There's a book that has been on my mind
All the time, Sa-Sa-Saga bro, oh, oh
Now censorship is kind of lame
But this hoopla'll bring this book more fame, Sa-Sa-Saga bro, oh, oh
Ah, this book's still rockin' I must share
Sexy-time images? I don't care, it's all I need, all my life
I feel so good when I just give a read
Sa-Sa-Saga bro, just give a read, oh, Sa-Sa-Saga bro
Now there's more books that are so fun
Hawkeye and Batman are some, Sa-Sa-Saga bro, oh, oh
Ooh, Age of Ultron, Stuff of Legend,
and Thor all do transcend, Sa-Sa-Saga bro, oh, oh
Thank you! Thank you, Mr. Collins for
Friday Slice of Heaven
***Possible Spoilers Below***
We have not seen much of Prince Robot IV for the past few issues, but he is back and closer to finding Marko, Alana, Hazel and their group as ever. We begin with a flashback--and two much ballyhooed images--of a time when Prince Robot IV was shot and dying on the field of battle. If not for a kindly medic he would have perished, unfortunately, an illegal Wreath spell annihilates the medic moments later. Although haunted, IV has a job to perform and Landfall Secret Intelligence damn well wants to see it accomplished, but IV has a hunch the escaped parents are on their way to see D. Oswald Heist. Heist is author of A Nighttime Smoke, the book that brought the unlikely pairing of Marko and Alana together in the first place. Unfortunately for Heist, IV is in no mood for pacifism.
After all of the excitement of the past few days, was this issue worth it? Oh my goodness, yes. The opening splash is shocking in not just a fellatio kind of way. The use of a sexual image on Prince Robot IV's monitor as he lies dying amidst a war compounded with the vibrant colors of the soldier's peacock-like feathers and the blue blood painting the dull landscape only make the image more striking. The second page relaxes the tension of the first as many little deaths forebode IV's actual death, and fewer contrasting colors draw the eye as IV's life drains out of him. It's all rather powerful and fairly fancy-pants creativity, which is exactly what I expect in my favorite comic on the stands. Vaughan also knows when to fully utilize the silent panel(s) to bring home the emotion of a scene, and when to let the characters do the talking as he does when Heist and IV's discussion escalates the tension much in the vein of the incredible Inglorious Basterds opening.
With all the drama of the beginning and ending of this issue, the reader is given a brief reprieve with an adorable seal child in fisherman's overalls and boots, leading a walrus/hippo/manatee pack animal thing merrily across the shores near Heist's home. It's cute, calming even. Which serves as a perfect lead-in to the tense events that follow. Sex, violence, calm, or dread, the entirety of the book is beautiful.
Amidst the fanboy chaos, I read a few statements that the whole censorship thing was a ploy by Image, Vaughan and Comixology to spark sales, but c'mon...seriously? If you read comics, then you know about Saga, and if you know about Saga, then you know it does not shy away from being shocking...just ask Fard from his private flat on Sextillion <shiver>. One good thing to come of this is our sadly-small comic book community, although often quick to jump the gun--including myself--might have succeeded in bringing in a few new Saga readers through the discussion of censorship, whether it was true or not--looks like not. Regardless, I love this book and censorship, whether corporate policy or not, sucks rocks. Make mine Saga! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
The majority of this comic is Clint Barton epic failing with the four women currently mixed up in his life. The Black Widow discovers he's been marked for death for his interference with the tracksuit Draculas. Mockingbird finalizes her divorce papers with him. Spider Woman ends their relationship after she discovers Clint cheated on her with a gorgeous redheaded stripper with a dangerous past, a redhead so terrified of the chaos coming for Clint that she is leaving town. Then there's the young sidekick, who finally acknowledges the disappointment she is currently feeling for the man she thinks she loves. Hawkguy's had a pretty darn bad day, but unfortunately he doesn't even realize how bad things are going to get, when a true pal pays the price for Clint's meddling.
That sucks! I was not expecting this ending at all. You know what? THIS is how you handle a character death. Not spoiled months in advance and not as a mandate from up on high to kill a high-profile character in an effort to spike sales. This was a minor supporting character, but one Fraction carefully lured the reader into caring about. This character was just an average Joe, but Clint liked him and through their interactions this reader liked him as well. The death makes sense and will of course snap the hero out of his funk, and man if I don't want this new(?) villain to pay. Dammit, Fraction. That was a low blow, but it was not a cheap shot and I thank you for that. Just leave Pizza Dog out of the crossfire and we should be okay. Capish?
