Monthly Archives: February 2014

Hack/Slash/Eva: Monster’s Ball

HACK_SLASH_EVA_MONSTERS_BALL_TRADE_PAPERBACKMonster’s Ball was refreshing in that it was an episodic slasher hunt without any accumulated baggage, exactly the kind of thing I’ve been asking for. It was problematic in that… well, see that “Eva” up there? Apparently this was a crossover between Cassie’s comic and Eva’s, who is a brunette hunter of monsters in tight, occasionally accidentally-revealing clothing accompanied by a hulking, inhuman, green-skinned monster[1]. I’m not precisely sure who is ripping off whom here, but clearly the creators must not mind so much, or else I doubt there would have been a crossover in the first place?

Also, it was less of a crossover and more of a boost for the Eva character, as far as I can tell. That is, it’s much harder to find any information about this person, despite the authorial duties coming from that direction, and also Cassie and Vlad were entirely guest stars in Eva’s enemy’s evil plot. Sure, some of Cassie’s old enemies made an appearance, but you could skip this and never know you’d missed anything, whereas even without knowing anything about Eva that I didn’t glean in this book, it’s obvious that her life altered significantly between the first and last pages of the story. So, cool I guess?

Even if other Eva collections existed (and they appear not to), I wouldn’t be seeking them out after this taste. Which probably tells you what you need to know.

[1] I mean, not the Hulk.

Ultimate X-Men: Natural Resources

61Djh0nXhuL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_If there’s one thing you can take for granted in any Marvel universe, it’s that while the mutants may have good days, they never, ever have good years. With this knowledge in hand, it was easy to predict how Natural Resources was going to go. Well, that and the knowledge that Kitty Pryde’s deal with POTUS has recently become her deal with the previous POTUS. And that’s before you take into account her array of other oppositions, foreign and domestic.

As spoilery as that whole paragraph feels, it’s all based on what has gone before. I have sincerely said almost nothing about the actual book in question. On the one hand, it’s really cool to see all kinds of plots coming together. Perhaps by the time I get through the next few books (one already published, two more out within the month), there will be almost no dangling threads at all, and I won’t feel like I’m wandering around lost and/or forgetful?

Ha ha, turns out that’s not speculation. The fourth future book is yet another comics-shattering event, after which I can expect another rebranding[1] and another contraction of what is being published. Well, sort of a contraction. It’s three titles, but since there are only three titles now (not counting one-shots), this may not count as anything especially impressive? Perhaps the goal is to have fewer one-shots. Due to there being that upcoming comics-shattering event, I will not reveal which titles are expected, since probably everyone not in them will be dead soon? (I have no proof, but Ultimatum is persuasive evidence as to how these things go.)

[1] Ultimate Comics NOW! The exclamation mark was not added by me, to be clear. Nor were the caps.

Death Troopers

DeathtroopersIf you’ve been saying to yourself (and who hasn’t?), “Man, I like the ninety or so Star Wars novels floating around out there, but why don’t any of them have zombies?”, then I am here to tell you that you’ve been ignoring Death Troopers, which has been sitting on my shelf for at least two years.

I’m supposed to be here to tell you more than that, you know? This was certainly a zombie book, in that it included a government conspiracy, a rampaging horde of dead people, plucky yet mostly doomed survivors, unpleasant trouble-making survivors, and multiple instances of chase scenes and grotesqueries. And it was certainly a Star Wars book, in that it included references to familiar types of aliens and droids, an evil Galactic Empire run by an asthmatic cyborg, and laser blasters instead of pistols and shotguns.

It was not, however, a particularly inspired version of either genre. In fact, it has just occurred to me, I did not at any point have a John Williams soundtrack thundering in my ears. So, wow. Probably worse than I thought.

Powers: Psychotic

At the end of the latest Powers collection, in time to commemorate the 50th issue of the comic that rounds out the book, there is an extensive interview with author Bendis and artist Mike Avon Oeming. It is sometimes funny, often insightful, and constantly vulgar in exactly the way you’d expect from a series that has prominently featured a monkey’s vagina, and I recommend it to anyone who is reading the series or is interested in the nuts and bolts of the modern (ie, the past decade or so) comics industry. But it also makes the point that Powers is a series which constantly re-invents itself. If I have not made this point myself over the previous eight reviews, I certainly should have.

Psychotic does not precisely mark a re-invention (as the plot is still firmly centered around the consequences of outlawing the use of superpowers), but it certainly picks up a new theme: cops who commit crimes, cops who shield those cops, and cops who work to prove the wrongs that were done by those cops. And of course it does this in ways you would not expect, because Bendis is good at what he does.

Mostly though, the book is a placeholder while we all wait for Deena Pilgrim’s evolving circumstances to settle into a dramatic revelation of some kind. I’m not saying I’ve been waiting forever to see how this turns out or anything, though it has been kind of a while. But the sudden steep jump in the stakes? Definitely dropped my patience level.

Also, I said something about contrasting Powers and The Boys, as their worlds are somewhat similar in scope? Well, maybe I only thought it. Either way, it’s impressive that the two books I’ve just read do share an overlapping type of event, and it’s even more impressive how, even though the one in Powers was objectively the worse on an ethical scale, it also resulted in my feeling no resentment for the character involved.

The Boys: The Innocents

boys_vol_07I find that the triumph I should have felt at the second half of Ennis’ The Boys beginning with the plot turn I had been awaiting since pretty much the first book has turned to ashes in my mouth, since it simultaneously removed my empathy for usually likable lead Hughie, who was of course twice as likable for being based on Simon Pegg.

Since reviews should last longer than one sentence if you are not Mighty God King, I will add that despite my belief that any redemption from Hughie’s horrible actions will feel contrived or else insufficient, I’m going to continue with the series for a few reasons. There are still a handful of characters who I do not despise, and a handful more who I am interested in learning more about. Also, there’s something big brewing in the superhero sphere, and the plotting has been good enough so far that I could probably choke past my dislike of humanity’s erstwhile saviors to find out how the actual savioring works out.

Then again, I need to shop for and buy the remaining volumes, since my free supply has run out as of this one, so who knows what I’ll actually manage? Because, ashes, I tell you. Ashes.