GO-BOTS / DEAD MAN LOGAN / UNCANNY X-MEN / DC NUCLEAR WINTER / AQUAMAN x JUSTICE LEAGUE [Fistful of Comics]: First Course!
Happy Monday, geeks and geekettes! The turkey’s done, the decorations most likely hung high, and at least one of these Eight Crazy Nights has passed! Before we get into full-blown merry mode, we’ve got some great titles in store for you, a post-apocalyptic look at Christmas future from the Distinguished Competition, and a set of reviews from a writer so nice, we used him twice! So let’s dive right in, as we wait for the mulled wine to warm…
Wow. I was not expecting that. Tom Scioli took what was a laughable 80s cartoon (Challenge of the Go-Bots) and turned it into an intriguing sci-fi thriller, in this, Go-Bots #1.
First of all let me state my bias: Wolverine, Logan, Weapon X, James Howlett, Patch, Yellow suit, Brown suit, Black and Gray (collect them all) no matter the Wolverine…I’m a Stan for it.
Now that I got that out the way, Dead Man Logan takes off right after his fight with Maestro in the Old Man Logan finale issue 50. Spoiler alert he didn’t die as for Maestro you’ll find out. Forge and Glob Herman and two other X-Men find Old Man Logan’s unconscious body in ,of course, Canada and bring him back home where Dr Cecelia Reyes revives him. Unfortunately she explains that he has but a year to live with a Healing Factor overworked during his Maestro fight. Coming to terms with his fate he sets out on his last hoorah mission, the search for Quentin Beck, Mysterio.
In classic Logan fashion Wolvie looks for clues going to Bars where low level villains hang out to bleed out info on Mysterio’s whereabouts. So since the “No Snitching” rule seems to be ideal in the villain, Logan proceeds to kick everyone ass while Miss Sinister (female Mr Sinster clone) watches the whole fiasco. Logan’s Bar fights caught wind to Hawkeye who to Logan’s discontent seems eager to help but he wants to know why Mysterio. Mysterio is not really a member of Wolverine’s Rogues gallery but Old Man Logan explains to Hawkeye that in his universe Mysterio became so powerful that he tricked Logan’s senses into believing he was protecting the X-Men but he was actually killing them. So now he wants to make sure that he don’t ever get that powerful too ensure his reality don’t happen in the 616 Continuity.
However Miss Sinister is also a telepath and she read the mind of Logan and why he wants Mysterio. This triggers her to be inspired to find Mysterio so he can usher the world with No X-men, Avengers, Deadpool or Spider-Man, with help from Neo-Hydra?! With the original Wolverine back and all these other Wolverines running around (it’s a freaking Phoenix Wolverine for Pete’s Sake) I was wondering what was going to happen to Old Man Logan. Was 616 Logan vs Old Man Logan ever going to happen?! But this is a perfect walk into the sunset for Old Man Logan this story seems like it’s on the path of bring his story to an end in a full circle. I giving it 4 out of 5 bibles lost one point because I kind of still want to see Wolverine (616) vs Old Man Logan (but full strength) lol oh well. Oh by the way Glob is hilarious yo “MutantMingle!” 4/5 Bibles.
Sometimes, it’s great having die hard fans of a franchise write said book. Other times, it turns into blatant fan service that doesn’t move the narrative forward. I fear that this book is definitely the latter.
We open in media res with the team split up on different missions. Some handle the source of the whacked out Multiple Man duplicates, others deal with a dinosaur attack, while the young members of the team back at the mansion encounter a seemingly stable Legion. The fights are laid out decently by artist Yildiray Cinar, however, nothing really popped off the page for me. This is disappointing to me because Cinar’s work on Fury of Firestorm, Legion of Super Heroes, and Teen Titans blew my mind. The art was still pretty solid, which is more than I can say about the writing.
