Silver Surfer #15: Battling The Human Torch

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You just know any comic book that starts out with the Silver Surfer shopping for a trench coat and fedora is just going to end badly for him. By the middle of this issue he finds out that the Fantastic Four–who he thought were his friends–have been conspiring against him with the US Army.

But first, back to him clothes shopping. Surfer is offered them, as the salesman thinks he is holding up the store which is called “Exclusive Styles Men’s Clothing.” With a name like that it has to be fancy. Surfer won’t accept his generosity. Instead, he turns a stanchion into solid gold. He then doe what we all do with our new clothes: goes out on the town.

Unfortunately he overhears what sounds like the Fantastic Four teaming up with the army. Fearing captivity he lashes out and attacks them. It leads to a high speed, energy blasting battle with the Human Torch across the city that ends abruptly with the Torch almost getting hit by a train. Surfer snaps out of his rage in time to prevent that from happening, as he couldn’t stomach the thought of him letting a friend die in such a grizzly way.

The story ends with Surfer finding out the truth of the army’s visit to Reed Richards: they wanted to recruit him to help assist in the development of space travel. Surfer leaves completely distraught, having blown the one opportunity that mankind wanted to befriend him.

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Silver Surfer #14: The One With Spider-Man

silver-surfer-14Marvel Comics had two main tropes in the 1960s. The first was that everything happens in New York City. The other is that any time two super heroes meet for the first time will result in fisticuffs. The latter rings true in Silver Surfer #14.

Stan Lee chose not to have too much back story in this one. The two are flying (well in Spidey’s case web slinging) around the city, which causes the two of them to collide and carnage ensues.

As this is happening we’re introduced to a super hero obsessed kid named Henry who is watching the encounter from a rooftop. Things quickly get out of hand, and the army is called in to stop the mayhem. How they were able to get tanks and missile launchers into downtown Manhattan during rush hour is a special power all of its own.

During the chaos, Silver Surfer stops fighting Spidey to save Henry from certain death. This act of nobility is noticed by everyone; Spider-Man apologizes, as he certainly knows what it’s like to be considered a menace. The army retreats, as they realized that Surfer wasn’t a threat to national security.

The last panel has Surfer ruminating over what happened and he says this great quote:

No longer do  they seek…to slay me! Perhaps there is hope for them! Perhaps one day they will renounce all use of force for only then–at last–will mankind come of age.

In context of the story, Surfer has a rekindled mankind. But in context of the time, you really wonder if in fact it was Lee commenting on not only the Vietnam War but all the social violence that was happening in the United States at the time. The sixties were no fun decade in that respect.

Silver Surfer #13: Dawn of the Doomsday Man

silver-surfer-13Lee and Buscema find yet another way to dupe the poor Silver Surfer.That seems to be a recurring theme in this series.

This time Surfer gets duped by a mad scientist named Dr. Kronton who has created a one man army corps called Doomsday Man. Literally, this is a robot killing machine. It’s gone rogue in an underground silo and he needs Surfer’s assistance in tracking it down.

The diabolical plan is to have Surfer no only free the Doomsday Man, but to have the robot carry a cobalt bomb into the United States. If Dr. Kronton doesn’t get what he wants, well, there will be a hole lot of beachfront property in southern Canada.

And yes, there actually was a cobalt bomb. I thought it was a bunch of grandiose Stan Lee verbiage, but I was wrong.

Once Silver Surfer finds out Dr. Kronton’s plan, he is able to stop the Doomsday Man which is on a crash course to Manhattan, just like every other Marvel villain from this period. He does that by throwing the robot into the earth’s core and heaving the bomb into space where it safely explodes. During all this chaos, Kronton dies off panel. I assume it was a heart attack. It ends with everyone blaming Surfer for all the chaos and Kronton’s death as he walks away sad, thinking that these people are monsters.

