On the eve of The Avengers and Star Wars Day, is anyone even reading comics this week? Don’t feel bad if you haven’t gotten to your own load yet. It’s like trying to study on Christmas Eve. Luckily, FBOTU’s Comics Load did the reading for you! It’s a pretty good week, actually. Especially gratifying is when multiple LGBTQ characters or storylines show up in a non-Kevin Keller week! Now it really does feel like Christmas! Not only do we get shout-outs in Avengers Academy, but Apollo and Midnighter are reveling in the glow of a budding romance, you know, that magical time when your hands are always covered in alien blood and a conspiracy of shadows threaten to destroy all you hold dear. Le sigh.
So, what’s in your load? Any favorites or standouts? Let us know in the comments section below.
Now, on with the Comics Load!
The Amazing Spider-Man #685
Written by: Dan Slott
Art by: Humberto Ramos
I know how you feel, Spidey; I've been there. You try to warn people that a seemingly reformed supervillain's offer to save the world is really just a ruse to destroy it. But does anyone believe you? No. Is it any consolation when said supervillain proves you right and starts cremating the planet? Yes. Well, sort of. Spidey gets to give the people of planet Earth a well-deserved "I told you so!" That is, if anyone survives to hear it. Doc Ock proves once and for all that octopi cannot be trusted, but the people I feel the most for in this mess are the henchmen he duped into helping him. Sandman's probably not going to get his kid back now. And I do hope we learn what Ock promised the Rhino. What could it be? My instincts tell me it's a dream date with Harry Osborn. My instincts are usually always right. But does anyone ever listen to me? No.
Action Comics #9
Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Gene Ha, Cully Hamner
Colored by: Brad Anderson
To paraphrase Tracy Turnblad, "I wish every day were Negro Day" in the DC Universe! Calvin Ellis is awesome! Not only is he Superman, the last son of Krypton, but he's also President of the United States! I love it. But I was reading comments on another website, where people are allowed to be horrible, and some morons were saying they were skipping this issue, because Superman should always be white, even in alternate universes. Oh, brother. Why are these people allowed to roam free? Black Superman is President! Your argument is invalid.
The plot is a tad on the confusing side. Alternate Lois, Clark and Jimmy create a "thought box" that makes whatever they're thinking a reality. They want to use it to create a Superman (with blonde hair and a tan), but then sell it to the cast of Shark Tank who then use it to create an evil Superman who chases Lois, Clark and Jimmy through alternate universes, destroying all the other supermen he encounters. Got it? Lois and the charcoal remnants of Clark and Jimmy find themselves in Calvin's universe (Earth 23), but Cal isn't as easy to dismiss as the other supes. Morrison maybe tries a bit too hard with some of the details. For instance, Earth 23 appears predominantly black, suggesting that Superman could only be black in a black universe. And while I get the idea behind changing Diana's name to Nubia...it still feels a little forced to me. But that's me. I'm sensitive. I hope this isn't the last we've seen of Calvin Ellis. He may not be the Black Superman President you want, but he's the one you need.
Avengers Academy #29
Written by: Christos N. Gage
Pencils: Tom Grummett
Inks: Cory Hamscher
Finally! My angry thoughts about the whole Avengers VS. X-Men thing are verbalized by young Surge. The kids from Utopia are dropped off at Avengers Academy as "guests who are guests unless they try to leave, then they're prisoners, so stop them." Guh, has anyone ever sucked more than Captain America in the history of suckage? Anyway, the kids get along pretty well, because let's face it, they're all a bunch of freaks. Surge spells it all out for their hosts, though, when she says the young X-Men have been deemed "too dangerous" to make their own decisions and must be placed in protective custody for their "own good." And how long before they do the same to the young Avengers? Meanwhile, Logan has a heart-to-heart with X-23, where he explains that he chose the side of the Avengers because killing teenage girls gets him off. X doesn't like the implied warning, and I don't blame her. She needs to dig up Daken and kill the old man.
P.S. Herc gets naked and offers to wrestle with the guys, like the Greeks of old. I'm not mad at this
Avengers VS. X-Men #3
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: John Romita, Jr.
