New Comics Week 9/21/16: In Which I’m Gonna Get Really Spoilery

No really, I’m gonna get really spoilery so if you haven’t read Civil War II #5, International Iron Man #6, or Mighty Thor #11 turn back now.

So there’s a lot going on in the 616 right now. Of course there’s the latest issue of Civil War II: What Can We Do to Make You Care? which finally gives us the big battle splashes from David Marquez but not without a heaping helping of characters making nonsensical decisions so that Carol has some teammates. The big moment is, of course, another Ulysses vision- this time of Miles killing Steve-Cap. This moment plays strangely as we all know that Cap is now a ‘bad guy’ to some extent and it seems like after the whole Hulk thing, the characters (including Team Minority Report) should be a little dubious of how to proceed. Not Carol, of course, as she immediately tries to place Miles under arrest. This could be an interesting turn, Miles has been one of the stronger characters of the last few years and he’s certainly one of the ones that Bendis can still write well. Placing him front and center could be the shot in the arm that this flagging event desperately needs.

Even with CWII:WCWDTMYC trying its darnedest, the bigger waves come from International Iron Man and Mighty Thor. International Iron Man has been pulling on the thread loosed during Kieron Gillen’s run that Tony is adopted. I’ve never cared for the concept as I don’t see how this retcon can really enhance Tony’s character, and now that it’s all out there it really feels pointless. In case you haven’t heard by now Tony’s real parents are a rock star/SHIELD agent and a Hydra double agent posing as SHIELD agent. When his rock star mom finds out the father of her child is Hydra, she kills him and puts the baby up for adoption. What kills me is that divorced from the continuity of Iron Man, it’s not a bad story. Bendis and Maleev are a fantastic team and the story itself is very well told in both art and script. But what’s the point? His adoptive father has long been involved with both the military industrial complex and the greater intelligence community, so it’s not like this was an element absent from his background. I suppose the ‘twist’ is that his birth-father was a Hydra agent, but he wasn’t even a believer just a nihilist taking advantage by playing both sides so there’s no reason for that to affect Tony. Ah well, at least we’ve got the Infamous Iron Man to look forward to.

Mighty Thor also delivers a massive shakeup to the foundations of the character’s mythology with a giant bomb drop as the book wraps up the Roxxon storyline (which has been a ton of fun). It would seem that Mjolnir the hammer is some level of sentient, which supports a fan theory I’ve been seeing for the last couple of months that the hammer itself is Thor (or houses the spirit of Thor) meaning there is no actual Thor, only whoever the hammer considers worthy at that time. It’s a big turn that I hoped wouldn’t come to pass as, if not done carefully, has the potential to be a giant mess for continuity. I’ve been a fan of this book since the beginning and a fan of writer Jason Aaron since I read the first trade of Scalped, so I’m going to try to be positive and believe that this isn’t going to end with the magical message that anyone can be Thor if the hammer wants them to be, but based on Marvel’s track record lately, I wouldn’t be surprised if that came to pass.

DC’s books this week provide an interesting contrast to Marvel’s earth-shattering revelations and shocking twists. Trinity #1, Superman #7, and Green Lanterns #7 are all quiet stories with little to no action that feature the characters having quiet moments at home. Trinity sees Lois inviting Bruce and Diana to the farm for dinner, seeking to close the rift between them and Clark which stems from the fact that he’s not ‘their’ Superman. Though a bit complicated, the idea of pre-52 Lois and Clark existing in the current universe reignites that classic dynamic of Batman both needing Superman and being somewhat distrustful of him. There’s a bit of action teased at the end, but most of the book is spent spending time with the characters and it’s lovely. Superman #7 sees the Kents going to the county fair and it’s just…nice. It’s cute to see Clark sneak off to stop some guys from robbing the ticket booth and it’s fun to see Jon talk the neighbor girl he likes. The first six issues of this comic have proven that it’s got a handle on the mythology of the character and can build a solid arc, so it’s nice to see the team can also flex the cute, one-off muscle.

The Bat books, however, are going big as this week kicks off the Night of the Monster Men crossover. Don’t worry, it’s not one of those crossovers, as it’s only running through the Bat titles and is also pretty good so far. Batman #7 sees Tom King joined by Steve Orlando on writing with Riley Rossmo on art for the story’s kick off which sees Hugo Strange unleash…monster men…during a giant storm. It sounds simple and plays well, though King has been building up Strange for a while now, so it’s clear there’s more coming. Overall thought, it’s big and it’s fun and it’s exciting with the story flowing beautifully from Batman to Nightwing #5. The art is spectacular and all the characters are well served, especially secret star Clayface.

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