I Lay My Head on the Railroad Tracks, and Wait for the Double E

It’s Thursday! Which means it’s time for me to write about Wednesday!

A light day, a heavy day–depends on how you read it, I guess.

First, our title list–

  • Harbinger: Omegas #1
  • Miracleman #9
  • Moon Knight #6
  • New Warriors #8
  • She-Hulk #7
  • The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #14
  • Thanos: The Infinity Revelation

 

It was originally lighter, but Miracleman was an in-store
last-minute add, and Superior Foes was added only a few days ago. So I thought I was going in for 4 titles and a graphic novel, though, in the end, I may as well have been. I still haven’t gotten my copy of Moon Knight #1 from my friend (too far off!) and, while I read digital copies ages ago, I’ve only got
#2 and now #9 of Miracleman, so those are also going to hang out and wait to be read (though this is the one with the infamously graphic birth scene–of all of the scenes in this story to be most upset about, I feel like that isn’t the one…)

Harbinger: Omegas is the first in a three-part miniseries while the full Harbinger title is on hiatus (after #25), though it’s already being continued in Armor Hunters: Harbinger (also a 3-issue mini-series!) but then, that one is focused on the Armor Hunters plotline, and this is a Harbinger-focused story. Unlike the AH tie-in, this one is setting things back up after #25, peeking in at Harada and Kris and Peter and their own concerns, however large or small they may be. It’s a set-up issue, but it shouldn’t be mistaken for anemic or otherwise unsatisfying, but it is mostly set-up.

New Warriors continues to let Yost admirably juggle a cast that is built up to include his version of Kaine Parker as Scarlet Spider, but that does not center on what was once Yost’s own solo character/book. Haechi struggles to deal with his newfound powers in the setting of the Terrigen Mists unleashed during Inhumanity, with Sun Girl as the lone human in the group determined to set family (including the kind created by superhero teams) above all else, with Inhumans and the High Evolutionary taking a curious tack to dealing with the endless violence and kickstarted evolution of Earth. Aracely (who has managed to retain her personally-chosen codename of Hummingbird) still flits around as the amusingly unfiltered (but  spacey) character she has most often been, but is still not focus enough to reclaim what was being determined for her in Scarlet Spider. Only appropriate–the current plot doesn’t have time for internal meanderings or sudden vision quests. Speedball nudges Kaine about her, though, allowing a completely reasonable reminder of intriguing events, and Kaine’s feelings about this entire mess, without derailing–the character touches being definitely the best part of the book.

Jennifer Walters gets to start a new plot, having decided what to do with “The Blue File” in previous issues after it led to numerous injuries. One of the other tenants in her building has come forward seeking legal advice with a shrinking invention. Naturally, Jen calls in Henry Pym, the acknowledged master of any and all size-changing technology (via the clearly named Pym particles). It’s a bit weird, in that she was pretty recently working with Scott Lang again, but then Pym is the expert and discoverer/inventor.¹

Pulido thankfully returns to art duty, and it allows for a mostly fluffy story that has the mix of legal worker and superhero that a Jen book should focus on, since it addresses the things important to her (at the core at least–certainly they aren’t The Only Things™). It steps pretty firmly away from the continuing plot of the Blue File, but I actually thought that “anticlimactic” conclusion made sense for the characters, even if not the readers. Plowing through friends and associates and risks to them doesn’t seem like something Jen would allow, I must say.

I just recently started on Superior Foes of Spider-Man after seeing how strong its reviews were and catching a few recommendations. It’s following a new Sinister Six that is…well, anything but sinister (or even six). Speed Demon (formerly the Whizzer), the newest Beetle (Abner having gone hero), Overdrive (I’m totally unfamiliar–mostly because he appeared first in 2007, apparently), Shocker, and Boomerang. Most of them are punching bags in actual Spidey continuity, though Amazing #72 was reprinted in The Origins of Marvel Comics, which I grew up reading into pieces (oops–it’s worth a bit now, though not much), and it had the Shocker as a reasonable threat, though not an A-lister, for sure. There’s a solid core trait for each of them (Boomerang is wildly duplicitous, Shocker has become a bit of a doofus and a coward–encouraged by his portrayal in She-Hulk recently, in fact, Speed Demon is a coward, etc) but there’s both a pathetic streak and a head-shakingly consistent set of bad decisions that drives them all in a wildly tangled set of jobs and threats built around false leads, mistakes, accidents and bone-headed selfishness. The latest issue continues the trend Spencer lead the book with–there’s no sense that this particular plot is going to cleanly wrap up as a contained arc, but rather that this is a progression of connected events. It’s another mostly-Boomerang narrated “episode”, which remains welcome, as Myers is an amusing kind of jerk. Just slightly sympathetic, but inevitably such a tool that it doesn’t go too far into sympathy.