The Mighty Thor/Journey Into Mystery: Everything Burns And I Need Your Help

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I’ll admit; I probably should have been reading Kieron Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery to have a better understanding of what was going on. This volume collects the series’ final arc, which was a cross over with The Mighty Thor. It’s up to Kid Loki and Thor to save everyone, and tie up the loose ends of Gillen’s run on Journey and Matt Fraction’s on The Mighty Thor.

Unfortunately, I picked this up completely cold. There is a lot of stuff going on that required tons and tons of Googleing to figure out. What happened–or at least what I think happened–was that Kid Loki has been feuding with the spirit of his older self all this time. And as a result, he’s somehow freed the fire demon Surtur. So it is up to him and his older brother Thor to save the universe.

There’s a lot of deception, trickery and flat-out lying between all the characters, as well as allusions to some of the previous plot lines in Journey Into Mystery. All of this really confused me to the point that I still don’t have a clue as to what exactly happened. So I’m going to ask you my reader pals what happened.

What I do feel comfortable talking about was how much I liked Alan Davis’ art on the Thor parts of this. He’s such a great–and underutilized–artist.

But getting back to this, I’m going to say that it’s pretty forgettable unless you have been following the Journey series. If you were a faithful reader of that series, I will give it a hearty recommendation. And if you knew what happened in this, please let me know!

Uncanny X-Force: The Apocalypse Solution

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Rob Liefeld wasn’t the artist for this series, but he did contribute artwork for a variant cover for Uncanny X-Force #1.

I really enjoyed the set concept of X-Force being a more forceful, covert branch of the X-Family. So the continued adventures of Wolverine and Archangel’s secret task force in Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña’s Uncanny X-Force was a bit of a must read for me.

The previous volume ended with the team being seemingly disbanded by Cyclops. Wolverine and Archangel didn’t. I mean, who takes Cyclops seriously? Especially at this point in the characters’s existence. The group is based out of Cavern-X, which is basically Archangel’s version of the Batcave. It’s even decorated with X-Memorabilia. The new roster of this team adds Fantomex, Psylocke (who makes sense since she’s been the on again, off again love interest of Archangel) and Deadpool.

The purpose of this team has been to track the movements of the Apocalypse-worshipping Clan Akkaba across the globe. It turns out the group has reincarnated Apocalypse, now in the form of a young child. Knowing that he will eventually grow up into a tyrant that will eventually destroy both mankind and mutantkind, X-Force has the gruesome task of killing him. It’s the only way to be certain that he won’t be a threat to the planet. So it’s off to the moon to find him and fight the latest version of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

The battle sequences are what you would expect, but there is a lot of foreshadowing seen through the interactions of the members of X-Force. Fantomex is pretty much sexually harassing Psylocke the whole time, much to her and her boyfriend Archangel’s disdain. Speaking of the guy with the big metal wings, he is having his own problems dealing with a darker split personality trying to overtake him. With all this drama going on, Wolverine is put in a position where he has to be the peacemaker and that is a role is foreign to him. Aside from the intentionally bad jokes that Remender wrote for his dialogue, Deadpool is the straight man in this book. Go figure. 

The book ends with X-Force having dispatched the Four Horsemen and finding Kid Apocalypse. There is only one problem…no one seems willing to kill him, other than Archangel. There’s a lot of pleading from Wolverine and Psylocke to not do it, and the team reaches a consensus to take him back with them. If he has the chance to be properly educated and integrated into society, he won’t be a threat.

And then Fantomex kills him.

So much for that. 

I like the way Uncanny X-Force is heading. There is a lot of foreshadowing, not only with the repercussions of killing Apocalypse but with the strained relations among the members of the group themselves. Opeña’s art is a little different, but it reminds of Leinil Yu. I can’t wait to check out the next volume.

Silver Surfer #12

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Silver Surfer takes a brief stopover to England, fights the Abomination and meets a dysfunctional coven. All in a day’s work for the sky-rider of the spaceways.

