Guess Who’s Back? Back Again?

Huzzah! After an endless X-crossover, an energy force with a bad attitude is merging once again with a human host to create a Cyclops man-thong destroying dark god; indeed, it looks like the Marvel U. will once more graced with the Dark Phoenix. May she also eat overlong annual “events”, the rotten bastards who have cancelled both NextWave AND the current iteration of The Defenders, whoever dreamed up Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, all extraneous X-books, Wolverine’s ever shifting backstory and Peter Parker’s annoying new sidekick.
It's Dark Phoenix, bitch

Whomever transmogrifies into the Dark Phoenix this go round, I’m pretty sure this will be their theme song:

(image via Comics Beat)

After the jump, a one panel summation of why NextWave was/is completely amazing.

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Marvel Comics: What’s on Tap?

Upcoming cover art for Marvel titles, including AvX, AvX Consequences, Winter Solider, Dark Avengers, Marvel NOW, and Wolverine and the X-Men. The final issue of AvX is slated to hit in September leading into the launch of Marvel NOW in October, which isn’t a re-boot or a re-imagining or a re-launch or re-levant (ha). Marvel Heroes: Never Stop Punching Faces.

(Via Comic Book Resources)

This Week’s Comics Haul: Just Hook it to my Veins!

Click covers to embiggen! L to R: Before Watchmen – Rorschach 01, Wonder Woman 12, Pigs 08 (so good and so underrated), Saga 06, The Walking Dead 101, AvX 10 (just please be over already!), Amazing Spider-Man 691, Daredevil 17 (welcome aboard Mike Allred!), The Dark Tower – The Man in Black 03, Harbinger 02 and Bloodshot 02 (possible tie for best covers of the week). What are you planning on picking up?

Review: AvX #9, Featuring the Death of Spider-Man

Ok, not really.  But seriously, look at this:
Faceless by punching You’re telling me that non-healing power enabled Peter Parker was able to survive a straight right hand from an organic steel covered, Juggernaut AND Phoenix powered Colossus? No way. Look, I know this is “comics” but come on. Peter’s head should look like some extra lumpy chili inside that mask! He shouldn’t be able to be swinging from rock outcropping to rock outcropping all nimbly-bimbly! Let’s say he survives that first punch (doubtful); Colossus still goes berserk on him for the majority of the next two pages! In one of the panels he stands on Parker’s back! Colossus weighs 500 lbs when transformed, the Juggernaut, 1,900lbs! Parker’s guts should have shot out of his mouth (or what was left of it) at that point!

Before we get to the non-death of Spider-Man,  AvX rolls on.  I think the idea to focus on Spider-Man this issue was interesting; though the foreshadowing was pretty heavy-handed in his conversation with Hope. Back to Spider-Man in a minute as elsewhere it looks like the Phoenix Five Four are starting to fold under the cosmic might of The Phoenix. Emma is starting to crack and after being basically ignored by Cyclops when she asked for help, she flits off and melts the brain of some guy who had just been sitting down to dinner. How does that work? Ding-Dong! “Who is it?” “Uh…some hot naked glowing lady.” “Does she want to come in for dinner?” BRAIN-MELT.

At the infirmary in K’un-L’un, why is everyone still in costume? You’re injured, put some sweat pants on!

Magick & Colossus toss Thor in a volcano that is actually housing an incursion of Limbo onto Earth.  I thought Limbo was supposed to be a place of nothing; layaway for the soul until someone comes by and scoops you up. Now it’s all fire-n-brimstone & full of demons? Hmmm. Storm looks on, concerned. But then she’s all “Whatevs” and flies back off to Wakanda where T’Challa is all, “Hey Ororo, guess what?”

Surprise
Colossus has apparently gone crazy (see last issue of Wolverine & The X-Men), tacking on legs to whales because he thought they’d be happier on land.  Turns out, not so much. He asks Magick for help in creating some new whales later on. Piotr, you crazy.

Anyways, the remaining Avengers try a last ditch full-frontal assault on where the Avenger prisoners are being kept; the aforementioned Limbo incursion. They get handled easily by Magick & Colossus, at which point Spider-Man somehow makes everyone retreat, creates a rockslide to seperate the X-Men and the fleeing Avengers, then takes on Magick & big shiny C himself. Which brings us full circle to the magically unkillable Peter Parker. Who not only doesn’t die when facing these two demi-gods, but manages to actually talk them to death. Ok, not legit death, but enough that they knocked each other out (?) and lost their Phoenix powers. And with that we are down to the Phoenix Two. Including super codpiece sporting Cyclops:

Cameo?

