Well, we’ve finally reached the end with this week’s Civil War II #8 and it’s…well it’s something. Tony is in a coma of some kind (and it looks like he’s in an iron lung!) after getting the snot kicked out of him by Carol in a pretty good looking series of big pages from David Marquez, but we already knew that from reading Infamous and Invincible. Ulysses is obviously way too problematic of a character to have around so he like, evolves into a god like the Beyonder? And then just leaves with a bunch of other celestial-ish beings. Good riddance, I guess, hopefully he’ll be forgotten for at least a decade. Before he leaves, Ulysses does ‘gift’ us with some splash pages teasing future events and it’s a mixed bag. IvX is there, Miles’ supporting cast being attacked by Sentinels, Ultron (snore) standing over defeated Avengers (including Wolverine, the real one), Killraven fighting martian tripods (what?), and a gorgeous piece from Esad Ribic showing what appears to be Thor holding 616-Mjolnir and facing off against Loki. The weirdest part about this whole thing is that it ends with Carol meeting with the president and being told that she handled the entire situation with ‘incredible grace’. When paired with Mighty Captain Marvel #0, it seems like that going forward, Carol’s arc is that everyone thinks she’s great and that predictive justice ruled which is just so shockingly odd to me since the reader opinion seems to be the complete opposite. Throughout this whole thing Carol has been at best someone in-too-deep who sees no way out but through and at worst a proto-facist, completely oblivious to how her policies flew in the face of many of the values these heroes are supposed to uphold (see Power Man & Iron Fist and Ms. Marvel tie-ins, both excellent). Overall this whole thing just leaves the 616 in a really strange place, and the next thing that’s coming is…Monsters Unleashed?
Well, at least we have books like Mariko Tamaki and Nico Leon’s Hulk #1 which took me totally by surprise. With Tamaki coming from the world of angsty indie graphic novels and Leon’s art taking on a manga-ish feel, I was certainly dubious but after the haunting ending of this comic I’m a danged believer. It’s been a while, but back in Civil War II #1, Jen was beaten down pretty badly and ended up in intensive care. Now with that ‘behind’ her, she attempts to resume her career as a lawyer and keep the beast contained. Of course she gets a case involving a mutant (or Inhuman?) that’s going to lead to some superheroics, but the meat of the issue is a deeply personal, almost uncomfortable examination of Jen’s fragile mental state that cuts right to the core. This is an absolutely stellar first issue that will fill you with all kinds of feels, and the best part is that WE’RE SELLING IT FOR A BUCK LESS THAN COVER PRICE so you’ve got no excuse not to check it out.
Speaking of solid Marvel comics that we’re selling for A DOLLAR LESS THAN COVER, we’ve got Rocket Raccoon #1 from one of my absolute favorite newish talents, writer Matt Rosenberg (We Can Never Go Home, Kingpin). With the Guardians’ ship destroyed, the team is split up and stuck on earth (yeah, I know) and Rocket finds himself lost in New York, much like Kevin McAllister. Unlike Kevin, Rocket is having an awful time. After being denied entry to a strip club and being mistaken for a hedgehog, Rocket steals a bunch of food from a fast food joint to feed a homeless guy, putting the full force of the NYPD on his tail. It’s somewhat low-stakes, but it does an amazing job of selling Rocket’s experience of being on an incomprehensible and alien world. Of course there’s a bigger, more ‘traditional’ threat waiting in the wings, but I’d honestly be content to just watch Rocket grumpily putter around for six issues. All of this is gorgeously rendered by artist Jorge Coehlo who gives the book an almost 2000 AD type of feel with a New York that feels as grimy and intimidating to the reader as it must to Rocket.
I don’t think I’ve gotten to talk about Justice League vs. Suicide Squad yet, which is quite the oversight on my part because this is a wonderful comic. Thanks to the all-around perfect Justice League/Unlimited cartoons, the uneasy relationship between the world governments and metahumans in DC has always been one of my favorite story avenues and it’s at the heart of the first event of the Rebirth era and Sweet Christmas is it FUN. The plotting is tight (even with OTHER BOOKS IN THE LINE!), the script is enjoyable, the characters are all recognizable, and the art is stellar. Of course there’s still a ways to go, but so far this looks like event-comics done right.