Moving on to the offerings from Marvel comics Includes CAPTAIN MARVEL #7, UNCANNY AVENGERS #2, PUNISHER: WAR ZONE #2, and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #699.
These first two I didn’t think I would be buying this month. First weeks are always jammed with enough books, and I’d not originally planned to get them. I was planning on leaving off where I had. But in spite of myself, I had an uneven list between DC, who had four books I bought, and Marvel, who had only two. Plus, my brother has taken a shine to both and wanted to see how they progress.
So, CAPTAIN MARVEL #7, the series that was simply too good to just stop reading. Especially since the primary artist, Dexter Soy, is back after the last two issues. In this adventure, Carol Danvers gets called in to inspect an underwater graveyard of missing airplanes and ships. Unfortunately, the one who asked her to come was Monica Rambeau, one of those formerly under the title Captain Marvel.
She also had a dozen other identities, but then again so did Carol. The comic straight up lampshades this fact. It’s flipping to that conversation in the store that really sold me on buying this.
Really most of this issue revolves around the friendly antagonism between the two women, as well as with Frank Gianell, a photographer who used to work for Carol during her time at a women’s fashion magazine. Despite the fact that most people don’t know thing one about the Captain Marvel mythos (that is, Marvel’s Captain Marvel), there’s as much depth and complexity there as any other comic franchise that’s been around for decades. I think that’s part of why this series exists: to make people give a crap about this stuff.
Oh, and the issue also has something about a giant robot on the bottom of the sea. But that’s not important. At least not now.
Next is UNCANNY AVENGERS #2, which has one of the best covers I’ve seen recently. Just to sight of a giant Red Skull looming menacingly while radiating psychic waves is diabolical. And memorable.
So in the first issue, Captain America got a few of his fellow Avengers together with the aim of forming a joint Avenger/X-Men team. In the interests of fostering a positive image of human/mutant cooperation in the face of growing hostility towards the resurfacing superpowered species. It’s just a shame reformed X-Men villain Avalanche arrives in a big city and kills dozens of people before committing suicide. What does it mean?
Probably has something to do with the Red Skull stealing Professor Xaviar’s psychic brain and merging it with his own. Somehow, it’s not explained how the Red Skull can do that. He also kidnapped the Scarlet Witch and Rogue, all in his latest scheme to exterminate the mutant race. Did we mention Red Skull was a nazi? Pretty important.
Is it weird I found Red Skull the most interesting part of this comic? The rest is already engaging, what with the Avengers finally doing something about the widespread animosity between humans and mutants, or Rogue showing Red Skull’s minions why she’s been such a major player in the X-Men books for so long. I vaguely remember questioning her spot on the team, but now I’m confident they made the right choice. But the Red Skull shows a lot of layers you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a nazi supervillain. Yes, he wants to kill scores of people and does it partly out of outright hatred, but we get the impression he at least partially believes he’s protecting the human race from genetically deviant and dangerous threats. Though again, hateful nazi, interested in domination and hatefueled genocide. Never forget why a villain is a villain in the first place, people. Forget that and we get Draco in Leather Pants.
To prevent myself from thinking too hard about Red Skull in Leather Pants, I find it funny how mutants are considered evil categorically, yet the superpowered “humans” in RS’ command are basically mutants in every respect but name. But again, Nazi.
Shifting gears slightly, PUNISHER: WAR ZONE #2 has Black Widow of the Avengers volunteering to hunt the elusive Frank Castle. This investigation runs her across much of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as she follows a trail of bodies left in the Punisher’s wake. Uh Frank, maybe the time when you’re being hunted down by superhumans isn’t the best opportunity to kill slave and ivory traders.
Did they deserve it? Possibly, at least a few characters in the comic swear by how much filth he’s cleaning up around the world.
I was incorrect in my previous assessment of Cole-Alves being excluded from this miniseries. I assumed, not unwisely, that her story was finished with her arrest. Not that we’ve gone much of anywhere, save establishing that yes, indeed, she intends to take responsibility for the cop she killed.
My only complaint is how the issue retreads the idea that while Castle is strong, there are members of the Avengers who are much faster. Last time it was Spiderman, not it’s Black Widow. Was it necessary to establish that Frank is a bulky man?
Oh, and something I didn’t know until recently. “War Zone” has been used by the Punisher series at least twice before in comics, in addition to being the title of the second big budget Punisher film. A film I own, but have yet to watch. Just thought you’d like to know.
Finally we have AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #699, what would be the second to last issue in the series if not for the fact this one will be followed by a Point One issue. In the meantime, we learn that Spiderman’s mind has been swapped with that of Doctor Octopus. A Doctor Octopus whose original body is one the razor edge of dying. This is a great plot point, made worse for Peter since his only means of escaping custody and getting his body back requires him to execute an evil plot of his own.
A Sinister Six is born (kind of) with Spiderman at the helm. Unfortunately, one of those guys under his command is the villain formerly known as Paste Pot Pete. Oh dear.
Being in Doc Ock’s broken body has its advantages, though. Like being able to access the memories Doc Ock left behind when he enacted his mind swap plan. Among these are key points of characterization for Octavius, like his abusive father, the accident that fused those arms to to body, or that time he almost married Aunt May.
It was this whole thing. Best not to dwell on it, like we don’t dwell on the fact that Doc Ock died once already during the Clone Saga. And got replaced by a more horrible female replacement. But we’re getting off track.
So I guess we’ll be watching this series as it comes to a close over the course of the rest of the month. Convenient they managed to end it just in time for 2013. Too bad it means we have yet another series prevented from reaching one thousand issues. Stop doing this comics industry, it’s annoying how close we’ve gotten.
Do you think such long-running series should have been published to #1000? Did you know there was like seven people carrying the mantle of Captain Marvel? What was your reaction to learning the Avengers will actually intervene in mutant affairs? Has the Punisher done a dumb by not just hiding, or are his continued acts against the third world scum of the Earth justification for such unsubtle behavior? Leave a comment below. Feedback is always appreciated.
There were two more books I got this week, but I’ve decided to alter the way I talk about certain titles. Specifically, I’ve decided to devote a whole new column to anthology series, starting in a few days with Yoe Comics’ HAUNTED HORROR #2.