Dr Mamoulis Vamvounis writes for Bleeding Cool
In which I bitch and moan about comics on a weekly basis, in broken english and syntax. Hey, it's all in good fun, right?
X-MEN SCHISM #5 (of 5)
I love Jason Aaron. I do, he's the best new writer to come out of Vertigo in the past 3-4 years, he has a natural knack for writing kick-ass Wolverine stories, he has the best comic book industry beard since Alan Moore Himself, he rules my world, but this series… UGH!
A giant-terrifying-fuck-I-pissed-my-pants Sentinel is heading towards Utopia, 99% of the grown-up X-Men has been incapacitated elsewhere, it's now up to Cyclops and Wolverine and all the teenage mutants from New X-Men and Generation Hope. Cyclops wants the kids to fight, Wolverine wants everyone to evac the island and then blow it up with dynamite. Because of ONE lousy sentinel… that they later proceed to destroy within 3-4 pages and no casualties or injuries. Really, Logan? REALLY now!
The Sentinel keeps inching closer and closer, so of course Cyclops and Wolverine start fighting EACH OTHER! The Sentinel reaches the island and blasts them, but they KEEP FIGHTING EACH OTHER and ignoring it! The Sentinel takes on its :O WTF face and sits awkwardly in the island shore waiting for them to finish each other off. Then the students show up, Wolvie realizes his plan was a bit on the sucky side, there's a brief fight, Sentinel goes kaput, Wolvie leaves with a handful of students and sets up school in the ruins of the old Westchester mansion. "Not the End".
The mini was quite well-written, there were beautiful little character moments, especially during the museum sequence, the action choreography is the best we've seen in Marvel Comics in the past few years, the new Hellfire Club kids were a delight to read, but the overall plot of it felt so forced. Like Marvel shoehorning these characters into this A to B line they wanted them to walk on, making them zig when you know it in your gut all they really wanna do is zag. Marrvel wanted YET ANOTHER monthly X-Men core team title, if it had Wolverine in it, even in the title of the book, even better, this plot felt like a rush-job to get the characters to where they wanted them to be with minimum fuss.
p.s. Adam Kubert? Dude, you're not even trying anymore. Where's that lush and detailed Astonishing Wolverine & Spider-man artwork I was drooling over last year?
THE STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE #1
Flimsy little geek gains super-strength and super-attitude through a comic book coupon mail-order exercise guide, Flex Mentallo /Atlas style. He then proceeds to give us truly poetic over-the-top splatter plateaus like this one:
Why yes, kiddo, he did just rip off that guys arm and shove it down that other guy's throat, ripping it wide open. Every bit of it beautifully stylized and drenched in blood, like an entrail-soaked fun fun FUN ride on the carousel of perversion. It's like someone looked at KICK-ASS (an already violently fun comic take on the classic coming of age story of geek empowerment) and thought: FUCK, that shit was nothing, look at what WE can do. 8/10
ACTION COMICS #2
Lex Luthor has the young inexperienced Superman chained up in the familiar underground evil government science laboratory and is having the time of his life fiddling with him, like a serial killer kid on his first frog dissection lab.
And… that's pretty much it. Torture porn at its most pure and enjoyable form, intelligent and unsettling. Morrison unleashes his inner science geek, he clearly IS Lex Luthor here, making crazy violent sadistic love to this new strange being in his possession, trying to discover its secrets and limits and virtues, marveling at and fearing the limits to which the rules of physics of his known world are being stretched to. And when Superman does manage to #spoilers #as_if escape, the ensuing mayhem is so much more rewarding. 9/10
p.s. The actual shocker of the month is actual in the issue's rich back-matter with the creators'' commentary, in which we find out that Grant Morrison is a Lady Gaga fan! Also, Lois Lane is now the smartest girl on the planet. We should totally hook her up with Mr Terrific.
ANIMAL MAN #2
You're a semi-retired superhero enjoying your family time in the suburbs until one night your 6-year old daughter shows up with a dozen or so dead skeletal pets she has brought back to life and home, and she points out the road to the "Red", the network collecting all animal forms in the universe, on the tree tattoo map you have just bled out all over your chest. Nightmarishly good. 9/10
GREEN ARROW #2
No, that mess of a 1st issue was NOT enough to get me to never pick this title up again. I'm sort of strangely enamoured by its pure suckiness, I want to see how low they can go.
And oh boy, can they!
