After several weeks of two (or three) parters, here’s a simple pull list to end off the month of April. In addition to the usual ongoings, we also have a AvX tie-in, so look out for the First Impressions in a couple days.
First on the list from DC, it’s ALL STAR WESTERN #8, where we finally get a look at the full August 7. For those not keeping track, the August 7 want to perpetrate acts of terrorism against immigrants in a bid to “retake America”. Part of this issue revolves around Hex, currently working to infiltrate their network, being tasked by the Seven to sink a cargo ship along with its contents and crew, as a form of initiation. And then the question becomes: would Hex be uncaring enough to blow up a ship full of innocents just to gain the trust of the villains?
I would argue yes, he most certainly would, and the issue hints as such. Frankly, was this in any doubt? He’s Jonah Hex. It’s what he does.
Amadeus Arkham gets some moments in this issue as well, mostly by making me question his morality when he visits an opium den (lacking anything to do at the time). And then by making him out to be a badass of kindness by giving a prisoner therapy, after being thrown in jail for the aforementioned opium incident. Not sure what to think of the guy at this point, though maybe it fits the theme of this book well. Jonah Hex is all kinds of ambiguous, so why not give Arkham ambiguity as well?
Lastly we have the second part of the Blackhawk/Cinnamon backstory side story, this time with the red-headed heroine in the spotlight. And just like with Blackhawk’s similarly suspicious multi-ethnic origin, Cinnamon was partially raised by a random samurai wandering around the deserts of the American southwest. First we have Blackhawk and his inexplicably learned black whaler surrogate father, and now a samurai that teaches Cinnamon about honor and stuff. What, we couldn’t just have one or both with more period realistic origins? They both had to be orphans raised by wise multi-ethnic men? Just because? This isn’t me complaining about them being non-whites, but rather than because it’s like the writers are filling a racial quota or something.
Oh, and we see how the two vigilantes came across their magical healing pendants. Overall a good issue, but the double team of racially equal origins? Neither Blackhawk nor Cinnamon betray knowledge of whaling or Bushido in the comic so far, so what’s the point?
Moving on, we have THE FLASH #8, featuring Turbine. I realized when this guy got introduced that we’d finally have a new Top, which in my opinion has been sorely missed since his death. For those unfamiliar with the Flash’s Rogues Gallery, the Top is a villain who specialized in spinning rapidly, as well as using a number of top-related weapons. But then a lot of stuff happened in comics history (involving Identity Crisis and brainwashing and retcons), and the character was killed off during the Wally West era. So as a guy who liked the Top and wished to see more spinning villains, Turbine is a nice addition.
Also in this issue and related to Turbine is that we finally learn the true cause of the tears in the spacetime continuum. And much to my relief, it doesn’t take a form that poses an artificial restraint on our hero’s ability to run really fast. Although given the real explanation, why did the vortexes pop up at roughly the time when the Flash was running really fast? Or was that just narratively convenient coincidence?
The issue also ends with the Flash being transported to I presume the distant past, so as to set up a confrontation between him and Gorilla Grodd. It’s the back and forth between new villains and old that keeps this book’s energy up.
Last from DC is GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #8, which serves more as a transition issue between the fight with Invictus and the next arc to follow. It’s also a very important issue regarding the Sinestro Corps. Back in Green Lantern #5, we saw Sinestro himself dismantle the power battery of the corps he created. And in Red Lanterns #7 we saw Bleez and those Red Lanterns loyal to her kill those members of the Sinestro Corps that abandoned their rings and fled into hiding. So by this point, the Sinestro Corps, the yellow corps of terror, is basically dead save for Arkillo.
It’s funny, I never thought I’d see Arkillo (or any yellow lantern) in much the same situation as Kyle Rayner was after Emerald Twilight. Alone in the universe wielding the last functioning ring of his corps (thanks to a venerated weapons master, in this case the Weaponer of Qward), all because of a former member that betrayed the corps he helped make strong. It’s almost poetic. And in conjunction with the tagline for the next issue, “The Fall of the Blue Lanterns”, it confirms a feeling I’ve had for a while now about the Green Lantern mythos.
While the advent of an entire spectrum of lantern corps did much to bolster the franchise’s popularity, having them around has done a lot to mess up the curve so to speak. For the last few years, the Green Lantern books have been concerning themselves almost exclusively with establishing the various lantern corps, and then dealing specifically with them and those related to them. You had the Sinestro Corps war, then the conflicts with the various corps, then Blackest Night (where they all learned to work together), then Brightest Day, then the return of Krona and the War of the Lanterns. The mythos got into a rut where the only thing on the agenda was a lot of fighting other ring users. And it seems like DC realized this, and has been attempting to shake things up so they become less of an all-consuming fixation with the books. And while I love having them around, I’m kind of glad for it.
Now if only DC has saw fit to give the Blue Lanterns an ongoing instead of the Red Lanterns (the Blue Lantern corps never does anything, which is just sad). Or at least made the RL ongoing a limited series so it could get to the bloody point already.
Finally from Marvel, we have DAREDEVIL #11, and the stunning conclusion to The Omega Effect! And it ends with a state of the Marvel universe that makes me wonder if anything actually got accomplished at all. I’m serious when I say barely anything got done, because things are basically back where they started, save one notable example that affects The Punisher ongoing more than anything.
Not saying this was a bad storyline, though. Far from it. It’s a fun romp, hilarious and serious and emotional all at the same time. It draws upon Daredevil and Punisher’s shared history, and frankly it had to be done given how the Punisher’s series was going. Although I wonder if those only reading The Punisher will be confused to read the next issue, and see the only thing this story managed to accomplish being a pretty huge change from the last issue.
That being said, the Omega Drive ultimately didn’t get destroyed, so it’s not like it changes the Daredevil book in any serious capacity. Though this plotline will probably be settled in the pages of Daredevil alone, so it’s probably for the best. I mean, what if those only reading this series came back to find there’s an entire adventure in other books which resulted in the major plot of the last several issues being resolved? I’d be pretty pissed.
Just wish there was more to this crossover than what we got. The alternate covers came together to form an awesome picture, and now I’m just wondering if this deserved it. At least seeing the three heroes kick ass was exciting.
With that, this week’s books have been covered. Except for one. Next time, we’re looking at the first in a limited series tied directly to AvX. It’s AVX: VS #1. Or THE Avengers Vs. THE X-Men. Whichever, it’s a dumb title.