Day two of the Great Kapgar Sickness of 2011 is well underway and I think I've finally found a way to pass the time. Well, aside from washing dishes, doing a bit more work remotely, and doing laundry...
Seriously, if I'm going to be sick and stay home like a kid would from school, why not spend my time the way I used to as a sick kid and read comic books!
This seriously has "EPIC WIN" written all over it!
Mind you, I'm not a big comics guy anymore. I go in phases. I had a year or two in high school when I was a comic junkie and frequented my local Graham Crackers Comics as well as another comic shop that has since gone under. And I was also into comics for the first couple years of grad school because one of the RAs who worked for me was addicted.
The thing I've discovered, though, is that my new office mate is a comic nut and discussing older ones has become a bit of a shared language. He's told me about a few newer ones as well and it's rekindled my interest a little bit. Considering the price of comics, I can't say it has been fully rekindled, though.
This morning, I'm focusing on a handful of titles like Marvel Comics' Ultimate Comics: All-New Spider-Man #1, Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #1, The Incredible Hulk #1, and Fear Itself: The Black Widow #1 as well as DC Comics' The New 52: All Star Western #1 and 2. Yes, a lot of #1s in there. No point in starting a story arc in the middle, right?
My reviews are below, if you're interested. If you don't want to read comic book reviews, I do have a TUA down below, as well.
Oh, and while I don't think I'm really revealing all that much in terms of plot, I will post a...
...just so you can't curse me later for not doing so.
Ultimate Comics: All-New Spider-Man #1
It would seem that Peter Parker, the Spider-Man we all know and love, is dead. Yep, the beloved wall crawler was killed off. But Osborne Industries, the place where the research being done that transformed young Parker into Spider-Man, is still up and running and they know that it was something they did that created him. And they want to bring that, er, "magic" back at any cost. One of their irradiated spiders gets out when a cat burglar breaks into OI. That spider has just now bitten Miles Morales, a young half-black, half-Latino boy at a crossroads in his life.
Assessment: Not great, but not terrible. It could be interesting to see how Miles fills the role of Spider-Man. But the most compelling thing in the issue for me was the acerbic relationship between Miles' father and uncle and I somehow doubt we'll see that play out. I may give this one or two more issues to flesh out the story a bit. Maybe a nice, middle-of-the-road three out of five stars.
Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #1
From what I can grasp, The Ultimates are just a multinational, in-the-near-future iteration of The Avengers. We have Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Thor, etc. They're even led by now-General Nick Fury and also have forces in other nations including Captain Britain and whatever his team is called. Maybe this has been in place for some time, but I've never heard of it. Anywho, The Ultimates watch over the world as a whole and have their own sort of Defcon rating/terrorism alert level for regions that General Fury uses to send out superhero forces on an as-needed basis. Well, this is a sorta busy day for Nick as flare ups are happening around the globe and, just as his teams start to investigate, communication gets cut off leaving Ultimates HQ in quite a tizzy.
Assessment: Boring. I've always found that stories that involve several superheroes working together as part of a team wind up being very difficult to follow and way too convoluted. Maybe that's why I never really dug comics like The X-Men or Justice League or the like. Plus I've never really much cared for comic stories set in the future where you get big bug-suited military forces and weird technologies that you know won't exist anytime soon. I'm not continuing this series. One-and-a-half of five stars.
Fear Itself: The Black Widow #1
The Avengers have sent Black Widow out in the midst of an all-out world crisis to deal with what might otherwise be viewed as a minor incident. Clearly there is a big lack of trust going on here and Widow herself acknowledges she fouled up some past mission and Steve Rogers (AKA Captain America) doesn't trust her. So now she must take care of a group of terrorists who have holed themselves up in a church full of worshippers. She sneaks around and takes them out one by one in a way that only she can.
Assessment: Also boring. I never knew much about Black Widow growing up. But thought it might be interesting since the character played a pretty big role in Iron Man 2 and will be a featured player in The Avengers movies. Sorry, Scarlett. Just not for me. Two of five stars.
The Incredible Hulk #1
Did you know that Hulk is no longer Dr. Bruce Banner? Yeah, weird, right? They've been separated and Hulk just exists as his own wholly separate character. But, as per forever, Hulk is targetted by military forces on the surface of the Earth. So how does he escape? You might think outer space, but you'd be wrong. He delves down into the inner space of the Earth and lives amongst weird little yellow tribal types with big bulgy eyes that look like a two-eyed version of Cyclops. They praise him as their primary hunter since Hulk defeats all their enemies and brings home the carcasses for meals. And even though the leader of the little yellow guys thinks Hulk is safe from everyone on the surface, Hulk can't relax and enjoy himself. For good reason, too, he gets found. But the team that finds him does not want to destroy him. They need his help defeating Dr. Bruce Banner who has, for lack of a better way to word it, gone off the deep end.
Assessment: Minus the over comic-y nature of the little yellow dudes and the threat of bug-suited military forces and robots, I really dig this story. The promise of a Hulk vs. Banner showdown is just too good to be true! And I really like the artwork. Did I mention that Hulk can now speak in complete sentences and is actually quite intelligent? Sorry, @DRUNKHULK. I'm stoked about this one. Four-and-a-half of five stars.
The New 52: All Star Western #1 and 2
Back in September, DC Comics began the reboot of their 52 major titles. Yup, any stories up to that point were nixed and all began anew. Some people, like my office mate and Dave2, went out and purchased all 52 issues of the rebooted series. Me? While interested, I'm not investing nearly $200 per month in comics. So I waited until I heard some feedback about specific titles and narrowed it down to one... All Star Western starring Jonah Hex. Honestly, I'd never read Jonah Hex before and never really knew about the character until the movie came out a year or so ago with Josh Brolin in the title role. Haven't seen that either. But the New 52 reboot of the title received huge praise from all corners so I gave it a shot. Jonah, a renowned bounty hunter, has been hired off the plains of the wild, wild west of the late 19th Century to catch a serial killer targetting prostitutes in Gotham. Yes, that Gotham. Along the way, he gets to meet and work with several of the forefathers of the city including Dr. Amadeus Arkham, the namesake of Arkham Asylum, and Mayor Cobblepot, a not-to-distant relative of Oswald Cobblepot who would go on to become The Penguin. There are also allusions made to Alan Wayne and others.
Assessment: A cowboy hunting down a serial killer? Win! A story set in the late 1800s with strong resemblances to both the NYC of Scorsese's Gangs of New York and the Victorian London of Jack the Ripper? Win! The promise of seeing how Gotham came to be? BIG HUGE MOTHER HONKIN' WIN! Plus, I like how Dr. Arkham narrates the story with his own psychological assessment of Hex. This is clearly a must-read. Five of five stars, baby!
Well, that's it for reviews and I'm actually out of new comics anyway. But seeing as how we're almost into November, it might not be a bad time to go re-read V for Vendetta.
Remember, remember, the fifth of November!
Are there any other potted plants out there that are recognized as "fall plants" much like the mum is?
Katie and I are great about plants. Despite the cold we've received lately, we've got geraniums outside that are still alive after nearly half a year.
But, for the life of us, we cannot keep mums alive. We bought three pots worth a week or so before we left for San Francisco and they're dead already. This happens every year. Stupid damn mums. I hate the things and would like to stop buying them as we never have luck with them at all. So what can we replace them with? Help!