Comings, goings, continuings, and chicks

Welcome one and all to an ending. Two endings, in fact. If I’m going to be completely accurate, two endings, a beginning, and several continuations. This week marks the end of two books; the Before Watchmen mini-series Minutemen, and the young adult book not quite allowed to reach its peak, Blue Beetle. Meanwhile, flip the coin to the Marvel side, and the Young Avengers are back! With…well, you’ll see. 

Let’s start with Minutemen. Last issue, we saw that Hooded Justice might not be as noble as we’d always presumed. This issue…well, I’m not quite sure how to explain it. It’s certainly a roundabout plot, something that could only really be concocted by someone as cracked in the head as the Comedian. The man who had been kidnapping and killing children? Not Hooded Justice, but a circus strongman. Possibly the same strongman who had tormented HJ in his youth, if a picture found by the Comedian after he murdered him is any indication. I’m not a fan of the Comedian. Never have been, probably won’t ever be. At best, he is a murderer and a maniac, a sociopath on Uncle Sam’s payroll. At worst, he’s a scum of a man. A rapist. The type of person children tell scary stories about. Masquerading himself as a hero, wearing the colors of the nation he calls his home, lying in his very name. And that’s what this book came down to, in the end. A lie to keep truths from being printed. A massive, all-encompassing lie that ended the life of a possibly innocent man. And guilt, a lifetime of guilt for a man the world knew as a true hero. Did the ending of Minutemen disappoint me? No. Yes. Sort of. The legacy of this world’s first masked heroes was many things, but it was never happy, or glamorous. Of their team, one died of a stupid mistake. One was murdered because she dared to love. One, supposedly, killed himself. One was murdered because of who he was. One was murdered in revenge. One ended up in an asylum, wasting away in an addled haze. One lived a near-perfect life, until it became clear that her nature was going to have her end up completely alone. And finally, one was murdered by people he once fought beside. No matter how pretty or poppy or gritty or psychedelic the art is in all of the Before Watchmen books is, the stories will all end the same. With tragedy. Because Watchmen is not, nor was it ever meant to be a happy story. The villain wins, people die, and they thank him for it. Because that’s what it is. That’s Watchmen.

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s having feelings about guys named Blue Beetle. I’m gonna be honest with you, folks, for a while? I hated the new Blue Beetle comic. In the wake of Ted’s death pre-reboot, it took me a long time to come to grips with Jaime having the scarab, but once I did? I loved the kid. He was, and still is, one of my favorite teen heroes. He filled a hole in the DC universe that I didn’t know we had. He was the everyman. He kept no secrets from those he was closest to, and his great power trip was being a dentist, so that he could make sure that his parents and sister would have good lives free of debt. That was the Jaime Reyes I got to know, and love. The New 52 version of Jaime was…not that person. His series was initially disappointing, falling back on strange plot twists and odd guest stars. Tony Bedard was attempting to imitate Keith Giffen and by god, the man was no Keith Giffen. Still, as the series progressed, a strange thing happened. Bedard found his voice as Jaime and slowly, I began to care again. And now here we are, on the brink of a new series written by the man who gave us Jaime in the first place. The final issue of the Blue Beetle series was fairly eventful, but that wasn’t the point. The point was the message Jaime sent to his parents, and sister, and friends. Pretty much any comic fan would be willing to pick up Threshold. It’s full of aliens and space adventures and characters we thought we left in the old DCU for good. But the message Jaime sent out, coupled with the fact that The Hunted is, as Jaime said, an alien’s Battle Royale, was meant to hook us, the Jaime fans. We love this kid. We’ll follow him anywhere. Now, I didn’t actually get to pick up Threshold when it came out last week, as it wasn’t at either of my local comic shops. But as soon as it’s available, you can bet your ass I’ll be getting it.

I’m not sure what’s going on in Supergirl anymore. Unlike with Death of the Family, where I don’t actually have to buy all the books to know what’s going on, all of the H’El on Earth books interconnect to tell one ongoing story. I kind of hate that, because until the story ends, Supergirl is just another Super-book to me. 

