Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shuriken Sentai Ninninger Episode 1

It's that time of the year once again. One team of spandex clad superheroes have gone into retirement and a fresh faced crew has taken their place. Yes folks it's time for a new Super Sentai series. I tried to keep up with last years installment but that miserable cunt known as 2014 sidetracked the endeavor. Of course a new year brings another chance at doing things right. Now let's get one with the show and talk about the first episode of Shuriken Sentai Ninninger.

You may recall that last years entry, ToQger ran on the concepts of Trains and imagination, this year we're working with ninjas and a “so what” attitude. The first shines through pretty well so far though the show has yet to sell a carefree viewpoint just yet. That may simply be a byproduct of this first part being almost entirely action. We don't even get the usual opening segment since we're treated to the team leader, Takaharu facing off with some grunts who destroyed the family dojo. Guy fits the pretty standard role of a sentai leader. He's upbeat and energetic and has an enthusiasm for heroics that is refreshing. No mopey cry baby heroes here. Reluctance in a sentai setting usually stems from self-doubt rather some tortured psyche.
After the opening melee we get to meet the other team members. There's Yakumo, a emotionally vacant magician. Nagi is supposed to be some trouble making man-child though he failed to cause much in the way of mischief. Kasumi.....I guess she's supposed to be interested in technology. So far she has about as much personality as my soundbar. Finally there's Fuka, whose primary skill is being adorable.

This collection of relatives are supposed to live up to their grandfathers legacy and defeat a Sengoku Era general who swore to return as a Yokai (that's a demon). Lo and behold, said general indeed returns and uses the 48 shurikens that sealed his grave as a means of turning everyday objects into monsters. Today we get a chainsaw guy. Can't say much else about the main baddies as they stayed mostly hidden for this round. Guess that means I won't have to complain about them having the same conversation every week like last year. 
With everything in place we move on to a big swath of action. Most of it was decent though not as crazy and over the top as ToQger. Also there were a few instances of things like really visible wires that aren't usually a problem for these shows. One saving grace came with the giant robots. Takaharu has a robot that's actually fast! It's a revelation to watch a giant monster fight that isn't dreadfully slow. It even does some weird ninja stuff like hiding inside buildings and using the pavement as a shield before disappearing. Major points to the show for that.

After the tussle, our group settles in and finds out that their grandfather is still alive despite being monstrously old. He's also a sassy old bastard. I forgot to mention Takaharu and Fuka's dad who brings the team together. Very little details on him but he seems like a decent ditzy guy.
If it sounds like I'm a little disinterested in the whole affair it's cause it was a pretty generic beginning for a tokusatsu series. I was stoked going in being a fan of the franchise and lover of ninjas but we barely got to know the characters, never even met the big bad. There's no overarching mystery or story element other than knowing at least 48 monsters have to be brought down before the general can be sealed up again.

All is not lost though. In fact, I'm feeling rather optimistic. As energized and pumped up as I was by the awesome first episode of ToQger, things quickly settled down and got a little predictable. By starting off in the predictable area, Ninninger has a huge opportunity to build itself up rather than fall apart. It has some nice flash to it and it has cute ninja girls which when I was a kid was the only item on my wish list for future girlfriends. So I'm gonna stick with this thing and see where it takes us. Maybe it'll surprise us.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Avengers The Crossing Omnibus Review Part 3

Howdy once again, true believers. It's time to have your beliefs shattered in an orgy of poorly plotted hijinks. Catching up real quick, Iron Man has committed multiple homicide for no discernible reason, wasp is bankrupt, and war machine resembles a dollar store version of Spawn. After taking far too long to get everything in swing, this event's primed to do some real damage. And boy does it ever. From character assassination, disappearances, and more lose ends than you can count. Let's get on with it.

Iron Man #322

Turns out Tony Stark still has a case of the Mondays. And what better place for a sad guy than his parents headstone? While paying his respect a pretty blonde girl emerges from outta nowhere. Yes this is the same lady who appeared to Tony during a previous blackout, the one that also gave Hercules a message he still can't remember because....reasons. After mistaking her for his mother, the girl replies “I'm not who you prayed for, but I am who you need.” Call me crazy but if some fine bit of lady shows up and says I need her, I'm inclined to agree. Old Tony though just has another blackout.
Well hello, mysterious graveyard stranger.

