The Amazing Spider-Man #667

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First off, FUCK YEAH! In two minutes, they’ve done more to make me excited for this film than all the efforts of DC to get me happy for Batman vs. Superman. Well done. And perfectly made. It has enough to give you an idea of what is generally going on but doesn’t give so much away like the Titanic trailer did back in the day that it ended up telling the whole story. Off to the review.

The Spider Island story continues where the last issue leaves off where Peter’s girlfriend lets him know her secret, that she has spider powers. The story to this point has been pretty slow but in a good way. Not slow to the point where you’re wondering why the hell you’re reading the comic, slow in the sense that the story is building up, giving the characters enough chance to breath, grow, react to events around them. Too often in stories today, whether they be in comics, movies, books, etc., you see little to no characterization. No chance for characters to establish themselves for the reader in this case. You have no reason to care for them as they’re suddenly thrown into a torrent of action that has no tension because you could care less about what it happening to the people on the page.

I really like the relationship between Carlie and Peter. While there admittedly isn’t much time spent on their relationship this issue, their time together seems natural. It’s like being on the bus and seeing an old married couple board, sit next to each other, and start talking. There’s a familiarity between people that have been together for a while that you can’t just replicate unless you’ve been in a relationship yourself.

Madam Web annoys me. So far I hate her. She’s a telepath and knows everything that happens in the future and does everything she can to make sure people know this. More time is spent on her telling everyone that she knows what is going to happen than actually showing us what her purpose in the story is. The idea of the character is certainly intriguing and I reserve the right to change my opinion of her later in the story but now, she’s more annoying than anything as well as a hindrance to people that want to actually do something. Either have her contribute or stay the hell out of the story until you have something to do.

With everyone dressed like Spider-Man wreaking havoc in New York it is understandable that The Avengers would mistake Peter for one of the bad guys. This goes towards one point I have had a contention with in the Marvel Universe and that is the fact that some of the heroes will not reveal their identity for the life of them. You would think that for a situation just like this they’d have some sort of safe word or something that would let the other heroes know who they are. The chance of mistaken identity would be too great and the chance of a good guy doing something bad would be something I would think they would want to prevent. Why would they not want to tell each other their identities if they work with each other so closely?

The art in the story just threw me off. As I have said before I am not a fan of anime. It’s just not my tastes. I’m not someone who thinks that just because I don’t like something that it must be universally bad. I get that a lot of folks worldwide love and appreciate anime and everything it offers. I prefer art that’s more realistic. Sometimes I can take silly like Daniel Aruda’s work on Holy F*ck and Holy F*cked. That art is simplistic but it helps elevate the silliness of the story involved. In this issue, the art just takes away any emotion you could have felt and just makes the characters look grotesque. Mayor Jameson looks like a Play-Do figure that’s been put in the microware and cooked on high for twenty minutes. Just bad.

Bottom Line:

This is a nice piece of the Spider-Island puzzle. Unlike The Korvac Saga and Secret Invasion, the story is coming along slow but nice. It is coming along at a realistic pace. Along with the realistic relationships and characterization we’ve seen to date I am really enjoying what is happening so far. We’ve dived into the deep end here and the writer has made sure we’re swimming along quite nice. I am not a fan of the art so far but objectively speaking, I have seen much worse so there is not much to really complain about. You would do well to check out this comic.

The Amazing Spider-Man #666

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Another day in the life of Peter Park starts out with him swinging through town contemplating how life has changed for him. I liked how it goes back over his history of how he would inadvertently stumble onto a crime scene or have a crime fall into his lap. You get a sense of the history of the character without having to have a PhD in Spider-Man history. He hears a call of a robbery in progress and proceeds to the scene where two robbers are fleeing a local shop. He takes care of them in due order with his usual quips. The police arrive and thank him for his work.

One of the cops mentioned ol’ Flat Top cutting the budget for the police since Spider-Man is taking care of crime in town. Turns out the Flat Top he was talking about was J. Jonah Jameson himself, the Mayor of New York. Seems the Mayor is seeing his poll numbers plummet because he is using city finances toward a Spider-Man task force which the general public doesn’t like. Then he has the nerve to complain about The Daily Bugle calling him out for doing this, once again blaming Spider-Man for all his troubles. I get that JJJ is a bit of a one note character. There are some shades to the character which can at times make him interesting but this was just too cliche. This was like how he was presented in Spider-Man 3, a joke. Whereas in the original Spider-Man movie, he’s a bombastic ass but he still does the right thing. We’ll probably get a little more JJJ in the story what with him being Mayor and all but this is not a good start for the character.

Next up we see Hydro-Man battling a trio of heroes, Gravity, Spider-Woman, and Firestar. Growing up a fan of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, I geeked out when I saw Firestar. Especially when she name dropped the show.

Anyway, Spider-Man makes quick work of Hydro-Man by using a special freezing device he made up at his job at Horizon Laboratories. Then it’s off to work where he showcases the freezing device to his co-workers who congratulate him. I found his female co-worker quite annoying. I am sure there are animal activists who would freak out over the well being of earthworms but man are they annoying as all hell. Reminds me of an episode of The Howard Stern Show where he got two female members of PETA to make out with each when he threatened to kill some bugs or something. Just stupid. Priorities people.

Next, we have Peter Parker’s girlfriend Carlie calling him to speak with him. I never knew this character existed before reading this issue but I liked how someone in my position doesn’t feel like her character is wedged into the story. I don’t know her history but she feels like she belongs which is a good job from the writer. When Peter inquires as to what she would want to talk about, we see one of the criminals that he had webbed up earlier break free from the webs, which one of the cops mentions that that is something even Rhino could not do. The bugs have bit a lot of people…including Carlie who takes down the criminal with a clothesline John Bradshaw Layfield from the WWE would be proud of.

After the phone call Peter is walking, oblivious to everything around him when a bus barrels down on him. Phil Urich and Norah Winters pull him to safety. Thanks to an editor’s note, we discover that Peter lost his spider sense. I have no problem with editor’s notes but one annoyance with this issue is that it seems every other panel had an editor’s note. I am all for filling in the reader on events they may not have read but when they become obnoxious like this issue, you have to ask yourself whether there was another way for the writer to talk about past events without annoying the reader. I did enjoy the panel where Phil gets pissed at a comment Peter made and you see the image of Phil’s alter ego, Hobgoblin. It was an amazing way to show the character having a dark side without making them rattle off a monologue.

We have a quick little scene of Jay and May Jameson in a hotel. It’s a quick way to show that the bed bugs making everyone like Spider-Man. It’s a nice tease towards the disease spreading across the country.

The scene turns towards a criminal about to be attacked for not being able to pay a mobster. Just when two bad guys are about to break his knees, he breaks out with some spider moves and escapes. That is one thing I never liked about Spider-Man. I get that he gets the strength of a spider but nothing was ever said about him, or anyone else like him with similar powers, becoming a martial arts expert. Show the character taking a beating or two but overcoming the bad guys. Show them learning to fight over time, not breaking out the Bruce Lee gymnastics. Once he escapes he runs across The Jackal, Miles Warren, who invites him to a get together of like minded criminals. Something big is planned.

