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Bought/Thought 20/02/08


Shield of the True North
Jul 26, 2006
Reaction score
Checkmate #23

Bruce ****ing Jones. I still can’t believe it.

Anyway, Greg Rucka, Eric Trautmann, and artist Joe Bennett begin their last hurrah on this title, a three-part "Castling" arc that deals with Pawn 502, last seen some twelve-ish issues ago, successfully infiltrating the terrorist organization Kobra. Pawn 502 breaks radio silence and contacts the Castellan through the Checkmate mainframe (which shouldn’t be possible), transmitting information: some sort of genetic sequence, and a list of over seven million names, who are either potential victims or potential weapons. Checkmate calls in all of its operatives, with the White Queen declaring they’re going "to war." As the cover suggests, Checkmate enlists the aide of Superman in recovering 502, since their own projections show that anywhere from 50% to 100% of their Knights would perish in an assault on the Kobra facility in question. The scene where the Black Queen enlists Superman is great; they initially try the "draft" thing, but Superman objects to the idea that he can be pulled into service, so she tears up the order, and just asks him, which he freely agrees to. There’s a real pall over this arc since we know Rucka & co. are leaving at the end, but it’s up to the book’s usual standards (and the covers show Wonder Woman appearing in an upcoming issue, and I’m always game for Rucka writing Diana). I expect this team to go out with a bang.

The Incredible Herc #114

Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, and Khoi Pham’s debut arc (and Pham’s only arc, before he departs for bigger things on Mighty Avengers) reaches its penultimate installment, pitting Hercules and his sort-of ally Amadeus Cho against the berserker Ares, God of War. On a sad note, this issue represents some of the last work of colourist Stephane Peru, who suddenly died at a deplorably young age a few days ago.

We get some more mythological flashbacks, dealing with Hercules’ single-handed sacking of Troy after the king broke faith with him; Hercules, driven insane by the blood of the hydra, thinks he’s sacking Troy again, when he’s really fighting his way through a small army of SHIELD agents to get to an obsolete SHIELD helicarrier guarding the Warbound’s stone ship. Cho sneaks in, but Black Widow knocks him out by kicking him in the back of the had; rock on, Natasha; this issue just makes you more and more awesome (Cho’s dog gets his back broken in the fall, but there are sacrifices to everything). Widow also exploits Herc’s delusions and makes him think he’s on the Champions again (complete with an hysterical editor’s footnote), frees him from his delusions, and does a Carol and lets him go. Meanwhile, Ares and Wonder Man have some more amusing antics, before Ares knocks him out (complete with more Fox News style narrative-rewriting) and leaves him in the arms of a fangirl whose care Ares takes. The crippling of Cho’s dog seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, as Athena warned, as he now plans to cause all of SHIELD’s helicarriers to drop from the sky and release everyone in the N-Zone prison; actually, as Herc finds out at issue’s end, he’s already sent the signal.

So, in conclusion, the series is awesome, folks; buy, buy, buy.

Mighty Avengers #9

Bendis' run on Mighty Avengers continues to demonstrate that he can in fact do big action superheroics, though some flaws persist here; however, this is another entertaining issue, with art by Mark Bagley and Marko Djurdjevic.

After tracing the symbiote bomb to Latveria, Iron Man uses his authority as Director of SHIELD to launch what amounts to a full-scale invasion of the country, backed by a SHIELD helicarrier, an armada of fighter jets and agents on jetpacks, and, of course, the Avengers themselves. Doom was shaggin Morgan Le Fay in the 13th century, so he arrives only moments before the strikes, leading to a big battle with an army of Doombots (and a really, really gratuitous three double-splash pages depicting Doombots fighting Avengers/SHIELD, with no dialogue) before Iron Man confronts Doom himself, telling him he’s under arrest for crimes against mankind. The Iron Man/Doom battle is quite good, actually; Bendis has, from the start, had Iron Man’s armour constantly giving all kinds of sensor readouts, and now he has Doom’s armour do the same (coloured grey), so you can see their strength levels and them prepping their attacks in advance. It’s quite neat. Doom’s sorcery gives him the edge in the fight, but Ms. Marvel orders the Sentry to intervene, and, in a good display of his power, he makes his way through Cyttorak’s crimson bands and clobbers Doom. However, the ensuing melee leads to all three getting sucked into Doom’s time device. And then it gets weird, as Iron Man wakes up in a kind of pop-art New York in seemingly the 60s or something (no internet, as the armour tells us), where he is surprised by an angry Doom. I honestly don't know what to make of the ending, so I'll be very interested to see where Bendis is taking this.

