Hey Comic Impact! Welcome to Antonio’s Top 5 Comics of the Week brought to you by Marvel Comics! Not really but boy do I wish. I am limited by the money that I have and my pull list. I’m a Marvel guy through and through and sometimes the top 5 ends up being exclusively a Marvel top 5 of the week, that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy everything else I read I just enjoyed what’s on the top 5 more. So I hope you enjoy and don’t hate on me this week too much.
1.Uncanny Avengers #4 by Rick Remender, John Cassaday, and Laura Martin [Marvel]
We all know that Rick Remender is a long time planner when it comes to his comics, like Jonathan Hickman, he plans things out that will have effects playing out in the present but also later in the future. This issue of Uncanny Avengers sets up something big for later down the road and I for one am pretty excited. I don’t want to spoil the final page here because I think it really needs to be seen for it to have an effect, also mostly because I was spoiled on it before I got a chance to read it.
The majority of this issue is the rest of the battle with the Red Skull that started in issue 3. The Avengers Havok and Scarlet Witch are trying to hold off Thor, who last issue was taken over by the Skull, and Captain America trying to defeat the Red Skull. The strongest parts of the issue are the Red Skull and Captain America scenes. Red Skull tries his hardest to manipulate Captain America into see the United States like other people see the United States, that it’s filled with ignorant rednecks. But I also liked how when Red Skull started talking to Cap he used the phrase “The best way to sell a lie is to believe it yourself.” Later on when Cap is fighting back and Cap uses the same line. I like things like that, the line comes full circle but it also shows what kind of people Cap and Skull are. Cap believes in America and loves his country, Skull believes in his cause so much that it’s not a matter of how he’ll take over but when. Though these two men are nothing a like in what they believe in they are both pretty secure in what they do believe in and whether or not what they believe in is a lie, they’ll never see it that way.
After the battle that sees Skull escape we get some really cool moments where Cap reassures Havok that he did a great job as team leader and that he has what it takes. Another scene where Scarlet Witch goes to make amends with Rogue, but Rogue will have none of that, telling Witch that she’s there because that’s what Xavier would have wanted and to keep an eye on her so she doesn’t hurt anyone else. That’s where my love of Rogue’s character grows. I’m glad she’s there to watch the Witch and lets here know it because I truly think that after the event of Avengers Disassembled and House of M she got off way too easy and I’m glad that someone will be there to constantly remind her of something like that. It also plays to the whole AvX thing still and what’s going on right now. As much as there’s a peace between the X-Men and The Avengers, the Avengers are still going hardcore after Cyclops to put him in jail, while the Scarlet Witch’s action got brushed off to the side when she committed genocide on a species. The last moment is between Thor and Wolverine in which might be my favorite of the three scenes. Wolverine is licking his wounds and drinking some beers after being pounded by Mjölnir when Thor comes to see him and shows him a news article saying that Xavier’s gone, but his dream is still alive, Thor tells Wolverine that he didn’t fail him and that this time he has the Avengers help. This ties in with Wolverine giving Professor Xavier’s eulogy in the first issue and Wolverine’s need to live up to the spirit of Charles Xavier. The issue ends with a 2 page look at something happening three months from now, and like I said at the start, I won’t be spoiling it here, but it’s a pretty huge moment.
2. Uncanny X-Men #2 by Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo, and Tim Townsend [Marvel]
This issue starts off focusing on Emma Frost and her dealing with the loss of her powers, or more specifically the loss of control and range of her powers. Emma is angry and she is upset that she doesn’t have her powers anymore lamenting the fact that she complained about being able to hear everyone’s thoughts all the time and now she doesn’t hear anything and she misses it. It’s very uncommon to see Emma upset or regretful because she usually isn’t that kind of character, even in the aftermath of AvX when she was broken out and reunited with Cyclops and Magneto she was angry rather than depressed. Cyclops comes to see her and they talk about their relationship and even if they wanted to get back together they probably shouldn’t. They talk about the mutant revolution and how everything had been leading to that moment.
The rest of the issue discusses the battle with the Sentinels from the previous issue and the implications that are brought to the surface when the X-Men jump in to collect these new mutants essentially taking them away from their life, their family, their friends and being drafted into this war unwillingly. These kids are mutants and they have a greater purpose in life and that is to benefit their race, that’s asking a lot. I’m glad this came up in this issue because I feel that this will be an ongoing source of conflict. Cyclops is gathering an army and unlike soldiers that were drafted during war time they at least knew about the possibility of that happening, these kids have power manifestations and before they even know what’s happening to them they are recruited to be part of something bigger than them, hell, bigger than anything they’ve ever known. I’m glad this comes up here and I look forward to seeing where this takes us and what kind of story lines this takes us down, all I know for sure is that alliances will be tested.
All of this leads to The X-Men and their recruits, minus Magneto, going back to Australia so that Eva can see her mother. This is where things get interesting because as soon as the X-Men leave Magneto informs SHIELD where the X-Men are going and a couple of moments after the X-Men arrive in Australia the Avengers show up, Captain America, Hawkeye, Spider-Woman, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, and the Hulk.
3.Hawkeye #8 by Matt Fraction, David Aja, Annie Wu, and Matt Hollingsworth [Marvel]
Matt Fraction had a theme in all his books this month and that was love and romance. This issue sees the return of the girl from issue 3, the car chase issue, Penny, and she needs Clint’s help with getting a safe from the head Bro. The reason I enjoyed this book so much wasn’t because of the story, which I liked just fine, but it wasn’t nearly as good as what we’ve had but because after the Hurricane Sandy issue we get David Aja back on art and anytime David Aja is on art it is something to behold.
