For the last five months or so, Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers-focused mega-event Infinity has been the talk of the Marvel Comics Universe. This week it comes to an end as the Avengers fight Thanos and his Black Order, and the winner takes the Earth. Get ready, and meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Infinity #6 and New Avengers #12.
Created by journalist and comic book writer Cole Haddon in his first TV endeavor, and run by the genius behind “Carnivale” Daniel Knauf, NBC’s “Dracula” was one of the shows of the new season I was looking forward to. A steampunk version of Dracula on the small screen sounds so intriguing, let’s see how it actually holds up.
As we continue the coverage of Jonathan Hickman’s Marvel Comics event, Infinity, here at Biff Bam Pop!, this week finds the release of an Avengers triple threat. Join me after the jump for my thoughts on Avengers #21, New Avengers #11 both by Hickman, and Avengers Assemble #20 by Brit Al Ewing, one of my new favorite comics writers.
Space The Final Straw
I have talked about this before, but I don’t think I have been as angry about it as I am now. Jonathan Hickman and his various artists have used negative space, or blank pages, to great use many times throughout Infinity, though mostly in the way of title cards for chapter starts. In Avengers #21, the wasted space goes nuclear, and I think I might want a refund of some of my money.
Here’s the breakdown. Of the first six pages of Avengers #21, there is a recap page of story and art material we have already seen, a cast of characters page, a credits page, a blank title page, one page of actual story, and another blank title page. Seriously??? And that’s not even counting the remaining blank page and two ad pages later in the issue. This is becoming outrageous.
Now that I have gotten that out of my system, I’ll move on to the other part of Avengers #21 that I’m not so happy about. At least the execution of this part is done well. No, scratch that, Hickman’s words are strong, and artist Leinil Yu‘s visuals are stunning. It’s what actually happens that irks me a bit. After a phenomenal blow struck against the Builders by Thor in Infinity #4, our heroes are once again laid low.
There’s a pattern here. Win in Infinity, lose in Avengers. It happened before. Captain America defeated the enemy in Infinity #3, then he surrendered in Avengers #20. Seems like Hickman has done the same thing here with the thunder god. At least Thor didn’t surrender. But things are once again grim for the good guys. Good news, then bad news, and again, I’m not happy. I want my heroes to win.
My third problem with Avengers #21 is Captain America. Somehow, once again, he’s been replaced by his Ultimate or maybe Bendisverse counterpart. The real Cap would not have acted as he did on page five. Cap is all about miracles, and he also knows what Captain Universe is capable of. Come on, if anyone has read all the Avengers files, it’s Cap. He knows exactly who Captain Universe is.
Speak of the devil, for those who don’t know, Captain Universe is an entity that possesses an individual and imbues them with the Enigma Force. This Uni-Power, as it’s sometimes called, allows the individual to do whatever they need to do. Anything. Strength, flight, energy blasts, teleportation, open and close dimensional gates, even stop galactic wars. Cap should believe.
The Good Stuff
It’s not all bad, on the contrary, the issue is really quite good. Yu’s art gets better every time I see it. The cover is very striking, and inside Yu captures Captain Universe, Thor, Ronan, and Annihilus and his horde wonderfully. For an artist I hated a decade ago, he is now a favorite.
The Supreme Intelligence, despite my protests, is completely in character, and his narration of events is both gloomy and accurate. I was glad to see the Spaceknights were not forgotten, Gladiator’s speech was beautiful, and dark as it was, I loved the cliffhanger. Not a perfect issue, but a damn good one.
While Wakanda Burns
I’m really not sure what to make of New Avengers #11 where Hickman’s words are matched Mike Deodato’s pictures. He is another artist I have not liked in the past yet his work in this title has impressed me greatly. This issue features Wakanda’s last stand against Thanos and his Black Order, as well as the Illuminati’s meeting with Builders from another dimension. What strikes me most about it is… who is lying to whom?
That’s my take. Someone here, maybe all the parties involved, is just not telling the truth. Did Namor send Thanos’ troops to Wakanda out of vengeance or because it’s a trap? The Builders say our universe’s heroes have defeated them – is that true? And will the Illuminati really destroy the Earth? And if they did, would it surprise any of us? And who else thought that was the Metal Men on page thirteen? I guess we’ll have to keep reading.
Al Ewing on the Avengers
Be careful what you wish for. In a previous Infinity review, I suggested that writer Al Ewing, whose Mighty Avengers I have been enjoying despite my initial doubts, should be doing an Avengers book. Imagine my surprise at the comics shop this week, picking up the Infinity tie-in, Avengers Assemble #20, featuring three classic Avengers (the Wasp, the Scarlet Witch, and Wonder Man), and seeing that Ewing wrote it. I was ecstatic.