We get a quick scene at The Baxter Building where Reed Richards is sending Sue and others to The Negative Zone for their protection. I wasn’t sure why they were being sent there. While I have to assume it has something to do with the bedbug outbreak, it could have had something to do with an event from a previous Fantastic Four issue that I am not aware. I have to dock points for this because I had no clue what the hell was going on. We did see Peter speak with Mary Jane on the phone. The Thing makes a funny comment to her on the phone. Nothing consequential but it’s a great little showcase of his character, how someone looking like a monster deep down is a lovable guy.

The next scene shows Flash Thompson as Venom fighting against agents of AIM. How or why he became Venom I don’t know. It’s not really explained, just presented as something we should already know. He’s talking to his girlfriend Betty Brant at the hospital where she is a patient. He’s telling her she needs to stay in bed but being a reporter, when she sees the emergency room filled with people who are freaked out they have spider powers, her eyes spread wide in happiness. This is a scene that will probably make more sense the further I get into the story but their inclusion made no sense. ‘Read the other comics,’ you might say. I shouldn’t have to. Not that I need to know the complete life history of every character. Some of the best stories are stories that throw you into the deep end and expect you to swim. Star Wars is a perfect example. For Episode 4, you’re suddenly involved in a fight between two sides that you don’t know anything about. Yet the movie does a great job of acclimating you to what is going on quickly. You care for the characters without quite knowing where they fit at first. Once you get used to the story you care for them even more. The only reason I knew about Flash Thompson and Betty Brant was their places in Spider-Man history. If I started reading Spider-Man with this issue I would not have known what was going on.

We go next to Avenger’s Mansion where Spider-Man is just finishing a hand in a poker game the team is playing. He leaves quickly to go to karate practice. Once there, Shang finally introduces him to Ms. Carpenter who is Madam Web. She tells Spider-Man that she can see into the future, knows what is going on, and knows he will help. But she wants him to prepare to kill if need be. Spider-Man says that will never happen. I didn’t really care for Madam Web. I get that she is a telepath and can see the future but the writer could have done a better job in having her give the exposition she is there to give. Anyway, Spider-Man takes off, being followed by strangers who are swinging through the air themselves. I get that Peter doesn’t have spider sense but he looks like a fool not seeing stuff like this. He arrives at his apartment with his girlfriend waiting for him, ready to tell him the fact that she has powers now.

The Jackal is arriving at a laboratory where some clones of himself are at work. He meets up with a strange woman who tells him about a new ‘plaything’ she made for him, a Peter Parker clone. The woman transforms the clone into a monster. It comes out of a tube, following her orders. She then alludes to an island of spiders. The last panel is great where we see average citizens flying in the sky like Spider-Man.

Bottom Line:

Another good read. While it is not as good as the previous issue, it does enough to advance the story for me to want to read more. It has its flaws, such as the over usage of editor’s notes and minor scenes with characters doing things we need a little more explanation for, but it is still a pretty good setup for future issues in the story. The artwork was pretty solid throughout, especially the little scenes like the image of the Hobgoblin when Phil was pissed at Peter for the quick retort. Peter was also a little too oblivious to events happening in the story that you would think anyone else would at least have raised an eye over. But overall, it’s a good start to a story, unlike the chaos that was The Korvac Saga. My how much a difference twenty years makes.

Amazing Spider-Man: Infested #1

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I ended up breaking my streak and had a couple days where I didn’t produce any content. Oh well. Streaks have to end sometime. But the important thing to do when a streak ends is to pick yourself up and start another one.

Despite the fact that I don’t recommend reading the series, The Korvac Saga was a great education for me. One rule of writing is that any writer worth their salt is also going to be an avid reader. No matter what they’re reading, it’s going to be educational no matter what the story is about. As writers though and I am certainly guilty of this myself, you tend to want to stick with writers you know and love. Even if they write something not up to their usual standard, you are more likely to give them a pass than you would with a writer you have no connection with. In fact, you’re more likely to not finish the work in question if you are not familiar with the author’s work and don’t find yourself liking it. Taking the time to slog my way through The Korvac Saga was a great exercise because I got to see what can go wrong with any story. For as much as I criticized the work, I know if people went through my work with a fine tooth comb they would find I was guilty of similar if not worse writing sins than what I found. So while I certainly didn’t enjoy the work, there was plenty of value in getting through that piece.

Once I completed it I thought what should I do next? Do I move on to individual stories or do I take the time to find another event story to critique? I chose the latter. I saw that the Spider-Island story was comparable length wise to The Korvac Saga so why the hell now? Here begins the Spider-Island story.

We start off with what turns out to be a bad guy monologuing about bugs. He starts off talking about the butterfly effect, not the horrible Ashton Kutcher movie but the actual theory, then proceeds to tell himself that he’s released nests of bugs around town. Then he proceeds to tell no one in particular that his name is Miles Warren and that the whole town is involved in his science experiment. This is a scene that may look good on paper but picturing it happening in real life you just don’t see it. Yeah, people talk to themselves I guess but the point of this scene was to introduce to the reader that the bad guy has started something evil. Everything that was said could have been used in a thought bubble and not come across as nutty as this does. I get that they want to portray this guy as nuts but you can still doing that while giving the scene a sense of realism.

Next up we have a scene set in a high school where some bullies are teasing a fat kid. Apparently they wanted this kid to skip a class so he would fail a test. The teacher of that class graded on a curve and if this kid, apparently a smart kid, failed, the bully would end up with a slightly better grade. Maybe it’s the father in me but I think that the bully put more thought into not taking the test than he did in actually taking it. Anyway, the fat kid ends up reaching his boiling point. In what is too often a reality, you find out that because this kid has been bullied for so long, he’s not thinking rationally and he’s brought a gun. He’s going to give the bully the ultimate payback. One of the bullies friends sense this, spider-senses it, and punches the fat kid who goes flying and lands head first into a locker. The kid is dead. The bullies friend bolts. The last image you see is a cop car and the laughing face of the bad guy.

Next we have a man holding his children watching his home burn. Seems he says he has spider powers too which would explain why they are safe. Intermixed with this you see Spider-Man saving a family. Turns out that family was involved in another fire. The fireman thanks Spider-Man and comments that it’s too bad that he couldn’t be in more places at once. We head back to the man holding his children and find out his neighbors died. It’s a nice little scene showing the limitations of any superhero. While early comics tried showing most heroes being accepted without question by the general public, you would have to think the random joe who had something horrible happen to him or loved ones would have a secret hate for them for not being around to save him or his family.

From there we meet up with Cloak and Dagger. They are in pursuit of bad guys who end up having spider powers themselves. The bad guys escape, leaving Cloak and Dagger wondering what the hell is going on. We end the scene with Miles Warren, the ultimate bad guy, meeting up with the man who escaped Cloak and Dagger. Not much meat to this scene but it leaves a little hook for something to happen in the story. It makes you want to see what Cloak and Dagger will do once the fit hits the shan as they say.

