Brightest Day #21
Iron Man 2.0 #1
Brightest Day #20 (DC, 2011, $2.99)
Welcome back to sucking, Aquafag. You had us going for a few months there with your top selling book, A-list talent, iconic costume and enhanced powers. Then you lost your fucking hand again, you little bitch. You know who didn't lose his hand? Blaqualad. Kid weighs 98 lbs. and has only been a super-hero since lunchtime, but he fought Black Manta, cauterized your wound, and ended the piddly little "Aquawar." Who else? Aquagirl. Chick is from Sub Diego, was on one of those shitty short-lived Teen Titans line-ups, and if I recall correctly, breathing underwater is her only actual power. Still, she kicks dudes in the face while barefoot and doesn't even cut a toe on a seashell. Who else? Black Manta. Dude was set upon by schools of sharks both replicated and undead, brags about murdering a kid in front of both its super-powered parents, and comes out without a scratch... for thirty-four years... and it was your kid, Aquafag. Your babymomma didn't lose her hand either, as she was too busy taking on the guy who killed your kid and chopped off your hand, plus her evil sister, and their army. Mera did this with her hardass motherfucking powers that are massively impressive and versatile in and out of the ocean.
So Aquafag, what did you do, besides losing your hand again? On the beach, you cried and bled. After your wife took all your foes into your natural element? You went "vuu vuu vuu" like in that cartoon that's older than me and talked to the goddamned fishies. Excuse me, zombie fishes, who a) kick more ass than you have in twenty issues and b) killed expendable nameless mermen while the guy who maimed you and ate your baby like a dingo/Mike Tyson got shown the door by the new Aqualad.
By the way, Aquaman-- Ivan Reis is tired of you, and the combined might of five inkers and a pinch-penciller turned in a book that looks like Mark Bagley on an off issue. I think Geoff Johns is sick of carry you as well, since his four page "War of the Green Lanterns" preview took almost as long to read as your story. Hell, it took me longer to point out your faggotry in this review than to read the comic. GLAAD called, and they want you to stop defaming homosexuals through the association made by Entourage. They suggest "Aqual-Qaeda" as a more appropriate substitute defamatory nickname. No wonder your mother abandoned you to die.
Brightest Day #21 (DC, 2011, $2.99)
Fuck my earhole-- that tired ass Martian Manhunter story is still going on? Honest to Ganesha, I thought this piece of shit ended in, like, #15 or so. Half a year was spent building up D'Kay, she showed our zero a retardedly derivative Elseworlds, J'Onn J'Onzz had to choke a bitch to end the illusion, and the creative team moved on to Batman and Robin. I know you guys said D'Kay was going to be the biggest Martian Manhunter villain EVAR, but I ran a poll on another blog last week, and Bette Noir smoked her ass. Normal people don't even know who the fuck Bette Noir is, but they would rather vote for the unknown that stinky D'Kay, if only because her name in fucking D'Kay. I get a little bit stupider every time I type that.
That said, if you're going to go back to a stagnant well, this is how to wrap things up. After months of crumby art, Pat Gleason brought something resembling his A-game, except for that pointless two page spread. Actually, the splash page wasn't that great, either. My favorite part was how Malefic by way of Cay'an died the exact same way in a book written by the guy who edited that death, with the added bonus of referencing a scene from Smallville, plus killing the hero twice in the span of a few pages. That's like following literary sodomy with ATM to give us a sample of our own prison sex sauce. Martian Manhunter wearing white after Labor Day tastes like semen soaked pennies. I understand the high inmate suicide rate thanks to your efforts, gentlemen. Traumatic education is memorable!
