Posts Tagged ‘Invasion’

Preview Review – She-Hulk #31

May 22, 2008

Greetings Earthlings!  It is time once again for another Preview Review, wherein I find the unlettered preview pages offered online for an upcoming comic (that I really have no intention of buying), and write a review of the issue based entirely on my perceptions of what is going on.
Today, we look at She-Hulk #31, from Peter David (writer) and Vincenzo Cucca and Barbara Ciardo (artists), with a cover by Mike Deodato.
So, how about that Deodato cover?
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Background?  Who needs a background?!?  Give me a big blank space any day!  Why, all that extra “art” would only serve to detract from the focal point of this cover, which is She-Hulk swinging from that “L” above a group of her adoring fans.
(Maybe you didn’t know, but in the Marvel Universe, Shulkie is, like, more popular than the Beatles.  Its true!)
Oh, and look!  Her fans all have green skin, pointy ears, and chin lines!  Gotta be Skrulls.  I can only take that to mean that this is yet another comic trapped in the vortex of Marvel’s massively oppressive event, Secret Invasion.
You know, it makes sense that Shulkie would have a lot of Skrull guys as fans.  I mean, think about it.  You are a young Skrull guy, and while there may be a lot of attractive Skrull gals out there, they all have the same problem:  chin lines that give off an awfully “goatee”-esque vibe.  Not exactly the most appealing feature.
Enter Shulkie, with that green skin and smooth chin.  Yeah, boy!  Sure, her ears aren’t pointy, but no one is perfect.
Hey!  I just realized who her fans are impersonating!  That’s Jaime Madrox (Multiple Man), from X-Factor!  (Ha!  See, I don’t ALWAYS have to be told who characters are!)  On a side note, X-Factor is the only X-Book I read… and if this means that this event is going to mess that up, I’ll not be pleased.  Anyway, moving on.

Ooh, this preview, along with the cover and interior pages, also included a pin-up!  Shall we take a look?
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By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!  Shulkie’s all manga-ized!  Oh, great.  That probably means that She-Hulk’s new costume will be that of an Asian schoolgirl, she’ll pick up some tiny, overly cute mythical creature as a companion, and before long, she’ll be piloting some giant robot into battle.  Oh, and readers will be forced to read her book from right to left instead of left to right.
What is going on in that picture anyway?  Shulkie is just standing there, all posed, while cars seem to be flying apart behind her.  (Alas, I am vexed.  Should I lower myself to enter here the obvious flatulation joke?  Or should I rise above?)
I suppose Shulkie made a “run for the border” for lunch!
(Come on!  You knew it was coming.)
Alright, let’s check out the first interior page:
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Well, it looks like Shulkie is running toward some arthritic woman.  There’s a lesson for you kids – don’t crack your knuckles, or your hands will end up like that.
Bypassing another obvious gastrointestinal joke, did Shulkie recently get some sort of uncontrollable speed powers?  Look at that path of destruction in her wake!
Next page, please:
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Okay, so the arthritic woman can fly.  She easily dodges the brute force, run-straight-at-her attack from Shulkie.  She-Hulk looks up at her, mouth open.  Arthritic Flying Girl crosses her arms all smug like, as if to say, “What, are you going to ‘scream’ me down?!?”
Suddenly, Arthritic Flying Girl is hit by… wait… is that She-Hulk’s spit?  Open mouth, blast of liquid flying through the air… ew.  Well, I suppose if its in your arsenal you can use it.
Still… ew.
Let’s move onto the next page and hope for less saliva.
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Okay, so Arthritic Flying Girl realizes that she can… you know… “fly”… and gets out of the path of the flying drool.  And then we find out – oh, it wasn’t spit!  Shulkie just destroyed a fire hydrant.  Now, that makes me feel better.  In fact, it relieves me so much I won’t mention A.) the lack of background in this panel, and B.) the bizarre placement of the fire hydrant to Shulkie’s crotch.
Arthritic Flying Girl is ticked at Shulkie.  She’s got on her mean face and everything.  She flings herself at She-Hulk!  And, finally, what we all wait for in any manga/anime project – speedlines!
Wow, those little arthritic fists must be powerful.  I woulda thunk She-Hulk could take a punch from a girl that looks to be a third of her size.
On to the next page!
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Ah, there we go.  Using the forward momentum of Arthritic Flying Girl and… the top panel line from the panel below as a fulcrum, She-Hulk flings her assailant into a car.
Poised to finish off Arthritic Flying Girl, Shulkie is distracted by an eclipse of the sun, which she stupidly turns around to look at.  Didn’t anyone ever tell her that she would burn her retinas out doing that?
Let’s see if she learned that lesson on the next page:
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Oh, luckily, Strong Guy showed up to stop her from looking into the eclipse.  (Yeah, that’s right – Strong Guy.  That’s his super-hero name.  It was the early 1990’s, okay?  Creativity was reduced to slapping pouches onto costumes, issuing heroes leather jackets, and giving them all mullets and a five-o’clock shadow.  So Guido… *sigh* yes, again, that is his real name… ended up with the moniker Strong Guy.  I suppose it could’ve been worse.  They could have gone with “White Ponytail And Creepy Goggle Guy.”)
It does seem that Strong Guy was a little overzealous in averting Shulkie’s eyes from the blinding powers of the eclipse.  He did so with enough gusto to not only crack the pavement, but to also create his own speedlines.
I wonder if She-Hulk will understand he was just too enthusiastic.  Let’s take a look at the last page to find out:
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Oh… well, she appears to be okay with it, just laying there in the rubble, smiling.
In the next panel, Strong Guy doesn’t look too happy.  Oh, maybe Shulkie didn’t say thank you.  That’s probably it.  I mean, he did save her vision… seems that would warrant a little grati–!!!
Great Shades of America’s Funniest Home Videos!!!  Holy cow… I guess She-Hulk didn’t take kindly to the excessive helpfulness of Strong Guy.  Man… he is NOT going to be walking away from that anytime soon.  A guy doesn’t recover from a shot like that very quickly.  What with the pain, the nausea, the headache, the seeing-stars, and the crying… I figure Strong Guy is down for a good hour, and walking delicately home after that.
What have we learned today?  She-Hulk may be fast enough that the vacuum that trails behind her is devastating, causing millions of dollars worth of damage, but she doesn’t have any sort of super-spit abilities… that we know of.  Also, it is good to be helpful, but being too helpful can result in having ice your crotch for a while.
I give this comic 116,204 stars out of 197,385.  I liked the art despite the fact that the artists felt the need to include those pesky “backgrounds” in so many of the panels.
EG Out!

