The Doomino Effect for Oct 15, 2008

The Secret Invasion tie-ins continue to devolve into pointlessness. Where they once shed new light on the background of the events leading up to where we are in the main series, Mighty Avengers #19 continues the recent pattern of telling stories that are sort of nice on their own but completely disappointing as successors to what were once the highlight of this crossover.

We see Noh-Varr, a.k.a. “Marvel Boy,” inside the rioting prison, attempting to contact the Kree for some kind of signal. That signal is the fake return of Kree hero Mar-Vell, a.k.a. “Captain Marvel,” a.k.a. an invading Skrull whose programming turned out to be more than he could handle, as Mar-Vell’s inherent heroism overrode the Skrull’s desire for planetary conquest. We get a dozen or so pages of Fake Mar-Vell’s internal struggle, which I feel like we’ve seen several times already, paired with an external struggle of punching and explosions.

If this was all about inspiring Noh-Varr to be a hero like Mar-Vell, I think that what was accomplished in this entire issue could’ve been just as effectively done in about 2 panels somewhere else. And considering how little has actually happened in the main book, the uselessness of these recent Avengers issues really calls some of these pacing and plotting decisions into question. I would say these Avengers series have been treading water, which is bad enough, but that would deny the fact that they’re creatively sinking.

Speaking of crossovers that aren’t really accomplishing much, that leads me to Legion of 3 Worlds #2. I don’t want to spend too much time on this book, as it was this week’s Book of Doom, so I’ll just stick to things I didn’t mention there.

• George Perez is a great artist. There’s nothing flashy about his style, but he’s consistent, he’s extremely clear in his storytelling, and he can apparently draw books that average about 10 panels a page with 30 people in each panel and manage to keep up.

• Doom DeLuise is right — Sodam Yot has a stupid haircut, rivaled only by Brainiac 5’s stupid emo haircut.

• I first found the site when I didn’t understand what the deal was with Starman in JSA, but the Legion Omnicom is a fantastic resource for people like me who don’t have years of background reading these characters. Check out their notes to Lo3W #2.

Speaking of teams from the future (sort of), that leads me to Guardians of the Galaxy #6. Aside from the political implications of some of the Skrulls’ comments, I very much enjoyed this issue. I was apprehensive about using this series as a Secret Invasion tie-in so early on in its life, but Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have managed to use it to show a different side of the Invasion, and that is the side conscientious objectors. We actually had Skrull infiltrators but nobody was secretly a bad guy plotting all along!

It may be a cop-out to some, but I loved the plot device that Cosmo forced the Skrulls to wipe his memory so that he couldn’t betray them (take that, Batman). So we get the big exposition, a big fight, some resolution between the bickering factions aboard Deep Space Nine, and finally a cliffhanger revelation to close the book, leaving the future of the team in doubt and the future of the future in doubt, for that matter. In some ways, it almost seems so easy and formulaic, but it’s just so much fun and so good.

As always, Paul Pelletier and Rick Magyar provide fantastic art. It’s going to be a sad day when any of the creative team move on, because this book is just firing on all cylinders. At this time last year, if anyone would’ve tried to tell me that in October 2008, one of my favorite comics would star Drax, Star Lord, Quasar, Gamora, Adam Warlock, Mantis and Rocket Racoon, I would’ve said “Who? Who? Who? Who? Loser. Who? Who?”

Meanwhile, I have no segue to Madman Atomic Comics #11, because I’m not sure how to say anything close to “speaking of characters finding out they might be temporary manifestations of Greek gods who have conversations in old attics with other gods who happen to look like David Bowie.”

It’s the new Madman series. It is what it is. What it definitely isn’t is any Madman series that has come before. To people who loved Madman over the past decade and a half, that’s potentially a disappointment, potentially not. Michael Allred is an interesting storyteller, and I’m at least a little intrigued at where this is going.

There’s nothing inherently bad about doing these things with such an established character, of course. There’s also nothing wrong with beards. Doesn’t mean I want to see one on my mom.