Welcome to this week’s Four-Color Bullet, the only comic book review column worthy to wield the hammer of Thor. Let’s get to some comics!
This week from Marvel, the story of the death of the man known as Wolverine continues, in The Death of Wolverine #3; it’s the series finale of Captain America as the new Sentinel of Liberty stands revealed, just in time to end Zola’s mad plan once and for all. in Captain America #25; and the Avengers Unity Squad stands helpless against the Red Skull and his S-Men, as the march to AXIS continues, in Uncanny Avengers #25.
From DC this week, the Main Man gets his ongoing New 52 series, in Lobo #1; martial law is declared in Gotham, and one of Batman’s deadliest foes takes center stage, in Batman: Eternal #26; and it’s the Justice League’s final battle against The Five, in Justice League 3000 #10.
From IDW this week, the story of how the X-Files division came to be continues in The X-Files: Zero Year #3; and the boys find out about Splinter’s secret deal with Old Hob, causing a rift in the family, in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #38.
Valiant brings us the aftermath to the Armor Hunters invasion, and nothing on Earth will ever be the same, in Armor Hunters: Aftermath #1
And from Image Comics, Zack Thompson takes on the Colossal, in the fourth issue of the hot new series, TechJacket.
The original Guardians of the Galaxy are back!
Before Star-Lord, Drax, Rocket, Gamora, and Groot, there were Vance Astro, Charlie-27, Martinex, Yondu, and Starhawk. The original Guardians of the Galaxy hailed from the 31st century, exploring the Marvel Universe at a time when Marvel’s heroes have been long dead. I always thought it was unlikely that fans, me included, would ever see a return of the originals, but thankfully, we were wrong.
Guardians 3000 indeed returns the team to 31st century action, and puts you right in the middle of it. I am a big Dan Abnett fan. He has helmed the cosmic corners of both DC and Marvel. He wrote a great take on DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes, rejuvenated Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and brought us the epic Annihilation event. So, putting Abnett in charge of writing this science-fiction epic, set in Marvel’s far-flung future, was a natural choice. Abnett starts it off with the team literally fighting for their lives, and hints of a time anomaly meta-plot, which, with all of the time anomaly stories that Marvel is doing lately as a rumored means to reboot their Universe, makes one wonder if this is a part of that plan. There is no loss of action in the first issue, getting what you’d expect from a futuristic, sci-fi story, as the reader is breathlessly trying to keep up with Abnett’s fast-paced opening scene.
I have to say, though, that while Marvel got half of the creative team right, I am not thrilled about Gerardo Sandoval’s art. Facial expressions are ridiculous and reminds me of a bargain-basement Sam Kieth. The whole thing is extreme and way too over-the-top. I’m the kind of comics fan who can ignore the art, to a point, as long as the story is good. Notable exceptions are Mike Allred, and the guy drawing She-Hulk. Marvel really needs to get a new artist on this thing, quick. Andy Lanning would have been great. Just sayin’.
And Mr. Abnett doesn’t get a pass. In every futuristic story, you’re bound to have a fair amount of future-slang. I think Abnett threw it on a little thick, this time. There was so much of it that it slowed the book down for me.
If you’re a long-time GotG fan and you have fond memories of the original team, I think you’ll like it overall. If your first exposure to the Guardians is from the movie or the Bendis re-launch, you may not like it as much, since introductions are few and far between. But if you like some seriously good, sci-fi action, you might surprise yourself.
If (s)he be worthy …
Back in Original Sin, when the Avengers were fighting Nick Fury to a near-standstill on the moon, Fury whispered something in Thor’s ear. Immediately after, Mjolnir dropped like a rock to the moon’s surface and Thor wasn’t able to pick it back up. He had become unworthy. With a stop to forward the plot with an attack from Frost Giants on a Roxxon undersea base, Thor #1 picks up where that fateful scene left off. If you haven’t read any of Original Sin, this first issue does a fine job of filling the reader in. We see Thor trying to adapt to the new status quo, while family and friends try to help him make sense of it. But this issue isn’t all about Thor trying to be Thor. There’s a Frost Giant invasion of Earth going on far beneath the waves, and the only one with any chance of stopping it is our powered-down, hammerless, former God of Thunder.
We know how awesome writer Jason Aaron’s take on Thor has been. I wasn’t even a fan of Thor until Aaron’s work. But with the high fantasy that came with being Asgardian, Thor became, in my eyes, anyway, the new Superman, after DC and the New 52 ruined him. So knowing what we know about Jason Aaron’s Thor, there’s no reason to think the adventures of this new Thor would be any different. And don’t expect any answers this issue as to what Fury said to Thor, and why he’s suddenly unworthy. The reader doesn’t even see the new, female Thor until the last panel, as the original Thor is very much present and still in the fight.
Russell Dauterman’s art is gorgeous. The Asgardians look high-fantasy regal, and Thor’s hellish struggle with current events is easily seen.
Even though there will be a female Thor in the mix, our original hero is very much present and accounted for. Having the status quo rattled is tough for diehard fans to take. But Jason Aaron and Marvel have an intriguing something up their collective sleeve, and this book should be given a chance before just dismissing out it of hand.
And that wraps up Four-Color Bullet for this week. Did you like Thor #1? Comment below or send me an email if you want to talk comics.
It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you next Thursday!