We get a brief aside to War Machine, Hawkeye, and Agent hiding out in an olde hanger, slamming back tall boys. Totally the thing to do when running from murder charges.

Tony comes back to reality to find himself in the apartment of Bethany Cabe (the redhead in blue tights from last time). Problem is she's nowhere to be found and her place shows signs of a struggle. Worried that he may have done something horrible in his blank state, Tony calls out her name in true soap opera fashion and begins to search for her.
I'm gonna give you all a big spoiler here. There is no answer to this mystery in the entirety of this event. The writers simple removed Bethany from the situation without having an answer for what the hell happened to her. I've gone ahead and started reading the Iron Man and Avengers issues after this mess and she shows back up with zero mention of this incident. With the Onslaught event coming hot on the heels of this mess she eventually got lost in the shuffle and ended up in comic book limbo. Apparently she was a pretty major player in this book for years and one of the big loves of Tony's life and with just a few bits of awful writing she got misplaced and forgotten for years. Like I said earlier, this comic is starting to do some damage now.

Over at his arctic base, the crazy psychic ex-girlfriend and madam masque are supposed to hang out and wait for him while Machinesmith keeps em company. As luck would have it; Stark had a mini-skirt and moonboots just waiting around for his former flame.

Iron Man returns to Avengers Mansion thinking that it's his only lead to Beth's whereabouts. That lil evil blue guy (Neut) emerges from the magic basement door and a fight breaks out during which Stark utters a fantastically lame attempt at a catch phrase!
More catchy than "Captain America, in your pants!"
Tony barely survives the hell, more spoilers. It's revealed within the next few issues that Neut and Tony are working for the same villains so there is in fact zero reason for this fight to take place. I swear the writers must have had a small list of necessary outcomes for the storyline but no guideposts for how to get there cause it seems like they had no idea what the fuck they were doing.

After the tussle, Tony visits Janet's place which the Avengers are using as a temporary base. Upon his arrival, she reveals that he's the one who bankrupted her. He has no clue what she's talking about but it doesn't take him ling to stagger off like a sad puppy. Once again; there is no reason for this additional piece of story. There is never a reason given for why he would bankrupt his old friend. It benefits the villains in no way but that's it. She's broke, he's responsible. My god this issue is terrible ain't it? Well it's over on the next page when Hawkeye gives Black Widow a secret call for her to come out and meet in the desert.

Avengers #392

This issue begins with Tony, Hank and the Vision supervising a lock down of the Mansion. There's a bit where they find some piece of equipment that Tony pockets since it's damning evidence. As far as I recall, nothing comes of this. Getting used to that line yet?

Over at the country house, Swordsman decides to check up on his previous dream and finds the sylvan glen where he now encounters a plant person that looks like his predecessor. I guess there is some legitimate link to past continuity here and guess what? This book takes no time to explain any of it. This Cotati creature gives some of the usual vague dialogue that makes this book such a joy before some time travelers ambush the joint. Two of them are new villains who I'd love to show off except my dear camera refused to focus on their awfulness. With them is that recurring blonde girl. This time in a vajayjay centric new outfit.
Behold a time traveling crotch.
Back at The Wasp's joint some of the other Avengers are having another Bakini day when Crystal and Quicksilver finally figure out that there daughter may have witnessed something during the murders (Ya think?) and it only took them half the event to figure out. 
Elsewhere Tony Stark has himself another black-out session followed by a good cry. Won't you be happy when he finally stops doing that?

Back in the forest, Vision helps Swordsman and the plant dude. Tuc (the fortune telling forest boy) also wants to help out but a mystery hand stops him and offers vague words of wisdom to stop him. I only mention this cause I'm fairly sure this mystery person is never mentioned again (slaps head in disbelief). Anywho; the boys are beaten and plant dude is taken to a tacky alternate realm where one of the masterminds of this whole endeavor is revealed as former Avenger, Mantis.