Then we get to the meat and potatoes of the story. We see Peter Parker in a training workout he is having with someone named Shang. Seems Tony Stark gave Shang some magnetic boots to help Peter with fighting wherever he is at which was nice to see. It was silly from the beginning to have a bookworm like Peter Parker after the spider bite suddenly become an ass kicking machine. You would think there would be some training involved so little things like this was nice to see. Once Peter leaves, a mysterious woman named Ms. Carptenter shows up. Shang and her discuss whether Peter will be ready when the spiders come. Foreshadowing. This is how you do it.

We shift to the past where Aunt May is talking to a neighbor about how she and Ben had just adopted Peter after his parent’s death. Suddenly, Peter is about to be hit by a car which she prevents. She straight up spanks his ass telling him that he could have been killed. At that point he tells her he hates her because she is not his mother. She tells him she loves him regardless and will always be there for him. Peter tells her he thinks she’s lying because grown ups lie like that. She promises him her word is her bond. Beautiful scene. Peter has always been devoted to his Aunt May and, under the circumstances, you can totally see why with scenes like this. It would be hard for any kid to have to deal with their parents dying and moving in with relatives he may not have known much. This little scene makes you as the reader love Aunt May more.

Next, we are at the home of Jay and May Jameson. I never knew that Aunt May ended up marrying J. Jonah Jameson’s father which is a funny little twist. They are at a family dinner where they announce that they are moving to Boston. Being a stereotypical New Yorker, JJJ reacts as if his father said he wanted to make it with a farm animal.

We shift to a few weeks later where Peter, Aunt May and others are finishing packing Aunt May’s old him. Mary Jane Watson comes over and Peter gives her a guided tour of strange things that have happened in the home with various super villains. You get a real sense of the history of the place. While the scene comes across like a flashback episode from an 80’s sitcom, it’s effective in showing that Peter and Aunt May had a unique life in the place.

From there, Peter gives his Aunt May a gift. A Red Sox hat. Then they hug with Aunt May telling him she’ll always be there for him. I loved that. Granted it works on a purely nostalgic level like the last Rocky movie, Rocky Balboa, did, but that worked for me. Coming at it as a first time reader, I am satisfied that they would understand that Peter and Aunt May really love each other and have a long history together.

Bottom Line:

This was a pretty good start. It doesn’t kick off the story in a traditional sense. We get just glimpses of little events that are happening throughout New York of what this mad scientist has done but it’s enough to intrigue you and keep you wanting more. It’s not a classic in comics history but it is still something I would recommend, flaws and all. The Aunt May part of the story was particularly well done and, depending on your knowledge of the characters, should leave you with a smile on your face once you’re done with the issue.

The Avengers #177

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The Korvac Saga comes to an end with an epic showdown between The Avengers and Michael Korvac…in a house in the suburbs. You read that right. An epic showdown…in someone’s house.

Why? With all the power at his disposal in the world why the hell would they keep the story in the house and make someone’s living room the site of a doomsday battle. Why not take to the skies? Why not take the battle into space? I would never see Doctor Doom battling The Fantastic Four at a Wal-Mart, why would the writers think a battle of this size was all right to have in someone’s living room?

That is the big problem I have had with this series. Don’t get me wrong, the basic premise for the story is great and something I would love to see tried again. (Maybe they have. If they did post a comment at the bottom of the page and let me know.) The idea of an evil being that for whatever reason has a transformation, a transformation which gives him unlimited power, having a plan to rid the universe of evil, is confronted by a group of heroes, battles them, and in the course of a battle has even more enlightenment. With that enlightenment, he ends the battle and kills himself. I like that idea.

The execution in this story though was bad. You can just imagine someone gave this idea to the writing team and told them they had to come out with the series within a month. Jim Shooter, David Michelinie, and Bill Mantlo all have reputations that speak for themselves. Jim Shooter was the Editor in Chief for Marvel during some of the best runs for character like Daredevil. David Michelinie introduced the Marvel Universe to Venom. Bill Mantlo created Rocket Raccoon. (In doing research for this I learned a little more about Mr. Mantlo and will speak about it at the bottom of the page.) While I have been critical of the story, and rightfully so, the work of these writers speak for themselves as to their talent. They know how to write good stories. It didn’t happen for The Korvac Saga.

I don’t know, maybe I should just chalk it up to when the story was written. That would be nice to do but I feel that is wrong. Bad writing is bad writing no matter who is doing it. And no matter the talent of the writer involved, with the sheer amount of content comic book writers have to put out on a yearly basis, there will be clunkers.

What can a writer of any sort learn from this series? To me it would be planning. This story suffered when it would take characters like The Guardians of the Galaxy, have them show up in the first issue and present it as if something big is going to happen between the two teams when all that happened is the Guardians just sit back in a house in the suburbs that Tony Stark bought for them doing not much of anything. The story line reason they were there was that Korvac was attempting to kill a young Vance Astro which did not happen. Korvac never mentioned wanting to kill the younger version of the Guardians team at all when he was in the story. The only interaction he had with the Guardians apart from the grand finale was flashbacks to the story that started all this in Thor Annual #6. If you’re going to introduce characters in your story and promise they will be involved in a particular story line, make sure that happens.

Bottom Line:

I do not recommend this. It’s been done better in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon show. If you have to know this story, watch that show. It’s not a bad idea for a story by any means. There are some great moments in the story but overall, the execution is just horrible. You will have better uses of your time.

Now for Bill Mantlo, the creator of Rocket Raccoon. In 1992 he was involved in a hit and run which left him permanently brain damaged. In order to get the rights to use Rocket in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Marvel paid Bill’s family a nice sum of cash to help for his on going care. But on going care is not cheap and any little bit helps. Groups like Humble Bundle have been great in having proceeds for sales they make go towards The Hero Initiative which sends money to folks who have worked in the comics industry who need help with medical expenses and other problems they cannot take care of themselves. Too often, creators will come up with a great character only to have to sign all rights to it over to a major corporation and they end up destitute. Now most folks go into the industry knowing how the game is played but for creators like Bill, someone who has created a character that we are still enjoying forty years after his creation, that’s money he would never see that could be used to help his medical expenses.

We have the ability to help. If you click this link, you will head to Greg Pak’s website where he has a link showing you where you can go to help pay for his medical bills. When my mother was alive, the last decade of her life she dealt with non-cancerous brain tumors that had her rely upon constant medical care to help her with everyday things. Bills pile up. Comic book artists and writers, creators of characters we enjoy for years after their creation, deserve our thanks especially in their time of need. Head to that link and help him out. You can also find a site on Facebook created by his brother that will give you updates about him.

The Avengers #176

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Starhawk arrives at the mansion and asks Iron Man why he was summoned. Iron Man gives him the Cliff’s Notes version of the story so far and enlists his help. When he’s done telling the story, Starhawk says something that’s on the mind of everyone reading the story by saying he feels the ultimate bad guy in all this is Korvac but hey, for shits and giggles he’d be happy to help The Avengers. You would think that when a group arrives in the 20th Century claiming that an all powerful being has arrived in their time and is out to get someone that maybe someone in The Avengers would put two and two together and think about maybe seeing whether the threat the Guardians face could be the threat they are facing. You would think that would be someone that someone would consider but naw, not when there are city buses to destroy!