As great as David Aja is this issue he’s joined by Annie Wu who does these beautiful romance comic covers that are spread throughout the issue. These covers are full page and what I like about them is that they serve a few different purposes. One of these purposes is that they serve as breaks between scenes. The other is that they all tie into the scene that follows and to the overall plot of the book but it also acts as the code for the safe. What safe? I’ll tell you. Penny shows up because she needs help from Clint, she shot her ex-husband and they need to steal a safe what’s in it, she doesn’t say but she needs it to stay alive. The comic covers come into play when she tells Clint that she was the one who sent her the comic issues and that she sent them in a specific order because it was the code to the safe but Clint opened them and messed up the order so now she doesn’t know the code and so she walks away from Clint. That’s the ending of the story but the ending of the issue sees the heads of the crime families meet and the head Brotells them all that he’ll kill Hawkeye for them, so I expect soon that things are going to get even harder for Clint.
4. FF #3 by Matt Fraction, Mike Allred, and Laura Allred [Marvel]
A long time ago, way before Dan Slott wrote Superior Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man, one of the first comics he wrote for Marvel was a She-Hulk series. That series was very funny and heartfelt. I loved it, so of course it was cancelled, and then eventually brought back, but I never read that second series mostly because of money. When I read this issue of FF and saw that most of the story was about Jen and her going on a date, continuing Matt Fraction’s theme of the month, I was taken back to that time I spent reading Dan Slott’s She-Hulk. I’m not saying that Fraction was copying Slott, I don’t even know if Fraction has read Slott’s She-Hulk. All I know is that when I read this issue it reminded me of that book and I really enjoyed it because of that. Of course Matt Fraction put his own spin on the issue which made it funnier.FF4
So She-Hulk is going out on a date and this upsets the Moloids because they love The Jen. So they go to Bentley to see if he can help them, they want him to teach them how to evil. It’s pretty cute. So Bentley and the Moloids stalk The Jen and he date, Wyatt Wingfoot, and every time the couple settle into a new place and Bentley unleashes his plan they go south, instead of helping the Moloids to ruin the date he keeps up improving the date and making it so Jen and Wyatt have a better time then they may have originally planned. The issue ends with Bentley being upset about him failing as an evil genius and being comforted by Medusa, as she tells him that she wants him to fulfill her destiny. I also have to say more much Mike Allred’s art and Laura Allred’s colors continue to impress me. I’ve never read a book where they were the team for an extended period of time but they are a huge part of why I enjoy this book so much, the art, the coloring, and the writing all work so well together that you really have to read this comic to see what I’m talking about.
5. Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, John Dell, and Justin Ponsor [Marvel]
This book was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I’m sure that I’ll love it more when the first issue comes out but if this issue is what we’re going to be getting from Bendis and McNiven then I can’t wait to see what’s to come.
I know I’m looking forward to seeing what’s to come this issue is by no means any indication of the tone of the comic book itself. It may have set up story points that will play out later on when Bendis gets to the meat of this story but this issue told the origin story of Peter Quill, Star-Lord. Before we get to the story in this issue I have to point out that I like the symmetry between this comic and its related cosmic comic Nova. They both start out the same, a shot of Earth in space, to me this means that though the comics will be about space, that Earth is going to be a central part of what’s coming. This has been said in interviews by the creative team but also goes back to themes from Bendis’ Avengers Assemble where Earth has stepped up its game and they’ve become a major player in the goings on of space. It’s essentially become a target, and this isn’t seen just in this comic of Nova but also in Hickman’s Avengers and New Avengers.
The issue starts off with J’Son of Spartax crash landing on Earth, specifically on Meredith Quill’s land. He tells her that he needs time to fix his ship so that he can go back into space. She lets him stay and over the course of a few months they fall in love and start a relationship. The day comes when he has to go and as much as he would like to take her, he can’t. J’Son leaves but not without leaving her pregnant. We flash forward a few years to see a young Peter Quill and we get to know him a little. His mom mentions how much he looks like his father and that sets him off on a rant where he’s gets angry at her for bringing him up, telling her that he doesn’t have a father, she says he does and he asks where he is and she can’t answer. The next day in school Peter gets in trouble because he attacks a bully for picking on a girl. These two scenes will come into play as we get to know Peter. He has clearly has father issue and if you’ve watched Lost you know how they can affect characters, especially since his father is of Spartax and he’s of the Throne, making Peter space royalty. The second scene shows Peter’s character and that he’s not going to stand for bullying but it doesn’t matter what resources he has or what the situation is he’ll going to deal with it by himself no matter the cost. Which even though he’s part of a team, he’s the team leader and he will put himself before everyone, even sacrificing himself if he has to, as he’s done before.
Some aliens attack the Quill house and they kill of Peter’s mom saying that the Spartax bloodline will not continue. They are also looking to kill Peter as well. The spaceship blows up the house thinking Peter is inside, he runs away with his father’s gun that Meredith hid from him at the beginning of the issue. His origin story ends with him in the hospital holding the gun and it is reveal to us that the present Peter Quill was telling this story to Tony Stark. (Peter calls his father an ass as he’s finishing up his story, showing he still has those daddy issues.) We get a picture of the team that includes Star- Lord, Iron Man, Rocket Racoon, Groot, Drax the Destroyer, and Gamora, in a spaceship flying off on a mission that should be picked up in the next issue, the proper issue #1. I am very excited for this series because I love the characters so much and because I loved what Abnett and Lanning did a few years ago so I’m looking forward to seeing what Bendis can do, especially now that it’s all part of the greater Marvel Universe. Steve McNiven’s art is fucking spectacular, some of the best stuff from him I’ve seen in years. He draws badass characters and I can’t wait to see them all in action.