 What's that you say? Who's Mantis? I guess she's some kinda specially bred kung-fu girl who's destined to give birth to space Jesus. In truth she comes across as a character that writers turn into whatever they need at the moment. In this case, a traitorous wench. And the plant guy/swordsman is her ex-husband so she's got a beef with him. Such was the damage dealt to Mantis by this story that another writer decided years later that this wasn't actually her but some kind of shadow person who thought they were her. Confused? Bad writing will do that to ya.
You can tell she's evil because she doesn't believe in bras.
Force Works #18

Stranded in the mystery land known as Vietnam (if you recall it vanished from the map and peoples memories) the core Force Works members work their way through the jungle in search of answers. As you might expect, bad guys are watching (and posturing) in the trees.

Back at base Amanda Chaney (the teams manager/publicist) and Cybermancer argue since there's nothing else to do. Spider-Woman's daughter, Rachel pipes in that she knows where and what Vietnam is. She even remarks “Course no one ever asks me anything!” I love this girl! Put her in charge. She's more clued in than any of the adults. Once in her room she finds that any mention of Vietnam has been wiped from her books causing her to make a plea for Amanda to realize all the weird stuff that's been going on lately. Moving objects, missing countries, oh and that new guy on the team. Amanda tries to calm her down before finally noticing that she has no real memories of Moonraker. Seriously, put the kid in charge!

In Vietnam, the gang locates the temple of Agaphaur which cause Moonraker to have another episode and babble about his name not really being Slade. Everyone shares in some dramatics before we cut back to base where Amanda discovers a secret sub-basement to Force Works HQ. Yep.....another basement. Oh and this one has technology from a company that Tony Stark forms in the future. 2009 to be exact.
Remember that Vietnamese kid, Kim? No? I don't blame you. Well he's a captive of the group that attacks the team at the temple. Oh and he turns into an adult bug man for shits and giggles. In the midst of fighting, Moonraker recovers both his sanity and memory. He declares himself to be Gustav Brandt whom priests disguised and slipped past the villains as a warning that both time and the world are coming to an end. Well duh.
Stand back while I explain the plot!
War Machine #21

Black Widow is hanging out with Agent, Hawkeye, and War Machine in the old desert bunker. Not a whole lot is going on though we do got some stuff that resembles character development for once. There's also a small bit about morning coffee that I Mention simply because eating & drinking is all these people seem to be good at. Then this big blonde boob named Deathhunt 9000 shows up, presumably under Stark's command.
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the 90's?
Commence an almost issue long fight scene that does little to progress the story other than showing off more of War Machine's fancy new suit. Oh there's also this bizarre piece of art where Black Widow's boob dodges a laser blast.
What is going on here?
The fight ends without much meaning since these bad guys don't show up again (continues slapping head) and Hawkeye tears off with the plane to get even with Stark.

In the subplot portion, one of Jame's lady friends gets real old real quick. Don't worry. I'm sure it'll all work out just fine.

Iron Man #323
This issue gets in gear as Hawkeye attacks Iron Man while standing atop the jet he stole. How exactly he pulls this off is a mystery to me but the results are delightful. Their fight doesn't last long before Tony makes a peace offering as he believes that neither of them are guilty and the entire team is getting screwed over. Both of them return to Janet's place to see if they can work out what's going on. Ya know what that means, cool drinks! Doesn't anyone fight crime around here?
The world is in danger! I need a refreshing tonic!
Over in subplot town, Madam Masque and the Marianne (actually remembered her name for once) are hanging out in the bunker kitchen with Machinesmith. Over the course of several scenes, Masque reveals herself to be Bethany Cabe. Really? No, not really. She switches places with the ex, takes out Machinesmith, then wonders off into the arctic wild without any pants. Solid plan.