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Captains, Captains Everywhere…

May 9, 2008

 

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SPOILER WARNING!!!

HEREIN, THIS POST CONTAINS IMAGES AND/OR INFORMATION THAT MAY SPOIL THE FOLLOWING COMICS:  CAPTAIN AMERICA 25, CAPTAIN AMERICA 34 THROUGH 40 (WELL, ACTUALLY, JUST THE COVER FOR 40), SECRET INVASION 1, AND  AVENGERS/INVADERS 1 (AGAIN, JUST THE COVER).  SO, IF YOU DON’T WANNA KNOW, STOP AND TURN BACK.

LAST CHANCE.

DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU.

As most of us are aware, Steve Rogers, Captain America, was killed in March of 2007.

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And, shockingly, he stayed that way.

Months passed and there was no Captain America.  Oh, there were teases thrown out about the “new” Captain America.  Anyone remember these travesties?

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But nothing real.  In fact, much to the credit of writer Ed Brubaker, there appeared on the newstands and in the comic shops eight issues of the Captain America comic in which there was NO Captain America.

Don’t get me wrong – it was a feat.  But, as OG could testify to, I was getting antsy during that time.

See, I’m a big Captain America fan.  Loves me some Cap, you know?  Well, as good as the comics were, I was growing really tired of buying a Captain America comic and not getting to see the adventures of the Star-Spangled Avenger.

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I even contemplated dropping the title and picking it back up when a Captain America finally appeared again.

Through this time, OG held my hand (figuratively), assuring me that Cap would return.

Finally, after 10 months, word came down:  Captain America would appear again in issue 34.

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Sure, it wasn’t MY Cap, but at least it was Captain America.  Shiny, but still, there was much rejoicing for me.

Then it started.

About the same time, it was also announced that Captain America would be returning.

What?  Didn’t I already say that?

Yeah, exactly.

This next Captain America WAS my Cap… sorta.  Marvel announced the Avengers/Invaders 12 issue series, in which the original Invaders were going to be transported through time to the present day Marvel Universe.  Among those Invaders was, of course, Steve Rogers, before he was frozen and thawed out in modern times, before he was time tested, before he was an experienced leader.

