Weekly Awards For The Comic Books From February 4, 2009

All right, it is time to dish out The Revolution’s weekly awards.

As always, the followers of The Revolution chimed in with plenty of good comments. I decided to give the award for the comment of the week to Chicagokmc in response to the Secret Warriors #1 review:

“Interesting concept on a few fronts. I agree with some that we’ve seen “corrupt SHIELD before”. This is the pattern Bendis took with Secret Invasion where we find some event has the makings of a huge retcon. So I’ll just wait and see with that. This would make Hydra even more powerful than we’ve seen before, so it is interesting that Norman Osborne disbanded SHIELD quickly and that Hydra allowed that to happen. Sets up some possibilities of Hydra vs. Osborne (ideal) or him even being in league with Hydra.”

Okay, let’s go ahead and check out the nominees for The Che for the best comic book of the week:

The Mighty #1
Agents of Atlas #1
Secret Warriors #1
Jersey Gods #1

The Winner: The Mighty #1

Agents of Atlas #1
Creative Team
Writer: Jeff Parker
Pencils: Carlo Pagulayan
Inks: Jason Paz

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Agents of Atlas #1 was a solid debut issue. Basically, this issue deals with Norman Osborn sending ATF agents to raid an Atlas Foundation facility. The Agents of Atlas then appear on the scene and quickly defeat the ATF agents. We then see that an ex-employee of Atlas has decided to rat out Atlas and has gone to Osborn for protection in return for his information about Atlas. Norman orders a missile strike on the Atlas facility that the ATF agents had raided earlier. The Atlas Foundation facility is destroyed as Norman hopes that Atlas got his message.

We then cut to the next day with Venus using her powers to take control over the guards in the Avengers Tower. When Norman sends the Sentry after Venus, Venus then uses her powers to take control of Sentry and have him smash their way to Norman’s office. Norman reveals that he knows all about James Woo, the leader of the Atlas Foundation. Norman gives a concise overview of all the members of the Agents of Atlas.

Woo then contacts Norman and says that Atlas and HAMMER can work together to help each other achieve their goals. Norman says that he will send a team of agents on a fact finding mission to Atlas’ home base. Woo agrees with the one stipulation that Norman turns over the ex-employee who turned rat on Atlas.

We see Norman’s ATF agents along with the ex-employee of Atlas getting beamed up into Marvel Boy’s space saucer. They are taken to the hidden city where Atlas is located. They are taken on a tour of the hidden city. As they are there it turns out that the ex-employee was simply Woo in disguise. The dragon Lao from the hidden city also eats the head ATF agent that Norman sent to the hidden city. The dragon Lao voices his disbelief that Woo is committed to furthering the goals of the Kahn dynasty.

We then see Norman contacting Woo and telling Woo that the HAMMER fact finding mission made Norman happy and confident that they can work together to help each other out. Norman hangs up with Woo and Mrs. Hand asks if Norman trusts Woo. Norman answers that he trusts nobody but that Atlas might be beneficial to them. Norman then reveals that he knows that Jimmy Woo was an undercover agent in the 1950’s.

We then end with Woo being informed that Loa has picked a second in command to serve in Woo’s place in case anything happens to Woo. The second in command is Temugin, the son of the Mandarin.

We also get a back-up story that deals with a mission in Cuba in 1958.  Secret Agent Jimmy Woo, Gorilla Man, M-11 and Marvel Boy cross paths with Wolverine who is on his own separate mission in Cuba. This back-up story serves the purpose of giving a little history and context to Woo’s character and that of his long-time teammates.  

Parker does a nice job delivering a nicely balanced issue that offers the reader a good mix of action and dialogue heavy scenes. The roster for the Agents of Atlas is incredibly intriguing. I am fascinated by this entire collection of characters. Namora, M-11, Venus, Marvel Boy (Robert Grayson), Gorilla Man (Ken Hale) and Jimmy Woo are all wonderful characters with plenty of potential.

