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Bought/Thought 30/01/08


Shield of the True North
Jul 26, 2006
Reaction score
Captain America #34

Nine issues after Captain America was gunned down by the Red Skull, the replacement (who could be intended as another Wally West or another John Walker, who can say?) arrives, and it's Bucky, who was the prime suspect from day one (although Marvel vainly tried to drum up some mystery that no one actually reading the book would fall for). Brubaker is nothing if not a deliberate writer, and the buildup to this has been all but perfect, so it seems quite natural. So Bucky takes on his former mentor’s mantle, although with a new costume he designed with Tony Stark, since he says he couldn’t stand to wear Steve’s costume (he and Tony designing it would explain the shiny/black duality, although it turns out that the costume is all-cloth, not cloth and metal as Ross’ cover would have you believe). What's interesting about this issue is that, for all intents and purposes, he's recreated the core hero dynamic of the first fourteen issues of this series, before Secret War and Civil War intervened: you've got Captain America (Steve/Bucky), his ex-lover/partner in the field (Sharon Carter/Black Widow), and the determined SHIELD director overseeing things from the helicarrier (Nick Fury/Iron Man). Of course, Sharon and the Falcon remain in play, although they're elsewhere for this issue (Brubaker likes to keep the number of characters fairly small). Brubaker continues to deserve all the credit in the world for his handling of Iron Man, unlike hacks like JMS. In the handling of the villains, we’re still not getting a whole lot from them; they remain ephemeral presences, lurking somewhere in the background; it works extremely well. The ending is really excellent; it’s shocking, but in the sort of low-key way that makes it all the more disturbing.

Green Lantern #27

The second part of "Alpha Lanterns" arrives, and it feels more like an issue of Green Lantern Corps than did the last issue of Green Lantern Corps (which was the Guy and Kyle Show); while Hal and John are the main characters (and they get about equal time), there’s also emphasis on the Lost Lanterns, the Guardians, and several others, including GLC castmember Green Man, who becomes one of the titular Alpha Lanterns, crosses between Green Lanterns and Manhunters. The main focus of the issue is the fallout of Laira’s killing of Amon Sur, which all the other Lost Lanterns consider to be murder, as do the Guardians; however, some of the other Lanterns from different cultures don’t have a problem with it, making for an interesting scene. The Guardians, however, declare that she will be tried for her actions, and imprisoned in a Sciencell (near a gloating Sinestro) in the meantime. Laira is extremely uncooperative throughout. I’m enjoying this emphasis on the GLC as a whole, since I’ve always believed that the Green Lantern property works best when it focusses on space adventures and the uniqueness of the GLC as an organization, rather than having Hal fly around stopping bank robbers, which anyone can do. McKone provides strong fill-in art in lieu of Ivan Reis; I certainly prefer him to Daniel Acuna’s fill-in work last time. The next time Reis needs a break, they should definitely get McKone back.

House of M: Avengers #4

This is kind of a difficult story to review; it’s quite competently done, both in writing and art, but it feels extraneous, because it is (as Marvel admits, the main impetus for commissioning it was retailer requests for more "House of M"-related material; so, if "Civil War" trades sell, will we be getting more "Civil War" stories in a few years?). The story charts the history of Cage’s Avengers over a period of years, and the alliance between Thunderbird’s FBI team and the Kingpin in order to bring them down; by the end of this issue, reminiscent of Daredevil’s arc under Bendis, Cage has declared himself the new Kingpin of New York. Like I said, it’s a decent superhero yarn, but the irrelevancy of the whole thing counts against it. One thing it has definitely done is make me hotly anticipate Mike Perkins’ next project, because he does a fantastic job with all these characters.

