First, a big mea culpa for putting Marvel's Valentine's Day one-shot, Heartbreakers, on the Pull List last week. I don't know what I was thinking. It was cram-packed with some of the most obtuse, stumbling stories I've ever read. You'd think I would have learned my lesson from the DC Halloween one-shot last year. I promise to lay off the ubiquitous St. Patrick's Day one-shot next month. Aside from that, here are some of the highlights from last week's comics. Click on the thumbnails for a full-page excerpt.
The third installment of Blackest Night Wonder Woman features a re-match between the princess of power and the man she famously murdered, Maxwell Lord. The zombified Max, hurls a rope around the neck of the now-Star-Sapphirized Amazon.
Max: I think I know the answer to this, given what you normally wear... but are you into bondage? Wonder Woman: NHNN No-- LIBERATION. Max: Woof! I like girls who play rough. Wonder Woman: I'm not a girl, Max...
And with that, she shatters him into a million shards.
I had this on my Pull List last week, and I kinda wish I had passed. There wasn't much there there. But there was this kinda charming / kinda creepy exchange between Kitty Pryde and Wolverine's son in the Ultimate Universe, Jimmy Hudson. Kitty approaches the youth as he lies atop a ton roof overlooking a small man-made pond. And an alligator.
Kitty: Um, y'think thre's a place we could talk where he can't bite? Like specifically, me? Jimmy: Why would I want to do that? Kitty: I'll give you candy.. Jimmy: I know somewhere. Kitty: You gonna need shoes? Jimmy: Nope. Kitty: Then I guess a shirt is out of the question...
She may have had better chances back there with the alligator.
Well, it happened again. I picked up the latest issue of Deadpool Team-Up, and when I saw the team-ee, I thought... "who?". And by the end of the issue, I was absolutely enamored with the character. This time is was the erstwhile-intergalactic trucker named U.S. Ace. And he and "The Big Dee Pee" were making like Kris Kristofferson and Burt Young in "Convoy." To pass some time on the open road, Deadpool channels the muse of C. W. McCall...
Deadpool (singing): Ace and' me, we're tight like buds / deliverin' two loads of who knows... whud... I'm betti' it's bombs or ebola virus / or a gross'a CDs by Miley Cyrus. U.S. Ace (in a narration): sometimes this radio plate in my head -- it won't siwtch off. Deadpool (still singing): It's lonely on the road but I can count on Ace / cause he's got a steel skull up above his face... U.S. Ace: For the love a'God -- SHUT UP! Deadpool (STILL singing): He's got metal other places, too... U.S. Ace: Hey now. That's just a truck stop rumor!
By the end of the issue's rollicking plot, the trucker hits the open road once more -- this time without his roadside wingman Deadpool's dulcet tunes. With any luck, maybe U.S. Ace can get that plate to bring in Sirius Satellite Radio and the Bubba the Love Sponge Show to help with the quiet.
On another road in the Marvel Universe, news warhorse Ben Urich and TV cameraguy Will Stern rush to Oklahoma with the Asgardian god Volstagg in tow. On a pit stop, Stern grabs the warrior a bag of pork rinds and a copy of American Woman magazine. Suddeny, from the back seat... drama ensues:
Volstagg: gentlemen! I am out of pork rinds. Urich: Volstagg, not right now -- . Volstagg (holding aloft the magazine): Also, there are questions in here, my own answers to which I find fascinating. They concern your feelings regarding observing yourself disrobed in the mirror My own thoughts on the subject were most-- Stern: Okay. I want to stop imagining that now.
Of course, the main highlight of last week had no words at all -- just a four panel sequence that sets the stage for a showdown between Norman "Iron Patriot" Osborn and the newly-returned Steve "Captain America" Rogers.
Folks, this is the comic to hand to your friends who have been away from comics for a while. This has story, sweep, impact, stunning visuals... the whole enchilada. From the deft use of lettering to the very panel-design that sets pace and meaning to the story as it unfolds page after page, this is the kind of book that you can't stop charging through -- even though you know that each turn of the page brings you closer to the end.
I've re-read this issue about five times. The first two for enjoyment of story, once for enjoyment of art, and twice more to simply appreciate comics -- the art of comics when it's really done well -- at its finest.
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