Inks: Scott Hanna
And here we go. It takes the Avengers about two seconds to use Logan, then betray him and drop him in the frozen tundra somewhere. Cap redeems his douchebaggery by about half a point by claiming they just want to protect Hope and keep the Phoenix Force away. This is only slightly better than Wolverine's goal, which is to lick her warm blood off his adamantium claws. If you're keeping score, the Avengers are kind of winning, because they took over Utopia. But Scott and company pull a fast one and escape, getting a head start in the search for Hope. Hope, on the other hand, thinks she can hide her massive flaming by blending in with locals in San Francisco. That is homophobic, Hope, and I will not tolerate it. At least Wolvie is out of the picture for a bit. I would like to respectfully request that the polar bear and penguin communities not give Wolverine a ride into town. Let him freeze.
The Boys #66
Written by: Garth Ennis
Art by: Russ Brown
You know what is difficult to do in any medium, whether it's comics, television, movies or literature? Following up after a cataclysmic battle to the finish. What more is there to say? So, when it's done right, I'm especially pleased. This issue finds our anti-heroes regrouping a little while after the big superhero/presidential holocaust. Hughie thinks it's time for a vacation. (For Hughie, maybe a very long one.) Surprisingly, everyone agrees. Before they can pitch the idea to Butcher, though, he shows up and makes the same suggestion. Oh, and something else, Hughie is now second in command. Butcher seems determined to have a showdown with Hughie. In the end, will it be Hughie who finishes Butcher and the Boys once and for all? Meanwhile, if you'd like to read some chilling dialogue that will give you nightmares, I suggest reading how the flunkies at Vought-American's review the situation at hand. Yes, Presidents and supes are dead, and the lawn of the White House is soggy with blood and guts. But...the American public has a short attention span and will forgive and forget if fed the right information. Corporations may be people, but they are some creepy, crazy-ass people. (Please boycott all Vought-American products.)
Detective Comics #9
Written by: Tony Salvador Daniel
Pencils: Tony Salvador Daniel, Szymon Kudranski
Inks: Sandu Florea, Szymon Kudranski
Colored by: Tomeu Morey
I spent about half an hour, trying to figure out how/why Roman Sionis (the original Black Mask) is alive and (sort of) well in Arkham Asylum and how/why Jeremiah Arkham (Black Mask II) is free and running the show. I'm just going to chalk it up to the relaunch. If I missed important issues where all this is explained, please let me know. The important thing here is that the Talons are coming for Jeremiah, and he laughs at the idea of anyone breaking into or out of his asylum. Oh, Jeremiah. You really must be new here. Batman agrees with me (for once) and shows up just in time to rescue Jer and get him to safety. I do like the idea of Jeremiah caging and controlling Gotham's supervillains. It's a nice twist. At the same time, I wish he'd get a new haircut. Makes me miss Gotham's favorite TV show: Queer Eye for the Deranged Guy.
Earth 2 #1
Written by: James Robinson
Pencils: Nicola Scott
Inks: Trevor Scott
I've never been emotionally invested in the multiverse aspect of the DCU. I have a hard enough time keeping up with what's going on in the "main" universe. I did like that Superboy Prime kid, though. He was a charmer. However, I never got into Power Girl or any of the Crisis shenanigans. Though, when a cute boy on the train asked me what I thought of Identity Crisis, I delivered an impressive response based solely on a conversation I overheard in my local comic shop. Too bad they were talking about the Marvel version. Anyway, when the new DCU launched with no multiverses, Justice Societies or Power Girl, it didn't bother me as much as it did some others. So, here we are on Earth 2 and life sucks. The Trinity is fighting (and losing) a battle against an Apokolips invasion. Batman has a plan to save the day, but it also involves a lot of self-sacrifice—a lot—which leaves a big whole (literally and figuratively) in the superhero ranks of Earth 2. Who will fill the tights and bustier of the fallen? Who will catch a boom tube out of town? This is intriguing, I must admit. And you know what's fun? Read this issue out loud and mispronounce the names, as if they say them differently on Earth 2. For instance, ApoKOlips, MetroPOlis, etc. It's fun.
