FEAR ITSELF #2. So we’re two issues in to Marvel’s latest event, and in this issue we see Odin imprison Thor (again). It’s a little hard to follow why Thor and Odin keep clashing, and honestly this latest one seems manufactured to match up with where Thor is at in his maturity in the movie—rather than to account for all the wisdom he really ought to have by now in the comic, from his commuppance long ago at the hands of Beta Ray Bill to the recent fall of Asgard and his voluntarily relinquishing the throne. Plus, there was a lot of set-up in this issue (setting up each villain, presumably so that they can go spin-off into other series). I was okay with this kind of exposition before, in the “prelude” and in issue #1, but it’s time to move the story forward. It’s starting to look more like a money grab—much like Shadowland—than a real event with something to say. Plus the story itself—global threat, heroes must go fight high-powered baddies-feels very “been there, done that.” There’s no mystery (like in Secret Invasion) or promise of major, important change (like House of M, Civil War).
If they don’t get rocking on this one soon, I’ll consider my lesson learned and never buy an event title again—at least not in loose issue form (I’ll wait for trades). I even bought the first issue of the Spider-Man spin off mini, because the creative team looked promising. Don’t let me down, Marvel. Not so soon after killing my wallet and faith with Shadowland.
BATMAN INC. #5. This is the first Grant Morrison story in Batman Inc.—and the first Morrison bat tale in years—that I’ve had a little trouble following, due in part to references to the Bat-past that I am not very familiar with. Nevertheless, it all made sense by the last page and continued my development from a Morrison hater to a Morrison fan. Yanick Paquette’s art won’t be for everyone—it feels very static and heavy—but I find that its uniqueness, its foreign flavor, adds to the “international” feel of this title. It’s also nice to see Morrison using Batwoman, who in my view is one of the best things to happen to the Bat-Universe in the past 10 years. It’s getting clearer (or cloudier) that all the “building a Bat-army” is actually leading to something. But I have no idea what. This title is a great ride—as great as Morrison’s New X-Men run.
NEW X-MEN BY GRANT MORRISON VOL. 1. Speaking of New X-Men, Marvel is reissuing the reprints of Morrison’s run, and volume one is brilliant. I confess, I’d never taken the time to get through this series before now, and I’m very happy I waited. Because reading it in a big chunk like this is great. Plus, so much meat! We meet the new insect-winged Angel (who is in the X-Men First Class movie) and Fantomex (now in X-Force); Magneto and 15,999,999 other mutants die; Professor X’s long lost sister comes back to literally haunt him; Emma Frost gets her diamond ability and begins seducing Scott; and we see the beginning of Phoenix bubbles. Truly amazing, must-read superhero stuff.
VENOM #2. So Kraven is in the savage land, and he’s huntin’ symbiotes. The art was great and story is good, but I can’t help feeling like there isn’t much to go with here. I feel like the pace is a little bit too slow in terms of the development of Flash Thompson as a character. I’m hoping we see a more personal issue soon, one that lets us into how Flash really feels about changing from being dependent on a wheelchair to being dependent on a psychotic alien being, and what the mental relationship is between him and his parasite. Lots and lots of action, though, and Moore’s art is just incredible. Can’t say enough about it.