allen, but it ended up being Zoom, of all people, and he was carrying a Kid Flash costume and proclaiming that Inertia will be the next Kid Flash!?!
The good guy, if you can call him that, of this story seems like it will be Pied Piper, who's come across Trickster's will, which details a plethora of information on the Rogues', how their powers work, family members and so on. He gets in touch with the police and it looks like he will be hunting down the Rogues in an attempt to stop them to make up for he and Trickster failing to stop them when they killed Bart (yes, they are still trying to pass off that Trickster and Piper weren't involved in Bart's death). He doesn't seem to have the Anti-Life Equation, or a piece of it, like he did in Countdown, but it's still early and he looked more powerful than usual with his appearance at the police station.
Verdict - Must Read. It's rare to have a story told from the villain's perspective and Johns does an excellent job of getting someone like myself, with no previous experience with these characters, into each of the villains' heads. I feel like I understand each of their motivations and reasons for doing the things they do and I'm excited to see where this story goes from here. Shame there's almost no Final Crisis connection though...
INCREDIBLE HERCULES #119
Written by Fred Van Lente & Greg Pak
Art by Rafa Sandoval
Remember last issue's cliffhanger? No, not Hercules shacking up with Snowbird (although that was awesome). I'm talking about Kirby, Cho's coyote pup, being shown eerily watching Herc and Snowbird getting it on while being drawn with green "Skrull eyes".
Well, turns out Van Lente and Pak didn't want to beat around the bush with that subplot and the coyote is revealed as a Skrull from the outset with a brief flashback showing when Kirby was replaced and even a quick Skrull prophecy flashback to explain why they replaced the lowly mut (the Queen claimed the prophecy foretold of Earth's gods being undone by their lowliest companion, which is a coyote pup I guess).
After some awkward (and hilarious) morning after moments between Hercules and Snowbird, the Skrull Kirby makes his move and takes control of the God Squad's Godmobile (I so made that name up and you know you want a Godmobile now) and steers it off course, smashing it upon the Skrull gods' memorial of other races' fallen deities.
While no one is seriously injured in the sneak attack, it does destroy the Godmobile and results in Atum promptly biting the head off of Kirby, the Skrull Pup, killing the imposter, much to Cho's chagrin.
Before they can fight over who is or isn't a Skrull, the God Squad is attacked by the combined might of the absorbed pantheons from the world's that have fallen to the Skrulls already. Cho helps the team coordinate their attacks to great success, but they are clearly outnumbered and losing ground quickly.
Snowbird, unwilling to lose another team (most of Alpha Flight was killed a few years back), sacrifices herself by transforming into Neooqtoq the Ravager, the deadliest of the great beasts of the north. I have no clue if that existed before now, but she becomes a giant tentacle monster thingy that starts tearing everything in its path apart. The rest of the God Squad is forced to leave her behind or risk being killed by her as well. I'm not sure what happens after this, but she and all of their attackers start drifting away on some rock in the Dream Time and then just blink out of existence. Whether she's dead or not is a mystery for now.
With all of their obstacles out of the way, the God Squad approaches the Skrull gods' temple and are confronted by Kly'bn, God of the Skrulls. I didn't know if they were going to do this or not, but apparently this is the guy who loves everyone and to whom the Skrulls are all referring to when they say, "He loves you.". And here I thought the identity of "He" would be a big reveal for Secret Invasion. Maybe Incredible Hercules will be a more important tie-in than I thought?
Verdict - Must Read. Lots of great moments, such as the dialogue between Snowbird and Hercules at the start, and some great action scenes along the way. Not sure how big a part of Secret Invasion this will end up being, but based on how great this title has been since Herc took it over, I don't think anyone will be complaining about this being a cash-in or cheap marketing tie-in.
MIGHTY AVENGERS #16
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Khoi Pham
I'll start off by saying, for what it was, I really enjoyed this issue. It consists, entirely, of Elektra (the real one) kicking the crap out of Super Skrulls, one after the other, as they attempt to subdue and replace her. However, that's all this issue was about and that is also this issue's biggest flaw.
If you were buying this issue to find out how and why Elektra was replaced by the Skrulls, you'll get the how part answered, but the why is still left quite vague. The only reason I can come up with after reading this issue is that they must have drawn names out of the hat and chose Elektra as the candidate to become a Skrull. She wasn't in control of the Hand at the time nor any other major crime organization and she had absolutely no value as an operative at the time other than she's died before.
It was also revealed that the Skrulls planned from the start for Skrull Elektra to die and be revealed as the first Skrull infiltrator to sow the seeds of distrust in the ranks of the New Avengers. It doesn't seem to make much sense, in my eyes, but it's Bendis' story, so let's go with it for now. Maybe they'll add some real reasoning behind it later on.
With all the "why's" out of the way, the actual "how" part of Elektra's replacement was just a series of "turn your brain off and enjoy" action sequences as Elektra makes fools out of the Skrull's new Super Skrull program by killing not one, not two, but three Super Skrulls on her own, all of which were ambushes and two whom attacked her at the same time. While this completely undersells how powerful these Skrulls are supposed to be (they can shapeshift their vital organs out of the way and all three were sporting multiple high end mutant powers), it was still incredibly entertaining to watch Elektra just unload on these bungling Skrull infiltrators.
Verdict - Check It. It doesn't really add anything to the Secret Invasion story and just barely adds any new information on the Elektra replacement while undermining the entire Super Skrull threat, but it's still an entertaining read if you can turn off the brain for a little bit and just enjoy the action.