We cut to Moondragon who is contemplating events when she feels a disturbance and sets about getting the team together to tell them what she sensed. She witnesses Quicksilver and Hawkeye having an argument about Jocasta and The Vision. Moondragon zaps Quicksilver after he says something quite bigoted which causes him to get some clarity. You would think that someone who in the story is the offspring of one of the most notorious mutants alive would know a thing or two about bigotry of people that are different but what do I know? Then she walks in on Wonder Man and Black Panther having an argument about not being able to do anything. Then Thor busts through a wall as he and Hercules are fighting. Black Widow chews out Hercules which is so damn out of character for her. I could see her putting him in a choke hold but not talking to him like they were on the set of a daytime talk show.

So Moondragon gets everyone together only to tell them that she has to get ALL The Avengers to show up so she sends a message with her mind to the others who quickly arrive. Comics from this era were horrible in regards to a sense of time. It’s like the television show 24. When they needed to get a character from one side of one of the largest cities in America to the other, it would take all of ten minutes, sooner if they were on a chopper. The comics from this era were worse. They’d have characters travel great distances and the caption at the top of the next panel would be ‘Seconds Later…’ It is frustrating to see things like this because it takes you out of the story. When you’re shaking your head telling yourself that something is dumb, you’re not enjoying the story. There have been stories set in the most bizarre of locations and with the most unique characters. But if written well, you don’t notice it because you’re lost in that world. The writer here is his own worst enemy.

So after two pages of time killing filler, Moondragon has the grand plan of everyone putting the clues they found into a computer and have the computer give out the common denominator of everything. Good idea especially for a situation like this if everyone seems to be lost. But Iron Man has to be a dick here and assert his manhood to the woman who dared come up with an idea that could potentially solve their problem. He might as well have told her to help Jarvis do the dishes and have Black Widow do the laundry. He admittedly had no clue where the big bad guy was but when someone actually steps up with a possible solution, he does his best to show that he doesn’t like the fact that they stepped up with an opinion. What a great leader.

We cut to Michael Korvac sensing that Iron Man and the team are getting closer to sensing his presence. Korvac recounts how he killed and raised Starhawk back to life as well as removing the ability to sense him from Starhawk’s mind. What I question is, if he has the power that the comic is presenting, why would he be pretending to be just an average middle class joe in a suburb of New York? Wouldn’t he want to be moving around to different locations so that a team like The Avengers would not be able to do what they’re doing? Would Doctor Doom pretend to be an insurance salesman in Boise, Idaho in order to fulfill his evil schemes? Staying in one spot just screams of lazy writing. Especially when, after 11 issues to get us here, the team that are presented as so horribly in equipped to deal with a being of this magnitude so easily finds his location.

From there, the single dumbest scene I have ever read in comics occurs when the team head outside and after realizing they all can’t hop into a quinjet to get to Forrest Hills, they commandeer a city bus. Once they board, they mention that Tony Stark would pay for cabs for all of them which begs to question why the hell they couldn’t just call a bunch of cabs? And why wouldn’t one of the richest men alive have a fleet of cars at the ready that could take them where they needed to go? If Jay Fucking Leno can have an airplane hanger full of cars, Tony Stark has to have much more! The lack of logic in this scene is mind blowing. George Lucas after he wrote the prequel trilogy of Star Wars would say this was written horribly.

So they arrive. The residents worry for a moment about their homes being wrecked but than someone says that the team is probably there to open a 7-11. That puts great confidence in the reader. They find the house they were looking for, knock on the door, and are invited in by Michael Korvac himself who invites them in. They inspect the house, finding nothing. Tony Stark asks the psychics of the group to do a sweep and they find nothing. The only clue they have as to something being wrong is when Starhawk acts like the rest of them are cuckoo bananas because he doesn’t see Korvac. While you as the reader would assume that Korvac, when he mentioned that Starhawk would not be able to sense him referred to him being sensed with mind powers, seems ol’ Korvac meant sensing him period.

Korvac  gives them the usual bad guy spiel that he had great things in plan for the human race but now he would have to destroy them. They banter among each other wondering what they should do next when Korvac attacks.

Bottom Line:

It seems The Korvac Saga is anything but. Korvac has not been in the story much and when you have someone presented as being all powerful doing such stupid things you can’t take him seriously. The only reason Starhawk was kept alive by Korvac was apparently to set up this scene. There was no other reason for it. Korvac is not presented as a reasonable guy with compassion. Even if he was, we’ve hardly seen him in the story. His actions so far have been self serving and bad. It was a stupid mistake. Also staying in the suburbs when he should have been roaming about was another decision made by either the dumbest supreme being ever or by lazy writing. I vote for the later. Thankfully we have one more issue to go because this so far has been a painful read. It didn’t have to be because the ideas presented make for an intriguing idea of a story. It’s just written so horribly my nine year old son would think it’s written bad.

 

The Avengers #175

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The Avengers stare at the ash that was The Collector wondering about the powerful being that would be able to do something of this nature to another powerful being. For a moment some of the team thinks they are in danger but Iron Man points out that with a being that powerful, if that being wanted them dead they’d be dead. Iron Man decides they need to check out the ship to find some clue to to who they may be facing. Any computer system that had information on it is promptly destroyed. At this point Iron Man decides they need to find a way to leave, ignoring the fact that Vance Astro is still on the Guardians of the Galaxy ship and could easily transport them home. Don’t you love it when a writer forgets what happened previously in a story?

They look around for something that could get them home. Iron Man discovers the time travel device that The Collector used in order to gather the specimens for his collection. From there, he discovers the little mystery that the writer was kind of, sort of hinting at when it came to Thor. It seems that Thor had been taken in and out of time with the help from The Collector to help battle the little brush fires to help keep The Avengers safe since he wanted the team intact. With that explanation everyone breaths a sigh of relief and moves on. I have a problem with this. To me, it seems like a big deal that a member of the team was taken so easily. The fact that there was doubts that he could be who he is should have been something that caused them to quarantine Thor from the rest of the group just to make sure he is no threat. As I mentioned before, the Marvel Universe has already established Life Model Decoys as a thing so to not act on suspicions that Thor is not who he says he is as well as take the explanation from the security tapes of a ship that was owned by a villain that kidnapped them was just plain frightening. I would do a lot more than absolutely nothing to make sure that Thor was on the up and up.

From there, a character who’d been in a total of maybe five panels decides he wants to use the time machine to go back to his own time. Bye bye Two Gun Kid. I get that in the Marvel Universe, he had a lot more adventures than what is presented in this issue. My problem with this development has to do with the fact that in regards to this particular story, the Two Gun Kid had no point being there. If they really wanted to retire the character or something by sending him back to his own time they should have done that in a comic where he had more involvement in the story. Doing it here was pointless because in this scene we’re supposed to be sad that a member of the team is saying his final goodbye when in reality I could have cared less because he was barely in the story.