Gorilla Man, M-11 and Marvel Boy interest me the most. Marvel Boy is a great late Golden Age character who first appeared in 1950. He has plenty of cool late Golden Age and early Silver Age styled weapons and still retains his old school flavor.

Parker nicely introduces the roster of this team in a pleasant fashion during Norman’s discussion with Venus. Parker does his best to make Agents of Atlas #1 new reader friendly. However, the ending scene at the hidden city was a bit confusing for first time readers. Still, Parker does enough to make Agents of Atlas #1 accessible enough to not scare away new readers.

The dialogue was well done and the character work was solid. The reader gets a fairly good sense of the personalities for the members of Agents of Atlas. This was a nicely crafted story that made for a quality debut issue. Agents of Atlas is a neat mixture of a classic super hero team story, an espionage story and a mystical magic based story. There should be something in this issue that will appeal to a large variety of readers.

My favorite part of Agents of Atlas was the artwork by Carlo Pagulayan and Jason Paz. Agents of Atlas was a beautiful issue to look at. Even though I would recommend giving Agents of Atlas a try it just was not enough to garner The Che for the best read of the week. I went ahead and gave The Che to The Mighty #1.

The Mighty #1
Creative Team
Writers:Peter J. Tomasi & Keith Champagne
Artist: Peter Snejbjerg

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

This issue starts in 1952, where a Navy sailor is exposed to nuclear fallout from a nuclear bomb test. This man gain incredible Superman-styled powers as a result of it. He becomes the world’s first super hero.

We cut to the present day and see a runaway train rocketing through the city. Alpha One appears on the scene and manages to bring the train to a stop and saves everyone on board.

We shift to Section Omega’s building where Captain Shaw, the head of Section Omega, is doing an interview with Larry King. Shaw talks about how Section Omega is funded by Alpha One himself from all of the money he gets from license fees for all types merchandise. Shaw emphasizes that Alpha One is the world’s super hero and that he has dedicated his life to helping everyone.

Shaw continues that when there is an emergency that Alpha One acts immediately on his own without anyone green lighting his missions. Then once Alpha One has finished dealing with the emergency then Section Omega deals with the aftermath. Suddenly, an “A” glows on Shaw’s hand and he says that he must end the interview because there is a new emergency.

We cut to Gabriel Cole having a romantic evening with his fiancée, Janet. Shaw calls Cole and tells him that there has been an emergency. Shaw tells Cole to go to Mercy Hospital and do a headcount of the passengers from the runaway train that Alpha One just saved. Shaw tells Cole to make sure that the passengers do not talk to the press.

We shift to Cole at Mercy Hospital talking to the passengers. One of the passengers notices that Cole is “the boy.” Evidently when Cole was a boy he was involved in some type of incident. The passenger says that his wife said prayers for Cole during that incident.

We slide to the next day with Cole sparring with Shaw. Cole says that there were four missing passengers from the train, but that everything else checked out fine. Shaw says that odds are that the missing four passengers got sent to the city morgue. The two men agree that it was a good thing that Alpha One got there when he did or else it could have been much worse.

We cut to Cole and Janet at Cole’s apartment. We see framed newspapers with the headline “Alpha One Saves Boy.” Cole has tons of Alpha One toys and merchandise. The door bell rings and Cole opens the door. A badly beaten and injured Captain Shaw falls into Cole’s arms. Cole immediately actives the “A” signal on Shaw’s hands.

Alpha One suddenly appears on the scene. Alpha One places his hand on Cole’s shoulder. Alpha One then holds Captain Shaw. Shaw dies in Alpha One’s arms. Alpha One then carries Shaw’s body out of the apartment.

We shift to the city morgue where they are doing an autopsy on Shaw’s body. We see government officials telling Cole that they want him to replace Captain Shaw and run Section Omega. Cole replies that he does not want to since he does not want anyone exploiting his history with Alpha One for publicity. The officials tell Cole to take some time to think about it and that Shaw would have wanted Cole to replace him.

