Before we start off, I have to offer my apologies to a few readers. Despite all the hype and love people have for their pets, I just couldn’t bring myself to purchase Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers…sorry again.
Pull of the Week:
Green Lantern Corps #36 – DC – $2.99
Continuing to move towards Blackest Night, writer Peter Tomasi takes the reader through three very different stories that all seem to be very dependent on each other. The first picks up with Sinestro, the leader of the Sinestro Corps, explaining to his daughter how the revelation of their relationship came to pass. It becomes quite a heart wrenching scene as Green Lantern Soranik must come to accept that the man, whose defeat made her the hero of her planet and people, is actually her father. Sinestro doesn’t come across as a typical mustache twirling super-villain in the scene either as there seem to be some honest intentions from the former tyrant. He explains to Soranik her role in what is supposedly destined to come.
At the same time there has been a breach in the facility where the Green Lantern Corps has been holding members of the Sinestro Corps captive for their despicable actions. These pages play out beautifully more as a news real feed than a comic book action sequence. Fleeting glimpses of the chaos are shown instead of following each of the specific Green or Yellow Lanterns during the battle. Instead, the overall drama of the confrontation is told with almost CNN-style narrative over what is definitely more than just the “Riot!” proclaimed on the cover of the issue.
For $2.99, the reader cannot regret this purchase just on the sheer volume of story in this book’s pages. All three of the stories feel meaty enough that they could have been their own separate issue but they also don’t feel crammed in the pages of issue #36. The encounters between the Green, Yellow and Red light bearers do a fantastic job of preparing the reader for the upcoming Blackest Night. Whether it is the fantastic dialogue between the estranged father and daughter, the phenomenal reporter style capture of the riot or the epic feel to the battle between Mongul and Sodam, all parts of this issue shine. If Blackest Night can continue the pace set by its prelude issues, there’s no doubt that there will be a new standard bearer for the DC Universe to come.
Deadpool: Suicide Kings #2 – Marvel – $3.99
In his main title, Norman Osborn has had footage altered to make it look like Deadpool had sided with the Skrulls, thus turning on his planet during the Skrull invasion. Now, in Suicide Kings, Deadpool finds himself on the losing end of the media stick again as footage surfaces on the evening news framing Deadpool for bombing an apartment building. Apparently, Deadpool needs to get himself a better PR rep. As it turns out, Tombstone is behind this for an unknown reason. At the same time, the Punisher sees this footage and decides to take his one man war on crime to Deadpool (which is in this series as well as the Punisher series has become a two man war, but I digress). This issue is violent to say the least. Thank the Weapon X program for giving Deadpool a healing factor better than Wolverine’s or this book would already be over. Taking the wise-cracking Deadpool and placing him against the often stoic Punisher seems like an action movie made in heaven. That’s how this series needs to be read as well, with a grain of salt. This book is far from Shakespeare, but that’s because it’s not meant to be. It’s all about having fun by turning off your brain and watching explosions, shootouts and boobs. Yes, this issue of Deadpool has a self admitted gratuitous boob scene that would make any Hooters waitress proud and another that would thrill any Giants fan.
Penciler Carlos Barberi does a great job bringing the series to paper with great storytelling and action sequences that jump off the page. He gives a fantastic take on Deadpool, Punisher, Tombstone, and of course his obvious love for T & A. Something lacking in the issue is Deadpool’s usually over the top and often close to crossing the line of too much monologues. Writer Mike Benson has erred on the side of caution with only having a few small inner conflicts for Deadpool to argue about with himself. Wade’s signature pop-culture references and breaking of the fourth wall are also kept to a minimum in this miniseries so far. His hallucinations have also been toned down in the issue but are redeemed by both a matador and a Golden Girl appearance. What other comic could be described as being redeemed by a matador and Golden Girl gracing their pages? The only real weakness comes from the way the Punisher is treated. As with the current ongoing series, the character doesn’t ring true as he does in his MAX series. Punisher is becoming almost too candy coated for the role he should be taking. The Punisher doesn’t need fancy toys. He just needs big guns.
Of all the titles featuring Deadpool currently, this one doesn’t do anything to make itself stand out from the crowd. The same lunatic mentality that helps make his main ongoing title isn’t present in this series, nor are the almost charming Alzheimer-esque symptoms of the crazed Merc that currently can be seen in the Messiah Complex crossover. But on the plus side, it still shines over the fifteen second appearance of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (No, I refuse to acknowledge any mention of him being a part in the big fight at the end of the movie). With Marvel putting a lot of backing in to the character as well as launching another new Deadpool series in the coming months, hopefully this one will kick in to higher gear, helped by the inclusion of yet another Marvel Knight in #3.