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Interesting.  I was fascinated at the concept, and began looking forward to the series.  I don’t know if the new Cap and the time-transported Cap will meet in the series, but I think it would be pretty neat.

So, there I was, happily reading the monthly Captain America book and looking forward to the Avengers/Invaders series… and it happened again.

In Captain America 36, I was shocked (as, I would guess, most people were), when, at the end of the issue, a body is found in a stasis chamber of some sort… and it is the body of Steve Rogers.

And, just for fun, take a look at the cover of 40:

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Uh, yeah.  I KNOW!

Sure, I can make a bunch of guesses as to who or what this might be… but that’s for another discussion.

Just when I thought I couldn’t be further surprised, though, I read Secret Invasion 1, and near the end of the issue, we are treated to a ship openning up and seeing a familiar face:

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So, if you are keeping count, in the main Marvel Universe at the present time, there is not one, two, or even three people claiming the mantle Captain America, but FOUR.  Quite a cumulation of Caps, wouldn’t you say?

And that’s not even counting these alternate reality folks running around:

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I gotta say, this whole thing is starting to seem very familiar to me.  Death of an icon, huge amount of media attention, four coming on the scene with claims to the name… hmm… what does that remind me of…?

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Oh, well, I’m sure it’ll come to me eventually.

If this does go the way of that event from the Distinguished Competition, then I’m all for it.  It means I’ll get my Captain America back.  And, hey, He’s already got a black version of his suit that he can reappear in!

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Preview Review – Captain Britain and MI: 13 #1

May 1, 2008

Uh oh!  Looks like it is that time again – another Preview Review, wherein I find the unlettered preview pages offered online for an upcoming comic (that I really have no intention of buying), and write a review of the issue based entirely on my perceptions of what is going on.

Today, we look at Captain Britain and MI: 13 #1, from Paul Cornell (writer) and Leonard Kirk (artist), with a cover by Brian Hitch.

Wow!  Without further ado, let’s take a look at that Brian Hitch cover!

 
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Uh… yeah.  That’s Captain Britain.  Yep.  There he is.  You know, I’m not looking to be spoiled by the covers on my comics, but I would like to see something pertaining to the story contained in the book.  Maybe I’m jumping the gun a little here, but unless the story involves Captain Britain rescuing someone from a random graphics department or Brian Hitch’s sketchbook, I’m guessing the images don’t have a lot to do with the story.  Oh, wait – I do see a guy with lines on his chin.  Ah, that must be the clue to tell us that the issue will have something to do with Skrulls, shapeshifting aliens from space!  Well, that image along with a year of promotion from Marvel basically telling us that Skrulls are everywhere.  Okay, let’s move inside the book.

 
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Ah, right there!  See?  I told ya!  Skrulls.  Clearly, Captain Britain is being attacked by two Skrulls here.  One, obviously more accomplished at his shapeshifting abilities, is combining the forms of Ghost Rider, Iceman, and… uh… Hawkman.  Wait – Hawkman is from DC, not Marvel.  There you have it, True Believers.  The Skrull problem is so bad that it is even infecting and drawing from the Distinguished Competition.  The second Skrull, being less experienced, is making an attempt to look like Morbius the Living Vampire.  Poor kid.  Someone really should take him to the side and tell him that the green skin and pointy ears really work against the disguise.  But, he is trying, so we should give him credit for that.  Maybe this whole issue is about Skrulls in training, hmm?  Next page!

 
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So, Captain Britain pulls the ultimate version of every big brother’s favorite game, “Why are you hitting yourself?”  The Skrull, using his own Iceman powers freezes his Ghost Rider head.  With speed-lines… for some reason.  You know, I would think that the Skrull could adapt to that, but maybe this guy is not as good as I first thought, because in the very next panel, Captain Britain shatters his skull into a few thousand pieces.

The second Skrull, now ticked that his teacher is headless, attacks C.B. (because typing Captain Britain over and over is getting tedious) with renewed vigor!  Along with his Morbius attempts, he is also now… furry… and his arms are on fire.  Again, give him credit for trying.  Still hasn’t got that whole “head” thing down, though.  Hard to fool anyone when your head is still pretty much Skrull, you know?  I mean, say you saw what you thought were your parents, and they looked dead on like your parents in every way, but their heads were all green with pointy ears.  Do you really think you’d be fooled into believing those are your parents?  But, that’s why we have these training missions, I suppose.

