All right, let’s go ahead and dish out The Revolution’s weekly awards.
The nominees for the Che for the best read of the week:
Captain America #42
Fantastic Four #560
Legion of Super Heroes #46
Project Superpowers #6
Wolverine: First Class #7
The Winner: Fantastic Four #560
This past week was fantastic! We got spoiled with so many excellent reads. It is going to be extremely difficult for me to pick just one title for the Che this week.
Daredevil #111 was a great start to the new story arc. Brubaker delivers such a technically sound comic book. However, the fact that Lady Bullseye is such a lame villain prevents me from awarding the Che to this issue. I read Karen’s take on Lady Bullseye over on Girls Read Comics. Karen imagines what the discussion must have gone like at Marvel’s offices about the creation of Lady Bullseye. I found it to be hilarious. And I have to say that I pretty much totally agree with Karen’s take on Lady Bullseye’s character. You can read it here.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
All right, let’s go ahead and dish out The Revolution’s weekly awards.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Steve Epting & Luke Ross
Inks: Rick Magyar, Steve Epting & Fabio Laguna
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Captain America breaking up the assassination attempt by Sin. Captain America plows his way through the Kane-Meyer guards. Sin kicks Captain America and then Sin makes a quick getaway. The Kane-Meyer guards then attack Cap once again.
We cut to Sin on the rooftop of the building. Sin is panicking that her father is going to kill her for screwing everything up. Sin decided that she must do something to redeem herself in her father’s eyes. Sin then looks down to the alley and sees the limos for the Presidential candidates and the police escorts getting ready to leave the area. Sin then says that it is time for a contingency plan.
We slide over to the Red Skull’s base and see Black Widow and the Falcon beating up some AIM soldiers. Falcon comments that the Red Skull must have set off the base’s self-destruct program. The entire base is exploding and collapsing. Black Widow says that Sharon’s GPS signal is coming from down the hall.
We cut to Arnim Zola’s lab where Zola zaps Sharon and then hooks her into his machine. Zola comments that this procedure will definitely hurt Sharon. Red Skull tells Zola to hurry. The Red Skull states that he does not plan on being trapped by his enemies or being trapped in Lukin’s body any longer.
We cut to the 1950’s Captain America strapped into a chair in a room full of monitors. He yells out that he is Captain America and that they cannot treat him this way. Due to the self-destruct program, we see the room collapsing on top of the 1950’s Captain America.
We shift back to Captain America still kicking ass on the Kane-Meyer soldiers. Cap thinks that he is wasting too much time on the foot soldiers and that he needs to catch up to Sin quickly. We see Sin on the roof with a rocket launcher.
We hop back to Zola’s lab where Sharon is still bathed in the bright white energy beams. Sharon wonders what she is seeing in the light. Sharon thinks that she is seeing something alive and that it is growing. Sharon then wonders “Is that my…is that…” Sharon then says “No.”
Sharon then manages to break free from the machine. Sharon then collapses to the ground. Zola comments that Sharon broke the connection which shorted out the machine. Zola says that he could repair the machine, but that they do not have enough time. That the SHIELD agents will make their way to the lab at any moment.
Red Skull snaps and yells “Stupid, stupid woman!” and kicks Sharon several times. Red Skull spits that his plans are ruined. Zola answers that Skull’s plans have simply been delayed. Red Skull counters that he now has no way out of Lukin’s head. Zola answers that that is not true. Zola tells Skull to come with him.
We cut to Captain America arriving on the roof of the building. Cap sees Sin with the rocket launcher and about to fire it at the limos of the Presidential candidates. Sin tells Captain America that he is too late and she fires the rocket launcher. Captain America screams “NO!”
We slide back to Red Skull’s base. Black Widow and Falcon find Sharon’s GPS tracker on the floor of the medical bay where she was being held. Falcon wonders where Sharon could be.
We then shift to Sharon walking down the hall of Red Skull’s base. Sharon grabs a gun off an unconscious AIM soldier. Sharon thinks how she cannot let the Red Skull get away with all of this. Not after all that the Red Skull has done.
Lukin begins laughing. We then hear a “blam” from a gunshot. Lukin turns around and sees Sharon standing there. Sharon then shoots Lukin three times in his chest. Lukin falls to the ground. Lukin mumbles “But…but…but…I was…but…I…” Lukin then dies.
Sharon then whispers “Okay…good enough…I’m done now…” Sharon looks like she is about to pass out. Zola states that Sharon has “No concept, girl…of how utterly futile…how utterly futile…”
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Steve Epting and Luke Ross
Inkers: Rick Magyar, Steve Epting and Fabio Laguna
Colorist: Frank D'Armata
Captain America (Bucky) bust into the communication room and stops Sin and her crew assassination "attempt" on the Presidential candidates. As Senator Gordon Wright, Red Skull's secret candidate, is helped out the building Bucky makes quick work of Sin's crew as she is able to make her escape to the roof of the building. Before Sin can make her escape all the cops arrive at the building putting an even bigger wrench in her plans to get in her fathers good graces again.
