The Doomino Effect for the week of March 19, 2008

As an update to last week’s Doomino Effect, in which I reacted to Madman #7 and wondered

Does Frank think It Girl is Joe? Has some essence of Joe taken up residence within It Girl? Is Frank willfully accepting It Girl as a replacement for Joe? Is It Girl exploiting Frank’s loss for her selfish gain? Or am I missing something really obvious?

the blogger formerly known as Jean-Claude Van Doom pointed me to this Newsarama interview with Michael Allred, which leads by saying

If you’ve been reading (SPOILER ALERT) you now know that Madman’s longtime girlfriend Joe has been merged with his other love interest It Girl, forming “Luna Joe”…and that Madman has a whole new lease on life.

I have been reading Madman, but I didn’t know that.

But hey, speaking of people who look like one person but they’re actually someone else, that leads me to Death of the New Gods #7, in which — as the cover states — the KILLER IS REVEALED!!

I thought we did that last month. Anyway, it turns out it’s not actually Himon, it’s the Infinity Man! I kind of remember him being the suspect several issues ago, but I hate DONG and these characters so much that I don’t remember how that was resolved.

I’m overstating my contempt for DONG a bit. I’ve been very disappointed, as it has been so stupid at points, but I did appreciate the sermon about the jerkiness of The Source and the eulogy for Mr. Miracle. I can’t help but think that’s a not-so-subtle indictment of the militant religious fundamentalists of the world, though I don’t imagine Mr. Starlin is going so far as to suggest that there’s actually an asshole of a deity floating around in space manipulating people to reunite with his darker half.

Metron’s not-quite self-sacrifice, not quite suicide was probably the best moment in the book so far. Nothing sets up a villain like someone who gives up all hope in its presence. When that villain appears to be omnipotent, it looks like the cosmic poop is going to hit the fan.

I can’t wait until Final Crisis. Let’s check the solicitations to see how this is all going to fit in!

Meet Japan’s number one pop culture heroes, the Super Young Team and their languid leader, Most Excellent Superbat! Join legendary wrestler Sonny Sumo and super escape artist Mister Miracle as they team to face the offspring of the Anti-Life Equation!


But hey, speaking of finding out who the killer is in an 8-part miniseries that costs $3.50 an issue, that leads me to Grendel: Behold the Devil #5 of 8. Grendel finds out he’s being chased by an actual demon. Color me old fashioned, but that just kind of felt lame.

It’s still an enjoyable series, though. Matt Wagner’s “I drew this with a sharpie” style is somehow really right for this book, and this issue at least included the token decapitations and breast shots that fans of the series have come to love and expect.

I’m not crazy about the “real demon” part, but I am still a fan of the way the tables have been turned on Grendel and how he’s forced to play a different role while convincing himself he’s still in control.

Speaking of tables turning, that leads me to The Immortal Iron Fist #13, chapter 6 of The Capital Cities of Heaven.

Ol’ Danny Rand has rallied the troops in the seven cities, just in time to foil Davos and Xao. Davos is getting himself whooped by his dad, while Xao is about ready to launch the exploding train through the portal. It really is as awesome as it sounds.

I had never read a single issue of anything Iron Fist before this series, so I don’t know how much of this mythology is new or added upon, but I think one of the best things about this Iron Fist solo series is how well Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker have built up an awesome supporting cast. I would love to read more solo adventures of Orson Randall, I’d love to read more stuff about Lei Kung the Thunderer, I would love to read more stuff about the Prince of Orphans — there’s just a great supporting cast here that really helps make the book more interesting, to where I almost get disappointed when the story focuses back on what’s happening on Earth.

The only thing that hurt this issue for me was all the messy art. They’ve been using several artists in this book to convey the flashbacks and stuff, but it was more than just that this month. David Aja is an awesome artist and a great fit for this series, so I hope they can get back to a point where he’s doing all of the present-time stuff.

Speaking of awesome series at least partly written by Ed Brubaker, that leads me to Captain American #36.

I think what has made this series so good is its total commitment to what is going on in its pages. Much like Iron Fist, Captain America exists in the Marvel Universe with cameos and appearances by well-known personalities, but it also kind of exists in its own little world. The events of Civil War were acknowledged and worked into this book, but they never disrupted the flow of this story at all.

That is why I really, really, really hope that the big reveal at the end doesn’t have anything to do with Secret Invasion. But more on that later.

The story of Bucky becoming Captain America is a great one with so much potential and it’s been handled so well so far. Bucky really could be the new Captain America — that’s ok, Marvel! We could have a totally new Captain America in the way that DC has had totally new people behind the Flash mask without needing to bring them ba — okay, bad example.

But killing Captain America, stunt or not, has opened the door for what were otherwise impossible stories. While I’ve hoped that Captain America would just stay dead, a few big reveals within this title have made me worry that wasn’t the case.

First, there was the news that Sharon was pregnant with Steve’s baby. Big shocker and stuff. Maybe that could be the next Captain America when the current one kicks the Bucky Bucket. Maybe super soldier serum is like Soap Opera aging, and that could make the baby a grown up in a few short years. I don’t know.

But now this month, we find out that THERE’S A CAPTAIN AMERICA IN A TANK! CRAP!!

Maybe that one’s a Skrull, because if the dead Captain America were a Skrull, he would’ve changed back to a Skrull the way Elektra did, right? So maybe The Red Skull has a Red Skrull and the joke’s on him!

I don’t know, I just really hope that this awesome 36-issue run won’t end up being cheapened by having to fit in with the Secret Invasion. I’m a big fan of the build-up to Secret Invasion, and I’m very excited for it, but few things annoy a reader more than cop-outs like “Hey, he’s not dead — it was just a Skrull!” or “Hey, he’s not dead — it was just a clone!”

You killed Captain America, and it has resulted in good stories. Please leave him dead!!

UPDATE!! I just came across this Newsarama interview with Ed Brubaker which touches on the issue.

NRAMA: Okay, buddy – that body in the tube…let’s get your thoughts on the possibilities:

a) Clone – been done before, after all, and Skull would probably have kept some tissue around…

EB: It’s not a clone.

NRAMA: b) Skrull – again, a Skrull has posed as Cap before, during Mark Waid’s run…

EB: It’s not a Skrull.

NRAMA: c) Cap from the past – he’s been shot through time before, and has a story like that coming up in Avengers/Invaders…

EB: It’s nothing to do with the Avengers/Invaders book.

NRAMA: d) The real deal – but he’s in the Arctic…

EB: Is he? When was the last time we saw him? Not saying that’s what this is, but still… who knows? I’m not saying.

Brubaker goes on to ease my worries by adding

EB: All I’ve been saying is that we’re in the middle of a huge Cap epic, and that the things happening in it are part of the big story we’ve been telling, not coming from other books or events. You may see New Cap in Secret Invasion or in other comics, but our story is just moving full steam ahead, because we’re so deep into it. You may see reflections of what’s happening in the rest of the Marvel U in our book here and there, too, but I’m not going to stop in the middle of a huge story to suddenly tie-in to a crossover. We’ve got a lot of story to tell, still.