The story starts out with Surfer still reeling from the events of the past issue. He wants to make sure that Shalla Bal was able to return to their home planet and is alive. He attempts to break past Galactus’ barrier yet again and fails, ricocheting back to earth and crashing in England.

Conveniently as this happens, a warlock named Nigel Carruthers is trying to impress his coven with his power and general witchiness.

Upon finding the incapacitated Surfer, he uses his black magic to conjure up a monster. In this case, it was longtime Hulk villain the Abomination. Nigel’s plan is to show the world–and all of his warlock/witch friends who kind of treat him like an idiot–how powerful he is by  commanding this monster to destroy the Surfer. Little does Nigel know that Abomination answers to no one.

The rest of the issue is the Surfer and Abomination fighting across the English countryside. Eventually the Surfer stops the monster and forcibly commands the witches to send Abomination back where he came.

The issue wasn’t great but it certainly was better than the Flying Dutchman or Overlord issues. And it had a really fun subplot with everyone thinking Nigel was an idiot. It’s a fun comic and perfectly fine.

Some Costuming Fun In Captain America: The Winter Soldier

captain-amerca-the-winterIt might be well over a year away, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t start speculating and talking about what we do know. The last couple of weeks have revealed some new information about Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

I guess the most dramatic is that Cap has a new look. Actor Chris Evans will be sporting a new Captain America uniform that borrows most of its design and inspiration from the Steve Rogers: Super Soldier era when James “Bucky” Barnes had adopted the Captain America mantle. It’s also another neat tie between the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Ultimate Universe and Marvel proper, as Nick Fury Jr. sports this same outfit. And that character is based on Samuel L.Jackson’s portrayal of Nick Fury in The Avengers, which is based on the Ultimate Universe Nick Fury.

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Speaking of Bucky, the Winter Soldier-ized version of the character looks to play a big role in the film. The way they have Sebastian Stan dressed up and wigged (is that even a word?) looks exactly the way the character was designed by Steve Epting and Butch Guice, right down to the cybernetic arm.

As much as I’m interested to see how Anthony Mackie looks as the Falcon, I’m more intrigued to see what Batroc the Leaper is going to look like. I think it’s awesome that UFC champ Georges St-Pierre is playing him, but his real-life no-nonsense-ness (I know that is not a word) really contrasts how cartoony the character is. I guess we’ll find out when the movie is released on April 4, 2014.

Silver Surfer #10-11

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These issues somehow manage to tie the Silver Surfer/Shalla Bal love story into a Latin American revolution during the 1960s. And yes, this story arc is as amazing as that sounds.

One of the key points in this series has been how there is such a huge disconnect between the Surfer and humanity. The story starts out with Surfer saving a man attempting to commit suicide and the police officer who was literally trying to talk him off of a ledge. Unfortunately, it becomes a scenario that Surfer is all too familiar with: instead of being thanked for his actions, he is getting yelled at for being a pariah and a danger to mankind.

Silver Surfer winds up travelling to Latin America and winds up getting sucked into a revolutionary war. Siding with the “freedom fighters” instead of the country’s established government, Surfer sets out to rescue one of their leaders, a woman named Donna Maria.

I like the fact that they make no effort whatsoever to identify what Latin American country it was set in. I don’t think it was possible to make it any vaguer.

As this is going on, Shalla Bal is being courted by Yarro Gort, who can’t stand that she still pines for Surfer even though he is no longer really a Zenn-La-ian. So Yarro decides that he’s going to break Shalla’s heart by taking them to Earth so she can see for herself that the Surfer has moved on with his life and that she should as well. Yarro has totally lucked out, as when they get to earth Surfer has just rescued Donna who is smooching him as a thank you. Yarro really is a dick.

