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The Rest of the Stack: Second Coming, Superman, & Deadpool

When I want to touch on more than I care to review, I post “mini-reviews” under this heading. These, after all, ARE the rest of my stack for the week.

X-Men – Second Coming: Prepare #1 –  I got back into the X-Men comics for a short time a couple years back for the Messiah Complex story. I don’t think I even really meant to, but I wound up picking up the one-shot that kicked the story off, and found myself interested enough to follow it through the various books. I even followed some of the books for a short time after, taking in the new direction of the X-Men stuff (and the milestone issues of X-men and Uncanny X-Men). I passed on Messiah War, though I still hold some small hope at eventually acquiring the hardback to get to read that story. This preview is very underwhelming in and of itself, but the preview art, the slight bit of characterization given of Wolverine, Cyclops, Magneto, and Cable pricked something within me that now has me on the fence about picking up this arc. The “reference materials” in the back of this issue seem to be reprinted from various other works–though as those had been freebies as well, I’m not bothered by it, and they are pertinent to this current stuff. This was a free issue, and there’s a chance it might have done its hoped-for job with me. Time will tell.

Superman #697  – I’m tired of the current Mon-El stuff. I don’t care for the costume–at all, not just the recent changes–and the way the character’s been handled…I just don’t care for the character. There’s not a huge case of dislike, just a case of disinterest. I feel like I SHOULD like the character, but I don’t. This is yet antoher issue of Superman in which Mon-El is the stand-in, though we do see a bit of personality and authenticity here when he admits that he wasn’t ready to take Superman’s place. Though the story and art are not to my liking in general–they just don’t appeal to me–possibly my largest complaint is the gratuitous near-nudity, and general explicitness of a sexual relationship Mon-El’s involved in, which seems to be something that wouldn’t be shown in such detail between Superman and Lois, and does not strike me as something that needs to be anything more than alluded to in general. It looks like Adventure Comics (#8 continues the story from this issue) is becoming little more than an extension of this book…but if that speeds getting this story over with and Superman back into his own title, I’ll be more than happy for that.

Deadpool #20  – After what has seemed at points to be longer than 4 weeks but less than 8 weeks between issues, this title now has reached a 3-parter being told in 3 weeks of 3 consecutive issues. Though I enjoy Deadpool, and am leaning toward a consideration of choosing a single Deadpool title to follow (and this one’s in the lead should such a decision be made), I’m still not a fan of Hit-Monkey or Hitman-Monkey or whatever the character is. I do like that this issue saw the return of Deadpool’s hallucinations–to great effect, I might add. I also like the fact that Spider-Man clues in on and confronts Deadpool about his apparent fear early in this issue, as it addresses a question I had…and was wondering if Spidey was gonna just get screwed over (er…that is, if the character hasn’t already been that way for a couple years now). This is the best (and MOST) of Spidey I’ve read in awhile, and I appreciate the opportunity to read the character as himself, without having to face the changes wrought in that infamous story. Definitely a worthwhile issue for Deadpool fans; not sure it’s a selling point in and of itself for new readers, though. Probably’d also be enjoyable for Spider-Man fans as well…especially those avoiding the Amazing Spider-Man for one reason or another.

Superman #696 [Review]

Man of Valor part three

Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Bernard Chang
Colorist: Blond
Letterer: John J. Hill
Cover: Cafu, Santiago Arcas
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Published by: DC Comics

I continue to read this book, though I’m a bit anxious to see if it improves once Superman (assumably) actually returns to it. Mon-El is a character I’ve never cared for all that much–what little I’ve known of him–and given that, I much preferred him as “Valor” from the early 1990s. But that’s from a different continuity and reality, apparently…at least since Infinite Crisis…so we’ve got what we’ve got. Mon-El–despite being written by James Robinson–remains almost entirely uninteresting (aside from the fact that I look forward to him facing off with General Lane). I’m also not much more interested in the Guardian. After the set-up of his apparently having a “daughter” to care for–who has hardly been referenced in I-don’t-know-how-long) and the confusion I have as to his identity (to this day, I have not figured out if this Guardian is a clone of the Guardian I read in the 1990s Superman titles, or if this is that same Guardian, with his origin played up more than ever before). Yet, I don’t really care enough to find out, as neither option thrills me. I also care very little for Nightwing and Flamebird. Despite their potential, there just hasn’t seemed to be much in the way of satisfying development with them…I feel like they’re just pieces being pushed around a gameboard for some inevitable endgame or arbitrary “big sacrifice” or other role in coming events.

This issue continues the “Man of Valor” arc from Action comics…which at least in itself is kinda refreshing–though it renders the cover “shield numbering” fairly irrelevant (Parts 2 and 3 of this story are “shield #23” and “shield #25” respectively). Mon-El, Nightwing, Flamebird, and Guardian make sure everyone is ok after the blast that seemingly took ’em all out. Mon-El and Guardian send Nightwing and Flamebird away, preparing to hold off General Lane’s forces while the Kryptonians make their getaway…unfortunately, the two lovers double back fearing for their friends, but ultimately leave at Mon-El’s urging. While Mon-El and Lane trade words, Guardian finds someone apparently named “Control,” and Mon-El rushes to their side to face the horror of what has happened to this character.

I don’t know who this “Control” is, though I suspect she is just one particularly forgettable character that never made any real impact on me whatsoever in my reading. As stated above, the writing inspires no real sense of connection to any of these characters, nor any interest in them.

The art comes across as better than some recent issues, though it’s still not something I’d categorize amidst my favorite work.

I can’t help but wonder if this story being more of a “crossover” with actual Story Name and chapters crossing from Action Comics is an effort to tie things together, get things over with quicker, or both.

If you’re already following the events of this ongoing “World Against Superman” mega-arc or the Superman/Action Comics Man of Valor arc…this issue’s probably worth getting. Otherwise, nothing special or spectacular here to warrant picking up outta the blue.

Story: 5/10
Art: 6/10
Overall: 5.5/10

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