Archive for Static

Swamped Out

Swamp Thing #6

Things have gone worse than normal for Alec Holland. Abby Arkane has been captured and coccooned by the Rot, her corrupted brother William is in full control of millions of twisted zombies, and the Parliament of Trees has been destroyed. Is there any chance for the Swamp Thing to save the day before Alec gets a chainsaw through the chest?

Verdict: Thumbs down. And I’m done with this one. I don’t care if the art is nice. I don’t care if the writing is nice. It’s six months in on this title, and Alec Holland still isn’t the Swamp Thing. Oh, of course we know that on the last page of the next issue, he’ll finally become Swamp Thing, and in the issue after that, he’ll finally get to the conclusion of this story. But honestly, I’m tired of being jerked around by this ultimately dull and dishonest comic.

Avengers Academy #25

It’s now an all-out battle, with half the students and teachers at Avengers Academy vs. Hybrid, half-human, half-Dire Wraith, and his mentally enslaved student minions. Reptil is the only student who manages to throw off the mental domination, and that’s just because he’s been mindswitched with his future self. Meanwhile, in the future, the present version of Reptil, in his own future body, escapes from captivity just in time to learn that he had a child with Finesse and may have a chance to help his teammates in the past. Hybrid shuts down Hank Pym’s powers — but that leaves his scientific mind intact, which means he can figure out a way to stop the monster. But can he do it before it’s too late?

Verdict: Thumbs up. We go from present to future to present, we go from huge fight scenes to intimate family moments and back to fight scenes. All that plus a big plot twist. And it all works just fine. Impressive work from Christos Gage and Tom Grummett.

Static Shock #6

There’s a lot of stuff happening, and I couldn’t really keep track of it all. Hardware and Technique from the classic Milestone Media comics get to make an appearance, there’s a interdimensional portal, or maybe a time-travel portal, I couldn’t really tell. There’s some guy who cloned Static’s sister for some reason and now wants to throw her through the portal for some reason. There’s a second version of Static who shows up to save the day, then disappears between pages. And Static’s cloned sisters, who previously hated each other with absolute burning fury, decide they really love each other because they’re siiiiiisters.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Trying to make sense of the plot here was like sustaining brain damage. I don’t know whether to drop this one because it’s awful, or stick with it because it’s about to get cancelled and I may as well have the complete run.

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Time and Time Again

Secret Avengers #20

The latest Secret Avengers op has gone bad, leaving Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter, and War Machine dead, and Black Widow using an untested “escape hatch” teleporter to escape to… five years in the past? Turns out the “escape hatch” is a wrist-mounted time machine with a few serious limitations — events that have already happened still have to happen, so she can’t just timejump to five minutes before the end of the mission and wipe out the bad guys. This leads to a great deal of jumping back and forth through time, learning about how time travel works, financing a genius to get him to build a wrist-mounted time machine, getting weapons engineers to build weapons that won’t actually kill her teammates and making sure those weapons are in the hands of the bad guys. But will all this time travel actually save the Secret Avengers?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was actually the first of Warren Ellis’ “Secret Avengers” comics that really felt like a Warren Ellis comic. It’s high concept, packed full of action, and insanely complicated, but it’s still very, very human. I loved all the scenes with Count Khronus and Kongo, especially the art shifts that accompanied their first appearance.

Static Shock #5

Static escapes from the watery grave Piranha threw him into. The Slate Gang loses their security contract with the criminal organization, and Piranha takes it over on a probationary basis. The crooks say they can’t find any civilian identity for Static — not even Virgil Hawkins has the same DNA. And they kidnap Virgil’s sister, Sharon — or one of them, since they’re perfect clones. Guilotina tries to make friends with Sharon, and Static tries to track down where Piranha is taking Sharon.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Too much confusion. Why can’t the bad guys tell that Static is Virgil Hawkins, and if they don’t think he’s Static, why do they kidnap his sister? What’s with the threatening note left for Virgil at home? About the only part of this that I enjoyed was the retelling of Static’s origin. Other than that, wow, what a colossal mess.

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Playing Defense

The Defenders #1

“The Defenders” has always seemed like a weird series — never a sales leader, never remarked upon much within the Marvel Universe itself, mainly kept going as a tribute to fan nostalgia. Don’t know if that’ll change this time, but Marvel has resurrected the title again, this time with Matt Fraction as the writer and Terry Dodson handling the art chores.