The cover of this month’s Wonder Woman made my skin crawl. I live in South Florida, and we’ve got fruit trees in our backyard. One time when I was younger, I fell asleep in a lawn chair near our mango tree, and I woke up covered in little fruit flies. And that’s why Diana’s other brother, Milan, is officially the creepiest member of her family that we’ve met so far, to me. However, he’s also the one who has proved himself the most useful. Hermes is hiding Zola’s baby with Demeter, and the child is said to be the beginning of the end of the universe. Meanwhile, Zola and Hera have a drink with Ares. I’ve said before that the way the various gods are presented is one of my favorite things about the Wonder Woman book, and that hasn’t changed. Strife is back! And she brought Dionysus! Sigh, and here I thought I couldn’t love this book any more. It’s no secret that my favorite reboot goddess is Strife. I mean, that design! That sarcasm! We last saw her months ago, on Olympus. In the words of…someone, most likely, what brings a lady like that to a bar like this?

I need a moment. I just need a moment to sit back and process everything that happened in Batwoman this month. First off, we’re finally given the skinny on Medusa. The threat we’re looking at is no story, or fake. This is the real damn Medusa, daughter of the goddess Ceto, who she’s bringing back in a big way. A big, destructive way. The art and the layouts go together beautifully, as usual, but it’s something more. I really feel like we’re seeing J.H. Williams’ full range, finally. We know he’s fantastic at drawing beautiful women and majestic backgrounds, but holy shit are his monsters and destruction scenes incredible. Like I say every month, if you’re not reading Batwoman, there is clearly something off about your choices. It’s easily one of the best books out right now.

The last time the Young Avengers had an ongoing series, that wasn’t a mini connected to a crossover event, I was in high school. Let that sink in a moment. It has been almost a decade, eight years, since the first Young Avengers series wrapped at a grand total of twelve issues and one special. Since then, they’ve crossed over with the Runaways, twice, had their name stolen from them by Norman Osborn’s Young Avengers, gone on a series of little adventures, fought alongside the actual Avengers to protect the world from Asgardians, and had a bit of a ‘disassembling’ of their own, which ended with the deaths of Stature and Vision. Patriot has quit, Iron Lad has gone full evil, and lord only knows where Speed is. Kate Bishop is running around with Clint Barton, and Billy and Teddy quit the heroing thing. So, who are our new Young Avengers?

Kid Loki, Marvel Boy, Kate, someone named Miss America Chavez, and reluctantly, Billy and Teddy. Okay, I can work with that.

Kid Loki is just coming off a very, very emotionally-charged run on Journey Into Mystery that I need to read, though a friend on Tumblr insists that doing so will destroy me emotionally. Noh-Varr, also known as Marvel Boy, is a Kree warrior who actually already had some contact with the Young Avengers, back during their Civil War crossover with the Runaways. He was an Avenger, briefly, and apparently likes rock from the 60s. You go, Noh-Varr. Miss America Chavez is…new? Okay, according to Wikipedia, she appeared in the limited series Vengeance, which I literally have never heard of until now. Her character design is excellent, though. Okay! To the actual issue. I’m going to do a full play by play of this, because I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book since it was announced. That’s a nicer way of saying MASSIVE SPOILER WARNINGS FOR YOUNG AVENGERS #1

