Because long-term Marvel fans shouldn’t have surprised by the cliff hanger ending last issue, of Winter Soldier beheading Nick Fury and making off with the Eye of the Watcher. Most of us old timers, knew that couldn’t be the real Nick Fury, but honest, knowing Aaron, it could have gone either way.
This issue however has a cliffhanger that is not only shocking, but makes perfect sense! Gathered by a mysterious hidden figure, three teams of super heroes sent to hunt for clues in the Watcher’ death, now converge. After accusing his partner of being the killer, Doc Strange and the Punisher have a little stand off. Aaron writes the Punisher (and every other damn character he touches) perfectly; completely nonplussed while standing on a the giant corpse of a shadow demon, in a dark dimension while facing down the Sorcerer Supreme with an automatic rifle.
Dude doesn’t even blink.
And it doesn’t stop there. As those two leave the dark dimension to go question the man who sent them, they arrive to find a beheaded Nick Fury, with Hulk and Wolverine standing over the body. In one of those classic “this isn’t what it looks like” moments, we see who has the faster draw, the Punisher… or Doctor Strange. With Hulk and Wolverine quickly dispatched, the two free the Orb, who promises he can lead the to the Eye of the Watcher (cause Eyeballs like him!).
Meanwhile, Black Panther has tracked the signal their secret boss is using, and alongside Antman and The White Queen, go from the center of the Earth to near earth orbit, finding the hidden satellite base of their mysterious benefactor. Doc and Punisher arrive, with the Orb in tow. But that could only mean one thing, The Watcher’s Eye is on the satellite, and that means so is Bucky (and Nick Fury’s head!!!).
And he’s just in time for a reunion, Moon Knight and Gamora show up via a hitched ride with Rocket Raccoon, the two teammates he abandoned on Ego when he teleported away to go be-head Nick Fury, and they’re a little pissed. Well, Gamora is a lot pissed! In the ensuing chaos, the truth is revealed, Bucky is not a stone cold deity killer, and the Nick Fury he killed was just an LMD. Then who the hell have these three teams been working for??? The reveal on the last page is a shocker, not really who the Mysterious Boss is, but why he looks the way he does!!! Also Punisher and Rocket have some words… about guns!
Aaron and Deodato continue to shake the Marvel Universe to its core, this truly is the epitome of a company wide crossover, that’s filled with substance and history, but soaked in bloody action!!! Kudos guys, LOVE THIS BOOK!
Thor: God of Thunder #23 $3.99
w. Aaron a. Ribic
The Gist: I’m just going to throw a Jason Aaron Thor quotes at you (as I am wont to do…) and you just imagine how awesome Esad Ribic drew the page of future Thor attacking future Galactus: “Behold, All-black the All-Father” – “…The God of Butchers “ – The Neccro-Thor” – “..The Eater of World Eaters…” – “Last King of the Dead Earth”
Batman & Ra’s Al Ghul #32
w. Peter Tomasi
a. Patrick Gleason
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
The reasons to list are so many, it’s ridiculous. Tomasi and Gleason rock this book, month in and month out ( for a detailed review of the first two trades, check out my Father’s Day review of Born to Kill and Pearl here: Father’s Day – Batman & Robin Vol.1 Born to Kill & Vol 2. The Pearl).
Ra’sAl Ghul has stolen the bodies of Talia and Damian, and plans on using a mythic Lazarus Pit to resurrect them, and cement his criminal dynasty with them as his heirs. Batman has teamed with various heroes the past few months in the global hunt to save the soul of his son, and now with the aid of Frankenstein, has cornered Ra’s Al Ghul in the mytical city of Nanda Parbat, Deadman’s old stomping grounds, and location of the final Lazarus Pit. Ra’s may have a army of Ninjas at his beck and call, but Batman and Frankenstein are rolling deep too, a legion of Tibetan Yeti’s have their backs in this battle!!!
As Frankenstein leads the Yeti’s against the Ninjas, Batman rescues his son’s body from the clutches of the madman, and escapes with Frankstein covering his back. But, as in all battles,it comes down to the Generals, and Batman and Ra’s Al Ghul confront each other,for what just might be the final time! In a fight worthy of two such bitter foes, it looks like Batman is about to break all sorts of vow, actually going all Sandor Clegane on Ra’s head, when the battle is interrupted….by a BOOM..tube that is!
Tomasi, a master at throwing a twist in the middle of a story, throws one of Apokoliptic proportions in this issues final page (no it’s not Darkseid, but it could be worse) and Batman suddenly has much more on his plate. This issue leads into the Robin Rises story arc that starts in a one shot Robin Rises: Omega story drawn by Andy Kubert!!, and then continues in Batman & Robin #33.
Tomasi and Gleason are definitely the most underrated creative team in the business, and their run on this book will be spoken of in the future with reverence, like O’Neil and Adams Green Arrow run, or Wolfman and Perez’s Titans. It’s a testament to their skills that the co-star of the book has been dead for over 14 issues and the title is still going strong. Plus you just have to see Gleason’s Frankenstein….. frakkin epic!