The Mighty Avengers #8

After the "Ultron Initiative" arc, which was plagued by delays, and was overlong anyway (I’d have cut it down by maybe two issues, if I had been writing; the beginning and end were strong, but the middle was flabby), and the first part of this new story, which was composed largely of the sort of quiet scenes that would be a relief between really fast arcs, but following a really slow story just seems fatuous, this is the strongest issue of Mighty Avengers that I’ve yet read. The pace really picks up, and Bendis proves again that he is at his best when he keeps things tight (ironic, for one of the main creators of trade-length storytelling). Last issue ended with a "symbiote bomb" detonating in New York, infecting civilians and members of the New Avengers (as detailed in their book, which came out months ago, thus spoiling much of this story); the Mighty Avengers arrive on the scene, assess the situation, and have three of their less-powerful members (Black Widow, Wasp, Spider-Woman) get taken over as well (everybody else is immune, either through suits or their superhuman anatomy). While everybody else tries to contain the situation, Iron Man flies to the Baxter Building to create an antidote, saves the day, and then everybody goes off to confront Doctor Doom, who seemingly sent the blast. Along the way, Iron Man has a long monologue about the Skrull situation, which has made him extremely paranoid, but resolute that the "green [bleeps]" will not get his planet. I’m quite looking forward to seeing the Avengers and SHIELD vs. Doom next issue; this is the kind of big action the Avengers should be about. On a minor note, Bendis has Wasp grow into a giant, and acts like this is a big deal, but she could already do that in Austen’s run (ooh, are we pretending that never happened now? Awesome!); and, despite his alleged hatred of Hank Pym, I continually find his Hank to be perfectly nice and helpful, and Jan comes off like a complete ***** in her conversations with him.

X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #5

The solicitation promises that we will be surprised with how this ends, and I have to say I was: it doesn’t. Yes, the story that started in X-Men: Deadly Genesis, a six-issue miniseries, then continued through twelve issues of Uncanny X-Men, and then got another five-issue miniseries (this) is still not over. The focus of the miniseries has been on Havok, Polaris, Marvel Girl, the Starjammers, and Lilandra’s forces waging a civil war with Vulcan, Deathbird, and the Shi’ar Secret Order for control of the empire, which battle was interrupted by the invasion of the Scy’ar Tal, a race driven from their homeworld by the Shi’ar; the displaced aliens want the M’Kraan Crystal (all these damn apostrophes), and they’ve got some pretty imaginative weapons (dropping suns on planets) to do it with. Havok and Vulcan team up to stop them, and they succeed; however, Vulcan uses the planet-dropper to destroy the Scy’ar Tal, and then his armies overwhelm Havok’s team, and Lilandra’s forces, led by her uncle, decide that Vulcan’s ruthlessness is quite appealing, and join him. At story’s end, Havok, Polaris, and the Starjammers are in Vulcan’s custody, the Shi’ar people adore their savior and emperor, and Lilandra, Marvel Girl, and Korvus are the only heroes still at large. Vulcan, meanwhile, plans for some revenge on Professor Xavier. Yep, that’s where the story leaves off. So, I assume we’ll be hearing more from this in the near-future, although I’m not clear on where. Apart from the cliffhanger ending, which could potentially lead to a good story, this mini has been quite good, with strong writing (Yost writes the best Ch’od ever) and very good art from Diaz.
Ultimate X-Men #90
Here there be spoilers, and stuff. Uh, do I need a disclaimer?

After running from this title as if it had the plague - any plague, really, though I think "the plague" refers to the bubonic plague, though I could be wrong - I decided to pick this issue up. After Messiah Complex, and constantly having an X-title to read, I was jonesing for an X-Men book, and I read Ultimates 3 #2 today, and, well, Larroca's the other contributing factor.

Here we have the beginning of Kirkman's take on Apocalypse, started in this title by BKV some forty or so issues ago. And it's not bad, to be honest. The premise isn't bad at all. That said, it isn't spectacularly good, but given Kirkman's other work on this title, it's like a shining ray of brilliant sunshine. And the artwork is some of Larroca's best lately, I'd have to say. Good character renditions, not too many in the way of cringe-worthy moments, you know.

Of course, we can't have a solid good issue, can we? Regardless of how good, I suppose, the general premise is, the specifics of the issue go downhill. The dialogue is downright awful, though that's been a trend in the book since Kirkman's first issue, pretty much, so no real surprise there. And Kirkman indulges in a "shocking death" that is probably the most meaningless death thus far in the book - that is, more meaningless than the no-name characters who die here or there. Rather deplorable, I say, and it's sad that writers don't seem to get the picture that if a death is to occur, it must be a death the reader will care about. Writers should be required to read A Song of Ice and Fire - George R. R. Martin is certainly not skimpy on dealing death like he's God on drugs, but each one of them triggers something and matters. It's a "how to" on how to kill characters and make the deaths count.

