Spotlight Sunday 11.19.17
No clear winner this week, which would normally mean that I would cast the tie-breaking vote, but I decided to do something different and say a little something about each of the three books that shared the votes.
After all, according to the dumb rules I arbitrarily decided upon for the Bonus feature, I already had three other books I had to say something about anyway, so why not just do six short things rather than one long and three short?
Some spoilers ahead for…
Super Sons #10
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Jose Luis
Cover: Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanches
This is a (mostly) one-and-done filler issue between arc, so it does more place-setting than anything else, revealing that Jon has added flight to the list of his still-manifesting Kryptonian powers. To mark the occasion, Superman and Batman build a secret, underwater HQ for the Super Sons (which Jon, over Damian’s objection, dubs “The Fortress of Attitude”), and tell the boys that they will be called upon to attend to crises and evens that rank relatively low on whatever scale the Justice League uses to quantify such things. Also, Batman has decided that Damian is done with being home-schooled and enrolled him in the same private school that Jon attends (the West-Reeve School).
Best bit in the issue, which spends a fair amount of time contrasting parenting (and childing) styles, is this exchange:
Damian: Did you tell your dad about the Titans and the magician?
Jon: …well, maybe it slipped out at some point. We kinda don’t keep a lot of secrets.
Damian: Well, I do. Everything’s on a need-to-know basis.
Jon: Yeah, well, you don’t live in a house with a parent who has super-hearing and super-mind-reading.
Damian: Your father can’t read minds.
Jon: I’m talking about my mom.
Superman and the Miserable, Rotten, No Fun, Really Bad Day
Writer: David Croatto
Artist: Tom Richmond
Apart from my parents, the two biggest influences on my early moral and intellectual development and my sense of humor were Superman (and comics generally) and MAD.
So combining the two – which, honestly, happened fairly often in the pages of MAD, as Supes was a regular target for spoofing – has an obvious appeal for me.
This book is a parody of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which is a book that I’m familiar with only by name. (As I’ve mentioned, as a kid, I read comic books and MAD Magazine – and some of its imitators – not kids’ books, so this one never crossed my path.)
It’s…mildly amusing, containing the sort of things you might expect, like Superman accidentally putting his costume on inside-out, and ripping his cape on a chair while he’s stuck on monitor duty. Everybody has one of those days. Even Superman.
This motivational poster in the background was the best bit in the book:
The Mighty Thor #701
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: James Harren
Cover: Russell Dauterman, Matthew Wilson
After Jane – as Jane – appealed to the magic of friendship, Volstagg put down the hammer of the War Thor, and began the long, slow process of healing from his trauma, but, alas, the call to battle that the hammer continued sending out to him proved to be too much for Volstagg to resist, and so, the War Thor rose again. This time, however, it was in response to the threat posed by the Mangog, a Thor enemy of old who exists to hold the gods themselves accountable. The War Thor meets the Mangog on the field of battle in the space that was once home to Asgard, but for all his strength, and even with the unleased fury of an entire universe that was held inside the Ultimate Mjolnir, he is not capable of defeating so powerful a foe. The Mangog shatters Mjolnir, and Volstagg is set adrift in the void by Malekith, who directs the Mangog towards Asgardia, the new home of the Norse gods. Meanwhile, the war wages on, as we see the forces of Malekith’s Midgardian ally Roxxon fighting the forces of Vanaheim.
Last issue, Karnilla sacrificed her own life to protect the lives of the Norns from Malekith and his allies, but she finds that dying was totally worth it, as it means that she can at last be with her beloved Balder, who now reigns as the king of Hel. Their reunion is…well, can you call it “short-lived” when one of the people involved is dead? In any case, the forces of Musphelheim choose that moment to launch their offensive on Hel, as Balder and Karnilla flee for their…lives? Death is so confusing!
Given that there was no consensus this time around, there’s no easy way to decide on a theme for Recommended Reading. Do any of you even care about this part anyway? I suppose my recommendation is “Read some comics.”
Apparently Batman meant what he said: he’s going to kill everyone. And he does. For a little while, anyway. Turns out that dying is the only way to shake off the effects of the Pandora Pits, so he kills Red Hood and the Outlaws, then brings them back to life. (He stops, then restarts, their hearts.)
Together, they head to the Pits, Batman kills and revives everyone else, and they all wail on Circe. Then Ra’s – presumably immune to the Pandora Pits because he’s died and returned several times already – climbs out of the Pit and stabs Circe in the back in retaliation for her doing that to him, then tosses her in, and takes off in the confusion. As Circe sinks into the pit, she realizes that she’s going to experience the death that she’s feared for so long – immortals, after all, fear death more than anyone, she says – and she muses on the pointlessness of hope. Then she sees that Wonder Woman, tethered by her lasso, has come diving in to save her, and the issue ends with all of the heroes outside the Pit working to pull Diana and Circe free.
Wonder Woman/Conan #3
After escaping the pirate ship, Diana and Conan fight a shark, then float for days on a raft while Conan has more flashbacks about Yanna, the mysterious girl he knew from an all-woman tribe, and whom he still believes Diana to be. His flashbacks don’t flow in a linear order, so, as he had encountered the girl during two consecutive summers, it’s never quite clear which encounter we’re seeing. In any case, while they’re adrift, the Corvidae reveal themselves to Diana and Conan, and explain that they selected the two greatest warriors of any age and brought them together to watch them fight each other for their entertainment. So far, given that Diana and Conan refuse to have a conclusive battle, they remain unentertained, and they try to force the issue. (Also, it was a side effect of being pulled out of her own era by the Corvidae that caused Diana to lose her memory.) They still won’t fight each other, so the Corvidae decide that they’re just going to go slaughter all of the people back at the arena where Conan and Diana were supposed to fight in the first place. Once they make their way to land, Conan and Diana head out to try to save everyone from the Corvidae’s wrath, and in the flashback, we see that Yanna had told Conan of her plan to run away from home, and young Conan had pledged to go with her.
The Wicked + The Divine #33
I’m not going to spoil this one, because the surprises are too good.
Okay, one spoiler: Persephone is in hell – which is to say, is a huge pain in the ass – because she blames herself for her parents’ deaths. She wished so hard to be part of the Pantheon, being willing to sacrifice anything, that she assumes that when her wish came true, the sacrifice she made was her parents’ lives, given that they died. (I mean, I get the self-loathing making her awful, but she’s still a pain.)
Looks like the book is going on hiatus, as the “next” shows a special – focusing on the Pantheon of 1923 – that’s not coming out until February.
That does it for this week’s oddball Spotlight Sunday. There was a little bit of something for almost everyone, but ultimately no one was left satisfied. Democracy in action, I guess.
Thanks to everyone who voted, and be sure to come back for the next Weigh In Wednesday. (And do a better job of voting this time so that we can avoid a repeat of this.)