Shalla doesn’t seem to be to worried about that and is more concerned by the fact that they’ve been captured by the evil army. Yarro shows his true colors and makes a deal with his captors: if they let him go, they can use his space ship’s weaponry to not only put down the rebellion but the Silver Surfer as well. Ultimately it comes down to an all out battle between Yarro and the government against Silver Surfer and the rebellion. Yarro gets killed, but Shalla is mortally wounded during the melee. Surfer then repairs the space ship and sends her back home to Zenn-La, as no Earth medicine could save her.

Stan Lee and John Buscema really get across with the words and art is how much sadness there is in the Silver Surfer’s life, not to mention that he always does the right thing, even when he has nothing to gain from doing so. He saved those men at the bridge only to be treated like a monster. He’s reunited with his beloved Shalla but has to send her to the other side of the universe so she can survive. It sucks being the Silver Surfer.

Silver Surfer #8-9

 

silver-surfer-9Silver Surfer #8-9 brigs the legend of the tormented soul of the Flying Dutchman into the Marvel Universe via the evil machinations of Mephisto. And boy, didn’t that last sentence sound like something Stan Lee would have written.

At this point, Mephisto is pretty much Silver Surfer’s recurring arch nemesis. The demon lord fears the Surfer and is trying to find a way to stop him. The latest involves finding the evil spirit of the old Dutch pirate Joost van Straaten and empowering him into his new “Flying Dutchman” state. And by that, Mephisto made him into a cyborg looking a lot like Deathlok. He also has these really lame looking grappling hooks for hands.

Any way they fight back and forth until the Silver Surfer is finally able to defeat the Dutchman. There’s a few really cool panels where Mephisto is getting involved unbeknownst to either the Surfer or Dutchman, but to no avail. The end of the story has the Surfer showing remorse for the Dutchman, who only teamed up with Mephisto in an attempt to free his soul. Silver’s empathy is enough to void the Dutchman’s deal and freeing him.

This wasn’t the best of Lee and Buscema’s work on this title, but the story worked. They all can’t be classics I guess.

Silver Surfer #7

silver-surfer-7Alright, I lied. This has been my least favorite issue of Silver Surfer so far. The best stories are when he is out exploring the cosmos or the  human condition. Unfortunately, this does neither.

To be perfectly honest, nothing that extraordinary happens during this story. Ludwig Frankenstein (of that Frankenstein family) tricks the Silver Surfer into powering his monster. The rest of the story is the Surfer trying to stop this aberration.

There is also a subplot with Ludwig’s long suffering assistant Borgo, who has enough of his master. The two meet their demise as they fall out of a castle window.

Silver Surfer  #7 really doesn’t offer that much. It’s recommended only for the completist.

Silver Surfer #6

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Well the streak had to end sometime. So far, Silver Surfer #6 is my least favorite issue in the run. It’s not that it’s a bad issue or anything; just compared to the rest.

In typical fashion, Stan Lee and John Buscema (who is joined by his brother Sal Buscema on inks) have Silver Surfer being depressed. He’s still reeling from the loss of his newly found friend Al in the last issue, and he still pines for Shalla-Bal back on his home world.

Thinking that Galactus’ intergalactic barrier will probably not be keeping him trapped on Earth forever, Silver Surfer tries to move at the speed of light in order to travel to the future in a method similar to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Unfortunately, the future he travels to a really terrible future.

It wasn’t explained if it was the near for way future, but the universe has been conquered by the evil Overlord of Dakkam. Both his home of Zenn-La and Earth have been destroyed.  So Silver Surfer does the only logical thing: he travels back in time to prevent the event that caused the Overlord to come to power and thus never conquer the universe. Unlike Captain Kirk, the Silver Surfer has no qualms about violating the space and time continuum.

Rules are meant to be broken, after all. Anyway, poor Surfer returns back to present day Earth, only to be lonely and trapped. Poor little guy.

It Came From San Diego Comic Con 2013: Wolverine Saga Minimates

sdcc-wolverine-saga-minimatesMini Mates are always a lot of fun and at San Diego Comic Con this July there is an exclusive Wolverine set. The most awesome is Wolverine an orange kimono. That’s his version of business casual.