We start out with a vast number of bad omens and badly-timed coincidences plaguing the planet, while Dr. Strange wraps up a quickly regretted one-night-stand with a coed. He divines some vague sense of bad things on the horizon just before he gets a visit from the Hulk — not a raging monster this time, the Hulk is fairly calm and intelligent these days. They quickly assemble the classic Defenders team — Dr. Strange, the Hulk, Namor, and the Silver Surfer — and the Hulk tells them he wants the hammer that turned him into Nul, Breaker of Worlds during the “Fear Itself” crossover destroyed. Only problem is that Hulk refuses to come along to help — he doesn’t want it taking him over again. So the rest of the Defenders go recruiting…

After adding Betty Ross, the Hulk’s ex-wife and current Red She-Hulk, and Iron Fist to their roster, the team tracks Nul to Wundagore Mountain, home of the High Evolutionary. About the time they make it to Wundagore, something blows their plane out of the sky, and Iron Fist gets shot in the chest. This is not an auspicious beginning for the group, is it?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice characterization and dialogue for everyone, though I deeply dislike the Silver Surfer’s extremely pale word balloons. I love the art, but that’s to be expected for anything done by Terry Dodson. Looking forward to future issues of this one.

Justice League International #4

The JLI has been subdued by underground gremlins underneath the giant robot Sentrymen, and Guy Gardner stumbles onto the mastermind behind all the chaos, an interstellar despot called Peraxxus. He reveals to the team that he intends to use the Sentrymen to smash the Earth into bits so he can harvest the mineral wealth of the planet. The team manages to escape confinement, but will they be able to stop Peraxxus or keep him from destroying the world?

Verdict: I believe I’ll thumbs this one down. The thing that bugged me all the way through this issue is that everyone worries over and over that if the JLI fails, there’s no one to stop the end of the world. But gee, shouldn’t the regular Justice League, the one with Superman and Wonder Woman and the Flash and Green Lantern, have stepped in and wrapped this all up by now?

Static Shock #4

Okay, I said I was done with this one, but I keep seeing preview covers that make me want to read it, and I keep feeling like there are some very interesting things going on here, so I guess I’m sticking with it for a while longer.

Static gets stuck fighting someone called Guillotina who works for the mob boss Piranha. He wants a mad scientist called Doctor Nemo to create an army of metahumans to fight Static. Meanwhile, we learn some of the secrets of Piranha’s lieutenant, a Joker lookalike called the Pale Man, and we get a few more insights into the problem of Virgil Hawkins’ sister, Sharon, whose clone is so similar to her that no one is able to tell them apart.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Mainly because there’s so much superhero stuff going on — and not nearly enough focus on the stuff that’s really interesting: Sharon and her clone, the Pale Man’s background, and the mystery of who Guillotina is. The subplots here are vastly more interesting than the main plot.

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Cabaret Goon

The Goon #36

Nowheresville gets a visitor this issue — a real live burlesque performer named Roxi Dlite! She’s on the run from just about everyone for crimes ranging from simple seduction to theft to murder and everything in between. Once she and her pilot Abercrombie blunder into Nowheresville, they decide to re-open the burlesque house, but are quickly captured by the harpies and Madame Elsa — but Roxi quickly turns the situation to her own advantage. Meanwhile, the Goon and Franky have stolen the world’s most expensive knick-knack and peed on a wealthy dowager — but will they be able to keep the knick-knack out of Roxi’s greedy hands? And will Franky ever know true love?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very funny, very cheesecakey, wonderfully violent and crude. All the things Eric Powell and the Goon do best.

Avengers Academy #21

It’s a new day for Avengers Academy — Veil has left the program, but it’s now been included to allow any powered teenager to be trained at the West Coast Avengers campus. But the previous members of the Academy are now worried that, as the potential villains they all are, they’ll be thrown out by the Avengers. And that leads to the Academy members trying to beat up the Avengers, which doesn’t go very well. But the Avengers realize that they need to treat the kids with more respect, and they introduce two new members joining the inner circle — Lightspeed from the Power Pack, who’s now about 17 years old, and White Tiger, who gets her powers from her Jade Tiger amulets. But Jocasta, who has been trying to figure out a way to help all the Academy members, has just been killed — something pretty tough to do to a robot with multiple backup bodies — and it looks like someone on the Academy campus is responsible.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of appropriate teen angst — and they’re able to do it without killing each other. See that, Teen Titans? It’ll be nice to see some new members, too. Only downside — it’s too bad that the first time Jocasta does something interesting, she gets killed.

