It’s time for Part 2 of the Comics Rundown. Here I’ll be doing mini-reviews of certain series while also highlighting my favourite lines and awarding each issue a score out of ten. In this second part I’ll be focusing on Uncanny Avengers #2, Venom #27.1, Ghostbusters #15, Green Hornet #31, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #16. Also I should mention that there be SPOILERS in these reviews. You are warned!
The Uncanny Avengers are slowly coming together in this second issue of this new series. There are some chilling scenes in the beginning as the Red Skull uses Honest John, the Living Propaganda’s powers to influence regular humans to rise up against the mutant race including having a girlfriend murder her boyfriend, a father to kill his son, and a cop to shoot a waitress. We learn that this Red Skull is a clone of the original and that he’s been in suspended animation since 1942 until just recently. His aim is to unite humanity under one flag against the mutants, to unite them under his flag, under his leadership. The art is hit and miss in some parts which is truly surprising for me considering the quality of artist tasked on this book. Rogue and the Scarlet Witch are the primary focus of the second issue with both heroines falling under the mind control of the Red Skull at the end. This series is primed to take its next step forward as Red Skull’s master plan is shaping up nicely though I’m still not completely sold on this series yet.
Captain America: The Mutant community needs–
Wolverine: Listen to you. “Mutant community.” There ain’t no such thing, Cap. It’s a load of drunken sincerity feeding an illusion that we all belong to somethin’ bigger. It’s just more o’ the Kool-Aid Scott was selling.
Thor: For years I have witnessed this enmity between man and mutant. I believed the resolution to simply be a matter of time. That the inherent nobility of mankind would prevail, peace would follow. It is no longer a conflict I will stand by to let run its course. Whoever did this wanted to start a war. They will have one. This craven has earned the full attention of Thor, God of Thunder.
Rogue: You attack the X-Men’s home, decimate Charles Xavier’s mausoleum, and stab the daughter of Magneto—what’s the encore? You diggin’ up Jean Grey?
Rogue: The X-Men aren’t people you want a war with, peach. I promise.
Dancing Water: I’m sorry. Is the timing inconvenient? We didn’t choose when or where mutants ruined our lives.
Rogue: I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but were you really going to serve me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich—with water to wash it down? The Geneva Convention has rules about torture.
Red Skull: In America, I saw the same embers that burned in Germany before the war. A frightened population of totem worshippers, living in decline, flinching at shadows—all hungrily looking for someone to blame.
Scarlet Witch: “Dirtbag” is embedded too deeply in your genes to outrun.
Storm: The X-Men will disband if Rogue is accepted, Professor.
Professor Xavier: Do as you must, Storm. I will not abandon this child. All mutants lead extraordinarily difficult lives, most make mistakes and deserve a chance for redemption. Even if it means she will be my sole remaining student…Rogue will have that chance.
I really hope this whole underworld/demon plot gets put on the back-burner as I feel it has no place in a Venom comic book. The issue doesn’t really get going until around the eighth page but when it gets there it really hits its stride and hints at what this series could become. It’s here that Flash visits a kid he picked on in school, a kid whose arm he broke. A.J.’s a gracious host to the man who had made his life miserable but during the visit, A.J.’s husband pulls him off to the side and wonders if he is okay. He knows that A.J. still has nightmares about Flash and wonders why he let “this monster” into their home. He replies that it’s because he pities him and despite the fact they think are whispering Flash hears it all which only makes Flash even more depressed then he was. More drama unfolds as the symbiote is apparently taking over Flash at night and tormenting his mother in the nursing home. Later, Flash has a heartfelt discussion with Peter to end the issue where he states to Parker that all the tormenting he inflicted on him didn’t mess him up too bad in life but Peter reveals the truth: that it was pretty bad, that it got to the point he didn’t even want to attend school in order to avoid him but he found a way to move on from it. This talk of moving on inspires Flash to do just that as he decides to leave New York. This move could be the fresh perspective that this series has been lacking ever since Remender left and is a very welcome one indeed in my opinion. Overall, this issue was half good and half average which is actually an improvement considering the previous lackluster issues that I’ve been faced with these last few months.
Venom: They’re bad people. They deserve this beating. When they wake up in a cold sweat in the dead of night, I want it to be my face that haunts them.
Daimon Hellstorm: You’ll find playing the martyr only ever worked for one person in all of history.
A.J.: Does he look like a monster to you? Because…when I look at him, I just feel…pity. When I look at him now…all I see is a broken-down wash-out.
Venom: When I want to hear your tongue wagging, I’ll rip it out and stitch it to a dog’s tail.