But, hey, negativity vs. Kirkman on Ultimate X-Men could fill a book. Onto some positives and stuff.

Escaped Sinister makes his way into the Morlock Tunnels and makes Leech bring him to the lair - the Morlocks were also implemented by Kirkman. He proceeds to start killing Morlocks. I half-wonder if this is going to become the Ultimate Mutant Massacre or not, considering it involves Sinister and Morlocks and death. Not much of a massacre, really, since there's about two deaths before Bishop's team shows up, and two deaths after. Anyway, a couple of the X-Men get offed, and Sinister drops - literally, ho ho ho - and eventually mutates into Apocalypse.

Sinister was refreshing. I think he will actually be the only thing that Kirkman has taken from other writers on the book and not crapped all over. BKV gave Sinister a fun twist, and while Kirkman changed it a little, for the most part he kept it spot on.

This issue marks, I think, the first good Nightcrawler characterization since Kirkman turned him from Nightcrawler the superhero to Nightcrawler the superhomophobe.

Uh... the art.

And he does something fun with Wolverine that, in the grand scheme of things that have been going on, is actually kind of neat.
I loved all the lost references. Especially the one in Captain America #34.

Captain America #34
Daredevil #104
Green Lantern #26,27
Brave and the Bold #9
Proof #4
Superpowers #0
Black Summer #5


-this was one of Bru's best issues,the new outfit looks amazing under the hands of Guice,Epting and D'Armata,as much as the first pages of the issue echo what's all the rage right now,Bru already planted these seeds back in #27 or 28

-so Superpowers has been cut down to 6 issues instead of 12?real shame since this was a solid opening,28 pages of story for 1 dollar!similar in concept to the Twelve,but with more of a mythic angle
Action Comics #861 - Good. Action is pretty much raping Superman as far as the main two Supes books go. Johns is actually writing the Legion as semi-interesting, actually referenced doubleyoo tee eff went on in the JLA/JSA crossover "The Lightning Saga," which you know, helps, when you're not really sure why anything in that story happened. Plus, Frank is terrific on art.

I also bought DD but I haven't read it yet.
Captain America #34 - One of the best issues of the run so far.The new Cap looks amazing under the hands of Guice/Epting/D'Armata.

Daredevil #104
- Superhuman gang lords running rampant,Matt walking the fine line while his personal life is falling apart.This book's been a good read,hoping to see a nice conclusion to this mega arc.

Green Lantern #27
- These past 2 issues have been a nice breather from the SC war.I like the focus on the Hal/Sinestro rel'p and all the GL politics involved.

Superpowers #0 - Really great start here.I like the more mythic approach here compared to what Marvel is doing with the Twelve.It's a shame this has been cut down to 6 issues instead of the previously announced 12 issue maxi series though.

Proof #4 - One of Image's best books.Backmatter galore as always.Really fresh monster book.

Black Summer # 5 - Ryp's art has been a real surprise.His epic action scenes are just as detailed as the more close up moments,such as people being crushed to death by metal doors.
One thing to say.

Nothing Canadia does is correct. :(

Avengers: The Initiative #9
I am angry. It was good, but I am most displeased. :dry:
No, it's the proper name for what you guys call "Canada." You guys can't even get the name of your own country right, unfortunately. :(
Daredevil #104
Matt gets ruthless and Mr. Fear and The Hood run amok. Brubaker and Lark never fail to be compelling.

