Heavy week we have here, partly due to my own adventurous spirit causing me to get no less than three additional books that would require first impressions. But before we even get to that, we’ll be looking at the ongoings from DC and Boom! Includes ALL STAR WESTERN #0, THE FLASH #0, and ADVENTURE TIME #8. Part two deals with the books from Marvel and IDW. This week also marks the end of DC’s Zero Month.
First up is ALL STAR WESTERN #0, and the retold origin for everyone’s favorite amoral, facially scarred, Confederate uniform-wearing bounty hunter, Jonah Hex. Being familiar with Hex’s classic origin and history, I was curious what would be kept and what would be glossed over in this version. Well longtime Hex fans can rest easy, because they didn’t change a damn thing.
I don’t mean it to be bad, because Hex’s origin is pretty great.
Jonah Hex lived an interesting life, fraught with danger, loss, and bitterness. He would endure an abusive father who sold him to the Apache for safe passage, a fiercely resentful foster brother in the son of the chief, betrayal, service in the Confederate army, severe whippings, multiple brushes with death, and finally a duel to the death with the chief’s son. This is significant in that it ended with Hex needing to cheat in return for his opponent’s cheating, resulting in his victory but also forcing the chief to punish the only cheating that could be proven to happen, Hex’s own.
For some reason the comic kept in the vital bit about how Hex saved the chief’s life, but never actually shows how he did that. Then again, the story WAS running long, as it detailed nearly every step in Hex’s journey. Anyway, because the chief owed Hex, he didn’t kill him outright. Instead they took a hot tomahawk to Jonah’s face, completing his disfiguring scar that made him infamous in the American frontier.
Apparently Hex was drunkenly narrating this to the rest of the cast in the present day, because this is immediately followed by them getting their latest adventure hook: a guy from England wants Hex to locate a thief who made off with Dr Jekyll’s potion before it does untold evil in Gotham. I wish I was kidding, but that’s the plot for the next story arc. Hex has to track down a formula that can make Mr Hyde in stereo.
This was a great issue. It told you everything you needed to know about how Hex came to be Hex. And in fact it proves that Jonah Hex is one of those few properties DC rebooted that didn’t really get rebooted, just transplanted into the new continuity. Meaning if you wanted to read any of the old stories but wondered if they were invalidated, you can rest easy knowing that basically nothing changed.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix, am I right? Seems to only apply to westerns, though.
Next is THE FLASH #0, which also keeps the origin of the main character mostly intact. Barry Allen’s mother was murdered, with his father arrested for the crime. Desperate to prove his father’s innocence, Barry joined the Central City police department as a forensics officer. After years, his father tells him to stop trying, because he’s guilty. It’s not confirmed whether Barry’s dad actually did kill his wife and this is him dropping the pretense of innocence, or if he is innocent and just copped to the crime after all those years so his son could move on with his life.
Either way, Barry has his lab accident, being splashed with chemicals while struck by lightening. I always had the impression that Barry simultaniously created and discovered the Speed Force that day, given how he can travel back in time yet still use his speed, while also being the living engine of its kinetic energy. Anyway, he decides to use his speed to fight crime.
Of interest is his costume. Back in the day the Flash’s costume was always a regular jumpsuit (if resistant to friction), and he compacted it into his ring for fast deployment. According to this series – and this is a point I probably should have figured out from the artwork earlier – his new costume is made of plate metal that sticks to his skin in individual segments. How all these bits of steel fit down into his ring I’m not sure, but it does explain the designs. I think this is the only series that explains why all the redesigned costumes for the New 52 have arbitrary lines on them: his have lines because it’s where the different metal segments meet.
I loved this issue too. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have done great work on the Flash for the last two years at least, and this is just the latest in their parade of win.
Speaking of win, ADVENTURE TIME #8 continues where the last left off, with Finn and Jake being transported into their minds in the future, where their evil robot duplicates have created an army of robots to dominate Ooo. And the army just decided to mass at the foot of the candy kingdom.
I always wonder at what point my readers stop to wonder at the insane gibberish I spout.
This issue is full of robot smashing and lasers. I briefly questioned whether I actually needed to say more, but decided to err on the side of professionalism. Err on that side by also saying that future Finn, Jake, and Queen Bubblegum arm themselves with cybernetic augments, particle weapons in mass enough quantities to make Nikola Tesla blush, and fancy hats. When did this comic turn into any given match of Team Fortress 2? Even the fact that they’re fighting thousands of robots matches the recently launched Mann Vs Machine mode in TF2.
And it ends with the exploitation of time travel. Also this:
This is both beautiful and terrifying. This is why I love comics so much people.
The backup story involves Hotdog Princess, one of the many themed princesses that inhabit Ooo and don’t really do a whole lot. In this she does quite a lot; that is, if you include venturing into the land of the dead. If I haven’t made this clear, Adventure Time is a wonderful and strange franchise. It really knows its peripheral demographic.
Oh, and did I forget to mention Queen Bubblegum and BMO pilot giant robot suits?
Because that’s another thing that happens. No, I’ll never tire of inserting random panels from this comic out of context. Context is for losers.
Do you care about context? Do you find the idea of a man getting a hot tomahawk to the face horrifying/entertaining? Did my explanation of the Speed Force leave you dazed and confused? Leave a comment below.