Welcome back, Comics Load fans, for another edition of hard-hitting comics analysis! It’s been a thrilling week in the land of superheroes, full of dramatic…costume changes. Yes, the theme this week seems to be having our beloved heroes try on some new threads, which is fine by me. If Wonder Woman can do it, why not the guys? Be sure to let us know what you’re reading and recommending in the comments section or over in the Comics Forum. Now, on with the Load!
|Amazing Spider-Man #656
I’m glad that Spider-Man finally took a stand and declared that no one else would die on his watch. Although, generally, that’s the kind of thing you’d want your friendly neighborhood superhero to declare, say, 50 years ago. But Spidey needed to figure things out in his own time, so more power to him for finally coming around. And, like many of us, Spidey likes to acknowledge big life changes with a new outfit. Of all the new costumes we’re seeing this week, this is probably my least favorite. It’s a bit too Tron meets X-Games for me. However, I would be curious to see how Peter Parker decided where exactly to place the lines of the spider legs in his design. Did he try a few different designs before he found one that accentuated his crotch the best? Or was that a happy accident?
This freaky-ass issue promises a heaping helping of “dark night of the soul” soul-searching (and perhaps soul-losing) adventures for Dick, Tim and Selina (a splendid combo, if ever I saw one). Dick’s still suffering from the effects of Azrael’s sword and has started having false memory flashbacks, where he’s not exactly the hero he thought he was. Having just started repressed false memory therapy myself, I know how traumatic that can be. Artist Guillem March does a beautiful job of bringing this nightmare to life, with an assortment of pastels, dramatic lighting choices and surreal images. It’s probably too much to hope that this is the beginning of the Selina/Dick love affair I’ve been asking for, but at least I’ll get to see three of my favorite characters in a battle for their very souls. Oh yeah, and this.
|Doctor Who #2
Is it possible the Doctor has never solved the case of Jack the Ripper before? That totally seems like a season one kind of story for him to tackle. This is only the second issue featuring the 11th Doctor and his companions. The first issue was rather a shaky start, featuring a mostly silly story about Amy and Rory accidentally introducing spam to the TARDIS. I’m happy to report that this issue is much more on target with the tone and feel of the series. Amy Pond, having never really gotten the timey-wimey lecture, dashes off to try to prevent the death of one of the Ripper’s victims. The Doctor then comes to Amy’s rescue, just in time to be accused of being the Ripper himself. D’oh! While the Doctor is cooling his Time Lord heels in the clink, it may be up to Amy and Rory to solve the mystery and save the day. Meanwhile, I’ll be counting down to the premiere of the new season of Doctor Who on Saturday, April 23 on BBC America.
|Red Robin #21
You’re going to have to bear with me on this one. First, I have a confession. A couple of weeks ago, while channel-surfing, I discovered a show on Nickelodeon called iCarly. It is simultaneously the best and worst show on television. Every time I convince myself to turn the channel, something clever or bizarre happens and I stick around. Honestly, with the unlikable characters and unforgivable (or often non-sequiter) nature of their actions, it brings to mind the work of Beckett or Genet during the theatre of the absurd period in modern drama. But just as I was on the verge of shaking my iCarly habit, guess who gets a reference in the latest issue of Red Robin? Yes! iCarly! Is it a sign? Or has iCarly’s saturation finally reached both me and the writers at DC at approximately the same time? It’s a mystery. Sticking with this week’s theme of costume changes, Tim gets a new set of togs while visiting the Unternet. (Yes, that’s as goofy as it sounds.) Frankly, I like his Unternet costume much better. I hope he takes it as a sign and starts wearing it around Gotham. I’m going to take this issue as a sign to keep watching iCarly. At least until a sign appears telling me not to.
What an odd, odd issue this is. There is a decidedly old school feeling to this story about a Flash out of control. A decade or two ago, the cover would have shown Flash spinning around Superman with a big, dramatic headline, like, “The Flash attacking Superman?! Is this the end of their super-powered friendship?!” The odd part is that the misunderstanding is resolved rather quickly, then Superman and Flash sit down at a diner and explain the misunderstanding for another dozen pages or so. All in all, this feels very much like a filler issue, but I will give it a pass because Flash dresses Superman up in a new costume (don’t ask). I’ve been telling Supes for years to add a skirt, headband and jazz hands to his outfit. I’m glad Flash agrees with me.
It wasn’t that long ago that I proclaimed this the best book in all the land. I still think it’s fantastic, but I’m kind of ready for something to happen. Tom has been adrift in literature for a few issues now, gathering clues and trying to figure out who he is, why he’s here, what’s expected of him, etc. So, finally, at the end of this issue, Tom puts some of the pieces together and has an epiphany. Shall I tell you what it is? How about just a hint? Sometimes a whale is not a whale. Now, here’s hoping we get some action in the next issue.
Oh god, as if things weren’t complicate enough. I never completed my BA in Marvel History, so some of you will have to help me out with this one. What, exactly, is the relationship between Shatterstar and Longshot? I can only assume it’s something that will provide the next c**k block when Ric and Shatterstar try to consummate their relationship. Meanwhile, Black Cat gets smacked; Monet declares she’s Muslim; and J. Jonah Jameson actually gives a pretty good speech about tolerance. Is it just me or has JJJ been kind of hot lately, in a powerful daddy type kind of way? No? Just me? Fine.
That’s it for this week, folks! Thanks for reading!