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.

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