Next up, The Vision finds a teleportation machine they can use to get back to Earth. Why have the Guardians of the Galaxy in the story, a team that has the ability to teleport them wherever they want to go, if you’re not going to use them? They’re presented as almost an after thought when at the beginning of the story their mission was of the highest importance. Logically I can see where a writer would hesitate having that many people actively involved in a story because when you’re dealing with the limited real estate that comics give you, you have to use each page wisely. At that point though, you should be asking yourself as a writer whether those characters are really going to be needed if you don’t plan on using them. Not every character is going to be needed for every page, every scene but you have to have a plan for them.

So from there The Vision transports the team back to Earth. Seems his aim is off because Wonder Man ends up in traffic, the Scarlet Witch appears in the sky and plunges to the ground, and Hawkeye ends up on a flagpole. Captain Marvel ends up saving the day, rescuing the members of the team that need his help. Another pointless scene if you ask me. What really bothers me is that there is no mention of any sort of communication disturbance to Vance Astro. If they simply had one line about the lines of contact to the Guardians ship were cut off, I could buy this scene. They would have to rely on a technology they had no clue how to use in order to get home. As it stands, this scene is presented as a bad attempt at comedy. We’re talking Jar Jar Binks level of bad here.

From there, we head to the home of Michael and Carina where we finally discover that Michael is Korvac, the being we met all the way in Thor Annual #6. Seems after Thor defeated him he escaped in time to our present day where he came across an empty ship that used to be owned by Galactus. From there, he used his computer circuitry to learn everything he could, in the process becoming a god! Seems the level of knowledge Galactus had on his ship was infinite so Korvac ended up with more power than he ever contemplated having. From there he turned himself human again and decided on a new mission, ending injustice throughout the world. Apparently on his terms which makes him the bad guy.

I’ve found that the best bad guys are ones that at least in their head think they’re the good guys. What they’re doing has to make sense to them. The flaw of course in bad guys for stories like this has to do with the means they use to achieve their goals. Regardless of their intentions, they’re going to run through anyone and everyone who gets in their way. The Daredevil television show illustrated this brilliantly with Wilson Fisk. Wilson was very much a bad guy in this story but his goals, if you sat back and thought about it were actually to make Hell’s Kitchen a good place to live. It’s literally not until the last twenty minutes of the last episode where he says fuck it and becomes a bad guy. Villains that are there to just cause destruction and chaos are not as interesting over the long term. There may be some enjoyment seeing them wreck havoc but once they’re stopped you promptly ignore them. The best villains have that little shade of gray which allows you on some level to relate to them. For Korvac, his effort to make the galaxy a better place is certainly a goal I would hope most of us shares. The fact that he’ll straight up murder the faces of anyone who gets in his way is the trait that makes him the villain.

Back to the story. The Avengers make it back to the mansion where they discuss tactics. We have an interesting bit where Quicksilver questions whether they should have Jocasta help and whether she can even be considered alive being that she’s an android. From there, The Vision gets in his face like they’re about to throw down. You almost expect Jerry Springer to pop out of somewhere while Quicksilver and The Vision fight while the Scarlet Witch takes off her top and pole dances for the reader. From there you see Wonder Man attempt to impress Ms. Marvel with a show of strength that back fires. Because we’re all ten year old boys and we all know that the way to impress the ladies is by lifting things in the air, not trying to treat them like human beings and getting to know them as people. Iron Man attempts to use some of The Avengers equipment to look for the force that is behind what happened to The Collector only to find out that Gyrich from the NSA took the machines. From there, Jarvis casually mentions the Guardians in a conversation where he’s bitching about having to help so many people and it’s at this point that Iron Man thinks to have them help with their cause. They may already be looking for an incredibly powerful creature that is looking to kill a member of the Guardians but there is no way at all that those two events could somehow be related. There’s no reason to even consider that question because you know, science.

Iron Man contacts the Guardians in the home he bought for them for their mission and gets Starhawk’s assistance to help look for the being behind their problem. All the while, Michael Korvac sees what is happening and smiles, knowing that after his earlier battle with Starhawk, Starhawk will not know where to look for him.

Bottom Line:

We’re nearing the finished line. This particular issue was not as bad as others but it still left a lot to be desired in terms of quality. It’s not that this is a bad story. I think it’s a great idea for a story, it’s just horribly written. There are way too many lapses in logic that make you question the editing standards at Marvel during this time. It’s like it is written by a fifth grader. They want to throw everything into the mix and then promptly get distracted at the slightest whim. They’ve also had elements introduced in one comic and promptly forgotten in the next. Writing a long form story is tough, believe me. Writing my novel Time to Play the Game was by far the toughest bit of writing I have ever done. It’s like a big puzzle that you have to put together while blindfolded. I think I did pretty good in my case but I am also sure that if I went back to that novel now I would find some pieces that are missing which detract from the story much like I’ve seen in every issue in this story. That does not excuse it from happening. I get the idea that while Marvel wanted a story that was told over many issues they did not properly plan it out. They winged it which would explain all of the lapses in logic you encounter in this story. If you’re going to tackle a story of this size, there has to be SOME planning. If you fail to do that, the story, and your reader, suffers.

The Avengers #174

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We start off with the team facing off against The Collector, the character most folks met for the first time in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie played by Benicio Del Toro. The Avengers tell him to let the other Avengers go which The Collector politely refuses to do. Battle ensues.

I liked the little subtle jabs the writer took against collectors of pop culture artifacts in this issue. In a line that is pretty ironic, Iron Men says that The Avengers aren’t collectibles. The late 70’s saw a marked increase in collectibles like action figures, trading cards, and other toys. While collecting in and of itself it not a bad thing, it can be taken too far. Take comics for instance. You have people that will buy a comic and without even reading it board it up and have it on a shelf where they hope it will make them money someday. What is the purpose of buying a comic if not to read it? Now I get that if I were to somehow get a mint copy of Action Comics #1, taking it out of the package and reading it now would be the dumbest thing to do. But comics are stories. They’re meant to be read and enjoyed.

Anyway, The Collector fights against the team until the only Avenger left standing is Hawkeye. The Collector doesn’t take him too seriously but pays for underestimating him when Hawkeye is able to destroy a machine that has kept the other Avengers in stasis.

Defeated, they get the story from The Collector as to why he attempted to collect The Avengers. The Collector has been around for ages. Being that he has the gift of prophecy, he was able to sense the coming of Thanos. So, like an intergalactic Noah, he decided to collect people from all over the galaxy in order to preserve the species. Being that he was taking people by force you don’t have too much sympathy for the guy however being that his ultimate goal was preservation of life, you can somewhat let his actions slide. He had the right idea, just the wrong way of accomplishing it.

He gets around to letting them know that he sensed another danger, one far greater than Thanos, that was a danger to the world. Because of this danger, he thought it imperative to start collecting again.

We head to the home of Korvac where his wife is telling him that she had plans to betray him but could not follow through because she loves him. She admits that she was sent to foil his plans by her father but love screwed that plan up. Her father? The Collector.

