4 out of 5 Space Moneys
Why?: Because, while shattering the Firstborn’s spine during a torture session, Sun-God and current King of Olympus Apollo remarks:
” When I’m done with you, you’ll be using your forehead to smear ‘mercy’ with your own excrement”
Azzarello writes the Greek gods as the vengeful, pompous, spiteful beings they were in historical tales. Each one is given a distinct personality fitting their station, and each and every one is out for themselves first. Chiang’s designs are fresh and new, giving each god a look that fits them mythically, but with an updated style that has a tinge of horror to it. I know a lot of people miss the old Perez designs ( which were awesome!) , but:
1. God’s are finicky, ephemeral beings beyond our ken. We can barely comprehend their forms, which they can choose at a whim. Who’s to say that these aren’t their real looks, and the Perez designs were how they chose to appear at that time.
2. Get over it. If you want the same ol’ , same ol’ , there are plenty of trades out there of pre New52 Wonder Woman you can cry into if you can’t handle Azzarello and Chiang’s run.
3. It could be worse…. Rob Liefeld had nothing to do with this book!
The saga continues this issue, as Wonder Woman begins recruiting a team to help her find Zola ( coerced by Dionysius to go on the run, and hidden from prying godly eyes by Strife ), and her child by Zeus, Zeke. As the current god of war, Diana begins to play the game of gods, manipulating both Hera and Athena to her cause. Meanwhile Cassandra and her personal army hunt gods, hoping to use a god to storm Olympus and free the Firstborn…… who by the middle of this book doesn’t see like he needs much rescuing. Will there be a new ruler in Olympus by next issue ????
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because in this issue, Atomica and Johnny Quick of the Crime Syndicate show just how terrifying the Atom and Flash would be as villains….. by taking out the new Doom Patrol ( Karma, Scorch..we hardly knew ya!), but Dr. Niles Caulder has plans to start again. Can a New 52 Doom Patrol be far down the line?
Cyborg, after being crippled by the CSA, ( they ripped the cybernetics from Vic Stone’s body and gave it sentience, the new being was now known as the Grid and responsible for downing the internet and power grids across the world ) begs his scientist father to make him Cyborg again, using advanced tech and alien equipment from governments secret Red Room ( no not that one, the even more secreter one ! ). What we get is the all new, all different Cyborg 2.0. Slimmer. Sleeker. Made in Detroit!
Cyborg heads cross-country, seeking out Dr. Will Magnus. Will he get allies in the form of the Metal Men?? ( Metal Men and Doom Patrol in the same book!!!! A D.C. nerds wet dream! )
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because James Robinson is back at Marvel, and put in a spot that perfectly suits him; steeped in Marvel’s history.
The Kree are seeking out the God’s Whisper, a device capable of putting a God in the thrall of whoever wields it. Last seen on earth during World War II, Tanalth the Pursuer ( Pursuers are like Accusers, and Tanalth is like Ronan… with a bigger chestplate! ) is sent by the Supreme Intelligence to find the location of the God’s Whisper, and she’ll stop at nothing to gain it. Targeting the original Human Torch, Jim Hammond, first she induces a flashback in our octogenarian android, revealing a mission he doesn’t even remember taking part in. The Human Torch, Namor, Bucky and an ersatz Major Liberty up against Nazis, one of whom is using God’s Whisper to control the Norse god of death, ( and Thor nemesis ) Hela. Then she beats the living hell out of him. Can the star-spangled team of Cap and Winter Soldier save him?Why doesn’t Hammond remember this mission? What were the Kree and Shiar doing battling it out in Egypt? What is the real origin behind the device that can bend a god’s will? Find out here as James Robinson takes on the golden age of Marvel Comics.
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys ( Kuberts’ can do no wrong! )
Why?: Two Words: Creed and Essex. For those of you not in the know, that’s Creed as in Victor Creed, as in Sabretooth. And Dr. Nathaniel Essex, better known as Mr. Sinister, geneticist, mutant hater and scourge of the Summers family. Both long-lived villains make an appearance this issue, as Creed is hired by a man named Hugo and his assistant, the one-eyed mystery girl named Clara, to hunt the elusive wild-man rumored to be living in the Canadian woods. Coincidentally Dr. Essex and his Marauders ( gotta love synchronicity! ) have the same plan. As Essex floods the forest with mustard gas to flush Logan out, Creed leads his troupe to the wild-man’s den. Logan makes quick work of the Marauders, his healing factor overcoming the effects of the gas, but Essex counts it as a win, since finding his first mutant makes it all worthwhile.
