Game Tape

It’s a surprisingly strong showing this week. There were only two books from my pull list, but quite a few that I grabbed from the shelf.

Last week I mentioned that I was looking forward to Secret Avengers. It didn’t disappoint. There’s a nice set-up here with a mysterious threat. There’s action starting from page two and going all the way to the end. It’s well done all around. Brubaker manages to craft a first issue that gives the reader just enough info on how and why the team was formed. Unlike some books recently (looking at you JLA: Cry for Justice) we aren’t treated three issues of finding everyone and building a team. Something else that’s refreshing is how seamlessly and logically Steve Rogers steps into this new role. At his heart, Brubaker’s Steve Rogers is a leader. Take the red, white, and blue trappings away and he’s a guy with a plan. No moaning about being too old for this new fast world. No feeling sorry about any thing. It’s really solid story and character. The art is great too. I’m going to ask though, why isn’t this book called Defenders? I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you read it, you’ll understand. I’ll add this one to my pull list. The main Avengers book will have to pass the flip test each month… for now.

Honestly, I only have a vague notion of what was happening in Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #2. It’s not bad, just confusing. I trust and respect Morrison, but even he couldn’t make Puritans interesting for me. The moments away from 1600’s Gotham were only slightly less confusing. I’m hoping Pirate Batman is much more coherent.

The less said about Green Lantern #54, the better. Johns has stolen the plot from Pokemon’s theme song/ catch phrase. Not to mention it reeks of the main theme of at least half of the 1980’s cartoons. Green Lantern, we need some time away from each other to clear our heads and find out who we are.

The thing I’m enjoying about this new theme of the Heroic Age is exhibited well in Fantastic Four #579. It’s not naive optimism that makes it brighter or more hopeful. What makes it brighter is that the stories are geared more toward a proactive approach without being authoritarian. Reed and gang are going to make the world better. Hank Pym is Scientist Supreme of this universe, but no one is laying down the law and saying, “We’re going to make your world better whether you like it or not.” There’s a sense of cooperation here. Reed trying to reform the Wizard; Sue working with the ancient Atlanteans; Then there’s the hint of the ominous. All four civilizations highlighted in the previous arc are connected somehow…in spite of no obvious relations. On top of the story and thematic elements, Neil Edwards art is hitting the right notes. Gone is the beefy hyper-muscular Reed. Good riddance.

Imagine my surprise to walk into Ye Olde Shoppe and see that Thunderbolts written by Jeff Parker is out this week! I had no idea. This one take the opposite tack from Secret Avengers. The issue is all about team building. It’s got Parker’s usual panache for character and dialogue. There’s also a surprise ending. Check it out.

There are some nice parallels in Transformers #7. In one issue we see how the space marooned Decepticons are handling the new peace time. Megatron narrates as we see some disturbing scenes of the camp run by Starscream. In someways they’re reacting in a grotesque mimicry of the Earthbound Autobots. Megatron also has some interesting insights into Optimus Prime’s character. Surprisingly, it does not seem terribly distorted. Also, what’s the dark secret of Section 82? Sounds like a plot device to tear the burgeoning human/ Autobot alliance to shreds.