Anyway, fuzzy-flaming-arm-Morbius Skrull holds hands with C.B. and then… flies away.  And, it looks as if C.B. is just as confused as I am.  Good.  I hate to be alone in these things.

With the Skrull leaving, C.B. decides to call it a day, flying off until his services are required again, when those in need cry out in desperation.

Gee, I hope all those injured people down below don’t succumb to a horrible death, engulfed by the surrounding flames and all.  Too bad there wasn’t someone around that could maybe get them to safety, perhaps a superhero with the gift of flight… and general awareness of his surroundings.  Oh well.

Hey, in that last panel, is that woman realizing she could have had a V8?

Next page!

 
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Aw, great, now I gotta turn my computer monitor on its side.  Okay.  Just a minute.  Alright, there we go.  Uh oh… here we have some real trouble.  Skrull on Skrull in-fighting.  With oodles of speed-lines!  Looks like another teacher/student thing.  The student, completely looking like a Skrull, obviously did something to deserve getting stabbed by the teacher Skrull, who has mixed the forms of Marvel’s Black Knight, and Arthur Fonzarelli, aka, Fonzie.  Oh, no – wait, I got it wrong.  This wasn’t a fight at all.  Black Knight-Fonzie Skrull must have told the other Skrull to shapeshift into a scabbard for his sword!  The student Skrull evidently couldn’t do it in time, but by the time Black Knight-Fonzie Skrull realized it, he was already slamming his sword into the supposed-to-be-a-scabbard Skrull.  What a shame.  Looks like there is no way supposed-to-be-a-scabbard Skrull will recieve Black Knight-Fonzie’s top grade – an “Aaaayyyy!”

I… I’m sorry.  I apologize, okay?  Even I can’t believe I typed that.  Quickly, on to the next page before my shame crushes my spirit completely.

 
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Hey, its Firestar!  I used to love watching Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends!  Wait… that’s not Firestar?  Well, who is it then?  Doesn’t really matter, I guess.  Anyway, Not-Firestar appears to be running really fast (thanks to the visual cue of, yes, speed-lines) while talking on a cell phone.  If she was paying attention to what is going on, she would notice that a couple of Skrulls-in-training are blasting… architecture.  Whatever.

Ooh, and its time, once again, for everyone’s favorite game of “Guess which heroes the Skrulls are imitating!”  Okay, that first one, all silver-y… I’m going out on a limb and say Silver Surfer.  Ooh, and he’s got winged ankles!  That’s Namor!  Obviously, there must be someone else, too… but I don’t know who.  Is it a cosmic character?  I’m not really familiar with cosmic characters.  Well, yeah, I mean, Silver Surfer, but EVERYONE knows Silver Surfer.  Jumping over to the other Skrull… now, THAT is a combo.  Thor, big-gold-suited Iron Man, and the Wasp.  Let me just say, though, someone really needs to sit the Skrulls down and explain that if the chin lines don’t give them away, the “mixing-up-of-heroes-body-parts” will.

Anyway, Not-Firestar leaps up to the Namor-Surfer Skrull.  I can only assume that one of the landmarks that the Skrulls destroyed must have been a cell phone tower.  She’s probably really upset about the dropped call.  Well, I can understand, I mean that is really irritat–

Great Shades of Elvis!  Not-Firestar is a vampire!!!  Wow, Namor-Surfer Skrull is even more shocked than I am!

Ooh, a silhouette!  Isn’t it amazing how a nice silhouette can tone down the violence of Vampire-Not-Firestar ripping 3/4 of Namor-Surfer Skrull’s neck out to acceptable levels for the general reading audience?  Hold on… 3/4 of the Skrulls neck is gone?  Vampire-Not-Firestar’s mouth is NOT that big.  Wait!  I get it!  It was the sharpness of Vamprie-Not-Firestar’s hair as she flung her head back that nearly decapitated the Skrull.  Wow… that must be some amazing shampoo that she uses.

Uh oh… look at Vampire-Not-Firestar’s eyes.  As an avid watcher of vampire films, I know what is coming next.  Quick, Iron-Wasp-Thor Skrull, run!  Her bloodlust has been awakened!  Don’t just stand there in shock!  Run!

Oh no.  Too late!  Here she comes, really fast… which I know, thanks to the inclusion of speed-lines!  Quick, next page!

 
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Huh?  Oh… well, I guess we’re back to C.B. and the Morbius Skrull.  Morbius Skrull begins by waving his stinky, fuzzy feet in C.B.’s face.  With speed-lines.  He follows with a punch.  And speeed-lines.  Nice combo.