Al created a wonderful one-and-done story of a family affected by the terrigen bomb, used classic characters, returned to the much-missed Microverse (ironically where Captain Universe first emerged), and, most of all, made me smile. The art by Pepe Larraz was very old school superheroic and I dug the old/new blend Wasp costume. I do prefer my Quinjets 1980s style over this Avengers Alliance design, but that’s just me. Al Ewing however, rocks.
This was a good week for Infinity, and for comics from Marvel. I might not have been completely happy with events, but I am loving the rollercoaster storytelling and adventure of Infinity. I know, imagine me, enjoying a crossover event. For my previous reviews of the Marvel Comics Infinity crossover event here on Biff Bam Pop!, click here.
Yeah, I know. I’m a bad reviewer. I had been reviewing the Marvel Comics crossover event called Infinity by Jonathan Hickman on a week by week basis here at Biff Bam Pop!, but since Marvel didn’t halt their publishing schedule to accommodate my vacation, I’m a little behind. To make up for it, today I’ll be talking about four different Infinity comics. Meet me after the jump for my spoiler-filled thoughts on New Avengers #10, Infinity #3, Avengers #20, and Infinity: Heist #1.
This week saw two different yet similar Avengers releases from Marvel Comics, both written by Jonathan Hickman – Avengers #8 and New Avengers #4. Both show vastly different sides of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in drastically different yet similar situations. You’ll have my thoughts, after the jump.
The Brian Michael Bendis era is over. The guiding hand of the Avengers franchise at Marvel Comics has essentially relinquished control of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with the advent of Marvel NOW!. Bendis may have one last devastating word for the team with his “Age of Ultron,” but for the moment, other hands on are the Avengers. Here’s a quick look at recent doings in the Marvel NOW! era, after the jump.
You probably hear the word thrown out offhandedly; maybe you played a board game when you were in high school; maybe you listen to the wrong radio stations. Maybe it just got shouted down the bar from you the other night in the middle of a heated political discussion after someone’s fifth cheap whisky.
Why is there an eye on a pyramid on the American dollar bill?
Who killed Marilyn Monroe?
What is “Fnord”?
Wait, forget that last one.
What are the dolphins up to?
Why does nobody talk about George Washington’s past as a hemp farmer?
What is the connection between Atlantis and the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”?
Who are the Illuminati?
And finally… what is the significance of the number five in so many suspicious places?
If nothing else, John Carpenter’s 1988 film They Live, which celebrated its 23 birthday this past weekend, will be remembered for two memorable moments. The first is this:
The second would be one of the longest fight scenes I’ve ever seen, and that apparently found both Piper and Keith David pulling few punches. Sit back and relax for a few minutes and check this out – I’ll be here when you’re done.
Believe it or not, there is actually more to They Live than either of those legendary cinematic moments. What may have been thought of as a simple sci-fi story back in November of 1988 has managed to age nicely, thanks to its overt commentary on consumerism and mind control.
If you didn’t see it back in the day or haven’t caught it in the ensuing 23 years, They Live folows out of work drifter John Nada, who unknowingly uncovers the truth behind the advertising and television we consume. Nada discovers that when he puts on sunglasses he discovers in a church formerly used by rebels, he can see subliminal messages such as “consume”, “marry and reproduce” and, when he spies a few dollar bills, “this is your god”. The sunglasses also reveal that the wealthy elite on Earth are actually aliens who have taken over the planet. Nada manages to convince his new friend Frank of the truth, and the two attempt to reveal it to the rest of the planet. If you’ve got a Netflix subscription, you can watch it here.
Like a lot of John Carpenter’s later work, They Live isn’t as well regarded as films like The Thing or Halloween. It didn’t do huge business at the box office, but it has managed to retain a life, thanks in part to the great performance by Roddy Piper. They Live was Piper’s first big film following his departure from the wrestling business, and he managed to do a great job, playing quiet when he has to and turning it up as the film progresses.
But for fans of conspiracy theories, there are other strengths to They Live, which come from Carpenter’s script (which he wrote under the alias Frank Armitage, a character from an H.P. Lovecraft story). Having grown frustrated with the obsessive consumerism of the 1980′s, Carpenter wanted to clearly attack and demonize big business and corporate monopolies, the wealthy elite looking to take control of our world. He uses aliens among us as the reason North American culture had become so materialistic and devoted to acquiring more and more, but in They Live those aliens are in line with the power hungry people of Earth looking to get rich quick. They Live may have been released back in 1988, but it sure feels like it could be set in Los Angeles circa: right now.
I think it’s pretty fair to say that, as a culture, we can all be influenced a little too easily. Definitely more than we’d care to admit. I don’t know, maybe it’s mass hysteria or something in the water, but I have no doubt there are subliminal messages in the commercials on our tv screens. Probably our movies and music too. How else can you explain the popularity of the Twilight films or Nickleback?
23 years later, They Live continues to live on. What I wouldn’t give for a pair of those sunglasses. How about you?