The Avengers decide to use Hank Pym's memory scanning device (doesn't everybody have one of those?) to look at Tony's Memories only to find zero evidence of the murders. After some discussion, they try it out on Luna and at finally catch up with the audience. The ensuing conversation goes something like this
Avengers: “Tony, how could you?
Iron Man: “I'm about to choke a bitch.”
Avengers #393
Over in that ugly sub-dimension where Mantis does whatever it is evil chicks do, her husband, the actual villain of the piece finally makes himself known. It's Kang the conqueror, a character with such a messed up story that I don't even dare to try and figure it out. I know he does lots of time travel stuff to the point that he even comes into conflict with past and future versions of himself. Dude's kind of a mess. Yet again my camera was resistant to snap a pic of the baddie but I actually pulled one off so yall can bare witness to this big purple turd.
You can tell he's evil because he's top-heavy.
Most of this issue is the fight between Stark and the Avengers. Each of them takes turns asking him to talk/hug it out only to be met with a repulsor ray to the face or get punched though a wall. Tony takes a cheap shot at Hercules (who mind you is currently mortal) only to have Janet pull a classic secret service dive in front of her buddy.

Giant man is understandably upset and nearly crushes Tony like a bug. Wouldn't that have been a nice quick ending to this farce? Tony is retrieved by the villains through a time portal. Hank rushes his former wife to the basement where he recreates the experiment that granted her wasp powers in an attempt to save her life. This results in her being cocooned. Meanwhile, Tuc the fairy lad shows up and kidnaps Luna for her own protection which gives me an excuse for this installments obligatory ass shot.
If it's the crossing, there's gotta be ass.
Finally; a jet crashes into the backyard. Madam Masque calmly steps out of the burning wreckage to inform the Avengers that Tony Stark must be stopped. It's a little late for that honey.

Come back for part 4 when I answer the burning question, “does any of this ever make sense?” No....never.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Some Other Guys

Oh happy day! It's Friday the 13th's everyone! A good luck day (for me at least) and ever the perfect excuse for watching my favorite cinema slasher do his good work. This time around I've been thinking of watching Freddy Vs. Jason and maybe one of the Tommy Jarvis entries....maybe part V just cause I haven't seen Roy in a while. How many of you have no idea what I'm talking about? Anyway, back to Vs. Got lots of love for that flick. I know there are detractors who complain the movie either leans too far towards one franchise or the other. Honestly, as a fan of both series, I found the mixing to be just about right. Most of all it's fun and so damn violent. God I miss when movies used to be properly bloody, don't you?

In a strange break from horror movie logic despite the movie being a big hit, there has yet to be a rematch. In an earlier draft of the script they meet pinhead at the end which was supposed to get him into the mix but that never worked out. Later on there were talks of throwing in Ash from the evil dead series. The film never panned out but it was turned into a comic so at least there's that. I don't even need another opponent being thrown in. I'd just like to see the boys face off one more time. I'll even go with the new actors. Derek Mears is one of the best Jason's and no matter your feelings on the last Nightmare flick, you'd have a hard time convincing me that Jackie Earl Haley isn't awesome.

Let's say we want another opponent thrown into the battle though. There are plenty of horror characters out there just waiting to join the fray. Since I wanted to put together something for this special day, here are my thoughts for potential sequels. Note that I won't be including Michael Myers since the studio with his rights seems to have zero idea of what to do with him thous limiting the chances of that match up to less than zero. I may be a dreamer but I can still submit to reality now and then.
Vs. Leatherface
This one woulda been so easy to put together since the rights were owned by the same studio....might still be actually. Seems like everyones favorite cannibal would serve as a fine foil as well. For one; he's a normal human (in the physical sense at least) so there are greater stakes for him going into the fight. Plus he's always got his crazy family as back-up. All of them throwing their best sadism at Jason would make for some positively disgusting fight scenes. And the dream worlds that Freddy could find himself in would be nutty as I imagine Leatherface doesn't exactly have comfortable dreams. I weep for any poor sap who gets caught in the middle of all that crazy.

Vs. Chucky
As goofy as the concept may sound, Chucky would make an outstanding challenger. Just think of it. He's quick, tiny, and surprisingly hard to kill which allows him to face off with Jason. He's also skilled in the black arts which has to be usable against Freddy in some form or fashion. Topping it all off is something he shares with Jason. They both have kids that grew up as their greatest enemies. Chuck has Andy and Jason could never beat Tommy. If those two got dragged into events this could serve as a great cap to some series lore. Oh and those guys grew up with actual childhood monsters which I'm sure would manifest as some deep seeded fears. And we all know how much Freddy likes those.