The Wolverine-as-Venom is pretty cool as well. I’m not sure if the Space Suite Wolverine really looks more like Wolverine wearing the skin of the Thing. And as we all remember, admantium does in fact cut up the Thing very nicely. The set is rounded out with his current costume and him in his Ultimate Universe attire.

 

RDJ Back As Iron Man!

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Well color me unsurprised.

Marvel just announced that Robert Downey Jr. is going to be wearing the Iron Man suit once again in a press release.

It goes on to say that the Iron Man character will be in Avengers 2 and Avengers 3.

So why the sudden change?

Downey, Jr.’s last two Marvel films, 2012’s “Marvel’s The Avengers” and this year’s “Iron Man 3,” rank as two of the top five grossing films of all time, collectively earning over $2.7 billion worldwide to date.

Simply put, as awesome as he is playing Tony Stark, he’s an even more awesome box office draw. I’ll be the first to extend my congratulations.

Silver Surfer #5

silver-surfer-5So far the Silver Surfer’s imprisonment on the planet has been pretty depressing. All of mankind wants nothing to do with him. Everyone who has attempted to befriend him (Loki, Mephisto, the Badoon) all have alterior motives. That said, in Silver Surfer #5, he finally makes a friend.

After a failed attempt at breaking through the barrier that keeps him from the rest of the universe, he falls back to earth and is found unconscious by a man named Al B. Harper (who is drawn like he is an African-American Jack Kirby). Al takes Surfer in. Conveniently Al is some sort of mad scientist/astro physicist who thinks he can figure out a way for the Silver Surfer to break through Galactus’ barrier. Really, what’s the luck of finding someone like that?

Before Silver Surfer can use this device, the evil alien the Stranger has returned to earth and revealed his latest evil scheme to kill off mankind. So while the Silver Surfer is battling the Stranger, Al takes it upon himself to disassemble the Null-Bomb that is set to destroy all life on the planet. Unfortunately, this heroic act winds up claiming his life. Realizing that his latest attempt has failed, the Stranger leaves to return to his cushy intergalactic lair. I’m assuming it’s probably somewhere on Pluto.

The best part of the story is in how Silver Surfer is mourning the loss of his new-found friend Al. It has nothing to do with the fact that this human had a plan to free him from his earthly prison. Instead, the Silver Surfer admires how brave Al was in the face of certain death and is really disturbed that the rest of the people of Earth will never know that this man saved everyone. This selfless act has caused the Silver Surfer to reevaluate his opinion on mankind.

It Came From San Diego Comic Con 2013: Masters of the Universe Classics Rokkon And Stonedar

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Now this is ridiculously awesome.Back in my childhood, Rokkon and Stonedar were two of my favorite characaters in the whole Masters of the Universe pantheon. And now they’re back…in San Diego Comic Con exclusive form.

These guys came out right at the tail end of the Masters of the Universe line and sadly don’t have much of a lasting impression, but they’re still really cool characters. They are part of a species of rock people called, well, Rock People. They never appeared in the He-Man cartoons properly but did make some appearances in She-Ra.

Rokkon and Stonedar were so much fun to play with. The original figures transformed between a humanoid form and an asteroid . The sculpting–for 1986 standards–was really well done, but sadly the articulation feature made them really fragile.

The 2013 version of the figures solves that. The bodies are the really cool modern version that the Four Horsemen sculpt and it solves the problem of the original figures. Their rocky exterior is clip on plate armor!

I’ve not been collecting the new Masters of the Universe figures, save for Faker and the Sorceress, but I am really tempted to get these…what do you think?

Silver Surfer #4

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In this issue, Silver Surfer almost let’s his altruistic nature almost take the best of him when he encounters Loki.

The Asgardian’s story is pretty typical for this time. Loki really really hates his brother Thor and is always looking for new ways to destroy him. His latest plan involves using the Silver Surfer to do his bidding, with a little treachery.

