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"I rolled a 8": Hibbs on the 5/9 Initiative

Brian Hibbs

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #540: Well, technically, this one is “Back in Black”. One of the things we’ve been complaining about the IC/52/COUNTDOWN books over at DC is “wait, when is this happening?”, because it seems like even the people in charge have no bloody idea. And we see the same thing going on in the Marvel Universe between this storyline and the Initiative and even World War Hulk. It seem to ME that #539 and this issue (and presumably the rest of this arc) is taking place immediately after CIVIL WAR, and pretty much on the same day. It makes my head hurt to try and keep it all straight, honestly.

Its even kind of harder because this is “Bad ass Spidey” — he’ll happily break your bones, or threaten to kill you, or whatever — but meanwhile, NEW AVENGERS is showing “nervous joking Spidey”. And while we’re meant to be rooting for Peter, it seems to me that in the context of a post-CW Marvel, he’s acting exactly like a vigilante, and it is hard to find a context in which this works right. If he IS a “most wanted” by SHIELD, and if SHIELD is the Bad Guys, then SHIELD *needs* to be stopping him to prove their point, so Peter prolly shouldn’t be chatting on a CEL PHONE with MJ. Unless SHIELD are the Good Guys, in which case, you’d think they’d be using ever resource to HELP Peter — if a police officer’s mother got shot and put in a coma, the entire force would be out helping him right?

My Suspension of Disbelief roll gets fudged even further by staging a big part of the action in Grand Central Station, including a “kill the killer” sequence which, while just what Fisk would do, he wouldn’t be doing it in the middle of Grand-Freakin-Central; he’d have had rigged the guy’s gun or something to explode after doing the deed.

IN other words, things are happening not because they make logical story sense grounded in the previously laid out “rules” of the fictional universe in which they are set, but because they’re what has to happen because that’s what the plot outline SAYS must happen.

Which is pretty much the definition of “bad comics”

As a $3 unit of individual storytelling, this is adequate stuff, maybe even better than that; but as a part of the larger ongoing story, really, this is pretty AWFUL

BLACK PANTHER #27 CWI: If there’s a single book in all of the post-CW stuff that is truly foundering for an identity, I’d call it this one. While I suppose having “FANTASTIC FOUR II” makes some marketing sense, it’s not what I, as a consumer am interested in a book titled “BLACK PANTHER”. As a FF comic, it reads reasonably fine — despite the move to magic right before the end, you can’t really ask for more reasonable action. There’s even a few genuine laughs here (I particularly liked the “Oh, I’d have thought you’d have a plan for that.” “We do: Sue” sequence), and the book ends in a potentially interesting place — at the end of the MARVEL ZOMBIES mini-series and the attack upon Skrullos by the Galactus-Zombies. Which means it isn’t just FFII, it is also EXILES II. None of that means I didn’t like it — I actually thought it was definitely no less than a high OK, possibly a low GOOD — just that it is really really weird that this storyline is happening in “BLACK PANTHER”

NEW AVENGERS #30 CWI: Based on the last few issues of this, and the start of MIGHTY AVENGERS, it feels like Bendis has finally gotten the trick of writing a team book. The only thing that didn’t work too well for me (other than general “when is everything happening, in relationship to ‘Back in Black’ and ‘Fallen son’?”, but it’s less of a pain for me than in ASM for some weird reason) was the staging of the “Good Intention” spell and Jessica’s reaction — she’s acting all funky and no one but the audience notices? Meh. But, yeah, I thought this was a solid read, the use of jumping around in the linear narrative is working well, and I enjoyed all of the banter and action. Can’t ask more from a super-hero funny book, so GOOD.

NOVA #2: Almost forgot this one, since it doesn’t have the “CWI” on the invoicing. There was something about this issue I really liked — the coming to CW from the outside, or Stark’s myopia, or Justice’s regrets, or the possession scene, or the trigger-happiness at the end. Or maybe all of it, and how it was a pretty dense read too. I’m surprising myself here: GOOD.

PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #7 CWI: Heh. Yeah, that was cute. OK

THUNDERBOLTS #114 CWI: Working for me a lot better this issue; I really do like how the villains just can’t seem to work together. If you’re going to have 22-pages of pretty much nothing but battle, this is how I like to see it. OK.

Other than Spidey, nothing worse than an “OK” in the bunch; contrast that to what OYL looked like, or the state of most post-52 DC books — its not a wonder than Marvel is kicking DC around the playground these days.

What did YOU think?


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