Vs. Universal Monsters
Not the exact universal branded monsters mind you, but the public domain classics they represent. Characters like Dracula, Frankenstein, wolfman, and the mummy. We could have a classic house of monsters situation with the timeless dark and stormy night setting. All of these creatures have abilities that could prove to be a challenge for both our guys. Werewolves have the strength, mummies have curses, Frankenstein the monster has his might, the doctor his science, and Dracula comes loaded with tricks. Like the other characters I've mentioned, I'm sure you could get some crazy dream sequences out of this group. Do vampires and mummies even dream for that matter? Now if you want to go all the way with the gimmick we could get into some pure fanfiction stuff with ideas like Werejason. Syfy channel; I'm waiting for your call.

Vs. The Elder Gods
Also on the public domain front are the elder gods. The creations of H.P. Lovecraft are classic horror fodder. Unspeakable beings from without and within that inspire fear and madness in all who encounter them. From giant aquatic beings like Cthulhu to small extraterrestrial sorts there's a whole army for our boys to deal with and they'd prove to be a true threat. Something like this would take Freddy and Jason as far away from their traditional roles as possible. They may even have to become good guys for this battle. Think of it. If the elder gods were to win the world would be a barren hellscape with no more sexy teens for the slaughter. It'd be up to our two invincible killing machines to defend their way of life the only way they know how....with lots of stabbing.

There ya go Hollywood. I just gave you four sequels in a few minutes. Least you could do is at give us one movie. In the meantime I'll be spending my 13th going to thrift stores, donating a few items to my non-profit workplace, and watching the classics. How about you all? Any plans for today? Who would you like to see face off against our favorite slashers? Have an awesome Friday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Avengers the Crossing Omnibus Review Part 2

It just would be the crossing without needless ass shots.
It's time again for that special kind of pain known as The Crossing. When we left off Tony Stark was responsible for several murders, the wasp was suffering from bankruptcy, a new member of Force Works had appeared from outta nowhere, and fashion sense was at an all time low. What else could possibly go wrong? Let's find out.

Iron Man #320

I never knew that Stark had his own medical center/loony bin nor that he used it to stash away ex-girlfriends yet that is exactly where the story picks up. Some fine ass blonde breaks free of the place and runs off into the dark and stormy night on her way to find Tony. As she jumps and flips off the building we're treated to this informative bit of writing that states “Nothing but the fragile orchids of her own garden hurt in the fall.” The fuck? Did she pull her vagina during those acrobatics?

Moving on to a sunny morning in L.A. Iron Man spends his hours putting a stop to a variety of crimes in some rather odd ways. Best example being when he stops a drug dealer from selling to private school kids by straight up crushing her hand! This art is just so very 90's. Of course no one would notice a woman selling drugs in broad daylight to 6 year olds with adult hands. After crippling the woman, Tony has a press conference to open a park. He's having a full day.
I guess that's one way to stop a crime.
Then there's a brief aside to some random guys in Vietnam who discover that a special temple has disappeared and that the priests of pama may be damned. Make any sense to you? Me neither.

Back at the office, Tony has a quick collab with his assistant Bethany, and shows off the advantadge of being the guy who makes up the dress code. After a lil sexual harassment he goes down to his basement to talk with what is apparently a homosexual robot. Had to look this guy up online. Machinesmith was some tech savvy villain who transfers his consciousness to a robot after death. Of course this robot looks just like he did as a person and it seems like he's got a mad crush on the Vision. Tony claims he just has him around for tech talk but I'm not buying it.
It's good to be the boss.
The remainder of the issue consists of Tony whining, blacking out to visions of a blonde girl, waking up in his kitchen, and going outside for a good cry. So far, these Iron Man issues are the worst part of the crossing which doesn't come as a huge surprise since their written by Terry Kavinough. Long time visitors may remember him as the man responsible for the first comic I ever owned and a piss poor writer.

