The Weekly Pull – 12/19/12 (Part 2)

Captain_Marvel_Vol_7_8 Daredevil_21 Scarlet-Spider_12p1 HAR_007_CVR

Well, the much predicted End of the World day came and went, as I knew it would. And unless I missed something, said world hasn’t ended yet. So back then to business. Previously in part one, we looked at the books from DC and IDW. Here in part two, we examine the offerings from Marvel and Valiant; including CAPTAIN MARVEL #8, DAREDEVIL #21, SCARLET SPIDER #12.1, and HARBINGER #7.

Bit of a correction from a previous comment I made, now that we’re talking about CAPTAIN MARVEL #8. I either said or suggested that the time giant robot currently attacking Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau was made of a SHIELD helicarrier. I was mistaken. It’s just made of a million crashed planes and boats dredged from the sea bottom, and powered by a series of smaller killer robots.

Get all that? Good, because I’m not explaining it again.

Not much to explain here. Superheroics at their best. Monica Rambeau, former Captain Marvel, gets plenty of attention as she has to get over her crippling fear of water. And then the two Captains perform the fusion dance. It’s weird, but pretty cool. Like I said, classic superhero action. Nothing wrong with that.

Next is DAREDEVIL #21, and the conclusion of the Coyote saga. The Man Without Fear managed to disable the wormhole-creating villain Coyote, but neither are in any condition to walk out when Coyote’s freed and delirious captives set upon the two. Making matters worse, The Spot gets loose, and he’s also angry.

Yeah, what took a while to get out was that Coyote and The Spot are two different people with the same power set. Quite a bait and switch, yes? And while The Spot may not be as imaginative as the new guy, he can do plenty of damage if he’s pissed off. And guess who spent the last untold length of time hooked into a huge portal machine against their will?

What we learn is how Coyote came to his powers, though apparently he wasn’t even the man in charge of the plot. Who gave him his powers and why will have to wait, though. Meanwhile, remember how Assistant DA Kirsten McDuffie learned from Foggy Nelson how apparently mad Matt Murdock has become? Regardless of what happens, she still thinks this. And it’s going to have some terrible consequences soon. But that’s something for next time.

It involves an itsy bitsy spider.

Speaking of spiders, SCARLET SPIDER #12.1 is yet another Point One issue squished in to round out 2012. What’s our favorite surly Spider-clone getting into this time? Tracking down murderous human traffickers in Houston and dispensing justice.

So usual day for the Scarlet Spider. It’s odd, Aracely – the last woman Kaine helped during a take-down of human trafficking – only gets like two panels in this issue. And she’s asleep during both.

Doesn’t matter, this is most certainly a Kaine-centric issue. Granted they’re almost always centered on Kaine, but in particular it explores his guilt over having been a bastard back in the day, and how he wants to protect people from such people in the future. That’s the thing about anti-hero stories that so many writers – especially ironically during the early nineties – just don’t get. It’s okay to have a main character with a bad attitude and gloomy disposition, so long as his/her character arc sees them growing out of it. Depression and angst are not good things to wallow in, and and too many anti-heroes never change to any significant degree.

Oh, and this issue involves the Kingpin for some reason to be touched upon in later issues. Whatever.

Finally we have HARBINGER #7, with Peter Stanchek et al beginning their new strategy against the Harbinger Foundation: activating and recruiting latent psychics for a growing counter-army. First on their list of prospective new blood is Charlene, a hot little stripper in New Orleans with plenty of regrets and a fascination with fire.

What power does she have? Clairvoyance. Except of course not, what do you think it is?

For those wishing to avoid sexual elements, this might not be the best issue. Nothing explicit obviously, but the principle character in question IS a stripper. Just thought you’d like to know.

I want to talk about protagonist/antagonist dichotomy for a second. While the Harbinger Foundation has plenty of things going on about it to make it worth opposing, they aren’t entirely bad. Toyo Harada, for all the subtle undercurrent of wrongness about him, wants nothing more than to better mankind and lead it to a prosperous future. It’s just life doesn’t always work out that way, and the road to hell is paved in good intentions.

Peter’s group, by contrast, is filled with both well-meaning and sinister elements. Peter himself doesn’t know what he’s doing half the time, Kris is jaded and has an anti-authority streak that makes her inclusion in this business partially an attempt to rebel. Faith is easily the most “good” of the group, and she’s incredibly naïve; the thought that they might not be in the right never crosses her mind. And now we have Charlene, alias “Flamingo”, who seems like a partially mentally unbalanced danger to herself and everyone around her. It’s all a subtle touch of dread, like something is bound to happen that isn’t good and will spell doom for many. And these are our protagonists.

So of course I have to keep reading. It’s like a spectacular train wreck waiting to happen. These guys drew the Tower in the worst way. And it’s so interesting.

Is using the Tarot deck as a metaphor for plot developments useful or comprehensible? Do you dig giant robots? Should Coyote become a regular villain in the Marvel universe? Are Point One issues as pointless as I think they are? Leave your comments below. Feedback is always appreciated.

While there things I wish I could get out in the next coming days – a retrospective and a First Impressions – I’ll be visiting relatives for Christmas. So I hope you enjoy yours (or whatever you celebrate), and I’ll hopefully be back for one last pull at the end of the year.

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