I'm curious to find out if anyone else had as big a problem stomaching Matt's cavalier attitude to cheating on his wife as I did. Feel free to comment on it or any other reviews or books from this week after the jump.
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Jefte Palo
I've had a lot of praise for Jason Aaron's Black Panther Secret Invasion tie-ins and, while not as a strong as the first two issues, this issue continues the trend.
I think my favourite part of this storyline is that Aaron has managed to humanize the Skrulls, if that term can be applied to alien invaders. With few exceptions, every other Secret Invasion portrayal of the Skrulls is that of cannonfodder. Even our heroes have no compunctions about killing the faceless and nameless alien hordes. They are basically the Foot Clan from the Ninja Turtles cartoon. An endless supply of throwaway villains with no personalities.
Aaron changes this by focusing the majority of this storyline on the Skrull's perspective, particularly the general overseeing the invasion of Wakanda. I particuarly liked his narration throughout the story about his family and his lack of faith in the mission and how he just wants to 'put in his time' and retire after this final battle. It's a small touch that adds a lot of depth to the story and villains and I even found myself a little sympathetic towards these villains and can see things from their perspective a little - much moreso than the dozens of other tie-ins combined were able to do.
The only thing that really lowers this issue in comparison to the previous two is the way the story is wrapped up. After being captured last issue, Storm and Black Panther were taken prisoner by the Skrulls and submitted to torture in hopes they will submit and tell their people to stand down. Somewhere along the way, T'Challa and Storm replaced themselves with some Skrull imposters they captured prior to the invasion. Apparently, they used some voice modulators and DNA replicators to make them appear human to the Skrulls long enough for the real Black Panther and Storm to infiltrate the Skrull ship and take out their command post.
I just don't see how this made the Skrulls act like Black Panther and Storm nor how or when they made the switch. Before the fight? After being captured? In fact, even after re-reading it, I'm still a little confused as to how this stunt was pulled off.
However, it was a small detail and I understand that Black Panther has the whole Batman prep-time deal going for him, so I let it slide and enjoyed what came out of this - ie. the sacking of the Skrull ship and killing of their leaders and troops. Framed with the Skrull general's last transmission to his wife made this scene work that much better and, aside from a few minor quibbles, I enjoyed every part of this story whole heartedly.
Verdict - Must Read. A fun, short ride that, as a Secret Invasion "cash-in", was better than it had any right to be. Great stuff.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #42
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Steve Epting
Wow, a whole lot happened here and I'm not even sure where to begin. We've got several "deaths", Bucky and Black Widow hooking up and all that doesn't even touch on the conclusion to the Death of Captain America storyline nor the Red Skull's plans for Sharon Carter and her baby.
With so much going on in one issue, I think it's safe to say that it felt a little rushed. With how slow several of the first chapters of this storyline were - ever since Bucky became Cap - it just seemed like Brubaker ran out of time and had to just cram everything into this last issue.
Of course, if Brubaker goes back and touches on many of these "okay, we're done here, let's move on" moments in future issues, as I suspect he will, I think many of my problems with this issue will go away.
With the negatives out of the way, let's get to the good parts of this issue. I loved how Bucky took a major step forward in terms of accepting his role as Captain America. Just everything he did in this issue worked. While not doing everything exactly as Steve Rogers would, allowing Bucky to be his own man, it still felt like he was acting like Captain America, if that makes any sense. From his jumping out and stopping Sin's rocket with his shield to his reactions to the news media at the end and so on.
Another thing I liked was how the Grand Director was treated. I figured we'd be tossing him aside and never see him again or kill him off when this was over, but he ended up helping Sharon Carter escape and we see him near the end of the issue (I believe it was him in New York. He didn't have a costume), either setting him up as a future problem or potential ally after his helping Sharon.
Speaking of Sharon, she was captured (again) by the Red Skull and Arnim Zola and was being used, in conjunction with Doom's time platform, for some kind of experiment by the Skull. From what I gather, and it was fairly rushed and barely explained, it seems like they were trying to age the fetus (which I thought was killed, but Sharon talks about "it" growing during this) to use as a new body for the Skull. Again, I have no idea what was going on here, but Zola claims they can resume the process again later after Sharon breaks free of her restraints, ruining the experiment.
From here, it gets even more confusing. While escaping, Sharon takes a gun and shoots the Skull, who hadstarted laughing like a madman and took off his Skull mask, leaving the Lukin face and personality in control (I think). Yes, Sharon "killed" the Skull. At the same time, Zola was skewered by the recently freed Grand Director Captain America, "killing" him, too.
These deaths were quickly undone, though. Zola, we knew, would be back in a new body, as that's his gimmick, but the last epilogue of the issue was a shocking reveal of the Skull trapped in a Zola-like body of his own.