Avengers #391

Back in Avengers land, Swordsman goes out for a late night walk and bumps into Tuc the fortune teller and some old bald monk who commands him to “got to where the heroes gather and ask who morns for Agaphaur?” I've already finished reading this tome and I don't think he ever got around to sharing that info. Good job, swordy. This is interrupted by another visit to the wasps lawyers who've discovered which rat bastard is responsible for her financial troubles. Do we get to share in this knowledge? Nope. That's knowledge for another day but it does give us another exaggerated close up of Janet's reaction face.

I still don't understand the reason for any of this subplot.
Back at the Mansion, the others are finally catching on to the multiple homicides that happened during yesterdays party. Before they can come to any conclusions, another slaughter takes place.
Don't let the art fool you into thinking this new threat is imposing. He's actually a lil blue dwarf that came outta the magic door in the basement (what's with this story and basements anyway?). He wastes Gilgamesh which seems like overkill since his cellular degradation was supposed to kill him in just a few hours anyway. He then proceeds to kick the teams collective ass before running back to his magical doorway for a glowly escape.

  Licking their wounds, the Avengers pack up and abandon the mansion as some mystery woman laughs. Also of note is how Luna repeatedly says “bad man” when Stark's on the comm room monitor and does anyone take a hint? Not a one. Seriously; her and Rachel Carpenter have already got this mystery in the bag while their parents stand around drooling. Oh crap, next up is another Iron Man issue.

Iron Man #321

A great deal of this issue revolves around Tony and Hank Pym trying their best “science” on that magic dwarf spawning door. Nothing makes a dent in the thing so Tony takes a time-out to chat with a rather vascular looking Hercules.
You might want to get that checked out, Herc.
Gotta note the bit where the narrator mentions Pym's difficulty in shrinking back down to normal size. It seems like they wanted to return to the era when he was stuck as a permanent giant but this is never mentioned again for the entire crossover. It's one of many instances where this event starts something without actually going anywhere with it.

Stark eventually gets the brilliant idea to rebuild the surveillance cam footage from the night of the party and discovers...well they don't show it but since we already know who did it, big whoop. Then he has another black out, waking to find that Hank has been smacked down like a bitch. Then the crazy ex-grilfriend shows up resulting in the most hilariously dramatic panel so far.
hahahahah! I can't, oh I just can't!
She chases him around the mansion for a bit until right as she's about to kill him, Madam Masque shows up with a taser. Hank wakes up to discover the mansion is empty. That's it.

Force Works #17

Oh thank god it's Force Works. These are the highest quality issues this event has to offer so it's almost refreshing to read one. We open in Vietnam where a kid named Kim is flying kites with his friends until a monk appears from nowhere, slams into the kid and they both vanish. And boy do I mean vanish. Kim's friends don't ever remember his existence anymore. Kim's got some assholes for friends.
Way back in California, Iron Man (so much for his disappearance) is showing the new girl he brought in to the Force Works crew. Suzi Endo made her own tech suit and is honestly a more effective hero and dresser than most of the other characters in the story so far. She's not the only surprise Stark has for the team though as he shows them the aforementioned surveillance footage which shows Hawkeye killing the nanny. A small fight later and U.S. Agent is on the hunt for his old buddy, who he finds (in costume mind you) at a pool hall. Just love that these guys do everyday stuff in their uniforms. Where's the issue where they go to get groceries in full battle gear? Anyway; turns out Iron Man and Suzi, oh excuse me, Cybermancer (oh, that name) followed Agent. They knock out Hawkeye and head back to base.
Back at the base, Rachel is witness to Moonraker having some kinda good old fashioned freakout. Turns out no one believes that she's never seen the guy before. Why do none of these people listen to their fucking kids? Upon returning with the unconscious Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch kicks Iron Man off the team and they all go to check on Moonraker, who's noticed that Vietnam is gone. No one else remembers such a place ever existing. Astute Marvel fans might think that the Vietnam connection could in some way alter Iron Mans past since that's where his origin took place. Maybe that has something to do with why it's gone. And who knows what kind of changes ripple through society without the Vietnam war being a thing, I mean just think of a sad world without Rambo movies. Well forget all that cause the writers never thought to cover any of those angles or the fact that if Vietnam didn't exist than there's a strong chance Iron Man wouldn't either.

