Comic Book Stash: February 20, 2013

Mini-reviews and ratings of comics released February 20, 2013. Took a little longer since the stack was a bit thicker than normal and pretty well packed with quality stories.

Agree or disagree? Let me know by hitting me up on Twitter or Google+.

Avengers
6
3 stars
Jonathan Hickman
Adam Kubert

Continuing running through the origin stories of the new expanded team members, we learn a bit more about Captain Universe.

The heaviness of that story is lightened by the scenes of Doc Ock/Spider-Man being a pompous jerk. It's funny. Really.

I can see where some would prefer that Hickman get past all of this introductory stuff and onto something more meaningful. I, however, appreciate the pause to familiarize myself with characters who are largely new to me since I've been out of the comics game for a while.

Deadpool
5
3 stars
Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan
Tony Moore

More of the same silliness. This week Deadpool fights space-suited monkeys and Ronald Reagan on an old Soviet space defense platform. In the end George Washington shows up and things end on an uncharacteristically heavy note.

Harbinger
9
Joshua Dysart
Matthew Clark

We learn about the early life of Faith/Zephyr as she attempts to free the rest of the group from Tull. It's a decent read, but unlike this week's Avengers, I'm eager to get on to more important things.

Indestructible Hulk
4
4 stars
Mark Waid
Leinil Francis Yu

At the beginning of this issue we find out that Banner lives in an old atomic testing facility. "Welcome to Bannerville. Population 1." We also meet his new team of scientists in their new laboratory. As mundane as all of that sounds, it's all introduced cleverly by listening in on Bruce's side of a telephone conversation and the introductory speech he gives his team.

Something I'm finding particularly refreshing is that Bruce is being written as an intelligent and humorous human being rather than the angsty, moody guy we've come to tolerate over the years. When he starts yelling about there being no Internet connection just to see if any of his protégés... well... soil themselves, it's priceless.

I was confused for a moment as the Hulk is needed on an undersea mission against Attuma since I'd just finished reading the finale to Throne of Atlantis in Justice League. Orn. Attuma. Undersea kingdoms. It's just a blur sometimes. But that's more my fault than the book's.

This continues to be one of my favorites.

Justice League
17
3 stars
Geoff Johns
Ivan Reis, Paul Pelletier

The conclusion to the Throne of Atlantis storyline was... interesting. In my reviews you hear me complain about stories that drag on and on. Another peeve I have seems like the opposite; stories that end abruptly.

We've gone through a long build-up resulting in Atlanteans fighting an expanded Justice League and the Trench fighting everyone. Aquaman sort of beats up his brother who immediately abdicates the throne to him. This happens in less than a half-dozen panels. Not even two full pages.

With the battle all conveniently wrapped up, Arthur sends his brother to a surface prison. This seems a "cruel and unusual" punishment for an Atlantean and likely to bite someone in the tail-fin at some point. Arthur goes to Atlantis to be a king, Mera can't go for some reason and super-powered teams are being formed. The JL will expand the roster, a US government controlled Justice League America will be formed and it looks like a super-villain team is being organized by persons unknown.

I'm definitely ready for a new arc.

Justice League of America
1
4 stars
Geoff Johns
David Finch

I was really looking forward to this new team although I had my doubts about the odd makeup. Johns explains things and darn it if it doesn't actually make some sort of sense. The JLA is designed to go directly up against the Justice League if necessary. Here are the match-ups:

Justice League of AmericaJustice League
Martian ManhunterSuperman
CatwomanBatman
KatanaWonder Woman
Green Lantern - Simon BazGreen Lantern - Hal Jordan
VibeFlash
StargirlCyborg
HawkmanAquaman

Green Arrow also has a role to play on the new team, but he's been chased down and injured to the point of death by the Justice League. Or so we've been led to believe.

Interesting...

Supergirl
17
3 stars
Mike Johnson
Mahmud Asrar

Like Superboy last week, I'm only picking this up for the H'el on Earth storyline. (Although if it drags on much longer, I'm going to quit caring.)

The only particularly noteworthy thing about this issue is that we get more a definitive assessment of the power levels of various characters. Wonder Woman thinks that Kara "looks as strong as Kal [Superman]". Later Wonder Woman tells Kara that they "are closely matched in strength [and] speed." Which means that WW is seriously super-powered in the New 52 or Superman's levels have dropped. Based on other books, Superman is not quite so omnipotent as he has been in the past.

My personal opinion is that this is a good thing, but I know it's a fairly hotly debated topic.

Other than that, the book was... adequate.

The Superior Spider-Man
4
Dan Slott
Giuseppe Camuncoli

I'm glad that I was convinced to start reading Spider-Man with Doc Ock taking over. I don't remember ever enjoying the character as much as I have been lately.

Thor: God of Thunder
5
5 stars
Jason Aaron
Esad Ribic

Look. If you have even the smallest interest in Thor, just go get all of the issues of this run. The storytelling and art are both top notch. This series is going to be a classic.

X-O Manowar
10
3 stars
Robert Venditti
Trevor Hairsine

Aric rescues Gafti, an old comrade-at-arms that he had left behind, and relinquishes his armor to heal him. Angry at having been left behind to be tortured for years, Gafti attacks Aric using Shanhara. Interestingly, the appearance of the armor apparently reflects something of the person wearing it.

Coming to terms with Aric, Gafti destroys the invasion fleet at the cost of his own life. Shanhara returns to Aric and they take a Vine ship "home".

Up next... Planet Death. I cannot wait.