Wonder Woman #32 $2.99
w. Azzarello a. Sudzuka
The Gist: As Wonder Woman gathers her Army of Amazons, and the long hidden Sons of the Amazons, alongside the remaining Gods in her bid to take back Oympus from the Firstborn, the monstrous son of Zeus has transformed Olympus itself, and reveals his plan to Strife, Goddess of discord… he’s going to kill all the Gods… every.single.one.
He has already killed Death, now The Firstborn plans to kill Life itself, in the form of Harvest, Goddess of the seasons and life. Can Wonder Woman and her God Squad stop him in time? Azzarello’s epic run speeds to a conclusion, and there are only a few stops left of this mythically spectacular train , so get on board before it’s too late!!
Because my insane addiction to time travel/alternate stories in any form (comics, novels, tv shows, movies whatever I don’t care!) all stemmed from watching this episode on the floor of Grandma’s living room with my Uncle and my Father after a big Sunday dinner. Then I borrowed a bunch of What if?s from my friend Thomas and, that of course leads to Slaughterhouse Five, and The Lathe of Heaven , so now my mind has been shattered time and time again. Thank You Harlan Ellison and Gene Roddenberry.
It was until I was in my late teens, knee-deep in Next Generation and DS9, that I found out all about the controversy behind this episode. The late script from Ellison. The various re-writes. The expenses and cost of the original script and all the legalese that really irked the inner Trekkie in me that hated the fact that there was a taint to a precious childhood memory of mine. I found a book containing the original script, and read it word for word after watching the episode again on a borrowed VHS tape. I can’t really say which is better. It’s such a classic episode, besides having Joan Collins as a guest star, besides the concept matter and big ideas, it has one of my favorite Kirk lines of all time…..”Let’s get the hell out of here”. This has to be one of the top five Star Trek Episodes of all time, and the one most credited with getting Trekkies hooked on the show.
Was Harlon Ellison’s original script better? OF COURSE IT WAS. Was it prime time network T.V. ready? I don’t think so. Roddenberry always depicted his future as a more Utopian place, with humanity finally coming together as one, and the only threats to peace were galactically external, in the form of Romulans, Klingons and various dangerous lifeforms across the stars. Drug addiction, black markets, murder, death penalties, and executions… all within the first commercial break, not only might have been to adult for the conservative watchers of the late 60’s, but didn’t really fit the established positive flavor the show had already been expressing.
The sci-fi concepts were great, actual Guardians, a magnificent ghost like city, and the mechanics of time travel explained so thoroughly, were any geeks wet dream.
So, go nerd yourself out. Watch the original episode and then read this comic as it comes out and make your own judgement. The adaption is spot on from the script and Ellison’s notes, and J.K. Woodward’s art is fantastically photo realistic, with Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew are instantly recognizable and he captures the facial nuances of the cast correctly.
Way back in 1988, Chuck Dixon and Jorge Zaffino created the seemingly prophetic post apocalyptic survival story Winter World. It focused on a trader named Scully and his young female companion Wynn (and a badger named Rah-Rah), on the run and trying to survive in a world experiencing another ice age. Part Day After Tomorrow and part Walking Dead, Winter World was a bleak look at the remnants of humanity, adapting to survive in a frozen wasteland. Zaffino’s fantastic art only accentuated Dixon’s intense and moddy script.
Now over 20 years later, Dixon brings back Winter World for modern times, with IDW reprinting the original stories in hardcover and trade paperback, and now teaming up with super-talented Butch Guice to continue the ision he and the now-deceased Zaffino started over two decades ago. I reccomend checking out both the original trade and this new series, or just jumping in right here!
w. Joshua Dysart a. Khari Evans
The Gist: A team in ruins. A Renegade has fallen, Peter Stanchek is presumed dead after his battle with Toyo Harada, and another Renegade is traumatized. Even when Pete does return, he is in no shape to pull them together, damaged both physically and psionically in his batttle with Harada. The bleeding Monk reealed the truth to both of the powerful psio and it rattled their very being! Is this the end of the Renegades? Is the war between Harada and Stanchek finally over?……. I doubt it!!
Last Week’s Surprise Pick:
Secret Avengers #4
w. Ales Kot
a. Michael Walsh
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Remember when Marvel was putting out this great Hawkeye book by Matt Fraction and David Aja, and it was actually about Hawkeye and not some girl version of him or his dog, and it was a cool fun read full of action and humor???
Yeah, me too!
Anyway, Ales Kot and Mike Walsh have proven to be admirable replacements for the aforementioned missing creative team, and have given us exactly what we’ve been missing from Hawkeye’s solo book. The battling bowman costars along Black Widow, Spider Woman, Agents Fury and Coulson and run missions for maria Hill ( who also keeps MODOK as a pet inventor monkey mad scientist ). The action is slick and fast paced and the writing is top notch, with characterization that is spot on, which is no mean feat in this team of eclectic personalities.
This issue, Agent Fury ( The black, young one, not the old white guy ) and Hawkeye head into a city that doesn’t exist, leading a team of SHIELD agents to hunt down The Fury ( not be confused with either Nick Fury , of course ), an unkillable alien assassin. The Fury was set lose by the Secret Avengers, collateral damage from their first adventure, and now he needs to be captured and forgotten… just like the mission.
Check out Marvel’s Superspy adventure team, and get your Hawkeye fun fix while Fraction and Co. Get their shaft together!