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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hungry for Comics

Greetings again. My comic list this week was smaller than usual, and not much really jumped out at me so far. On top of actually having decent hours at work, I haven't had time to get through this week's comics, but what I did read I'll go over. So I'll just have a look at one of the titles this week that could shape up to be important.

Today I read the first issue of Marvel's four-part miniseries called Hunger, written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and art by Leonard Kirk. Like with any modern comic from the big two publishers, there is a chunk of backstory to address. Hunger is the follow up to Brian Michael Bendis' 10-part event Age of Ultron. In this overdrawn story, the evil artificial intelligence Ultron created by Hank Pym, the hero Ant-Man (or Goliath, or Yellowjacket, or Wasp, or whatevethehell), somehow takes over the Marvel Universe and a small group of resistance fighters have to take him down. Time travel is a big part of this, and one aim of the heroes is to go back in time to off Pym before he can create Ultron. This leads to a lot of timey-wimey nonsense and at the end of the day, reality is getting tired of being messed with all the time. Marvel has a thing with time travel and dimension-hopping. The events of "AoU" are basically the last straw and the fabric of reality begins to tear, which is where this mini begins. It tells the reader basically what I just did in the first page. 

This book picks up in the Ultimate Universe, an imprint of Marvel books that have a modern continuity as if all the heroes got their powers in the past decade instead of over the past century like the main Marvel 'verse. This continuity has some excellent books like Ultimate Spider-Man and some not so great things like the Ultimatum event, a huge point of it all being that it is a "real" world with real consequences (ie, you die, you stay dead. No resurrections like other comics). This first issue focuses on the Ultimate version of Rick Jones (in the core universe, he is a friend of Bruce Banner and has made his way all around the galaxy and is currently the Hulk-like being called A-Bomb), who in this universe has been given cosmic powers by the intergalactic totems called The Watchers, essentially this universe's Nova. He tries to find a moment of normalcy from his star-hopping on Earth but is interrupted by the Watcher in his head. He is transported to the galactic battleground between Kree and Chitauri warships (these two are classically warring species, like the main Marvel U's Kree/Skrull war), where he is told something BIG will occur; the arrival of the Gah Lak Tus swarm.

Gah Lak Tus is a swarm of alien robot/warships that destroy planets through the use of a flesh-eating virus. This may seem familiar, since we then see the Watcher in Rick's head basically say that, no, something BIGGER is coming. Cut to a patch of space with a glowing crack in it. The crack expands, and two purple hands grasp each side of the fissure and pull itself through as Galactus, the core Marvel U's near-omnipotent world-eater. The GLT swarm then reconfigures its programming and merges with Galactus into a new super-being. Not much is given to the reader other than being told that reality is tearing because of the previously mentioned Age of Ultron

This issue is well-written by Fialkov, who has done some stuff for DC, namely I, Vampire. His writing has some good dialogue, but there are some pacing issues with liberal use of Rick's teleportation power. Then again, it might be because Marvel is attempting a crossover between their core universe and the Ultimate Universe in four issues. The art is crisp and vibrant thanks to Kirk, who has done work with both DC and Marvel but nothing of his immediately rings a bell to me. All in all, this is an alright issue of what it is, but what it is is steeped in continuity. It's not a book to jump right into unless you have some familiarity of the Ultimate Universe and Age of Ultron. It could be a promising payoff to see Super Galactus take on the Ultimate U's heroes. But this also may be a hollow set-up to the Ultimate U's next big event "Cataclysm". Good thing is there are only three more issues to see what it turns into.

Other points this week:
 - Justice League Dark #22 is Part 3 of DC's "Trinity War" event. It could be just me, but Jeff Lemire's "JLD" is getting too wordy for me. His writing works for the character-focused book Animal Man, but for a whole team of sarcastic magic-users it just gets a little tiring. BUT! But this book sets up the real "War" now that the heroes have split amongst themselves, with Wonder Woman leading a group that wants to go after Pandora and her box, Batman heading the group that thinks that is a BAAAD idea, and Superman led by The Question to see if there is something else behind all of this. This event could still prove interesting, and I may have to give it a re-read once all six parts are out.
 - Geoff Johns is basically the top of the totem pole at the DC offices (if that totem pole was still the bottom of the barrel that Editorial is shitting in), and I have said a few times that he is up top for good reasons. He's got ideas that shake things up and cause controversy. Some are great, some are not, like any writer. But I will say this. He has made me care about Aquaman. His writing in Aquaman  has poked fun at the joke that the character is with many people and establishes him as a hero who aims to be taken seriously. He introduces new aspects to his mythology much like he did with the Green Lantern mythos. Issue 22 continues the arc about Atlantis' "First King" and how his throne was actually usurped by Aquaman's ancestors. It is an interesting book about a person's legacy and ghosts from the past. I would wholeheartedly recommend giving Aquaman a shot, especially if you were dubious of his status as a hero like many are these days.

Or swim with the fishes.


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