Outside of Red Skull's base Natasha and Falcon are their way through AIM members with the help of some SHIELD soldiers in order to make it inside the base.
Inside of Red Skull's base Red Skull and Professor Zolo prepare an operating table and drag Sharon Carter's body onto the table after knocking her out with a stun gun. It seems that Red Skull and Lukin are finally tired of sharing the same body and with Steve Roger and Sharon's unborn baby's death Red Skull plans to use Sharon Carter as his new host body. When Sharon comes to Zolo's body transfer device is already active.
Elsewhere in the same building a capture Grand Director, who still believes himself to be the real Captain America, is shouting at the top of his lungs to let him because he is Captain America. Suddenly an explosion is set off inside the building by SHIELD.
Back at the building were the Presidential debate was broken up by Sin's assassination attempt Bucky continues to mow down Sin's crew while Sin prepares to shoot a parking lot filled with people, cops, and cars with a rocket launcher.
Shifting the scene back to Red Skull's base the Skull's transfer into Sharon's body is going according to plan when the explosion that hit the room with the Grand Director finally hits them and machine they were using is destroyed. In the aftermath of the unsuccessful body transfer Red Skull is yelling at Zolo that he cannot believe he has to continue to share a body with Lukin. Zolo tells Red Skull to follow him to activate his backup plan.
Finally reaching the roof of the building Bucky gets their in time to see Sin preparing to lauch her rocket launcher at the crowd. Bucky starts to run at Sin in order to stop her from killing all those people.
Meanwhile, in the now destroyed Red Skull's base Natasha and Falcon are finally able to track down Sharon's abandoned GPS tracker wondering were in the hell she is. Sharon on the mean time is wandering the destroyed base halls and grabs one of the knock out guards gun in order to find and shot Red Skull with.
Speaking of the devil, it seems that Zolo was successful in seperating Lukin and Red Skull with Lukin back in control of his body telling Zolo he is a genious. As Lukin praises Zolo Sharon appears and shots Lukin three times in the chest not knowing Lukin and Red Skull are not sharing a body anymore. As Lukin is dying Zolo is about to berate Sharon for what she has done Zolo is stab through his robot by the now escaped Grand Director. Sharon than faints before she can ask Grand Director a question due to all the drugs Zolo and Red Skull pumped in her body.
Back at the roof of the Presidential debate building Bucky is unable to stop Sin from shooting her rocket laucher. With no other choice, Bucky jumps in front of the rocket headed towards the crowd hoping his shield and the suit Tony gave him protects him from getting seriously hurt by the blast. The rocket explodes upon making contact with Bucky's shield and aftershock of the explosion launches Bucky into a cop car and Sin against a wall. A knocked out Sin is arrested by some SHIELD agents. As Bucky comes to he is greated by a SHIELD agent a bunch flashing cameras with people asking questioned by the crowd. Bucky starts to think back to how this is how it used to be when Bucky and Steve were partners.
Elsewhere Falcon and Natasha finally find Sharon and wake her up. As Falcon is holding Sharon, Sharon starts crying and admits to Falcon that she is the one who killed Steve. Falcoon tells her it will be alright as he continues to hug her.
In the aftermath of Red Skull's failed plans we get three epilogues that show us where the main characters of the story are. In the first epilogue Tony confirms that Sharon indeed had a miscarrage to Sam as Sharon sits in the next room. It also seems that Doctor Faustus made Sharon forget that she was even pregnant in the first place. Sam tells Tony that he will take care of Sharon while she recupperates from these events and will hold off in telling Sharon about her miscarrage until she is ready.
In the second epilogue Natasha is in Senator Wright's office telling him that if he does not drop out of the Presidential race all of his dirty secrets of working with Red Skull and Kronas and will be labeled a traitor if he doesn't drop out. With no other choice Wright agrees to drop out. Later at Bucky's apartment Bucky and Natasha are suggled infront of the TV watching Wright's official announcing his withdrawl fro the Presidential race and Bucky as Captain America's first national appearace. As Bucky turns off the TV Natasha tells Bucky to enjoy the spotlight while it last because while Steve made being Captain America look easy it will be a while before Bucky can do the same. Bucky and Natasha then start to make out as we see the Grand Director walking through New York City in a trench coat and hat wondering were he is headed.
In the finale epilogue we see what happend to the Red Skull. From the looks of things Zolo transfered Red Skulls brain into a similar robot Zolo himself is in. The issue ends with Red Skull's disbelief in his new body.
Captain America #42 was another great issue by Brubaker and Epting that brings "closure" to the "Death of Captain America" arc that has been going on for the past year and a half. I know that many people may be upset that this did not bring an actual end to Red Skull but the way Brubaker decided to end this long story arc is a fitting way to end this great story and leaving open the eventual return of Red Skull in future stories.
Now before I start praising this issue lets me just say this that for those who are expecting a big ending that resolves all the plotlines that have been building since the first issue than you are going to be disappointed. Because while Red Skull, Zolo, and Faustus plan of destroying the USA from the inside fails all three villains are still alive in some form. Also because Bucky never actually got to fight or even come face to face with the Red Skull many people are expecting for a story of this magnetude there is no actual final resolution to Bucky getting revenge on those that were behind the death of Steve Rogers.
