No fancy introductions this week, let’s just jump into it!
The final splash page of the previous issue of GI JOE: Cobra left me speechless. Not so much because it was graphic, but because of what happened. The Commander is dead! Long live the Commander! This week’s issue #13 doesn’t disappoint either. Outside of this series, there was never much to Chuckles outside of the goofy name and outlandish Hawaiian shirts. He was one of those Joes that you either loved because of the ridiculousness, or you absolutely hated him for the same reason. Under the skillful hand of Messers Costa and Gage, the much maligned Joe finally got some serious respect. Here, Chuckles is the Joe team’s ultimate deep-cover operative. He’s spent all of his time in-panel in a dangerous cat and mouse game with Xamot and Tomax. This week it comes to a mindboggling conclusion. Seriously, this has been a good spy/ cloak and dagger story. Its strength has sold me on keeping Astonishing X-Men on my pull list solely on the fact that Christos Gage is taking over in the not too distant future.
From last week’s file, I did read the second JMS plotted (but not penned) issue of Superman. This one felt a little more schizophrenic than the last. I did like the multiple references to Superman not behaving like himself; of especial note was the mention that he (and by proxy the reader) could not believe or trust everything seen recently. On the other hand, the meet up with Wonder Woman felt forced. It’s got to be set up for one of the Flashpoint plot points. At any rate, it was clumsy. And are we supposed to recognize the African American woman with pitch black eyes and a mad-on for Superman?
It’s nice to see Marvel taking the time to tell a version of the road to Ragnarok. The Loki mini-series is enjoyable, but something that most of you should pick up in trade form or in quarter bins in the not too distant future. For me though, he’s one of my top three Marvel baddies so I’m going to support his appearances in Marvel books. The story of Balder’s death and funeral thus far has played into Bendis’s portrayal of the god of mischief as someone who believes he is fated to do what he does rather than having a choice. That the Lord of Lies could be some delusional is interesting to me. Is this leading to Fear Itself or the other teasers with multiple hammers of Thor? Or is it just a convenient tie-in to the up coming movie? Either way, I’m enjoying it.
Fact: Jesse and I both have a man-crush on Jeff Parker. Fact: Jeff Parker writes Thunderbolts. Fact: Thunderbolts is Jeff Parker’s love letter to Jesse and I. This issue, Hyperion’s rampage is ended in a predictable but chillingly fun way. I don’t know how he does it. Although I’ve seen the last scene of this issue done in a hundred different stories and on film, Parker makes it his own. In other news, the team is coming together quite well. There was teamwork and battle banter reminiscent of the best Claremont/Byrne X-Men stories.
Finally, I picked up a copy of the Morning Glories trade by Nick Spencer. This came home on the recommendations of several web-reviews and the fact that I enjoyed Spencer’s well crafted Jimmy Olsen stories. I know this will be darker, but the same level of skill and craft will be there. I’m looking forward to this one.