The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
Well after a short break for Thanksgiving Queso and I are back to bring you three expertly reviewed comics. I tell ya, it must be crossover month for DC, there is Death of the Family in the Batman books, Throne of Atlantis in Justice league and Aquaman and H'el on Earth throughout the Super people books. Its a good time to jump into these comics and DC isn't the only one with great opportunities. MarvelNOW! continues to release new #1's with more to come in December. Queso and I are both excited to be back from out respit so lets get this show on the road.
Superman #14 H’EL on Earth
I could be mistaken, but I feel like this is the first ‘event’ for Superman since the DC reboot over a year ago. This is a dense issue, Scott Lobdell does not shy away from text, using both external and internal dialogue to progress the story and fill the reader in on pertinent information from previous Super[fill-in-the-blank] issues. Another former resident of Krypton confronts superman and I can’t help but feel that this story seems a bit familiar.
I am not the only one either suffering deja-vu either as Superman says to H’el “You have to understand, you’re like the third alien I’ve met who tried to ingratiate himself with the whole long lost Kryptonian card.” It’s never a good sign when an author recognizes redundancies in recent story lines, so it makes me wonder why we are subjected to such a story in the first Superman crossover. Perhaps this is due to Lobdell being the third writer to be on this book.
(I think he might be a bad guy)
The most basic, spoiler free, plot that I can conjure for this issue is that H’el is planning on resurrecting Krypton which might come at the expense of Earth (where we live) My biggest issue with this book isn’t so much that the story is repetitious, for me, like most of my reviews, it come down to balance. What we seem to be getting a lot of with Superman is a lot of action that is supported with very succinct (one might say too succinct) storylines.
If I am honest Superman and Action Comics have been blurring for me. I often have to refer to previous issues while reading to jar my memory. The argument could be made that I am reading too many comics, and that is why I can’t keep story lines straight. But this does not really happen to other books I am reading. For me the problem has been made clear with this issue. The focus for Superman has relied too heavily on these magnificent battles rather than creating a character I can feel attached to, a character I have a reason to root for.
Indestructible Hulk #1
Title: Lost Momentum
I’ll be honest, the Hulk is not a character I’ve read a lot of. I’ve only read Essential Hulk Volume 1, Planet Hulk, World War Hulk, a few of his appearances in the first volume of Wolverine, and whenever he popped up in events like Siege. So, I came to this series with the perspective of a new reader, more or less. I was initially intrigued as a description in Comic Shop News, if I recall correctly, spun the premise of Banner somehow managing the Hulk in a way that works out for both their interests. Banner in control of the Hulk, I thought, this should be good…
Banner seeks out S.H.I.E.L.D in an attempt to get hired by them.
Gotta love simple, yet fun plot summaries.
It starts off on the right foot. We’re presented with Banner’s interesting take on what both he and his green counterpart have contributed to the world, which, in his eyes, basically amounts to nothing substantially good. He wants to change that, and being the genius he is, he has plenty of brainpower to figure out how. It’s good to see this side of Banner as it just makes sense for him to work things out. It also makes sense for him to deal with the Hulk by channeling his rage in progressive, focused ways rather than letting him run amuck. While this also comes across that something that a genius should know it’s coupled with a certain level of acceptance and coming to grips with reality that is refreshing to see in a comic. Plus, we get to see Banner put his sky-high IQ to work in ways that are not clearly right or wrong as he outrightly says that, if need be, he’d shop around for someone to take him up on his offer. This includes going to see Dr. Doom which is just plain scary. Can you imagine a world where the Hulk and Dr. Doom team up? I sure as heck don’t want to think about it. Basically, Banner comes off as strong, focused, clever, and even shows that he has a little bit of mischief in him.
That would be both a hilarious and sad tombstone.
This book is pretty decent overall, it just falters right as the action starts, and that’s quite possibly the worst thing to do when you’re starting off the first action sequence in a book called The Indestructible Hulk. “How does it falter?” you ask. By George I’ll tell ya. First off, the villain’s name is Mad Thinker and he starts off by saying things like “The difference between a strategist and a mastermind. A strategist gathers intel to evaluate probabilities. A mastermind manipulates intel to stack the odds.” That’s pretty painful to read, especially as a first utterance. Sadly, he throws in a few more horribly cliché lines, spouts some random formulas, and even, as every run-of-the-mill villain should, states the reasoning behind his plan. The action scenes would’ve been better without his useless and annoying talking, but the Hulk takes him out in a way that’s pretty awesomely depicted. In fact, it reminded me of what Sentry did in Siege (Warning! This image is pretty graphic) and of what She Hulk did to the Vision. On a side note, S.H.I.E.L.D’s agents don’t come off looking too bright here. Overall I’d have to give this book a 3.5/5. I really tried to give it an extra half star for the fun, engaging beginning, but it’s horribly hampered later on. Initially, I’d say you could pass on this issue, but it has a lot of potential to turn into something quite interesting. That being said, if you do follow the first arc, it wouldn't make sense to pass on this one. Thanks for reading and have a good weekend!
This is a gorgeous splash page.
If there are any long time readers of the Hulk or newcomers, your input would be most welcome.
WILDCARD:Dark Horse, Star Wars: Agent of the Empire- Hard Targets #2
I’m a firm believer that almost any Star Wars comic that Dark Horse puts out will be good. That being said, I’ve never really been into Imperial agents but this one, Jahan Cross, has my attention. I was hooked from the first issue and am even more invested in the series now that I’ve read the second one.
The next step is Cross’s job is to protect Bron, the child he personally orphaned, as part of an overall plan to ensure that Imperial political ties are maintained on Serenno. He actually pulled off an assassination in the last issue using a Boba Fett disguise as part of his getaway. How cool is that?
Despite being heavily influenced by political dealings and a lot of dialogue, the issue is still engaging as said dialogue doesn’t feel wasted but rather adds depth and dimension to the characters. Characterization, both direct and indirect, takes center stage here. There’s a particularly interesting exchange between Jahan and his father where the latter asks him outright if he was involved in Count Adan’s death. You can probably guess how it goes but these few panels go a long way to show just how skilled Adan is and how conflicted his father is with his son’s political power and privilege.
We’re introduced to another interesting character called Lord Rodas Borgin. He’s ruthless, focused, blunt, discerning, and the most likely character to be chaotic evil. For whatever reason, overconfidence perhaps, he tells Jahan the startling story or how he came to power. This story, by the Lord’s own account, is not what is commonly circulated throughout the galaxy but it’s very well done as it ties in an appearance by Vader, some tried and true dark side methodology, and some nicely subdued colors that at once set it apart from the present story. This heart-wrenching flashback effortlessly returns to the present as we’re shown just how much the Lord has changed from that ever so vivid memory. He’s a character some would love to hate while others would simply love him as he is.
Bron is also shown to be a sharp boy despite his age and we finally get some action during the leadup to the election that will decide who the Regent of Dooku will be. A number of instantly recognizable Star Wars species/races appear as members of a diverse group that’s seeking to kidnap Bron. Unfortunately, it’s also here that the art gets noticeably less detailed, but it’s still enjoyable. If you’re not one for heavy dialogue and/ or politics (like myself), then you may want to pass on this one but if you can get through it you’ll be treated to a solid story that’s well-worth reading. Final score 4.25/5. Thank you, faithful readers and have a good weekend.
None, yet again?! Say it ain’t so! Oh, wait. You can check out a free preview of this comic at darkhorse.
Thank you thank you thank you for this post!!! I have not followed Superman in the comics in years, but theissue you featured looks very interesting. Only... why does Superman look like a boy???