But again for anyone that has been reading Captain America, and to the same extent Daredevil, should trust Brubaker enough to know he has long-term plans to were he wants to take the various characters. But if you are someone that is not satisfied with getting an actual ending to every plotline than I recommend getting this story when it comes out in trade paperback form since Captain America is read much better in one sitting.
The great thing about this story has been how Brubaker has developed Bucky from being the Winter Soldier to Captain America in a way that it feels natural. Like many people I was hesitant of the idea of someone other than Steve Rogers being Captain America but Brubaker has shown that my hesitation of a new Captain America was for nothing. Brubaker has shown that Bucky as Captain America is much more interesting than Steve being Captain America and I know that some long time Marvel purest may think this is blasphemy but that is how great Bucky has been in his new role.
What makes Bucky a great Captain America is that what Natasha told him that even today he was succesful in taking down Red Skull and his crew and is now in the spotlight that times will not always be that way and he is still going to have to grow more into his role as the new Captain America. Bucky along with the reader knows this and there will be a time were Bucky will fail as Captain America and it will be interesting when his first failure happens and how he will feel he let Steve down. But right now it was nice to see that Bucky does get a victory because since he has returned he never has had a victory and it was nice that in the end he was able to spend time with his girl after all the crap he went through.
Outside of Bucky, Brubaker has also done an excellent job building up the supporting cast of this title specifically Sam and Sharon. Before Steve's death Sam has been a D- or C-list hero but not anymore and he has now gone to being a B-list with potential in being A-list if his character development continues in the pace it is going. And Sam taking care of Sharon after all the Red Skull put her through not only shows how good of a friend Sam is with Sharon but also just how much respect he has for Steve to take care of his girl.
After all the torture Sharon has been through she will need friends like Sam to pull her through. I hope that Sharon does not turn all emo for several arcs because that will get old fast. I want to see Sharon return to her Sharon Carter Agent of SHIELD persona and not someone that is a shell of herself. But with Sharon having her memory of the death of her and Steve's unborn baby being wiped out it place Sam, Tony, and Bucky in an interesting spot when the truth is revealed to her and who it will be that actually tells her. In any case I expect we will see a little emo Sharon before Brubaker returns her to her old self.
Enough of our heroes lets talk about the other side of the what made this story great: the villains. It is amazing that for the past 42 issues of Captain America their has been really only one villain behind everything and that is Red Skull. I can't rememeber if their has ever been a story this long that has used the same villain for more than 8 issues. And for Brubaker to use Red Skull as the main antagonist for 42 issues shows how great of a story teller Brubaker has been. It is only fitting that Red Skull does not die and that he will return in some form or fashion.
And even though I was expecting a big brawl between Bucky and Red Skull I actually think it is smart that Bucky first victory as Captain America is not against the Red Skull but against his daughter Sin. Because for all the skills Bucky has it seems to soon for Bucky to take down an A-list villain like Red Skull. It would make the Red Skull look a bit weak to be taken down by a "rookie" Captain America. Seeing Red Skull ending up like Zolo is a fitting end to all of Red Skull's master planning that still leaves open Red Skull to gain a new body and torture everyone close to Steve after rethinking his strategy.
I kind of feel bad that Lukin died only moments after getting rid of Red Skull from his head. Even though Lukin is an evil bastard like every villain it was to bad that we may not see what a Lukin free of the Red Skull would be like. If he would have continued to be a villain or find redemption for what Red Skull made him do. But now we will never know.
It is interesting to see that the the Grand Director is still alive after this story. Now that he knows that he is not Steve Roger's or even the real Captain America it will be interesting if he will accept that or take revenge on everyone close to the Captain America name as revenge for what he has been through. Seeing him walk through New York City makes me feel bad for the guy and I hope that in some way he does find happiness and who he actually is.
This issue brought another partner for Steve Epting to help in the art chores in Luke Ross. I didn't even realize that Ross was actually helping out Epting on the art and I thought Epting drew the whole issue. It's amazing that almost every artist that helps Epting with the art chores is able to channel their inner Epting and mirror his artwork were you do not notice Epting is getting help or not even doing the art for the issue. It has been Epting's dark and gritty art that has made Brubaker's whole story so great and mixes with Brubaker's writting style perfectly. The Bucky action scenes in this issue were some of the best action scenes I have seen this book. Great work by Epting and Ross on this issue.
Superman can still set an example. When even more and more of the DC Universe have a more pragmatic morality (and those stories have their place) the idea of a hero you can look up to, one that sets an example of good, a hero that can inspire holds strong appeal.
Sure, with Superman's powers, and his intelligence, there is an element of power fantasy in enjoying his stories. Its nice to see the villains get theirs. Comforting even.
How Superman sets the example is having all of that power yet being quite selfless in its use. His morality, his ethics, even his tactics are self limiting, yet he never takes the easy way out. Power tends to corrupt, as the quote goes, but not in this case. Given the situation in the world today, we need more examples of that, I fear.