The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #6 – Dark Horse Comics – $2.99
When first hearing about the Umbrella Academy, I had the same initial reaction that everyone else did. There’s no way I am going to read a comic written by the guy from My Chemical Romance. Picking up the first mini-series in trade, I can happily say that I was proven wrong. With a twisted world view about superpowers and responsibilities (and talking simians), Gerard Way was able to craft a story that came down to one basic principal that everyone should be able to relate to: Family. This time in Umbrella Academy’s second volume, subtitled Dallas, he again takes us through the trials and tribulations of a still fractured family as one must stop a future version of himself from preventing the assassination of JFK. That’s right. This story is about how the time traveling child who doesn’t grow up affectionately referred to as Number 5 must ensure that Kennedy is killed. All the while, sister Rumor must come along for the ride as the three other brothers, Spaceboy, Kraken and Séance travel back in time in an effort to save Kennedy. Without spoiling the ending, Way is able to construct a plausible, clever and unexpected series of events that play out the end of Dallas. Much like the first volume, it’s unclear about the future of this family which will likely play in to the expected next chapter of the series.
One of Way’s greatest strengths is the complex relationships he has built between the members of this family. He has made sure they are far from one dimensional parody’s of superhero archetypes. Spaceboy, for example, may proclaim his love for his nation and its leader as something more important than the lives of himself or his own family but also wallows in self-pity for himself as he has put himself in to a life of seclusion that only includes watching television and eating instead of helping make changes for the better. On the other hand, the Rumor still deeply loves all of her family including their sister the White Violin who sought to bring about the end of the world in the original series. Rumor in this issue proves her love by doing something completely unexpected. When given the reason why, most of the family is left shocked and without words.
Overall, while a good and enjoyable read, Way didn’t capture the same magic as he had in the original Umbrella Academy. The final issue felt like the climax happened almost too soon in the book and the explanation following takes up almost too much space. Not to take anything away from the work as a whole but it feels almost as if it will read better in trade form. As with many short series such as this, they lend themselves to being all read in succession as opposed to the five months of waiting that comes reading monthly. If Umbrella Academy hasn’t made its way on to your pull list yet, pick up the first trade and keep an eye out for this one in September. It’s a refreshing and fun take on comics from someone who has shown his love for the medium. With clever twists and unorthodox topics and storytelling, it is worth anyone picking it up for a read.
Dark Reign: Hawkeye #2 – Marvel – $3.99
During his time working on the Thunderbolts, Andy Diggle must have developed a sick love for writing the character Bullseye. That love is very present in Bullseye’s miniseries under the guise of the purple-clad Avenger, Hawkeye. Some people kill by accident. Others kill only when it is their last resort. And even others kill because they are good at it and it pays the bills. Bullseye kills simply because he enjoys it. Picking up with “Hawkeye” having just been caught by a news chopper blowing up NYPD squad cars and the men inside, Norman Osborn must quell a potential media circus before the footage can be broadcast to the world. The issue does a great job of providing the reader with the overall feel of the Marvel world under the “watchful eye” of Norman as it descends back to 1984 with Big Brother being a reality. Pairing up Norman with Bullseye has also proven to be a great combination as the two men are both so stark raving insane that they have a relationship much like a father dealing with a rebellious son instead of the expected employer/hired killer interaction that should be expected from the situation. But obviously Norman has never been a great father with his own son so it remains to be seen how his parenting skills have improved. For some reason, “I’ll have the Sentry fly you in to the heart of the sun” just doesn’t come across as an idle threat in this case.
Tom Raney is no slouch either in this issue as he takes what on paper would read as a grisly and blood-soaked scene and keeps it tasteful in its execution. He didn’t take the cop out route of having blood spraying the panels but instead properly uses shadow to get the dark nature of the character and his horrific actions across. Another great achievement of this book is that it continues to make Bullseye fun. As sick as it sounds, this book doesn’t need a single hero to grace its pages. Andy Diggle has found out a way to take the twisted persona under the Hawkeye mask and has no qualms about making him a bad person. There is no gray here. It’s black and white that Bullseye is a bad, bad man. But at the same time, like watching Nascar, the reader can’t help but wonder what car crash they will be lucky enough to witness next (Please note that theflickcast.com nor John Carle endorse watching Nascar under any circumstances, whether it is to see the crashes or just watch cars drive in the same circle for five hundred laps). Also, unlike many of the crossover events that people begin to feel lost after having missed out on certain tie-in issues, Dark Reign: Hawkeye doesn’t suffer from the same problems. As Dark Reign is more of a change in the status quo and not an event, it can be taken either as a whole or in little pieces. This book does a fantastic job of standing on its own while still adding tons of substance to the Dark Reign banner.
Another positive to the book is that it nothing is given away from the cover. If you were expecting Clint Barton to don the purple and blue and take it to the classic Bullseye, you’ve got another thing coming. This issue instead keeps the focus on “Hawkeye” and the sick world that surrounds him. If the series can continue at this pace, it may possibly be the strongest under the Dark Reign banner and help continue to push Bullseye from being the B-Lister he had been reduced to by being a second banana on the Thunderbolts to being one of the most dangerous and scary villains that Marvel has to offer.
Be sure to check in tomorrow for part two of this week’s Pull List!