Pipeline, Issue #63


First of all, my apologies for being so late with this week's edition of PC&R. Life got in the way this weekend, in all good ways. I had a lot of fun doing a lot of things, but it kept me from getting this done until now. I know a lot of you visit the web site looking for the new column automatically on Monday, and I didn't get the chance to post so much as a note warning of the lateness of this issue. Eep!

I also haven't read all that much this past week, so I'm not sure what to review exactly.

I did, however, get around to reading all four parts of "LIVE KREE OR DIE!," the recently concluded four-part crossover between THE AVENGERS, QUICKSILVER, CAPTAIN AMERICA, and IRON MAN. The QUICKSILVER issue mostly lost me, since I'm not a regular reader. The dialogue was awful, I thought. It just read wrong. A lot of it comes, to be sure, from having to do so much expository stuff in the pages. But it read all wrong. I don't know how much of it was Joe Edkins and how how was John Ostrander. Part of me doesn't want to know.

The whole thing was structured oddly. The chronology is not linear. It overlaps in the oddest ways. Scenes which happen in part three (QUICKSILVER) are mentioned in the past tense in part two (CAPTAIN AMERICA), for example. Felt weird. It's another case of the writers involved stringing together a bunch of odds and ends of Marvel Universe continuity to build a story. In that sense, it works. Yet, many of the pieces of the story come from the "dark days" of Marvel, when most everything was unreadable, people were acting completely out of character and things just seemed screwy. So I applaud this as a way to un-convolute some of that stuff.

Afterwards, things start getting back on track. Cap gets a new shield. IRON MAN is finally going up against the 'Mystery Villain' of the past 8 issues. And THE AVENGERS are in a flux, but what else is new? I'll take a couple of paragraphs to talk about the latter two.

THE AVENGERS #8 is the center of much change lately. It's all interesting and I like to see how Kurt Busiek moves the pieces on this chessboard. He also brings back a couple of long-thought-left-hanging plot lines from previous issues, including the story behind those mysterious letters Jarvis is getting. The new character, TRIATHLON, suffers from an ugly costume and feeling like a deus ex machina. When the Avengers can't possibly save themselves, what happens? A new character to the rescue. Granted, I'm sure the story was meant to introduce the character and not vice versa. Every character in this issue, drawn expertly by the perpetually-busy pencil work of George Perez, has a separate and easily-identifiable character. They all have their own plotlines and on-going problems. Nobody is window dressing. (Although Wanda can dress my windows anytime! ;-)

IRON MAN #9 stressed credulity a bit, in that I think Tony Stark pushes it way too far. If Black Widow can't stop him, we're all in deep trouble. But there's something else pushing Tony, and I'm hoping Kurt Busiek straightens that out next issue. He seems to be going there. Unfortunately, Sean Chen's artwork in this issue struck me as a little flat and stuff.

Finally, YOUNGBLOOD #2 came out at last. It's every bit as brilliant as the first issue was, lo those many months ago. With Steve Skroce moving on to other projects already and Alan Moore doing a new line of comics for Wildstorm, I guess there's zero chance of them getting back to continue this series. We'll have to be happy with whatever happened to be finished at the time of the first Awesome Implosion. ::sigh:: For thsoe of us who were drooling Liefeld/Lee/McFarlane fanboys in the early 90s, the Liefeld cover was a wonderful nostalgia rush, too.

Also out this week: WHITEOUT #2 from Oni Press. Buy it. It's worth it, so long as you can also get your hands on the first part.

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