Bagley's art is quite good (the difference on the last two pages in terms of style is quite impressive); Djurdjevic's opening three pages are absolutely beautiful, and I can't wait to see him on Thor. You can tell that Bendis is a big fan of the Micheline/Layton "Camelot" two-parter, since this issue is full of references and callbacks to it (he also used that story as the basis for Civil War: The Confession).

Runaways #29

Joss Whedon’s penultimate issue on the title has arrived, and I can’t even remember when it was that the antepenultimate issue came out. Jeez, Joss (and Michael Ryan); bad form. Of course, Astonishing X-Men isn’t exactly the world’s fastest comic either.

Scheduling aside, this story is quite good. Whedon has conjured up a really fascinating 1907 New York scene with a vast array of "Wonders" characters; in their brief scenes, these characters exude story potential (though a couple die, in typical Whedon fashion). I’d actually be very interested in more Whedon stories set in this era. Nico’s ancestor has a very interesting attitude towards Nico and her lack of interest in developing her magical powers.

All this aside, the scheduling has caused my interest in this series to severely wane. Only one more issue to go.
Hulk #2, what the hell Loeb?
I am no longer buying Ultimates 3, because I refuse to support Jeph Loeb (currently the worst writer at Marvel) and this dog**** he calls Ultimates 3.

I did, however, read spoilers for issue #3 and (surprise surprise) Loeb continues to destroy the Ultimate universe with his complete disregard for continuity and characterization. Between the entirely retcon-based story and the Ultimate Black Panther (whose identity is probably the worst kept secret of the entire story), I'm glad I bailed out when I did. :o
Hulk #2, what the hell Loeb?

What's everyone got against Loeb? I rather liked Hulk #2. The first issue left me just wanting some more McGuinness art, but this one actually made me curious to see what Loeb has in store. I was pleasantly and genuinely surprised.
Oh jeez, Hulk #2. The textbook example of a story that has abandoned all sense of continuity.
I skimmed through Ultimates #3 in the store today and just from skimming through it i can tell that it is garbage. There seems to be no story progression whatsoever. Although i admit the artwork is gorgeous, this guy draws some fine women, i never found the scarlet witch attractive until i saw Joe Mad's rendition of her. There's a hot scene with her and wolverine ( how does logan always manage to get all the women?). But besides the art, it's not doing Milar/Hitch's run any justice at all.
Ultimate X-Men 91
by Robert Kirkman and Salvador Larroca

Okay, I once again adore Larroca's art. Whatever crap he was producing on Milligan's craptastic "Blood of Apocalypse" arc - and who can blame him, really? - this makes up for it 100fold. The interiors are fantastic, aside from maybe a couple weird moments, but I'll attribute that to Larroca not knowing what the heck Kirkman was babbling about in the script.

And yes, it's Larroca, people. Not Larocca. Two r's, not two c's. C is the 3rd letter of the alphabet. R is the - whatever. Get the idea.

As far as Kirkman's writing goes, it's still a mixed bag. But his writing on the title has been so absolutely horrendous thus far, this stuff is utterly fantastic by comparison. For instance, instead of butchering the characterization of the entire cast, he only really messes up Wolverine for one panel, and more-or-less messes up Wolverine through the rest of the book. And that, fellow readers, is GOLD.

Something Kirkman does as of this issue is have the "audacity" of involving the other Ultimate superheroes. Ultimate Spidey, the Ultimate Fantastic Four, and even some of SHIELD, are brought in, given that the threat of Apocalypse is going on in the streets. And that's nice, or at least I think it is. Kirkman has sucked at writing small-time character moments since coming on the book. As of two issues into his huge, cataclysmic Apocalypse arc, he's proven that while he still sucks at writing character moments here, he can nonetheless write some great action with the characters.

