Friday 15 December 2017

Comic Reviews

This week Wilson Fisk goes the full Trump; Weapon X clings on to my pull list by the skin of its satire; everyone in the Runaways needs a hug; Mister Miracle gets considerably more than a hug (the lucky goit); and, Booster Gold gets some measure of satisfaction from saying “I told you do” to the man who told him he wasn't responsible enough to wear a cape.

Daredevil #596
Charles Soule continues to be as wonderfully unsubtle with the whole Mayor Fisk angle as I'd hoped. After last issue's confrontation between Daredevil and Fisk the entire NYPD is let loose on the city in an attempt to bring the superhero who “attacked” the mayor to justice. I'm sure this has nothing to do with, oh for instance, the current US president's relationship with ICE, not at all, guv. On a less snarky note this whole arc rather vindicates Soule's decision to put the genie back in the bottle as concerns Matt's secret identity since this storyline just couldn't work with people knowing who he was.

And the issue cliffhanger is a fantastic twist that makes me hope the Mayor Fisk angle continues beyond this arc.

Weapon X #12
It has to be said: I was rapidly going off this series. The initial arc didn't thrill me but I kept at it because I liked the choice of characters for the team and then Amadeus Cho rocked up to lend a hand. Now we're out of the Reverend Stryker-shaped woods and I'm hoping this next arc follows through on the promise I saw in the concept when it was announced.

And don't get me wrong, this is better. Weapon X get a call from some South American guy who apparently appeared in the first arc and I forgot that a militia with US flags tattooed on their faces is rounding up and killing mutants on the orders of the local dictator. Turns out they have those flags tattooed there because they're a rip off of Nuke, a mad as bag of frogs Captain America knock-off a couple Weapon Plus generations behind Logan and Sabretooth. I sort of remember the character from a Wolverine: Origins arc and I suppose I shall go back and read that to get myself up to speed.

My continued interest in this series basically hinges on how well Greg Pak addresses the politics of this arc. He has a South American dictator using “American technology” (read: knock-off super soldiers as substitute for ex-US army hardware proliferation) to kill his own people. This is not an unknown situation in developing nations across the world. I trust Pak on this, he's a clever writer and I'm hoping the subtle as a brick attitude to satire Marvel has going right now continues.

Runaways #4
There's this odd trend in superhero comics that comes from their long, often decade-spanning histories, where a new writer will come in and make a thing about an old inconsistency. Sometimes its dumb but sometimes its the key to a fantastic new angle on the whole thing. I hope Rainbow Rowell has hit on the latter because, good grief, did I not notice a staggeringly strange plot point of the original Brian K. Vaughn run.

Molly's parents have the same mutant power. The exact same mutant power. That only happens with siblings and it is, frankly, a bizarre coincidence even for a comicbook universe otherwise (or very, very icky but let's not go there). Now we discover that Molly's grandmother is a geneticist who took Molly's father in when he was a kid. I hope this is going somewhere awesome.

Meanwhile, on the level that makes me feel less like a relentless geek, Gert continues to work through her issues with how everyone has grown and moved on since her death. She distrusts Molly's grandmother on sight, refusing food and drink from her on principle. Its consistent with where the character was when she died and actually throws into sharp relief how bitter Gert and most of the rest of the team was in the old days.

And, damn it, can someone just give Nico a hug.

Mister Miracle #5
Okay, so this was actually a pretty straight forward issue of a series that has previously gloried in not making a lick of sense. Plus, Big Barda spends quite a few pages with not many clothes on and therefore enough guns out to stock a frigate. Which was nice...

In less lascivious terms Mister Miracle is spending a day with Barda before he gets executed for... I'm still not quite clear on what but this whole series has a “just go with it” vibe going. Anyway, they spent time around LA, they sit on the beach and Scott monologues about Descartes and Kant and the origins of “I think therefore I am”. There is light bondage and Barda... wow. There is also a PR man who keeps harping on about how executing Scott is going to make the New Gods unpopular so he wants Scott to really, really consider making it look like suicide to soften the blow which is pretty much the only part of the issue that feels as trippy as the rest of the series has been. I wonder of the lack of mad is a blip for this issue (Scott's impending doom sharpening his perceptions) or the beginning of a shift that'll lead us to the conclusion.

Also, the moment when Scott and Barda listen to “their song” is all kinds of wrong and wonderful.

Action Comics #993
I have missed Booster Gold. I'm not 100% clear on whether this is meant to be the Booster from Jurgens' pre-Flashpoint series or the Booster who appeared in the New 52 Justice League International but its nice to see Jurgens back on the character regardless. On the one hand he seems to be a time cop as he was pre-Flashpoint but he also cares about his fame, which pre-Flashpoint Booster had basically given up on as vapid and immature.

Anyway, after the whole Mister Oz business, Superman has travelled back to Krypton just before it was destroyed but things go strange and he ends up on what seems like either a Krypton that was never destroyed or a Krypton from another timeline. There's one of those trippy hypertime segments featuring what look like glimpses of the New Krypton storyline and Cir-El, the future Supergirl from more than a decade ago. Booster is travelling to find Superman before history gets completely screwed, which may or may not already have happened since... well, check out the earlier parts of this paragraph.

There's also some business in the present setting up the Rebirth status of General Sam Lane, a character I have never cared for and, judging by the way he's spoken of here, never will. Still, it promises interesting developments for Jon and Lois which is something. In all honesty not much happens in this issue and the main pleasure is seeing Dan Jurgens writing Booster again and that's more than enough. 

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