Sunday, August 21, 2005

Comic & Cover Review For August 17, 2005

Just one book this week, so I figure I'll get it all done in one shot.

New Thunderbolts 11
By Fabian Nicieza and Tom Grummett

Well, that was rather pointless. This “House of M” tie-in ends up having little resonance for either fans of the ongoing book or those interested in the big summer event. Instead, it’s a somewhat lifeless side trip, like stopping to see the World’s Biggest Ball of Twine.
That’s not to say it’s completely uninteresting; the notion that Magneto’s government entered into a strategic alliance with the Kree during the Kree-Skrull War is a good one, and one that probably would have made for a better story. I also like the Brain-Trust that’s essentially a collection of Marvel’s lesser-known genius characters, and the giant Atlas robot is a neat visual. But none of it comes together to tell a story, or at least not one I’m interested in.
The plot, in a nutshell, is: Genis, who in the altered reality is a random Kree private stationed on Earth during a diplomatic visit from Ronan the Accuser, has a run-in with a plot device character, and his cosmic awareness goes flooey, creating a reality distortion (or a distortion in the distortion, since this whole world has been changed by the Scarlet Witch), and calamity ensues. Abe, Erik, and Speed Demon are aligned with an ill-defined Human Resistance (one that seems to have nothing to do with the one Hawkeye’s leading in the main miniseries), respectively, and the Purple Man playing both sides along with the Kree. The point, I guess, is the confrontation between Erik and Genis at the issue’s climax, which will, I guess, have some sort of emotional resonance once things go back to normal, but everyone still remembers when they were different. For now, though, it all seems futile, something even Genis points out.
I guess I’m most displeased with being misled; both the solicits and last issue’s blurb suggested that “Purple Reign” would somehow continue in this issue. Well, as we can see, it didn’t. I don’t hold with tactics like that, and if Nicieza had anything to do with that marketing, I’m disappointed in him.
Grummett’s design for the big Atlas-bot is about the only remarkable thing here. He does a competent job, but since the script doesn’t really reach too many heights, neither does the art.
The issue doesn’t have a saving grace, but there is a nice bit towards the end where Ronan points out that, to the Kree, there’s no difference between the humans and the mutants. In a nutshell, that sums up this issue, and maybe even this crossover: from the outside perspective, it’s not really that important.
Grade: C-

Now let’s take a look at that cover:

Again, the House of M trade dress is a smart move for these crossovers. The cover, like the story, is sort of a jumble, with a few interesting things, but not much cohesion. Genis holding his guns on Erik and… well, I’m not sure who that is, is a powerful enough image in its own right, even if its relevance to the story is more metaphorical than literal. Of course, the lack of recognizability is a bit of a problem; it’s hard to get excited about “Random man in suit” being menaced by an alien soldier. And what’s with those pipes? Is the sewers thing a metaphor for the “underground” resistance movement, or did Grummett just need a quick background? As a cover, it’s OK, I suppose, but it doesn’t really speak to me.

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