Civil War # 4 (of 7) (Marvel) (US$2.99)
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Steve McNiven
MJOLNIR (Thor’s uru hammer) has clobbered the likes of Surtur and Fin Fang Foom right to the Man of Steel. At a time when the Marvel Universe is experiencing a Civil War, the hammer is once again called to action. While Fantastic Four readers would have rolled out the red carpet for the Thunder God’s long awaited return to Midgard, Civil War # 3 sealed the deal by granting him an electrifying return ... and in a cliff-hanger too.
To fill you in, the thrust of Marvel’s main event for 2006 relates to the introduction of a Superhuman Registration Act by the White House due to a reality show gone awry. As the story goes, the reality show stars (the New Warriors) attempted to apprehend a group of criminals, but end up blowing up a town instead. The Act requires all superhumans to register with the Government (bye-bye secret identities).
Out comes the “great divide” as two of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes stand on opposing sides – Captain America versus Iron Man. After four issues, Cap’s anti-Act stance pulls in more sympathetic votes but at a heavy price, as one of his “Secret Avengers” bites the dust.
Thor might have had an uncertain presence in the last issue, but ol’ Goldilocks’ position is clear here as he rakes in the first major casualty in this mega powerhouse slam-bang!
Here is where Iron Man shines as he carries his corporate ruthlessness into the superhero battlefield by performing the most unexpected twist since the Jackal cloned Peter Parker. Oh boy, wait till Odin finds out.
That aside, there’s a lot of “must-see” pages in this issue – starting off with Cap being beaten into a pulp by Iron Man, heroes walking out of Cap’s team and Sue Richards’s biggest decision since choosing Reed over Namor. If you get the vibes that my enthusiasm is still as high as when Peter went public with his identity, you are absolutely right ... even though the shipping irregularities hits the nerves occasionally. Make mine Marvel!
Moon Knight # 5 (Marvel)(US$2.99)
Writer: Charlie Huston
Artist: David Finch
ON paper, a battle between Taskmaster and a semi-crippled Moon Knight seems heavily lopsided. After all, it took the combined might of the Avengers to scare the bejeevers out of the man-with-the-photographic reflexes. Here is where this issue works out as it capitalises on the “against all odds” theme and you can’t help but cheer on ol’ Marc Spector. The first story arc of this electrifying plot sees Spector learning the identities of the people behind his misery. Well, finding out and being able to act on it is a totally different matter, as he has to “entertain” Taskmaster who’s just gatecrashed his pad. If you thought Jim Lee’s mega-centrefold of the Batcave (All Star Batman & Robin # 4) was mega-cool, Finch delivers a worthy tribute to the “Mooncave” here.
Wetworks # 1 (DC-Wildstorm) (US$2.99)
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Whilce Portacio
JIM Lee’s mega plan of “re-re-re-introducing” his Wildstorm Universe kicks off with Wetworks and this time they may have hit the jackpot. Firstly, they’ve got someone with supernatural experience in Carey (Hellblazer, Lucifer fame) for the scripting chores and rumour has it that the “inconsistent” Portacio has actually completed 10 issues. This relaunch has Dane (team leader of Wetworks) forming a new team to face vampires, werewolves and other creatures that go bump in the night. If you like the “cyber-zoids” type of heroes and have a fetish for the supernatural, Wetworks should be your cup of tea.
Blade # 1 (Marvel)(US$2.99)
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Howard Chaykin
IF YOU are fond of vampires and had to decide between Wetworks and Blade, then my suggestion would be the Vampire Slayer! Why not? Especially when there are loads of guest appearances here, namely a wall-crawling bloodsucker, Dracula, a classroom of blood sucking fourth graders and a hellicarrier of blood suckers. If this has got your blood pressure up, rest assured that this is just the start of more excitement to come as Blade finally hits a rich vein.
Kraven’s Last Hunt Hardcover (Marvel) (US$19.95)
Artist: Mike Zeck
FINALLY, the best Spidey-Kraven confrontation goes hardcover. The original tale (featured in Web of Spider-Man # 31,32, Amazing # 293, 294 and Spectacular # 131, 132) broke the Spidey crime-fighting tradition when Kraven decided to play dirty and bury the wallcrawler. Past confrontations between the two have mostly been uneven with spider-strength surpassing any rhino/ox/tiger potion that Kraven can cook up.
One distinguishing factor about Kraven is his sense of honour, which dictates that his victory over the wallcrawler should come under fair circumstances. Nevertheless, if you have been defeated by the same opponent a kazillion times, you will eventually bend the rules.
Here is where Kraven flips and Spidey flops! If burying Spidey alive wasn’t enough, Kraven ups the stakes by assuming the guise of his arch-nemesis.
Green Lantern Greatest Stories Ever Told (DC)(US$19.95)
Writers: Geoff Johns, Denny O’Neill, Mark Waid and others.
Artists: Gil Kane, Darwyn Cooke, Dave Gibbons, Alex Ross (cover) and others.
THE title “Greatest Stories Ever Told” carries a lot of weight, especially when it relates to a four-decade-old character with a very diverse history. Hal Jordan may not have been the first emerald knight nor the Guardians of Oa’s favourite ring-welder, but he is definitely the one who has stirred up the most controversy – having quit, right through thrashing Oa’s power battery, running amok as Parallax, sacrificing his life during the Final Night and even assuming the role of the Spectre.
Surprisingly, this compilation does not include any of those tales. In place, we have 10 “safe” tales from the pages of Showcase #22, Green Lantern vol. 2 #1, 31, 74, 87, 172, Green Lantern vol. 3 #3, Flash & Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold #2, DC First: Green Lantern/Green Lantern, and Green Lantern Secret Files and Origins 2005. Don’t get me wrong, the stories featured are still good reads but they lack the “oomph-factor” that defined Hal Jordan’s rise and fall (and rise again) in the DC Universe.
If Hal is not your numero uno GL, the appearances of Kyle Rayner, John Stewart and even Guy Gardner provide a good mix for this nifty compilation.
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