“LOOK ON MY CODPIECE YE MIGHTY AND DESPAIR!”

Three more issues of this? Oh, brother.

Haul Thoughts: Surprises (Bad) & Surprises (Good)

Let’s do this! Don’t forget to chime in in the comments below.

AvX 08 – IMPERIOUS REX!!! Namor has shown up in Wakanda looking to tear The Avengers a collective new butthole and he very nearly succeeds.  The opening splash page is as menacing as Namor has looked in recent memory and you see that this is not something that Wakanda will be recovering from anytime soon. Iron Fist is indignant that Iron Man and The Thunderer skip out to K’un-Lun without him, meanwhile Wakandans are being devoured by Atlantean seas serpents.  Typical rich guy.  Meanwhile Cap is all “I knew Cyclops was a dick! Forget all these corpses, I was right all along!” Typical unfrozen World War II science experiment. Anyway, Cap calls the Avengers, whom Namor proceeds to go H.A.M. on, even taking full powered blows to the dome from Red Hulk, Thing, Mjolnir, Dr. Strange and The Vision.  NAMOR AIN’T CARE and he goes on to prove this by breaking the Red Hulk’s arm like it was one of my brittle, bird-like wrists. Then he decides to set the rest of the Avengers on fire. Then super Deus Ex Machina a.k.a The Scarlet Witch shows up, somehow (ed.note: With her ill-defined powers, that’s how!) defeats Namor whom the Phoenix Force decides to ditch, flowing into the other members of the Phoenix Force. Charles Xavier’s floating bald head shows up to scold Cyclops; Cyclops tells Chuck to “Cram it with walnuts, ugly”; Cap cries. Buy? Sure, if you’ve bought the earlier seven.

The Invincible Iron Man 521 – Think I mentioned this before but WHOA. The Invincible Iron Man is awesome. If you haven’t been reading this title, go back to #500 and read them all.  I never cared for Iron Man; sure the movies got me interested and I think I picked up the book at an ideal time. So, if you’re planning on following my lead and picking up the earlier 20 issues, SPOILERS HERE Tony Stark is super-boned and the super-boner (ed.note: Really?) is non other  than the Mandarin.  Some observations: apparently 6 months have passed since issue #520 and all sorts of shenanigans have gone on, chiefly that Stark is working for the Mandarin. Side note: is the Mandarin the Marvel Universe equivalent of a beholder from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons? Seriously, check it out:

Beholder powers:

BEHOLD...er

Mandarin ring powers:

Where's the duck sauce ring?

Back to the issue at hand, literally.  Resilient (formerly Stark Resilient) takes some shots at the crappiness of the cloud and introduces their solution, the swarm (which Warren Ellis introduced in Transmetropolitan a decade ago…).  That’s one of the reasons this book is so excellent; it’s not all tights, capes & punchy-punchy.  There’s corporate espionage, futurism, science, rad armor, clever banter..so good.  Just buy it. Buy? Duh. Also, if I can’t have the Infinity Gauntlet, I’d gladly take the Mandarin’s rings.

Before Watchmen – Silk Spectre 02 – I really  like Amanda Conner’s art on this book. In fact, I feel this is tied with Ozymandias  as the Before Watchmen book with the best art. Definitely an Archie vibe going on. That being said…what the hell?! The first issue was so good where this one is…not. Not as good. The spirit of the book hasn’t really changed, but something this issue seems off.  I did like the analogs of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones as well as an appearance from Kid Charlemagne himself, Owsley Stanley and what is possibly supposed to be Frank Sinatra? I don’t know, the innocence and free-spiritedness of the first issue gets muddled with some subplot about causing Haight-Ashbury hippies to embark on acid-fueled shopping trips. Also, the Silk Spectre’s costume is highly impractical. That’s not a reason to knock the book, it’s just that even fictional teenagers are idiots. Buy? Yes, as it’s not enough to derail the series (plus you’re already halfway through at this point). But don’t prepare for the high notes of last issue.

Daredevil – 15 – High hopes for Murdock this week; was he able to meet them? Welllllll….was the arc resolved? For the most part, as it’ll most likely wrap up next month. Was the premise clever? Daredevil sans senses? Sure.  Was there anything outwardly terrible about this issue? Not especially.  So…? Can’t help you dude. Then is it a Buy? It’s not the highpoint of this excellent series, but neither was the Punisher/Spider-Man crossover.   It’s not a jumping on point, that’s for sure.

