It’s Big Event Week! We get the first round of Flashpoint tie-ins, as well as the latest core issues of that event and FEAR ITSELF. More importantly, Hickman/Weaver’s S.H.I.E.L.D returns! All the Lone Star in the world is not enough*. Let’s get right to it.
FEAR ITSELF #3—Everyone really operating at a super-optimized level, we are all of us students of Ellis, disciples even, but no mainstream working professionals more so than Fraction and Gillen, the WEF alumni, they’ve of course got their own unique voices, epitomized in CASANOVA and PHONOGRAM, naturally, but it’s interesting to consider how Ellisian, coined here pretty much as a synonym for “streamlined” or “anti-bullshit,” their voice is in the Marvel Universe proper. What I’m trying to say is Fraction seems to be making the same choices that Ellis would be making, given this gig. Which I’m very much all right with. This issue possibly fails to live up to the glorious perfection of its title, but that’s only because the title is so, so good. Just the recap page of pin-ups got me all gassed up, surely a good sign. It was a great ride, too bad about that fella at the end, there. If they’re going to charge $4 for every issue of this and only provide 22 pages, there really needs to be some backmatter.
FLASHPOINT #2—Man, when it comes time for the Big Event, that Johns does not bring the sunshine. “IT WAS REVENGE IN REVERSE” is a great Silver-Age line. This issue as a whole, though, a little bit thin. Kubert remains a hoss, but there’s not quite enough advancement of the main narrative here, especially given that we’re now 40% of the way home. Not bad, but I was expecting a little bit more, by now. Something of real consequence, that would ring forward down through the years of continuity and matter, forever and for all time! Is that too much to expect from DC this summer?
FLASHPOINT: BATMAN, KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE #1—Oh, never really even anticipated or respected how good it would feel to get a direct dose from this team, rolled through the hun’dedB in trades, but here last week and now again, such a fresh blast, Patricia & Clem, all the gang, this one’s already encroaching upon my Batman All-Time 25. Ten times better than those six issues in between Hush and Judd fucking Winick (as great as Dustin Nguyen is). It turns out Batman could be much more of a dick.
Whew! But those events were quite the thrill ride. What else is going on this week, you ask? Read on, Sequential Acolyte!
THE BOYS #55—Ennis puts this talky arc to bed with a serious bombshell in the Hughie/Annie dept. before a last scene that somewhat left me in the dust. Is Mother’s Milk the unseen individual? Is there significance that there are periods on the penultimate page, M.M., and then nothing on the final page, MM? I kind of feel like Ennis lost me a bit, and I wasn’t even blind yet.
WEIRD WORLDS #6—Huh. Two of the three stories are To Be Continued. That’s kind of a garbage thing to do to folks who sign on to a six-issue anthology starring Lobo and two brand new characters. I mean, it’s not like Garbageman and Tanga had to meet their final fates (hmm, well . .), but a bit more closure would be nice before kicking it out to the next title, MY GREATEST ADVENTURE (a title I can get behind, starring those two characters, not so much). Ordway really blew me away on that Lobo serial, I’m about ready for 200+ pages of whatever he’s in the mood to draw, dude is peaking.
SUPERBOY #8—Oh, hello love, here you are. After two months in the mire, one of my very favorite monthlies returns, chock full of Lemire/Gallo/Grant goodness. I guess all we’re going to wind up with is this last arc, and that will lead us back to the back-up story that was in ACTION many moons back. This is just, yeah, everything’s back in its right place. If Morrison’s BATMAN run in fact weathers The Shift, then this will by far be the greatest casualty of the new regime.
HOUSE OF MYSTERY #38—This one’s just my ideal velocity of madness. Sturges makes up a crazy enough short to utilize Lapham to his greatest deranged potential, and yeah, no one saw that last page coming.
ADVENTURE COMICS #527—Just when I’m on the verge of bailing, Levitz cuts off a slice here that just does a little bit more for me. Guess we’ll hang on through the summertime.
BEST OF WEEK: S.H.I.E.L.D. vol. 2 #1—Now, that’s what I call backmatter. This thing continues to be a triumph on every level. The best output from Marvel in years and years. Worth of being spoken of in the same breath as Simonson Thor or Byrne FF or Miller Daredevil. Glory, trapped in panels. Every page, a thrill.
*actually, as it turns out, a considerably smaller fraction of all the Lone Star in the world was more than enough to keep this edition from being fully completed (read, mainly expurgated of intoxicated madness) for an entire week. We here at Wednesday Night Mass apologize for this lapse and pledge to do better by you, our hypothetical and largely imaginary readers