Fun fact: The “baby talk” noises that Sugar & Spike make are the exact same as the noises a grown man makes…
…when he gets kicked in the face by a comic book analogue of Bruce Lee.
Valuable lessons like that are just one of the services I provide here at the ISB, and it’s because of my devotion to you, my loyal
cretins readers, that I’m keeping the Internet’s Most Passive-Aggressive Comics Reviews going for yet another week!
Avengers vs. Atlas #3: Considering that I’ve been a fan of (the Agents of) Atlas since the original mini-series, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the past few years singing Jeff Parker’s praises for his work on these characters. And that’s why, even though this issue was another great bunch of fun Marvel moments with the absolutely gorgeous art of Gabriel Hardman, I’m going to skip out on the main story and just focus on the backup.
With the untimely demise of Captain Britain and MI13 and the recent end of Dark X-Men, I’ve been worried that I wasn’t going to be getting enough Paul Cornell in my life, and this backup story was the exact shot I needed to take the edge off. The idea of a character addressing the reader while answering letters is one of those comic book tropes that I’m a total sucker for, and the fact that Cornell has Venus doing it on another planet is just icing on the cake. It’s the exact sort of sharp cleverness that Cornell excels at, especially once he turns the corner into rapid-fire Marvel Universe in-jokes.
Plus, it’s got art from OG Atlas artist (and Cornell’s CB&MI13 collaborator) Leonard Kirk, who takes what could have easily been a static, visually boring piece and does it with an expressiveness that really carries the entire story. It’s beautiful, it’s well-done, and it’s just the right kind of fun to compliment the lead story. It’s just great, and while it’s certainly tiding me over for now, I can’t wait to see Cornell and Kirk get back together in Age of Heroes and whatever comes after.
Green Hornet Year One #1: I’ve been at the truly ridiculous amount of Green Hornet comics Dynamite’s been gearing up for lately–at least five simultaneous series as of the last Previews in what I can only assume is a desire to pump out as much as they can before the upcoming movie hits–but I will say this for them: They’re doing their darndest to cover all angles.
Take me, for instance. You couldn’t pay me to read another issue of the Kevin Smith book (that’s a lie, if the record shows us anything it’s that you can pay me to read just about anything), but I’m on board for pretty much anything Matt Wagner cares to write. Between Mage and his Batman work, Wagner’s easily one of my favorite writers, and he’s turned in his typically excellent work here.
The story goes back to the character’s roots in the ’30s–it actually took me a minute to figure out why the action was set then rather than thirty years later, but that’s just because I think of everything in terms of how it relates to Batman ’66–and it’s told with a great hook of the Green Hornet and Kato’s mirroring origin stories. And even better, Wagner and Campbell manage to make nonlinear storytelling work for them, flashing forward so that you get the money shot of the Green Hornet and Kato throwing down on some mobsters in the first issue, rather than having to wait.
So yes: I actually do want to read a Green Hornet comic and right now, this is that one, but I’ve got to imagine that a lot of readers just aren’t going to bother trying to find one they like when there are four other series on the stands shouting it down.
Hercules: Fall of an Avenger: I know that at this point Incredible Hercules is matched only by Batman and Robin as far as series that I go on about how I love them ad infinitum–with Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak’s appearance on Ajax being the exclamation point for the end of that paragraph–but seriously. Guys, this is how it’s done.
Funeral issues are always a dicey road to go down, both because of the temporary nature of death in super-hero comics that makes any show of emotion seem to ring false, and because they tend to consist largely of people standing around having flashbacks, both of which combine to hobble them at the gate. But here, Pak, Van Lente and artist Ariel Olivetti manage to pull it off superbly. Under just about any other writers in just about any other book, a series of flashbacks–especially flashbacks to one’s own work–would be dead in the water. Here, though, maybe because of the fun of the character that they’ve been embracing for the book’s entire run, they do something that’s a joy to read, with short and occasionally hilarious scenes that start with Amadeus Cho pouring one out for his homey and just gets better from there.
It’s excellent, and it makes me even more glad than I already was that we’re getting Prince of Power and then the mysterious book that’s going to come after.
Marvel Boy: The Uranian #3:
And that’s the week. As always, if anything from this week’s stack caught your eye, like the truly amazing Mysterius the Unfathomable trade paperback, without which no fan of things that are awesome should be, feel free to leave a comment below.