Marvel NOW! – Week 2

Marvel NOW commenced with a bang last week, and the House of Ideas follow suit with… a chuckle? Week 2 is a weird follow-up to a successful launch of the new publishing initiative, but one of the things we’ve loved about Marvel in recent years is that they’ve been willing to take chances – on creative teams, on concepts and styles, and, most importantly, on weird comic book characters. Created by comics legend John Byrne in the pages of West Coast Avengers in 1989, the Great Lakes Avengers were one of the first groups of heroes to feature more quirky, offbeat super-powers. They’ve bounced around, making various guest appearances in the interim decades, changing their name from the Avengers to the Champions to, even, the Great Lakes X-Men. But in this week’s Great Lakes Avengers #1, Doorman, Flatman, Big Bertha, and even Mr. Immortal, are re-uniting and re-establishing that trademarked name.

file_004Flatman, who has a mutant stretching ability (provided he maintains a near-two-dimensional shape), has just been informed that he, because of some legal loopholes and technicalities, owns the Avengers™ brand. Apparently this has more to do with Tony Stark’s as-yet-to-be-revealed post-Civil War II fate. Hints and innuendo are fun fuel for fanboy speculation, but with Victor von Doom queued up to don the armor in next week’s Infamous Iron Man, I’m ready for some legitimate answers.

Instead of selling back the name, Flatman gets what he really wants, and that’s permission to operate as legitimate Avengers once again. So he rallies the troops, and they set up shop in Detroit. Motor City obviously has its share of problems, super-villains included. And the worst thing about the bad guy with pitchforks for hands might be his persistent attempts at dropping shitty puns into his menacing banter.

In last year’s All New All Different launch, Marvel expanded its lighthearted comedy-focused superhero stable, with relative success. Although too many cooks seem to be spoiling the Deadpool soup, other books continue to do well and, more importantly, continue to entertain. Great Lakes Avengers slots well in the family of titles that includes Howard the Duck, Gwenpool, Hellcat, and Squirrel Girl (who, as a former GLA member, makes a cameo in this issue).

Geoffrey Thorne’s Mosaic #1 also hits shelves this week as one of the more hyped premieres of the NOW era. The first appearance of the character, in Uncanny Inhumans #11, sold out almost immediately, and is already attracting a premium on eBay. Thorne, a genre novelist and screenwriter who worked on Disney’s Web Warriors, formerly introduces us to Morris Sackett, a brazen NBA superstar who unknowingly carries the Inhuman gene. With his celebrity girlfriend on his arm and propped up by self-adulation, Sackett thinks about one thing and one thing only – himself. When the Terrigen cloud gives him the power to inhabit people around him, taking on their thoughts and abilities, his identity and worldview become dramatically altered. The premise has potential, and many critics are praising Thorne – and Marvel – for a fresh take on the black superhero, but thus far the story feels more like Saturday morning cartoon fare than a grown-up comic book. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… but without the sophistication of a Ms. Marvel or Spider-Man, I don’t know how long I’ll be sticking around.

Superwoman #3

DC Rebirth: Week 21
Is it weird that I thought Lana and Lois were gonna make out in the beginning of this series? It felt like a porno set up. Lois wants to know how Lana taught Clark Kent how to control his powers (how would an Earth girl do that anyway?) and Lois wanted Lana to teach her how to do the same. I imagine being intimate with Superman is difficult, so it doesn’t seem too far-fetched that cuddling and making out helped Clark learn to keep his powers under control. Anyway, I’m totally confused by this book. Maybe I’m supposed to be reading Action Comics more regularly, but last I checked, Superman and Lois were living under false names near Smallville. How does Lana not know that living close by? Whatever, the logic is confusing, but the action is cool. I like seeing Lois and Lana struggle with Lex over the legacy of Superman, and Jimenez does a good job of establishing a believable dynamic between the two heroines. I’m not crazy about Santorelli’s dirty style (I mean, there are a lot of thick lines), but I like Bizarro Superwoman. I’m not blown away, but I don’t hate it at all. – tyrannoflores

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