Deadpool dominated the magic moments for Marvel, spreading mirth to no fewer than three titles last week. I'm fully prepared to hit the oversaturation point with the Merc, but it hasn't happened yet. Meanwhile in the DCU, we saw Batman and Robin stripped to their bat-skivvies and the death of a major player in the Green Lantern Corps. Here are some of the highlights. Click on the thumbnails for a full-page excerpt.
R.I.P. Kyle Raynor
Green Lantern Corps #42
The writers at DC have something they want us to know: Never admit your true feelings to the one that you love. Earlier, in Blackest Night, Gehenna admitted to Jason Rusch that she'd like to share more than the Firestorm identity with the lad. Mere panels later, she was slain by a Black Lantern. Similarly, just as Green Lantern Kyle Raynor was admitting his feelings for fellow Corpsperson Soranik, he found himself in a do-or-die hero moment in which his self-sacrifice could save the Green Lantern's power battery. In a passage that ranks up there with Hawkeye's "Not here... not now.... not like this" soliloquy in Avengers Disassembled, Kyle uses his ring to bid farewell to his lover and to BFF Guy Gardner.
Kyle: I love you, Soranik.
Soranik: What? Kyle, where are --
Kyle: And you, too, Guy. You've been like a brother to --
Hot Web Cam Action
Batman and Robin #6
It's a villain tradition that goes back as far as tying a damsel-in-distress to train tracks. The villain sets up a complicated trap, set to go off according to a suspense-building timetable, and leaves while the gears of his machinations are set in motion. The Bond villains raised this to the level of Fine Art. But the villainous scheme laid into motion by Red Hood in Batman and Robin #6 takes the cake.
Here's the gist. In a scene that doubtlesly has Dr. Fredric Wertham spinning in his grave, Hood has stripped Our Heroes naked (leaving their clothes conveniently hanging on a hook directly behind them), placed them into rope bondage, and broadcast a message to Gotham city allowing the Good Citizens the opportunity to choose the fate of the dis-dressed Dynamic Duo:
Red Hood: If you think the Red Hood and Scarlet are doing a better job than Batman and Robin, pick up your phone and call this number... call now if you want to see the Dynamic Duo unmasked -- as nature intended! One million calls activates the Web cam!
Luckily, Robin is able to slip through his restraints before the public pantsing:
Robin:*tt* Well, he's useless at tying knots. We have about thirty seconds to get dressed.
Deadpool is Down on the Farm
Meanwhile, in his own title series, Deadpool is continuing is try-out as a member of the X-Men. And, of course, his actions are, generously speaking, misguided at best. In an attempt to "help out," he decides to murder a civilian who has been causing trouble for the X-Men. On national TV. The minute the X-Men discover what Deadpool's up to, they dispatch Domino to stop him, rushing to the scene at a breakneck pace. From an adjacent building, the sexy sharpshooter shoots above the Merc, causing TV equipment to crash down on his head.
As you can see to the right, she celebrates her good aim with a well-deserved fist pump. But, take a good look at the panel. Somehow, although she had mere moments to get to the scene on time, she evidently had time to stop at Starbucks for coffee and play a hand or two of Solitaire.
Later, as the Merc and Domino share a moment, he admits that he's terrified of cows:
Deadpool: What are you scared of.
Deadpool: Ah, C'mon -- everybody's scared of something... I'm not leaving until you tell me.
So it shouldn't be too surprising to long-time Deadpool readers that, as Domino and Wolverine are hot on the Merc's tail, crawling through an air vent to intercept him, they come face-to-beak with a gigantic pullet.
The inaugural issue of the Strange comic delivered everything I'd hoped for and more. I wanted to see a new side of the former Sorcerer Supreme as he struggles with his new path. And this was definitely a departure from the staid, stogy Strange that we're come to know and love. The new Strange is a baseball fan who knows how to talk trash from the cheap seats.
Stephen Strange: Hey ump! This your phone? 'Cause it has three missed calls!
Hey. It beats "By the hory hosts of Hoggath."