Superman can be boring. If he isn't written correctly. I have no experience as a comic book writer, but I'm sure the marketing demands alone have diluted his strength as a character. Not to mention having to appear, for quite a long time, weekly.
Superman is a big deal. He has been treated like television, when he is cinema. He is the one that started it all, he has endured, and when he appears it should be special. Its no surprise that some of his best appearances recently have been in limited series like Kingdom Come or All Star Superman.
Superman can be exciting, and he will be again. His humanity, his compassion, his strength of character and of body, are all ingredients for superb storytelling. He is larger than life, and can still be an inspiration to us all. Current storylines are starting to build back some of those essential elements of the Man of Steel, just in time for his 75th anniversary. Let us hope it continues.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Ed McGuinness
Inks: Dexter Vines
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On the Golden Gate Bridge...Iron Man and friends(the Human Torch, Ares, She-Hulk, Namor, and the Thing) are talking to the green Hulk. Iron Man wants to help the Hulk. Hulk says that A-Bomb(Rick Jones-the new Abomination) is his only friend. Green Hulk's fight with the red Hulk has triggered the San Andreas Fault. San Francisco is falling into the bay.
Hulk explains that he "not hurt city. Red Hulk did." Ares tells him that he does not care what he calls himself, Hulk should be happy that they are offering to help instead of whipping him. Namor interrupts Ares but it does not stop him. Hulk tells "broom head" to shut up. Ares says that no one calls him broom head and lives. So Hulk yells broom head at him. Torch says here we go...
Hulk says that Iron Man lied. They are here to fight Hulk. Namor and Iron Man take hold of Ares and tell him to back off. Iron Man says they are after the red Hulk. Hulk will listen since they hate the red Hulk. A-Bomb lands in front of the Thing. The Thing tells A-Bomb that he is an ugly cuss.
She-Hulk tries to tell Hulk that they think the red Hulk is Leonard Samson. Hulk doesn't care who the red Hulk is. He is going to smash the red Hulk. He leaps away. A-Bomb says to wait for him. Ben Grimm comments that A-Bomb is a corny name, but then he calls himself the Thing.
Iron Man orders the group to stabilize the region. Namor uses his horn to summond giant sea creatures to hold up a damaged bridge.
A hole is the ground in Monument Valley. Red Hulk is climbing out. He is surprised that he survived jumping from the moon to the earth. The green Hulk is waiting for him. Red Hulk wants to know if the green Hulk is back for more. Green Hulk takes him by the throat and says he is here to finish the red Hulk.
The 2 Hulks start beating on each other. Red Hulk is ready to punch the green Hulk when Thor's hammer flies in and hits red Hulk in the face. Thor begins to beat up the red Hulk.
A-Bomb arrives. Green Hulk wants to know how A-Bomb found him. He says he can find Hulk like Hulk finds red Hulk. Green Hulk says that Thor cannot beat the red Hulk. He is only one who can beat him. The madder he gets the stronger he gets. This is not true for the red Hulk. The madder he gets, the hotter he gets.
Thor zaps red Hulk with lightning bolts. Green Hulk jumps the red Hulk. A-Bomb asks Thor to let the green Hulk fight. He has to win this fight. Thor will let green Hulk fight, but if he dies the red Hulk's blood will be spilled by Thor's hands.
Red Hulk trash talks the green Hulk as he thumps him. Red Hulk asks if the green Hulk wants to die as a coward. His eyes are glowing. The red Hulk gets hotter and starts to swing wildly. In his weakened state, the red Hulk is flattened by 1 blow from the green Hulk. Green Hulk says there is only 1 Hulk and he is green.
Thor says he has been away for a dark time. But he wants to be friends with the Hulk. Hulk smiles and the 2 shake hands. Thor flies away. As Hulk leaves he tells A-Bomb that Rick will always be Hulk's friend. A-Bomb wants to know why Hulk calls him Rick. A-Bomb turns back into Rick. He says that Bruce needs to know the truth. The red Hulk is ... and he is blasted from behind by Leonard Samson. He says that Rick can't be telling secrets like that. He drags Rick away.
The Good: Some great action shots of Hulk versus Hulk and Thor versus Hulk. McGuinness draws a classic version of the Hulk in action. His art is a good fit for this comic.
I loved the inclusion of the giant sea creatures that Namor summonds. I recall them from a old issue of Fantastic Four. Using them to help hold up the bridge was a good move.
I thought this was one of the better scripts Loeb has done on this series. The Thing's comments about A-Bomb's name was great.
The Bad: We were led to believe that the red Hulk was Doc Samson. The revelation that he is not Doc Samson was surprising but disappointing. Six issues in and we still don't know who the red Hulk is.
Did I miss something here or is this the first time the red Hulk got hotter as he got madder? This seemed to come out of left field. I also find it hard to believe that he could beat Thor.
