Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Comic Book Wednesday: Embrace More of the Same

Three short reviews this week, no explanation. Because that's just the way I role. And roll, too.

Secret Invasion: Dark Reign. By Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. Osborne assembles his "Dark" Illumanati group, consisting of Loki, White Queen, Namor, Doctor Doom, and the Hood, and has a heart-to-heart with Swordsman. This oneshot is basically an "coming attractions" reel for the upcoming Dark Reign arc. As far as such things go, we've seen better; as divisive as DC's equivalent preview for the Infinite Crisis event was in killing off Ted Kord, at least something signficant occurred. Without going into too many spoilers, it felt like the issue wasn't setting up groundwork so much as telegraphing outcomings; we've already got a sense on who's going to be the character focal point of the group, who's preparing for a double-cross, and who's going to have a mental breakdown. The issue does what it intends to do, but it didn't really raise any interest for me in the Next Big Event.

Final Crisis 5. By Grant Morrison and Lots of Artists. If the series keeps improving like this, issue by issue, by the time we hit 7, it will be one of the greatest classics of Western literature.
This issue strikes a nice balance between the off-the-wall cool ideas that Morrison is known for (Rubik's cubes, anyone?) and the just-plain-cool, such as the Green Lantern trial at the start of the issue. As far as plot goes, I think the overall picture is that we're gearing up for the big final showdown; any finer details are, well, a bit muddled in the mix. On its own terms, the issue is fine, and based on what came before it, it's a step up. My only problem is with the overall picture: with only two issues to go, there are still a lot of disparate plot threads that just aren't close enough now to contribute to all contribute to the finale in any meaningful way. I may be wrong, but at the moment, it still seems like there are too many half-finished ideas floating in the air.

Wolverine: Flies to a Spider. By Gregg Hurwitz and Jerome Opena. Wolverine supplies the role as the Angel of Vengeance for a little girl caught in the crossfire of a gang war, killing the members of a local bike gang. Flies to a Spider is the latest in a long line of Wolverine one-shots, and I'd be worried about overexposing the character if that line hadn't been crossed decades ago. And while this is hardly the first or first hundredth time this has ever come up, but how exactly does a wanton vigilante murderer manage to put himself on the rosters of the biggest superhero groups in the Marvel world, and no one seems to mind? With the Punisher, at least he's an outlaw on the run, and law enforcement figures try half-heartedly to stop him every now and then. But Wolverine's got a registered address with the X-Men; you'd think someone would attempt to bring a warrant or two the next time they're in San Francisco.
But that's what I get for trying to apply logic to a world with flying men in tights. The issue itself isn't bad, although it's kind of forgettable. While it jumps through its hoops readily enough, the basic plot could have worked for any gruff, vigilante type. You basically could do the whole plot with the Punisher, just switching the claws for guns. And honestly, a bike gang? Versus an unstoppable, nigh indestructible killing machine? Not a lot of tension there. The action itself is well-orchastrated, and if that's your bag, I guess the one shot is ok. But for me, there's better out there.

But enough about me. Any dissenting opinions out there? Or sycophantic agreement? Or even disinterested bystanders? Comments, insults, and praises are welcome.

Later Days.

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