Fables 119 – Even if this series had nothing else going for it, it still has the best covers in the industry.  Before I started reading, I was really hoping that this arc would wrap up this issue or next.  But then I started reading; wow. If you’re a Fables fan, you won’t be disappointed.  Things to note: a pretty shocking death, an Angry Birds cameo and my new favorite phrase, “shit fire on Pop-Tarts”! Buy? Have you read the previous 118 issues? Then you pretty much have to, don’t you?

Justice League 11- Not going to lie, I’m kind of lost with this book.  I’m not thrilled at the supernatural bent the it’s taken either; isn’t that the purview of the Justice League Dark? The high point for this issue was probably Wonder Woman calling the Green Lantern a dickless bitch, in so many words. Also, Diana’s problem solving starts and ends with decapitation. They’ve really made her one of the most compelling characters in the whole New 52. Also a nice touch: Cyborg: “I’m not partly dead, am I?” Batman:”…of course not”. What a dick! Buy? If you’re not invested in the series at this point? It’s a pass.

Saga 05 – I’m oddly compelled to keep getting this book.  It’s clearly been building up for the past four issues and there is a bit of payoff here, but not in an equivalent amount to the rising action.  The book opens with the television-headed prince who is a/the protagonist? Antagonist? All I know is that in the future/past, robots poop.  Also, the two sides in the giant war that I (and I assume other readers) are trying to puzzle out art the “horns” and the “wings”, and a clutch of winged shock troopers drop down on our narrator  and it’s parents Alana and Marko.  SPOILERS Marko breaks his vow of nonviolence and goes apeshit, slicing through all of the shock troopers and is about to really start cutting heads, forcing Alana’s hand. END SPOILERS.  Far more happens and I think this book is finally starting to pick up.  I seem to remember Vaugh’s Runaways was a bit of a slow starter as well. Buy? At this point, while it’s still early in the series, yes, but only if you pick up the other four.  Or wait a few months and pick up the first six issues in a collected format.

The Dark Tower – The Man in Black 02 – As I’ve already read all of The Dark Tower  books, it seems a bit foolish to then buy them in serialized comic format.  But it’s still a powerful series and Robin Furth & Peter David are doing extremely solid work on this and all the previous Dark Tower  series.  Buy? If you like The Dark Tower, all the trades are worth picking up.  It definitely fills in gaps that were only hinted at in the series.

Wonder Woman 11 – Sometimes I get my comics & video games confused, like with all the Olympians showing up in WW and I find myself thinking, “Didn’t Kratos kill all you?”. This issue isn’t as good as the previous two in Hades, but it seems to be setting the stage for a pretty epic confrontation with Apollo and Hera, so I’ll check in next month. Buy? Not as a starting point, but this isn’t an issue that’ll make you drop the book either.

X-O Manowar 03 – The payoff! Aric and the X-O Manowar class armor make nice (it grows Aric’s hand back, he disintegrates aliens) until an explosion sends them flying outside of the ship. Aric apparently has his Dorothy moments, as he clicks his gold-and-powder blue heels together, disappears from deep space and reappears above modern Rome, where he crashes into the Coliseum. I’m interested to see if they go back to the “unfrozen viking business magnate” schtick Valiant used the first time with X-O. Buy? No brainer. Get the other two while you’re at it and transport yourself back to ’94.

Whew!  Sound off in the comments about your thoughts on my thoughts, on what you picked up this week, on what you refrained from picking up this week or just general what-have-you’s.  Goodnight Cleveland, where ever you are!

This Week’s Comics Haul – Sweltering in the City Edition

It’s too hot to even move; best thing to do is find solace in some air conditioning with a stack of comics. What I picked up this week (And a rare show of restraint!); what did you get? Tell us in the comments!

AvX 08

Before Watchmen Silk Spectre 02

Daredevil 15

Fables 119

Invincible Iron Man 521

Justice League 11

Saga 05

The Dark Tower: The Man in Black 02

Wonder Woman 14

X-O Manowar 03

Books I’ve picked up in the past but this week I was able to show restraint and not buy:

Wolverine ($5 bucks??! C’mon) & Fantastic Four. . Granted it’s only two but it’s a start!

A strong crop of books this week; it’s difficult to pick out which one or two could be the stand-outs this week. But picking two, I’d say it’ll be X-O Manowar and… Daredevil. Daredevil ?!? Yes, DD. I like the current arc, hell, I’ve liked the entire relaunch. It’s a fun book that still feels dangerous for the characters. It’s a delicate balancing act and Mark Waid pulls it off.
Reviews and thoughts on these in the next few days, along with the kick off of the MB Interview series!