Anyway, after some horridly uncharacteristic Wolverine moments, they go to attack Sinister-Apocalypse. And then Nightcrawler and his Morlocks attack. And then S-A takes minds over. And Kitty attacks Spidey, and the Cyclops team of X-Men who aren't really X-Men attack the Fantastic Four (being under the control of S-A, and all). And apparently Apocalypse can rip Wolverine's limb off, and claw him across the face with it, which goes back to Ultimate Cable being a futuristic Wolverine - oh, and Apocalypse most likely stole Wolverine's healing factor, too, which would explain why Ultimate Cable hasn't one. Only Ultimate Cable was trying to bring Apocalypse on the scene to change things, so why everything is unfolding to still create an Ultimate Cable is not making that much sense yet. And then Ultimate Stryfe and Onslaught arrive on the scene through a time porta, and to no one's surprise, both will be revealed to be Cable and Xavier.

If it sounds like a giant Mongolian Cluster****, that's because it is. The entire run has been one, and not in the good sense an orgy should be. But even so, this Apocalypse arc has been the most readable the book has been, and for that, I'm at least glad to be able to read Ultimate X-Men again.

And isn't that sad?
I got Hulk #2 yesterday and I actually had to re-read #1 to see if it was the same story. Everything was so random. Clue for Loeb: throwing everything up in the air in a completely random way does not make a mystery. Tony's dialogue was horrible. It was like reading a Chris Claremont comic. (That is not a compliment.)
So what exactly happened in Hulk 2 that was so horrible? I'm actually kinda freaked out by the reactions I've been hearing.
Hulk #2: Seriously, what the hell?

Rick Jones is the Abomination?

Really? This is the big twist they came up with? Things are so random in this book I'm half-expecting to find out Crusher Creel is the red Hulk. I'm wondering whether I should just drop this before it gets really stupid or if I should wait things out.

TIH #114: The humor in this book is great, and not knowing whether Cho will swing one way or the other is always fun to see. This seems to be consistently solid; I hope this title enjoys a long run.

Ultimates #3: If I hadn't read Loeb's Hulk before this I'd be surprised at how random the revelations are. I can confidently say that this is one of the worst creative teams I've read a comic from. Bye-bye, Ultimates...I knew ye not so well.

IIF Annual: I liked it, but the art in the first half was a little bland and I wasn't feeling the whole "Frankenstein's son" bit. Still, they did a good job on this one.

And on a parting note, I ask: why is Marvel putting Loeb on big name titles if he's going to produce wonky tales like these?
...wow. "Ask and ye shall receive" Hulk 2 does sound stupid...
Hahaha, Ares kills me! :D

"No!! Blows from an unseen assailant have felled Wonder Man!!"
I got Hulk #2 yesterday and I actually had to re-read #1 to see if it was the same story.

Hence my previous comment about Loeb's lack of continuity. It feels like there's an issue missing between the end of the first issue and the beginning of this one.
Ultimates 3 is dropped.I didn't purchase #3,but skimmed thru it.

But Hulk #2 was the total opposite,complete madness and crazyness.I'm glad a meat and potatoes Hulk book is back.
Hulk 2, what the hell?

Ok, I still haven't read it but it seemed like fun?
Hulk #2, what the hell Loeb?
I kinda like the switch from the obvious. And a cunning Hulk is always better than a dumb Hulk, no matter who he is. The Rick Jones reveal was surprising, want to see where that angle goes.
My guess is that General Ross is the new Hulk
I loved the surprise at the end of Hulk #2 :up:

But Loeb CANNOT write Stark to save his life. "Oh the humanity"? :down::whatever::down:
So, let me get this straight...If a story isn't perfectly linear with nothing up it's sleeves, it what? Sucks? I don't get it.

I didn't feel like Hulk #2 was random at all. It felt like an unfolding mystery. As the story progresses, we get more clues. Plus, a lot of the dialogue seems tongue in cheeck. Is it the best thing ever? No. But it's a fun story with fun art. It's a comic book.
You guys are thinking WAAAY too hard about this.
No were not. Thats not the way Stark is supposed to be written at least not lately. With all thats been going on he hasn't been a big joke cracker.
I liked the issue :huh:

You don't think his Stark was a bit absurd? Do you like the thought bubbles in Mighty Avengers too?

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