Most of the team flies off to investigate, leaving Agent and Cybermancer to watch the prisoner, and Iron Man just goes off to continue being a bitch. Oh and Vietnam? It's a crazy portal full of shadow birds or something.

War Machine #20

At last, the final series of the crossover comes in. And this one is actually nice enough to fill us in on recent developments. Turns out James Rhodes had recently lost his classic Armor and decided to take a trip to Canada. While there he found and bonded with an alien suit called Eidolan Warware. Marvel was obviously trying to give ol Rohdy the Venom treatment. If alien costumes can spice up one comic, why not another? What they didn't take into consideration is that while the original Venom symbiotic was pretty cool looking, this thing take a look.
Behold the great technoturtle!
Now if that design weren't bad enough the art team isn't doing it any favors. The War Machine issues are the recipients of the worst art in this collection. Just check out this bit from a side story about some lady friends.
So Rhodes is taking a drive with a mystery woman who knows thing about his warware when they come across a giant guy named Wulfgang who's going through some super roid rage. This gives Jim a cheap opportunity to show off the new suit and fill in a few pages. Afterward the lady runs off and our hero gets dragged into the story at large when U.S. Agent fills him in on recent events. Rhodes take the surveillance tape for analysis which shows that it's so high quality, only 3 or 4 people could have faked it. One of those people is of course, Tony Stark.

Agent and War Machine decide to take Hawkeye someplace he'll be safe. This involves beating Cybermancer out of her wits and snatching a jet. With that; everything is in place for this story to truly go off the rails. Don't dare miss the next entry folks cause this thing really does make the jump from stupid to full on travesty. See ya soon.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Avengers: The Crossing Omnibus Review Part 1

Out of all the collections marvel comics sends out to the market, few can compare to their Omnibus line. Usually these are giant sized tomes filled with stories of either high quality (Man-Thing, Deadpool, Howard the Duck) or high importance (Secret Wars, Infinity Gauntlet) but every so often, one sneaks out that doesn't really belong to either camp, and that's where The Crossing comes in. I've heard what a monstrous train wreck of a story this is many times, and now it's mine to share with all of you. Strap in folks cause we're about to embark on a multi-instalment adventure into some of the worst comics Marvel ever had to offer.

Edit: Later in the article I orignally refered to the second Spider-Woman as Jennifer Carpenter. What can i say? I'm a Jessica Drew fan! From now on, Ms. Carpenter is back being Julia.

Let's paint a lil picture here. It's the mid 90's. The comics boom is starting to calm down. On the Marvel end there's still plenty of cash coming in from X-men and Spider-man but one area that isn't fairing so well is the Avengers line of books, more specifically, the Iron Man titles. For any younger readers this may sound like heresy but like it or not that was the case. Any time I'd walk into a comics shop there’d be kids picking up various mutant titles, Batman in droves, Spidey, Hulk, Spawn, but guys like Iron Man & Captain America were just sort of there. Sure people still liked them, but they were more comic book constants than in-demand heroes.
Sagging sales led to an idea. If the X-men books could get huge sales from crossover events, why not amp up these forgotten titles with some multi-title extravaganza? Thous the Crossing was conceived to span across Avengers, iron Man, War Machine, and Force Works with a few specials to nab a few extra bucks. Since there's no previously in section to prep us for these events, you all can just dive right in with me. Let's do this.

Avengers #390

If there's a better way to prelude a giant event than a pool party, I haven't encountered it. No fooling! This thing kicks off with the Avengers barbecuing by a pond. These aren't the Avengers you're expecting either. The team is some screwball line-up of characters like Deathcry (who?), Swordsman (really?), Crystal (that's quicksilver's wife), a currently mortal Hercules, and some other folks who I just have no clue where or whence they came. There's still a few major members like Giant Man, Wasp, Black Widow, and Beast, but this is definitely a weaker group than I'm accustomed too. Of course this barbecue wouldn't be worth mentioning if not for the horribly tacky attire. Just check out how Crystal gets her grill on.
Back in the city proper, the Pyms are meeting with Janet's lawyer. Turns out she's flat fucking broke. Surely there's some investigation into why all her investments are flat-lining. Nah, she's just penniless but that's not gonna break her stride cause in her own words “there's always credit!” Dammit, Janet! That's not how money works.
This is not the face of mental health.
Back at the party, Hercules chases Lockjaw (the teliporting doggy) into the forest where he encounters some mystery boy who he naturally invites back to the party. To make a long story short, the Avengers all trip balls around the campfire while this kid tells them cryptic hints about their future and.....yeah, that's pretty much it. That's the three act structure here. Barbecue, penniless, tripping balls. Next issue!

