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Comicscape: Hunger #1, Justice League Dark #22, Hawkeye Annual #1
By Joel Rickenbach
July 25, 2013
Welcome to Comicscape! Each week we'll be taking a look at a few of the week's new books in hopes of informing your comic shop purchases, or at the very least giving you 4-color thrills and chills. Read on!
Hunger #1 (of 4) (by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Leonard Kirk): We all know Galactus- eating entire worlds and heralding the end to life as those who are unfortunate enough to be in his path know it. And the problem is- the dude is always hungry. Thanks to the regular Marvel universe and the Ultimate universe, there are two flavors of Galactus (Gah Lak Tus)- The original leviathan-sized, 60's designer, oddly cool helmet-headed one, and the Ultimate version, which is a giant swarm of parasite like robotic bugs. Thanks to Wolverine's time hopping adventures in Age of Ultron, the fabric of the space-time continuum is breaking down, and worlds are literally colliding. This gives Marvel the opportunity to have both Galactuses meet. Hence Hunger.
This is a good idea, it's a bit of fan service, but so what? Who doesn't want to see what happens when the two Galacti meet? The problem is we need someone to latch on to for the ride, someone we can identify with, and unfortunately that person is the Ultimate version of Rick Jones. He's been chosen by the Watchers to harness the power cosmic and protect reality as they know it, including bearing witness to the Galacti tango. I say "unfortunately" because Ultimate Rick Jones is quite possibly the most annoying character you are likely to come across, and this book only makes it worse. There's a nice bit of symmetry on Failkov's part- Jones is shirking his duties because he's dying to eat a decent cheeseburger, and soon he will be witnessing the Galacti chasing their own cosmic fast food. The problem is Rick Jones is so quippy, snarky and annoying that I just didn't give a damn. It's like he knows he's on "camera" and says and does things for the sake of entertainment instead of logic. When he arrives at the burger joint he realizes he has no money, what follows could have been a very funny scene of desperation, but instead he just runs his mouth about being a cosmic superhero, as if that would do the trick. He's not clever or engaging, he's just grating. Later in the book, when faced with a giant intergalactic war, he asks- "What's a communiqué? What's a anomaly?" when there are clearly bigger and more pressing things at hand. I get he's supposed to be an irresponsible teen, but there's ways to show that and still make him likable.
The non-Rick Jones stuff is thankfully pretty cool. We see the Chitauri battle with the Kree, only to see both races overcome by Gah Lak tus. Then we're treated to regular universe Galactus literally emerging from a tear in the space-time continuum, only to be attacked by his Ultimate counterpart. Take a guess at what happens next...
Justice League Dark #22 (by Jeff Lemire and Mikel Janin): After last week's look at DC's Trinity War, I hope to keep up with the crossover each week here in Comicscape. Justice League Dark #22 brings us part 3 of the big brouhaha, and I am happy to say it matches, if not exceeds the quality of the previous installments. Lemire really milks the theme of allegiances, alliances, disagreements, and ultimately- who do you trust? The (now 3) Justice Leagues are split on the best course of action- Follow Superman's new lead in Kandaq, thanks to his liberator- the Question, or do they follow Wonder Woman on her hunt for Pandora, even though the Phantom Stranger warns it will lead to the destruction of everything. There are quite a few standoffs and characters switching sides in this issue, all of them work thanks to Lemire's writing and Janin's excellent and crisp art. One of the highlights is Superman almost killing another person out of pure rage, but he swallows it, just barely. If you haven't jumped on to Trinity War yet, I highly recommend you do!
Hawkeye Annual #1 (by Matt Fraction and Javier Pulido): One might think an Annual is the time for a book's creative team to take a break, and tell a fun, but unnecessary story with a fill-in artist, or even a fill-in writer. If that's what you think you'd probably be right, but not if you read Hawkeye. Sure, Javier Pulido is not one of the regular Hawkguy artists, but he's a creative choice that sends this book into the stratosphere. His art is so incredibly perfect for this book, including his penchant for the little character doodles in the dialogue boxes. Matt Fraction is also in top form, and continues to deliver the best dialogue in any comic on the shelves.
This Annual follows Kate Bishop as she leaves Clint Barton and his disaster of a life behind, so she can clear her head and figure out what she wants to do next. Unfortunately for her, Madame Masque is tracking her every move, bent on revenge. Kate arrives in LA for some poolside relaxation, and is quickly befriended by an incognito (read: no mask) Madame Masque. Masque insists Kate stay with her in her mansion, and then the fun begins. You see, Kate knows she's Madame Masque, and plays along to see where things go. This is all explained by Kate to Lucky the dog thusly-
"So she knows. But-- But we know. Right? Right. So she knows--but we know she knows. Which she doesn't know. And she doesn't know she doesn't know because she thinks we don't know. We're the unknown unknown! Lucky--we're a tautology!"
Seriously, just read this damn book.