Comics Load: Abused by Bats

How many times can I use “disembowel” in one Comics Load? It’s kind of a bloody week in comics, so I threw in a couple of family-friendly titles to help even out the rivers of blood. Thankfully, it wasn’t really an Owl-heavy week, so that’s a nice break for the DC fans out there. And speaking of summer events, how are you enjoying this year’s offerings? Is Night of the Owls rocking your world? Who’s your favorite Talon so far? (I’m totally shipping William and Alton!) Have you taken a side in Avengers VS. X-Men? Are you wearing the appropriate team’s t-shirt every day? Let us know! 

Now, on with the Load

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #39
Written by: Brian Reed
Pencils: Lee Garbett
Inks: John Lucas
What if George Bailey, the depressed hero of It’s a Wonderful Life, discovered that the world really would have been better off without him? (First, I think that would classify more as a Thanksgiving movie than a Christmas one.) Peter Parker gets that soul-crushing chance in this special Annual issue. When Grady, the kooky time-altering genius at Horizon Labs, accidentally removes Peter from the timeline, good ol’ Pete gets to see how much better the world would be without him. MJ is a major movie star; JJJ is the President of the United States of economic surplus; and Norman Osborn is curing cancer. Wow. A more stoic individual would probably accept this fate and quietly disappear to lead a normal, anonymous life. But not our Peter! He starts running around, trying to get people to remember him. Thanks to a still-living Uncle Ben, Peter realizes that he’s made an extremely subtle difference in the business decisions of a small number of his work-related acquaintances. That is…just…so…heartwarming. And every time a bell rings, Uncle Ben dies again.

Batman Annual #1
Written by: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV
Pencils: Jason Fabok
Colored by: Peter Steigerwald
If you think you’ve become too jaded and cynical to enjoy comics, give this one a try. About halfway though, I’m thinking the same thing I usually think while reading Batman: “Oh my glob, Bruce. Why are you such a douchenozzle?” Victor Fries (aka Mr. Freeze) certainly agrees with me. In probably the best line I’ve read all year, Fries tells Penguin, “I have been abused by bats and used by owls, and now all I want is to settle my scores once and for all.” I hear ya, Victor. But just when I think I’ve seen this all before, Scott Snyder and friends pull a pretty good switcheroo, upending decades of canon in the most exquisite way. Truly, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. Bruce’s regularly scheduled douchenozzlery will return next week, I’m sure. The

Ravagers #1
Written by: Howard Mackie
Art by: Ian Churchill
Colored by: Alex Sollazzo
You know what I miss? Teenagers killing each other. It’s been a whole week since the Culling ended, and since Wolverine suddenly decided not to kill his teenage target, there’s been a huge hole where the teen bloodbath used to be. Thankfully, the Ravagers have arrived to fill that hole. And fill it, they do! I rather enjoyed this title, believe it or not. I was never a fan of the Terror Titans, though I’ve always sort of liked Rose, mainly because she reminds me of Roxie from The Misfits, and I always expect an orphan to show up to teach her how to read. Having escaped from Harvest, kids who tortured and fought the Teen Titans suddenly find themselves lost and disorganized. If you’ve ever read any comic ever, you know that a group of misfits has to bicker for a while before they come together as a team. Thankfully, the bickering is mercifully short this time around, because Rose and Warblade are in hot pursuit, determined to kill or recapture the escapees. The action and tension keep you turning pages, and the bleak setting adds to the sense of isolation and abandonment. My only complaint is some confusion over who’s who, but that’s probably my fault for not ordering a copy of the Culling High Yearbook. (Go, Class of 2012! You rock!) 

Superman Family Adventures #1
Written by: Franco, Art Baltazar
Art by: Art Baltazar
Colored by: Art Baltazar
Sometimes I like to read comics that have fewer disembowelments and blood orgies than what I usually read. Since this new DC book has “family” right in the title, and it’s from the folks who did Tiny Titans, I decided to give it a try. It’s nice to have a palate cleanser before reading about a bunch of zombie owls stabbing everyone in Gotham. The story here is pretty simple and acts as a nice introduction to all the characters. Clark Kent is a reporter for the Daily Planet, but spends most of his time saving Metropolis as Superman. Helping him out are Superboy, Supergirl and Krypto the Super Dog. I’m not sure which Superboy this is. He’s dressed like Conner, but he calls Superman his cousin. I guess that’s easier than calling him “DNA donor #1.” In this issue, Lex is up to his usual bag of anti-Superman tricks, but I like that he’s not revealed right away. Instead, there are clues you can piece together to figure it out on your own. I’m not that smart, so I had to go back after the reveal and look at the clues again. Still, if you’re a kid and you don’t drink as much as I do, you’ll probably figure it out.

Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation #1
Written by: Tony Lee, David Tipton
Art by: David Messina, J.K. Woodward
This…this is a real thing that is happening. I heard about this a while ago, but I thought I missed it. So, I’m reluctantly glad it appeared in my digital selections for the week. If you’re new around here, you may not know this, but I’m not really a Star Trek fan. I just never got into it. I was a Star Wars kid from birth, and I just never warmed up to the Trek universe. I respect its legacy and its longevity, and I respect its fans. I wrote “reluctantly” above, mainly because crossovers of this sort can be unrelentingly cheesy. I love Doctor Who, though I freely admit I’ve only ever seen a few episodes of the classic series. If this book had been about the 5th Doctor’s adventures with the crew of the Enterprise, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. But since it features one of my Doctors, I had to at least give it a try. Since I don’t know much about the Star Trek universe, I will do my best to sum up what’s going on in this issue. The Borg are attacking those bald people from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The bald people call for help from the Federation. Meanwhile, the Doctor, Amy and Rory are in a high-speed chariot chase, on their way to unmask an alien posing as a pharaoh’s vizier. Once that’s taken care of, they head off to San Francisco, but before they do, the Doctor gets a glimpse of something unpleasant: a Cybermen/Borg team-up! Then, guess who they run into in a bar in SF? Yes! It’s that one guy and that other guy. You know, beard-o and the C-3PO knock-off.
Though the whole idea still makes me a little…uncomfortable…I will check out the next issue, which is a pretty strong testament from a non-ST fan. I do like that Patrick Stewart, though. Ask me about my Patrick Stewart/Ian McKellen fantasies sometime.  

Wolverine and the X-Men #11
Written by: Jason Aaron
Pencils: Nick Bradshaw
Inks: Nick Bradshaw, Normal Lee, Walden Wong
Here’s what happened. Marvel’s editors have been reading my complaints about Wolverine’s creepy bloodlust for Hope. So, instead of letting him get his adamantium rocks off by disemboweling a teenage girl, they decide to give him a complete change of heart. Hurrah! I’m glad I could help. This issue takes place before the most recent AVX events, so it’s mostly about Wolverine and Hope trying to get to the moon. Along the way, Hope promises Wolverine that he can kill her later, but Wolvie starts having second thoughts. Thanks to some flashbacks of Jean pleading with him to kill her, he decides that he’s tired of dames telling him what to do. Ha! No, he decides that he can’t just go around killing kids when he’s a teacher. Whatever his reasoning, I support it. Now, Marvel, since I have your attention, I’d like to go over some of these color swatches I have for Northstar’s wedding