With the torrential pace of this issue, it's easy to overlook many of these confusing or detail lacking scene changes as the entire issue blended into one big action blockbuster conclusion to a storyline. However, taken as separate little pieces, it's easy to pick this apart. I'd like to believe a lot of these details, particularly concerning the Skull's plans with the time platform and Sharon Carter, will be explained in the future.
Verdict - Check It. I liked the issue a lot, but there's far too many details glossed over for my liking. May read better in hindsight / trade format after future issues fill in some blanks for us. Still a good Captain America issue and good Cap stories are still leaps and bounds better than most titles.
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Clay Mann
What the hell am I supposed to think of Daredevil now? This is not how a hero should act. That's not even how any decent human being should act! What am I talking about exactly? Well, our "hero", Matt Murdock, cheats on his wife. While that's not so crazy an act these days, let's add a little context, shall we?
Matt's wife is currently in a mental institute. It's basically Matt's fault she's in there after she was caught in the crossfire with Mr Fear from a few issues ago. Matt loves her so much, he was pretty brutal towards any and every villain he came in contact with along the way to finally confronting Mr Fear and his life was pretty much in the crapper with how broken up over his wife's current state he was. Everything that was said in dialogue or narration pointed towards Matt loving his wife more than anything on Earth and feeling nothing but guilt over the fact he had caused her so much pain.
Cut to a few issues later and he's shacking up with Dakota and wondering why he doesn't even feel guilty about cheating on his wife! I can see cheating on people or the whole "falling out of love" angle for getting a hero out of a marriage, but you can't go from the love of my life to 'let's have sex with my investigative reporter friend' in the span of four issues with no build up or even remorse over what he's done.
It's so ridiculous that I honestly dislike the character of Matt Murdock and don't even know if I want to keep reading about this person after having read this issue.
All of this overshadows the introduction of the new Lady Bullseye character, who's only relation to Bullseye is that she saw him kill her slave trading captors when she was a teenager. I gathered she was so enthralled with the 'art of killing' that Bullseye displayed that she took his name. It's not explained where she was trained or how she learned any of her techniques, but she has ties to The Hand and they are making a power play against many of their old enemies, including Iron Fist, Stick (I think that's the "old man" they referred to), Black Tarantula and Wolverine. Daredevil was left off the list for some reason, though.
Despite being off the list and told not to antagonize Daredevil, Lady Bullseye still went out of her way, out of some loyalty to Bullseye, I believe, to cause some trouble for Daredevil by "persuading" the surviving thug of a group she killed to report to the news and police that Daredevil killed his friends, resulting in the headlines all reading Daredevil is a killer at the end of the issue.
However, even a rather solid premise and introduction of this new character, whom I had doubts about, and a guest appearance by Iron Fist could not make up for the extreme disappointment in the Matt Murdock character I have after reading this ludicrous bit of womanizing on his part and I just can't imagine what possessed Brubaker to have him act like this in regards to his wife and the throwing away of his marriage. If they didn't like her, just kill her or divorce them and move on. Don't drag her through the mud, lock her in an institute and then have Matt forget about her and start screwing the first woman he comes in contact with without an ounce of regret, even saying it feels so right being with Dakota.
Verdict - Avoid It. On principle, I can't recommend an otherwise decent comic book. This, to me, is the equivilent of the formerly happily married Spider-Man simply waking up one day and going off to have sex with Black Cat and not caring about MJ anymore.
NEW AVENGERS #45
Written by Brian Bendis
Art by Jim Cheung
As predicted, this story went nowhere. It was yet another circular story that simply repeats things we already knew without really adding anything to the story. It's the equivilent of going back to the Batman origin story and telling us he had eggs and bacon for breakfast on the morning of the day the bat flew threw his window. New facts for us, but did we really need to know it?
In this issue's case, it basically shows us what the Skrulls did when they woke up to the House of M. For whatever reason, they weren't affected by the Scarlet Witch's spell and knew the world was broken, similar to how Wolverine knew right away. It focuses on Spider-Woman and Hank Pym and just has them repeat how they will fix this and leak it to the media how a mutant did this and it will only help them further their invasion efforts when it's over.
That's it. End of story. Nothing else really happens other than showing some repeated events from House of M and then having the world go back to normal, ending with the Skrulls talking about how things are going perfectly before Spider-Woman reveals the "wave" in the proficies had come true and was actually the Annihilation Wave from Annihilation, which resulted in the death of billions of Skrulls.
Again, so what? We knew this happened. None of this changed anything and nothing new was learned.
Verdict - Avoid It. I like Cheung's art and all, but it's not worth picking this waste of paper up for. Buy something with some meat to the story instead.