Overall: Not bad but not anywhere near the quality of the Peter David days of the Hulk. Anyone writing the Hulk needs to read David's books.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Writer: Mark Millar
Pencils: Bryan Hitch
Inks: Bryan Hitch & Andrew Currie
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: We begin in New York City in the year 2509 A.D. The world is a wasteland. We learn that the world did not die in the early part of the twenty-first century. The Earth survived another five hundred years thanks to the work of Reed Richards. When the end came, twelve billion people died. Half of the world’s cities drowned and disease became rampant. The rich and the powerful disappeared over night. (Thanks to Nu-World.)
The world’s remaining heroes banded together to protect those who were left behind on Earth. However, they all knew that it was hopeless. Therefore, Banner built his machine.
We slide to Florida in the year of 2509 A.D. We see all the world’s heroes gathered around a giant machine. Hulk states that he has found a way to get every single person out of this dying Earth. Hulk says that the machine is not a ship and that they will not be travelling off-world. The Hulk reveals that they are all going back in time.
The other heroes are skeptical of the plan. They argue that bringing eight million people into the past would throw the past into chaos. Hulk says that the heroes seem to care more about the people in the past than the people in the past every cared about them.
Hulk continues that first they will send a few people into the past in order to establish a base. There they will build a much bigger time machine and bring everyone from the future into the past. The Hulk then says that the only problem is where they can find a power source sufficient enough to power the initial jump. The Hulk asks if anyone knows about what might be left over in Attilan.
We then cut to the narration stating how since the Earth was dying that it was only a matter before “he” showed up. And that “he” would be pulsating with all the energy that the heroes needed for the Hulk’s time machine. We then see Galactus arriving on Earth and preparing to feed on the dying planet.
We zip back to the present at the Defenders’ secret base. Johnny cannot believe that the six Defenders alone were able to take down Galactus. One of the Defenders retorts that there used to be one hundred and forty-seven Defenders before they fought Galactus. The six Defenders present are all that remained after that fight.
Hulk then introduces the Defenders. The Hulk reveals that he is Robert Bruce Banner, Jr. The last surviving son of the Hulk. We have Natalie, their most powerful telepath. Alex Ultron, the 16th version of Ultron designed and built by Henry Pym. The Hooded Man is the Hulk’s stepfather. And Lightwave and Psionics rounds out the team.
Psionics tells Johnny to put everything into perspective. That Johnny will help power a time machine that will save eight billion people from the end of the world. Psionics says that no matter what happens to Johnny; at least he will know that he saved billions of lives. Psionics then asks that isn’t that what super heroes are supposed to do?
Johnny quips that he cannot answer that question without sounding very selfish. Johnny asks Doom how Doom feels about being used as a battery for the world’s largest time machine. Doom growls that whoever orchestrated the Defenders’ plan to capture him will die by Doom’s hand.
Johnny tells the Hulk that Doctor Doom will be gunning for the Hulk. The Hulk replies that he is not the Defenders’ leader. That their leader should be due to arrive in another ninety minutes.
We cut to New York City, with the rest of the Fantastic Four investigating the scene of the brawl between Johnny and the Defenders. They survey the massive damage and Reed comments how the police stated that the fight only lasted for one minute and a half. Sue is upset and Reed promises that they will find Johnny.
We shift to Deb on the phone with her mother talking about going to David Letterman with the Thing. Deb arrives outside of her apartment and hangs up the phone. Outside of her apartment is her ex-boyfriend, Jason.
Jason asks if Deb was out with the Thing, again. Jason says that Deb is just embarrassing herself by going out with the Thing. Jason says that everyone is laughing at Deb. Deb tells Jason to leave her alone. Deb then goes into her apartment and slams the door shut. Jason looks angrily at the door and spits that he will not be dumped for the Thing.
We hop over to the Baxter Building where we see Mrs. Deneuve entering Reed’s lab. She asks Reed what is he working on. Reed answers that he has created nanoscopic tracers that he can inject into the members of the Fantastic Four. That the tracers cannot be removed. And this will enable any missing member of the Fantastic Four to be tracked down.
Mrs. Deneuve then tells the Baxter Building’s computer to recognize her voice pattern and orders the computer to seal-off Franklin’s room and establish an audio link. Mrs. Deneuve then tells Franklin that he may hear some noise, but that he should not be alarmed. That this is only a security drill. And that Mrs. Deneuve has instructed the computer to give Franklin as much candy and bad TV that he can handle.
Mrs. Deneuve then approaches the Thing and She-Hulk. Suddenly, a massive hole is ripped in the building and the Thing and She-Hulk fall through the hole and crash down into the street below.
Invisible Woman and Valeria come running onto the scene. Sue exclaims that they are under attack. Mrs. Deneuve calmly instructs Sue to put Valeria down. Sue is stunned that it is Mrs. Deneuve who attacked them.
The women then square off with their force field powers. Mrs. Deneuve exclaims that she has been doing this a lot longer than Sue. And with that, Mrs. Deneuve’s force field overpowers Sue’s force field. Sue falls to the ground unconscious.