Loki explains to Silver Surfer that his brother Thor is a huge miscreant and is a danger to Asgard. Silver Surfer, for all the cosmic power he wields, is a bit of a rube and believes Loki’s story. The two make a deal: if the Silver Surfer goes to Asgard and kills Thor (who is planning on taking over Asgard), Loki will remove the enchantment that keeps the Surfer imprisoned on Earth. He is a god of sorts, after all.

This plot really is textbook Loki logic. He has a problem that he himself can’t solve, so he manipulates someone into doing it for him. Surfer is transported to Asgard and is on a mission to kill Thor. Eventually the two meet, and Surfer attacks him as he thinks he is a liberator to the Asgardians. The whole fight sequence by John Buscema is filled with so much energy and kinetic-ism that it rivals something that Jack Kirby would have done during this period.

Surfer has the advantage in the fight and realizes that Loki is doing something to not only augment his powers, but control his body. He also notices that the Asgardians are coming out to protect Thor; if he was as villainous as Loki described, no one would be doing this. Surfer confronts Loki, who does admit that this has been a more villainous plan all along and sends Surfer back to Earth as he wasn’t able to live up to his end of the bargain.

Poor Surfer. He gets duped into doing Loki’s work and gets beaten up by Thor. But on a positive note, Thor wasn’t too mad at him as he knows the lengths Loki would go to in his diabolical schemes. The book ends with Silver Surfer still upset that he’s still trapped on a planet that he really doesn’t understand and had been tricked by someone he had trusted. The moral of the story: don’t help strangers.

Silver Surfer #3: The Last Temptation of Silver Surfer

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In Silver Surfer #3, the Silver Surfer bought a toothbrush, some toothpaste and a flannel for his face. No, those are the lyrics to that Squeeze song.

This tale from Stan Lee and John Buscema is all about making a deal with the devil. And in this case, Mephisto. The demonic lord of Marvel’s underworld makes his debut in this issue and does everything but formally say that he is the devil or Satan himself. Being that the Comics Code Authority was still in effect during this era, I’m assuming that might have had something to do with it.

With a theme of power and control permeating the story, Mephisto is introduced as being someone who has a keen interest in the Silver Surfer. His altruism–not to mention cosmic power–is seen as a threat to Mephisto.

Being that he is an all-knowing demon, Mephisto tries to tempt the Silver Surfer with the one thing he loves most in the universe: Shalla Bal. After attempting several other ways to trick (and in some cases, physical violence) the Surfer into submission, Mephisto gives one final offer of Shalla Bal in exchange of assistance (or at the very least, the allowance) of him collecting and corrupting souls throughout the universe.

Before the Silver Surfer can announce his decision, Shall Bal interrupts and pleads to not accept the offer. Their love isn’t worth the damnation of millions. Silver Surfer agrees that the good of the universe far supersedes their own love and rejects the Faustian deal. And the issue ends with Shalla Bal back on Zenn-La and the Surfer alone and still trapped on earth.

The story is pretty powerful and really is a morality play with Surfer having the weight of the universe on his chrome shoulders. Ultimately his (and Shalla’s) decision makes perfect sense. Sometimes making the right decision isn’t necessarily the best personal decision.

Marvel Super-Heroes Special Summer 1991

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Anthologies are so much fun. Especially ones that are budget priced. Marvel Super-Heroes Summer Special 1991 would have been perfect beach reading back in 1991…except everyone who bought it was probably in super collector mindset of the time.

The cover might lead you to believe that the X-Men are the highlight of the book, but that’s not the case. The stories with Power Pack and Cloak and Dagger steal the show.

The Power Pack story has the child heroes finding the recently hatched offspring of the Monster from the Lost Lagoon and protecting them from scientists until they could be reunited with their monstrous parents.The story really connected with me, probably because as a child of the 1980s it really reminded me of movies like ET and Harry and the Hendersons. It was very lighthearted and plain old fun.