Written by: Paul Jenkins
Art by: Miguel Sepulveda
Colored by: Alex Sinclair
Does anyone else sing Billy Joel's "Storm Front," but change the lyrics to "Stormwatch" whenever they read this book? Come on! I can't be the only one. ("There's a Stormwatch coming (mood indigo)!") Those of you tuning into this book just for Apollo and Midnighter are sure to be pleased. We get a lot of interaction between the boys, as they take on Red Lantern Skallox. I especially enjoyed the tender interaction in the image above. Awww. If I had a nickel for every time Long-Suffering Boyfriend whispered those words in my ear...I'd have three nickels. What's missing from this relationship, though, is some idea of why these two are so hot for each other. Yes, they're both gay and stuck on a spaceship together. Naturally, they're going to hook up (unless Apollo has a lot of attitude and Midnighter is only into twinks). But I want more. I'm greedy like that. Why are they falling for each other? Give me the details, please. There's more to gay relationships than just killing stuff.
Teen Titans Annual #1
Written by: Tom DeFalco, Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Brett Booth
Inks: Livesay, Marlo Alquiza, Norm Rapmund, Sal Regla
Colored by: Andrew Dalhouse
Are you ready for some culling?! Well, that just sounds gross. The Teen Titans find themselves in the virtual locker room, awaiting the chance to fight to the death with their fellow captives and Harvest's band of merry mercenaries. At least, that's what I think is happening. I'm a little unclear on what's real and what's not, but I'm willing to go along with it for now. Superboy officially enlists with the Titans and promptly receives a tongue lashing from Cassie, since all of this is, technically, his fault. Tim puts on his best Dungeon Master voice and reasons that maybe they're exactly where they need to be for the task they must accomplish. Yes, wise words, young Timothy. Joining the Titans are the Lost Legion kids. I don't read Lost Legion, so I had no clue who they were. The book does a good job of introducing them and then comparing and contrasting them with the Titans. Ultimately, I didn't want them to die, so I'd call that a successful crossover. Even with a combined force of Teen Titans and Lost Legionnaires, will it be enough to defeat Harvest and save all the other metakids in the arena? Where's Katniss and Peeta when you need them?
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #10
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: David Marquez
I think we all probably have a relative or two we try to avoid, because they're more than a little...sketchy. They may not be trying to trick you into joining a life of crime, like Miles's Uncle Aaron, but if you've ever been duped into attending an Amway or vacation timeshare presentation by a second cousin, you get the idea. While it's true that Miles technically owes his spider powers to his Uncle's stolen arachnid—technically—it's a bit of a leap to suggest he owes his uncle anything for being subjected to a radioactive nightmare. The not-so-subtle coercion and manipulation of Miles are disturbing, yet entirely believable. Bendis is doing a great job of portraying Miles as a decent young man who only wants to do what's best. Yet, he's still a kid, and when someone threatens to tell your parents something you don't want them to know, it's hard to stand up and say, "Go ahead." Heck, I'm an adult and still live in fear that someone will tell my parents about that "art" film I made in the 90s. Anyway, we all know that Miles should tell his parents or Nick Fury or somebody, anybody who can keep him out of his uncle's schemes. But I guess making mistakes and keeping secrets for creepy uncles is what growing up is all about.
Written by: Peter David
Art by: Leonard Kirk
If you've seen the documentary Superheroes, you know all about the real life superhero movement, where average, ordinary citizens don costumes and patrol the streets for crime. Such a group is featured in this month's issue of X-Factor, and since this is X-Factor, the would-be heroes are getting slaughtered. Angel and Jamie have a few words over whether or not this is a job for the police or mutant detectives, but, ultimately, Jamie wins, and he and Shatterstar join the amateur heroes to track down the culprit, which doesn't take very long. I love the idea of pairing mutants and civilians in an undercover operation. There's a lot of potential for humor there (like Shatterstar rocking the headpiece from his 90s costume). So, while I'm against the slaughter of innocent do-gooders, I am hoping we get more time with them. You know, before the slaughtering.