Meanwhile, Creed’s ploy works,and Hugo’s band of hunters corner Logan near his cave. If not for Clara’s soothing voice ( and Sabretooth’s sneak attack ) Logan would have made mincemeat out of them, but is instead captured and Hugo’s plan for him is revealed. I won’t just give it away, but I’ll say this… it involves three rings and smells like elephant poo!
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why? Because this is it. What I’ve been waiting for. 4001 A.D. Baby! Since Valiant’s inception I’ve been waiting, hoping, and sometimes down right begging for a Rai book. I loved Rai in the old VU, and Valiant retained the rights ( Magnus Robot Fighter ,which preceded and introduced Rai took place 4001 A.D., but now Dark Horse, er.. make that Dynamite has the rights to the original Gold Key characters ). So when the Rai teaser was shown in the back of Unity #1 I went nuts. Finally! The year 4001 A.D. was important to the original VU. Magnus, The Psi-Lords, Rai & the Future Force, and large chunks of the original Unity all took place in this time period. In the new Valiant Universe, with its current crop of mega-talent, the year 4001 A.D. is rife with opportunity, with Rai being the most popular.
All that being said….. Rai does not appear in this book. At all. But he might,…. he could be….very soon….
In 4001AD the remnants of humanity live under the protection of the Gilad Anni-Padda, former Eternal Warrior and now Eternal Emperor. Living out an agrarian life style, mankind seems thrust back into feudal times. When his village is attacked by a cyborg hunting beast,his people wonder if it was sent by the Gods to destroy them, like they destroyed the rest of the world. The cyborg is booby-trapped and Gilad sends his people to hide in the ruins nearby, ruins he forbade them from ever entering, to avoid as much radiation as they could from the nuclear explosion caused by the bomb hidden on the mech-monster.
Gilad, and his ferocious 8-year-old grand-daughter, Caroline, set off in the direction the beast came from, hoping to find out who sent it, and get meds for the people they left behind. Coming across a group of slavers, we learn what happens when you offer to buy the Eternal Warrior’s granddaughter, and the source of the cyborg attack, sent from a place called the City. When Caroline ask her granddad what a city is, he replies:
“it’s where people are turned into monsters“
This arc is off to a great start, as is no surprise with Greg “Planet Hulk” Pak at the helm. Artist Robert Gill rocked me with his sketchy rendering and gritty lines, just what you need for a dystopian future full of road warriors, bleak landscapes and threatening techs. This is just the beginning of the future of the Valiant Universe, and it couldn’t be in better hands during its nascent stage. Get on board now, before you miss out and all your friends make fun of you!
And Look! Variants:
Last Weeks Surprise Pick:
Why?: Because, as much as I miss the old Hellblazer, i cant help but enjoy Constantine’s New 52 run. Sure most of the “british-ness” is gone, and he definitely more Battle-Mage and mystical strategist, then his former roguish, backstreet underclass dark sorcerer, but the essence of the character is there, and he fills a fine role in the ever expanding Dark side of the New 52.
Transported to the gates of heaven by the Phantom Stranger, alongside his ad-hoc Justice League Dark companion, Constantine finds himself in the one place hedamn sure isnt welcome… and the Spectre and Zauriel are there to make sure our little Hellblazer doesnt get anywhere near Heaven. True to form, Constantine pisses them both off, and only the intervention of God himself ( appearing as a Terrier) stops the two vengeful angels from casting him out. The Justice League Dark all receive visions from God to help them on their quest to save the missing Justice Leagues and stop the Blight ( mankind’s shared evil given form ), but John isnt satisfied, believing God, the Spectre and Zauriel could all help more than they are( y’know with them being so all damned powerful), Constantine turns his back ( literally ) on God and falls from heaven on his own. Yeah that kind of fall. Returning to earth after being chased by Zauriel during his descent, Constantine finds the Justice League Dark already there, and a new member ready to join… Zauriel! What made the angel change his mind: God told him what Constantine truly fights for! He fights for love! Who does Constantine love enough to change an Angel’s mind??… read the book and find out sucka! (pssst..a hint: ehs sreaw stenhsif! )
So now go enjoy the blizzard!…. from behind a window, with a comic in your hands, all warmed up in your Snuggy! ( whisky optional )