Aliens vs. Predators


Astro City: The Dark Age, Book Three #3

Years ago, someone killed Charles and Royal Williams’ parents. They finally know who he is — a high-ranking member of the criminal Pyramid organization. Royal used to be a spy within Pyramid, but a close call had him running for safety, so Charles has now infiltrated the organization on behalf of the high-tech espionage agency E.A.G.L.E. Pyramid is spying on most of the superteams in the country, including the Apollo 11, a bunch of former astronauts turned alien superheroes. But when Charles and Royal finally confront their parents’ killer, will a cosmic disaster prevent their revenge?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The stuff with Charles and Royal is fine, but the real fun this time is all about the Apollo 11. These guys are utterly freakish, like a cross between the Doom Patrol, Ultra the Multi-Alien, and a ’50s sci-fi comic — and I really want to read a whole lot more about Commander One, Encephalon, Nihil, Shrff, Strangeling, L.G.M., Ichthyos, Kahoutek, Aquarina, Arthro, and Gas Giant. This really does seem to be what Kurt Busiek does best with this series — introduce these once-off, throwaway characters that make you wish someone would put them in a nice long comic series all to themselves.


Secret Six #11

We start off with a short confrontation between the Six and the slavers — Deadshot wants to carry the body of the woman he shot, and the slavers want to treat her like baggage. Smyth, the slavers’ leader, defuses the confrontation and later explains his view of world history: all of mankind’s greatest accomplishments were created by slavery, he says, so he wants to see slavery re-implemented worldwide, but with a twist — slaves would be chosen by lottery, so there would be no injustice of enslaving the poor or minorities. And what are his slaves on the island building? The world’s largest prison, designed to hold ever prisoner in the entire world. Meanwhile, Artemis, a stand-in for Wonder Woman in the ’90s, has been captured and brought to the island as a metahuman slave — she and Jeanette seem to have a past history, but Jeanette decides to rescue her and the other Amazons held prisoner on the island, just because she doesn’t like slavery. And this leads directly to a fight within the Six itself — Jeanette, Bane, and Scandal on one side, because they don’t want to work for slavers, and Catman, Deadshot, and Ragdoll on the other, because they don’t want to break their lucrative contract.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent characterization all around, from Deadshot’s insistence on respecting the woman he killed, to Smyth’s twisted logic behind his pro-slavery utopia, to Jeanette’s reasoning for rescuing Artemis, even down to Catman’s willingness to work for people he hates because he gave his word of honor that he’d do so. Artemis’ speech to her jailers was also especially cool. All in all, just a very fun and awesomely morality-obsessed comic, even if it’s focusing on a bunch of supervillains.

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