Raiders of the Last Shipment: War! Huh!

by Liana

“New this week!” Man, I don’t even know the last time I picked up a comic the day it came out. But after picking up the first two Secret Invasion issues over the weekend, I was all skrulled out and couldn’t wait for #3. Plus Dan’s monthly shipment arrived yesterday. I raided his pile (which was not nearly as hot as it sounds) and found a couple wars (Giant-Size X-Men and Fables #73) plus something altogether different (House of Mystery #1) and before I knew it, a batch of reviews started baking in my brain. Wild. Well you know what they say, nothing cures skrullanoia like cookies. What? They totally say that! Hey, anyone wanna guess how many parenthetical phrases I work into this post? Hint: it’s a lot. Let’s see what it’s all good for, y’all.

Secret Invasion 1-3 by Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Yu is all very interesting, as are most of Bendis' ideas. But, like most of his ideas, it's kind of confusing at this point and the dialogue is pretty annoying. Plus, I don't think the art is doing the book (or readers) any favors. I mean, who can tell what’s happening in the fight with the giant skrulls? And why doesn’t anyone have eyeballs? The guy at the comic shop didn’t answer those questions for me (maybe because I didn’t ask?) but he did ask me who I thought was a skrull. I said it better be Cyclops. He said they (the people at the comic shop) decided it's Emma Frost. I said whichever, as long as that whole business gets undone. Maybe they're BOTH skrulls! But then no, that would suck, because it means the real Scott and Emma were on the skrull ship together and maybe they fell in love there and then I’m still subjected to that drive-me-nuts storyline. God. When’s Phoenix going to come back and burn Emma out of our memories and then dump Scott’s jerk ass for good? Not soon enough, I say.

Anyway, he (guy at the comic shop) also said they (people at the comic shop) had a big discussion over whether what happened in the book really happened. Obviously I had no idea what he was talking about then. Now that I've read it, if it's what I think they were talking about, I'd say yeah and that it explains a lot. It’s the whole Tony thing, right? I believe it. And more, I like it. I don’t read any Avengers books, so I haven’t been privy to a lot of developments (like I didn’t know Spider-Woman was already revealed as the Skrull Queen until I read Comic By Comic’s review yesterday morning). And I don’t have to make every little look-who’s-a-skrull-now reveal work for whatever each character has been up to the last few years (until we start talking X-Men, that is). Which is great because I think a lot of it is going to be really hard to swallow. But Tony Stark as a brainwashed skrull hero works for me. It explains Civil War much more nicely than Tony just being an overzealous dumbass and maybe it means that DeadCap is also a skrull and I can stop treading water with BuckyCap in his title. Geez, this skrull business sure makes your brain work. I need some cookies. I give it a B, but I’m grading on a curve right now. Bendis has a lot of work to do if this isn’t going to be a total disaster.

House of Mystery #1 by Matthew Sturges and Luca Rossi is a tantalizing introduction to what looks to be a series filled with juicy tales of intrigue and creepiness. This issue is pretty much set-up, letting us know that Cain’s house has disappeared from The Dreaming, strange travelers hang out at a pub and don’t generally get to leave and a girl with a recurring dream is on the run from a weird couple. Make sense? Yeah, not to me either. But there’s a cool and gross little story from Bill Willingham and Ross Campbell (will these stories always appear and will these two always write them?) from one of the patrons. It’s all very intriguing and just the mood you expect from a Sandman spin-off. I give this a B+ because I’ll definitely be getting more of these, though it may work better for me in trade.

Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday (swoon) was really....odd. If we didn't already know (because of ridiculous delays) that something happened to Kitty, I think the ending would have been very moving. But that was all spoiled, so there was no "oh noes!" factor. The inclusion of every hero in New York was pretty dumb and pointless (unless total self-indulgence suddenly became a valid point), though I will say that Whedon wrote the FF's part very well. I liked that everything that happened brought it back around to the first story arc, but it sure made the twelve issues between the first arc and the last super pointless and even more irritating than they were when I read them (a hundred years ago). I mean, what did we get out of those? A stupid new character and some confusing Hellfire nonsense? Gee, thanks, Mr. Buffy. Now, I’ve seen at least one person online refer to this as the “best ever X-Men run” and maybe there are others who feel the same way. I haven’t looked at other reviews yet, but I have a hard time believing that many people think this tops Grant Morrison, the Chris Claremont/John Byrne stuff, Chuck Austen (just making sure you’re paying attention) and others I’m not thinking of at the moment. This issue was mostly solid and if not for the problems listed above may have bordered on excellent. Now we can all enjoy the non-phasing X-Men knowing that someday Kitty’s bullet will cross Havok’s path in Shi’ar space and everyone will come home safe and sound to a (hopefully) skrull-free world. A B+ finale to a C+ series.

War. Yeah. You want to know what it’s all good for? Fables #73 by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham has your answers. This series is rarely less than awesome and this issue, well, I read it last night and my girl parts are still tingling this morning (and that one is as hot as it sounds). The Fabletown army, led by Sinbad and Prince Charming, has invaded the Homelands and they mean business. What kind of business? They’re bringing guns to a swordfight. Oh hell yeah! Plus, they’ve got big ass bombs to blow up all the doorways out of the Homelands. And Bigby’s got his own tough ass army guarding the army’s escape route, which happens to be the last beanstalk to the Cloud Kingdom. And Blue’s traveling his ass all over the place, messengering news, supplies and bombs (and snake cakes) where needed. And Briar Rose is hiding her ass out in the Empire’s capital, waiting to prick her finger when the time is right. And Snow! Snow’s ass is commanding the whole thing from behind the scenes. Yay! Snow is so friggin’ awesome. What else? Oh, there is a slight dragon problem, but I have faith we’ll be able to handle those asses. I don’t like to think about this series too much because I don’t want to accidentally guess what’s coming up, but let me just say I don’t think naming this initiative “Operation Jack Ketch” is a coincidence. Total A+ and that A does NOT stand for “ass.”


Dan said...

Did no one read Giant Size Astonishing? I mean other than those that were going to call it the "best X-Men run ever."

House of Mystery is still on my nightstand, but I loved, loved, loved Fables #73.

The General said...

I just couldn't generate any sort of emotional response one way or the other about Astonishing. By no regards did I dislike it, but it just seemed like a by the numbers storyline that was delayed late enough that any drama had been slowly bled from it.