This is quite a bountiful week for good Marvel and DC comics. I haven't had a chance to devour everything I bought yesterday, but here are some of my thoughts so far, along with some rhetorical questions:
Super-Villain Team-Up: Modok's 11 #1 is an excellent way to begin a mini-series. Multiple characters are established effectively and and the heist plot is firmly in place by the end of the issue. Plus, it not only has freakin' Modok, but it features Armadillo, Puma, Living Laser, Rocket Racer, and Mentallo (among many others). And it's written by Action Philosophers own Fred Van Lente. Question: Will Van Lente be able to overcome the kitsch factor of this concept to produce something mind-blowingly transcendent?
Brave and the Bold #5 was the first thing I read off the stack this week, and that's because it features the first interaction between the "Threeboot" Legion of Super-Heroes and the DC Universe proper. As Michael points out over at the Legion Omnicom, the Batman-related continuity doesn't make a bit of sense, but I say it's a great issue anyway because we finally get to see this incarnation of the Legion loosen up a bit and get involved in some old-school superheroic action. It's about time. In their own series, they've been shouldering the weight of the universe since issue #1, so it's nice to see them involved in some silly time-travel-hero-vs.-hero-battle goodness. Question: Why didn't Mark Waid approach the Legion this playfully when he wrote their own title?
Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil #4 featured the shocking revelation of Mr. Mind's true appearance (now with a Britney Spears headset instead of an AM radio voice box) and a scene where a giant Captain Marvel punches bad stuff in the midst of a garden of skyscrapers. Now that it's complete, I'm curious to see what my wife thinks about the story. She's a big Jeff Smith fan, but hasn't wanted to read this yet because she can't stand waiting to find out how it's going to end. But I'm wondering if she'll like this or not. I'm wondering if it works well within the confines of the comic book readership who appreciates the context of a return-to-lighthearted-wonder, but if it perhaps doesn't matter to anyone else. We'll see. Question: Since this series has been selling the same number of copies per month as the Winick series, and it costs twice as much per issue, and it presumably will have a much longer shelf life in hardcover or trade form, can we all just erase the Winick series from our memories now, or do we have to wait another year?
The Order #1 is the best thing I've read so far this week, and I really liked all three comics I listed above. Fraction knows how to balance character and action, and he provides a few twists in the mix as well. A substantial amount of content for a Marvel comic circa 2007 and it starts the series with style. Just as Waid seemed to loosen up when he stepped away from the Legion, Barry Kitson has exploded with energy and dynamism on this series now that he's done with the Legion as well. "The Champions" would have been a MUCH more appropriate title for this book, but we're stuck with "The Order" because of legal reasons and I won't hold that against the series. It's a great start and another winner for Matt Fraction. Question: How long before Fraction replaces Bendis as Marvel's go-to guy?
Countdown #41 is yet another issue of Countdown. What more can I say? Unlike many of you, I haven't given up on this series yet, but this issue was literally a series of very brief "check ins" with each of the main plot threads, and each check in just provided a bit of exposition. "Yup, we're looking for Ray Palmer." "Yup, Mary Marvel doesn't know how to cope with her new powers." "Yup, Amazons are attacking." The Calero artwork is quite nice in this issue at least. Question: When will Paul Dini and company begin to realize that it's not effective to juggle a dozen plot threads and highlight each of them in every issue?
And that's just the metaphorical tip of the metaphorical iceberg this week. As jaded as I can be, I'm still looking forward to reading things like All-Flash #1, Justice League of America #11, Captain America #28, The Spirit #8, Catwoman #69, Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #1, Ultimate Spider-Man #111, Checkmate #16, Army@Love #5, The Programme #1, Godland #19, and Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #4 to name a few (but not all) of the comics still left in the pile o' goodness.
Question: Which will be the best of that bunch?
Question: Have "mainstream" comics ever been consistently better than they are now?
Question: Is everyone else as sick of looking at that Michael Turner Planet Hulk cover as I am?