Batman #673
Morrison creates a total head trip that is sometimes confusing but always interesting. I was especially intrigued by the ending. And Daniel's art looks really good in this book.
Nothing Canadia does is correct. :(

Avengers: The Initiative #9
I am angry. It was good, but I am most displeased. :dry:

Yes it was very good, I liked how they tied multuple storylines (MVP's death, the cloning, the Tritigon, Gaunlet's coma) into this one great arc. Though i highly doubt that
Pym and Trauma are dead
Screw that, man, we love Canada in these parts. How else would our 19 and 20 year olds get drunk in bars?
The last 24 hours have actually been rather rough on me personally, but on the bright side, I managed to snag this week's books and most of them are good. Even Bendis' team books, while hardly great, are readable. And the issue of CA we have been waiting for since #25 hit the stands, to much media frenzy. It actually sold out at my LCS, and I had to chase it across Brooklyn. It may not see a spike like #25 did, but I'll be surprised if issue #34 doesn't sell at least 10% above normal. The end of January goes off without a hitch.

As always, full spoilers ahead.

Dread's BOUGHT/THOUGHT for 1/30/08:

The "KILLED IN ACTION" arc, which is likely the finale to Slott's original pitch of this series as a mini, continues and really, REALLY kicks things into high gear this time around. With Gage aboard as co-writer and Caselli on art, Slott shows that he apparently is not a fan of decompression as the mystery of KIA is essentially explained this issue. In an attempt to get the Tactigon into the hands of some soldier, Gyrich orders a new clone of MVP made genetically conditioned to wear it, but once he dies, the clone relives the memories of the weapon, including the death of the original MVP, and the figures he deems "on his list" as responsible. He goes about one-by-one taking to blast them to microns, like a supervillain serial killer. He is flat out insane, Caselli has a blast drawing him and this really is the Initiative's actions in this book coming back to haunt them. There always was due to be reckoning from the actions of Gyrich and company, and this is it, creating yet another menace in the name of "the perfect soldier". Granted, this has happened countless times to the fed before, but they just never learn. In the meantime, Taskmaster trains his "new class" of recruits and Trauma asks as a therapist to Cloud 9, getting her to express feelings of remourse over killing that HYDRA terrorist in issue #2. It was good that these characters, or at least some of them, do have qualms about killing, and even remourse when they are ordered to. Thor Girl reveals her "crush" on Truama and Slott & Gage attempt to give a reason why she isn't flying over to JMS' THOR title to scope him out. Apparently she has doubts that "new Thor" is "her Thor", especially since she saw Trauma shapeshift into "her Thor" during WWH. Considering "Clor", she may have a right to be wary about another Thor, especially when Trauma turned into the one with the iconic costume. It isn't the best explanation (why not just visit Oklahoma to be sure?), but it at least attempts to make a reasonable one when most writers wouldn't care. Taskmaster gets to kick the snot out of his recruits and show off some "pragmaticism" at the same time (he talks his way out of fighting KIA by noting he isn't on his "list"). I suppose it could be seen as "weenie", especially as Taskmaster all but shudders afterwards, but the character was also about avoiding needless fights or not letting pride or emotion get him locked into a death-match if he could, and this was one of those times. Sadly, poor Thor Girl and seemingly Trauma aren't so lucky, although the latter is a shapeshifter and they are notoriously hard to kill for good (he did just survive a beat-down by the Hulk, after all). The issue ends with Gauntlet seemingly being posessed by his own alien weapon to wage war against the Tactigon. It seems good that in about a 4 issue arc, Slott & Gage are getting in as much stuff as some arcs do in 6. They even have time to flesh out Crusader, Kirkman's leftover creation from MTU and it appears he not only is keeping his reality-warping ring a secret, but isn't a Skrull infiltrator for SECRET INVASION, which may be interesting when he sees "his people" soon attacking his new adopted homeland. He also is keeping his Skrull heritage a secret. Eric O'Grady gets in some amusing lines, too. Basically, a lot happens for your $3 this month, with a lot more set to come as the chickens come home to roost. I could argue that Thor-Girl went down a bit quick considering her power level, even if the Tactigon is "the ultimate weapon". She went out a heroine (taking a shot for Trauma), but it did seem kind of quick, and sadly too much like the act of "killing off team members one by one melodramatically" that Slott mocked in GLA. I suppose for this reason some have felt he has "sold out" by