The Weekly Pull – 3/28/12

     

This month has been a big one for the Weekly Pull. So many comics coming out that need talking about. Even now, which would normally be a lull, has a good number of books. Not as much as earlier this month, with the three part pull, but still a fair amount.

First up for DC’s offerings is ALL STAR WESTERN #7, where we get formally introduced to Blackhawk and Cinnamon, wild west mystery man and woman, respectively. Jonah Hex and his erstwhile sidekick Amadeus Arkham (who are still hanging out despite the former hating the latter’s guts) travel to New Orleans to track down the head of the child abductions from last issue. And the cameo-ing cowboy duo agree to help, provided Hex aid them in taking down a conspiracy of white supremacists out to slaughter immigrants.

First of all, I think it’s a good thing for Hex and Arkham to get out of Gotham. I wouldn’t mind them going back later, but it’s obvious it’d take a massive contrivance to keep Hex from just leaving for the frontier again. By traveling to New Orleans, it allows the plot to keep to its “Hex in the big city” theme they’ve got going on.

Secondly, as part of the plan to stop the terrorist acts against the immigrant population, Hex has to infiltrate what basically amounts to a fight club. An underground fight ring where people (usually the poor, foreign, or those desiring the end of same) do battle, sometimes to the death. What I find interesting is that Hex basically plays up his confederate nature in order to get in good with the conspirators. Though we may forget, Hex was a rebel, and I’m sure his spiel of anger at the decay of “southern values” isn’t entirely fabricated. That’s the kind of thing that makes Hex enjoyable to read about. He’s certainly better than the people he fights, but he’s by no means a good guy.

The instant a Jonah Hex ongoing forgets this is the instant it falls apart.

There’s also the start of a side story exploring the backstory for Blackhawk and Cinnamon, particularly the former. And I have to say, Blackhawk’s former slave mentor and surrogate father struck me as unrealistic. He’s a former slave as I said, and a whaler, but he’s also very well read and studies Darwin. Which is not to say a former slave couldn’t have been educated, just that it seems too convenient that as a child, Blackhawk managed to ingratiate himself with the most politically correct black mentor in all of the antebellum world. Not only that, but I find it hilarious that the writers either ignored (or were ignorant) of the full and original title of Darwin’s famous tome. “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life”.

Just saying.

Next up is THE FLASH #7, where the titular character puts Captain Cold in his place, only for things to go wrong. As if there was any doubt. I knew when the whole “don’t go too fast or you’ll rip a hole in time” plot point would end up paying off almost immediately. Also we get introduced to a potential new villain. And what I can only guess is prehistoric Gorilla Grodd. Or something.

For those unfamiliar with the Flash mythos, the main DC Earth also plays host to a city of technologically advanced gorillas over in Africa. Or at least it did pre-Flashpoint. And one of those hyper intelligent gorillas, Grodd, is one of the Flash’s major recurring villains. Will we see his post-Flashpoint debut? Or is the comic just jerking us around? Guess we’ll have to wait for the next issue to find out. Also I’m not certain, but I think we’ll be seeing this continuity’s version of The Top.

I miss The Top…

Meanwhile in GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #7, we get some more backstory on Archangel Invictus, his motivation, what Larfleeze did to piss him off so much, why there’s apparently an entire other version of the Vega star system as a ship (complete with Vegans), and what happens when you get a bunch of differing colored lanterns in the same group for several issues.

Apparently friendship happens, because despite Arkillo and Saint Walker hanging out for maybe a day, Arkillo went from hatred to almost being a bro. I’m not complaining here, since friendship was bound to happen eventually. Just seems like it’d take a lot more hanging out to engender emotional ties to one’s sworn enemy, while one is also a violent sociopath. Getting one’s tongue regenerated probably helps.

Although now I realize something I probably should have caught much earlier. How does Arkillo still have his ring? In the pages of Green Lantern, Sinestro already depowered most of the Sinestro Corps. Maybe it’s because Arkillo is still loyal to Sinestro. Also, how can Bleez come back to save them? Isn’t she on Ysmalt, trying to take over the Red Lantern Corps? When did she have time to come over to help the New Guardians? Again, it’s been maybe a day since the events in the first issue, so how’s all this stuff happening so fast?

Ah the perils of an ongoing storyline written over several months. It’s easy to forget that character development doesn’t necessarily work in step with publication time. Again, not complaining here.

Moving along to Marvel’s offerings, we have AVENGERS VS X-MEN #0. I guess it’s a zero issue because the plot of this crossover doesn’t really start until next week, with the release of issue one. This issue deals mostly with introducing us to some of the players, particularly the Scarlet Witch and Hope. The Scarlet Witch fights M.O.D.O.K. for a while, then we get to see that since the events of House of M, the Avengers still aren’t quite up to forgiving her. Especially not after depowering most of the mutant population. And also especially not Vision.

Meanwhile, Hope squirms under the yoke of basically being put on a pedestal, sheltered against unknown threats for a purpose that’s vaguely defined. Then she goes out and fights crime against Cyclops’ wishes.

I also noticed that, apart from maybe a token mention of Cable, I could easily have ignored Avengers: X-Sanction entirely and be no less cognizant of what’s going on. So far, that miniseries is coming off as being both very poorly executed and mostly inconsequential. Thanks Marvel.

Well, I guess I can cut them some slack, since DAREDEVIL #10 was pretty damn good. Our blind hero has descended into the realm of the Mole Man, confronting the equally blind villain on his corpse-snatching shenanigans. And we have what may be the best staff battle between two visually impaired combatants ever rendered in the comic medium.

It might also be one of the most bittersweet staff battles between two visually impaired combatants ever rendered in the comic medium. This run of Daredevil has gone to lengths to moderate the Miller-esque super seriousness that lead to the franchises rise and stagnation. But sometimes, you just want a more emotional, character driven story. And the way these two go at it makes the conflict very personal and tragic. Much of it revolves around Matt Murdok and his father’s passing, and how he can’t seem to let go after all these years. It’s also a pretty sympathetic look into Mole Man’s past, and how circumstance lead him to his villainous present.

Plus, the cover is just badass.

And finally from IDW, we have INFESTATION 2: GI JOE #2. This concludes the storyline that was basically the whole reason I bothered with this crossover event in the first place. I think I liked this two issue story because Cobra as a whole fascinates me. If I were to start reading any of the GI Joe ongoings, it’d probably be the ones directly involving the criminal organization itself. Yeah, the good guys are fine, but the villains are probably the most interesting part of the whole franchise.

If I had to level criticism for this story, it’d be that recruiting the Cobra agents in the mental ward seemed too easy. And I lay blame on the limited amount of time for weaving the tale. Having Interrogator and Crystal Ball trying to get the mentally unstable people to fight for them could easily be an entire issue on its own. That’s the general problem I’ve noticed with Infestation 2. It has a lot it wants to accomplish, but has barely any time to do it, so the end results are rushed.

Still, if nothing else this story works well. The twist ending was especially cool and sinister. It’s just too bad the plot point established here, by the nature of this being a crossover event, probably won’t ever be followed up on. And if it was, regular readers would probably be confused by a plot that relied on events in a standalone miniseries. A miniseries used in a gimicky crossover event.

At the very least I’ll be reading INFESTATION 2 #2. I mean, I gotta see how this ends, right? I’ll have more to say when I write my retrospective. Maybe by then I’ll have read more of the miniseries than just the one for GI Joe.

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