Hey Comic Impact! If you take away anything from this column this week is that Jonathan Hickman is one of the best writers working today and that you need to pick up his creator owned books.
East of West #2 by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta, and Frank Martin [Image]
Issue #1 of this comic was also my pick the week that it came out. Now I loved the first issue and I was expecting this comic to continue in its greatness so don’t be too surprised to see it on top again. If there was anything that I felt was lacking in the first issue it was the plotline about love. Hickman said in interviews that this comic, deep down, was a love story. If you read the first issue there was no semblance of that anywhere. It isn’t until this issue until the end that the love thread got picked up.
I kind of wish the first 2 issues shipped together as one giant sized debut issue. I wish this because although the ending to the first issue was fucking badass this issue introduced more of the world and more of the major players that we’ll be seeing in this comic. Also because I’m greedy and I just wanted more East of West when I finished reading the first issue. That’s probably the majority of my reasoning. We get introduced to all of the leaders of the 8 different nations that make up what we know to be the North American territory. We get to see where other characters are and what they’re up to but the big thing to come out of this issue is that we find out that Death had a wife and he thinks that she’s dead and that’s why he pissed off. By the end of the issue Death finds out that she’s very much alive and if you think he was pissed off before I’m sure he’s going to be more dangerous now. Why do I say that? For a few reasons which I will get into right now, first, to find out someone you love is actually alive is a good thing, he should be happy. Nope, fuck all that. Because not only was he made to believe that his wife was dead but he was tricked into thinking that. Second, if you think a man that has nothing to lose is dangerous, you’ve never met a man that is willing to just about anything to get his wife, or any loved one back. It’s totally something out of a western, hell; it was done in Django Unchained. So I can’t even imagine what Hickman is going to do here where the sky is the limit.
The Manhattan Projects #11 by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra, and Jordie Bellaire [Image]
As much as I talk about The Manhattan Projects and how crazy and insane the book is with its ideas of science and flipping recorded history on its head, it pleases me as a reader when I get to read an issue like this and not have it be over the top crazy like the Helmutt Grottrup origin issue but rather something heartwarming, with a little Oppenheimer madness thrown in.
This issue takes a look at the character of Harry Daghlian and his origin. Harry is the character in the series that walks around in an orange containment suit but his skull in a helmet. We find out how Harry got this way, which was basically a Hulk like accident but instead of turning him into a man that can turn into a hulking monster he just turns into an irradiated monster. The heartwarming part of all this comes in the form of friendship in Enrico Fermi. Most of the time when something like this happens to a person they usually end up alone and angry at the world. The Hulk is alone and angry and to some extent Frankenstein is also alone and angry because like the Hulk they both get shunned from life. Not in Manhattan Projects. In Manhattan Projects it’s all part of being on the science side of things and though it was weird that Harry didn’t die he gets to continue doing science stuff for the government and he doesn’t spend his time alone because he has a friend in Enrico Fermi. It is revealed that Fermi was the one who built the containment suit for Harry to use to get around in the world so he didn’t hurt anyone and at the end of the issue it is revealed that Harry knows something about Fermi and he tells him to tell the bosses. It was a great origin issue with some great reveals and the furthering of Oppenheimer’s insanity.
Guardians of the Galaxy #2 by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, Sarah Pichelli, John Dell, and Justin Ponsor [Marvel]
London is under attack and we see The Guardians face off in their first battle together as a team, and we also see the meeting that sets up the rule that Earth is officially off limits. Though there are some cool moments the team has that are very cinematic, especially Drax, to me the real story is with the Space Illuminati.
