Captain America #14
w. Rick Remender
a. Carlos Pacheco
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: First off, I’d like to thank Rick Remender for putting to the forefront something barely mentioned in comics and mainstream media. War is hell. Period. Contained within these pages, hidden among the battle of two super soldiers, Remender gets across the point, while as necessary war may be, no good comes out of it, for the victors and the losers. Cap was part of the greatest generation, WWII era vets who came home to parades as and a grateful nation. Nuke was born in the fires of Vietnam and came home to protests and being spit on.
Although war took its toll on both, as Cap says those WWII guys didn’t have it easy in any regard. Nuke has sadly, like many Vietnam vets, returned home with psychological damage, that would normally cripple a person. Instead, thanks to repeated manipulation by his own government, this was used as tool in their ongoing wars and black op missions. Now, on the loose in Nrosvekistan, Nuke is on a rampage. slaughtering anything, and anyone in his path in the name of the good ol ‘ U.S. of A. It’s up to Cap and the Falcon to stop him before an international incident occurs. But who is really controlling Nuke? According to Nick Fury it’s definitely not the American military. Pacheco’s action is non stop; you see how crazy Nuke is when he stops Cap’s shield with his teeth,and what the toll of losing his adopted son and fiancée takes on Cap, and the decisions he makes because of it. How far can Cap be pushed before he cracks?
As a son of a Vietnam veteran and the grandson of a WWII vet, I can tell you the conversation between Cap and Nuke is balls on accurate. Remender hits all the rights notes in his dialog, which is proven easily by the fact you can’t choose who won that argument. Because there are no winners in the horrors of war.
After you read this issue, you go thank the nearest veteran you can find and thank them for what they did for this country, and then, you go thank whatever god you pray to that you never had to!
Superman/Wonder Woman #3
w. Charles Soule
a. Tony S. Daniel
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: I have to say, this books hasn’t been a let down at all. It got that “Relationship Book” tag on the internet, but this doesn’t read like a silver age romance comic full of swooning broads and misogynistic thought balloons. It reads like a damn good comic that happens to star a couple. And, it has enough supporting characters, that it could pass as an issue of JLA and you wouldn’t bat an eye. While Superman takes refuge on the moon, near bursting with energy from Apollo’s sun-blast, he contacts Batman for a little heart to heart. Soule showcases the older brother vibe Batman has with Superman subtly in the conversations they have, which run a healthy gamut. Batman has some damn good advice to give and Clark takes it to heart, sage advice from someone he respects and considers wise. Meanwhile Wonder Woman is shopping…. for Superman’s Christmas present, but what do you get for the man, who has nothing out of his reach? (check the variant cover below for my guess) She doesn’t know either. So guess who she calls???? (Hint: he had Supes on the other line ).
This issue is the first appearance in current time of General Zod, who makes quick work of the Justice League of America, and only surrenders when Superman arrives and he recognizes a fellow Kryptonian.
As always, Tony Daniel knocks it out of the park. Not only are the main characters spot on, he handles all the guest stars wonderfully,especially the knock-down-drag-out between Zod and Martian Manhunter, with a little help from Hawkman. The “slow” character scenes are remarkable as well, lending depth and emotion with his line work, and not just talking heads. If you know a Superman fan, or a Wonder Woman fan, these 3 issues would make a great Christmas gift. Speaking of which,I think I know what Supes is gettin’:
Justice League 3000 #1
w. Giffen & DeMatteis
a. Howard Porter
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because I expected something else from this book, but what I got was intriguingly different . The JLA of the future, is really not what it seems. These aren’t legacy characters, or a few long-lived heroes among rookies, nor is it a replacement for The Legion of Superheroes. We have a team of JLA members, who we’re told are the original, but right from the start you see somethings wrong. Superman is all cocky and reckless, a bit of a doche, Flash is whiny and depressing, Green Lantern is all distracted and goofy, Wonder Woman has major aggression issues and a bit of a sadist. Oh and Batman.. Batman is a badass in any time, any universe, any incarnation. And their powers are all wonky, Flash doesn’t have his Aura to protect him, Superman has no heat vision, Green Lantern’s ring is..well, it’s his cape.