becoming an A-Lister. To that I say...any one of us would in his position. Gail Simone started her "WOMEN IN REFRIDGERATORS" website, and then suddenly wasn't as outspoken after DC started giving her good profile work. This is Slott & Gage doing more serious straight-forward team superheroics and in a way that uses some of the dark stuff that happened during CW, instead of going the MIGHTY AVENGERS route and assuming once the war ended, all the nasty people turned nice again. Taskmaster's mask still looks a bit too much like Terror's face, a situation that could have been avoided had Caselli went with the UDON suit, but Finch bringing back the classic design apparently got it back to stay, and Caselli does draw it very well. Maybe A:TI repeats some of the things that we complain about in other books by other writers, and maybe that makes me seem hypocritical. But to me, Slott and now Gage are running things very well, and what is routine or even bad if written by one set of writers can be handled in an exciting fashion by another set. That is what A:TI is. Besides, with so many characters and so much continuity, it really feels like you are reading about 25% of the Marvel Universe for three bucks a month, which ain't bad.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #34: Finally, the big issue is here. I got the Epting cover, because he renders that mediocre design better than Ross does, and the interiors are even better. Marvel tried to go about their usual tricks of misinformation and overhype, and while it fooled the mainstream media (and really, what wouldn't?), but it didn't fool anyone who was on this book for a while. Brubaker is not someone who does a shock out of nowhere without building it up and making it work on a character level. True, he did that with DEADLY GENESIS, but I will attribute that to a fluke. It was his second Marvel work after his initial CA arc, and the X-Men aren't an easy franchise for even the best writers. He has built for the past 9 issues, and arguably more, of Bucky gaining the mantle of Capt. America. He is similar enough to Cap as well as has that personal connection; Brubaker even accomplished the task of making him relivent to a new generation and a cool character to boot. So instead of seeming like a desperate stunt, it seems as a progression. Naturally, there are some Cap fans who can't let go of the original, just as there were Hal Jordon fans who never accepted Kyle. And Brubaker doesn't pretend that Steve will be dead forever; he knows that won't happen and all but hints that after issue #50, all bets may be off regarding resurrections. So long as Marvel can keep him dead beyond a year, they can say they outdid DC's DEATH OF SUPERMAN story (and it has been a better story anyway). Bucky finally dons the Capt. America costume, or at least his new version of it (his claim is that he can never be Steve and doesn't want to be mistaken for Steve, but does want to honor the legacy in his way, and that is really the best you can ask of legacy heroes). Black Widow joins him and so far seems to be sharing the dynamic Steve had with Agent 13, although I think I like Natasha more. Unfortunately New Cap doesn't have any worthy enemies in his debut, just the same nameless AIM/RAID troops who have been eating floor for the past 34 issues (or years), but Epting & Guice make it look so cool that you hardly notice (and at least they had big robots). Buck uses his handgun, just not to kill, and narrates how he is physically built to carry on the legacy, but isn't as all-around fast & tough as a super-soldier, so he has to improvise. Beyond that, Brubaker manages to tap into the financial market crisis with his Skull/Kronas storyline, having the villain start chaos by ruining the economy, then using his brainwashed SHIELD agents to slaughter protestors. Brubaker's Stark is also a more well-rounded hero than what some writers depict him as during and post CW, and while this serves as just one of the 57 books a month Iron Man appears in now, I never mind him here. Man, I actually think an Avengers title with New Cap, Widow, Falcon, and some of the Young Avengers written by Brubaker would be the ass-kickingest team book out there, or at least one of them beyond THE ORDER. It won't happen, though, and maybe that is for the best so CA's success isn't overused. No need to make New Cap into Wolverine now. CA in a way is a whole buck to the system; it is a great mainstream superhero book that sells like it deserves and does shocking things, but builds them properly so they are satisfying and fulfilling. The company supports it and the fans & media do, too. This is horribly rare, and worth appreciating no matter what the reason. Cap hasn't been this big since...maybe WW2? He certainly was never this big as long as I have been alive than the franchise seems to be now, hence why it finally got my attention. It is review proof, and this much ballyhooed issue is more of the same quality. Go New Cap!