Mrs. Deneuve tells Valeria to not worry and that her mother will be just fine. Valeria asks what about the rest of the world. Mrs. Deneuve responds that the rest of the world should have been more careful of the future that they left us.
Mrs. Deneuve tells Valeria to tell Reed to not bother looking for her. That their headquarters is invisible and could be anywhere in the world. Mrs. Deneuve says that Reed would only embarrass himself. (Oh, no you didn’t! You did not just call out the genius of Reed Richards!)
Mrs. Deneuve then begins to leave the Baxter Building. Valeria then screams out “Mom, please! Think about what you are doing!” We see Mrs. Deneuve flying off on her invisible discs. Mrs. Deneuve answers “I’ve had five hundred years to think about it, darling.”
The Good: Fantastic Four #560 was another great read. Millar treats the reader to yet another wild ride. Just when the reader thinks that Millar cannot top himself he manages to go out and do just that with the next issue. Millar has made Fantastic Four an absolute blast to read.
This is a title where absolutely anything can happen at any given moment. Millar has the reader’s head on a swivel as the reader has no idea what Millar is going to throw at them next. Millar has certainly captured the exciting thrill ride that you get with a really good summer blockbuster movie.
I like the apocalyptic future that Millar shows us in this issue. And I totally dig the concept of taking the eight billion survivors into the past in order to save them. That is a pretty neat twist. Often, in stories where the earth is dead or dying the solution is to go off-world to live in a space station or another planet. The idea of going back into the past is rather intriguing. I am interested to see where Millar goes from here.
Millar is excellent at imagining bizarre possible futures for the Marvel Universe. Miller has treated the reader to such delightfully interesting and entertaining future versions of Earth not just in this title but also over in Wolverine as well. Marvel has their own version of DC’s Multiverse in the Omniverse. I know that it gets little attention and is not a big deal like DC’s Multiverse, but Millar would be a fine writer for Marvel to tap in an effort to flesh out the Omniverse. Just imagine the bizarre alternate worlds that Millar would cook up.
The end result is a story that continually evolves in a natural fashion as each story arc seamlessly folds into the next one. The strong plotting also keeps Fantastic Four #560 a well focused issue that moves with a clear point and purpose. Millar does not get sidetracked with pointless scenes or wander about aimlessly.
I am enjoying the multiple layers of plotlines that Millar is treating the reader to with this title. Millar is able to plant the seeds for future story arcs in an organic fashion. I enjoyed the scene with Deb and her ex-boyfriend, Jason, which lays the foundation for the Thing’s story arc. I am looking forward to how Millar handles the Thing’s character when Ben gets his chance to stand in the spotlight.
Millar pulls off some fine character work in this issue. All of the various characters are nicely fleshed out. Miller has continually displayed an impressive feel for the personalities of the Fantastic Four members. Miller also serves up plenty of fine dialogue. Miller is able to craft nice serious and dramatic dialogue as easily as he can deliver the humorous lines.
I continue to enjoy Millar’s handling of Johnny. Probably my favorite part of this issue is when Psionics goes on about how Johnny may die powering the time machine, but that he will be saving eight billion people in the process. And after all, isn’t that what being a super hero is all about. Johnny’s response that he cannot answer that question without sounding very selfish was spot on.
Johnny is a hero and would risk himself to save a person in danger, but that does not mean that he is going to willingly let himself be sacrificed in this plan to transport eight billion people from the future into our present. This is a neat little moral dilemma for a character that usually does not spend much time and effort thinking about anything deeper than what girl he is going to hook up with next or what party he is going to attend.
I loved Millar’s explanation of how the Defenders captured Galactus. Miller is a writer who is talented and wise enough to know that sometimes less is more. The short statement about how there were one hundred and forty-seven before the fight with Galactus and now there are only six was more than enough to get the point across to the reader about the magnitude and scope of the battle.
There was no need for Millar to deliver some big splashy flashback scenes or cook up a convoluted story and explanation for how the Defenders captured Galactus. All of that is irrelevant. Instead, Miller gives just enough information and allows the reader’s imagination to handle the rest. This was an excellent move. Plus, the arrival of Galactus on Earth, while timely and convenient, made perfect sense and was logical given that Galactus always descends upon dying worlds.
Fantastic Four #560 is not packed with action, but the bit of action that we do get is excellent. The ending to this issue provides enough action to keep this issue a lively read. Plus, it was pretty damn cool to see the two Invisible Women squaring off against each other.
Miller delivers a stunning hook ending with the surprise reveal that Mrs. Denevue is actually an old Sue Storm. Incredible. Miller does a great job hinting at this during the course of the issue leading up to the shocking reveal. I did not see this coming.
And it was rather shocking how Sue is so willing to attack her husband and then steal from him as well as capture her brother to use as a battery in an attempt to save the people in the future that very well may lead to her brother’s death. Clearly, the old Sue Storm does not value her family as much as the people who were left behind after Earth collapsed.
I am intrigued by this old version of Sue and am eager to learn more about her. I am also interested in learning how Sue is still alive five hundred years later. I am also curious to learn how the Hulk’s son would also still be alive.