We head back to The Collector’s ship where he is just about to reveal who he fears the most in the galaxy when he is poofed into a pile of dust. The team reflects on the power of the person they will have to deal with…even though at the beginning of The Korvac Saga, the Guardians of the Galaxy made it quite clear that Korvac was in our time. If it weren’t for Vance Astro in the first place they would not be aboard The Collector’s ship to begin with so simply forgetting who this big power is just seems a little too far-fetched for my liking.

Bottom Line:

Things are starting to make a little more sense in the story. If you treat this story line like a season of a television show, this follows a formula that Joss Whedon and others have followed well. You have a big bad that lasts throughout the particular story with little side adventures that may or may not have to do with the bad guy along the way. At the end, everything needs to wrap up with the protagonists defeating the bad guy. While it has been quite rough getting to this point, we’re at a point now where The Avengers are getting set to face off against Korvac. Finally.

I don’t like the fact that it has taken this long for them to realize what is going on. From the outset of the story Korvac has been acknowledged as a bad guy but then he was promptly forgotten. Sloppy writing. And the fact that the Guardians of the Galaxy were introduced in issue one of the story and then almost forgotten as well. Yeah, they’ll make an appearance when they set about defeating Korvac but I wish they had more involvement in the story than almost nothing.

So where does that leave this issue? It’s light on story but what it does is get the ball rolling for the big finale. It finally addressed what has been happening with the disappearance of The Avengers and gave a pretty compelling reason for their disappearance. And while The Collector is very much bad in this story, he does have some very interesting shades of gray in regards to his motivations which make him a much more intriguing character than your standard mustache twirling baddie. This almost comes across like the true beginning of The Korvac Saga because now things are about to get serious.

The Avengers #173

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The issue starts with Iron Man explaining the severity of the The Avengers current situation to an assembled team that The Wasp brought together. It’s one panel that quickly sums up the main problem the team is currently facing. While I wish there would have been more than one panel to have a recap, it’s better than nothing. I simply think of readers that may have started the story with this issue. You have a very generalized idea of what is going on so you’re not lost in the story.

From there we get Hercules and Black Widow arriving in New York on a plane. Black Widow wants to get off the plane and to the mansion as soon as possible to deal with the situation they were called in for but Hercules is more concerned with impressing the ladies. There’s a way to show a hero when he’s faced with a situation that could put the world at peril. Have him more concerned about scoring with a handful of ladies. While the comics of this era were horrible when it comes to how women were treated for the most part, men were in their own way held to their own stereotypical standards. Now compared to how women were treated this is not THAT big of a deal mind you but treating characters as stereotypes severely limits what you can do with them.

Now Hercules is told by Black Widow that they have to get to the helipad on the other side of the terminal. He thinks it’s a perfectly good idea to rip a hole in the side of the airplane and hop through it towards their destination. The late 70’s may have been quite lax at airports before 9/11, I get that. But I don’t see how someone ripping a hole in the side of an airplane, no matter who they were, would be accepted by the authorities. Now maybe you could argue that if Hercules owned the plane it wouldn’t matter because the money was coming from his pocket. But later they say that they had to rely on Tony Stark to pay off the airline in order to leave. This was just pointless when these two heroes were needed at the Avengers Mansion in order to save the world. It is even another example why Gyrich the government official was very much in the right to deny The Avengers government support for their actions. Hell, after Hercules and Black Widow appear on the helipad and are refused service on the helicopter, Hercules decides it’s a ok to throw the helicopter across the tarmac destroying it. Again, while it may go a long way to showcase the physical strength of Hercules, it shows that in the smarts department he is quite lacking to say the least. His actions should have put him in prison, not delayed him twenty minutes.

Soon Hercules and Black Widow arrive at Avengers Mansion where Iron Man fills them in on what is going on. He tries in vain to contact folks on Tony Stark’s secret communication channels but has people that have helped him before like Nick Fury cut off communications. The Nick Fury panel confused me because that character has always been portrayed as someone who would always fight for the common good no matter what got in his way. I just didn’t buy his response that SHIELD would not assist The Avengers if the world were truly in danger. Maybe his assistance wouldn’t be overt but he’d find a way to lend a hand.

Anyway, we next head back to see what Korvac is up to after many, many issues of him being gone…in the story line that is about him. So, we see that he is very much aware of what is going on with The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. We’re told that he is doing what he can to make sure that anyone and everyone who could put a stop to his plans is being attended to. Then we see a bizarre scene where the woman who is his wife (it’s not explained if she is really his wife or taking on that mantle after meeting up with him at the fashion show) cries, shimmers with cosmic energy, and then goes back to normal. We see so little of her character up to this point that you have no basis to understand what is going on with her and why this scene is important. Things may end up coming together at the end of the story where as the reader you’ll realize the importance of her role in the story but with no character history to go on, as the reader you’re left confused which is not good. Not that you need a thirty two volume history of her life to understand her importance or anything but you can’t just treat her as a background ornament one minute and suddenly important the next. The readers have to have a reason to care.

We get a bit of an idea as to Korvac’s intentions. He wants to go after a being called Eternity. Eternity is the highest of high, most omnipotent being in the universe and if Korvac could destroy him, or her, he would have ultimate power. Before we can get further details Korvac senses the power coming from his wife. He investigates with what looks like every intention of snuffing out that power like a candle but senses her love and hugs her. Corny. Just corny, soap opera nonsense that has no place. The writer was trying to go for something deep here with this scene but again, with no real clue as to who anyone is apart from Korvac we have no reason to care about them. They’re bad. The wife may have some powers. We have no reason to care about their importance to the story because they’ve hardly been around.

Next we see the emergency meeting at the mansion has finally ended and the heroes all break up to do their own investigating, some alone and some in pairs. Iron Man in the previous issue made a big point of everyone pairing off but apparently didn’t think it was important for that to continue. Even a throw away line like him acknowledging that the pairing off last issue was pointless would have satisfied me but that didn’t happen. Anyway, we next see The Scarlet Witch crying about her brother and her husband both having disappeared. Hawkeye attempts to cheer her up but understandably fails. Then we see a character on a boat who is carving a Scarlet Witch figurine. It’s promised that he would cause problems for her in the future. I actually liked this tease. I have no clue where it is going. It was only two panels long but it does a lot to interest me in future issues.

Next up we see Thor enter the mansion kitchen where Jarvis is making Wonder Man lunch. Thor has no clue as to who Wonder Man is even though Wonder Man points out that they had fought in battles before. Thor tells him he is wrong. We’re again left to question whether the man we are seeing is Thor or not. Nice enough tease and all but it is apparently not important enough for these people to act upon. You would think that with the work they do they would take a moment to ask a few questions or do a little investigating. At least at this time in the comics life model decoys were very much a reality. Why would they not investigate whether Thor was real or not when he could potentially be a life model decoy sent by an enemy? Yet another reason why I agree with the government that The Avengers, at least presented in these pages, should not have anything to do with saving the world because they positively, absolutely suck at their jobs.