Oh no!  Vampire-Not-Firestar is back!  With speed-lines!  Is there no end to her desire for liquid life?!?

Oh… and they are joined by three other… beings.  Okay, that top guy… Skrull?  Maybe.  Channeling… Man-Bat and Clayface?  I don’t know.  The other Skrull is doing a bad impression of Hyperion.  The other guy?  Uh… Keanu Reeves maybe?  Man, it is getting too crowded in this story.  Maybe it would seem less crowded if there were fewer speed-lines.  Let’s move on to the last page.
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Okay, we’ve got Keanu Reeves blasting the Skrull in the neck, surrounded by speed-lines, while Vampire-Not-Firestar dodges the blast by running in the same direction as those speed-lines.  (Don’t ask why the speed-lines are in front of her, merely accept them.)

Then Man-Bat-Clay Face Skrull (floating among speed-lines) is watching C.B. punch Hyperion Skrull.  Maybe he is wondering (like me) what happened to Morbius Skrull, who C.B. was fighting on the previous page.

Oh, and then C.B. claps his hands in front of Hyperion Skrull’s face (of course, creating speed-lines)… for… some… reason…

And the whole thing is resolved as C.B. punches the head off of Hyperion Skrull, scattering speed-lines across the page.

The next page probably shows Vampire-Not-Firestar feeding on the carcasses of the fallen Skrulls, as Keanu Reeves and Captain Britain react in horror.  And, yeah, Keanu Reeves says, “Whoa.”  And there are some speed-lines.

Hmm, this was an interesting read.  A lot of vampire stuff (Morbius Skrull, Vampire-Not-Firestar), which appeals to me, so that’s good.  I would have liked to have seen more of Black Knight-Fonzie Skrull.  Ooh, and if they could have crammed in some more speed-lines, that would have been nice.

Sadly, I can only give this issue 433 stars out of a possible 2572 stars.  Why?  I simply could not read the story fast enough to appreciate the speed-lines. 

See ya next time!

Events and a Free Gift from The Steve Austin Book Club

April 29, 2008

It has begun.

Almost like clockwork, Marvel and DC roll out their annual “events.”  This year, Marvel has Secret Invasion and DC has Final Crisis.

I’m not really going to talk about the events.  Not really.

See, I figure they don’t really need a publicity push from me.  By this point, you are either going to buy them or not.

Me?  I’m buying the main series of each, a total of 16 comics (if you include DC Universe 0 with Final Crisis – which I do), eight from each company.

But, if I wanted, I could go broke buying all of the various tie-ins for the two main events.

As of my most recent count, start to end, Final Crisis, if one were to purchase every one of the tie-in books along with the main series, the total jumps from eight up to a shocking (or, maybe not so much anymore) 26 issues.  And, that does not include what Dan Didio refers to as “Sightings” issues – which are signposts, marking important storybeats and moments throughout the DC Universe.  These will relate to Final Crisis, but not directly tie-in.  Even if all of the books were only $2.99 (which they won’t all be – I’m reasonably sure the main issues are $3.99 each), that is over a $75.00 investment!

But, if you wanna really talk about breaking the bank, then hats off to Marvel.  If you were to gather all of the tie-in issues along with the main series for Secret Invasion (NOT including issues referred to as “Infiltration” issues, which lead into the series), you are gonna pick up a jaw-dropping 58 issues before it is all done.  Again, even if all the issues were only $2.99 each (and, again, they aren’t), you are looking at over $170.00!!!

Yeah, I’m buying the main book, but if the story isn’t complete in those issues, too bad.  I’m not handing any more of my disposable income over for these events.  I just won’t do it.

In that spirit, we here at The Steve Austin Book Club would like to offer this:

 
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(Ah, signature banners.  Gotta love them.  For those of you unfamiliar with them, they are images that appear at the bottom of an individuals postings on various message boards.) 

That signature banner pretty much sums up my feelings about events designed to empty your wallet with superfluous issues light on content and heavy in price.  Feel free to click on it and save the full size version and use it at your leisure on the various message boards you enjoy!

And, just a quick note that the Book of the Month review for April, Cyborg by Martin Caidin, is going to be delayed.  OG and EG sincerely apologize for this delay (and, well, the lack of content in general).  With any luck, we’ll have it up by mid-May, so keep an eye out for it.  In the meantime, we will (hopefully) be putting out some more consistent postings. 

Thank you for your patience!