Just as with issues one and two, the creators continue with checking off three more boxes on the list of overused X-Men tropes; creators making us think they’re going to do something fresh and innovative with David Haller in a team book but always have him revert back to form not even a full story arc in (yet writers of his solo escapades seem to do just fine), a new iteration of the Four Horsemen populated by popular characters from the X-franchise pops up every four or five years, as well as, lo and behold, the X-mansion getting blown up…again.
I’ve tried to be patient with this book. These creators, especially Ed Brisson, have put forth compelling work elsewhere. Be that as it may, the fact that stellar runs from Tom Taylor and Cullen Bunn are ending, yet this book, the supposed to be the crown jewel of the franchise, feels like an overcrowded mess really pisses me off. Too much fan service and lack of innovation or a compelling narrative makes me hard pressed to continue much longer. 2/5 Bibles.
Here to bring us into the holiday season are DC’s biggest heroes, in the DC Nuclear Winter Special. As relayed by Rip Hunter in a wrap-around bookend of a story, various artists (such as Phil Hester, Cully Hamner,Giuseppe Camuncoli, and others), and various writers (including Steve Orlando, Mark Russell, and Paul Dini, again, among various others…) bring us ten post-apocalyptic stories that, strangely, work well in eliciting the sort of feel-good heartwarmth of the holiday season.
Focusing on individual members of the Justice League, for the most part, each short story is a tale told by Rip Hunter to a gang of cannibals outside of Oogle offices, as he tries to buy enough time to fully fuel up his time-ship. The cannibals are amusing enough, having camped out outside their old place of employment, and at times casually pointing out that the stories have nothing to do with Christmas, nor do some of them even have proper conclusion (for one, the Aquaman story ends right when the main MacGuffin is discovered, and the plot kicks right in). Of the ten stories, it was Firestorm’s standalone that was not only the most explicitly holiday-centric, but was also the most emotional.
Paul Dini writes, and Jerry Ordway gives a mid-1970s stylish vibe, to this tale of Firestorm encountering his nemeses, the Nuclear Family, as they are out celebrating what is revealed to be their last Christmas; they’re all close to being completely out of power, and intend to go out with a literal bang, Firestorm in tow. Being familiar with Firestorm only through The Flash TV show, it was impressive how immediately Dini creates empathy with the character, and makes the reader right at home with the story, as well as that of his enemies. At no point did the exposition slow down the story, or feel superfluous, nor did Dini expect the reader to fully understand the characters or their relationships either. It was smart, concise, character-driven writing. That, coupled with the last few panels of Firestorm and the Nuclear Family, in their final interaction, made this the only story I wound up reading more than once (and finally prompted me to add this issue to my monthly pull list). While all ten stories were heartfelt and well-written, this was the only one to genuinely feel like it belonged to the holiday season.
If you’re looking for a great stocking stuffer, or something to pass the time while throwing back some nog or buttered rum, this is the issue for you. Something for everyone. 4/5 Bibles.
With this issue, comes the finale to James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder’s mini-epic-series and I wish I could say that this was a satisfying ending, but while there were some really cool scenes like Aquaman controlling all the sea life (and therefore the changed Justice League), Batman wearing Luthor’s supersuit and the introduction of the “tears of extinction”; the issue doesn’t add a lot to the mythos of the Justice League. I get that this is tying into Snyder’s long plan for the Justice League and it might be that this is just a small piece in a much larger puzzle, but for right now it falls a bit flat. (Writers Note: I do acknowledge the fact fact that once his run is done this could very well be a lynch-pin in Snyder’s run and looking back the rating could change) Even Aquaman’s “death”, while heroic, doesn’t play like a big deal because: a) who kills their hero right before his big movie comes out?, and b) we see him wash upon the shore on the last page.
The art is fantastic and saves the issue from itself. Jim Cheung and Stephen Segova‘s art is crisp and clear. They do a great job of keeping the pace of the comic from getting to stale or from getting caught in a rut. While there are panels that seem a bit muddled because of the “camera angle” chosen, they both rebound in the next panel to keep things moving. So while the art, and the writing, stumble from time to time, everyone is able to keep the ship moving along.