Haul Thoughts: Ozymandias, Gambit, Defenders and Archer & Armstrong

Before Watchmen – Ozymandias 02 – At what looks like the 25% mark for this entire Before Watchmen event, Ozymandias seems to be the best book of the bunch. The gorgeous artwork from Jae Lee certainly doesn’t hurt; check out the scene below for the proof. Time fer some action
As Ozy’s backstory continues to be explained, the issue ends with Adrian’s first encounter with The Comedian. The Comedian, who to this day bothers me. I know he’s supposed to represent a real world, grim n’ gritty war hero and that’s fine. But the unexplainable costume (no consistency as to when he’s in it and when he’s not) and the gigantic plot hole regarding his identity (why do some people seem to know who he is, whether in or out of costume while others have no idea?). Also, he’s just machine-gunning criminals? If this is supposed to be “super heroes in the real world” I would think the authorities would have problems with that. And quicker than you can say “glowing blue dong” yes, I know, Dr. Manhattan etc etc. I didn’t see it WAS the real world, just more real-world-esque than say a DC or Marvel. SO. Back to where we were…at this juncture I’d say, in order of “is it worth reading or not” I’d say that it goes Ozymandias, Silk Spectre, The Comedian, The Minutemen, Nite-Owl.

Gambit 01 – Even more embarrassing than buying this book is admitting that I liked it. It’s less super-hero-y (or as Gambit himself says, less “tights & fights”) and more chaotic-good, criminal/thief oriented. Which I’m all for; if I want spandex and face punching I’ll read AvX. I can see this having an fairly solid initial run of 6-8 issues before it falls off the rails completely & then it’s just playing cards, trench coats & mon ami’s from then on out. But I’ll read a few issues of Gambit breaking into the Long Island homes of super-villain artifact hoarders, like so: What do you see

Archer & Armstrong 01 -BOOM Valiant nails it again. Where are they getting these people from? These books are so good. This might actually be the best book of the four released during the “Summer of Valiant” ramp-up. There was a sly call-out to Gilead, The Eternal Warrior (one of Armstrong’s equally-immortal brothers); who was the third? I can’t remember; was his name the Eternal Enemy or something? After opening with some biblical-annihilation shenanigans, the book picks up at the creation museum (?!) where Archer was raised, which features Darwin the Chimp, star of the “Junk Science Follies”. It turns out that Archer is a brain-washed religious extremist & martial artist of the highest caliber. Good combination. Moving ahead, Archer is NYC bound, where he nails what Manhattan is all about: DEFINITELY true Then like any young man who finds himself in NYC for the first time, he ends up at Hogs & Heifers in the Meatpacking District (first bar I went to in NYC too) where he quickly meets Armstrong, the poet-bouncer. Archer thinks that Armstrong is the Anti-Christ and promises to kill him but in short order finds both of them taken prisoner. The mystical device Archer used to find Armstrong is taken and the book ends on an interesting twist. I’m definitely down for a martial arts buddy comic and you should be too.

Defenders 09 – Right, so this came out last week and while I was writing this post I just saw that Defenders just got cancelled. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO(deep breath)OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. So upsetting; they better finish this arc off. It’s a bit of a moot point now, but you should really go seek out this book & it’s back issues. It’s funny, clever, weird, the arts great, the writing is super strong, what more could you want? The Silver Surfer has Aspberger’s, She-Hulk has a big ass sword, Namor is a dick, Iron Fist is Iron Fist…and the most intriguing thing about this book is the little phrases and slugs that accompany almost every page. Sometime it’s a blurb for another book, other times it’s oddly dire prophecy like “The Universe Will Break” or “Everyone You Love, Dies”. By itself, whatever. But knowing, somehow, all of these weird phrases and tid-bits are going to (hopefully) tie-in and then pay-off is awesome. I would say I can’t wait for that to happen but I doubt it will now and if it does, it’ll probably be rushed. Drag. Defend@!

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This Week’s Comic’s Haul: What I’ve Got

Is it just me or…is this a pretty weak week for comics? Also, yes, I’m going to get Gambit. Don’t judge me. I fully expect either Ozymandia or Archer & Armstrong be the best books of this very, very skimpy week.

