Hey Comic Impact! This week things end and things begin and things continue. Check out which title belongs in which category.
1.Swamp Thing #18 by Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette [DC]
This was the ending I was waiting for last month. This is the issue that should have been billed as the ending to Rotworld because it was the actual ending to Rotworld. I have to explain myself, and forgive me but I’ll probably be repeating myself in the Animal Man review later on, but I was disappointed by the so called finale to Rotworld last month in Swamp Thing and Animal Man. To me it wasn’t the end, it was unfinished, and so to have them billed as the finale and not have it actually end was disappointing. I knew that it wasn’t going to be Snyder’s final issue because there was going to be an epilogue to the series before he left and I read this issue and I loved it, because not only did it serve as an actual finale to the Rotworld story line but it also served as an amazing final issue of a great run on a character that I never really had an interest in.
Over the last year and a half I’ve gotten to know this character and have gone on a beautiful and poetic run with Scott Snyder. He’s written an amazing 18 issues, annual, and a #0 issue and it all tells the story of Alec and Abby. I’ve mentioned before that the underlying issue in the story line, and if you look back, the entire series has been love and what we would do in the face of a loved one’s danger. This Swamp Thing run has been a love story disguised as a horror story. It’s about sacrifice and enduring and overcoming obstacles and hope and overcoming all the odds to save and be with the person you love. I know I’m not talking about the story in this issue, I just want to stress the fact that the end of the story arc and this run is very satisfying and something that the creative team should be super proud of, especially with this kind of story told by through this character. I’ll miss Scott Snyder on this book but I’m looking forward to the next writer to take over in Charles Soule. Snyder changed the character in his run but he’s also left it wide open for Charles to take the story and the character anywhere he wants, and that’s awesome. Looking forward to the next journey, and if you haven’t read Snyder’s run as of yet, then do it. It’ll read amazing all in one sitting.
2.The Superior Spider-Man #5 by Dan Slott, Giuseppe Camuncoli, John Dell, Edgar Delgado, and Antonio Fabella [Marvel]
I need to read the next issue, very badly. I’m going to spoil the crap out of this issue because it’s all I can think of so if you haven’t read it yet skip this review, if you have read it or don’t care about spoilers, keep reading. So Spider-Man Ock is going after Massacre and at the high point of the issue Spidey Ock gets the upper hand and secures Massacre. Massacre devoid of any emotion starts feeling some but Doc Spidey doesn’t care and shoots Massacre in the head with a gun. We know it’s Doc in there but everyone else just saw SPIDER-MAN use a GUN and SHOOT someone in the HEAD!
Now I say that instead of killing someone because we don’t know if he’s killed Massacre. There’s no body and the rule in writing is that if the body isn’t show than the character is not dead. There are also a couple of pages after act and it is never confirmed for us whether Spider-Man has actually killed someone. The only thing that is said is that Massacre has been neutralized. I’m not going to talk about anything else that happened in the issue. I just want the next 30 like right now. This comic is very fast becoming my favorite from Marvel and I can’t wait to see how this is going to play out in the series with the other characters that know Peter and other guys like The Avengers. That’s if he killed him, I know he’ll get talked to by a bunch of people if he didn’t kill him, but I guess we’re going to have to wait on that. There has to be consequences to these actions though. Even if he was egged on by the crowd and he’s being called a hero and praised by Jonah the people that know Peter, that really know Peter as both Peter and Spider-Man will have to realized that something isn’t wrong. Not exactly figure it all out but suspect that something is off no matter which way Doc Spidey tries to spin this story.
3.Animal Man #18 by Jeff Lemire and Steve Pugh [DC]
Copy and paste what I said about Swamp Thing here…just kidding, though I will repeat myself some. Like I said above I was let down by the “conclusion” of Rotworld but I have to say that these epilogues to the story line, or as I will call them “the real conclusions” left a better taste in my mouth as a reader. I will compare this to Thor God of Thunder #5 from a few weeks ago. I made that my number one pick even though I felt that the story wasn’t fully resolved but I enjoyed what I got and I knew that the story wasn’t over. The story with Gorr wasn’t just going to be 5 issues, it’s an epic tale that will span probably the first year on the title, and that’s fine. What we got with Thor was part one of a larger story. With Rotworld what we got was billed final issue to the story that wasn’t really a final issue. And that’s my major beef with the whole thing. I’m a big proponent of you telling me how things are because I have no reason to think you’re lying, so I’m going to take what you tell me at face value and believe it, but when you tell me something and that something doesn’t happen or it’s different from what I was lead to believe then I get upset and angry. This is what happened, and it’s not just DC, I’ve felt this way before with some of the Marvel Point One issues.