We shift to a bar where Cole and Janet are having drinks. Janet does not want Cole to take the job because Captains of Section Omega tend to meet their untimely demises or completely insane like Captain Rhines. Cole tells Janet to be quiet since Section Omega went to great lengths to keep Rhines out of the media. Cole says that he has wanted this his whole life and that he can do this. Janet and Cole then kiss.

We slide to outside of the bar and see Alpha One hovering in the sky looking at the bar.

Tomasi and Champagne turn in an intriguing first issue to this mini-series. The Mighty #1 was well paced and moved with a pleasant flow. There was not a lot of action. Instead, Tomasi and Champagne used a splash of well placed action and then let the odd and eerily silent story unfold via excellent character work. Tomasi and Champagne construct a shadowy and mysterious setting that grabs the reader’s attention and gets us wanting to learn more about this world.

The Mighty #1 was an interesting take on a Superman-styled character. I have always viewed Superman as a rather boring character. And I have often enjoyed Superman much more when he is only judiciously used. Tomasi and Champagne take that route with The Mighty #1 as Alpha One stays largely in the background. Instead, it is the “supporting” characters in Shaw and Cole that this issue revolves around.

And by focusing on normal humans characters to carry the story, Alpha One appears that much more extraordinary and super human. What was also enjoyable was the fact that while Alpha One plays a very small active role with limited panel time, his presence is omnipresent and is felt in every single scene.

The Mighty #1 is a textured story that has depth and substance to it. This story is definitely a character driven story that depends on well crafted dialogue and interesting character interplay to carry the issue. This is definitely not a fast paced issue that offers up tons of action.

Tomasi and Champagne do a good job setting up the feeling in the reader that something is not quite right with Section Omega and Alpha One. It is obvious that Alpha One is a “hero,” but I cannot shake the feeling that there might be something a bit dark to Alpha One. There is clearly more than appears on its face with Section Omega and it is that mystery and the connection between Alpha One and Cole that gets the reader eager for the next issue.

Snejbjerg noir styled artwork is actually a nice match for the mood of Tomasi and Champagne’s story. I would not like Snejbjerg’s art on most super hero comic books, but it works fine on The Mighty.

And now the nominees for the Sequential Methadone Award for the worst of the week:

Invincible Iron Man #10
Terror Titans #5

The Winner: Terror Titans #5

Invincible Iron Man #10
Creative Team
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca

Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Basically, this issue deals with Norman publically calling out Tony to surrender to HAMMER. Norman paints Tony as a traitor to America and that Tony is to blame for everything that has gone wrong.

We cut to Tony telling Maria Hill to go break into one of Stark’s Texas facilities and to get a specific hard drive located there. Tony tells Maria to then give the hard drive to Captain America. Tony states how Osborn will go ahead and shut down all the Stark facilities in America. Tony says that he needs to hook into repulsor power in order to execute the deletion sequence in his head. Repulsor power is found in all of Tony’s armors.

Maria and Tony head to the armory in this particular facility. Tony states that he has numerous armories all across the country. Tony says that the armories cannot fall into the hands of Osborn. (Too late for that.) Tony apologize to Maria for making such a horrible mess of things. Tony and Maria then kiss. Tony and Maria then proceed to have sex in the armory.

We shift to Pepper as one of the last few people remaining at Stark headquarters. The entire corporation has been shut down. Pepper then discovers a hidden lab in Tony’s office. Inside of the lab is a suit of armor made for Pepper to wear.

We cut to Norman in his Iron Patriot armor at the location where Tony was supposed to appear to surrender to HAMMER. Tony does not show up. Norman states that he is now issuing an arrest warrant for Tony Stark for crimes against humanity, collusion with an alien menace, flight from justice, conspiracy, criminal neglect and treason against the planet Earth. (I am pretty sure that an American law enforcement agency cannot press charges for treason against the planet Earth. Maybe against the U.S. government, but not the Earth.)