We cut to Iron Man talking to Black Panther. Black Panther suggests that they contact Vance Astro on the Guardians of the Galaxy ship for his assistance in location where the missing Avengers are. Vance has been alone on his ship all this time and could have helped them from the moment of the first disappearance but NOW they decide it’s a good idea to contact him. How convenient. I would have even accepted this development if someone, anyone, responded with a ‘Duh, I should have thought of that’ type of response. We don’t get this. We’re supposed to just accept that someone with the technology to help them, that could have helped them many issues ago in locating the first disappearances, was not thought of by anyone in order to help. Maybe it’s just me but I would think that if your job is to protect the world you’d take advantage of every tool at your disposal. But what do I know?

Suddenly Black Panther and Yellow Jacket disappear. They contact Vance who quickly locates where the missing Avengers are which again lets you as the reader question the competency of The Avengers for not contacting him sooner. Vance teleports them to this mysterious person’s ship. It turns out to be The Collector, who crows at the fact that he doesn’t have to capture the rest of them because they are now all there.

Bottom Line:

Yet another uneven story in The Korvac Saga. I find it bizarre that we are seven issues into this story and Korvac’s involvement so far would probably fill a half a comic if that. There are some good ideas that are tossed out there but some of the silliness like Hercules throwing a helicopter just cause makes any enjoyment of the story invalidated. If the writer cannot take the time to have the story make sense, why should the reader invest their time in the story when scene after scene occurs showing just how imbecilic The Avengers are. Especially in this day and age, when you have to sit back and agree with the government that the team that is supposed to be the heroes in the story should not have the power to do what they do, you have to admit the writer has done a horrible job in creating the story. It’s a shame too that such beautiful artwork for the time is being wasted on such a horribly written story. This is classic era homage on the pages and beautiful to look at. If the writer had just allowed the work to go through a proper editing stage at least once the story would be so much better. I cannot recommend this issue at all.

The Avengers #172

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First off, to fail to address a major terrorist incident in the world today and just plow on without comment would be silly and wrong. Helplessness floods through you like pouring ink into a glass of water when you see images of violence on this scale. Who knows at this point what caused some nut jobs in Paris, France to pull off a killing spree like they did today but the survivors sure do have my sympathy. The perfect response on my part is to give the review. I think back to 9/13/2001, two days after the worst images I have ever seen. Every channel had the news. You couldn’t escape the sadness. Then UPN, the precursor to the CW, decided they were going to continue with the latest episode of WWE’s Smackdown television show. That was the first night I smiled since 9/11. I was able to momentarily forget what I just witnessed and was able to have a little fun. I am under no illusions that anyone in France is thinking about checking out my blog tonight. I do this more for myself than anything really. But life goes on, even in the midst of unspeakable tragedy. While we’re here, it’s best to make the most of it.

So we start off with Hawkeye arriving at the Avenger’s Mansion like he was just coming home from a hard day’s work at the local factory. It’s a real ‘Honey, I’m home!’ moment that seems so out of place in a superhero comic. Right after he arrives, the NSA adviser who had previously warned The Avengers to focus more on security shows up and notices the front door to the mansion open because apparently while Hawkeye is a great shot with a bow and arrow, he can’t close a fucking door. The adviser gets rightfully pissed at seeing a building that has so much classified material and equipment in it just left open for anyone to stroll into and retrieve that he goes inside to have a word with the team.

Next up we head back to the final scene from the last issue where Beast tells everyone that Jocasta and Captain America have disappeared. From there, a nun appears and tells them to leave and they will clean up the mess. They do. They were fools to do so. Like any comic book villain, Ultron has found many creative ways over the years to come back to haunt The Avengers. Yet at the urging of a nun, they decide leaving the metallic remains of a machine that was hell bent on destroying the world was a ok. It’s scenes like this which make me agree more and more with the NSA adviser that The Avengers should not have any sort of official backing from the government. They’re making mistakes left and right that, if something similar happened in real life with a real military or spy organization, the country would be up in arms over. I’m all for characters doing something out of left field only if the author in question has a reason for them to do so. That is not happening in this story.

Once they leave they head back to the mansion where they meet up with Hawkeye. After greeting them, Hawkeye casually mentions that he had captured an intruder. After describing him, the team realizes who it is and rushes to free him. Once freed, Gyrich informs them that they no longer have government backing and lose access to all the fun toys and secret files they previously had access to. The writer at this point wants us to have sympathy for the team but frankly they deserved it. They deserved to be put in prison for being so haphazard with important material and just plain being bad at their jobs at this point. Maybe it’s the 39 year old in me coming out. The comics had a different audience at this time but that is still no excuse for bad writing.

Once Gyrich leaves, two things happen. One, Quicksilver’s girlfriend contacts The Avengers to let them know he disappeared and two, Jarvis appears suddenly to tell them that Tyrak is loose and wrecking havoc on New York. Despite the restrictions placed upon them by Gyrich, the writer promptly ignores that and sends the team out, apart from Iron Man, to fight Tyrak. Iron Man stays behind to continue a search for their missing comrades. Why put restrictions on the team if they’re immediately going to ignore them? It reminds me of a dog I used to own that would constantly get out of the yard. We would do everything we could to get him to stay in the damn yard because the last thing we wanted was him crapping in the house but the moment we opened the door, he bolted outside, slid under the fence, and ran off to get some tail. There is no point in placing restrictions on a character if those restrictions are promptly ignored. A good writer, not a great one but a good one, would be a little creative and find a way to get the heroes to solve the problem without relying on their usual powers that why do that when you think your readers have the attention span of a fish?

From there the team fights Tyrak for many, many, MANY pages. The Vision is able to stop him by applying heat to Tyrak’s body. Tyrak is a deep ocean creature so I can accept that he would not be able to handle extreme heat. Once defeated, The Avengers realize that those restrictions they ignored somehow magically came back which prevents them from getting Tyrak into custody before he dies. Their solution? Wonder Man throws him back into the water. Yes, a villain that just tried to kill them and others is treated like a fish that is too small to keep when you’re on a fishing trip. When three of the heroes on hand have the ability of flight yet they decide it’s best to just let the bad guy who tried to kill them go, you realize that the Mighty Marvel Bullpen didn’t take too long when it came to editing the story properly. At the end of the scene though, The Vision promptly disappears and Wanda, The Scarlet Witch, freaks out. Interesting development.

From there you get a short interlude with The Wasp calling Black Panther on the phone enlisting his support. Then you have Yellow Jacket and The Wasp commiserate with Iron Man about not being able to find their missing friends. They talk about The Beast and Thor being off on their own adventures which editor notes point out are detailed in other comics. From there we get a frame FINALLY bringing us back into The Korvac Saga officially. We see our missing heroes encased in glass tubes while a figure, who’s hand is the only part we can see, spies on Iron Man, Yellow Jacket, and The Wasp. He tells himself that Iron Man should already know who did all this and that they will eventually meet. Nice hook to end the story.

Bottom Line:

The writing is becoming intolerable. As a writer myself, I do find it helpful to read stuff like this because you get a firm reminder of why it’s important to keep track of all the little details in a story. Characters have to act in a logical fashion, whether they’re protagonist or antagonist. They also have to have obstacles they have to overcome. If they just do whatever the hell they want or if they simply ignore the obstacles placed in front of them, there is no tension in the story. The concept for this story is not bad at all. They’re just executing it horribly.