Iron Man #319

God help me, this issues is even less eventful than the last. Tony Stark goes about his day while he mopes about recent events. We don't get any primers or reminders as to what these events were...I guess somebody died...maybe. So Tony goes from one place to the next, getting lost in thought, hallucinating his dead parents, and pining for lost loves. 
The Best part is when he stops by Force Works headquarters so the Scarlet Witch can scream at him. It's mentioned several times in the opening issues that Tony and her were in a rough patch cause he'd been a dick but there's no actual details available so I guess we're just supposed to take her word for it. Honestly; if this is what Tony has to work with can we blame him?
She looks like a melting pirate.
Avengers: The Crossing #1

Now we're getting to the good stuff. This issues opens with some short hared chick in tight armor apparently jumping through time, or as she calls it “crossing” wink, wink. I say apparently cause we're given almost no info as to what the fuck is going on or who this girl is. She witnesses Hawkeye and Black taken captive by soldiers of the American monarchy, goes through another crossing and then Thor shows up. Oh god, you guys, just look at Thor.
Looks like White Snake has a new front man.
After a few more crossings she's at the door to Avengers mansion and we finally get her name. Turns out she's the second yellowjacket but how she ended up jumping through time is anyones guess. She's excited when someone answers the door and gets blasted. Quicksilver's daughter Luna sees this all play out from her bedroom though I wouldn't put it past this story to completely forget that fact as we move on.
The Art is somewhat ass-centric.
After some lite heroics from our current Avengers, Hawkeye shows up for the founding anniversary dinner. He brings with him the first of many leather coats.
Don't believe me? Just a few pages later the Scarlet Witch shows up in one. Note that Tony Stark is surprised by her new costume despite having seen it in the previous issue.
Still not sold on the whole leather jacket thing? Here's a photo of the team hanging out.
Asses and jackets everywhere!
After a full night of accusations and emotional instability the crew saves the unaging Avenger, Gilgamesh from these quiet weirdos in green tights. After everything has settled down for the night Luna's nanny, some bizarre half bald woman is killed by Iron Man. And did I mention that all of this has something to do with a strange door in the basement? Oh I didn't? Well there's a magic door in the yeah. Oh, and Hercules met a hot blonde from the future and then forgets about her. There's a reason he's not on the team anymore. Oh and Gilgamesh aged...I guess that matters. Main point is Iron Man kills people and compares their dying to the sunset. Poetry is not one of his powers.
Force Works #16

Next up we have Spider-Woman #2 (the Julia Carpenter version) taking on some fish commandos with her lover Moonraker. Except it's not a real fight. Their just practicing their moves in the vroom room (yeah, that's what they call it) before retiring to the kitchen. For some reason a great deal of this crossover involves domestic action. So far at least a third of it has revolved around making dinner. Anyway, Julia keeps noticing odd things like how the eggs she cracked are solid again, or the juice she poured is back in the fridge. She also continues the trend of making questionable fashion choice as she decides it's OK to spend the rest of the day in her tights so long as she throws a loose fitting sweater over em.
Is the thermostat broke? Was there an energy crisis? Why is everybody so damn cold?
Elsewhere; Iron Man invites a Japanese girl over for a visit, Scarlet Witch has a headache, and there's an alien guy.....doing alien space. I have no idea what's going on but that doesn't matter because the real point of the issue is on the last page. Upon seeing Moonraker, Spider-woman's daughter proclaims that she's never seen him before.
So we're 120 pages in and there are four mysteries present. 1. Why is Tony Stark killing everybody? 2. Where did that cheesedick Moonraker come from? 3. What's with all the time traveling babes? 4. And why is everyone wearing coats indoors?

These answers and many more will be ours in the weeks to come. Stay tuned.