We see HAMMER agents attacking and taking control of all the various Stark facilities across the globe. (How does an American law enforcement agency like HAMMER have the authority to raid Stark facilities in foreign countries? Am I to believe that Communist China would be perfectly fine with an American law enforcement agency operating within their borders?) We see HAMMER agents swarm the Stark headquarters in Manhattan where Pepper is located. Pepper is not there.

We shift to Maria waking up in bed after what I guess was a night of sex. There is a not from Tony on the pillow that says “Blow it up. Run like hell!” Maria then blows up the armory and runs like hell away from the facility. We see Tony in an older suit of armor thinking how there is no turning back now. We then see Pepper in her suit of armor thinking how there is no turning back now.

Invincible Iron Man #10 was another unimpressive read. I am absolutely mystified at how this title continually garners praise. Of course, Titanic and Forrest Gump garnered praise from plenty of people and I thought both movies were highly overrated. I guess it is just me, but I find Invincible Iron Man to be the most overrated comic book on the market.

Invincible Iron Man #10 was yet another shallow read. Fraction continues to do absolutely nothing unique, creative or original on this title. There is a stunning lack of creativity to Fraction’s stories.

Instead, Fraction simply continually re-hashes themes that we have already seen before in Iron Man. Fraction has re-hashed the Stane/Stark storyline. Fraction has re-hashed the Armor War storyline. Now, Fraction is re-hashing Tony tearing apart his company. This might have had more impact if we had not already seen this several times before.

On top of that, anything that might be considered “original” that Fraction has brought to this title has been painfully predictable. Everyone knew from the start that Pepper was going to get her own suit of armor. I have absolutely no interest at all in Iron Pepper. I strongly dislike derivative characters. More often than not they are dull rip-offs of the original characters. And Iron Pepper fits that category for me.

Fraction’s complete mishandling and total lack of knowledge of Tony Stark’s technology and the Extremis virus also makes this title difficult to read. It smacks of lazy writing and a lack of research and understanding for the main subject matter of the title. The goofy jumps of logic that Fraction requires the reader to take in order to move the story along seriously hurts the quality of the story.

Invincible Iron Man #10 lacks substance and depth. I get the feeling that I am reading a rough draft. At no point is this issue a nicely polished final product. The dialogue is generic at best. There is a complete absence of character work. Combine that with the lack of creative plotlines and I get the impression that a novice writer is at the helm of this title. This is such a far cry from the incredibly detailed, complex and nuanced writing that the Knaufs gave us prior to Fraction’s run on Invincible Iron Man.

Now, having said that, I liked the scene where Tony has sex with Maria Hill. That is actually in keeping with Tony’s character. Other than that, Larroca’s enjoyable artwork is the only thing that kept my interest while reading Invincible Iron Man #10.

However, Invincible Iron Man #10 was simply an average read compared to Terror Titans #5. And that is why I had to give the Sequential Methadone Award to Terror Titans #5.

Terror Titans #5
Creative Team
Writer: Sean McKeever
Pencils: Joe Bennett
Inks: Jack Jadson

Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

In this issue we learn that the teen heroes competing in the fight club brawls are now being named the Martyr Militia and will be working under the Terror Titans. We see Persuader still sad about Clock King killing her dad. We see Teena with her hand fully healed. Teena thanks Copperhead for staying with her while she recovered. Teena is now in love with Copperhead and even tells Copperhead “I love you.” At this point, Copperhead realizes that there is something wrong with him. That he has no conscience.

The Clock King addresses his Terror Titans and Martyr Militia and tells them that they have all seen defeat. That they have all suffered. That Clock King has stiffly tested all of them. Clock King says that they are an ordered engine of chaos and destruction. Clock King says that he sent Copperhead out to set the stage for them.