The Bad: I know that people look differently when they get old, but how does Sue, Reed, Johnny and Ben not recognize that Mrs. Devenue is just an old Sue Storm?
Overall: Fantastic Four #560 was a great read. Millar keeps upping the ante with each issue. There is certainly plenty of substance in this story for readers who desire complex stories to chew on. And at the same time there is enough entertainment and action for fans who just want a fun and exciting read. You definitely do not need to be a fan of the Fantastic Four in order to enjoy this story. I have never had much interest in the Fantastic Four before and I have enjoyed Millar’s run immensely.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Clay Mann
Inks: Stefano Gaudiano
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Lady Bullseye (God, I hate that name.) in New York City and thinking about how this used to be Bullseye’s city. Lady Bullseye then begins to stalk her prey.
We cut to Matt and Dakota meeting with Danny Rand at his office building. Matt brought Dakota here for Iron Fist to use his powers to heal Dakota’s shoulder from where she got shot. Dakota is not a believer and is highly skeptical of Danny’s ancient arts.
Dakota slips her shirt down past her shoulder and Danny lays his hands on her. Danny summons up the power of the Iron Fist and uses his chi to heal Dakota’s shoulder. Dakota comments that her shoulder is a bit stiff, but that it feels much better. Dakota thanks Danny and comments that she is now a believer. Danny responds that he likes Dakota and that she would really drive them crazy in K’un-Lun.
We then shift to Lady Bullseye outside of Rand’s office building where she is watching Matt and Dakota leave the building. Lady Bullseye thinks that it is worse than she thought and that she will have to alter the plan. She thinks that “they” will not like it, but she does not care. And that Bullseye would not have cared, either.
Lady Bullseye then thinks how nothing truly matters and then Bullseye’s betrayal stings less. She thinks how she never really knew Bullseye that well anyway and that she is a very different creature from Bullseye. (True. Bullseye is one of the best Marvel villains of all time and you are a cheap rip-off.)
Lady Bullseye likes to study the ripples that violence and murder creates. She likes to see the grief tearing through the target’s friends and family. That each death touches so many lives and it makes her smile. (Yawn. Still just a lame derivative character.)
Lady Bullseye thinks how Bullseye was different. That Bullseye never noticed that side of their art. That Bullseye just moved forward never looking back. That Bullseye was like a force of nature.
During the brawl, a dead Yakuza member falls next to Lady Bullseye’s cage and she reaches out and grabs the keys off the dead thug’s body and unlocked her cage. Lady Bullseye kills a Yakuza member with the set of keys. Lady Bullseye thinks how from that day on no man touched her without her permission.
We slide back to the present with Matt and Dakota walking through Central Park. Dakota is still talking about Danny’s impressive Iron Fist abilities that he used to heal her. Matt comments that he is sorry that he did not get Dakota to Danny sooner. Dakota comments that it is okay. That since she was stupid enough to let herself get shot that she deserves to feel some pain or else she will never learn anything.
Matt thinks how amazing it is that Dakota can take everything in stride. Matt thinks how he feels guilty for Dakota getting shot, but that Dakota just shrugs it off and lets Matt off the hook. Matt thinks that he is not sure if Dakota knows what that means to him.
We shift back to Matt’s brownstone where he and Dakota are practicing martial arts forms together. While they are going through the forms Dakota asks Matt if he should be out stopping other muggings. Matt responds that he does not go out every night.
Dakota says that Matt is lying. Dakota then says that she is well versed at lying. And it is not just from being a private investigator. Dakota states that it made perfect sense for her to go from model to private investigator. That now Dakota looks at other people’s secrets and lies. But, back when she was a model, that she was the lie. All smooth surfaces and no cracks.
Matt responds that he knows that feeling. Matt says that so much of his life has been about how people see him and not wanting to let them see too much. Dakota adds that it is because Matt cannot see anyone at all. Matt answers that she is correct.
Matt says that in his mind he could always see that look on his father’s face; the one that must have been on his face when he found out that Matt was blind. That look that said Matt’s father had failed.
We cut to Lady Bullseye meeting with Lord Hirochi of the Hand. Lady Bullseye informs Lord Hirochi that she has done what he asked. Lord Hirochi says that the Hand has suffered too many defeats and cannot afford another one.
Lady Bullseye then says that the first two people on Hirochi’s list, Iron Fist and The Black Tarantula should be easy enough to target. Hirochi then asks what about Logan and “the old man.” Lady Bullseye answers that neither have been seen.
Lady Bullseye then adds that Matt Murdock was easy to find. Hirochi states that Murdock must be kept away from their business. That the Hand has much to do before they can risk exposure. Lady Bullseye answers that they do not need to worry about Matt Murdock. That Matt will be occupied for a few days, at least.
We shift to the next morning with Matt waking up in bed with a naked Dakota sleeping next to him after a long night of S-E-X. Matt wonders what he has done. (Um, nailed a totally hot chick?) Matt feels guilty that he just cheated on his own wife. (No, you get a pass if your wife is clinically insane and in a sanitarium.)
