Thursday, December 21, 2006

On 20 December, 2006

--Warning: Spoilers ahead--

Quick Tally: 1 universe, 9 books, 3 themes.

1. Big Fellas in Flight.

So Ben Grimm goes to Paris, and hassles aside, he does get to carry his toothpaste. He arrives; hooks up with an eclectic group of Parisian heroes; embarks on an underground adventure (think the Gallic version of Mole Man); and picks up a new battle cry. "Il est temps de battre!" It's a bit of old school fun, a far cry from the drama across the pond. Ben's pleased with that, and I like it, too. I also like that the French people get some respect for once (They fight! And they win the fight! With a little help from an American, sure, but let's not overthink it.). I like that the Eiffel tower isn't in every panel, and that the accents aren't overdone. Yes, Ben's flight in Fantastic Four #541 is a positive one.

The same cannot, unfortunately, be said for Awesome Andy as of She-Hulk #14. Andy trudges through the story of his life. His origin, emancipation, and heartbreak are all presented here, in Andy's own voice. Star-crossed by Starfox and scorned by Mallory Book, the big gray android literally flies into the wild blue yonder, hoping to find himself there. Ohhh, Andy.

2. Women in Alternate Lives.

In Ms. Marvel #10, Carol discovers that the psychotic version of herself travels from universe to universe killing Rogues. And other Carols. Not the best of revelations, certainly. Of course, 616 Carol must stop Psycho Carol. Even with the help of 616 Beast and 616 Rogue, this is a tricky, given that evil Warbird is powerful crazy. Standard doppelganger fare, I suppose. It seems the problem with facing an evil twin is that sometimes you sort of recognize yourself. Not a good feeling. Through the course of her escapade, Carol discovers that she's not a bad superhero (like evil Warbird), but that maybe, just maybe, she's not as good a person as she thought. So now she has a different, perhaps heavier, load of insecurities to deal with. And that's probably a step in the right direction. She has the skills; she needs strength of character.

You know who isn't facing herself though? Wanda Maximoff. The not-so-late Clint Barton sets off to find his sometime killer in New Avengers #26. He wants closure, you see, and well, it doesn't seem like he'll get it. Wanda just isn't herself anymore. No need to upset her with a past she doesn't remember. She's living her own alternate life in the bliss of ignorance. And maybe that's better for everyone. Except maybe Clint, who doesn't know how to leave well enough alone. Not sure about the story, but the art is exceptionally pretty.

3. Beating Up on Iron Man.

I've rather had my fill of Tony Stark this week. The man's a twit. But he takes a lot of blows, physically and psychologically, and that helps. Here's a rundown:

-New Avengers: Illuminati #1 -- Tony (along with the rest of the team) is captured and tortured by Skrulls.

-Civil War: War Crimes #1 -- The Kingpin outsmarts Tony. Tony captures a lot of supervillains, which is certainly a good thing, but that doesn't change the fact that, well, Iron Man gets played for once.

-Iron Man/Captain America: Casualties of War #1 -- Iron Man and Cap meet at the Avengers Mansion (what's left of it) to talk. Naturally, they end up fighting, and Cap proves that he's better than Tony at hand-to-hand combat.

-Iron Man #14 -- Iron Man and Captain America meet at Yankee Stadium for a parley. They end up fighting, and Cap has backup. Tony takes hits from Captain America, Luke Cage and (I think) Ultra Girl. Later he gets smacked by Sue Storm.

No wonder Tony looks so haggard in Front Line...

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