Pull of the Week:
Irredeemable #2 – Boom! – $3.99
After hearing all the buzz about this series, I went back and picked up the first issue as well as this week’s new release with issue #2. This issue picks up with Kaidan, a former teammate of the fallen hero, The Plutonian, on the search for any information regarding just who the new rogue used to be or what may be his weakness. Kaiden’s journey takes her to the ruins of Sky City, a place she and the Plutonian used to protect together, which is now just a scrap heap left in the Plutonian’s wake. Her journey takes her to a woman who was once the Plutonian’s girlfriend and in hearing the girl’s tale, Kaidan must also look back on her own experiences with someone she once considered a friend in order to see what may have caused him to snap.
Writer Mark Waid does a great job of overlapping super hero action on a gritty detective story. While the book has many of the standard super hero conventions that seemingly parody characters like Superman, such as his utterly laughable “secret” identity and the ability to fly to space in back in mere moments, the Plutonian is as far from the Man of Steel as they come. Something has really snapped in this former hero, as witnessed by his actions in the first issue to one of his former teammates the Hornet, as well as the Hornet’s wife and baby. And while the actions of the Plutonian are gruesome in their own right, the scariest part about him are the moments left unseen and without description. Leaving only the aftermath as evidence, the reader is only given a small peek in to the obviously broken psyche of the man who was once considered his world’s greatest hero. Peter Krause does a great job illustrating the story in a style that resembles Dynamite’s The Boys. The two books actually share a lot in common with their takes on the super hero genre.
As with many great books, this issue has a fantastic last page leaving more questions to be answered and an unexpected twist that helps pique the reader’s interest in this new dark world we’ve been introduced to. For at least the near future, Mark Waid’s work on this book has earned Irredeemable a spot on the Pull List in the coming months.
Marvel Zombies 4 #2 – Marvel – $3.99
Something about the series has lost its luster with each volume. Possibly because Robert Kirkman has a knack for writing the undead and is no longer a part of the series? Possibly because the story no longer revolves around the zombie characters themselves? Regardless, the shine has dulled from what it was to a now fairly average title. The title itself doesn’t even feel appropriate for the book as the focus is now on Morbius, the Living Vampire, and his monster squad made up of Werewolf by Night, Son of Satan and the witch, Jennifer Kale. The team was formed with the purpose of tracking down the two “surviving” zombies, Simon Garth and the head of zombie Deadpool (who has affectionately been referred to as both Z-pool and Headpool). Meanwhile, the new kingpin of crime, the Hood, follows the orders of his dark master to acquire these zombies in order to control the virus himself. Ultimately, the two groups cross paths in an extended action sequence that takes up much of the book. While this happens, Simon and Headpool continue their one-sided conversation that prove that even with no body and a mute straight man to play off of, Deadpool can still bring enjoyment to any book.
Deadpool aside, the story feels very paint-by-numbers for a Marvel monster book. Spooky backdrops combined with supernatural protagonists and antagonists with lots of blood tossed in for added spice seem to make up every page. Unfortunately, the concoction comes out fairly bland as the reader hopes to recapture some of the magic that was lost from the initial Marvel Zombies miniseries. The fact that the zombies are no longer the stars of the issue and the lack of the inner turmoil experienced by those characters also leaves something missing from the no longer aptly titled story. While it has not reached Marvel Apes territory yet, it may be a good idea for Marvel to let try to end the series on a high note and then go away for a while instead of kicking the zombie horse back in to life over and over again for lackluster results.
War of Kings #3 – Marvel – $3.99
For some reason after reading this issue of the War of Kings mini-series, the first comparison that came to mind was Star Wars: Episode I. And no, it wasn’t because I had a desire to light the book on fire like the Phantom Menace. The reason lied solely with the issue’s bizarre pacing. The first half of the issue revolves around the characters Gladiator, from the Shi’ar side of the conflict, and Crystal, hailing from the Inhuman/Kree factions. The opening transitions from Gladiator’s inner monologue to the thoughts of Crystal as each examines their role in the war effort at this time and those around them. Like much of the plot of Episode I, these pages are fairly boring and hinder the overall feel of the issue. After turning past the two page advertisement in the center of the book, the story takes a complete turn and is all action for the remainder. This second half is the strength of the book as seeing these pitched battles take place have proven to be the most interesting parts of any of the War of Kings issues and tie-ins.
But the real star of the issue, Rocket Raccoon. He has quickly become to the Guardians of the Galaxy what Spider-Man is to the New Avengers. Despite being a raccoon, he is the everyman of the group who gets to shout the corny catchphrases and witty banter that the average reader would say if given the situation.
Something great about this crossover event is that even the tie-in issues like the Guardians of the Galaxy are proving their worth to the overall story arc, and these characters don’t just have their own fringe story. Piece by piece, the Starjammers and the Guardians have been organically brought to the heart of the conflict in the title book. Hopefully by this time next month, the Nova Corp and the Darkhawk raptors will also have made their way over so seamlessly. It is a shame that the first half of the book is so poorly paced compared to the second. Unfortunately with such epic stories being told in only six issues, there are times when the writer feels the need to cram in the political details of the conflict all together almost to get them out of the way instead of spreading them out through in smaller increments. Had the issue only been the second half, it would have been much more enjoyable of a read and likely could have received Pull of the Week. The most anticipated part of this story still remains, what will happen when Vulcan and Black Bolt lock horns? And after this War comes to an end, what longstanding ramifications will it have for the heroes of Earth?
Check back in tomorrow for part two of this week’s Pull List!