Static Shock #3

Static once again avoids death at the hands of Virule and the Slate Gang — and Virule learns that he can replicate if he’s exposed to Static’s energy. Virgil tries to figure out a way to track down the Slaters by using his own experiences with the gangs in Dakota’s Paris Island, which serves to get him some respect. Will Static be able to survive another confrontation with the assassins?

Verdict: Thumbs down. It’s boring me. I mean, the most interesting thing about this issue is the bizarre situation with Virgil’s sister and her clone. But I’m not going to stick with this one any more. I love the character, I love Milestone’s comics, but I can’t stick around forever and wait for it to get interesting.

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Shock and Awe

Static Shock #2

Static’s encounter with the assassin Virule has ended with one of his arms severed — but then mysteriously healing itself — at the cost of knocking out all the power in New York City. The criminal organization that ordered the hit on Static isn’t happy and threatens to fire the gang in charge of their assassinations — the Slate Gang, a bunch of kids dressed up like something out of “Tron.” Can Static track down the Slaters? And can he survive any more encounters with either them or Virule?

Verdict: Thumbs up, but there’s some seriously weird stuff going on here. Apparently, Static’s sister Sharon has a clone. They both consider themselves the original article, and the family has no idea which one’s the clone — so the Hawkins family has one superhero and a couple of identical mindlinked twins who hate each other. That’s the kind of weirdness that I could accept after a dozen or two issues, but having this pop up out of the middle of nowhere is just mondo bizarro. Even if it’s part of old Static continuity, a big reboot should be your opportunity to remove something that strange, at least initially, to keep from freaking out your readers. I’m still sticking with this one, ’cause I enjoy everything else about the comic, but yowza, that’s just somethin’ else.

iZombie #18

This issue, our focus is on Diogenes, monster-fighting partner of Gwen’s semi-boyfriend Horatio — specifically, we get a look back in time at one of Diogenes’ first missions for the Fossor Corporation, with his mentor Britia, as they track a vampire clan across Brazil. On their way through the rain forest, they encounter were-jaguars, zombies, a poltergeist, and mystic dream-walkers. When they finally make it to the vampires’ secret temple in the middle of the Amazon jungle, the bloodsuckers aren’t anything like what we may have been expecting…

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice done-in-one break from the soap-opera drama going on in Eugene, Oregon. And the identities of the jungle vampires were a welcome and quirky surprise.

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Static for the People

Static Shock #1

Well, here’s one of the DC Reboot books I’ve really been looking forward to — the sole survivor of the Milestone Media characters acquired by DC.

Virgil Hawkins, the teen electricity-and-magnetism-powered hero called Static, has moved with his family from Dakota to New York City, where he’s gotten a part-time job working for S.T.A.R. Labs. After depowering a technician who was running amok while wearing an experimental plasma protection suit, Static is surprised when the man is shot dead by persons unknown. Turns out the man was stealing the suit for a criminal organization that’s decided that Static needs to die now, just in case the technician told him about them. We get some great character work with Virgil’s family and his new mentor, Hardware — but Static gets a nasty surprise when he’s attacked by an assassin called Virule.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great to see Milestone get some representation in the Rebooted DCU, and it’s especially cool to see that Hardware is going to have a strong supporting role in this comic. All that plus Static’s fantastic attitude and family come through just fine. I hope we’ll see more of Static’s old supporting cast here, too. Still not sure why the character had to be transfered to the Big Apple, but I’ll take it as long as it gets us some Milestone goodness.

Atomic Robo: The Ghost of Station X #1

Robo gets an urgent call on Tesladyne Island about a team of astronauts trapped aboard a crippled space station — and he and his team of mad-science geniuses are the only hope for rescuing them. After brainstorming furiously, they cook up a wildly improbable plan that could only work in a comic book or an action movie — and which is still going to involve colossal risk to the pilot — namely, Atomic Robo. All that plus a missing house in Britain, exiled scientists in Norway, and an experimental jet, and the plan can’t fail, right? Right?

Verdict: Thumbs up. But you’re going to have to be prepared for a very talky script. Of course, I think that’s a good thing — the best way to watch mad scientists brainstorm is with a few pages of mad scientists brainstorming their way through a bunch of mad science gobbledygook. Luckily, there are the jet planes and the insane science stunts, so that’s another bonus.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Good news! The sick are healed, the poor are comforted, war is ended! Surely that’s the only reason this Holy Dork has time to get pissy about Superman saying, literally, “GD” in a comic book, right?
  • This is a really excellent hidden-camera prank. It’s all in Spanish, but the prank is definitely universal.
  • Here is your disturbing but hilarious video for the day.

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