And then we have our big release for the day–or, well, year.

Thanos: The Infinity Revelation.

Jim Starlin first returned to Thanos with this year’s Thanos Annual, which was a big chunk of what got me back into comics. It had a projection of Thanos ca. the Infinity Gauntlet discovering what had spurred him on after his defeat at the hands of Captain Marvel during the Cosmic Cube affair–his first major strike, the last before he became forever entangled with Adam Warlock–and signaling, hinting at what was to come.

In the interim (since Thanos 1-6), Thanos has been tackled by Keith Giffen (who rounded out the eponymous series with issues 7-12, some of the last comics I bought previously, about three years ago), Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Jonathan Hickman, Jason Aaron, and a variety of others. As is standard (and has been since the changes Starlin wrought in 1991’s The Infinity Gauntlet) the complexities of the character, and any shifts in personality, motivation, attitude, and so on, are ignored utterly in favour of shoehorning the character into a preconceived notion of what he is (and was–20+ years ago). The aforementioned 1-6 had him seeking atonement, with all of his previous stories under Starlin leading him to save the universe, unquestionably. For selfish reasons, of course–but without any of the fabled love of Death or desire to destroy or kill or maim (though he has no objections to such things, of course).

When Starlin took the character back up after the poorly received Infinity Crusade (even amongst us fans, it tends not to go over strongly), he did so with The Infinity Abyss in 2002, which told us that Dan Jurgens’s story in the fourth volume of Thor (from 1999, and involving Thanos), was not one involving Thanos at all, but a failed clone.

Because Starlin is one of the authors who–though he says he doesn’t read the other stories–tries to acknowledge continuity, even if it does mean retconning a nonsensical event as above (this is all vaguely ironic: the man establishes the character, people ignore his continuity, and then people get upset that he acknowledges continuity, if in a negative way). This time, he manages to sidle away–he mentioned feeling a bit bad about the “it was a failed clone” bit, so this time he has Thanos explain his mental state for recent events.

But this is a Starlin-Thanos story, unquestionably. It’s strange and wild, but it’s character-focused in spite of that. Some familiar visuals from decades past re-appear, but it’s about how what came before informs what is and will be–it’s definitely an opening chapter (which was not a secret anyway), but it’s a very complete one. Thanos is intensely powerful, but the pursuit of power, the show of force–those aren’t the entirety of his being. He enjoys them, but the simplistic, even two-dimensional, view of his character is inaccurate.

I admit some wariness of where the story goes–not because I don’t see how it got there, or feel that it did not properly lead us there, but because I’m not sure what’s to come, or how much I will like the decision to go this way. It’s a wariness of a believably constructed movement, though, not of an inherently poor choice. But, that remains to be seen–Starlin’s writing and art are largely up to par, if a few interesting word choices can be somewhat unexpected, Thanos is still most definitely Thanos, as no one else seems to know how to write him. The wariness most certainly will not sway me from picking up the next chapter in this latest saga.

Today’s title is, of course, from Warren Zevon’s “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me”, and relates to my recent viewings of Freaks and Geeks and not much else. Having paused my writing of this entry for some rounds of Orion: Dino Horde last night, I managed to release my irritation with Ben Stiller and his brief part in the show, which was unexpected and a reminder of how painfully unfunny and irritating he is. Oh well.

¹I became even more confused when she and Patsy reference Eric O’Grady–seemingly unaware he is incredibly dead, as of Secret Avengers #23–and still don’t mention Lang. Poor second Ant-Man… Also, if your instinctive response to Pym is the same as many people, read this.

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