Anyway, Animal is in the same situation as Swamp Thing, he gets returned and reunites with his family, but they still have to find a way to stop The Rot so that they don’t have to go through what they went through in the previous issues. I don’t want to spoil the thing that happens at the end here because this is totally something that should be read and seen to get the full impact. All I’ll say was that I wasn’t expecting it at all and that’s it’ll be interesting to see where the book goes with this story. As much as I liked the connection between Swamp Thing and Animal Man I kind of hope that it’s over at least for the time being. I really want to see Jeff Lemire get down to the nitty gritty with this character and send him off in his own direction rather than telling a bigger story with another comic. As much as a liked the crossover style of these series and that they built to something together to stay on the stands, now that it’s over it’ll be cool to see where it goes, especially since Animal Man had a standalone issue that I thought was one of the best single issue comics I read that year. I think it was issue #6, the issue where we get that movie that Buddy starred in.
4.Winter Soldier #16 by Jason Latour and Nic Klien [Marvel]
Jason Latour is doing an amazing job of keeping the Winter Soldier character interesting. He’s continuing in the Brubaker tradition of expanding his backstory while telling a story in the present day. The Winter Soldier must pay for sins past. It’s a great concept that is working so damn well. This issue continues the story of the Winter Soldier and Joe Robards, but what I want to talk about is the past and how it will always be part of you, no matter how hard you try to run away from it.
You see, this is why I really love this character so much and why I think that he fits perfectly into that world of tortured Marvel characters that are trying to do good to make the world a better place or at least keep from going insane with the guilt of what they have done in the past. Bucky was a US Soldier who died for his country, but as it turns out he wasn’t dead and he was taken in as a soldier for the Russians and over the course of years he was brainwashed and used to commit terrible crimes. But it always seemed like he got away with it because he was put back into a cryogenic state. He’s broken free of that and we’ve seen him become Captain America, die for his country again, but now he’s back as the Winter Soldier who was trying to do things on the down low but people found out about him and his sins come to the surface and he’s made to suffer. Suffer he does, the things we do will always come back to haunt us, whether in physical form as the one we have wronged or as emotional baggage that we will carry in our minds and hearts forever. Bucky, The Winter Soldier is the epitome of this idea, but it’s a testament to his character, his will as a person that defines who he is as he tries to make up for what he’s done. Brubaker put him through hell during his last arc and for all the good he tries to do it seems that there’s always going to be something that comes around to mess up his stuff. This arc is continuing that and though it may be awhile before we get new stories it will be worth it to see Bucky crawl his way from the bottom of that pit and redeem himself, not only to the people he looks up and the people he loves, but to himself because he’ll be the hardest person to please.
I also have to mention how amazingly beautiful the art is on this book. Nic Klein, where have you been all my life? Seriously, I feel ashamed that it took this long for me to find out about your amazing skills as an artist. The man colors his own work and it looks amazing, those pages where The Winter Soldier is on a mission to kill someone are so beautiful, I’d love to see a full issue like this, amazing.
5.Age of Ultron #1 [of 10] by Brian Michael Bendis, Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary, and Paul Mounts [Marvel]
This comic is put together so damn well, the foil cover, the art on the inside covers, the cardstock, it’s fucking awesome and considering the state of the other regular Marvel comics coming out it says a lot on the importance that this series is going to have. Like any event comic from Brian Michael Bendis this story is going to take its time to tell, it’s going to be 10 issues but the cool thing about it is that we’re going to get all 10 issues over the next 4 months. 3 this March, 3 April, 2 in May, and the last 2 in June, and I like that a lot. I think it works with having Brian take his time to set the story up and tell it.
Now this first issue just drops us into the Age of Ultron world with no idea of what’s going on and who is where and what is why. All we know is that Hawkeye is trying to save Spider-Man from Hammerhead and The Owl, which turns into a shit storm where Hawkeye is killing motherfuckers and then Ultrons show up and start blowing shit up. Hawkeye and Spider-Man escape and meet up with the remaining Avengers and X-Men that are on the East Coast. The big reveal of this issue or at least the last page cliffhanger is that Captain America is broken and he doesn’t know what to do, the heroes don’t have a plan.
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to this series right now and I have a lot of questions. Is this the current 616 Universe? Is Spider-Man Peter Parker or Doc Ock? How did this happen? Why did this happen? Are we going to find out? Is this the 616 future? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? That’s what I really want to know but I’m also looking forward to how this fits into what’s happening in the current universe. Marvel keeps talking about how things after this event will be very different and it’s going to change stuff for a long time to come. I’m glad that the series will be coming out over 4 months because the wait will suck. It’s also been said that the ending of the book will be drawn by Joe Quesada and that only a few people know how it actually ends to prevent spoiler leaks from happening. I like this and it shows how important this is going to be in the Marvel Universe, here’s hoping.