One bright mark once again has been the artwork which has been getting better each issue. It’s timelessness is quite refreshing to see especially since this was the start of an era in comics where they did everything they could to visually tag the stories in the era the story was written which can make an otherwise enjoyable story not so exciting to read thirty years later. They also did a great job this issue with addressing the elephant in the room when it comes to how women are treated in comics. Wonder Man tries to be the valiant knight in shining armor for Ms. Marvel but she proceeds to save his ass while kicking her fair share. It was great to see an actual woman in the story, not a caricature of one.

Overall, this is an easily forgettable issue. For every good thing this comic accomplishes, it has ten errors which make reading the story quite unbearable.

The Avengers #171

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Jocasta has escaped thanks to Iron Man and Captain America allowing her to do so. The Avengers head onto a crowded New York street and get reports from passersby that Jocasta was just there. They also apparently have time to be ogled by the ladies in The Beast’s case and with The Scarlet Witch, she’s offered a modeling gig. With a robot that could destroy the human race on the loose, taking time to get laid sure shows some folks priorities.

The Avengers head into an alley to discover a wino who says that a robot and a penguin had just left the place. They think he’s a drunk but the next scene you see is Jocasta in a car with a nun. The nun is apparently working for Ultron. At this point you wonder whether the writer of the piece was actually paying attention to the story he was writing. He goes one minute giving the impression that the team has lost Jocasta and with the next, Iron Man is still tracking her. So scenes like this where they’re asking folks if they’ve seen a female robot are just pointless if Iron Man has the ability to track her. The story almost comes across like it was written in one draft and, after a cursory glance for spelling errors, just published as is.

From there we go back to the lady who offered The Scarlet Witch a modeling job. Seems she had left a lady in a changing room in a department store and she was rushing back to her. That lady was Carol Danvers, Ms. Marvel herself. At first I thought she had something to do with Korvac when she changed into her Ms. Marvel gear. Then she flies off and joins up with The Avengers, telling them she is tagging along because she senses some danger that will face them. Yellow Jacket and The Wasp arrive in a cobbled together ship that Tony Stark had previously made and Iron Man, suddenly remembering he had the ability to track Jocasta, the killer robot they were all worried about stopping except when they were offered modeling jobs and sex, tells everyone to follow him because he knows where the bad guys are.

They arrive at a convent. A nun lets them in and they head into the lair. Thor has a panel where he’s talking about how folks consider him and his people god’s but that they make no claim to supreme divinity. Which is true and all but it’s not like any other Asgardian apart from Thor views Earthlings as anything but subservient animals. He finds himself uncomfortable in a house of worship which is an interesting idea that could be expounded upon at some point.

Wanda is teleported somewhere. We don’t know where. The Avengers are concerned but focus on finding Ultron first which they do in quick order. A robot built on logic gives a monologue to the heroes when he should have just been firing everything he had at them. I get that with artificial intelligence, Ultron will end up having some form of emotions. With the memory banks he holds, and the fact that he talks about Yellow Jacket being his father and all the other stuff he talks about, Ultron is not like the Cybermen from Doctor Who. The Cybermen or the Borg from Star Trek are cold, methodical creatures that have a single focus. Sure they’ll talk to you but it’s more to tell you that you’re insignificant and that you will be murdered soon. They’re not going to have a Bond villain type of monologue.

We then break to The Scarlet Witch who’s in a room of mirrors. For someone who’s power is sending hexes, it would be an appropriate way to keep her prisoner. When she attempts to send out a hex, it could just as easily hit and hurt her. I just wish that, since this is part of the Korvac Saga story according to the Marvel Unlimited app, that there had been some reference up to this point about the fact that Korvac was taking people. Sure, at the end of the story we’re brought back into the main story we’re reading here but with Wanda being taken like she was, it was a bit of a red herring for the reader to think that maybe we’d be getting to the bottom of the story for once which we are clearly not at this point.

From there we see Ms. Marvel roaming the halls of the convent. Seems she had bowed out of the fight against Ultron since Hank Pym had mentioned that he had built a resistance for the existing team which she is not a part of from Ultron’s attack. I can accept this as a reasonable way to get her somewhere else. It’s little things like this that are missing in the story so far that have made this reading experience a bit of a chore. When you do see that the writer finally takes the time to explain why things are happening as they are, you find yourself getting lost in the action of the story which is what they want you to do.

Turns out that the nun that drove Jocasta to the convent was an android as well. Ms. Marvel quickly makes her her bitch and discovers that Wanda is still in the convent being kept prisoner. She also discovers that the real nuns are still in the building, tied up by Ultron. Again, something that doesn’t make sense. Ultron has no problem attempting to murder the man who made him and the rest of The Avengers as well but a robot would still tie up some nuns and just not brutally shoot them in the face? Why would he care? He wouldn’t. Even with his artificial intelligence, when an android has its mind set on something, little things like murder would not keep it from accomplishing its goal. It’s a machine. Even with the artificial intelligence, logic would state that straight up murdering the nuns would have been the way to go for Ultron. But apparently he has a soft streak for Catholics. Maybe Hank Pym put in some special programming from the Vatican to protect people of the clergy.

Ultron wakes up Jocasta to have her join his side only to have her, in a fit of human logic, decide that even though she is programmed to be at his side, she has to kill him because she knows what type of robot he is. It’s been established that Jocasta had an imprint of Janet Pym’s mind in her recently which made her a sort of pseudo-human. It is what it is I guess. Yeah, The Vision is an android in the story as well but is basically a human but I still don’t buy the fact that they somehow have life. They have programming telling them how to react. That’s nice and all in order to resolve the story but maybe it’s just because robotics at this point and time are not at the point where artificial intelligence could be any sort of a threat to mankind but I just don’t buy androids in a story that are presented as having some sort of emotion. Yes, it’s a fantasy set in a place that is real. But I just don’t buy it. Let the robot be crazy as fuck looking to kill everyone but I just can’t accept it having human emotions or reactions.

The story ends with Ultron defeated. They commiserate about a job well done only to end the story with Jocasta and Captain America disappearing. Seems the writers may have gone down from their high and remembered that they were supposed to write about Korvac. Oh to see the drugs that were passed in the Marvel Bullpen in the 70’s!

Bottom Line:

This issue has some serious flaws in execution. They’re the type of flaws that if they had been addressed in editing could have made this a pretty decent story. Having Iron Man especially go from not knowing where the heck Jocasta was to suddenly remembering that he was tracking her was annoying as hell. I also didn’t like the fact that they set up a big story element of Iron Man and Captain America allowing her to escape as if they had some sort of advanced knowledge that the rest of the team did not have only to completely ignore it. They seriously just dismissed the big ending from the previous issue by saying that with Iron Man as leader he can do whatever he wants. Now that would make me feel secure if The Avengers actually existed.  Another chapter in the Korvac Saga is in the books and the main story would probably take all of one comic to tell at this point. Mostly filler up to this point which is not so bad since the stories are taking place in a universe where multiple things can and will occur at once but I wish there was a little more coherence.