Week 13 (Nov. 30, 2011)

Small week this last week, but that was fine cause my financials could uses a rest.  Still there were a couple things that came out that I was really excited about.

  • Before the reboot there was a revitalization of a property that DC had acquired, which had been bounced around between six other publishers since the 1960’s, called T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.  When it first came out I was skeptical, but after reading issue six on a whim I ran out and bought all five back issues and have followed it faithfully to the present day and even read what old material I could get my hands on.  The series ended at the reboot, but there is a six issue limited series that is now coming out by the same writer, Nick Spencer, which is brilliant.  To quickly recap and explain what its about, in the 1960’s a brilliant scientist working for the Higher United Nations built four devices that would grant the wielder with superhuman talents, the detraction however was that those powers granted also would kill the wearer after a certain period of time.  A unit was created called The High United Nations Defensive Enforcement Reserve.  Agents of this program were selected carefully and all had to volunteer knowing the cost of their service full well.  There is a power belt worn by agents codenamed “Dynamo”, a speed-suit worn by agents codenamed “Lightning”, a flightsuit worn by agents codenamed “Raven”, and a mind control helmet worn by agents codenamed “Menthor.”  Another agent who has lived since the beginning of the project and is set apart from the  rest because the unfortunate consequence of his powers is that he CANNOT die is Anthony Dunn codenamed “NoMAN.”  He is immortal and therefore cannot be killed, having instead sacrificed his personality which has died after his numerous deaths and resurrections. The beauty of the new DC series is that it doesn’t reset the series, but rather continue it with new characters building off the mythology of the old tales.  This new limited run does a good job moving on from the deeply personal note on which the first DC run of this past year left off and continuing from that point to a classic plot point of the original Tower Comics series from the 60’s.  Revamps of series often feel tawdry with the cheese of updating things and trying to make them relevant.  Not even Superman in his eponymous title’s new continuity is immune from this trend. Superman is mired in this problem currently.  Spencer found a way to circumvent this and make T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents incredibly relevant while simultaneously holding on to his core excellence.  This first issue delivers and hopefully will be followed by another series after its six issues are up.

    Andy Kubert's cover for "Thunder Agents #1"

  • Legion: Secret Origin #2 delivers again with a few more Legionnaires popping up and taking their historic places amongst the pantheon of 31st Century super heroes.  As I’ve reported before, this series does an interesting thing by gathering these young heroes together in the background, and in the foreground having the three Security Council members of the United Planets as a Greek Chorus showing us through their interactions why the the Legion are necessary.  Even the council members themselves are symbolic: A human, a Coluan, and a Naltorian. Anissa of Naltor represents prophesy and religion, faith and the perspective of the future.  Zarl-Jax of Colu represents logic, reason, and science, concrete fact and a sense of past through precedent.  The third Mycroft is an aged human who represents the here and now, rooted in the present and possessed of emotion and sense of duty tempered over years of service.  Through the overlapping of these characters and their insight we get the whole picture of the world that gave birth to the Legion of Superheroes and the crises that necessitated their inception.  Really enjoyable if you are a Legion fan.
  • Spaceman #1 was a decent book that is written interestingly by Brian Azzarello and draw beautifully by his ofttimes collaborator, Eduardo Risso.  The storyline is hard to follow, however. It follows a mongoloid man with dense bones and muscles that was bred by NASA to be an ideal space traveler for their deep space mission and Martian colonial expeditions, and in half the story he is, but in the other half, disconnected, he’s a vagrant on Earth in a society that seems post apocalyptic and anachronistic from the other half. I’ll read it to the end. Its a limited series, but still I’m undecided.
  • The Warlord of Mars offshoot series Fall of Barsoom is on its penultimate chapter with the completion of the Atmosphere Factory, the last dire hour of the White Martian Empire located in the ancient city of Horz, and the hint of the event that will mark the rise of the Red Martian race.  This series is apparently a five issue miniseries and has been outstanding from issue one.  The art is lovely and the story of the Golden Age of Martian culture, like Roman before the Dark Ages on Earth, is quite well done.
  • Its silly, and I recognize this, but I got the Green Lantern: The Animated Series issue #0, although it is quite obviously a kids comic.  It was good and definitely gives a taste of what the animated series will be like.  I am looking forward to the Red Lantern Corps as the perennial enemy, although they are clearly skewed from how they appear in the comics. Its understandable as kids are too young to get the moral ambiguity of the Red Lantern Corps and Atrocitus, so I can accept this as a good series.
Here’s to next week and a shit ton of good titles . . .

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.

Illustration Credits:

Detective Comics #6: Art by Wes Craig, Colored by Hi-Fi

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