Friday, March 24, 2006

The Shortbox 3/24/06

Runaways #13
writer: Brian K. Vaughan
artist: Adrian Alphona
Marvel Entertainment, 4/06
This stand-alone issue focus' on Molly, the youngest member of the teen superhero group, and as usual with Runaways, it's a fine story. Essentially a modern, sci-fi take on Oliver Twist, Molly wakes up and is forced to steal along with some other, similarly kidnapped runaways, only these kids have no special abilities. It was nice to get a little focus on Molly, the least interesting of the team due to her being significantly younger than the rest, and to see all that she really wants is what the other kids she rescued in this issue wanted -- to go home to Mom and Dad; to stop being a runaway. But Molly can't go back home like they did.
It's an entertaining issue despite not contributing to the grand arc of the Runaways lore. Pick it up if you haven't been reading the series; it's a good jumping on point.
8 out of 10

Giant-Size Ms. Marvel #1
"Moment of Clarity" (2006)
writers: Brian Reed & Roberto de la Torre
artist: Jimmy Palmiotti
reprints of Captain Marvel #18 (1969), Ms. Marvel #1-2, #20 (1977-78)
writers: Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, & Chris Claremont
artists: Gil Kane, John Buscema, Joe Sinnott, & Dave Cockrum
Marvel Entertainment, 4/06
While I find reprints of old comic stories tedious to read, even such classics as the "Kree-Skrull War," I understand why we're presented with them. The history of a character is essential to understanding how they've become who they are today, and Ms. Marvel has come a long way from the pages of Captain Marvel where she first appeared. The other stories included here explain the early, duplicitous nature of Carol Danvers when she changed into her alter-ego, as well as her costume changes and how she befriended Mary Jane Watson. But the reason why I'm recommending this title this month is the new story included. I've been a fan of Ms. Marvel ever since she showed up in Bendis' Alias a few years ago. Reed immediately dives into what the new series will focus on, which is Carol becoming one of the greatest superheroes on the planet, a mantle she held in the alternate universe of the "House of M." Now that she knows she has it in her to be that kind of hero, she's going to do her best to realize that potential.
Meanwhile, Palmiotti's art is absolutely fantastic. He has a great battle sequence between her and the Traveler (who seems to be a really awesome bad guy that I hope returns at some point in the new series) that nicely contrasts Carol's quiet moments of reflection on her terrace.
If the level of production on the art and scripts continues at this level, I have some very high hopes for this new on-going.
"Moment of Clarity" - 9 out of 10
reprints - 5 out of 10

Hellboy: Makoma (1 of 2)
writer: Mike Mignola
artists: Mike Mignola & Richard Corben
Dark Horse Comics, 2/06
If you're not buying this, you're a fool.
10 out of 10

The Amazing Spider-Man #529
writer: J. Michael Straczynski
artist: Ron Garney
Marvel Entertainment, 4/06
As of right now, I am not getting any title focusing on any of the big three -- Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man. When I've posed the question as to which title to pick up to people who get titles with one of the big three featured, I never get an enthusiastic, "Oh, man, you have to get Action Comics! I can't believe you aren't already!" or something along those lines. These numerous titles clearly don't excite people anymore, and they sell on tradition more than anything else. So I've never gotten any of them.
However, due to a shipping error by my comic supplier, I got a copy of this issue. According to Mike, this issue is selling out all over the place, and I can see why -- Spidey's got himself a new costume. Compliments of Tony Stark, Peter is given a new high-tech suit, similar to the Iron Man suit of armor, right down to the color scheme. On a test run, he gets himself caught up in a New York City car chase and takes out the low-level criminals with great ease.
And you know what? I liked it. It was simple, but fun, and the allusions to the upcoming "Civil War" mini has me really intrigued. So, now I'll be finishing this arc, and maybe even add it to my pull list if it maintains being enjoyable.
But we all know that suit isn't going to stick around for long. It looks amazing though, and I bet Marvel finds a way to give it to another character, a la Venom.
8 out of 10


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