Avengers vs. X-Men #8 makes the series feel like its stuck in a rut, while simultaneously breathing a whole new life into Marvel’s mega event for 2012. King Namor has gone a bit nuts – but who didn’t see that coming – and proceeds to decimate Wakanda in the ongoing search for Hope Summers, something the Avengers don’t take very kindly to at all. Because a hefty majority of the issue is spent fleshing out the battle in Wakanda – as Earth’s Mightiest attack Namor one after another, only to be swiftly brushed aside – there isn’t a whole lot of actual plot development, which is why this issue fell a little flat for me. Of course, Bendis packs a big punch at the end when Scarlet Witch basically disarms Namor, causing his fifth of the Phoenix Force to fuse with the remaining four, a twist that is sure to make things a bit harder for the X-Men going forward.
Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #2 of 4
While Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner’s first issue following the young life of Laurie Juspeczyk reminisced about the high school days of the 1960s – their innocence, simplicity, and comfort – Silk Spectre #2 explores the more groovy side of the era of peace, love, and rock ‘n roll. Laurie and her high school sweetheart, Greg, ran off with a few hippies at the end of last issue, and a quick letter home to her “Uncle” Hollis Mason gives Cooke the chance to abridge Laurie’s new life in San Francisco for the reader, similar to a film montage. Much like Cooke’s neo-retro style is perfect for Minutemen, Conner’s subtle, yet fully-featured, artwork is incredible for a series about what it was like being young and free in the 60s (and the fact that it resembles Archie doesn’t hurt it one bit). Cooke’s moving this series at a deliberate pace that’s slowly bringing a world of corruption crashing into Laurie’s life, forcing her to do what she knows is right and take up the Silk Spectre mantle.
I’ve always been a really, really big fan of Ms. Marvel – Carol Danvers is the kind of female superhero that’s far more realistic than, say, Wonder Woman or Supergirl, and is way more interesting because he problems are more grounded. With Captain Marvel, Kelly Sue DeConnick throws away the ‘Ms’ and brings Captain America in a for a guest spot to give Carol his blessing to take the mantle of Captain that should have been hers years ago. While Steve Rogers’ inclusion was touching in it’s narrative reason, I feel split on why Marvel felt it had to include one of it’s most iconic male characters in the first issue of a new series that’s supposed to be focused on an awesome female character. On top of that, it feels like DeConnick doesn’t really know who Carol Danvers is yet, which is something the writer will have to move past if she hopes to give Carol any sort of redeeming qualities in future issues.
Green Lantern Corps #11
As much as I love Green Lantern, Peter J. Tomasi is taking Green Lantern Corps down a path that I’m not quite sure I’m all that invested in following.”Alpha War” continues this month, but that name can be a bit misleading: the “war” is more of an Alpha Lantern hissy-fit that’s gotten a bit too out of control, causing the Alphas to lock up all the Lanterns they can while Guy and John escape to the depths of Oa. What comes next is kind of silly, as John and Guy find the vast storage facility containing all the old decommissioned Manhunters, as well as a host of other biological experiments the Guardians partook in through the eons. While I’m sure having Guy and John reprogram these monstrosities to eliminate the Alpha Lanterns sounded good on paper, but it just comes off as pandering.
While some critics have drawn comparisons between the “Court of Owls” storyline and the new arc from Kyle Higgins on Nightwing, stating that giving Dick Grayson his own “who rules the city?” situation is happening too close to the Batman’s. This month, Higgins gives readers a bit more insight into Paragon’s underworld army – and those in it who start to question their leader’s sanity – as well as Detective Nie, one of Nightwing’s more adement detractors over the course of the series. While Paragon struggles to retain supporters for his “righteous” cause, Nie reveals to Commissioner Gordon and Deputy Mayor Kavanaugh that one of the patrolmen supposedly murdered by Nightwing (see all the way back to Nightwing #1 for details) was his lover. Higgins uses this element to bring Nie and Paragon together at the end of the issue, but to what devices is still to be seen.
After ten issues of non-stop action, Michael Green and Mike Johnson take a break from throwing every conceivable threat Kara’s way this issue and focus on the Supergirl’s acclimation to Earth. After some beautifully drawn landscapes from around the world – as Kara learns more and more about her adopted world – Siobhan insists that her brother Tom take Kara out into the city and enjoy being a normal person for a while. Of course, what would a superhero comic be without a villain, so the nanosuited fellow from the end of last issue pops up to deal out some pain before Kara combines her x-ray and heat vision to basically lobotomize the man inside the suit. This fight with the unnamed assailant is less about introducing a new villain or plot, and more just another point in Green and Johnson’s story about Kara’s alien nature and how she fits into the human world.