Two comics, two crossovers, one week. Wonder Woman is a pricktease, Avengers is a real surprise. Let's find out why.
We have been told in previous Flashpoint issues and crossovers that Wonder Woman and her fellow Amazons have taken control of the United Kingdom and wither killed all the men, possibly by removing their testicles, or put everyone into concentration camps. The cover shows Wonder Woman in armour, swird unsheashed while behind her, the London Eye and the Houses Of Parliaments have been knocked down and smashed together while a horde of Amazonians march.
And none of that happens in the comic.
Instead, in Wonder Woman And The Furies #1 we see the germ of what may have caused some of the larger changes in Flashpoint. An early meeting between a young Diana and a young Arthur as two secret kingdoms politically negotiate with each other, and the wider world as a whole, A political marriage is arranged. But there is a betrayal, highly signposted and terribly predictable. And the comic leaves on a cliffhanger, still many years away from the scenes we've been teased with.
I wanted to see what evils Abnett and Lanning would set upon their fellow countrymen, and I do mean "men" and was all hyped to get into it. Instead I get a melodramatic political story that's feels like something between I Claudius and Spartacus: Blood On The Sand. Which is all right I suppose and Nei Ruffino's colours do an excellent job of lifting and texturing the worlds within, even as penciller Scott Clark drops in a few too many CGI clip art pieces, and clearly ludicrous necks on pretty much everyone.
But I'm being teased. "Come back next month and maybe, just maybe we'll show you something of your destroyed home nation like we promised on the cover."
Grrr. Know what you're getting going in and this may be more enjoyable.
Whereas with Avengers #14, I was not expecting much. A Worthified Ben Grimm fighting Red Hulk. Really, what is there to say?
Bendis has created a great juxtaposition here, kicking off with ten panel page talking heads, as part of the oral interviews that have made up the book for the past few months, as the Avengers react to the Red Hulk's existence. And then in the midst of the talking heads, literally, we get big John Romita Jr action. Very few artists can get the impression of weight, power and impact like JrJr, something often so important in a superhero book, especially a big bruiser fight scene like this. It's the reason he was so good on Kick Ass, he really showed the impact of blows landing on what was basically a small boy with screwy nerve endings and a metal plate or two. Here, it's the impact of The Thing on The Hulk and you feel it as the Hulk's face is stretched, pushed, and pummelled by this all powerful opponent. And the voices from the Avengers peanut gallery fade away as the fight is carried out.
It doesn't come close to Miracleman #15, but then few things will. However, in its class, for its age range, as far as knock down superhero fights go, this isn't bad.
And an unexpected ending to it as well. A change to the very landscape of the Marvel Universe. And potentially another death added to the Fear Itself morgue.
Like I said, I wasn't expecting much. And I got a lot more. Maybe now I've raised your expectations, you won't get as much, But I doubt it.
Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics in London. Klaus Janson will be signing there at 5pm on the 16th June.