We get to meet the two teens responsible for the JLA’s return, Terry and Teri, the Wonder Twins (hopefully your young enough not to get the reference…). Their former partner, and the one truly behind the JLA’s resurrection, Ariel Masters, is on the run from both the Twins and Cadmus( you know that secret underground science lab full of clones, aliens and weird experiments). What secrets does she hold?? Who else survived into the year 3000? Why does everyone hate the Green Lanterns? What’s the hell is wrong with the JLA? (I have my own theories but, I’ll wait on my deductions to avoid any spoilers). The future of the New 52 is a scary place, and so are it’s heroes.
Howard Porter’s art is a perfect match for Giffen’s ideas, it really looks like Giffen did the layouts, but Porter keeps his singular style and dynamism. I know it was a controversial move firing Kevin McGuire from the project, his crisp clean style was no match for the gritty, dystopic future Giffen and DeMatteis depict here. I have nothing but respect for McGuire and his awesome body of work, but I wouldn’t want to see Bill Sienkiewicz doing Action Comics, or Mike Allred drawing the Punisher. Some artists are better suited for or certain stories.
w. Joshua Dysart
a. Barry Kitson & Riley Rossmo
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: This is the final issue of the current arc, and it ends with a few bangs…., psionic-eye-ball-exploding-mind-wiping-bangs that is! Pete Stanchek is free of the Harbinger foundation’s technologically enhanced psiot illusions, that have kept him and his fellow Renegades unknowingly imprisoned by Toyo Harada. A brief battle on the psychic plane between Stanchek and Harada has not only shattered the illusion, it sent Harada into a “mind squall”, a psionic seizure which has dire effects on the minds ( and bodies!) of anyone close to him. Pete isn’t just going to just leave without his friends, or a little damn payback. After freeing them from the “Perfect Day” illusions they were experiencing, the Renegades find Harada in his weakest state. How can Harada walk away from this? Will he? Find out in what is yet another great arc under the very talented Joshua Dysart’s belt, ably assisted by both Kitson and Rossmo, whose disparate styles work so well together in an arc like this.
Next up: “Resistance”…. it’s cruel to make us wait a whole month for a book this good.
Last Week’s Surprise pick:
w. Posehn & Duggan
a. Scott Koblish
Why?: Honestly, I never thought a Deadpool book would be on this list. I don’t necessarily hate the character, he just represents a few things I hate about the industry, especially from the House of Idea ( the s is missing on purpose!). That mentality of; if one is good, four more is better when it comes to sales, led to the homogenization of the Marvel Universe, and began to infect DC (how many Superman titles are there now? I think like 3 Batman titles come out a week and Justice Leagues are starting to sprout like mushrooms after a good rain!).
Okay. Rant done! Back to Deadpool #20. This issue was freaking fun! The Tom Scioli cover grabbed my attention, when I saw a Celestial, Mangog, Devil Dinosaur and Moonboy done all Kirby-y by the Godland co-creator , I said whoahh…let me check this out. The insides were even better. Scott Koblish, channeling Kirby like a psychic medium, takes Posehn & Duggan’s script and goes mad with it. It’s Deadpool, in armor that is so eerily Kirby-esque you’d swear it was his own design, on a Vacation in Wakandan. In true Deadpool fashion, he gets swept up in a universe spanning adventure at the behest of the Watcher ( who apparently has an impressive Pez collection) and manages to encounter just about every Kirby monster you can imagine, from those listed above, to Fin Fang Foom, denizens of the Savage Land and Negative Zone, Odin and everybody’s favorite blue-eyed behemoth, the Thing.
The book is full of chuckles, and some outright knee-slappers! What happens when a cosmic infant poops? Why does Odin have a robot turkey leg? What the heck is… Sledpool? Check this book out, if you’re a Kirby fan you’ll love it, it’s got more Kirby Krackle in it than the New Gods omnibus and just as many giggles! I guarantee you’ll laugh out loud where Deadpool ends up! (pst.. it’s a visual joke too! )