On the other hand, the Cloak and Dagger story somehow manages to be both depressing and disturbing, as Dagger is investigating the death of one of her old boarding school friends. Basically it is a story about life choices, and this friend had a series of terrible choices.

As for the rest of the book, the X-Men story is fine, the Speedball one is by Steve Ditko and pretty silly (in a good way) and Sabra’s part is pretty forgettable. But as a whole, there’s nothing bad about anything in this.

Marvel Super-Heroes Special Winter 1991

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This issue isn’t important just because Erik Larsen had the foresight to draw Namor flying around with the X-Men (something the Sub-Mariner wouldn’t regularly do until about twenty years after this was published).

I know that Iron Man is in this picture as well, but lets assume that he has relapsed into alcoholism and stumbled into the frame.

What is most important is that it’s the debut of Steve Ditko’s final marvel creation—Squirrel Girl!

Before she became a nanny/babysitter for Power Man and Jessica Jones, she turned up in this quarterly special.

Ditko introduces the rodent powered hero in a short feature with Iron Man. He’s been kidnapped by Doctor Doom, and the only person he can call for help is Squirrel Girl. The character is just so ridiculous, with her only being able to communicate with squirrels (in squirrel-girlparticularly, her favorite who is named Monkey Joe) and some other squirrely powers. See what I did there?

Early in the story, she’s pleading to be Iron Man’s sidekick, but he keeps blowing her off. The poor girl is clueless. But Squirrel Girl proves her worth when she calls for some backup–Monkey Joe and about a thousand of his little furry friends. They subdue and in turn wind up humiliating  Doctor Doom.

She’s a really goofy character and reminds me of Sue Heck from The Middle with her constant cheeriness. The whole thing is just so absurd to the point that you  have to imagine that it made Ditko either really mad or he immensely enjoyed the story.

The rest of the book has some fun stuff, involving the X-Men trying to stop a half-human, half-Sentinel who has gone out of control, Namor making making some bird-like friends, and a bunch of Jim Starlin. So should you buy this? Only if you are a speculator waiting for Squirrel Girl: The Movie. No really, it’s a fun anthology and great for some light reading.

Green Arrow #6-16: Ollie, We Have A Problem

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I know I should have liked this but I didn’t.

This was Ann Nocenti’s return to the comics world. Nocenti was responsible, either as a writer or an editor for so much stuff in the 1980s and 1990s. She’s gone on to pursue outside interests and this was her first work in comics for a while.

I think what killed these issues for me had nothing to do with Nocenti’s writing or anyone on the art side. What bothers me is how hard of a time I have been having getting into this New 52 version of the Green Arrow. I mean there is plenty of adventure, ranging from him being seduced by a set of bio-weapon engineered triplets to a pair of Seattle archers exploiting the Occupy Wall Street mantra for their own personal gain. Arrow also gets a crossover with Hawkman and even goes to China for a while.

So why am I having such a hard time connecting with this? If you’ve read Green Arrow comics for any amount of time, you can’t say it’s because of his rogue’s gallery. The stories where Green Arrow is most interesting are the ones that involve his great extended supporting cast, whether it be a fixture like Black Canary or Arsenal, or more recent  characters like his son Connor or Mia. Unfortunately, none of them are part of this. Oliver does have his Q-Core employees who help him, but they really aren’t that interesting.

Anyone writing the New 52 Green Arrow also has another problem: they’re competing with the television show Arrow. Both have a similar theme, in that Oliver Queen is just starting out in his exploits as a debuting vigilante. But what Arrow did so well was put together a great supporting cast for him. The comics series has yet to show that. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s a conscious decision to distance the two.

Jeff Lemire (most recently of Animal Man fame) took over with issue #17. Unfortunately, I’ve kind of moved on from the character. I’m really liking Arrow, and that has become my Green Arrow of choice these days. Maybe I’ll give it a try if my local public library has it. But for now I’m done with the exploits of the emerald archer.