Last week felt like the calm before a very big summer storm. It seems as if both Marvel and DC are arranging chess pieces for their big summer strategies. But there were plenty of standout moments to enjoy. Click on the thumbnail images for a larger view of each.
JLA: Cry for Justice #2
The scene opens with Green Lantern and Green Arrow, standing on a Gotham City rooftop (the ubiquity of which is discussed in the ensuing panels). Hal tells Ollie that he has a confession to make.
"If it involves you, the Huntress, Lady Blackhawk, and a bottle of Grappa, Dinah already told me. And all I have to say is 'Well played, sir.'"
OK, that's a pretty dandy little bit of dialogue, but like a well-trained comic, writer James Robinson brings it around two panels later.
Ollie: "everybody heard about it -- from Man-bat to Metamorpho..."
As if the mental image of a kinky tryst among GL, Huntress and Lady Blackhawk wasn't enough, now we have the additional image of the likes of Man-Bat and Metamorpho gossiping about it.
It's a moment like that that makes the superhero community feel more real.
Mr. Robinson, our hats are off to you, sir.
Lethal Legion #2
Oddly enough, it's the same ability to create a clear mental image that makes for the Worst Gossip moment from last week
Absorbing Man is filling in some of the backstory about the Lethal Legion (it looks like the entire series is going to be told in flashback).
Carl "Absorbing Man" Creel shares a little tidbit about Nekra, love interest of fellow Legionnaire, Grim Reaper.
Creel: "...That lunatic Hyde, what was goin' on with him and Nekra..."
Lawyer: "Hyde and Nekra? what was going on with Hyde and Nekra?"
Creel: "Well, I ain't one to tell secrets out of class, but ya know... And if the Reaper had ever found out, hoo boy!"
Nekra and Hyde? See, that's a mental image I didn't need.
That, coupled with Creel's nose and chin in that panel? Yikes.
Worst Moment of Self-Realization
Power Girl #3
Count on Jimmy Palmiotti to write a healthy dose of superhero commentary into the Power Girl series, and usually, it's tremendously entertaining.
But sometimes you can take a good joke one step too far.
After thwarting Ultra-Humanite (See VQ rating: Ultra Humnanite for details), Power Girl drops in to the maximum-security prison to check on him. As she walks down the hall, other, supposedly meta-human criminals, comment from behind bars with such quips as:
"I love that they never wear pants."
"Cupcakes!" (Someone's gonna have to explain that on to me, though.) And...
"Wanna put you in a fridge."
Ugh. This seems to be a reference to the infamous fate that befell Kyle Rayner's girlfriend in Green Lantern #54. Yeesh.
As for me, I choose to believe that the person delivering that particular jibe was Mr. Freeze, and putting her in a fridge is just his natural way for showing affection. See? All better.
OK. That. And the fact that the guard sneaking a peak from way down the hall cracks me up every time I look at that panel.
Best Moment of Self-Realization
Fantastic Four #569
Ever since Captain Kirk threw that first punch against the goateed parallel-universe Kirk, we fanboys have lived for little moments like this.
And writer Mark Millar knows it.
So when Reed Richards battles a legion of Misters Fantastic, we tingle with anticipation until the moment finally arrives:
"Do I really talk like when I'm fighting?"
Sorry, Len. You've been taking a drubbing, and as much as I love you for bringing back Plastic Man, it has to be said: That "Vegas" line was a stinker.
See, part of it was just plain trite. The "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" line is tired.
But the real clincher was how it was unceremoniously crammed into the overall dialogue for no apparent reason. Here's the exchange: The Royal Flush gang is holding hostages and demanding ransom from all of the major casinos in Las Vegas. One hostage asks the King of Spades (ugh) what happens if the ransom doesn't get paid.
King: "They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so if the other casinos don't pay -- you'll all get to stay in Vegas permanently!"
Len, we love you. You're the legend. And you're bringing Plastic Man back to the JLA. You've got to do way worse than that to really upset us.
Just don't push it, eh?
Fantastic Four #569
It's back to FF #569 for the best dialogue of the week -- and maybe one of the most touching moments in comics in a loooong time.
Ben Grim has just left his bride-to-be at the altar.
Ben: "I can't do it to ya, Debs. I thought I could, but I can't... When I saw them all together, that's when it hit me."
The next panel shows Daredevil, Spider-man, Bruce Banner and Prince Namor -- visions of the women in their lives who are dead -- some at the hands of the heroes' foes.
"Their girlfriends never came back."
Fearing a super-powered smack-down, a cadre of metas track Grimm and his fiancee to a bar only to find a situation far beyond their super powers: Two breaking hearts.
Deb implores Spidey, DD, Banner and Namor to convice Ben that he's wrong.
And they... can't.
The heroes depart, leaving Ben, Johnny and Reed alone in the bar.
Ben asks Reed if he made the right decision.
And here's where artists Wade Von Grawbadger, Scott Hanna and Paul Mounts hit one waaaaaay out of the park. The look of sheer love, compassion and pain mixes over Reed's face. Really. It's a heart-stopping moment.
Reed throws an arm around his lifelong friend:
I haven't stared down at the last page of an FF book for so long since FF #267.
Read next week's Best/Worst.