Rising to the Heights, Crashing to the Earth


Astro City #20

We continue Quarrel’s story. During an attack by the alien supervillain Imperion, Quarrel gets into a tight spot and is rescued by the speedster MPH. And since she and Crackerjack are on one of their periodic breakups, this leads to a relationship between the two. It lasts a ridiculously short time because Quarrel is absolutely awful at relationships because she focuses all her energy on training and none on stuff like remembering birthdays. Quarrel and Crackerjack are still getting their butts stomped periodically because they don’t have powers and they’re getting older and slower. But Crackerjack has a plan to make it all better, if it doesn’t make everything worse.

Verdict: Thumbs up, but not a real enthusiastic thumbs up. It’s a good story, don’t get me wrong, with lots of excellent characterization and dialogue, but it’s really here mostly to advance us to the final issue of the storyarc. There’s no real reason for Quarrel and MPH’s relationship, other than to fill time. A lot of this is stuff we’d already seen talked about in the previous issue, too. But the cliffhanger is a pretty good one — by which I mean, a pretty bad one…


Captain Marvel #12

Lila Cheney teleports Carol back to her spaceship — and Carol finds the place deserted, Tic and Chewie missing, the AI computer powered down, and the gravity shut off. When she finally gets the computer on, it’s just in time to take out another attacking spaceship. And she then learns that more aliens had kidnapped Tic and Chewie, and her best chance to catch up with them is to take a shortcut through something called the Endless Envelope. But the shortcut may not end up being very short at all…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderful art and very nice sci-fi action — not sure I’ve ever seen someone use the trick Carol does with the ship’s forceshields, and the Envelope’s gimmick is pretty sweet. I still wish a bit more had happened in this issue…


Secret Six #2

Well, the disembodied voice demanding the six supervillain captives pick one of their number to die spends the whole issue demanding that the six pick one of their number to die, so either it’s a really slow minute or a really patient disembodied voice. But the group manages to escape and beat up their captors a bit — and they apparently decide to stick together for the foreseeable future.

Verdict: Ehh, I ain’t real keen on it. The art is all kinds of messy. The newer characters are still complete cyphers, while Catman’s personality gets much weirder — his dislike of confinement makes sense; his dislike of getting wet is just odd. And there’s so very much attention given to the new Ventriloquist and her dummy, who are both just so utterly unlikeable. I hope this series improves a lot soon…

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