Matt then thinks that the worst part about all of this is that it does not feel wrong. Matt puts on his pants and trudges to his front door. Matt thinks that there are lots of things that he will have to pay for. Things that he has done as Daredevil. Things that have happened because he is Daredevil. But, this one is all Matt Murdock.
The Good: Daredevil #111 was another good read. Brubaker does a fine job kicking off this new story arc involving Lady Bullseye. Daredevil was a well crafted story. Brubaker cranks out some strong writing by delivering a technically sound issue.
Brubaker employs his usual slow burn approach with this new story arc by moving Daredevil #111 at a controlled pace. The story is not slow and never wanders. Instead, the measured pacing is an excellent literary approach that creates plenty of tension and excitement in the reader concerning this new story arc.
Daredevil #111 is a well plotted issue. And that is no surprise since Brubaker’s greatest strength is his strong plotting abilities. Brubaker has excellent long-term vision and is able to deliver tightly written and well focused story arcs. Brubaker does a fine job setting the stage for this new story arc. Brubaker does his job meticulously laying a solid foundation for what is an intriguing story arc that has multiple interesting sub-plot lines.
Brubaker cooks up plenty of excellent character work. Brubaker does a fantastic job with the complex relationship between Dakota and Matt. Brubaker is able to turn up the heat and whip up some serious chemistry between these two characters. I love this pairing and I hope that Brubaker keeps Matt and Dakota together for a good long while.
I certainly view Dakota as a massive upgrade to Milla. I never liked Milla. I have always found Milla to be by far and away the dullest and most boring love interest that Matt has ever had. On the other hand, Dakota has always been a pretty cool character. And I see her as a better match for Matt.
I am not too worried for Dakota’s health. The woman problems that Matt has had has become a bit of a joke. And after awhile, this reoccurring theme losses its impact and entertainment value. I simply do not believe that Brubaker would be so painfully unoriginal as to blatantly ape Bullseye killing Electra by having Lady Bullseye kill Dakota. That is way too amateurish and uncreative for a writer the caliber of Brubaker.
Brubaker did a fine job handling the drama and burgeoning romantic interests between Matt and Dakota. Brubaker nicely investigates both characters’ outlook on life and how they feel that they have been living a lie. Brubaker makes it clear that both of these characters need to be with someone who they can just be themselves with.
Brubaker really handles this burgeoning romance very well so that it never felt cheesy or forced. Instead, this romantic relationship organically blossoms in a believable and realistic fashion.
I thought it was a brilliant move by Brubaker to do his best to draw multiple distinctions between Lady Bullseye and Bullseye. This smart tact to take with the introduction of Lady Bullseye’s character was designed to win over readers like me who despise derivative characters.
Brubaker wastes no time immediately trying to give Lady Bullseye her own distinctive personality, style and motivation that is independent of Bullseye. This is a smart approach since readers like me view derivative characters like Lady Bullseye as nothing more than cheap knock-off characters that are the product of lazy and unoriginal writers.
Brubaker teases the reader by mentioning a fourth target called “the old man.” I am certainly curious to learn the identity of “the old man.”
I always enjoy the Hand. They are quality villains who have really taken a beating lately. It will be interesting to see if Brubaker can reconstruct these villains and build them back up once again as a real force within the 616 Universe.
Clay Mann and Stefano Gaudiano combine to deliver some solid artwork. This style of art is not what I would like on a classic super hero title, but it is perfect for a gritty and realistic urban based hero like Daredevil. The artwork is a fine match to the mood and tone of Brubaker’s story.
The Bad: Personally, I thoroughly hate Lady Bullseye. There is absolute nothing about this derivative character that I like at all. I find her origin to be rather lame. As a general rule, I despise derivative characters. And Brubaker fails to win me over with his strong attempt to differentiate Lady Bullseye from Bullseye. All that Brubaker’s attempt to show the differences between the two characters did was make me realize how much cooler Bullseye is than Lady Bullseye.
I found Lady Bullseye’s motivation to be overly dramatic and cheesy. Her desire to watch the ripples of her murders affecting the family and friends of her targets was just silly and too over the top for me. Bullseye being just a pure bad-ass force of nature is exactly why I dig his character so much more. All I can wish for is that Bullseye shows up at some point in this story and kills this pretender with a playing card.
Still, I did not let my personal dislike for Lady Bullseye influence my scoring of this issue. The facts remain that this was a well written issue and that most readers will enjoy Lady Bullseye.
The hook ending with Daredevil being framed for murder did nothing for me. This is a pretty generic plotline that has been overused in general. And after having to deal with Matt being arrested and sitting in jail and then trying to clear his name for the past couple of years I am not ready to have to see even more legal problems for Daredevil.
Overall: Daredevil #111 was a well crafted issue that does a great job kicking off what should be a pretty interesting story arc. Brubaker treats the reader to such a balanced read as we get equal amounts of drama, character work and action. Daredevil is a title that should have broad appeal. If you like street based heroes then you definitely need to give Brubaker’s Daredevil a try.