Iron Man 2.0 #1 (Marvel, 2011, $3.99)
This Nick Spencer guy is supposed to be the new hot shit, so I'm all ready to run the guy down and say he isn't all that, but this comic was actually clever. The worst part about it is that it stars Iron Man and War Machine. Somebody decided to try to bring Jim Rhodes more in line with the movies and have him go back to being in the military. Rhodey was last in the military during the Vietnam War, and even then it was a flashback to several years earlier done in the 1980s. I realize shifting timelines make that impossible, but we're still talking thirty years worth of comics with Rhodes only listing service on his resume, so simply seeing the guy in uniform is all "what the what?" I also really miss the goatee he's rocked for years. Regardless, pretty much every time Rhodey speaks, you kind of want him to shut up, because he's got this forced "attitude." Then Iron Man tries to out-sarcasm him, and you want them both to just suck each other off already, if only to make it harder to get the dialogue out.
The book starts out with a seemingly unrelated set-up, then has its first novel idea five pages later, after the obligatory Iron Man fight scene. After that, you have to suffer through a couple of pages of trying to sell the idea of Rhodey back in the military with a creepy white commanding officer laying the racist subtext thick. Cross Edwin Alva with Wade Eiling, add Uncle Tom Rhodes rolling over for this shit, and see if you don't want to punch somebody.
Thankfully, War Machine gets replaced by Exposition Machine, as Rhodey becomes a device to unfurl Spencer's intricate set-up and a healthy helping of mad ideas. A really ginchy villain may come out of this, and he's smart enough to make me forgive the previous inequities. To maximize value, there's also a highly detailed text history of War Machine with clip art, plus a two page "reading chronology" to help Marvel sell trade paperbacks. I kid, but it was really informative, specifically the last page where modern creators somehow made '90s excesses seem like Silver Age delights with the crushing weight of aughts inanity. Sometimes between Secret Invasion and now, bong water became the sole source of hydration in those circles.
Aside from the inherent awfulness of a black hero being placed in a submissive role while his very identity gets rebranded as the McAdd-On to Iron Honky, the other major gaffe was selling this book with Barry Kitson as the artist. Despite getting top billing, there is not a single image in this book that in any way resembles Kitson's art. I assume this is Kano's show which means a) Black Iron Man only rates a name artist on the cover and b) Kano would not be your first choice for a high tech book. He's quite indy, and while not bad, it's decidedly off model.
R.E.B.E.L.S. #25 (DC, 2011, $2.99)
Last month I wrote about the direction of this series and my hopes for its future, scheduled the review to post about a week later, and in the meantime the book got canceled. There's something poetic in that, seeing as how R.E.B.E.L.S. was the book that prevented me from claiming to drop all monthly DC titles two years ago, and with Brightest Day wrapping up, R.E.B.E.L.S. may finally be my last DC subscription. The book was a constant source of frustration and dashed expectations, even when it was good, so I welcome its end. Hopefully Bedard and St. Aubin will land on their feet elsewhere. I'm not as worried about Bedard, because he killed Stealth and ruined Lyrl Dox through puberty and never made Vril Dox a big enough or remotely smart enough bastard. Bedard ruined my queer Captain Comet theory, pulled a bait & switch on the Legion analogs, and motherfucking
No, I think I'll miss Claude St. Aubin most of all. There's a five page preview of Batman and Robin in the back of this comic, and I liked how Peter Tomasi made sure to write Batman unmistakably as Dick Grayson. Unfortunately, Pat Gleason draws Dick Grayson mistakably as Bruce Wayne. He's got a fat nose and '40s hair when the artist isn't cheating through silhouette to cover him in inky blotches entirely. The perspective and anatomy is funked up and glossed over by computer effects and coloring. The characters are mostly misshapen and ugly. I flipped forward to get that out of the way, so I could go back to St. Aubin. Yeah, he's fairly traditional, conventional, and not at all daring... but he's also not lazy and everybody looks really pretty. There's enough detail to impress, including some uncommon techniques I really like, but there's no showy clutter. Clear storytelling, tight figures... this guy is one of DC's best kept secrets. He's sort of like pre-chicken scratch '90s Gary Frank mixed with Dave Gibbons on a consistent schedule. This guy needs to transition to a new assignment immediately. Aquaman would be nice, if that guy would stop being such a one-handed taste terrorist whose breeding partner and sidekicks makes him look like a ninny.