Thursday, September 20, 2007

Buy Pile Report

Believe it or not, this week we're going to open with Countdown once again. AND, this time it's for GOOD reasons!

Get this -- Countdown #32 actually Got Somewhere! Mary Marvel has FINALLY met up with Eclipso. We've known this was going to happen for four months, we've been waiting, and waiting and waiting, and Finally, we got somewhere! Meanwhile, Jimmy Olsen is actually somewhere intriguing -- Cadmus. If anyone can get to the bottom of Jimmy's little problem, it's those kooks at Cadmus! OK, most of the time those people are useless. Either way, it's an interesting development. If all that isn't enough, we also got to watch Piper defeat a Mummy by playing a tune on a cell phone!

Countdown #32 wasn't perfect by any means -- the art is still sub-par (I think we're just going to have to endure that each week), and all that ridiculous underage drinking stuff was, well, ridiculous (honestly, Wonder Girl and Supergirl have both been drunk already, you know they have) -- but it was actually good this week, for maybe the 5th or 6th time in it's first 20 issues.

The best issue of the week was likely Captain America #30. I predicted some sort of twist in this issue, and Brubaker delivered better than I could have hoped. It's been a slow enjoyable ride to this point, but now the wheels are finally turning in this post-assassination story. Sharon Carter has fallen back under Dr. Faustus' spell. Tony Stark now knows what Sharon has done. And, the Winter Soldier is about to be brainwashed. Who needs Steve Rogers?!?

And the biggest revelation of the issue (which was speculated by some for months) was that Steve Rogers apparently told Tony Stark he wants Tony to find a new Captain America. And, given the character moments Bucky showed in not killing in this issue, all signs point to him. I doubt it, but all signs point to him.

Tales of the Sinestro Corps presents Parallax was a little bit from column A and a little from column B. On the one hand, it was clearly an excuse for DC to milk the Sinestro Corps War for more of your money. The issue really has no ramifications on the War, and has no meaningful resolution. On the other hand, it is a nice story about Kyle Rayner, and if you are not the biggest Kyle fan or don't know too much about him, this issue will teach you all about who he is and why he's a pretty cool character. These one-shots certainly aren't necessary to buy -- but they might not be the worst needless tie-ins ever.

And speaking of wars, Green Scar is still waging his in World War Hulk #4. It's another solid issue, with plenty of more Hulk Smashing, another instance of Hulk saving, but most importantly, Hulk follows through on making Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Strange and Iron Man battle in the Gladiator Ring.

The story and art both remain solid, and it is interesting to see that, as the gruesome torture wears on, some of Hulk's "warbound" are starting to ask him if it is enough and can they stop the violence. It would all be touching and a natural progression to the story -- if we didn't also see the Sentry finally jump into action at the end of this issue. Frankly, I cannot stand the Sentry. He's a useless whiner of a character. So, if he is the man to take down the Hulk in this next and final issue -- when bombs and giant monsters and interdimensional demons could not -- I'm going to be pretty unhappy with Marvel. Here's hoping that natural progression toward a peaceful ending continues, and Sentry gets his butt whooped.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't make special mention of New X-Men #42. The art in this book, as it has for the last few issues, is horrendous. Despite that, this issue is one of the most understatedly great pieces of reading that you'll come across. Frankly, I don't think I could do it justice to describe it. Simply put, these children have been through hell for the past two years of issues, and in this issue we see these children trying to work through those feelings of despair.

Throughout the first part of this book, one of the kids is popping her head in and out of each room, asking everyone how old they are. By about the mid-point of the book her reason is discovered -- some of the kids are trying to find out who the youngest mutant left alive is, believing that the youngest of them really doesn't have too much of a prayer of surviving too much longer. Maybe I'm just in an overly-sentimental mood, but I think this issue really hit the right notes.

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