Monkey Business

Hit-Monkey #1

Marvel’s been talking this one up a lot. “Character creation of the year” and all that. It starts out focusing on a hitman, injured and on the run. He gets inexplicably taken in, cared for and healed by a small tribe of Japanese macaque monkeys — he is accepted by all of the monkeys but one. While the assassin heals up enough to be able to move about, he doesn’t have a lot of bullets and knows he’s still not well, so he starts training himself in unarmed combat, observed by the one untrusting monkey. In time, the people who tried to kill the hitman come after him, killing him and all the monkeys but the one outcast who didn’t trust the assassin — ironically, he’s learned enough about martial arts and gunplay by watching the hitman that he’s now able to take his revenge for the death of his tribe.

Verdict: Thumbs down. It’s actually a fairly dull story, and it certainly doesn’t live up to the hype that Marvel has given it. We never see the monkey in the snappy suit from the cover. We never get any indication that he’s actually smart enough to care about wearing a suit, much less figuring out how to use a handgun. Oh, I know, you should never ever expect too much logic from comics — especially not from comics about monkeys. Nevertheless, I was hoping for better.

JSA All-Stars #3

Hurray! It’s the happiest cover ever! Maybe DC really is figuring out that everyone hates Magog…

On the other hand, this is a pretty danged awkward issue. The JSA annual came out just last week, but this entire issue is set before the annual. So at this point, Magog is still a member in moderately good standing within the All-Stars. Most of the action in this issue takes place during a team training session, where Magog mainly tries to encourage everyone to kill their opponents, and Power Girl eventually clocks him a good one. But there’s some background stuff, too. Johnny Sorrow kills Killer Wasp mostly for grins, Atom-Smasher has been kidnapped by some evil magic user, and Sandman is waking up from his dreams with a mission. Oh, and Power Girl apparently has a new costume without the infamous/celebrated “boob window.” The backup story about Hourman and Liberty Belle is full of lots of good comedy, mainly stemming from Tigress and Icicle buying a plane ticket from Liberty Belle while she’s in civvies, giving the two married superheroes some extra cash to spend in Venice.

Verdict: Ehh, thumbs up, I guess. Nothing much to recommend it, but at least there’s nothing particularly bad either. The background elements are actually more interesting than the main storyline. And I do wonder why the decision was made to alter Power Girl’s costume, since I doubt her uniform will change in any of her other comic appearances.


Punisher #13

I missed an issue of this one a while back, but Frank Castle is still a stitched-together Frankensteinian killing machine, trying to save a bunch of monsters from cyber-samurai trying to destroy all monsters. That’s really the whole summary of the issue. There are some good fights with Morbius the Living Vampire, Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing, and lots of scenes with the Punisher shooting the heck out of samurai.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of good fights, lots of fun monsters. I heartily approve.

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