No Justice League this time people. I’ve made a decision to drop that book. It’s been several issues and overall, it’s just been underwhelming. Maybe I’ll pick up the issues I’ll miss when their price on digital download goes down. Right now, I just can’t afford to buy books (four dollar books by the way) that I don’t enjoy reading. Because of this, only one DC book this week.
Namely it’s THE SHADE #8, where we once again take a trip into the titular anti-hero’s past. It’s 1901, and while visiting Paris, the Shade encounters his grandson after so many years away from his family. By unfortunate and ill-conceived association, the man has become under threat by a minor demon he has no way of defending against or fleeing from, and which is on a rampage of debauched brutality. That’s where our protagonist come in.
I can’t exactly say this was an essential issue in the series, though it is by no means a bad one. It’s a good issue, and a nice cooling period after the story arc with La Sangre and the Inquisitor. Actually this issue ties into that story, at least tangentially. If one is a fan of the Shade (and one logically ought to be if one reads a limited series about him), then I guess this deserves a place in one’s collection. I just don’t have anything to say about it.
Moving onto the books from Marvel, DAREDEVIL #13 kind of continues from the last issue, with Matt Murdock’s date interrupted by the arrival of what appears to be an agent of Black Spectre. The same Black Spectre that Daredevil had basically dismantled by the authorities using the data from the Omega Drive. Meanwhile, Foggy finds something in Matt’s desk. What kind of something? We aren’t shown, though it apparently has something to do with Foggy’s fear that his friend is suppressing deep grief, and it’ll come apart at some point. My theory is that he found a Daredevil costume, though again we don’t find out this issue.
There’s also a really good twist in this issue concerning how Daredevil attempts to resolve the Omega Drive problem. No spoilers, but it makes last issue make perfect sense.
On the other hand, I’m starting to get a little burned out on Daredevil. Most of last month consisted of a crossover story directly involving him, and then there were two issues released this month. I’m not complaining about getting so much of a great comic, but it’s just draining. Here’s hoping the book gets back to the regular schedule next month, so I can have a break from the Man Without Fear.
Next up is WINTER SOLDIER #5, and the end of that ongoing’s first story arc. Everything comes to a head in this issue. Secret Latvarian nukes are poised to launch, and Doctor Doom aids the Winter Soldier and Black Widow to go in and stop this chicanery. It’s Master versus Student! Former Dictator versus Former Subordinate! And Secret Agent versus a crap ton of apes with automatic rifles!
And also for some reason Doctor Doom charging a gorilla and claiming it to be a worthy challenge. Are you feeling alright Doc? Maybe that one from before wasn’t the only Doombot.
I found the ending to be rather bittersweet. Again, we’re not going into spoilers here. But it’s just kind of tragic the way it ended. And I guess it worked better that way. Other than that I’m once again left lacking things to talk about. The worst part about a great book is being bereft of topics to cover about it that don’t spoil the ending. First world problems indeed.
AVENGERS VS X-MEN #4 by contrast has plenty of material to discuss. The hunt is fully on for the Mutant Messiah, as members from both the Avengers and the X-Men square off in five fantastic locations across the world. And we barely get to see any of it. Though obviously they’re saving that for the VERSUS miniseries. Meanwhile, Hope makes a deal with Wolverine to get him to help her, despite his insistence that the only sensible solution is to gut her like a fish and be done with it.
Not to mention everyone ends up on the moon. It makes sense in context. Then again it always does. It’s comic books after all.
There is a moment when Hope and Wolverine attack an AIM lab in order to hijack a rocket (told you it made sense in context). And of course Wolverine being Wolverine, he kills almost all of them. So when a random goon is left alive and they ask if anyone would mind helping them get a rocket up and running, this guy is all too happy to oblige. It’s hilarious. As is the part where Hope leads Wolverine to her at the beginning using a breadcrumb trail of beer cans. Honestly the best parts of this issue revolve around the uneasy alliance of Hope and Wolverine.
More or less this issue left me ambivalent as anything. The story is picking up, but at this point the main conflict between the two sides are basically stalled. Not as in there isn’t any fighting (there’s plenty), but more that it was all their attempts to find Hope, and none of the fights were remotely near her. Nothing was really accomplished by any of the skirmishes, not even plot advancement. Because at the core, the plot progressed by the actions of Hope and Wolverine, not Cyclops, Captain America, or any of the people fighting in the field.
Not to mention I still find it hard to empathize with Cyclops’ position. Especially since, unlike Captain America who spends this issue in the middle of the fight, Cyclops (and Emma Frost for that matter) spend a good chunk just lounging in the safety of an abandoned Hellfire Club safehouse. Yeah they’re also coordinating the fights and using subterfuge to infiltrate the workings of Wolverine’s school. But that just makes them more morally dubious. At least Iron Man is out of the fight because he’s trying to find a way to kill the Phoenix.
And we have eight more issues of this. Blimey.
Let’s take my mind off of this taxing event comic by talking about ADVENTURE TIME #4. Finn, Jake, and crew just sent the Lich King into the sun, but at terrible cost. Or not so much a cost, more like a bunch of sand got all over the surface of the Earth, and a huge chunk of the planet is missing because of it. So naturally, who better to solve a sand-related predicament than the Desert Princess? But she’s missing. Woops.
Even when this issue is settling down from the harrowing adventures from the previous ones, it still finds time to make me laugh. It would be difficult to summerize any of them (plus I’m lazy), so I’ll just say it’s another fun issue, and more people should be reading this book. All I can say is that having a million sand copies of the Desert Princess joining together to form a massive giant Desert Princess golum, all so they could collectively receive a kiss from Finn, was the height of ludicrous hilarity. To quote the Ice King: “Welp, I’m out. That’s my limit of crazy for today.”
We also have a side story involving another supporting character. This time it’s Party Pat, leader of a clan of care bears that live inside a monster’s stomach and party all day, every day. His quest is to find ingredients for a mythical party dip. And once again, I find it the weakest part of the issue. I guess I’m too old to get sucked into a mellow bear’s totally tensionless attempts to acquire snacks for his hedonistic subjects. Or maybe it just isn’t that good a story.
On the flipside, Boom has a spinoff book set to come out in July. It’s called ADVENTURE TIME: MARCELENE AND THE SCREAM QUEENS, and presumably centers on the vampire lass and possibly also Princess Bubblegum. I don’t know so much about it other than it having been announced. I guess we’ll see what that’s like in July.