Cut the Blue Wire!

Wow, did I ever have a busy day yesterday. Tons of work here at the office, followed by a couple hours running errands for family before finally getting home in time to cook dinner at 8 p.m. I didn’t even have time to finish reading yesterday’s new comics, but we’ll try to remedy that over the weekend.

Here’s what I’ve gotten to read so far…


The Spirit #8

If you’re not familiar with the Spirit yet, here’s the general summary. The Spirit is a guy in a suit, fedora, and domino mask who runs around fighting crime in the best pulp tradition. He has no powers, other than his ability to get repeatedly and entertainingly beaten up. He was created by Will Eisner, who is generally considered one of the best artists and the very best storyteller who’s ever worked in the comics biz. This is a new series, written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke, who is generally considered to rock the house.

In this issue, the Spirit and superspy Agent Satin are locked in an old water tower with a nuclear bomb. Satin could disarm it easily… but she’s got amnesia. With just 30 minutes left before the bomb explodes, can the Spirit get Satin to recover her memory in time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Darwyn Cooke is the reigning King of All Awesomeness. If you’re not reading this comic every month, you’re missing out on a guaranteed pure 5000cc megadose of pure unfiltered AWESOME. Go pick it up.


Marvel Adventures: Giant-Size Avengers

An extra-sized one-shot of the best all-ages comic produced by Marvel, thanks to Jeff Parker’s ability to write outstanding action and hilarious dialogue. This issue combines teams up the Avengers with the Agents of Atlas, a team of Avengers surrogates who had their glory days during the Golden Age — Parker wrote a wonderful miniseries starring the Agents of Atlas last year.

Anyway, Kang the Conqueror, a time-traveling despot, attacks in this issue, first sending a wave of dinosaurs against the Avengers and later manipulating the Agents into reviving Captain America in the mid-50s instead of the present. As a result, Captain America becomes president and, tricked into thinking that Kang is a great hero, he signs the whole world over to him. Can Storm, Wolverine, and Spider-Man make it through Kang’s timegates to convince the Agents to let Cap remain frozen in the Arctic?

On top of all that, readers are treated to reprints of Golden Age comics starring Namor, Namora, and Venus.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story is a joy from beginning to end. Kang’s plot is unusually subtle and clever, and his personality is a lot more interesting than is normally portrayed. It’s great to see the Agents of Atlas again, too. Gorilla-Man is hilarious, and I’d love to see him and the rest of the Agents in an ongoing series. Even the reprints at the end are fun — they’re kid-friendly without being simple-minded. My only disappointment is that there’s no appearance by the Hulk.


Countdown #41

Trickster and Piper fall out of a plane but survive. Mary Marvel is targeted by evil forces. Jimmy Olsen is wearing spandex under his clothes. Donna Troy, Jason Todd, the Atom, and the Monitor (now called “Bob”) shrink down to —

To heck with it.

Nothing happens. Everyone just marks time for another issue, waiting for whenever someone decides to start writing a real story instead of these pointless, meandering vignettes.

I’m done with this one. At its very, very best, it’s been only mediocre. “Countdown” is a symptom of everything that’s gone wrong with DC, and I’m not going to waste my time or money on it any longer.

That’s all for now. More reviews this weekend, I promise.

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