The Ghost Smashers and the Ghostbusters need to team up. Of course Ron is a jerk as usual and even manages to get Egon upset which is quite a feat indeed. The two teams succeed in inadvertently creating a huge ghost monster but with the return of Eugene, from many issues past, and him releasing Death itself, the day was saved rather conveniently. The ending was alright but seemed a little rushed after all the buildup and I can’t help but feel this whole rivalry between the two teams still had legs to it and wasn’t fully explored enough. Dan’s art was great as per usual but the story was just average. This series has only one more issue left before the big reboot so hopefully they go out with a bang and hold nothing back!
Jenny: Don’t suppose you boys are hiring, are you?
Ray: Better wait and see if we survive first.
Ron: Good thing I insisted on coming along, eh, ladies? This guy may freeze under the pressure of trying to be clever and kill us all.
Pilot: No horsing around in my helicopter.
Ron: You stupid—we could have been killed.
Pilot: Oh, so now you remember you’re in a chopper as opposed to when you were trying to start a fight?
Peter: Is that it? Did we do it? Someone get me a parade!
Peter: And, now, ladies, who wants a post-deus ex machina drink before the paperwork starts?
This issue came out of left field considering the complete 180 degree turn in the Britt-Mulan romance compared to where we left off last issue. Romance is in the air for Scowl as well with fellow classmate London but just as things look bright and happy for our heroes, the Hornet’s Nest falls under attack. The action is frantic as the pages are filled with lasers going everywhere and Clutch is injured in the ensuing battle. Green Hornet tries to get him to an escape hatch but Clutch surprises Britt and myself by pushing Britt down the drainage pipe to save his life. Scowl learns that his best friend’s dad is the one making the lasers and goes to the Nest to reveal his discovery only to find the place utterly decimated to end the issue with a rather bleak outlook. This was a much weaker issue compared to the last few as there was less snappy dialogue and less going on overall. Mark Waid’s Green Hornet series is looming on the horizon and truly makes me wonder if this one is going to continue on at that point. Regardless, hopefully the next issue can bounce back from this lackluster effort.
Scowl: I had a little crush on Mulan when I first arrived. Until I realized she was in love with Britt. Everyone here can see it. Me, Clutch, her dad. Everyone but her.
Scowl: Nothing panics the public more than their normal lives being taken away. Crash the stock market? So what. Most people live check to check and aren’t holding Swiss bank accounts. But blow up the Squat & Gobble and people freak out.
Teacher: the Yamamoto quote about the “sleeping giant” was apt. even though Yamamoto probably never said his famous quote. Remember that, students. The legend is often better than the reality.
Terrific art from Andy Kuhn is on full display in this final part of this arc which introduced Slash. It picks up right after the cliffhanger from the previous issue and this latest one firmly established Slash as a legitimate foe as he was able to handle all four of the turtles by himself. There’s some differences in philosophy between the brothers as Donatello and Raphael want to kill Slash, Michelangelo feels that he is an experiment just like them and wants to capture him in order to try to reform him, and Leonardo is caught in the middle. There’s some real great pacing and action throughout the entire issue with one scene in particular having the turtles dog piled on top of Slash and him effortlessly sending them all flying at once. In the climax of the battle, Leo tries to reason with Slash but the villain jumps at him and Leo inadvertently stabs the villain in the chest. He removes the sword but succumbs to the injury and falls into the water in a bittersweet victory for Leo. The ending is very poignant as we see how the events of the last two issues have rocked Mikey and Leo: Mikey has lost his friend Woody who won’t risk his life interacting with him anymore and Leo just sits there staring at his sword with Slash’s black mask attached to it, the act of taking a life wearing heavy on him. Then comes the revelation that Slash is still alive and it looks like him and Old Hob are going to engage in a comic book staple: super-villain team-up! The events of this arc will most assuredly leave a lasting impact on our heroes and succeeded in giving Leo and Mikey an extra layer of dimension. The drama, the action, the tension, and the potential ramifications equate to a very bright horizon for this series as a whole.
April: And, for the record, if I have to go into a spooky old church to look for mutant turtles who are possibly being hunted by a rabid science experiment, I’m really glad I’m doing it with you.
Casey: Yeah…thanks. I think.
Splinter: Michelangelo is a kindly soul—he has been this way through two lifetimes. His empathy for others is a virtue, not a flaw. He simply seeks out the goodness in others that is so innate to himself. He wishes only to love…and to be loved.
Splinter: You must all understand, though your brother’s blood, like yours, runs cold…he is no more cold-hearted than any on you. But…he is a ninja…and his spirit is strong.
Old Hob: They messed with our blood and turned us into hunters…then left us for dead the first freakin’ chance they got, right? Well, the hunters ain’t dead and the hunt ain’t over.
And that is Part 2 complete. Agree/Disagree with my reviews? Comment below!