Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Pull List - Comic Reviews for 8/15/2012

- Avengers Vs. X-Men #10
- Captain Marvel #2
- Deadpool #59
- Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe #3
- Green Lantern #12

SPOILERS beyond this point.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #10

This issue was... competent. Not really much to say beyond that. It feels like we're getting to the point where we're just checking off boxes leading up to the end of the event. Hope develops some kind of super-mega-move which looks like a combination of the powers of Iron Fist, Scarlet Witch, and Shao Lao (and also perhaps the Phoenix Force itself) which basically lets her punch reality. It looks like they're calling it the Chaos Punch and as they are unsubtly telling us this is the "first ever usage", my guess is that this won't be the last time we see it. It's probably the deus ex machina that will end the event.

So now that we have the smoking gun, we just have to go through the motions. Scott and Emma need to face off Highlander-style (there can be only one) and then whoever wins (I hope it's Emma, but I somehow doubt it) faces off with the remaining Avengers until Hope shows up to Chaos Punch the Phoenix into oblivion somehow, probably also drastically changing reality in the process.

I hope Marvel has one or two surprises left up their sleeves.

Speaking of Marvel...

Captain Marvel #2

Much in the same vein as last week, this issue starts off kind of slow, but REALLY amps up. At first, it felt sort of directionless. Carol is talking about planes and records and history and old people, which is fine in the right context, but it's not really clear how it reflects Carol's current predicament. What is she going through? What problems is she facing?

She's determined to break the record set by her hero by flying her plane the old-fashioned way. This scene lacks pretty much any real suspense, not just because we've seen this sort of scene a million times but because we know a plane crash would do little more than give Carol a headache.

But after she crashes and starts talking to Japanese folk who seem to think that WWII is still going on, Carol comes to a startling realization.

WWII is still going on.

That's right, our first arc is a time travel arc.

Consider me sold.

Deadpool #59

This issue pretty much completely encapsulates this entire arc: Wasted potential.

Here we have Deadpool, vulnerable for the first time in a long time, and Daniel Way, knowing full well that his tenure is coming to an end, seems completely disinterested in actually taking full advantage of this great setup.

I mean, we have Black Tom Cassidy, one of the FIRST villains Deadpool faced as well as a relative of one of his most memorable romantic attachments, and the best Way can do is some tree jokes.

That's not to say this issue is BAD. It's rather well-paced, it's fun, and parts are rather funny (particularly the very last page), but one of the things fans of Deadpool have really disliked about Way's run is how little he seems to care about Deadpool's previous canon. With rare exception, he barely ever uses characters from Deadpool's past. When he does, it usually amounts to much more than this.

My personal favorite arc in the series is the one where Bullseye (who at the time was Hawkeye) is going after Deadpool. It was established not only that they knew each other, but that they had a great deal of respect for one another. They were birds of a feather. It was one of the best things I had read involving Deadpool since Joe Kelly's run.

Another great arc was when basically all of Deadpool's "friends" teamed up to try to kill him, but the big issue with that was that it didn't GO anywhere. We haven't seen ANY of those characters since and they seemed to just show up in order to say, "Deadpool's friends hate him."

Beyond that, the only other inclusion of Deadpool's old friends was Bob of HYDRA, who is certainly a fan-favorite and has been a great addition to the series (particularly in the "Dead" arc), but since the end of that last arc, we haven't seen him at all. And I'm really at a loss to explain why. The whole reason Deadpool wasn't ready to die was because he was afraid that he would get Bob killed, so I expected this next arc to be about Deadpool getting Bob out of the crosshairs. Instead, Bob has pulled a Chuck Cunningham.

Knowing that this series is coming to an end, I can't help but feel like Way is wasting issues on pointless filler battles that don't amount to anything. It's disappointing.

Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe #3

We're one issue away from the end of this mini-series and I really feel like the next issue will make or break it all.

This series has really been dancing along the edge.

On the one hand, the bulk of the issue is about Deadpool killing every Marvel superhero/villain. This part of the series is largely done pretty poorly. In almost every case, Deadpool's plans only work because the other characters are either behaving uncharacteristically stupid or Deadpool somehow got access to some random deus ex machina. I do like the implication that he's largely succeeding because few characters in the Marvel Universe are ever actually TRYING to kill anyone so that the Universe can keep on spinning, but it rarely comes off that way. Though, to be fair, there are occasionally really good deaths. For example, Charles Xavier dying by glimpsing through the fourth wall while tapping into Deadpool's mind is actually rather brilliant.

On the other hand, we have an underlying narrative of Deadpool's acceptance of his subconscious perception of the fourth wall and his decision to destroy the universe to end it all. This part largely works, although it would work better if we took more time to examine WHY Deadpool wants to stick it to the universe. I mean, I know because I've read a lot of Deadpool before this, but I would like to see that the author understands the pain that's driving Deadpool's massacre.

I did really like this one line, though:

Honestly, if the fourth issue REALLY delivers on the fourth-wall thing (which it just may considering the reveal at the end of this issue), this mini-series could end up being a surprise hit for me. But if it cops out, this series will remain a huge mess that COULD have been great if it just stuck the landing.

I guess we'll find out next week whether or not I'm eating my words.

Green Lantern #12

I think this is the first week in a long time where the Marvel books outnumbered the DC books. With Marvel NOW! heading down the pipeline, I somehow doubt it will be the last.

Anyway, "Green Lantern" continues to surprise me with how much I enjoy it. As I've said, I never really liked Hal Jordan and didn't expect to read this series until I found out that it would share the focus with Sinestro. This dynamic between the characters is what keeps me coming back week after week.

This issue gives us more of the same, but now all the pieces from (I presume) all of the other Green Lantern titles are starting to come together around the plot of the Guardians eradicating all of the Corps and replacing them with the mysterious Third Army. And to make matters worse, we have THIS little gem at the end of the issue:

I just can't help but think of the Book of the Black coming off like a teenage girl. "OMG, you guys, Hal Jordan will be, like, the greatest Black Lantern, you have, like, no idea."

Seriously though, this could turn out great. Then again, given what happened the LAST time Hal turned into a bad guy, I really hope DC knows what they're doing.

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