Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
Another strong field this week.* This time, it came down to two strong contenders with something in common. But only one can win. So I crunched the numbers, ran some simulations, flipped a coin, and picked the one with Spider-Man in it anyway.
The Best Comic Ever (This Week):
Assault on New Olympus #1 (A.K.A. Incredible Hercules vs. Amazing Spider-Man, A.K.A. Incredible Hercules #137 1/2, A.K.A. Incredible Herc/Agents of Atlas Double Feature With Spider-Man Is Like Nerd Porn For Brad Curran)
So, yeah, this is a comic where Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente writes a fight between Spider-Man and Hercules over a seemingly airhead goddess. It has everything that makes Pak, Van Lente, Incredible Herc, Spider-Man, Marvel Comics, mythological superheroes, and comics in general great. Rodney Buchemi’s not too shabby on the art, either. And then there’s an Agents of Atlas back up by Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman, which is just not fair to other comics that do not have Agents of Atlas backups. Which really oughta be all of them.
And yes, the other comic I considered for this honor was X-Men vs. Agents of Atlas, which really makes me want a Jeff Parker Uncanny X-Men run, even he will probably wind up being as hamstrung by writing Uncanny X-Men as Fraction, Brubaker, and everyone else since… Claremont? The first time? And only like one really good half? Still; Jeff Parker for President of the X-Men is something I’m all for. Can someone start a meaningless petition for that?
Other comics I bought this week in brief(-ish):
Ghost Riders: Heaven’s On Fire #4- Now with 99% less Ghost Riders! Kind of an off issue for Aaron and Boschi, but it did at least have a goth spiritual terrorist hottie fighting Madcap. Don’t see that every day. I have like negative interest in the back up reprints, for some reason. And that reason is I never wanted to like Ghost Rider before Aaron wrote him, and those things remind me why that is.
Marvel Zombies: Evil Evolution- So, yeah, that’s too much zombie viscera in my dopey ape superhero comic. A real sour way for a run of comics I probably liked too much to end (especially with no Peyer back up?!?!?!), but I guess that’s what I get for following their attempt to turn a sleeper hit in to a franchise.
Strange Tales #3- A mixed bag, for sure. The highlights for me were: Stan Sakai’s Hulk, because it’s Stan Sakai drawing the Hulk; the art on Corey Lewis and Dylan McCrae’s Longshot story (I mean, it’s something that could have been in X-Men Unlimited, and the dialogue almost gave me a seizure, but it looked pretty), Jay Stephens’ fun Beast vs. Morbius short (get that guy on a Beast mini/ongoing now!), Jeffrey Brown’s “FF are jerks” gag strip (I really like funny Jeffrey Brown), Paul Hornschemeier’s downbeat, effecting Nightcrawler Meets the Molecule Man (which features the saddest super villain monologue ever), and Michael Kupperman’s Avengers, which is incalculably better than any other Avengers comic ever.
The lows were Peter Bagge’s cute but underwhelming Hulk serial (the whole “the story Marvel didn’t want you to see until now” aspect of it didn’t help at all), Jonathan Jay Lee’s trailer for a Punisher revamp we’ll never (with art I couldn’t get in to at all), Max Cannon’s dumb Amazing Fantasy #15 riff, and whatever it is Chris Chua was drawing (that guy works with Khoi Pham? For reals?).
Becky Cloonan’s Namor strip was the median. Great art, as you’d expect, but what was with that reveal at the end? (That said, I’d buy the hell out of a Super Villain Team Up revamp with Doom as Namor’s deadbeat roomate, so good on Ms. Cloonan there.
I liked Strange Tales overall. People who waited for the trade are in for a nice package, I think, but it was also fun in singles (not $5 fun, each time, but good enough to justify $15 for three issues). Of course, I’m the guy who loved the first Bizarro Comics anthology and have barely read any of the people involved’s indie work, so… yeah, I’m that guy. Moving on.
Mighty Avengers Assemble Hardcover- Got this at the LCS’s Halloween sale. I really liked the Bendis/Cho arc. The one where Bendis and Bagley team up for the last time, not so much (well, what I’ve read; haven’t finished it, because seriously; Mark Bagley is as not very good at drawing big action comics as Bendis usually is at writing them). But yeah, that Bendis/Cho arc; first Avengers I’ve ever really liked outside of Kupperman’s just now.
I was pretty surprised, since I’ve always found Bendis’s New Avengers (featuring a roster I uniformly like) to be almost good. Mighty (where I like 2 1/2 of the characters, and one (Ms. Marvel) only because she’s good in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2) I really dug on a “widescreen comics” level. Also, Cho’s actually a pretty good comic book artist, and not just a pin up guy! Who knew? I almost feel bad that they blew up this team for Secret Invasion. And hey, thought balloons! I forgot I missed those!
*Three comics I would have bought on normal weeks were disqualified because I didn’t buy them: Buffy because I dropped it (push came to shove, and I was going to just get that Willow one shot and pack it in anyway; now I’ll just do that retroactively), Captain America: Reborn because I left it for later (trade if all else comes fails, since I have the rest of Brubaker’s run that way), and Deadpool Team Up because I forgot it/didn’t get home with it. Also, I only bought Marvel stuff this week, so there’s that awful bias going on. Be sure to tell me what else I forgot/why my opinion is wrong, folks!
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