David Aja's art in this issue is as spectacular as ever and I keep wishing Marvel would make prints of some of these pages available for purchase as I would buy a couple in a heartbeat. The action scenes of Black Widow chasing the redhead, Darlene, through the train station are riveting and the talking scenes between each of the women and Clint carry the emotion of each scene beautifully even without the fantastic word balloons. This is especially true of the pages with Jessica Drew where you feel her pain at the lack of consideration Clint has given her. Matt Hollingsworth's flats completely round out this already great book, with the colors of Jessica's dress and tall socks being a perfect choice for a hero in her civvies.
Every issue of Hawkeye has been fantastic thus far and with the events at the end of this book, I can't wait to see what happens next. To summarize: I'm upset. I'm disappointed in Clint's behavior and I'm pissed about what happened to a certain character, but I mean this in the best of ways. A Big 2 book moved me emotionally, which is something I didn't expect to happen from them and it's something I hope happens--organically--again in the near future. I suspect Hawkeye will again be the book to do so. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Other Heavenly Items:
|The Stuff of Legend:|
The Toy Collector #4
The dark toys have Monty (musical monkey) and Scout (a living puppy) right where they want them. If they want to see Max (teddybear) alive, and unharmed then the unlikely duo will gain the dark toys access to the bricked in Story Place. The Boogeyman gives Homer a promotion and reveals his plans, while pulling Percy (piggybank) into his schemes with the lure of immortality. We learn a secret about the doll toys, such as Rebecca (queen of hearts doll), and an injured Jester (Jack in the box) sees something at the Toy Maker's (toy robot) shop that...nope, not gonna spoil this one.
Another fantastic issue that has me eager to see how this chapter wraps up in the next issue. Raicht, Smith and Wilson III have created a slew of characters who they expertly juggle, giving each time to tell their story. I care for both toys and living alike in this Donist World top five favorite series currently hitting store shelves and with the implications of the last page, I have no idea how this situation is going to be handled. This makes me happy indeed. I will say that I am confused by the "Toy Collector" portion of the title as the Toy Collector character has only made brief appearances in each issue, but maybe the rationale will become apparent in the next month or two. If you are not reading this tremendous book, then I must warn you NOT to start here. Start with the Omnibus and I guarantee you will be hooked on one of the most under-appreciated and highly-inventive comic books seeing print. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
|Age of Ultron #5|
Again not a whole lot happens in this issue. Tony reflects on the Vision. Nick Fury is found in the Savage Land (Secret Invasion tie in...blarg). Talking. Half of the group goes to the future to fight Ultron, the other half decides to go to the past and end the life of Ultron's creator, Hank Pym.
Can anyone tell me what the deal is with Tony Stark's glowing weird outfit? I'm guessing it's some sort of minimal, unhackable gear, but I must have missed its significance somewhere. Anyhow, again not much happens, but as a weekly book this isn't that bad and as I've said, I'm interested in what happened and how this problem is going to be fixed. If AoU was a Monthly, I would probably be out. Five issues in and I'm hopeful this "event" will pay off with more decent story than corporate mandate to boost profits through a team-up that "the kids want, y'know?" RECOMMENDED!
Bruce Wayne is acting very un-Bruce-Wayney. Jim Gordon has him at gunpoint as the billionaire robs a bank, kills some bank guards and threatens to blow up a girl. Gordon also sees that the Gothamite is wearing a Batman shirt underneath his expensive suit. Meanwhile, the real Bruce Wayne, Batman, reflects on the life of his son Damian (aka Robin), but with something amiss at Wayne Enterprises, Bruce throws himself into his work. Clearly someone is impersonating Gotham's most noticeable citizen down to the last detail. Who else could it be but a powered up Clayface. Secondly there's a backup story by James Tynion IV with Batman and Superman joining forces to tackle a threat of the supernatural kind.
The look of this issue is different from all the rest. Not that it is bad, Capullo's art remains outstanding (could this ever be an issue with this guy?...I think not!), but a new inker gives Capullo's art a slightly different look than we are used to seeing. The story was fun and filled with thrills, a perfect break between extended storylines as the next arc prepares to begin with issue 21. I will say that I loved Tynion IV's short two-part story with a non-traditional threat and a team-up with Superman...another thing I loved from the '70s. This New 52 title's still got it. RECOMMENDED!
|Thor God of Thunder|
Man, there's a lot of jumping around through time in this book, and left in the hands of a less-skilled writer, the odds are pretty high that this story would be one jumbled and confused mess. Not so with Jason Aaron. Aaron has the reader move fluidly from one version of Thor to another, even to the point of bringing two of the three together (with the three destined to come together in coming issues) as they prepare to take the fight to Gorr himself. This book is tense, dark, enjoyable and despite ever thinking I would never love a Thor book post-Walter Simonson, Aaron and Ribic have given me pause to reconsider that notion. I'm off to do a 7:00 AM "Godbomb." Verily! RECOMMENDED!
Slice Into the Woods