This week, we get to meet the two newest awesome villains in Green Arrow's rogues gallery, the twin sister villains dressed in lime green with awesome light powers. Lime and Light. I wish I was making this up:
Green Arrow, being the crime-fighting genius that we know him to be post-reboot, soon realizes their secret womanly weak spot.
Yup. An arrow straight up the va-jay-jay. It's only a small taste of the general New Age Misogynism of the new Ollie.
What a man!
Exactly. -2/10 (yes, minus)
(hey, it didn't even have the added camp but redeeming insanity of something like the Hacker-Arrow from the first issue)
RED LANTERNS #2
On an alien planet under hostile rule a pilot of the invading forces accidentally (?) kills two unarmed kids leaving behind a small orphan alien girl whose Rage lights like a, well, lantern across space for the Rageful Space Punisher Atrocitus, the Red Lantern of Rage who shows up on the scene of the massacre to shed some blood. Of Rage.
Yeah, it sounds a bit dorky, but damn if Milligan doesn't pull it through here. Through Atrocitus' (ok perhaps intentionally pompous) inner monologue/narration, he poses questions about the nature of Rage, the right of the punisher, the circle of violence, the gray (or in this case, blood-soaked) moral areas…
A quite well-written self-contained story whch wraps up in the allocated 20 pages without needing any particular prior knowledge of the characters and settings. Damn, it's a better first issue than the actual first issue of the series last month!
In other news, Ed Benes is still more or less a poor and T&A-obsessed choice for an artist on this title. He still gets small moments where his talent shines through (heck, we last saw it all the way back in Gail Simone's Birds of Prey, it's been a while), but he mostly misses the point of the book, offering standard Top Cow fare for a story that should be steeped in shadows, blood and chaos. Still: 8/10
JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #2
Godiva, girl, we GET it, you're slutty and available and REALLY bad at this subtle/sexy innuendo thing. Please, please, please give it a rest?
SHEESH, WOMAN! Keep it in your pants!
All the fun and silly stereotypes that we thought were simply introduced last issue to facilitate the introduction of the new team make their return here, on an endless mindless loop that does not add anything to the plot or the characters. What a pity, I was looking forward to where this book was going, but it's already swamped on its second month. 5/10
DETECTIVE COMICS #2
Holy Bat-Whores on crutches, Batman. Can YOU keep it in your pants for a week, dude?
… and to think she was all hard-to-get at first (for all of one panel before she puts out). Pfeh.
To balance things out, the issue also contained the reboot's most unintentionally (?) gay scene, in which Bruce Wayne's rival strips down and joins him for some "hiking" action during their business meeting.
Pants! In. KEEP! IT!
Let's run through the past 5 weeks in Batman's love life, shall we?
Is it really any wonder then that you're a 30-something single dad raising two underage kids, only one of which is yours? But people still call Starfire a slut.
It all actually takes me back to last week, and Batman: The Dark Knight #1.
Can I get an Amen in here? 5/10
Duuuuuude. SHUT UP ALREADY! Needless speech-diarrhea for a second consecutive month, some puzzling carry-over plots involving Static's sister (carried over from WHERE?), some generic Power Ranger villains, and lots lots LOTS LOTS of shockingly dull and inane inner monologue that just turns to, well, static after a while. Fitting. 0/10
This book is STILL good? Talk about reverse disappointment. Before the reboot I was thinking of this as the book I was least likely to enjoy, but as it turns out it's the one I'm now most looking forward to on the first week of releases. Mindless self-indulgent ass-kickery, merciless kapow-kabloo-ery, old-school superhero camp fun, dynamic storytelling, a modern-day tribute to Jack Kirby, garnished with modern humour and pop culture references withought going over the top and keeping to the whole disposable entertainment feel of the book.
At the end of the day, who WOULDN'T want to get kidnapped from their office toilets by an all-powerful intelligent space robot satellite, get transformed into a science fiction monster with a glowing blue energy mohawk and then get a free spanking new alien iPad 3 with on-board Siri software, free of purchase? 7/10
10 Fun Facts about Dr Manolis Vamvounis:
-Yes, he's a real doctor. Of science.
-He's all Greek. and TALL.
-He's 30, single and very available.
-He has been reading comics for more than 25 years.
-He has been writing about comics for just over 10 years.
-He used to write Lady Mastermind fanfic and has actually won cash-prizes for it
-He really loves it when you call him names.
-He would also really love some more twitter followers (@theComicsGreek wink wink)
-He has seen Scott Lobdell in his underwear.
-It wasn't pretty.