This Week’s Comics Haul – A Fourth of My Paycheck

The important take away this week is thatwhen I say I’m not going to buy a book anymore, more often than not…I’m still going to pick it up.  Case in point with:

Wolverine 310 – arts improved but what do you expect when Simone Bianchi is back on the title. I don’t think Loeb’s really bringing it this issue but I’m definitely intrigued as to how & why Sabretooth came back. He was killed via the Muramasa by Logan himself (apparently the only weapon that can kill Wolverine dead.) and once more in Hell.  Yet he’s back, popping up the last few months. Other points of interest: a)Who could possibly pick this book up and figure out what’s going on? This is a perfect example of why a reboot is needed.  Completely choked with bizarre continuity. b) So they’re up in Alaska and Logan’s savior shows up in a one piece bathing suit.  You’re not cold?? c) Once more back to Silver Foxes and back to Weapon X. How many times is this material going to be revisited?

AvX 7 -Magick v. Scarlet Witch; this should be interesting.Here’s my problem with Wanda: her powers are so ill-definied that they could be anything. So she’s shooting hex bolts one minute, then wiping out 99% of the mutant race, then completely neutralizing the Phoenix? BE CONSISTENT. Speaking of, what did Clint shoot at Emma to completely scramble her? I know he continued on that road by soccer kicking her, Pride-era Shogun Rua syle.  But then it ends poorly for Mr. Barton, but what did you expect, you kicked a demi-god in the face!Favorite line of the issue goes to The Black Panther and “…the Black Panther prowls the boundary between super science & magic”.  Has anyone else noticed that they can never draw Hope right. Sometime she looks like a super model and other times ( like this issue) she looks like a 12 year old. Interesting move by Emma which leads to a fantastic splash page to close out the issue.  Anyone else notice the cool little touch of Namor crushing the balcony he was holding on to after his disagreement with Cyclops?

 
Uncanny X-men 15 – Assault on Sinister! If Marvel’s 616 universe is happening in one analogous to ours, albeit with super heroes, how does anyone take them seriously? You’re telling me that the Marvel U 616 Conan isn’t making cracks at Cyclops’ red thong? Fox & Friends aren’t calling Emma a tramp? The Phoenix Five’s (still hate the name) condescension and verbal head-patting of the other X-Men is pretty funny.  “Don’t get up, we’ve got this”.  Somehow I expect Sinister to hand them their asses and need a save.  But that’s just me.

 
Animal Man 11 – Very cool call back to the original Animal Man series to open this issue.  Buddy gets a warning from his quas-saviors to “Be still, this will hurt very much. ” Alberto Ponticelli might be the perfect artist for this series; his drawings of The Rot are truly grotesque.

 
Swamp Thing 11 -We’re finally on the cusp: The Green & The Red vs. The Rot begins next issue! This issue is just the final set-up push to get there.  Not really feeling Marco Rudy’s art for this series though, much preferred Yanick Paquette.

 
Thief of Thieves 6 – A question for anyone reading this book: The hand image that makes up a portion of the title on both the cover and the credits page…is that a famous image from something, possibly Hitchcockian? That image also makes up a Tumblr & WordPress theme so it has to be fairly well known.  This seems like a bridge issue too; the big payoff looks to be (but probably won’t be) next issue. Which I think will help determine where this series is headed.  Because right now it seems like this could just be a 7 issue mini-series.

 
Amazing Spider-Man 688- Synchronicity ( and not The Police album)! The Lizard shows up just in time to coincide with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man. Here’s a question: how does Spider-Man heal? He gets the piss beat out of him on the reg but as far as I know he doesn’t have any sort of accelerated healing powers. My favorite part of this issue is when Mary Jane called out P.parker for his incredibly dumb new motto “When I’m around, no one dies”. I think she’s the mouthpiece for the comic book community because that is just the absolute thing SM has ever said. Another issue: does SM have some sort of voice modulator in his mask or something?  He bursts into Horizon labs where he works with people (geniuses, mind you) that he begins shouting at.  How do they not match Spidey’s voice with Parker’s? C’mon!

 
Amazing Spider-Man 689 – Moebius drooling over bloodwork is a perfect tough, as is The Lizard pretending to cry.”What is the proper human response to the? Ah. Flailing limbs. Wet eyes. Mewling.” Madame Web lives in my neighborhood (Astoria!!).

More after the jump, including the Book of the Week.

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