The issue starts off with shipping, a half-naked, disgustingly hot alien, and a Skrull attack. I’m in love. I mean, the simple fact that on the credit page, they note what Noh-Varr was listening to (and wow, what excellent taste in girl groups he has. The Ronettes? You go, Kree) has me over the moon. So I’m easy to please, want to fight about it? Ughhhhhhhhhhh Billy and Teddy just gave me cavities. This is Kieron Gillen’s writing? This is what I’ve been missing from my life? Hell to the yes. Not particularly fond of their new designs, mainly because I’ve been utterly spoiled by the likes of Jim Cheung and the amazing YA fanartist CrisArt, but Jamie McKelvie has been doing a good job otherwise. I think it’s just Billy’s hair that irks me. I mean, wow. Gurl look at that hair part. Gonna be honest, this is the first time I’ve read anything with Kid Loki and Miss America Chavez in it, and I’m not sure if I like them. Never been a huge Loki fan in the first place (sorry Hiddlestoners!), and a kid version feels kind of…weird. Still, I assume I’ll change my mind once I get my mitts on his JiM run, right? God, someone needs to tell me all the issues I’d need for Kid Loki’s JiM run, because I need to know if i’m supposed to hate him or not. Because so far, I just. I love Noh-Varr a lot because I’ve loved Noh-Varr a lot since the Young Avengers/Runaways Civil War crossover, but I didn’t think I could love him as much as I do right now, dancing to the Ronettes. And I love Kate, because Kate is badass and so smart and so confident. Pilot an escape pod? No prob, I’ve never done it, but I can totally do it. And Billy and Teddy are just so. They’re just so. They’re perfect. I mean, they’re not perfect, no one is. But their chemistry and dynamics are just so wonderful, and they’re being written so well. Because that’s something that wasn’t really brought up at the end of Children’s Crusade. Teddy was just kind of, okay enough. And Billy was like, okay, and then they became Avengers. But now they’ve quit again? Also, weren’t they somewhat engaged? Or did I misread that? Back to the comic. Oh dear, Billy literally caused a disturbance in the Force that Kid Loki could feel. Hm hm, posturing, fight scene, ya ta ta…hello! Okay, wasn’t expecting that! So, Billy used his powers to go surfing the multiverse and pulled a successful Booster Gold; pulling Teddy’s mom out of an alternate universe just before she was killed. Except…he seemed to have pulled a very different version of her, a version that can apparently touch someone with her melty fingers and pull a Plasmus on them. Gross. Also, a moment of silence for Billy’s adoptive parents, because this is a Marvel comic and no one is allowed to have parents. 

My verdict? I liked it. Teddy’s mom is being set up as their first villain, I have a feeling that Kid Loki is set to be the main villain, and I really want to know how Kate Bishop ended up hooking up with Noh-Varr. That seems like it would be an interesting story.

It’s almost 4 in the morning, I’m completely brain dead, and my right eye keeps falling shut. Next week we’ll be covering the Flash, Batman Inc and uh…I’ll find something else. Maybe. Hopefully. Stay gold, kids.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    xmenxpert said,

    I cannot stop gushing about Young Avengers 1. I never read the previous Young Avengers comics, except for the Dark Reign tie-in mini and Children’s Crusade. So I came to this purely for Gillen and Kid Loki. Because I read Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery, and it was one of the best things I have ever read. I agree with your friend that you will be an emotional wreck, but only because it’s written so incredibly well, and Kid Loki is so easy to love in it. The run (#622-645) had one of the most gorgeous stories I’ve ever read (#630, which made me cry) and one of the most flat-out adorable (#632, which made me laugh). It’s absolutely worth reading, even if half the run is tie-ins to other stuff. (It starts with an 8-issue Fear Itself tie-in, has 2 issues that cross over with Abnett and Lanning’s New Mutants, and then has another 4 issues that crossover with Fraction’s The Mighty Thor.)

    I read the Vengeance mini, so I was familiar with Miss America. In fact, I was excited that Gillen was going to be writing her, because she’s such a cool character. Full of attitude and badassedness.

    The scene between Teddy and Billy was fantastic. It treated the characters and their relationship with respect, presenting them not as a gay couple, but as two young people in love, and the fact that they’re both men is irrelevant.

    And the art! McKelvie’s pair of double-page spreads are awesome, especially that first spread with the Skrull attack, which is one of the coolest layouts I’ve ever seen.

    This is already one of my favourite books.

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