FANTASTIC FOUR #553: With all the buzz around Millar & Hitch teaming up for 16 issues of FF next month (and shipping one every 2-18 months thereafter), McDuffie quietly ends his year run on the title here. In a way I feel sorry for him; sandwiched between the longer runs of bigger names like JMS and Millar, writing stories that are fun and entertaining, but aren't as shocking or "buzz worthy" as said creators. Brubaker once said during his CATWOMAN days words to the effect of, "If you don't do anything shocking, no one will remember your run", which has turned into the rallying cry of every retconning hack out there. I imagine McDuffie in the same boat. Aside for Storm & Black Panther joining the team for a few months, nothing he did garnered wide attention and his run may be forgotten rather quickly. That isn't to say it was bad, or I didn't enjoy it. I actually can like well-done formula with strong characters and whatnot. He may be too used to 22 minute scripts, though. The FF from the future meet the FF of the present as they all grapple Future Doom. There is some fighting but it mostly is about the difficulties of altering the past (noting the time theories of Reed's father and Kang), and essentially a lot of talking about who is telling the truth, which turns out to be Doom's weakness. It seems a bit of a stretch that "Dr. Doom doesn't lie" considering all the misdirection, manipulation, and half-truths. I mean if those don't count as lies, then your definition of a lie is more strict than God's definitions of things in the Bible. It didn't quite work for me. I did like Pelletier's art as always and look forward to his stuff on NOVA. The ending theme is naturally that the Four are a team and family that know each other, which after 60 years has been perhaps overused to the point of parody, even if that works, too (so has, "Reed reveals to have known something in advance even when he acts like he doesn't, a tactic JLA ripped off for Batman and has also been overused."). I can understand why some didn't like this run and why most of the market is excited for Millar's run, which will probably involve something "shocky". Millar is about the Big Moment after all. McDuffie didn't push as many FF rules and that was probably a good thing after CW made Reed essentially into the Mad Thinker, but it is something that mainstream fans won't appreciate. See this as the Gerald Ford run; mopped up the dark times of the past administration but is quickly forgotten, at least for now, by the new kid administration. The question will be; with Joe Q's hatred of any marriage not created under his run, how long will he tolerate the Richards'? Stay tuned. As for me? I don't expect a lot from Millar & Hitch, including timely issues. This may be a good jumping off point.

MIGHTY AVENGERS #8: The symbiote issue; good gawd do I hate symbiotes. Poor Mark Bagley, as timely and effective as usual in his last Marvel run, has had to draw an awful lot of them over the past 15 years. I'd have fled to DC, too (much like the Kurberts after about a decade of drawing the X-Men). This naturally has the symbiote battle we saw in NA months ago, but from the MA perspective, and with better art. That alone makes it better. Unfortunately, Bendis' hassles persist. His thought balloons are an annoying abomination. He pretends the Austin run never happened and has Wasp "just gain" her growing powers from Pym, when she's had them for a good 4 years now when she has wanted to (even her Handbook Bio last year mentioned it, or even the brisk one from 2004). Ares as usual acts like a mindless brute. None of the other characters seem to show much rapport, aside for Iron Man getting teary eyed when he runs into Clint again. There is another 2-page splash where some character goes on a rambling rant and you have to be a mind-reader to figure out in what order the speach balloons are meant to be read, something that was once quirky in USM but, like eveything Bendis does, has been overused to oblivion until you just want to break one of his fingers every time you see it, much like his repeating dialogue, or the phrase, "come on". I mean, come on now, he uses that about twice every issue of anything he writes, ever. Like it was calling someone a "meatball" or something like Millar used to. And in NA, most of the symbiote-posessed people ended up nekkid, whereas here, they don't. Bagley I suppose is more conservative than Yu. A man asks where his pants are, when he is clearly wearing them, for instance. And you still wonder why Dr. Strange had no mystical defense for a symbiote virus when he seemed to have one for Ghost Rider beating the **** out of him last year. And have I mentioned how outdated and annoying symbiotes are? They're ninjas for the 90's. They were inserted to pad out pages for stories that tried to be cool, but weren't. Much like this one. You could have replaced them into a virus that turned people into whales or ducks and the story is the same. I did at least like Stark noting past symbiote users, but I am not looking forward to him writing Dr. Doom. For what it was, though, it was better than the NA symbiote issue.

NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #2: Taking place after one of the NA issues, it has Hood's crew mobilizing around Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum to take on the New Avengers head on, making SHIELD & Maria Hill look dumb by springing her captured crooks immediately after she left. Now, much malligning has come of Hood's crew. The general consensus is that it is great that Hood is getting some exposure, and that the Marvel rogues are discovering strength in numbers, but that their characterizations are way off (ambitious characters, lunatics, crazies, loners, all shoved together into a nameless sea and no one fights or even proves distinct) and the execution is mishandled, the story of Bendis' work. I agree. While The Hood's crew storyline has been the best thing on NA since, well, ever, that doesn't say a lot when this team has battled ninjas twice. It does itself no favors when the Wrecking Crew, in a rare bit of contunity, mentions Under Siege, as if this story deserves to stand in that league. Please. That was against a stronger roster of Avengers, it was written better, paced better, actually had a meaning (Zemo trying to break Cap's spirit, which he seems to do at the end, in defeat, if only for a moment). I mean, this a team with Luke Cage and Echo on it. The Sinister Six would give them a challenge. Plus, picking out the villains who don't work in this use is like a party game. Why are Corrupter and Purple Man just running around slugging when they could just posess the entire team (or some of them)? Why is Crossfire teaming up with the sort of freaks he wanted to avoid (at least SPIDER-MAN BREAKOUT made a go of things claiming they were prison buds for survival). Why is Mandrill fighting when he could be using his mojo on Echo or Jessica Jones? Why is Iron Fist terrible with tactics? Why is "come on!" repeated again! Why can no one remain punching the same person for more than one panel (aside for Cage beating on Wrecker or Spidey taking out Jigsaw)? And you have to love how Dr. Strange is randomly taken out of the fight and then trucked out to magically end it; I suppose being posessed by Zom would have after-effects, which Strange does mention, and it was nice seeing Wong open some whup-ass on Hood. And the trials of Tigra continue; not only is she pumped for info like she was a hooker in bed, but her attempt to fight Hood and play cavalry later goes nowhere but getting a slug in her arm. While Bendis is playing with the idea that the demon that empowers Hood is slowly making him stronger as well as corrupting him, it just seems awkward that he can rally this particular set of rogues seemless and is apparently invincible in combat. No one has any defense for a magic invisible floating man who shoots handguns. The Wizard of all people knowtows to a guy who can't outfight Strange's manservant. The idea is good, but it needed more to work out, and it needed a better and more cohesive set of rogues. Ironically, considering mobster types like Jigsaw and Masque, it could have worked better had her father, Count Nefaria, led this team. But it seems he is destined for obscurity, and getting his powers wrong. The annual means something because Strange, distraught over having to "go to the dark side" recently to beat Hulk, quits the team and kicks them out of his house. Ms. Marvel lets the team escape for the second time this week because, well, if they were arrested, the series ends (much as Dr. Kimble had to keep letting the One Armed Man escape every week, or why the castaways didn't just kill Gilligan and escape the island within a week). I suppose it is meant to show Ms. Marvel is not Iron Man's stooge, but considering Iron Man letting Bucky be new Cap or potentially funding New Warriors, it seems in his best interests to leave SOME unregistered heroes around to keep paranoia in the media up, and so even that seems to be playing along. It is a shame Bendis doesn't have a co-writer or edits NA instead, because in the hands of another this could have worked. Gladly, Bendis saved Hood from the dustbin. But, is he any better for it? Because the Sentry sure ain't. Clint wasn't obscure and he has been ruined, and so has Scarlet Witch. Every character Bendis has gotten his hands on has been left worse than he was found, and that is why SECRET INVASION looks to be a fanboy's nightmare. We should thank our lucky stars that thanks to IMMORTAL IRON FIST, Rand only comes off as "underused" here. At least Pagulayan draws the action much better and clearer than Yu sure did. Much like MA this week, this is essentially a rehash of a recent story with better art, so it is superior.

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