Clearly the Space Illuminati have some other things going on than the ‘protection’ of Earth but we have to name the people who where there first. The meeting is called to order by the King of Spartax, J’Son and he is joined by the Kree Supreme Intelligence, Gladiator of the Shi’ar, Young Annihilus from the Negative Zone, where the meeting is taking place, the Queen of the Brood, the All-Mother of the Asgardians Freya, and Y-Gaaar from the brotherhood of the Badoon. The interesting thing about this meeting is that it brings a lot of the Marvel history into the book with mentioning specific events of issues of comics. It just mentions that there’s a Watcher constantly…watching Earth. That Galactus has tried to consume Earth on multiple occasions and has been denied each time, and the more recent event of the Phoenix force skipping over every planet in the galaxy to come to Earth and then be destroyed. They mentioned that the Earth is one generation from becoming a force to be reckoned with in the universe, so some mention that they should take it out. Which brings us to the mention of all that has happened to the Earth and it is still there. The All-Mother says that the Earth being one of her realms is off limits. If anyone starts a war on Earth then they will have to answer to her and that when the world becomes off limits. The Badoon just grins because to me the only reason for this meeting was to set up this rule because the King of Spartax is a very deceiving and smart person, he’s setting something up that will pay off for him later, we just don’t know that yet. How can I say that? Well we know the Badoon are attacking the Earth right now and when the Guardians take them out after being told not to interfere with what happens on Earth they get arrested. But what about the Badoon? And how does this tie into Age of Ultron? And that Angela character? What does the Spartax King want with Earth? Or is this just a way to get his son to become the Prince of Spartax? It’s a bunch of questions that I’m excited about finding out the answers. Should be a fun ride.
Uncanny Avengers #7 by Rick Remender and Daniel Acuna [Marvel]
Rick Remender is continuing his Apocalypse/Life Seed/Death Seed storyline that he brought up when he was writing Uncanny X-Force. What’s different now though is that it’s on a larger scale because it is being dealt with in an Avengers and X-Men book. Not to say that what happened in Uncanny X-Force didn’t matter, because it did, my concern is for this arc and the characters in it because of what happened in X-Force. Remender went balls to the wall in that arc and turned the world of X-Force on its head, he changed the life of Angel forever so with the story being on a grander stage I can’t even imagine what he has in store for us because he has set up the Apocalypse twins versus Genocide, who thinks is the true heir of Apocalypse.
What I also liked about this issue were the short interactions between the characters. I love seeing Alex Summers set up to the leader position. I’ve said before that this character was never really on my radar. I’ve read some stories here and there about the character [Brubaker’s X-Men run] but never really invested anything in him until I started reading this book. He’s a great character who is really stepping up to the plate dealing with characters like Maria Hill and the new Nick Fury as well as all the other personalities on the team like Thor, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, and trying not to freak out when giving orders to Captain America. Rogue has become one of my favorite characters and as I read this comic she’s the character that represents my feelings toward a lot of things and I like that she fights with Scarlet Witch and Wasp and that she doesn’t back down and that she challenges Alex whenever she can.
Let’s pour out a little drink for our brother Simon, The Wonder Man, for being put in the friendzone by Scarlet Witch, or more like the brotherzone, which is worse actually. Sorry dude. [Too bad this isn’t the Ultimates because if he was put in the brotherzone there things would actually be better for him.(Ewww!)]
I think one of the best things about this book and one of my favorite things about Remender as a writer is that all his stories have a sense of gravitas. They are important not only to us reading the comic but important to the characters in the comic. I know that sounds a little strange because a lot of writers write like Remender does but for me I put more gravitas when I read Remender’s book because of the way he writes, I just like it. I get into it and I just want more, he’s very good at what he does and it gets me excited about the comics he writes.
FF #6 by Matt Fraction, Joe Quinones, and Laura Allred [Marvel]
The reason that this issue is on the Top 5 this week is because of one page and one page only. I’ll get to the reason soon enough, but I do want to say that I enjoyed this issue a lot. Nice work by Joe Quinones because it took me until I got to the end of the book to notice that the artist wasn’t Mike Allred, what threw me was that it was still colored by Laura, who does an amazing job on the book.
The reason I picked this issue was because of its message on the one page. The page is of the Moloids, Mik, Korr, Turg, and Tong. It turns out that the Moloids were being raised as boys, which is fine, but Tong has decided to be a girl. She says she tried being a boy but that wasn’t working out so she put on a dress and decided to become a girl. Then she asks her brother if they are ok with her decision, her brother get up and hug her and tell her they love her and she tells them she loves them back, all is well. That page made this comic for me because not only was it a great page it sends a great message to whoever is reading this comic about acceptance. You can try to be other things in life, you can try to be what people think you should be in life, but that means denying who you are and denying ourselves of who we are goes against our nature. You have to embrace yourself and who you are and just hope that the people that you love are willing to except who you are. I think that anybody who’s a comic book fan can sympathize and relate to this page. I think that it says a lot about who Matt Fraction is as a person but also, it says a lot about Marvel and them publishing this comic. It’s just one page but I found it to be the most important page in the entire issue, and probably the most important page in comics from last week.