I wasn't so sure I was going to like this title at all when I opened to the first page. The art is very Saturday-morning cartoony, and the plot hook of the opening arc is helping a sassy, blue-haired, spunky girl save her grandfather's team from a group of demons who have taken over a minor-league baseball game by possessing the bodies of the visiting team. Dr. Strange makes a Space Jam-esque deal with the demon that places the good doctor at the plate, swinging for the fences (and the lives of all involved).
OK. It was hokey as all hell, but it grew on me. The deal-with-the-devil plotline involving the girl's grandfather harkened back to a gentler Twilight Zone kind of storytelling that's refreshing amidst all this Dark Reign / Blackest Night angst.
Back to Deadpool
When I'm writing this column, I'm using poring through each comic, wondering if I'm going to find a little, funny panel -- a brief moment -- that I can use to write something interesting. Spider-Man #611 was the opposite. Every danged page of this ish was jam-packed with more fan-pleasing panels than I have time to scan and discuss. Joe Kelly may very well be the most clever man in comics, and he is absolutely masterful at understanding the nuances between Spider-Man's quippery and Deadpool's insanity.
Like I said, there's just too much to discuss here. Luckily, I covered Lady Stilt-Man a couple days ago. But if I had to decide on the one moment that really made my jaw drop (and there were lots on 'em), it would be this one. Directly after questioning Deadpool's ongoing inner monologue -- by asking "'Internal monologue?' Who keeps a running internal monologue going?"... in a inner-monologue-style narration box -- Spidey webs Deadpool's feet to the ground to immobilize him. He asks the mercenary why he's in the cross-hairs:
Deadpool: Never mind... I am motivated by one, simple word: Cash-o-la.
Spider-Man:What's the head of a friendly, neighborhood super-stud worth these days?
Deadpool: Not enough to justify what's about to happen to my pedicure... and I paid extra for the Blackest Night symbols, too. My feet is a rainbow of power.
Editor's note bos: "This is Geoff Johns and I approve this message." -- Geoff Johns, former Avengers writer
This issue was crammed with wonderful moments, but that one floored me. I'm keeping it in my back pocket for the next time someone expresses an interest in getting back into comics after being away for a long time. This issue is guaranteed bring back all of those happy fanboy memories from when comics were pure Fun.
"You're Much Too Young, (Bat)Girl..."
I'm beginning to really enjoy this new, spunky Batgirl. As she rushes off to face off against Superman foe Livewire, she takes a moment to flirt with one of Gotham's finest:
Batgirl: Hey you!
Detective Nick (to Commissioner Gordon): What?
Commissioner Gordon: "Hey you"?
Nick: No one raises an eyebrow when you talk to Batman.
Gordon: I'm pretty sure Batman's legal, detective.
"It's huge! It's so, so--"
Dark X-Men #1
One of the nicest touches in the characterization of the Dark X-Men team is how the writers handle the parallel-universe Dr. Hank "Beast" McCoy. This character exudes such a gleeful sadism that it's almost endearing. The pure joy he takes in embracing the Dark Side is a sheer delight.
For example, in a meeting with Norman Osborn, he muses about making an improvement in one of his teammates; "He'd be so much better without a mouth. An hour's surgery. And then just MMMPH MMMPH MMMPH. Although that would probably be annoying, too."
Later, we look in on Dr. McCoy as he does experiments on a sci-fi-classic brain-floating-in-a-jar-of-fluid: "How thoughtful of you to bring me tea, Bleaker. You've got a good head on your shoulders. Currently."
And finally, as he loses patience on a mission: "Can we get on? Those mice I have waiting at home won't dissect themselves. As of yet."
Of course, none of these were moments worth ending a column on. That honor is best left to the mighty Omega -- who is able to draw mutant powers from others. As he begins, ahem, sucking power from a mysterious man in a hospital, we begin to wonder if the Marvel writers have finally created the mutant that we'd all like to live vicariously through.
Omega: It's huge! It's so, so--