Big Time

Avengers Academy #7

Our focus for this issue is on Hank Pym, former Ant-Man, former Giant-Man, former Yellowjacket, currently calling himself the Wasp in tribute to his late wife Janet. He’s just learned that Tigra’s child, conceived by a Skrull doppelganger, is genetically his child, due to the Skrulls’ abilities to duplicate someone down to their DNA. And he’s decided to take on his old Giant-Man name and costume, because he plans on bringing Janet, her body trapped in an “Underspace Dimension,” back to life and back into the real world, despite the danger that her mind may not have survived at all. Meanwhile, a prison transport taking the Absorbing Man to prison suffers a mishap, and the supervillain is released into New York, with only the inexperienced Academy members and Pym available to stop him.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Academy members are almost entirely forgotten here — Pym carries the whole show. And it’s a pretty good show — I love the way he takes out Crusher Creel, I love the scale of their battle, I love seeing a science guy like Pym do crazy comic-book science.

Batman and Robin #18

Bruce Wayne’s former girlfriend Una Nemo isn’t actually dead — she’s just got a gigantic hole all the way through her skull. Apparently, she had a condition called Dandy-Walker Syndrome — an actual genetic defect where a large portion of the brain is missing, but intellect may be unaffected — and she didn’t even know it until some robbers shot her in the head and dumped her in the ocean! She attends her own funeral as a lark, but is upset that no one seems sad she’s gone — and Bruce Wayne didn’t even attend! Exposing her brain to more oxygen made her smarter but a heck of a lot crazier — she started calling herself “the Absence,” gathered up a bunch of imbalanced disciples, and went about luring Batman and Robin to her. When the Dynamic Duo make their escape, they tell Bruce what happened — he was on his “lost in time” period when Nemo “died” and didn’t even know about it ’til just now. But that won’t stop her from going on a killing spree of Bruce’s old girlfriends.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wow, Una Nemo is spectacularly weird looking. Not a whole lot of detecting going on here, as most of the issue is devoted to Una monologuing for the heroes. Still, it works well, and comes across as spectacularly creepy.

The Unwritten #20

Tom Taylor and Lizzie Hexam have gotten together, if you know what I mean and I think you do. While she’s in the shower and he’s afterglowing, he sees… a glowing white whale? Convinced it’s Moby-Dick, he takes off in pursuit, only to find that it’s actually a prop for Pittsfield’s annual Mobyfest. He takes part in a dramatized reading for the festival and suddenly finds himself sucked into the novel, mistaken for a crewman on the Pequod, and standing in front of a Captain Ahab who looks startlingly familiar. Meanwhile, Savoy is turning into a vampire, and the Cabal is sending more assassins after them.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I never liked reading “Moby-Dick,” but this is an unexpectedly fun story. I’m even enjoying the bits from the novel, with all the weird Melville crap that always bugged me. Plus there’s the usual great dialogue, bizarre complications, and funky plot twists to enjoy.

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