Game Tape: The Return

Wednesday has come and gone. The heroes have fought their battles and villains have hinted at things to come. Now it’s time to review the game tape…

This week marks the full and glorious return of my LCS…more or less. I was ecstatic beyond words at walking in (on a Wednesday!) and seeing the familiar friendly faces. Here’s hoping that the guys can make it work.

On to the books!

COBRA COMMANDER UPDATE: In GI JOE #16, we see the gloved hand of the Commander. Dixon is really milking the suspense here as we see more of the inner workings and structure of Cobra. Although there wasn’t a single Joe in this issue, it still held my interest. This issue marked the end of the second act in this over arching story introducing Cobra to the world stage. Destro is rewarded for his contribution to the M.A.S.S. Device. The Baroness receives a reprieve for her go-it-alone strategem. Dr. Mindbender is reprimanded (I choose to interpret the single shot of his panic as such). The plans go into their final stages. Big conflict is coming and the drums of war hasten their bloody tattoo. On a personal note, my heart leaped with joy to see Major Bludd on the last page. Of all in the inner circle of Cobra, Bludd has always been my favorite. From his grating voice to his poetry bordering on Vogon-esque, he’s just a ton of fun.

Amazing Spider-Man #626 was a solid story. I skipped 625 with the Rhino because it’s a Kelly book. This issue, though, Van Lente is at the helm. The Hood drives the action here with an appearance by the newest Scorpion as setting the stage for things to come. One thing that this new team of Spider-Man writers has be able to better than most since the old Stan Lee days is balance Spidey and Peter. When one takes precedence over the other, the book suffers. As important as the balance is the fact that Peter is redeemable in these stories. The old “Parker luck” doesn’t just keep kicking him and beating him to pulp as it has in less memorable years. I’ve said it before, the fun of the book is back.

Green Lantern #52 is good and readable, if you can wrap your mind around the sudden shift in Sinestro’s raison d’etre. Johns hasn’t set this up as well as he thinks he has. Making noises here and there about always wanting to avenge Abin Sur’s death hasn’t convinced me that he’s not simply the maniac that ran the Sinestro Corps. The moment with Stewart was nice. Maybe we can finally put the past behind him. There was also a pleasant lack of Luthor and Scarecrow being mindlessly dumb. The issue as a whole was fast paced in a not so rushed way. Considering that this mini-crisis ends in the next book published, I’m not sure how it can feel that way. Still, this was a peak in the EKG for the whole story. For the moment, I’m choosing to ignore the fact that all life and all Lanterns now seem to stem from Earth in a weird creationist sort of way.

I also snagged three Jeff Parker books. I didn’t know he was doing another Hulk related book, but Fall of the Hulks: Red Hulk #3 caught my eye. I don’t know much of what’s going on, but it wasn’t too hard to catch up. Some of the ideas were clever, and I might have appreciated more if I were actually following the story instead of the writer. Might be worth looking at in the cheap bins later.

I picked up Thunderbolts #142 also. I haven’t read it, but let’s assume that like Avengers vs. Atlas #3, it was brilliant and fast and clever.

That wraps up my return to regular comic reading…except to say that I also got Muppet King Arthur #3. Like FoH, I have no real idea what’s going on, but the gags are good and the art is the best it’s been on any of these Muppet fairytales. Mebberson was outstanding on Peter Pan, but her art is so static. This artist, whose name escapes me right now manages to be consistent (what was lacking in Robin Hood), cartoony, fun, and dynamic.