A Scanner Dorkly: Dec. 30
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - 12:00 AM
|Last week's comics seemed to focus on the Big Reveal. Ganthet welcomed himself to the Green Lantern Corps -- and then initiated some of Earth's mightiest heroes and villains to the Spectrum. Bruce Banner showing up to speak at General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross' funeral only served to set up a bigger Reveal, and Franklin Richards got a very special birthday present. From himself. Here are some of the highlights. Click on the thumbnails for a full-page excerpt.|
Gotham City Sirens #7
Paul Dini and his crew started winning me back to the Sirens side with Issue Seven. The characterizations of Harley Quinn as she returns to spend the holiday with her family was as touching as it was sad. No matter what Harley accomplishes, she'll always be remembered by her family as a super-villain. Her dad's in the clink. Her brother's an unemployed loser with a trail of illegitimate kids. But she's the family goat.
Harley: It may interest you to know that a lot of folks consider me a hero now.
Harley's mom, Sharon: You're not a hero. Superman, he's a hero. Do you know Superman?
Harley: We've met.
Sharon: He's a hero. Also, Wonder Woman, and the Aqua Man, and that girl with the thing.
Harley: What girl? Who? Wonder Girl?
Sharon: No, the magic thing.
Sharon: No, the little girl with the big gold thing.
Hats off to penciller David Lopez who injects an awful lot into the illustrations in this issue. When Harley visits her daddy in jail, his smile is eerily Jokeresque. And the look of sheer, transcendent joy on Harley's face in the final panel when she sees that Selina and Ivy have included a toy room in their newly renovated mansion -- just for her -- is a show-stopper.
Sigh. Now I'm gonna have to pick up Issue Eight.
Better Dead Than Redhead?
Black Widow and the Marvel Girls #2
This limited series is quickly establishing itself as the standard-bearer for this new genre of all-female ensemble books. Marvel Divas tanked, and, although Sirens scored a big comeback last week, it's been a shaky launch. But Paul Tobin's take on the Black Widow character -- and his ability to move a story along at a brisk pace without sacrificing plot -- has made this series the standout.
Throw in an artist like Jacopo Camagni -- whose attention to detail in this issue is phenomenal -- and you have a really awesome read. Take note of the zipper on Balck Widow's leather top. (As if I had to tell you to.) Sometimes the zipper is pulled down -- and other times it's pulled up to the top. And always in context with the moment.
If that's not enough for you, check out the silent interaction between Janet Van Dyne and the Latverian local in the green shirt and blue overalls in the scene to the right. And then peep the Rooskie redhead in the background, pickpocketing money and keys for the ensuing adventure.
There's a lot more going on in this book than its cheesy title portends.
Morally Ambiguous, Indeed
Amazing Spider-Man #616
As The Gaunlet arc continues, Spider-Man's match-up with nemesis Sandman delivers a few well-placed punches. Most of them emotional. Spider-Man's mission is to rescue young Keemia Alvarado who has been seemingly kidnapped by Flint "Sandman" Marko. Unfortunately, Marko dotes on the girl like the daughter he never had, and the little girl is equally connected to him. So it really stings when Spidey betrays the trust of a little kid.
Keemia: You won't grab me and try to bring me back?
Spider-Man: What? Me? No. Never.
Keemia: You promise?
Spider-Man: Promise? I'm a super hero! We never lie!
She released the Web Head from his restraints. And the hero immediately grabs her.
Spider-Man: Though I personally wouldn't turn my back on today's grittier, darker, more morally ambiguous "super heroes" for five seconds.
He "rescues" the girl -- who is immediately placed into foster care (her maternal grandmother is deemed unfit by the cit's social services) where she is treated much worse than when she was in the sandy sanctum of her super-villain step-dad. The outcome clearly weighs heavily on the shoulders of our morally-ambiguous hero. And on the vast majority of the readers, one would suspect
On the bright side, special kudos to artist Javier Pulido who manages to capture the spirit of the Steve Ditko illustrations that launched the franchise. The Gauntlet has been a spectacular tribute to those Lee/Ditko days.
Did I Mention Big Reveals?
Arkham Reborn #3
The mastermind behind the new Arkham Asylum (and the asylum-under-the-asylum as well, evidently) is none other than a certain white-faced clown.
Nope. Not Him.
Jester: The Joker is a long way from here. You can call me the Jester. Think of me as Joker's evil twin.
Arkham: H-His evil twin?
Jester: Now isn't that a scary thought?
Sure is. But it's brightened somewhat by the fact that there's only room for one Clown Price of Crime -- who will surely be on the scene shortly to establish his place at the from of the Pugilistic Pecking Order. And when that inevitability occurs, who's going to be the first to quote that famous line from Top Gun with me?
Can I get a "Yee-Haw?"
Not Reveal-y Enough? OK...
Blackest Night #6
Shortly after becoming an official member of the Green Lantern Corps (and welcoming himself to its ranks), former Guardian of the Universe Ganthet uses his power to split the rings of each of the representatives of the emotional spectrum in attendance to double their forces against the powers of the Black Lanterns.
Lex Luthor gets an orange ring (greed), Aqua Man's wife, Mera, gets a red one (rage), Flash gets a blue ring (hope), Ray "Atom" Palmer becomes a member of the compassionate Indigo Tribe, Wonder Woman joins the Star Sapphires, and Bat-villain Scarecrow joins the Sinestro Corps with his yellow ring.
A Marvel Reveal? Coming Right Up
Fall of the Hulks: Gamma
Following the tremendous work on Fall of the Hulks: Alpha, this issue fell almost completely flat (no Red-She-Hulk jokes, please). With the majority of the pages following the funeral of General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, the pace was understandably slow.
Luckily, the next installment holds considerable promise as the final page os Gamma reveals Red Hulk in a surreptitious partnership with none other than Bruce Banner himself.
Red Hulk: I don't trust you, Banner.
Banner: Good. At least we're being honest. Look, we both want the same thing, and for that to happen... General Thunderbolt Ross had to die.
And, Perhaps The Biggest Reveal
Fantastic Four #574
It's Franklin Richards' birthday, and among his many presents is one from himself. A future version of himself, to be exact.
Rest. And remember who you are.
It seems we're going to see a whole, new Franklin from now on. Or an old one. Or a new, old one, as the ominous narrator intones...
And even later that evening. All alone in his room. A little boy creates a baby universe.
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