We see Copperhead teleporting onto a rooftop of some building. Teena is in shackles and is with Copperhead. Teena thinks that they are escaping Clock King and that they are going to run off and live together somewhere romantic. Teena asks Copperhead why he has not taken the shackles off her yet. Copperhead ties Teena to the rooftop and activates a button on her shackles. Teena starts to power up out of her control. She screams that it hurts and for Copperhead to make it stop. Copperhead then teleports away from the scene.

We shift to Ravager confronting Clock King about what his big plan is. Clock King says that he will show Ravager and lets her looks at several large computer screens. Ravager suddenly collapses to the floor with a bright flash of light. Ravager stammers “I saw…” Ravager then calls Clock King an insane piece of trash. (Really? It took Rose five issues to figure out what the reader knew before the beginning of this mini-series?) Ravager yells that Clock King has been doing this all for his own personal amusement.

Clock King says that Rose’s ability to see a few seconds into the future allows him to finally be with someone who sees the world like he does. Clock King asks Rose to be with him and witness his grand creation. Clock King says that it is already underway.

We slide back to Teena becoming a gooey mess because of her uncontrolled powers. She then explodes to pieces in a massive explosion. We see that Ravager has busted out of Clock King’s facility. Ravager sees the large explosion that was Teena. Suddenly, the Terror Titans attack Rose. Unfortunately, Rose did too god of a job training the Terror Titans because they proceed to kick her ass. It looks like the villains are about to kill Rose when the issue ends.

I do not say this often, but Terror Titans #5 was simply a dumb read in every possible aspect. This mini-series has lacked any real point or purpose at all other than just offering the reader mindless violence and death. There have been a lack of interesting plotlines. There has been absolutely no character work. And the little character work that we have gotten has been crude at best. The characters or more gross stereotypes than actually fully developed individuals. The dialogue has been stiff at moments and downright cheesy and ham-handed at other moments.

McKeever failed to get the reader to care or be interested in any of the characters involved in this story. The relationships between the various characters seem forced and artificial. The fact that Teena would suddenly be madly in love with Copperhead seemed way to rushed and out of nowhere. It makes it hard for the reader to buy into the story when the writer never develops any motivations or reasons for characters to act the way that they do.

Clock King is quite possibly one of the most boring and colorless villains that you will come across. And the Terror Titans are just another cheap “evil” version of the Titans that we have gotten before and in a much better fashion.

And the insertion of Ravager into this story served no purpose at all. McKeever never gave the reader a logical reason for Ravager to join up with Clock King in the first place. Therefore, the reader has simply viewed Rose as an idiot for this entire mini-series. The reader has impatiently waited for Rose to finally realize what she already knew before this mini-series started: That Clock King was just a scum-bag psychopath.

McKeever did nothing to further advance Rose’s character at all with this mini-series. Instead, McKeever regressed Ravager’s character and nullified much of the wonderful character growth that Johns performed with Rose’s character over on Teen Titans.

I would only recommend Terror Titans to readers who just love comic books that consist of nothing but mindless fights. Other than that, there really is not much else that this title delivers.

So congratulations to The Mighty #1 for winning The Che for the best read of the week and “congratulations” to Terror Titans #5 for winning the Sequential Methadone Award for the worst read of the week.

2 Comments

  1. My favorite part of reading this review is finding out that Wolverine has met the Agents of Atlas in the past. It makes me laugh every time this happens. I honestly don’t think it’s possible for Wolverine to meet anyone new in the present. He’s apparently met every single character in the Marvel Universe before he even joined the X-men.

  2. Is HAMMER just an American agency? It’s supposed to replace SHIELD, which was said to be U.N… but which also vacillated between being U.S. and international in scope. And how does the USA shut down SHIELD if it’s international? So it must be domestic… buuuuuut….

    And so on. I’d just let that bit go. 🙂

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